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Under the Radar: Keanu, Hasidic Jews and streaming support

Manal Issa, center, in the film "Nocturama."
(Grasshopper Film)

Our annual compilation of overlooked films. Each reviewer chose five films to highlight.

“John Wick: Chapter 2”: The original “John Wick” was a low-to-the-ground revenge flick that gradually opened up into a strange, intricate alternate universe of slick criminals. The sequel cranks up the crazy, adding new characters and concepts to what’s fast becoming one of action cinema’s most inspired franchises.

“Menashe”: This gentle, moving, neorealist tale of a widowed Hasidic Jew and the son he’s forbidden to raise is both a fascinating look at an insular culture and a reminder of the abundant varieties of American life.

“My Happy Family”: It’s fitting in a way that one of 2017’s best films was under-discussed at Sundance when it debuted in January and then barely noticed when Netflix added it to its library in December. The movie itself is about a middle-age woman who’s been overlooked all her life, right up to the moment she decides to walk out on her family.

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“Nocturama”: A stylishly opaque nail-biter, Bertrand Bonello’s study of French millennial terrorists hiding out in a mall after a bombing mission stubbornly — and thrillingly — defies easy explanations.

“Their Finest”: It’d be a stretch to say that this charming World War II romance is the best of 2017’s Dunkirk movies, but it’s by far the most broadly crowd-pleasing, and it deserves to find the audience now that it missed in theaters.

Seo-Hyun Ahn in the movie "Okja."
Seo-Hyun Ahn in the movie “Okja.”
(Netflix )

Yes, please: Subscription streaming services spending money on talented filmmakers. If Netflix and its ilk are going to keep radically transforming the old distribution models, the least they can do is to give a platform to great directors such as Bong Joon-Ho, Noah Baumbach and Errol Morris.

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No more: Dismissive and premature think-pieces that turn every conversation about film into a debate about politics. Lately, before movies like “The Beguiled,” “Downsizing” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” even open, they’re slapped with the label “problematic,” effectively shutting off any further discussion about their aesthetic value.

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