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Under the Radar: Young knees, empathy and how about some Oscar love for female filmmakers?

(L-R) - Rachelle Vinberg, Ajani Russell, Nina Moran, Dede Lovelace and Alexander Cooper “SKATE KITCH
Rachelle Vinberg, from left, Ajani Russell, Nina Moran, Dede Lovelace and Alexander Cooper in the movie “Skate Kitchen.”
(Magnolia Pictures)

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

“Skate Kitchen”: The rebellious spirit running through Crystal Moselle’s drama is contagious. Its camera careens with these teenage girl skateboarders as they tear through New York City, and you’ll want to feel that same freedom. Then you’ll remember that you no longer have young knees, and so you’ll have to content yourself with watching this vibrant indie. Hulu; VOD

“Izzy Gets … Across Town”: First-time filmmaker Christian Papierniak’s debut is a punk-fueled, one-day odyssey across L.A. that speeds by far too quickly. It should feel like something we’ve seen before, but Paperniak’s anarchic style imbues it with fresh energy matched by Mackenzie Davis’ performance as the perfectly messy Izzy.

“All About Nina”: Not all rom-coms need to be full of sweetness and light. Eva Vives’ directorial debut is as raunchy as the sets of the stand-up comedian of the title (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), but there’s surprising emotional depth here too. VOD

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“Bel Canto”: Based on Ann Patchett’s bestseller, this Paul Weitz-directed drama exudes empathy from every frame. Starring Julianne Moore and Ken Watanabe, its spare plot — a diverse group grows close when terrorists take partygoers hostage — strikes a chord with its humane treatment of its characters. Amazon Prime; VOD

“Thoroughbreds”: If your taste in comedies veers toward the deliciously nasty, this teen thriller is just your black, bracing cup of tea. Cory Finley’s first feature is full of arch humor, unique visuals and a soundscape that mark him as a director to watch. VOD

More, please: With half the universe dying in “Avengers: Infinity Wars” and the real world a constant source of stress, there’s immense pleasure in charming, low-stakes films like “Juliet, Naked,” “Support the Girls” and “Hearts Beat Loud.”

Enough already: Female directors made some of the year’s best — particularly Lynn Ramsay’s ”You Were Never Really Here” and Debra Granik’s “Leave No Trace” — but they still aren’t acknowledged during awards season. Prove me wrong, Oscar voters.

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FULL COVERAGE: Under the Radar 2018 »

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