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The Adjustment Bureau

For the first 10 minutes or so, you’d think you were watching a topical political melodrama. Alongside Matt Damon as David Norris, a New York congressman campaigning for the US Senate, are real-life public figures playing themselves supporting his campaign. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg stands with Damon in front of city hall for a few seconds. Civil rights leader Jesse Jackson and former Secretary of State Madeline Albright stand and smile at him in staged campaign-event settings, and one-time Bill Clinton honcho James (“it’s the economy, stupid”) Carville is seen and heard very briefly recreating his greasy good ol’ boy television-commentator persona. Jon Stewart turns up twice.

Grace, Milly, Lucy... Child Soldiers

The lush, verdant landscapes of Uganda make it one of the most beautiful places on this planet. But only to look at: To live in this African nation is hell on Earth. As bad as the 1970s reign of Ida Amin was, the atrocities committed on the civilian population by the rebel group that calls itself the Lord’s Resistance Army are so horrifying that it is difficult to get your mind around them. The LRA ranks consist largely of children who have been kidnapped (often with their parents slaughtered in the process) and forced to become soldiers. Several documentaries have focused on the experiences of boys in the LRA. But the group takes girls, too, who are not only trained to become brutal killers but forced to function as “wives.”

Cedar Rapids

It’s pretty much a genre unto itself: the Sundance comedy, introduced at that winter film festival and quickly thereafter shuffled into theaters. Sundance comedies have an edgy patina but are really soft-hearted with conventional lessons lurking beneath a layer of rude humor and racy (by current standards) behavior. Think of Little Miss Sunshine as the archetype.

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