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You could mistake Butter for a political satire, at least if Harvey Weinstein has anything to do with it. When this comedy starring Jennifer Garner as Laura Pickling, an Iowa woman who sees butter sculpting as her ticket to political glory, premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last year, Weinstein issued a public statement inviting then-presidential hopeful Michelle Bachmann to attend the film’s Iowa premiere. Seems some viewers were seeing Butter as a parody of the Tea Party’s favorite congresswoman.

Chicken With Plums

Graphic novelist Marjane Satrapi moved into film successfully a few years ago with Persepolis, an Oscar nominee for Best Animated Feature. Chicken with Plums, for which she once again collaborates with the French filmmaker Vincent Paronnaud, is a live-action film that seems different in every way: The simple line drawings are replaced with live action that is colorful and whimsically inventive. That this is also a story based on her family may deepen the appreciation of those viewers who have seen Persepolis, but it is by no means necessary: In its own right, it’s one of the best films of the year.

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