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New on Netflix: 'Groundhog Day,' 'The Forbidden Room, 'Unforgiven'

A light-dark Bill Murray classic now streams, as does a seriously insane Guy Maddin film and a Clint Eastwood great.
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    Guy Maddin's "The Forbidden Room" was carefully made to look like it's an oldie.

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    Clint Eastwood showed the dark side of his dark side in 1992's Best Picture winner|Warner Bros. Pictures

‘Groundhog Day’

It’s not clear how long Bill Murray’s cantankerous weatherman spends living the same day. It could be a few months. Or, as director Harold Ramis suggested, it could be thousands of years. A smooth blend of the crowdpleasing and the unimaginably dark, it’s a nice movie about an asshole being de-assholed.

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But its structure is also based on Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’ notion of the seven stages of death. It’s the kind of demon mainstream hit in which the stretch where our hero repeatedly kills himself — at one point waking up, grabbing the toaster from his quaint hotel kitchen, firing it up, hopping in the bathtub and dropping it in — is arguably the comedic highpoint. Keep your eyes peeled for the young Michael Shannon, as an excitable newlywed and WWF fanatic.

‘The Forbidden Room’

Unfailingly goofy Canadian retro-auteur Guy Maddin (“My Winnipeg,” “The Saddest Music in the World”) hasn’t made a feature-length film in ages, which may explain why “The Forbidden Room” simply overflows with goodies. Indeed, this gonzo shape-shifter — which, as per usual with Maddin, looks like an oldie that’s been gathering dust in an obscure drawer for decades — contains at least a few dozen stories and about 10,000 jokes.

RELATED: Interview: Guy Maddin and Evan Johnson talk "The Forbidden Room" and that Sparks song

By turns a submarine movie, a spelunking movie, a volcano movie, a lumberjack movie — and at one point including “squid theft” and a new song by Sparks — it may drive you wonderfully crazy if you watch it in a single sit. Now that it streams you can’t take it in in shifts — but being driven mad by it is one reason to draw the blinds, turn off your phone and take it all in at once.

‘Unforgiven’

Clint Eastwood tends to be seen as a reactionary brute, delivering magnum force with a big, phallic gun. But look closely and he’s more evolved, always questioning his yen for violence and his status as a badass icon. Each “Dirty Harry” sequel is a reaction to what cultural critics said about the films, tackling the likes of fascism, sexism and revenge.

RELATED: Review: Clint Eastwood's "American Sniper" is not jingoistic crap

To make it loud and clear that he wasn’t a Cro-Magnon, he made this 1992 Best Picture winner, playing a grizzled ex-outlaw who has to re-activate his dark side for a greater good. Audiences cheered at the climax, but it’s still ugly, and contains one of the greatest final lines ever delivered by a main villain before he’s offed: “I was building a house.”

Follow Matt Prigge on Twitter @mattprigge

 

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