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New on Netflix: 'Goosebumps' wants to be 'Gremlins'

Also new to streaming is a Portuguese epic worth binging and Sean Penn's "Into the Wild."

‘Goosebumps’
It may be based on R.L. Stine’s endless tween horror tomes, but the “Goosebumps” movie is more a throwback to something else: ’80s Joe Dante movies. Vying for “Gremlins” glory, it crams the screen with ridiculous creatures — sinister talking dummies, rampaging garden gnomes, giant hellbeasts — while Jack Black arches his eyebrows and hams it up. It doesn’t quite achieve madcap transcendence, but now that Dante himself can’t get funding for these things, it’ll have to do.

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‘Arabian Nights’
The rise in binge-watching has had an unexpected effect: It’s made super-long art films seem less insurmountable. Watching all 13 hours of Jacques Rivette’s 1971 minimalist great “Out 1” only takes as much time as plowing through a season of “Breaking Bad.” Compared to those, “Arabian Nights” — a three-part epic totaling over six hours — is a walk in the park.

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A playful, angry state of the Portuguese union, only sometimes using the title source to comment on the oblivious haves versus the despondent have-nots. Episodic by nature, it’s perhaps unavoidably hit-and-miss, much more miss in the early stretch, then outright loopy as it winds down with a long bout about, of all things, bird fanciers. It’s best to binge it, only so you can power through the bits that don’t work and get your mind all fogged up in time for its bizarre close.

‘Into the Wild’
Sean Penn has yet to debut his latest directorial work, “The Last Face,” at Cannes, but in the meantime you can revisit the best film he’s yet helmed personally. Here he chronicles the sad and aggravating tale of Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch), a rich kid who dropped out of society, wandered the States and wound up, you could argue, foolishly dying in the wild. It’s a movie that both understands his plight and critiques it, and it’s a reminder that Kristen Stewart, in one of the film’s many excellent supporting turns, was always awesome.

Follow Matt Prigge on Twitter @mattprigge
 
 
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