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November 2010

The Fellowship of the Horcrux

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1 (2010)

Jaap Buitendijk/Warner Bros. Pictures

The beginning of the story’s end comes to life in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 1,” the seventh and penultimate entry in the cinematic juggernaut. Less a conventional “H. P.” film than a road movie rocked by physical and hormonal turmoil, David Yates’s third crack at the franchise goes to a dark, interesting place, even if the whole enterprise feels rather played-out, so last decade.

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Aggrieved Assault

Dark Love (2010)

Gianni Fiorito/54th BFI London Film Festival

Set in the unforgiving city of Naples, Antonio Capuano's "Dark Love" touches upon the themes of youthful indiscretion, forbidden love and ultimately redemption. It's a stylized, moody, measured film that relays the interweaving tale of a perpetrator and victim and the ties that bind them.

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Nobody Annoys You When You're Down and Out

Treacle Jr. (2010)

54th BFI London Film Festival

Writer-director Jamie Thraves marks a return to his independent roots with his deeply personal third feature, "Treacle Jr." Speaking at a screening at the BFI London Film Festival, Mr. Thraves revealed his motivation behind making the film: "Maintaining spirit and energy is so crucial in film. I wanted to be purely independent and didn't want to feel like I was trying to please someone else ... I stand by every frame, I'm really proud of it." He has every reason to be, because "Treacle Jr." is a wonderful, surprising treat of a film.

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No Country for a Young Cop

Red Hill (2010)

Strand Releasing

You’ve seen every bit of the modern-day Australian western “Red Hill” before, but writer-director Patrick Hughes plays the notes well. From the first-day-on-the-job hook to the backward small town, the silent aborigine killer and the complexly staged shootouts, the film plants itself firmly in B-movie territory and stays there for an efficient 95 minutes.

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Before You Break Her Heart, Think It Over

The Loved Ones (2010)

Film Society of Lincoln Center

Horror needs more female villains, killers filled with estrogen to rival the genre’s male big dogs (such as Jason Voorhees, Freddy Krueger and Michael Myers, to name a few). There have been a few women invited to join the murderer’s row: the below-middle-ground “Sleepaway Camp” series had Angela Baker; and the latter “Prom Night” entries introduced the homicidal specter Mary Lou. But the role of women in horror has far too often been relegated to victim, or heroine, or nude shower inhabitant.

First-time Australian filmmaker Sean Byrne flips that sad truth on its head with the gonzo “The Loved Ones,” an unhinged — in the best possible ways — blend of extreme gore, wince-inducing shocks and self-aware comedy. Antagonized by a psychotic high-school girl Lola Stone (Robin McLeavy), the film’s protagonist isn’t a damsel but a dude in distress. And that’s just one of the many aspects of “The Loved Ones” that feels fresh.

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