A new twist on an old game

What: “Shimmer Lake”

Where Seen: Netflix

100 Word Review:

Funny, sometimes brutal, told-in-reverse crime thriller made by folks who know their Coen brothers and Tarantino.

A bank gets robbed, people are whacked, and step by step we weave our way back to how, and why, it’s all playing out this way.

If you’ve seen a ton of films, it’s not especially hard to guess where it’s headed (newbies will be shocked by the twists), but it works beautifully.

Some great character actors get time to shine, and first-time director Oren Uziel has a winner.

If this was the ’90s, he’d be the toast of Sundance right now.


Life is the biggest game of all

What: “Keepers of the Game”

Where Seen: Netflix

100 Word Review:

No one is holding them down.

Superb documentary about Native girls waging several wars — against their rivals on the lacrosse field, against racism in their day-to-day life and against the elders of their own tribe, who disapprove of women playing a sacred sport.

Like the best sports docs (“Hoop Dreams” and on down), it plunges us into a world alien to many viewers and refuses to sugarcoat anything.

There are wins and losses, and both have impact, but it’s the film’s complicated stars, young women carving out their own legacy, who make it riveting.

Still freaky after all these years

What: “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me”

Where Seen: Showtime

100 Word Review:

Weird is weird, and 25 years hasn’t dulled David Lynch’s “prequel” a bit.

A mix of madness, wild mood swings, a few clues sprinkled like bread crumbs and a whole heapin’ of “What the heck, man?” jammed into a blender where someone forgot to put the lid on, ensuring the audience gets drenched by the resulting tasty mess.

If you’re loving the new “Twin Peaks” (and I am, man, I am), you owe it to yourself to go back one more time for a slice of pie and cup of coffee best enjoyed with your jaw on the floor.

If it bleeds, it leads

What: “Christine”

Where seen: Netflix

100 word review:

Haunting, uncomfortable and very effective look at a woman battling personal demons before losing the fight very publicly.

Rebecca Hall is Oscar-worthy playing real-life TV journalist Christine Chubbuck, who answered her station’s emphasis on “If it bleeds, it leads!” by shooting herself in front of a horrified audience.

Director Antonio Campos handles sensitive subject matter with grace, and the film is an emotional gut-punch.

Even if you know where the film is headed, and it would be hard not to, watching Hall fall to pieces one strained conversation at a time is to see an actress in her prime.

Don’t go in the woods, eh?

“Scared … or constipated?”

What: “Man Vs.”

Where Seen: Netflix

100 word review:

What if they remade “Predator” and Arnie just talked to a hand-held camera for 75 minutes?

Oh Canada, you tease…

A low-rent Bear Grylls goes in the woods to film a one-man survival show, only to have something go bump in the woods (WAY off-screen).

Then we wait and wait some more, through long one-man conversations about the weather and how-to-graphically-skin-and-cook-a-rabbit-on-camera.

There’s a nice moment when whatever is out there flips the game, setting up a bigger, man-sized version of the same rabbit snare we saw Fake Bear Grylls use to catch dinner.

A long hike for a small payoff.