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Cinefiles

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Lake Effects (NR)

Anchor Bay Entertainment

Lake Effects could fit right in on the Hallmark Channel. It's sentimentally hokey and filled with enough faux charm and contrived melodrama to keep a big grin on the face of every retiree who craves schmaltzy, wholesome family entertainment. Jane Seymour is the matriarch of a small-town Virginia family that's just lost its beloved father. One of the daughters still lives in the town and teaches school, representing all that's good with America. The other daughter is a fast-paced, fast-talking lawyer from the big, bad city, representing all that's wrong. As this socioeconomic battle plays out, comic reliefers try to convince a reality show that a lake monster exists. Really. — Louis Fowler

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Once Upon a Time: The Complete First Season (PG)

ABC

Whenever a rookie show catches fire in its first season, viewers can usually pinpoint a specific episode or arc that ignited the flame. For Once Upon a Time, it came with the appearance of Rumpelstiltskin. Robert Carlyle gave the show a tragic emotional pulse as "Mr. Gold," as he's known in the town of Storybrooke, where an evil witch's curse has convinced its citizens that theirs is actually a life devoid of magic. By the time it's revealed that Rumpel's long-lost love is actually Belle (the pitch-perfect Emilie de Ravin, who becomes a series regular in the upcoming second season), the Beauty to his Beast, the stage is set for a shocking and wholly satisfying season. — Justin Strout

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Ground Zero (NR)

Shock-O-Rama Cinema

I was dreading watching this ultra-low-budget zombie flick for weeks. I mean, really, what can yet another living-dead movie show me that others haven't? As I learned with Ground Zero, plenty! A couple of political activists break into a lab and inject themselves with a top-secret serum that turns them into zombies. Two unknowing "cleaners" come to take care of one of the bodies, and numerous complications arise — from a pair of rival bumbling cleaners who make an even bigger mess, to, yes, the sudden rising of the dead. The film manages to create something new out of the familiar in horrifically funny fashion, a real rarity for movies like this. — Louis Fowler

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