Chiwetel Ejiofor (left) plays Solomon Northup, a New York freeman kidnapped into slavery in 1841 and eventually resold to plantation owner Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender). Francois Duhamel/Fox Searchlight Pictures hide caption

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In Kill Your Darlings, Dane DeHaan (left) plays Lucien Carr, a man whose charm and wit quickly command the attention of the young Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe) in their time at Columbia University. John Krokidas' film chronicles the "Libertine Circle" they inhabited — Ginsberg's nickname — and the events that would shatter it. Clay Enos/Sony Pictures Classics hide caption

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President John F. Kennedy enjoys a moment of levity at this Rose Garden ceremony marking Columbus Day, 1963. AP hide caption

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In the emotionally fraught thriller Captain Phillips, Tom Hanks plays the real-life freighter captain whose Maersk Alabama was overtaken by Somali pirates in 2009. Columbia Pictures hide caption

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Bullock's mission scientist is a dubiously confident space traveler even before she's sent reeling toward the abyss by debris from an orbital mishap. Warner Bros. hide caption

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Wonder where he gets that: Gordon-Levitt's Jon, looking a lot like a chip off the old block (Tony Danza). Relativity Media hide caption

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Sandra Bullock winds up adrift in Alfonso Cuaron's Gravity. Warner Brothers Pictures hide caption

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In Short Term 12, Grace (Brie Larson) counsels Marcus (Keith Stanfield), an angry young man about to age out of the foster care system. Cinedigm hide caption

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Poor Donna Reed: Her Mary would have ended up working in a library — shudder — if not for the matrimonial intervention of Jimmy Stewart's George Bailey. Happily, 1946's It's a Wonderful Life isn't the only lens through which pop culture assesses the worth of the institution and those who make it tick. RKO Pictures/Getty Images hide caption

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Harold Lloyd (left) is the All-American Boy, a striver who'll brave nearly anything to get to the top and win The Girl. Noah Young is The Law (center) and Bill Strother is The Pal. Criterion Collection hide caption

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The opening of The Act of Killing, which seems like something out of a Bollywood musical, has a happy energy about it. But as we'll learn, the two men in the center led death squads in the 1960s, when an estimated 1.2 million Indonesians were killed. In Joshua Oppenheimer's astonishing documentary, they obligingly re-enact their crimes. Drafthouse hide caption

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Broadway performer Ruby Keeler was a source of optimism for many during the Depression era, and nostalgia hit audiences hard when she returned to the stage decades later. General Photographic Agency/Getty Images hide caption

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