Eighth Grade (Bo Burnham, 2018)

Kayla is an eighth grade student attending Miles Grove Middle School. She often posts motivational videos on YouTube to help those with little self-esteem, though they receive little attention. Her advice is quite ironic, for she herself is quite the shy person, having few friends at school. It is to the point where she is voted “Most Quiet” by her classmates. She also has difficulties connecting with her father, who tries, and largely fails, to ween her off of social media. In spite of her emotional baggage, Kayla spends her last week as a middle school student determined to leave her comfort zone.

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Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig, 2017)

A teenager by the name of Christine McPherson, who usually goes by her nickname Lady Bird, has just finished touring a series of Californian colleges. She is now being driven back to her home in Sacramento by her mother, Marion. After graduating, she intends to apply to schools outside of California, discontent with the boring life she leads. Marion, believing Lady Bird to be ungrateful, does not agree with her decision and swiftly rebukes her. Lady Bird, deciding she would rather throw herself out of a moving car than suffer her mother’s interminable lectures one second longer, proceeds to do just that.

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Juno (Jason Reitman, 2007)

A sixteen-year-old high-school student named Juno MacGuff has just discovered she is pregnant. The father is a good friend of hers – Paulie Bleeker, though she didn’t count on this to result from his first time. Realizing she wouldn’t be fit to raise this child, she initially considers an abortion. When she reaches the clinic, however, she changes her mind and decides to put the baby up for adoption instead. Juno manages to find a couple – Mark and Vanessa – willing to agree to a closed adoption.

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You’re Next (Adam Wingard, 2011)

A woman named Erin has traveled with her boyfriend, Crispian Davison, to a vacation home in rural Missouri. It is a family reunion held by Crispian’s parents, Aubrey and Paul. Also joining them is Drake, Kelly, Felix, Aimee, Zee, and Tariq. Drake is Crispian’s older brother and Kelly is the former’s wife. Felix and Aimee are Crispian’s younger siblings – their partners are Zee and Tariq respectively. Unbeknownst to this family, a man wearing a lamb mask has recently killed a woman, writing the words “You’re Next” in blood. This simple reunion will hit a snag when this killer decides to pay a visit.

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Ex Machina (Alex Garland, 2014)

A programmer named Caleb Smith works for the world’s premier search engine company Blue Book. By chance, he wins an office contest, allowing him to visit the luxurious abode of Blue Book CEO, Nathan Bateman. The CEO lives alone with his sole companion being a servant named Kyoko who doesn’t speak English. It is here Nathan demonstrates his latest invention: an android outfitted with artificial intelligence named Ava. Nathan wants Caleb to judge whether or not Ava has a true consciousness.

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The Witch (Robert Eggers, 2015)

In 1630s New England, William and his family have been banished from a Puritan plantation having expressed heretical beliefs. They have built a farm in a secluded forest, where they live a solitary life. William’s wife, Katherine, has given birth to their latest child, Samuel. One day, their daughter, Thomasin plays peekaboo with the baby only for him to disappear without a trace. Unbeknownst to the family, a figure clad in red has kidnapped the unbaptized infant and kills him, using his blood and fat to make an ointment. Though William insists a wolf stole the baby, his wife and children suspect evil forces may be at work.

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District 9 (Neill Blomkamp, 2009)

In 1982, the planet Earth was shocked to its core when an alien vessel began hovering over the city of Johannesburg, South Africa. An investigation of the spaceship turns up a population of malnourished aliens. Nicknamed “prawns”, the South African government decided to confine the aliens to a camp designated District 9. It is now the year 2010. Following a period of severe unrest between the aliens and the locals, the government hires the services of Multinational United (MNU), a private military company, to relocate the aliens to a new camp. Piet Smit, a prominent MNU executive, appoints his son-in-law, Wikus van de Merve, an Afrikaner bureaucrat, to oversee the forced migration. Little does anybody know that this routine operation will ultimately disrupt the South African government’s eighteen years of institutionalized speciesism.

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