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GUARANTEED FRESH as of Thursday April 19, 2018 at 2:40 pm Listings are for Friday 4/20 through Thursday 4/26

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Half Nelson

Ryan Gosling (The Believer, The Notebook) delivers a career-making performance as a well-intentioned inner-city junior high school teacher with a crack habit who forms an unlikely friendship with one of his students (newcomer Shareeka Epps). Amazingly, the film avoids all the sentimental pitfalls, mostly by underplaying the central redemptive drama and letting the ambiguous characters set their own course. First-time feature director Ryan Fleck avoids nearly every feel-good movie cliché in favor of some refreshing realism. 106 minutes R.