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Elle Fanning dazzles in singing competition movie 'Teen Spirit'

Matt Shiverdecker Special to the American-Statesman
Elle Fanning plays an aspiring pop star in "Teen Spirit." [Contributed by LD Entertainment/Bleecker Street]

Here is an interesting new release available now from digital providers as well as a title that has recently become available for streaming.

Video on Demand

"Teen Spirit": At the tender age of 21, the filmography of Elle Fanning is already approaching nearly 50 projects. In the last few years, she has dazzled in films like "The Beguiled," "How to Talk to Girls at Parties," and "20th Century Women." In the directorial debut from Max Minghella (whose late father, Anthony, directed "The English Patient"), Fanning plays Violet Valenski, a teenager growing up with her single Polish mother in the British countryside. She dreams of becoming a singer but is stymied by her conservative household and expectations that she'll work to help earn money for the family. The opportunity to attend rehearsals for a television singing competition show proves too tempting, and Violet finds herself as a finalist without parental permission. She enlists the help of an unusual ally in Vlad (Zlatko Buric), a retired opera singer who sees promise in her after catching her perform a karaoke set where she works. With his help, she keeps working her way through the rounds of the show to make her dreams come true. This is packed with great music (Violet performs Robyn's "Dancing on My Own" and Annie Lennox's "Little Bird," among other great tunes) and a fearless performance from Fanning. She transforms from a meek young girl who acts as though she would be afraid of her own shadow into a believable singer who commands the stage. The biggest fault with the film is that it breezes through its 93-minute running time and provides an ending that minimally wraps up the story but doesn't quite go far enough. Bonus points for a brief but note-perfect role from Rebecca Hall ("Vicky Cristina Barcelona"), who plays an ethically questionable record label executive who preys on Violet while the competition is still underway. (Cable and digital VOD)

"Thoroughbreds": Once upon a time, Amanda (Olivia Cooke) and Lily (Anya Taylor-Joy) were the best of friends. After Amanda's mother secretly pays Lily to tutor her, the two young women are brought together again. Despite having very little in common beyond their childhood roots, their relationship is rekindled once innocent conversations turn to murder. Anton Yelchin (in his final on-screen role) also stars as Tim, a local ne'er-do-well who bides his time on the sex offender registry by washing dishes in a nursing home, with a little lightweight drug dealing on the side. His weaknesses are easily exploited, and before long he's involved in the girls' plan whether he wants to be or not. This is a well-crafted independent thriller with a powerful female-centric storyline. (HBO Now)