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Best non-multiplex films this week

Meryl Streep in the 'The Iron Lady'

Meryl Streep in the 'The Iron Lady' Photo Credit: Meryl Streep in the 'The Iron Lady.'

Manhattan is movie-crazy during the holidays, with multiple Hollywood flicks competing for your attention at the multiplex. It's a heady season for film lovers, made all the richer by the wealth of seasonal fare showing at the city's specialty venues. Here are your best non-multiplex bets this week:

'The Poseidon Adventure' - Landmark Sunshine Cinema
This classic disaster film inspired a remake and lots of imitators with its elaborately conceived depiction of a harried band of survivors (a top-notch cast including Gene Hackman, Ernest Borgnine and Shelley Winters) trying to escape from a capsized ocean liner. Screens Fri. and Sat. at midnight. For more info, visit landmarktheatres.com.

'Pariah'/'A Separation'/'The Iron Lady'/'Angels Crest' - Various venues
There are four noteworthy limited releases opening this week in Manhattan. "Pariah" tells the powerful, perceptive, Brooklyn-set story of a lesbian teenager's coming of age. "A Separation" is a sharply observed portrait of cosmopolitan life in modern Iran. "The Iron Lady" features an amazing performance by Meryl Streep as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The only one we haven't seen is "Angels Crest," which depicts the fallout from the death of a 3-year-old boy in a tight-knit Rocky Mountains town. Showtimes and venues vary.

Studio Ghibli films - IFC Center
This ongoing Studio Ghibli retrospective features notable movies from Japan's top-notch animation studio, home to the great filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki and others. Highlights this week include Miyazaki's "Castle in the Sky" and "My Neighbor Totoro." For tickets and showtimes, visit ifccenter.com.

'Miracle on 34th Street' - Film Forum
Christmas is over, but there's never a wrong time to revisit the ultimate holiday classic, starring Oscar winner Edmund Gwenn as a Macy's Santa who's convinced he's the real thing. It's a love letter to New York and the spirit of the season. Screens daily at 2:45 p.m. through Thurs. For more info, visit filmforum.org.

Movies at MoMA - Museum of Modern Art
This week, it's full steam ahead for MoMA's exceptional repertory film program. The museum offers movies from all over the world, including Henri-Georges Clouzot's "The Mystery of Picasso" (France), Pietro Germi's "Serafino" (Italy) and American icon John Ford's "Wagon Master." The "Contenders 2011" series lets you get caught up on some of the notable films from this year, among them "Melancholia" and "Margin Call." For the Scrooges out there, there's even a 1982 French movie called "Santa Stinks." For more info and showtimes, visit moma.org.

The year's best films
If none of these options intrigues you, here are some other movies that might: our picks for the five best films of 2011. (robert levin)

1. "The Descendants"
(in theaters)
2. "The Interrupters" (on PBS, DVD Feb. 14)
3. "Hugo" (in theaters)
4. "Another Earth" (on DVD now)
5. "50/50" (on DVD Jan. 24)

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