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Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon
directed by Scott Glosserman
Slasher films are a dime a dozen, but this inventive take on the genre blends Man Bites Dog and Scream to create a movie that stands out from the heap of horror remakes. A documentary crew follows Leslie Vernon (Nathan Baesel) as he climbs the ranks of unstoppable serial killer, a la Jason Voorhees. We see him work out, put on face paint and masks and prepare for his hunts. He plans elaborate traps for victims, ensnaring a crop of teenagers, as well as the documentarians–and viewers–in his blood-soaked plans to rise to the top of the slasher killer mountain. Also starring Robert Englund, Zelda Rubinstein, Scott Wilson and Angela Goethals.

Dead Silence
directed by James Wan
Ventriloquist dummies are inherently creepy, but their capacity to freak out audiences might be trumped by how horrifically clunky Dead Silence is. Equal parts The Blair Witch Project and Puppetmaster, an eccentric old ventriloquist, Mary Shaw (Judith Roberts), is accused of killing a young boy. She’s hunted down by vengeful townsfolk, who cut out her tongue and kill her. When she’s buried, she’s laid to rest with her dolls, which she called her “children.” Of course she can’t stay dead, and her “kids” sneak out of her grave, going on a killing spree–cutting out tongues, naturally. By the end, viewers might be begging for a removal of their eyes. Also starring Leigh Whannell, Amber Valletta, Ryan Kwanten, Donnie Wahlberg and Christina Cox.

I Think I Love My Wife
directed by Chris Rock
Richard Cooper (Chris Rock) is your typical, successful, suburban businessman. He’s got a good job and strong family. Problem is, he’s bored with his wife, Brenda (Gina Torres). But when an old friend, the free-spirited Nikki (Kerry Washington), shows up at his office door, Richard starts to wonder why, if he loves his wife, he’s so drawn to Nikki. I think Chris Rock used to be a funny, cutting-edge comedian. And I think I saw this movie when it was called The Last Kiss. Also starring Steve Buscemi, Cassandra Freeman and Samantha Ivers.

Premonition
directed by Mennan Yapo
Sandra Bullock is becoming the queen of weirdo time travel movies. First there was The Lake House, an across-time romantic dramedy. Now there’s Premonition, a time-bending drama where she wakes up one day and her husband’s alive, she wakes up the next day and he’s dead, the next day things are slightly different, the next day he’s dead again. Repeat for 110 minutes. Sounds like The Butterfly Effect for grown-ups. Also starring Julian McMahon, Mark Famiglietti, Kate Nelligan and Nia Long.

The Wind That Shakes the Barley
directed by Ken Loach
This latest offering from Ken Loach, winner of the 2006 Palme d’Or at Cannes, focuses on two brothers, Damien (Cillian Murphy) and Teddy (Padraic Delaney), as they get pulled into the 1919 Irish Civil War. Questions of loyalty and nationalism take center stage in Loach’s epic about the Irish struggle for independence from oppressive British imperialist forces. Think Loach might be waxing allegorically in this film? Also starring Liam Cunningham, Gerard Kearney and William Ruane.

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