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Children of the Corn (2009) (NR)

Anchor Bay Home Entertainment

The original Children of the Corn — about the kids of Gatlin, Neb., who, after killing their parents in a religious fervor stalk two interlopers with horrifying results — is a fine slice of Bible Belt B-movie paranoia-cheese and the definition of a great, goofy cult classic. However, it was barely based on the Stephen King short story, a dark, nihilistic yarn from his Night Shift collection that is as mean-spirited as it is terrifying. Twenty-five years after Fritz Kiersch's Corn hit theaters, Donald Borchers and the Syfy channel have remade it by sticking very close to the short story, aiming for that diabolical, bitter feeling and succeeding on every level. This is a scary, freaky movie, folks! Yes, the 1984 Corn was entertaining, but for all the wrong reasons. The 2009 version is an evil little flick that will ensure you never drive through Nebraska again. — Louis Fowler

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Tulpan (NR)

Zeitgeist Films

"Happiness is not comfort," says director Sergey Dvortsevoy, interviewed in Tulpan's liner notes. That sentence says everything you need to know about this spirited yet gentle-hearted film set in the harsh Hunger Steppe of Kazakhstan. Asa (Askhat Kuchinchirekov) is a sailor who, after returning from sea, moves into a yurt with his sister and her family in the hinterlands of the arid steppe. There he hopes to become a herdsman like his brother-in-law — but before he can earn a herd, he must find a wife. Tulpan, the titular character, is the only unmarried woman within miles. Watching Asa chase his ambitions in this unforgiving world is only one of the film's pleasures. Dvortsevoy and director of photography Jola Dylewska fill the film with patiently beautiful moments, including great takes with a rogue camel, the family's children and even a sheep giving birth. Jill Thomas

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The Stepfather (R)

Shout! Factory / Release date: Oct. 13

With what seems like every horror movie/thriller of the '80s being remade nowadays, it was only a matter of time until someone got around to The Stepfather, the critically acclaimed 1987 film. Well, the trailer for the remake, in keeping with the current status quo, looks like it's going to be a typical stupid teen movie. But this DVD, a reissue of the original Stepfather, is a thoughtful, suspenseful and fast-paced nail-biter written by crime novelists Brian Garfield and Donald Westlake. In a riveting performance, Terry O'Quinn plays a serial family man, moving from house to house in search of the perfect family. When they don't live up to his expectations, he grounds them, permanently. It's a simple enough plot, but is delivered in such a deliberate, engrossing way that it rises above the slasher muck of the time. — Louis Fowler

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My Life in Ruins (PG-13)

20th Century Fox

The older I get, the more I start to have crushes on women like Nia Vardalos. I can't explain it, so chock it up to maturity. But believe me, fellas, it really does help to develop these fixations when you have to sit through 100-percent-female-marketed movies. Anyway, in case you haven't guessed, Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) is Greek and fiercely proud of it — and My Life in Ruins beats us over the head with the fact. She's a lonely tour guide in Greece, which is made up entirely of swarthy bouzouki players who watch Zorba the Greek daily. Her latest tour group is a mix of various international stereotypes (Australians constantly drinking Foster's, etc.) who teach her how to live and love. Richard Dreyfuss shows up to embarrass himself. Is this a stupid movie? You bet. But is it watchable? Of course. Please tell Vardalos I said that. — Louis Fowler

  • Children of the Corn, Tulpan, The Stepfather, My Life in Ruins

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