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Operation: Endgame (R)

Anchor Bay Home Entertainment

Am I wrong in thinking that when a movie has a cast like Rob Corddry, Adam Scott, Zach Galifianakis and Bob Odenkirk, you'd expect it to be one big ol' hoot 'n a holler? For some reason, director Fouad Mikati doesn't seem to agree; he's completely content to make a lackluster retread of Smokin' Aces, which had more laughs, excitement and style than this can muster. And it's a shame to see so much talent wasted; in addition to the aforementioned comics, Operation: Endgame also features Ellen Barkin, Maggie Q, Ving Rhames and Jeffrey Tambor. They're all top-secret government agents, who, when an intruder causes a lockdown of an underground facility, are forced to kill each other, mostly using office supplies. I feel their pain: At about 20 minutes in, I was trying to cut my own wrists with a stapler. Louis Fowler

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A Prophet (R)

Sony Pictures Classics

When it comes to morally compromised anti-heroes, a doozy comes from French director Jacques Audiard, who was robbed of the Best Foreign Film Oscar last year for A Prophet. Newly incarcerated Malik (Tahar Rahim) finds himself thrust into the kill-or-be-killed world of a mob-run prison unit and, after a shaky and brutally messy start, seems to really take to his new environment. Malik, a French Arab, is charismatic and eventually merits the protection of a behind-bars Corleone named César Luciani (Niels Arestrup) who has the power to conduct globe-hopping drug business by dispatching people like Malik to handle things. There's a supernatural element to the proceedings that never gets off the ground, but as a self-contained Godfather mixed with City of God, it's a harrowing 155-minute viewing experience. Justin Strout

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Accidents Happen (R)

Image Entertainment

Who rips off author John Irving? No one. That's why I have to give credit to the quirky Accidents Happen, because it's the best non-John Irving adaptation of a novel that John Irving never wrote. Make sense? Chronicling the bipolar highs and lows of the Conways, a family prone to one disaster after another, this movie's melodrama and whimsy mix meticulously reaching various emotional boiling points that will make you unsure whether they are more tear-worthy or guffaw-inducing. Of course, that gets a bit uncomfortable at times. Still, Geena Davis as the foul-mouthed matriarch of the Conway clan, does a good job playing the detached mom who puts graffiti-ed walls around her heart with each new streak of bad luck. While the film is a pleasant surprise, it mostly made me want to read The Hotel New Hampshire again. Louis Fowler

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2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams (NR)

First Look Studios

A sequel to 2005's 2001 Maniacs, which was a remake of H.G. Lewis' legendary 1964 proto-gore epic Two Thousand Maniacs!, the new 2001 Maniacs: Field of Screams is low-budget, lowbrow trash. And it actually does a better job of paying tribute to the original's wrung-neck redneck-exploitation roots than the slick '05 remake did. If you've seen any of them, you know what an accomplishment that is. Led by Col. Buckman (Bill Moseley, replacing Robert Englund), the population of the Southern town of Pleasant Valley takes to the road, killing Northerners as payback for a Civil War massacre that left the townsfolk ghouls bent on retribution. Of course, the film takes none of this seriously, offering one crass joke after another, which get funnier if you start downing Kentucky straight bourbon. Rent them all and make it an evening to remember! Louis Fowler

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Just Another Day (R)

Image Entertainment

Just Another Day is a schlocky, shoddy hip-hop parable that would actually work if every single character weren't the living embodiment of every possible racial stereotype. It's so bad that I'm pretty sure this is a Tea Party recruitment video, a piece of propaganda meant to play on the fears of old white people. Even the "hero," a wannabe rapper named Young Eastie, is a drug dealer who uses a single mom for rides around town as he tries to score a record deal. It's just depressing: You want someone to root for here, but no. These are dangerous thugs who deserve incarceration, not multimillion-dollar contracts. You'd expect more from the high-caliber talent: It stars Wood Harris and Jaime Hector, both from the much-lauded The Wire. In the end, Just Another Day is just another waste of time. Louis Fowler

  • Operation: Endgame, A Prophet, Just Another Day and more.

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