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Life During Wartime (R)

Werc Werk Works/The Criterion Collection

Life During Wartime is only Todd Solondz's sixth feature film, yet he seems to have settled into a snoozy, autumnal self-examination, as though he were Yasujiro Ozu reliving a storied career. Solondz burst onto the scene in the 1990s with Welcome to the Dollhouse and Happiness, two disturbingly deadpan portraits of middlebrow misery and sexual perversion. His 2004 head-scratcher Palindromes was an anti-narrative companion piece to Dollhouse, and he's followed that up with this deadly droll sequel to Happiness. The gimmick: All original parts have been recast with different actors without regard for race or nationality, and it's now an ice-cold art installation instead of a black comedy. It's occasionally interesting for its contextual relationships to Happiness, but otherwise it's boring and creatively bankrupt. — Daniel Barnes

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Dylan Dog: Dead of Night (PG-13)

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Where the hell did this come from? It apparently had a very small theatrical run, but never showed anywhere near me. Honestly, I'm a bit pissed about that. Based on a popular Italian comic book, Dylan Dog: Dead of Night is a supernatural private-eye movie in the vein of Constantine, only watchable. Former Superman Brandon Routh is the titular Dylan, a sardonic P.I. who acts as a human mediator for vampires, werewolves, zombies, etc. When various creatures start getting capped, it's up to Dylan to solve the case before an all-out monster war happens, enslaving all of humanity. Dylan Dog offers numerous exciting, fresh, inventive takes on classic monster mythos, all with a tongue-in-cheek demeanor that never panders or condescends. And Routh is totally likable. It's too damn bad this movie hasn't found an audience until now. — Louis Fowler

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Peep World (NR)

IFC Films

Do you think in our lifetime we'll see a small indie comedy-drama that follows a well-centered, friendly-enough family? Not a stereotypically hateful, bitterly dysfunctional bunch? Peep World is the latest culprit that manages just barely tp rise above the typical paint-by-numbers script and direction thanks to stellar performances by Judy Greer, Michael C. Hall and Rainn Wilson. Nebbishly tyrannical author Nathan Meyerwitz (Ben Schwartz) has written a bestselling nove, a thinly veiled memoir based on the various kinks and quirks of his thoroughly unlikable family. All the pent-up anger at Nathan explodes at their philandering father's birthday party, which is never as funny or as cathartic as it wants to be. Peep World, though watchable, is exceedingly interchangeable. You've seen indies like this before, and you'll see more like them. — Louis Fowler

  • Life During Wartime, Dylan Dog: Dead of Night, Peep World

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