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The Dead (R)

Anchor Bay Home Entertainment

While it may look like just another zombie film, The Dead has far more significance in the grand scheme of world cinema for which it deserves credit: It's the first horror film entirely filmed in Africa, by Africans. Using lush landscapes, from foreboding deserts to desolate shanties, it does away with the current trend of fast-running, smart-stalker zombies, instead returning them to their rightful place as brain-dead killing-machines. Here, they face an American Air Force engineer and an African soldier who make a trek into unforgiving wastelands. Many compare this to the second coming of George A. Romero, but in their direction the Ford Brothers eschew politicizing for an atmospheric, stunningly crafted road movie that's closer in tone to the work of Italian masters like Lucio Fulci or Joe D'Amato. The Dead delivers a bullet to all the numbskull zombie flicks. — Louis Fowler

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Take Shelter (R)

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

It's deeply unsettling how much you may identify with Michael Shannon's Curtis, a family man tormented by the knowledge of his deteriorating mental health. He's powerless to avoid the apparently genetic life sentence, yet battles it every way he knows how, from seeking professional help to securing prescriptions to doing research and speaking up. The quiet devastation latent in writer-director Jeff Nichols' stunning portrait is that it matters not: Curtis begins having apocalyptic visions that usually take the form of tragedy involving his daughter. Eventually, he decides building a storm shelter in the family's yard is the solution, and down he goes. By tapping into both paternalistic paranoia and fin de siécle anxiety, Nichols and Shannon render a new kind of creature: the understandably tortured man. It's a crime that this film received no Oscar nominations. — Justin Strout

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Nude Nuns With Big Guns (NR)

Image Entertainment

This is a morally reprehensible movie. It's socially irredeemable, blatantly blasphemous, pure exploitative trash. Of course, I absolutely loved it. Fitting in perfectly with recent nouveau grindhouse tributes like Machete and Hobo With a Shotgun, Nude Nuns combines both those movies' selling points — Mexploitation and pump-action firepower — with a distinctly nunsploitation (it's real, look it up!) and biker-flick aesthetic that delivers a well-armed 92 minutes of visceral buckshot to the guts. When novice nun Sister Sarah is left for dead by a corrupt Catholic parish that doubles as a front for drugs and prostitution, she hears the voice of God asking her to become his swift six-shooter of judgment. Filled with classic drive-in motifs like bloody brutality and sensual lesbianism, Nude Nuns gets 10 Hail Marys and four stars from this cinematic clergyman! — Louis Fowler

  • The Dead, Take Shelter, Nude Nuns With Big Guns

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