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You know an election year is heating up when opinion-makers start clucking their tongues about movies emboldening the worst elements of our society. But this time, the ne’er-do-wells in question are actually living up to the theory that a life of crime imitates art.

We’re thinking of a crew of thieves who recently liberated $400,000 in cash and gems from a bank in Queens, New York. Their modus operandi, detectives have determined, was to break into a building next door and then bore a hole through the concrete wall that separated the two businesses – a scenario that, as the New York Daily News pointed out, was extremely similar to the one depicted in the current wide-screen release The Bank Job. (In what sounds to us like rank speculation, cops pointed out to the paper that the robbers probably did not look like the movie’s stars, Jason Statham and Saffron Burrows.) Though the movie has only been a modest performer at the box office, distributor Lionsgate Films is now at least able to identify its core audience: known and intended felons.

We’re all for the synergy between multiplex narrative and real-life vice. So we ourselves are resolving to follow the behavioral lead of one of our favorite recent flicks, In Bruges. From now on, we promise to greet any young children and/or men of the cloth we might run into with a swift bullet to the forehead, and then high-tail it to a picturesque European hamlet to consort with midgets and prostitutes.

Of course, we were planning on doing all of that stuff before we saw the movie. But there’s nothing like having a precedent. Now strap yourself in for another week of bad examples.

Opening Friday, April 4

Shine a Light We can understand the appeal of immortalizing an arena-rock spectacle like U2’s in the mammoth IMAX format. But we’re not sure what Martin Scorsese was thinking when he took an intimate Rolling Stones gig at New York’s Beacon Theatre and blew it up to wrinkle-exposing enormity. Maybe the flick should be called Shine a Light, but Not Directly on Me. (Paramount Pictures; PG-13; at Regal Pointe Orlando IMAX)

Married Life Those 1940s, they weren’t as innocent as they looked … as husband Chris Cooper finds out when he decides to murder wife Patricia Clarkson in order to make room for younger obsession Rachel McAdams. Having to shake Patricia Clarkson off your shoes? Sorry, this isn’t a problem we can relate to. (Sony Pictures Classics; PG-13)

Under the Same Moon (La Misma Luna) Ugly Betty, America Ferrera, has a supporting role in this Sundance 2007 fave, which follows a woman’s love for her child across the U.S.-Mexico border. It’s as if somebody made a full-fledged feature out of the one interesting storyline from Babel … and passed the savings on to us. (Fox Searchlight Pictures; PG-13)

The Ruins The theatrical trailer for this tale of an archaeological dig gone bad featured the most memorable moment of onscreen near-nausea in many a moon. And the “restricted” online content chips in some fairly intense scenes of self-evisceration. To want more, you’d have to be a card-carrying sociopath. Or Eli Roth. (Paramount Pictures; R)

Leatherheads George Clooney directed and stars in this period comedy about the dawn of pro football. The supporting cast includes The Office’s John Krasinski, who really deserves to catch a break on the big screen right about now – and Renée Zellweger, who really doesn’t. (Universal Pictures; PG-13)

Nim’s Island Fun for the whole family, with Jodie Foster as a reclusive author whose books become reality to a young fan. Or as J.K. Rowling would call it, “a recipe for litigation.” (Fox Walden Films; PG)

Available Tuesday, April 8

Day of the Dead The buzz is mostly negative for this straight-to-DVD remake of George A. Romero’s 1985 zombie apocalypse. But could it take any more of a dump on Romero’s legacy than he himself just did with Diary of the Dead? (First Look Studios Home Entertainment)

There Will Be Blood The next guy who tells us he’s going to drink our milkshake is going to eat a straw. (Paramount Home Entertainment)

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen 20th Anniversary Edition Was it really only two decades ago that Terry Gilliam’s movies were cursed to mere box-office cult status, rather than being scuttled entirely by freak weather calamities and leading men dropping dead? How time flies when you’re praying over the mojo hand. (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story Four words: “Smell that shit, baby!” If the significance of this phrase is lost on you, go now! (Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)

Available Tuesday, April 8

The Visitor Music by Fela Kuti contributes to the tribal-percussive motif of director Thomas McCarthy’s upcoming character study. Fans of McCarthy’s The Station Agent have to be salivating at the prospect of him working with Six Feet Under’s dead dad, Richard Jenkins; in the meantime, an afternoon of melody will have to do. (Varèse Sarabande)

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