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Bullet to the Head, Oscar-nominated short films 2013, and Warm Bodies

click to enlarge 'Warm Bodies'
  • 'Warm Bodies'

Bullet to the Head Ordinarily, the French aren't a bunch you'd turn to when seeking inspiration for your next big shoot-'em-up spectacular. But their maneuvers in Mali have moved even Stephen Colbert to christen them surprise badasses, which suddenly makes "based on the graphic novel by Alexis Nolent" a thoroughly plausible credit line for a tale of double-barreled revenge. Starring Sylvester Stallone, yet! Sly plays a New Orleans hitman who forms an unlikely alliance with a cop (Sung Kang) to take out the target of a common grudge. In the director's chair is Walter Hill of 48 Hrs. fame, whose tough-guy pedigree may help Stallone avoid the recent career trajectory of his pal and contemporary Arnold. (Hey, I wonder what that guy thinks of the French!) (R) – Steve Schneider

Oscar-nominated short films 2013 You've probably already seen the charming Paperman (which preceded the also Oscar-nominated Wreck-It Ralph). But there are nine other short-form joys to discover in this latest annual compendium of animated and live-action contenders. The international entries take on such topics as Somali pirating and the brutality of both life and sport in modern-day Afghanistan. Meanwhile, the U.S. of A. exhibits its own unique view of conflict in "Maggie Simpson in 'The Longest Daycare.'" As always, this is a rare opportunity to not only widen your cinematic palate but skyrocket your chances of winning that Oscar-night pool by cleaning up in the categories nobody else knows dick about. (Opens Friday, Feb. 1, at Enzian Theater, Maitland) – SS

Warm Bodies Nine years ago, Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg joked that their Shaun of the Dead was a "romzomcom." Now, along comes Warm Bodies to stake an even more legitimate claim to the title. The romantic angle isn't just a side attraction in this zombie comedy: It's front and center, with true love blooming between a sensitive stiff and the still-living doll who sees his heart of gold. Writer/director Jonathan Levine's previous 50/50 was a well-regarded irreverent take on another dire condition – cancer – so there's every reason to expect more from his latest than simply Shaun for a new generation. (PG-13) – SS

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