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rare female film critic | by maryann johanson

my week at the movies: ‘Over Her Dead Body,’ ‘Sputnik Mania,’ ‘In Bruges,’ ‘George Romero’s Diary of the Dead,’ ‘The Band’s Visit,’ ‘Chicago 10,’ ‘The Eye’

Eva Longoria Parker is dead, but don’t think that will stop her from trying to ruin her the life of Paul Rudd, her still-living boyfriend, particularly when he gets a new girlfriend. Over Her Dead Body [opens wide February 1] is the directorial debut of TV guy Jeff Lowell (a vet of Sports Night and Spin City), which doesn’t help dispel the terrible premonition I have that this is gonna feel like a sitcom. Nor does the working title: How I Met My Boyfriend’s Dead Fiancée. Ugh.

Sputnik Mania [opens limited March 14] is a History Channel documentary (one set for a theatrical release) about the panic that gripped America after the Soviet launch of the first artificial satellite, and how it set off the space race. Space stuff is always good by me.

Irish playwright Martin McDonagh makes his debut as a screenwriter and film director with the hitman comedy In Bruges [opens limited February 8], which just debuted at Sundance. Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson are, I gather, not the brightest criminals the streets ever produced, and now they’re stuck in the titular Belgian city while they wait for their next assignment. I not a particular fan of McDonagh’s stage plays, but he did win an Oscar last year for his short film, “Six Shooter.” And I do like Colin Farrell. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for this one.

George Romero’s Diary of the Dead [opens limited February 15] also made its debut at this year’s Sundance. This one’s about a group of young filmmakers shooting a horror movie in the woods when — yup — they run into some zombie troubles. Romero’s last zombie flick, Land of the Dead, was great — I’d love to think this one will be, too.

An Arab military band arrives in Israel for a concert. Apparently, comedy ensues in The Band’s Visit [opens limited February 8]. I guess worst things could have happened.

Chicago 10 [opens limited February 29] is a partially animated documentary about the eight anti-war protestors who were prosecuted for their actions at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Neat.

It’s another remake from Asian horror, and it stars Jessica Alba. There’s a reason why The Eye [opens wide February 1] won’t screen for critics before it opens. But Lionsgate is holding a courtesy screening on Friday morning, and I’ll be there. *sigh*

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