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Blade Runner, Hereafter, Paranormal Activity 2, Soul Kitchen, The Thing

BLADE RUNNER

A handful of superhuman androids escapes off-world servitude and returns to Earth, and it’s up to a disillusioned cop to stop them, permanently. In other hands, or a few years deeper into the 1980s,

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Blade Runner

might have ended up just another sci-fi actioner with might restoring right, but the 1982 movie was based on a Philip K. Dick novel and director Ridley Scott was more ambitious. The androids return to Earth because they’re asking the same questions all of us are: Where did I come from? Why am I here? And, most importantly, how long do I have left? That existential underpinning gives the hard-boiled plot and the sci-fi atmospherics an extra dimension that has made

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Blade Runner

one of the most beloved and influential movies of the past 30 years. It’s also one of the least successfully imitated. Scores of directors and production designers have ripped off Scott and company’s vision of our future as a decaying, rain-soaked, multiethnic urban hive, but their version still looks as fresh as it did more than a quarter century ago; the android “replicants” (especially Rutger Hauer and Daryl Hannah) are so charismatic and so ultimately childlike in their wonder at the world and their fear of death that they wind up seeming more human than Deckard (Harrison Ford), the man sent to end them. (Lee Gardner)

HEREAFTER

Director Clint Eastwood considers the afterlife or some such shit in this metaphysical Hollywood soap opera starring Matt Damon and Cécile De France.

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Opens Oct. 22.

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2

The inevitable: No-budget reality horror movie with great word-of-mouth advertising scares audiences, makes bank. Now director Tod Williams (

The Door in the Floor

) steps behind the camera to see if lightning can strike twice.

Opens Oct. 22.

SOUL KITCHEN

German-born director Fatih Akin, the man behind 2004

amour fou

cult favorite

Head-On

, returns with a comedy about a restaurateur who shakes things up by hiring a new chef (

Head-On

’s soulful Birol Ünel).

Opens Oct. 22 at the Charles Theatre.

THE THING

Uncannily prescient political invective about blood-borne pathogens among an all-male population in the early 1980s, or just a really killer thriller? For his 1982

The Thing,

John Carpenter’s take on John W. Campbell’s novel

Who Goes There?

follows an arctic research camp where a group of men—including Kurt Russell and Keith David—slowly begin to realize that something capable of infiltrating lifeforms and taking them over is among their ranks. Tautly written and exuberantly graphic for 1982,

The Thing

was a bit of a box-office stinker at the time, but has gone on to amass a loyal cult following—thanks in part to its early F/X wizardry, but more so to Carpenter’s sly intelligence, which sometimes takes a few viewings to latch onto.

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