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August 14, 2009|By Michael Sragow

The Hurt Locker : **** ( 4 STARS) It hasn't had the benefit of big-studio promotion, but Kathryn Bigelow's incisive, thrilling account of a bomb-disposal unit in Iraq has satisfied more people more deeply than any action-franchise blockbuster. It's a real audience movie: it unites everyone in awe of its phenomenally courageous heroes. For decades, audiences and critics have complained that movies have fallen behind television in the treatment of vital contemporary issues. But this movie tells a hitherto untold story of the key players in what has long been a war of improvised bombs.

Opening next Friday

Adam : (Fox Searchlight) A lonely, autistic man, Adam, develops a relationship with his upstairs neighbor, a beautiful writer damaged from a past relationship. With Hugh Dancy and Rose Byrne.

Inglourious Basterds: (The Weinstein Co.) A group of Jewish-American soldiers known as "The Basterds" brutally hunt down Nazis despite being deep inside occupied France. With Brad Pitt, Eli Roth

and Diane Kruger. Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino.

The Post Grad : (Fox Searchlight) A recent college grad gets a reality check when she's forced to return home to her eccentric family before starting her new life. With Alexis Bledel and Zach Gilford.

Shorts : (Warner Bros.) The small town of Black Falls is turned upside down when a young boy discovers a rock that can grant wishes. With Jimmy Bennett and Kat Dennings.

X Games 3D: The Movie : (ESPN Films) A documentary follows skateboarders, snowboarders and other extreme athletes as they compete in the annual games. With Shaun White and Danny Way.

Release dates are subject to change.

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