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Maybe babies

Our annual look at the less obvious films we might love this coming year

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Silent House Like The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and Let the Right One In, this is an American remake of a foreign (in this case, Uruguayan) suspense thriller originally released only a couple of years ago. Gustavo Hernández’s The Silent House, about a young woman trapped in a house full of secrets, was notably filmed in one 78-minute shot. Considering audiences could hardly take their eyes off Silent House star Elizabeth Olsen in Martha Marcy May Marlene, this oughtta work. (March 9)

Bernie Jack Black and Matthew McConaughey – two names that, by now, should strike fear into the heart of even the most forgiving filmgoer. Add another name to the mix, however – Richard Linklater – and watch as the eyebrows raise. Based on the true story of a beloved Texas assistant funeral home director (played by Black) who killed a rich widow (played by Shirley MacLaine) in 1996, then used her money to do nice things for his fellow townspeople, Bernie reportedly integrates actual interviews with people who knew Bernie and his victim. (March)

The Wettest County Based on the gruesome novel about three brothers in Depression-era Virginia in the bootlegged moonshine business penned by one brothers’ grandson, this film adaptation was written by singer Nick Cave and directed by John Hillcoat. Cave and Hillcoat worked together on The Proposition and Hillcoat’s most recent film was The Road, if that tells you anything about the likely grim tone here. Rounding out the cast are squee-inducing names like Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Jessica Chastain and (squee’s over) Shia LaBeouf. (April 20)

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter Wanted director Timur Bekmambetov helms this adaptation of the popular book by the same author as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and proposes that the 16th president was trained from a young age to slay the demon spawn that took the life of his mother. In this world, slavery is a vampire-run practice and slaves are simply food on demand, so to abolish the trade is to minimize the vampire infestation. (June 22)

Brave It’s fitting that this Disney-Pixar production would feature a girl with something to prove, since so many involved in the film have some proving to do as well. John Lasseter’s genius factory must show that they still have the Pixar touch after the huge critical disappointment of Cars 2 with their first movie featuring a female main character. Co-writer and co-director Brenda Chapman has been a peripheral animation toiler ever since the lukewarm reception of her debut directorial feature The Prince of Egypt 14 years ago, and co-director Mark Andrews makes his first leap to the director’s chair following years of Pixar story work. The defiant, redheaded archer princess at this film’s center had better be ready to bestow some redemption. (June 22)

The Odd Life of Timothy Green Judging by the schmaltzy trailer, this fairy tale of a childless couple given the gift of their apparent dream child, who literally shows up at their doorstep claiming to be theirs at age 10, is a breeder-friendly Disney production that could lead to sugar shock. But the story – conceived and produced by Ahmet Zappa – its cast, including Warrior’s Joel Edgerton and Jennifer Garner (who’s always at her best when tapping into parental yearning, a la Juno), and its writer-director, the talented Peter Hedges (Pieces of April, Dan In Real Life), are an oddball enough assortment to resist total disregard. (Aug. 15)

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