Hustle & Flow Directed by Craig Brewer

Gritty on the outside, soft in the center, this tale of DJay (Terrence Howard), a pimp who finds redemption as a rapper, is another "ya gotta have a dream" crowd-pleaser. Brewer does better with the men (Anthony Anderson as a wanna-be producer, Ludacris as a sellout rap star) than with the broadly drawn, comic-pathetic hookers. But Howard redeems this lumpy fantasy. Soft-spoken and mysterious, he presides over the movie with a dangerous, feline grace.

Dark Water Directed by Walter Salles

This dank, dark and disturbing psychological horror film is a remake of a Hideo Nakata chiller, but the film it most evokes is Roman Polanski's "Repulsion," another tale of mental instability and bad real estate. Divorced mom Jennifer Connelly, her daughter (Ariel Gade) and her daughter's "imaginary friend" move in to a leaky Roosevelt Island, N.Y., apartment, and the nightmares begin. Salles ("The Motorcycle Diaries") builds dread masterfully, but don't expect solace or "fun." This is not for those who like mysteries neatly resolved.

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