The Good Life

Thursday, January 29, 2009

DVD Spotlight: Jan. 29 - Feb. 5

By R. Kurt Osenlund, film critic and correspondent

Before I spill the dirt on the latest and greatest in home entertainment, here's a sneak peek at an exciting and unprecedented - as far as I know - film marketing campaign coming at you on Super Bowl Sunday.

MONSTERS VS. ALIENS, the latest CG family flick from Dreamworks Animation, will be premiering its first-ever 3-D trailer during Sunday's Super Bowl telecast on NBC. To fully appreciate the eye-popping TV spot, viewers will need to watch it with 3-D glasses, which are now available at supermarkets alongside drink displays for SOBE and Pepsi, both Dreamworks collaborators. No word on what time the clip will air, so keep those glasses handy while you're watching the big game.

From the folks responsible for Shrek and Kung Fu Panda, Monsters vs. Aliens promises to be an epic and uproarious battle between everyone's two favorite supernatural beasties. Featuring the voice talents of Seth Rogen, Reese Witherspoon, Will Arnett, Paul Rudd, Hugh Laurie, and Kiefer Sutherland, the film invades theaters on March 27. For more info, CLICK HERE.


Okay, back to business. It's Oscar season, and the theaters are packed with movies like Slumdog Millionaire and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, both of which racked up a handful of Academy Award nominations. But the multiplex isn't the only place you can go to catch the 2008 films that nabbed Oscar's attention. Below is a complete list of Oscar-nominated films that are now available on DVD. There's less than a month before Feb. 22's big show, so take notes and get busy.

CHANGELING (Available Feb. 17)
Nominations: Best Actress, Angelina Jolie; Best Art Direction; Best Cinematography

Nominations: Best Supporting Actor, Heath Ledger; Best Art Direction; Best Cinematography; Best Film Editing; Best Makeup; Best Sound Editing; Best Sound Mixing; Best Visual Effects

Nominations: Best Art Direction; Best Costume Design

Nomination: Best Documentary Feature

FROZEN RIVER (Available Feb. 10)
Nominations: Best Actress, Melissa Leo; Best Original Screenplay, Courtney Hunt

Nomination: Best Makeup

Nomination: Best Original Screenplay, Martin McDonagh

Nominations: Best Sound Editing; Best Visual Effects

Nomination: Best Animated Feature

Nomination: Best Documentary Feature

Nomination: Best Supporting Actor, Robert Downey Jr.

Nomination: Best Supporting Actress, Penelope Cruz

Nomination: Best Actor, Richard Jenkins

Nominations: Best Animated Feature; Best Original Score; Best Original Song, "Down to Earth"; Best Sound Editing; Best Sound Mixing; Best Original Screenplay, Andrew Stanton and Jim Riordan and Pete Docter

Nominations: Best Sound Editing; Best Sound Mixing

Friday, January 23, 2009

Star to Watch


By R. Kurt Osenlund, film critic and correspondent

On Thursday, Mickey Rourke was named an Oscar nominee for Best Actor. In one month, he'll probably be an Oscar winner. The gritty comeback kid and star of "The Wrestler" has had what can only be called the best year of his life. And he's ready to keep his streak of success going.

In 2009, Rourke will star in two new films - "Killshot" and "The Informers," both of which are featured below - and bring his tough-guy talents to both. In 2010, Rourke has four films being released, including an action flick with his pal and former "Get Carter" co-star/director, Sylvester Stallone.

Anyone who's seen "The Wrestler" knows that Rourke's performance is a huge achievement in dramatic power, bringing to life a character who's not very different from himself. It's been well documented lately that Rourke disappeared from the spotlight due to personal troubles and "banishment," as he says, from the world of actors of which he used to be a major part. It's to the benefit of all of us that he's been welcomed back.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Trailer Park

By R. Kurt Osenlund, film critic and correspondent

Behold -- some of the newest trailers for some of the most exciting films in the pipe.

An all-star cast including Mickey Rourke, Diane Lane, Thomas Jane, Joseph-Gordon Levitt, and Rosario Dawson star in director John Madden's screen take on Elmore Leonard's popular novel about a couple being chased by a hitman.


Author Bret Easton Ellis slickly adapts his own novel about glamorous life and its consequences. The cast includes Mickey Rourke (again), Kim Basinger, Billy Bob Thornton, Winona Ryder, newcomers Austin Nichols and Amber Heard, and the late Brad Renfro in his final film role. NOTE: THIS RED BAND TRAILER IS INTENDED FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY.


This computer animated adventure turns the alien invasion flick on its head, making human astronauts the fearsome foreigners who land on an alien planet much like Earth. Voice talents include Jessica Biel, Justin Long, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, and Seann William Scott.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

DVD Spotlight: Jan. 8 - 15

By R. Kurt Osenlund, film critic and correspondent

Not much of a theme this week, just a few video recommendations. In truth, now is the time to head out to the theater and catch the many Oscar contenders currently in play. But for those of you hanging in, take in some of the year's other standout films on DVD.

WANTED (available now)

Starring Angelina Jolie and James McAvoy, this rollicking adaptation of the popular graphic novel is 2008's coolest movie. Period.


Featuring a dynamite cast, Woody Allen's latest international outing is the American auteur's best film in years. Fresh, breezy, sexy, and brimming with great performances, it's comparable to a satisfying vacation.

BRIDESHEAD REVISITED (available Jan. 13)
Widely ignored in the awards races but still worth a look, this lush adaptation of the classic novel stars the great Emma Thompson as well as newcomers Matthew Goode and Hayley Atwell.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Star to Watch


By R. Kurt Osenlund, film critic and correspondent

It feels both silly and gratifying to write the name Meryl Streep right under the words, "star to watch." Silly because everyone has been watching the world's greatest living actress for decades now. Gratifying because, at 59, the alabaster-skinned chameleon has had one of the biggest years of her career.

This past summer, Streep dusted off her husky, underused pipes for the big screen version of the ABBA musical, "Mamma Mia!," a bona fide blockbuster that went on to be one of the highest grossing films of 2008 (and the highest ever for a film directed by a woman -- Phyllida Lloyd). Admittedly, the movie was a mess, but Streep, as always, was fabulous. She scored a Best Actress (Comedy) Golden Globe nomination for her performance in the film.

She also landed a Globe nod for Best Actress (Drama) for her work in "Doubt," playwright/filmmaker John Patrick Shanley's brilliant adaptation of his own Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway hit. Streep plays Sister Aloysius Beavier, a conservative Catholic school principal who accuses a priest of misconduct. Streep's work in the film is, in a word, electrifying. She proves once again why, in this writer's opinion, she's the finest actor in the business -- male or female, and she'll receive her 15th (!!!) Oscar nomination for it, for sure.
Just another reason to keep watching this star, who only gets better with age.

Powered by Blogger

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]