jason butler harner changeling

The Academy Awards for 2008 have been handed out, and the “popular kids” have Oscars on their mantles, but the dirty little secret about winning awards is that you’ve gotta campaign for them. Thousands of dollars were spent by the distributors and filmmakers behind Slumdog Millionaire (Fox Searchlight), Milk (Focus Features), The Reader (Weinstein) and other assorted winners and nominees, but not all performances received that sort of big money backing.

I am an unabashed lover of the acting craft. I see virtually every movie, large and small, that passes through the US marketplace, and, taking nothing away from Sean Penn, Kate Winslet, Penelope Cruz and Heath Ledger, not all of 2008’s best performances have been recognized. I’m not going to be obvious here. Clint Eastwood was snubbed for Gran Torino, but he received lots of acclaim for the role including being named Best Actor by the National Board of Review. My goal is to highlight 10 performances from last year that have received virtually no acclaim in the US. Many of these roles can be found in hardly-seen, under-appreciated movies that came and went without much notice. Each and every one of these movies deserve a spot in your Netflix (or Blockbuster) cue.

My list is by no means definitive. If you have a favorite performance from 2008 that sticks with you, this is a great place to tell the world. There were 20 actors nominated on Oscar night, but there is a lot of great work that hasn’t been recognized with a walk down the red carpet.

Read More »

.

Please Recommend /Film on Facebook

This Week in DVD is a column that compiles all the latest info regarding new DVD releases, sales, and exclusive deals from stores including Target, Best Buy, Circuit City, and Fry’s.

The Good

HEROES (SEASON 2)
There’s no question about it, Volume 2 of Heroes offered a major decline in quality compared to the show’s kickass first season. Combining weak new characters (Maya & Alejandro spring to mind) and lackluster plot progressions (such as Sylar losing his powers), the series seemed to be losing its touch all too quickly. Luckily, creator Tim Kring and company took notice of all of the internet backlash, and the second half of the season managed to bring back the show’s A-game. It doesn’t make up for the dull, poorly written earlier episodes, but it’s at least enough to convince audiences to keep watching. Season 2 of the show offers 11 episodes.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: Commentaries with cast and crew, deleted scenes, NBC.com featurettes, a ‘Generations’ alternate ending, untold stories, 4 featurettes (‘A New Beginning’, ‘Takezo Kensei: Sword Saint’, ‘Inside The Alternate Ending of Generations’, ‘Genetics of a Scene’), Tim Sale gallery of screen art, and a Season 3 sneak peek.

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Circuit City Fry’s
$24.99 $29.99 $24.99 $23.99
Amazon – $24.99

EXCLUSIVE DEAL:
What? Deluxe Edition ($32.99) includes 30 minutes of footage and a collectible sketchbook.
Where? Target

EXCLUSIVE DEAL:
What? Free Limited Edition Kensei Mask with purschase of Exclusive Gift Set ($34.99).
Where? Best Buy

EXCLUSIVE DEAL:
What? Free film cell.
Where? Circuit City

ENTOURAGE (SEASON 4)
Entourage is a show I love without ever really feeling any deep connection to. Like Hollywood itself, it’s enjoyable to look at and admire but eventually you realize it’s all artificial glitz and glamour and not much actual depth. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though, because with characters like the hilarious asshole agent Ari Gold (played by Jeremy Piven), sometimes you just want to kick back, relax, and not have to think too much. Season 4 of the show offers 12 episodes.
Blu-ray? No.
Notable Extras: Commentary on select episodes, Medellín trailer, US Comedy Arts Festival Panel, and two featurettes (‘The Making of Medellín’, ‘Meet The Newest Member Of Entourage!’).

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Circuit City Fry’s
$24.99 $26.99 $24.99 $24.99
Amazon – $25.99

EXCLUSIVE DEAL:
What? Exclusive Cards
Where? Target

EXCLUSIVE DEAL:
What? Free Skullcandy earbuds on-pack.
Where? Best Buy

EXCLUSIVE DEAL:
What? Free t-shirt.
Where? Circuit City

THE SHIELD (SEASON 6)
If you listen to the /Filmcast, you’re probably aware of the ongoing debate regarding The Shield’s greatness. While David and Devindra seem to think it’s one of the greatest shows next to The Wire and Battlestar Gallactica, I’ve been slowly and forcefully working my way through the first season with a constantly diminishing amount of interest. Does it get better as it goes on? Or am I just not seeing what everybody else seems to be? Season 6 of the show offers 10 episodes.
Blu-ray? No.
Notable Extras: Commentary on select episodes, 33 deleted scenes, and 3 featurettes (‘Saturn’s Sons’, ‘Two Directors’, ‘Full Circle: Franka Potente’).

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Circuit City Fry’s
$39.99 $37.99 $39.99 N/A
Amazon – $37.99

REDBELT
A curious departure from the usual films he makes, writer/director David Mamet’s Redbelt is a martial arts film that follows a self-defense instructor who finds himself the victim of a con and is pressed to enter the ring for pride and profit. Critics have said the movie interweaves action and intelligence in a way that’s not always smooth but is effective overall. It currently holds a 71% on Rotten Tomatoes and a 7.2 on IMDB.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: Commentary with David Mamet and Randy Couture, 3 featurettes (‘Behind-the-Scenes of Redbelt’, ‘Inside Mixed Martial Arts’, ‘The Magic of Cyril Takayama’), a Q&A with Mamet, an interview with Dana White (President of the UFC), and Fighter Profiles.

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Circuit City Fry’s
N/A $19.99
Amazon – $19.99

THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (2-DISC COLLECTOR’S EDITION)
Anybody else suffering from Nightmare Before Christmas overload? It was bad enough when the Hot Topic crowd essentially crowned the film as its holy grail, but recently we’ve been having theatrical 3-D re-releases and video games and all sorts of crap. Don’t get me wrong; the film is one of my childhood favorites, and I love it dearly, but seriously now, let’s tone it down a bit.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: Commentary (with producer/writer Tim Burton, director Henry Selick and composer Danny Elfman), deleted scenes, a storyboard-to-film comparison, a Jack’s Haunted Mansion Holiday Tour, Burton’s original poem narrated by Christopher Lee, two featurettes, original trailers/posters, the complete short film Vincent, and a digital copy of the film.

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Circuit City Fry’s
$24.99 $23.99
Amazon – $22.99

Also check out the…

The Bad

WHAT HAPPENS IN VEGAS
(Available as single-disc and 2-Disc Extended Jackpot Edition w/ digital copy)
Wacky hijinks ensue when two down on their luck people (a precise neat freak and a messy slacker – what a wacky combo!) get drunk together in Vegas and wake up the next morning married. How wacky! Things only get wackier from there when one of them wins 3 million dollars on a slot machine and they endure all sorts of wacky scenarios fighting over the money. It’s so wacky, the judge even sentences the pair to six months marriage. Good god that is some wacky stuff! Wacky wacky wacky!
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: Extras on the 2-disc include a director commentary, deleted scenes, outtakes, trailers, and a digital copy of the film.

BEST PRICE*
Target Best Buy Circuit City Fry’s
$16.99 $15.99 $14.99
Amazon – $19.99

*Does not include 2-Disc Edition, which costs $22.99 at each of the listed stores.

EXCLUSIVE DEAL:
What? Deluxe Edition ($22.99) – includes exclusive conversation date cards.
Where? Target

WHERE IN THE WORLD IS OSAMA BIN LADEN?
Morgan Spurlock’s ill-conceived and simple-minded look at the war on terror spends more time trying to make audiences laugh than educating them, and in the end his schtick overwhelms the film. If all you’re looking to do is chuckle at Spurlock’s antics though, it makes for a decent rental.
Blu-ray? No.
Notable Extras: Deleted interviews, an alternate ending, and ‘The Animated History of Afghanistan’.

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Circuit City Fry’s
$16.99 $17.99 $19.99 N/A
Amazon – $16.99

POSTAL
Uwe Boll’s much talked about and debated (by Uwe Boll himself, mostly) new film is finally seeing the light of day after hilariously losing out on its theatrical release alongside Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Critics and audiences are in agreement, Postal is by far Boll’s best film yet. And with a 9% on Rotten Tomatoes and 3.6 on IMDB, that just goes to show you how bad his other films really are.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: A director commentary, deleted scenes, featurettes (‘Raging Bull’, ‘Verne Troyer as Indiana Jones’), and a free Postal 2 PC game.

BEST PRICE
Target Best Buy Circuit City Fry’s
N/A $19.99
Amazon – $22.99

Other noteworthy DVDs available this week…
AugustSalo, or the 120 Days of Sodom (Criterion Collection)Brotherhood of the Wolf (Two-Disc Director’s Cut)One Tree Hill (Season 5)NCIS (Season 5)Everybody Hates Chris (Season 3)The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s BeginningMy Sassy GirlPurple VioletsChicago 10Virgin Territory

Discuss: What are you planning to rent or buy this week?

The Specials
NOTE: Some deals may be in-store only.


Exclusive: Free $5 Target GiftCard with purchase of NCIS (Season 5) ($39.99).

Exclusive: Free $5 Target GiftCard with purchase of both The Little Mermaid ($16.99) and The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning ($16.99).


EXCLUSIVE RETAIL: Son of Rambow ($19.99) is now available for purchase exclusively at Best Buy.

Exclusive: Free E-Movie Money for Righteous Kill or Traitor with ANY DVD purchase.

Exclusive: Free collectible 3-D cup with purchase of The Little Mermaid: Ariel’s Beginning ($15.99).

Exclusive: Free True Blood sampler disc/1st episode with the purchase of any HBO title.

$3.99 – Bottle Rocket, American Psycho (Killer Collector’s Edition), Go, Panic Room, Waiting, Crank, Crash, The Devil’s Rejects, Reservoir Dogs (Special Edition), and more…


$4.99 – The Island, Natural Born Killers, Any Given Sunday, The Italian Job, Training Day, Ace Venture: Pet Detective, Cellular, Blade, The NeverEnding Story, Pleasantville, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Warriors (Director’s Cut), Minority Report, Mission: Impossible, Mission: Impossible 2, and more…


$3.99 – Spaceballs, The Birdcage, and more…

$6.99 – Fight Club, Little Miss Sunshine, X-Men 1.5, The Fly, Office Space, The French Connection, and more…

Cool Posts From Around the Web: