By now you’ve probably seen dozens of critics’ best-of-2011 lists (including ours!), and noticed some amount of overlap on films like Hugo, Drive, and Tree of Life. But there’s more than one way to gauge a movie’s success, and when it comes to what general audiences are actually watching, a whole different set of titles come out on top.

According to a report just released by Redbox, the Adam Sandler vehicle Just Go With It was the most rented title at its bright red kiosks in 2011, ahead of several other comedies including No Strings Attached, Rango, and The Dilemma. Meanwhile, Fast Five leads the list of the most pirated movies of the year, followed by The Hangover Part II, Thor, and Source Code. Read both lists after the jump.

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

Buy It

It would be easier to dismiss the showiness of the overwhelmingly manic, pulsating style of 127 Hours if it weren’t so perfectly characteristic of its protagonist. With his earnest zest for life and self-proclaimed superhero status, Aron Ralston refuses to let anything keep him in one place for too long—save for, you know, a big rock. Viewers already know exactly how the movie is going to end the moment his arm gets lodged against that boulder, but the tale remains thrilling all the same. Boyle’s cinematically charged approach ensures that not a sensation or hallucinatory memory goes by without the viewer experiencing it in as intimately vivid of detail as the medium will allow, appropriately putting the emphasis on Ralston’s emotional journey rather than the pat how-will-he-escape narrative one. It’s a rare example of an inspirational true story that doesn’t ring false, never feeling clouded by the need to please audiences or adhere to the same emotional artifice as most films of its ilk. That the story ends on a note of life-affirming triumph is of course the expected conclusion, but unlike the phony “heartwarming true story” garbage that studios like Disney churn out at least once a year, 127 Hours earns it.
Available on Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: DVD – A commentary with Danny Boyle, Christian Colson & Simon Beaufoy, and deleted scenes. Blu-ray – Includes everything on the DVD, as well as 2 featurettes (“Search & Rescue”, “127 Hours: An Extraordinary View”), a God of Love short film by Luke Matheny, and a digital copy of the film.

Target Best Buy Fry’s
$16.99 $16.99 N/A
Amazon – $14.99

Target Best Buy Fry’s
$22.99 $24.99 N/A
Amazon – $19.99

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For an awards show that purports to honor outstanding achievements in film, the Academy Awards seem oddly drawn to the familiar. The movies with the most nominations at this year’s Oscar race, for example, are The King’s Speech and True Grit — two films with a great deal of critical acclaim backing them, but ones that are decidely lacking in any grand ambition beyond presenting a traditional, accessible story. The Oscars, it would appear, favor the classically good to the unconventionally good, leaving the latter out to be forgotten in a sea of mediocrity and predictability. This isn’t a shocking revelation; the Academy Awards have always favored films that adhere to a certain standard of genre filmmaking. A heart-rending, war-based drama about one man’s uplifting struggle against adversity will always win out over the truly innovative, progressive, subversive films of our times. Read More »

Oscar the Grouch Predicts the Oscars

Full-time awards season columnists, move over. There’s a new prognosticator in town: Oscar the Grouch is ready to tell you how the Oscars are going to go when the awards are handed out this Sunday. And at least Oscar — this Oscar — is consistent in his reasoning that leads to each prediction. (Hint: trash is a factor.) Check out the video after the break. Read More »

50 Movie Spoilers of 2010 in 3 Minutes

Our friends the Fine Brothers have filed the latest episode of their popular “Spoiler” series — 50 Movie Spoilers of 2010 in 3 Minutes, in one take. You might remember that we’ve featured their videos 50 Christmas Movie Spoilers in 3 Minutes100 Movie Spoilers in 4 minutes, Spoiling Every Best Picture Winner in Oscar History, 50 spoilers of 2009 in 4 minutes, 100 Horror Movie Spoilers in 5 Minutes, 50 Disney Spoilers in 3 Minutes and 50 Comedy Spoilers in 3 Minutes.  Hit the jump to watch their latest. And if it isn’t completely obvious already, please be warned that the following video contains spoilers.

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Page 2: Weekend Edition

What is Page 2? Page 2 is a compilation of stories and news tidbits, which for whatever reason, didn’t make the front page of /Film. After the jump we’ve included 31 different items, fun images, videos, casting tidbits, articles of interest and more. It’s like a mystery grab bag of movie web related goodness. If you have any interesting items that we might’ve missed that you think should go in /Film’s Page 2 – email us!

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83rd Annual Academy Award Nominations Announced

The nominees for the 83rd Annual Academy Awards have been announced. As expected, big players include The Social Network and The King’s Speech, but there are very strong showings for The Kids Are All Right, The Fighter and True Grit. The Best Picture nominees are: Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The Kids Are All Right, The King’s Speech, 127 Hours, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit, and Winter’s Bone. If you’re going by the numbers, The King’s Speech is strong with 12, followed by a wonderful 10 for True Grit and then 8 for both The Social Network and Inception, with the latter scoring on technical nominations.

The full list of nominees is after the break. Read More »

Four days after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announce their nominees for the 83rd annual Academy Awards, Fox Searchlight will be expanding Danny Boyle‘s 127 Hours, a visually stunning narrative retelling of one man’s battle vs nature starring James Franco. The film opened on November 5 and has since made just north of $11 million. At its widest expansion, the movie played on 433 screens. Starting January 28, though, the film will expand to 600 theaters because it’s expected to get at least a Best Actor nomination and possibly Best Director, Best Picture and other nominations as well. Read more after the jump. Read More »

Fox Searchlight Releases SAG Screeners on iTunes

In recent years the Hollywood movie studios have been running scared. Freaked out that movie piracy and online downloads would destroy their business, the studios have reacted in much the same way the music industry did in the early days of Napster. But it looks like the industry might finally be coming around, and learning to embrace the new technologies and digital distribution. In the end I think whenever the consumer wins, the pirates lose. Every year studios distribute awards season screeners to critics and the various industry guilds. I remember when DVDs came into popularity, the studios were afraid to release screeners on the digital disc format as it would give would-be pirates a perfect digital copy of movies still playing in theaters. Of course, they eventually switched from VHS to DVD screeners (and this year even sent out the completed blu-ray release of The Social Network, but only a month before the retail release).

Today it was announced that Fox Filmed Entertainment is making Fox Searchlight screeners available to Screen Actors Guild members through iTunes. This means that 100,000 SAG members will begiven codes to download high defintion digital copies of Danny Boyle’s 127 Hours, Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan and Conviction. The studio is considering expanding the iTunes screener distribution to AMPAS, BAFTA and other organizations. It will be interesting to se if any other studios follow suit, and to see how many years before all the screeners are released as digital downloads.

Chances are you don’t get sent award screeners and this news means nothing to you. I don’t recieve award screeners either, but I thought the switch to digital distribution was an interesting one. You can read the press release after the jump.

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Writers Guild of America Nominations Announced

Along with the Producers Guild and the Screen Actors Guild, the Writers Guild of America is one of the strongest voting bodies in Hollywood. So, when they announce their nominations for the best of the year, it’s usually a pretty good precursor to the Oscars. Check out their 2010 nominees after the jump. Read More »