I’m embarrassed to admit that I still haven’t seen the Academy Award-winning documentary The Cove despite all the huge acclaim and buzz (I hope to finally see it later this week). Louie Psihoyos‘ film follows a group of activists, led by renown dolphin trainer Ric O’Barry, who use state-of-the-art equipment to infiltrate a cove near Taijii, Japan “to expose both a shocking instance of animal abuse and a serious threat to human health.”

Apparently during the film, the crew get the idea to have a friend at ILM to build them spy cameras to capture the act of the crime. But it is during that segment where we get a small cameo from another big screen villain: Prince Vigo the Carpathian from Ghostbusters 2. You can see the screencapture from The Cove, along with a full photo of the Vigo the Carpathian painting after the jump. It haunts my dreams!

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Kathryn Bigelow has become the first woman to win the DGA award for Outstanding Direction of a Feature Film with The Hurt Locker, defeating James Cameron‘s Avatar. This makes Hurt Locker the favorite for at this year’s Academy Awards. As Roger Ebert points out, only 6 times in 60 years has the DGA winner NOT won the Oscar for Best Picture, and in 58 of the last 60 years, the DGA winner went on to win the Oscar for best director.  A full listing of Director’s Guild of America award winners can be found 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

(DVD available as single-disc and 2-Disc Digital Copy Special Edition)
The Harry Potter franchise has marked a rare occasion in cinema, or perhaps even a first. To my knowledge, there is no other long-running, self-contained film series in history where the later entries have improved considerably on their predecessors. As the young Harry Potter has matured, so too have the films depicting his wizarding adventures, turning what initially began as a family friendly adaptation of, essentially, fluff wish-fulfillment silliness, into an artistically rendered journey of kids attempting to balance their growth into adults against the never-ending onslaught of horrors that plague their lives. Cuaron’s Prisoner of Azkaban may remain the champion when it comes to telling the best Potter story that stands on its own, but considering that The Half-Blood Prince is clearly an intermediate chapter that was designed to align the necessary pieces for the final chapter, director David Yates should be applauded for the masterful way he’s managed to sidestep that issue by maintaining a strong focus on progressing the emotional core of the story instead of becoming bogged down in the notably less compelling central plot conflict, as well as gratuitous CGI-heavy action set pieces and wand battles. It’s because of this that, against all odds, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince turned out to be my favorite entry in the series yet, delivering a strangely perfect blend of character-based melodrama, genuinely hilarious moments of comedy, and a palpable sense of dread in every frame. If I wasn’t quite convinced that Yates was capable of tying up the films in a satisfying way after Order of the Phoenix, this most recent effort has convinced me that there’s no other man more qualified for the job.
Blu-ray? Yes.
Notable Extras: 2-disc DVD – Featurettes on the cast and crew and the life of author J.K. Rowling, additional scenes, a sneak peek at the Universal Orlando Resort’s The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park, and a digital copy of the film. Blu-ray – Includes everything on the DVD, as well as a Maximum Movie Mode with the stars, director and producers.

Target Best Buy Fry’s Walmart
$15 $15.99 $14.77 $9.98
Amazon – $9.99

*Does not include 2-Disc Edition, which costs $19.99 at Fry’s and Amazon, $22.99 at Best Buy, and $26.99 at Target (see below).

Target Best Buy Fry’s Walmart
$19.99 $17.99 N/A $15
Amazon – $15.99

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Michael Moore

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences unveiled their list of 15 films that will vie for the Best Documentary Academy Award Nomination. And while the list includes well-known titles such as Food, Inc. and The Cove, it is more surprising to look at some of the high profile docs that have not been included on the list, such as: Michael Moore‘s Capitalism: A Love Story and James Toback‘s Mike Tyson biodoc Tyson. The Academy obviously doesn’t like Rock music, as both Anvil! The Story of Anvil and Davis Guggenheim’s It Might Get Loud were also slighted from the short list

The full listing of the 15 documentaries up for consideration can be found after the jump. And because you haven’t seen most of the selections, I’ve also included the trailers for all of the films for your viewing pleasure.
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For any documentarian who makes a film about an injustice there can’t be much greater end result than seeing change take place in the real world once the film is released. This summer’s doc The Cove, by Louie Psihoyos, peered into Taiji, a small Japanese village where thousands of dolphins are slaughtered each year. Ric O’Barry, the dolphin trainer and activist who brought the location to the attention of Psihoyos, returned to the site of the slaughter this week, just as the annual ‘hunt’ would normally begin. He found a situation that pleased him greatly. Read More »