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LOS ANGELES — In a world of on-demand video and movies shrunken to the size of smartphone screens, home-entertainment releases need something special to stand out. The following box sets offer more than movies for every cinephile on your holiday list.
The Oscar season is customarily kicked off by the Academy president and a random star solemnly announcing the nominees in a drab ceremony. The Academy decided to shake up tradition this year, however, in one of the most cheerful Oscar mornings we’ve ever had. Seth MacFarlane, director of “Ted” and this year’s Oscar host, announced the nominees Thursday morning alongside the invaluable Emma Stone, who had the funniest bit at last year’s Oscar ceremony. MacFarlane and Stone made for an outstanding duo, engaging in playful banter about each of the categories. Even when one of their jokes didn’t quite hit the mark, MacFarlane and Stone still looked like they were having a genuine ball on stage. That’s more than can be said about Anne Hathaway and James Franco when they hosted the Oscars two years ago.
The Oscar season is customarily kicked off by the Academy President and a random star solemnly announcing the nominees in a drab ceremony. The Academy decided to shake up tradition this year however, in one of the most cheerful Oscar mornings we’ve ever had.
"Gangster Squad," a pulpy, violent tale of cops and mobsters in 1949 Los Angeles, rides an uncomfortable line between outlandishness and outright parody, and it's difficult to tell which is director Ruben Fleischer's intention. Which is a problem.
"Gangster Squad" director Ruben Fleischer was stepping out of the shower on the night of July 20 last year when he received a chilling phone call from a studio executive at Warner Bros. There had been a deadly shooting at a midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" in Aurora, Colo. The studio was pulling the trailer for its "Gangster Squad" movie.
In the eight years I’ve taken on the regular duty of reviewing movies, 2012 just might have been the best. It wasn’t easy compiling a top 30 list for a 12-month period of so many diverse, outstanding films. I found myself having to make some absolutely painful snubs, including “Flight,” “The Sessions,” “The Hobbit: An Expected Journey,” and a little cinematic masterpiece by the name of “21 Jump Street.” In the end though, I managed to narrow the list down to the 20 titles that best encompass 2012 in all its glory. If you’re still behind on the movies of yesteryear, consider this your ultimate movie guide to 2012.
In the eight years I’ve taken on the regular duty of reviewing movies, 2012 just might have been the best.
As a dark veil began to sweep over Europe in 1939 — the pale hint of what would come from Nazi rule — a stockbroker from England took a course of action that would save the lives of nearly 700 children.
After wowing audiences with supporting turns in Hollywood blockbusters such as “Contagion” and “The Dark Knight Rises,” Marion Cotillard returns to her French roots via “Rust and Bone,” from “A Prophet” director Jacques Audiard.
WASHINGTON — The question surfaces each time a mass murder unfolds: Will this one change the political calculus in Washington against tougher gun control?
‘Silver Linings Playbook’
Year after year, I find myself complaining about the state of love stories in the movies. From those damn “Twilight” pictures to the countless vehicles starring the showboating Katherine Heigl, inspired romance has become difficult to come by in this day and age. 2012 however, has exhibited an unexpected change of pace in the romance department. With “Safety Not Guaranteed,” “Rudy Sparks,” “The Sessions,” “Hope Springs” and “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World,” this has proven to be a reassuring year for movies about unlikely people coming together and having a meaningful connection. Even several major action blockbusters, such as “The Dark Knight Rises,” “Looper” and “The Amazing Spider-Man,” have managed to incorporate smart, believable relationships that do not just feel tacked on.
Looper is a time traveling thriller that reminds us that classic science fiction doesn’t come from quality visuals or the biggest explosions. There’s no denying that “Looper” is an exquisitely crafted picture with some heart pounding action set pieces. But the reason the film warrants such praise is because of its inspired ideas, brilliant execution, and the involving characters we follow along the way. Director and writer Rian Johnson obviously had a clear artistic vision going into this project and never allowed the studio or conventions to stand in his way. His product is one of the slickest and smartest movies about time travel in a long time.
Although Stephen Chbosky’s “The Perks of Being A Wallflower” was published in 1999, it remains a popular sensation amongst the high school crowd to this day. A semi-autobiographical, coming-of-age tale, “Perks” follows a teenage boy as he navigates the tumultuous waters that are high school.
“Looper” is a time traveling thriller that reminds us that classic science fiction doesn’t come from quality visuals or the biggest explosions. There’s no denying that “Looper” is an exquisitely crafted picture with some heart pounding action set pieces. But the reason the film warrants such praise is because of its inspired ideas, brilliant execution, and the involving characters we follow along the way.
On June 1, “Snow White and the Huntsman” was known as the second Snow White movie in as many months, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes were still married, and it seemed as if “The Dark Knight Rises” would give “Marvel’s The Avengers” a run for its money.
SH12H259LESSONSFILM Aug. 31, 2012 -- Tom Hardy and Christian Bale star in "The Dark Knight Rises." (SHNS photo courtesy Warner Brothers)
If you can accept the notion that Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf and Jason Clarke could be brothers during this century or any other, you might be able to immerse yourself in the artfully pulpy allure of "Lawless," based on the true story of the bootlegging Bondurants.
It’s my theory that almost every filmmaker possesses the desire to direct a gangster epic set in the enthralling era of prohibition. There’s just something so tantalizing about men in spiffy suits, Tommy guns, car chases and all the other good stuff that comes with the territory of a 1920’s bootlegger.
Cuteness will carry an actor or actress a long way in Hollywood, usually right into those awkward teen years.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt in "The Dark Knight Rises." (SHNS photo courtesy Warner Brothers)
Nothing like kicking a soccer ball around and then fetching it from a neighbor's yard to help players or actors bond.
Could the media please give us a break with endless grisly accounts of the Aurora killings? I understand it was a tragedy, and our sympathies lie with the 55 innocent victims. But, we also need to appreciate that 86 Americans are killed by firearms every day, and nearly 4,000 are killed prematurely by chronic diseases linked with consumption of animal products and lack of exercise.
Two weeks ago, Batman and comic fans were excited that the day finally came for the midnight release of “The Dark Knight Rises.” It was the epic trilogy finale and fans were stoked to see how director Christopher Nolan was going to finally finish Batman’s story. So fans piled into movie theaters across the nation for the midnight release ever so excited as they could be, never knowing that a sad tragedy was about to unfold in a movie theater in Aurora, Colo.
Tom Teves, left, with his wife Caren Teves, holds their son's Alex ashes, while briefing media after his memorial service at Corpus Christi Catholic Church, Saturday, July 28, 2012, in Ahwatukee, Ariz. Alex Teves was one of 12 victims killed in the shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. At least 50 others were wounded in the attack on July 20, at the theater during a showing of the Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises." Police identified the suspected shooter as James Holmes. (AP Photo/The Republic, Nick Oza)