Six Picks for the Week of February 21-27

83rd Annual Academy Awards (Sun.)

ImageOnly one of them is 83

Well, you might think that this year’s Oscars are all about whether The King’s Speech or The Social Network will win best picture, but there are actually a few compelling races to keep an eye on. Arguably the most righteous nominations are in the original score category, in which powerhouses like Alexandre Desplat (The King’s Speech), Hans Zimmer (Inception), A.R. Rahman (127 Hours), John Powell (How to Train Your Dragon), and Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross (The Social Network) are set to do battle. Beginning at 8pm (5pm PT) this Sunday on ABC, hosts James Franco (best actor nominee for 127 Hours) and the newest Selina Kyle herself, Anne Hathaway, will do their best to keep you from being bored. ABC will also broadcast a red-carpet pre-show beginning one hour earlier.

Catch up on the nominees, read about predicting the winners, or make your own Oscar predictions in our annual poll.

Killzone 3 (Tue.)

ImageIn the zone

The second sequel to popular shooter Killzone arrives Tuesday for the PlayStation 3. Killzone 3 centers around what happens to the Helghast Empire after they lose their dictator, but it’s really an excuse to run around killing things with really cool guns. The already well-reviewed game has taken some hits for a so-so single-player campaign, but the success of the franchise most likely lies with the strength of the multiplayer; from all accounts, it delivers what the online masses love. Sony is going all-out for the game: You can play using their newish PlayStation Move motion controllers, and if you’ve got the right television, you can even play in 3D!

Zone out at the official website.

Drive Angry 3D (Fri.)

Image Serious road rage

The talented Nicolas Cage looks to add another action movie to his long list of questionable choices (Knowing, Next, The Wicker Man, etc.). Drive Angry, opening Friday, was shot in 3D and directed by former Dimension Films (Scream, Mimic) editor Patrick Lussier, who also directed the 2009 remake of My Bloody Valentine. Cage stars as Milton, a father who escapes from hell to enact revenge on the baddies who killed his daughter. Basically, it sounds like Ghost Rider, but it’s not. Hopefully Cage will be in Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans mode rather than Bangkok Dangerous mode, though if he can manage a freakout or two, it may all be worth it.

Get your Cage-outta-Hell fix at the movie’s website.

Independent Spirit Awards (Sat.)

ImageHe's got spirit

If the Oscars are too mainstream for you, then perhaps you should check out IFC’s Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday at 10pm, emceed by The Soup host and Community star Joel McHale. This year’s show features many (perhaps too many) of the same nominees as the Academy Awards, with 127 Hours, Black Swan, The Kids are All Right, and Winter’s Bone garnering several nominations. Still, the more independent-minded Greenberg, Cyrus, Tiny Furniture, and Life During Wartime are also included in this typically casual and more festive (they serve booze!) awards show. Nicole Holofcener’s Please Give is the recipient of this year’s Robert Altman Award, in which the director, casting director, and ensemble cast share the recognition. 

Learn more about this year’s films at the colorful website.

Bulletstorm (Tue.)

ImageThere's a storm coming

If Killzone 3 doesn’t have enough ammo for you, then perhaps Bulletstorm will be more to your liking. The testosterone-soaked (try to spot the ladies in this photo of game developers People Can Fly) shooter has come under fire for its sexualized terminology for executing Skill Shots, such as “Gang Bang” for killing several enemies at once and “Gag Reflex” for a kill shot to the throat. These “cheeky” terms might be covering for what looks like just another routine futuristic first-person shooter that’s basically a slightly altered Gears of War wannabe. Catch it in stores Tuesday for the 360, PS3 and PC.

Check out how to Kill with Skill at the Ass End of Space at the game’s website.

Hall Pass (Fri.)

ImageWill Pass fail?

It’s been a long time since the Farrelly Brothers (Dumb and Dumber, There’s Something About Mary) have had a hit or a good movie, which may or may not change with this Friday’s release of Hall Pass. The film stars Owen Wilson and Saturday Night Live’s Jason Sudeikis as two doofuses who get a week-long “hall pass” from their wives (Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate) that allows them to sleep with other women with impunity. The film does look to have strong support from The Office co-creator Stephen Merchant and character-actor god Richard Jenkins (Six Feet Under). Curiously enough, the film was co-written by Project Greenlight winner and Stolen Summer director Pete Jones.

Get a taste of Rick and Fred’s hijinks at the official website.

Closing the book on last week

Weekend Box Office Champion (Estimated, U.S. only; source: Boxofficemojo.com)
Unknown 57 $21.8 million; 1st week at #1
#1 Album on Billboard 200 (Source: Billboard.com/Nielsen SoundScan)
Various Artists: Now 37 1st week at #1
Top-Rated Primetime Broadcast Show (Source: Nielsen)
Grammy Awards (CBS) 26.7 million viewers; week of 2/7-2/13

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Comments (4)

  • a random guy :P  

    i'll be sure to get killzone 3, though at first the shooting felt kind of off in the campaign demo, i've gotten used to the feeling now (i've played through it multiple times). also the multiplayer immediatly felt great when i played the beta, there was a bit of spawn camping, but that's no prob for me

  • David  

    ADELE-21

    You are forgiven for this gross omission.

  • Randy  

    Well of course there are key differences between the two, but they are still essentially the same. Big burly men running around with BFGs shooting the crap out of anything in sight. I played the demo and was rather unimpressed. I'll just wait for Duke Nukem.

  • rer  

    Bulletstorm is actually completely different from GoW, starting with the fact that it is a n FPS game and ending with the skillshot system. Unlike GoW, this game is about having fun while playing and not about just getting through it.

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