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Must-see movies before 2011

by Tyler Wilson
| December 3, 2010 8:00 PM

With just under a month to go before the new year, there's still plenty of 2010 to experience. Don't waste time with "Sex and the City 2" on DVD or "Yogi Bear" in theaters. Get primed for eventual Academy Award nominees already on home video, and block out a couple weekend dates for the year's last surefire theatrical releases.

Oscar Probables Now on Blu-Ray and DVD

The Kids Are Alright

Drama about a middle-aged couple, their teenage kids and the sudden reappearance of the family sperm-donor. Likely nominations: Best Actress (Annette Bening), Supporting Actress (Julianne Moore), Supporting Actor (Mark Ruffalo), Screenplay, Direction, Best Picture.

Toy Story 3

Pixar's latest animated masterpiece brings the franchise to a thrilling and emotional conclusion. Likely nominations: Best Animated Feature, Screenplay, Best Picture.

Inception (Available Tuesday on Blu-Ray and DVD): Director Christopher Nolan's brilliant, mind-bending sci-fi extravaganza should prove to be even better on multiple viewings. And for those still completely confused, the DVD bonus features should explain some stuff. Likely nominations: Best Director, Screenplay, Visual Effects, Cinematography, Best Picture.

Long Shots

Never count Martin Scorsese out of the Oscar race. His latest, the so-so psychological thriller "Shutter Island" is available on DVD. Ben Affleck, continues to impress as a director with "The Town" (available on DVD Dec. 17). Best Picture and Supporting Actor nods (Jeremy Renner) remain a possibility.

Dark Horse Indies

Check out "Winter's Bone" for a phenomenal central performance by newcomer Jennifer Lawrence. Tilda Swinton is making waves in the Italian-language "I Am Love" (available for Instant Viewing on Netflix). Noomi Rapace as Stieg Larsson's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" is also really something to see (both "Dragon Tattoo" and sequel "The Girl Who Played with Fire" available on Netflix Instant Viewing).

Watch Them Just Because They're Good

French crime epic "A Prophet" snagged a Best Foreign Language Oscar nomination last year, but its official American release was early 2010. It's more than worth your time on DVD.

Indie comedies "Greenberg" and "Please Give" scored nominations this week for the Independent Spirit Awards. Both are too small-scale for Oscar attention but leaps and bounds better than the standard comedy fare available on DVD.

And while nobody saw the masterful video-game/anime/teen comedy mash-up "Scott Pilgrim vs. the World" in theaters, there's plenty reason to watch it over and over again on Blu-Ray.

December's Theatrical Highlights

Danny Boyle's harrowing rock-climbing horror show "127 Hours" is earning critical raves, particularly for star James Franco. The film is currently playing at Spokane's AMC Theaters at River Park Square. Likely nominations: Best Actor, Director, Cinematography, Best Picture

Keep an eye out for these other critic favorites and Oscar probables opening in the coming weeks in Spokane (don't hold your breath for Coeur d'Alene):

Black Swan: Surefire nomination: Best Actress Natalie Portman, portraying an unstable ballerina.

The King's Speech: Every Oscar season needs a stately entry about British royalty. Likely nominations: Best Actor (Colin Firth), Supporting Actor (Geoffrey Rush), Best Picture.

Must See Wide Releases

The Fighter (Dec. 17)

Mark Wahlberg plays an up-and-coming boxer, but all the Oscar buzz surrounds supporting players Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Melissa Leo. Other possible nominations: Best Director, Best Picture

True Grit (Dec. 22)

All eyes are on this Coen Brothers remake of the 1969 John Wayne Western. In its corner: Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and the most drool-inducing theatrical trailer to come along this year. Possible nominations: Pretty much all of them, most especially Best Picture.

Ticket Stubs is sponsored by the Hayden Cinema 6 Theater. Tyler Wilson can be reached at twilson@cdapress.com. Read more reviews and pop culture commentary at www.NormdogEntertainment.com.

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