The Oscars on DVD: Seven films to check out

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By Justin Zarian

The Oscar nominations were announced last week to highlight some of the best movies of 2011. While there are a number of them still in theaters, not many college students have the time or money to go to the theater that often. Here are a selection of Oscar-nominated films you may have missed, now available on DVD:

1) “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” — The film adaptation of J.K. Rowling’s classic series gives us its best entry with this stirring finale. Powerful performances from the entire cast, Oscar-nominated production values and thrilling set pieces remind us why this story is a classic in our time.

2) “The Help” Adapted from the bestselling book, the film follows a young journalist and two African American maids living in the Jim Crow-era South. “The Help” glosses over some harsher details at times, but really touches the heart thanks to one of the strongest female casts in recent years.

3) “Midnight in Paris” –– Woody Allen’s best film in a decade follows Owen Wilson as he discovers a curious time loop while vacationing in Paris. The incredible Oscar-nominated script brings equal parts drama and comedy to its message about the pros and cons of nostalgia. Ernest Hemingway and Salvador Dali have never been funnier.

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4) “Moneyball”A methodical but compelling film following Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane as he uses a shoestring budget and experimental statistics-based personnel-evaluation system to create a winning baseball team. Fantastic writing and directing are complimented with Oscar-nominated performances by Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill. “Moneyball” may actually make you care about baseball.

[pullquote]Surreal and kind of grimy at times (like any good Western), “Rango” is also entertaining, stunningly animated and enhanced by a top-notch voice cast.[/pullquote]

5) Rango” A unique animated film from “Pirates of the Caribbean” director Gore Verbinski about an abandoned pet chameleon that unwittingly becomes sheriff of an Old West town. Surreal and kind of rugged at times (like any good Western), “Rango” is also entertaining, stunningly animated and enhanced by a top-notch voice cast.

6) Rise of the Planet of the Apes” – One of the few prequels actually worth watching, the story involves a scientist who creates an Alzheimer’s cure that incidentally enhances intelligence in apes, unwittingly fulfilling the film’s title. Some shortcomings aside, the product as a whole is enjoyable science-fiction thanks to Oscar-nominated visual effects enhanced by Andy Serkis’ unmatched motion capture performance as the lead ape.

7) Warrior”An intense but inspiring tale from the director of “Miracle” following two brothers trying to win the mixed martial arts championship while dealing with the demons of their past. Some of the “underdog film” tropes are present, but the film overcomes them through heart, stirring fight scenes and strong performances by Tom Hardy, Joel Edgerton and an Oscar-nominated Nick Nolte.

Be sure to check out these great Oscar-nominated films, on DVD or at a Redbox nearest you.

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