Tag Archives: Heath Ledger

Video Verdict: Great movies for the July 4 holiday

If you’re looking for a movie to watch this Independence Day, there are plenty of great titles available on home video.

No major theatrical releases are making their way to video this week, so it seems like the perfect time to suggest some movies that are sure to put an exclamation point on your July 4 holiday. All of the following are readily available on home video.

“Yankee Doodle Dandy” (1942): This charming film tells the life story of real-life entertainer George M. Cohan (James Cagney). That may not sound patriotic, but the movie smacks of the red, white and blue because Cohan wrote a number of America’s most-beloved patriotic tunes. His songs “Yankee Doodle Boy,” “Over There” and “You’re a Grand Old Flag” are all featured in the movie, and James Cagney is outstanding in the lead role.

“The Patriot” (2000): This Revolutionary War saga isn’t perfect, but it’s a nice choice for Independence Day. The film is set in 1776, and it tells of Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson), a veteran soldier who has settled into a peaceful life as a farmer. Alas, when a cruel British officer (Jason Isaacs) kills his youngest son, he decides to fight again. Directed by Roland Emmerich (“2012,” “The Day After Tomorrow”), “The Patriot” is a big, loud blockbuster, but the cast – including Heath Ledger and Chris Cooper – keep things earthy and enjoyable.

“Independence Day” (1996): This Roland Emmerich film is even bigger and louder than “The Patriot,” but it wouldn’t make sense to exclude it from our list. After all, it was named after our July 4 holiday. The plot centers on a widespread alien invasion and the Earthlings who fight back. Will Smith, Bill Pullman, Jeff Goldblum, Judd Hirsch and Mary McDonnell star.

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Video Verdict: ‘It’s Complicated,’ ‘Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus’

Meryl Streep and Alec Baldwin make a connection in “It’s Complicated.”

This week’s DVD releases are anchored by Heath Ledger’s last feature film and a wonderful comedy starring Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin.

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Oscar winners: A complete list

Winners of the 81st Academy Awards (all nominees listed with winners in bold)

Performance by an actor in a leading role
Richard Jenkins in “The Visitor” (Overture Films)
Frank Langella in “Frost/Nixon” (Universal)
Sean Penn in “Milk” (Focus Features)
Brad Pitt in “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.)
Mickey Rourke in “The Wrestler” (Fox Searchlight)

Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Josh Brolin in “Milk” (Focus Features)
Robert Downey Jr. in “Tropic Thunder” (DreamWorks, Distributed by DreamWorks/Paramount)
Philip Seymour Hoffman in “Doubt” (Miramax)
Heath Ledger in “The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.)
Michael Shannon in “Revolutionary Road” (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage)
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Oscars: Who will win tonight?

Dev Patel, left, and Anil Kapoor in "Slumdog Millionaire," Forrest's pick to win Oscar's best picture race.

Dev Patel, left, and Anil Kapoor in "Slumdog Millionaire," Forrest's pick to win Oscar's best picture.

Predicting who will win the Academy Awards is a lot like predicting the weather. No matter how sure you feel, there’s always a surprise. A low pressure front that moves in unexpectedly, a fast-moving hail storm, ridiculously strong winds.

Still, there are signs that a skilled prognosticator can read to get things right at least some of the time.

 Yes, its that time of year when I put my reputation on the line and offer my best guesses as to who will win cinema’s biggest awards. So, without further delay, my predictions for tonight’s Oscars in several key categories.

Click here to read more: http://rgj.com/article/20090222/ENT/902220303/1056

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