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(OUT OF 10)

An acting powerhouse of mammoth proportions, Doubt is even better upon a second viewing. While Naomi Watts was my pick for Best Actress last year (for her incredible performance in Funny Games), Meryl Streep was the best of the Oscar-nominated actresses. She was robbed.

Streep is not alone in greatness. Philip Seymour Hoffman mesmerizes as the priest you're not quite sure about, and Amy Adams shows that she's capable of much more than sunshine and joviality. Viola Davis actually out-acts Streep in one devastating scene; she plays a mother who turns a blind eye to an aspect of her child's welfare. I love this movie, and I believe that Streep's final scene is one for the ages.

SPECIAL FEATURES: A commentary from writer/ director John Patrick Shanley, as well as featurettes on the score, the adaptation of the play and the cast.

Slumdog Millionaire





(OUT OF 10)

Is this the most overrated movie ... ever? No; I'd say Out of Africa and Legends of the Fall are more overrated. However, this film's Oscar dominance was disappointing to me. It's good, but it's not that good.

Director Danny Boyle makes a nice-looking movie, no question, and he found an interesting cast. But the whole Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? angle just didn't thrill me. I couldn't get past the silliness of this film's premise: A contestant on the Indian version of Millionaire knows all the answers and gets tortured for it. It sounds like the plot of a bad Owen Wilson movie.

Also, I really don't care for scenes involving shit. I just don't like them. Didn't like the shit demon in Dogma, was not pleased with the shit scenes in the Jackass movies, and didn't care for the sight of a kid swimming through a toilet in this one. It's played for laughs, but I was close to gagging.

On the plus side, the love story is sweet; the unknown actors can actually act; I loved the Bollywood finale; and it looks incredibly good in Blu-Ray. I just didn't love the movie, and I don't think I ever will. I feel so alone.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Lots of features, including a Boyle commentary, loads of deleted scenes and an in-depth look at the toilet scene. You also get a digital copy. You know, I haven't done anything with these digital-copy things yet. Are they popular? Are folks out there using them? Are they good drink coasters?

Frost/Nixon (Blu-Ray)





(OUT OF 10)

While I didn't think this deserved its Best Picture nomination, it's a better film than Slumdog Millionaire. Ron Howard has made better movies for which he and the film were both left out. I still can't believe Apollo 13 was snubbed. What the hell was that about?

OK, I've gotten off track.

Frank Langella makes a rather convincing Richard Nixon in this dramatization of the events surrounding the legendary televised interview that David Frost (Michael Sheen) pulled off with the disgraced president. I was surprised to see how indifferent the networks were to Frost's plans. The guy had to basically go syndicated, because networks wouldn't back him.

Langella and Sheen's re-enactment of the event is dead-on. That said, it's just as absorbing to watch actual footage of the interview, because that sucker was TV dynamite.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Regarding the real interview: The Blu-Ray contains comparisons of the actual footage with the film. It's pretty amazing. You also get a feature commentary with the very likable Ron Howard, making-of docs, cool Nixon-archive stuff and deleted scenes. A great package.

The Wrestler





(OUT OF 10)

A lot of Oscar contenders this week! This marked a terrific second phase in the return of Mickey Rourke. He was decent enough in Sin City, but his performance in The Wrestler was one of last year's best. Rourke plays a beaten-up wrestler who has given his life and body to the ring at the expense of his health, his family and his friendships.

Director Darren Aronofsky had a hard time getting this one off the ground, mainly because the notorious Rourke was attached. He wound up shooting it on a very low budget, and it has a raw feel, as opposed to his more stylistic films like The Fountain. Hooray for the casting of Marisa Tomei as a stripper.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Holy crap! You get an interesting look at Aronofsky's style when he walks into a scene and physically messes with Rourke during a take. It's a prime example of an actor and director understanding that they will go to extremes to get what they want, and you can see that moment during a behind-the-scenes featurette that is well worth your time. You also get a Bruce Springsteen video.

More by Bob Grimm

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