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Not into football? Stream a few movies this weekend: Here are Oscar nominees, winners, and several overlooked gems

Jeffrey M. Anderson | Feb. 2, 2015
This week we checked out Netflix's Oscar-nominated original documentary Virunga and found it very much worth watching. While we were in an Oscar-type mood, we found some other, previous nominees and winners, as well as some good movies that maybe should have been nominated. Amazingly, there are crime films, cult films, and rock films among them, as opposed to the usual "serious" stuff that often captures the spotlight. Finally, allow me to introduce you to, a new and free streaming service for Lionsgate movies.

Fincher's entire career has been about the illusion of control, steely surfaces that cover up evil, squirmy things and Gone Girl is perhaps the most perfect example of his favorite theme. It's not a surprise that Ms. Flynn — who adapted the screenplay — was once an entertainment reporter and a confessed fan of Fincher's films. Ms. Pike received an Oscar nomination for Best Actress.

Recommended on Amazon Prime

Big Fish

Tim Burton's moving, funny fable-like drama Big Fish (2003) depicts a dying man (Albert Finney) and the various tall tales of his youth. His son (Billy Crudup), despite their shaky relationship, comes to his side, and the old man spins yarns of romance, adventure, and the things of dreams and nightmares.

With this film, Burton seemed to be asking whether truth was better than fantasy, the present better than the past, and he found that the answer was rather complex and nuanced. Ewan McGregor plays the young Finney, and Alison Lohman plays the young Jessica Lange. Helena Bonham Carter,, Robert Guillaume, Matthew McGrory, Missi Pyle, Steve Buscemi, Danny DeVito, Deep Roy, and Marion Cotillard also star.

Movies on Break

Winter's Bone announced a free movie-streaming service, beginning with a handful of Lionsgate titles. The best of these is the incredible Winter's Bone (2010), which introduced the world to the young firestorm sensation Jennifer Lawrence. (It's still her best film.) In the Missouri Ozarks, 17 year-old Ree (Lawrence) learns that her meth-cooker father is out of jail and that he has put up the family house as part of his bail bond. If he's not found, Ree, her invalid mother, and her younger siblings could lose their home.

She turns to her sinister uncle Teardrop (John Hawkes) for help, and together they navigate the treacherous, desperate world of backwoods outcasts and drug-dealers, searching for clues of her father's whereabouts. Debra Granik directs with a sense of humanity, not looking down on her lowlife characters, but also with crackling suspense, like a grimy chess game. The movie received four Oscar nominations, for Best Picture, Best Actress (Lawrence), Best Supporting Actor (Hawkes), and Best Screenplay.


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