Oscar worthies 

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"Today is a good day to die,"

Some claim that line was a war cry uttered by Crazy Horse. It first hit the movie screen in 1970's Little Big Man but it was Keifer Sutherland uttering that perfect bit of cold dialogue to start off Flatliners that really cemented it as a classic. And in typical Hollywood cheese-remix style A Good Day to Die Hard opens this week at the good old Village 8.

Bruce Willis is back in the role of John McClane, saving the day for the fifth time while shit blows up all over the place, only this time it's in Russia. Mary Elizabeth Winstead (Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) reprises her role as McLane's hot daughter and since every Die Hard needs a strained-family theme there is an estranged son tossed in as well. None of the Die Hard sequels hold a candle to the original but if it's a good day to die, you may as well go out watching a movie.

Speaking of, let's pour some on the block for Highland Video in Squamish, which is closing its doors. The old road is rapidly aging and, with the loss of the Garibaldi 5 Theatres last fall, Squamish is now a rainy, cinematic wasteland with more dollar stores than the rest of the Sea to Sky combined, including West Van!

Things are looking up otherwise, Academy Awards night is Sunday, Feb. 24. Certainly, the Oscars are a long, boring fashion show/blatant marketing machine designed to sell more tickets and nurture the cult of the celebrity (and the voting is usually more random than figure skating) but at the same time it's also a good glimpse into what Hollywood likes and will be copying endlessly for the next five-to-10 years.

With 10 flicks nominated for Best Picture, discerning film fans will check them all before the big show. Luckily, three of this year's candidates are still playing at the Whistler Village 8.

Silver Linings Playbook is one of the better romantic comedies of late, with Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games) and Bradley Cooper (The A-Team, The Hangover) both up for acting awards as well. It's a good date movie, has quite a bit of dancing (dancing is always trending) and is timely, seeing how our culture seems to be finally opening up to discussions around mental health issues. It's not Best Picture, but Playbook scores.

Zero Dark Thirty is Kathryn (The Hurt Locker) Bigelow's Hollywood-ized account of the CIA hunt and killing of Osama bin Laden. Jessica Chastain (Take Shelter) stars as the tenacious agency girl, and she's also up for Best Actress. What makes Zero Dark Thirty good is also what makes it polarizing — this is a flick about the horrors of war and it's chock full of gnarly torture scenes and uncomfortable-to-watch civilian deaths. It's a good film (even though war is for idiots) but certainly not best picture.

The last of the nominees gracing the Village 8 this week is Tarantino's Django Unchained, a love and revenge, black slavery comedy set in the southern U.S. just before the Civil War. As usual, Tarantino crafts incredibly rich characters and transports his audience to another world. This is the magic of cinema — you walk out of the theatre not totally sure what just happened to your mind, but it feels awesome. It feels like more than a movie.

We still have five Best Picture nominees to check out next week but as it stands now Django is the Best Picture. (The "D" is silent, by the way.)


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