<p>Cover art for &quot;The&nbsp;Artist&quot;&nbsp;on DVD/Blu-ray</p>

Cover art for "The Artist" on DVD/Blu-ray

Credit: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Best Picture winner 'The Artist' finally makes its way to DVD/Blu-ray

Last year's talk (so to speak) of the season is set for home video next week

The ads that have been popping up around the site lately remind me that, indeed, last year's Best Picture winner "The Artist" hasn't yet transitioned over to home video yet. The DVD/Blu-ray release is set for Tuesday, June 26, a full seven months after it opened in limited release in November of last year and of course over a year since it world-premiered at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.

It's clear that The Weinstein Company, which owned distribution rights in a few other territories but was mainly focused on domestic totals, was looking to squeeze as much out of the film as possible, keeping it in theaters for quite a while. Things settled around $44 million, making "The Artist," along with the likes of "The Hurt Locker," "The Last Emperor," "The Deer Hunter," "Annie Hall" and "Midnight Cowboy," one of very few films from the last four decades to win Best Picture without hitting at least $50 million domestic. Still, having five Oscars to show probably helps that go down a bit better.

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<p>A scene from &quot;Brave&quot;</p>

A scene from "Brave"

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures

The Lists: Top 10 Pixar films so far

With the studio's 13th feature on the way we take stock of the studio's best

This weekend, Pixar Animation Studios will be releasing its 13th feature film, "Brave." It's a milestone for the company in that not only is it the first Pixar film to feature a female protagonist, but a female co-director is also at the helm.

Pixar has built a business on milestones, actually. Going all the way back to its revolutionary short "The Adventures of Andre and Wally B." in 1984, and then again with the company's work in feature film development starting with 1995's "Toy Story," each step has been a willful one and a progressive one.

Indeed, in considering the studio's 10th feature, "Up," back in 2009, I wrote, "Watching Pixar Animation grow and develop as a studio has become almost more fascinating than experiencing one of the company’s many creative films unfold on screen. Beginning with an industry leap in 1995’s ‘Toy Story’ and eventually moving into its daring own with 2008’s ‘WALL·E,’ the studio has, at the very least, shown a desire for creative progression."

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<p>Daniel Craig in &quot;Casino Royale,&quot; costumed by Lindy Hemming.</p>

Daniel Craig in "Casino Royale," costumed by Lindy Hemming.

Credit: Columbia Pictures

Tech Support: Lindy Hemming on dressing Bond... and Bane

The Oscar-winning costume designer is curating a London exhibition of 007 threads

Lindy Hemming -- who surely has the best name ever for a costume designer -- may have won an Oscar over 12 years ago for the fussy Victorian finery of Mike Leigh's "Topsy-Turvy," but the Welsh-born veteran's reputation these days rests on decidedly more modern-day gear. It may not be as Academy-friendly a niche, but Hemming has become something of an expert in the art of dressing the action hero -- or even, in one very famous case, the superhero.

Hemming is the woman who saw James Bond through two contemporary redesigns: boarding the franchise with Pierce Brosnan on 1995's "GoldenEye," she also clothed the character's rougher reincarnation as Daniel Craig in 2006's "Casino Royale." She's also responsible for Lara Croft's painted-on silver bodysuits in the "Tomb Raider" films, and did wardrobe duty on one of "Harry Potter" films.

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<p>Ariane Labed in &quot;Alps.&quot;</p>

Ariane Labed in "Alps."

Credit: Kino Lorber

'Alps' wins big in Sydney, but 'Lore' is the one making waves

Dogtooth' director's latest beats such films as 'Beasts of the Southern Wild'

"Alps," the follow-up feature from "Dogtooth" helmer Yorgos Lanthimos, didn't get quite the push it deserved out of last autumn's festival season. Well-received by critics upon its debut at Venice, where the Best Screenplay prize it eventually took was the very least it deserved, Lanthimos's glassily menacing comedy of extreme appropriated identity went on to provoke and perplex festival audiences at Toronto and London. Somehow, however, it acquired a reputation as more of a niche proposition than the already gruelling, yet astonishingly Oscar-nominated, "Dogtooth" -- a shame, really, since it's no less accomplished, and arguably more ambitious, an achievement. 

New York cinephiles have only until mid-July to wait for the film, which you may or may not remember cracked the top five of my Best of 2011 list. (It's not the last title on that list awaiting US release, either.) Thanks to its tough-sell status, the rest of us may have to be very patient indeed -- here in the UK, a release date has yet to be confirmed.

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<p>Quvenzhan&eacute; Wallis in &quot;Beasts of the Southern Wild&quot;</p>

Quvenzhané Wallis in "Beasts of the Southern Wild"

Credit: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Quvenzhané Wallis: One of Oscar's better stories waiting to happen

You'll be hearing about the 'Beasts of the Southern Wild' star a lot this season

Every Oscar season needs a pulse of emotion that feels less put-on, that doesn't have that whiff of campaign or construct. Something that organically pops from the fabric of the form can be galvanizing, and though nothing can exist so pure for too long, the recognition of a tempest in the calm before it strikes means something.

Quvenzhané Wallis is that tempest for 2012. And though we've been intimating as much since the film bowed at Sundance, it bears repeating: get ready to hear a lot more about this 8-year-old natural.

Wallis was five when director Benh Zeitlin went searching through over 4,000 young ladies for the lead role of Hushpuppy in his festival sensation "Beasts of the Southern Wild." She was six when she delivered the performance in the film, one that is likely to be a formidable contender on the awards circuit this season, a road that could well end with her nabbing the record for the youngest Best Actress nominee in history.

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<p>Jonah&nbsp;Hill at the Academy's Nominees Luncheon in February</p>

Jonah Hill at the Academy's Nominees Luncheon in February

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

'Moneyball,' '21 Jump Street' star Jonah Hill joins the cast of Tarantino's 'Django Unchained'

The Oscar nominee further looks to diversify his output

Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" is still shooting, believe it or not, despite that Christmas Day release looming six months away. Two lengthy back-to-back shoots for Leonardo DiCaprio. That guy's gonna need a vacation.

Today comes news of further casting on the western romp, as Jonah Hill has joined the ensemble, according to a report at Deadline. Apparently Hill was in the mix for a larger role in the film at one point in time, but couldn't commit due to scheduling. It seems they've found room for him after all.

Hill has stepped up his profile plenty in the last few years. He's successfully jerked himself from the pigeonhole of broad comedy (though he'll continue to be in plenty of those, including this year's "The Watch"). An Oscar nomination for his performance in Bennett Miller's "Moneyball" certainly pushes that point.

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<p>Malin Akerman and Tom Cruise in &quot;Rock of Ages.&quot;</p>

Malin Akerman and Tom Cruise in "Rock of Ages."

Credit: New Line Cinema

Tell us what you thought of 'Rock of Ages'

HitFix
B
Readers
B
The hair-metal musical hits theaters today

It didn't take great clairvoyant powers to predict that the critical majority would have their knives out for "Rock of Ages," an unapologetically synthetic karaoke musical that, with its "Glee"-generation take on 1980s excess, is surely the year's most uncool blockbuster. (Hitfix's Drew McWeeny didn't see the funny side; nor did David Poland, regular champion of the genre, who claimed he was "not exaggerating" in naming it the worst movie musical in 30 years.) Oh, well. I'm happy to be in the minority on this one, having already sung the praises of both the movie and Tom Cruise's magnetic, self-reflexive performance in it. (Golden Globe nod, here we come.) Any of you planning to make up your own mind this weekend? Report back if you do, and rank it using the button above.

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<p>Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Renner in James Gray's untitled new feature.</p>

Marion Cotillard and Jeremy Renner in James Gray's untitled new feature.

Credit: Liberation/The Weinstein Company

Weinsteins pick up James Gray's latest for 2013 release

Formerly titled 'Low Life,' film stars Marion Cotillard, Jeremy Renner and Joaquin Phoenix

On Monday, when we launched our Oscar predictions for 2012, Kris was keen to stress how fluid the field is, how few things are set in stone. "Which of these could fall off the 2012 map and take a seat until next year?" he asked. Days later, the first of these dropouts -- not that it was ever promised to us this year in the first place -- has come to light, and the Contenders charts have already required tweaking.

But it's good news. The latest feature from unhurried New York auteur James Gray -- a starry, evidently lush period piece that's currently untitled, but was once dubbed "Low Life" -- has been acquired by The Weinstein Company for a 2013 release, and Deadline's Mike Fleming claims that the distributor has "big plans" for the film next year.

That puts a major question mark on speculation about the film cropping up in this year's autumn festivals; Gray's work, for whatever reason, has a greater following in France than anywhere else, so Cannes 2013 (where his last three features premiered in Competition) seems the natural place for the Weinsteins to unveil this one, which only recently completed shooting.

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<p>Tom Cruise in &quot;Rock of Ages.&quot;</p>

Tom Cruise in "Rock of Ages."

Credit: New Line Cinema

Why 'Rock of Ages' reveals Tom Cruise as one of the last real movie stars

The actor wickedly plays himself by way of Frank T.J. Mackey

This isn't going to be a review of "Rock of Ages." That's partly because I already wrote one in short form for Time Out and the film doesn't much benefit from extended analysis, and partly because I'd only end up repeating much of Andrew O'Hehir's bang-on piece for Salon, which rightly celebrates Adam Shankman's gleefully (with emphasis on the 'glee') silly hair-metal musical for the very ersatz quality for which many other critics are punishing it. As if hair metal was ever about authenticity in the first place. Suffice to say the film aims no higher than it can hit, and as two hours of quippy, gaudily decorated Hollywood karaoke, it hits pretty squarely. I more or less loved it.

More interesting than the film, however, and more worthy of considered conversation, is Tom Cruise's fascinating central performance in it -- a turn that earns the "central" tag despite its essentially supporting status, and not just because it reduces kewpie-doll leads Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta to sparkly wallpaper whenever he deigns to show up. (You can practically feel the film cowering as he makes his dimly lit entrance. We're trembling ourselves.) 

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<p>Cover art for &quot;The Dark Knight Rises&quot;&nbsp;soundtrack</p>

Cover art for "The Dark Knight Rises" soundtrack

Credit: WaterTower Music

Listen to samples of Hans Zimmer's score for 'The Dark Knight Rises'

The music of the third film seems to call back to 'Batman Begins' a lot

Can you feel that? It's the swelling of anticipation for "The Dark Knight Rises" reaching a fever pitch. Pretty soon, the thing is gonna pop and all 165 minutes of the film will be unleashed and some may just faint with that "it's finally here!" ecstasy.

Tickets for IMAX screenings went on sale Monday, and most of the midnight screenings were pretty much zapped instantly. This after select theaters put theirs on sale back in January and, yep, sold out. Insanity. Here's hoping there's something really special underneath all that hype. (I'm sure there is.)

Christopher Nolan's Batman series has largely been defined, I think, by the work James Newton Howard and Hans Zimmer have done with the music. Unfortunately, neither "Batman Begins" nor "The Dark Knight" were nominated by the Academy (the latter stirring quite the controversy in 2008, with Zimmer even going before the Academy to state his case when eligibility came into question). But that's to be expected with that branch.

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