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Michael Fassbender Talks ‘Fish Tank’

Don’t hate him because he’s beautiful.

So much has been made of Fish Tank star Michael Fassbender’s rugged good looks, which have earned him comparisons to a young Daniel Day-Lewis, that it might be tempting to dismiss him as just another pretty face. Yet to witness his harrowing depiction of late Irish Republican Army militant Bobby Sands in last year’s Hunger is to appreciate his dedication to craft.

Luc Besson Returns to ‘District 13,’ But Why?

Don’t let the title fool you. District 13: Ultimatum bears no relation to last year’s District 9, though it is a sequel – to the frenzied, Luc Besson-produced District B13 (2004), an artfully choreographed celebration of the French fighting style known as parkour.

Indiefest Begins: 7 Movies to See at the Film Festival

San Francisco's 12th Independent Film Festival kicks off tonight at the Roxie with two screenings of Wah Do Dem, Ben Chace and Sam Fleischner's vérité-style account of a Brooklynite, played by newcomer Sean Bones, on a solo journey of self-discovery in Jamaica. The festival will continue through Thursday, Feb. 18, featuring a diverse collection of disturbing melodramas, locally based comedies and documentaries from abroad.

2010 Oscar Nominations Announced

Nominations for the 82nd annual Academy Awards were announced this morning at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles, and though there were few surprises in the major categories – one notable exception being The Blind Side, a surprise contender for Best Picture in this year's expanded category – the races should be tighter and less predictable than in years past. The following is a list of the nominees, with the presumed favorite denoted by an asterisk. Conventional wisdom can change in a hurry, though – just ask Brokeback Mountain director Ang Lee, whose movie was erroneously considered a shoo-in for the top prize that went to Crash in 2006 – before the ceremony's official telecast on Sunday, March 7.

Mel Gibson, an Actor Once More, Flirts with ‘Darkness’

It has been eight years since Mel Gibson last starred in a movie, in M. Night Shyamalan’s extraterrestrial thriller Signs. Now Gibson, 54, is returning to the screen in Edge of Darkness, director Martin Campbell’s adaptation of his acclaimed, six-hour BBC miniseries about a brooding cop investigating the murder of his daughter.

Home Movies: ‘Hunger,’ Steven Soderbergh's ‘Che’ Get Criterion Makeovers

Hunger is a study in cinematic minimalism, and that, finally, is what lends it such blunt force. It follows the final six weeks in the life of Irish Republican Army militant Bobby Sands, who helped organize the seven-month hunger strike that would claim his life in 1981, after 66 days. But this is not a hagiography of Sands, or a shot at British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, whose reaction to his passing was at best unfeeling. First-time filmmaker Steve McQueen’s quietly devastating drama is a meditation on the depths of degradation men will endure in pursuit of the respect they think they deserve.

Home Movies: Direct-to-DVD Sequels Cash In

It's a tradition older than The Land Before Time II – building direct-to-DVD franchises on the foundations laid by popular originals, including blockbuster titles like Home Alone, Ace Ventura and Bambi.

Noir City: What to See at the 8th Annual Film Noir Festival

The eighth Film Noir Festival kicked off Friday night at the Castro Theatre with a double bill featuring André de Toth's Pitfall, a nerve-racking depiction of adultery and its messy aftermath, and George Sherman's Larceny, a crowd favorite from years past about two grifters targeting a wealthy widow. The festival continues through the end of the month with a collection of doomed romances and lurid thrillers, starring the genre's best-known stars (among them, Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe and Veronica Lake) and directed by some of cinema's earliest innovators, including Fritz Lang, Henry Hathaway and John Huston.

Harrison Ford Goes to ‘Extraordinary Measures’ for the Right Role

Harrison Ford could have retired decades ago, living quite comfortably off the royalties he earned from the first Star Wars trilogy. Instead, he’s holding court in a chilly conference room at the Ritz Carlton, promoting Extraordinary Measures, in which he stars opposite Brendan Fraser as a brilliant but socially maladroit doctor devising a groundbreaking treatment for Pompe disease.

Post-Apocalyptic America Rediscovers Religion in ‘Book of Eli’

Jake and Elwood Blues claimed to be on a mission from God, but Eli, the rugged road warrior whose destiny lies somewhere west of the Mississippi, really believes it. With the Lord as his shepherd and a King James Bible stashed next to his machete, Eli wanders America’s post-apocalyptic wasteland of the not-too-distant future with a singular purpose: spreading the good word.

It’s easier said than done. “Stay on the path,” Eli (Denzel Washington) mutters as he surveys the skeletal remains of a once-bustling nation, willing himself onward in a lonely journey made treacherous with pitfalls. Cannibals scour the countryside for easy prey, and, more ominously, there’s Carnegie, a power-hungry tyrant eager to make what’s left of the lower 48 his personal playground.

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