The afterlife: With two weeks to go before the Academy Awards on Feb. 25, Warner Home Video is releasing "The Departed" Tuesday on DVD. Nominated for five Oscars, including best picture, the exhilarating gangster epic is the biggest commercial hit of director Martin Scorsese's nearly four-decade career.
The thriller has grossed $128.8 million domestically and has done even better internationally with $142.5 million. Last month Scorsese picked up the Golden Globe for best director, and last weekend he won the Directors Guild award. Buzz is swarming that this could be the film that will finally bring him a best director Oscar.
"The Departed" is based on the Hong Kong blockbuster "Infernal Affairs" — and it just so happens its trilogy boxed set hits stores the same day.
No 'Man's' land
"Man" without a theatrical opening: Take writer-director Mike Binder, fresh from his well-reviewed "The Upside of Anger," add actors Ben Affleck, Rebecca Romjin and Bai Ling, and what do you get? "Man About Town."
Don't worry if you've never heard of it — the Tinseltown tale didn't have a theatrical release. It will debut at a home theater near you on Tuesday. Made in late 2004, "Man" premiered at the Santa Barbara Film Festival a year ago and opened theatrically in Europe in 2006.
Affleck plays a talent agent who seemingly has it all. John Cleese and Kal Penn also star.
Whole lotta heat
Ryan's hope: And speaking of the Oscars "Half Nelson," which makes its DVD bow Tuesday, has been one of the Cinderella stories of this award season.
Made on a shoestring budget by first-time director Ryan Fleck, "Half Nelson" opened to generally enthusiastic reviews last August. Yet the little indie, starring Ryan Gosling as a troubled inner-city junior high school teacher, was seen in only 106 theaters, bringing in $2.7 million.
Now it's one of the top nominees for Film Independent's Spirit Awards, and Gosling earned a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination. And the 26-year-old actor is competing with heavyweights Forest Whitaker, Peter O'Toole, Will Smith and Leonardo DiCaprio for the Academy Award for best actor.
Trailblazer: Paul Robeson was a true Renaissance man: an all-star athlete, a scholar, baritone, a renowned stage actor and a political activist. It was his activism that caused him to be blacklisted in the 1940s and '50s.
The son of an escaped slave, Robeson, who died in 1976, was a bona fide movie star who headlined for seminal African American director Oscar Micheaux and appeared in Hollywood and British productions as well.
In celebration of Robeson and Black History Month, Criterion is offering "Paul Robeson: Portraits of an Artist," which features new digital transfers from films including "Body and Soul," "Borderline," "The Emperor Jones," "The Proud Valley," "Native Land," "Sanders of the River" and "Jericho."Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times