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Lincoln

This week at theaters, vampires, Russians, and the depressed.

Check out all of this week's pairing on Double Feature Friday!

"The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 2" & "Lincoln"
Here me out on this one. The order in which you watch these two is essential. You have to go see "Lincoln" first. In the historical drama from Steven Spielberg, Lee Pace plays Representative Fernando Wood, a dastardly opponent to Lincoln's proposed 13th amendment to free the slaves. You grow to hate him passionately over the course of two and a half hours, so much so that's it's conceivable that Rep. Wood isn't a man at all. He's so wicked, he could be a vampire. *Mind blown sounds* Then proceed to watch "Breaking Dawn - Part 2" as if Pace's character Garrett is actual Rep. Wood, much later in his immortal life. Enjoy.

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The Academy Awards are only two days behind us and there’s already chatter of a sequel to one of this year’s Best Picture nominees.

Mark Wahlberg dished about a continued take on “The Fighter” while walking the Oscar red carpet this past Sunday (February 27). Supposedly, he’s already entered into talks regarding a companion film, which would focus on the torrid ring-bound history of Micky Ward and boxing opponent Arturo Gatti.

We’re not exactly shocked by the prospect – after all, 2011 is already the biggest year for movie sequels, so why not up the ante for 2012? We’re fairly certain these other five Best Picture nominees could be stretched into a second story, too!

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With just hours to go before the Oscars launch, it's time to tackle the big question: who's going home with the Best Picture award?

In a field of ten nominees, it's seemingly once again down to two familiar competitors. Just as "The Hurt Locker" and "Avatar" raced neck-and-neck throughout the 2009 Academy Awards, tonight's show appears to be a similar throwdown between the popular favorite and the critical darling: "The Social Network" versus "The King's Speech."

But is the race really down to two? What of the other eight contenders? We've got some analysis after the jump, and make sure to cast YOUR vote for the Best Picture winner in our poll!

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There's this little shindig happening on Sunday — maybe you've heard of it — called the 83rd Annual Academy Awards. It's just a ceremony centered on the most coveted statuette in Hollywood; no big deal.

In a year where every category is fiercely competitive, there is perhaps no race more contentious than Best Picture. David Fincher's "The Social Network" and Tom Hooper's "The King's Speech" are currently neck and neck among critics' predictions lists, but the other eight contenders all pose a threat as well. If you happened to enjoy this year's nominees, we thought you might appreciate some suggestions of which movies to explore next.

Get pumped for the big show by checking out these solid alternatives after the jump!

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Let’s be honest: in this day and age, the idea of watching an entire 90-minute movie with uninterrupted concentration is almost inconceivable. Certainly not in a world where e-mail, commercials and, of course, Twitter completely rule our lives.

And it gets worse: this year's Oscar ceremony, airing on Sunday (February 27), has ten Best Picture nominees. Ten! It's hard enough to watch an entire movie on its own, and it's downright impossible to expect that you've seen all ten of the big contenders come Oscar night.

But as always, we have a solution. We're marrying our Twitter fixation with the Best Picture problem: we've seen every movie up for the award this year, and to bring you up to speed, we're reviewing each one of them Twitter style. After the jump, get our quick takes on all of the Best Picture nominees — in 140 characters or less, of course!

#BestPictureNominees, engage!

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There were few surprises as to what films were named as nominees during this morning's Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announcement of the 2011 Oscar nominees, but that is definitely a good thing. As suspected, "The King's Speech," "The Social Network" and "True Grit" led the pack. "The King's Speech" led the nominees with 13 nods, while "True Grit" had a surprising 10 and "The Social Network" had nine.

First up: the best picture race. In addition to the three films above, "The Fighter," "The Kids Are All Right," "Inception," "Winter's Bone," "Toy Story 3," "127 Hours" and "Black Swan" were all recognized. Those have been the front runners the whole race, and though "The Town" and "Blue Valentine" seemed somewhat likely to at least get a nomination, this was pretty much what was expected.

Click on after the jump to see who else got nominated.

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Pippi LongstockingThe two feature films director Debra Granik has made are markedly similar in many ways. There's "Winter's Bone," a likely Oscar contender this year, that follows a 17-year-old Ozark Mountain girl who has to track down her meth-dealing father to protect the lives of her depressed mother and her siblings. And then there's "Down to the Bone," released in 2004, that follows a working class, cocaine-using mother of two who checks into rehab and has to try to resist the temptations of drugs and deal with an affair she's having with her nurse.

So when The Los Angeles Times reported that Granik's next planned film is a reboot of "Pippi Longstocking" (pictured), were were just a wee bit surprised. But as the Times goes on to point out, the transition makes perfect sense. Longstocking is one of "fiction's original tomboys," and the choice to make a film about her continues Granik's streak of creating strong female heroines who rise above the tropes of typical Hollywood roles for women.

Still, Granik isn't the first director to follow up one film with another that's drastically different in both tone and theme. After the jump, see five other directors who've done just that -- to varying results.

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Toy Story 3Some people love reading critics' reviews of movies, while other people hate them, but I think we can all unanimously agree that Rotten Tomatoes' aggregation of certified critics' reviews is one of the best movie resources on the web. The site's just listed the top 20 best-reviewed movies of 2010 (with a minimum of 60 reviews required), and the majority of them shouldn't be too surprising.

"Toy Story 3" took the top spot with 99 percent of the film's 247 reviews being positive. It's fitting, for once, that the top reviewed film of the year is also the highest grossing film of the year, and one of two movies in 2010 to gross over one billion dollars worldwide (the other is "Alice in Wonderland"). But what might surprise some people (especially those who didn't see it) is that another animated film, "How To Train Your Dragon," placed second on the list with 98 percent of its 156 reviews being positive. "How To Train Your Dragon" was the ninth highest grossing film of the year. Read More...

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True Grit vs. Winter's Bone

What were you pleased as punch about during your high-school years? Reppin' a spot on the debate team? Leading your soccer squad to the state finals? Scoring straight A's?

Catch the performances of two of this year's youngest critically-acclaimed darlings and you'll wonder why the heck you spent so much time patting yourself on the back over all that trivial jazz.

Hailee Steinfeld, 14, and Jennifer Lawrence, 20, are relative newcomers to the Hollywood scene, but you wouldn't know it after watching them kick cinematic butt in "True Grit" (now in theaters) and "Winter's Bone" (currently available on DVD and Blu-ray), respectively. Steinfeld superbly holds her own amongst the formidable screen presences of veteran greats Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon and Josh Brolin, while Lawrence successfully carries the entire weight of an indie film on her petite shoulders. These ladies didn't back down from their make-or-break roles, and -- now that awards season is upon us -- they've got the roster of nominations to prove it.

Among their many nods, Lawrence is up for a Golden Globe, a SAG Award and an Independent Spirit Award, while Steinfeld is a contender for a SAG Award. But the accolades aren't all that bond these actresses. The plots of "True Grit" and "Winter's Bone" are strikingly similar. Here are five reasons why these celluloid gems are a match made in back-to-back-viewing heaven. Read More...

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Winter's BoneHaven't seen a little indie called "Winter's Bone" yet? You might want to go ahead and add it to your Netflix queue... that is, if you're interested in seeing what will likely be a top contender for this year's Best Picture Oscar.

After taking home the prizes for best feature and best ensemble performance at last night's 20th Gotham Independent Film Awards, the film was thrown an even juicier awards-season bone this morning, when it received seven nods -- including best feature -- to dominate the Independent Spirit Awards nominations.

Debra Granik scored two nods for directing and co-writing (with Anne Rosellini) "Bone," while Jennifer Lawrence scored a best lead female nomination for her riveting, star-making turn as a woman searching for her father in backwoods Arkansas. Her "Winter's Bone" costars, John Hawkes and Dale Dickey, nabbed nominations for best supporting male and female, respectively. And Michael McDonough earned the film's seventh nod, this one for best cinematography. Read More...

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