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`Open Season' back as awards season hunt rolls along

January 28, 2007|Susan King

The Afterlife: Though "Open Season," Sony Pictures Animation's first feature release, received decidedly mixed reviews from critics, the family comedy took in $84.3 million domestically and $101.6 million more internationally. The film is also nominated for six Annie Awards including best animated feature, though it has steep competition from "Cars" and "Happy Feet."

Loosely based on the comic strip "In the Bleachers," the film revolves around a sheltered grizzly bear (the voice of Martin Lawrence) who ends up deep in the forest with a hyper mule deer (Ashton Kutcher).

Mirren's siren call

A "Queen" in the Making: Two years after Helen Mirren made her film debut as a teen free spirit in 1969's "Age of Consent," she appeared in "Cousin Bette," a BBC miniseries based on the Honore de Balzac novel. The series aired in America on PBS' "Masterpiece Theatre" series and makes its DVD bow Tuesday. Margaret Tyzack plays the lead role -- an embittered spinster who despises the way her wealthy family has treated her over the years. Mirren, then 26, is cast as Valerie, a beautiful married woman who is the object of many Parisian men's affection. Balzac, in fact, describes her as even more beautiful than "the almighty franc."

Vote for Pedro

Auteur! Auteur!: Spanish writer/director Pedro Almodovar is such an icon in international cinema that his film credit is simply "Almodovar." With his latest lauded feature, "Volver," currently in theaters and in contention for Oscars, Sony Home Video is releasing Tuesday the nine-disc "Viva Pedro -- Pedro Almodovar Classics Collection," which features the previous DVD releases "Talk to Her," "Bad Education," "All About My Mother," "Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown," "Live Flesh" and "Flower of My Secret," plus two of his early films making their digital bows, "Matador" and "Law of Desire."

The set, which retails at $118, also features a bonus disc of goodies. These titles also recently toured art-house theaters.

Three's company

Doris' Day: The slight 1963 Doris Day-James Garner comedy "Move Over, Darling" finally makes its DVD debut on Tuesday. Day plays Ellen, the mother of two young children who was supposedly lost at sea seven years earlier because of an airplane accident. After searching for her for several years, her "widower" (James Garner) falls in love with another woman (Polly Bergen). The two marry on the same day Ellen is declared legally dead.

But as fate -- and the comedy muses -- would have it, Ellen is rescued and returns home the exact same day. Suddenly, Garner's Nick has one too many wives. The film is a remake of the 1940 comedy classic "My Favorite Wife," which in turn was loosely based on the famed Tennyson poem "Enoch Arden." (D.W. Griffith turned "Enoch Arden" into a movie in 1911.)

But its biggest claim to fame?

The project originally began the year before with Marilyn Monroe and Dean Martin as "Something's Got to Give," under George Cukor's direction. But Monroe was soon fired because of her tardiness. Twentieth Century-Fox wanted to continue the production with Lee Remick in the Monroe role, but Martin didn't want to work with anyone else.

So the studio went back to square one with Day and Garner. Cukor also left the project -- he was directing a little something called "My Fair Lady" -- and Michael Gordon signed on as director.

-- Susan King

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