Opening this Weekend: WTF Oscars? No Dark Knight! Also, Werewolves, Vampires and Brendan Fraser

It’s nice to know that even in a crappy year for movies, the Academy Awards can still manage to screw up their nominations. You have to respect that kind of commitment. It is now 24 hours later and we have yet to finish stewing over The Dark Knight‘s snub in favor of The Reader. How bad of a misfire was it? Well, on Movie City News’ compilation of 286 critics top-10 lists, The Dark Knight ranks number two overall. The Reader? It’s all the way down at 32. Ugh! And don’t even get us started on the criminally misunderstood Revolutionary Road, which bottomed out at three nominations (though hooray for Michael Shannon!).

It’s nice to know that even in a crappy year for movies, the Academy Awards can still manage to screw up their nominations. You have to respect that kind of commitment. It is now 24 hours later and we have yet to finish stewing over The Dark Knight‘s snub in favor of The Reader. How bad of a misfire was it? Well, on Movie City News’ compilation of 286 critics top-10 lists, The Dark Knight ranks number two overall. The Reader? It’s all the way down at 32. Ugh! And don’t even get us started on the criminally misunderstood Revolutionary Road, which bottomed out at three nominations (though hooray for Michael Shannon!). We can only assume its lack of Academy recognition was the result of its DVD screeners getting lost in the mail. Revolutionary Road is one of four Oscar nominated films to expand nationwide this weekend, along with Frost/Nixon, The Wrestler and the overdue launch of Slumdog Millionaire. It’s a good thing all these Oscar movies are hitting multiple screens, because the stuff actually premiering makes Paul Blart: Mall Cop look like a Jean-Luc Godard film. Here’s a handy guide to the new releases.

Underworld: Rise of the Lycans

What’s the story: We’re not entirely sure what a “lycan” is, but based on the trailer it probably has something to do with werewolves. The third film in the Underworld series finds Kate Beckinsale replaced by doppelgänger Rhona Mitra—a fact that we’re pretty sure 67 percent of the audience won’t even notice. We can’t say we’re very excited at the prospect of Underworld: Rise of the Lycans (it is from the same director who did K-PAX after all), but the casting is irresistibly hilarious. The normally dapper Michael Sheen stars as a shaggy-looking werewolf, while the forever-fantastic Bill Nighy plays a villainous vampire. If you needed proof that even British thespians take paycheck roles now and then, look no further.

Who should see it: Edward and Jacob from Twilight.

Inkheart

What’s the story: A young girl discovers her father possesses a magical talent that allows him to bring characters from books to life, simply by reading aloud. Inkheart is actually based on the popular children’s book and not a remake of Adam Sandler’s Bedtime Stories, though you’d be forgiven if you thought it was. Brendan Fraser stars as the father and will most likely make you yearn for the simpler times of Encino Man. As our esteemed colleague brilliantly writes, Mr. Fraser emotes “with the intensity of a popsicle stick.”

Who should see it: Pauly Shore and Sean Astin.