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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Best bets: ‘Avatar’ finally hits theaters

It seems as if we've been hearing about James Cameron's "Avatar" ever since he stopped work on "Titanic." No, it hasn't been that long, but the long-awaited film, featuring an exotic new world and colorful characters created by stunning digital effects, now must prove itself. Sam Worthington plays Jack Sully, a wheelchair-bound soldier who is stationed on the planet Pandora, which is like nothing we've ever seen before onscreen. And this time, no icebergs. (Opens Dec. 18.)Image: Avatar

Daniel Day-Lewis stars in "Nine," playing a famous film director who must confront an epic mid-life crisis. The film is based on the 1982 Broadway musical and is directed by Rob Marshall, who so memorably brought "Chicago" to the big screen, winning six Oscars. Can he make it, oh, let's say ... nine? (Opens Dec. 18.)

Have you been following the treachery on "Survivor Samoa"? This season has been fairly juicy, with a real villain in Russell, a surfeit of immunity idols, and the reality hit's usual share of backstabbing and plotting. The season comes to a three-hour end (one hour is the reunion show) beginning at 8 p.m. ET on Dec. 20. ("Survivor Samoa" finale, 8 p.m., CBS)

Some commercials make you roll your eyes, others make you change the channel, and a very few actually make you laugh. If you appreciate the best ads out there, tune in to "Funniest Commercials of the Year 2009," hosted by Kevin Nealon. (Airs 10 p.m. Dec. 15, TBS.)

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Quentin Tarantino's “Inglourious Basterds” did for WW II what “Rambo” did for Vietnam — let moviegoers soak up some long-wished-for revenge. Brad Pitt stars as the leader of a lethal team of Jewish soldiers who make the Nazis pay for what they're doing to the world. Satisfying indeed. (Out on DVD Dec. 15.)

"The Hangover" still lingers. Bradley Cooper and Ed Helms are among the stars of this bachelor-party comedy with a twist — the film starts out with the morning after, and then retraces the mysterious events that led to that moment. The Hollywood Reporter called it "a piercingly funny, twisted, 'whatever-happens-in-Vegas' caper." (Out on DVD Dec. 15.)

Lady Gaga is suddenly everywhere, even on "Dancing With the Stars," where you can bet that half the show's audience had no idea who she was. She's in a more comfortable arena this week when her latest album, "The Fame Monster," comes out. The album adds eight new tunes to her previous album, "The Fame." NME dubs the release "the moment Gaga cements herself as a real star." (Out Dec. 15)

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