ACADEMY ARRIVALS

We know that for many of you the next four weeks are merely a countdown to the DVD release of the Oscar-nominated The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, which captured four of the little men in March. But a few other Oscar-nominees out this month might help you pass the time — and maybe even remind you that there was life before Bilbo Baggins.

Receiving five nominations ranging from achievement in cinematography to best foreign-language film, Amélie, starring Audrey Tautou, is due on DVD July 16. A refreshingly charming and uplifting romantic comedy about a shy girl who masterminds ways to secretly do good deeds for the wide variety of quirky characters in her life, Amélie is a visual masterpiece with a heart-stealing performance by Tautou (think modern-day Hepburn).

And at the opposite end of the spectrum from Amélie, yet still maintaining a bit of that feel-good charm, is the Oscar-nominated black comedy The Royal Tenenbaums (pictured right), which offers audiences a multilayered look at the intricacies of a dysfunctional family life. While this is the type of film that has no middle ground — you’ll either hate it or love it — the performances of Gwyneth Paltrow, Ben Stiller, Luke Wilson, Anjelica Huston, and Gene Hackman are stellar. —