Avoid the crowds at the multiplex by seeking out some of these independent films over the long holiday weekend:
"Aw, c'mon Channing -- a big-screen version of Cop Rock sounds like a great idea!"
The silent film era lives again in The Artist, a loving (and entirely silent) homage to the grand Hollywood productions of the '20s. Written and directed by Michel Hazanavicius, the film follows the changing fortunes of two white-hot movie stars, silent screen legend George Valentin (Jean Dujardin, who deservedly won the Best Actor prize at the Cannes Film Festival) and rising starlet Peppy Miller (Bérénice Bejo). While Peppy's career takes off with the arrival of sound, George finds his prospects drying up. The movie blends dozens of silent film genres -- Chaplinesque comedy, grand melodrama and even a Rin Tin Tin rescue sequence -- into a totally enjoyable whole. No wonder The Artist has emerged as a leading Oscar contender: It's an unabashed, but entirely genuine celebration of old-school movie magic. Writer/director Michel Hazanavicius talked to us about the process of making his passion project and why he chose to shoot a black-and-white movie on color film.