Avatar teaser posterRighto, back again with a quick run down of what’s new in cinemas this weekend. First up, a special treat for film fans who want to some free entertainment tomorrow lunchtime – Readings are hosting a special fifteen minute preview of James Cameron’s Avatar in their digital 3D Cinema 5. Three sessions (11.45am, 12.30pm & 1.15pm) are running and tickets are available on a first-come first-served. If you can’t sneak out for these you’ll have to wait until the whole film opens worldwide on 17th December.

Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds is only playing at Readings and Sky City Queensgate but don’t let that put you off. I saw it this evening and enjoyed myself tremendously – there really is a lot of entertainment to be had at the pictures at the moment. Brad Pitt plays the leader of a Dirty Dozen type squad of jewish soldiers, parachuted behind enemy lines in WWII to extract extreme vengeance on the Nazis. Featuring impeccable casting (even the non-actors are somehow right) and his usual eclectic soundtrack, Tarantino is in fine form.

[The rest of this week’s new releases after the jump]

The winner of this year’s Oscar for Best Foreign Film was a surprise to a few commentators: lyrical Japanese drama Departures beat the animated documentary Waltz With Bashir which many locals loved. Now we get a chance to see that the fuss was all about as it opens at the Penthouse and the Lighthouse in Petone. Cellist Masahiro Motoki loses his job with the orchestra and takes a job as an "encoffineer". Graeme Tuckett reviews Departures on Nine to Noon here.

Another in the long line of environmental documentaries, from An Inconvenient Truth through The 11th Hour and Earth, The Age of Stupid is directed by Franny Armstrong of McLibel fame so it should be pretty hard-hitting. You can hear Franny McDonald on Kim Hill’s radio show here and the film is playing at the Paramount and the Lighthouse Petone.

Finally, a special treat for nostalgia fans. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the release of The Wizard of Oz and the Embassy is playing a specially produced new print of the technicolor classic this Sunday. Follow the Yellow Brick Road at 2.30 and 4.45pm and evidently tickets are selling fast. Now, if only someone will bring back The Wiz in honour of Michael Jackson’s passing we could "ease on down the road" at the same time.

All these films will be reviewed in the Capital Times next Wednesday and online at Funerals & Snakes when I can get the time to update.