We're breaking down all the Oscars contenders for you, so that you can decide whether you want to see them -- or at the very least, hold your own at cocktail parties. Today: Woody Allen's intoxicating dramedy 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona,' featuring a tempestuous turn from Penelope Cruz.

Vicky Cristina BarcelonaNominated For: Best Supporting Actress (Penelope Cruz)

What It's About: Two sexy young Americans -- one level-headed and engaged to be married (Rebecca Hall), the other free-spirited and sexually adventurous (Scarlett Johansson) -- visit Barcelona for a summer holiday and are swept up in a life-changing romantic quadrangle with a charismatic painter (Javier Bardem) and his emotionally volatile ex-wife (Cruz).

Why You Should See It: Writer-director Woody Allen abandons his recent fascination with the darker side of things (see 'Match Point' and 'Cassandra's Dream') to deliver a film that's rife with his trademark witty banter and infused with a zest for life, wine and love affairs. The gorgeous cast and breathtaking Spanish landscapes are intoxicating; Cruz's go-for-broke portrayal of super damaged, super passionate artist Maria Elena is utterly mesmerizing; and, if you still need more incentive, Penelope and Scarlett's foray into girl-on-girl action should do the trick.

It's Kind of Like: 'Wild Things' meets 'Hannah and Her Sisters' (or pretty much any other Woody Allen comedy)

How You Can See It: Available now on DVD


We're breaking down all the Oscars contenders for you, so that you can decide whether you want to see them -- or at the very least, hold your own at cocktail parties. Today: Woody Allen's intoxicating dramedy 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona,' featuring a tempestuous turn from Penelope Cruz.

Vicky Cristina BarcelonaWhat It's Nominated For: Best Supporting Actress (Penelope Cruz)

What It's About: Two sexy young Americans -- one level-headed and engaged to be married (Rebecca Hall), the other free-spirited and sexually adventurous (Scarlett Johansson) -- visit Barcelona for a summer holiday and are swept up in a life-changing romantic quadrangle with a charismatic painter (Javier Bardem) and his emotionally volatile ex-wife (Cruz).

Why You Should See It: Writer-director Woody Allen abandons his recent fascination with the darker side of things (see 'Match Point' and 'Cassandra's Dream') to deliver a film that's rife with his trademark witty banter and infused with a zest for life, wine and love affairs. The gorgeous cast and breathtaking Spanish landscapes are intoxicating; Cruz's go-for-broke portrayal of super damaged, super passionate artist Maria Elena is utterly mesmerizing; and, if you still need more incentive, Penelope and Scarlett's foray into girl-on-girl action should do the trick.

It's Kind of Like: 'Wild Things' meets 'Hannah and Her Sisters' (or pretty much any other Woody Allen comedy)

How You Can See It: Available now on DVD