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Best bets: Take the yellow brick road back to 'Oz'

The Oscars are over, and so are the January-February new-release doldrums. Good films are starting to roll out again, including James Franco as the Wizard in "Oz the Great and Powerful." Here's a look at our three top entertainment picks for the week ahead.

TUESDAY: 'American Idol' goes live
The "American Idol" auditions are always crazy, but the show really kicks into gear when the live episodes begin this week. The show's narrowed its talent pool to 20, 10 men and 10 women, and will cut that group in half by Thursday. On Tuesday, the women will show their stuff, and on Wednesday, the guys -- whether or not they all deserve it -- get a chance. (March 5-7, 8 p.m. each night, Fox.)


TUESDAY: 'Wreck-It Ralph' on home video
Parents with fond memories of early video arcades and games can bond with their tech-generation kids this week when "Wreck-It Ralph" comes out on DVD and blu-Ray. In this charming animated film, John C. Reilly voices a video-game bad guy who's tired of being the villain. When he goes "game jumping" and ends up in a candy-themed race game, he bonds with little Vanellope von Schweetz (Sarah Silverman) and learns that his game role isn't what really matters. (On home video March 5.)

FRIDAY: "Oz the Great and Powerful"
The Wizard himself got short shrift in "The Wizard of Oz," which played him off as a kind of dumpy little dude behind a curtain. In this new take on L. Frank Baum's classic, James Franco plays a Kansas magician who takes a hot-air balloon into the magical land, meets its witches and Munchkins, and discovers the people of the troubled land need him to become someone else in order to save them. (Opens March 8.)

 

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