Can't you just feel the Oscar buzz in the air? The jangling of borrowed jewels and the buzzing of nominees nerves is like a cacophony even on this coast. Gothamist is excitedly anticipating the telecast like June Carter Cash before a duet with Johnny. In the meantime though, there are movies to be watched.

As for the new releases, if you like movies where Bruce Willis takes charge with his sensitive but still ass-kicking masculinity, you're in luck as his newest thriller 16 Blocks takes to the screens. Personally, we have a bit of a thing for Mos Def, who plays the witness cop Willis must protect come hell or high water, so there's his performance to draw us in. Or if you prefer your ass-kicking to be done by hot women in tight clothing, Milla Jovovich's Ultraviolet has what you need, baby. Like in the Resident Evil franchise, she is again battling corporate plans to do evil with mutant DNA, however this time Milla's the mutated one. On a lighter note, the teen chick flick Aquamarine features mermaids with boy troubles and the French submission for best foreign language flick at the Oscars, Joyeux Noël begins at the Angelika theater.

This week's art house films are particularly arty. The Whitney Biennial began on Wednesday and there's a number of fascinating video and film projects on display as a part of the fine art festival. This Saturday, photographer Christopher Williams curates a series of seldom seen films by directors who have inspired his work including Jean Rouch, Joris Ivens and Otto Mühl which begins at 2:30 pm. He will also screen a second part of the series on May 14th. There are video clips available for preview on their website.

At Moma this weekend, they wrap up their series Grand Illusions: the Best of Recent French Animation and it would be worth it to try to catch at least one of these intriguing new works, like tonight's completely charming The Triplets of Belleville. It plays at 8:15 pm. Also, Anthology Film Archives is running three films by French director Arnaud Desplechin, whose movie Kings and Queen was one of Film Comments' critics favorites from last year. The "sprawling, flamboyant film of high drama and low comedy" screens Saturday night at 8:30 pm.

blockparty3.jpgGothamist Pick:
Of course the Gothamist pick this week has to be the Michel Gondry documentary Dave Chappelle's Block Party, wherein the off-beat indie director captured the equally iconoclastic comedian's massive party in Brooklyn in 2004. The film features performances by the reunited Fugees as well as Kanye West, Mos Def, Erykah Badu, Dead Prez, Jill Scott, and The Roots. Our favorite part from the trailer is when Chappelle drives around some Brooklyn brownstones calling out with a megaphone for the Huxtables to come join his party. Heh. He invites Rudy and Theo, that's some good stuff. Related: Gothamist posted and the people commented, shortly after the concert.