Friday, May 13, 2011

Pick O' the Week - May 13

Blogger has been down since I first tried planning my picks of the week yesterday. I seem to have rediscovered my love of current film since the Cannes Film Festival began this past Wednesday. It is a very exciting and highly publicized time of the year cinematically. The festival opened with Woody Allen's newest feature, Midnight in Paris, but it is another film which has received the most attention thus far. We Need to Talk About Kevin stars Tilda Swinton as a mother looking at the events surrounding her son's involvement in a school massacre. Swinton has received much buzz for her role and she is further cementing her status as one of the most shrewd and talented actresses working today. After Kathryn Bigelow won her Best Director Oscar in 2009 for The Hurt Locker, there was a lot of dialogue about the lack of female directors working in 2010. We Need to Talk About Kevin is the third feature by Scottish director Lynne Ramsay, who has received equal mention for her work. The film will undoubtedly be a contender during awards season, and maybe we will be lucky enough to have the film compete at the Toronto International Film Festival in September, or else I will have to wait until the late fall to see it.

But now for my picks of the week:

In Theatres: Featuring a bevy of talented television actresses, Bridesmaids is the chance for some of our favourites to shine on the big screen. The film was written by and stars Kristen Wiig, who has long been one of the most talented cast members on Saturday Night Live. The film also stars Wiig's former SNL castmate Maya Rudolph who was brilliant in Away We Go and Rose Byrne whose work on Damages led her to a fantastic supporting turn in the otherwise disappointing Get Him to the Greek. Bridesmaids is often hilarious, surprisingly touching and Kristen Wiig does a great job in her first lead role. Look for my review this weekend.

At home: With the May long weekend approaching and the warm weather seeming to be here for good, I am reminded of one of my obsessions from last year. If you missed the craze from Stieg Larssen's Millennium Trilogy and you have yet to see the adaptation of the first novel, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I strongly urge that you do so. I love foreign films and this is a Swedish treasure. The second and third films in the trilogy are disappointing, but the first volume is a must-see if only for Noomi Rapace's standout performance as heroine Lisbeth Salander. And we can watch it as a reminder that American remakes (i.e. David Fincher's upcoming English-language adaptation set for release in December) are often uncessary.

On TV: I was holding this for a rainy day and today was supposed to be very wet, but I will offer one of my current favourite television shows: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. The core cast, a group of five called the Gang, are the least empathetic characters on television and the show's brand of humour continuously borders sadistic and racist, but It's Always Sunny is nonetheless a brilliant comedy. I offer this video as an intro the series, awaiting its seventh season this fall.

Retro Re-watch: Retro is not an easy term to define. Last time I picked a film from the mid 1990s. This time I am reaching a little further back after a conversation with a colleague who does not watch black and white films. Sunset Boulevard, co-written directed by the great Billy Wilder (who also directed Some Like It Hot, The Apartment and The Lost Weekend) concerns a struggling screenwriter who finds himself a kept man for an aging former silent screen star. This brilliant 1950 noir stars William Holden and Gloria Swanson.

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