Friday, September 2, 2011

Pick O' the Week - September 2

That dreaded weekend is upon us! It is Labour Day. September means back to school and it also means I am embarking on a new journey in life. Labour Day has always signaled the end of the summer, even though we still have three more weeks, and the Labour Day long weekend has not been a kind weekend in recent years. The only new release for this weekend is The Debt, a historical-political thriller starring Helen Mirren and Jessica Chastain. It is a slow-burning thriller that lingers in the middle and I will have a full review available this weekend.

With my picks I also offer a plea that Tuesday come a little later than scheduled.

In Theatres: With my theme of beginning anew I have chosen Our Idiot Brother, starring Paul Rudd, in one of his most delightful and charming film roles. He plays a man fresh out of prison who starts fresh spending time living with each of his three sisters (Zooey Deschanel, Emily Mortimer, Elizabeth Banks). Ned's unobtrusive and honest demeanor wreaks havoc on his sisters' busy lives. My only complaint, as you will read in my upcoming review, is that I wish Banks' Miranda had been played by Parker Posey (think Dorleen on Will & Grace).

At Home: Even though I did not appreciate Amy Adams whole story line in Julie & Julia, Meryl Streep's performance as Julia Child was Oscar-worthy (forget Sandra Bullock!). During the 1950s Julia Child moved to Paris with her husband and began to take cooking lessons at Le Cordon Bleu. The film was inspired by Julie Powell, who wrote a blog dedicated to cooking through Child's cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking, but the film would have been a lot more palatable had it focused entirely on Julia Child and Meryl Streep's near flawless performance.

On TV: The Closer is in the midst of its seventh and final season (due to end in Summer 2012), but the show that began as a vehicle for Kyra Sedgwick has turned into an overlooked ensemble. Sedgwick plays Brenda Leigh Johnson, a Georgia native, who comes to the joins the LAPD to lead a major crimes squad. The show mixes sombre themes with skillful humour, and the first season wonderfully highlights the roadblocks in Chief Johnson's transition into her new position in a new city. With The Closer ending next summer fans will still be able to catch most of their favourite characters on the spin-off, Major Crimes, which will star recurring cast member Mary McDonnell.

Retro Re-watch: Back in the day, before we had PVRs, DVDs, Netflix, and any number of websites, we were forced to suffer through weekend thunderstorms by watching the movie o the day on television. There was always that one film that was on television: The Witches of Eastwick. The film stars Cher, Susan Sarandon and Michelle Pfeiffer as a group of dissatisfied but powerful women who unknowingly form a coven and their idea of a perfect man comes to life. Unfortunately that man (Jack Nicholson) is anything but perfect. The film, which blends dark humour with slapstick comedy, is a great 80s gem. John Updike's novel also spawned a 2009 television series which was canceled before we saw its full potential.

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