Friday, May 18, 2012

Pick 'O the Week - May 18

It's time once again for this week's picks!  There has been all sorts of entertainment news with Wes Anderson's new one Moonrise Kingdom kicking off the Cannes film festival earlier this week while the Prometheus marketing team has released yet another 'viral' video.  Much has been made of Ashton Kutcher's uncanny resemblance to the late Steve Jobs however news is now surfacing that writer Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing, The Social Network) will be getting in on the action, writing another film about Jobs.

SNL celebrated their 100th digital short (which is actually only funny if you've seen most of the 100 previous shorts) and ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS released their prime time fall schedules.  Also The Avengers broke another record (second weekend box office record) which was unfortunate for Johnny Depp, whose new one Dark Shadows opened last weekend.  I've also decided that the term "viral video" is being over/misused.  Just because it's on YouTube, doesn't mean it's gone viral.  Enough is enough.

And now, on to the picks!

In Theatres: This week's opening films are not all that enticing, with the disastrously offensive The Dictator, the paltry offering of Battleship and the release of What to Expect when you're Expecting hitting theatres this Friday.  To that end there are several enjoyable distractions that are still in theatres should you have missed them when they were first out: The Avengers is certainly worth your time, 21 Jump Street was positively reviewed by Matt, and The Hunger Games is still in theatres if you are interested in checking that out.  One thing I would like to point out is that we do have the re-release of The Yellow Submarine in select theatres coming up next week so stay tuned for that.

At Home: Up the Yangtze was a critically acclaimed documentary hailed for frank honesty about the building of the Three Gorges Dam across the Yangtze river in Hubei, China.  The film looks at an area where most of the inhabitants work in tourism industry which in turn is causing progress that forces them from their homes and displaces them from their way of life.  It is a poignant look at the struggles and strength of people a very difficult place.  Interspersed with the natural beauty of the area (which would be changed by this dam) this is a heartbreaking and gorgeously shot documentary.  Available on Netflix.

On TV:  The Black Donnellys was a surprisingly tantalizing hit from NBC in 2007 which centred on four brothers in an Irish-American family based out of the famed Hell's Kitchen, in New York City.  While the central character to pull them all together is second oldest brother Tommy, it is Kate Mulgrew's matriarch Helen Donnelly, a fierce protector of her family that steals the show.  There was only one season of this one so prepare to be gutted when it ends but it's well worth a watch.

Retro Re-watch: There have been several reboots of the Nikita story since its inception in Luc Besson's original 1990 thriller starring Anne Parrilaud as the titular psycho.  Dragged from a death sentence at a French prison to a secret government facility, Nikita is "transformed" into the perfect weapon.  While each of the incarnations (1993's film Point of No Return, 1997's 4 season La Femme Nikita starring Peta Wilson, and finally the 2010 reboot on the CW starring Maggie Q) had something different to examine none can hold a candle to the original French Film.

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