Friday, August 10, 2012

Pick O' the Week - Aug 10

It has been a week of blockbuster news with Joss Whedon finally confirmed to write and direct Avengers 2, Fox announcing the director for their new Daredevil reboot (meaning they'll have to give up the rights to the Fantastic Four), and deleted scenes released from The Dark Knight Rises revealing Bane's backstory (caution, I'm assuming spoilers).  In other news, the first pictures have been released of Daniel Day Lewis as Abraham Lincoln, and Baz Lurman's terrible looking adaptation of The Great Gatsby has been pushed back to summer 2013.

This week sees the release of the latest in the Bourne films, The Bourne Legacy as well as Will Farrell & Zach Galifinakis in The Campaign and Meryl Streep's latest Rom-Com for the over 50 Hope Springs.

And so, on to the picks!

In Theatres: Well with the dismall offerings at in the release pool this week I'm turning to a film that I saw last night which I was genuinely expecting to be terrible and which turned out to be quite enjoyable: Total Recall.  You can read the full review here but essentially if you're looking for a blockbuster, this has all the makings of one and is reasonably well plotted (give or take the need for a few moments of disbelief).  A re-imagining of the original short story (not the amazing 90's movie starring Arnold Schwarzenegger) Colin Ferrell plays Douglas Quaill, a front line worker in a post apocalyptic earth whose dreams of something more and winds up with more than he bargained for.  Also starring Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel, Brian Cranston and with a blink-or-you-missed-him appearance from John Cho (of the Harold & Kumar, and Star Trek franchises).

At Home:  In keeping with the "you-don't-know-what-you-think-you-know" theme of this week's picks I offer you Christopher Nolan's Momento.  Certainly there have been many films that play with chronological time but none so memorably as the backwards arrangement of Guy Pierce's trip down memory lane.  When a man wakes up without any short-term memory he must continually remind himself (using notes and tattoos) what he has learned.  Told in reverse, Pierce's Leonard Shelby's attempts to solve his wife's murder, all the while having to constantly re-learn what's going on.  There was a special feature on the DVD that let you watch the film in order but it simply didn't have the momentum of the reversed timeline (go figure).  Available on DVD and Blu Ray.

On TV: The Hour!  BBC's solution to my hate-watching of The Newsroom comes with a compelling female lead, clever dialogue, intrigue and Mad Men era clothing choices.  YES!  Yes, and yes!  Beginning in 1956 at the BBC, The Hour follows the inception of an investigative news show which will give the public news on a regular basis instead of expecting them to wait for the news reels they see before films.  Anna Chancellor (The Producer), Freddie Lyon (The Journalist) and Dominic West (The Anchorman) lead this newly formed team through their paces while espionage and intrigue close in around them.  The Hour is now in its second season.

Retro Re-Watch:  In honour of our new pooch's preference for posters as a snack I give you the last of the mind benders: The Usual Suspects.  Time and again I settle into this movie and am amazed and gratified by the art with which the events are carried out.  Certainly if you know the ending before it happens it packs a little bit less of a punch but it makes watching the film so much more nuanced.  Enjoy the ride.  And because I can only pick one film, an honourable mention goes to Henri-George Clouzot's 1955 thriller Les Diaboliques starring Simone Signoret and Vera Clouzot.  The suspense will have you waiting with bated breath for the final moments excruciating moments of the film.  For extra credit you can also check out this list of the top 15 psychological thrillers, many of which are absolutely masterful films.

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