Friday, December 7, 2012

Pick O' the Week - December 7

Awards Season  has officially started with the New York Film Critics Circle announcing its winner on Monday and the National Board of Review announcing on Wednesday. Both critics groups awarded its top prize to Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty (opening in Toronto in January), but the four acting winners were different:

New York Film Critics Circle: Best Actor, Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln); Best Actress, Rachel Weisz (The Deep Blue Sea); Best Supporting Actress, Sally Field (Linoln); and Best Supporting Actor, Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike and Bernie).

National Board of Review: Best Actor, Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook); Best Actress, Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty); Best Supporting Actress, Ann Down (Compliance), and Best Supporting Actor, Leonardo DiCaprio (Django Unchained).

It seems like Ann Down and Rachel Weisz may have shots at Academy Award nominations after all.

The fun continues this weekend with the Los Angeles Film Critics Association announcing its winners on  Sunday.

In Theatres: A weak weekend for new releases, but I suggest that you check out Yaron Zilberman's A Late Quartet. The film relies too heavily on the personal and emotional problems between its characters - while you really just want to hear more music! - but a fantastic cast makes the story worth watching. The film stars Christopher Walken, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Catherine Keener as members of a successful string quartet who are forced to deal with a member's sudden diagnosis of Parkinson's disease.

At Home: Last year, the National Board of Review jumped out of the gates an awarded its top prize to Martin Scorsese's 3D adaptation of a kid's book. Hugo went on to win five Academy Awards and ended up being one of my favourite (surprisingly so) films of the year. It is a beautiful story, adapted from Brian Selznick's 2007 book. Check it out on Netflix.

 On TV: Glee may be going downhill at an alarming rate, but I have been enjoying Ryan Murphy's new venture, The New Normal. It is often far too over the top, but I enjoy its pop culture references. The story concerns a well off gay couple who hire a young woman to be their surrogate and end up involving her (and her 10 year old daughter) in their daily lives.

Retro Re-watch: It feels like the type of weekend to curl up on the couch with one of your favourite movies of the past. I am opting for Curtis Hanson's 1997 adaptation of James Ellroy's L.A. Confidential. The should-have-been Oscar winner (losing to Titanic), which won Kim Basinger an Oscar, tells the story of police corruption in the 1950s. It is also the film that introduced North American audiences to Russell Crowe and Guy Pearce. For those in the mood for holiday cheer, it does involve the 1951 Bloody Christmas incident!

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