Friday, February 1, 2013

Pick O' the Week - February 1

It's Super Bowl Weekend! Ravens versus 49ers!

This past weekend the Screen Actors Guild Awards were handed out. Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook) and Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln) reaffirmed their positions atop the actor leaderboards. It is Argo's win for Best Ensemble Cast that has Oscar pundits believing that Ben Affleck's Best Director snub has the acting community rallying to give him the Best Picture statue.

In other news, a Super Bowl trailer for Marc Foster's World War Z has surfaced... I am not convinced it offers enough to attract and audience!

Finally, the Sundance Film Festival awarded its top prize, the U.S. Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic to Ryan Coogler's debut film Fruitvale, which also won the Audience Award.

In Theatres: This week offers a relatively weak bunch of movies opening in theatres. The Danish film A Royal Affair (nominated for Best Foreign Language Film) is finally being released after endless months of trailers. And the documentary West of Memphis opens, looking at the West Memphis Three, a trio of teenagers convicted of killing three young boys. But I will opt for Silver Linings Playbook. After seeing it for a second time I have a much better appreciation for Jennifer Lawrence's performance and, more startling, David O. Russell's direction! Look for an re-review.

At Home: Remade by Brian De Palma with a TIFF premiere, the original French film Crime d'amour (Love Crime) stars Kristin Scott Thomas and Ludivine Sagnier. It tells the story of Isabelle (Sagnier) who takes drastic measures to get rid of her boss (Scott Thomas). Not mind-blowing by any means, Crime d'amour is  sometimes too melodramatic, but it is available on Netflix.

On TV: Speaking of Netflix...  the Internet streaming website premiers its first original series today. All thirteen episodes of House of Cards are available for streaming. Directed by David Fincher, the series stars Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood, the Majority Whip of the US House of Representatives who plans to bring down the president. Robin Wright stars as his wife with Kata Mara appearing as a reporter.

Retro Re-watch: Remember when Tom Cruise was likable? Things all seemed to change (at least for me) in 2001 with Vanilla Sky. But back in 1993 he starred in Sydney Pollack's adaptation of John Grisham's The Firm. With an Oscar-nominated performance from Holly Hunter, and co-starring Jeanne Tripplehorn, Gene Hackman, Ed Harris, Hal Holbrook and David Strathairn, The Firm is full of great character performances. The Firm is available on Netflix.

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