Friday, March 15, 2013

Pick O' the Week - March 15

Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

It has been a relatively slow news week expect for the potentially Hollywood-altering news that Rob Marshall and Veronica Mars star Kristen Bell gave their fans the challenge of raising $2 million on crowd funding website Kickstarter. In under 24 hours, fans of the teenage detective noir series cancelled in 2007 had pledged more than the necessary funds. As of now, the project has raised nearly $3.5 million!

What will this mean for Hollywood? And what will this mean for other cancelled series? Will we soon see a Pushing Daisies movie?

In Theatres: Not a great weekend for new releases, with The Incredible Burt Wonderstone being the biggest title (currently 39% on Rotten Tomatoes). One of the best films still in theatres is Kathryn Bigelow's Zero Dark Thirty (review). Jessica Chastain is marvelous as the young CIA agent who worked tirelessly to discover Osama bin Laden's whereabouts. It is one of the most thrilling films to see in theatres. 

At Home: Matteo Garrone's Gomorrah tells the story of the Casalesi clan (an organized crime syndicate within the Italian mafia Camorra). The film won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008 before premiering at TIFF. This Italian-language film is often brutally violent but it feels shockingly real. It is a thrilling ride. Catch it on Netflix.

On TV: With the announcement that Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman have signed on for a fourth season for BBC's Sherlock, now is the time to catch up on the first two seasons on Netflix. This modern update of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories is far more riveting and obsession-worthy than Guy Richie's attempts with Robert Downey Jr.

Retro Re-watch: With the Veronica Mars announcement, I have been thinking about classic Hollywood noirs. Billy Wilder's 1950 film Sunset Boulevard. The film features four Academy Award-nominated performances from William Holden, Gloria Swanson, Erich von Stoheim and Nancy Olson. It tells the story of a once-prominent silent screen star (Swanson) using a struggling screenwriter (Holden) to plot a return to the screen. It is a terrific black comedy and a testament to Billy Wilder's pure genius (who coincidentally wrote and directed the 1970 film The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes). 

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