Friday, April 12, 2013

Pick O' the Week - April 12

I have yet to come to terms with the fact that Roger Ebert passed away on April 4. Like many young wannabe (aspiring) critics, Mr. Ebert played an integral role in developing my cinematic consciousness. He will be missed.

This week the red band trailer for Nicolas Winding Refn's upcoming feature Only God Forgives (opening July 19) surfaced online. Refn reteams with his Drive (2011) star Ryan Gosling for a Bangkok-set, violence-fueled film. Kristin Scott-Thomas, a favourite of man, is almost unrecognizable in the trailer!

Equally exciting is A Separation (2011) director Asghar Farhadi's French-language film Le Passé, which stars The Artist's Bérénice Bejo. Unfortunately, I have yet to find a subtitled version of the trailer, but as a French speaker I can tell you it looks intriguing!

In Theatres: I have not been to the theatre since seeing Sarah Polley's Stories We Tell in mid-March. I am suffering from an honest lack of interest. This weekend Derek Cianfrance's The Place Beyond the Pines opens in Toronto. From its premiere at TIFF, I have read that it best to go in with very little knowledge. After taking more than ten years to make the incredible Blue Valentine (2011), I am surprised to see Cianfrance with a new feature less than 2 years later! 

At Home: With rain attacking my world all week, I feel compelled to choose a British film. And with spring trying its darnedest to arrive, Mike Leigh's beautifully filmed and tremendously acted Another Year is the perfect offering. It tells the story of Gerri (Ruth Sheen) and Tom (Jim Broadbent) through the course of a calendar year. Their relationship is honest and loving. Leslie Manville is especially wonderful as the couple's unstable friend. Another Year is available on Netflix

On TV: While I have been less than impressed with Netflix's current crop of film titles available in Canada, all 254 episodes of Bewitched are available for streaming. As a kid, I would watch Elizabeth Montgomery wiggle her nose as Samantha Stevens and wish I had magic powers. The show aired from 1964 until 1972, and even underwent a major casting change in 1969. Even my then-favourite actress Nicole Kidman tried to recapture Montgomery's magic, but the result was the worse-than-terrible 2001 film (unfortunately also available on Netflix).

Retro Re-watch: With the passing of Margaret Thatcher this week, I am reminded of England's Elizabeth I and Shekhar Kapur's fantastic 1998 film Elizabeth. Cate Blanchett should have won an Academy Award for her portrayal of the last Tudor monarch (she lost to Gwyneth Paltrow in Shakespeare in Love).

Enjoy your weekend!

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