Friday, July 26, 2013

Pick O' the Week - July 26

Siobhan is visiting the Rock and I am filling in for her this week... which means I can publicly wish her a happy birthday!

This week is the opening of Fruitvale Station (the Sundance winner originally titled Fruitvale), which stars Michael B. Jordan (who we all know as Wallace from The Wire). And with Siobhan unable to hype The Wolverine, your only other options this week are Michael Cera in Crystal Fairy (exactly), Aubrey Plaza's The To Do List (which looks beyond terrible) and The Smurfs 2.

For fun you can check out the new trailer for Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac, featuring Shia Labeouf.

You could also watch the SXSW film Euphonia online for free at Vimeo. I have read that it is somewhat maddening, but nonetheless creatively done. And it's less than an hour long.

Most exciting this week was the announcement of the TIFF lineup. Huge screenings this year include August: Osage County, 12 Years a Slave, Le Passé, and the Palme d'Or winner Blue Is the Warmest Colour (La Vie d'Adèle - Chapitre 1 & 2). And both Kristin Scott Thomas and Tilda Swinton have films screening at the festival!

And finally, please watch the Veronica Mars featurette from Comic Con!

In Theatres: I have been anxious to see Fruitvale Station since it was screened at Sundance. It tells the true story of a 22 year old felon (played by Michael B. Jordan) on the last day of his life before being shot by police on New Year's Day 2009. Octavia Spencer also stars in the film, directed by Ryan Coogler and produced by Forest Whitaker. The film is named after the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) station in Oakland, California.

At Home: I have spoken at length about my total enjoyment of The Queen of Versailles (review). It is the fascinating documentary of a family who try to build a palatial residence in Florida before the market crash. Check it out on Netflix.

On TV: Peggy Olson has long been one of my favourite characters on AMC's Mad Men. Elisabeth Moss brings such layers to the character. Moss is equally fantastic on the BBC Two, UKTV and Sundance Channel co-production of Top of the Lake. Considered a miniseries, the story follows the disappearance of a 12 year old girl in New Zealand. Moss plays Detective Robin Griffin, in charge of finding the girl. The series is written and directed by celebrated New Zealand director Jane Campion (1993's The Piano is considered her crowning achievement).

Retro Re-watch: As we eagerly await the release of Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine in one week, it seems appropriate to prepare oneself for viewing by watching an adaptation of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire. There is the celebrated 1951 film which won Vivien Leigh an Academy Award for Best Actress. There is the 1984 telefilm which starred Treat Williams and Ann-Margaret. And finally there is a 1995 telefilm which starred Alec Baldwin and Jessica Lange.

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