Friday, September 27, 2013

Pick O' the Week - September 27

The Toronto International Film Festival came to an end on Sunday, September 15. Steve McQueen's incredibly well conceived 12 Years a Slave walked away with the Audience Award. I do not think the award is as prestigious as the festival claims - as I left the opening night screening of Le Passé (The Past) there was not a single ticket box to be found! The hype for the award is obnoxious, but the hype for McQueen's film, and more importantly, Chiwetel Ejiofor's performance, is incredibly valid.

Deadline is just reporting that Martin Freeman, known to CineCritical as John Watson on Sherlock, has just been signed to start in the FX limited series Fargo. The series is inspired by the Coen brothers' 1996 masterpiece. Is Freeman going to be playing William H. Macy's pivotal role? I hope the Englishman can handle the accent.

In Oscar-related news, Nicole Kidman's Best Actress hopes have probably been quashed with news that Grace of Monaco will not open until the spring. Unfortunately, the same can be said for Martin Scorsese's Wolf of Wall Street, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio.

But to make it up to you, there is the new American trailer for the Cannes winner Blue is the Warmest Color. And if that is not enough lesbian drama, check out the red band trailer for Concussion.

And now onto my picks!

In Theatres: Opening this week we have Don Jon (JGL's directorial debut), Enough Said (would James Gandolfini be getting such raves if he were alive?) and Rush (Ron Howard's seemingly torturous race car film). But I suggest you check out Canadian director Denis Villeneuve's Prisoners, which stars Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal. Very well received at TIFF, the film is sparking brief thoughts of Oscar opportunities.

At Home: Naomi Watts has rested in the shadows of some more famous actresses, but she has incredible talent. Most noticeable in 21 Grams or Mulholland Drive, she is nonetheless the best part of Fair Game, Doug Liman's 2010 film about Valerie Plume, the CIA agent whose identity was revealed by the US government. Sean Penn is less authentic, but the film is worth a watch on the first weekend of fall. Check it out on Netflix.

On TV: Stay away from Twitter and Facebook on Sunday evening, Breaking Bad is coming to an end after five fantastic and explosive seasons. What will become of Walter White? The series has evolved from a small cable network series that only the cool kids watched to the modern benchmark for auteur television series. The first four and a half seasons (not the current back half of season five) are available on Netflix if you feel up for binge watching to prepare for Sunday! And let us take a moment to celebrate Anna Gunn's tremendously well deserved Emmy win this past Sunday. Skyler White is tortured, but Gunn's performance is breathtaking.

Retro Re-watch: Not as retro as previous picks, I am most in the mood for Pedro Almodóvar's classic Hable con ella (Talk to Her). Brilliant and practically perfect, the film unveils how two separate events are inevitably linked. It will go down as Almodóvar's finest film, even without a single appearance from Penélope Cruz!

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