Friday, November 22, 2013

Pick O' the Week - November 22

I am slightly delayed in my picks of the week, but rest assured, they are good ones!

We have been treated to a sneak peek of Sherlock's third season! I am without words... unlike the 30 second promo!

 There is also a promo for the third season of HBO's Girls, written by and starring Lena Dunham. Let's hope that season three is an improvement of last year.

Even more exciting is the short film Castello Cavalcanti by Wes Anderon!

In Theatres: Alexander Payne has been one of my favourite director's since his first feature film, Citizen Ruth, in 1996. He had the luxury of finding a great performance in Laura Dern. Seventeen years later, Payne is winning raves for his film Nebraska, which stars Bruce Dern as a curmudgeonly man who thinks he has won a million dollars. Dern is terrific (he won the Best Actor prize at Cannes), but it is June Squibb who blew me away. Shot in black and white, Nebraska truly is one of the year's best films.

At Home: Lost and forgotten amongst last year's slate of Oscar hopefuls was Sacha Gervasi's film Hitchcock. Starring Anthony Hopkins as the great director and Helen Mirren as his dutiful wife, the film focuses entirely on Hitchcock's 1960 masterpiece, Psycho. Sometimes too light for its own good, Hitchcock never really sinks its teeth into the story. But Mirren gives an excellent performance as Alma Reville. Check it out on Netflix.

On TV: Netflix has (re)introduced me to a number of television series. I always said I wanted to watch The Shield but until now I have never had the opportunity. Grittier and more hard-edged than I expected, The Shield is a raw look at a Los Angeles police detective (played by Michael Chiklis) who plays by his own rules. Some of the characters (so far) seem driven by stereotypes, but the show definitely has me hooked. Available on Netflix.

Retro Re-watch: The TIFF Bell Light Box in Toronto is currently showcasing an exhibit on Canadian director David Cronenberg. Cronenberg is one of Canada's most controversial and well-known directors. Before his more mainstream films like A History of Violence (2004) and A Dangerous Method (2011), he shocked audiences with films like Scanners (1981), Videodrome (1983) and The Fly (1986). But it is his 1991 film Naked Lunch, an adaptation of a William S. Burrough's 1959 so-called unfilmable novel, that really brought Cronenberg attention. The film deals with hallucinatory drugs and some rather creepy-looking insects. Naked Lunch is avant garde to say the least.

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