Friday, November 29, 2013

Pick O' the Week - November 29

This week, we saw the release of Disney's Frozen, starring the voice talents of Veronica Mars alum Kristen Bell, news that Pakistani film Zinda Bhaag (a comedy and contender for the foreign-language Oscar) will be released in Canada and the UK, and Evan Rachel Wood speaks out about her displeasure with the double standards surrounding the MPAA's decision to force cuts to her film Charlie Countryman.

In other news, the trailer for the latest Muppets movie has been released and Quentin Tarantino has now confirmed that his next film will be a western. Okay, on to the picks!

In Theatres: So setting aside all the (frankly disturbing) product promotion that has been associated with the film, Matt & I went to see The Hunger Games: Catching Fire last night and I have to say, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it.  There will be a full review to follow (from one or both of us) but initially the film does so many things successfully that the few things it has trouble with (the initial lead up is a little long and after building up the horror of the games, the games themselves aren't overly impressive) are forgiven.  But ultimately as a story about a woman surviving a trauma and attempting to live in a world where those around her will die, it was compelling.  The comments on excess and selfishness in the capital are made swiftly and deftly and even Elizabeth Banks' Effie is given a moment to make her opinion known, while the fear and behaviour of those who have survived is believable and well pitched.  Special mention to Ms. Jenna Malone who's previous victor Johanna Mason is a definite scene stealer.

At Home: There have been a few instances of actors recently who have been nominated for Oscars they did not win, only to win for something I don't really understand a year or two later.  For instance, Jennifer Lawrence won an Oscar for Silver Linings Playbook over Quvenzhan√© Wallis when I believe she really deserved it for Winter's Bone (2010) (though to be fair she was up against Natalie Portman in her year and that wasn't going to happen).  Robin Williams won an Oscar for Good Will Hunting when everyone knows that Oscar was actually about Dead Poets Society nearly a decade earlier.  With that in mind, one performance I remember being very disappointed didn't get more recognition than it did was Bill Murray's disillusioned traveler in Lost in Translation.  With a subtle turn by Scarlett Johanson (who, whatever else you say about her is very good actress cause she's boring as toast in interviews but lights up the screen).  This one is definitely worth seeing if you've not already and is available on Netflix if you're in the mood.

On TV: Doctor Who!  With the 50th Anniversary Special rocking box offices everywhere and that crazy simulcast, this is definitely a great time to hop onto the Whovian train. Netflix has also just added the new Who to its roster for Canadian customers (it's been available for the US and UK for quite some time) so you can enjoy the iconic British series from the beginning (or more reasonably from the return in 2005).  With Christopher Eccleston, David Tennant, Matt Smith and the upcoming Peter Capaldi (The Thick of It, on which the popular American VEEP is loosely based).  So sit back, and enjoy this little slice of nerdy delight.

Retro Re-Watch: I'm going to be cheeky and skip this because frankly, while there are many out there, I can't think of a suggestion that I haven't already made and suggesting a bad movie just for the sake of it strikes me as silly.  So instead, go watch a documentary...there are some really great ones floating around!

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