Friday, December 20, 2013

Pick O' the Week - December 20

Merry Christmas!

This week offers four very different films that are garnering great reviews who are also hellbent on gaining Oscar's favour.

Spize Jonze's Her has a mid-week opening. The semi-science fiction romance stars Joaquin Phoenix and the voice of Scarlett Johansson. A much better film than I had anticipated, even though it has won a handful of Best Picture awards from critics circles.

Number one of my list of must-sees is David O. Russell's American Hustle. I have already booked my ticket for tomorrow's first screening! The Coen brothers' Inside Llewyn Davis won the Best Picture award from Toronto critics this week. Lastly, Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson star in the biopic Saving Mr. Banks, about Walt Disney's attempts to lure Mary Poppins aware from its author.

We are getting to the end of critics circles announcing their yearly awards and we are gearing up for the Golden Globes and SAG Awards to strengthen predictions for the Oscars. Is Cate Blanchet truly a lock? Can Bruce Dern or Matthew McConaughey steal the Oscar from Chiewetel Ejiofor? Check out this info-graphic for the latest standings.

As I am not as jaded as Siobhan, I have picks to offer:

In Theatres: 2012 was the official Year of Jennifer Lawrence. Does she continue to hold the crown in 2013? She has won some major awards for her supporting turn in American Hustle. It is a 1970's crime drama starring Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper. I have heard that Lawrence is utterly captivating and astounding in a small role.

At Home: New to Netflix is the acclaimed French comedy Amélie. The delightful film stars Audrey Tautou as the eccentric title character. The film is charming and heart-warming, and unless you are a true Grinch, it will leave you with a huge smile. Check it out on Netflix.

On TV: What television series screams Christmas? Downton Abbey, of course. As we await the Christmas special that will air on Christmas Day, why not catch up on the exploits of the Crawley family and their team of servants? Hopefully this year's Christmas special will be less traumatizing than last year. Check out the first two seasons on Netflix.

Retro Re-watch: No other film brings me as much Christmas charm as Woody Allen's incredible 1996 musical Everyone Says I Love You. Set in New York, Venice and Paris over the course of one calendar year, the film stars a bevvy of A-list stars, such as Julia Robets, Goldie Hawn, Alan Alda, Drew Barrymore, Edward Norton and a young Natalie Portman. This scene is my adult version of Day-O from Beetlejuice - I must watch it repeatedly before finishing the film!

Happy Holidays!

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