Friday, January 31, 2014

Pick O' the Week - January 31

It has been a downright shitty January and I will be glad to see it end after today.

Cate Blanchett seems to be a lock for Academy Award glory after winning the Golden Globe, SAG and Critics' Choice awards in the past few weeks. She gave the best performance of 2013.

Best Actor seems more up in the air. I, for one, would prefer to see Chiwetel Ejiofor win for 12 Years a Slave rather than Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club - though I do believe Jared Leto was brilliant (and I disagree with a comment posted on a blog that said an actress would be a lock for the win if Leto's role had been played by a woman).

Best Picture is one of the closest races in a number of years. 12 Years a Slave tied with Gravity for Best Picture at the Producers Guild of America Awards, while CuarĂ³n won the Directors Guild award. But the Academy Awards will not allow for a tie!

It turns out that my favourite Woody Allen collaborator Dianne Wiest has earned a role on NBC's The Blacklist. Hopefully this will become a multi-episode arc - and give me a reason to watch more past the third episode!

If you were a product of the 80s, like those of us at CineCritical, you have read at least one Choose Your Own Adventure book. Fox is trying to adapt the series into a feature film. How will that work?

Shailene Woodley is excellent in The Spectacular Now. Check out the trailer for The Fault in Our Stars.

In Theatres: Kate Winslet (nominated for Best Actress - Drama at the Golden Globes) and director Jason Reitman have received precious little attention for the film Labor Day. Does the film deserve a miserable late-January opening?  It stars Winslet as an unhappy widow and Josh Brolin as the convict who forces his way into her home. Kate Winslet is an incredible actress and she has been away for far too long.

At Home: As I have been talking up the incredibly talented Shailene Woodley, I will strongly urge you to watch her act her socks off in Alexander Payne's The Descendants. As George Clooney's rebellious daughter, Woodley is outstanding and the real heart of the film. Check it out on Netflix.

On TV: Recently returned for its third season, Showtime's House of Lies is ludicrous and bewildering. Starring Don Cheadle as a leader of a consultation management team, the series is outlandish and aggressively sexual. Kristen Bell, in a role nothing like Veronica Mars, is hysterical and sinks her teeth deep into her career-driven character. The first season is available on Netflix.

Retro Re-watch: Ang Lee may be most well known as the Oscar-winning director of Brokeback Mountain (2005) and Life of Pi (2012), but my favourite of his films is 1997's The Ice Storm. After experiencing the stress and the devastation of an ice storm this past December, Lee's film never delves into the environmental impact, but only the social and cultural chaos that erupts in 1970's Connecticut. Drugs, affairs and key parties, with the sensational Joan Allen, The Ice Storm is a worthy melodrama. Luckily, this is also available on Netflix.

1 comment:

  1. How apropos, on the first day in WEEKS that it hasn't been minus a thousand, you suggest the Ice Storm. I tip my hat, sir.

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