Friday, February 14, 2014

Pick O' the Week - February 14

Ah, Valentine's Day. It makes you want to jump out of bed and rush out and (re?)watch Garry Marshall's 2010 holiday film - which starred just about every B-list actor you could name!

Instead, some of us might have spent our day watching Canada's Olympic men's hockey team crush Austria 6-0 in Sochi. The Olympics might be a politically ambiguous event, but there is something beautiful about cultural identity and pride.

A few interesting things happened this week:

Greta Gerwig (rather amazing in Frances Ha) has been named the star of CBS' How I Met Your Mother spin-off, How I Met Your Dad. I once spent the month of August watching the first four seasons of the series. I have not watched an entire episode since. Gerwig will apparently write and produce the series as well. Here's hoping that it gets cancelled quickly and her quirkiness returns to the big screen immediately.

If you, like me, find television incredibly boring at the moment, it is probably because we are waiting for the April 6 return of Game of Thrones. Does this fifteen minute teaser help?

It may be another few weeks until Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel is released in theatres - days after the Academy Awards - but some early reviews are calling it a Best Picture nominee already.

We might be getting tired of celebrities coming out, but Ellen Page chose to publicly reveal her sexuality at a Human Rights Campaign conference. I congratulate her for making the connection to the pain of hiding one's true identity.

The BAFTA awards are this weekend. Are these nine questions really that important before the Oscars in two weeks' time?

In Theatres: It is truly a dead zone for moviegoers in the month of February. You could potentially try About Last Night, or even Winter's Tale, but unless you have yet to see some of the more remarkable Oscar contenders, there is precious little to recommend. If you are lucky, there will be a theatre playing The Oscar Nominated Short Films of 2014 in animated or live action formats - maybe even both! Some of today's most dynamic directors got their start in short films.

At Home: I may loathe most romantic comedies, but a select few have warmed their way to my heart. Julia Roberts may be as passé as Hammer pants, but 1990's Pretty Woman has earned its status as a classic Hollywood romcom. And then there is that scene with Richard Gere in the bathtub! Check it out on Netflix.

On TV: Robin Wright won a Golden Globe for her performance in House of Cards, a dark and twisted political thriller set in the shadows of Washington, D.C. Wright plays the wife of Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey), the House Majority Whip who plans and plots his revenge on those who refused to name him Secretary of State. The entire second season was released onto Netflix today!

Retro Re-watch: Woody Allen may be more well known for silly comedies (1971's Bananas), familial drama (1986's Hannah and Her Sisters), the dark side of human nature (1989's Crimes and Misdemeanors and 2005's Match Point), and mental suffering (2013's Blue Jasmine), but love has played a strong, if not always central, theme in his films. One of my favourites, 1996's Everyone Says I Love You is a beautiful and romantic film based entirely on love. It is Allen's attempt at a real-life musical, without the grandeur of Broadway. I have repeatedly recommended this title, so go watch it again!

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