Friday, May 2, 2014

Pick O' the Week - May 2

Sorry for the late post folks.  This week in entertainment news, Emma Stone kicked lip syncing butt, Andrew Garfield hosted SNL reasonably well and the cast of Star Wars had their first read through.

This week is a little light on news so I'll leave it there.

In Theatres:  Reviews for Spider-Man 2 have been mixed (mostly poor) so I'm apprehensive to recommend seeing the film (though I'm likely going to see it myself).  That said, Belle has been getting reasonably decent reviews and most certainly has an interesting premise.  Based on the story of Dido Elizabeth Belle (played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw whom I've enjoyed in Undercovers and MI-5) the daughter of an Royal Navy Admiral and a Spanish slave, the film follows the life of this incredible young woman who was raised by her uncle as part of their family at a time where this simply wasn't done.  While I'm sure the film will take some liberties with the original story, NPR has a great interview with director Amma Asante about how she discovered the story after coming across an amazing painting of Dido and her sister/cousin which you should check out when you have a moment.  In the mean time I'm looking forward to seeing this film.

At Home: There's no denying that there are many films that capture what it is to be a family but whenever I think of "family films" The Family Stone comes to mind.  Taking place over Christmas at the home of the Stone family, the film begins with Everett (the oldest) bringing his girlfriend home to meet the family and to ask his mother for 'the family stone.'  As with any comedy hijinks ensue but it's the interplay between these family members that always brings this film to mind for me.  While the plot is nothing new, the relationships between the players (which include Claire Danes, Sarah Jessica Parker, Rachel McAdams, Luke Wilson, Dermot Mulroney, Craig T. Nelson, and Elizabeth Reaser) are the only reason that the film works.  Coupled with a (as expected) fantastic performance from Diane Keaton as the matriarch of the family, this film is both poignant and at times hilarious.  Available on DVD and Bluray.

On TV: Lately at my house there's been watching a lot of Portlandia.  Initially we started watching it to kill time but increasingly I've found it hard to ignore the fantastic chemistry between Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen.  There are undeniably hilarious characters like Toni and Candace (owners of a feminist bookstore), Kath and Dave (the most useless outdoorsy couple) and my personal favourite: Fred and Carrie (the fictional version).  With more stunt casting in the later seasons (including Penny Marshall, KD Lang, Sarah McLachlan and various SNL cast members), some of my favourite sketches start slow but finish strong.  The first few seasons are available on Netflix and the current season just aired its finale on IFC.

Retro Re-Watch: The Ghost and Ms. Muir is royally messed up and amazing nonetheless.  Based on a  a novel about a lonely widow who moves to a seaside town after the death of her husband, the film begins with Lucy Muir (Gene Tierney) moving into Gull Cottage with her daughter (Natalie Wood).  Soon after moving in, Lucy discovers that the home is haunted by the ghost of sea captain Daniel Gregg (Rex Harrison), and begins a reluctant romance with the ghost.  As premises go it's pretty strange but I really enjoyed the interplay between these characters (mostly due to Harrison to be sure).  Anyway, it's now available on Netflix and ready to watch.

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