The November doldrums are setting in over here as we gear up for the frosty months to come so it’s more vital than ever to maintain a vibrant variety of indoor entertainment options before the white stuff starts falling from the sky. If you’re in a similar seasonal situation then scope this week’s selections for some tasty, toasty cinematic relief from the chilly breezes and then go ahead and snuggle until you just can’t snuggle no more!
- Let’s start off by heating it up with some sexy action! Check out Director Steven Soderbergh’s typically subversive and sly 2011 contribution to the action genre, “Haywire”. With Gina Carano holding her own as one helluva, helluva gutsy operative caught out in the cold and trapped in a tricky little kill-or-be-killed chess game of spy-vs-spy. We do believe that ladies everywhere will definitely appreciate the Man-Candy cast of characters that Gina comes in “contact” with and that includes Michael Fassbender, Ewan McGregor, Bill Paxton, Channing Tatum and Antonio Banderas. Can you seriously ask for more? As for us boys we will, of course, appreciate watching Gina mow ‘em down as she whips major MMA-style ass on her fight for survival of the trickiest. And yea, fellas, the fist fights are all top shelf all the way as Soderbergh delivers the knuckle crunching nastiness and nose smashing fun!
- Now how about a little treat for your head with 2013’s, “Marc Maron: Thinky Pain”. This is a 1 hour, 34 minute dose of brilliant stand-up comedy from a grown-up bad boy who can now, easing up on 50, measure his neurosis and angst more accurately and insightfully yet still remain scathingly self-aware and cerebrally screwy in every way. If you don’t happen to be in the same life cycle you’ll still howl at MM’s hilarious rants but if you are lucky enough to be on the same age page…laugh ‘till it hurts, Brother!
- Alt Pick of the Week– 1944’s “Double Indemnity”. by the brilliant director/writer Billy Wilder. No film noir education is complete without a hard look at this genre classic from the Studio Master of subversion. Fred MacMurray stars as the fast-talking, super-smooth, insurance salesman stud-on-the-make, Barbra Stanwyck is the rich, young, smoking hot wife with only one little problem and Edward G. Robinson just nails it as the rock steady moral core at the center of a twisted scheme that everyone dances around to the bloody end (which starts at the beginning). A seductive slap in the face of a film, this flashbacked tale of the best laid plans careens out of control until the senseless tragedy of it all comes crashing home. Shot and lit like all noirs ought to be, this is a sexy poison pill and a gut wrenching lesson in lust, greed and human folly. Watch and learn, fellow skirt chasers…watch and learn.
- Music Pick of the Week– Fans of The Band rejoice and mourn as you revel in this bittersweet and salty rockumentary, 2013’s “Ain’t in it for My Health: A Film About Levon Helm”. Pay a visit and listen close as one of the True Legends of American music graciously shares his music, his story and what was left of his grand, turbulent, joyful musical life with us one more time. What a voice!
- How about one more urban rodeo with one of the most engaging, inclusive and sure-handed artists to ever emerge from the Hollywood system, Director/Actor and Film Icon Clint Eastwood and his mint 2008, “Gran Torino”. Some of the supporting acting may be a little shaky in this story of tribal identity, familial responsibility, urban decay and spiritual renewal but the Old Lion growls again as the younger generation learns a little about sacrifice from the grouchy old man next door. We guarantee that you won’t be able to stop smiling, keep from laughing or tear yourself away from the screen as Eastwood stakes out his territory, stalks his neighborhood jungle and reminds us of when men were men and everybody was glad of it. Bravo!
- TV Pick of the Week– “The Blacklist” with James Spader. A suspense/drama/mystery series that is still struggling to get on its feet, this 43 minute show is worth the price of admission for Spader alone whose wickedly delicious joie de vivre as an amoral operator with a fascination for a comely FBI agent is more than worth your time. Give it a shot because JS delivers the sexy snake oil like nobody else!
- 2013’s “The Heat” is here with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy and this is a fantastic, instant classic of a comedy duo that comes together as two mismatched cops on a mission. Yea, the formula is old but the Girls are fresh, funny and unafraid to show the Boys that they’ve got the comedy chops and know how to use ‘em. Sandra and Melissa instantly create bubbly comic chemistry, bring it to a simmer and then really set this film on a comedy boil that will leave you rolling on the floor then rewinding over and over once you recover.
- Our Very First Movie Marathon– Director Richard Linklater’s 1995 “Before Sunrise”, 2004 “Before Sunset”, and 2013’s “Before Midnight”, with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy first as the young, beautiful, starry-eyed singles of “Sunrise” testing the waters of a chance romantic encounter, then as reunited lovers, all grown-up and reaching nervously for that 2nd chance of everyone’s dreams in “Sunset” and finally, as a happily married couple, mostly, dealing with life and all its tricky complications in “Midnight”. A soaring, literate, romantic trilogy for adults only (at last) which sensitively deals with the true nature of romance that burns in all of us even as the real world continually tests our resolve. Watch these 3 in order or get in wherever you fit in because it’s all lovely love and it’s all so much better than good!
That’s all for now so get that firewood chopped and we’ll be right over.