Friday, August 23, 2013

What to Watch This Weekend: August 23, 2013

You may wonder why critics panned John Travolta and Robert De Niro's Killing Season, or be interested in how a group of Ukrainian Jews fled Nazis by living in caves in docudrama No Place on Earth, but we recommend one of this year's Best Picture Oscar nominees for the week's DVD.

In Theaters: The World's End
We really enjoyed the latest entry in Simon Pegg, Nick Frost and director Edgar Wright's comedy "trilogy" (preceded by Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz). On the surface, it looks like it's about old friends doing a long bar crawl, but unexpected events make their bar-hopping much more exciting and complicated. It's as funny as the aforementioned but features darker, more complex themes. The crazy story is held together by the cast's great chemistry.

On DVD: Amour
Michael Haneke's Amour focuses on an elderly couple whose relationship becomes incredibly challenging when the wife Anne suffers complications from a stroke and a subsequent surgery. Many felt that actress Emmanuelle Riva's Oscar-nominated performance as the sick wife was the standout of this year's Best Actress nominees. It sounds like a realistic look at the lives and troubles of the elderly and a beautiful, somewhat sad, depiction of a loving, but difficult, relationship.

Streaming (Netflix): Greenberg
Ben Stiller plays an unusually complex role as the title character of Greenberg, a dramedy about a troubled misanthrope who moves in with his more successful brother while trying to get his life back together. Popular indie actress Greta Gerwig plays the brother's assistant who connects with him during his stay. She must have made a good impression because she plays the title role in director Noah Baumbach's acclaimed follow-up Frances Ha.

Streaming (Netflix): Memento
Memento is a relic of director Christopher Nolan's early years before he became best known as the man behind The Dark Knight trilogy. The cult hit is a psychological thriller about a widower (Guy Pearce) who lost the ability to store new memories following an attack, a trait that leaves him vulnerable to manipulation and complicates his investigation of his wife's death. The scenes of the main plot are uniquely shown in reverse order, making the film an intriguing puzzle.

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