The Weekender: ‘Stand’ in the place where you live


Mama (PG-13)
Starring Jessica Chastain, Megan Charpentier, Isabelle Nélisse
Written by Neil Cross and Andrés & Barbara Muschietti
Directed by Andrés Muschietti
It’s January, which means it’s time for more bottom-shelf PG-13 horror. Some adopted girls are harboring a darrrrrkkkkk seccrrreettttttttt. Yawn.

The Last Stand (R)
Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Forest Whitaker, Johnny Knoxville
Story by Andrew Knauer
Screenplay by Jeffrey Nachmanoff and Andrew Knauer
Directed by Kim Jee-Woon
Sometimes lowered expectations can work to the filmmaker’s advantage. This rollicking B-movie is getting great reviews for not taking itself too seriously. Schwarzenegger returns to his first lead role in a decade as a small-town sheriff fending off a fugitive cartel leader.

Broken City (R)
Starring Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones
Written by Brian Tucker
Directed by Allen Hughes
Mysteriously, Hughes is directing without his brother Albert. Together they’ve made some terrific thrillers. Their last January release (The Book of Eli) was surprisingly great. With Allen going solo, I’m hoping this NYC cop story/revenge tale is on the highs of Pride and Glory and not the barrel-scraping lows of Brooklyn’s Finest.

Amour (PG-13)
Starring Emmanuelle Riva, Jean-Louis Trintignant, Isabelle Huppert
Written and directed by Michael Haneke
A surprise contender at this year’s Oscars, Haneke restrained love story is likely to bore you to tears and then make you actually cry at all the sadness. Nearly all of Haneke’s films deal with death and the path of suffering to get there. I prefer his more subversive films, but his approach at being genuine at least means he’s not simply going for shock value. Still, this is not a movie I care to see.

Top Pick:

Men of a Certain Age (Season 2)
Men of a Certain Age (Season 2)
One of cable’s best shows was unfairly dropped by TNT after most 18-49 viewers passed it by, which is especially ridiculous given the show’s title. Ray Romano shows his actual acting chops alongside Scott Bakula. The always-great Andre Braugher rounds out the trio of buddies as they navigate their crises, trying to do the right thing, but can’t stop making the wrong decisions. It’s a perfect dramedy that I wish could have continued on indefinitely.

To rent (click the link to watch on Netflix):
17 Girls (67%)
5 Broken Cameras (94%) — Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary Feature
• About Cherry (11%)
• Branded (11%)
• Detropia (84%)
• Farewell, My Queen (93%)
• The Other Dream Team (88%)
• The Possession (39%)
• Runaway Slave
• Taken 2 (21%)
• To Rome with Love* (44%)
• Won’t Back Down (33%)

To buy:
Comedy: Joan Rivers: Don’t Start with Me

TV: Being Human (UK Season 4), The Jackson Five (Complete Series), Life’s Too Short (Season 1), Merlin (Season 4), Twenty Twelve (Complete Series)*, Waking the Dead (Season 7)

Blu-ray: Gentleman’s Agreement, Hannah and Her Sisters*, How Green was My Valley, Sleeper, Wake in Fright, Wild River, Wimbledon

Criterion: The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934), The Tin Drum

(Release dates and locations subject to change.)

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