The Weekender: Expect the ‘Unexpected’


The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (PG-13)
Starring Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett
Written for the screen by Fran Walsh & Philippa Boyens & Peter Jackson & Guillermo del Toro
Directed by Peter Jackson
If I say I’m not excited for this prequel, don’t misunderstand. I appreciated the artistry and spectacle of the original Lord of the Rings trilogy, but I’m not one of the series’ many disciples, the kind who spend a whole week watching the extended editions. And I’m not happy they’re making this a trilogy, considering The Hobbit is a novella at best while The Lord of the Rings took up three sprawling books. Plus, early word says this 48fps display Jackson was so gung ho about is distracting. So really, it’s hard for me to actually care about young Bilbo (Freeman) and the gang of dwarves and wizards and elves he meets on his journey.

Hyde Park on Hudson (R)
Starring Bill Murray, Laura Linney, Olivia Williams
Written by Richard Nelson
Directed by Roger Mitchell
Reception for this historical dramedy has been surprisingly lukewarm. Murray plays FDR, hosting the British Royal Family for the first time, while sneaking off for illicit rendezvous with his cousin (Linney). Yeah.

Any Day Now (R)
Starring Alan Cumming, Garret Dillahunt, Isaac Leyva
Written by Travis Fine and George Arthur Bloom
Directed by Travis Fine
Alan Cumming received lots of awards on the festival circuit for his restrained (yes, this will be the only time you’ll see Alan Cumming described as restrained) performance as a gay man who begins caring for a developmentally disabled teen dumped on his doorstep. He faces another challenge as the state tries to take the boy away simply because of Cumming’s sexuality. The theme song from Rufus Wainwright (“Metaphorical Blanket”) could become an Oscar nominee.

The Loneliest Planet (NR)
Starring Gael Garcia Bernal, Hani Furstenberg, Bidzina Gujabidze
Written for the screen and directed by Julia Loktev
Apparently this is a movie you can’t say much about because it will give away the plot’s central twist. All I know is that Bernal and Furstenberg play an engaged couple who make a decision on a hiking trip that changes everything.

Top Pick:

Ted (69%)
Easily one of the year’s most pleasant surprises, Ted is a gut-busting comedy. Seth MacFarlane wrote, directed and starred in a completely original comedy (though there are shades of typical arrested development, man-child movies) that doesn’t play by any established rules. Sure, it’s a little too long, but it’s consistently hilarious and features the cameo of the year: Flash Gordon himself.

To rent:
• Backwards (29%)
• Beloved (2012) (55%)
• The Bourne Legacy* (56%)
• Doomsday Book
• Dreams of a Life (67%)
• Gayby (90%)
• Ice Age: Continental Drift (38%)
• Mansome (25%)
• Miami Connection (80%)
• Why Stop Now (25%)

To buy:
Music: Metallica: Quebec Magnetic

TV: Futurama (Vol. 7), Girls (Season 1)*

DVD: The Story of Film: An Odyssey*

Blu-ray: Ashanti, Babes in Toyland (1961), Baron Blood, Bill Cunningham New York, Death Valley, Dick Tracy*, Heavyweights*, The Island (1980), The Joy Luck Club, Les Misérables (1996), Manufactured Landscapes, The Portrait of a Lady, The Wild Geese

Criterion: Following, The Qatsi Trilogy

(Release dates and locations subject to change.)

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