Notable new releases and events
The symbol indicates titles of unusual interest, quality, and/or critical acclaim.
The sixth season of AMC's Mad Men launches Sunday at 9p (shifting to 10p the following week) with a two-hour premiere called "The Doorway" that basically functions as a Mad Men movie, written by series creator Matthew Weiner. Plot details about the episode (and the season as a whole) have been kept under wraps, as is typically the case—AMC hasn't even released any photos from the episode—though we know it features Jon Hamm's Don Draper on vacation in Hawaii with wife Megan (Jessica Paré).
The week's most notable newcomer is Hannibal (Thursday at 10p on NBC), which looks likely to be NBC's best-reviewed new show this season. Based on Thomas Harris' series of Hannibal Lecter novels (the source for films such as Silence of the Lambs), the drama comes from Pushing Daisies creator Bryan Fuller and stars Mads Mikkelsen (Casino Royale) as a younger version of the serial killer, while Hugh Dancy plays an FBI profiler who consults with Dr. Lecter on his toughest cases without realizing that he is a criminal. Laurence Fishburne, Scott Thompson (The Kids in the Hall), and Caroline Dhavernas (Wonderfalls) co-star, while Gillian Anderson (in her first series TV role since The X-Files) will recur as Lecter's therapist; other guests will include Eddie Izzard, Molly Shannon, and Anna Chlumsky (Veep).
Also launching this week is the new sitcom How to Live With Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life) (Wednesday at 9:30p on ABC), which stars Sarah Chalke (Scrubs), Elizabeth Perkins (Weeds), Brad Garrett (Everybody Loves Raymond), and Stephanie Hunt (Friday Night Lights). ... HBO's Vice (Friday at 11p) is a provocative new documentary series from the folks behind the magazine of the same name; the show attracted some advance criticism last month for one of its segments, which features Dennis Rodman and the Harlem Globetrotters visiting North Korea. ... Based on Alan Furst's espionage novel set just before World War II, the four-hour miniseries Spies of Warsaw (Wednesday at 9p on BBC America) stars David Tennant (Doctor Who) and Janet Montgomery (Made in Jersey). ... And Rogue (Wednesday at 9p) is a new series produced by and airing exclusively on DirecTV; the drama stars Thandie Newton as an undercover detective who gets a little too close to the crime boss she's investigating.
After taking a break to direct the opening ceremony of last summer's Olympics in London, Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle gets back to filmmaking with Trance, which opens Friday in limited release. A trippy, stylized, and kinetic crime thriller compared by some critics to Boyle's debut Shallow Grave (the two noir-ish films share a screenwriter, John Hodge, although Trance is a remake of a 2001 British TV movie), Trance stars James McAvoy as an art auctioneer who steals a valuable painting with the help of a gang of criminals, only to take a blow to the head and forget where he stashed the painting. The criminals send him to a hypnotherapist (Rosario Dawson) in an attempt to restore his memory, and the result is a rather complex structure (too much so, according to some critics) vaguely reminiscent of Inception.
Another limited release is Upstream Color, a film that had critics buzzing when it premiered at Sundance in January. Even harder to describe than Trance (the official synopsis begins, "A man and woman are drawn together, entangled in the lifecycle of an ageless organism," and gets more cerebral from there), the challenging, enigmatic Color is the second feature from Shane Carruth, whose debut was the cult classic time-travel thriller Primer. The film opens in New York this Friday and in additional cities over the next few weeks; get the schedule at the official site.
The week's lone new wide release is Evil Dead, an ultra-violent remake of Sam Raimi's 1981 classic. Reportedly co-written by Diablo Cody (though she's not credited), the new film comes from first-time feature director Fede Alvarez and stars Jane Levy (Suburgatory), Shiloh Fernandez, and Lou Taylor Pucci. The first few reviews are surprisingly positive, and the film is certainly gorier than the original.
Returning to theaters Friday—but in 3D for the first time, thanks to a new conversion—is Steven Spielberg's 1993 hit Jurassic Park; the film will also screen in IMAX 3D for the next week. ... Also out Friday in limited release is The Company You Keep, a Robert Redford-directed thriller about a journalist's pursuit of a former Weather Underground activist; the screenplay comes from Lem Dobbs (Haywire, The Limey) and the cast includes Redford, Shia LaBeouf, Susan Sarandon, Anna Kendrick, Brit Marling, Stanley Tucci, and Nick Nolte. ... And on Tuesday night, 50 theaters around the country will screen the new Stevie Nicks documentary In Your Dreams; details are available at the official site.
Tuesday's key DVD/Blu-ray releases include the Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase One Blu-ray box set. Check our DVD Release Calendar for a full list of this week's new releases.
Out Tuesday, Wolf is the third solo album from Odd Future member Tyler, the Creator. Guests on the album include Frank Ocean, Stereolab's Laetitia Sadier, Earl Sweatshirt, Erykah Badu, Hodgy Beats, and Pharrell. Early reactions are all over the map—as is the album, stylistically—but you can stream the LP in its entirety right now at Soundcloud.
British Sea Power return this week with Machineries of Joy, the band's fifth album (not counting soundtracks) and one that could be their most mature and nuanced release to date, according to early reviews. ... Also out Tuesday is the Rilo Kiley rarities compilation RKives, which includes nine previously unreleased recordings among its 16 tracks.
In a very slow week for games (you do, after all, need to spend more time with BioShock Infinite), the only release of note on the schedule is Defiance (360 / PS3 / PC), a new MMO open-world shooter from Rift developer Trion Worlds that—in an unusual display of cross-platform multimedia synergy (or whatever the kids call it these days)—takes place in the same world as the upcoming television series of the same name (debuting later this month on Syfy).
Closing the book on last week
|Most Popular Title on Metacritic|
|BioShock: Infinite (PC) 96||Week of 3/24-3/30|
|Weekend Box Office Champion (Estimated, U.S. only; source: Boxofficemojo.com)|
|G.I. Joe: Retaliation 42||$41.2 million; 1st week at #1|
|#1 Album on Billboard 200 (Source: Billboard.com/Nielsen SoundScan)|
|Justin Timberlake: The 20/20 Experience 74||1st week at #1|
|Top-Rated Primetime Broadcast Show (Source: Nielsen)|
|The Big Bang Theory (CBS)||15.9 million viewers; week of 3/18-3/24|