Notable new releases and events
The symbol indicates titles of unusual interest, quality, and/or critical acclaim.
Radiohead won't return to the recording studio until this fall, but frontman Thom Yorke has teamed with Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, drummer Joey Waronker (Beck, R.E.M.), and percussionist Mauro Refosco as Atoms for Peace. Originally formed to tour in support of Yorke's solo album The Eraser, the group releases its first studio album, Amok, on Tuesday. The result is not all that different from recent Radiohead output, though it has perhaps an even greater emphasis on skittish dance beats. Hear it for yourself at NPR prior to Tuesday's release.
Also out Tuesday is The Messenger, the first true solo album in the storied career of Johnny Marr, best known as the guitarist for The Smiths but here taking the role of frontman as he did in his now defunct group The Healers. Early reviews suggest that the new album won't change the world, but it should please Marr's longtime fans—at least on the guitar side of things. And Shout Out Louds return with Optica, their latest dose of retro pop.
Out Friday (after a lengthy delay) is Jack the Giant Slayer, Bryan Singer's first directing gig since Valkyrie in 2008. This 3D, CGI-heavy take on the classic fairy tales "Jack and the Beanstalk" and "Jack the Giant Killer" stars Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: First Class) as Jack, and he's joined in the cast by Stanley Tucci, Ian McShane, Bill Nighy, and Ewan McGregor. While it should be better than fellow recent fairy tale adaptation Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters, Jack doesn't exactly have good buzz behind it.
In limited release, the thriller Stoker marks the English-language debut for Chan-wook Park, best known for his cult hit Oldboy. This creepy look at a young girl’s coming of age stars Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, and Matthew Goode, and serves as the screenwriting debut for actor Wentworth Miller. Stoker divided critics when it debuted at Sundance last month, though recent reviews have been a bit better.
Also out Friday is the comedy 21 and Over, the directorial debut for The Hangover screenwriters Jon Lucas and Scott Moore; expect something similarly raunchy. The Last Exorcism Part II is a sequel to the 2010 horror hit, though it ditches the first film's found footage gimmick. And the supernatural thriller Phantom finds Ed Harris and David Duchovny on board a Cold War-era Soviet submarine that holds the fate of the world in its hands.
Tuesday's key DVD/Blu-ray releases include Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master and the critically acclaimed French oddity Holy Motors. Check our DVD Release Calendar for a full list of this week's new releases.
It sounds like it was made solely for Emmy nominations. Take Benedict Cumberbatch, place him in early 1900s England, and you have
Downton Sherlock Parade's End, a new miniseries debuting this week on HBO. (Back-to-back episodes air Tuesday and Wednesday at 9p, with the concluding hour debuting Thursday at 9p.) Adapted by Tom Stoppard from a series of novels by Ford Madox Ford, the drama focuses on a love triangle set against the backdrop of a rapidly changing England before and during the first World War. Rebecca Hall, Adelaide Clemens, Janet McTeer, Rupert Everett, and Miranda Richardson also star, and early reviews are as good as you would expect given the above.
It's been a rough season for TV dramas; broadcast networks can't seem to convince viewers to sample any of their new hourlong series, and entries such as ABC's recent Zero Hour set record Nielsen lows. That network hopes not to repeat that dubious honor when its new serialized thriller Red Widow makes its two-hour premiere Sunday at 9p (shifting to Sundays at 10p the following week). This adaptation of the Dutch drama Penoza stars Radha Mitchell and ER's Goran Visnjic, and centers on a housewife drawn into the world of organized crime after her connected husband is killed. At least they didn't call it Mob Mother.
Also on the new drama front, CBS' Golden Boy (Tuesday, 10p) is a new cop drama created by Nick Wootton (NYPD Blue, Chuck), and produced by Greg Berlanti (Brothers & Sisters). English actor Theo James (Underworld Awakening) stars as an ambitious cop who goes on to become the youngest police commissioner in NYPD history (a role originally targeted for Ryan Phillippe). Early reviews suggest that the show has some potential. After a few weeks on Tuesdays, the series shifts to Fridays at 9p starting March 8th.
Looking for something a bit lighter this week? If you are a fan of shows like Childrens Hospital, you should also like fellow web series-turned-TV series Burning Love (Monday at 10p on E!), a parody of The Bachelor starring CH's Ken Marino and created by his wife, writer Erica Oyama. Expect tons of cameos, with nearly everyone from Childrens and Party Down showing up at some point, especially during season 2, currently airing online via Yahoo!. Celebrity Apprentice (Sunday at 9p on NBC) only seems like a reality show parody; this season's "all-stars" edition features returning contestants like Stephen Baldwin, Gary Busey, Dee Snider, La Toya Jackson, Penn Jillette, Omarosa, and Dennis Rodman. If you prefer your contestants to be a little less human, Robot Combat League (Tuesday at 10p on Syfy) basically takes Real Steel's robot-boxing premise and turns it into reality, with human teams controlling 8-foot robots in the ring. And History Channel's rather self-explanatory scripted series Vikings (Sunday at 10p) stars Gabriel Byrne.
TV on DVD releases this week can be found in our DVD Calendar.
Closing the book on last week
|Most Popular Title on Metacritic|
|Crysis 3 (PC) 80||Week of 2/17-2/23|
|Weekend Box Office Champion (Estimated, U.S. only; source: Boxofficemojo.com)|
|Identity Thief 35||$14.1 million; 2nd week at #1 (1st consecutive)|
|#1 Album on Billboard 200 (Source: Billboard.com/Nielsen SoundScan)|
|Mumford & Sons: Babel 63||4th week at #1 (4th consecutive)|
|Top-Rated Primetime Broadcast Show (Source: Nielsen)|
|The Big Bang Theory (CBS)||17.9 million viewers; week of 2/11-2/17|