Notable new releases and events
The symbol indicates titles of unusual interest, quality, and/or critical acclaim.
Since Netflix isn't making any episodes available in advance to critics, you won't have any pre-release reviews for season four of Arrested Development, but does it matter? When the clock strikes 12:01am on Sunday morning (May 26), those of you who are Netflix streaming subscribers (and, for this, Netflix is going to get some hop-ons) will have 15 new episodes of one of TV's all-time funniest comedies available for viewing. While reports originally suggested that you could watch those 15 episodes—which each focus on a different character, with only Jason Bateman appearing in every one—in any order, creator Mitch Hurwitz (who just finished editing the new episodes a few days ago) now states that they should be viewed in the sequence listed on Netflix. Either way, the story here sets up a potential Arrested Development movie, which has yet to be greenlit. Though, really, you're not watching for the plot; you're watching for the jokes.
The final feature from director Steven Soderbergh before his self-imposed early retirement is headed to the small screen rather than cineplexes. Behind the Candelabra (Sunday at 9p on HBO) is based on the book of the same name by Scott Thorson (adapted here by screenwriter Richard LaGravenese). The film depicts the five-year secret relationship between Thorson (Matt Damon) and famed (and famously flamboyant) pianist/entertainer Liberace (Michael Douglas, a lock for an Emmy nomination). Despite the over-the-top sets, costumes, and styling—aside from the leads, you'll also see actors such as Dan Aykroyd, Rob Lowe, and Scott Bakula looking ridiculous—the film takes a mostly serious approach. Look for more reviews to surface after the film premieres at Cannes on Tuesday.
Three new network series start this week. Monday night brings the Fox sitcom The Goodwin Games (Monday at 8:30p), about feuding siblings (Scott Foley, Becki Newton, T.J. Miller, and Kat Foster) who compete to win their late father's inheritance. Fox seems to have little confidence in the series, slashing its order from 13 episodes to 7 and delaying it to summer, but you can watch the first episode online now at Hulu. ... Similarly announced a year ago and delayed to the summer is the NBC comedy Save Me (Thursday at 8p), which stars Anne Heche as an ordinary suburban housewife who nearly chokes to death on a sandwich and recovers to find out that she can talk to god. ... ABC's new drama series Motive kicks off this week with episodes on both Monday (10p) and Thursday (9p); the crime procedural twists the usual formula by revealing both the killer and the victim at the beginning of each episode. ... Also airing Monday is the new PBS special Mel Brooks: Make a Noise (9p, also available on DVD beginning Tuesday). Part of the American Masters series, the documentary examines the six-decade career of the EGOT winner through archival footage and new interviews with the likes of Carl Reiner, Matthew Broderick, and Cloris Leachman.
Listen to Random Access Memories in its entirety prior to its Tuesday release at iTunes.
Helmeted French dance music duo Daft Punk return this week with Random Access Memories, their first proper album since 2005's disappointing Human After All. The new set is faring much better with critics, and it features an all-star guest roster that includes The Strokes' Julian Casablancas, legendary producer Giorgio Moroder, singer-songwriter Paul Williams (yes, the man who wrote "Rainbow Connection"), Animal Collective's Panda Bear, house producer Todd Edwards, and Chilly Gonzales, plus a host of session musicians from some of the duo's favorite 1970s and '80s albums and one heck of a lead single in the already ubiquitous "Get Lucky."
Listen to Trouble Will Find Me in its entirety prior to its Tuesday release at iTunes.
Also out Tuesday, Trouble Will Find Me is the latest from indie rockers The National. Also on the receiving end of great advance reviews (which has become the norm for this band; their previous three LPs averaged an 84), the new set includes appearances by St. Vincent, Sufjan Stevens, and Sharon Van Etten, though the real draw, as always, is The National's literate, brooding rock and Matt Berninger's distinctive baritone.
Other new releases this week include Excuse My French, the major-label debut from rapper French Montana; Impersonator, the Matador debut from Canadian duo Majical Cloudz; Defcon…5…4…3…2…1, the first album in a dozen years for sci-fi surf-rockers Man or Astro-Man?; and After Dark 2, a new compilation from the label Italians Do It Better featuring new tracks from Johnny Jewel's various projects (including Chromatics). ... Also of note this week is a re-release of the out-of-print 1992 album Eleven:Eleven by Come; this new Matador release appends a previously unreleased live album.
At the time we're writing this, Before Midnight is the best-reviewed new movie of 2013, though only a handful reviews have been published so far. The third (though not necessarily final) installment in Richard Linklater's once-a-decade series that started with 1995's Before Sunrise and 2004's Before Sunset, the new film follows Celeste (Julie Delpy) and Jesse (Ethan Hawke) in Greece.
Getting an early jump on the holiday weekend with a nationwide Thursday release, The Hangover Part III wraps up Todd Phillips' billion-dollar comedy franchise with a film that breaks a bit from the established formula—there's no wedding, and no morning-after storyline—though it does return to the Vegas strip, while also taking place partially in Tijuana. Returning stars Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong, and Heather Graham are joined by newcomers John Goodman and Melissa McCarthy.
The weekend's other major releases (both out Friday) are Fast & Furious 6 and Epic. The former looks to duplicate the unexpected success of 2011's Fast Five by returning director Justin Lin and stars Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Dwayne Johnson while promising the franchise's biggest action sequences yet. ... And Epic is an animated family fantasy (from the team behind Ice Age) starring Colin Farrell, Josh Hutcherson, Amanda Seyfried, Aziz Ansari, Beyonce, and Chris O'Dowd. . ... In limited release, We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks finds documentarian Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side, Client 9) examining the history of the controversial website and its founder, Julian Assange.
Tuesday's key DVD/Blu-ray releases include Steven Soderbergh's Side Effects and the Arnold Schwarzenegger-starring The Last Stand. Check our DVD Release Calendar for a full list of this week's new releases.
Out Friday for the Nintendo 3DS, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D is an update of the 2010 Wii side-scroller that includes local multiplayer and eight new levels (plus 3D graphics throughout). Early reviews place the game among the year's best for the 3DS, though critics suggest that if you've already played the game on the Wii, there might not be enough new here to merit a second purchase.
Released last year for the Nintendo 3DS, Resident Evil: Revelations heads to consoles (360, PS3, Wii U) and PCs for the first time on Tuesday. The survival horror title is set between the events of RE4 and RE5, with this week's release adding new content (and improved graphics) to the handheld version. ... Out Wednesday is Call of Juarez: Gunslinger (360, PS3, PC), a downloadable title that returns the first-person shooter series to the Old West. ... And keep your eyes peeled on Tuesday morning for Microsoft's first official announcement about its next-generation console, the Xbox 720.
Closing the book on last week
|Most Popular Title on Metacritic|
|Metro: Last Light (PC) 82||Week of 5/12-5/18|
|Weekend Box Office Champion (Estimated, U.S. only; source: Boxofficemojo.com)|
|Star Trek Into Darkness 73||$70.6 million; 1st week at #1|
|#1 Album on Billboard 200 (Source: Billboard.com/Nielsen SoundScan)|
|Lady Antebellum: Golden 70||1st week at #1|
|Top-Rated Primetime Broadcast Show (Source: Nielsen)|
|NCIS (CBS)||17.6 million viewers; week of 5/6-5/12|