The Tree of Life Read Reviews
In theaters Friday
Though reaction at the film's Cannes premiere last week was surprisingly mixed, American critics have been unequivocal in their praise so far for the latest film from director Terrence Malick (The Thin Red Line). In development for many years (and post-production alone for three), the meditative, elliptical, and challenging Tree of Life centers in part on a troubled 1950s-era Texas family headed by Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain, and their son, played as a grown man by Sean Penn. We don't want to spoil too many details for those of you who are planning to see the film (not that plot is its major emphasis), but let's just say that the scope of this ambitious drama, while narrow in the number of characters to whom it devotes much of its running time, is broad enough to encompass the creation of the entire universe.
There are two ways through life; experience them both at the official website.
Born This Way by Lady Gaga Read Reviews
New album in stores Monday
What makes pop star Lady Gaga's many achievements -- including five Grammy Awards and sales of more than 15 million units -- especially impressive is that, up until this week, she had just one album to her name. (Technically, 2009's The Fame Monster 77 is just an EP.) Not anymore. Arriving Monday, her second studio album Born This Way already looks like a sure hit; the title track became iTunes' fastest-selling single in history when it was released earlier this year (and also has earned the ultimate mark of success: a Weird Al parody). Though a few critics are complaining about a lack of focus -- not unexpected for a lengthy record that veers from techno and pop to Springsteen and Queen -- reviews for the new album so far are generally positive.
Get a glimpse of Gaga's poker face at her official website, or watch her recent "3-Way" with Justin Timberlake and Andy Samberg.
The Hangover Part II Read Reviews
In theaters Thursday
While Warner Bros. hopes for a repeat of the original film's record-setting $467 million take, comedy fans are simply hoping that it isn't too much of the same thing. Getting an early jump on Memorial Day weekend with a Thursday release, The Hangover Part II sends returning stars Bradley Cooper, Ed Helms, and Zach Galifianakis to Bangkok, Thailand, where they once again wake up unable to remember the details of a night of debauchery. Ken Jeong and Mike Tyson also return for director Todd Phillips, though a cameo role once intended for Mel Gibson (and then Liam Neeson) is now filled by Nick Cassavetes.
The wolfpack is back at the official site.
Oprah's final episodes
Monday through Wednesday; consult your local listings
After 25 years, Oprah Winfrey is wrapping up her eponymous talk show with three truly star-studded episodes, concluding with Wednesday's grand finale. Monday's and Tuesday's installments were taped at Chicago's United Center last week in front of 20,000 fans, who were treated to appearances by the likes of Michael Jordan, Beyonce, Tom Hanks, Madonna, and Tom Cruise. What will happen on Wednesday's series-ender is still anyone's guess; we're still holding out hope that she gives everyone in America a car.
Celebrate Oprah's long goodbye at her official website.
Demolished Thoughts by Thurston Moore Read Reviews
New album in stores Tuesday
Ever-prolific Sonic Youth guitarist Thurston Moore has a great deal of solo work to his name, but hasn't released a true solo LP since 2007's Trees Outside the Academy 77. That changes with the arrival of his fourth solo album Demolished Thoughts, which was produced by Beck and recorded mostly in the latter's California studio. Don't expect Sonic Youth-style feedback excursions, though; the music here is mellow, largely acoustic, and often folky, and many tracks include strings.
Stream the entire album at NPR prior to its Tuesday release, or listen to the song "Circulation" below:
Too Big to Fail Read Reviews
Made-for-television movie debuts Monday at 9pm on HBO
HBO has assembled an impressive cast for this dramatized look at the recent financial meltdown, based on the nonfiction book by New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin. Premiering Monday, Too Big to Fail features William Hurt as treasury secretary Henry Paulson, Paul Giamatti as Fed chairman Ben Bernanke, and Edward Asner as billionaire and Dunder Mifflin applicant Warren Buffett, while Bill Pullman, Billy Crudup, Topher Grace, James Woods, Cynthia Nixon, and Tony Shalhoub also star. The film is directed by Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential), and reviews are generally strong so far, though not quite at the level of recent financial crisis documentary Inside Job.
Get bailed out at the official HBO site.
Closing the book on last week
|Weekend Box Office Champion (Estimated, U.S. only; source: Boxofficemojo.com)|
|Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides 46||$90.1 million; 1st week at #1|
|#1 Album on Billboard 200 (Source: Billboard.com/Nielsen SoundScan)|
|Adele: 21 76||8th week at #1 (4th consecutive)|
|Top-Rated Primetime Broadcast Show (Source: Nielsen)|
|American Idol [Wed] (Fox)||23.0 million viewers; week of 5/9-5/15|