Entering 2013, we have retired our weekly 6 Picks column and replaced it with this slightly more expansive weekly report. Our editors' selections of releases of particular interest and/or quality are marked with the symbol (but we cannot guarantee that there will be six of them each week).
In a week in which the Academy Award nominations will be announced (Thursday morning at 8:30p ET), the best picture frontrunner—and best-reviewed movie of the year—will get a nationwide rollout. After screening in just a handful of cinemas over the past few weeks, Kathryn Bigelow's hunt for Osama bin Laden drama Zero Dark Thirty finally opens wide this Friday, and it's easily the best film arriving in theaters this weekend. Expect Oscar nominations for Bigelow, screenwriter Mark Boal, and star Jessica Chastain as well.
Also opening Friday is the long-delayed period crime drama Gangster Squad, which doesn't exactly have great buzz behind it, though it does have a nice cast that includes Ryan Gosling, Josh Brolin, Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, and Emma Stone; Ruben Fleischer (Zombieland) directs. The only other major release this week is the horror parody A Haunted House, but the track record on such films isn't exactly encouraging, and we don't expect reviews to be available prior to the film's release. Trailers for each of this week's releases are below:
Tuesday's key DVD/Blu-ray releases include Tim Burton's Frankenweenie 74 and comic book adaptation Dredd 59, while the indie thriller Compliance 68 showcases the work of actress Ann Dowd, who is being mentioned as a potential Oscar nominee. View our full DVD/Blu-ray Calendar for additional releases.
In recent years, January has proven to be nearly as busy as September in terms of TV premieres, and this week has so many new and returning shows debuting that your best bet is to check our TV Premiere Calendar for a complete list of the week's programs. That said, there are several programs worth highlighting here.
The acclaimed and riveting true-crime miniseries The Staircase, about the murder trial of author Michael Peterson, will be rebroadcast on Sundance, with weekly installments on Mondays at 10p beginning tomorrow night. The miniseries concludes in March with the premiere of two brand-new installments updating the recent developments in the case. You can watch the entire first episode online.
One of the top scripted crime dramas on cable in recent years, the Timothy Olyphant-starring Justified (Tuesday at 10p on FX) returns for its fourth season this week, with Patton Oswalt guesting. On the comedy side of things, a pair of female-centric HBO half hours—one, a runaway success; the other, a little-seen, all-but-forgotten gem—kick off their sophomore seasons on Sunday night. The second season of the Emmy-nominated Girls (Sunday at 9p on HBO) features an array of guest stars ranging from Donald Glover to Patrick Wilson, while Mike White's Enlightened (Sunday at 9:30p on HBO), starring Laura Dern as a woman undergoing a spiritual and professional mid-life crisis, will feature more workplace intrigue this season and the arrival of new cast members Molly Shannon and Dermot Mulroney.
Also airing Sunday is a live broadcast of the 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards (8p ET/5p PT on NBC). First-time hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are reason enough to tune in to what is usually one of the more lively awards ceremonies (alcohol is served, after all), even if the awards themselves don't always make a whole lot of sense. Review this year's nominations before watching the show.
It's such a busy week that we didn't even have time to mention the return of ABC Family's Bunheads, the TBS debut of Cougar Town, the new Cinemax drama Banshee, IFC's animated Out There, or Showtime's Sunday night lineup of Shameless, House of Lies, and Californication. Check that premiere calendar, as well as our complete Midseason TV Preview for more information. And don't forget to let us know what you think of tonight's Downton Abbey season 3 premiere.
As is common for early January, the week ahead brings relatively few new music releases. Of note this week is the soundtrack for the British indie thriller Berberian Sound Studio by the English electronic-rock band Broadcast. Broadcast's terrific lead vocalist Trish Keenan died in 2011, which means that Berberian Sound Studio (out Tuesday on Warp Records) includes her final contributions to the band's work. The album is streaming at NPR prior to its release.
There's only one major game release this week, and, unfortunately, early reviews suggest it isn't a great one. Anarchy Reigns (out Tuesday for PS3 and 360; trailer below) is a fighting game with various online multiplayer modes from Bayonetta developer Platinum Games. (If you are looking for something a bit more promising, check back later in the week for our 2013 Gaming Preview.) iOS gamers may also be interested in Hundreds, a new minimalist puzzle game released a few days ago to a generally positive reception.
Closing the book on last week
|Most Popular Title on Metacritic|
|Django Unchained 80||Week of 12/30-1/5|
|Weekend Box Office Champion (Estimated, U.S. only; source: Boxofficemojo.com)|
|Texas Chainsaw 3D 33||$23.0 million; 1st week at #1|
|#1 Album on Billboard 200 (Source: Billboard.com/Nielsen SoundScan)|
|Taylor Swift: Red 77||7th week at #1 (4th consecutive)|
|Top-Rated Primetime Broadcast Show (Source: Nielsen)|
|Sunday Night Football (NBC)||30.3 million viewers; week of 12/24-12/30|