On this week's must list, blockbuster movie sequels are the name of the game, with new installments of two star-studded franchises hitting theaters around the country (though the one starring Jerry Maguire may not be the best choice for budget-conscious moviegoers). Speaking of "Jerry Maguire", the soundtrack from Cameron Crowe's next film is "Hoppipola"ing into stores both physical and digital this week; on TV, meanwhile, you'll be reminded why there's no place like "Homeland" for the holidays - which, by the way, will likely be a little brighter for fans of '30s-inspired comic-book adaptations from the early 1990s who happen to own a Blu-ray player.
TUESDAY, DEC. 13:
"We Bought a Zoo" (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) [Columbia Records]
Must Factor: Featuring a half-hour of brand-new music from Sigur Ros frontman Jon Thor Birgisson, a.k.a. Jonsi, the soundtrack for Cameron Crowe's "We Bought a Zoo" starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson also includes tracks from the singer's 2010 solo debut "Go" and arrangements by Nico Muhly, who also served as the composer for this year's awards-season pariah "Margaret". Track "Gathering Stories", which plays over the film's closing credits and holds potential as a Best Original Song nominee at next year's Oscars, was co-written by Crowe, a huge fan of Sigur Ros' work who allegedly played tunes by the band (including some of Jonsi's solo work) during shooting to create the right feel for key scenes.
"We Bought a Zoo" Trailer:
"The Rocketeer: 20th Anniversary Edition" Blu-ray [Disney]
Must Factor: Joe Johnston's 1991 box-office disappointment "The Rocketeer" (which made Drew's list of "25 Movie Sequels Hollywood Should Have Made") has enjoyed a growing cult following since its original theatrical run, leading Disney to package it in a special 20th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray. While unfortunately it's a bare-bones release that boasts no special features (save for the film's original theatrical trailer), that shouldn't keep fans of the film from snatching it up just in time for the holidays.
Speaking of Joe Johnston, in case you didn't catch it before you can also check out Drew's video interview with the director for the release of "Captain America: The First Avenger" below:
FRIDAY, DEC. 16:
"Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol" [Paramount]
Must Factor: Drew calls this fourth "Mission: Impossible" entry "a great rollicking self-contained spy movie adventure on a grand scale" in his review of the film, in which Tom Cruise is back as Ethan Hunt with a great cast including Jeremy Renner, Simon Pegg, Paula Patton and Michael Nyqvist. If you'd like to check it out this week, of course, you'll need to unload a few extra bucks from your bank account (the film will play exclusively in IMAX for a full week before moving into wider release), but judging by both Drew's review and my own impressions of the film after screening two scenes at the IMAX headquarters a couple of weeks ago, this could just prove to be the best "Mission: Impossible" movie yet.
Another good incentive to see "Ghost Protocol" this week: Warner Bros. has attached a six-minute "Dark Knight Rises" prologue to all IMAX prints (you can read Drew's favorable impressions of the prologue after viewing it at an early screening here).
Clip - "Girl Fight":
Clip - "Fan Jump":
"Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" [Warner Bros.]
Must Factor: Newly-appointed "Man From U.N.C.L.E." director Guy Ritchie follows up his successful 2009 reboot of the "Sherlock Holmes" film franchise with this second installment, which almost certainly won't be up for any Oscars in the major categories (though perhaps in one or two of the technical ones) but which according to Drew is nevertheless well worth a watch thanks in large part to a stellar performance from Jared Harris as the detective's arch-nemesis Professor Moriarty. With a cast that includes returning players Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law and Rachel McAdams in addition to newcomers Harris and Noomi Rapace, overall it seems we've got the recipe for a crowd-pleasing sequel - particularly for those who were fans of the first entry.
Clip - "Timed It":
Clip - Public Place":
SUNDAY, DEC. 18:
"Homeland" [Showtime, 10 PM]
Must Factor: Recently named one of AFI's top 10 TV shows of 2011, nominated for three WGA awards and - according to our own Alan Sepinwall - "the best new show of the fall season, comedy or drama", "Homeland" starring Claire Danes and Damien Lewis airs its first-season finale on Sunday before going on hiatus prior to its Season 2 return next year. Will the Gideon Raff-created series manage to maintain the stellar quality of its first 12 episodes in subsequent seasons? Look, you've got plenty of time to worry about that next year. One thing you can count on is that the finale will most likely deliver all the character-based thrills you've come to expect from the nail-biting freshman series.
Looking to keep up on every bit of "Homeland"-related news as it comes in, including next year's Season 2 recaps? Sign up for instant alerts over at our "Homeland" fan page.
Also be sure to check out Daniel Fienberg's original review of the series here.
"Homeland" executive-producers Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon discuss Brody's (Damian Lewis) growing relationship with Carrie (Claire Danes):