This week's must list: 'Immortals', 'Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3', 'Harry Potter'
Also: The Beatles, 'Melancholia', David Lynch, 'Saturday Night Live'
Chris Eggertsen | Monday, Nov 7, 2011 12:19 AM
Got a thing for waxed and bronzed mythological warriors?
Bound and determined to spend your holidays shooting imaginary enemies in an imaginary war with an imaginary gun?
Obsessed with owning every single Beatles song ever released?
Have a thing for being freaked out by David Lynch?
Enjoy looking at pictures of Emma Stone while listening to anthemic rock music produced by Brian Eno?
Always believed Kirsten Dunst had a great performance in her and none of your friends ever believed you and you were all like, "I'll show them someday"?
Jonesing for another "Harry Potter" fix now that the series' theatrical run has officially ended?
If you answered "yes" to any of the above questions, then boy, have we got a treat for you on this week's Must List, in which we highlight the best bets in entertainment for the week of November 7-13. Read on for the full skinny, why dont'cha.
Must Factor: In its first 24 hours of release, "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2" sold approximately 4.7 million units in the U.S. and the U.K., a number representing $310 million in revenue and making the first-person military shooter the biggest entertainment launch of all time (a record later beaten by last year's entry in the hugely-popular series, "Call of Duty: Black Ops"). Two years later gamers breathlessly await "Modern Warfare 3", the eighth "Call of Duty" game overall and perhaps the most anticipated title in the franchise yet (not to mention one of our "must play" video games this November). Exerting its almost primordial pull over the gaming community, "MW3" will no doubt to suck up endless would-be productive hours in the lives of millions of individuals across the planet this holiday season.
Must Factor: Two years before the release of the Beatles' first LP, "Please Please Me", in the UK, the group began the first of several studio sessions as the backing band for frontman Tony Sheridan under the German Polydor label. The arrangement arose after Polydor executive Bert Kaempfert discovered the group performing with Sheridan in a Hamburg nightclub, and the result was a series of rare recordings that are only now being released in a comprehensive package entitled "The Beatles with Tony Sheridan: First Recordings: 50th Anniversary Edition". The 2-CD set also comes with a special book that includes early photos of the band, handwritten autobiographies by each of them (Lennon, McCartney, recent documentary subject Harrison and original drummer Pete Best; Ringo Starr didn't officially join the band until later), signed contracts, original artwork and more. While this may not be a "must" for the casual Beatles fan, it's surely a good buy for completists.
Must Factor: Perennially aiming for weirdness and succeeding about 99.8% of the time, director David Lynch hits the oddball mark again with the release of his first solo album, fittingly titled "Crazy Clown Time". Billed as electro-pop, the LP features 14 tracks written, produced and performed by Lynch (who also provided guest vocals on the 2010 Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse release "Dark Night of the Soul" and also collaborated with Duran Duran in concert earlier this year), with one track ("Pinky's Dream") featuring guest vocals by Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman Karen O. The record has been preceded by two singles: eerie mood piece "I Know" (with a heavily Auto-tuned Lynch sounding a bit like Dennis Hopper after inhaling nitrous in "Blue Velvet") and the still-eerie but poppier "Good Day Today". Like Lynch's films, "Crazy Clown Time" certainly won't be for all tastes, but for his fans - as well as those who veer toward the more avant garde end of the spectrum - it should nevertheless provide an agreeably peculiar late-night soundtrack this winter.
Must Factor: Yes, the ads for "Immortals" make it look like "300 Redux", and no, it probably won't be up for any Oscars next year (except perhaps in two or three of the technical categories). But based on director Tarsem Singh's last two films, 2000's "The Cell" and 2006's "The Fall", "Immortals" nevertheless promises to feature a feast of visual delights that are sure to have your eyes popping even as you groan at the inevitably corny dialogue. And while there's no way the film can possibly live up to Singh's description of it as "Caravaggio meets 'Fight Club'", the sheer audacity of that concept (he claims to have conceived and shot the film in the Renaissance painting style) should at the very least result in a few interesting moments, if not a wholly-successful film (one of our 15 "can't-miss" fall movies, in case you were wondering). Of course, for those less-discerning viewers in the audience the copious amounts of sweating, groaning, yelling, swordplay, epic blood-letting and ridiculously cut physiques will surely be enough to satisfy.
Wondercon interview with Henry Cavill and Luke Evans:
Must Factor: Though it's been streaming on VOD platforms for awhile now, Lars von Trier's "Melancholia" (one of our 15 "can't miss" fall movies) is a film that demands to be seen on the big screen, with critics singling out its gorgeously-rendered visuals as the controversial director (who recently took a "vow of silence") spins a dark tale around the impending end of the world. Kirsten Dunst's performance (which could make her a dark horse candidate for next year's Best Actress Oscar) has also been winning raves, and she's supported in the film by a solid cast including Charlotte Gainsbourg, Alexander Skarsgard, Charlotte Rampling and John Hurt. Love him or hate him, von Trier is rarely a boring filmmaker, and those viewers who look for a bit more intellectualism to go along with their pretty, pretty imagery would do well to skip "Immortals" over the weekend and give this apocalyptic tale a try instead.
Must Factor: While a "Complete Collection" set featuring all eight movies comes out the same day as the stand alone "Deathly Hallows: Part 2" DVD/Blu-ray, fans would do well to hold off on shelling out the extra money and wait for a more complete box set to come around. In the meantime you can feast on the host of special features that are included on the new "Deathly Hallows" disc, including deleted scenes, featurettes including "The Goblins of Gringotts" and "The Women of Harry Potter", the interactive "Maximum Movie Mode" (also featured on previous "Harry Potter" DVD/Blu-rays) and a conversation with J.K. Rowling and Daniel Radcliffe. Sounds like a suitably deluxe treatment for the final film in a series that has grossed a jaw-dropping $7.7 billion worldwide - though rather surprisingly has never won an Academy Award. On that note, be sure to check out In Contention's look at the film's chances in both the Visual Effects and Makeup categories (not to mention all of the below-the-line categories) at next year's Oscars.
A former contributor to sites including Bloody-Disgusting and AfterElton, Eggertsen enjoys rock music, rainy days and smelling the pages of old books. You should read all of his articles and follow him on Twitter because it's the right thing to do.
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