On this week's must list, Charlize Theron and Gary Oldman return to their old stomping grounds in two very different films, while on television a pop starlet tries on comedy for size and the sun sets (at least temporarily) on Prohibition-era Atlantic City. Music-wise, we've got a posthumous set from a late, great young singer who was taken from us far too soon, while an American rock group with more than a twist of the blues drop a new-long-player that may leave you feeling like a Lonely Boy (or Girl).
TUESDAY, DEC. 6:
Must Factor: Sometimes it's still hard to believe that she's gone, this incredible talent with the voice of a thousand years of sorrow, and yet Amy Winehouse will forever live on through her music - that bruised and beautiful contralto, those nakedly confessional lyrics, the remarkable depth of feeling. "Lioness: Hidden Treasures" - which features unreleased songs and demos picked by producers Mark Ronson and Salaam Remi along with Winehouse's family - certainly won't be the final posthumous release to bear the late singer's name, but, with a talent as raw and vital as hers, it'll likely be more than worth the few bucks you'll spend on it.
You can listen to "Our Day Will Come" and "Like Smoke" - and read Katie Hasty's impressions on the tracks - by clicking here.
"Body and Soul" music video featuring Winehouse and Tony Bennett:
"El Camino", The Black Keys [Nonesuch]
Must Factor: The blues-rock duo is back with their seventh studio album, and with impressive early reviews they look primed to continue as one of the greatest - and most consistent - rock-and-roll bands working today. Their last LP "Brothers" served as their commercial breakthrough - hitting the Billboard Top 10 and selling over 800,000 copies to date - and if their plum spot on last night's "SNL" is any indicator, "El Camino" could just catapult them even higher.
You can check out the band's upcoming tour itinerary here.
Seriously, this is the official music video for first single "Lonely Boy". You can read Katie Hasty's impressions of the clip here.
FRIDAY, DEC. 9:
"Young Adult" [Paramount]
Must Factor: Director Jason Reitman's second collaboration with scribe Diablo Cody after "Juno", "Young Adult" features Charlize Theron in possibly the role she was born to play over any other: the beautiful, self-obsessed former high-school ice queen who now writes teen fiction for a living (ok, maybe not that last part). That she reportedly does it well is only further proof of that, though given the alleged irredeemability of her character she's probably a longshot for another Oscar nomination (let alone win). In fact, her rather less-statuesque costar Patton Oswalt could well be more likely to get a nod than she. And Best Picture? I wouldn't hold my breath.
Clip - "Reunion":
"Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" [Focus]
Must Factor: "[Tomas] Alfredson, who impressed highly with ['Let the] Right One In', cements himself as a world class filmmaker with a number of superb sequences that heighten the suspense without diving into a series of multiple cuts and pounding score," wrote our own Gregory Ellwood in his review of "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy", which is based on the bestselling 1974 novel by John le Carre. Indeed, the film - which stars Gary Oldman as a British spy who emerges from semi-retirement to uncover a possible Soviet mole within the MI6's ranks - may well be on its way to an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. Oldman himself may find himself getting a nod as well - which would be about time, considering the master actor has never before been nominated.
You can read another review by In Contention's Kristopher Tapley here.
SATURDAY, DEC. 10:
"Saturday Night Live" [NBC, 11:35 PM]
Must Factor: Former musical guest Katy Perry - who also previously starred in a single skit lampooning her "Sesame Street" controversy - goes whole hog on "Saturday Night Live" this week, which should give a much better indication than her last appearance whether she has a real future in comedy. Luckily the Grammy nominee won't have to pull double duty on the episode, as Robyn will be providing the evening's musical refreshment.
Love Katy Perry? Be sure to visit our fan page for the singer, where you can sign up for instant updates.
Music video for Perry's "My Week With Marilyn" mashup:
SUNDAY, DEC. 11:
"Boardwalk Empire" [HBO, 9 PM]
Must Factor: Entitled "To the Lost", the second season-finale of HBO's critically-acclaimed Prohibition-era crime series airs tonight. See how everything wraps up with the confidence that show - which our own Dan Fienberg praised earlier this season by declaring that "the depth of the ensemble cast is pretty much unparalleled this side of HBO stablemate 'Game of Thrones'" - will be returning for Season 3, though perhaps with a few less characters to carry over after tonight's finale.
If you're looking to keep up to date with everything "Boardwalk Empire", you can sign up for instant alerts - including all "BE" recaps - at our fan page.