If you read the words I put onto this little website, then you know that I am a Game of Thrones fan. It was about the time my daughter was born that the HBO series came out. I watched a few episodes then decided the story was so dense I really needed to read the books. I put the show on pause and read the first couple of books then returned to the series. I managed to read ahead of the show, but now things have reversed and the show has caught up to the books and then some. Season 7 goes beyond the words author George R. R. Martin has written (though he remains an executive producer and undoubtedly, he keeps the writer’s room abreast with where he wants the story to go).
Truth be told, the way my memory works I forget details of things not long after I consume them. I’ve never been one who spent a lot of time fretting over where the series has differed from the books. I’m content to let them be their own thing. It was quite exciting to watch Season 7 unfold not having any idea where things might go. Mostly, they got it right. Game of Thrones has always been about spectacle (and blood, and sex, and characters) and Season 7 for sure delivered the spectacle. I’ll not spoil anything for anybody who hasn’t watched yet, but boy, did it deliver the goods.
And so for the third time since I started writing this column Game of Thrones is my Pick of the Week.
Also out this week that looks interesting:
Kingsman: The Golden Circle: I can’t imagine anyone thought Colin “Mr. Darcy” Firth would wind up being a great action star, but he more then proved himself in Kingsman: The Secret Service. That film's stylish violence and sly take on the spy genre became a surprise hit. I wasn’t quite as taken with it as many others seems to have been but it was still a fun time at the cinema. This sequel came out with quite a bit of fanfare and then died pretty quickly and quietly.
Detroit: Kathryn Bigelow’s documentary-style take on the 1967 riots in Detroit garnered a lot of critical praise but failed at the box office. It didn’t even show anywhere near me so I’m excited to catch it on home video.
The Complete Monterrey Pop Festival (Criterion Collection): D.A. Pennebaker’s seminal documentary about one of the greatest musical festivals to ever exist gets a Criterion upgrade. It comes with three films: Monterey Pop, Jimi Plays Monterey, and Shake! Otis at Monterey plus new interviews with Pennebaker, and archival ones with Pete Townshend, audio commentary plus a 72-page booklet featuring essays and photos. Besides the aforementioned new extras, it's also got a new 4K transfer.
Election (Criterion Collection): Alexander Payne’s wonderful satire about a high-school election gets added to the collection. It stars Reese Witherspoon as a perky student running for class president and Matthew Broderick as the teacher who both lusts after her and deplores her in equal measure.
General Idi Amin Dada: A Self Portrait (Criterion Collection): If music and Reese Witherspoon don’t float your Criterion boat, then maybe this intimate documentary about Uganda’s dictator will.
The Trip to Spain: Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are once again on the road. This time it's Spain where they eat, drink, and laugh along the way.
Pulp (Arrow Video): Michael Caine and Mickey Rooney star in this comedy thriller about a washed-up, pulp-fiction writer who takes a gig ghostwriting the autobiography of a larger-than-life movie star who is friends with real-life gangsters.
Home Again: It's Reese Witherspoon’s week for new releases as she stars in this romantic comedy about a single mom who lets three young guys move in with her.