Loving is the Pick of the Week

This week brings us an Oscar nominee, another release of Dirty Dancing, Trolls, psychedelic horror, and much more.
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I first noticed Ruth Negga on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. where she played Raina, a villain who was working for the mysterious Centipede Group before becoming a spiky headed Inhuman.  She was a striking presence but honestly didn’t make that much of an impression on me.  After watching her in Preacher, I realize just how poorly used in S.H.I.E.L.D. as she is magnetic in that show.  After watching the first season, I put a mental peg in her name as someone to always watch.  

It seems I wasn’t the only one as she’s getting all kind of accolades for her performance in Loving, based on the true story of Richard and Mildred Loving who found themselves in the middle of a landmark Supreme Court case in the mid-'60s. The couple, he being white, her black, got married in Virginia and ran up against that state's anti-miscegenation laws.  As the country's views on race changed in the 1960s, an opportunity arose to use the Lovings in a case to destroy those laws.  They won, of course, making race-based marriage restrictions illegal all over the country.

Reviews indicate that rather than making Loving another typical courtroom drama, director Jeff Nichols has instead made a heartfelt film about the relationship between Richard (Joel Edgerton) and Mildred (Ruth Negga) and the impact that this case and every day racism has on their lives.  It's received a lot of critical praise and Negga's performance has been nominated for an Academy Award.

I can’t wait to watch it.

Also out this week that looks interesting:

The Take:  Originally titled Bastille Day but given this generic title for American audiences who presumably don’t know anything about the French holiday, The Take stars Idris Elba a CIA operative out to stop a group of terrorists from attacking France.

The 9th Life of Louis Drax:  French horror director Alexandre Aja helmed this supernatural thriller starring Jamie Dorman, Oliver Platt, Molly Parker, and Aaron Paul.  It's about a young boy whose life has been filled with mysterious accidents and dark coincidences, and the investigation into why those things happen.  Or something.  All of the plot descriptions I’ve read make it sound overly complicated and impossible to describe succinctly.  The reviews have not been great but I like the director and those actors so it's going on my list.

Vice Principals: The Complete First Season:  Danny McBride and Walton Goggins star in this HBO comedy about a couple of high school vice principals fighting to become the principal.

Penny Dreadful: The Complete Series:  I just started watching this Showtime series from Sam Mendes.  It weaves together all sorts of classic literary characters such as Dr. Frankenstein and Dorian Grey plus lots of vampires and other monsters.  The first few episodes are a bit of a mess story-wise but there is a lot of potential in its set-up and characters.  This collection simply combines the show’s three single-season sets into one larger package.

Dirty Dancing: 30th Anniversary Collector’s Edition:  This is the fourth time Dirty Dancing has been released on Blu-ray.  This edition includes the same transfer as the last one, but ports in some new features including a half-hour retrospective, and short interviews with Patrick Swayze (obviously not a new interview but it's new to any home video set) and Eleanor Bergstein.  Plus two commentaries, featurettes, and some deleted scenes/outtakes.  If you already own this, you’ll want to do your own comparisons to see if it's worth the double (or triple, or quadruple) dip.

Trolls:  Anna Kendrick, James Corden, Justin Timberlake, Russell Brand, and Gwen Stefani all star in this "based upon a stupid-looking toy" animated film about cupcake pooping trolls who must top a giant from destroying their fun.

Antibirth:  A tripped-out horror film that stars Natasha Lyonne as an alcoholic druggie who, after a long night’s partying, thinks she’s become pregnant though she’s not had sex in months.  Reviews have been very mixed, but I’m digging its psychedelic vibe.

Frank & Lola:  Michael Shannon and Imogen Poots star in this neo-noir about love, sex, and revenge in Las Vegas.  You can read my full review.

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