Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/4/2016 (463 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
BIG RELEASE FRIDAY: The Huntsman: Winter’s War
BIG PICTURE: This film is the unnecessary prequel/sequel to 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman. It’s all about the famous magic mirror on the wall, which has fallen into the hands of an icy new witch who is either heartless or heartbroken (after Maleficent, I stopped keeping track). Cue the Huntsman’s (Chris Hemsworth) next big mission, pitting him against his long-lost warrior love (Jessica Chastain) and an old frenemy. That’s right. Charlize Theron returns to chew the scenery as the wicked Queen Ravenna, while Emily Blunt plays her frosty sister, Freya. Kristen Stewart’s Snow is absent this time, so the dialogue will be half as wooden. But that leaves more screen time for Hemsworth to flex his muscles and frown furiously (maybe it wards off magic or something). If you want to see a queen who brings the fire, stay tuned for Game of Thrones next Sunday. If you want to see Hemsworth muscle his way into being typecast, this is your film. (C’mon buddy, branch out. How many Thor and Huntsman sequels do you think the box office can handle?)
FORECAST: It’s The Hobbit meets Maleficent meets Thor meets... Charlize Theron’s gravy train. Choo choo! Mirror mirror on the wall, who’s the most derivative of them all?
BIG EVENTS: Game of Thrones (Sunday, HBO Canada, 9 p.m.)
BIG PICTURE: Finally, 12 months of hand-wringing and conspiracy theories about Jon Snow will mercifully come to an end. (Is he dead? Who cares? Almost everyone in the cast will likely be dead before this show’s eventual finale.) Season 6 is all about women’s rights. OK, not exactly. You can still count on the occasional topless orgy, especially now Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) is in charge of a city again. But the show’s powerful female characters will take centre stage. Daenerys Targaryen aims to win over a new Dothraki horde; Queen Regent Cersei violently reasserts her authority; Arya Stark delivers more bodies to the Many-Faced God and Arya’s sister, Sansa, will get in a playful snowball fight with the White Walkers (and readers will be furious because it wasn’t in the books). But seriously now: viewers can expect more of the Iron Islands. They’re kind of like Newfoundland, if every local was armed to the teeth, worked as a pirate and hated small talk.
FORECAST: Game of Thrones will make you thankful modern office politics aren’t resolved with real weapons.
HONOURABLE MENTION: The Night Manager (Tuesday, AMC, 9 p.m.). Dr. Gregory House is now an arms dealer? Finally, he’s doing something with his retirement. Hugh Laurie and Tom Hiddleston co-star in this six-part, contemporary adaptation of John le Carré’s 1993 spy novel.
BIG RELEASES FRIDAY: Rufus Wainwright (Take All My Loves: 9 Shakespeare Sonnets); Royal Wood (Ghost Light)
BIG PICTURE: This week’s new releases have two things in common. They’re both by Canadians, and their titles could double as titles of Game of Thrones episodes. Take All My Loves honours the 400th anniversary of the the Bard’s death by reinventing his words via a blend of pop and classical music. This adaptation of Shakespeare’s sonnets includes guest appearances by the likes of Helena Bonham Carter, Martha Wainwright, Florence Welch (minus the Machine) and William Shatner. Meanwhile, Ghost Light finds brilliant Toronto singer-songwriter Royal Wood haunting us with his melancholy musings about life. The multi-talented Wood plays 90 per cent of the album’s instruments himself, but occasionally brings in help from Cancon heavy hitters such as Bahamas and Hannah Georgas.
FORECAST: Rufus, you had me at William Shatner and Shakespeare. As for Royal Wood, Ghost Light is a musical poltergeist you won’t want to exorcise.
HONOURABLE MENTION: Guided by Voices (Please Be Honest). It’s not quite a band reunion: frontman Robert Pollard plays all the instruments on this record. He should start a new group called Guided by Voice.