BIG RELEASES: Brick Mansions; The Other Woman (Friday)
BIG PICTURE: Set in a "dystopian Detroit" -- otherwise known as "the present" -- this one bills itself as a "parkour" action flick. The late Paul Walker stars as Damien, a haggard undercover cop who teams up with ex-convict Lino (David Belle) to bring down a dangerous drug kingpin (rapper RZA). Belle is the French co-founder of parkour, a training discipline in which seemingly reckless people propel themselves forward using only their bodies and their urban surroundings as leverage. They jump, swing, roll and vault over everything from rooftops to walls. Now imagine parkour practitioners being hunted by men with guns, knives, axes and chains. (You get the picture). Oh, did I mention police have built a giant containment wall around decaying urban mansions that happen to contain the city's worst criminals? You half expect Jon Snow and the wildlings to show up. Speaking of Game of Thrones, have you ever wanted to see Jaime Lannister get his comeuppance? Well, now you can! Nikolaj Coster-Waldau stars in The Other Woman as a three-timing married man about to be served a cold -- but comedic -- dish of revenge. When his three lovers become friends, he becomes a target.
FORECAST: Walker fans will line up to see him fast and furious -- though this time on two feet instead of four wheels. As for The Other Woman, The Boobs (Kate Upton), The Wife (Leslie Mann) and The Lawyer (Cameron Diaz) -- their words, not mine -- will ensure this Lannister pays his debts. They're Charlie's Angels in an Ashley Madison world.
HONOURABLE MENTION: The Quiet Ones: Where is Dr. Peter Venkman or Dr. Egon Spengler when you need them? This horror flick is about an eccentric professor who decides to lead his students in a project to "create" a poltergeist. Spoiler
BIG EVENTS: Bad Teacher (Thursday, CBS, 9:30 p.m.); Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (April 27, HBO Canada, 10 p.m.)
BIG PICTURE: Speaking of Cameron Diaz, her feature film gets a TV spinoff starring Ari Graynor as the morally bankrupt Meredith, who becomes a teacher in hopes of finding her next husband. It co-stars Kristin Davis (Sex in the City), Sara Gilbert (The Talk) and David Alan Grier (In Living Colour). Meanwhile, John Oliver is rewarded with his own weekly gig after a brilliant stint filling in for Jon Stewart as the host of The Daily Show last summer.
FORECAST: Bad Teacher's cast is promising, but is the small screen really so bereft of ideas it's already recycling movies from 2011? What's next for TV adaptation? The Hangover, Bridesmaids, We're the Millers... The Smurfs 2? Meanwhile, with Stephen Colbert set to replace David Letterman in 2015, my bet is Oliver heads back to Comedy Central to replace Colbert in the daily slot behind Stewart.
HONOURABLE MENTION: Black Box (Thursday, ABC, 10 p.m.). It's a kinder, gentler version of House. Kelly Reilly plays Dr. Catherine Black, a troubled, brilliant neurologist who hides her bipolar disorder while leading a state-of-the art neurological facility. Someone get me a fresh screenwriter, stat! The esteemed Vanessa Redgrave as Dr. Black's psychiatrist gives me hope.
BIG RELEASE TUESDAY: Eels (The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett)
BIG PICTURE: Leave it to Eels to come up with an album title that sounds like it could be part of an English lit curriculum. The California alternative band, led by multi-instrumentalist Everett, are never predictable; no two albums sound the same. Cautionary Tales is not doing to burn up any dance floors, but it's one of the most beautiful, poignant albums I've heard all year. Case in point is the poetic track, Mistakes of My Youth, in which Everett's world-weary, smoky voice utters lines like "In the final moments I hope that I know that I tried to do the best I could." Restrained instruments allow Everett's voice and cautionary, confessional tales to be the focal point.
FORECAST: Not all Eels are slippery. This one is as musically firm as they come. (For the record, other animal band names I'd like to see take off: Platypus, Komodo Dragon, Chickadee and Blue Heron.)
HONOURABLE MENTION: Justin Rutledge (Daredevil). It seems like everybody and his uncle is doing cover albums these days. Rutledge joins the fray, offering an intriguing 10-song ode to The Tragically Hip. I think artists should take this gambit one step further and record new albums written completely by a fellow artist. Dream creative pairings: Drake and U2, Taylor Swift and Arcade Fire, Ke$ha and Michael Buble, Nickelback and Miley Cyrus.