AMC is going to be airing the entire first season of "Mad Men" back-to-back-to .. well you get the idea on July 26 to prepare for the very welcome start of season two July 27 (wow .. new TV in the summer that doesn't involve someone doing a face-plant into a giant rubber ball!)
If you can't wait that long, and I certainly can't, you can pick up the seriously great first season now on DVD, making it easily my pick of the week.
The two things that set "Mad Men" apart from anything else on TV now are the writing and the simply first-rate acting. Creator Matthew Weiner and his writers don't just embrace the world it's set in, the "golden age" of Madison Avenue advertising in the early '60s, they revel in it. The term political correctness wouldn't be invented for another 30 years or so, so "Mad Men" gleefully dives into all the -isms you can think of and soaks them all in a vat of gin.
And the actors, from Emmy winner Don Draper (ad executive Jon Hamm) on down, just embrace the spirit of the era. The ladies of "Mad Men," especially Elisabeth Moss and January Jones, often outshine the hard-charging dudes around them. I can't recommend this one highly enough, just in case you couldn't tell! There are, however, a few other picks out there this week too, one I've seen and two I will very soon ...
City of Men
This one is not so much a sequel to "City of God" (often listed as my favorite movie of all time, if I'm forced to choose), but more as a follow-up to the great Brazilian "City of Men" TV series.
That series has been out on DVD for a while now, and is very well worth a rental. The movie that's out this week, produced but not directed by "City of God" helmer Fernando Meirelles, focuses on two friends growing in the rather rough world of Rio de Janeiro. With their eighteenth birthdays fast approaching, Laranjinha (Darlan Cunha) sets out to find the father he never met while Acerola (Douglas Silva) struggles to raise his own son.
I haven't seen this one yet, but the series that preceded it is just epicly good television, so the movie's coming this weekend from the Netflix.
Tyler Perry's Meet The Browns
The rather prolific Tyler Perry was clearly coasting a bit with this one, but it still has its charms, mostly due to the always-welcome Angela Bassett. Here she plays a single mom suffering through really tough times in Chicago when she's called to Georgia for the funeral of the father she never met. At that point it turns into mostly a showcase for two of Perry's favorite stage performers, David and Tamela Mann, and - of course - Bassett finds love in the arms of former Laker Rick Fox (this is a Tyler Perry movie, after all, so I'm really not giving too much away here!) And, be warned, Madea does indeed turn up at the end of this one.
My Blueberry Nights
For his journey to America, Chinese director Wong Kar Wai - who has created some lushly beautiful movies in his homeland - surrounds himself with plenty of beautiful people.
Norah Jones, Natalie Portman, Rachel Weisz, Jude Law and even Cat Power (Chan Marshall) are along for the ride in this American road flick that (as far as I can tell) is all about love. The reviews I saw for this were mixed at best, but I've loved the few Wong flicks I've managed to see thus far, so this one's definitely on my rental list too.
And that's it for today. If you happen to go see "Hancock," please let me know what you thought. I'm gonna see it tomorrow morning, but my hopes aren't terribly high. Peace out.