Jackie, Lion, Halo Wars 2, and More – The Weekend Chill

Jackie, Lion, Halo Wars 2, and More – The Weekend Chill
  • Natalie Portman stars in Jackie
  • Lion tells the story of an Indian boy
  • Halo Wars 2 supports Xbox Play Anywhere

Over the weekend, HBO released a first teaser trailer for Silicon Valley season four, which starts with the revelation that Richard Hendricks (Thomas Middleditch) is quitting. He wants them to keep the Pied Piper name, obviously. Silicon Valley returns April 23.

On Sunday, the awards season rolled on, as the WGA Awards were handed out. Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi film – Arrival – that stars Amy Adams as a professor of linguistics, won in the adapted screenplay bracket. Moonlight, meanwhile, won in the original category, even though it’s based on a play. The two film go head-to-head at the Oscars this Sunday.

On Tuesday, Marvel announced that it had found the first member of its newest superhero series: Inhumans. Iwan Rheon, who had a recurring role on Game of Thrones as Ramsay Bolton, will play Maximus. “Iwan’s ability to be charming, roguish, and still completely unexpectedly dangerous were all the different sides we needed to bring the character to life,” Jeph Loeb, head of Marvel Television, said in a statement. Marvel’s Inhumans will premiere on IMAX screens at the start of September, before moving to ABC.

Legion might have brought X-Men on TV, but Fox has another show planned involving Matt Nix (Burn Notice) and Bryan Singer (X-Men). On Wednesday, the upcoming series announced it had cast its first star – Jamie Chung (Samurai Girl), as the mutant Blink, who has the power to teleport.

In very-slightly-related news, Legion creator Noah Hawley’s other series – Fargo – will air its third season starting April 19, FX announced on Wednesday. The new season stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Ewan McGregor in a dual role. It’s set in 2010 Minnesota. There are high expectations from the series, given what we’ve seen before.

Also on Wednesday, Netflix provided a release date for its crowdfunding-supported revival of Mystery Science Theater 3000, along with a cast photo. The show’s eleventh season will be available April 14.

Martin Scorsese’s $100-million gangster film, The Irishman, that would see him reunited with frequent collaborator Robert De Niro for the first time since Casino (1995), is now headed to Netflix. Paramount was initially attached to the project, but the departure of chairman Brad Grey has changed things. The Irishman is expected to release in 2019.

American Gods, the upcoming TV series based on Neil Gaiman’s award-winning fantasy novel, has been given a premiere date by network Starz. The show will arrive April 30.

On Thursday, Warner Bros. confirmed that it had landed a new director for the standalone Batman film in the DC Extended Universe. Matt Reeves (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) has replaced Ben Affleck, who stepped down last month.

Lastly, there’s more news in the DC cinematic world. The studio is considering a spin-off Nightwing movie for its superhero slate, which already contains the likes of Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Shazam, Cyborg, Green Lantern Corps, Gotham City Sirens, Black Adam. Chris McKay, director on The Lego Batman Movie, is in talks to direct.

That’s all the entertainment news for this week. Welcome back to The Weekend Chill, your one-stop destination for what to watch, play, or listen to this weekend. Here are the best picks:

Manchester by the Sea
In director Kenneth Lonergan’s story about a man, Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck), with a troubled past, Lonergan explores the process of grieving, and the scars it can leave behind. After the death of his older brother Joe (Kyle Chandler), Lee is forced to move back to the New England town of Manchester-by-the-Sea, to reluctantly serve as the sole guardian for his 16-year-old son Patrick (Lucas Hedges).

With that, he must confront the past he ran away from, including his wife Randi (Michelle Williams), and the community he was born in. Manchester by the Sea is a truly affecting film, which delivers a poignant telling of the struggle to come to terms with a tragedy, especially when it’s forced upon you. Affleck delivers a stirring performance, which has contributed to a lot of the film’s praise.

The movie is another feather in the cap for writer-director Lonergan, who had fallen into debt after the elongated wrangle over his previous venture, Margaret (2011). Matt Damon, who was initially set to star and direct, had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts – and he pushed Lonergan to take on the project so he would get back to doing what he loved.

Manchester by the Sea is now one of the front-runners in the Best Picture race at the Oscars this Sunday, with nominations also for Lonergan, Affleck, Hedges, and Williams.

How to access: Amazon US, Amazon Video US, iTunes US, Google Play Movies, or Microsoft Store
Time commitment: 2 hours and 17 minutes

The assassination of John F. Kennedy – or JFK, as he was popularly known – remains one of the most talked about events in US history, owing to its significance, and the controversy surrounding it. In Jackie, Chilean director Pablo Larraín paints a searing and intimate portrait of the person closest to him – his wife and First Lady, then called Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy.

Natalie Portman (Black Swan) takes on the role of Jacqueline Kennedy, better known as Jackie, a beloved American public figure and full of extraordinary dignity, who struggles to preserve the legacy of her husband as she copes with grief over his death. The film shines owing to Portman’s brilliance in the moments when the character is quiet, and suffering within.

Larraín is exceptional too, as he provides equal shades of horror and sorrow, while Jackie grapples with power and controlling the narrative, right down to the “Camelot” story. The movie has been nominated for three Oscars, including Best Actress for Portman.

How to access: Out in cinema halls
Time commitment: 1 hour and 35 minutes

Based on the non-fiction book A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierley with Larry Buttrose, and written for the screen by Luke Davies, Lion tells the story of a five-year-old Indian boy who gets lost on a train, and ends up somewhere far away – Kolkata. Saroo is eventually adopted by an Australian couple, and returns to India 25 years late to find his lost family, and home.

The film is divided into two tonally-opposite halves – the first looks at the young boy, and the terror he faces after separating from his family. The second, as an adult – played by Dev Patel – focuses on his resilience, determination, and courage to find what he lost, with the help of a technology called Google Earth.

Garth Davis makes his directorial debut with the film, and even though Lion borrows from genre clichés, and feels like Oscar bait, it’s still a moving story. Lion has six nominations at the Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Patel) and Actress (Nicole Kidman).

How to access: Out in cinema halls
Time commitment: 2 hours

Hacksaw Ridge
After being given the cold shoulder by Hollywood for years, Mel Gibson’s faith-based war drama about WWII army medic Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield), seems to have gotten him back into their good graces. Going into the Oscars this Sunday, the film has six nominations – for Best Picture, Best Director (Gibson), Best Actor (Garfield), Best Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Sound Editing.

Doss was “a conscientious objector” aka someone who refused to carry a gun, let alone fire at anyone, and became a war hero after saving the lives of 75 men during the Battle of Okinawa in World War II. Upon his return, he was awarded with the Congressional Medal of Honor. Through his story, Gibson pays a tribute to faith, and the courage of sticking to one’s beliefs.

If you get the film on Blu-ray, you can look forward to some deleted scenes, a Veterans Day tribute from Gibson, and a making-of featurette.

How to access: Amazon US, Amazon Video US, iTunes US, Google Play Movies, or Microsoft Store
Time commitment: 2 hours and 19 minutes

Life, Animated
Based on journalist Ron Suskind's 2014 book, which tells the story of his son, Owen, who developed autism at a young age, lost his ability to speak, and then regained it through his love of Disney films. The inspirational story, nominated for Best Documentary (Feature) at the Oscars, and directed by Oscar-winner Roger Ross Willaims, follows that real-life tale as the Suskinds discover a unique way of communicating with their child.

Owen would only recite dialogues from Disney movies, so the family started playing the roles of those animated characters, through which they could help him connect with others. Writing in the book, Ron said that his son’s sustained, deep interest in a topic – which is generally viewed as unproductive for people with autism – was like a “pathway than prison”.

The documentary gives us a brief glimpse of that world, helped by editor David Teague, who cuts between original animated pieces and Disney movie scenes, to show us the Disneyfied psyche of Owen. Life, Animated is a heart-warming look at his journey, and delivers a fascinating message in the process.

How to access: Out in cinema halls, Amazon Video US, iTunes US, Google Play Movies, or Microsoft Store
Time commitment: 1 hour and 32 minutes

Twenty-eight years in the making, Martin Scorsese's passion project – Silence – follows two Christian missionaries, played by Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver, who travel to 17th-century Japan to find their missing mentor, played by Liam Neeson, during a time when Christianity was outlawed in the Far East. It’s based on Japanese author Shūsaku Endō’s 1966 novel of the same name.

The film offers a meditative look at spirituality and human nature, echoing with warmth. It’s not Scorsese’s best film by any imagination, but perhaps his most, well, passionate. There’s an enduring respect for the material he draws from, even if it expresses itself on the screen in an over-elongated eternally-slow fashion – over two-and-a-half-hours of length, it demands patience from the viewer.

The Academy doesn’t seem to have been overly impressed with the film, what with a lone nomination in the Best Cinematography category at the Oscars. For the devout, who can bear its boring parts, it will likely resonate.

How to access: Out in cinema halls
Time commitment: 2 hours and 41 minutes

Other mentions:
After enduring a series of disaster turn-outs since his 1999 hit The Sixth Sense, director M. Night Shyamalan seems to have finally made a movie worth watching – Split, which released Friday in India – is his highest-rated effort since. James McAvoy (X-Men: First Class) stars as a man with 23 different personalities, with another about to take over. Split also has a last-minute twist that seems to have everyone talking.

Fashion designer turned director Tom Ford brings his distinctive visual taste to Nocturnal Animals – starring Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Michael Shannon – where a wealthy art gallery owner (Adams) is haunted by a novel written by her ex-husband. Shannon is up for an Oscar this Sunday. Nocturnal Animals is available on Blu-ray, and digitally.

The fifth season of Bates Motel, a spin-off contemporary prequel to Hitchcock’s famous film Psycho (1960), began earlier this week in the US. If you’ve been keeping up with the show – this is the final season – there are two new episodes for you to watch.

Video games:
Halo Wars 2
It might follow the naming pattern of sequels, but Halo Wars 2 has the feel of a new game. If there is something similar, it’s the accessibility – plus depth for the Halo loyalists – that the original became well-known for. And there’s enough depth in both single-player and multiplayer to keep you hooked for a while.

The game’s campaign features an all-new Halo story, developed by Creative Assembly, the same people behind the Total War franchise. The story events take place on the Ark post those of Halo 5, and as the player, you have command over immense firepower to engage in massive battles, to protect UNSC and humanity in turn.

Multiplayer allows for 3 vs 3 matches, and a new mode – Blitz – is a new take on RTS gameplay, fusing Halo 5’s Warzone with Hearthstone’s cards, as we noted in our review. Halo Wars 2 won’t wow you visually, but it’s easy for newcomers, and has depth where needed.

How to access: Microsoft Store for Xbox One, or Windows 10
Time commitment: As much as you want, really

What are you planning to do this weekend at home? Tweet your suggestions to us @Gadgets360 with #WeekendChill or let us know via the comments.

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