May 16, 2015

top-5-sliceLast month, I implored readers to at least sign up for a free trial of HBO Now so they could watch the doc Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief. Today, I’m going to do much the same for Oscar-nominated director Brett Morgen‘s documentary Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck. The film premiered at Sundance earlier this year where Adam called it a “celebration of creative genius and a deeply involved portrait of depression”. After making its television premiere on HBO on May 4th, it’s now available to watch on HBO’s standalone streaming service. It’s essential viewing not only for Nirvana fans but for anyone who is interested in learning more about one of the most gifted and troubled minds that Generation X has ever given us.

Montage of Heck is not an easy watch. It’s aggressive, experimental at times, deeply troubling at others, and always destined for a tragic end. By gaining unprecedented access to Cobain’s life, Morgen is able to present his story in a way that feels authentic and fully realized. There’s a moment a little over halfway into the film where Cobain’s wife, Courtney Love, remarks in a home movie how she “feels happy” while giving their daughter Frances a bath. Kurt, handling the camera, agrees with Love’s sentiment and it’s the only time in the entire doc where I got the impression that the iconic artist was truly content.  It’s a sobering moment especially when you consider that it’s coming from a guy who, at the time, is the biggest rock star in the world. Regardless of how you feel about his music, I believe you’ll come out of Montage of Heck with an appreciation for the talent, passion, raw emotion, and immense struggles that helped forge one of the most influential musicians of all-time.

Before you leave to sign up for HBO Now, let’s get to this week’s Top 5:

1. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD Coverage

mad-max-fury-road-sliceI try and make a point to ignore a film’s Rotten Tomatoes score prior to watching it for myself. At the end of the day, what really matters is how I feel about a particular movie not what the consensus opinion of it is. With all of the positive buzz surrounding Mad Max: Fury Road, though, I decided to break my own rule. At the time of print it sits at 98% with 210 out of 214 reviews being considered “fresh”. That’s pretty damn impressive no matter how you look at it and it’s killing me to wait until middle of next week to see it. I suppose that our coverage of the pic will have to suffice for now. Check out Matt’s review, Tom Hardy & Charlize Theron discussing the film during its press day, Steve’s interviews with Zoe Kravitz and Tom Hardy, and Talia’s recap of the press conference following its Cannes screening. For even more, watch cinematographer John Seale explain how the film was made and read Dave’s Mad Max retrospective reviews for the original, Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.

2. PITCH PERFECT 2 Interviews and Review

pitch-perfect-2-hailee-steinfeld-brittany-snow-anna-kendrick-alexis-knapp-rebel-wilson-slicePitch Perfect was my favorite surprise of 2012. Unsure of what to expect going in, I ended up enjoying the hell out of that movie and it proudly resides in my personal collection today. Going from having zero expectations for the original to great ones for the sequel could mean that I’m setting Pitch Perfect 2 up for failure. So be it. I’m going into this one expecting to have a great time and it’s going to take a steep decline in quality for that to not happen. For more on the much anticipated follow-up, read Matt’s review, Christina’s press day roundup with Hailee Steinfeld & Brittany Snow, Rebel Wilson, and Steve’s interviews with Anna Kendrick (part one and part two) and actor/director Elizabeth Banks.

3. New CRIMSON PEAK Trailer and Set Visit Interviews

crimson-peak-mia-wasikowska-sliceGuillermo del Toro is a master of visuals and atmospherics. While I love most everything he has done, it’s his horror work (specifically, The Devil’s Backbone) that I’m most drawn to. It should come as no surprise then that Crimson Peak is among my most anticipated films of the year and will have a fighting chance of making this list any week in which new materials are released. For this week, check out this latest trailer and Steve’s set interviews with Tom Hiddleston and Jessica Chastain.

4. Marvel Wants SELMA’s Ava DuVernay

selma-ava-duvernay-sliceAva DuVernay, the Golden Globe nominated director of Selma, is apparently being courted by Marvel. We learned this past week that the studio is interested in having DuVernay direct either Black Panther or Captain Marvel. While I’m confident that she could do great work within the MCU, I couldn’t agree more with Adam’s sentiment that he’d prefer to see DuVernay use her new found clout to help get important yet underfunded pics off of the ground instead of helming a Marvel movie that’s ultimately going to get made and make hundreds of millions at the box office with or without her.

5. Our Favorite MAD MEN Moments

mad-men-season-six-images-sliceAfter seven seasons, the 92nd and final episode of AMC’s Mad Men will air this Sunday night. In preparation for the grand finale several staff members put together a rundown of their favorite moments from the series. Obviously, spoilers abound here so proceed with caution if you’re not caught up with the show and plan on doing so. Otherwise, take a look at our favorite Mad Men moments and see how they compare with your own.

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