What to watch and play this week

A Separation

Last year's best movie comes to home video this week ­— the perfect medium for Iranian director Asghar Farhadi's excellent divorce drama. But don't let the words "divorce drama" deceive you; A Separation aims way bigger than it lets on. Simin (Leila Hatami) wants to leave Iran so that her preteen daughter can live a less constricting life; Nader (Peyman Moadi) wants to stay to take care of his Alzheimer's-stricken father. One thing leads to another, and soon Nader is accused of killing a hired help's unborn baby. That's just part of this winding tale told with multiple viewpoints and genuine suspense. Not much is resolved in the end, as lives are broken apart piece by piece. Farhadi — who frames the film more tightly than any other that came out in 2011 — doesn't take sides: Everyone is right, and everyone is wrong. Movies don't get any more real than that.

The Hunger Games

One of the year's biggest and best movies comes to home video this week, so if you're wondering what the big deal is with this futuristic world where kid vs. kid in a survival death match, here's your chance to find out. There are more than three hours' worth of extras; the best of them explore the differences between the movie and the book, if you're into that sorta thing. If not, sit back and lose yourself in the fantasy.

Celeste and Jesse Forever

Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg play childhood friends who married six years ago and are now about to get divorced. Only thing, they're still the best of friends, laughing, joking, and getting along way better than most married couples do. So what's up? The always-reliable Jones also co-wrote the script, which is way smarter than your usual romantic comedy. The movie opens Friday at the Cedar Lee Theatre.


Jack Black plays a small-town funeral director who cozies up to and then kills local bitch Shirley MacLaine in Richard Linklater's latest movie, a dark comedy based on a true story. Black has rarely been this human onscreen, and it's nice to have Linklater back focusing on narrative rather than style. Having some of the real-life townsfolk comment on the action is an inspired touch. It's out on home video this week.

Turn Me On, Dammit!

A 15-year-old girl from Norway gets all horned up by practically everyone she meets. So she spends her days masturbating and thinking about getting it on with some dude in the church choir. It's basically a coming-of-age story that plays out a lot like your typical hormone-fueled teenager's average day. Norwegian wood, indeed. The Cinematheque is showing the movie at 9:15 p.m. on Friday and at 7:20 p.m. on Saturday.

Good Will Hunting: 15th Anniversary Edition

Let's count this movie's achievements: Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were crowned Hollywood's Golden Boys after they wrote and starred in the 1997 Oscar winner. It's the most accessible movie of director Gus Van Sant's career. And even Robin Williams — who plays a psychologist guiding Damon's troubled math genius through life — turns down the Robin Williams stuff. The new Blu-ray includes a recent get-together from cast and crew.

The Adventures of Tintin Season Three

It's a shame that this animated TV series from Canada never got much of a chance in the U.S. It certainly gets way closer to Hergé's original groundbreaking comics than the big-screen version Steven Spielberg directed last year. The third and final season of the '90s show comes to home video this week, gathering 13 episodes, almost all of them two-part stories that build plot, characters, and a sense of danger around every corner.

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More by Michael Gallucci


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