The Real World: Hollywood, The Cottage and Youth Without Youth
What: 20th season of pioneering reality show.
Why: This new cast feels like a coven of cyborg replicas: Mix one part Julie, one part Trishelle and one part Coral, and you've got Kimberly! They hit their marks of class, race, laziness and booty calls like genetic mutations of seasons we've already seen. The series has become its own metasoap opera--can it show us something fresh we've never watched before? A character who's different from the ones we know? And can it ever lose the shadow of that trashy, shark-jumping Las Vegas season?
What: British comic horror movie.
Why: Can a movie successfully be scary and funny at the same time? This macabre fable mixes gore and black humor in the acidic style of Roald Dahl, right up to its memorable last moments. It spins a story of two brothers, at odds over their mother's estate, who wind up at a deserted farmhouse, along with some colorful characters, sliced feet and homicidal mayhem. Andy Serkis (Lord of the Rings' Gollum) is the nominal star, but British comedian Reece Shearsmith steals the movie as his whiny, nerdy, Kevin Spaceyesque brother.
What: Quirky time-travel drama.
Why: This Francis Ford Coppola oddity is like a highbrow Twilight Zone, with abstruse pretensions surrounding the story of an old professor, who after being struck by lightning becomes young again. On DVD, Coppola's commentary track is more compelling than the movie itself (and can be read as subtitles while the movie's playing). Coppola talks about the character and story as if they're real--a vivid insight into his absorption in his material--and explains the philosophical elements better than the film itself does.