The Week In Culture

Monday, August 29

Lil Wayne's follow-up to 2008's well-received Tha Carter IV dropped Monday morning at midnight. Drake gave it big push Sunday night, announcing it on stage at the VMAs before Wayne closed the show. We can now all begin mining for gems like this: "I'm a diamond in the rough like a baby in the trash."

The hugely popular Met Live in HD festival kicks off today, pushed back from its original start date due to Irene. The festival offers 10 days of free opera, screened in HD at Lincoln Center Plaza, from now through Sept. 5. The shows begin tonight with a screening of Gluck's "Iphigénie en Tauride," starring Susan Graham and Plácido Domingo. Go here for more information.

Wednesday, August 31

"Gainsbourg: A Heroic Life," opens in theaters today. The film, directed by Joann Sfar, chronicles the life of French singer/player Serge Gainsbourg, from childhood to the height of his fame and through to his death. Jane Birkin and Brigitte Bardot come along for the ride. Watch the trailer here and look for our review this week.

It's almost too cruel to mention it for those of us in the States, but it bears mentioning -- the Venice Film Festival opens Wednesday and runs through Sept. 10. The festival will premiere what are soon to be some of the most buzzed-about films of the year, from "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" (Colin Firth, Gary Oldman, Tom Hardy) to "A Dangerous Method," starring Viggo Mortensen as Sigmund Freud, Michael Fassbender as Carl Jung, and Keira Knightley as the mental patient Jung takes as a mistress. This is all just a tease until these films come to the States, but in the meantime, the Sundance Channel is airing coverage of the festival internationally for the first time, starting on Sept. 3, featuring interviews from the red carpet in Venice and longer specials.

Friday, September 2

"The Debt" just might be the spy thriller we've been waiting for, before "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" comes out at least. The film, directed by John Madden, is adapted from the 2007 Israeli film by the same name, "Ha-Hov." It features the best of old and new in both plot and cast -- it's filmed in two different time periods and boasts a cast of heavy-hitters and up-and-comers, from Helen Mirren and Tom Wilkinson to "Tree of Life" star Jessica Chastain and Sam Worthington, who gained recognition after "Avatar." While this doesn't guarantee the film success, we're hoping it means something good.