With the fall TV season now upon us, there’s even more going on in pop culture than usual. Don’t stress, though, because we’ve compiled a list of 10 entertainment essentials to help you separate this week’s diamonds from its rhinestones.
1. WHAT TO WATCH AT THE CINEMA IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN A WESTERN IN A WHILE
After 1960’s The Magnificent Seven starring Steve McQueen, this is Hollywood’s second remake of revered Japanese action movie Seven Samurai. It’s no classic, but director Antoine Fuqua (Training Day, Southpaw) does a nice job of guiding his admirably diverse cast through a steady supply of gun-toting thrills and spills. Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, and Ethan Hawke star as three of the seven charismatic outlaws hired to defend an ailing village against a pack of bandits.
2. WHAT TO WATCH AT THE CINEMA IF YOU CAN’T BELIEVE A MOVIE ABOUT CHESS COULD BREAK YOUR HEART
Directed by Monsoon Wedding‘s Mira Nair, this gripping biopic tells the story of Phiona Mutesi, a girl from a Ugandan shanty town who beat the odds to become a “Woman Candidate Master” after performing skillfully at the World Chess Olympiads. Impressive newcomer Madina Nalwanga stars as Mutesi, flanked by Lupita Nyong’o as her slightly overprotective mother and Selma’s David Oyelowo as her devoted coach. Expect Queen of Katwe to rack up plenty of acting nominations come awards season.
3. WHAT TO WATCH AT HOME IF YOU’RE A SUCKER FOR SOME CAMPY FUN
For season two, Ryan Murphy‘s comedy-horror series has changed location from an upscale university to a hospital with a dark past. Teaser trailers suggest the show has retained its distinctive tone—equal parts kitsch, creepy, and tongue-in-cheek—while boosting its already excellent cast. This time, Emma Roberts‘ scheming queen bee Chanel Oberlin and Jamie Lee Curtis‘ belligerent Dean Cathy Munsch are joined by new characters played by Full House all-star John Stamos, Twilight‘s Taylor Lautner and, best of all, Cheers legend Kirstie Alley.
4. WHAT TO BINGE-WATCH FOR ITS ALWAYS INVENTIVE, TOP QUALITY STORYTELLING
Jeffrey Tambor has already won a Golden Globe and an Emmy for his quietly powerful performance as Maura Pfefferman, a father of three from Los Angeles who realizes she is transgender shortly after retiring from her job as a college professor. Season three, which launches on Amazon Prime on September 23, will feature an attention-grabbing guest appearance from Caitlyn Jenner, but this surely won’t affect the show’s well-balanced blend of melancholy, warmth and wry humor.
5. WHAT TO WATCH AT HOME FOR SMARTER-THAN-AVERAGE LAUGHS
You may think you never need to see another family sitcom again, but this ABC newbie feels a little bit different. Created by former Friends exec producer Scott Silveri, it stars the often undervalued Minnie Driver as a formidable mother of three children, one of whom happens to have cerebral palsy. Judging by the pilot episode, Silveri and his team have managed to strike a deft balance between sensitivity and silliness, making this one of the season’s most promising new comedies.
6. WHAT TO LISTEN TO IF YOU’RE STILL A LITTLE BIT WICKED
Is it mere coincidence that the two original stars of Broadway musical Wicked are both releasing new albums this Friday? Kristin Chenoweth‘s The Art of Elegance features her takes on classics from the Great American Songbook like “Let’s Fall in Love” and “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered,” while Idina Menzel‘s Idina is a “personal” collection of original songs. Both, of course, are sure to feature flawless skyscraper vocals.
7. WHAT TO LISTEN TO IF YOU ENJOY AN INVENTIVE COVER
This French rising star, one of the year’s biggest break-out artists in the U.K., has put her inimitable spin on the standout pop song from Beyoncé’s Lemonade album. Christine (whose real name is Héloïse Letissier) turns Bey’s tune into a synthy disco number complete with French lyrics in a BBC Radio 1 Live Lounge performance that’s simply magnifique. Check it out on YouTube now.
8. WHAT TO LISTEN TO IF YOU NEED A QUICK PICK-ME-UP
Their fan base remains cult-sized in the U.S., but back home in the U.K. this super-likeable electro trio are chart-toppers. “Meteorite,” a brand new song recorded for the—well look at that—Bridget Jones’s Baby soundtrack, is an uplifting pop tune with a glorious starburst of a chorus. Whack it on next time your morning coffee isn’t quite doing the trick.
9. WHICH INSTAGRAM TO FOLLOW FOR A DAILY DOSE OF SUPER-STYLISH NOSTALGIA
Launched a few months ago, this still pretty unknown account (it has just under 7,000 followers) describes itself as “an ongoing archive of adverts in print mags.” Mostly focusing on campaigns from the ’90s, it’s a fascinating time capsule from the era when Chloë Sevigny modeled for Miu Miu, Drew Barrymore was the face of Guess, and Kate Moss and Marky Mark (youngins may know him as Mark Wahlberg) posed iconically for Calvin Klein.
10. AND FINALLY, WHICH NEW WORDS TO USE IN YOUR EMAILS NOW THAT THEY’RE ALL OFFICIAL AND STUFF
As part of its latest update, the Oxford English Dictionary has added the term “gender-fluid,” which applies to anyone who doesn’t identify as a fixed sex, and “yolo,” the acronym for “you only live once” made popular by Drake. “Moobs,” a portmanteau of “man” and “boobs” which refers to prominent male breast tissue, has been added too. Obviously, that last one should be used with caution when composing a work email.Read More