Once upon a time, summer would bring a lull in the entertainment world. But not anymore, as this week’s bumper edition of On the Beat proves.
1. WHAT TO WATCH IF YOU RELISH A REAL EVENT MOVIE
As you’d expect from the director of Inception and the Dark Knight trilogy, Dunkirk doesn’t lack ambition. Here, Christopher Nolan attempts to tell the story of World War II’s pivotal Battle of Dunkirk from three different perspectives: the sea, the land, and the air. To fulfil his vision, he’s gathered a typically impressive cast including Tom Hardy, Peaky Blinders‘ Cillian Murphy, and One Direction’s Harry Styles, though it’s newcomer Fionn Whitehead who takes the lead. Opening in theaters Friday, Dunkirk could be the most hyped war movie since Saving Private Ryan.
2. WHAT TO TRY IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR A NEW FAVORITE COMEDY SHOW
When it debuted on HBO last fall, Insecure was rightly hailed as one of TV’s best new comedies. Based on Issa Rae‘s hit web series Awkward Black Girl, it follows two women in their late twenties (Rae and Yvonne Orji) as they navigate life, love, and the career ladder in L.A. Insecure definitely deserves credit for its depiction of contemporary African American life. “We’re just trying to convey that people of color are relatable,” Rae has said. “This is not a hood story. This is about regular people living life.” But it’s also a really warm and funny series that rewards regular viewing. Season two begins this Sunday, so there’s still time to binge-watch season one before the premiere.
3. WHAT TO LISTEN TO WHEN YOU’RE FEELING ELEGANT AND REFLECTIVE (OR AT LEAST, TRYING TO)
Six years after she emerged with the startling viral hit “Video Games,” Lana Del Rey has carved out a unique musical identity steeped in glamour, gloom, and doomed romance. Dropping Friday, her fifth album has already yielded the gleaming singles “Love” and “Lust for Life,” but it contains many more highlights. “Beautiful People, Beautiful Problems” teams her with Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks for a dreamy duet, “Summer Bummer” and “Groupie Love” continue her fruitful musical partnership with rapper A$AP Rocky, and “When the World Was at War We Just Kept Dancing” is as glorious as its title. Seductive stuff.
4. WHAT TO WATCH WHETHER YOU’RE A VIDEO GAME FIEND OR NOT
Debuting Monday on AMC, this British comedy-drama series pivots on a very modern premise: what happens when four relatively ordinary tech entrepreneurs suddenly make a ton of money? Based on an acclaimed Israeli series called Mesudarim, Loaded is clever, quirky, and quick-witted. “No one deserves millions for making a cat game that mums play on the toilet,” a main character admits in episode one. Tune in, laugh, and wonder how you might respond if your bank balance gained a few zeros overnight.
5. WHAT TO SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN BECAUSE IT WON’T BE THE SAME AT HOME
Directed by Luc Besson (The Fifth Element, Lucy) and based on a little-known French comic book series, this sci-fi movie opening Friday looks pretty wild. Dane DeHaan and Cara Delevingne star as 28th century special operatives tasked with protecting the human race from a mysterious dark force that’s threatening its future. In a cute bit of meta casting, Rihanna co-stars as a shape-shifting entertainer called Bubble. Some critics aren’t fully enamored with the storyline and dialogue, but everyone agrees that the visuals and action sequences are genuinely spectacular.
6. WHAT TO BINGE-WATCH IF YOU’RE PLANNING A LAZY WEEKEND
Jason Bateman is best known for his comic performances in Arrested Development and Horrible Bosses, but here he shows off his dramatic chops. Launching Friday on Netflix, Ozark is a brand new 10-parter about a corrupt financial planner (Bateman) who relocates his family to a remote part of Missouri after his dodgy dealings with a drug cartel unravel. The excellent Laura Linney co-stars as his wife, and Bateman has really earned his paycheck by directing half the episodes, too. Netflix has debuted a few disappointing new series recently, but this one certainly sounds promising.
7. WHO TO FOLLOW ON INSTAGRAM IF YOUR FEED IS FEELING A LITTLE FLAT
Sky Ferreira, a singer-actress-model from L.A., cemented her cult status with 2013’s excellent debut album Night Time, My Time. A follow-up called Masochism is due later this year, but in the meantime, she’s keeping busy with a support slot on Blondie and Garbage’s summer tour, and recent film and TV appearances in Twin Peaks and Baby Driver. She even recorded a sultry cover of the Commodores’ “Easy” for the latter’s soundtrack. Check out her Instagram for surreal humor, grungy style inspo, and a behind-the-scenes look at her various projects.
8. WHAT TO WATCH IF YOU WISH YOU WERE HITTING COMIC-CON THIS WEEKEND
If you couldn’t grab tickets for the annual pop culture extravaganza, this daily highlights show is a decent consolation prize. Each evening Thursday through Saturday, Chuck‘s Zachary Levi will be dishing up news, trailer breakdowns, and interviews live from San Diego Comic-Con. As ever, the event has attracted an appetizing line-up: movies including Blade Runner 2049, Black Panther, and Aquaman will be sending talent, while BBC America will be represented by two huge sci-fi shows: Doctor Who and Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency. Whether you consider yourself a “geek” or not, it’s sure to be a treat.
9. WHAT TO ADD TO YOUR PARTY TIME PLAYLIST
One Direction’s Liam Payne is making a savvy start to his solo career. Fresh from recruiting trendy rap trio Migos to guest on his debut single “Strip that Down,” he’s teamed up with Grammy-winning producer Zedd for a swift follow-up. “Get Low’ is an undeniable slice of summer dance-pop which seems to grow more infectious with every play. Sure, it’s hardly 2017’s most innovative chart hit, but you won’t care when it comes on shuffle at 5 p.m. on Friday afternoon.
10. WHAT TO WATCH IF YOU LOVE DISCOVERING AN UNSUNG HERO
Record executive Michael Alago may not be a household name, but he’s attained something close to legendary status in the music biz. Opening in select theaters Friday, this feature-length documentary follows his journey from humble beginnings in the Bronx to the heart of the ’80s music scene, where he partied hard and worked with artists like Nina Simone, Cyndi Lauper, and Metallica. Even if you’re no rock aficionado, this film offers an evocative snapshot of gritty, post-punk New York City nightlife.
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