Happy Thanksgiving week! Here are 10 ways to keep yourself entertained when you’re not cooking/eating/clearing the table over the coming days.
1. WHAT TO WATCH FOR A FRESH EXPLORATION OF FEMALE SEXUALITY
Spike Lee‘s new comedy-drama series is actually a modern-day reimagining of his classic 1986 debut movie. Rising star DeWanda Wise plays Nola Darling, a woman in her twenties who struggles to balance family, friends and work commitments with romantic relationships with three different men. Lee’s concept was groundbreaking 30 years ago, and still feels bold today. “Even in bringing this [show] forward, people were like ‘We don’t need women to see that,'” Wise said recently. Launching Friday on Netflix, She’s Gotta Have It is set to become one of fall’s most talked-about shows.
2. WHAT TO LISTEN TO WHEN YOU’RE CRAVING SOMETHING DIFFERENT
If you find most contemporary electronic music a touch homogenous, Björk‘s typically inventive new album could be for you. Dropping Friday, Utopia features contributions from a twelve-piece Icelandic female flute orchestra — which Björk conducted herself — and songs which offer a unique perspective on the eternal search for love. “This is like my Tinder album,” the ingenious singer-songwriter said recently. And if that’s not interesting enough for you, Björk’s become the first artist to allow fans to pay for an album using cryptocurrency like Bitcoin. Her work can certainly be challenging, but it’s never, ever dull.
3. WHAT TO WATCH FOR A VERY HUMAN TAKE ON CUBA’S RECENT HISTORY
Directed by Emmy-winning filmmaker Jon Alpert, this feature-length doc tracks the fluctuating fortunes of Fidel Castro‘s Cuba over four decades. During this time, Alpert managed to forge a personal relationship with Castro himself, so his film benefits from some candid interviews with the controversial leader. But he’s just as concerned with the plight of ordinary Cubans as they navigate periods of austerity, prosperity and everything in between. Debuting Friday on Netflix, his film offers a fascinating insight into an island nation that’s already changing in the wake of Castro’s death last November.
4. WHAT TO WATCH FOR ITS INCREDIBLE LEAD PERFORMANCE
The darkest hour in question belongs to Winston Churchill, the formidable British Prime Minister, as he comes to power in 1940. He wants to continue fighting Hitler’s Germany, but key colleagues are keen to cut a deal. Directed by Atonement‘s Joe Wright, this is a classy period drama which injects tension into what could have been a familiar wartime story. Ben Mendelsohn, Lily James and Kristin Scott Thomas shine in supporting roles, but Darkest Hour is driven by Gary Oldman‘s terrific performance as Churchill. After this film hits theaters Wednesday, expect him to compete for Best Actor prizes throughout awards season.
5. WHAT TO TRY FOR A NEW SPIN ON SOME GOLDEN OLDIES
On a recent trio of albums, music producers Nick Patrick and Don Reedman have refreshed Elvis Presley‘s back catalog with new orchestral arrangements performed by London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Here they apply the same technique to 12 Aretha Franklin chestnuts including “Respect,” “Think,” and “I Say a Little Prayer.” To be honest, it’s probably impossible to improve on the originals, but their glossy new takes on these much-loved songs offer a welcome reminder of Franklin’s talent: the musical arrangements may have been updated, but her mighty vocals are still the main event.
6. WHAT TO BINGE WATCH IF YOU’RE PLANNING A LAZY THANKSGIVING WEEKEND
This seven-part limited series isn’t lacking in talent. Co-created by Steven Soderbergh and Scott Frank (Out of Sight, Get Shorty), it’s a western hinging on the rivalry between two outlaws played by Jeff Daniels and Jack O’Connell. As one hunts the other down, they happen upon the mysterious New Mexico town of La Belle, a place populated only by women including Downton Abbey‘s Michelle Dockery. Premiering Friday on Netflix, Godless looks like another super-buzzy hit for the streaming giant.
7. WHAT TO PLAY AS YOU HANG YOUR HOLIDAY ORNAMENTS
Bright Light Bright Light — a.k.a. Welsh singer-songwriter Rod Thomas — gets festive on his latest EP of cover songs. Dropping Friday, it features sparkly electro-pop renditions of tunes from classic Christmas movies including “Gizmo’s Theme” from Gremlins and the eternal favorite “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).” The whole EP is a seasonable treat, but the highlight is “Put a Little Love in Your Heart,” memorably featured in 1988’s Scrooged, which Thomas sings as a duet with fellow cult pop artist Nerina Pallot.
8. WHAT TO WATCH IF YOU ENJOY A BRITISH DRAMA WITH HEART
Debuting Monday on the Acorn TV streaming service, this six-part series was created by British TV veteran Kay Mellor — her past hits include Fat Friends (2000-5) with a young James Corden. Love, Lies & Records follows working mother Kate (Extras‘ Ashley Jensen) as she balances a successful career registering her local community’s births, marriages and deaths with a somewhat complicated personal life. Mellor’s best work offers a deft blend of relatable and melodramatic elements, so this well-cast series (Humans‘ Rebecca Front has a key supporting role) should be very infectious.
9. WHO TO FOLLOW ON TWITTER BECAUSE SHE’S ONE OF 2017’s BREAKOUT STARS
Earlier this month Tiffany Haddish made history when she became the first black female stand-up to host Saturday Night Live. It capped a stellar 2017 for the L.A. native, who stole just about every scene in the summer’s big comedy movie, Girls’ Trip. Follow her on Twitter now as her star continues to rise; early next year she’ll be appearing in The Last O.G., a new sitcom from Get Out director Jordan Peele, as well as Kevin Hart movie Night School.
10. WHAT TO WATCH IF YOU WERE A NICKELODEON KID GROWING UP
Thirteen years after the series wrapped, this TV movie reunites key members of the voice cast for a new story co-written by the show’s creator Craig Bartlett. The plot follows the title character as he embarks on a jungle adventure, and Nickelodeon promises it will “resolve unanswered questions and plotlines including Arnold finally getting answers about the whereabouts of his missing parents.” Debuting Thanksgiving Day, it’s a family-friendly nostalgia trip filled with Hey Arnold!‘s trademark wry, likeable humor.
What are your plans for this week?Read More