Sure, the air is getting colder and clothing stores are filling up with hats, gloves, and scarves. But look on the bright side: it’s the perfect excuse to spend more time indoors watching films and TV shows, reading books, and listening to music. Here’s our pick of the week’s new releases.
1. WHAT TO WATCH EVEN IF YOU ALREADY KNOW WHO DID IT
Arriving in theaters Friday, Kenneth Branagh‘s Agatha Christie adaptation has lots to live up to: a previous 1974 movie of this classic murder mystery story racked up six Oscar nominations. As well as directing, Branagh stars as elegant Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, and he’s assembled a magnificent cast of suspects. Seriously, can you resist a film that gives showy supporting roles to Penélope Cruz, Daisy Ridley, Johnny Depp, Olivia Colman, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Dame Judi Dench? Thought not.
2. WHAT TO TRY IF YOU LIKE A GRITTY BRITISH DRAMA
After airing in the U.K. last year, season three of this excellent BBC crime drama arrives on the Acorn TV streaming service today. The six-part series follows a group of British officers led by DC Kate Fleming (This is England‘s Vicky McClure) as they investigate the allegedly corrupt actions of a colleague played by Daniel Mays (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Vera Drake). Like previous Line of Duty seasons, it’s gripping, intricate, and impossible to predict right up to the final episode. Don’t be surprised to find yourself binge-watching the whole thing over two of three evenings.
3. WHAT TO LISTEN TO SO YOU CAN JOIN THE ONLINE CONVERSATION
On the one hand, Taylor Swift‘s sixth album is one of the year’s most anticipated releases — her last effort, 2014’s 1989, was a modern pop classic that bagged a couple Grammys. But on the other, public opinion towards Swift has cooled somewhat in recent years, and the songs she’s trailing Reputation with — such as clunky lead single “Look What You Made Me Do” — aren’t her finest offerings. It would be foolish to write off a songwriter this talented, though, and Reputation will definitely be a major talking point when it drops Friday.
4. WHAT TO WATCH WHEN YOU FANCY SOMETHING PUNCHY
Don’t overlook this film because of its unusual title. Opening in select theaters Friday, it’s a brilliant dark comedy driven by an intense Frances McDormand performance that’s already building Oscar buzz. She plays the grief-stricken mother of a teenage girl who was brutally murdered by a man who hasn’t been caught. Frustrated by what she perceives as a lack of effort from the popular local sheriff (Woody Harrelson), she pays for three billboard ads calling out the cops’ inactivity, a move which inflames her small town community. Written and directed by Martin McDonagh, who previously made the excellent In Bruges, this is a bold and big-hearted film that really sticks in the mind.
5. WHAT TO READ FOR LAUGHS AND MAYBE A FEW TEARS
This book’s title playfully reflects the fact that Jenifer Lewis has played a lot of screen matriarchs over the years, in films such as The Preacher’s Wife and What’s Love Got to Do with It? and more recently on TV’s Black-ish. Her memoir offers plenty of career anecdotes, but doesn’t shy away from discussing tough stuff such as her battles with mental illness and sex addiction. Published Tuesday, it offers an honest and often very funny insight into the life of an enduringly popular actress.
6. WHAT TO STREAM IF YOU APPRECIATE A COMEDY THAT TAKES RISKS
When it debuted last year, Maria Bamford‘s Netflix comedy series won plenty of praise for its originality; based on Bamford’s own life experiences, it blended humorous insights into the L.A. entertainment industry with a candid depiction of living with bipolar disorder. Launching this Friday, season two will find Bamford’s character entering into a new romantic relationship as she lands a job with tech CEO Elon Musk. If it’s half as fearless and insightful as season one, Lady Dynamite will definitely be worth watching.
7. WHAT TO LISTEN TO NEXT TIME YOU HIT THE GYM OR TAKE A BRISK WALK
Since she dropped 2015’s Revival, an album which thoroughly earned its title, Selena Gomez hasn’t made a musical misstep. Her latest single is a collaboration with enigmatic electronic artist Marshmello, who wears a face-obscuring helmet when he’s performing and keeps his identity a secret. After beginning with gentle beats and elegant guitar sounds, “Wolves” builds toward an anthemic and ethereal chorus that Gomez seems to relish singing. It’s definitely one to play on repeat.
8. WHAT TO WATCH IF YOU ENJOY DISCOVERING NEW FILMMAKING TALENT
Previously titled Dara Ju, this promising debut feature from writer-director Anthony Onah opens in select theaters Friday. Sense8‘s Aml Ameen, seen above, plays a super-driven Nigerian-American Wall Street trader whose life begins to unravel after he’s caught insider dealing. The Price tries to pack a lot into its 90-minute runtime, but though it sometimes feels rushed, Onah succeeds in painting a revealing portrait of the ways race, class, and opportunity intersect in modern-day America. He’s certainly a filmmaker to keep an eye on.
9. WHAT TO LISTEN TO WHEN YOU’RE FEELING EMOTIONAL
U.K. electro group Clean Bandit scored a big stateside hit last year with “Rockabye,” a socially conscious slab of tropical pop. Their new song, a collaboration with Iowa-born singer-songwriter Julia Michaels, sounds like another smash. Underpinned by wistful strings and cool loping beats, it’s a sad break-up song filled with memorable imagery. “I know you didn’t call your parents and tell them that we ended,” Michaels sings mournfully on the first verse. It’s difficult to make music that sounds intimate and chart-friendly, but Clean Bandit and Julia Michaels have managed it here.
10. WHAT TO WATCH IF YOU GREW UP READING MUSIC MAGAZINES
Rolling Stone magazine celebrates its 50th birthday this week, and HBO is marking the milestone with this two-part documentary airing Monday and Tuesday. It’s an in-depth effort which reflects Rolling Stone‘s rich history of documenting political and social change as well as providing an informed perspective on pop music. So alongside performances from legendary artists like Tina Turner and Bruce Springsteen, we’ll also hear previously unheard excerpts from the magazine’s interview with then-President Bill Clinton. If you have a deep interest in American pop culture, this should be a real treat.
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