10 Things You Need to Know This Week March 19 - 25
Whatever you're craving this week — glamour, whimsy, frights, surprises, even tears (gulp) — this week's On the Beat will provide. Here are 10 brilliant ways to keep yourself thoroughly entertained over the next seven days.
1. WHAT TO WATCH EVEN THOUGH THE STORY MAY FEEL FAMILIAR
[caption id="attachment_423248" align="alignnone" width="2000"] Trust[/caption]
Directed by Danny Boyle and written by Simon Beaufoy, the British duo who previously teamed up for Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire, this 10-part series dramatizes the notorious 1973 abduction of oil heir John Paul Getty III. It's a little unfortunate that Trust premieres just months after Ridley Scott's movie All the Money in the World, which focuses on the same incident, but the anthology format should give Boyle room to explore the story from all corners. Premiering Sunday on FX, Trust also benefits from an excellent cast led by Donald Sutherland, Hilary Swank, Brendan Fraser, and Anna Chancellor.
2. WHAT TO WATCH IF YOU APPRECIATE DRAMA WITH A LOT OF HEART
[caption id="attachment_386145" align="alignnone" width="2000"] Call the Midwife[/caption]
The popular British period drama about a group of maternity nurses working in London's then-impoverished East End returns to PSB Sunday. Season seven takes place in the early '60s and sees the sisters of Nonnatus House nursing convent face a variety of social issues heightened by the changing times. But while the new episodes don’t flinch from tackling tough storylines involving racism, alcoholism, and growing class tension, it's always the show's warmth and humanity that really shines through.
3. WHAT TO LISTEN TO WHEN YOU'RE FEELING EMOTIONAL
[caption id="attachment_375372" align="alignnone" width="2000"] Lily Allen: "Three"[/caption]
British singer-songwriter Lily Allen is known for her witty and inventive lyrics (famously, she once rhymed "weight loss" with "Kate Moss"). But her latest track succeeds because it keeps things simple and devastatingly direct. "Three" is an exploration of maternal guilt sung from the viewpoint of her three-year-old daughter. "I've been out making lots of friends, you can't play with us, 'cause you're always off on tour," Allen sings in a matter-of-fact way that's genuinely affecting. Her new album No Shame, due June, is shaping up very nicely indeed.
4. WHAT TO STREAM FOR AN EVOCATIVE INSIGHT INTO THE '80s HIP-HOP SCENE
[caption id="attachment_423242" align="alignnone" width="2000"] Roxanne, Roxanne[/caption]
This biopic co-produced by Pharrell Williams tells the story of Roxanne Shanté, one of the first really popular female MCs. Newcomer Chanté Adams is riveting as the title character, an ordinary teenager from Queens who became an underground sensation after a ferocious answer song she recorded in just a few minutes sold 250,000 copies in New York City. Premiering Friday on Netflix, Roxanne, Roxanne gives a fascinating glimpse of a gifted young woman’s battle to make something of herself with dubious "help" from a dodgy record producer (Mahershala Ali). It also brilliantly captures the giddy excitement of the burgeoning hip-hop explosion.
5. WHAT TO GO SEE THIS WEEKEND (UNLESS YOU’RE TOTALLY A CAT PERSON)
[caption id="attachment_423246" align="alignnone" width="2000"] Isle of Dogs[/caption]
Wes Anderson's second stop-motion animated movie (after 2009's charming Roald Dahl adaptation Fantastic Mr. Fox) is an original story inspired by the works of revered Japanese film-maker Akira Kurosawa. Set in a dystopian future version of Japan, it follows a young boy on a rescue mission to free his pet pooch from a grim island where dogs suffering from canine flu are being quarantined. Opening in theaters Friday, it's a typically weird and wonderful Anderson confection packed with all the director’s hallmarks: intricate visuals, lashings of whimsy, and a fabulous voice cast featuring Bryan Cranston, Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray, and even Yoko Ono.
6. WHAT TO READ IF YOU’RE INTERESTED IN HOW TV GETS MADE
[caption id="attachment_423251" align="alignnone" width="2000"] Nell Scovell: Just the Funny Parts… And a Few Hard Truths About Sneaking into the Hollywood Boys’ Club[/caption]
During her highly successful TV career, Nell Scovell has written for shows including The Simpsons, Murphy Brown, and Coach, and created '90s teen sitcom Sabrina the Teenage Witch. She made headlines in 2009 when she wrote a lightning rod essay for Vanity Fair magazine calling Late Night with David Letterman, which she also wrote for, a "hostile work environment" for women. Published Tuesday, this memoir offers a frank and no-holds-barred account of how she made it in such a tough, male-dominated industry. But as you'd expect given her resume, there are plenty of jokes along the way, too.
7. WHAT TO TRY IF YOUR WEEK'S FEELING A BIT DRAB AND STANDARD
[caption id="attachment_423255" align="alignnone" width="2000"] RuPaul's Drag Race[/caption]
RuPaul's Emmy-winning reality competition, which challenges 14 talented drag queens to prove their singing, dancing, lip-syncing, comedy, and fashion skills, returns to VH1 Wednesday. Now in its 10th season, it's a show that's grown slicker with every year and on name alone, the new crop of contestants looks super-promising. Really, who can resist a drag queen named Kalorie Karbdashian-Williams or Monét X Change? Special guest judges including Shania Twain, Lena Dunham, and Courtney Love will bring added star power across the season.
8. WHAT TO BINGE-WATCH WHEN YOU'RE IN THE MOOD TO BE SPOOKED
[caption id="attachment_423259" align="alignnone" width="2000"] Requiem[/caption]
Set in the bleakly beautiful Welsh countryside, this six-part British horror series is super creepy from the get-go. Star Trek Beyond's Lydia Wilson plays Matilda, an award-winning London cellist convinced her mother's shocking suicide is connected to the disappearance of a young girl in Wales 20 years earlier. Debuting Friday on Netflix, Requiem has a few heavy-handed moments borrowed from the horror movie hall of fame, but the slick plotting still keeps you close to the edge of your seat. Game of Thrones' Tara Fitzgerald and Downton Abbey's Brendan Coyle round off a strong ensemble cast.
9. WHAT TO PLAY IF YOUR LOVE LIFE FEELS KINDA COMPLICATED RIGHT NOW
[caption id="attachment_423260" align="alignnone" width="2000"] Years & Years: "Sanctify"[/caption]
London three-piece group Years & Years made a terrific first impression with 2015's Communion, an emotionally literate collection of super-contemporary electro-pop. This comeback single, the first taster from their follow-up album, sees the Brits seek out dark new territory. Inspired by R&B-flavored early noughties hits like Britney Spears' "I'm a Slave 4 U," "Sanctify" is a sleekly seductive number about falling for someone who's afraid show their true colors. "You'll find redemption when all this is through," frontman Olly Alexander sings on the bridge, using religious imagery to illustrate romantic love in a way that recalls classic Madonna.
10. AND FINALLY, WHAT TO GO SEE IF YOU HAVE A SOFT SPOT FOR A SCHLOCKY HORROR FLICK
[caption id="attachment_423263" align="alignnone" width="2000"] Unsane[/caption]
The latest film from maverick director Steven Soderbergh (Erin Brockovich, Magic Mike) is an intentionally trashy psychological horror movie shot on an iPhone. The Crown's Claire Foy plays against type as a woman who accidentally ends up in a mental asylum after being reduced to a nervous wreck by her stalker ex-boyfriend. Unsane is about as subtle as its clunky title, and definitely descends into silliness at the end, but it's worth trying for some deliciously tense moments and a compelling central performance from Foy.
What are your plans for this week?