On Sunday, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige revealed in an interview that the Spider-Man: Homecoming sequel will see its web slinging star travel beyond New York. There’s a narrative reason to it, which will be shaped by the events of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4. The Spider-Man sequel is slated for July 2019, two months after Avengers 4.
On Monday, Sony released a full-length trailer for its Spider-Man spin-off Venom, starring Tom Hardy, Riz Ahmed, Michelle Williams, and Jenny Slate. It gives a proper look at the character and a bit too much of the plot. Releasing October 5, Venom will share the world of Spider-Man: Homecoming, but not the bigger Marvel universe.
On Wednesday, Deadline reported that Harrison Ford, Patton Oswalt, and Tiffany Haddish were joining the voice cast of The Secret Life of Pets 2. While Ford and Haddish will play new pets, Oswalt will replace Louis C.K. from the original, owing to his sexual misconduct scandal.
On Thursday, Variety brought word that S.J. Clarkson – who has a background in TV, having helmed episodes of The Defenders, Jessica Jones, and Orange is the New Black – had been picked to direct Star Trek 4. The film is a sequel to the ongoing Trek film series, and separate from Quentin Tarantino's in-development Trek idea. Star Trek 4 will revolve around James T. Kirk (Chris Pine) and his dead father George Kirk (Chris Hemsworth).
That’s all the entertainment news for this week. Welcome back to The Weekend Chill, your one-stop destination for what to watch, play, or listen to this weekend. Here are the best picks:
The Handmaid’s Tale
The best drama of 2017, based on Canadian author Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel of the same name, returned earlier this week, picking up where it left Offred (Elisabeth Moss) in the back of a van. With much of the book’s plot covered in the first year, The Handmaid’s Tale season 2 expands the world of Gilead, going beyond New England to the radiation-filled Colonies.
It’s why Emily (Alexis Bledel) has been upgraded to main cast this season, along with new recurring additions in Bradley Whitford and Sydney Sweeney, and guest appearances from Marisa Tomei, Cherry Jones, and Clea DuVall. The second season follows Offred’s pregnancy as she struggles to find a way out of Gilead, while showing us snippets of those who have escaped to Canada.
Despite running out of Atwood’s written word, Hulu’s original – from creator, showrunner, and executive producer Bruce Miller – continues to one of the best shows in recent memory, thanks to terrific performances from a star cast, its mastery of visual language, and the powerful themes it deals with. It’s not always an easy watch, and some parts are acutely distressing, but it’s well worth it.
How to access: Hulu
Time commitment: 2 hours first week, 1 hour weekly thereafter
To describe FX’s adult spy animated sitcom to a newcomer, it’s best to borrow creator Adam Reed’s words: it’s like James Bond meets Arrested Development. For eight zany seasons, the show has followed a bunch of obnoxious misfits, all of whom have their own quirks and idiosyncrasies. But rarely any have operated in those roles in recent seasons, with Reed twisting the show’s formula.
From Archer Vice in season 5, noir-like Dreamland in season 8, it’s now Danger Island in season 9, which still takes place inside the titular spy’s unconscious mind. The lead Sterling is a seaplane pilot on the South Pacific island of Mitimotu in 1939, alongside Pam as his co-pilot and loyal sidekick. Archer’s mom is a bar owner, Cheryl is an heiress named Charlotte, Cyril becomes a Nazi officer, and Dr. Krieger voices a parrot? It’s Archer.
There aren’t many reviews. Indiewire’s Ben Travers called it “the same terrific spoof it’s always been” while The A.V. Club’s Alex McLevy pointed out some problems, one being “where an interrupted sexual assault is played for laughs”.
Avengers: Infinity War
Six years after his first appearance in a credits scene, Thanos (Josh Brolin) is ready to take on the heroes himself. To stop him, everyone from the Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Revengers (Thor and his friends), and the rest – Doctor Strange, Spider-Man, and Black Panther – will have to come together, which gives Infinity War one of the largest recognisable casts you’ll ever see in a film.
The premise, for those who care, involves Thanos going after the Infinity Stones, those glowing rocks that have been hinted, mentioned or talked about in several Marvel movies. Of the six, five are known, and are either being guarded by a planet, in the care of a powerful individual, or literally embedded in their forehead (that’s Vision). The latter is hence a prime candidate on the list of those who will die fighting Thanos.
Most critics, including us, are pleased with Avengers: Infinity War, which had a big task on its hand in every way and manages to hit most of its targets. Thanos is actually a credible villain, the film has a lot of laughs despite its heavy narrative, and deftly incorporates all the superheroes while keeping a handle on its story. "Best of all, it has what Marvel seemed scared of for a decade: stakes," this critic wrote in his review.
How to access: Out in cinema halls
Time commitment: 2 hours and 29 minutes
The sequel to the 2014 CGI-bear hit finds the titular bear now happily settled with the Brown family, and popular among the local community. In order to purchase a unique pop-up book of London for his Aunt Lucy’s 100th birthday, he performs several odd jobs and saves his wages, but the book is stolen, and Paddington is falsely accused of the crime.
Now it’s up to the Browns and Paddington to find out the real thief, who’s played by new cast member Hugh Grant. Returning cast members include Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins as the Brown elders, and Ben Whishaw as the voice of Paddington, alongside Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, and Peter Capaldi. Paul King returns in the role of writer and director.
Having grossed $224 million during its theatrical run, Paddington 2 has also been universally praised by critics. Wall Street Journal’s Joe Morgenstern called the film “The Godfather Part II of Peruvian bear movies, a sequel that surpasses the superb original”, while The New Yorker’s Anthony Lane liked how gags “planted early in the film wait for more than an hour before they bloom”.
The third season of Quantico, starring Priyanka Chopra, began on Thursday in the US. In India, it will air every Saturday 9pm on Star World.
This year’s Oscar for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water, is now available for purchase on Google Play Movies in India. Meanwhile, Rani Mukerji’s comeback film, Hichki, which released just a month ago in theatres, has already arrived on iTunes in India.
Over in the streaming department, Netflix’s biggest additions this week include the animated Aladdin, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs; four Pirates of the Caribbean movies, and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. There’s also a new original: a documentary called Bobby Kennedy for President. Check out our April guide for more options.
Set in an alternative timeline springing in 1886, where heavy snowstorms and frost led to global starvation and death of millions, the only way to survive the overwhelming cold is the use of steam-powered technology. You, the player, are the leader of a group who found a heat generator, and then used it to power a city.
Frostpunk is essentially a city-building survival game with a steampunk spin, from the same folks who made Anomaly: Warzone Earth and This War of Mine. You’ll also have to make laws, including whether child labour should be legal. The game has been well-received by critics, with PCGamer’s Christopher Livingston calling it “a stressful, stylish, and addictive survival management game filled with incredibly difficult choices”.
Writing for GameSpot, Daniel Starkey said: “Frostpunk is among the best overall takes on the survival city builder to date. Its theming and consistency create a powerful narrative through line that binds your actions around the struggle to hold onto humanity in uncertain times. Hope is a qualified good, but you may not always be strong enough (or clever enough) to shelter that flame from the cold.”
How to access: Steam for PC
Time commitment: As much as you want, really
Primal Heart by Kimbra
The New Zealand-born Grammy-winning artist released her third full-length album last Friday, after releasing five singles between September and March. The album has an additional seven songs, and features contributions from the likes of Natasha Bedingfield, John Congleton, ex-Rhye's Robin Hannibal, Jaga Jazzist's Lars Horntveth, and Skrillex.
Primal Heart has been well-received by critics. Writing for NME, Hannah Mylrea said: “Throughout she offers up rich, swirling instrumentals and intricate musical landscapes, crunchy chord progressions and twinkling chromaticism complemented by her confident, warm vocals.”
AllMusic’s Heather Phares termed it “a consistently winning album” and added: “Primal Heart finds Kimbra hitting the sweet spot between imagination and accessibility -- if her nods to the mainstream get more ears pointed her way, so much the better.”