Photo Credit: FX Networks
On Monday, a report from Variety said that Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins would return for the sequel, after finalising a deal with Warner Bros. She had already been at work on the script with DC film head Geoff Johns, and added Dave Callaham as an additional writer on Wednesday. Wonder Woman 2 is slated for December 13, 2019.
A day later, Disney announced J.J. Abrams as the new director for Star Wars: Episode IX. That marks his return to the trilogy that he started with The Force Awakens in 2015. As before, Abrams will co-write the film too, this time with new hire Chris Terrio (Batman v Superman, Justice League). At the same time, Disney also pushed the film’s release by seven months, to December 20, 2019.
On Wednesday, actor Daniel Dae Kim confirmed that he had joined the cast of the Hellboy reboot, replacing Ed Skrein in the role Skrein voluntarily stepped away from, owing to the character’s Asian-American origins. “I applaud the producers and, in particular, Ed Skrein for championing the notion that Asian characters should be played by Asian or Asian American actors,” Kim told THR.
The next day, artist and Hellboy creator Mike Mignola revealed the first look of David Harbour (Stranger Things) as the new Hellboy on Twitter, and Lionsgate provided a release date for the film soon after: January 11, 2019. Apart from Kim and Harbour, it also stars Ian McShane, Milla Jovovich, and Sasha Lane.
On Thursday, Warner Bros. released the second of three Blade Runner 2049 prequel shorts. Directed by Luke Scott, as was the earlier one, it’s called 2048: Nowhere to Run, and it introduces Sapper, the character played by Guardians of the Galaxy star Dave Bautista. Blade Runner 2049 is out October 6.
Lastly, HBO programming president Casey Bloys revealed that Game of Thrones will shoot multiple versions of its series finale, to avoid the chance of any potential spoilers leaking from the set. “You have to do that on a long show,” Bloys told The Morning Call. “Because when you’re shooting something, people know. So they’re going to shoot multiple versions so that there’s no real definitive answer until the end.”
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:
One of the best shows from last year returned this week, and it’s even better according to most reviews. Pamela Adlon plays a semi-fictionalised version of herself, a divorced mom raising three kids by herself full time, while still trying to maintain her acting career on the side. In a change of pace, Adlon also directed all 10 episodes of the new season.
The beauty of Better Things lies in its brutally honest and real portrayal of what parenting is like, as Adlon – living yards away from her mother, played by Celia Imrie – wonderfully expresses the joys, frustrations, and challenges of being a single parent. At the same time, thanks to Adlon being the chief writer, it’s much better at writing female characters.
In her review of season 2, Variety’s Maureen Ryan said: “The masterstroke of Better Things is that it ignores 98% of what mainstream television has told us about how families operate and how grown women relate to the world.” Simply put, you owe it to yourself to get on board if you haven’t seen a single episode yet.
The partnership of Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson has been missing from our screens for a while now, with the third season airing all the way back in February last year. The fourth season, delayed from its August slot, began this week by jumping into the past (2011, to be precise), to show us how the two leads met for the first time.
The fourth season, which will run for 10 episodes through the first week of December, will see both Abbi and Ilana go through new jobs, take a trip to Florida, celebrate their Friendiversary, receive a visit from Abbi's mom, and trip on psychedelic mushrooms. At San Diego Comic-Con, Jacobson said the latter episode will “blow your mind”.
As always, Broad City will have guest appearances, this season from the likes of Steve Buscemi, Sandra Bernhard, RuPaul Charles, Greta Lee, Jane Curtin, Fran Drescher, Susie Essman, Alysia Reiner, Wanda Sykes, and Shania Twain. Most reviewers are loving what they’ve seen of season 4, noting its tackling of serious topics along the way too.
Premiered at Cannes last year, where it picked up the FIPRESCI prize, but better remembered as "the cannibal film that caused some people to faint" at Toronto International Film Festival, Raw is a French-Belgian horror drama written and directed by Julia Ducournau, this being the first big project for the 33-year-old Parisian.
Raw tells the story of Justine (Garance Marillier), who belongs to a family of veterinarians and vegetarians. At sixteen, she enrols in a veterinary school herself (she’s a brilliant student), and she finds herself in a decadent and dangerously seductive world. Like any other teenager, Justine is desperate to fit in and she abandons her family principles to eat raw meat.
You can probably guess where the film goes from there, but that doesn’t make it any easier to watch. Don’t have any food around when you’re watching. The film has received praise from most corners, with some critics comparing it to the work of directors David Cronenberg and Dario Argento.
La La Land
Damien Chazelle’s follow-up to triple Oscar-winner Whiplash won six Oscars for itself back in February, but it’ll be remembered for being involved in a historic mix-up at the awards ceremony, that saw it crowned as Best Picture for about, 45 seconds. It’s still one of the best movies from last year, nonetheless.
La La Land – starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone – tells the story of barista and aspiring actress Mia Dolan (Stone) and struggling jazz pianist Sebastian Wilder (Gosling) who meet and fall in love in Los Angeles. Chazelle explores the fantasy and charm of Los Angeles through the two characters, while they try to find the balance between their personal and professional lives.
The film shines thanks to Gosling and Stone’s on-screen chemistry – the latter’s work won her the Oscar for Best Actress – Chazelle’s smart direction, and its many musical numbers. Yes, the film is a musical – and both Gosling and Stone learnt tap dancing amongst other skills for the movie.
How to access: Amazon Prime Video
Time commitment: 2 hours and 8 minutes
James Cameron’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day, considered as one of the greatest action films of all-time, is getting a 3D re-release in theatres. Check local listings to see if it’s available near you.
If you’re looking for more streaming options, Netflix has a new true-crime satire series called American Vandal. It follows an investigation into the expulsion of a high-school senior for allegedly spraying phallic images on the cars of teachers. Also check out our Netflix guide to September.
On the home media front, Nat Geo’s documentary on Syria and ISIS – Hell on Earth: The Fall of Syria and the Rise of ISIS – made from nearly 1,00 hours of footage is now available on Amazon Video US, Google Play Movies, iTunes US, and YouTube.
Pro Evolution Soccer 2018
Just like last year, the newest iteration of Konami’s football sim – Pro Evolution Soccer 2018 – is here a couple of weeks before its biggest rival, FIFA 18, hits. In terms of additions, PES 2018 brings Real Touch+ that allows the full player body to control the ball, alongside Strategic Dribbling that allows you to fine-tune how you travel with the ball.
Set pieces have been reworked too, and the guide that made it easy to score is now gone. PES 2018 has a dedicated co-op mode that allows for 2v2 and 3v3 matches, with support for local guests. You can play co-op in a variety of ways, including myClub and PES League. The bigger news for PC players is that the game is finally on par with its console counterparts, visually speaking.
Most reviews have been kind to the game, noting better play speed, player likenesses, improved goal-keepers, while pointing out the hectic nature of pace and defensive pressure. We’ll have our review out shortly, so keep an eye out for that.
Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition
Originally developed for last-gen consoles, plus the Nintendo Wii U, and PC in 2013, and then released on PS4 and Xbox One in 2014, Rayman Legends stands as the one of the best Rayman games of all-time. And this week, Ubisoft brought it to the Nintendo Switch, as Rayman Legends: Definitive Edition.
Taking place after Rayman Origins, the quartet of Rayman, Globox, Murfy, and the Teensies travel through several mythical worlds in Legends, each of them beginning after they are sucked into a ‘legendary’ painting. Now, you must run, jump, solve puzzles and fight your way through each world to save the captured Teensies.
As with other versions, Rayman Legends supports up to four players in local co-op on the Switch. Plus, you can compete with friends in the game’s own football mini-game, Kung Foot, over local wireless multiplayer. Reviews are great for the new version.
How to access: Nintendo Switch
Time commitment: 9 hours and 30 minutes
Metroid: Samus Returns
Twenty-six years after Nintendo released Metroid II: Return of Samus for the original Game Boy, it has brought a reimagining of it to the Nintendo 3DS. It retains the story and structure of the original – the protagonist, legendary bounty hunter Samus Aran has been sent by the Galactic Federation to kill all the parasitic Metroids – but brings new visuals, gameplay, and controls.
Nintendo says it has been rebuilt from the ground up, with Samus given new moves and abilities – she can now perform a melee counterattack, and fire at any angle – that will help her face the surprises that await on the Metroids’ home planet of SR388. The game also has Amiibo support, which help you unlock reserve tanks and a Metroid Marker.
Metroid: Samus Returns is a great introduction to the side-scrolling action platformer Metroid franchise. And for the diehard fans, there’s a special edition that includes a physical copy, a sound-selection CD with 25 tracks from the franchise, and a reversible title-sheet.
How to access: Nintendo 3DS
Time commitment: 5+ hours
Sleep Well Beast by The National
Four years on from their previous work, New York-based indie rock outfit The National released their seventh album Sleep Well Beast last week, following the four singles – The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness, Guilty Party, Carin at the Liquor Store, and Day I Die – in the preceding months.
With a total of 12 tracks running just under an hour, Sleep Well Beast - produced by band member and multi-instrumentalist Aaron Dessner – is an exploration of marriages falling apart. In an interview with Rolling Stone, lead singer Matt Beringer said the process of writing the lyrics was full of struggles, but it was ultimately good for his own marriage.
The album has received universal acclaim from critics, with The New York Times saying it’s “just as polished and even more intricate” than their last album in 2013, Trouble Will Find Me; and AV Club noting it brings “fresh nuance” to the sound of “simmering melancholy”.