From The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent to Grace and Frankie: a complete guide to this week’s entertainment | Culture
Going out: Cinema
The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent
Strap on your metafiction goggles as Nicolas Cage plays fading star Nick Cage in a postmodern spoof of the kinds of action adventures that made his name. Tiffany Haddish is also along for the ride as the CIA agent recruiting the fictionalised version of Cage in a mission to save his loved ones and hopefully career too.
Young actor Anamaria Vartolomei anchors a tough but rewarding film from Audrey Diwan, set in 1960s France, where schoolgirls are encouraged by peers to embrace the freedom of counterculture permissiveness – but then face nightmarish consequences as their choices come into conflict with mainstream society. Plus ça change!
Giuseppe Tornatore, director of Cinema Paradiso, returns with an epic documentary celebrating the life of the much-loved spaghetti western composer Ennio Morricone, who died in 2020, and whose distinctive and endlessly referenced film scores will be intimately familiar even if you’ve never watched a Sergio Leone western in your life.
From Lord of the Flies to Grange Hill, the casual cruelty of kids has been well documented. Having scooped best debut at the London film festival, this Belgian feature arrives garlanded with critical plaudits. It’s a tense, taut addition to the mini-genre of childhood brutality dramas, realised with sensitivity and verve. Catherine Bray
Going out: Gigs
23 April to 1 May; tour starts Manchester
After a string of attitude-heavy, critically lauded pop songs since arriving in 2018, 24-year-old, London-born singer-songwriter Muller landed a bona fide smash with last year’s disco-tinged US hit, Better Days. This UK tour should act as the perfect victory lap ahead of new music. Michael Cragg
23 to 25 April; tour starts Glasgow
Despite OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder still being one of the most sought-after pop songwriters and producers (recent credits include Lil Nas X and Justin Bieber), he’s not giving up on his pop-rock project any time soon. This tour of not-quite-arenas is in support of last year’s fifth album, Human. MC
Cheltenham jazz festival
Montpellier Gardens/various venues, Cheltenham, 27 April to 2 May
The popular festival makes its comeback with a glitzy six-day event including vocal stars Gregory Porter, Jamie Cullum and Emeli Sandé, a 70-strong Guy Barker orchestra, saxophonists Nubya Garcia and Iain Ballamy and US trumpeter Dave Douglas, Mobo-winning drummer Moses Boyd. John Fordham
Birmingham Rep, 28 to 30 April
Ten years in the planning, Michael Zev Gordon’s opera receives its premiere under the auspices of Barber Opera and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. It reveals the “contemporary psychological heart” of the myth of Daedalus and Icarus, and “how parental expectation and aspiration risk doing harm to our children”. Andrew Clements
Going out: Stage
Royal Exchange, Manchester, to 14 May
Winner of new writing award the Bruntwood prize, Tim Foley’s sparky comedy is set in a monastery where dwindling numbers and a distinct lack of divine inspiration threaten closure. Could a council-funded robot-nun be the answer? Miriam Gillinson
For Black Boys Who Have Considered Suicide When the Hue Gets Too Heavy
Royal Court, London, to 30 April
It’s your last chance to catch Ryan Calais Cameron’s dazzling play about six young Black men who meet for group therapy and let their hearts and imaginations run wild. Really wild. MG
to 30 April; tour starts Glasgow
Some comedians feed off the discomfort of their audiences, but Maria Bamford manages to discuss profoundly dark topics (mental illness and, more recently, her mother’s death) in a disarmingly warm and surreally silly way – an approach that has made the standup a cult sensation and critical darling across the pond. Rachel Aroesti
Let’s Dance International Frontiers
Various venues, Leicester, 29 April to 8 May
Leicester’s annual festival of dance from the African and African-Caribbean diaspora, with a track record of bringing lesser-known artists to the UK. This year’s programme includes New York’s Ballet Hispánico, who have been celebrating Latinx culture for 50 years but are only now making their debut on an English stage. Lyndsey Winship
Going out: Art
For the Record
The Photographers’ Gallery, London, to 12 June
Album covers are an art form in their own right and photographers have created unforgettable ones, including that of Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti. This exhibition ranges from jazz photography, such as the covers Francis Wolff shot for Blue Note, to complex album designs by Hipgnosis for Pink Floyd, as well as arty covers by Cindy Sherman and Nan Goldin.
Carl Freedman Gallery, Margate, 24 April to 19 June
The most viscerally truthful artist of our time shows new self-portraits and sculptures that meditate on illness and mortality. Emin’s courageous, unblinking analysis of her own life gives her work a seriousness and humanity that breaks out of art-world fashion to touch your heart, in Margate where she started.
Rhododendrons: Riddle, Obsession, Threat
Inverleith House, Edinburgh, to 5 June
This celebrated genus of shrub is explored by contemporary artists including Turner winner Simon Starling alongside Victorian botanical art and scientific photographs. Edinburgh botanists were at the forefront of understanding these plants; now experts have worked with artists Stefanie Posavec and Ray Interactive on a digital work about rhododendrons and biodiversity.
Serpentine South Gallery, London, to 4 September
If you’ve ever dreamed of an alien lover, this exhibition about extraterrestrial amours may be your thing. On the other hand, Gonzalez-Foerster is more a creator of spectacular fragments of pop culture and enigmatically allusive installations than sci-fi erotica, so don’t get overexcited: it’s conceptual art from Venus. Jonathan Jones
Staying in: Streaming
Grace and Frankie
29 April, Netflix
Netflix is a notoriously fickle mistress, which makes it especially heartening that the streamer’s longest-running show revolves around two women in their 70s. Now the charming comedy-drama, starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, returns for the final part of its seventh and last season.
10pm, 25 April, BBC Three and iPlayer
Following People Just Do Nothing’s 2018 finale, the gang behind the brilliant mockumentary series seemed to go to ground. Really, they were working on a slew of new comedies: hot on the heels of The Curse comes this Steve Stamp-penned sitcom, starring Allan Mustafa (AKA MC Grindah) as a personal trainer suddenly spooked by his superficial lifestyle.
29 April, Apple TV+
This twisty serial killer mystery – based on Lauren Beukes’s high-concept 2013 novel – stars Elisabeth Moss as a Chicago woman left scarred in bizarre ways by a gruesome attempt on her life by a man (Jamie Bell) who is somehow able to stalk his victims through time and space.
Rob & Romesh Vs
9pm, 28 April, Now TV
Admittedly, the “comedians trying new things” genre is by now a bloated one, but you don’t get funnier novice-guides than Rob Beckett and Romesh Ranganathan. The pair return for a fourth round of their knockabout show, with this series’ challenges involving strongman competitions and restaurant management. Rachel Aroesti
Staying in: Games
King Arthur: Knight’s Tale
Out 26 April, PC, PS5, Xbox
An undead King Arthur and Sir Mordred clash in this horror-tinged RPG, a kind of gothic sequel to the medieval legend.
Trolley Problem, Inc
Out now, PC
Based on the titular moral quandary, this game has you making ethical decisions in hypothetical scenarios, and then compares your answers with those of the rest of the world. Keza MacDonald
Staying in: Albums
Spiritualized – Everything Was Beautiful
Spiritualized’s Jason Pierce used the “beautiful solitude” of lockdown to make sense of the complicated mixes needed to nail his band’s ninth album. Featuring string and brass sections, choirs, and chimes from the Whitechapel Bell Foundry, it’s a typically heady concoction.
Bonnie Raitt – Just Like That …
Six years after the release of Dig in Deep, 72-year-old roots legend Raitt returns with her 18th album. The bluesy lead single Made Up Mind is joined by the Al Anderson-penned Something’s Got a Hold of My Heart, a song Raitt had in her back pocket for 30 years.
Fontaines DC – Skinty Fia
The Grammy-nominated Irish post-punkers release their third album in three years. Written in Dublin during the pandemic, before recording took place during late-night sessions in London, its often doom-laden songs explore Irishness in England. The title is an Irish substitute for a swearword, FYI.
Hatchie – Giving the World Away
Australian singer-songwriter Harriette Pilbeam (Hatchie is her family nickname) returns with her second album mixing featherlight dream-pop and gauzy shoegaze. Co-created alongside producer Jorge Elbrecht (Sky Ferreira), highlights Quicksand and Lights On evoke 1980s indie movie soundtracks, all swollen emotions and chest-clutching dramatics. Michael Cragg
Staying in: Brain food
They Call Me Magic
A factual companion of sorts to the current Sky Atlantic series Winning Time, on the rise of the Lakers basketball team in the 1980s. This documentary recounts the life of its star player, Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
Ones & Tooze
Economic historian Adam Tooze has been one of the key commentators on the chaos of recent years, and this podcast sees him apply his typically verbose analysis to data points that explain the week’s headlines.
The National Archives Blog
More than just a resource for academics, the National Archives is home to more than 1,000 years of significant UK national documents. Its blog regularly expands on a key selection, from citizen research projects to rare manuscripts. Ammar Kalia