Notable new releases and events
The symbol indicates titles of unusual interest, quality, and/or critical acclaim.
One of the most anticipated of this summer's tentpole films, Star Trek Into Darkness beams into IMAX theaters on Wednesday and opens in conventional theaters Thursday. Benedict Cumberbatch joins the large returning cast (Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, John Cho, and Anton Yelchin) as a mysterious villain who may or may not be named John Harrison and who is definitely upset enough at Starfleet that he launches a major terrorist plot which must be thwarted by the crew of the Enterprise. It is likely (though not definitely) J.J. Abrams' final voyage as captain of the Star Trek franchise before he heads to a galaxy far, far away, and early reviews suggest only a slight (if any) drop off since his first Trek film.
Talk about counterprogramming. Opening in limited release on Friday is Frances Ha, a low-budget, black-and-white comedy from noted indie director Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale). The film, co-written by and starring Greta Gerwig, arrived as a surprise on the festival circuit last fall, where critics adored it. The filmmaker and actress previously worked together on the Los Angeles-set Greenberg, but here Baumbach returns to his native New York, where Gerwig’s Frances, an apprentice dancer, fumbles through post-collegiate life as a 20-something. Girls’ Adam Driver co-stars.
Also in limited release Friday, Erased is yet another Taken-style thriller that finds an ex-CIA agent (Aaron Eckhart) caught in an international conspiracy when his wife and daughter are kidnapped. ... Katie Aselton directs and stars alongside Kate Bosworth and Lake Bell in Black Rock, a thriller (penned by Aselton's real-life husband and The League co-star, Mark Duplass) about a camping trip that turns into a fight for survival. ... Julianne Moore is The English Teacher, whose life is disrupted when a former student comes back home after failing as a playwright in New York; Craig Zisk's feature debut also features Greg Kinnear, Lily Collins, Nathan Lane, and John Hodgman. ... Director Ki-duk Kim (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter... And Spring) returns with Pieta, an intense and violent crime drama that won the Golden Lion at the 2012 Venice Film Festival.
Listen to Modern Vampires of the City in its entirety prior to its Tuesday release at iTunes.
Modern Vampires of the City is the third album of slightly strange, everything-but-the-kitchen sink indie rock from New York-based Vampire Weekend. Any fans afraid of a drop in quality after 2008's Vampire Weekend 82 and 2010's Contra 81 need not worry; the first batch of reviews suggest similar praise is in store for Modern Vampires, which was co-produced by Ariel Rechtshaid—the first time the band has worked with an outside producer.
England's Stephen Wilkinson, who records under the name Bibio, returns Tuesday with another album of pastoral electronica that incorporates his own guitar playing and vocals among the samples and synthetic instrumentation. Silver Wilkinson, his fourth Warp Records release, shows off his folkier, more organic side, veering closer to his pre-Warp debut than his recent releases. ... Also out Tuesday is Lip Lock, the first album in over a decade from Grammy winner Eve; guests include Missy Elliott, Snoop Dogg, Cobra Starship's Gabe Saporta, Miss Kitty, and Dawn Richard. ... Detroit electronic-rock duo Adult. also return after a lengthy absence (in this case, six years) with The Way Things Fall ... Acclaimed math rockers Dillinger Escape Plan release their fifth album, One of Us Is the Killer. ... And R.E.M. will reissue their 1989 album Green, which pairs a remastered version of the original with a bonus disc containing a 1989 concert.
Music fans across the pond on Monday can pick up More Light, the first album in five years from Primal Scream. While you shouldn't expect a repeat of their 2000 classic XTRMNTR, this might be the closest they've gotten in the ensuing years, and it reunites the band with two of that album's collaborators: producer David Holmes and guitarist Kevin Shields (of My Bloody Valentine). ... Also out in the UK on Monday (though it is available digitally in the US) is Re-Mit, the 30th studio album (we think; it's hard to know for sure) from The Fall.
With the networks busy announcing their 2013-14 schedules to advertisers in New York this week (look for our daily coverage beginning tomorrow morning), you won't find many new shows premiering this week. However, one longtime favorite will be saying goodbye. After nine seasons, NBC's The Office will conclude with an 75-minute series finale on Thursday at 9p, preceded by an hour-long clip show/cast reunion at 8p. The final episode will pick up at a wedding held six months after last week's episode, and is rumored to include a brief appearance by departed cast member Steve Carell. Look for reviews of the finale here on Friday morning.
Music fans have a pair of TV specials this week: This year's Billboard Music Awards air live (on the East Coast) Sunday night at 8p on ABC; scheduled performers include Prince. ... And HBO will broadcast this year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony and concert (airing Saturday at 9p), featuring performances by Heart, Randy Newman, Public Enemy, Rush, and more.
Tuesday's sole major game release is Metro: Last Light (360, PS3, PC), a sequel to the 2010 FPS Metro 2033 that retains the first game's post-apocalyptic Moscow setting and story-driven survival horror gameplay, but moves to an even more minimalist user interface with no on-screen UI elements, allowing players to fully immerse themselves in the bleak, mostly underground world of protagonist Artyom. Author Dmitry Glukhovsky, whose book Metro 2033 inspired the first game, remains a consultant, though Last Light is not based on his sequel novel. The new game will indeed be available on the PS3 (in addition to 360 and PC versions) even though its predecessor wasn't, but a once-rumored Wii U version is off the table for now. Only a few reviews are available as of press time, but they're both very positive.
Also out this week on the PS3 is Dust 514, a free-to-play, PlayStation-exclusive MMO set in the Eve Online universe. And iOS gamers can check out the free Sid Meier's Ace Patrol, a newly released strategy game from one of that genre's leading names.
Closing the book on last week
|Most Popular Title on Metacritic|
|The Great Gatsby 55||Week of 5/5-5/11|
|Weekend Box Office Champion (Estimated, U.S. only; source: Boxofficemojo.com)|
|Iron Man 3 62||$72.5 million; 2nd week at #1|
|#1 Album on Billboard 200 (Source: Billboard.com/Nielsen SoundScan)|
|Kenny Chesney: Life on a Rock 67||1st week at #1|
|Top-Rated Primetime Broadcast Show (Source: Nielsen)|
|NCIS (CBS)||18.2 million viewers; week of 4/29-5/5|