Notable new releases and events
The symbol indicates titles of unusual interest, quality, and/or critical acclaim.
After a four-year absence, the French indie-pop band Phoenix return Tuesday with Bankrupt!, their fifth album and follow-up to their superb, Grammy-winning 2009 breakthrough Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. Early reports suggest a more complex, mature, and introspective album that is slightly lighter on the radio-friendly pop hooks and a bit heavier on electronics, though don't expect anything too experimental: this is roughly the same Phoenix that you know and love.
Also out this week: Snoop Dogg finally releases his reggae debut (as Snoop Lion), Reincarnated; the album, produced in part by Diplo and Major Lazer, features collaborations with Drake, Akon, Rita Ora, and noted Rastafarian Miley Cyrus. ... Black Eyed Peas member will.i.am drops his fourth solo album #willpower, which features guests such as Britney Spears, Justin Bieber, Waka Flocka Flame, Lil Wayne, Chris Brown, David Guetta, and Diddy. ... Underworld member Karl Hyde releases his solo debut, Edgeland, which he recorded with Brian Eno collaborator Leo Abrahams. ... Kendrick Lamar, HAIM, A$AP Rocky, RZA, Father John Misty, and the one and only Michael Bolton are among the guests on Indicud, the latest from Kid Cudi. ... Recording together for the first time, Steve Martin and Edie Brickell have penned 13 original songs for Love Has Come for You, which features guests like Esperanza Spalding. ... And a 20th anniversary, triple-disc reissue of Last Splash by The Breeders, billed as LSXX, adds demos, live recordings, and several EPs.
A great deal of time (and money) has gone into the development of Star Trek (360, PS3, PC), a third-person action-adventure based on the J.J. Abrams version of the Star Trek universe that's three years in the making. The new game boasts an original storyline (involving the alien Gorn race seen in both the original series and in Enterprise) that's set between the 2009 film and the upcoming sequel, with cast members (including Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto) reprising their roles. A co-op mode allows two players to take on the roles of Kirk and Spock.
The first Michael Bay film in a decade to be intentionally comedic, Pain and Gain is based on a true story about a group of bodybuilders at a Florida gym who hatch a plan to kidnap and ransom one of the gym's wealthy customers, only to find their scheme go horribly wrong. Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, and Anthony Mackie provide the muscle, Tony Shalhoub is the unfortunate victim, and Rebel Wilson, Ed Harris, Rob Corddry, and Ken Jeong also star. The action-comedy was shot on a decidedly un-Bay-like $25 million budget.
Also opening nationwide Friday is The Big Wedding, a comedy (delayed from last fall) starring Robert De Niro and Diane Keaton as divorced parents who must pretend to be a happily married couple when their adopted son's ultraconservative biological mother arrives in town for his (presumably quite large) wedding. Also starring are Amanda Seyfried, Katherine Heigl, Robin Williams, Topher Grace, and Susan Sarandon.
In limited release, Mud is director Jeff Nichols' follow-up to Take Shelter, though reviews for the former weren't nearly as enthusiastic as they were for the latter when Mud screened at Cannes last year. The new film is a coming-of-age story set in the South and centering on a felon played by Matthew McConaughey. He’s hiding out on an island in the Mississippi River when 14-year-old Ellis (Tye Sheridan from The Tree of Life) and his best friend, Neckbone (Jacob Lofland), happen upon him. The boys eventually decide to help Mud reunite with his girlfriend Juniper, played by Reese Witherspoon. Also starring is Nichols regular Michael Shannon, plus Sam Shepard, Sarah Paulson, Ray McKinnon, and Joe Don Baker.
Also in limited release, At Any Price is the highest profile film yet from acclaimed director Ramin Bahrani (Goodbye Solo), thanks to its cast; the Iowa-set family melodrama stars Dennis Quaid, Zac Efron, Kim Dickens, and Heather Graham. ... Based on the novel by Mohsin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist is Mira Nair's (Monsoon Wedding) first feature in four years; the drama looks at how the events of September 11th impact the life of a young, law-abiding Pakistani man trying to chase the American Dream on Wall Street. ... And thriller The Numbers Station stars John Cusack as a CIA black ops agent tasked with protecting Malin Akerman, a code operator at a remote CIA encryption facility that comes under attack.
The new Sundance Channel original series Rectify (Monday at 10p) is produced by Breaking Bad's Mark Johnson and Melissa Bernstein. Booked for a six-episode run, the drama stars Aden Young as a wrongly convicted prisoner who is set free after two decades on death row and finds himself as an outsider after reuniting with his family and friends.
The Esquire Network (formerly G4TV) kicks off its rebranding effort this week with several new original series, including The Getaway (Tuesday, 10p) and Knife Fight (Tuesday, 9p). The former is an Anthony Bourdain-produced travel series that follows celebrities (Joel McHale, Aisha Tyler, Aziz Ansari) on vacation, while the latter is a cooking competition hosted by former Top Chef winner Ilan Hall.