Entertain Me - February
Described as “the kind of modest, miraculous low-budget gem that takes on a life of its own” by Variety, writer-director Greta Gerwig’s coming-of-age dramedy (Feb 13) received a standing ovation at the Toronto International Film Festival, and has been winning plaudits since. Following Christine ‘Lady Bird’ McPherson (Saoirse Ronan, who got the Golden Globe for Best Actress) in her last year at a Catholic high school, it details her strained relationship with her parents (Laurie Metcalf and Tracy Letts) and the turmoil of adolescence with a balance of hilarity and heartbreak. Look for Oscar to come calling!
A Fantastic Woman
Chilean director on the rise Sebastián Lelio’s follow up to 2013’s award-snaring Gloria, A Fantastic Woman (Mar 1), seems similarly destined for greatness. It boasts a searing performance (with awards buzz) from transgender actress Daniela Vega as Marina, a young transgender singer/waitress who comes under suspicion for the murder of her older lover Orlando (Francisco Reyes) after moving in with him. What follows paints a harrowing, brutal portrait, as Marina is given the broom by Orlando’s enraged and violent family. It’s a politically-charged and ultimately uplifting drama of a marginalised woman standing her ground amid myriad slings and arrows.
Brought to us by the creative team behind Spiderman: Homecoming and Horrible Bosses, new black comedy Game Night (Feb 22) sees couple Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams) get a lot more than they bargained more when Max’s brother Brooks’ (Kyle Chandler) attempt to enliven their friends group’s regular game night with a murder mystery party (complete with fake thugs and federal agents) somehow segues into – oops – an actual murder mystery. Over the course of a chaotic night, these uber-competitive but clueless suburbanites find themselves increasingly in over their heads as the lines between what’s fake and what’s all-too-real become increasingly, comically blurred; a premise that asks “What if David Fincher’s The Game starred a bunch of bumbling idiots?”
Nation of Two, Vance Joy
The Melbourne musician that hit it globally big with inescapable single ‘Riptide’ from 2013 debut EP God Loves You When You’re Dancing drops his sophomore album on February 23, and anticipation is high. The singer-songwriter was on the cover of Rolling Stone’s first issue for 2018, the album’s (artist-illustrated!) cover art is out, and the release of first single ‘Lay It On Me’ last year saw platinum level sales in his native Australia, while new single ‘We’re Going Home’ is also getting plenty of air time. The title Nation of Two describes a perfectly self-contained couple, so expect the new album to offer tales of love and longing bursting with emotion, all anchored by Vance’s masterful instrumentation and compelling vocals.
Make Way For Love, Marlon Williams
The Lyttelton lad who’s making a splash on the international music scene releases his second album this month. If you haven’t looked up this Kiwi on the rise yet, you should; with a swag of award nominations, critical acclaim, and an ever-expanding touring CV, he’s one to watch. Recorded in Northern California with backing band The Yarra Benders after pre-production in Lyttelton, the new drop’s 11 original songs promise to move him out of ‘country’ territory and into the likes of cinematic strings, reverb, rollicking guitar and quiet piano ballads.
Always Ascending, Franz Ferdinand
Hey, remember Franz Ferdinand? After their massive self-titled 2004 debut, it can’t help but feel like the Scottish rockers dropped off the radar a bit, although minor hits duly popped up off their album releases in 2005, 2007 and 2013. But it feels like a while between drinks; fortunately, they’re back with a slightly new-look line-up and fifth studio release Always Ascending. The first single and title track is already a high-rotation banger; we’re looking forward to giving the rest of it a spin.
Cage the Elephant
‘Whole Wide World’
Gary Clark Jr
Justice League Soundtrack
How Did We Get So Dark?
‘Wish I Knew You’
Men Amongst Mountains
Aotearoa: The New Zealand Story, Gavin Bishop
Acclaimed New Zealand children’s book author and illustrator Gavin Bishop explores the defining moments and people of our nation in this sumptuously illustrated volume that runs from the Big Bang through to what might happen tomorrow.
Lincoln In The Bardo, George Saunders
The 2017 Man Booker winner and debut novel of George Saunders takes inspiration from the tragic historical death of Abraham Lincoln’s 11-year-old son at the dawn of the Civil War to spin a story of familial love and loss that enters the realm of the supernatural.