CRU­CIAL CUL­TURE

Esquire (UK) - - Contents -

Our hand-picked list of the 21 es­sen­tial up­com­ing en­ter­tain­ment high­lights which you sim­ply have to em­brace — right now

TV Black Mir­ror sea­son four Like your favourite in­die band go­ing Top Ten or a cult de­signer be­ing swept up by a fash­ion con­glom­er­ate, Char­lie Brooker mov­ing Black Mir­ror from Chan­nel 4 to Net­flix (“in a $40m deal”, no less) could feel like a poke in the eye — it was ours! — but that’s surely churl­ish. The strange and won­der­ful fu­ture-shock show has only ben­e­fited from big­ger bud­gets and star­rier casts and crew: last year’s sea­son three, the first on Net­flix, was also the best. The fourth, com­ing fresh off a dou­ble Emmy win for Brooker and co-cre­ator Annabel Jones, mixes gen­res like never be­fore, in­clud­ing a Star Trek-y episode on­board the “USS Cal­lis­ter”, a crime thriller, a hor­ror and a com­edy. Direc­tors for the six new sto­ries in­clude John Hill­coat (The Road, Triple 9), Tim Van Pat­ten (Game of Thrones, The So­pra­nos) and Jodie Foster (Jodie Foster). Brooker has talked this sea­son up as be­ing the weird­est yet, teas­ing call-backs to pre­vi­ous shows. But each Black Mir­ror still works best as a snack­able stand­alone. It’s the per­fect dig­i­tal for­mat for a show ob­sessed with dig­i­tal for­mats. “I’ve been told I’ve got to watch The Good Wife, and there’s, like, 17 sea­sons of it,” Brooker says. “When is too late for me to jump in? At what point is the amount of avail­able footage go­ing to dwarf my life­span?” JD

Launches later this year on Net­flix

CINEMA Star Wars: The Last Jedi So, where were we? Ah, yes: cliffhang­ing. When last we saw Rey, hero­ine of 2015’s Star Wars: The Force Awak­ens, she was stand­ing on the edge of a windswept crag on a dim and dis­tant planet (North­ern Ire­land?), of­fer­ing a long lost lightsaber to Luke Sky­walker, her pre­de­ces­sor as the plucky out­sider kid who be­comes spear­head of re­sis­tance to the Dark Side, em­bod­ied in the early films by leath­ery dead­beat dad Darth Vader, now by tantrum-prone emo tear­away Kylo Ren. Sky­walker, played by Mark Hamill, looked rather more griz­zled, in that cliffhanger scene, than he had when last we saw him, as well he might, given that that was in 1983. (A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…) Hav­ing ceded the lime­light to other old favourites in The Force Awak­ens — as well as to the new gen Star Wars kids (Rey, Finn, Poe, all names that now trip off pre-teen tongues with the same ease that Han, Luke, Leia did back in the day) — will Luke now take cen­trestage, or is Rey, played by Daisy Ri­d­ley, per­haps, the real last Jedi? It’s more than 40 years since Ge­orge Lu­cas’s space opera opened at cin­e­mas in Amer­ica, and — in com­mer­cial terms at least — the fran­chise, as we’re obliged to call it, is more suc­cess­ful than ever. Writer-di­rec­tor Rian John­son, who steps into JJ Abrams’ moon­boots for the sec­ond in a pro­jected tril­ogy, would have been three years old when Star Wars changed the game. Now, a man pre­vi­ously best known for the 2012 sci-fi Looper has the weight of in­ter­plan­e­tary ex­pec­ta­tions, not to men­tion bil­lions in ticket sales and merch, on his rel­a­tively cal­low shoul­ders. But he also has the forces of Walt Dis­ney Stu­dios be­hind him, plus ar­guably the most beloved group of char­ac­ters in all sci-fi in front of him — and with the ex­cep­tion of Han Solo (sob) ev­ery­one else is back for more, from nasty Gen­eral Hux to nippy BB-8. We are not predicting dis­as­ter. AB Out on 14 De­cem­ber

BOOKS First Per­son by Richard Flana­gan In 1991, strug­gling Tas­ma­nian nov­el­ist Richard Flana­gan agreed to write the au­to­bi­og­ra­phy of John Friedrich, one of Aus­tralia’s great­est con­men, for a flat fee of $(Aus)10,000 that he and his preg­nant wife des­per­ately needed. To make life trick­ier, his sub­ject — who turned out to be a Ger­man na­tional called Friedrich Jo­hann Ho­hen­berger — killed him­self three weeks into the job. But was Friedrich’s death a hin­drance or a help? Did it leave the au­thor with­out the raw ma­te­ri­als he needed, or free to in­vent them? This is just one ques­tion that Flana­gan — now no longer a strug­gling nov­el­ist but the 2014 Booker Prize win­ner for The

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By Alex Bilmes, Mi­randa Collinge and Johnny Davis

Nar­row Road to the Deep North — takes on in First Per­son, a novel that fic­tion­alises his real-life ex­pe­ri­ences into a twist­ing and tor­tu­ous lock­ing of horns be­tween a writer, Kif, and con­man, Heidl, whose iden­ti­ties and fates be­come ul­ti­mately en­twined. It’s a dark, oc­ca­sion­ally de­mented book, that is as un­set­tling as it is in­spired. MC

Out on 2 Novem­ber (Chatto & Win­dus)

MU­SIC St Vin­cent, Masse­d­u­ca­tion In 2016, five al­bums into a ca­reer that had seen her grad­u­ate from tour­ing back-up mu­si­cian to in­die mu­sic press dar­ling to the first solo fe­male per­former to win a Best Al­ter­na­tive Al­bum Grammy in 20 years, the Amer­i­can singer and multi-in­stru­men­tal­ist An­nie “St Vin­cent” Clark achieved another dis­tinc­tion: she be­came a Bri­tish tabloid fix­ture. Thanks to then-girl­friend Cara Delev­ingne, the shapeshift­ing pop star was dubbed “the fe­male Bowie” by the Daily Mail, who doorstepped her fam­ily. For her part, Delev­ingne told Vogue she was in love and got a ser­pent tat­too. This is rel­e­vant be­cause the re­la­tion­ship in­forms what Clark has called a col­lec­tion of “the best songs I’d ever writ­ten” and, should you choose, you can play spot-the-su­per­model on “Young Lover”, which makes pos­si­ble ref­er­ence to a trip the two of them made to Paris, and on “Pill” on which Delev­ingne most def­i­nitely sings. Or you could just make your­self con­tent with this ex­cel­lent set of Eight­ies-in­spired tunes, from one of mu­sic’s most fas­ci­nat­ing artists. JD

Out now (Loma Vista)

THEATRE Hamil­ton It’s a mu­si­cal that com­bines hip-hop with show tunes. It’s about the Found­ing Fa­ther of Amer­ica. It’s nearly three hours long. Not feel­ing it? Then you also need to know that Hamil­ton won the Pulitzer Prize for drama, won 11 Tony awards af­ter be­ing nom­i­nated for a record-break­ing 16, and that Don­ald Trump called it “highly over­rated” — surely as good a rec­om­men­da­tion as a show could get. It is the smash hit Broad­way show of our era, tak­ing $30m be­fore it even opened in 2015 and gen­er­at­ing un­prece­dented box of­fice de­mand ever since. At one point, the se­condary ticket mar­ket had seats for $9,000. Now Hamil­ton is com­ing to Lon­don. It is, of course, long sold-out (one Esquire ed­i­tor did the hit­ting-re­dial thing the morn­ing tick­ets went on sale in Jan­uary 2017, even­tu­ally se­cur­ing a pair for Jan­uary 2018) but there are daily and weekly lot­tery tick­ets, start­ing at £20. Or there’s al­ways eBay. JD

6 De­cem­ber 2017 to 30 June 2018; hamil­ton­the­mu­si­cal.co.uk

CINEMA The Killing of a Sa­cred Deer Are you a pro­fes­sional male in early mid­dle age, with a good job, a lov­ing wife and maybe a cou­ple of kids? Do you live a priv­i­leged life in a com­fort­ably ap­pointed home? Ever done any­thing you might have cause to re­gret? Wel­come to the night­mare, in that case, of the Greek film-maker Yor­gos Lan­thi­mos’s lat­est blast of chilly black-magic re­al­ism. Fol­low­ing the suc­cess of their col­lab­o­ra­tion on The Lob­ster, the di­rec­tor’s comic-satir­i­cal English-lan­guage de­but, Lan­thi­mos re­unites here with Colin Far­rell, who plays a suc­cess­ful heart sur­geon with a beau­ti­ful oph­thal­mol­o­gist wife (Ni­cole Kid­man, ter­ri­fy­ingly good) and two ap­par­ently well-ad­justed kids. They live in a big house, drive smart cars, eat good food, wear ex­pen­sive clothes. They have a cute dog. But some­thing is wrong, some­thing un­nerv­ing, po­ten­tially even hor­ri­fy­ing, and the sins of the fa­ther — if, in­deed, he has sinned — are about to be un­leashed on his fam­ily. Lan­thi­mos, as if he were the twisted prog­eny of Michael Haneke and David Lynch, is al­most dis­tress­ingly ac­com­plished at set­ting a mood of deep fore­bod­ing and psy­cho-sex­ual angst. Like those fa­mous direc­tors, he has an aes­thetic en­tirely of his own, with weirdly blank di­a­logue de­liv­ered in ro­botic style — Far­rell is a mas­ter of this — and dis­ori­en­tat­ing cam­era work, plus dis­cor­dant mu­sic crank­ing up the dread. The Killing of a Sa­cred Deer is gru­elling and grip­ping, another strange, dis­com­fit­ing metaphor from a con­tem­po­rary fab­u­list whose films seem to as­pire to the con­di­tions of myth. AB Out on 17 Novem­ber

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