From The Card Counter to Diana Ross: a complete guide to this week’s entertainment

Whether it is Vegas gamblers, Peruvian art treasures or one-off jazz collaborations you’re after, our critics have your plans for the week covered

Sat 6 Nov 2021

The Card Counter
Out now
Oscar Isaac (pictured, above) burns up the screen in the role of a former Guantánamo Bay detention camp guard now making a living as a top-tier professional gambler in Las Vegas, in a muscular and unflinching character study scripted and directed by Paul Schrader, the man who wrote Taxi Driver.

Spencer
Out now
If you have ever idly wondered what The Crown mixed with Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining might feel like, look no further than director Pablo Larraín’s gloriously unhinged vision of Christmas 1991 at Sandringham, which gives us Kristen Stewart’s Diana versus the gloomy spectres of her in-laws, in a chilling battle royal.

Bull
Out now
Stylishly made, better acted and more violent than most low-budget revenge thrillers, Bull boasts can’t-look-away performances from Neil Maskell and David Hayman, as brutal stab-happy hard men from the wrong side of the tracks, and proves that British genre film-making of the Get Carter ilk is very much alive and well.

Eternals
Out now
This is a truly rich week of cinema releases aimed at adult audiences (see above), but if you need something more family friendly, look no further than Marvel’s latest, directed by Chloé Zhao, in which Sprite, Kingo, Ajak and several other ancient alien superheroes must save the planet from the Deviants. Catherine Bray

Pitchfork music festival
Wed to 14 Nov; various London venues
The music website’s inaugural London festival offers up a 10.0 lineup, featuring a smörgåsbord of 50 sonically adventurous artists over five days. Pop experimentalists Hannah Diamond and Namasenda headline a PC Music label showcase, while the likes of Stereolab, Iceage, Remi Wolf (pictured, above) and Nilüfer Yanya appear across the city in a multi-venue takeover.

Glass Animals
Mon to 27 Nov; tour starts Glasgow
The Oxford alt-pop quartet head out on a celebratory jaunt basking in the slow-burn success of their hallucinatory track Heat Waves. Originally released last June as parent album Dreamland’s fourth single, it recently sashayed its way into the UK Top 5. Expect the roof to come off these mid-sized venues when it drops. Michael Cragg

Takács Quartet
Sat to 11 Nov; tour starts Sage Gateshead
The world’s greatest string quartet make their first visit to the UK with their new lineup (viola player Richard O’Neill joined the group last June). Their repertoire for this tour consists of quartets by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Smetana, Janáček and Dutilleux. Andrew Clements

Archie Shepp & Jason Moran
Barbican Hall, EC2, Fri
Prominent among 20-plus genre-hopping gigs on the opening night of the city-wide, 10-day London jazz festival, the seminal saxophonist Shepp and star pianist-composer Moran will share inspirations from Duke Ellington to Thelonious Monk and beyond for the London premiere of their Let My People Go partnership. John Fordham

The Drop
55 Aldgate High Street, EC3, to 31 Dec
Swamp Motel theatre company dazzled during lockdown with its ingenious trilogy of dramatic online thrillers, Isklander. Now it ventures back into the real world with an immersive show for a maximum of four spectators. An invaluable book is missing and it is down to the plucky participants to plunge into the criminal underworld to track it down.

A Christmas Carol: A Ghost Story
Nottingham Playhouse, to 20 Nov; Alexandra Palace, N22, 26 Nov to 9 Jan
Christmas is coming early in Nottingham with Mark Gatiss’s brand new adaptation of Dickens’s festive classic. Gatiss will play the sullen spectre Jacob Marley alongside Nicholas Farrell as Scrooge. Filled with spine-tingling special effects, this is Scrooge’s story given a supernatural spin. The show transfers to Alexandra Palace on 26 November for a Christmas run. Miriam Gillinson

Samskara
The Yard theatre, E9, Mon to 26 Nov
Multitalented Lanre Malaolu is a dancer, actor, director, choreographer, film-maker and one-time Hollyoaks star, and the theatre works he makes are just as multifaceted. Inspired by real stories, Samskara uses hip-hop dance, spoken word and physical theatre to examine Black masculinity in 21st-century Britain across four generations. Lyndsey Winship

Bridget Christie
South Street, Reading, Thur; touring to 18 Dec
Having made her name dismantling ridiculously sexist ephemera (see: her Edinburgh comedy award-winning show, A Bic for Her), Christie is now taking on another scourge of women worldwide: the menopause. She’s not alone: her show Who Am I? is proof that the needlessly mysterious hormonal milestone is finally having a cultural moment. Rachel Aroesti

Peru
British Museum, WC1, Thu to 20 Feb
The art of Peru (above) is so ancient and extraordinary that some of it has been mistaken for the works of aliens. The Nazca earth drawings falsely associated with UFOs appear here alongside works from the Inca empire and later interactions with Christian Spanish culture, in what should be a captivating epic.

Chioma Ebinama
Maureen Paley Gallery, E2, to 19 Dec
This Nigerian-American artist paints subtle, mystical and sensual watercolours that create a dream universe. The stories of Italo Calvino and traditional African belief are among her reference points. She spent the pandemic years on the move, living out of a suitcase, yet has produced a beguiling new body of work.

Poppies
IWM North, Manchester, from 10 Nov
This is a permanent new layout of the ceramic poppies originally unveiled in the Tower of London’s moat in 2014 to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the first world war. It opens in time for another 11 November, a further chance to remember those who died “as cattle” as Wilfred Owen wrote.

Petrit Halilaj
Tate St Ives, to 16 Jan
When he was 13, this Kosovo-born artist found himself in Kukës II refugee camp in Albania. The drawings he made in the camp are at the heart of this installation in which his enlarged childhood images are displayed on hanging banners. Beauty and horror, landscape and war surround you. Jonathan Jones

The Tower
Mon, 9pm, ITV; then ITV Hub
This three-part procedural has prestige drama pedigree: helmed by Homeland’s Patrick Harbinson, it stars Game of Thrones’ Gemma Whelan as an officer caught up in some labyrinthine, organised crime-related police corruption – which means it might just scratch that Line of Duty itch.

Close to Me
Sun, 9pm, Channel 4; then All4
Connie Nielsen and Christopher Eccleston lead this psychological thriller about a woman with an apparently charmed life, who loses a year’s worth of memory in an accident – and slowly realises things were far from ideal in the first place. Come for the cast, stay for the spiralling twists.

The Curse of the Chippendales
From Fri, Amazon Prime
With a Dev Patel film and a Kumail Nanjiani drama series both in the works, the 80s striptease phenomenon will soon be having a cultural moment. Get clued up on Chippendale history with this irreverent docuseries about the cloud of criminal activity (including murder) that sprang from the outfit’s colossal success.

The Shrink Next Door
From Fri, Apple TV+
Forget books: hit podcasts are now the go-to fuel for true-crime dramas. This high-calibre miniseries – starring Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd and Kathryn Hahn, and written by Succession’s Georgia Pritchett – is based on a 2019 pod about a therapist who insidiously invaded his patient’s life. RA

Forza Horizon 5
Out Tue
Video games’ most fun tourism simulator will have us driving impossibly fast and beautiful cars through Mexico, for those who like jaw-dropping scenery with their vehicular mayhem.

The Elder Scrolls Skyrim: Anniversary Edition
Out Thur
Bethesda’s dragon fantasy epic turns 10 this year, and there are people who haven’t stopped playing it. It can now be revisited on modern consoles.

Grand Theft Auto Trilogy
Out Thur
Rediscover the three classic PlayStation 2 GTA games, GTA 3, Vice City, and San Andreas – or, for younger virtual crime-spree enthusiasts, experience them for the first time. Keza MacDonald

Abba – Voyage
Out now
The above-average Swedish hitmakers return with their first album since 1981’s moody opus, The Visitors. Announced alongside a “digital concert residency” in London featuring state-of-the-art Abbatars, it includes the instantly familiar lead singles Don’t Shut Me Down and I Still Have Faith in You plus a soon-to-be-ubiquitous Christmas song.

Snail Mail – Valentine
Out now
Sketched out on a battered acoustic guitar while in a rehab facility late last year, the songs on 22-year-old Lindsey Jordan’s second album are suffused with demons, both internal and external. The lead single Valentine picks over the end of a relationship, its synth-saturated indie rock building to a cathartic crescendo.

Radiohead – Kid A Mnesia
Out now
To mark the 20th anniversary of their gamechanging, hit-adverse Kid A and Amnesiac opuses, Oxford’s finest are reissuing them as one album alongside a collection of rarities. The latter includes the elegantly foreboding If You Say the Word, as well as fan favourite Follow Me Around, which first surfaced in 1998.

Diana Ross – Thank You
Out now
On her Jack Antonoff-assisted 25th album, Diana Ross’s aims are clear: let’s all just whack on a smile and enjoy ourselves. So the strutting title track and the string-drenched mid-tempo All Is Well both posit the power of love, while the pulsating If the World Just Danced shoots for dancefloor-based utopia. MC

Am I Normal? With Mona Chalabi
Podcast
Data journalist Chalabi revitalises statistics in this fun podcast, crunching the numbers to answer key questions such as: “How long does it take to get over a breakup?” or “How many friends should a person have?”

Internet Archive
Online
Founded 25 years ago in the web’s infancy, the Internet Archive has since grown to house an astounding repository of 616bn historical web pages, as well as millions of digitised library book collections from across the globe.

The Hermit of Treig
BBC Scotland
After 40 years of living in solitude, 73-year-old hermit Ken Smith allows the cameras to witness his woodland way of life in this moving documentary. Having recently suffered a stroke, he now reconsiders whether he can continue alone. Ammar Kalia

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