What if those tiny, pixelated people you shove out of cars on Grand Theft Auto were actually real human beings? And what if the Avengers were never able to assemble because some pesky murderer got to them first? These are the big questions that Hollywood is answering this week, you’ll be pleased to know. No longer will you stay up at night pondering such urgent dilemmas. Back to climate change, eh?
But in all not so seriousness, TV addicts and film fanatics alike are about to enjoy a summer spike of (mostly) uplifting and (thoroughly) enjoyable content. Whether it’s Jodie Comer teaming up with Ryan Reynolds in Free Guy or Jennifer Coolidge’s prestige comeback in The White Lotus, there’s something to suit all taste buds. Get that ass on the sofa. We’ve got a lot to get through…
The go-to when your brain needs a break
Remember that thing from approximately ten seconds ago about The Avengers not being able to assemble? Yeah, well… that. An animated series of alternative endings, What If…?, imagines what would have happened if pivotal moments in the Marvel Cinematic Universe turned out differently. The best part is that even though it’s animated, our favourite MCU stars have returned for the series, with voice work from the likes of Tom Hiddleston, Chris Hemsworth and Mark Ruffalo. . The late Chadwick Boseman even features in four episodes, continuing his legacy as Black Panther after his death last year.
The first episode is available to stream on Disney+ now, with more episodes released weekly on Wednesdays.
The film worth leaving home to see
Kind of like The Lego Movie meets The Truman Show, Free Guy takes us to the crime-riddled “Free City”, where unrelentingly optimistic bank teller Guy (Ryan Reynolds) thinks he’s just, er, a normal guy. This isn’t the case, of course. He’s actually a non-player character in an open world video game, which explains why gun-wielding baddies are always telling him to “Get on the floor!” at work. Anyway, it turns out that the game’s concept was actually stolen from developers Millie (Jodie Comer) and Key (Joe Keery), and Guy could be their only hope of getting their intellectual property back. It’s time for him to level up from normal Guy to good Guy – with the help of Jodie Comer’s aptitude for guns, naturally.
Out in UK cinemas now.
A documentary to feed the brain
WeWork: or The Making and Breaking of a $47 Billion Unicorn
If you lapped up WeCrashed, the podcast tracing the rise and fall of WeWork, then Jed Rothstein’s documentary on the very same topic is for you. For the uninitiated, this film hones in on the business’ CEO, Adam Neumann, who was once lauded as a visionary for his chain of hip co-working spaces and is now generally known as a megalomaniac with big cult-leader energy. Neumann was eventually ousted from the company in 2019, thanks to sketchy business practices and a lawsuit against WeWork from a former employee who alleged sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour. Another tech bro bites the corporate dust.
Available on streaming platforms now.
Absurd comedy or reality TV to crack a smile
Ladhood series two
Mining his teenage years for plotlines, comedian Liam Williams’ Ladhood is a nostalgic coming-of-age comedy, with Williams using each episode to chart how the events of his youth turned him into the man he is today. It’s heartfelt and (Northerners, rejoice) set in Leeds, capturing the self-conscious torture of being a teenager with painfully awkward comedy. Sure, this one’s for the lads, but anyone who has gone through puberty will relate.
Series two will be on BBC iPlayer from Sunday 15th August and weekly on BBC1 from Monday 16th.
Talking points for when your next wave of social fatigue hits
The White Lotus
Potentially the best TV show of 2021, The White Lotus takes us to a swish Hawaiian resort, where we find lots of rich people being rich, but not particularly happy. Both guests and employees are fair game in this social satire that skewers topics such as privilege and race, but that’s not even the juicy bit. In the first episode’s opening scene, it’s revealed that someone at the resort will be killed by the end of the week. Who? What? Why? That’s for you to find out, obviously. Starring Jennifer Coolidge in a career-defining role, as well as familiar faces Alexandra Daddario (Baywatch) and Connie Britton (Dirty John), if you watch just one thing from our round-up of TV and films next week, make it this.