In desperate need of an escape from the onset of autumn? Us too. But while you could head to Booking.com and fork out for a last minute getaway (plus the mandatory PCR tests), there’s a much cheaper option on offer to you this weekend. For an alternative dose of escapism, we suggest you dive head first into your television – figuratively, of course.
From intergalactic worlds created by sci-fi’s finest writers to the stomach-churning heights of Patagonia’s mountains, this week’s drop of films and TV shows will take you much further than a Ryanair flight can. And you’ll have more leg room on the sofa. We’d call that a win-win.
Got time? Watch it all in one go
Isaac Asimov’s classic series of sci-fi novels, Foundation, has long been considered as too complex to adapt for screen, with various plotlines and a timespan that crosses centuries even intimidating James Cameron. Nevertheless, Cameron collaborator David S. Goyer (Blade, The Dark Knight) and Josh Friedman (War of the Worlds, Terminator: Dark Fate) have given it a stab for Apple TV+ and it’s going to need your full attention. What goes down? The plot takes us to the future, where a civilisation is on the brink of disaster. A smarty pants mathematician reckons he can solve it with a bit o’ science, though. Phew. Starring Emmy nominee Jared Harris and sparkling rising star Lou Llobell, this isn’t one for a hazy hangover day. Prepare to have your mind blown.
Available on Apple TV+ now.
The film worth leaving home to see
The Green Knight
A24 delves deep into 14th century literature for its new blockbuster. This adaptation of the chivalric poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is directed by David Lowery – who’s last fantasy flex was Disney’s Pete’s Dragon – and it’s packed with ghosts, giants and axe-wielding. The film joins Sir Gawain (played by Dev Patel) as he embarks on an hectic quest to challenge this freaky Green Knight fella, who gets his name from the colour of his skin and his kicks from testing the strength of men’s characters. Each to their own.
Out in UK cinemas and streaming on Amazon Prime now.
A documentary to feed the brain
Marc-André Leclerc died at just 26, but not before cementing his place in history as one of the most impressive climbers in history. He got his kicks from free climbing (without ropes) up icy mountains, a perilous hobby to say the least, reaching the summits of some of the world’s hardest climbing routes with little more than a few ice picks and warm clothes. Filmmakers Peter Mortimer and Nick Rosen began following Leclerc when he was 23, documenting (most of) his adventures until 2018, when he was reported missing after going climbing in Alaska. An emotional story of adventure, passion and loss, The Alpinist honours the legacy of a truly fearless explorer.
Out in UK cinemas now.
Absurd comedy or reality TV to crack a smile
The Great British Bake Off
There’s nowt cosier on a chilly autumn evening than tuning into the Bake Off tent to watch a group of amateurs cry over creme pat. We were introduced to this year’s contestants earlier this week in the first episode (team Jürgen, yeah?), so next week’s installment is when it really kicks off. It’s biscuit week and you can bet your soggy bottom that these poor bakers are going to make complicated structures out of crumbling gingerbread. Whose bake will survive the walk of terror from workstation to judge’s table? We know who our money’s on…
On Channel 4 at 8pm on Tuesdays.
The talking point of the week
Britney vs Spears
Following The New York Times’ Framing Britney Spears, this is 2021’s second documentary analysing Spears’ controversial conservatorship. According to Netflix and the film’s director, Erin Lee Carr, Britney vs Spears will include “text messages and a voicemail as well as new interviews with key players make clear what Britney herself has attested: the full story has yet to be told”. The documentary also promises not to use the upsetting images that shaped public narrative around Spears’ mental health, which comes as a welcome and necessary change in the way her story is reported. So, if you thought the NYT doc had everything covered, think again. The #FreeBritney saga continues.
On Netflix from 28th September.