vulture picks

25 Notable New Releases Over the Next Two Weeks

Photo: Ben Blackall/Mikola Preovic/AMC/ITV (Icpress); Karen Almond / Met Opera (Akhnaten); Courtesy of the Criterion Collection (France); Courtesy of Prime Video (Night Sky); Enda Bowe/Hulu (Conversations With Friends)

To Do: May 11–25: Our biweekly guide on what to see, hear, watch, and read.


Conversations With Friends
More streaming Sally Rooney.
Hulu, May 15.
Thanks to the critical success of Normal People, Sally Rooney’s Conversations With Friends, an exploration of personal and romantic dynamics among Frances (Alison Oliver), a student; her best friend, Bobbi (Sasha Lane); and a married couple (Jemima Kirke and Joe Alwyn), is getting the same treatment. Director Lenny Abrahamson and co-writer Alice Birch, who worked on Normal People, are onboard here, too. —Jen Chaney

The Kids in the Hall
Still crushing your head …
Amazon Prime, May 13.
More than 25 years after it went off the air, the Canadian sketch-comedy series is being revived for the streaming world. Yes, all the original Kids — now very much no longer kids — are back: Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin MacDonald, Mark McKinney, and Scott Thompson. —J.C.

The Lincoln Lawyer
Easy viewing.
Netflix, May 13.
Is The Lincoln Lawyer meant to shake you out of your moral complacency and illuminate the ambiguities of human nature? No. Will its performances reshape how you think about entertainment and the self? No. Will it be awards bait? Absolutely not. Will it be a middlebrow legal drama with a USA-procedurals-ca.-2012 vibe that you’ll love to barely watch while folding laundry? Great news: Yes, it will. —Kathryn VanArendonk

Night Sky
I mean, who doesn’t have access to another planet in their backyard, amirite?
Amazon Prime, May 20.
The premise of this sci-fi streaming series — about a couple that has a secret portal to another planet on their property — is intriguing. Factor in that the couple is played by the great Sissy Spacek and J. K. Simmons and this feels like something worth adding to the potential watch list. —J.C.

Savage Beauty
In the tradition of nighttime soaps.
Netflix, May 12.
In this South African series, a woman is named the first face of a family-owned beauty empire and moves into their estate. How her tragic past connects with this powerful family’s global company is theoretically a mystery, but it’s safe to assume vengeance is in play. —Roxana Hadadi

The Ipcress File
Michael Caine’s sexpionage thriller, rebooted.
AMC+, May 19.
Back in 1965, Michael Caine kicked off his own spy franchise with The Ipcress File, a thriller less swanky and silly than the Bond films. As we await a new Bond actor, AMC+ is bringing back The Ipcress File with Joe Cole as British spy Harry Palmer. Cole wears Caine’s signature trench coat and chunky glasses and is at the center of a Cold War–era story about abducted scientists, treason, and an unwise romance. —R.H.

Couples Therapy
From an open relationship to a new baby.
Showtime, May 13.
This series, which is an interior but nonexploitative look inside the process of undergoing serious, caring couples therapy, is hands down the best multi-season docuseries on TV. We should thank our lucky stars that it is back and, even better, the couples chosen for this season are the strongest batch yet. —K.V.A.


Lux Aeterna
Metrograph, through May 15.
Before he made his most recent film, Vortex, Gaspar Noé pioneered his split-screen shooting technique on this bizarre, hilarious, mesmerizing 50-minute thriller set on a film production gone haywire. Béatrice Dalle is the frustrated director, Charlotte Gainsbourg her frustrated star. Avoid if strobe lights are not your thing. —Bilge Ebiri

A Cannes winner.
Film Forum, May 20 to 26.
In 2003, the Turkish director Nuri Bilge Çeylan took Cannes by storm with this deadpan odd-couple comedy-drama about a city-dwelling artiste whose country-mouse cousin moves in uninvited. A study of two very different but lonely men against the stunning backdrop of Istanbul. —B.E.

Paper Moon
RIP, Peter Bogdanovich.
MoMA, May 19.
The late Welles acolyte’s early-’70s run of masterpieces included this powerful road movie about two con artists (real-life father and daughter Ryan and Tatum O’Neal) making their way through the Depression-era Midwest. —B.E.

In case you missed it.
Criterion Channel.
Bruno Dumont’s satire about a celebrity TV journalist’s efforts to sensationalize her news stories probably comes closer to the truth than it realizes. Call it “heightened comic realism” instead. Léa Seydoux is stunning in the lead. —B.E.


Either/Or, by Elif Batuman
Back from Hungary.
Penguin Press, May 24.
Elif Batuman’s sequel to The Idiot revisits hyperliterate but naïve Selin at Harvard along with older math major Ivan, the tantalizingly distant object of her affections. It’s a coming-of-age novel in which the main character’s personal growth is halting and recursive, making it more realistic than most. —Emma Alpern

Photo: Publisher

Translating Myself and Others, by Jhumpa Lahiri
Princeton University Press, May 17.
In 2012, Jhumpa Lahiri moved to Rome, where she hoped to learn to speak, write, and think in Italian. She accomplished a rare feat six years later, publishing Dove Mi Trovo in Italian and translating it into English herself. In her new collection of essays, she considers translation as an act of philosophical importance and writes about the particular pleasures of Italian. —E.A.

Sofia Coppola: Forever Young, by Hannah Strong
Surveying Sofia.
Abrams, May 17.
Critic Hannah Strong analyzes director Sofia Coppola’s career in this coffee-table book with a bounty of images. There’s been a trend of such books in recent years; Coppola is one of the most appropriate subjects for this treatment. —B.E.

The 2022 PEN America World Voices Festival
Exploring the imaginary IRL.
May 11–14.
PEN America’s flagship literary event is back, and it’s in-person for the first time since the pandemic began. This year’s edition will be split between New York’s Greenwich Village and Los Angeles and features panels on the role of the writer in a world gurgling with turmoil; Ukraine, climate change, surviving history, and end-times absurdity are all on the docket. Nobel laureate Abdulrazak Gurnah will be there (New York), as will Tracy K. Smith (New York), Warsan Shire (Los Angeles), Saidiya Hartman (New York), and more than six dozen other writers from 25 countries. — Melvin Backman


Dream diary.
LAist Studios.
With shades of Queer Eye and the CBC’s Personal Best, this bubbly new podcast series follows host Megan Tan and her trusted squad of producers as they help ordinary people deal with the things in their lives that they’ve been dragging their feet on — confronting themselves in doing so. —Nicholas Quah

Batman Unburied
If The Batman left you wanting more.
The big scripted audio project from Spotify features Winston Duke as the oligarchic caped crusader and Hasan Minhaj as this universe’s version of the Riddler, which I’m guessing is going to be a little more metropolitan than Paul Dano’s interpretation. —N.Q.


Harry Styles, Harry’s House
“In this world, it’s just us.”
Columbia Records, May 20.
Since One Direction went on indefinite hiatus, singer-songwriter Harry Styles has explored the pop, rock, and folk melds the group was getting to in its later recordings. Harry’s House, Styles’s third solo album, keeps the streak: The dance-pop tunes are perfect for a breezy summertime hang; the rustic, reflective folk songs make great morning-after music. —Craig Jenkins

Kendrick Lamar, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers
Kendrick is back, all right.
pgLang/TDE/Aftermath/Interscope, May 13.
Details about the hotly anticipated fifth studio album from California rap genius Kendrick Lamar are scarce. We heard whispers about the Pulitzer Prize–winning rhymer leaning into a rock sound, but he’s unpredictable, capable of slipping into a jazz groove or a pop tune with the same grace and finesse. —C.J.

The Smile, A Light for Attracting Attention
Via Radiohead and Sons of Kemet.
XL Recordings, May 13.
The Smile comprises Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood, the singer and the multi-instrumentalist whiz of Radiohead, and drummer Tom Skinner from the London jazz quartet Sons of Kemet. A Light for Attracting Attention, their debut album, speaks worriedly to the disorderly state of world affairs while it toys with rock-and-roll convention, leaning alternately into the rhythms of African jazz and the riffage of progressive rock. —C.J.


Hannah Gadsby
Back on tour.
BAM, May 11 to 14.
Is it stand-up? Is it theater? Is it storytelling with a confessional element and a burred edge? Sure, yes, absolutely — because it’s our favorite Tasmanian category devil, Hannah Gadsby. After the runaway success of Nanette and Douglas, Gadsby goes light, describing her romance and subsequent marriage, while poking fun at the way the heteros do it. —Helen Shaw


Never Let Go
Like one of your French girls.
Brick Theater, May 5 to 21.
Michael Kinnan performs his stripped-down, one-man, one-hour version of the legendary ’90s weepie Titanic with just a sheet, a corset, and a stepladder. Kinnan contains multitudes, but specifically he contains an incredible imitation of Kate Winslet looking up at a big ship from beneath a big hat. And if you go expecting mockery, you will hit an iceberg of disappointment. Kinnan’s project is born of deep affection and admiration for the movie, and it should even make you fall back in love with it yourself. —H.S.


Anthracite Fields
Keystone matters.
Zankel Hall, May 19.
The composer Julia Wolfe’s season-long residence at Carnegie Hall nears its conclusion with her multimedia musical ode to Pennsylvania coal miners. Wolfe digs into a complicated history with empathy and musical inventiveness. —J.D.

New York Philharmonic
The new David Geffen Hall opens in October.
Alice Tully Hall, May 12 to 14.
Jaap van Zweden leads the Pastoral Symphony, along with Mozart’s “Turkish” Violin Concerto, with a solo by concertmaster Frank Huang, and Lumina, an 11-minute radiant tone poem by the young composer Nina Shekhar. —J.D.


Bejeweled everything.
Metropolitan Opera, opens May 19.
Phelim McDermott’s friezelike production of Philip Glass’s opera returns for the first time since 2019 with Anthony Roth Costanzo back as the ambiguously gendered pharaoh. —J.D.

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25 Notable New Releases Over the Next Two Weeks