Going out: Cinema
If you are mainly familiar with Jon Hamm for his era-defining role as Don Draper in Mad Men, pairing him with Superbad director Greg Mottola might seem like an odd choice. In fact, the third in the film series (Fletch was previously played by Chevy Chase) is a likable comedy romp involving stolen art, Italian girlfriends and bumbling cops.
Blessed as it is with a stellar performance from Normal People’s Paul Mescal, as a young father spending time with his daughter at a cheesy holiday resort in the 1990s, Charlotte Wells’s gorgeous coming-of-age film is one of the breakout successes from this year’s crop of debut UK directors.
Set in 1980s New York, this semi-autobiographical drama from director James Gray is well worth your time: a thought-provoking slice of life seen from the perspective of a 12-year-old boy (Banks Repeta), it also allows Anthony Hopkins to wring tears from even the most hardened of hearts, in his role as the boy’s beloved grandfather.
Out now and on Apple TV+
In an era of cinema when film-makers are making a renewed and welcome effort to centre different narrative perspectives, here’s A Christmas Carol from the point of view of the ghosts, starring Will Ferrell as the Ghost of Christmas Present. Catherine Bray
* * *
Going out: Gigs
20 to 24 November; tour starts Glasgow
With one of 2022’s best albums under her belt in the shape of the genre-splicing Natural Brown Prom Queen, US singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Brittney Parks arrives for a celebratory tour. If anything can briefly transport you to another dimension – a lovely thought given, well, 2022 – it’s one of these shows.
22 November to 1 December; tour starts Glasgow
Since releasing their Mercury-nominated debut The Overload in January – a UK No 2 album, no less – the Leeds post-punkers have barely been at home. Their busy schedule finds them in venues better equipped to house their growing fanbase. Michael Cragg
London jazz festival
Various venues, London, 19 & 20 November
A packed closing weekend of the EFG London Jazz festival includes vocal star Melody Gardot, and Jean Toussaint’s post-bop sextet with Soweto Kinch and trumpeter Byron Wallen (both 19 November); Then, 21 November features global-jazz pioneer Don Cherry’s music celebrated by Kahil El’Zabar’s Ethnic Heritage Ensemble, plus the Cuban piano great Chucho Valdés. John Fordham
Various venues, Huddersfield, to 23 November
The works of this year’s composer-in-residence dominate the opening few days of the Huddersfield contemporary music festival. Concerts by Ensemble Intercontemporain (19 November), Riot Ensemble (22 November), the London Sinfonietta (20 November) and Quatuor Diotima (23 November) all include pieces by Lisa Streich, while the composer herself gives a talk (19 November) introducing her music and the motorised instruments it features prominently. Andrew Clements
* * *
Going out: Art
Tate Britain, London, 24 November to 26 February
This absorbing survey of a sensitive and imaginative painter originally opened in 2020 but almost no one saw it because of Covid lockdowns. Take this second chance. Yiadom-Boakye paints fictional characters in tantalising narrative scenes. Her art has echoes of old masters such as Rembrandt and Velázquez.
Sudbury, Suffolk, reopens 21 November
Autumn’s colours are like a Gainsborough landscape: those brown trees against moist grey clouds. This 18th-century artist is a subtle genius whose eye is always a delight, and the revamped museum in his birthplace makes a good pilgrimage for wet, cold, end-of-the-year days. Or any days.
Tate Modern, London, to 21 May
Never seen an Abakan before? Here’s your chance. Not many artists are so distinctive they get a genre of sculpture named after them. Abakanowicz earned that honour with the installations of hanging fibre she created in communist Poland in the 1960s and 70s. Here they mass in a labyrinthine spectacle.
Plastic: Remaking Our World
V&A Dundee, to 5 February
The modern dreams of the 1960s are preserved in objects such as Eero Aarnio’s spherical white plastic chair, which looks as though it should be in a Kubrick or Antonioni film, and probably was. This exhibition surveys the history of plastic from its invention to today, when it has become a modern nightmare. Jonathan Jones
* * *
Going out: Stage
Soho theatre, London, 21 to 26 November
The crazy cat lady trope is blitzed into a bracingly original hour of standup, with rising comic Thompson ludicrously lip-syncing her way through a volley of feline pop-culture references – from The Aristocats to the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical – while also clawing at weightier ideas about mental health and the overwhelming nature of modern life. Rachel Aroesti
Scottish Ballet: The Snow Queen
Edinburgh Festival Theatre, 19 November to 10 December; touring to 4 February
With the same source material as Frozen, but fewer talking snowmen, Scottish Ballet brings back The Snow Queen for a frosty Christmas outing. Choreographed by Christopher Hampson, expect family-friendly drama, a striking Rimsky-Korsakov score played live, and sumptuous designs by Lez Brotherston, well known for working with Matthew Bourne. Lyndsey Winship
Arms and the Man
Orange Tree theatre, Richmond, London, 19 December to 14 January
Paul Miller marks his final production as artistic director of the Orange Tree with another remounting of one of Bernard Shaw’s earlier works: a love story set against a brutal civil war. Miriam Gilinson
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Leeds Playhouse, to 28 January
David Greig’s stage adaptation of Roald Dahl’s delicious story gets a top-notch reboot. Songs from the film are interwoven with new numbers, with Gareth Snook as Wonka. MG
Staying in: Streaming
23 November, Netflix
The Addams Family is no stranger to reboots: this series – which focuses on their titular teenage daughter – is the fifth TV iteration of the 94-year-old cartoon strip. It may also be the best yet, with the clan’s richly weird universe being brought to life by the king of richly weird universes, Tim Burton.
David Baddiel: Jews Don’t Count
21 November, 9pm, Channel 4
The comedian’s passionate 2021 polemic about how and why antisemitism has been excluded from the progressive agenda isn’t perfect, but should still be required reading for anyone genuinely interested in eradicating racism in all its forms. This documentary spin-off sees Baddiel dig deeper into the fascinatingly complex interaction between Jewishness and contemporary identity politics.
Live at the Moth Club
24 November, 10pm, Dave & UKTV Play
The beating heart of UK alternative comedy is going mainstream. Set inside the trendy east London venue known for its bleeding-edge lineups, this is half showcase for resident acts (including Cardinal Burns and Jamie and Natasia Demetriou) and half mockumentary lifting the lid on all the club’s madcap behind-the-scenes action.
24 November, 10.15pm, Sky Atlantic & Now
This German drama took home two prizes at the Cannes TV festival for its tale of a teenage boy who claims he was a pilot who perished in a major plane crash in a previous life. Is he experiencing some kind of psychological glitch, or is this the real reincarnation deal? RA
* * *
Staying in: Games
Pokémon Scarlet and Violet
Out now, Nintendo Switch
Yet another outing for Nintendo’s planet-conquering pocket monsters. This one tries to turn the series into an open-world adventure rather than a linear series of battles.
Goat Simulator 3
Out now, all platforms
This flat-out ridiculous series has you causing utter chaos and destruction as a goat; or a team of goats, since you can now play with friends. Keza MacDonald
* * *
Staying in: Albums
Dermot Kennedy – Sonder
The second album from Irish singer-songwriter Kennedy arrives despite two delays (the second due to postal strikes thwarting delivery of physical copies). The follow-up to 2019’s Without Fear, it showcases Kennedy’s love for soft-rock anthems, including the Shawn Mendes-esque Something to Someone and the Bastille-assisted Kiss Me.
Weyes Blood – And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow
If 2019’s Titanic Rising was all about Natalie Mering musing on impending doom, then its follow-up is written from the eye of the storm. On the gorgeous 70s MOR of first single It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody, Mering muses on isolation and dislocation, while the more robust Grapevine clings to a broken relationship.
Brockhampton – The Family
During their final Brockhampton gig at Coachella, the LA-based, 13-person hip-hop collective teased one last album. Seven months later and here it is, a 17-track swansong led by the frantic, sweat-soaked Big Pussy, which finds Kevin Abstract hyping himself up for one more go around.
Honey Dijon – Black Girl Magic
Having co-produced two songs on Beyoncé’s Renaissance album, the New York-based house DJ-producer caps a pretty remarkable year with this second album. Featuring the likes of laid-back rapper-singer Channel Tres, as well as hip-hop royalty Eve, it’s a dancefloor-ready, banger-heavy collection perfect for party season. MC
* * *
Staying in: Brain food
In Her Hands
Executive produced by Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, this affecting and often tense film follows 24-year-old Zarifa Ghafari as she becomes one of Afghanistan’s first female mayors while the Taliban gain power in the country.
Chicago record label International Anthem has spent five years releasing intriguing, genre-spanning music and in this series artists reveal their creative processes. Episodes include interviews with the daughters of the late producer Charles Stepney and improvisational guitarist Jeff Parker.
The YouTube channel of London’s Southbank Centre and Hayward Gallery is a treasure trove of short talks and curator tours. Recent highlights include Ekow Eshun’s journey through the exhibition In the Black Fantastic and an interview with artist Magdalene Odundo. Ammar Kalia