What to play, listen to, watch, and read this weekend

Screenshot: Thumper/Drool
Screenshot: Thumper/Drool

The game to play

Thumper on Nintendo Switch

“Calling Thumper a ‘rhythm game’ instantly draws parallels to the likes of Guitar Hero or PaRappa The Rapper or even Amplitude. There’s the understanding that you’re playing along with the music, acting it out as it proceeds with or without you. Thumper is so fascinating because it’s essentially an anti-rhythm game. The music, all pounding percussion and skittering keys, is the enemy. The music wants you dead. It manifests itself as giant, spiny skulls and liquid-metal centipedes that barf obstacles at you with every synth stab and hand clap. And you, a noble chrome space beetle, have to literally fight back against it by responding to its rhythms and harnessing the music’s own power against it.”
Read more of our thoughts on Thumper and about the other games we’re playing this weekend here.

The album to listen to

Wavves, You’re Welcome

“Sunny harmonies introduce ‘Hollowed Out,’ a song that very quickly turns into a rainbow-hued, Of Montreal-esque pop confection. ‘Come To The Valley’ has a similar retro ’60s vibe, buoyed by organs plucked from a carnival midway, while ‘I Love You’ is a surprisingly faithful update of a ’50s sock-hop showstopper, replete with intricate, doo-wop-influenced vocals. The swaggering glam stomp ‘Million Enemies,’ meanwhile, is built on debauched riffs, glittering keyboards, and a slinky tempo that give way to jubilant choruses boasting stacked harmonies, screaming new-wave guitars, and a cascading bass line. It may be Wavves’ finest moment to date.”
Read the rest of our review here.

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The movie to watch

Alien: Covenant

“There are gross and eerie stretches in Ridley Scott’s new film, Alien: Covenant, that come closer to straight horror than any movie in this widely imitated sci-fi series has gotten since Scott’s original Alien—though maybe not the kind of horror that any devotee of all things Alien would expect. It is barely a monster movie, being more of a classic mad scientist or Dracula film in futuristic-industrial space. […] If Prometheus often resembled a grandiose homage to Planet Of The Vampires and other sci-fi B-movies in that vein, then Covenant is the storied British director’s tribute to Hammer horror. Co-written by John Logan, who last worked with Scott on Gladiator, the movie makes an atmosphere of gothic and romantic references: Shelley, Byron, The Phantom Of The Opera, Das Rheingold, The Silence Of The Lambs, the eruption of Mount Vesuvius, an alien city seemingly inspired by the imaginary architecture of Étienne-Louis Boullée. Even some of its gore is picturesque—say, a woman’s severed head bobbing in water-filled fount, eyes and mouth open, like the drowned Ophelia in a Pre-Raphaelite painting.”
Read the rest of our review here.

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The show to watch

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

“TV’s premier live-action cartoon has a bit of spectacle up its sleeve for season three. The heavily publicized Lemonade parody in episode two is no joke, a reverent homage that also takes into account the fact that Titus’ cash and creative reserves fall somewhat short of Beyoncé’s. The show also continues to attract top-flight guest talent, folding Laura Dern and Daveed Diggs into its collection of Big Apple dingbats, the former’s weirdo energy—as Wendy, the reverend’s new fiancée—an especially inspired match for the show. There are comments on feminism, campus culture, and racist sports mascots, and slightly more riffs on the 2016 presidential election than the creators have implied, not all of which—as a result of the show’s 360-degree joke-spray—hit their mark. But it retains a distinct method of nesting jokes within jokes, like the way Titus’ version of ‘Hold Up’ calls back to previous mentions of a Grease cast recording and ‘an audio tape of commercials I use as a shopping list.’”
Read the rest of our review here.

The comic to read

Brandon Thomas, Roger Robinson, and Juan Fernandez, Noble #1

“Writer Brandon Thomas doesn’t spend much time on exposition, and after a quick prologue introducing Astrid Allen-Powell, the story flashes back one year to show Astrid’s husband, David, fighting a gang of mercenaries in Argentina. The majority of this issue is one big fight revealing the scope of David’s psychic abilities, and it’s an exciting start to the series that makes readers want to learn more about this superpowered amnesiac. Artist Roger Robinson and colorist Juan Fernandez have sharp action storytelling skills that give the issue powerful momentum, and Thomas puts the focus on the visuals by using minimal dialogue and no narration. There’s admirable restraint in the scripting, and when there is dialogue, it’s mostly used to provide important background information that contextualizes the fight… The Noble team understands the value of riveting action in superhero stories, and as the story delves deeper into David’s past and his relationship with his wife and son, hopefully it won’t forget to keep the fisticuffs coming at a steady rate.”
Read the rest of our review here.

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The podcast to listen to

My Neighbors Are Dead, “The Omen With Alan Linic

A good horror movie can thrill its audience with the protagonist’s struggle to escape or survive, but it’s not always just the main character who’s struggling. There are often minor players just trying to live their day-to-day lives amid the bloodshed. New podcast My Neighbors Are Dead, a hilarious peek into the experience of the people on the periphery of the horror, is shining a light on just these kinds of unsung citizens. Host Adam Peacock interviews the oft-overlooked ensemble of your favorite scary movies (all played with pitch-perfect improvisations by a selection of top-notch improvisers) to get their take on the events of the film. In this most recent episode, Peacock chats with Gerald Dean, the caterer from Damien Thorn’s birthday party. Those familiar with the 1976 classic The Omen, will recall this particular birthday party as the one where the young antichrist’s nanny publicly kills herself. The hysterical Alan Linic details this ordeal from Gerald’s perspective, and the results are comedic gold.
Read about the rest of the week’s best podcasts here.