...and four other things you need to know about this week, including Alex Garland's sexy robot sci-fi, Martin Freeman taking on Nazis on the box, and the best book about love and lies since The Game (admittedly not hard to beat)More
You’d think that when most successful Nineties’ indie-punk bands go on hiatus, they’d kick back for a bit – ride BMXes up and down Venice Beach, read some Schopenhauer, chug prescription drugs in front of daytime repeats of The Real Housewives of Buttf*ck, Idaho, or whatever the hell it is rockstars-of-a-certain age do when they have downtime.
Not Sleater-Kinney, who took a break in 2006 for reasons they kept to themselves. Drummer Janet Weiss recorded a solo album and played with The Shins, Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks and others; singer/guitarist Corin Tucker started her own band and released two albums, and guitarist/vocalist Carrie Brownstein started another band, Wild Flag, and wrote and starred in the cult TV comedy Portlandia. And now they’ve reformed with the minimum of fuss and are releasing tomorrow their eighth album, No Cities To Love, which has all the strength and urgency and attitude of a debut. OFFS.
Out on Tuesday 20 January (Sub Pop)
Alex Garland may never ditch the tag “writer of The Beach”, but darn it if he isn’t giving it a decent shot. Now predominantly a scriptwriter – he adapted Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel Never Let Me Go for director Danny Boyle, and also wrote the original screenplay for the Boyle-directed Sunshine – he makes his directorial debut with this sci-fi film about robots on the rise.
American actor Oscar Isaac plays an eccentric tech CEO (a new trend in movies? See soon: Samuel L Jackson in Kingsman: The Secret Service) who recruits a young programmer (Domhnall Gleeson) to take part in an experiment relating to artificial intelligence and a new robot prototype, played by Swedish actress Alicia Vikander (that in no way looks like Chris Cunningham’s “All is Full of Love” video for Bjork – OK?).
It’s smart sci-fi, delivered on a budget but with slickness and intelligence, and should grant Garland a decent Beach holiday (which works on TWO WHOLE LEVELS. Kinda).
Ex Machina is in cinemas on Friday 23 January