Table of Contents
Going Out: Cinema
Tom Holland and Mark Wahlberg star as Nathan Drake and his wisecracking partner Victor “Sully” Sullivan in a big-screen adaptation of one of the bestselling video game franchises of all time. Join them on their efficient multi-tasking quest to find both long-lost treasure and a long-lost brother.
Don’t be fooled by the rocks that she’s got, Jennifer Lopez still knows how to head up a daft romcom. This glossy high-concept romance – in which a jilted megastar spontaneously marries a random guy (Owen Wilson) – makes for perfect Valentine-adjacent fromage.
Romeo & Juliet – ROH
If the J-Lo joint doesn’t represent quite the right flavour of romance for you this Valentine’s Day, never fear. The Royal Opera House has you covered, with 205 minutes of livestreamed ballet, in the form of Kenneth MacMillan’s take on Romeo and Juliet, an instant classic since its 1965 premiere.
Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy
Written and directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi, this Japanese romantic drama weaves together themes of infidelity, hidden attraction, mistaken identity and sexual intrigue, with a comic lightness of touch that belies Hamaguchi’s keen insights into human nature. The best film out this week.
Going Out: Gigs
12 to 16 February; tour starts Glasgow
The sportiest Spice Girl heads out on her delayed tour in support of 2020’s Carly Rae Jepsen-esque eighth album, her third to grace the UK Top 10. Expect a smattering of the guitar-heavy likes of debut solo single Goin’ Down and 2003’s Yeh Yeh Yeh. Michael Cragg
13 to 16 February; tour starts Manchester
Released last summer, R&B experimentalist Aalegra’s third album, Temporary Highs in the Violet Skies, was a slowburn success, earning the Swedish singer a Grammy nod. Allow its laid-back, healing qualities to wash away your winter blues. MC
Psappha at 30
Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, 17 February; touring to 29 April
The Manchester-based new-music group marks its 30th anniversary with a programme that includes its latest commission – Simon Holt’s The Sower, which features a cimbalomin its instrumentation and was inspired by a poem by Antonio Machado. Psappha also plays Harrison Birtwistle’s The Axe Manual, and works by Ninfea Cruttwell-Reade and Joanna Ward. Andrew Clements
Ruth Goller’s Skylla
Holywell Music Room, Oxford, 15 February, then touring
In recent years, UK bass guitarist Ruth Goller has driven jazz, funk and global outfits from Acoustic Ladyland and Melt Yourself Down to Vula Viel – but Skylla is her own unique venture, a mix of edgy improv and haunting vocals, in an eerily tone-bending but inviting soundworld. John Fordham
Going Out: Stage
Hampstead theatre, London, to 12 March
A new play from the fiendishly clever Florian Zeller with a stellar cast including Toby Stephens, Gina McKee, Paul McGann and Angel Coulby. MG
Lost Dog: A Tale of Two Cities
Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, 16 to 18 February, then touring
Lost Dog’s Ben Duke has created golden nuggets of dance theatre with his imaginative (and very funny) revisions of Paradise Lost and Romeo and Juliet. Now he takes a similarly skewed view of Dickens’s London-Paris classic, focusing on the character of Lucie Manette. Lyndsey Winship
Much Ado About Nothing
Royal Shakespeare theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, to 12 March
Director Roy Alexander Weise helms a new version starring Michael Balogun and Akiya Henry. An exciting creative team includes Mobo-nominated composer Femi Temowo. Miriam Gillinson
Phil’s Fun Factory
Moth Club, London, 12 February
A new monthly night from the gleefully camp character comedian Phil Dunning. Expect freewheeling sketches, strange musical numbers and special guests including Feel Good star Mae Martin and brilliantly funny newcomer Freddie Meredith. Rachel Aroesti
Going Out: Art
Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, to 19 June
One of the most spectacular artists on the planet offers a quieter, more intimate experience than his Sunflower Seeds at Tate Modern might make you expect. The nature of liberty and contrasting attitudes to authenticity in China and the west are among the themes of an exhibition that plays fast and loose with art’s histories.
The World of Stonehenge
British Museum, London, 17 February to 17 July
The medieval chronicler Geoffrey of Monmouth claimed the strange stones on Salisbury Plain were magicked from Ireland by Merlin. William Blake pictured them towering over tiny druids, Jeremy Deller recreated them as a bouncy castle. This exhibition promises the latest archaeology on Britain’s neolithic wonder.
Modern Institute, Glasgow, to 19 March
Saggy, splashy paintings that spread across the gallery space, hanging happily from the ceiling, mixing images with abstract impulses. Jackson works in Savannah, Georgia, and you might see her as carrying on the tradition of the radical southern artist Robert Rauschenberg with her theatrical scale and verve.
Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, 18 February to 12 June
This revolutionary painter of modern life can stop you in your tracks with the sheer intelligence of his eyes. Pissarro was not just one of the founders of impressionism in 1870s France but a deep observer whose city streets and people at work always have a gravitas that goes beyond beauty.
Staying In: Streaming
Louis Theroux: Forbidden America
13 February, 9pm, BBC Two
Having been forced to podcast for his supper during the first lockdown, the documentarian embraces freedom with a brand new three-parter. In episode one, he deadpans his way through a series of meetings with the far-right extremists stoking the internet culture wars.
Out 18 February, Apple TV+
A group of employees agree to have their minds meddled with so they don’t remember their work outside office hours. Ben Stiller directs and Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation) stars as a staff member on the brink of rediscovering what he does all day.
Jeen-yuhs: A Kanye Trilogy
Out 16 February, Netflix
Kanye West is a singular figure: sonically trailblazing, politically incendiary, determined to reinvent both the music industry and celebrity itself in his own image. This film, directed by longtime friends, follows the giddy early years before observing his megastardom from farther afield.
The Marvelous Mrs Maisel
Out 18 February, Amazon Prime Video
The fourth season of this richly realised mid-century New York-set dramedy returns to follow Midge Maisel’s rollercoaster of a standup comedy career. The year is 1960 and Midge’s pioneering work continues amid some very messy family dynamics. Meanwhile, romance with Lenny Bruce may still be on the cards. RA
Staying In: Games
Assassin’s Creed: The Ezio Collection
Out 17 February, Nintendo Switch
Three classic games, finally available to play on Nintendo Switch. Modern Assassin’s Creed games suck up a hundred hours of your life – this is a throwback to when they were more manageable.
Horizon: Forbidden West
Out 18 February, PlayStation 4/5
The adventures of Aloy the flame-haired robot dinosaur hunter continue in this gorgeous sci-fi epic. A game about rediscovering the Earth after it’s been reclaimed by nature and machines.
Staying In: Albums
Foxes – The Kick
Six years after her second album, newly independent synthpop exponent Foxes returns with the pulsating The Kick. Created with producer James Greenwood in lockdown, it’s a 12-track ode to escapism led by the galloping single Sister Ray and the disco-tinged Sky Love.
Mary J Blige – Good Morning Gorgeous
Ahead of her appearance at Sunday’s Super Bowl half-time show alongside Dr Dre, Eminem and Kendrick Lamar, the queen of hip-hop soul releases her 14th album. Featuring the likes of Usher, Anderson .Paak and ubiquitous hype man DJ Khaled, it’s further proof of Blige’s influence on a new generation of R&B singers.
Big Thief – Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe in You
The Brooklyn quartet recorded their fifth album, an 80-minute, 20-track opus, across the US after hunkering down for writing sessions in the woods in Vermont. Its mutable sound reflects the different locales, ranging from crisp indie rock to stripped back folk via the swirling psychedelia of last August’s Little Things.
Alt-J – The Dream
After their debut album An Awesome Wave scooped the 2012 Mercury music prize, Cambridge brainiacs Alt-J and their fidgety post-rock split opinion. Some hailed them the new Radiohead, while others dismissed them as ripe for parody. On their fourth album they finally sound happy enough with being a mix of the two.
Staying In: Brain food
As we emerge from the enforced health fads of January, this podcast from Aubrey Gordon and Michael Hobbes helps debunk the latest wellness trends. Investigate the science (or lack thereof) in everything from sleep loss manuals to celebrity diets.
Line Goes Up: The Problem With NFTs
It’s an abbreviation that is popping up everywhere and no one quite understands: the NFT. YouTuber Dan Olson tackles the art trend with typical rigour in this film, explaining why we should be very wary of their spread.
Apple TV+, 18 February
Actor Jeffrey Wright narrates this four-part documentary series on Abraham Lincoln’s journey to end slavery. Based on historian David S Reynolds’s 2020 book, the series provides a nuanced take on the era’s often oversimplified political battles.