Arts

New to stream or buy on DVD/Blu-ray: Together Together, French Exit, The Morning Show and more...

Damon Smith

Together Together: Ed Helms as Matt and Patti Harrison as Anna

TOGETHER TOGETHER (Cert 15, 90 mins, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Comedy/Drama/Romance, available from September 20 on Amazon Prime Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services)

Starring: Ed Helms, Patti Harrison, Rosalind Chao, Anna Konkle, Evan Jonigkeit, Tig Notaro, Fred Melamed.

FORTY-five-year-old app developer Matt (Ed Helms) has reached a point in life where half his friends are settled and the rest are "desperately clinging to the corpse of their youth".

He decides to raise a child on his own and interviews potential surrogates, settling on 26-year-old coffee shop worker Anna (Patti Harrison), who fell pregnant at high school and gave up her child for adoption.

She confidently predicts that giving up a baby that isn't hers should be easy.

Thanks to egg donor 4583, Anna learns she is expecting after a couple of disappointments.

"Third time's a charm!" beams Matt to their consultant (Rosalind Chao).

The odd couple settle on the gender-neutral name of Lamp during the pregnancy and repeatedly fail to keep their distance as they blunder through the trimesters, navigating a haphazard path towards the delivery room.

Together Together is a delightfully disarming comedy drama, smartly written and directed by Nikole Beckwith, which steadfastly refuses to put a label on the central couple's relationship.

Rom-com tropes are repeatedly upended as the expectant duo learn that awkward personal experience trumps the myriad self-help books cluttering up Matt's coffee table.

Occasionally, Beckwith's script is knowingly cute to the point of contrivance, especially when Matt and Anna discuss the realism of TV sitcom Friends or art-life parallels in Woody Allen's films.

Thankfully, the easygoing on-screen rapport of Helms and Harrison acts like superglue to any cracks in the writing.

Composer Alex Somers' piano score tinkles gently in the background as Beckwith skilfully brings her picture to full term.

Rating: 4/5

French Exit: Michelle Pfeiffer as Frances Price

FRENCH EXIT (Cert 15, 113 mins, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Comedy/Drama/Romance, available from September 20 on Amazon Prime Video/BT TV Store/iTunes/Sky Store/TalkTalk TV Store and other download and streaming services)

Starring: Michelle Pfeiffer, Lucas Hedges, Valerie Mahaffey, Danielle Macdonald, Isaach de Bankole, Imogen Poots, Tracy Letts, Susan Coyne, Robert Higden.

FOLLOWING the sudden death of her husband Franklin (Tracy Letts), Manhattan heiress Frances Price (Michelle Pfeiffer), facing the threat of insolvency, discreetly sells off her belongings and relocates to a vacant Parisian apartment owned by her one true friend (Susan Coyne).

Frances' emotionally stunted son Malcolm (Lucas Hedges) terminates an engagement to his bewildered fiancee (Imogen Poots) and accompanies his mother and the family cat, Little Frank, on a transatlantic boat crossing to the French capital.

The Prices ease into their new life and accept a party invitation from New York transplant Madame Reynard (Valerie Mahaffey), who admits to being desperately lonely.

Frances' resistance to Mme Reynard gradually wilts and the heiress expands her inner circle to include a private detective (Isaach de Bankole) and psychic medium (Danielle Macdonald).

Adapted by Patrick DeWitt from his 2018 novel, French Exit is a bile-slathered tragicomedy of social manners that savours every moment Pfeiffer slinks on screen.

She elegantly navigates her character's misfortunes with screwball flourishes, delivering a masterclass in withering stares, pursed lips and swingeing insults.

Hedges is a likable foil as the aimless scion, who barely knew his mother before he was 12.

In the second half of director Azazel Jacobs' picture, a menagerie of wilfully eccentric supporting characters and curious narrative detours, including a love triangle resolved by an arm wrestle, compete for attention.

Ultimately, it's a social whirl too far but Pfeiffer glides serenely through the devastation and retains composure when the fabric of the film is tearing at the seams.

Rating: 3/5

The Morning Show Season 2: Jennifer Aniston as Alex Levy and Reese Witherspoon as Bradley Jackson

THE MORNING SHOW – SEASON 2 (10 episodes, streaming from September 17 exclusively on Apple TV+, Drama/Romance)

THE first series of the multi-award-winning Apple TV+ drama created by Jay Carson, inspired by Brian Stelter's book Top Of The Morning: Inside The Cutthroat World Of Morning TV, harnessed the fury of the Time's Up and Me Too movements to expose sexual misconduct and a toxic corporate culture of silence and collusion.

For the second series, Black Lives Matter and the Covid pandemic are pressing concerns for conflicted characters who help America wake up in the morning.

Cory Ellison (Billy Crudup) woos The Morning Show's former co-host Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston) back to UBA network after her bombshell revelations made the headlines.

Her return creates tension for ambitious current co-host Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon).

Meanwhile, Daniel Henderson (Desean Terry), one of the co-hosts of the weekend edition, becomes frustrated by a lack of diversity on the show and makes alliances to shift the power dynamic in his workplace.

Sex Education Season 3: Connor Swindells as Adam Groff, Ncuti Gatwa as Eric Effiong and Asa Butterfield as Otis Milburn

SEX EDUCATION – SEASON 3 (8 episodes, streaming from September 17 exclusively on Netflix, Comedy/Drama/Romance)

HEARTS are broken while others flutter unexpectedly as the coming-of-age comedy drama created by Laurie Nunn enters its third term.

Hope Haddon (Jemima Kirke), the new headmistress of Moordale Secondary, asserts her authority to restore the school's academic lustre after various unfortunate incidents including an outbreak of chlamydia.

Otis Milburn (Asa Butterfield) expands his sexual horizons, while best friend Eric (Ncuti Gatwa) is officially dating one-time bully, Adam (Connor Swindells), who is finally at ease with his sexual identity.

Elsewhere, Otis's sex therapist mother Jean (Gillian Anderson) is expecting a new addition to the family and head boy Jackson (Kedar Williams-Stirling) nurtures a crush.

The small matter of Otis's voicemail to classmate Maeve (Emma Mackey), which Isaac (George Robinson) intentionally deleted, also needs to be resolved.

Young Rock: Bradley Constant as Dwayne and Lexie Duncan as Karen

YOUNG ROCK (11 episodes, streaming from September 17 exclusively on NOW TV, Comedy/Drama)

SHOWRUNNERS Nahnatchka Khan and Jeff Chiang plunder the formative years of WWF wrestler turned film star Dwayne Johnson aka The Rock for this acclaimed comedy, which has already been commissioned for a second series on Sky Comedy.

In 2032, Dwayne Johnson (playing himself) is running for the White House and faces questions about his past to decide how America will vote on polling day.

The candidate reflects on his early years as an excitable 10-year-old (Adrian Groulx) in Hawaii and a 15-year-old (Bradley Constant) high school student looking to fit in.

He also recalls being an 18-year-old (Uli Latukefu) college student seeking glory on the football field, blissfully unaware of how life will change when he steps into a wrestling ring.

 Star Wars: Visions

STAR WARS: VISIONS (7 episodes, streaming from September 22 exclusively on Disney+, Animation/Sci-Fi)

NOT so long ago in a galaxy not so far away, Japanese anime studios were invited to employ their signature aesthetics and storytelling styles to realise new adventures in the Star Wars universe.

Drawing on Japanese mythology, the films of Akira Kurosawa and cultural traditions, the seven studios – Kamikaze Douga, Geno Studio (Twin Engine), Studio Colorido (Twin Engine), TRIGGER, Kinema Citrus, Science Saru and Production I.G. – created this series of short films, which streams exclusively on Disney+ from this week.

It is the first formal venture by George Lucas's sci-fi saga into anime, aligning the tone and spirit of his original vision with the unique animation style and perspective of each studio.

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