Welcome to our guide to what’s new and worth watching in the world of TV and film.
Featuring our biggest celebrity interviews of the week, our Backstage entertainment review also includes details of the other new and noteworthy works coming to your screens.
The Batman – out in cinemas now
Robert Pattinson has confessed to finding himself distractingly handsome as the new Batman.
“It’s funny, you kind of have this split personality moment,” he told Sky News, of playing the masked super-hero.
“You look in the mirror and go, ‘Daaaamn’. And then you’re like, ‘Wait, hold on. That’s me!'”
It has been a long wait for The Batman to finally come out in cinemas, with its release date pushed back twice because of COVID production delays.
Now, as he follows in the footsteps of stars including Christian Bale, Ben Affleck, Michael Keaton and George Clooney, comic book fans will finally find out what Pattinson has to offer in the role.
“You can’t help but not want to step on the other performers’ toes and I was so familiar with the other movies that it’s difficult to not do an imitation of people you’ve seen, when you’ve seen the movies like a million times,” he said, speaking ahead of the film’s red carpet premiere in London.
“The script did take a few departures and that kind of helped.”
Just don’t expect Paul Dano’s The Riddler to turn up in a bright green leotard. Instead, there is a disturbingly realistic intensity behind his portrayal which shows him communicating with other loners in chat rooms.
Joaquin Phoenix‘s Oscar-winning Joker in 2019 came under fire from those who said it was overly sympathetic to “incels” – the “involuntarily celibate” online subculture involving men who express hostility and extreme resentment towards those who are sexually active, particularly women.
However, Pattinson said Dano’s Riddler – who in the film wraps clingfilm around his face to achieve his terrifying appearance – is clearly not to be copied.
“I think the clingfilm he puts around his face, once people try and do that for themselves, they’d be like ‘forget that’!” he laughs.
On a more serious note, his Catwoman co-star Zoe Kravitz insists the film’s writer and director Matt Reeves “did it very responsibly”.
She told Sky News: “I think, you know, in the context of the film, the message is the danger of what happens when people feel like no one’s listening to them.”
Privilege, a lack of trust in authority and toxic masculinity are all explored in the new film.
While it might look like a classic noir from the past, this is a very modern incarnation of The Batman.
Shining Vale – on Starzplay now
Courteney Cox‘s latest TV show portrays a reality that many women will be all too familiar with.
In horror-comedy Shining Vale, her character, Pat, is trying to figure out whether she’s depressed or possessed, while being dismissed by her husband and children.
And while most of us don’t have to worry about dealing with an actual demon after moving into a potentially haunted house, Cox told Sky News’ Backstage podcast that many women of a certain age will relate to a lack of appreciation for their situation.
“I think that women probably go through a lot more than people realise – I mean, between menopause, depression, being a mom to teenagers.”
The 57-year-old has recently spoken out about her past use of “injections and doing stuff” to her face in response to the pressures on actors – particularly women – to “chase” youthfulness.
The show is the brainchild of producer and former Friends writer Jeff Astrof and Sharon Horgan, the Irish writer whose previous work includes Catastrophe and Divorce – comedies which also lay bare the issues facing modern women.
Ali & Ava – in cinemas across UK and Ireland now
Director Clio Barnard says her latest film – modern-day love story Ali & Ava- uses the dual tools of joy and music to harness its powerful message.
Set in over a month in Bradford and starring actors Adeel Akhtar and Claire Rushbrooke, it’s the third film Barnard has set in the West Yorkshire city.
The filmmaker told Sky News: “We talked about joy as an act of resistance, so [Akhtar’s] character [Ali] is incredibly joyful and the music plays a really important role in the film.”
The movie has been nominated for two BAFTAs at this year’s awards – best British film and best actor for Four Lions star Akhtar.
With a backdrop of music by the Buzzcocks, Bob Dylan and The Specials, Ali & Ava is a love story that defies divides.
It melds gritty social realism with dancing on sofas and raving on car roofs and has garnered favourable comparisons to the work of director Ken Loach.
Akhtar says it’s this sound of music that is the catalyst for love crossing cultural, racial and social divides in the film.
“We exchange our musical tastes, and I think that for me was the start of that journey.”
Read our interview here.
You can listen to our interviews and hear our reviews in this week’s Backstage podcast. As well as The Batman, Shining Vale and Ali & Ava, our Backstagers are also discussing Mood (on BBC3 now) and The Dropout (on Hulu/Disney+ now).
Let us know what you’ve been watching via firstname.lastname@example.org