In Review

What’s on this weekend? From Tiger King to Wine Girl

Your guide to what’s worth seeing and reading this weekend

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The Week’s best film, TV, book and live show on this weekend, with excerpts from the top reviews.

TELEVISION: Tiger King

Margaret Lyons in The New York Times

“Narratively, this seven-part documentary is kind of a mess, but everything it depicts is so outrageous that it barely matters. Joe Exotic called himself the ‘Tiger King’ and had a private zoo of dozens of exotic animals kept in questionable facilities. He was eventually arrested on charges of attempted murder for hire, but somehow that is the least interesting development here — it has to compete with maulings, polygamist compounds, another possible murder, D.I.Y. music videos meant to mock said possible murder, unusual sexual arrangements, sundry drugs and violence, arson and, perhaps obviously, the desire for a reality TV show.”

Out on Netflix now

MOVIE: American Beauty (1999)

Ian Nathan in Empire

“Released in America to a tumult of superlatives and Oscar chitchat, British director Sam Mendes' exceptional take on pre-millennial American ordinary people going nuts is simultaneously achingly funny and bitingly moving…Unusual for such people-focused comedy-drama is the vivid visual style. In among Burnham's sexual and human reawakening are dreamy visions of Suvari sumptuously smothered with nothing but scarlet rose petals. Mendes also paints his affluent Anywhereville with a worndown quality, all saturated colours and blank walls, throwing in outlandish angles to evoke the skewed normality of these fractured lives. Oddball teen neighbour Wes Bentley, clinically romantic about Burnham's daughter and chief preacher of the film's look-for-the-true-beauty philosophy, constantly Camcords the world around him, allowing Mendes to play cool games with shots within shots."

Added to UK Netflix on 1 April

BOOK: Wine Girl: The Obstacles, Humiliations, and Triumphs of America’s Youngest Sommelier by Victoria James

Laura Pullman in The Times

“This memoir is more than a #MeToo exposé: there are juicy insights into the A-list land of $25,000 bottles of red and $100 bowls of pasta. Customers are branded ‘PITA’ (pain in the ass), ‘whales’ (big spenders), ‘HWC’ (handle with care) and ‘PPX’ (personne plus extraordinaire). High-end restaurants trade information about guests — if you have pinched the mother-of-pearl caviar spoons, tipped poorly or outstayed your welcome, it will have been recorded. Dining rooms are ‘dressed’ so that the loveliest looking diners are placed in the window seats while ‘people who were slovenly, chubby, or had had botched plastic surgery went far in the back’.”

Out now

STAGE: L'École des femmes

Mark Fisher in The Guardian

“As knockabout comedies go, this one is uncommonly alarming. Indeed, Braunschweig, whose Measure for Measure toured the UK in 1997, gives the whole play a rare psychological depth. He pushes beyond the stock characters of impotent old man, innocent virgin and clean-cut hero to offer something more subtle…Aubert’s Agnès, meanwhile, is every bit the modern woman. Her response to Arnolphe’s patriarchal opinions is to laugh uncontrollably. Who needs a big speech to reply to views so patently absurd? Inexperienced she might be, but she is a woman in charge of her own destiny.”

Available to watch for free on Vimeo. French with English subtitles

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