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New Releases Round-up 5/8 – 5/12

Title: Master of None (season 2)

Platform: Netflix

Since the advent of Louis C.K.’s critically beloved semi-autobiographical series Louie, a rash of shows written by and starring other standups doing similar explorations of their own experiences and worldview in sort-of fictionalized contexts has cropped up, becoming a bit of a cliche for TV comedy fans. Aziz Ansari’s show Master of None, the second season of which is available starting Friday, skirts associations with more derivative variations on this premise by presenting itself with Ansari’s sensibilities. The first season was a beautifully-shot and cleanly-formalistic look at the subjects of modern American life that Ansari has talked about in his standup for years: the lives of first-generation citizens, dating, and race. Capturing these topics in self-contained vignettes that culminated in a last-minute trip to Italy for Ansari’s Dev, the sophomore season looks to pick up where we last left off, doubling down on the cinematic aspect of the show by moving the action to the country where some of the most iconic films in history have been shot. Available on Netflix Friday, May 12th.

Title: King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Director: Guy Ritchie

Distributor: Warner Bros.

Guy Ritchie’s newest mercenary job arrives in the form of a new take on the King Arthur legend, another odd choice choice of material for the British director with roots in fast-talking gangster pictures following spy film The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and a duo of Sherlock Holmes movies. Say what you want about Ritchie’s house style, but these films feel most alive when the director disregards the material he’s ostensibly supposed to stay true to, and is allowed to filter his fast-paced, thuggish crime sensibility into these odd settings. A foray into medieval legend seems like the farthest Ritchie’s been from his cinematic “sweet spot” yet, reinforced by the 21% aggregate the film holds on Rotten Tomatoes at the time of this writing. The cast is led by Charlie Hunnam, with Jude Law, Aiden Gillen, Djimon Hounsou, and Eric Bana taking up supporting cast duties. In theaters Thursday, May 11th.

Title: Harry Styles

Artist: Harry Styles

Label: Erskine/Columbia

In what seems like a development that’s been a long time coming, the consensus favorite of British boy band One Direction is hoping to pull a Justin Timberlake-esque career pivot this year, between an acting debut in Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk, and a solo debut album dropping this week. He is certainly doing his damndest to make a splash, with the lead single “Sign of the Times” showing new emotional range for the pop star and climbing up charts. Styles enlisted pop super-producer Jeff Bhasker to executively oversee the record, responsible for some of the biggest albums of the 2010s, between Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and fun.’s Some Nights, presumably in hopes to launch his own career into a similar sphere as those artists. We’ll have to see if Styles has such an LP in him when Harry Styles comes out on Friday, May 12th.