Urgh, January. It’s just a big old pile of meh. All you want to do is curl up on the couch and not move a muscle. But how? Let us show you the way. Photography Rob Greig.
You can’t very well just sit there, so grab a beer and zone out with the Time Out critics’ handy guide to this year’s best home culture.
It’s Such a Beautiful Day
Writer-director-animator-editor Don Hertzfeldt is a DIY genius, and his debut feature ‘It’s Such a Beautiful Day’ is nothing less than a masterpiece. An inspiring, blisteringly funny tale of mental illness and modern despair, it scored high in Time Out’s Best of 2013 list.
A Hard Day’s Night
Moptop pop pandemonium! The Beatles’ first film wrote the rules for every music movie to come – it’s funny, frenetic and packed with toetappers. It’s also spikier than you remember, slipping in crafty gags about fashion, commerce and even the IRA.
Dallas Buyer’s Club
The McConnaissance hit its peak when St Matthew nabbed the Best Actor Oscar for his powerful, painfully skinny central turn in this old-school melodrama about a macho Texas ladykiller who contracts HIV.
West of Memphis
Of the many documentaries made about the wrongfully imprisoned US teens known as the West Memphis Three, this is the most comprehensive. Convicted as much for their outsider attitude and goth haircuts as any real evidence, all three speak candidly about their ordeal.
The Invisible Woman
Ralph Fiennes directs and stars as a philandering Charles Dickens in this stately, witty, very English period drama, with Felicity Jones as the young woman who became his secret lover. Tom Huddleston
Cucumber/Banana/Tofu (Jan, C4/E4/online)
Russell T Davies returns to ‘Queer as Folk’ turf with this uproarious three-pronged depiction of the modern queer experience. ‘Cucumber’ follows the (mis)adventures of a middle-aged man, ‘Banana’ aims younger and ‘Tofu’ takes a documentary approach. And each, of course, is named after a texture of the aroused male member.
Fortitude (Jan, Sky Atlantic)
Polar bears, barroom brawls and ‘The Killing’s’ Sofie Gråbøl all feature in a frosty new mystery thriller set in an Icelandic mining community. Science and tourism collide in the town’s first good, old-fashioned murder: suspects include Michael Gambon, Christopher Eccleston and Stanley Tucci.
The Casual Vacancy (Feb, BBC1)
Warming up for the general election, JK Rowling’s warmly received, enjoyably soapy post-Potter saga documenting malfeasance in a local council gets the lavish telly treatment. Keeley Hawes, Rory Kinnear and Michael Gambon (again!) star in a series lacing political satire with sharp social commentary.
Wolf Hall (Jan, BBC2)
Emphatically not ‘The Tudors’, this sixhour compression of Hilary Mantel’s doorstop diptych is austere, gripping and boasts a note-perfect cast led by Mark Rylance, Damian Lewis (right) and Claire Foy as archpragmatist Thomas Cromwell, his master Henry VIII and the illfated Anne Boleyn. Gabriel Tate
‘PleasureTown’ is an intriguingly mysterious oral history of a fictional Wild West town. Coming from the producers of ‘Serial’, it promises to be just as irritatingly addictive as that smash hit.
Quirky sound-design and neat storytelling combine in this brilliant podcast which breaks down complex scientific ideas into excitingly digestible nuggets to greedily geek out on.
John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman’s long-running satirical news show is celebrating its eighth anniversary, and still dishes up an healthy helping of quick-witted satire and biting political humour. Justin McDonnell