What to watch and play | Astronauts in peril, a coming-of-age tale and a baseball videogame

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Three astronauts (Toni Collette, left, Daniel Dae Kim and Anna Kendrick) ­receive an unexpected guest in Stowaway. (PHOTO: Netflix)
Three astronauts (Toni Collette, left, Daniel Dae Kim and Anna Kendrick) ­receive an unexpected guest in Stowaway. (PHOTO: Netflix)

Stowaway ***

Sci-fi thriller. A trio of astronauts (Anna Kendrick, Daniel Dae Kim and Toni Collette) take off on a two-year mission to Mars. 

Their assignment is pretty routine – they’re not the first humans going to Mars, the world isn’t ending and they’re not going to be waylaid by ill-­intentioned aliens. 

Their stowaway is an engineer (Shamier Anderson from Wynonna Earp), and he’s an unwitting one at that. 

Injured during pre-takeoff checks, he was knocked unconscious during the launch, and wakes up to see Earth becoming a distant blue marble.

Once he overcomes his initial panic – he’s the only care­giver for his younger sister who was expecting him to be home a few hours after the launch – he settles into a routine with the crew, helping them around the ship and assisting with experiments. 

The kicker is that their rocket was originally a two-person craft, modified to accommodate three astronauts . . . but there isn’t enough oxygen or supplies on board for an unexpected guest. 

Like their fellow astronauts in Apollo 13 (1995), Gravity (2013) and The Martian (2015), this crew have to figure out a way to survive their outer-­space trip using only their few available supplies and their wits.

Although it all feels overfamiliar – confined to one location, small cast and the usual astronauts-in-peril plot beats – Stowaway is still a nail-biter, free of histrionics and anchored by terrific performances from talented actors who create believably human characters in an extraordinary situation. – DENNIS CAVERNELIS


Big Time Adolescence  ***

Big Time Adolescence, Griffin Gluck, Pete Davidson
Griffin Gluck (left) and Pete Davidson in Big Time Adolescence. (PHOTO: Hulu)

Comedy drama. Strait-laced suburban teenager Mo (Locke & Key’s Griffin Gluck) idolises his older best friend, Zeke (Saturday Night Live ­comedian Pete Davidson), an aimless drug-dealing college dropout and the ex-boyfriend of his sister (Emily Arlook from Grown-ish). 

In spite of his parents’ concern about Zeke’s influence, Mo chooses to spend most of his time with his BFF. But as he comes of age under Zeke’s destructive guidance, Mo ­experiences the consequences of his actions and recognises what he needs to do to move forward and grow up. 

This quirky and unconventional coming-of-age film is the debut of writer-director Jason Orley and has a great ensemble of actors. 

Gluck creates an authentic performance while Davidson is oddly endearing, and the friendship and conversations between the characters feel natural. 

Although it’s not a gamechanger in an already overflowing genre of coming-of-age tales, Big Time ­Adolescence is an entertaining and heartfelt story with a clever comedic tone that’s worth a watch, especially if you’re interested in Gluck and ­Davidson’s growing portfolio of work. – CAMILLA THOROGOOD 

2019. 87 MIN. 16LSD.

MLB the Show 21 ****

MLB the Show. (PHOTO: Sony)

Platforms: PS4, PS5, Xbox Series X and S

There aren’t a lot of choices when it comes to baseball videogames on modern consoles, especially if you’re looking for a realistic simulation of America’s favourite pastime. 

Fortunately, MLB (Major League Baseball) the Show has been a consistently great franchise since 2014 and 2021’s offering is no different.

There’s a wealth of options for how you can play the game and you can customise the way you want to interact with each aspect. There are at least three different options for batting, fielding and pitching – great new additions for hardcore players that let you control every part of your play.

The presentation and menus are slick and simple to navigate and there’s a great variety of game modes, from full seasons and single player careers to home-run derbies.

In terms of graphics, the game looks great, and each team’s real-life stadium and players are well represented. It also includes live-action podcast and TV show interludes that make you feel as if you’re watching a TV broadcast.

The game’s only drawback is that although the multitude of options make it easy for anyone to enjoy, it doesn’t do much to draw in new players unfamiliar with the sport.

Overall, the game is a great package and well worth a look for baseball fans. – GARETH SEILER

A: All ages   D: Drugs   H: Horror   L: Language   N: Nudity   P: Prejudice   PG: Parental guidance   
S: Sex  V: Violence

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