Taylor Swift’s “1989 (Taylor’s Version),” a Paramount+ documentary on the duo Milli Vanilli examining one of music’s biggest lip-syncing scandals and the horror movie “Five Nights at Freddy’s” are some of the new television, movies, music and games headed to a device near you
Among the offerings worth your time as selected by The Associated Press’ entertainment journalists are Julian Fellowes’ “The Gilded Age” back for a second season on HBO and Hollywood’s latest attempt to delve into the opioid crisis with the glossy “Pain Hustlers,” starring Emily Blunt, Chris Evans and Andy Garcia.
— Hollywood’s latest attempt to delve into the opioid crisis is the glossy, starry “Pain Hustlers,” starring Emily Blunt, Chris Evans and Andy Garcia. Based on a New York Times Magazine article (which then became a book) by Evan Hughes, “Pain Hustlers,” on Netflix now, centers on a pharmaceutical startup, Insys Therapeutics, which engaged in criminal activities like bribery and kickbacks and misleading insurers to push their addictive oral fentanyl spray called Subsys. Blunt plays a high school dropout who gets a job at the company, run by Garcia, where she excels. Directed by David Yates, “Pain Hustlers” was not generally well received by critics at its Toronto International Film Festival premiere, but Alyssa Wilkinson wrote for Vox that, though predictable, “’Pain Hustlers’ manages to be lively and moving.”
— The video game series “Five Nights at Freddy’s” is now a movie, available both in theaters and on Peacock on Friday. The horror pic, from Blumhouse Productions, follows a security guard (played by “The Hunger Games’” Josh Hutcherson) who accepts a job at an old family entertainment center, Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza, where the animatronic mascots are mobile and murderous after midnight. ( Read AP’s zero star review.)
— Filmmaker Paul Schrader rounds out his unofficial Man in a Room trilogy (“First Reformed,” “The Card Counter”) with “Master Gardener,” on Hulu. Joel Edgerton plays a horticulturist named Narvel who works on the large estate of a wealthy dowager (Sigourney Weaver’s Norma). Narvel harbors some secrets under his gardening jumpsuits, though, including tattoos and a past with a body count. I wrote in my review that its ideas are many and perhaps not terribly coherent, but there are pleasures in the enjoyable performances from Edgerton, Weaver and Quintessa Swindell.
— AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr
— It was the album that fully cemented her move away from country-pop to mainstream pop superstardom. Taylor Swift has dropped the fourth of the six albums she plans to rerecord, “1989 (Taylor’s Version).” The Taylor’s Version albums, instigated by music manager Scooter Braun’s sale of her early catalog, represent Swift’s effort to control her own songs and how they’re used. Like the others in the series, Swifties can expect five previously unreleased “From the Vault” tracks written around the time of the 2014 album’s initial release, as well as the fan-favorite “New Romantics,” originally released as a Target exclusive.
— Also on Friday: Barbra Streisand and Columbia Records will release “EVERGREENS: Celebrating Six Decades on Columbia Records” and “YENTL: 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition,” arriving a few days before the publication date of her highly anticipated memoir, “My Name is Barbra.” Unreleased tracks abound. Welcome to Streisand season.
— In preparation for his latest studio album, “Action Adventure,” DJ Shadow took crate digging to the next level: he bought 200 tapes on eBay, a collection that was recorded off the radio from a mix station in the Baltimore/D.C. area in the 1980s, and dove through his vinyl record collection for new music. (That latter is 60,000 records deep, so discovery at home is easy.) If that doesn’t speak to the producer’s dedication to evolving his craft, what could?
— A new Paramount+ documentary on the German-French R&B duo Milli Vanilli (appropriately titled, “Milli Vanilli,”) examines one of music’s biggest lip-syncing scandals — and suggests Rob Pilatus and Fab Morvan’s music producers were pulling the strings and knew more than they let on at the time.
— AP Music Writer Maria Sherman
— Apple TV+ has a new family friendly animated series from Dreamworks called “CURSES!” in time for Halloween. When a centuries-old family curse turns Alex Vanderhouven to stone, his wife, Sky, and their two kids Pandora and Russ team up to save him, break the spell, and return stolen artifacts to their owners. John Krasinski is an executive producer. Voice actors include Reid Scott (“Veep”, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”), Rhea Perlman (“Cheers”), Phylicia Rashad (“The Cosby Show”) and Robert Englund (“A Nightmare on Elm Street”). “CURSES!” debuted Friday.
— Matt Bomer (“White Collar”) and Jonathan Bailey (“Bridgerton”) co-star as two men who meet and fall in love during the 1950s McCarthy-era. Their love story stretches across the cultural and political milestones in U.S. history including the Vietnam War protests, the age of disco, drug use and nightclubs of the 1970s, and into the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s. The story is based on a novel by Thomas Mallon. “Fellow Travelers” debuts Friday on Paramount+ and on Showtime on Sunday.
— Julian Fellowes’ “The Gilded Age” is back for a second season on HBO. The show features a large ensemble cast including Carrie Coon, Christine Baranski, Cynthia Nixon, Morgan Spector and Taissa Farmiga and takes place in New York during the industrialization period in the late 1800s. This time of extreme wealth and also extreme poverty became known as The Gilded Age, though is often more remembered for its extravagance. The Carnegies, Rockefellers, Vanderbilts and Morgans are prominent last names from this time period that still have relevance today. “The Gilded Age” series follows two wealthy families, one with inherited wealth and the other with new money, along with their domestic workers. Season two debuts Sunday on HBO and will stream on MAX.
— Alicia Rancilio
— In 2010, bestselling writer Alan Wake went on vacation in the Pacific Northwest and never came back. Turns out he’s been trapped all these years in “the Dark Place,” trying to maintain his sanity and write his way out of the nightmare. Enter Saga Anderson, an FBI agent investigating a series of ritual murders that she thinks might be connected to the missing novelist. That’s the setup for Alan Wake II, Remedy Entertainment’s long-awaited sequel to a game that’s become a cult favorite. If you were rattled by the David Lynch-meets-Stephen King vibe of the original, Remedy is promising to lean even further into the creepiness. The horror returns Friday on PlayStation 5/4, Xbox X/S and PC.
— Lou Kesten
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