A fresh Rolling Stones album, a revealing documentary on spy novelist John le Carré and “Living for the Dead,” a new Hulu series that’s like “Queer Eye” meets “Ghost Hunters” 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 comedian Heather McMahan’s first network comedy special called “The Son I Never Had” and Nida Manzoor’s rollicking action-comedy movie “Polite Society.”
— John le Carré, whose birth name was David Cornwell, died in 2020. But before his death, the author of “The Spy Who Came in From the Cold” and “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” sat down with documentarian Errol Morris for a series of probing interviews. The result, “The Pigeon Tunnel,” is one of the non-fiction highlights of the movie year. In the film, which streams Friday on Apple TV+, Cornwell discusses his career as a spy, his books and historical truth in a fittingly murky, noir-tinged documentary about one of the 20th century’s greatest writers. ( Read AP’s review.)
— DreamWorks Animation’s “Ruby Gillman, Teenage Kraken” is about a 15-year-old with a secret. Ruby (voiced by Lana Condor) and her family are sea creatures who are passing as humans on land. Ruby is, in fact, not just an aquatic mammal, but one of the mightiest of all, a Kraken. Director Kirk DeMicco’s film, which begins streaming Friday on Peacock following a theatrical run this summer, is a coming-of-age tale with monsters, mermaids and overprotective moms (Toni Collette). In his review, AP’s Mark Kennedy praised it as “a tale of generational sisterhood with the message to not hide your difference.”
— Nida Manzoor’s “Polite Society,” is a coming-of-age tale, too, but a much different beast. In the directorial debut of the “We Are Lady Parts” creator, Priya Kansara and Ritu Arya play British-Pakistani sisters with divergent dreams. Ria (Kansara) pines to be a stuntwoman. Lena (Arya) has fading artistic hopes that are fast being consumed by an arranged marriage to (Akshay Khanna). Ria sets out to spoil their parents’ plans in a rollicking action-comedy that, as I wrote in my review, “marries Jane Austen with kung-fu flare.” It began streaming Tuesday on Prime Video.
— AP Film Writer Jake Coyle
— What was the music world before Cheryl “Salt” James, Sandra “Pepa” Denton and Deidra “DJ Spinderella” Roper became Salt-N-Pepa? Tracking their legacy is much simpler: Salt-N-Pepa’s no-nonsense femininity and agency, coupled with their activism and unabashed sexuality, opened the floodgates for all that followed. So, this year, celebrating both 50 years of hip-hop and the 30th anniversary of Salt-N-Pepa’s famed fourth studio album, Universal Music Group is re-releasing “Very Necessary” with bonus tracks, alternative mixes and beyond. Streaming this one is a no brainer — and for the record, “Shoop” hits every bit as hard in 2023 as it did in 1993.
— Last month, The Rolling Stones announced they were preparing to release their first album of original material in 18 years, since 2005’s “A Bigger Bang.” Come Friday, the wait is over. “Hackney Diamonds,” is the Stones’ first new record since the death of drummer Charlie Watts in 2021. (His drumming is included posthumously and poignantly on two of the album’s 12 tracks.) It is also their best in decades, a multigenerational affair produced by the pop-rock mastermind Andrew Watt (with credits including Post Malone, Justin Bieber) and featuring guest appearances from the likes of Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder. Their rock ‘n’ roll vitality is as present as ever — there’s no interest in rehashing the past, rather, “Hackney Diamonds” is a joyful experiment, full of swagger. ( Read AP’s review.)
— AP Music Writer Maria Sherman
— “Living for the Dead,” a new Hulu series executive produced and narrated by Kristen Stewart, is like “Queer Eye” meets “Ghost Hunters.” It follows a group of five queer ghost hunters who travel to haunted locations and use their individual skills to confront the spirits and clear the space. There’s Ken, who specializes in tarot, Juju the spiritual expert, Logan the psychic, a researcher named Roz and Alex who does the ghost hunting. The series debuted Wednesday.
— Comedian Heather McMahan debuted her first network comedy special called “The Son I Never Had” on Tuesday. If you haven’t followed McMahan, she’s got a popular podcast called “Absolutely Not” and a hilarious Instagram account that caught on during the pandemic, and led to sold-out comedy dates. McMahan’s schtick is both relatable and outrageous.
— The sweet and smart comedy “Upload” is back on Prime Video for a third season. Created by Greg Daniels (“The Office”), the series takes place in the (near) future where one can opt to be uploaded to a virtual afterlife. The more money you have, the better the second life is. It stars Robbie Amell, a computer programmer, who was uploaded in season one — and falls for his still-living digital concierge, Nora (Andy Allo.) The first two episodes drop Friday.
— Detective Harry Bosch returns in the second season of “Bosch: Legacy” on FreeVee on Friday. Bosch was originally introduced by author Michael Connelly in his books and adapted for TV. He’s now retired from the LAPD, solving cases as a private investigator.
— Alicia Rancilio
— Two iconic characters who have recently become movie stars are returning to the medium that made them famous: the 2-D, side-scrolling, running-and-jumping game. First up is Sonic the Hedgehog with Sonic Superstars. It’ll look familiar to anyone who grew up in the 1990s with the Sega Genesis, with the furry speed demon hurtling through loop-the-loops, caroming off springs and collecting gold rings. Sonic bounced back Tuesday on PlayStation 5/4, Xbox X/S/One, Nintendo Switch and PC. Three days later, everyone’s favorite plumber, Mario, returns with Super Mario Bros. Wonder. Expect plenty of the block-breaking, mushroom-eating, warp-pipe-traveling antics that put Nintendo on the map in the 1980s. Plus, Mario can turn into an elephant. This one’s exclusive to the Switch, starting Friday.
— Speaking of multimedia legends, your friendly neighborhood web-slinger is back with Marvel’s Spider-Man 2. It’s actually Insomniac Games’ third crack at the character, after separate adventures starring alter egos Peter Parker and Miles Morales. This time the two Spideys are teaming up to battle notorious villains like Venom, Kraven the Hunter and The Lizard. If you enjoyed swinging between Manhattan’s skyscrapers in the previous games, get ready for an even bigger map, now including Queens and Brooklyn. And you can use your web shooters to create underarm “web wings,” which let you soar across spaces that don’t have tall buildings. Do whatever a spider can starting Friday on PlayStation 5.
— Lou Kesten
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