Tunes from Dan & Shay and Vic Mensa plus a genre-blending Hulu series “The Other Black Girl” set inside the world of publishing 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 a joyous season two of “Welcome to Wrexham,” “Barbie” can be bought for $30 and Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon return for season three of “The Morning Show.”
NEW MOVIES TO STREAM
“Barbie” is finally coming to the small screen, giving audiences everywhere the freedom to belt out “I’m Just Ken” along with Ryan Gosling without shame. It’ll come at a cost, though, at least for a little while. Greta Gerwig’s billion-dollar blockbuster is available to buy on video-on-demand for a cool $29.99. The film took on a life of its own after a wild marketing blitz and “Oppenheimer” proximity, inspiring moviegoers to don their pinkest, most sparkly ensembles for group trips to the theaters. With over $1.3 billion in global ticket sales, it has ascended to become the biggest movie of the year, the biggest in Warner Bros. 100-year-history and the biggest live-action movie directed by a woman. AP’s Jocelyn Noveck wrote in her review that, “Barbie” “can simultaneously and smoothly both mock and admire its source material.”
Unlike “Barbie,” Disney and Pixar’s latest offering “Elemental” did not set the cultural conversation, or box office, on fire this summer. Lost in the sea of pre- Barbenheimer fizzles, the film imagines a city where anthropomorphized elements (fire, water, earth and air) live separately from and in fear of one another. In a marketplace void of meaningful offerings for young kids however “Elemental” did slide its way to $480 million globally, but if you failed to catch it in theaters, is on Disney . In his review, AP Film Writer Jake Coyle asked where it fits in the Pixar canon. “Probably in the lower half,” Coyle wrote. “But ‘Elemental’ — sincere and clever, with a splash of dazzle — comes closer to rekindling some of the old Pixar magic than some recent entries. ”
And for something completely different, and definitely not for kids, Netflix has Pablo Larraín’s “El Conde” arriving Friday. The director of “Spencer” and “Jackie” returns to his home country to make a dark satire about Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet as a 250-year-old vampire who’d like to die. With cinematography from the great Ed Lachmann and a smart allegorical take on history repeating itself, “El Conde” is stunning to behold. It also coincides with the 50-year-anniversary of the coup that brought Pinochet to power.
NEW MUSIC TO STREAM
Throughout their career, the Grammy-award winning country pop duo Dan & Shay have been known as reliable, romantic balladeers — experts in soundtracking a first dance or a cinematic moment between two lovers. That streak continues on their fifth studio album, “Bigger Houses,” as found in the title track, and “Heartbreak on the Map,” and Always Gonna Be.” But they also make room for surprises: like on the ascendent, uptempo single “We Should Get Married.” Get you a duo who can do both.
Six years after Vic Mensa released his debut album, “The Autobiography,” the Chicago rapper is back with a sophomore release — the self-titled, self-reflective “Victor.” Across 18 tracks, Mensa explores culture, sobriety, Ghana, home and himself, leading to his most zealous work to date. “This album is a story of redemption; trial and triumph, pain and glory,” Mensa said in a statement. On the single “Blue Eyes,” he takes on Eurocentric standards of beauty; on “Strawberry Louis Vuitton (feat. Thundercat)” he pays homage to the late-great Virgil Abloh.
NEW SERIES TO STREAM
When we last saw Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon’s characters on “The Morning Show,” they were navigating COVID-19 at the height of the pandemic. Aniston’s Alex Levy was even broadcasting from her house while inflicted with the virus. For its third season on Apple TV , there’s been a time jump and the network now is courting a sale to a tech giant played by Jon Hamm — whose passion is to join the space race. (Sound familiar?) Once again, “The Morning Show” is not afraid to dive into real topics in our media landscape that have an impact on news coverage, including mergers, budgets, and ethics. Billy Crudup, Mark Duplass, Greta Lee and Julianna Margulies also return. The series has already been renewed for a fourth season.
When Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney purchased a small, down on its luck soccer club called Wrexham A.F.C. in Wales, they wanted to document how the team and its blue-collar town rely on and reflect one another — in both good times and bad. The team and town have enjoyed the international attention “Welcome to Wrexham,” but the team still struggled in season one. Season two, which debuted Tuesday, shows things start to click where ultimately “The Other Black Girl” is set inside the world of publishing where Nella, an editorial assistant, is the only Black girl in the office. Nella is relieved and excited to meet her new colleague, Hazel-May, who is also Black and hopes for a comrade as now the two examples of Black representation in their workplace. Hazel-May, however, assimilates just fine, and Nella begins to feel increasingly on the outs with those around her. Hazel tells Nella she’s her ally, but her actions don’t reflect that. The series — with its genre-blending mix of social satire and creepiness is based on a novel of the same name by Zakiya Dalila Harris, who also is an executive producer and writer on the project. All 10 episodes dropped Wednesday.
A new series coming to The CW may reinforce some people’s fears of the ocean makes “Jaws” look downright silly. “The Swarm” is about a predatory life force deep in the water that can control the ocean’s ecosystem. All sea life becomes hostile (including muscles and crabs), pathogens end up in drinking water and dangerous weather including tsunamis and hurricanes are provoked. The eight-episode series first aired in Germany and is based on a novel by Frank Schätzing.
NEW VIDEO GAMES TO PLAY
In summer 2016, millions of people were exploring the world with their smartphones held high, hoping to spot adorable little monsters in the Pokémon Go augmented reality app. That game’s developer, Niantic, is back with Capcom’s Monster Hunter Now, and the critters have gotten a lot bigger and meaner — more like Godzilla than Pikachu. They aren’t nearly as happy to join your menagerie, and you may need to squad up with some friends to take down the particularly nasty ones. In between battles you can search for minerals, plants and bones that you need to craft better armor and weapons. Just be careful not to swing your phone too violently on your neighbor’s lawn. The hunt happens on iOS and Android phones.