New in Entertainment: Lena Dunham, Mila Kunis and Charlie Puth
(AP) - This week’s new entertainment releases include albums from Charlie Puth and The Cult, Mila Kunis starring in the Netflix thriller “Luckiest Girl Alive,” and “30 Rock” star Jack McBrayer leading the second season of “Hello, Jack! The Kindness Show.” Lena Dunham adapts and directs Karen Cushman’s young-adult novel in “Catherine Called Birdy,” a spirited medieval coming-of-age tale about a 14-year-old girl named Birdy in medieval England. And what do you get when two of the three rappers from Migos release an LP? We’ll find out when Quavo and Takeoff give the world “Only Built for Infinity Links” without third member Offset.
Lena Dunham adapts Karen Cushman’s young-adult novel in “Catherine Called Birdy,” a spirited medieval coming-of-age tale about a 14-year-old girl named Birdy (Bella Ramsey) in medieval England. Her father (Andrew Scott) wants to marry her off for some much-needed money, but Birdy’s plans repeatedly foil him. In her review, AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr called the film “part ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary,’ part Mel Brooks and all joy.” Though still playing in select theaters, “Catherine Called Birdy” begins streaming Friday on Prime Video.
From some of the same producing team behind the hit Michael Jordan documentary series “The Last Dance” comes another look back on a basketball high point. “The Redeem Team,” debuting Friday on Netflix, follows the 2008 U.S. men’s basketball team as it seeks a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics after the team’s disappointing bronze finish in 2004. LeBron James and Dwayne Wade, both team members, are producers of the documentary, which digs into coach Mike Krzyzewski’s leadership and Kobe Bryant’s considerable impact on the team.
Mila Kunis stars in the Netflix thriller “Luckiest Girl Alive,” based on Jessica Knoll’s 2015 best-selling debut novel. The film, streaming Friday, takes some of the mystery stylings of “Gone Girl” and “The Girl on the Train.” Kunis stars as a New York woman with a seemingly perfect life that unravels when a true-crime documentary starts looking into her dark high-school past.
For his third album, pop singer-songwriter Charlie Puth is going with a very simple title — “Charlie,” due out Friday. It’s his first full-length project since his 2018 Grammy-nominated LP “Voicenotes.” You’ve likely already heard at least one of the 12 tracks — the earworm “Left and Right” featuring Jung Kook of BTS. Some other singles are the brooding ballad “That’s Hilarious” and the slinky “Light Switch.” Still not sure? listen to the lovesick up-tempo “Smells Like Me.”
Guitarist Billy Duffy and singer Ian Astbury rejoin for a new album from The Cult, with their signature mix of heavy metal, goth and rock. The eight-track “Under the Midnight Sun” has triggered two singles, “Give Me Mercy” and “A Cut Inside,” with Astbury singing: “No heathens in heaven/ No sweet surrender/ Outsiders forever/ Ghosts of our lives.” Astbury says he pulled in influences from Brian Jones, Brion Gysin, William Burroughs, Buddhism, the Beats and the Age of Aquarius.
What do you get when two of the three rappers from Migos release an LP? We’ll find out Friday when Quavo and Takeoff give the world “Only Built for Infinity Links” without third member Offset. The lead single “Hotel Lobby” has a video inspired by “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and another club-ready single is “Us vs. Them,” with Gucci Mane. Then there’s the Birdman-featuring “Big Stunna” and the memorable lyrics: “I was sick before carona/ice cold like pneumonia.” The title of their joint record is a reference to Raekwon’s 1995 solo work “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx.”
Wasn’t super-producer Danger Mouse just celebrating an album release last month? Well, here’s another. Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse) reconnects with The Shins’ James Mercer as Broken Bells for the album “Into the Blue.” Three singles with wildly different styles have preceded the album drop, including the spacy “We’re Not In Orbit Yet...” and the gorgeous “Love On the Run,” that has a sunny, ‘70s vibe leading to a Pink Floyd-ish guitar solo. Last month, Danger Mouse teamed up with The Roots’ Black Thought for the album “Cheat Codes.”
Lesley Manville, Joanne Froggatt and David Morrissey lead an ensemble cast in " Sherwood,” a drama series inspired by a 1984 miners’ strike in Nottingham, England, that pitted the town against police and divided friends and relatives. Decades later, officers return in force to solve a pair of killings, with their presence rekindling past bitterness. James Graham (“Brexit — The Uncivil War”), who grew up in the real-life town of Nottinghamshire and witnessed the turmoil, wrote the series debuting Tuesday on the BritBox streaming service.
“Hello, Jack! The Kindness Show” returns Friday for its second season and none too soon. Jack McBrayer (“30 Rock”) is the beaming center of the show that aims to help preschoolers appreciate the value of small acts of kindness. Shouldn’t the adults in this fractious world be watching, too? The Apple TV+ series, co-created by McBrayer and Angela C. Santomero (“Blue’s Clues,” “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood”), will welcome guest stars including Tony Hale, Stephanie Beatriz, Kristen Schaal and Kumail Nanjiani.
The iHeartRadio Music Festival, held in Las Vegas at the end of September, is getting a four-hour, two-night special on the CW network. Among the dozens of artists at the festival: Sam Smith and Kim Petras, who performed their new song “Unholy”; a set by Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo that included “Love Is a Battlefield” and “Heartbreaker,” and Megan Thee Stallion closing out the festival with songs from her new album, “Traumazine,” and past hits. The special airs on Friday and Saturday.
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