New this week: ‘Turning Red,’ Ryan Reynolds and Mooski album
Here’s a collection curated by The Associated Press’ entertainment journalists of what’s arriving on TV, streaming services and music platforms this week.
— “Turning Red,” the third straight Pixar movie to bypass theaters for a streaming debut, lands Friday on Disney+. Directed by Domee Shi, who made the Pixar short “Bao,” “Turning Red” is the first Pixar feature directed solely by a woman. It’s about Meilin Lee (voiced by Rosalie Chiang), a 13-year-old Chinese-Canadian teenager with an over-protective mother (Sandra Oh), who begins turning into a giant, fluffy red panda when she feels a strong emotion. The film, featuring a pivotal BTS-like boy band, includes original songs from Billie Eilish and Finneas.
— In Netflix’s “The Adam Project,” Ryan Reynolds reunites with “Free Guy” director Shawn Levy to star as a time-traveling pilot who crash lands in his old backyard, where his younger self (Walker Scobell) and mother (Jennifer Garner) live. It’s a big-budget throwback that has some of the bouncy spirit of 1980s sci-fi adventures. And being a starry, expensive movie based on an original concept, it’s the kind of movie unlikely to be bankrolled by today’s studios for theaters. Instead, “The Adam Project,” which debuts Friday, is the latest in a string of Netflix releases for Reynolds, who starred in “Red Notice” and “6 Underground.” Mark Ruffalo co-stars.
— Many of the standouts of last year’s Cannes Film Festival have already made a major impression with moviegoers — films like “Drive My Car,” “The Worst Person in the World,” “Titane,” “A Hero” and many more. But don’t sleep on “Lingui, the Sacred Bonds.” Mahamat-Saleh Haroun’s powerful drama is about a Chadian single mother (Achouackh Abakar Soulymane) seeking an abortion for her 15-year-old daughter (Rihane Khalil Alio) in a country where the procedure is all but outlawed. Yet having a child out of wedlock, too, could mean being socially ostracized. The film, which begins streaming Tuesday on MUBI, packs a brilliant mother-daughter story — and an important portrait of modern-day capital N’Djamena — into less than 90 minutes.
— AP Film Writer Jake Coyle
— Alabama-bred soulful rapper Mooski is ready to drop his debut album, “Melodic Therapy 4 The Broken.” Mooski has upped the interest with catchy songs like “Track Star,” which racked up more than 475 million views on TikTok and has been streamed almost 74 million times on Spotify. A “Track Star” TikTok challenge inspired videos from Keyshia Cole, Lala Anthony, Dream Doll and Halle Berry, among others. His new album, out Friday, is led by the luscious “Soul Bleed.” Mooski has had a different path to music stardom — he served as a sergeant during a four-year tenure in the Marine Corps.
— Bryan Adams’ pandemic-influenced “So Happy It Hurts” album arrives Friday. The title track — an arena-rocking celebration of driving — “is about freedom, autonomy, spontaneity and the thrill of the open road,” the Canadian musician says. It is a joyous album and one outstanding track is “Never Gonna Rain,” with the lyrics “I’m gonna smile like I never had a heartache/Laugh like I never had a care.” One unusual track is the lead single, “Kick Ass,” with a lengthy spoken word introduction from comedian John Cleese.
— Legendary Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim is still being celebrated and the latest tribute is theater icon Betty Buckley’s releases of a compilation album, “Betty Buckley Sings Stephen Sondheim.” The album collects various of the “Cats” Tony-winner’s previous interpretations of two dozen Sondheim’s songs, including “Anyone Can Whistle,” “Children Will Listen” and “Send in the Clowns.”
— AP Entertainment Writer Mark Kennedy
— A small-town murder case gets big-star wattage in NBC’s “The Thing About Pam,” with Renée Zellweger in the title role. Pam Hupp’s links to several deaths have been recounted in multiple episodes of “Dateline NBC,” a podcast, books and now the series co-starring Josh Duhamel and Judy Greer. The 2011 killing of Betsy Faria (Katy Mixon) in Troy, Missouri, led to the conviction of her husband, Russ (Glenn Fleshler). He was exonerated in a second trial, but Betsy Faria’s death began the unraveling of “a diabolical scheme deeply involving” Hupp, as the network put it. The series debuts 10 p.m. EST Tuesday.
— Another film star, Samuel L. Jackson, headlines the six-part series “The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey,” arriving Friday on Apple TV+. Based on the Walter Mosley novel, Jackson plays an forgotten man, one facing dementia, who becomes the caretaker for an orphaned teen (Dominique Fishback, “Judas and the Black Messiah”). The pair learns that Ptolemy’s memories might be restored by treatment, leading to difficult truths about the past, present and even the future. Cynthia Kaye McWilliams, Damon Gupton, and Walton Goggins are in the cast.
— Italian scenery, Italian food and Stanley Tucci make for a banquet in the return of CNN’s series “Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy,” a combination travelogue and drool-inducing food celebration with actor as engaging tour guide. He’s also our proxy taster, with the contrasting dishes of Umbria and Venice part of the menu in season two, debuting 9 p.m. EST Sunday, March 13, on the cable channel. Tucci wants us to do more than eat: His goal is to educate himself and viewers on Italy’s culture and history through its much-loved cuisine. Viewers will have time to digest what they’re learning, with the series’ second half arriving in the fall.
— AP Television Writer Lynn Elber
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