Phones in serial killer movies are usually used by the deranged hunters to taunt the police or carefully tell victims how they’ll die. But in “The Black Phone” it’s the other way around, fitting for a horror-thriller that flips many of the genre’s formula.
The brief life of Elvis Presley is not something that fits neatly into a conventional biopic formula, though many have tried. It was, perhaps, always going to take a director as wild and visionary as Baz Luhrmann to do something that evokes the essence of the King’s 42 years.
It's boom times for googly eyes.
Within months of “Everything Everywhere All at Once," the metaphysical sci-fi comedy whose panoply of metaverses memorably included one that made magic out of a pair of stones and some plastic eyeballs, arrives “Marcel the Shell With Shoes On.”
NEW YORK (AP) — “The Lies I Tell” by Julie Clark (Sourcebooks Landmark)
Clear your schedule to read “The Lies I Tell” because this book is nearly impossible to put down from the first page.
It begins from the perspective of Kat Roberts, an unsatisfied journalist, who has waited 10 years to expose the many grifts of Meg Williams, a con artist who she blames for altering the course of her own life when she was on an uphill trajectory.
“Movieland,” by Lee Goldberg (Thomas & Mercer)
Eve Ronin, a young Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputy, is passionate about finding justice for crime victims, but her inexperience, ambition and willingness to defy authority have gotten her in a world of trouble.
“Cabin Fever: The Harrowing Journey of a Cruise Ship at the Dawn of a Pandemic” by Michael Smith and Jonathan Franklin (Doubleday)
Imagine stepping off a dock in Buenos Aires in early March 2020 to board a ship with 1,242 fellow passengers and 586 crew members for a cruise around the tip of South America.
“The House Across the Lake” by Riley Sager (Dutton)
Casey Fletcher and her husband Len bought a cottage on a remote lake in Vermont as a getaway from their hectic life in New York City. But after he drowned there, Casey chose to anesthetize her pain with alcohol.
“And There He Kept Her” by Joshua Moehling (Poison Pen Press)
Jesse, 17, is breaking into a house in Sandy Lake, Minnesota. Jenny, his girlfriend, shows up to stop him. But what neither of them anticipated was for the owner, Emmett, to catch them.
“Life Is Yours,” Foals (Warner Records)
Indie-pop art rockers Foals gave us more than enough to process with their last offering. Now they seem to want us to dance. And dance we must.
The upbeat, very funky and always brilliantly layered, 11-track “Life Is Yours” captures a band between clouds, the perfect slice of summer fun.
Female desire is not a topic that gets a lot of space in mainstream Hollywood movies. And the desire of women north of 45? Well, that’s been almost exclusively the province of Nancy Meyers, Meryl Streep and Diane Keaton.
The glow sticks. The neon lanyards. DJs playing wildly inappropriate songs. The mocktails, the tipsy grown-ups, the awkward adolescent kisses in photo booths.
Finally, a feature film set on the suburban bar mitzvah party circuit.
Iconic, “Second Skin” (Frontiers)
Like all good cooks from their country, the folks at Italian record label Frontiers know that the secret to great cooking lies in experimenting: Tossing a pinch of this with a spoon of that and adding a shake of something else.
Tom Segura is an edgelord. He is constantly on the verge of going too far, straddling the line for the lulz. It’s effective, but it keeps the casual fan of his comedy at arm's length.
That is, until he wrote a series of autobiographical essays titled “I’d Like to Play Alone, Please” and gave the bookish world a window into his heart.
“Vacationland” by Meg Mitchell Moore (William Morrow)
Don’t read this the wrong way, but “Vacationland” is a Lifetime movie on the page. There’s the college professor from Brooklyn whose marriage is teetering, three precocious kids, a gorgeous summer home on the coast of Maine, even a dog named Otis.
“In 1995, Andy got a toy from his favorite movie. This is that movie.”
So begins “Lightyear,” a new Pixar release that takes a meta approach to the animation studio's flagship franchise.
By now you’d think you know what you’re getting with an Adam Sandler sports movie. “Happy Gilmore” and “The Waterboy” have conditioned us to expect silly voices and left hooks from irritated game show hosts.
“Meant to Be” by Emily Giffin (Ballantine)
Joe Kingsley comes from a larger-than-life family with connections, achievements and celebrity akin to the Kennedys, complete with a family curse and everything.
“Nightcrawling” by Leila Mottley (Alfred A. Knopf)
“Nightcrawling” belongs near the top of any “best debut novel of 2022” list.
This is not an easy read. The words flow easily, with a visceral, in-your-face voice, but the subject matter is graphic and relentless.
“Tracy Flick Can’t Win,” by Tom Perrotta (Scribner)
Tracy Flick, the character created by Tom Perrotta in his 1998 novel “Election” and immortalized by Reese Witherspoon in the film version a year later, is back.
Films like “It Follows” and “The Guest” have already made Maika Monroe something of a modern scream-queen with a feminist bent. But the psychological acuity and compelling vulnerability Monroe brings to Chloe Okuno’s lean, stylish thriller “Watcher" suggests that her maturing movie-star presence goes well beyond any particular genre.
As one of our most talented living actors on screen or stage, Mark Rylance certainly knows how to speak beautifully. But sometimes it seems the essence of his acting emerges in those blank seconds between words.
Pain is a essentially a thing of the past for some in David Cronenberg’s “ Crimes of the Future,” a dense, gorgeous and grotesque meditation on bodies, creation and art.
“The Latecomer” by Jean Hanff Korelitz (Celadon Books)
Wealthy, dysfunctional families are so common in novels that it’s easy to dismiss books centered around them. Don’t make that mistake with “The Latecomer,” which introduces readers to the Oppenheimers, a New York family with triplets born via IVF who were “in full flight from one another as far back as their ancestral petri dish.”
“The Favor” by Nora Murphy (Minotaur)
Leah and Liam Dawson are lawyers. McKenna and Zack Hawkins are doctors. Or at least, Leah was a lawyer. And McKenna was a doctor. Now, they’re wives.
They don’t know each other, but their similarities are uncanny.
“Dark Enough to See the Stars,” Mary Gauthier (Thirty Tigers)
Mary Gauthier’s weekly Sunday afternoon livestreams at the pandemic’s peak were a lot like church, with confessions, contemplations and a welcome spirit of communion.
“Sparring Partners” by John Grisham (Doubleday)
Since bursting on the scene with the runaway hit “A Time to Kill” in 1989, John Grisham has been one of the most reliable fiction writers alive, churning out a bestselling novel almost every year.
“Happy-Go-Lucky,” by David Sedaris (Little, Brown and Company)
Almost everyone has a dysfunctional family, but few expose their relatives' funny, embarrassing and even disturbing quirks quite like writer and humorist David Sedaris.
“Cruel Country,” Wilco (dBpm Records)
Wilco goes country as only it can on “Cruel Country,” an immensely rich 21-track, roughly 80-minute deep dive into America that is a raw and engaging take on our tumultuous times.
Fans of “Bob’s Burgers” will find a lot to savor in the long-awaited big screen adaptation of the Fox comedy about the oddball Belcher family. “ The Bob’s Burgers Movie ” feels very much like the quirky show — just on a supersized scale, which is all it needed to be.
“Either/Or,” by Elif Batuman (Penguin Press)
Do you remember what it felt like to be a college sophomore? The Jell-O shots, cookie dough and moments of abject humiliation and terror as you tried, oh so self-importantly, to figure out how to live?
“Swing and a Hit” by Paul O’Neill with Jack Curry (Grand Central Publishing)
By now, nearly ever starter on the New York Yankees dynasty that won four World Series titles in six years (1996, 1998-2000) has written a memoir.
“My Moment: 106 Women on Fighting for Themselves,” edited by Lauren Blitzer, Kristin Chenoweth, Kathy Najimy, Chely Wright and Linda Perry (Gallery Books)
Havana Chapman-Edwards was the only kid at her school to participate in the 2018 walk out.
Harry Styles, “Harry's House” (Columbia Records)
If the 13 tracks of Harry Styles’ third LP are the walls in which he lives, “Harry’s House” is a place of self-expression, happiness and healing.
Mavis Staples & Levon Helm, “Carry Me Home” (ANTI-Records)
Some efforts to bring musical legends together feel contrived, like they were cooked up for a between-albums payoff. Occasionally, though, when the convergence isn't calculated, the moment just needs to be preserved.
One wedding and a funeral — and a birth. That gorgeous house, never mind the leaky roof. Some sunshine, too! More bone-dry quips from Maggie Smith. And oh, the clothes — silks and satins, tulles and tiaras.
Somewhere in the southwest of England is a sprawling stone estate nestled along hedge-lined lanes that you can rent, complete with wood fireplaces, low oak beams, an apple tree in the yard and a room for a baby grand piano.
If you must reboot an over 30-year-old Disney Channel cartoon like “ Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers,” you could do much worse than looking to “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” for inspiration.
"Mean Baby: A Memoir of Growing Up,” by Selma Blair (Alfred A. Knopf)
Most people probably know Selma Blair from her memorable roles in late ‘90s/early '00’s hit films such as “Cruel Intentions," “Legally Blonde” and “Hellboy.”
“Team America: Patton, MacArthur, Marshall, Eisenhower, and the World They Forged” by Robert L. O’Connell (Harper)
Insightful and informative, military historian Robert L. O’Connell’s latest book carries a title that might evoke in today’s readers a group of superheroes bent on saving the free world — in this case four Army generals transforming the United States into a global peacekeeper.
When there are so many fictional, burly varieties of heroes so regularly on movie screens, it's jarring to see that the genuine article can be a humble, gaunt former traffic cop who believed in the power of talking.
“His Name is George Floyd: One Man’s Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice,” by Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa (Viking)
Two Americas collided in the few minutes that Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into the neck of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, after a shopkeeper complained that the 6-foot-6 Floyd had passed a counterfeit $20 bill at a store.
Nearly a decade after its finale aired, the American version of “The Office" is a ubiquitous part of popular culture. So much so that the Scranton, Pennsylvania, branch of fictional paper company Dunder Mifflin became a surrogate workplace of sorts for millions working from home during the coronavirus pandemic.
For a movie about a girl with pyrokinetic powers, “ Firestarter ” is lacking a certain spark.
This new adaptation of Stephen King’s 1980 novel is not scary or thrilling, nor is it emotionally resonant or particularly moving.
Early on in “Top Gun: Maverick,” Tom Cruise hops on his sleek motorcycle, wearing Aviator sunglasses and a leather jacket with patches, and speeds into a time machine.
“On the Count of Three” is marketed as a “darkly comic” movie. Well, there's dark comedy and there’s darker comedy, and then there's comedy like this — so dark that you wonder if the two words can realistically co-exist in one sentence.
NEW YORK (AP) — “Her Country: How the Women of Country Music Became the Success They Were Never Supposed to Be,” by Marissa R. Moss (Henry Holt & Co.)
Women have always played a major part of country music, from the Carter Family to Dolly Parton, but in recent years you’d be hard pressed to hear that on country music radio.
NEW YORK (AP) — “Book Lovers” by Emily Henry (Berkley)
If Emily Henry makes herself laugh at the character's dialogue in her own books, it's understandable. She is a master at witty repartee.
“Heart on My Sleeve” by Ella Mai (10 Summers/Interscope Records)
British singer, Ella Mai, is back with even more R&B bridges in her second album, “Heart on My Sleeve.”
While this album radiates Mai’s finger-snapping tracks and smooth melodies similar to her debut, it’s also more passionate and sung by someone who’s a little older and wiser.
“Back From the Dead” by Halestorm (Atlantic)
Lzzy Hale, the lead singer and guitarist for the heavy metal band Halestorm, is that rare breed of wild child whose path you cross at your own peril, and her aggressiveness soaks through her music.
Once a superhero franchise goes multiverse, it’s hard to go back.
No work of fiction ever needs permission to break the rules or push the boundaries of traditional storytelling, but the multiverse, at least as it’s been served up in recent Marvel movies, practically demands it.