New in Entertainment: John Legend, ‘Serpent Queen’ and ‘Pinocchio’
(AP) - This week’s new entertainment releases include fresh music from John Legend and Kane Brown, Samantha Morton stars as the 16th-century queen Catherine de Medici in an edgy Starz series and a race between two upcoming “Pinocchio” films begins with Robert Zemeckis’ adaptation.
A race between two “Pinocchio” films begins with Robert Zemeckis’ adaptation ahead of Guillermo del Toro’s by a nose. On Thursday, Zemeckis’ animated fantasy of the classic Italian fable will premiere on Disney+. Next month, Del Toro’s stop-motion “Pinocchio” will debut at the London Film Festival and eventually land on Netflix on Dec. 9. For now, we have Zemeckis’ take on the old tale with Tom Hanks as Geppetto and Cynthia Erivo as the Blue Fairy.
A trio of the summer’s biggest box-office hits is landing on streaming platforms. On Thursday, Taika Waititi’s whimsically deconstructive “Thor: Love and Thunder” arrives on Disney+. The 29th film in the Marvel cinematic universe, and possibly the Marvel movie most distinctively the work of its filmmaker, “Love and Thunder” follows up Waititi’s “Thor: Ragnarok.” In his review, the AP’s Mark Kennedy wrote: “If you thought that was bananas filmmaking, its sequel is the whole fruit basket.”
“Jurassic World: Dominion” (Peacock) and “Elvis” (HBO Max) are also streaming. Colin Trevorrow’s “Dominion,” which has nearly grossed $1 billion at the box office, is available in both its theatrical cut and an extended edition with 14 more minutes and an alternative ending. In her review, AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr praised some of its sequences but called the sixth film in the franchise “a chaotic mishmash on an epic scale.” Baz Luhrmann’s carnivalesque Elvis Presley biopic, starring breakthrough actor Austin Butler and Tom Hanks, also doesn’t skimp on scale. In her review, Bahr called it “gloriously messy — a maximalist opera of contradictions, styles, truths, myths, memories and headlines.”
John Legend isn’t taking the easy route with his eighth studio album. “Legend” is a massive 24-song double album with the new EGOT honoree collaborating with Rick Ross, Jazmine Sullivan, Jada Kingdom, Rapsody, Ledisi, Jhene Aiko, Ty Dolla $ign and more. Initial singles on the Friday release point to a light, dance beat: The super-sexy, sticky “Honey” with Muni Long, the funky “Dope” with rapper JID and the retro, roller disco jam “All She Wanna Do” featuring Saweetie, with one of the cutest videos ever as the two performers surprise auditioning dancers.
Now for something a little different: Kane Brown’s third studio album, “Different Man,” is out Friday. It will feature 17 songs, including singles “Like I Love Country Music,” “Whiskey Sour,” “One Mississippi,” “Leave You Alone” and “Grand,” an expertly crafted hip-hop-country melding with happy lyrics: “Remember when I couldn’t stand it?/Now I got the posture.” Look for two duets — “Different Man,” with Blake Shelton and Brown’s wife, Katelyn, on “Thank God.” “Different Man” represents the first time Brown co-produced one of his albums.
With “Nut,” KT Tunstall finishes a trilogy of albums she began recording and releasing in 2016 with “Kin” and then “Wax.” The trio explores the three existential parts of ourselves, first the spirit, then the body and now with “Nut,” the mind. One of the singles from the new album, “I Am The Pilot,” is a terrific synth-driven tune that nicely represents what she wanted to do with a mind-orientated album: lean into rhythm. The Scottish Tunstall burst onto the music scene in 2004 with her multi-platinum debut, “Eye to the Telescope,” which spawned the global hits “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree” and “Suddenly I See.”
Ozzy Osbourne has tapped some of the best guitarists on the planet for his latest solo album, “Patient Number 9″ — guys like Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Mike McCready, Zakk Wylde and former Black Sabbath band member Tony Iommi. Beck lends his axe skills for the rocking title track, in which Ozzy sings: “If there’s a God, why’d he let the Devil do his work on me?/If there’s a God, what am I doing here?” Others aboard for this Ozzfest are Red Hot Chilli Pepper drummer Chad Smith, Metallica’s Rob Trujillo, Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan and Foo Fighters’ late drummer Taylor Hawkins.
Adventure athletes are the stars of “Edge of the Unknown with Jimmy Chin,” debuting Monday, on the National Geographic channel (on Disney+ starting Wednesday, Sept. 7.) The 10-part series details the risks, rewards and mindset of such athletes, kicking off with back-to-back episodes on rock climber Alex Honnold of “Free Solo” documentary fame and big mountain skier Angel Collinson. Filmmaker Jimmy Chin, a pro climber and skier who’s featured in an episode, is an executive producer with E. Chai Vasarhelyi. They directed the Oscar-winning “Free Solo.”
Catherine de Medici, the Italian-born, 16th-century French queen with a fierce reputation, owns the spotlight in Starz’s edgy “The Serpent Queen.” Samantha Morton (“The Walking Dead”) stars as the adult Catherine, with Liv Hill seen in flashbacks as the teenager destined to become the wife of one French king and the influence-wielding mother of three others. Colm Meaney, Kiruna Stamell and Rupert Everett are part of the ensemble cast of the eight-part series debuting Sunday, Sept. 11, on Starz’s streaming platforms (and on the Starz channel).
Susan Sarandon and Trace Adkins play country music royalty in Fox’s new drama “Monarch, " but their dynasty is in danger of toppling. Anna Friel, Joshua Sasse and Beth Ditto co-star as the couple’s offspring, with an impressive backup chorus dropping in: Shania Twain, Martina McBride, Little Big Town and Tanya Tucker are among the guest stars on the series debuting Sunday after Fox’s NFL telecast. “Monarch” settles into its regular 8 p.m. EDT Tuesday slot beginning Sept. 20.
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