The It List is Yahoo’s weekly look at the best in pop culture, including movies, music, TV, streaming, games, books, podcasts and more. Here are our picks for Sept. 30 - Oct. 6, including the best deals we could find for each.
WATCH IT: Ruby Rose is Gotham City’s newest champion in Batwoman
The CW's latest DC Comics-derived series doesn't premiere until Oct. 6, but it's already made TV history. For the first time, a superhero series will feature an openly gay hero played by an openly gay action star: Australia's own Ruby Rose. Set in a Gotham City that’s three years removed from the mysterious disappearance of the Dark Knight — and his alter ego, Bruce Wayne — the mantle of the Bat is inherited by the missing tycoon’s cousin, Kate Kane. After washing out of the military academy, and being jilted by her lover, Sophie (Meagan Tandy), Kate wanders the world acquiring various fighting and detective skills, which come in handy when she returns to Gotham and discovers her older cousin’s secret life as a caped crusader. In the pilot, Rose does a fair amount of her in-suit stuntwork — though that may not be the case after she sustained on-set injuries that required emergency surgery. “I could have been paralyzed,” the actress revealed to BUILD Series this week about the severity of her injury. Thankfully, Rose has since recovered and is back fighting the good fight in a likable freshman series that’s striving to build a mythology separate from existing Bat-lore. — Ethan Alter
Batwoman premieres on Sunday, Oct. 6 at 8 p.m. on The CW.
WATCH IT: Decide for yourself if Joker is a work of genius or a menace to society
After weeks of pre-release controversy, Todd Phillips’s one-shot Joker origin story starring Joaquin Phoenix as Gotham’s Clown Prince of Crime finally arrives on the big screen. While film festival audiences in Venice — where it won the prestigious Golden Lion award — and Toronto largely embraced the film, there’s been plenty of concerned speculation from both the press and even the U.S. military that Joker might inspire copycat crimes. Despite (or maybe because of) all the advanced attention, the movie is tracking to dominate the weekend box office with a possible $90 million opening. If that comes to pass, it’ll be another big win for DC Comics’s revitalized movie division, and a launching pad for other R-rated takes on the company’s well-known heroes and villains.
But enough with the preamble — how’s the movie? If you ask us, Joker is neither an unmitigated artistic triumph nor does it pose an active danger to global stability. Working with screenwriter Scott Silver, and heavily inspired by the movies of Martin Scorsese, Phillips has concocted a shaggy dog story that’s covered in fleas. The first hour and change is relentlessly grim, as viewers watch mentally troubled Gotham City citizen, Arthur Fleck (Phoenix), contend with a variety of ugly abuses that are both self and societal-inflicted. When he finally does lash out, it’s by accident — albeit an accident that propels him down a path towards a more deliberate act of violence.
After an overlong and often unpleasant set-up, Joker picks up steam as it heads towards its final killing joke, allowing Phillips to lean into his comedy background instead of working overtime to mimic Taxi Driver. Phoenix’s performance similarly takes flight as he embraces full-fledged villainy, building to an extended sequence with Robert De Niro’s self-aggrandizing talk show host that owes as much to The Dark Knight Returns as it does The King of Comedy. And while allusions to Batman — as well as past Jokers ranging from Jack Nicholson to Heath Ledger — are littered throughout the movie, this Joker works best as a closed-book narrative where Arthur exists as a disturbing urban legend rather than an ever-recurring supervillain. That’s the punchline Phoenix and Phillips deserve. — E.A.
WATCH IT: Eddie Murphy’s first biopic, Dolemite Is My Name, in theaters
Sure, the Eddie Murphy comeback vehicle Dolemite Is My Name will be on Netflix soon enough — Oct. 25 to be exact. But trust us when we say this hilarious and at times poignant comedy — about the unlikely rise of comedian-turned-actor Rudy Ray Moore, aka Dolemite — is a true crowdpleaser, thus your enjoyment of it will be greatly enhanced when experienced in a communal setting. Murphy, who's made only one film in the past six years (and unfortunately that film was Mr. Church), has rarely been better, and he's surrounded by an all-star ensemble that includes Wesley Snipes (chewing up the scenery as Blaxploitation star-turned-reluctant Dolemite director D'Urville Martin), Keegan-Michael Key and Craig Robinson. See it in theaters if you can. — Kevin Polowy
WATCH IT: Mr. Robot returns to say, ‘Goodbye, friend’
After a two-year hiatus, it’s a tall order to ease back into the elaborate techno-conspiracy at the heart of Mr. Robot. And the premiere for the show’s fourth and final season doesn’t exactly provide a lot of catch-up for casual fans, instead throwing them right back into the deep end of the show’s labyrinthian plot, which pits hacker Elliot (Rami Malek) and his imaginary friend, Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) against the legions of E Corp and White Rose (BD Wong). Fortunately, creator Sam Esmail’s stylistic chops didn’t get rusty while Malek was off shooting — and winning an Oscar for — Bohemian Rhapsody. The premiere is filled with intricately-designed, beautifully-executed shots that immerse viewers in Mr. Robot’s paranoia-filtered vision of New York City. And with the narrative now officially in its endgame, Esmail picks up the pace of the storytelling, with a few major shocks to the system. The middle section of Mr. Robot may not have entirely lived up to the promise of that mind-blowing first season, but this delayed farewell is shaping up to be worth the wait. — E.A.
Mr. Robot premieres on Sunday, Oct. 6 at 10 p.m. on USA.
WATCH IT: By order of the Peaky Blinders, Tommy Shelby and his crew are back for Season 5
Break out the newsboy caps and Brummy accents — England’s grittiest crime family is back. Two years after fending off Adrien Brody’s Italian assassins in Season 4, newly minted Member of Parliament Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) now faces a new challenge: the financial ruin of Black Tuesday in 1929. New cast member Sam Claflin also poses a threat as real-life Fascist leader Oswald Mosley. Expect things to get political and, as ever, brutally violent. — Erin Donnelly
Season 5 of Peaky Blinders is available to stream beginning Oct. 4 on Netflix.
HEAR IT: 4 Beastie Boys releases get reissued on color vinyl
"And we puttin' it on wax, it's the new style!" Ad-Rock sure wasn't lying when he famously howled those words in the opening bars of "The New Style," and while the album that track is from (their 1986 debut License to Ill) is not included on a new slew of Beastie Boys vinyl reissues, holy wow is there some booty (as in another name for pirate's treasure) to be excited about. The LPs Paul's Boutique (celebrating its 30th anniversary), Ill Communication (25th anniversary) and To the 5 Boroughs (15th anniversary) as well as the EP Root Down all drop in record stores and online boutiques this week on freshly pressed 180gram colored platters. Sure, all these anniversaries might make you feel old, but what good tunes to feel old to as you seductively eye the nearest plate of mashed potatoes. — K.P.
Buy Beastie Boys vinyls on Amazon.
WATCH IT: Ahead of the sequel, Zombieland brings the laughs and scares to 4K Ultra HD
Good news for zombiephiles who tuned out of The Walking Dead after that AMC staple jumped the shark: Zombieland, the zom-com that helped usher in the latest resurgence of the undead in 2009, is finally getting a sequel with the release of the long-awaited Zombieland: Double Tap later this month. So it's perfectly fitting that the relentlessly entertaining original — which follows the lovable foursome Tallahasse (Woody Harrelson), Wichita (Emma Stone), Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) on a road trip across post-apocalyptic America as they deliver kill shots, seek a safe zone and accidentally murder one of our greatest comedy legends — is getting a spiffy new home entertainment upgrade in the buildup to its release. RIP, Bill.
Buy Zombieland 4K UHD on Amazon.
HEAR IT: The Darkness and their rock and roll swag are back with Easter Is Cancelled
We still believe in a thing called the Darkness! The catsuited Britrock brigade rides again, and despite the dire title of their sixth studio album’s lead single, “Rock and Roll Deserves to Die,” they’re very much keeping the genre alive. — Lyndsey Parker
WATCH IT: Memory: The Origins of Alien reminds you of everything you forgot about the sci-fi classic
While Alien may be a Ridley Scott film, Alexandre O. Philippe’s new documentary illustrates how the sci-fi classic — which celebrated its 40th anniversary in May — is the work of many authors. Beginning as the germ of an idea in the mind of writer Dan O’Bannon, the movie evolved in unexpected ways as it passed through the hands of collaborators like original director, Walter Hill; artist, H.R. Giger; and art director Roger Christian. If you’re a hardcore fan, you probably won’t be surprised by any of the details in Philippe’s smoothly-told account. At the same time, Memory does remind you all over again why Alien remains such a special work of cinematic alchemy. Once the credits roll on the documentary, you’ll be ready to hop aboard the good shop Nostromo all over again. — E.A.
Memory: The Origins of Alien will be released in theaters and On Demand on Friday, Oct. 4.
READ IT: The Book of Gutsy Women inspires
Hillary Rodham Clinton, the first woman to be nominated for president by a major party, and her daughter, Chelsea Clinton, teamed up to write this book chock full of stories about women who risked their reputations and, in some cases, their lives to make the world a better place. Stories recall Harriet Tubman, an escaped slave who saved others via the Underground Railroad; Malala Yousafzai, who advocated for girls to receive an education; scientist Rachel Carson, who authored the prescient tome Silent Spring; and other barrier-breaking women. The book, the Clintons wrote in the official description, is their answer to the question both say they’re asked more than any other: Who’s your hero? — Raechal Shewfelt
The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience is available on Amazon.
WATCH IT: Crikey! It's the Irwins returns for Season 2
The endearing Aussie clan is back in their Animal Planet series, which educates about wildlife while also giving a glimpse into their unusual lives. This season, the family of conservationists celebrates the 50th anniversary of their Australia Zoo in Queensland, which is really a 1,000-acre preserve that they live smack in the middle of. So there will be big festivities for the milestone, including the unveiling of a new home for their resident crocodiles, which would make the late Steve "The Crocodile Hunter" Irwin proud. Robert follows in his dad's footsteps handling the crocs and will move all of the reptiles to their new digs —by hand — this season. He'll also swim with a python and learn how to handle a wild rattlesnake. Meanwhile, Terri works to boost the koala population — in between taking a trip home to her native Oregon to check on an ailing cougar, while Bindi and her fiancé, Chandler Powell, release animals that they rehabbed at the zoo hospital — as well as, ya know, plan a wedding. Yes, their upcoming nuptials — for which she already picked out a dress — will be part of the show too as the wedding is set to take place at the zoo.
Crikey! It's the Irwins premieres Saturday, Oct. 5 at 8 p.m. on Animal Planet.
WATCH IT: Upgrade your Pan's Labyrinth DVD to 4K UHD
Guillermo del Toro conquered the Oscars two years ago when his fantastical lady-fish man love ballad The Shape of Water won him both Best Picture and Best Director. But we can't possibly be alone in our insistence that Shape wasn't even GDT's magnum opus. In this corner that title still belongs to his enchanting and visually mesmerizing 2006 masterpiece Pan's Labyrinth, which finds a young girl in wartorn Spain escaping into her own battle between good and evil in a backyard maze. While 4K UHD releases are all too common these days, here's one well worth upgrading for over that dusty DVD on your shelves. — K.P.
Buy Pan's Labyrinth 4K UHD on Amazon.
WATCH IT: Freeform scares up some fun with 31 Nights of Halloween Fan Fest
The Halloween-obsessed already have Freeform’s traditional "31 Nights of Halloween" marked on their calendar, as the time when they can watch Corpse Bride, The Addams Family, Scream and more scary fun movies and TV shows. This year, it kicks off with a special, hosted by actors Vanessa Hudgens and Jordan Fisher, featuring appearances by the likes of Christina Aguilera and Dan Akroyd, whose 1984 movie Ghostbusters will be honored for its 35th anniversary, and cast members from Hocus Pocus, which appears on the schedule regularly. The special will also pay tribute to the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, which is celebrating its 50th year of frightening guests who dare to hitch a ride on a Doom Buggy. — R.S.
The 31 Nights of Halloween Fan Fest premieres Saturday, Oct. 5 at 8 p.m. on Freeform.
HEAR IT: Chicago folk-rock luminaries Wilco drop Ode to Joy
The beloved, cult-status dad-rockers end their hiatus with this, their 11th studio album. Expect to see Jeff Tweedy and company working the festival circuit through 2020. — L.P.
BUY IT: Celebrate New York Comic Con with a wave of fresh Funko Pops
San Diego doesn’t get to have all the fun. Funko has assembled a new group of exclusive Pop collectibles for New York Comic Con, which takes over Manhattan from Oct. 3-6. As always, the company casts a wide net when it comes to the franchises that it chooses to preserve in vinyl. Marvel fans will salivate for a new version of Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man (R.I.P.) as well as Guardian of the Galaxy’s Watcher version of Stan Lee (R.I.P. 3000), while a chrome pink Batman will warm the hearts of DC lovers and The Simpsons stans will have new Treehouse of Horror-inspired figures just in time for Halloween. Other standout selections include a vintage Baseball Fury from The Warriors, a double dose of Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance with The Wanderer and The Heretic, dynamic Bluntman and Chronic from Jay & Silent Bob Reboot and a rockin’ Debbie Harry Pop. — E.A.
Funko’s NYCC Exclusives will be available at New York Comic Con.
HEAR IT: Mika releases My Name Is Michael Holbrook, his first album in four years
The flamboyant piano showman who brought up “Grace Kelly” and the randomly Saturday Night Live-championed “Lollipop” is back with his first full-length album in four years. As expected, it’s full of irresistibly sugary disco-pop bops. “Ice Cream” is especially sweet. — L.P.
HEAR IT: that dog. release first album in 22 years, Old LP
The ‘90s L.A. powerpop band, led by rock royalty Anna Waronker, reunites for its first album in 22 years — and they’re joined by such impressive guest stars as Randy Newman, Maya Rudolph, Blur’s Graham Coxon and the Red Hot Chili Peppers’s Josh Klinghoffer. — L.P.
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