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 May 6 to 12, including the best deals we could find for each.
WATCH IT: Pokémon: Detective Pikachu
The adorable pocket monsters leap out of their Pokéballs and onto the big screen for the first live action Pokémon feature in the franchise’s quarter-century history. Using a 2016 video game as inspiration, Detective Pikachu partners the titular electric-type Pokémon (voiced by Ryan Reynolds) with Tim Goodman (Justice Smith), a new-to-town visitor in Ryme City searching for his missing dad. That quest brings the duo face-to-face with a huge cast of Poké-types, all of whom have been digitally rendered for maximum cuteness. While Detective Pikachu’s story is largely derivative of other movies — among them Zootopia, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Memento and Tim Burton’s Batman — the Pokémon superfans at our screening let out pika-pika’s of joy whenever a favorite character appeared onscreen or director Rob Letterman worked in a deep-cut reference to cartoon continuity. As long as that audience is happy, expect Pikachu to be back on the beat for multiple sequels.
HEAR IT: Ciara, Beauty Marks
The seventh studio LP from the First Lady of Crunk&B features collaborations with Kelly Rowland, Macklemore, super-producer Rodney Jerkins and superstar songwriter Ester Dean. It’s the music mogul’s first album to be released in conjunction with her own Beauty Marks Entertainment.
With Oscar-nominated box office behemoths like Get Out and Black Panther making huge impacts on the zeitgeist in recent years, there's no doubt that we're amid a turning point when it comes to African American representation in film. But it took a long time to get here. Historian Donald Bogle's new TCM-publishedHollywood Black gives us an in-depth look at the pioneers who broke down barriers over the past century, from the Silent Era to Hattie McDaniel (the first black Oscar winner in 1939 for Gone With the Wind) to Sidney Poitier to Blaxploitation all the way up to T'Challa and friends. A must-have for any cinephile's bookshelf.
Buy Hollywood Black on Amazon.
STREAM IT: Red Table Talk
Get ready for some "real talk" as the Smith ladies return with 20 new episodes after a two-month hiatus. The three generations — Jada Pinkett-Smith, her daughter Willow Smith and mom Adrienne Banfield-Norris — explore topical issues like race, divorce, addiction, body issues and the Surviving R. Kelly doc, often with celebrity guests. They signed off on a high note in January with Kylie Jenner's former best friend, Jordyn Woods, sharing her side of the Tristan Thompson cheating saga, which set a Facebook viewing record. (Woods is a Smith family friend.) Monday kicks off the run of new episodes, leading with the women traveling to North Carolina to interview Ayesha Curry, cookbook author and wife of basketball star Steph, who talks about how much she hates the attention women pay her superstar. The new episodes also promise to tackle forgiveness, self-love, divorce, race, domestic violence, adoption and infidelity.
Red Table Talk streams Mondays on Facebook Watch beginning again on May 6.
Hugh Jackman is due back on Broadway for a 2020 revival of The Music Man, but before then he’s going to take his show on the road. The Tony-winning star’s newest stage revue kicks off its world tour in Glasgow, Scotland in May and lands on U.S. shores the following month, making stops in such cities as Houston, Las Vegas and Philadelphia. The set list includes songs from Jackman’s blockbuster movie musicals Les Miserables and The Greatest Showman, as well as a medley of musical theater favorites. Like the song goes, there’s never enough Hugh Jackman.
Purchase tickets for Hugh Jackman: The Man, The Music, The Show on Ticketmaster.
WATCH IT: Easy
In its third and final season, Joe Swanberg’s Chicago-set series goes out the way it came in: with a collection of well-richly-acted tales of love, loss and sex in the (windy) city that demonstrate why it’s one of Netflix’s best original shows. Viewers who have followed Easy since the beginning will appreciate the satisfyingly open-ended closure that Swanberg brings to recurring characters like Marc Maron’s gruff graphic novelist and Elizabeth Reaser and Michael Chernus’s struggling married couple. But the final season also makes room for some memorable new faces and their stories. The beauty of Easy lies in the way it allows us to experience other peoples’ lives in both their most dramatic and most mundane moments.
Easy premieres May 10 on Netflix.
WATCH IT: Tolkien
Don’t expect to see exactly how J.R.R. Tolkien created his mammoth works of fantasy, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, in director Dome Karukoski’s entertaining (and unauthorized) biopic starring Nicholas Hoult as the acclaimed author. Instead, the film focuses entirely on Tolkien’s childhood and school days, culminating with his traumatic experiences in the World War I trenches. Even if Middle-earth and its iconic citizens remain an offscreen presence, it looms over the action as Karukoski and screenwriters David Gleeson and Stephen Beresford find ways — some thoughtful, some heavy-handed — to connect Tolkien’s formative years to the fiction he’d later create.
WATCH IT: The Natural (35th anniversary)
Robert Redford lit the fuse for the ’80s baseball movie boom with a literally explosive homerun. 35 years later, that sequence remains a Hall of Fame sports movie moment... even if it has nothing in common with the book The Natural is based on. In bringing Bernard Malamud’s novel to the screen, director Barry Levinson and writers Roger Towne and Phil Dusenberry made a conscious choice to the material into the realm of myth — complete with overtly religious imagery and comic book-like feats of strength — as Redford’s Roy Hobbs struggles to save his soul. If you worship at the Church of Baseball, The Natural is part of a Holy Trinity that includes Bull Durham and Field of Dreams.
WATCH IT: Wu-Tang Clan: Of Mics and Men
Biographies of ‘90s hip-hop groups are coming in all shapes in sizes, beyond the traditional documentary (A Tribe Called Quest's Beats, Rhymes and Life) or straight biopic (NWA's Straight Outta Compton). Take Showtime's four-part series on rap's heavyweight shadowboxers Wu-Tang Clan, which traces the roots of RZA, GZA, Raekwon, Ghosface, Meth and company from the streets of Staten Island (aka Shaolin) to stages worldwide in becoming one of the most worshipped hip-hop acts of all time. Directed by Sacha Jenkins with style to spare, it's a… what's the word? Triumph.
Of Mics & Men premieres Friday, May 10 at 9 p.m. on Showtime.
WATCH IT: Black Hawk Down
For whatever reason, Hollywood isn't cranking out war dramas at quite the same pace we saw for decades upon decades. What was the last major one released, 2016's Hacksaw Ridge? Ridley Scott's 2001 taut thriller Black Hawk Down (about a group of U.S. soldiers dispatched on a perilous mission to capture Somali renegades) came right in the thick of a wave of them — three years after the seminal Saving Private Ryan and just months after the water-cooler event film Pearl Harbor. Black Hawk Down didn't get as much attention as either of them, but it remains one of the most highly venerated entries the genre's had to offer this century. It gets the 4K treatment on home video this week.
Buy Black Hawk Down on 4K on Amazon.
WATCH IT: The Lego Movie: The Second Part
Now that we're all done analyzing Avengers: Endgame (OK, we'll never be done analyzing Avengers: Endgame), can we take a moment to recognize the sheer level of mastery that once again went into building out the mythology of another Lego Movie? If you have kids, there's no doubt The Second Part will be on repeat for the next few weeks as it hits DVD and Blu-ray, and it's during these additional viewings where we can really appreciate the thought and detail (not to mention sharp humor and surprisingly awesome music) that co-directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller continue to bring to the table. Special bonus points to scene stealers Tiffany Haddish and Ben Schwartz. Now give Schwartz's Lego Banana his own spinoff. The kids will eat it up.
Buy The Lego Movie: The Second Part on DVD, Blu-ray, 4K or Digital on Amazon.
HEAR IT: Mac DeMarco, Here Comes the Cowboy
The alt-rock darling and festival favorite’s fourth album was recorded in his L.A. garage, with DeMarco playing almost all if the instruments, during two unusually stormy weeks in January 2019. “It was raining a lot in Los Angeles while we were recording; you can hear it tapping on the windows of the garage here and there if you listen closely,” says the indie auteur on his website.
WATCH IT: Poms
There really aren't any surprises in Poms, a comedy about a group of senior women who form a cheerleading squad at their retirement home. But who wouldn't want to watch Diane Keaton, Jacki Weaver, Pam Grier and Rhea Perlman shake their pom-poms like the legends they are? Director Zara Hayes tells the story of these vibrant women with both humor and respect for their lived experiences. In their seventies, they've all reached the age of Peak IDGAF, and Weaver in particular is a delight to watch as she unleashes zingers and flaunts her neon athleisure-wear. If you're headed to the movies for Mother's Day, Poms is a surefire Mom-pleaser.
HEAR IT: Howard Jones, Transform
The synthesizer wizard of the ‘80s is back with his first studio album in nearly a decade. The record features three collaborations with modern-day electronic music guru BT, including the title track.
WATCH IT: The Biggest Little Farm
It's a fairy tale for the new millennium: An urban couple, evicted from their apartment after adopting a rescue dog, moves to a patch of dusty mountain land and transforms it into a thriving farm. This documentary chronicles the first eight years of director John Chester and his wife Molly Chester's ambitious farm experiment, as the Los Angeles transplants learn to follow nature's cycles of death and rebirth, scarcity and abundance. The Biggest Little Farm keeps the actual farmers at arm's length, instead maintaining a deep focus on the farm itself. There are baby animals galore, a shocking number of deaths-by-coyote (most of the victims are chickens), and many lingering shots of the gorgeous farmland. All in all, the biggest-little farm is a rewarding place to spend 90 minutes.
HEAR IT: Blake Lewis, Wanderlust Unknown
The beatboxing runner-up of American Idol Season 6 returns with his first album in five years, and his first album that is entirely self-produced. The Postmodern Jukebox entourage member describes this fourth full-length effort as “a mixture of classic jazz, hip-hop and a little bit of soul.”
Download or buy on CD/vinyl at IndieGoGo.
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