The It List: 'Kingdom Hearts,' 'Kimmy Schmidt' and the best in pop culture the week of Jan. 28, 2019
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 Jan. 28-Feb. 3, 2019, including the best deals we could find for each.
Kingdom Hearts III
Thirteen years in the making, the concluding chapter in Square Enix’s fan-favorite series, which combines epic Final Fantasy-like gameplay with a cast of characters plucked from Disney-Pixar canon, finally arrives this week. Following the adventures of the keyblade-wielding Sora, Donald Duck and Goofy, Kingdom Hearts III finds our heroes trying to save the Disney-verse with help from their animated friends from such films as Toy Story, Big Hero 6, Frozen and Monsters, Inc. Also includes nearly two dozen mini-games inspired by classic Mouse House shorts.
Available on PS4 and Xbox One. Download it from Amazon; buy it at Walmart.
Into the Dark: Down
Hulu’s excellent Into the Dark has remained somewhat under-the-radar, perhaps because its billing as a “horror anthology series” is confusing; it’s actually an ongoing series of original films produced by indie-horror guru Jason Blum, all thematically tied to holidays. Down, about two office workers who get trapped in an elevator together over the upcoming Valentine’s Day/Presidents Day weekend, slowly twists a romantic-comedy premise into a gory nightmare. It’s a fine example of Into the Dark‘s high-concept, low-budget, darkly funny approach to horror.
Begins streaming Feb. 1 on Hulu.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Season 4 part 2
After 51 episodes, it’s time to say goodbye to our favorite doomsday-cult survivor. Fortunately, her show ends on a high note worthy of a Titus Andromedon song. The final episodes keeps the jokes coming at Tina Fey and Robert Carlock’s trademark breakneck pace, even as the characters encounter casting couches, internet privacy violations, and the lasting effects of trauma.There’s also a double-length Sliding Doors parody (exploring the very meta premise, “How would Kimmy and Titus’s lives be different if they’d both seen Sliding Doors when it came out?”) and an ending that melts away the show’s pitch-black comedic sensibilities to reveal its sweet candy heart.
Begins streaming Jan. 25 on Netflix.
Writer-director Dan Gilroy reunites with Nightcrawler star Jake Gyllenhaal in this off-the-wall thriller, which is about as much fun as a film about killer paintings could possibly be. When a gallery assistant (gorgeous breakout star Zawe Ashton) discovers a lifetime’s worth of paintings in a dead man’s apartment, she turns him into an art-world sensation. Everyone who encounters the disturbing work, from a controversial critic (Gyllenhaal) to a punk-pioneer-turned-art dealer (Renee Russo), becomes obsessed — and soon, the bodies start dropping. Velvet Buzzsaw can be viewed as a dark satire of the elitist art world; a supernatural horror film with kills of Final Destination inventiveness; a profound statement about how great art can haunt us; or just a top-notch Gyllenhaal-goes-crazy movie. Any way you watch it, it’s the rare Netflix original film that is truly original.
Begins streaming Feb. 1 on Netflix.
Golden Globe winner Gina Rodriguez goes from Jane the Virgin to Gloria the Smuggler in the weekend’s big action release — which also happens to be Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke’s first major studio movie in eight years. A night out at the club results in a cartel-backed kidnapping for poor Gloria, who then finds herself caught between drug runners and DEA agents. For a taste of what’s in store, be sure to check out Gerardo Naranjo’s original Mexican-language Miss Bala, which deservedly won raves in 2011 for its kinetic action sequences and tough-as-nails star turn from future Narcos actress, Stephanie Sigman.
Miss Bala opens in theaters on Feb. 1; ticket and showtime information is available at Fandango. The 2011 version can be rented or purchased on Amazon, iTunes and Vudu.
Doctor Who: The Complete 11th Series
Whatever offscreen handwringing might have been going on over Doctor Who‘s heavily-hyped—and long overdue—gender switch, the moment Jodie Whittaker appears onscreen in the Series 11 premiere, she is the Doctor. She’s also the best part of a series that’s going through its own makeover, moving away from the high-concept storytelling of the Steven Moffat era for more grounded time-travel tales, some of which work, while others…don’t. But as long as Whittaker is controlling the TARDIS, we’re going along for the ride.
Buy the Blu-ray and DVD at Amazon and BBC Shop.
What a perfect time for this drama about a woman (Glenn Close) who may or may not have been ghost-writing her unfaithful, Nobel Prize-winning author husband’s beloved novels to hit home video. Close, who’s previously gone 0-for-6 at the Academy Awards, has suddenly emerged as the Best Actress favorite in the wake of last week’s nominations. The movie itself is far from perfect, burdened with some clunky dialogue and Lifetime-like overdramatization, but Close is expectedly exceptional — explosive, even. And you don’t want to miss the movie that finally lands Close the gold, do you?
Buy the Blu-ray/DVD at Amazon or download it on iTunes.
Perhaps because it’s oftentimes understated, this true-life tale about a pastor’s son (Lucas Hedges) forced into gay conversion therapy didn’t get nearly the awards attention it deserved, failing to secure a single Oscar nomination. But make no mistake, this is a powerful portrayal of a society’s inclination to condemn what we don’t understand, packing a steadily building emotional punch and confidently directed by Joel Edgerton (The Gift). It’s also the best work we saw in 2018 from both Hedges (Ben Is Back, Mid90s) and Nicole Kidman (Destroyer, Aquamn), who both had all-around stellar years.
Buy the Blu-ray/DVD at Amazon or download it on iTunes.
Super Bowl LIII
Settle in for a night of movie trailers, star-powered commercials, musical performances … and, oh yeah, a football game, too. Before the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams chase the pigskin around the field, recording legend Gladys Knight will sing the national anthem — a song that Whitney Houston immortalized back in 1991. Then, at halftime, the unlikely trio of Maroon 5, Travis Scott and Big Boi will join forces for a musical medley that’s sure to make an impression. But maybe what we’re most excited for is the grand return of the eternally abiding Dude.
Watch Super Bowl LIII on CBS or stream on CBS All Access.
American Authors, Seasons
Brooklyn’s “Best Day of My Life” alt-rockers enlist rising Canadian singer-songwriter Billy Raffoul and NEEDTOBREATHE’s Bear Rinehart for their third album. Seasons isn’t out till Feb. 1, but you’re definitely already familiar with some of it – the lead single, “Deep Water,” as heard on 911 and The Good Doctor, has racked up more than 16 million streams, while “I Wanna Go Out” has been featured in a T-Mobile ad campaign and the Lego Ninjago Movie trailer.
Download it Feb. 1 on iTunes; buy it on CD at Barnes and Noble.
The Specials, Encore
The 2 Tone ska pioneers come skanking back full force with their first album in 20 years — and first album of original material in 37 years — featuring original members Terry Hall, Lynval Golding and Horace Panter. Judging from their comeback single, “Vote for Me,” they haven’t lost any of their sociopolitical ferocity since Hall last sang with the band on 1981’s Thatcher-era classic “Ghost Town.”
Download it Feb. 1 on iTunes; buy it on CD or vinyl at Amazon.
Girlpool, What Chaos Is Imaginary
NPR-championed L.A. indie darlings Cleo Tucker and Harmony Tividad continue to evolve from the scrappy, shouty punk of their earlier work to evoke My Bloody Valentine, Elliott Smith and Conor Oberst on their moody and melodic third effort. The LP’s emotional heft is only enhanced by the newly deepened vocals of Tucker, who came out as transgender and began taking testosterone in 2017.
Download it Feb. 1 on iTunes; buy it on CD or vinyl at Barnes and Noble.
All You Need Is Love by John Lennon and Paul McCartney; illustrated by Marc Rosenthal
The classic Beatles tune provides the words, and illustrator Marc Rosenthal brings the lovingly-sketched imagery for this colorful children’s book. It’s the first of two kid-friendly Simon & Schuster tomes that will be based on lyrics penned by John Lennon and Paul McCartney. The main characters here are a curious bear and a pair of bluebirds who discover there’s nothing you can do that can’t be done and nothing you can sing that can’t be sung. It’ll make you fall in love with The Beatles all over again.
Get the book on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Golden Child by Claire Adam
The second book from Sarah Jessica Parker’s imprint, SJP for Hogarth, already has the attention of devoted bibliophile Oprah, who put it on her magazine’s list of the 25 most anticipated titles of 2019. Set in Trinidad, Golden Child depicts a family grappling with the disappearance of one of their 13-year-old twin sons, who have very different personalities. Ultimately, the boys’ father is “faced with a decision no parent should ever have to make,” according to the description from the publisher. Is your heart beating faster yet?
Get the book in all formats on Amazon.
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