New this week: Taylor Swift, ‘Descendant’ and ‘Ghostwriter’
Here’s a collection curated by The Associated Press’ entertainment journalists of what’s arriving on TV, streaming services and music platforms this week.
— One of the year’s standout documentaries , Margaret Brown’s “Descendant” takes a wide lens to the discovery of the Clotilda, the last known ship to bring African captives to the American South for enslavement. As Brown has said, the discovery of the ship — sunk near Mobile, Alabama, after it brought 100 Africans in the mid-19th century decades after the international slave trade had been outlawed — is “just the tip of the iceberg.” Speaking to many of the Clotilda descendants and others in the community around Africatown, where many of them settled, Brown ruminatively explores past and present, heritage and community. The film, which debuts Friday on Netflix and in select theaters, was a prize-winner at the Sundance Film Festival. (Read AP’s review here.)
— In Rodrigo Garcia’s “Raymond & Ray,” on Apple TV+ Friday, Ethan Hawke and Ewan McGregor play half-brothers reunited for their father’s funeral. Written and directed by Garcia (“Nine Lives,” “Albert Nobbs”), and produced by Alfonso Cuarón, the film mixes catharsis and comedy as the two reckon with the damage done by the abusive father.
— With Halloween approaching, a rush of horror films are making their way to most streaming services. One currently streaming series on the Criterion Channel takes a different tact, with 11 films picked by Ari Aster, the director of a few of the most nightmare-inducing films of recent years: “Hereditary” and “Midsommar.” In “Adventures in Moviegoing” with Aster, the director chooses films that have shaped his life, from Kenji Mizoguchi’s “Sansho the Bailiff” to Lucrecia Martel’s “The Headless Horseman.”
— Stay up until midnight on Friday for the latest Taylor Swift album, appropriately named “Midnights.” The standard-issue album will have 13 tracks, which tell “the stories of 13 sleepless nights scattered throughout my life,” the singer-songwriter posted online. It’s been nearly two years since Swift’s last studio album, “Evermore.” The new album has one known main collaboration — “Snow on the Beach” with Lana Del Rey. Other titles are “Karma,” “Anti-Hero” and “You’re On Your Own, Kid.” The only other clues to what the album sounds like are posts of photos with producer Jack Antonoff and a glass of white wine. (Read AP’s review here.)
— That smooth sound you hear signals the return of Babyface. On “Girls Night Out,” the 12-time Grammy Award-winner has collaborated with next-generation R&B/hip-hop stars such as Ari Lennox, Doechii and Queen Naija. The project’s first two singles, “Keeps On Fallin’” with Ella Mai — plus a video that stars Tiffany Haddish and Kendrick Sampson — and “Seamless” with Kehlani, are seductive, slinky R&B jewels. The album, out Friday reminds Babyface of another project he did that explored stories from his collaborators. “The process for it reminded me of when I did ‘Waiting to Exhale’ and I’m excited for the world to hear.”
— If you think a-ha is only known for “Take On Me,” take on this: The band’s 11th studio album, “True North” out Friday, sees the Norwegian stars perform and record with the Arctic Philharmonic orchestra, spinning off a full-length film in the process that weaves together the songs and recurring vignettes in which actors portray life in the north. “‘True North’ is a letter from a-ha, from the Arctic Circle, a poem from the far north of Norway with new music,” says keyboardist Magne Furuholmen. Single “I’m In” is a glorious, slow-burning anthem.
— The cover image — and later the title — of Arctic Monkeys’ new album came from a photo taken by drummer Matt Helders. It’s a oddly mournful shot of a car alone in a parking lot. “I had a hunch when I saw it for the first time that it should be the next record cover,” says singer Alex Turner. “The Car,” out Friday, is the band’s seventh studio album and features 10 new songs written by Turner. Singles include the lush breakup song “There’d Better Be a Mirrorball” and “Body Paint,” which sounds almost rock opera-esque with David Bowie-like flourishes. (Read AP’s review here.)
— “Doc Martin” is getting a proper and extended farewell on Acorn TV. The 10th and last season of the British comedy revolving around an irascible small-town doctor (Martin Clunes) begins Monday with two new episodes, followed by one weekly through its next-to-last episode on Nov. 28. On Dec. 26, the documentary “Doc Martin — A Celebration” will pay tribute to the series, followed by its finale on Dec. 29. The big question: Does Doc revisit his decision to resign from his practice in Portwenn? Eileen Atkins is back as Doc’s daunting Aunt Ruth, with Lesley Nicol and Rupert Graves among the guest stars.
— The purported goal of IFC’s “Documentary Now!” is to honor innovators in the genre. Its real mission, of course, is to make us laugh, and it’s garnered the usual impressive names for the six-episode season beginning Wednesday. Helen Mirren is back as host, with guest stars including Cate Blanchett, Harriet Walter, Jonathan Pryce, Nicholas Braun and legendary pop singer Tom Jones. The two-part season opener, written by John Mulaney, stars Alexander Skarsgård as a German filmmaker fighting nature and more to make his masterpiece — as in “Burden of Dreams,” which detailed Werner Herzog’s quest to make 1982′s “Fitzcarraldo.” The series is also available on AMC+.
— Young viewers are in luck this week. “Ghostwriter” returns Friday on Apple TV+, with new stars Princess Mapp, Nour Assaf and Daire McLeod. As the pals attempt to solve an ongoing ghostly mystery, they find themselves in the company of characters inspired by “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” “Charlotte’s Web” and other stories. There’s a promising newcomer with Netflix’s four-part animated series “Oni: Thunder God’s Tale,” also out Friday, Oct. 21 and including Momona Tamada, Craig Robinson and George Takei in the voice cast. In a world of “oddball gods and monsters” inspired by Japanese mythology, untested Onari is determined to guard her village from the enemy called the “Oni.”
— AP Television Writer Lynn Elber
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