New this week: Chrissie Hynde, loads of zombies & M.O.D.O.K
Here’s a collection curated by The Associated Press’ entertainment journalists of what’s arriving on TV, streaming services and music platforms this week.
— In “The Dry,” Eric Bana returns to his native country for a taut, tense thriller set against the parched landscape of drought-stricken Australia. Grippingly directed by Robert Connelly with patient command and adapted from Jane Harper’s novel, “The Dry” is one of the sturdiest thrillers I’ve seen in a while, with a firm grasp of the characters’ complicated pasts, their fraught present and an ominous, climate-shaped future. Bana play a big-city federal agent who returns home for the funeral of an old friend, who’s believed to have killed his family and himself. That’s one of the crimes in play; when younger, Bana’s character, and the deceased friend, were nearby when a teenage girl died in a river — a death many in the town have longed blamed on them. The IFC Films release debuts for digital rental Friday while simultaneously opening in theaters. Its barren-earth expanses would be best seen on the big screen, but the movie’s powerful atmosphere comes through either way.
— Ah, springtime. When the birds chirp, the flowers bloom and Zach Snyder releases six-plus hours of laden, thundering action content. Two months after the release of his four-hour edit of “Justice League,” the maximalist filmmaker has shifted to Netflix, and returned to zombies. His “Army of the Dead” clocks in at 148 minutes, and comes seven years after Snyder’s last stab at zombies in the 2004 George A. Romero remake “Dawn of the Dead.” In it, a group of mercenaries try to pull off a heist in a Las Vegas overrun with zombies. The film, starring Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwick and Ana De La Reguera, debuts Friday on Netflix after a week run in theaters.
— AP Film Writer Jake Coyle
— You can finally drive and listen to Olivia Rodrigo’s new album in your car – so long as you have your driver’s license. The newcomer behind one of the year’s biggest hits is releasing her debut album, “SOUR,” on Friday. It features the multi-platinum hit “drivers license,” the first song to hit one billion total global streams this year. The 18-year-old performed the track as well as new single “good 4 u” on “Saturday Night Live” days ago, and the album also includes second single “deja vu,” another Top 10 hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
— Chrissie Hynde is pretending to be Bob Dylan, sort of. The Pretenders frontwoman will release a Dylan covers album on Friday called “Standing in the Doorway: Chrissie Hynde Sings Bob Dylan.” Hynde recorded the nine-track album during the pandemic with her Pretenders bandmate James Walbourne, and it includes new interpretations of Dylan songs like “You’re a Big Girl Now,” “Love Minus Zero/No Limit,” “Don’t Fall Apart on Me Tonight” and “Every Grain of Sand.”
— Blake Shelton says the pandemic helped him create his new album because it allowed him to live with the songs longer than usual. As “The Voice” coach put it: “I still feel as strongly as I do about (the songs). That makes me have even more confidence in the record.” Shelton will release “Body Language” on Friday. It is his 12th studio album and includes the singles “Minimum Wage” and the Gwen Stefani-featured “Happy Anywhere,” a platinum success that marks Shelton’s 28th No. 1 hit on Billboard’s country airplay chart.
— AP Music Editor Mesfin Fekadu
— Wrenching image images from COVID-burdened ICUs are an enduring part of the pandemic. PBS’ “Frontline” series and National Public Radio looked closer at American health care during the crisis and found a widening gap for those served by so-called “safety net” urban hospitals. ”The Healthcare Divide,” the result of the investigative reporting with American University, is out Tuesday on PBS and its website, with NPR airing a story the same day on “All Things Considered” (check local listings for times and stations for both). One hospital’s chief medical officer in the documentary asks if people want a health system that’s creating winners and losers.
— “Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K.” had us at the voice casting of Patton Oswalt as the title’s maniacal supervillain. M.O.D.O.K — the Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing — is kicked out of the evildoer organization A.I.M. after years of mismanagement, but retains his dream of world domination. He’s got marital and family problems as well, poor bad guy. As for the violence, Patton says it’s more “hilarious” than offensive or disturbing, promising it stops at “‘Monty Python level.’” The 10-episode adult animated series, debuting in full Friday on Hulu, co-stars Aimee Garcia, Melissa Fumero, Ben Schwartz, Beck Bennett and Jon Daly.
— A lovely seaside English town is home to homicide in “Whitstable Pearl,” an original Acorn TV six-part mystery series debuting May 24 on the streaming service. Pearl Nolan (Kerry Godliman), single mom, lead owner of the popular Whitstable Pearl eatery and a freshly minted private detective, is sure that a family friend’s death wasn’t accidental. The new police chief (Howard Charles) resists, but then buys into a theory that will shake up the village. That’s just episode one, with a possible murder by marmalade among the other crimes ahead. A running thread: Tension between traditionalists and the newcomers bent on Whitstable’s gentrification.
— AP Television Writer Lynn Elber
Catch up on AP’s entertainment coverage here: https://apnews.com/apf-entertainment.