New this week: ‘Power of the Dog,’ ‘Annie’ live and Kenny G
Here’s a collection curated by The Associated Press’ entertainment journalists of what’s arriving on TV, streaming services and music platforms this week.
— Jane Campion, whose last movie was 2009′s “Bright Star,” makes a triumphant return to filmmaking in “The Power of the Dog, ” a frontier psychodrama starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Kirsten Dunst, Kodi Smit-McPhee and Jesse Plemons. Adapted by Campion from Thomas Savage’s 1967 novel, Cumberbatch plays a domineering Montana rancher who resents his brother’s new wife and her son. Widely hailed as one of the best films of the year, “The Power of the Dog” begins streaming Wednesday on Netflix. In my review, I called it a “masterful vision of the West” that plays out “in a juxtaposition of rugged exteriors and murkier, more mysterious interiors.”
— Documentary filmmakers E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin last made the Oscar-winning “Free Solo,” about mountain climber Alex Honnold. In “The Rescue” (streaming Friday on Disney+), they swap high peaks for watery depths, chronicling the 18-day rescue of 12 young soccer players and their coach in a flooded Thailand cave. As well covered as that 2018 event was, the riveting documentary details anew how a global coalition and a handful of cave-diving hobbyists pulled off an extraordinary feat. In her review, AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr called “The Rescue” “affirming, truthful, funny, macabre and unembellished,” and said “it achieves something extraordinarily difficult for a global news story that ended three years ago: It makes you feel like you’re there.”
— Director Matthew Heineman (“Cartel Land,” “A Private War”) has filmed before in an active war zone. In “The First Wave” (streaming on Hulu beginning Sunday), he plunges into the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic in a bracingly intimate portrait of doctors, nurses and patients during the first four months COVID-19 in New York. Heineman shot his film at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens amid the virus’ first surge to craft an emotional and vital time capsule of the health crisis.
— AP Film Writer Jake Coyle
— Five decades have passed since The Doors released “L.A. Woman,” their double-platinum album that contained “Love Her Madly,” “Riders on the Storm,” and the title track. To honor its anniversary, Rhino Records has a box set being released Friday that has the album remastered and adds more than two hours of unreleased recordings, including covers of Junior Parker’s “Mystery Train,” John Lee Hooker’s “Crawling King Snake,” Big Joe Williams’ “Baby Please Don’t Go,” and “Get Out Of My Life Woman,” Lee Dorsey’s funky 1966 classic, written by his producer Allen Toussaint.
— Saxophone legend Kenny G will release his first new album in six years, “New Standards,” on Friday through Concord Records. The 11-song collection of original compositions takes inspiration from the jazz ballads of the ’50s and ’60s. Some songs on the set include “Paris By Night,” “Rendezvous,” “Blue Skies” and “Moonlight.” He writes: “I truly hope that you will all experience the same wonderful feelings I have had the pleasure of experiencing whenever I listen to the amazing sounds of my predecessors.”
— AP Entertainment Writer Mark Kennedy
— “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist” has wrapped its two-season NBC run, but there’s another chapter for the musical dramady starring Jane Levy. In “Zoey’s Extraordinary Christmas,” the title character is determined that her family get the memorable Christmas that her now-ill father always provided. The movie, which picks up where the series left off, debuts Wednesday on the Roku Channel and co-stars Mary Steenburgen, Skylar Austin, Bernadette Peters. Peter Gallagher plays dad Mitch, who suffers from a neurological disease. The holiday movie is available free on the channel, as are the series’ 25 episodes.
— The sun will come out Thursday for NBC’s live production of the hit Broadway musical “Annie.” Based on the “Little Orphan Annie” comic strip, the show includes the tunes “Tomorrow” and “It’s the Hard Knock Life.” Celina Smith has the title role, backed by co-stars including Harry Connick Jr. as Annie’s rescuer, Daddy Warbucks, and Taraji P. Henson as the orphanage’s callous Miss Hannigan. Nicole Scherzinger, Tituss Burgess and Megan Hilty also are in the cast of “Annie Live!”, airing at 8 p.m. EST and directed by Lear deBessonet and Alex Rudzinski.
— If the big city vibe falls short of your holiday expectations, UpTV is offering a travel-free solution with its new “Small Town Christmas” reality series, hosted by Megan Alexander of “Inside Edition.” Each episode (airing 9 p.m. EST) promises to share what the “heart and magic of Christmas celebrations” in towns nationwide, showcasing their music, entertainment, food and faith. The destinations and air dates: Branson, Missouri, on Sunday; Charleston, South Carolina, on Sunday, Dec. 12; Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, on Sunday, Dec. 19; and Natchitoches, Louisiana, on Friday, Dec. 24.
— AP Television Writer Lynn Elber
Catch up on AP’s entertainment coverage here: https://apnews.com/apf-entertainment.