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Along with my CNN colleagues Chloe Melas and Frank Pallotta, I recently joined Brian Stelter on his “Reliable Sources” podcast to discuss Hollywood post-pandemic, and the topic of going to the movies came up.
I, for one, am happy as a pandemic clam to keep streaming to my heart’s content.
But fear not. I’ve got you covered with what to check out, whether you head to the movie theater or stay home on the couch.
For your weekend
Three things to watch:
Tiffany Haddish and Billy Crystal may feel like an odd pairing, but they have more in common than you may know.
Haddish’s dad was born into an Ethiopian Jewish family in Eritrea (hence the title of her Grammy-winning comedy album, “Black Mitzvah”), and Crystal built his early career, in part, on jokes about being a Jew.
If you are craving laughs and real-deal movie popcorn, check out the hilarious pair in their new film, “Here Today.”
Crystal plays a comedy writer in the early stages of dementia who strikes up an unlikely friendship with a singer played by Haddish.
Inspired by the short story “The Prize” by Alan Zweibel, Crystal cowrote and directed the film.
It’s in theaters Friday.
This reboot of a ’90s film franchise, based on the popular video game series, is made for massive surround sound and a big screen. With its dozen-plus fight scenes, plenty of violence and an R rating mean this is more date night than family night.
“Mortal Kombat” is currently in theaters, but also streaming on HBO Max (owned by CNN’s parent company) if you aren’t comfortable enough yet to venture out.
‘The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness’
As the weather heats up, this one feels timely in its terror.
The summer of 1976 was blazing hot in New York City, and the Big Apple was gripped by fear when a series of seemingly random shootings and murders began.
Authorities would hunt for the “Son of Sam” serial killer, as he came to be known, over the next 13 months. This docuseries examines journalist Maury Terry’s obsession with the case and his belief that the murders were linked to a satanic cult.
It’s currently streaming on Netflix.
Two things to listen to:
Singer-songwriter Bebe Rexha’s highly anticipated sophomore album, “Better Mistakes,” drops Friday.
The 13-track studio album includes her single “Baby, I’m Jealous,” featuring Doja Cat, as well as collabs with Lil Uzi Vert, Travis Barker, Trevor Daniel and Ty Dolla $ign.
She talked to fellow artist Alicia Keys for Interview magazine about the new project and explained how the music is a reflection of her life in the spotlight.
“Success has changed a lot for me. I used to think it was being #1, getting Grammys,” Rexha said. “But I feel like success to me is balance. It’s health, first and foremost. Health and happiness — physically and mentally.”
Speaking of being in the spotlight, no group has been more so over the past year than late-night television hosts.
In this week’s episode of the “Behind the Desk: The Story of Late Night” podcast, host Bill Carter explores how late-night TV has provided a golden door for stand-ups, sitcom stars and even future hosts.
Learn how the format has evolved to keep pace with the voice of each generation — and how social media has created a new jumping-off point for today’s comedians. The episode includes insight from Jimmy Kimmel, Byron Allen, Ray Romano, Trevor Noah and more.
One thing to talk about:
Come through, Billie Eilish!
The 19-year-old multiple Grammy winner stirred things up when she ditched her usual baggy attire and Crayola-colored hair for a va-va-voom, Hollywood glam pinup look in a spread for British Vogue.
Beyond looking like she’s completely ready for a hot girl summer, Eilish had plenty to say about life in the industry.
That includes owning her agency, her art and her look.
“My thing is that I can do whatever I want,” she told the publication. “It’s all about what makes you feel good.”
Something to sip on
Yes, I wrote about Glenn Close last week, but I got a chance to meet with her and Grammy-winning musician Ted Nash on Zoom this week so I must revisit.
We talked about her new project, an album collaboration with Nash titled “Transformation: Personal Stories of Change, Acceptance, and Evolution,” out Friday.
Close curated the spoken-word pieces and artists to go along with Nash’s compositions, which were recorded with members of the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra.
The actress has been getting lots of attention for music these days after shaking her tail feathers to the go-go classic “Da Butt” at the Oscars.
As a DMV (DC-Maryland-Virginia) native, I was deeply appreciative of the moment — and even more so after Close told me her dance was not at all scripted, though she had been prepped on the song she would be asked about and had watched the music video.
She loved that her viral moment helped bring attention to some of the legendary artists behind the music.
“It was such a great thing for me because I, of course, being me, I didn’t know about go-go. I didn’t know about the whole incredible music family: The Backyard Band, E.U., Sugar Bear, the whole DMV (sound). It informed me,” she told me.
“I was so thrilled that a lot of those musicians were interviewed and made comments and Spike Lee (whose 1988 “School Daze” film soundtrack made “Da Butt” a hit) and his family called me. It was very cool.”
Even cooler for us Ms. Close, we can assure you.