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What to stream this week: Billie Eilish and Zayn Malik albums, 'Bridgerton,' and 'American Fiction'

The Associated Press
May 10, 2024

Billie Eilish's third studio album, "Hit Me Hard and Soft" and the return of "Bridgerton" are some of the new television, movies, music and games headed to a device near you.

Also among the streaming offerings worth your time as selected by The Associated Press' entertainment journalists: Zayn Malik releases a new album, the video game Homeworld returns after more than 20 years and Cord Jefferson's Oscar-winning "American Fiction" lands on Prime Video .

NEW MOVIES TO STREAM

- Cord Jefferson's Oscar-winning "American Fiction," one of the most celebrated directorial debuts in recent years, lands on Prime Video on Tuesday. Jeffrey Wright stars at Thelonious "Monk" Ellison, a frustrated novelist who, in a drunken fit of rage, pens a satirical book parodying what's popular, only it becomes a sensation. Sterling K. Brown, John Ortiz, Erika Alexander, Issa Rae and Leslie Uggams round out a terrific ensemble. In her review, AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr wrote that "American Fiction" "is immensely watchable, staged without flash or pretention, that relies on its sharp script and talented and charismatic actors to carry the audience through."

- A trio of new films coming to Netflix covers a wide gamut. The animated "Thelma the Unicorn" (streaming Friday, May 17) is about a small pony painted to pose as a unicorn, voiced by the Grammy-winning singer-guitarist Brittany Howard. Yance Ford's "Power" (streaming Friday, May 17) examines the roots of American policing and its evolution over time. And "Madame Web," the much-maligned Marvel entry in Sony's Spider-Man universe of films, lands Tuesday on Netflix. Dakota Johnson stars in what Bahr wrote in her review "feels like the stitched-together product of a bunch of people who weren't actually collaborating."

- The odds are more in the favor of "The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes," which begins streaming Tuesday on Starz after a successful theatrical run last November. It's a prequel to the Hunger Games, themselves. The games are in their 10th year and ratings are flagging, but a few twists and turns will catapult them to Panem's center stage. The origin story is also for the man who will become President Coriolanus Snow, played by Donald Sutherland in the first four films. Here, the young, ambitious Snow is played by Tom Blythe, whose performance lifts the movie. In my review, I wrote: "Just as in the 'Hunger Games' films led by Jennifer Lawrence's Katniss Everdeen, the new one proves how much you can sacrifice in story when you've got a thrilling young performer commanding the screen."

-- AP Film Writer Jake Coyle

NEW MUSIC TO STREAM

-- What can listeners expect from Billie Eilish 's third studio album, "Hit Me Hard and Soft"? It's a mystery, and the pop star is keeping it that way for a reason. Last month, Eilish announced the album by sharing the artwork on Instagram. It depicts Eilish floating in a body of water after being ejected from a door. In the caption, she wrote that she will not drop singles in advance of the release. "I wanna give it to you all at once," she captioned the image. "I truly could not be more proud of this album." Here's what we do know: Eilish once again worked with her brother and longtime collaborator Finneas on "Hit Me Hard and Soft."

-- Once known as a heartthrob with the best pipes in the British boy band One Direction, Zayn Malik was the first to courageously individuate and leave the group that kickstarted his career and launch an R&B pop career. That was a lifetime ago -- now, on Friday, May 17, he will release his fourth solo studio album, "Room Under the Stairs," dreamt up and written at his home in rural Pennsylvania. This time around he worked with the legendary country producer Dave Cobb (known for his work with Chris Stapleton, Jason Isbell, and Brandi Carlile, among others) for Malik's folkiest release to date. It's part-R&B, part-soul, part-acoustic Americana -- a new, matured Malik for a new era.

-- For several years now, SQÜRL, the musical moniker of duo filmmaker Jim Jarmusch and Carter Logan, have performed sonic compositions to partner the cinematic works of Dadaist Man Ray. On Friday, May 17, all of that work reaches its natural apex when they will release a new album, "Music for Man Ray," on the 100th anniversary of Man Ray's filmic pursuits. (For the film fans reading this, you may have sense this was coming when the recently restored Man Ray film "Return to Reason" premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. ) Surrealist music for the senses.

-- Alternative rock fans, there's a new docu-reality series for you. " Billy Corgan's Adventures in Carnyland" is an eight-part unscripted series from The CW that follows the Smashing Pumpkins' frontman as he navigates fatherhood, being in a band, and his other idiosyncratic pursuits as a wrestling promoter and owner of the National Wrestling Alliance. Stream it on the CW App and cwtv.com on Tuesday.

-- AP Music Writer Maria Sherman

NEW SHOWS TO STREAM

-- Seasons one and two of "Bridgerton" followed the first two novels in the series by Julia Quinn. Taking place in Regency-era London, each book is about the love story of one Bridgerton family member. Season three, however, skips to book No. 4 with the friends to lovers' courtship of Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) and Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan.) Netflix has broken the season into two parts with the first batch of new episodes premiering Thursday.

-- Sophie Rundle of "Peaky Blinders" stars in "After the Flood," as a police officer in a UK town that is devastated by a flood. The six-episode series is both a thriller and a red flag about the consequences of climate change. The series premieres Monday on BritBox.

-- Josh Brolin leads "Outer Range" on Prime Video, a Western about neighboring ranchers battling for land that quickly turns trippy with time-travel. Lili Taylor, Tom Pelphrey, Imogen Poots and Shaun Sipos also star. All seven episodes of season two drop on Thursday.

-- André Holland ("Moonlight") plays Black Panther founder Huey P. Newton in the new series "The Big Cigar" for Apple TV+. It dives into the true story of how in 1974, Holland was being pursued by the FBI for murder and assault charges. He got help from a movie producer named Bert Schneider to escape to Cuba. The six-episode series debuts Friday, May 17.

-- The popular food competition series "Ciao House" returns for its second season on Sunday, May 19 on Food Network. On the show, 12 chefs live together in a Tuscan village and compete in various culinary challenges. The contestants form alliances and rivalries. In the end, the winner gets to train under master Italian chefs. "Iron Chef" champion Alex Guarnaschelli and Gabe Bertaccini return as hosts.

-- Alicia Rancilio

NEW VIDEO GAMES TO PLAY

-- Twenty-one years isn't that much time on a cosmic scale, but for fans of the science fiction epic Homeworld -- who have waited since 2003 since the last full-blown installment -- it has been an eternity. As Gearbox Publishing's Homeworld 3 begins, the galaxy has enjoyed an age of prosperity thanks to the discovery of a network of hyperspace gates. The good times may be running out, though, as some of the gates are mysteriously collapsing. Developer Blackbird Interactive, which includes some veterans of the original game, promises plenty of the 3D outer space combat that made it a hit, whether you want to fly solo or engage in free-for-alls against your friends. Liftoff is Monday on PC.

-- If you prefer your mysteries a little more earthbound, Annapurna Interactive's Lorelei and the Laser Eyes has you covered. You have been invited to explore an old hotel somewhere in Europe, where you'll soon find yourself "embroiled in a game of illusions." The aesthetic is classic film noir, with eerie black-and-white settings accented with splashes of red. Swedish studio Simogo, known for mind-benders like Year Walk and Device 6, promises "an immense amount of handcrafted puzzles," so if you've been craving a really big escape room, check in Thursday on Nintendo Switch and PC.

-- Lou Kesten

___

Catch up on AP's entertainment coverage here: https://apnews.com/entertainment.

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