New this week: Will Smith, ‘Pinocchio’ and ‘George & Tammy’
This week’s new entertainment releases include Will Smith’s comeback campaign in the Antoine Fuqua movie “Emancipation,” a documentary about Broadway star Idina Menzel, the video game “Dragon Quest Treasures” and a TV series exploring the tumultuous relationship between country music stars Tammy Wynette and George Jones. Director Guillermo del Toro finally gets to release his version of “Pinocchio” and there’s a holiday-themed romantic comedy at Amazon Prime about a jewelry mix-up that leads to sparks in “Something from Tiffany’s.” Can’t get to New York but still want to hear chart-toppers? Join the iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour at Madison Square Garden with Dua Lipa, Lizzo, and Charlie Puth,
Here’s a collection curated by The Associated Press’ entertainment journalists of what’s arriving on TV, streaming services and music and video game platforms this week.
— Will Smith’s comeback campaign is in full swing thanks to the new Antoine Fuqua movie “Emancipation,” which begins streaming on Apple TV+ on Friday, Dec. 9. The film follows the escape of an enslaved man, Peter (Smith), from a Louisiana plantation during the Civil War. In his review, AP Film Writer Jake Coyle writes that the film is “something distinct from many recent big-screen treatments of slavery and also more shallow. Fuqua’s film is often harrowing and gripping but also less nuanced and too narrowly confined in genre conventions than its real-life protagonist deserves.”
— “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” is a dream almost 15 years in the making for the Oscar-winning filmmaker, who first announced his plans to make an adaptation of Carlo Collodi’s story in 2008. After many years of false starts, Netflix helped del Toro realize his vision, with beautifully intricate stop-motion puppets and voice actors like David Bradley (Geppetto) and Ewan McGregor (Sebastian J. Cricket). He’s set the story in Italy between the two world wars during the rise of fascism. The “Pan’s Labyrinth” filmmaker told Vanity Fair that though the film is challenging, he hopes it will appeal to all generations. “These are times that demand from kids a complexity that is tremendous,” he said. Co-directed by Mark Gustafson, “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” hits Netflix on Friday, Dec. 9.
— Or for a holiday-themed romantic comedy (with some earnestly blatant brand tie-ins), head over to Amazon Prime for “Something from Tiffany’s,” in which a jewelry mix-up sends two relationships into a spiral. Kendrick Sampson plays a man about to propose to his longtime girlfriend and Zoey Deutch plays a woman in a dead-end relationship who accidentally gets an engagement ring meant for someone else. This mishap is an elaborate set-up that gets Sampson and Deutch to meet. Directed by Daryl Wein and produced by Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine, “Something from Tiffany’s” starts streaming Friday, Dec. 9.
— AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr
— Can’t get to New York but still want to hear chart-toppers? Join the iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour at Madison Square Garden concert on Friday, Dec. 9 with Dua Lipa, Lizzo, The Kid Laroi, Backstreet Boys, Charlie Puth, AJR, Demi Lovato, Lauv, Ava Max, Dove Cameron and Jax. The concert will be carried live across the country on all iHeartRadio CHRstations and will livestream exclusively via The CW App and CWTV.com. Not happy with just listening? There’s also an exclusive IMAX Live presentation in IMAX theatres nationwide for the first time.
— Broadway star Idina Menzel opens up about her career and her life in the documentary “Idina Menzel: Which Way to the Stage?” Menzel has starred in “Rent” and “Wicked” as well as created the legendary voice of Elsa in Disney’s “Frozen.” Cameras follow Menzel on a national tour over the course of 16 shows as she juggles the challenges of being a working mom with a grueling travel schedule, all while preparing finally to realize her dream of singing at Madison Square Garden in her hometown of New York City. Join her Friday, Dec. 9 on Disney+.
— AP Entertainment Writer Mark Kennedy
— In the new TV series “George & Tammy,” Jessica Chastain and Michael Shannon play out the passionate but tumultuous relationship between country music stars Tammy Wynette and George Jones. The couple divorced in 1975 after six years together, but they remained a major influence in each other’s lives. Chastain and Shannon also sing the artist’s legendary songs in the series including Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man” and Jones’ “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” The show premieres Sunday, Dec. 4 simultaneously on Showtime and the Paramount Network, and the remainder of the series will be available exclusively on Showtime.
— The true crime genre is booming but ID/discovery+ explores a case perhaps you haven’t heard of. “The Tetris Murders” is a three-part look at the murder of Vladimir Pokhilko, one of the creators of the video game “Tetris,” died along with his family in their California home in 1998. Originally believed to be a murder-suicide, investigators revisit the case and find it’s much more complicated than once thought. “The Tetris Murders” debuts Monday on ID and discovery+.
— Spoiler alert: “The Masked Singer” has already unveiled its season eight winner but the hit Fox show has one more episode to air just in time for the holidays. A special singalong edition airs Wednesday on Fox, featuring new performances, bloopers and behind-the-scenes material.
— Season two of the heartwarming “Little America” debuts on Apple TV+. on Friday, Dec. 9. Created by Academy Award winner Siân Heder, actor Kumail Nanjiani, and Emmy-nominee Lee Eisenberg (“The Office,” “WeCrashed,”) the scripted anthology series tells the unique stories of immigrants in the United States who are trying to achieve their dream. New episodes include stories of a Somali chef preparing for the Minnesota State Fair; a Korean medical student whose passion is hat design and a Japanese woman in Ohio trying to form a women’s baseball team.
— Alicia Rancilio
— “Dragon Quest Treasures” is the latest spinoff of Square Enix’s long-running series of role-playing epics. It’s an origin story of sorts for two of the characters from 2018’s “Dragon Quest XI,” Erik and Mia. We meet them as children living on a Viking ship before they’re magically transported to the land of Draconia. Familiar monsters, from slimes to sabercats, abound, but now the kids can recruit the beasts to help them hunt for loot. And they can spend their fortune building an elaborate castle while they search for seven elusive Dragonstones. It’s a more lighthearted take on the “DQ” franchise, and it comes to the Nintendo Switch on Friday, Dec. 9.
— Lou Kesten