This week’s new entertainment releases include the arrival of a new Dierks Bentley album, the unveiling of Sony’s PlayStation VR2 virtual reality headset and Tom Hanks landing on video on demand as a despondent and ornery widower in “A Man Called Otto.”
FX’s critically acclaimed series “Snowfall,” about the crack cocaine boom in Los Angeles in the 1980s, kicks off its sixth and final season on Thursday and Netflix’s “Outer Banks” returns for its third season. In more music news, Adam Lambert offers his takes on some great past pop songs with “High Drama,” an album of covers of such hitmakers as Duran Duran, Bonnie Tyler and Culture Club.
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.
— Adult dramas have generally been having a hard time in theaters in recent months, but one notable exception has been “A Man Called Otto.” The film stars Tom Hanks as a despondent and ornery widower whose suicide plans keep getting foiled by the needs of his neighbors. After having made nearly $100 million in ticket sales worldwide, “A Man Called Otto” arrived on video on demand Tuesday. Marc Forster’s adaptation of Fredrik Backman’s bestseller and a remake of the 2016 Swedish film “A Man Called Ove,” “A Man Called Otto” is well tailored to Hanks’ screen presence while subtly tweaking it. In my review, I wrote that how the film unfolds “won’t surprise anyone, but it does the trick for a little post-holidays heart-warming.”
— Since its prize-winning debut at the Cannes Film Festival last May, Polish filmmaking legend Jerzy Skolimowski’s “EO” has been moving audiences like few other recent films. Skolimowski made “EO,” nominated for best international film at the Academy Awards, from the perspective of a circus donkey on a spiritual journey as it experiences cruelty and kindness while traveling through Poland and Italy. “The idea was from the very beginning that we don’t want to tell the story about the donkey, but that we want the audience to feel like it is a donkey,” Ewa Piaskowska, Skolimowski’s wife and co-writer told AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr. ” EO” began streaming Tuesday on the Criterion Channel and is also available for digital rental.
— Director Miles Warren makes a compelling directorial debut in “Bruiser,” a tender coming-of-age tale streaming Friday on Hulu. “Till” actor Jayln Hall stars as 14-year-old Darious. Set during his summer between 7th and 8th grade, the quiet Darious, back from boarding school, is adjusting to life with his working parents (Shinelle Azoroh, Shamier Anderson) and friends who he’s drifted apart from. With Trevante Rhodes, of “Moonlight.”
— AP Film Writer Jake Coyle
— Adam Lambert offers his takes on some great past pop songs with “High Drama,” an album of covers of such hitmakers as Duran Duran, Bonnie Tyler and Culture Club. The frontman for Queen takes on Sia’s “Chandelier,” Kings of Leon’s “Sex on Fire” and even Noël Coward’s “Mad About the Boy.” His version of Tyler’s “Holding Out For a Hero” is a showcase for Lambert’s vocal fireworks, while he turns Duran Duran’s “Ordinary World” into a lush, moody ballad and he turns in a glam rendition of Billie Eilish’s “Getting Older.” It drops Friday.
— If you missed “KPOP” on Broadway, there’s still the chance to hear what you missed. The original cast recording out Friday, features music, lyrics, music production and arrangements by Helen Park and music and lyrics by Max Vernon. It was the first Broadway musical to celebrate Korean culture with Korean, Korean-American and API representation on and off-stage. The musical is a backstage look at some K-pop performers as they get ready for their debut show in New York City. Conflicts break out and get resolved, ending in a concert-like performance.
— After writing and recording two albums over the past four years that he later scrapped, Dierks Bentley is poised to release a third, one he says he “had to get right.” The 14-track “Gravel & Gold” has songs featuring Ashley McBryde and Billy Strings. The single “Gold” is all about freedom, with the lyrics: “I got some rust on my Chevy but it’s ready to roll/I got a rhinestone sky and a song in my soul.” Bentley promises a diverse album, “from the arena shaker to the barroom weeper to the bluegrass fireballer.”
— Entertainment Writer Mark Kennedy
— FX’s critically acclaimed series “Snowfall,” about the crack cocaine boom in Los Angeles in the 1980s kicks off its sixth and final season on Thursday. The final episodes are high-stakes for all the characters including Damson Idris as Franklin Saint, who rose to drug kingpin status throughout the series and had declared war on everyone around him.
— It’s been 13 years since we last saw the cater waiters of “Party Down” suffer through another event thrown by the rich and sometimes famous of Los Angeles. Original cast members including Adam Scott, Ken Marino, Ryan Hansen and Megan Mullally reprise their characters in a third season debuting Friday on Starz. This new batch of episodes sees the characters older and (somewhat) at different places in their lives but they’re still just as funny. Jennifer Garner, Tyrel Jackson Williams and Zoë Chao also join the cast. Original player Lizzie Caplan was unavailable for season three but the cast has said they’re game for another season, especially to work with her again.
— Netflix’s “Outer Banks” returns for its third season on Thursday and JJ, Sarah, and the gang have discovered a deserted island they’ve named Poguelandia. If we’ve learned anything from “Lord of the Flies” and “Yellowjackets,” teens on a deserted island equals trouble. And that’s just how the third season begins, promising more action, romance and of course, hidden treasures.
— Alicia Rancilio
— The big news in games this month is the arrival of Sony’s PlayStation VR2 virtual reality headset. It’s pricey at $550 and you need a PlayStation 5 to use it, but there will be a healthy software lineup ready for launch. The marquee title is Horizon: Call of the Mountain, which allows the player to climb mountains and hunt cyborgs in the franchise’s lively, postapocalyptic setting. Owners of the racing game Gran Turismo 7 and the horror epic Resident Evil Village will be able to download free VR versions, and there are dozens of other games — some new, some old — in the pipeline. You can begin exploring Sony’s updated take on the metaverse on Wednesday.
— Square Enix’s Octopath Traveler drew some flak for its goofy name when it debuted in 2018, but it found a big enough audience to warrant a sequel. Like its predecessor, Octopath Traveler II tells eight separate stories of eight intrepid adventurers — a warrior, a thief, a merchant, a cleric, a dancer, a hunter, a scholar and an apothecary — as they explore a magical land. And if the formula holds true, they’ll team up at the end to fight off some world-threatening cataclysm. With its retro, semi-2D pixel art, it’s bound to appeal to admirers of old-school Japanese role-playing games. The journeys begin Friday, Feb. 24, on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 5/4 and PC.
— Lou Kesten