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The Associated Press
Here’s a collection curated by The Associated Press’ entertainment journalists of what’st arriving on TV, streaming services and music platforms this week.
— Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem star as Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz in Aaron Sorkin’s “Being the Ricardos,” a smart and quippy showbiz pic that takes audiences behind the curtains of a tricky relationship on an especially fraught week of “I Love Lucy.” Neither of the stars especially look like the icons they’re portraying, and the filmmakers have gotten some understandable criticism over casting Bardem, who is Spanish, as a Cuban-American, but they do seem to capture the spirit of the characters and all of their fascinating contradictions. “Being the Ricardos” will be available on Amazon Prime Video on Dec. 21.
— It’s hard to believe it’s been 22 years since the red pill/blue pill conundrum came into our lives, but Lana Wachowski has come back to make us question our realities once more with “The Matrix Resurrections,” in theaters and streaming on HBO Max starting Dec. 22. Keanu Reeves and Carrie-Ann Moss return as Neo and Trinity in massive cast that includes Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Neil Patrick Harris, Christina Ricci and Priyanka Chopra. And if you need a little refresher before diving into the fourth installment, the first three are also currently streaming on HBO Max.
— Leonardo DiCaprio leads an all-star cast including Jennifer Lawrence, Cate Blanchett and Meryl Streep in “Don’t Look Up,” an end of the world comedy that starts streaming on Netflix on Dec. 24. Directed and co-written by Adam McKay, who also took on the Cheneys in “Vice” and the financial crisis in “The Big Short,” this climate change allegory features DiCaprio and Lawrence as scientists who discover an extinction-sized comet that’s headed towards Earth. The problem is no one seems to care.
— Tireless “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda lent eight original songs to Disney’s latest animated charmer, “Encanto,” about a magical Colombian family and the one daughter who seems to have missed out. AP’s Mark Kennedy wrote in his review that, “’Encanto’ is a film about the pressure of living up to high expectations and the fear of revealing imperfections. It’s about outcasts and misfits in plain sight.” Families who didn’t get to go to the theater to see it at Thanksgiving will have another chance when the film hits Disney+ on Dec. 24, right in time for the Christmas break.
— AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr
— A live posthumous album by Chuck Berry is being released this Christmas time as a digital download. “Live From Blueberry Hill” is taken from performances recorded between July 2005 and January 2006 at Blueberry Hill café in St. Louis, one of Berry’s favorite places to play. The album features Berry tearing through classics like “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Sweet Little Sixteen” and “Johnny B. Goode.” More songs off the live album include “Rock and Roll Music,” “Let It Rock,” “Carol/Little Queenie,” “Around and Around,” “Nadine” and “Mean Old World.”
— New music from U2 is included in the soundtrack for the animated “Sing 2,” which opens Wednesday, Dec. 22. The film sequel — which features the band’s singer and songwriter Bono voicing a character called Clay Calloway — also features “bad guy” by Billie Eilish, “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” by Elton John and Scarlett Johansson singing U2’s “Stuck In a Moment You Can’t Get Out Of.” Taron Egerton covers “A Sky Full of Stars” and Halsey tackles The Struts’ “Could Have Been Me.” Another U2 song — “Where the Streets Have No Name” — is performed by Tori Kelly, Taron Egerton, Johansson, Reese Witherspoon and Nick Kroll.
— AP Entertainment Writer Mark Kennedy
— TCM is in marathon mode, running holiday movies — or those with enough spirit to count — nonstop this week through Christmas Day. Among the standouts: 1944’s “Meet Me in St. Louis” (8 p.m. EST Tuesday, Dec. 21), with Judy Garland’s timeless version of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas); 1940’s “The Shop Around the Corner” (2 p.m. EST Friday, Dec. 24), starring Margaret Sullavan and James Stewart in a romance so durable it’s been remade twice, including 1988’s “You’ve Got Mail”; and 1947’s “The Bishop’s Wife,” with Cary Grant as a well-dressed angel sent to help man-of-the-cloth David Niven and wife Loretta Young (8 p.m. EST Friday, Dec. 24).
— Tune in for the Kennedy Center honorees, stay for the impressive line-up of actors, singers and comedians on hand to salute their contributions to American culture. In the spotlight for the 44th annual “Kennedy Centers Honors” are opera singer Justino Díaz; Motown founder Berry Gordy; “Saturday Night Live” creator Lorne Michaels; actor-singer Bette Midler; and singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell. Among those paying tribute are Andra Day, Herbie Hancock, Scarlett Johansson, Steve Martin, Chita Rivera and Stevie Wonder. The two-hour special airs 9 p.m. EST Wednesday, Dec. 22, on CBS.
— In the grand tradition of British ghost stories for Christmas comes “The Mezzotint,” debuting Dec. 24 on the BritBox streaming service. Rory Kinnear stars as university museum curator Mr. Williams, who receives an engraved picture that appears to show simply a country house at night. But is there a figure in the corner, one that keeps moving, and is there a frightening tale behind it? Well, of course! If you’d like to whet your appetite for the half-hour special adapted by actor-writer Mark Gatiss from a M.R. James short story, BritBox is offering a wealth of similarly chilling U.K. tales from the 1970s and on, starting Monday, Dec. 20.
— AP Television Writer Lynn Elber
Catch up on AP’s entertainment coverage here: https://apnews.com/apf-entertainment.