The It List is Yahoo’s weekly look at the best in pop culture, including movies, music, TV, streaming, games, books, podcasts and more. Here are our picks for Oct. 7-13, including the best deals we could find for each.
WATCH IT: Will Smith fights “young” Will Smith in Ang Lee’s heady thriller Gemini Man
Now this is the story all about how Henry Brogan’s life got flipped-turned upside down, and we’d like to take a minute, just sit right there, we’ll tell you how this ace assassin got a younger clone with the same intense stare.
After a decades-long stint in development hell — where it attracted the attention of such directors as Tony Scott and Joe Carnahan, who envisioned it as a vehicle for stars like Clint Eastwood and Harrison Ford — the Gemini Man script finally arrives on the big screen courtesy of Ang Lee and Will Smith. The lengthy wait actually worked in Lee’s favor as technology has finally caught up to the script’s central conceit: What if an aging killer discovered that he had been marked for death by… his younger self? Instead of being forced to rely on flashbacks to earlier movies or, even worse, late ‘90s CGI, the tech-savvy director of Life of Pi and Hulk, creates a de-aged digital version of his leading man that’s pretty darn convincing.
After playing the older Henry opposite a body double on set, Smith performed the young Brogan on a soundstage where motion-capture cameras recorded his line readings and facial expressions. Animators then blended that footage with reference imagery borrowed from vintage ‘90s Fresh Prince vehicles like Bad Boys and Six Degrees of Separation. “No one has done it in this way,” Lee told a group of journalists following a screening of the finished film last month. “We did [Will’s] whole body, not just the face. We go into details probably nobody did ... [and] we did it from scratch. That’s why I don’t like to call it de-aging; it’s not just a brush-up. Age does more mysterious things than just the wrinkles.”
Gemini Man is produced by action maestro, Jerry Bruckheimer, but make no mistake — this is an Ang Lee film through and through. That means that the narrative often leans heavily on metaphors and thematically-fraught relationships that don’t necessarily translate into the kind of slam-bang storytelling audiences expect from a big-budget Will Smith picture. (Be forewarned that the movie is closer in tone and pace to Lee’s divisive 2003 interpretation of Hulk rather than Bad Boys.) When the fists do start flying, though, the choreography is often crisp and inventive, particularly in the Smith vs. Smith rumble that serves as the movie’s centerpiece. That sequence looks even better when projected in the high-frame format that Lee is eager to see go mainstream, but for now is only available in a limited number of theaters. While Gemini Man may not fit the mold of a contemporary action blockbuster, it does provide a fascinating glimpse of a potential moviegoing future from one of our foremost forward-thinking filmmakers. — Ethan Alter
WATCH IT: El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
Six years after we watched Jesse Pinkman, played by Aaron Paul, floor it in a stolen El Camino through the gates of the Nazi compound, we find out what happened next. What we know is that he's scarred, running scared and sought after. Jesse turns to his old friends, Skinny Pete (Charles Baker) and Badger (Matt Jones), as he cleans up and starts out on a new mission. Mike, played by Jonathan Banks, is also woven into the story — though it's unclear how as the henchman, whose origins have been playing out in Better Call Saul, met a fatal end in the original AMC series. Of course, the most asked question is whether Walter White will return. Bryan Cranston was at the premiere with Paul — along with other Breaking Bad alums including Giancarlo Esposito, Betsy Brandt, Jesse Plemons and Krysten Ritter — though Vince Gilligan, at the helm of this too, insists that Heisenberg is dead. But Gilligan and Paul will seemingly do anything to deliver the best story to fans. After all, they made the entire film under a secret name (Greenbrier) and Paul lied about the project he was working on (telling people he was making an indie film in New Mexico). On the red carpet Monday, Paul said, "I love surprising people, I love lying to people. It's easy for me." And he told the New York Times in an interview leading up to the film's release, "All I can say, I think people will be really happy with what they see." — Suzy Byrne
El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie will be released in select theaters for one weekend only starting Friday, Oct. 11 — the same day it will also start streaming on Netflix.
WATCH IT: Riverdale remembers Luke Perry
The cast of the CW show pays tribute to the late actor, who died of a stroke in March, and his character in the show's fourth season premiere. Molly Ringwald, who plays the ex-wife of Perry’s character, and had most of her scenes with him, remembers crying through much of filming. “For me, it was like getting to say goodbye to him,” she said during a visit to BUILD. “I didn’t get to go to his memorial in Los Angeles, so it was all real for me.” Cast member Mark Consuelos said the episode, "Chapter 58: In Memoriam," was "so beautifully written and such a nice send off." Fans should keep an eye out for Perry’s former Beverly Hills, 90210 co-star Shannen Doherty, who makes a brief special appearance. — Raechal Shewfelt
Riverdale Season 4 premieres Wednesday, Oct. 9 at 8 p.m. on The CW.
HEAR IT: Fantasia’s makes a soulful return this fall with Sketchbook
The Season 3 American Idol diva’s genre-hopping seventh studio album boasts a bold “rock-soul” sound and guest appearances by Meghan Trainor, T-Pain, T.I., Jazmine Sullivan and Brandy.
WATCH IT: Parasite is another winner from South Korean auteur Bong Joon-ho
In a just world, Bong Joon-ho’s thrilling social satire would be playing alongside Hollywood mega-productions like Gemini Man and Joker on thousands of multiplex screens across the country. Sadly, the subtitles will keep it relegated to limited runs on the art-house circuit. But trust us — Parasite is absolutely worth the effort to find, and confirms Bong — whose past triumphs include The Host, Snowpiercer and Okja — as a master of suspense in the mold of Spielberg and Hitchcock. Without giving away too much, the story concerns a family on the lower rungs of Korean society who conspire to land jobs within a wealthier household. From that basic premise, Parasite evolves in delightfully surprising ways, heading down narrative corridors that audiences could never predict going in. It’s easy to imagine a Hollywood studio pursuing the rights for an English-language remake, but Bong’s version speaks to everyone through up-to-the-minute social commentary and classical sequences of high tension. — E.A.
READ IT: Skip the theater for once to read Movies (And Other Things)
The Ringer writer Shea Serrano, the author of Basketball (And Other Things) and The Rap Year Book, takes on movies in this amusing and utterly original book. Illustrations by Arturo Torres punctuate chapters titled, “Did Denzel’s race-forward football camp work or not?” in Remember the Titans and “Can we talk about Selena for a minute?” Mean Girls fans will appreciate that there’s an entire chapter devoted to determining which high school movie characters would and wouldn’t be friends with Regina George. (Spoiler: Claire from The Breakfast Club is a yes.) — R.S
Movies (And Other Things) is available at Amazon.
WATCH IT: Lights, camera, action for the new incarnation of Inside the Actors Studio
The revamped version of the interview show, featuring some of the biggest box office stars sharing their views on the craft of acting, returns to TV for the first time since January 2018. It’ll have a new network, Ovation, and a new host, too, as James Lipton has decided to retire. For now, celebs including Alec Baldwin, Greta Gerwig and Jane Lynch will be stepping in to ask the questions of Al Pacino, Alfre Woodard, Laura Dern and others. Fingers crossed they keep the fun round of questions — such as “What is your favorite curse word?” — at the end of each installment. — R.S.
Inside the Actors Studio premieres Sunday, Oct. 13 at 10 p.m. on Ovation.
HEAR IT: Blade Original Score hits vinyl for the first time
There's a great new trend developing in the world of vinyl: The original scores for some of the best sonically orchestrated films are landing on the format for the first time, and we can't get enough of them. The latest to make its way to wax is Mark Isham's pulsating work on the 1998 vampire superhero film Blade, starring Wesley Snipes. Isham's lush and sometimes haunting cinematic soundscapes play out over seven tracks on double sides and we challenge you to find better mood music for a rainy Sunday afternoon. Rumor has it the British techno outfit The Prodigy was almost enlisted to craft both the soundtrack and the score for the adaptation of this Marvel favorite. That would've been something, but we're glad it was ultimately Isham. — K.P.
Get Blade: The Original Motion Picture Score on vinyl at Amazon.
WATCH IT: Alien brings the Xenomorph back to a theater near you
One of the greatest haunted house movies ever committed to celluloid — and one that happens to be set in space (where nobody can hear you scream) — is coming back to theaters just in time for Halloween. Ridley Scott’s classic Alien, featuring a star-making performance from Sigourney Weaver, is heading back to theaters for a limited run to mark its 40th anniversary. Fathom Events will hold select screenings of the chest-bursting horrorfest on Oct. 13, 15 and 16. — Marcus Errico
Tickets and participating theaters can be found at FathomEvents.com.
HEAR IT: Late Queen singer Freddie Mercury's solo career chronicled with a new boxed set called Never Boring
This aptly titled boxed set curating the late Queen frontman’s solo work includes 32 songs across three CDs, a Blu-ray of rare videos (some restored from original 35mm film), a 120-page hardcover book featuring Mercury quotes and unpublished photos and an intro by Oscar-winning Bohemian Rhapsody actor Rami Malek. The package was compiled by the same Queen sound team that co-produced the hugely successful Bohemian Rhapsody soundtrack.
BUY IT: From Kylo Ren’s lightsaber to BB-8’s new robot pal, Hasbro has all the Star Wars toys you’re looking for
Triple Force Friday has come and gone, but your Star Wars shopping is just getting started. Hasbro’s toy line alone is enough to keep your mind — and wallet — busy between now and the release of the saga-capping Rise of Skywalker on Dec. 20. Action figure collectors have a wealth of new Black Series releases to covet, from Episode IV versions of Luke and Leia to an Episode IX-ready Rey and Kylo Ren. And speaking of Ben Solo’s Sith alter ego, fans can outfit themselves with Kylo’s newly-scarred mask as well as his signature crossguard lightsaber. Best of all may be Hasbro’s interactive version of D-O, an all-new droid guaranteed to roll its way into your family’s heart. Can we get a bleep-blorp! — E.A.
Hasbro’s Star Wars merchandise is available to purchase at Amazon, Target and Walmart.
WATCH IT: Toy Story 4 fans can now relive the adventure over and over
Stop us if you've heard this one before: "Pixar has made the best animated film of the year." Or this one… "and it's a Toy Story movie." Even the feature-length toon masters' most fervent fans seemed conflicted over the release of a fourth Toy Story movie after 2010's Toy Story 3 had so perfectly and poignantly wrapped up the original trilogy. But as we learned this summer, maybe there's no such thing as "too much of a good thing." Part 4 is exceptional — it's expectedly touching, supremely clever and easily the funniest installment in the series, thanks in large part to the additions of new cast members like Jordan Peele, Keegan-Michael Key, Keanu Reeves and, especially, Tony Hale as the scene-stealing fan favorite Forky. This might even be the funniest movie released all year. That would be a first for the studio and the franchise. — Kevin Polowy
Get Toy Story 4 on Blu-ray, DVD or digital at Target.
HEAR IT: Kim Gordon drops her debut solo album, No Home Record
The alt-rock pioneer, who split from Sonic Youth co-founder (and longtime husband) Thurston Moore in 2011, is finally releasing her debut solo album. The record was produced by Justin Raisen, who has worked with pop-leaning Gordon disciples likes Charli XCX, Angel Olsen, Santigold and Sky Ferreira.
HEAR IT: Elbow releases 8th LP, Giants of All Sizes
The Mercury Music Prize-winning, critically adored Britrockers’ eighth studio album is described by frontman and lyricist Guy Garvey as “an angry, old blue lament which finds its salvation in family, friends, the band, and new life.”
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