New this week: ‘The Sea Beast,’ early Elton John, ‘Maggie’
Here’s a collection curated by The Associated Press’ entertainment journalists of what’s arriving on TV, streaming services and music platforms this week.
— Netflix’s “The Sea Beast” brings a “Moby Dick”-like tale down to kid size. The rollicking ocean adventure, directed by “Big Hero 6” filmmaker Chris Williams, is about an orphan British girl (voiced by Zaris-Angel Hator) who stows away on a ship hunting sea beasts. The veteran animator Williams, who co-directed “Moana,” returns to the high-seas for a swashbuckling tale made with the kind of accomplished animation often only found on the big screen. It debuts Friday, July 8.
— The Criterion Channel has a new film series sure to knock you out. “In the Ring: Boxing On-Screen” brings together 16 bobbing-and-weaving movies, from the 1927 Alfred Hitchcock silent “The Ring” to Martin Scorsese’s 1980 masterpiece “Raging Bull.” The series, streaming in July, argues that boxing and cinema grew in tandem, and remain uniquely suited to one another. Two highlights: “The Set-Up,” Robert Wise’s sweaty 1949 noir with Robert Ryan as a washed-up boxer whose manager sets him up to take a dive; and Leon Gast’s 1996 documentary classic “When We Were Kings,” about the Muhammad Ali-George Foreman 1974 bout, the “Rumble in the Jungle.”
— AP Film Writer Jake Coyle
— Neil Young isn’t finished opening his vaults. On Friday, July 8, he’s releasing the shelved Crazy Horse album “Toast,” a set they recorded in 2001 at Toast Studios in San Francisco. “‘Toast’ is an album that stands on its own in my collection,” Young wrote last year. “Unlike any other, ‘Toast’ was so sad that I couldn’t put it out. I just skipped it and went on to do another album in its place. I couldn’t handle it at that time.” The seven songs on “Toast” explore a broken relationship. In the last song, “Boom Boom Boom,” Young sings: “All I got is a broken heart, and I don’t try to hide it when I play my guitar.”
— Quick, what was the name of the first album Elton John ever recorded? If you answered “Empty Sky,” close, but wrong. It’s actually “Regimental Sgt. Zippo,” a 12-track album that the then-unknown teenager John — credited as Reg Dwight — recorded in 1968 at age 19 with lyricist Bernie Taupin that was shelved. It had a limited release on Record Store Day in 2021, but now it will be available on LP, CD and streaming. Beatles harmonies, harpsichords and flute-like sounds permeate the album, which The Guardian says has a “naïve, endearing charm” and the title track has a trippy animated video.
— Journey’s “Let It Rain” is one of the singles ahead of the band’s next studio album, “Freedom,” set for release Friday, July 8 “that brings back the grand scale of the group’s greatest moments, along with updated and bold new directions and sounds,” says the band. It’s their first project of new material since 2011’s “Eclipse.” The new record also features the tracks “You Got the Best of Me” and “The Way We Used to Be.”
— AP Entertainment Writer Mark Kennedy
— Writer and commentator Baratunde Thurston goes big with a region-by-region trek in “America Outdoors,” debuting Tuesday on PBS. In an effort to understand Americans’ “complicated relationship” with the natural world, the six-part series visits with people including wilderness pilots in Idaho; Appalachian coal miners who have turned to beekeeping; Black surfers in Los Angeles, and an ultramarathoner in California’s Death Valley. Getting in touch with nature and those attuned to it proved to be one of “the best things I could do with my time,” Thurston says.
— In the Hulu comedy “Maggie,” a professional psychic who sees her own future is in for a rough romantic ride. Maggie, played by Rebecca Rittenhouse, gets glimpses of a maybe not-so-happily-ever life after she gives a reading to customer Ben (David Del Rio). Her forecast has them married and parents, but then he moves into her apartment building with a present-day girlfriend. Will love and, more importantly, hilarity ensue? Nichole Sakura, Leonardo Nam and Chris Elliott co-star in the 13-episode series debuting in full on Wednesday.
— Think you’re competitive? The 28 contestants on “The Challenge: USA” have already proven their mettle — in one fashion or another — on “Survivor,” “The Amazing Race,” “Big Brother” and “Love Island.” Players will face mental and physical contests in the series arriving with a 90-minute episode on Wednesday on CBS (streaming on Paramount+). T.J. Lavin hosts the first network broadcast of MTV’s international reality franchise, with “Survivor” winners Tyson Apostol, Ben Driebergen and Sarah Lacina among those vying for the $500,000 grand prize.
— AP Television Writer Lynn Elber
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