Bindi Irwin delivers in ‘Crikey! It’s a Baby!,’ Morgan Freeman stars in ‘Vanquish’
The It List is Yahoo’s weekly look at the best in pop culture, including movies, music, TV, streaming, games, books, podcasts and more. During the coronavirus pandemic, when most of us are staying at home, we’re going to spotlight things you can enjoy from your couch, whether solo or in small groups, and leave out the rest. With that in mind, here are our picks for April 19-25, including the best deals we could find for each. (Yahoo Entertainment may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page.)
STREAM IT: See Bindi Irwin’s journey to motherhood on Crikey! It’s a Baby!
Crikey! It’s … another sweet Irwin family special. With Bindi Irwin becoming a first-time mother last month to baby Grace Warrior Irwin Powell, the lovable wildlife conservationist, who lives and works at the Australia Zoo with her family, is sharing her journey to motherhood. Viewers will see how she first broke the baby news to her mother, Terri, and brother, Robert, as well as special moments with husband Chandler Powell, including their homecoming to the zoo as a family. Additional highlights include the baby shower (which Powell’s American parents had to attend virtually due to COVID-19), and Robert — who fully embraces the nickname “Funcle” (as in fun uncle) — giving updates on his sister’s labor in the hospital waiting room. Of course, the late Steve “Crocodile Hunter” Irwin is featured prominently, as the story of Bindi’s birth is told by Terri. (Car keys were lost and hijinks ensued.) The late star remains a big figure and presence in the Crikey! It’s The Irwins stars’ lives 14 years after his death, and the new baby’s name is extra meaningful because it honors him. — Suzy Byrne
Crikey! It’s a Baby! is available Sunday, April 25 on Discovery+.
STREAM IT: Mark Earth Day with the story of Cher & The Loneliest Elephant
When Cher heard about the online campaign that wildlife veterinarians and animal rights advocates were waging to help a malnourished elephant named Kaavan in Pakistan, she immediately wanted to help. So she flew to the side of the four-ton “world’s loneliest elephant” to assist in his relocation to a place where he would no longer be subject to neglect and depression. “Elephants are just like we are,” Cher says in this film documenting the experience. “They’re so family-oriented and emotional. And so I wanted to free him.” But, of course, it wasn’t simple. Cher, Kaavan and his handlers faced many challenges on their 2,300-mile journey — during the global COVID-19 pandemic, mind you — to a new, happier home for him. The doc features Cher’s 2017 song “Walls,” which she released to benefit the Free the Wild animal welfare organization that she co-founded after hearing Kaavan’s story. — Raechal Shewfelt
Cher & The Loneliest Elephant is available Thursday, April 22 on Paramount+.
STREAM IT: Morgan Freeman pushes Ruby Rose to the limit in action thriller Vanquish
Since fleeing Gotham City, former Batwoman star Ruby Rose has flexed her action movie muscles in The Doorman opposite Jean Reno, as well as the British Die Hard-esque thriller SAS: Red Notice, alongside Sam Heughan. Now, she’s sharing scenes — and trading threats — with an Oscar winner and acting icon, Morgan Freeman. Co-written and directed by George Gallo, Vanquish casts Freeman as a wheelchair-bound ex-cop, Damon, who relies on his caretaker and ex-drug courier, Victoria (Rose), to help him in his day-to-day life. But one night, he ups the ante considerably by forcing her to go one-on-one with a group of drug runners while he stays home and holds her beloved daughter hostage. It goes without saying that Victoria isn’t at all pleased by her new caretaking duties. “Just in case it wasn’t clear, when this is over so are we,” she tells Damon in this exclusive clip from the film. — Ethan Alter
Vanquish premieres Tuesday, April 20 on digital and on-demand services, and on DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday, April 27.
STREAM IT: Anna Kendrick and company run into trouble en route to Mars in Stowaway
Imagine Lifeboat, but in space. If you’re familiar with Alfred Hitchcock’s 1944 classic, that should be enough to intrigue you about Netflix’s latest interstellar thriller. Shamier Anderson plays a NASA technician who accidentally blasts off to Mars with astronauts Anna Kendrick, Toni Collette and Daniel Dae Kim, and it’s the adventure of a lifetime — for a short while, anyway, until a malfunction leaves the ship with only enough oxygen for three of the four to survive. Will one (likely the “stowaway”) be sacrificed? Will they band together to find a way for everyone make it? You can find out on Netflix soon, but in the meantime ration out the exclusive clip above. — Kevin Polowy
Stowaway premieres Thursday, April 22 on Netflix.
LISTEN: Pete Davidson and KeKe Palmer team up for new Audible Original, ‘Hit Job’
Looks like Audible has a real hit on its hands: the new 12-episode Audible Original series Hit Job casts KeKe Palmer and Pete Davidson as co-workers in a workplace that places strenuous demands on its employees. How strenuous? Well, the company’s motto is “Do Bad Things for Good Reasons,” which kinda tells you everything you need to know about Palmer and Davidson’s day-to-day grind. This exclusive audio clip from Hit Job provides a taste of the “bad things” the duo have to do. And it also hints that romance might be in the air. “Our faces are really close together right now,” Davidson tells Palmer, before adding, “Your breath smells like Doritos.” Isn’t that… romantic? — E.A.
Hit Job is available Thursday, April 22 on Audible.
STREAM IT: The Marijuana Conspiracy examines a real strain of drug history
In honor of 4/20, here’s a piece of history you probably never learned in school: in 1972, 20 women spent almost 100 days in a Toronto hospital as part of an under-the-radar study exploring the effects of marijuana use on young women. That’s the jumping-off point for Craig Pryce’s dramatization of real events, which follows five women as they experience the various highs and lows of scientifically-mandated pot usage. This exclusive clip from the film shows one of those women, Janice (Alias Grace star Kyla Avril Young), displaying increasing paranoia — including the sense that she’s being followed — as the scientists in charge manipulate her intake on a daily basis. — E.A.
The Marijuana Conspiracy premieres Tuesday, April 20 on digital and on-demand services.
STREAM IT: Alien hunters James Cameron and Sigourney Weaver explore the Secrets of the Whales
On the big screen, James Cameron and Sigourney Weaver have explored deep space courtesy of the Alien and Avatar franchises. But in real life, the director prefers to explore deep… water. Cameron’s latest aquatic adventure is Secrets of the Whales, a four-part National Geographic documentary series that he executive produced and Weaver narrated. Premiering on Disney+ on Earth Day, the show dives into Earth’s oceans to capture the daily life and unique culture of our planet’s whale population. Each episode profiles a different whale species, from orcas and humpbacks to belugas and sperm whales, with state-of-the-art nature photography made possible by deep-sea diving subs. In this exclusive clip from Secrets of the Whales, Cameron illustrates how whales can naturally reach areas that the director can only visit when encased in metal. You might say that without that submarine, it would be game over, man. — E.A.
Secrets of the Whales premieres Thursday, April 22 on Disney+.
STREAM IT: So long, Scranton: Office veteran Ed Helms is back with a new movie and TV series
Ed Helms has been out of the spotlight in recent years, but he’s ready for his close-up this week. On the heels of its Sundance Film Festival debut in January, Helms’s indie comedy Together Together opens for general audiences in theaters. The Office star plays a single guy who hires a young woman (Patti Harrison) to serve as the surrogate mother for the child he’s always wanted. It’s a storyline that one can imagine his Scranton counterpart, Andy Bernard, playing out in the world of the NBC series, although writer/director Nikole Beckwith neatly sidesteps the cringe comedy that show often relied on.
And if you happen to be rewatching The Office at its current streaming home on Peacock, you can also tune into Helms’s new comedy series, Rutherford Falls. Co-created by Helms, Mike Schur and Sierra Teller Ornelas, the show depicts a small town’s overdue reckoning with its past. When Nathan Rutherford (Helms) resists finding a new home for a statue of his ancestor and town founder, it sets off a conflict with the local Native American population, including his own childhood friend, Reagan (Jana Schmieding). Hailing from Navajo ancestry herself, Ornelas assembles one of the most diverse writers’ rooms on television, with five Native writers on staff. — E.A.
Rutherford Falls premieres Thursday, April 22 on Peacock; Together Together premieres in theaters on Friday, April 23.
HEAR IT: Peter Frampton makes an album you won’t Forget
The guitar god puts his indelible instrumental stamp on covers of songs by Radiohead, Marvin Gaye, Roxy Music, Stevie Wonder, Alison Krauss, Sly Stone, Lenny Kravitz, and his late friends David Bowie and George Harrison on Frampton Forgets the Words. It’s the legend’s second instrumental record, following Fingerprints, which won him his long-overdue first Grammy in 2007. — Lyndsey Parker
Frampton Forgets the Words by Peter Frampton is available to download/stream Friday, April 23 on Apple Music.
WATCH: The Oscars are finally, finally here
Back in June 2020, it was announced that the 93rd Academy Awards ceremony had been pushed back from Feb. 28 to April 25, with the logic being the delay would give studios hesitant to open films in movie theaters mid-pandemic — if they were even open — an extra two months to unspool their contenders. Of course, here we are in April, and most cities are just starting to open up theaters. Now, after what’s amounted to the longest awards season of all time, the Oscars are finally, finally here. Still, concerns linger over how many people will actually tune in with a ballot dominated by mostly non-commercial fare, such as Nomadland, Minari, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and Promising Young Woman. Unlike the Emmys and Golden Globes, though — and more like the Grammys — most winners will be present at one of three locations (Los Angeles, New York and London) and not wearing sweatshirts in Zoom windows (shout out to Jason Sudeikis). If anything, we can count on it being a historic night, much like everything else we’ve witnessed in the last year. — K.P.
The Oscars air live (on the East Coast) Sunday, April 25 at 8 p.m. on ABC.
WATCH: Film Independent Spirit Awards go virtual
We’ll miss you, Giant Tent on the Santa Monica Beach. As Josh Welsh, president of Film Independent told us in September, planning for anything in 2021 has been daunting — and the organization behind the Independent Spirit Awards ultimately had to make some major changes. They’ll move from their usual oceanside home to a fully virtual affair, and also move from their usual slot the Saturday before the Oscars to the Thursday night before the Oscars. What won’t change: an always-entertaining show — this edition hosted by Saturday Night Live star Melissa Villaseñor — celebrating the best in independent filmmaking, with contenders this year including awards heavyweights Nomadland and Minari and beloved low-budget gems, like First Cow and Never Rarely Sometimes Always. — K.P.
The 36th Independent Spirit Awards broadcasts live (on the East Coast) Thursday, April 22 at 10 p.m. on IFC. It also streams simultaneously on AMC+.
HEAR IT: Tom Jones goes under the covers
Peter Frampton isn’t the only icon releasing a covers album this week, but in the case of octogenarian heartthrob Sir Tom Jones’s offering, it’s all about the vocals. On Surrounded by Time, The Voice U.K. coach, song stylist and charismatic crooner applies his booming baritone to tunes by singer-songwriters Bob Dylan, Todd Snider, Michael Kiwanuka, Tony Joe White, Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam, Malvina Reynolds and others, in the process creating yet another timeless album (his 41st!). — L.P.
Surrounded by Time by Tom Jones is available to download/stream Friday, April 23 on Apple Music.
WATCH IT: Mortal Kombat brings the brutality
The 1995s Mortal Kombat movie wasn’t terrible by any stretch, but it wasn’t all that good, either. One of its biggest mistakes? Trying to safely reach a broader audience with a PG-13 rating, a toned-down affair that’s softcore fisticuffs flew in the face of its blood-splattering source material. The 2021 version of Mortal Kombat will have none of that. In fact, as first-time feature director Simon McQuoid told us, the film’s violence is so brutal at points it came dangerously close to surpassing an R rating and being slapped with an NC-17. (Cue the “Fatality” sound effect.) If the tense, stylishly captured first 13 minutes we previewed in advance of that interview are any indication, this one will be a [insert Victory Pose]. — K.P.
Mortal Kombat premieres Friday, April 23 in theaters and on HBO Max. Get tickets from Fandango.
BUY IT: The Alex Ross Marvel Comics Poster Book is filled with Marvel-ous images from one of the best artists in the business
Back in the 1990s, Alex Ross brought his painter’s eye to superhero stories — and set a new artistic standard for comic books in the process. The Oregon-born artist broke into the industry with 1994’s Marvels, a Kurt Busiek-penned series that captured the Marvel Universe from the unique point of view of a civilian photographer. Flash forward 27 years, and Ross shares the secret of his continued success in this oversized volume. It’s a collection of 35 painted portraits of Marvel heroes, such as Doctor Strange, Storm and Spider-Man, along with artist commentary about how he approaches each character. As a bonus, these prints can be easily removed from the book and put up on your wall. — E.A.
The Alex Ross Marvel Comics Poster Book will be available Tuesday, April 20 at all major retailers, including Amazon.
HEAR IT: Space is the place for Dinosaur Jr.
The college rock pioneers come roaring back with their exuberantly noisy 12th album (and first album since 2016). Sweep It Into Space finds J. Mascis, Lou Barlow and Patrick Murphy in fine squalling form, with the album’s co-producer, Kurt Vile, joining, playing 12-string guitar on lead single “I Ran Away.” — L.P.
Sweep It Into Space by Dinosaur Jr. is available Friday, April 23 to download/stream on Apple Music.
— Video produced by Jon San and edited by John Santo