The Best Movies, TV, Books and Music for May
While we’re all stuck in quarantine, Jerry Seinfeld returns with “23 Hours to Kill”
Welcome to Culture Hound, InsideHook’s deep dive into the month’s most important cultural happenings, pop and otherwise. Note, due to the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, release dates are highly tentative.
LAUGH: Jerry Seinfeld: 23 Hours to Kill
A Netflix standup special from the legendary comedian, filmed as part of a residency at New York’s Beacon Theater … a run that was cut short by our current pandemic. Speaking of quarantines, there’s also an all-star, streamed-from-home Feeding America Comedy Special (5/9, The Weather Channel) and a new, ongoing, stuck-at-home reality series called Amy Schumer Learns to Cook (5/11, Food Network) that we certainly wouldn’t have without a quarantine.
Returning TV shows: Rick and Morty (5/3, Adult Swim); Billions (5/3, Showtime), Reno 911 (5/4, Quibi); Dead to Me (5/8, Netflix); F*ck, That’s Delicious (5/11, Vice); Homecoming (5/22, Prime Video)
INTERACT: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend
The lighthearted Netflix sitcom returns as a “Bandersnatch”-styled choose-your-own-adventure TV special. Be warned: You may get scolded by co-star Tituss Burgess for making poor choices (“What is wrong with you? Why are you making these two pasty children tongue down?”). (May 12, Netflix)
This is the second adaptation of the 1982 dystopian graphic novel, a treatise on class warfare that takes place onboard a perpetually moving train that circles the globe, which is now a frozen wasteland. The series has gone through reshoots, and it’s certainly not going to be as bonkers as Bong Joon Ho’s 2013 film, but the cast — including Jennifer Connelly and Hamilton’s Daveed Digs — certainly have us curious. Also, people trapped inside while the world goes to hell … Where do they get these ideas?! (May 17, TNT)
New TV series and specials: Ryan Murphy’s limited series Hollywood (Netflix, 5/1); Upload (Prime Video, 5/1); Creepshow (5/4, AMC); the sort-of Rick & Morty spinoff Solar Opposites (5/8, Hulu); I Know This Much Is True (5/10, HBO); Patton Oswalt: I Love Everything (5/19, Netflix); the animated Central Park (5/29, Apple+); the Steve Carrell-starring Space Force (5/29, Netflix); Quiz (5/31, AMC)
SAMPLE: HBO Max
So what’s coming to this outsized take on HBO? Besides Friends? At launch, you’ll have an Anna Kendrick rom-com anthology, a ton of kids content (including new Looney Tunes), a talk show hosted by Elmo (John Oliver is a guest) and a documentary that sheds light on sexual assault allegations on Russell Simmons (one so controversial that both Oprah and Apple+ dropped it). But soon we’ll have a third season of Search Party and a spinoff of The Shining, and really, if you’re already an HBO subscriber, at $15, it probably pays to add this to your streaming lineup instead.
BUY/RENT: The Good Place
As a PG-13 (at most) network TV show, NBC’s afterlife comedy was actually a lot smarter and funnier than 99% of its edgier cable brethren. And now all four seasons are available on a Blu-ray/DVD set. (May 19)
More Blu-ray releases: The Jesus Rolls, Bloodshot (May 5); Birds of Prey (May 12; The Invisible Man (May 26)
Intriguing new books by David Chang and Jim Carrey were suddenly moved away from their May release dates, so we’ll have to get our non-fiction kick this month via a true-crime exploration of nurse Jane Toppan, whose rough upbringing played a major role in turning her into a killer.
LISTEN: The 1975
The English alt-pop band returns with its fourth record, Notes on a Conditional Form, a rather quick follow-up follow-up to 2018’s A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships. That said, this release is an epic one, coming in at 80 minutes, 22 songs and featuring guest appearances by Phoebe Bridgers and Greta Thunberg (you read that right). Musically, the album shifts from garage punk (“People”) to mid-’80s, sax-drenched Britpop about getting naked on FaceTime (“If You’re Too Shy (Let Me Know)”). Some of it works, some doesn’t, but A+ for ambition.
More new music: Car Seat Headrest, Caleb Landry Jones (May 1); Mark Langean, Hayley Williams, Butch Walker (May 8); Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit, Moby, Perfume Genius, Weezer, The Magnetic Fields (May 15); Badly Drawn Boy (May 22); The Killers (May 29)
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