New Releases Round-up 4/10 – 4/14
Artist: Kendrick Lamar
If you read our New Releases feature from last week, you may remember that we were fooled along with many other members of the pop culture press into thinking that Kendrick Lamar’s fourth studio album would be released last Friday, April the 7th. In reality, the plan was to release lead-single “HUMBLE.” on that date, but this was pushed forward when the artwork for the single was leaked online. Apparently, the release date of April 14th was always the plan for the album, that we now know is titled “DAMN.” The two credited feature appearances on the album are by Rihanna and, bafflingly, classic arena rock band U2, challenging the notion that Lamar would be exploring a bombastic Memphis hip-hop sound suggested by “HUMBLE.” Rap fans have an agonizing handful of days to wait until we know what the sound of this undoubtedly provocative album will be. Releases Friday, April 14th.
Title: The Fate of the Furious
Artist: F. Gary Gray
The long-running Fast & Furious franchise, now having developed a reliable globe-trotting action-adventure formula leagues removed from the humble street-race beginnings of the series returns for the eighth installment. After multiple films helmed by director Justin Lin, the series is in a state of creative flux, with this newest entry directed by F. Gary Gray, picking up where James Wan left off with Furious 7. Gray struck box office gold in 2015 with N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton, and with the popularity of the series, he’s sure to enjoy another commercial success with his newest film, and is hopefully still capable of delivering an enjoyable vehicular action blockbuster (Gray directed the 2003 remake of The Italian Job). The cast features the usual Furious repertory players like Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Ludacris, Tyrese, newer additions Dwayne Johnson, Kurt Russell and Jason Statham, and two A-lister additions to the cast in the form of Helen Mirren and Charlize Theron. In theaters Thursday, April 13th.
Title: The Lost City of Z
Director: James Gray
Distributor: Amazon Studios/Bleecker Street
Debuting in wide release after a long development history and very encouraging early reviews (holding at the time of this writing an 89% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 55 reviews), James Gray’s The Lost City of Z is another lavish period-piece from the director, following 2013’s underseen The Immigrant. Adapting a 2009 book of the same name written by David Grann, the throwback adventure epic portrays the real-life efforts of explorer Percy Fawcett (portrayed by Charlie Hunnam) to find a supposedly advanced ancient civilization buried in the Amazon rainforest, leading up to his unsolved disappearance in 1925 at the age of 57. Early word praises the classical Hollywood stylings of the movie, and additionally criticizes the performance and characterization of Fawcett by Charlie Hunnam, who’s been the subject of criticism in leading parts for some time, and took up the role after both Brad Pitt and Benedict Cumberbatch dropped out of the project. Whether or not he truly delivered in the role will be apparent when the film is released, but a solid supporting cast of Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, and Tom Holland could certainly assist in the picking up of any potential slack in the performances. In theaters Friday, April 14th.