The Best Movies, TV, Books and Music for April

Welcome to Culture Hound, InsideHook’s deep dive into the month’s most important cultural happenings, pop and otherwise.

Outside of a few interesting indie and horror films (basically, Mandy), the last decade or so hasn’t been kind to Nicolas Cage’s acting career. In this meta take, Cage stars as a fictionalized version of his most eccentric self, who takes a $1 million offer to attend the birthday of a superfan… but finds himself working undercover for the CIA. (4/22, theaters)

More new films coming to the small screen and big: Apollo 10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood (4/1, Netflix); The Bubble (4/1, Netflix); Metal Lords (4/8, Netflix); Ambulance (4/8, theaters); Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore (4/15, theaters); We’re All Going to the World’s Fair (4/22, VOD); The Northman (4/22, theaters); The Survivor (4/27, HBO) 

WELCOME BACK: Barry

After a forced three-year hiatus, Bill Hader’s dark comedy — about an assassin who gets into acting while trying, unsuccessfully, to hide his past and avoid dealing with a Chechen mob — returns. Season two ended with acting coach Gene Cousineau (Henry Winkler) realizing it was Barry who killed his girlfriend, a police detective. (4/24, HBO)

More returning TV series/specials: Close Enough (4/7, HBO Max); A Black Lady Sketch Show (4/8, HBO); The Kardashians (4/14, Hulu); Better Call Saul (4/18, AMC); Russian Doll (4/20, Netflix); The Flight Attendant (4/21, HBO Max)

Oscar-winning directors Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin (Free Solo, The Rescue) document the first crewed mission on U.S. soil since 2011, following the astronauts and Mission Control (and Elon Musk) as a SpaceX team heads to and returns from the International Space Station. (4/7, Netflix)

More new documentaries and specials: The Grammys (4/3, CBS); Exploring Benjamin Franklin (4/4, PBS); Tony Hawk: Until the Wheels Fall Off (4/5, HBO); Cow (4/8, VOD/theaters); Our Great National Parks (4/13, Netflix); Bill Maher: #Adulting (4/15, HBO); They Call Me Magic (4/22, Apple TV+)

Based on the 2013 best-selling novel by Lauren Beukes, this Apple TV adaptation centers on Kirby Mazrachi (Elisabeth Moss), a woman trapped in an ever-shifting reality who’s trying to find and stop a killer who goes through time killing young women. (4/29, Apple TV+)

More new series: Slow Horses (4/1, Apple TV+); Tokyo Vice (4/7, HBO Max); 61st Street (4/10, AMC); Hard Cell (4/12, Netflix); Killing It (4/14, Peacock); Anatomy of a Scandal (4/15, Netflix); Outer Range (4/15, Prime Video); Roar (4/15, Apple TV+); The First Lady (4/17, Showtime); The Baby (4/24, HBO); Gaslit (4/24, Starz); The Man Who Fell to Earth (4/24, Showtime); We Own This City (4/25, HBO); The Offer (4/28, Paramount+); Under the Banner of Heaven (4/28, Hulu)

“Sea of Tranquility” by Emily St. John Mandel

Amazon

Emily St. John Mandel’s follow-up to Station Eleven also touches on a global pandemic but also involves a mystery that unfolds over a 500-year timeline. (4/5)

More new books: (4/5) From Manchester With Love: The Life and Opinions of Tony Wilson by Paul Morley; The Candy House by Jennifer Egan; Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li  (4/19) The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer by Janelle Monáe 

The mysterious and masked alt-country singer made waves with his 2019 debut Pony. Three years on, he returns with Bronco, an album that’s tinged with elements of bluegrass, rock and psychedelia — and, oddly, two collaborations with Chris Stracey of the Australian electronic duo Bag Raiders. (4/5)

More new music: (4/1) Red Hot Chili Peppers; Miley Cyrus; PUP (4/8) Father John Misty; Jack White; The Linda Lindas; Vince Staples (4/15) Jewel; Kurt Vile (4/22) Fontaines D.C.; Old Crow Medicine Show; Bonnie Raitt (4/29) Bloc Party; Rammstein

The Best Movies, TV, Books and Music for April

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