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Wednesday August 4th, 2021 2:28AM

New this week: 'This Is Us,' Baby Yoda, 'The Craft' redone

By The Associated Press
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Here’s a collection curated by The Associated Press’ entertainment journalists of what’s arriving on TV, streaming services and music platforms this week.

MOVIES

— Many things will be different about Halloween this year, but the annual rush of horror films is much the same. This week brings a bagful. There’s “Come Play,” a sinister parable of too much screen time about a lonely phone-glued boy (Azhy Robertson) who needs saving from his parents (Gillian Jacobs, John Gallagher Jr.), which Focus Features will release it in theaters Friday. “His House,” out Friday on Netflix, gives the genre an immigration spin. It stars Sope Dirisu and Wunmi Mosaku as a Sudanese refugee couple finding new horrors in life in England. On demand Wednesday is Blumhouse’s “The Craft: Legacy,” a sequel written and directed by Zoe Lister-Jones to the 1996 teenage witch movie “The Craft.”

— If you want a more masterful portrait of darker societal realities, you can also turn to Bong Joon Ho, the Korean filmmaker whose “Parasite” took best picture back in February. His 2003 film “Memories of Murder” never got a wide release in the U.S. and has been hard to find since. But Neon, the “Parasite” distributor, last week put a restored version into theaters and on Tuesday brings it to VOD. It’s about the investigation on the man, then uncaught, believed to be South Korea’s first serial killer, and Bong’s filmmaking is just as commanding as it was in “Parasite.” For more Bong, along with other terrific Korean directors like Park Chan-wook, the Criterion Channel on Sunday launched its dynamic New Korean Cinema series with a host of great films and a chat between Bong and Park.

— And just in time for the election is Frederick Wiseman’s “City Hall,” a sprawling four-hour X-ray of municipal life that patiently documents Boston’s government under Democratic mayor Martin J. Walsh. The celebrated 90-year-old Wiseman makes epic portraits capturing the life of institutions by letting the camera roll and letting conversations unfold. In “City Hall,” which opens in virtual cinemas Wednesday beginning with New York’s Film Forum, he’s made — by profiling a progressive, ambitious, self-critical realm of government — what some have called his most pointedly political film.

—AP Film Writer Jake Coyle

THEATER

— Lots of plays have been adapted for Zoom, but few have been made for Zoom. One is Natalie Margolin “The Party Hop,” which she wrote during quarantine in one week in early April. It stars Ben Platt, Katilyn Dever, Beanie Feldstein, Molly Gordon, Noah Galvin, Ayo Edebiri, Kathryn Gallagher and Ashley Park. Set three years into quarantine, the comedy follows three college students on a wild night out. The Dramatists Play Service is streaming it on YouTube through Nov. 10.

— Get spooky with some Broadway favorites — and help people all at the same time — with the one-night only “The Nightmare Before Christmas Halloween Benefit Concert.” Featuring songs from Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” the concert will star Rafael Casal, Adrienne Warren, Danny Burstein and Rob McClure. The show is on Vimeo on Saturday at 7 p.m. EST. Tickets are available on The Actor’s Fund Vimeo page and cost just $4.99 — directly benefiting The Lymphoma Research Foundation and The Actor’s Fund.

— AP Entertainment Writer Mark Kennedy

TELEVISION

— The rift between brothers Randall and Kevin (Sterling K. Brown, Justin Hartley), as well as matriarch Rebecca’s (Mandy Moore) decision to fight a crushing diagnosis and an overlay of the real-world pandemic and Black Lives Matter protests are part of season five of “This Is Us.” The NBC drama, returning 9 p.m. EDT Tuesday with a two-hour episode, is among the fall shows whose production was delayed by the coronavirus. Weaving social and other issues into its fictional family’s saga is in the series’ DNA, with the Vietnam War, racial identity and addiction explored in past seasons.

— Baby Yoda is back! OK, so it’s really a Yoda relation known as The Child and five decades old, but the key point is that his cuteness again graces “The Mandalorian,” returning Friday. The Disney+ series, set a handful of years after “Return of the Jedi,” won seven technical Emmys for its debut season. Season two finds The Child in the care of bounty hunter Din Djarin, aka Mando, (series star Pedro Pascal) who’s been tasked with returning the little one to its mysteriously described “own kind.” Guest stars include Gina Carano, Carl Weathers and Giancarlo Esposito, who earned an Emmy nod for his role.

— With the world mired in COVID-19, most of us are focused on the immediate fallout. But science is looking ahead to try to thwart future pandemics, as detailed in the National Geographic channel’s special “Virus Hunters,” airing 9 p.m. EDT Sunday. Christopher Golden, an epidemiologist and ecologist, joins with ABC News correspondent James Longman to report on efforts to decipher the coronavirus as well as the chain of events that could cause another such scourge. The special is a companion to November’s issue of National Geographic Magazine, focused on the 2020 pandemic that’s claimed more than 1 million lives worldwide.

— AP Television Writer Lynn Elber

___

Catch up on AP’s entertainment coverage here: https://apnews.com/apf-entertainment.

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