Analysis: It’s a messy story week with ‘Dangerous Liaisons’ and ‘The Crown’

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A version of this story appeared in Pop Life Chronicles, CNN’s weekly entertainment bulletin. To receive it in your inbox, Register for free here.



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Oh historical fiction, how do I love you? Let me count the ways – because thanks to some new shows airing this week, there are at least two.

I live for this genre, as you all well know, and especially when the re-enactments are spicy and outrageous. Can’t wait to dive? Neither do I!

‘Dangerous Liaisons’

I love, love, love a good origin story – especially one tied to one of my favorite movies.

I’m a huge fan of the 1988 film “Dangerous Liaisons”, starring Glenn Close and John Malkovich, based on the novel and play of the same name.

And with its new series of the same name, Starz revisits the classic story of intrigue and seduction in Ancien Régime France., focusing on how Camille (played by Alice Englert) and the Viscount of Valmont (played by Nicholas Denton) became lovers while taking other lovers.

I watched the first episodes of the show and I can tell you this: there’s a reason Starz kicked off a second season before the premiere even started, because it’s a luscious period drama. .

“Dangerous Liaisons” is streaming now.

‘The Crown’ Season 5

(Left to right) Dominic West as Prince Charles and Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana in a scene from

This new season of “The Crown” strikes differently following the death of Queen Elizabeth.

Imelda Staunton steps into the royal lead role, and the action picks up in 1992 as she struggles with her “annus horribilis”.

This (horrible) year included a devastating fire at Windsor Castle, the disintegration of the marriages of Prince Charles and Prince Andrew, a tell-all book about Princess Diana and some in the public questioning the relevance of the royal family.

We know, of course, that “The Crown” is a dramatization, not a documentary, but it’s still fun to imagine at least some of what the show portrays in real life.

“The Crown” is streaming now on Netflix.

“Say hello, Willie Mays!”

Baseball legend Willie Mays in a scene from

After the summer boys are gone, we have a new documentary film about one of the best baseball players to ever play the game.

“Say hello, Willie Mays!” examines the life and sporting legacy of the black athlete, who was widely esteemed for his talent on the diamond, but who was criticized for not speaking out more about civil rights.

Mays is part of the project – and having the subject talk about themselves, rather than others talking about them, brings real richness to the narrative.

It’s available now on HBO and HBO Max, both of which are owned by CNN parent company Warner Bros. Discovery.

Bruce Springsteen performs at the annual Stand Up For Heroes event at Alice Tully Hall on November 08, 2021 in New York City.

Bruce Springsteen is far from slowing down.

Rocker Boss released a new album this week, and this time the famed songwriter takes on other people’s material.

“Only the Strong Survive” features his renditions of classic songs, including the Four Tops’ 1981 hit “When She Was My Girl” and the Temptations’ “I Wish It Would Rain.”

“In my own memoir, I give my vocals a bit of a hard time saying I didn’t think I had many,” Springsteen said in a video about the new album. “But once I started this project, after listening to some of the stuff we cut, I thought, ‘My voice is badass! “”

The album is out now.

Louis Tomlinson performs during z100 All Access Lounge at Pier 36 on December 13, 2019 in New York City.

One Direction is a gift that keeps on giving.

Its former members have all launched successful careers since the group disbanded, with the last solo release by Louis Tomlinson.

Tomlinson had been teasing for some time that he was back in the studio and working on new music. “After living with this album for a while, I can’t wait for you all to hear it”, he tweeted in August. “Thank you for allowing me to make the music I want to make.”

“Faith in the Future” is also out now.

Cher and Alexander Edwards pictured November 2 in Los Angeles.

We see you Dear!

The singer, Oscar winner and all-around queen sparked a lot of interest when she was recently photographed holding hands with rapper and music executive Alexander “AE” Edwards.

Cher being Cher, she responded to some of her Twitter followers who had questions about her and Edwards’ 40-year age gap. (Edwards is 36 and Cher is a fabulous 76. That’s none of anyone’s business.)

Now seems like a good time to remind yourself that older men who date younger women never seem to make as much noise as when the roles are reversed.

No matter. If you “believe” in life and love after 70 years, raise your hand and celebrate Cher with me for doing what she wants and how she wants.

Angela Bassett as Queen Ramonda in a scene from

The world may not be ready for the emotional journey that is the “Black Panther” sequel.

“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” is rooted in the loss of Chadwick Boseman, who died in 2020 at age 43 after a private battle with colon cancer.

At the time of his death, I wrote about how Boseman left us at a time when we needed a superhero the most. That hasn’t changed, and the new film finds Wakanda in a time of crisis, just as many of us think the world is now. But life and art go on, which is one of the reasons we mourn so deeply as we celebrate how lucky we were to have those we lost, even if just for a moment. short period.

So when the lights start to go down in movie theaters around the world this weekend, I’d like to think that Boseman is there for every new screening of “Black Panther,” cheering on the cast he loved — and was loved back, like family.

Wakanda, forever.


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