ET Obsessions: ‘Incredibles 2,’ ‘The Staircase,’ Kanye West and More!
By Stacy Lambe
Tinhouse / Pixar / Netflix / Getty Images / HBO
Here at ET, we’re obsessed with all things pop culture -- and here’s what we’re most excited about the week of June 11:
Why We’re Obsessed With Who Is Vera Kelly?
In Who Is Vera Kelly?, author Rosalie Knecht performs the seemingly effortless sleight of hand you’d expect from any talented spy. The smart, politically deft Cold War caper masquerades as a fast-paced page-turner right from its first scenes depicting Vera’s teenage rebellions in the mid-1950s. But Vera’s no Sally Draper -- and this isn't quite The Americans. Vera gets recruited by the CIA to go to Argentina on the cusp of a coup, where she's both bored by her audio surveillance assignment of government officials and unexpectedly seduced by revolutionaries, including the elusive girlfriend, Victoria, of one radical student leader. The book proves to be both smart and surprising at every twist.
It’s been over a decade since The Incredibles first arrived in theaters on Nov. 5, 2004. But even under the looming threat of superhero saturation, the animated Pixar film about a family forced to hide their superpowers until a villain’s killer robot threatens to wipe them all out is still one of the best superhero films. In the long-awaited sequel, the entire family -- Mr. Incredible, Elastigirl, Violet, Dash and Jack-Jack -- is back with Mr. Incredible as a stay-at-home dad while Elastigirl is recruited back into crime-fighting action. Early reviews have garnered the sequel a 94 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes -- but we never really doubted the film’s ability to live up to its predecessor -- this isn’t Cars 2 after all.
There's no shortage of true crime obsessions, thanks to Netflix’s endless rollout of new docuseries that have recently covered cults (Wild Wild Country), diabolical crimes (Evil Genius), and now, murder mysteries with The Staircase, which tells the story of crime novelist Michael Peterson, who is accused of killing his wife, Kathleen, after she is found dead at the bottom of a staircase. Originally debuting in France in 2004, the award-winning miniseries documented Peterson’s indictment, subsequent trial and 2003 conviction. Now streaming on Netflix, filmmaker Jean Xavier de Lestrade put together three new episodes, after Peterson was released from prison pending retrial in 2017.
Last week, Kanye West made good on all of his teases by releasing not one, but two new albums -- Ye, his eighth solo record, and Kids See Ghosts, a collaboration between West and Kid Cudi. While the EPs -- both albums top out at seven songs each -- have debuted to mixed reviews, they do offer listeners a peek inside West’s mind, and not just his ego. Grappling with issues of mental health, West (and Cudi) goes further down the rabbit hole of his own dark, twisted fantasies. The production on both is slick with West both responding to current listener-approved rap style while still pushing it forward the only way West knows how. Standout tracks from both albums -- “4th Dimension” and “Ghost Town” -- easily showcase the rapper’s sampling mastery. And if nothing else, the music gives fans something to chew on until West feels inspired to give us a full-length offering.
If you’re not already watching Succession, it’s not too late to catch up on this drama about the Roy family, which owns one of the world’s biggest media and entertainment conglomerates. When the aging patriarch (Logan, played by Brian Cox) begins to step back, the four kids make bids for power and control of the company and try to claim what they feel is rightfully theirs of the family’s amassed fortune. The show is a mix of King Lear and other high-powered family dramas like The Crownand Trust -- but the family in Succession, who have garnered comparisons to the Murdochs and Redstones, are much more brutal. “There’s also a tragic side to it, where you see how massive wealth and power distort and twist and wound this family,” says Adam McKay, the show’s director and executive producer. The superbly acted show -- which also stars Jeremy Strong, Sarah Snook, Kieran Culkin and Alan Ruck -- has already been renewed for a second season by HBO, which may have finally filled its family drama void left by Six Feet Under and Big Love.