‘Civil War’ depicts a dystopian America, ‘Bluey’ fans await ‘The Sign,’ Vampire Weekend release first album in 5 years

‘Civil War’ depicts a dystopian America, ‘Bluey’ fans await ‘The Sign,’ Vampire Weekend release first album in 5 years


The It List is Yahoo’s guide to what’s new in pop culture. Each week, we share staff picks for the latest releases that we can’t wait to watch, stream, listen to, read and binge.

What’s new this week: Bluey fans rejoice over a longer episode, Michael Douglas becomes Benjamin Franklin and Yulin Kuang releases her debut novel.

What to watch

Kirsten Dunst in Kirsten Dunst in

Kirsten Dunst in Civil War. (Murray Close /© A24 / Courtesy Everett Collection)

🎥 Civil War is a road trip movie set in a horrifying what-if scenario

  • When: Civil War is in theaters and IMAX on April 12.

  • What to know: The latest from writer-director Alex Garland imagines a United States at war with itself.

  • The plot follows three generations of journalists — played by Kirsten Dunst, Cailee Spaeny, Wagner Moura and Stephen McKinley Henderson — on a dangerous trip from New York to Washington, D.C.

  • Garland wrote the film during the 2020 election but tells Yahoo Entertainment its release during the 2024 election cycle is coincidental and due to “logistical requirements.”

  • While there are some allusions to recent social unrest early in the film, the world of Civil War is wholly fictional and does not concern itself with present-day party politics.

  • Promotion for the film hints at a complicated backstory with multiple distinct factions vying for power — but one of Civil War’s greatest strengths is that almost none of this is explained and it is open to viewer interpretation.

  • Garland hopes Civil War will spark earnest conversation about the potential consequences of extremism, “because conversation is the thing that is really struggling to exist in public discourse.” —Sam Matthews, executive producer

  • Read more: Kirsten Dunst says husband Jesse Plemons filmed chilling Civil War scene as a favor: “Nobody wants to play a role like that”

📺 Wackadoo! A 28-minute Bluey special debuts

  • When: “The Sign” premieres on Disney Channel, Disney Junior and Disney+ April 14.

  • What to know: The special airs one week after April 7’s standard-length episode called “Ghostbasket,” which leaves off on a cliffhanger.

  • Spilled beans ahead! The last shot of the “Ghostbasket” episode reveals a “For Sale” sign in front of the Heeler family’s home.

  • The animated house set in Brisbane, Australia is listed on Domain, too.

  • The “Ghostbasket” ending sparked fan theories and speculation that “The Sign” is going to be the last episode of Bluey — ever. Oh, duck cake.

  • Don’t fear, Bluey fans! In 2023, producer Daley Pearson explained in an interview with the Courier Mail that the team was going to take a hiatus between Seasons 3 and 4.

  • Little details about the special have been released, but the trailer shows Bluey, Bingo, Bandit, Chilli and the extended Heeler family celebrating the wedding of Bandit’s brother Radley to Frisky.

  • “There’ll be lots of laughs, exciting guest voices and definitely a few tears,” according to a statement from Ludo Studio, the producer of Bluey. Kate Murphy, news reporter

What to read

📚How to End a Love Story roots for an unconventional romance

  • When: How to End a Love Story is available for purchase April 9.

  • What to know: Yulin Kuang’s debut novel takes readers through the romance between Helen Zhang, a successful novelist, and Grant Shepard, a screenwriter.

  • Zhang and Shepard haven’t seen each other in 13 years, since a horrific tragedy in high school separately tore their worlds apart.

  • After Zhang’s bestselling book series is sold to become a TV show, she joins the writers’ room for the adaptation in hopes of getting a fresh start in Los Angeles.

  • Unbeknownst to her, Shepard was also hired to be a writer on the show.

  • They soon must figure out if they’re willing to put their differences aside for the good of the series.

  • When their truce turns into a tentative friendship and then a potential romance, the two are forced to question everything about their painful shared history and a future full of unknowns. — Lily Herman, The Yodel newsletter writer

What to listen to

Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend performs.Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend performs.

Ezra Koenig of Vampire Weekend performs during a Total Solar Eclipse Show on Monday in Austin, Texas. (Hubert Vestil/Getty Images)

🎧 Vampire Weekend finally achieve adulthood on fifth album

  • When: Only God Was Above Us was released on April 5.

  • What to know: Lead singer and songwriter Ezra Koenig just turned 40. He marks his milestone birthday by pondering death, generational change and New York City nostalgia atop layers of feedback and fuzz.

  • “The best way I could describe it is, finally feeling truly like an adult, in the basic sense that people talk a lot about the prolonged adolescence of the younger generations,” Koenig told People.

  • The members of Vampire Weekend spent their own musical adolescence rising through the ranks of indie rock — starting in 2008 with their preppy, Afropop-inflected debut.

  • They’ve since emerged as one of the most successful guitar-based bands of the last decade, with multiple Grammy awards and chart-topping albums to their name.

  • On OGWAU, Koenig’s sweet, Paul Simon-esque melodies continue to anchor the proceedings, but his lyrics feel more personal and probing than before.

  • A constant sense of sonic experimentation keeps the songs from settling into predictable patterns.

  • “When our band started out … there was something one-dimensional about our image and the way people saw us,” Koenig said. “I’ve looked at every album since then as an opportunity to add another dimension.” — Andrew Romano, news reporter

What to binge

Michael Douglas as Benjamin Franklin.Michael Douglas as Benjamin Franklin.

Michael Douglas as Benjamin Franklin in Franklin. (Apple TV+)

▶️ Michael Douglas has a fresh take on Benjamin Franklin

  • When: The first three episodes of Franklin stream April 12 on Apple TV+.

  • What to know: Michael Douglas stars in and executive produces the new limited series about “the greatest gamble of Benjamin Franklin’s career,” according to a press release for the show.

  • Viewers meet Franklin, 70, in December 1776 as he travels to France and convinces “an absolute monarchy to underwrite America’s experiment in democracy.”

  • Douglas “embodies a lot of Franklin’s spirit in that he is really smart, and charming, and completely contemporary in that he’s aware of everything that’s going on around him, on a global level and on a personal level,” Franklin director Tim Van Patten told Variety. “And he’s curious. And he has an absolute lust for life.”

  • The series is based on Pulitzer Prize-winning author Stacy Schiff’s book A Great Improvisation: Franklin, France, and the Birth of America. Garin Flowers, entertainment reporter

We’ll be back next week with our latest picks. Want more It List? Click here.

Are there other things you’re excited about? Let us know in the comments below


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