| Cult of Mac

Apple TV+ pulls out of bidding war for Will Smith biopic after Oscars slap

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Apple TV+ drops its bid.
Apple TV+ drops its bid.
Photo: Apple TV+

Both Apple TV+ and Netflix pulled out of a bidding war over a movie about Will Smith’s life amid controversy following the actor slapping comedian Chris Rock on stage at the Oscars.

In addition, Apple TV+ owns a $120 million film starring Smith entitled Emancipation. Already shot and being readied for release in time for next Oscars season, the movie could become a problem for Apple TV+.

Trailer for Apple TV+ Prehistoric Planet dinosaur documentary looks stunning

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Trailer for Apple TV+ ‘Prehistoric Planet’ dinosaur documentary looks stunning
The five-episode Prehistoric Planet dinosaur documentary will premiere on Apple TV+ in late May.
Graphic: Apple TV+

Apple TV+ on Monday gave the first glimpse at Prehistoric Planet, its highly anticipated series of documentaries focusing on dinosaurs and other ancient animals. It’ll be narrated by Sir David Attenborough, and produced by Jon Favreau and Mike Gunton.

The eye-popping trailer shows off the series’ photorealistic visual effects from MPC (The Lion King, The Jungle Book).

WeCrashed dishes out another week of disgusting scammer porn [Apple TV+ recap]

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WeCrashed recap Apple TV+: The story WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann just keeps getting seamier.
The story WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann just keeps getting seamier.
Photo: Apple TV+

WeCrashed, the Apple TV+ drama about real-life startup WeWork, goes big, goes crazy and gets bitter this week.

As WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann starts trying to expand his co-working company, he decides he’s got to tear down the competition, too. Meanwhile, his wife Rebekah is having her own crisis of confidence — and it may end with her having burned every last bridge she has.

Though cheaply entertaining a few times an episode, this show suffers from an insurmountable problem: It never picked an identity. It has to believe enough in Neumann’s prowess as an entrepreneur to find his tactics interesting, while also tacitly admitting he was wrong and crazy and a huckster.

But you can’t sort of admit your hero is a bad guy, not when you keep charting his rise to success without giving you any kind of window into who he was.

Flashbacks and a funeral propel The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey [Apple TV+ recap]

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The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey recap Apple TV+: Astounding acting makes for another compelling episode.
The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey recap Astounding acting makes for another compelling episode of this touching show.
Photo: Apple TV+

Ptolemy starts tying up loose ends in this week’s episode of The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey, the Apple TV+ series based on the book of the same name by Walter Mosley.

We see reconciliation and revelations for almost everyone this week, in a finely acted and carefully directed hour of television. Ptolemy’s memories are fading, but before they do, he remembers his days as a boy. And he realizes he wants his nephews to feel protected the way he used to.

Pachinko packs an emotional wallop [Apple TV+ recap]

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Pachinko recap Apple TV+: This is what memorable television looks like.
This is what memorable television looks like.
Photo: Apple TV+

Pachinko, the epic, time-hopping Apple TV+ series about a Korean family’s struggles, hits its stride in a truly unbelievable fourth episode.

The show started strong enough, but it reaches pantheon level in this incredible installment, which sees Solomon renouncing his capitalist training, Sunja saying goodbye in the past and hello in the future, and a climactic singalong uniting people, eras and cultures.

This is the kind of thing you’re lucky to get out of serialized TV.

Lumon’s drones plot their escape this week on Severance [Apple TV+ recap]

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Severance recap Apple TV+: Lumon Industries doesn't know what lies ahead.
Lumon Industries doesn't know what lies ahead.
Photo: Apple TV+

The plan is set on this week’s episode of Apple TV+’s dark comedy thriller Severance. But will our heroes make it out of Lumon Industries? Will anyone believe Mark, Helly and Irving when they wake up from their regular lives and emerge their work selves?

This week’s magnificently tense episode, directed by series executive producer Ben Stiller, is a real nail-biter. It’s wonderfully edited and excellently performed.

Severance has abandoned its early crux — the depressing lives of office drones who literally have no souls because they’ve been surgically stripped of them — for a more fast-paced approach to the show’s thriller aspects.

It’s no longer a show about the drudgery of both lives lived by lost people. It’s about the race to get back some measure of its characters’ personhood.

Spy series Slow Horses comes out of the gate fast and sarcastic [Apple TV+ recap]

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Slow Horses recap: Gary Oldman plays Jackson Lamb, head of a group of screwup spies in new thriller series Slow Horses.
Gary Oldman plays Jackson Lamb, head of a group of screwup spies, in new thriller series Slow Horses.
Photo: Apple TV+

Slow Horses, based on the first book in the Slough House series by author Mick Herron, is the newest addition to the Apple TV+ roster of thrillers.

In the series, which premieres Friday, Gary Oldman plays Jackson Lamb, the leader of a group of misfit spies who work cases in secret while MI5 looks down its nose at the scrubs.

Directed by James Hawes and created by Will Smith (no, not that Will Smith), the first two episodes of this oddball spy show prove reasonably diverting.

Avengers assemble! Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans will reunite in Apple TV+ film

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Apollo 11 wallpaper
Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans are set to star in Project Artemis, a film about the 20th century’s space race.
Photo: NASA

Two Avengers stars are making a movie for Apple TV+. Scarlett Johansson and Chris Evans — perhaps best known as Black Widow and Captain America — are working on a mysterious Project Artemis.

The news started out as a leak, but Evans has since confirmed it.

Saving a single flower spurs big changes in trailer for new Peanuts Earth Day special

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Saving a flower spurs big changes in trailer for Peanuts Earth Day special
Earth Day is April 15. Celebrate with the Peanuts gang in a new special.
Photo: Apple TV+

It’s the Small Things, Charlie Brown, the first-ever Peanuts Earth Day special, premieres April 15 on Apple TV+. It tells the story of how a single flower inspires the Peanuts gang to start caring for the environment, and features an original song by American singer-songwriter Ben Folds.

A trailer for the upcoming special debuted Thursday.

First full Shining Girls Apple TV+ trailer messes with time and reality

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Elisabeth Moss stars in the series and serves as executive producer.
Elisabeth Moss stars in the series and serves as executive producer.
Photo: Apple TV+

When Apple TV+ put out its first, brief trailer in February for its upcoming metaphysical-horror-thiller Shining Girls, it looked disturbing and disorienting. Now the streaming service has put out the first full trailer for the show, which stars Elisabeth Moss and premieres April 29.

If anything, Shining Girls looks even more unsettling — but almost to the point of absurdity.