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EW Must List: Arrival, Black-ish, Kelly Clarkson, more

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Jan Thijs

Arrival

Like his last critically-acclaimed directorial outing, Sicario, Denis Villeneuve’s masterfully-crafted sci-fi drama Arrival follows a strong-willed woman, Louise (Amy Adams), as she navigates a male-dominated field of skeptics who doubt her convictions.

Revolving around an ace linguist tasked with interpreting the language of a legion of extraterrestrials who’ve landed in egg-shaped pods around the world, the film features a seamless balance of spectacular, computer-generated effects (the creatures themselves are fascinating to look at) and searing personal drama.

Though the film has been marketed as a thriller, it’s actually a rather subdued, touching psychological examination of a woman caught between a sense of duty and self. Arrival‘s exterior might be covered with slimy tentacles and alien spacecrafts, but its hearts beats with a delicate emotional poignancy that deserves to be felt. 

Arrival hits theaters nationwide on Nov. 11. 

Black-ish

Hot off three 2016 Emmy nominations (including one for Outstanding Comedy Series), ABC’s returning hit is back for more across another season, which premiered Sept. 21 to solid ratings for its Walt Disney World-centered episode. Every Wednesday, Tracee Ellis Ross and Anthony Anderson give some of the best performances on network television as a couple attempting to preserve their cultural identity as they raise a family in a predominantly white, upper-middle-class suburb, though this can’t-miss season sees the Johnsons also navigating things like Bow’s pregnancy and the presidential election.

Black-ish airs Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. ET on ABC. 

Jessica Rabbit by Sleigh Bells

Brooklyn-based noise pop band Sleigh Bells are back for their fourth album in six years, Jessica Rabbit, set for release this Friday. Though singer Alexis Krauss and guitarist Derek E. Miller’s sonic DNA remains relatively intact across each new LP, Jessica Rabbit marks a slight tonal shift in the pair’s growing discography, incorporating softer vocals, pulsing synths, and tangible melodies amid their signature guitar-and-bass-heavy arrangements for a more accessible sound, making the album one of the most dynamic sets of 2016 thus far.

Jessica Rabbit by Sleigh Bells is available on Nov. 11. 

Red Oaks

Streaming comedies are a dime a dozen these days, but Red Oaks stands out with its unique take on the hilarious tale of an NYU student, David (Craig Roberts), who, during the summer between his sophomore and junior year, finds employment as a tennis instructor at the ritzy Red Oaks Country Club in the 1980s. The show’s stellar supporting cast includes Ferris Bueller’s Day Off star Jennifer Grey as David’s mother, and Dark Matter‘s Ennis Esmer as David’s supervisor at the prestigious club. Though Red Oaks‘ first season ended over a year ago, its upcoming sophomore collection of episodes promises to be well worth the wait. 

Red Oaks returns to Amazon on Nov. 11. 

“It’s Quiet Uptown” by Kelly Clarkson 

If you thought Hamilton couldn’t get any better, you haven’t heard Kelly Clarkson’s take on “It’s Quiet Uptown,” released as part of the upcoming Hamilton Mixtape, inspired by the Lin-Manuel Miranda Broadway hit. Clarkson’s cut boldly stands out among other tracks from artists like Ashanti, Usher, Sia, Jill Scott, and more as a raw, soulfully-charged ballad with lush production and spine-tingling vocal riffs that’ll bowl you over.

“It’s Quiet Uptown” appears on the Hamilton Mixtape, available Dec. 2. The song is available now on iTunes and Spotify.

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