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‘F9’ races into theaters and more to watch

Analysis by Lisa Respers France, CNN

Three words for you: summer box office.

It’s that time of the year, and Hollywood is betting that folks are anxious to get back into theaters.

For me, the word “anxious” is about right because I am still trying to chart out my post-vaccinated-hot-girl summer responsibly.

But some films just crave the big screen experience, so let’s kick off this week’s what to watch with one of those.

Three things to watch

‘F9: The Fast Saga’

Ahh, the cars, the action, the beautiful people.

That’s basically the formula for every “Fast & Furious” film — and the latest one looks to be following that to the max.

I talked to one of the stars, Jordana Brewster, a few weeks ago. She said she’s majorly proud of the sequel.

“The girls (in the film) are front and center, we get a lot of action,” Brewster said. “But also the film has so much heart in that every character gets his or her own arc and it also answers a lot of questions for fans spanning the last nine movies.”

The late Paul Walker’s character, Brian O’Conner, is remembered in this one, too. Brewster plays his character’s love, Mia Toretto, and said the actor, who died in an off-set car crash in 2013, is always close to the hearts of the cast and crew.

“There will always be so much love for him,” she said. “I feel like we always have these nods to Paul, these nods to Brian. Brian’s always going to be, Paul’s always going to be a part of our universe.”

“F9” hits theaters Friday.

‘Bosch’ season 7

“Everybody counts or nobody counts.”

That now-famous phrase from Los Angeles Police Detective Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch — the main character of both Michael Connelly’s series of novels and the Amazon Prime series based on the books — is a good one for the times we find ourselves living in.

The mantra is also a good one to focus on as the series wraps up with its seventh and final season.

This time around Bosch, played by Titus Welliver, investigates a deadly arson.

If you have at all watched the show, you know that such murders mean bad news for the bad guys if Bosch is on the case.

Season seven starts streaming on Amazon Prime this Friday.


Bring a knife and fork for this documentary.

This Disney+ doc traces the rise of celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck — from his troubled childhood in Austria to his ascendancy as one the world’s most famous chefs.

Puck dreamed big and ended up “inventing a radically new American cuisine and creating the very concept of the ‘celebrity chef.'”

The film is a delicious tale for foodies or anyone who enjoys an American dream story.

“Wolfgang” starts streaming Friday on Disney+.

Two things to listen to

H.E.R. is on her way to joining the ranks of EGOT winners.

She has already won four Grammys and in February took home an Oscar for best original song for “Fight for You,” from the film “Judas and the Black Messiah.”

That leaves only an Emmy and a Tony Award for her to win. Born Gabriella Wilson, she turns 24 this Sunday, so she has plenty of time to get there.

In the meantime, the multitalented singer, composer and musician is blessing us with a new album titled “Back of My Mind.” It’s actually her first full-length album, and it boasts a few of her famous friends as collaborators including Chris Brown, DJ Khaled, Lil Baby and Bryson Tiller.

“Back of My Mind” is out and streaming.

Speaking of a heavy-hitting roster, Doja Cat has some major stars orbiting her latest album, “Planet Her.”

Ariana Grande, The Weeknd and SZA are just a few of the fellow artists who join her on her third studio album.

She and Grande last collaborated on the single “Motive” from the latter’s sixth studio album, “Positions.”

“Planet Her” drops Friday.

One thing to talk about

Mary J. Blige took her pain and turned it into platinum.

Platinum record sales, that is. The proclaimed Queen of Hip-Hop Soul is the subject of a new documentary, out on Amazon Prime Friday.

“Mary J. Blige’s My Life” offers an in-depth look into both the singer’s life and her hit 1994 album “My Life.”

The doc’s director, Vanessa Roth, recently talked to me about what made Blige an ideal subject.

“She gave us the chance to tell a story of this iconic figure who’s influenced so many people,” Roth said. “And at the same time be able to use the music, the power, the excitement and all of that combined with this woman who tells such a truthful, honest story about what it is to grow up not feeling self-love and struggling with that and then using that music to heal and to heal other people.”

For you Mary J. Blige fans, you know that’s “Real Love” — and that this is one you don’t want to miss.

Something to sip on

You have to be real careful if you are going to be making a movie about racism right about now.

That’s what the folks behind the film “Karen” are learning.

Described as a movie about “A racist, entitled white woman in the South (who) terrorizes her new Black neighbors,” it uses the name that had become shorthand for just such a woman, and the trailer went viral this week.

Problem is the Internet immediately began drawing comparisons to Jordan Peele’s hit 2017 film “Get Out” — and not in a favorable way.

“Karen” stars Taryn Manning, Cory Hardrict and Jasmine Burke and was written by Coke Daniels, who also directed it. Like writer Roxane Gay tweeted, when I first saw the trailer, I too thought it was a spoof or an “SNL” skit.

But it’s real. In our currently divided nation, which is so charged when it comes to race, there is really nothing funny about it.

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