Analysis: ‘The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey’ won’t let you forget

A version of this story appeared in Pop Life Chronicles, CNN’s weekly entertainment bulletin. To receive it in your inbox, Register for free here.


Have you read anything good lately?

I’ve found myself reading more books lately – sometimes just because all the streaming content can be overwhelming. Kind of like how the Cheesecake Factory menu with its many pages might seem too much.

Not that I’m complaining. Streaming content is also my peaceful place, and this week my two passions collide in one project.

“The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey”

I’m a huge fan of the writer Walter Mosley and have read just about all of his novels.

That’s why I was super excited to hear that a limited series based on one of my favorites, “The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey,” was coming to Apple TV+.

Samuel L. Jackson plays the title character, a man with dementia who has regained his memory long enough to attempt to solve the mysterious death of a loved one. Dominique Fishback (who was terrific in “Judas et le Messie noir”) plays his orderly.

It is currently streaming.

“The Adam Project”

(Left to right) Ryan Reynolds as Big Adam and Walker Scobell as Young Adam

Usually sci-fi isn’t my jam, but sign me up for anything Ryan Reynolds.

I’m such a big fan of his… acting. In “The Adam Project,” Reynolds reteams with “Free Guy” director Shawn Levy for a story about a boy dealing with loss who meets his future self, a time-traveling pilot in search of his wife (played by Zoe Saldana).

The film is now streaming on Netflix.

“The Thing About Pam”

(L to R) Mac Brandt as Detective McCarrick and Glenn Fleshler as Russ Faria star in

Renée Zellweger is getting a lot of attention for donning prosthetics to play Pam Hupp in this limited series, based on a “Dateline NBC” story about a woman accused of killing her best friend, Betsy Faria. But pay attention to the entire cast in this one.

For starters, there’s Glenn Fleshler as Betsy’s husband, Russ Faria, who is, of course, the first prime suspect, and Josh Duhamel as her attorney, Joel Schwartz.

And the whole thing seems a bit exaggerated.

The best true crime stories usually are, and this one wasn’t just a “Dateline” episode, but a podcast as well. “The Thing About Pam” airs on NBC.

(L to R) Luke Smallbone and Joel Smallbone of For King & Country attend the 52nd GMA Dove Awards at Lipscomb Allen Arena on October 19, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee.

Hey, For King & Country fans, “What are you waiting for?”

This is the title of the duo’s first new album in three years. Grammy-winning brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone fought hard to get here.

“Those early years when we started working together in the late 2000s, those early years when we were just turned down,” Joel Smallborne told the American songwriter. “By all the major American labels.”

They kept the faith (literally, because they attribute their success to it) and now Christian pop artists are enjoying the fruits of their labor.

The album was released on Friday.

Lil Durk performs at the PrettyLittleThing x Teyana Taylor show at New York Fashion Week on September 9, 2021.

Lil Durk’s “7220” was originally scheduled to be released on the same day as Ye’s “Donda 2” before Lil Durk pushed back the release.

To make it even more interesting, the rapper took on his verified Instagram account challenge any other artist to release their album on the same day.

He didn’t name anyone in particular, but Lil Durk and NBA YoungBoy have been going strong recently, in case you didn’t know.

“7220” fell on Friday.

(L to R) Russell Wilson and Ciara, co-founders of The House of LR&C, celebrate the brand's first launch Feb. 22 in Seattle's University Village.

There may have been a lot of talk this week about the trade of pro quarterback Russell Wilson, but that’s not all that’s going on in his world.

Wilson and his wife, singer and actress Ciara, have also released a new children’s book.

The parents of three young children have co-authored a picture book, titled “Why Not You?”

They recently shared with Jimmy Kimmel on his late-night show that Wilson’s dad used to say that line often and that Ciara’s parents also instilled in him that “no dream is too big.”

“We share the same passion and the same connection,” she told Kimmel.

I love that kind of love.

A woman walks past Brazilian artist Sipros' mural of rapper Biggie Smalls, featured on a wall in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, New York on June 6, 2019.

For those of us who remember, it barely seems possible that it’s been 25 years since Biggie Smalls, aka Notorious BIG, was gunned down in Los Angeles. The rapper, born Christopher Wallace, was killed when his vehicle came under fire as he and his entourage were leaving an industry party.

It feels like yesterday as I write about the 20th anniversary of his death on March 9, 1997.

Wallace’s murder has never been solved, but his musical influence remains.

As is often the case with those who die young, his mythology has grown over the years, though many wonder where he and his career would be now if he had lived.

Hip-hop has aged well — as it showed at this year’s Super Bowl — but count on me to wish that Wallace and Tupac Shakur, who was shot six months before Biggie, had lived to see it.

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