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Between the Streams podcast: ‘Kubo’ astonishes, Spidey gets a ‘new’ leading lady

DT’s weekly entertainment show, Between the Streams, is your guide to all of the hottest, most important, and (of course) dumbest new developments in streaming and entertainment, providing a handy recap of the week that was. Follow us here every Friday or add us via RSS, iTunes, or Stitcher at the links above to take BtS on the road!

Well, we’ve been blown away by an epic new animated movie — and this time it’s from a company that isn’t owned by Disney. But we’ll get to that in a moment. First things first, Spider-Man’s much anticipated (and third) reboot will bring Marvel Studios (which is Disney -owned) and Sony together for a meeting of minds. You might say it’s a homecoming to Marvel for the superhero — and the studios actually did, as that’s the title of the new film: Spider-Man: Homecoming. Played by Tom Holland, the latest Spidey, was teased in the fantastically hero-packed Captain America Civil War, with his new buddy Iron Man (aka Robert Downey Jr.).

Related: Between the Streams: Sausage Party remakes stoner comedies, Tales from the Crypt returns

After we found out that Michael Keaton will indeed be playing the villain Vulture earlier this year, the latest news is that the webbed one has a new leading lady. While we already knew Zendaya would play a leading role, it was confirmed Friday that the Disney Channel alum will be the new Mary Jane. Along with Keaton, she’ll join more fine company, including the aforementioned RDJ, as well as some other fun choices like Donald Glover (once rumored to play Spider-Man himself). With Marvel/Disney involved, and a cast that should bring things up a notch, Spider-Man Homecoming is starting to look like the reboot that will stick around awhile. And for those of us who grew up wanting to websling rather than fly, Spider-Man’s new look is starting to look good indeed.

But that’s just a slice of what we’ve got for the show this week. Coming back to our animation tease above, we have to talk about the Weekend Box Office Preview — specifically, the absolutely astonishing new film Kubo and the Two Strings. OK, the name is as strange as the plot line, which follows a magical young boy in feudal Japan on an odyssey to find magic armor with the help of two anthropomorphic friends. But none of that matters once you get pulled into the spectacular world of Laika’s Kubo, which really does feel like nothing else that’s come before it. Based just outside of little old Portland, Oregon (our home base), Laika creates stop-motion animation that goes above and beyond anything in the industry. We actually got the chance to tour the studio ahead of the release, getting engulfed in its crazy mix of real puppets and incredible sets, alongside groundbreaking 3D-printing tech. We’ll talk about that experience, and tell you why Kubo may just be one of the best films of the year — animated or otherwise.

Related: How Kubo uses high tech to make stop-motion look astonishing

Of course, there are a few other good choices at the box office this weekend, but Ben Hur isn’t one of them. Almost universally panned, the critics consensus for this film seems to be a very simple question: Why? As in, why make a new Ben Hur, why make it with no major stars (outside Morgan Freeman), and why make it suck so bad? We don’t know, but we will join in on the idea that some reboots are doomed from the beginning. War Dogs appears to be another disappointment, although not nearly as bad as Hur. Jonah Hill gives a great performance, by most accounts, but script trouble seems to have made this meanderer a bit hard to follow. It looks like animated films — whether it be the dirty and hilarious Sausage Party or the epic and unique Kubo, may just be the way to go this weekend. You could also see Impervious, Daniel Radcliffe’s critically acclaimed film about an FBI agent infiltrating a group of neo-Nazis, or suffer through the odd ride that is Suicide Squad. But we wouldn’t recommend the latter.

Also this week, we’ll be talking about CBS’ intriguing new Star Trek series, Discovery, which got some new updates this week, a quick review of HBO’s Vice Principals, and Will Ferrell’s new Sherlock Holmes comedy.

Tune in for all that, and much more, live today at 2 p.m. PST, or take us on the road with you by subscribing to our podcast above!