What we’ll be listening to, watching, and reading to sate our pop culture needs.
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This weekend is packed with magic (Peter Pan, David Bowie), suspense (A Most Wanted Man), rainbow-pantsuited lady rock (Jenny Lewis), and more.
The former Rilo Kiley front woman has kept us waiting six years for a solo album, but that time seems to have given her a lot of perspective—The Voyager feels like the work of someone who’s been through something, and Lewis’s twee now has a bit more darkness. Of course the folk-infused, guitar-driven, melody-heavy tunes are all here—it’s an album of ebullient pop to be sure—but there’s an extra bite to her luscious vocals, especially in the Beck-produced single “Just One of the Guys,” whose video features celebs like Kristen Stewart and Anne Hathaway in awkwardly compelling drag. If the lil’ ginger from Troop Beverly Hills had to grow up, we’re glad she’s channeling it all into some seriously smart, sing-alongable tunes.
It was announced this week by NBC that Girls girl Allison Williams will play Peter Pan in the network’s live theatrical broadcast on December 4. And even though her dad Brian Williams’ reporting of the story was pretty adorable, we can’t help but anticipate a completely disastrous outcome—Marnie is no Peter. But it gives us an excuse to watch the 1960 version, in which star Mary Martin wonderfully embodied all of Peter’s magic and then some. We hope Williams takes some notes.
Amy Bloom’s second novel Lucky Us, is a roaring romp that takes place in the years leading up to and following World War II, crisscrossing the country from Chicago to Los Angeles to New York while following the titillating, contentious adventures of two half-sisters, Eva and Iris. After Iris’s mother dies, and Eva’s mother abandons her with only a suitcase, the unlikely duo leave their loveable louse of a father and run away to Hollywood, only to then retreat east after Iris’s brief career as a starlet sours when her tryst with another young actress goes public (thanks Hedda Hopper!). But the sisters’ optimism never wanes, they simply pack their bags and join their gay, Hispanic, makeup artist friend in a move to Brooklyn where they’ll reinvent themselves again. It’s a colorful tale of the American dream—the Washington Post hails Bloom as the Stateside Victor Hugo, albeit with a sharp sense of modernity—one in which tragedy is faced (death, estrangement, abandonment) but, delightfully, never succumbed to.
This intense spy thriller based on the book of the same name by renowned author John le Carré (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Constant Gardener) is notable for more than it’s riveting, slow-burn narrative; A Most Wanted Man features Philip Seymour Hoffman in his final starring role. Hoffman plays a razor-sharp, chain-smoking German intelligence expert, trying to gather information about a maybe terrorist who’s arrived in Germany, and though he’s supported by an expert cast, including Robin Wright, Rachel McAdams, and Willem Dafoe, it’s the subdued star you won’t be able to take your eyes off of not only because he’s brilliant as usual, but also because it’s the last time he will be.
One of the most iconic rock figures of our time, David Bowie spent the ’70s breaking boundaries and blowing people’s minds, from toying with gender stereotypes to creating the cult of Ziggy Stardust. “I wanted to be the instigator of new ideas. I wanted to turn people on to new things and new perspectives,” the star says in a clip from David Bowie: Five Years, a documentary airing on Showtime tonight that keys in to five crucial years of Bowie’s career: 1971, 1975, 1977, 1980, and 1983. From “Space Oddity” to “Rebel Rebel,” we are happy to revel in Bowie’s weirdness.
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