What we’ll be listening to, watching, and reading to sate our pop culture needs.
Catching up this weekend with some old-school icons (Anjelica Huston, Marianne Faithfull) and new-school favorites (Chelsea Peretti, Azealia Banks).
Belle’s Gugu Mbatha-Raw plays Noni, a Rhianna-like rising star, in the deliciously melodramatic Beyond the Lights. As a romance stirs between Noni and Kaz, a police officer who was on the singer’s security detail, the complexities of life interfere and unfold, exacerbated by Noni’s overbearing stage mother (Minnie Driver) and Kaz’s hardnosed police captain father (Danny Glover), not to mention the trappings of fame and success. But it’s writer and director Gina Prince-Bythewood’s compelling storytelling skills (she also wrote and directed 2000’s Love & Basketball) that make this film a memorable tale, one that rises above its seen-it-before plotline.
It was 50—five-zero—years ago in 1964 that Marianne Faithfull released her first single “As Tears Go By,” but the throaty-voiced singer’s newest album, Give My Love to London, is a grand cumulative achievement, built from her years of living, loving, and losing with a longevity few musicians can forge. The album’s songs rile up and break down, its lyrics are as inciting as they are insightful, and the cast of characters she’s recruited to help out—Anna Calvi, Nick Cave, Roger Waters, even Brian Eno—are spectacular asides to the main event, Faithfull herself.
Before Chelsea Peretti and her absurd retorts were some of the best reasons to tune in weekly to Brooklyn Nine-Nine, she was a standup queen. Thank goodness she’s not too entrenched in the acting life to put out a new hourlong comedy special, One of the Greats, premiering tonight on Netflix. Peretti’s deadpan delivery of jokes about texting, emojis, and, smartly, gender role stereotypes in the comedy world remind us why we fell in love with this weirdo in the first place.
We loved Anjelica Huston’s first memoir, A Story Lately Told, of her growing up years, but now with Watch Me we’re really getting into the juicy parts of the actress’s life. She spills on her affair with Jack Nicholson, the Hollywood hustle, and some of her greatest roles, including Maerose Prizzi in Prizzi’s Honor and the Tenenbaum matriarch in Wes Anderson’s classic. At 29 Huston was told she’d never do anything with her life. Her response? “Watch me.”
Yes, Azealia Banks’s long-loooooong-awaited album came out last week, but it’s so damn good we’ve still got it on heavy rotation and you should too. Finally proving that she’s got as much substance as she does snark, Broke with Expensive Taste highlights her skills, and they are mad. With elements of dubstep, ’60s-style quirkpop (thanks to a collab with Ariel Pink), and so much sex, Broke delivers the bombastic talent her 2011 single “212” promised. In other words, it was worth the wait.
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