Photo: A24

The movie to watch

Lady Bird

“Lady Bird is something truly special: a coming-of-age comedy so funny, perceptive, and truthful that it makes most other films about adolescence look like little more than lessons in cliché. Greta Gerwig, the one-time mumblecore starlet who wrote and directed the movie, has already established herself as a poet laureate of anxious youth, having co-authored and starred in Noah Baumbach’s bittersweet, screwball study of arrested development, Frances Ha. Plenty of what made that film wonderful—the warm affection for foibles, the lightning-quick volleys of verbiage, the nimble editing—should apparently be attributed to Gerwig as much as Baumbach, given how well-represented those same elements are here. And yet Lady Bird is its own movie, as generous as it is insightful about the strange business of growing up and into yourself.”
Read the rest of our review here.

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The video game to play

Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus

“As a sequel to 2014’s surprisingly excellent Wolfenstein: The New Order, The New Colossus is bigger, nuttier, and more audacious than its predecessor, a game that featured a level where players used a 1960s-era Nazi mecha to bust their way out of a German forced-labor camp. Set in a Man In The High Castle-esque take on German-controlled America, The New Colossus does everything—political satire, run-and-gun action, mournful meditations on war and death—at the loudest volume possible, producing an end result that is both astonishing and invigorating, even as it provokes the occasional wince.”
Read more of our thoughts on Wolfenstein II here.

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The comic to read

Victor LaValle’s Destroyer

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“Modern interpretations of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein aren’t hard to find, but Victor LaValle’s Destroyer builds something new from the classic horror story, using it as the foundation for a genre-bending thriller driven by social, political, and scientific commentary. The chills of body horror, the innovation of science fiction, the emotion of domestic drama, and the action of superhero stories all come together for this six-issue miniseries, exploring how two parents grieve the loss of their son, a 12-year-old black boy shot and killed by the police.”
Read the rest of our review here.


The album to listen to

Fever Ray, Plunge

“It’s not quite the fussy cold shoulder to pop music that [The Knife’s Shaking The Habitual] was, but Karin Dreijer has brought plenty of that record’s defiant spirit to Plunge, her second solo album as Fever Ray. This is far from the arctic dirges of her self-titled debut, where Dreijer’s pitch-shifted voice melted into songs like the eerie calls of some ancient, occult force. She is now alive, raw, and unmistakably human, and she revels in all the desires and tribulations this implies with a radical bluntness that… is meant to explode any old-fashioned societal norms for how women should love, live, and express themselves.”
Read the rest of our review here.

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The show to watch

Alias Grace

“Grace Marks (Sarah Gadon) was an impoverished domestic servant who had immigrated to Canada with her family. Along with a man named James McDermott (Kerr Logan), she was convicted of murdering her employer and his housekeeper. Margaret Atwood took that historical tale and crafted a wonderful fictionalized biography around it, framed by interviews between Grace and a psychologist trying to ascertain whether she is deserving of early release. That’s the lovely frame of Netflix’s adaptation: Grace weaves tales from the cozy parlor as she works on various mending and needlework, her lilting accent making everything sound like a mystical legend. But her realities are much harsher than that, and director Mary Harron makes bold choices that don’t shy away from any of the painful details.”
Read the rest of our review here.

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The podcast to listen to

You Must Remember This, “Bela And The Vampires”

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“This standout Hollywood history pod is back with a short season comparing epochal horror actors Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. This episode, the second of five, limits its scope to Lugosi’s love-hate relationship with creepy foreigner roles, which were the only ones consistently available to him over a lengthy yet fickle career.”
Read about the rest of the week’s best podcasts here.