Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

6 things to watch, listen to, play, and read this weekend

Julia Louis-Dreyfus (Photo: Justin M. Lubin/HBO)

The TV show to watch


Veep remains untethered to any need to address recent events, but it certainly helps take the edge off. Placing Selina on the periphery of politics hasn’t softened her any, even when she claims to be dedicated to ridding the world of adult illiteracy and AIDS (the latter goal is the result of a typically inadvisable pivot on her part). She’s a former president, after all, and the first female commander in chief. Like Pennsylvania Avenue’s Norma Desmond, Selina refuses to retire from the spotlight. Her desperation leaves her vulnerable to hangers-on with bad intentions, but it also rather reliably creates some of the biggest laughs in the first third of the season.”
Read the rest of our review here.


The movie to watch

The Lost City Of Z

“[James] Gray himself is a neglected American master, and it’s one of those paradoxes of great movie-making that The Lost City Of Z is somehow both his most literal and his most ambiguous work. In films like The Immigrant and Two Lovers, he has shown a peerless talent for teasing subtleties; these are movies that place most of their dramatic weight in unspoken conflicts. But The Lost City Of Z, which really shows the range of Gray’s command of classic film idiom, is an adventure film—even a war film, for a stretch in the middle. The cast is terrific, with a revelatory turn from Charlie Hunnam as Fawcett; the handsome English actor brings so much poise to the role that one can’t help but think that he’s been getting the wrong scripts for most of his career. Sienna Miller, who plays his wife, Nina, has also never been better. Yet this is clearly Gray’s least performance-driven film. All of his movies are to some degree about yearning, dissatisfaction, and alienation. But in the search for a ruin in the Amazon, these are not emotions, but facts of geography and time…

The Lost City Of Z was adapted by Gray from David Grann’s nonfiction book of the same title, though it’s anything but a straight page-to-screen translation. Rather, it creates a complex internal conversation; it’s an operatic drama, an adventure saga, an anti-colonialist critique, a veiled artistic self-portrait, and, yes, even a revisionist grail legend.”
Read the rest of our review here.


The album to listen to

Actress, AZD

AZD marks a triumphant return for Actress—though ‘the Actress image’ has mutated somewhat, taking Ghettoville’s dour, postapocalyptic churn and the burbling, abandoned-club music of his earlier releases and synthesizing them into something new. As always, there’s a little homework: Cunningham has stated that AZD is themed around ‘chrome,’ specifically the skewed metropolitan reflections seen in Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate sculpture, while the press release also touches on Jungian shadows and the scavenged, sacred art of James Hampton. But even for the laziest student there are plenty of surface pleasures to be found here, from the straightforward, four-on-the-floor rave of lead single ‘X22RME’ to the cascading, mournful music box tinkles of ambient interlude ‘Falling Rizlas’ to ‘CYN’ and its loops of New York legend Rammellzee’s old-school hip-hop breaks spliced over a subway grate-hiss beat. All those varied styles coalesce to form Actress’ most confident, most individualistic statement yet.”
Read our full review here.


The podcast to listen to


Who? Weekly

“In an era of democratized fame where each new day greets a fresh crop of middling talents vying for their turn in the spotlight, it can be next to impossible to pay attention or care. Rather than dismiss these budding nonstarters out of hand, [Lindsey] Weber and [Bobby] Finger convene each week to pore over the hot gossip regarding these denizens of Hollywood’s D-list in explosively funny fashion. For a show predicated on mocking also-ran celebrities, the main targets of the hosts’ acerbic observations are more often the PR flacks and publications attempting to foist them off on a disinterested public.”


Read our full review and about the rest of the week’s best podcasts here.

The game to play

Overwatch Uprising

“Like every other limited-time Overwatch event, Uprising gives players a chance to unlock a bunch of special-edition stuff, including a handful of new character skins. They’re mostly visually underwhelming (tanktop Torbjorn is fantastic, though), but that’s because Uprising doesn’t have some silly seasonal theme to play up. It’s based around a single important event in the game’s backstory, and the skins and other unlockables are grounded throwbacks to the cast members’ pasts. The big addition and the best reason to give Uprising a look is the new game mode, which pits four players (using either a predetermined team based on the story or whichever four characters you want) against waves of AI-controlled robots as you try to fulfill several objectives on a modified version of the King’s Row map. It’s simple stuff that’s made far more complicated by the potential to mix and match the growing roster’s abilities, and there’s a lot of great flavor built into it. Uprising is more evidence that Blizzard could handily supplement Overwatch’s top-notch competitive play with some kind of cooperative, story-based campaign. We’d play the heck out of that.”
Read more of our thoughts on Uprising here.


The book to read


John Waters, Make Trouble

Make Trouble asks the audience to do so from within the system, to force change as an insider instead of from the outside. Given [John] Waters’ history of running from the cops while illegally shooting his earliest films, it’s an interesting pivot. Age, experience, and a shifting cultural climate have changed the rules of rebellion. ‘Who here wants to die for art!?’ Divine famously asks in Female Trouble as she waves a gun toward her audience. A volunteer exclaims his willingness and is shot dead on the spot. It’s a violent, anarchic, and sudden means of making a statement. Waters now suggests a slower, more studied approach. An illustration in Make Trouble depicts a revolver with a gag flag emerging from the barrel. Instead of the classic BANG! the flag reads A+. Which of the two methods ultimately proves the more subversive, time will out.”
Read the rest of our review here.


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