Your Weekend: A Selective Guide

Movies: Special forces head to Afghanistan in “12 Strong.” A bank heist in California is the subject of “Den of Thieves.” TV/Streaming: “Grace and Frankie” isn’t my thing but a lot of people swear by it: season four is available on Netflix. On Friday, PBS premieres its “American Masters” about playwright Lorraine Hansberry. Music: Dolores O’Riordan’s death has catapulted several Cranberries albums back onto the charts. “Das Lied von der Erde,” with Fritz Wunderlich and Christa Ludwig, is one of the greatest recordings ever. Books: Why are there so many “Instant Pot” cookbooks on the best-seller lists all of a sudden? Winter is a wonderful time to sit in front of the fire and read long novels — my current tome is “The Magic Mountain.” Sports: Boning up on all your Winter Olympics trivia? I’m not! Finally: 2018: the year that “shit” finally made it onto the front page of the New York Times. Progress?

Ridiculous Stunts In New “Tomb Raider”


Almost all action movies have preposterous stunts, and the new “Lara Croft” is no exception. Judging from the trailer, these include: leaping off a sinking ship in the middle of a raging typhoon. Another one: surviving and grabbing hold of an overhanging tree limb at the last second and escaping going over a super-tall jungle waterfall.

Simon Callow On Paul Robeson

In the New York Review of Books, Simon Callow writes about one of my heroes, Paul Robeson. ‘When I was growing up in Britain in the 1950s and 1960s, Robeson was much in evidence, on records, on the radio, on television. His name was haloed with the sort of respect accorded to few performers. The astonishing voice that, like the Mississippi in the most famous number in his repertory, just kept rolling along, seemed to carry within it an inherent sense of truth. There was no artifice; there were no vocal tricks; nothing came between the listener and the song. It commanded effortless attention; perfectly focused, it came from a very deep place, not just in the larynx, but in the experience of what it is to be human. In this, Robeson resembled the English contralto Kathleen Ferrier: both seemed less trained musicians than natural phenomena.’

Justin Timberlake’s “Supplies”: Awful


Pitchfork isn’t impressed: ‘This song sounds like it was conceived, written, and recorded in the mad dash between an emergency ballistic missile alert and the ensuing big bang. Produced by the Neptunes, who should really know better, it comes off like warmed-over trap for zombie dads, filled with gestures of desperation and death.’

Wesley Morris Takes Down “Billboards”

Wesley isn’t having all the praise being heaped on “Three Billboards.” He is especially scathing about Frances McDormand, who could win a second Oscar for her performance as a pissed-off mom. Morris: ‘Ms. McDormand certainly makes the most of the tirade machine Mr. McDonagh has built for her. (Not since “Erin Brockovich” has anybody gotten to tell off this many people with this much gusto.) You feel for Mildred, but you fear her more. When she approaches a table in a restaurant carrying a wine bottle, the audience practically begs her not to use it. By this point, Mildred is way past being a mad mommy. She’s Charles Bronson.’

Sundance: 10 Movies With “Buzz”

That high-schoolish confab known as Sundance kicks off tonight in Park City, Utah. Variety does that very Sundance-ish thing and enumerates the movies that have “buzz.”

Mouse + Bon Iver = Fantastic


Pitchfork says: ‘Mouse on Mars teaming up with Justin Vernon, the mastermind behind Bon Iver makes so little sense that it makes perfect sense. The Berlin duo of Andi Toma and Jan St. Werner, who’ve spent 25 years on the pioneering fringes of electronic music, might appear to have little in common with the bearded Wisconsin singer-songwriter, who has come to personify the rugged, sensitive folk musician. The reality is more complicated, and so it’s fitting that their first collaboration sounds like, well, a Mouse on Mars track.’