WHAT TO SEE: Love & Mercy
Love & Mercy presents an unconventional portrait of Brian Wilson, the mercurial singer, songwriter and leader of The Beach Boys. Set against the era-defining catalog of Wilson’s music, the film intimately examines the personal voyage and ultimate salvation of the legendary icon whose success came at extraordinary cost. With Paul Dano playing Wilson during the Beach Boys’ 1960s heyday and John Cusack as an older version of Wilson in the 1980s, the movie toggles back and forth, exploring the creating of that signature sound Wilson was haring in his head. Elizabeth Banks plays a woman who meets the older Wilson/Cusack and tries to help him through the pill-generated fog of his life. Both Cusack and Wilson give possibly the the best performances of their careers in this terrific and deeply fascinating film about one of the most complex virtuosos in music history.
WHAT TO READ: The Knockoff by Lucy Sykes + Jo Piazza
The only thing better than lying on the beach with a great summer book is lying on the beach with a great summer written by one of your favorite people. Our dear friend Lucy Sykes is the co-writer of The Knockoff, an outrageously stylish, wickedly funny novel of fashion in the digital age. The book tells the story of Imogen Tate, editor in chief ofGlossy magazine, who finds her 20-something former assistant plotting to knock Imogen off her pedestal, take over her job, and reduce the magazine into an app. A modern take on All About Eve, the book is a hilariously fun tale of digital-age upheaval in the fashion world and already a worldwide hit. As one of our favorite reviews put it, “the book makes The Devil Wears Prada look like My Little Pony.” Bravo, Lucy!
Available now on Amazon
WHAT TO HEAR: How Big How Blue How Beautiful by Florence and the Machine
Florence Welch rocketed to prominence and fame because of her brilliant penchant for the grandiose. Her band’s biggest hits, like the swelling “Dog Days Are Over” and the “Shake It Off” were full of sweeping gestures and poetic imagery. However, on her third album, the singer is scaling back a bit, with more intimate acoustics and lyrics focused on retrenching in the wake of a failed relationship. But what she sings about matters less than how she sings it. A captivating vocalist, Welch’s vibrato shakes with such force and passion, it could set off the San Andreas fault. This might be the only break-up album that makes you want to rock and roll.
How Big How Blue How Beautiful is available on iTunes.
WHAT TO WATCH: Bloodline
With the success of House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, Netflix’s original programming has been . However,Bloodlines might be their best show yet. At first glance, the show looks ominously like a poignant family drama about a close-knit Southern clan. But appearances can be deceiving. The show isn’t a sensitive portrait of the richness of family ties. It’s a deadly film noir of a sneaky dissembling family. The story of a prodigal son’s return is sheathed in layers of duplicity, mistrust, and personal demons. Despite an incredible ensemble cast of Kyle Chandler, Sissy Spacek, and Sam Shepherd, the star of the show is Ben Mendelsohn, whose chilling portrayal of the black sheep bent on pushing his siblings to the limits of family loyalty is one of the most terrifying characters on television.
Bloodline now streaming on Netflix.