Vague Visages Writers’ Room: Weekend Vibes 2.16.18

Weekend Vibes is a Friday column about streaming recommendations, new release hype and entertainment events. 

Natalia Winkelman (@nataliawinke)

Metrograph is hosting a mini-retrospective of Alex Ross Perry’s work to accompany Golden Exits, the latest in the Brooklyn-based indie filmmaker’s expanding oeuvre. The four film series includes Perry’s surreal feature debut Impolex, his black-and-white, self-starring road movie The Color Wheel, his Philip Roth-inspired triptych Listen Up Philip and his foray into the psychological thriller space with the restrained Queen of Earth. Balancing wit with authenticity, Perry permeates each of his entries with an ethos of bourgeois malaise that he sketches with both mockery and sympathy. Elisabeth Moss, Jason Schwartzman and Kate Lyn Sheil are a few of the recurrent faces Perry surveils with claustrophobic precision, and the creative crop of personalities that emerge are at once cringe-worthy and hilarious, detestable and relatable. Evermore embedded in the annals of New York genteel cinema, Perry’s dramatis personae are a grating group, but they’re a hell of a lot of fun, too.

Peter Bell (@PeterGBell25)

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Unlike previous generations, my first exposure to David Bowie didn’t come in the form of glam rock, MTV or Labyrinth (1986), but rather in form of postmodern escapism. While watching the Adult Swim cartoon block, I viewed back episodes of The Venture Bros. In episodes entitled “Ghosts of the Sargasso” and “The Incredible Mr. Brisby,” clear references were made to Bowie’s work and to the man himself. By early high school, I was hooked, admiring Bowie as a key source of musical enjoyment and inspiration. You can imagine my disappointment to hear the news of Bowie’s passing on January 10, 2016. Fortunately, Francis Whately’s documentary David Bowie: The Last Five Years (now streaming on HBO) has proven to be a much needed cathartic experience. The documentary explores the creation of Bowie’s final two albums, The Next Day and Blackstar, as well as the Broadway musical Lazarus. Whatley creates interesting parallels between Bowie’s final works and his past musical incarnations, and viewers can achieve a good understanding of how Bowie and the culture around him has evolved, and yet, in so many ways, stayed the same. For me, the defining moment is the revising of the old “Fame” music video. Bowie is shown standing in the circular light of the stage, with a spectacular appearance like a sun god. I’d rather not attempt to dissect what exactly Bowie stood for, even in his final years. After all, Bowie said, “Part of my entertaining factor is lying to you.” Regardless of his complex persona, the music video validates my contention that, when at his best, Bowie was indeed a source of radiant energy and enlightenment. He evoked a sort of youthful high, instilling fans with the belief they could break out of their mundane lives and become better versions of themselves.

Colin Biggs (@wordsbycbiggs)

Robert Pattinson keeps surprising me with each new facet of his chameleon-esque abilities as an actor, and I will no longer be caught off-guard. Not anymore. Good Time is now available on Amazon Prime, and if you haven’t seen this Dante-as-directed-by-Sidney Lumet thriller, you really should. Connie (Pattinson) furiously plots how to use anyone and anything to further himself in rescuing his brother from Rikers Island after a botched robbery. Refreshingly, The Safdie brothers don’t ask viewers to see the alternatively neon and concrete world through Connie’s eyes, but to witness him inflict his will on others. If New York isn’t your scene, then consider Justified, also on Amazon Prime. Besides the never-dull cat and mouse game between Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant) and Boyd Crowder (Walton Goggins), there’s much to recognize. In a time where white supremacists, legalized weed and out of work coal miners are all making a comeback, Justified is more relevant than ever.

Q.V. Hough (@QVHough)

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Sadly, Ricky Gervais’ travel series An Idiot Abroad will be leaving Netflix U.S. on February 20. So, if you’re dealing with a lingering cold like me, it may be a good time to experience Karl Pilkington’s unique cultural takes as he reluctantly travels the world, searching for nothing while breaking down everything that annoys him.

Marshall Shaffer (@media_marshall)

What’s the best way to pre-game a standup comedy show? I’m really hoping it’s an Ingmar Bergman double feature! On Sunday, if all goes according to plan, I’ll be taking in the first two portions of Bergman’s “Silence of God” trilogy — 1961’s Through a Glass Darkly and 1962’s Winter Light — at Film Forum in New York City. (Then I’ll just have to catch 1963’s The Silence on FilmStruck, I guess.) The theater is serving as one of the first venues for the Bergman centennial celebration that will soon begin traveling around the country, and I’m finding it an excellent way to force myself to sit through some classics of cinema that feel a little too somber to watch from the couch. I’m ashamed at how little of Bergman’s massive oeuvre I’ve seen, but I’m glad to be making some serious headway this month.