'Mustang' (2015): An Academy Award contender for foreign language film last year, this Turkish import recently added to Netflix feels especially poignant in the wake of the recent unrest in and around Istanbul. Set in the rural countryside, the film written and directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven offers an at-times harrowing glimpse of a patriarchal family where arranged marriages remain the norm, but the bond and spirit of independence coursing through five sisters at the story's center is unshakable, and the story's determined beauty and inspired conclusion lingers well after the closing credits.
Spain's 'Carolina': Fronted by the son of the late jazz master Charlie Haden, the durable L.A. slow-core band Spain offers a shift in direction on its latest album, which sets aside spare and nocturnal atmospherics for a dusty-dry take on folk-country. Backed by generous helpings of twanging pedal steel, banjo and violin (courtesy of sister Petra), Josh Haden offers a distinctively dark yet immersive take on the arid sounds of Americana that draws a dotted line from his father's country-tinged "Ramblin' Boy." (Spain performs every Tuesday in August at the Love Song bar in the Regent Theater.)
'Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee': Recently nominated with an Emmy, this next chapter in Jerry Seinfeld's public life for the most part delivers exactly what's promised with occasionally interesting interviews with the likes of Louis CK, Stephen Colbert and even Barack Obama with the background flourish of any number of fancy automobiles. It's a fine concept for a podcast or Web series — it's available via the streaming service Crackle — but as a contender for one of the best comedy-variety shows of the year there are other options (ahem, "Full Frontal with Samantha Bee") much more deserving than this star-powered if low-key rolling chat show.
The Taylor Swift/Kanye tiff: Something of a social media civil war erupted last week when it was revealed via an illicitly recorded phone conversation — courtesy of Kim Kardashian West — that Taylor Swift indeed was complicit in the latest "controversy" that erupted around Kanye West's recent Swift-insulting track "Famous." Going much deeper than that quickly starts feeling taxing to the spirit, but suffice to say people began obsessing over this superstar feud back in 2009, and with a few exceptions both sides have dominated the pop music conversation ever since. The Beatles and the Stones wish they had this kind of marketing in 2016.