‘Cherry Blossoms’ (2008): Most everything about this import from director Doris Dörrie shouldn’t work: A cantankerous widower from the German highlands travels to Tokyo and learns to process his grief through the intricacies of Japanese butoh dance. And yet the depictions of loss, the gradual estrangement from one’s children and the wondrous beauty of dance cast a gorgeous, powerfully emotional spell.
Heather Morris on ‘Glee’: To be honest, we’ve cooled on this show of late, but since its return we’ve rekindled our comedy crush on Morris, who plays the galactically dim Glee Club cheerleader Brittany. We can take or leave all the pat, will-they-or-won’t-they romantic storylines, but as long as this uber-blond’s magnificently weird observations stay sharp (“Did you know that dolphins are just gay sharks?”), everything sounds in tune.
Joanna Newsom’s ‘Have One on Me’: We’re not sure how it happened, but something changed in this eccentric harpist-songwriter since her enchanting 2004 debut, “Milk-Eyed Mender.” After the overblown follow-up, “Ys,” Newsom released this fussy and unapproachable three-album set early this year, and though critics are raving, we miss the creaky-voiced folk-poet in prairie dresses who didn’t seem so obsessed with Joni Mitchell.
Joshua Ferris’ ‘The Unnamed': With film rights purchased by Miramax before it was even published, this recent novel from the author of the sharp workplace satire “And Then We Came to the End” should make an interesting movie. The story of a man compelled to walk until he drops, Ferris keeps the plot moving well enough, but with multiple plot points left frustratingly unexplored perhaps the book would be better called “The Unexplained.”