Lakeith Stanfield in ‘Atlanta’: Donald Glover’s new series on FX deserves every bit of its acclaim for its detail-rich, patiently drawn storytelling. But after scene-stealing turns in “Miles Ahead” and “Straight Outta Compton,” the 25-year-old Stanfield has become the show’s secret weapon as the offbeat, philosophically inclined Darius. Often acting as a cheerfully zen counterweight to Brian Tyree Henry’s aspiring rapper Paper Boi, Stanfield is a heavy-lidded source of oddly sharp, dryly surrealist observations, and the warmth in his eccentricity is so vivid the entire show feels like it may exist inside one of Darius’ dreams.
‘Blue Jay’ (2016): We may not have the HBO series “Togetherness” to rely on for idiosyncratic, intimate storytelling about relationships, but Mark Duplass’ voice can still be heard with this charmingly understated film. An open-ended two-character study that explores a chance reconnection between two former high school sweethearts, the black-and-white “Blue Jay” briefly threatens to turn into an over-talkative cliche, but the performances by Duplass and Sarah Paulson reveal distinctive character details — and a long shadow across their shared memories — that come together to lift the movie to rare heights.
Phil Collins: Steady yourselves, those who survived Collins’ omnipresence in the ’80s, a favorite from “American Psycho” is on the comeback trail. On the heels of a new memoir, multiple album reissues and, inevitably, a just-announced tour, Collins boasts a torrent of inescapable hits such as “Sussudio,” “Take Me Home” and the atmospheric “In the Air Tonight,” a song so effective in its vague inhumanity it’s now primarily known for its boomy synthetic drum break. With so many insidiously infectious hits, it’s worth wondering if we’re really prepared for what we’re inviting back.
‘Divorce’ on HBO: This pitch-dark newcomer to HBO has ingredients that should add up to a sort of comic black gold, including creator Sharon Horgan, whose series “Catastrophe” is among the gems of the streaming universe. But where that show soars on the merit of real vulnerability and affection shown between its two occasionally dysfunctional leads, “Divorce” feels flat and cold as usually likable Sarah Jessica Parker and Thomas Haden Church vie to out-unpleasant each other through the contentious end of a relationship in a privileged corner of New York City suburbia. No one wins.
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