Phoebe Waller-Bridge's 'Crashing': Not to be confused with the Judd Apatow-produced HBO series, this British import on Netflix was created by Waller-Bridge, whose raw and bawdy "Fleabag" was one of the best shows of 2016. Still as concerned with the awkwardness of sex and intimacy as its Amazon sibling, "Crashing" is a more immediately goofy show as it follows a group of twentysomethings living in a decommissioned hospital, but it showcases a heartfelt vulnerability as the characters fitfully learn to grow into themselves, including Waller-Bridge, who portrays a manic, ukulele-toting free spirit.
'Embers' (2015): There have been more horrifying depictions of a global apocalypse, but the debut feature from Claire Carré offers a new spin on the genre with a haunting, elliptical story crafted from tiny poetic episodes. Exploring the aftermath of a world brought low by disease that affects short-term memories (think "Memento" as a global pandemic), the film benefits from strong performances, including Jason Ritter and Iva Gocheva as a star-crossed couple, and leaves a lasting impression though a patient, melancholy examination of characters lost in futile loops yet still reaching for connection.
Adele: The heir to crowd-pleasing pop vocalists Barbra Streisand and Celine Dion, she carries an astounding touch with brassy R&B and emotional support anthems. But for all her well-crafted ballads, down-to-earth personality and those throwback sales figures, there's no way she should win album, record and song of the year at Sunday's Grammys when compared to the timely, dizzying heights reached by Beyoncé's "Lemonade." Which is a long way of saying, this being the Grammys, Adele probably will.
Forever 'Fast and Furious': With an eighth of a planned 10-part franchise on the way ("The Fate of the Furious"), it's hard not to wonder if there are enough exotic, explosion-prone locales left to fling an automobile through to support Vin Diesel & Co. One untested setting in the works is the stage, as the films reportedly will become a world tour beginning next year with a show that promises many of the movies' most famous cars (their human counterparts are less certain so far). While this noisy celebration of fossil fuels and engineering no doubt is something to see live, isn't that why we have NASCAR?
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