Overrated/Underrated: Scarlett Johansson, post-human action hero, and breathe easy for ‘The Great British Baking Show’
‘The Great British Baking Show’: Listen: Modern life is difficult, the news is a burning roller-coaster of oncoming crises and the bulk of “Peak TV” trawls through some the worst in human behavior. Thankfully, peace is only a click away with the ability to binge three seasons of this hit British series now available on Netflix. In addition to daydream-worthy views of all manner of pastries and breads, the series has a disarming sweetness (sorry) amid the fragile confidence of its amateur bakers, dryly funny comments by co-host Sue Perkins and an earnest streak so wide each losing contestant is sent off with a group hug. Think of it as Xanax in visual form.
Mansun’s ‘Attack of the Grey Lantern’: Since we’ll soon be inundated with 50th anniversary tributes to a raft of psychedelic-era albums (look for a special section on “Sgt. Peppers” in this space in the months ahead — just kidding, maybe), let us celebrate this overlooked oddball of a latter-day psych-pop from 20 years back. Layered with strings, sticky melodies and the occasional dance beat in wryly surreal song cycle with titles such as “Egg Shaped Fred” and “Dark Mavis,” this album has more in common with Radiohead’s sound of the time than the Britpop of Oasis and Blur, and the level of audacity and invention here is every bit as strong.
Scarlett Johansson’s range: Whatever you may think of the ill-advised and curiously cast attempt to bring the animation classic “Ghost in the Shell” to the screen, there seems to be a pattern emerging in Johansson’s ventures outside the Marvel Universe. Undeniably one of the most bankable stars onscreen these days, Johansson seems to leave the biggest impression of late in films — “Her,” “Lucy” and above all “Under the Skin” — where pesky human emotions aren’t required. While there’s a mile-long line of Hollywood heroes who have never let that stop them, is it too early to consider her for a “Terminator” reboot?
The arrival of Classic West (and East): Proving millennials aren’t the only generation that can be fleeced by concert organizers, this bicoastal festival coming to Dodger Stadium is loaded with ’70s album rock warhorses (Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Steely Dan) and wedding reception staples (Journey, Earth, Wind and Fire). Looking to the absurdly successful classic-rock-a-palooza Desert Trip and the Grateful Dead’s “Fare Thee Well” as a model, the show is far from cheap with more than $150 required just to start the conversation, but you can’t knock the business sense behind producing needless festivals for a demographic that actually has money.
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