Overrated/Underrated: ‘Alias Grace’ is essential, and is anyone still shocked by Marilyn Manson?
‘Alias Grace’: Adapted from a work by novelist Margaret Atwood, this patiently drawn Netflix miniseries also holds a prism up to current times, but unlike “The Handmaid’s Tale,” maybe doesn’t force the viewer into a fetal position of despair for the future. Written by Sarah Polley, whose touch maintains a pace and eye for detail seen in her independent films, “Alias Grace” acts as a sort of historical bookend to Hulu’s Emmy winner, with a haunting, subtle performance from Sarah Gadon as a house servant accused of a double murder in 19th century Canada.
Björn Meyer’s ‘Provenance’: Playing like an atmospheric exploration of the reach of an electric guitar, this solo release from a longtime member of Nik Bärtsch’s jazz-rock ensemble Ronin instead testifies to broad capabilities of its sibling the bass. Using a six-string instrument and a bank of electronics, this Swedish-born artist is just as adept conjuring a latticework of notes and echo on the album’s title track, or a rattling sort of funk on “Squizzle” that recalls the more driving ventures by more stripped-down guitarists such as Leo Kottke.
Marilyn Manson: There’s no shortage of territory worth mining when a musician sets a course for shock value, but it doesn’t age well. Unlike spiritual forefather Alice Cooper, who wittily transitioned to golf for his final provocation, Manson has reached the unenviable position of maintaining shtick that has by now grown tired. It’s unclear who else would try making a so-called statement by pointing a fake rifle at a San Bernardino crowd during a show this month or still consider Johnny Depp an edgy choice for a new music video, but hopefully, they’re saving Manson a seat at the 19th hole.
Rotten Tomatoes: The movie review aggregation website, which has seen its share of controversy over the years, including allegations from Hollywood that it’s driving down ticket sales by revealing that a film isn’t good, drew criticism for holding back its numbers for “Justice League” until after the premiere date. The reason was couched in efforts to promote the site’s new review webseries, but given that the studio behind “Justice League” and a movie ticketing service have an ownership stake in the site, something seems a little rotten.
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