“Loving Vincent” (2017): Directed by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman, this biopic of Vincent Van Gogh is built around the sort of inspired, lunatic ambition that would have made its subject proud. The first hand-painted animated film, “Loving Vincent” functions as a mystery that pieces together the moments leading up to Van Gogh’s death with the help of some 120 painters working with oil and canvas on roughly 65,000 frames. Featuring such voices as Jerome Flynn, Chris O’Dowd and Saoirse Ronan, the film is a visual feast as portraits of an artistic legend’s life unfold in loving, living renderings of his work.
John Early in “Search Party”: A smart, dryly goofy sleeper of a series co-created by Michael Showalter of “Wet Hot American Summer” and led by Alia Shawkat, this TBS original carries an addictive power with the help of this comic, who has been seen in “Broad City” and “High Maintenance” as well as a regular run of gigs around L.A. venues. Here he plays the brunch-addicted Elliott, whose mix of fame-chasing narcissism and manic bluntness helps further the search of the show’s first season and the nervy conspiracy of its second. It takes a lot of moving parts to keep a party moving, and Early’s addition is essential.
Childish Gambino’s “Awaken, My Love!”: There are far worse artistic muses to follow than an album-length tribute to the spacey funk legacies of Prince and Funkadelic. But despite the world-conquering power of the single “Redbone” (indelibly linked to the blockbuster “Get Out”), the latest album from Donald Glover’s musical alter ego is fairly slight, especially considering it’s vying for album of the year after this week’s Grammy nominations. It’s hard to imagine it holding up against Kendrick Lamar’s “Damn,” but if there’s a bright side for Glover it’s how crowded the “Atlanta” creator’s trophy case has already become.
Netflix’s binge-inducing beat-the-clock: If you’re a subscriber to this streaming/human inertia-enabling service, you may have noticed a new feature that manifests with the ending of any given episode, which now churns along to the next with an impossibly brisk five-second countdown. Setting aside the sort of gunslinger’s dexterity with a remote control this requires if you actually want to, say, find out who portrayed what in the closing credits, the convenience of this “feature” in these binge-ready times feels more like a way for Netflix to pad the numbers for its programming, whether anyone is still watching or not.