Bill Camp in “The Looming Tower”: As entertainment, there are more relaxing shows than this Hulu drama about the organizational rivalries and breakdowns that failed to avert the 9/11 attacks. But despite knowing it ends badly, this Hulu series remains compelling on the strength of its too-real story and performances by the likes of Peter Sarsgaard, Jeff Daniels and this actor, who shone in HBO’s “The Night Of.” Camp brings a similarly world-weary yet stern expertise as an FBI operative, who during a riveting interrogation scene switches from good cop to bad cop in seconds.
Kris Davis & Craig Taborn’s “Octopus”: A continuation of sorts for Davis’ 2016 album “Duopoly,” which paired her expressive piano with a variety of composers from the front edge of jazz, this album is drawn from live performances with a like-minded fellow pianist from that recording. Offering a selection of bracing originals as well as takes on songs by Carla Bley and Sun Ra, the album is full of tangled, unfettered interplay (“Chatterbox”) and far-reaching sonic ventures (the prepared piano pulse to begin “Ossining”), but reaches a high-powered peak with Taborn’s piece, “Interruptions Three.”
New Pearl Jam music: The last giant standing from the early ’90s alt-rock boom (not counting that Smashing Pumpkins semi-reunion — which, judging by tepid ticket sales, is justified), Pearl Jam’s tireless touring and anthemic earnestness assures its standing as Springsteen for Gen X. Not a bad place to be, but with another album due to follow a middling new single, the band’s legacy seems strangely diminished by its durability. Just as the Rolling Stones’ records once existed to justify tours, so too have Pearl Jam’s entered an era of comfortable classic rock while not yielding a memorable song for some 15 years.
Netflix’s value of “The Crown”: An acclaimed period drama built around a monarch’s life, “The Crown” tilts on the performance of its Queen Elizabeth II, who for the last two seasons was played by Claire Foy. And yet word came down recently that the vaguely famous former “Doctor Who” Matt Smith was paid more for his contributions as Prince Philip than Foy, who earned an Emmy nomination last year. “Going forward, no one gets paid more than the Queen,” one of the show’s producers reportedly said in response, and while that’s good news for Olivia Coleman (who is taking over the role), Foy deserves some royal reparations.
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