Overrated/Underrated: Give ‘Killing Eve’ a shot, and avoid the empty ‘Expedition Happiness’
“Killing Eve” on BBC America: Marking an unconventional next move for Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who gave us the darkly funny “Fleabag,” this new series finds her adapting the novellas of Luke Jennings for the story of Eve, a previously desk-bound MI-5 agent (Sandra Oh) in pursuit of a cold-blooded international assassin, Villanelle (Jodie Comer). There aren’t any of “Fleabag’s” mischievous asides to the camera, but in their place is a taut and fun game of cat-and-mouse that’s all the stronger for the (unfortunately) atypical gender of the main characters, especially in the case of the brutal Villanelle.
Wye Oak, “The Louder I Call, the Faster It Runs”: The indie duo composed of Jenn Wasner and Andy Stack has shape-shifted through various sounds of shoegaze and folk-adjacent rock over its roughly 10-year career, but they’ve never sounded as bold and assured as their latest album, which landed April 6. On one hand, the record is a celebration of anthemic synth-pop that might recall Sylvan Esso at times, but on the other, Wye Oak resists such easy comparisons with intricate percussion and dissonant flashes of guitar that gird songs like the atmospheric title track and the hazy, insistent drive of “Say Hello.”
“Expedition Happiness” on Netflix: Less of a documentary than an Instagram story stretched to feature length, this occasionally beautiful but vapid travelogue centers on a German couple (Felix Starck and Selima Taibi) who give a school bus a Dwell magazine makeover and travel across North America. As the trip goes on, there’s no real insight offered on what they experience, and little sense anyone has had their perspective changed, least of all the viewer, and apart from some pleasant nature footage and a few worrisome moments for their beleaguered dog, there’s no reason for this movie to exist.
Sean Penn, novelist: Life is short, and each day sees a new distraction whether in the lizard-brain gratification of an ever-refreshing Twitter feed or 176 pages of Sean Penn drifting directly off his dimly deluded rocker for a bizarre, alliteration-obsessed new novel, “Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff.” Penn has grown weary of acting, you see, which is a shame for someone who earned an Oscar for his work in “Milk” in addition to a history of charity work, but also for the rest of us as the impenetrable results of his attempt to fill his days are now available to the world. Surely there are better uses of everyone’s time out there.
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