‘Widows’: A politically charged meeting of a best picture-winning director, an awards-laden leading actress and the writer of “Gone Girl,” Steve McQueen’s taut heist movie co-written by Gillian Flynn and starring Viola Davis seemed a sure bet on Oscar nominations morning this year. But it was curiously forgotten. Now that it's arrived on the usual streaming platforms, it’s clear that “Widows,” with its strong performances and convention-defying story, has a perspective on modern culture that leaves a stronger impression than any Oscar winner this year.
The Comet Is Coming’s “Trust in the Lifeforce of the Deep Mystery”: The name may sound like a dog-eared self-help book left behind in an Ojai bed-and-breakfast, but this album led by U.K. saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings is another testament to the surge of genre-blind creativity coming out of the London jazz scene. A spaced-out, propulsive mix of drums, synthesizers and Hutchings’ hard-charging horns, this trio conjures epic sci-fi landscapes that can sound hopeful (album-opener “Because the End is Really the Beginning”), frantic (“Summon the Fire”) or furious (“Blood of the Past” with spoken-word artist Kate Tempest), but each sounds out of this world.
Marc Jacobs: First the fashion industry came for New York City’s revered punk club CBGB (now a John Varvatos boutique), and nothing could be said. But the surviving members of Nirvana are fighting back against Marc Jacobs, who co-opted the band’s smiley-face logo for a “Redux Grunge Collection,” which premiered for the 25th anniversary of the last time the label put couture prices on a musical moment. The designer’s lawyers are claiming innocence given an “M” and a “J” are used for the face’s eyes with “Heaven” swapped out for the band’s name, but after seeing they didn’t even bother changing the font or T-shirt colors, all apologies, that sounds dumb.