New ‘Les Mis’
A new take on Victor Hugo’s famous novel Les Misérables arrives on PBS April 14, with the first episode of a miniseries based on Hugo’s work airing at 9 p.m. Dominic West stars as Jean Valjean, a former convict treated unjustly by the world. David Oyelowo and Lily Collins co-star.
Pity the British Olympic diving team for not having Yannis Philippakis among its ranks. As the singer of the band Foals, Philippakis famously clambers up stacks of speakers on stage and dives into audiences. His form is immaculate. So is his voice on Foals’ fifth album, Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost, Part 1. The band’s muscular funk rock locates the missing link between the Talking Heads and Red Hot Chili Peppers on “Exits” and “In Degrees.” Foals’ springboard plunge into arena-ready anthems merits a score of 9 out of 10.
Forgiveness and forgery
In Can You Ever Forgive Me?, which is available on DVD and Blu-ray, Melissa McCarthy stars as Lee Israel, an author who begins forging letters from famous figures. Monitor film critic Peter Rainer calls the film “marvelous” and praises “the subtlety and fullness of [McCarthy’s] performance.”
Yeah Yeah Yeahs fiery frontwoman Karen O has teamed up with Danger Mouse (actually drummer/producer extraordinaire Brian Burton) to create an unexpectedly beautiful noise called Lux Prima (meaning “first light”). The resulting sound is at once lush and massive, spare and intimate, and constantly surprising. Burton’s wildly creative and compelling drumming is as much at the forefront of this music’s heady mix as O’s arresting vocals. The cinematic title song and dreamy final tune “Nox Lumina” make perfect bookends for an album that continues to offer up sonic delights at every turn.
What exactly is gravity, anyway? Find the answer to this and other mind-bending physics questions on the MinutePhysics YouTube channel. The videos are short and fast-paced but surprisingly understandable, thanks to whiteboard animations. Find it at www.YouTube.com/user/minutephysics.