retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Of the three entertainments that I’m going to write about this week, the one that I found the most provocative and, in its own way, truthful, was “Tamborine,” the new Chris Rock concert special now streaming on Netflix.

It is an hour of constant laughter, with Rock performing comedy surgery on the subjects of the justice system, religion, politics, child-rearing, relationships and marriage.

It is about this last subject that Rock is most cutting - he is merciless in how he assesses his own behavior, having just gone through a divorce after having cheated on his wife. This segment of the show is amazingly intimate and he offers no excuses - just biting, merciless, often profane humor as he walks along the edge of pain and pathos.

Perhaps my favorite bit had to do with taking his daughter to high school orientation, and his disgust at the people who kept telling the thousands of incoming freshmen that they could be anything they want to be.

“Why are you lying to these children,” he says. “Maybe four of them could be anything they want to be. But the other two thousand better learn how to weld. I look at these kids, and I count at least 60 Uber drivers … Tell the kids the truth - that ‘you can be anything you’re good at … as long as they’re hiring.’ And even then it helps to know somebody.”

Priceless. And pretty good advice.



Black Panther is the latest superhero movie from Marvel, and rest assured that it is going to make a gazillion dollars. In this case, though, it deserves the business and acclaim it is getting, because it manages to root its fantasy in just enough sociological truth to make it more resonant than most movies of its type.

Chadwick Boseman is terrific as the title character, T’Challa, crown prince of the mystical African kingdom of Wakanda, which is far more technologically advanced than the rest of the world, but has successfully hidden its advantages for decades. As Black Panther, he defends the downtrodden and advances the cause of good, but as T’Challa, he is torn between tradition and the sense that his nation has for too long hidden its considerable light under a bushel basket.

The bad guy - played by the estimable Michael B. Jordan, suffers from no such moral quandaries, for reasons - some completely legitimate - the film makes clear. Boseman, Jordan and a supporting cast that includes Lupita Nyong’o, Letitia Wright and Angela Bassett (yes, all women - this film is filled with strong, smart, accomplished women who take a back seat to no man), as well as Forest Whitaker, Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis, all give the film gravitas without weighing it down with false importance. Chalk this up as another hit for director Ryan Coogler - Black Panther is a film that manages to be politically engaged, emotionally grounded and terrific entertainment.



Finally, I must confess to having been disappointed by Darkest Hour, director Joe Wright’s film about the early days of Winston Churchill’s term as British Prime Minister at a time when Germany was scoring steady advances during World War II. Gary Oldman is great as Churchill, practically unrecognizable under makeup and padding but full of gusto and gumption and whiskey. But the rest of the film I found to be uninspiring, and sort of a paint-by-numbers biography. Plus, there’s one scene in the movie, taking place in the London Underground, that seems utterly false … I don’t mind movies about real people that veer away from the facts in search of emotional truth, but this struck me as so false that it took me out of the movie. Darkest Hour was okay, but Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk - which takes place at the same time and focuses on some of the same incidents, but from a different angle - is immeasurably better.



Excellent news this week - the new season of “Bosch” will begin streaming on Amazon on Friday, April 13 - which is good luck to all of us who love the series and the Michael Connelly books on which it is based. And, Amazon also announced that there will be a fifth season of “Bosch,” which will run in 2019.

Even better, Connelly’s newest book, “Dark Sacred Night,” is due out on October 30, 2018, and will bring together his longtime hero, detective Harry Bosch, with his newest creation, LAPD detective Renée Ballard, who he first wrote about in “The Late Show.”

Yippee.



I do have a wine to recommend this week - the 2012 Carignano Del Sulcis Riserva Terre Rare, which is a wonderfully spicy and rustic Italian red that is terrific with pasta and red sauce. I served it to Mrs. Content Guy with a nice Spaghetti al Tonno that I made … and it was wonderful.
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