Tipping Point: Our picks and pans
City of Dreams
Two down, one to go. When the outstanding literary crime novelist Don Winslow announced he was retiring in 2020 to spend his energies fighting Trump and his ilk in any fashion possible, he left a completed trilogy about Providence mobster Danny Ryan. The first, “City On Fire,” was published last year and fireballed to the top of the New York Times bestseller list. Critics exulted (including me). Now “City of Dreams” is out. Get it at top speed! Ryan, on the run from after losing a blood-splattered turf war in Rhody, heads to Los Angeles. He’s living quietly when the Feds find him and force him into a cruel dilemma. And that’s BEFORE Hollywood decides to make a film about his life and he falls for a movie star. No good can come of this, right? Irresistible, layered storytelling — and the manner in which Winslow subtly shifts the entire tone, rhythms and energy over two books, from East Coast to West Coast, is stunningly and unerringly well done.
— Rick Koster
Murder Mystery 2
I don’t think I truly appreciated the talents of Jennifer Aniston until this movie. She brings a breezy charm to the proceedings, sure, but she also exhibits a preternatural ability to make the most of every comic line, often by underplaying it. I don’t know what “Murder Mystery 2” would be without her. The premise doesn’t really matter, since “Murder Mystery 2” is really all about the comedy, especially the sprightly banter and comfortable chemistry between Aniston and co-star Adam Sandler. But here’s the goofy storyline anyway: Audrey and Nick Spitz, who created their own detective agency after the original “Murder Mystery” movie, are invited to a lavish wedding by their insanely wealthy friend, Vik. When Vik is kidnapped, the Spitzes try to figure out who has captured him and to set him free. The lightweight “Murder Mystery 2” is a pleasantly diverting way to spend an hour and a half.
– Kristina Dorsey
Gabriel continues his long tease by releasing the fourth tune and title track from an upcoming album. Not content to just drop the songs — this IS the guy who conceptualized “The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway,” after all — Gabriel is accompanying each advance tune with backstory and philosophy. For example, “i/o” stands for “input/output,” which I think was inspired by the electronic equipment cable jacks and then expanded as a metaphor for the vast interconnectedness of, well, all of us and everything. Oh: the song. Is it any good? Yes, it’s excellent and vintage sounding Gabriel, with his yearning melodies and raspy voice o’er a tapestry of lush keyboards. Whenever this album actually comes out, it should be pretty wonderful.
— Rick Koster