Pop Diary: 'Don't Worry Darling'! 'The Sandman'! 'Moonage Daydream'!

What I've been digging lately.

"Don't Worry Darling." I have no idea what's up between Florence Pugh and Olivia Wilde backstage, but it's a pity that their personal drama has eclipsed the one they've put on screen. 

This is a well-crafted, provocative bit of suspense/sci-fi that kept me guessing about the circumstances of its characters and world they inhabit.

Alice (Pugh) and Jack Chambers (Harry Styles) live in a shiny, happy 1950s suburb where all the men drive immaculate classic cars to work each morning to labor at something called the Victory Project, while the gals stay home cleaning house, watching the well-behaved kids and preparing dinner. Everyone on the surface seems giddy. After all, most nights include fun dinner parties and lots of cocktails. But anytime there's a surface, you know there's bound to be something nasty underneath, no matter how hard you scrub. And that's the conclusion Alice comes to, as well. 

We've seen this sort of thing before in "The Stepford Wives" and "The Truman Show," but that doesn't mean it's not interesting and fun. You know going in that something's amiss, but just what, and how, is a diverting mystery. I found the production work, Wilde's direction and, especially, Pugh's performance entrancing, and I'm surprised by the overly harsh reviews the film has received. I'm definitely glad I decided to have a look.

"The Sandman." I'm slowly making my way through this Netflix adaptation of Neil Gaiman's dark fantasy and am impressed by how faithfully it hews to the original comics. 

Barring a few minor adjustments here and there to make it play better on TV, what you see on screen is pretty much what you saw in print. Much of the dialogue is even the same. 

That's refreshing, since it means that "Sandman" the TV series is damn good, just like "Sandman" the comic was. Tom Sturridge achieves the right blend of spookiness, mysteriousness and bemusement as Morpheus and Kirby Howell-Baptiste is exceptionally good as his fun kid sister, Death. Episode Six, "The Sound of Her Wings," in which we first see them interact, is a moving highlight from what I've seen so far. 

If you haven't read the comics, or haven't done so in a while, I recommend giving them a look before watching. I did and I think doing so likely added much to my enjoyment and appreciation of this adaptation.

"Moonage Daydream." Director Brett Morgen's documentary is a sonic, visual feast that overwhelms us in a good way with everything that's weird, wonderful and amazing about David Bowie and his artistry. 

No talking heads, just concert and interview clips of Ziggy S. and all his latter incarnations casting their spells as we rollercoaster along through all the cha- cha- changes along the way. Whether you knew it beforehand or not, you'll come away realizing that Bowie was something special. 

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