Staff Picks: Christoph Waltz, ‘Faking It,’ and ‘Diablo III’

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Need a great book to read, album to listen to, or TV show to get hooked on? The Flavorwire team is here to help: in this weekly feature, our editorial staffers recommend the cultural object or experience they’ve enjoyed most in the past seven days. Click through for our picks, and tell us what you’ve been loving in the comments.

Christoph Waltz in Big Eyes

Tim Burton’s attempt to recapture the magic of Ed Wood—another oddball period true story with a script by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski—doesn’t quite land, thanks to the shininess of the aesthetic (nothing really looks lived in), the unevenness of the performances (there’s no bigger Amy Adams fan than your film editor, but he lets her overdo it here), the unmotivated visual flourishes, the crushingly old-fashioned score, and the comical obviousness with which the director is working out his issues with critics. But there is a reason to see Big Eyes, out this week on DVD and Blu-ray: Christoph Waltz is magnificent in it. From his first appearance, purring “If I may respectfully disagree” to a couple of pretty girls at his art stand, he captures the complexities and deceptions of Walter Keane, who spent years taking credit for the work of his wife. Waltz’s nuanced turn conveys what the script can barely be bothered with: how a potent combination of misunderstanding, salesmanship, sexism, and professional jealousy led him to tell that lie, and keep on telling it long past the point where anyone believed it. The performance only grows richer as his facade melts away and the monster steps out, his smug intensity and wild-eyed desperation coming to a head at their trial, where he defends himself by showboating, mugging at the jury, and, in a comic tour de force, cross-examining himself. It’s a wickedly entertaining and psychologically potent performance; it’s a shame it’s not housed by a better movie. — Jason Bailey, Film Editor

Ruining My Life With Diablo III

Much of my childhood was spent clicking away mindlessly on some Blizzard-made game, and most of my middle school summers were eaten alive by Diablo II: Lord of Destruction. So it was probably not a wise move when, after finally buying a gaming-capable laptop, I purchased Diablo III. I am now a fully grown man with several jobs and a full-time relationship, and yet I must not want to be, because I have cursed myself to this, Diablo III, and hundreds of thousands of clicks in search of legendary gear so that my Demon Hunter, named Rhonda, can outfit herself with the best possible crossbow and perhaps, by looking fierce as hell, redeem the dozens of real, non-refundable hours spent trying to obtain said fierceness. It’s all great fun. — Shane Barnes, Editorial Apprentice

MTV’s Faking It

We’re neck-deep in prestige TV this month, and while I love deconstructing Mad Men and “What’s happening? Who’s that?”-ing my way through Game of Thrones, I’ve had the most fun binge-watching the first season of MTV’s deceptively smart teen comedy Faking It. It transcends a worrisome premise — two high-school girls make a play for popularity by posing as lesbian girlfriends — by moving quickly toward a far richer dilemma: while one half of the faux couple uses her new social status to seduce the hottest guy in school, the other really does start to question her sexual orientation. The characters are fresh, the dialogue is sharp, and I’ve already witnessed one exchange (in which it comes to light that two characters are both bad people, despite their very different social agendas) that could go head-to-head with Matthew Weiner’s best epiphanies. — Judy Berman, Editor-In-Chief

Triskelion Arts

This past Saturday, Triskelion Arts held their annual Spring Gala and cracked a figurative bottle of champagne against their brand new rehearsal and performance space in Greenpoint. The night’s many performances featured abridged, stunning dances by longtime Triskelion collaborators (including a hilarious, satirical lip-syncing dance battle choreographed by Dante Brown), and a Q&A with the choreographers and dancers from each piece. — Ona Abelis, Editorial Apprentice

Courtney Barnett’s “Kim’s Caravan” Video I’ve seen my share of apocalyptic music videos; directors are quick to catch onto the idea that sad songs are mini, personal apocalypses, and so malnourished landscapes and faces often reign. But there’s something about the lack of apocalyptic ostentation to Courtney Barnett’s just-released “Kim’s Caravan” video (which accompanies, in my opinion, the best track off her new album) that gives a fresh face to its stale faces. Perhaps this comes from the coupling of the sparse imagery with her candid, diary-like lyrics that catapult through environmental concerns (the Great Barrier Reef) to personal extremes to exploitative relationships. The looseness of her lyrics, and the quiet nonchalance of her apocalypse, grant her the ease with which she can submerge every subject in the musical equivalent of “oil and soot.”Moze Halperin, Associate Editor