Staff Picks: ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,’ Gas’ ‘Nah und Fern,’ Margaret Qualley’s Fantastical Freakout in That Spike Jonze Commercial


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. Scroll through for our picks below.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof on Blu-ray

Warner Archives has been on a killer streak of releasing Blu-ray upgrades of classic movies from Hollywood icons – several each for Bogie and Bacall and Hitchcock, and most recently following up May’s HD release of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf with another of Elizabeth Taylor’s most memorable turns. As “Maggie the Cat” in Richard Brooks’s 1958 adaptation of Tennessee Williams’s stage classic, Taylor is absolutely scorching, masterfully putting across the fierce sexuality and raw pain of the character. And Paul Newman is equally remarkable opposite her; their off-the-charts chemistry packs in all the subtext that the inexplicit era wouldn’t allow. — Jason Bailey, Film Editor

Margaret Qualley in Spike Jonze’s perfume commercial

If you’ve watched The Leftovers, you’re probably used to Margaret Qualley as a (very apt depiction of a) sullen teenager who — in the dour first season’s sea of characters mired in a very monotone depression — very slowly starts to become a character with a fuller spectrum of emotions in Season 2. Of all places, it was in Spike Jonze’s new…perfume commercial (for Kenzo) that Margaret Qualley got to show off an vast — to the point of being very intentionally horrifying — range. As she attends a generic upper crust gala at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, Qualley’s character in the short, titled “My Mutant Brain,” becomes overwhelmed by the doldrums, bolts into the lobby, and emotionally and physically breaks loose through the dance. But it’s not your usual socially-constricted-character-accessing-their-inner-truth story, because this character’s inner truth is fucking nuts, and her dance includes licking statues, jumping through a floral eye, and shooting lasers out of her fingertips. — Moze Halperin, Associate Editor

Gas — Nah und Fern Box Set

In a perhaps inadvisedly impulsive move, I decamped from NYC to Amsterdam for 48 hours over the weekend in order to hang out with a friend from Australia. The fact I was there for such a short time meant that I never really got off NYC time, and so I lived an entirely nocturnal couple of days, with my friend and I, um, availing ourselves of the local specialties and listening to a lot of minimal techno. In particular, we found ourselves revisiting Wolfgang Voigt’s Gas albums, which are four of the most atmospheric and inventive records the genre has to offer. From the self-titled debut through the glistening depths of Konigsforst, named after the forest wherein the teenage Voigt did a bunch of psychedelics, to the (relatively) upbeat stylings of Pop, the Gas project is a perfect soundtrack for long nights of discussion and/or contemplation. Jetlag: optional. — Tom Hawking, Editor-in-Chief

Chloe Caldwell’s I’ll Tell You in Person & Bell Boggs’ The Art of Waiting

I’m currently reading two books of essays/memoir soon to come out in September, Chloe Caldwell’s I’ll Tell You in Person and Belle Boggs’ The Art of Waiting. Stylistically, they couldn’t be more different; Caldwell’s, mostly about her misspent youth — heroin and sexual exploits included — is confessional, direct, entirely made up of personal anecdote. Boggs,’ a story about her infertility, IVF, and subsequent pregnancy, is measured, full of research and intellectual exploration, including anecdotes about the animal kingdom and American social history. Both feel very white in different ways (Boggs is yearning for a kind of white middle class family and Caldwell is flirting with disaster in a way that evokes privilege), yet there is some universality to be found in their specifics. They’re doing the vital project of filling in the lines of women’s lives today: sexual, emotional, desiring and thinking. — Sarah Seltzer, Deputy Editor