Welcome back once again to HomeFront, where the long-rumored “new normal” actually seems to be manifesting. Work is weird, but it’s work. School is beyond weird, but it’s school. The Emmy Awards are this weekend, the Jewish New Year is about to start, and political pollsters are trying to trick you into answering the phone — fall is here.
Let’s see what else is going on.
FILM: “The Nest” sounds like a haunted-house movie, but it plays like “something rather more subtle,” says Globe film critic Ty Burr, who gives it three stars. Written and directed by Sean Durkin (“Martha Marcy May Marlene”), the suspense-fest stars Jude Law and Carrie Coon as the heads of a family relocated to “a glorious, gloomy tumble-down manse in Surrey” that isn’t what it seems. Oh, your house is making you crazy? Cry me a river.
In her first leading role, Janelle Monáe “has more than enough star wattage for the task, even if the knotty plot of ‘Antebellum’ works overtime to dim it,” Burr writes in a two-star review. The singer-turned-actress nearly saves the time-traveling horror flick, but “where a movie like ‘Get Out’ opened the door to real, complex truths about American society and white behavior, this one seems content to slam the door on your fingers and call it Deep.”
New Bedford native Pete Souza had two turns just outside the spotlight, as White House photographer during the Reagan and Obama administrations. The latter gig dominates the documentary “The Way I See It," and the contrast with the current occupant of the Oval Office “is so vast, it becomes all too easy to belabor it,” the Globe’s Mark Feeney writes in a 2½-star review. “Which is what ‘The Way I See It’ does.”
Charles Burnett’s “Killer of Sheep” (1977) “doesn’t really belong to any genre,” writes Mark Feeney, awarding 3½ stars. Set in the Watts section of LA, “[a]t various times it evokes kitchen-sink domestic drama, Italian neorealism, Lorraine Hansberry, the photographs of Ralph Eugene Meatyard, English lyrical documentary of the ’30s,” and more. The film, Burnett’s first feature, “makes plain both why he’s so little-known and why that’s been such a loss.”
Frederick Wiseman’s documentaries “tend to focus on institutions, groups of humans, and process,” Burr writes, and his 46th and latest, “City Hall,” takes place in his native Boston. “Despite the title, the movie wanders across the vast expanse of Boston, taking in neighborhoods poor and rich and middle class and seeing how the services and decisions that emanate from City Hall work their way out to the citizens for worse and mostly better.”
“City Hall” premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival while Burr was “looking out the window at palm trees shimmering in humid 90-degree heat," he writes. "How’s that possible? Because I’m actually in Florida checking in on my in-laws.” Nevertheless, he has the lowdown on the mostly virtual hybrid event, which featured just 50 films, roughly a quarter of the usual total.
GLOBEDOCS: “City Hall” closes the sixth annual GlobeDocs Film Festival, which starts Oct. 1, virtually (join the club, GlobeDocs). Thirty-plus entries and plenty of post-screening discussions combine to let documentary film fans re-create the festival experience from home. For more information and to buy passes, click here.
TV: Jimmy Kimmel will host the Emmy Awards live from the Staples Center on Sunday — with no red carpet, no audience, and the nominees on pins and needles at home. “Two of last year’s big winners, ‘Game of Thrones’ and ‘Fleabag,’ are not in the running this year. Neither are Emmy favorites ‘Barry’ and ‘Atlanta.’ So the game is a little less predictable,” writes Globe TV critic Matthew Gilbert. He offers predictions anyway, broken down into “will win,” “should win,” and “was robbed” categories.
“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” wasn’t exactly crying out for a spinoff, but Ryan Murphy created one anyway. “Ratched” spotlights “the compelling work of Sarah Paulson,” a member of Murphy’s “American Horror Story” troupe, but the series is “so poorly written that the central figure — the reason for the show’s existence — makes almost no sense,” writes Gilbert.
The cast of “Ratched” includes Finn Wittrock, who spent his early childhood in Lenox. He plays a convicted murderer confined to the mental hospital. “You kind of think he’s a monster at the beginning, but then you peel back the layers and begin to see things from his point of view,” Wittrock tells Globe correspondent Christopher Wallenberg. “I thought of him as a better actor than I am.”
PARENTING: The Globe’s new In the Family Way project tackles your thorniest pandemic-era parenting dilemmas. Through a weekly newsletter and column, it explores questions about children’s health, education, and welfare in uncertain times. The project’s first webinar, “Venturing Out: How Kids Can Socialize Safely This Fall,” featured a panel of medical experts — and parents — moderated by newsletter author Kara Baskin. See the webinar here and sign up for the newsletter here.
VISUAL ART: “Ripples: Through a Wampanoag Lens,” an exhibition of work by Elizabeth James Perry at the New Bedford Whaling Museum, helps “break down a divide, between ideas of a culture long since expired and one alive, even thriving,” writes Globe art critic Murray Whyte. The "beguiling array” of works made from traditional techniques and materials “presents Wampanoag culture not as history or artifact, but with past linked to present in an unbroken chain.”
In Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park, “The Shape of Play,” a new installation by Sari Carel, incorporates six wood sculptures and audio recordings that form a “quiet symphony of sounds made on playground equipment,” writes Globe correspondent Cate McQuaid. “If you stand in the center of the installation, you’ll hear all aspects of the percussive little composition. Or you can engage in a sweet game of hide-and-seek.”
“Stephanie Cole: Secular Cathedral” is the 77-year-old assemblage artist’s second museum show (the first was last year), drawn from five decades of “finding things.” Cole is “a rare artist that was just making for herself,” Fuller Craft Museum artistic director Beth McLaughlin tells McQuaid. "Her talent with the formal elements of artmaking and her ability to select just the right item for her purpose is remarkable.”
MUSIC: The thorny question of Richard Wagner’s cultural influence animates the nearly 800 pages of “Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music,” by New Yorker critic Alex Ross. “To some extent, this is how art works — an artistic object can be seized upon by radically different groups and personalities in very different ways,” Ross tells Globe correspondent David Weininger. “I think it comes back to the sense of Wagner as a vivid mirror.”
Early buzz is building for “Giver Taker,” the new album by Jamaica Plain singer-songwriter Anjimile. It “borrows from a lifetime of influences — ’80s pop, Moses Sumney, early Sufjan Stevens, and the late Oliver Mtukudzi, the legendary Zimbabwean musician,” writes Globe correspondent Rachel Raczka. The buzz for the album and the artist, who recently opened for Yo-Yo Ma, gets louder with a virtual listening party Friday.
Retired Harvard professor Lewis Lockwood, author of the new book “Beethoven’s Lives,” turns 90 on Dec. 16, Beethoven’s 250th birthday. “After writing my own Beethoven biography, I eventually got interested in the larger questions of the genre itself, and especially, how do you shape the relationship between life and work?” he says in a Q&A with Globe classical music critic Jeremy Eichler. “That’s not a straightforward question to answer.”
PODCASTS: Season 4 of the “Love Letters” podcast, hosted by the Globe’s Meredith Goldstein, is underway. The theme is “At Any Age,” about the relationship lessons we learn at all stages of life. Last week’s premiere featured a Chuck E. Cheese-style ball pit in a home office. An adult’s home office.
The new podcast “Mr. 80 Percent,” about Globe reporter Mark Shanahan’s experience with prostate cancer, starts Sept. 24. Shanahan calls the six-episode series “a deeply personal, sometimes harrowing, often funny story about a disease that affects millions of men.” Send the kids out of the room and listen to the trailer here.
DANCE: Boston Ballet’s schedule is out, and it’s mostly — say it with me — virtual. But not entirely! The company plans to perform live at the Opera House in May, wrapping up a “reimagined” season that prominently features “The Nutcracker.” “Arts are how we mediate our human experience and are needed now more than ever to bring us together,” executive director Meredith Hodges tells Globe correspondent Karen Campbell.
FOOD & DINING: You’re spending a lot of time at home, watching screens and preparing meals. You’re already halfway to online cooking classes, and former Globe food editor Sheryl Julian has some suggestions. From big names to little kids and from family-friendly basics to elaborate creations, you’ll find something for nearly everyone.
Tired of your local grocery options? The Boston Public Market reopened this week. Public health precautions are in place, and “most customer favorites are back,” reports Globe correspondent Diti Kohli.
BOOKS: Laila Lailami’s first nonfiction book, “Conditional Citizens: On Belonging in America,” makes “an argument for active, equal United States citizenship,” writes Globe reviewer Walton Muyumba. The fiction writer and essayist, a native of Morocco, “attempts to account for the ways that powerful American forces use class status, religion, border policing, national origin, non-whiteness, and gender to diminish and deactivate full citizenship.”
Twenty excellent candidates for your to-be-read pile make up the Globe’s fall books preview. It features 10 fiction and 10 nonfiction titles selected by correspondents Kate Tuttle and Joshunda Sanders, including “The Cold Millions,” by Jess Walter (“Beautiful Ruins”), and “The Selected Works of Audre Lorde.”
BUT REALLY: Whatever your belief system, the idea of a new year starting in the fall is always appealing. In 2020, getting a do-over sounds positively magical. Happy 5781! Wear your mask and wash your hands!