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The Fault in Our Stars
Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort make the most of love and life in this teen tearjerker
Based on the ginormously popular YA novel, this is a sweet, simple, dignified movie about young lovers whose every move is chaperoned by death. When they meet in a cancer support group, Hazel Grace Lancaster (Woodley) and Augustus Waters (Elgort) share a sense of gallows humor, but she considers her foreshortened life with philosophical intensity, and he stays afloat with gallant charm. Where they connect (and the pair do connect, wholly) is on a level of existential bliss, until – oh, here come the waterworks. (PG-13)
Orange Is the New Black
The prison series’s powerful season 2 starts streaming June 6
Some gentle inspiration might keep inmate Piper (Taylor Schilling) from becoming a mean girl – she’s looking and acting hard—but no one here watches Super Soul Sunday. In the first episodes of season 2, a realistic sense of hostility brews as the girls hold on to turf (Do. Not. Steal. From. Piper!) and racial tension rises. The flashbacks are still the show’s sorrow-bearing spine: Poor Crazy Eyes (Uzo Aduba) was lost from the get-go.
Searching for a Grumpy Cat you can call your own? PetMatch lets you upload images of your dream pet, then it tracks down lookalikes at nearby shelters. (Now in Apple’s App Store.)
Kind of like The Fault in Our Stars: Italia Ricci plays a reporter who discovers she has cancer. But this dire news fits into a nicely set up story about family issues that, along with her illness, can’t be ducked. (ABC Family, June 10, 9 p.m.)
Miranda Lambert, Platinum
On her catchy new record, she exudes confidence
Lambert may be only 30, but her fifth album finds her pining for the long-gone past as skillfully as any nostalgic Nashville veteran. Lead single “Automatic” waxes rueful over the days of Polaroids, while the honky-tonk charmer “Gravity Is a B**ch” is a self-deprecating nod toward the aging process. But Lambert’s still got verve – as she proclaims on the title track, “What doesn’t kill you only makes you blonder.”
The Best New Books
A Stephen King mass murderer, the next installment in the Outlander series and engrossing paperbacks for your beach bag
Diana Gabaldon, Written in My Own Heart’s Blood
Time travelers Claire and Jamie are reunited in Gabaldon’s feverishly awaited eighth Outlander adventure, which features all the passion and swashbuckling that fans of this historical fantasy series have come to expect. Plus – and this is a godsend – an elaborate family tree so you don’t get muddled.
Lisa See, China Dolls
Based on the Chinese nightclub circuit that thrived in mid-20th-century America, this captivating novel by the author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan follows three young women who bond as they fight for stardom. Reverberating with jaunty energy, it also delivers sobering insights into the persecution of Asian Americans during World War II.
BOOK OF THE WEEK
Stephen King, Mr. Mercedes
Starting off with a bang (courtesy of a madman-driven Mercedes Benz), King’s latest thriller races from one dark psyche to another. With every fresh twist in this game of cat and mouse between a retired police officer and the deranged killer who got away, the disturbing revelations just keep coming – about those on both sides of the law. At 436 pages, it’s a trimmer-than-usual King, but that doesn’t mean he skimps on the suspense and spine-tingling chills.
Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Like all the best fairy tales, this one for adults – about a man recalling an otherworldly experience – is equal parts terrifying and enchanting.
David Sedaris, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls
Sedaris serves up more choice morsels from his unfailingly amusing life. Either that or he’s just making stuff up now, but it works.
Khaled Hosseini, And the Mountains Echoed
From the author of The Kite Runner, a sweeping intergenerational saga about sacrifice, devotion and the bonds of family.
Edge of Tomorrow
Tom Cruise is having a moment (over and over!) in an alien war
Extraterrestrial invaders trap warrior Tom Cruise in a time loop, recycling him through a battle in which he always ends up roadkill. The plot, with its echoes of Memento and Starship Troopers, is so fast and dense that Cruise for once seems just to surrender and go with the flow: It’s a fluid, funny shrug of a performance. The monsters are meh – they appear to be made of gunmetal and noodles – but this is a scrappy good time. (PG-13)
How far can Julia Louis-Dreyfus‘s Selina Meyer go in the primaries (and the season 3 finale) if her campaign memoir is Some New Beginnings – a title that’s a bunch of generic mush? The show, luckily, is explicitly, hilariously foulmouthed. HBO, June 8, 10 p.m.
Hugh Jackman hosts a big night celebrating Broadway and, more importantly, show tunes – sung by phenomenal belters like Idina Menzel. CBS, June 8, 8 p.m.
Lana Del Rey, Once upon a Dream
What magic is this? Del Rey sang at the start of Kim Kardashian‘s wedded life, and she sings at the end of Angelina Jolie‘s Maleficent. Her take on the classic from Disney’s Sleeping Beauty sounds as if she were sinking into a coma at the bottom of a wishing well – no one else makes lethargy so entrancing.
BINGE ON THIS!
Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson at their best
“Well, see, time is gonna come loose like a hubcap, and all this stuff in the air, ions of evil, are gonna bury everyone.” That’s how you’ll be talking – like Rust Cohle (Matthew McConaughey), a detective whose mind is overrun by cosmic foreboding – as you get sucked into HBO’s strange, addictive series. Rust and another, saner cop (Woody Harrelson) investigate a ritual killing that points to some of the nastiest, swampiest elements in the state of Louisiana. A classic of sinister ambiance with great acting.
Like Glee? Then you should glom onto this teen Web series – it wowed 2.8 million fans with its first episode – that happily bursts into candy-colored musical numbers (including “Cups,” the Anna Kendrick hit). With season 2, the kids hit the road to go searching for a missing dad. (youtube.com/awesomenesstv)