Our five faves of the moment: "Planes: Fire & Rescue,” Davina & the Vagabonds, "Boyhood,” more

  • Updated: July 19, 2014 - 2:00 PM
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Dusty, voiced by Dane Cook, in “Planes: Fire & Rescue.”

1 There’s a cheerful simplicity about the animated “Planes: Fire & Rescue.” The high-flying new Disney cartoon feels like a junior varsity spinoff of “Cars.” The story continues the adventures of Dusty Crophopper (voiced by Dane Cook), hero of last year’s “Planes.” The onetime crop duster turned aerial race champ has developed a gearbox problem that sidelines him from high-speed competition. Rather than feeling sorry for himself, he joins a crew of vehicles fighting forest fires in a Yosemite-like national park. Here he faces the challenges of a kid fitting in at a new grade school.

2 Are they roadhouse blues, Southern boogie-woogie, Dixieland jazz or New Orleans brass and funk? Twin Cities club stalwarts Davina & the Vagabonds can answer “Yes” to any of those now with their first album in three years, “Sunshine.” Purr-to-roar frontwoman Davina Sowers pulls off a soaring Aretha Franklin moment (“I’d Rather Drink Muddy Water”) and a serene Patty Griffin cover (“Heavenly Day”), and her heavily road-tested band goes full-steam in fun originals such as “Better Start Praying.”

3 “Boyhood” fills you with openhearted happiness and awe at its scope and daring. It’s a low-key masterpiece, a wistful comedy that never forgets to keep genuine emotions foremost. Director Richard Linklater’s domestic epic looks at the common things in life in an uncommon way. It traces the youth of a good suburban Texas child over the course of 12 years: from a dreamy tadpole first-grader to a lanky college freshman. Actor Ellar Coltrane shows exceptional promise. This film moves you to laugh, to think and, best of all, to feel.

5 If you haven’t been to the Bakken Museum in Minneapolis in a while, here’s a great reason to visit: a new solar-powered electronic sound sculpture dubbed “solarsonicinfinitysystem,” built and programmed by four inventive high school students (Sam Aronson, Scout Lindberg, Simon Rothman and Nina Sokol) with assists from a couple of adults. The sculpture will be making its zipping, bopping, whirring noises inspired by sound patterns found in nature through Saturday on the Bakken’s green roof. thebakken.org

4 In “Travels With Casey,” New York Times Magazine writer Benoit Denizet-Lewis sets off in an RV with his yellow Lab mix, Casey, to explore America and understand its devotion to dogs. Denizet-Lewis is no John Steinbeck, and his trip was planned within an inch of its life (he visits the Westminster dog show, a famous dog photographer, dog shelters and dog parks, and a bed-and-breakfast shaped like a beagle), but it’s still a pleasant, if not wise, read. There are a few surprises: He falls in love, has his heart broken, has an epiphany at a truck stop off the Ohio Turnpike and comes home with twice as many dogs as he left with.









  • related content

  • Davina & the Vagabonds, “Sunshine”

  • Mason (Ellar Coltrane), age 9, in Richard Linklater’ “Boyhood.”

  • A new solar-powered electronic sound sculpture dubbed “solarsonicinfinitysystem,” built and programmed by four inventive high-school students (Sam Aronson, Scout Lindberg, Simon Rothman and Nina Sokol) with assists from a couple of adults. The sculpture will be making its zipping, bopping, whirring noises inspired by sound patterns found in nature through Saturday on the Bakken Museum’s green roof.

  • “Travels With Casey” by Benoit Denizet-Lewis

  • Mason (Ellar Coltrane), age 18, in Richard Linklater’ “Boyhood.”

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