This week in popular culture: “On Bowie,” Maxwell and another run at Tarzan

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y450-293“On Bowie” by Rob Sheffield (Dey Street). Disclosure: Sheffield  (Rolling Stone, “Love is a Mixtape”) has been a friend, teacher and brother of mine for more than 20 years. But that doesn’t make this book any less excellent. Immediately following Bowie’s death on Jan. 10, Sheffield’s editor asked him to write a book on Bowie in a month. Turned out to not quite be that fast but considering how quickly this was written, “On Bowie” is a stunning achievement, a smart funny and thoughtful meditation on the artist who has meant the most to the author. (Tuesday)

“The Legend of Tarzan.” Another swing at Tarzan (no pun intended), this time taking place years after the titular character, now assuming the title of Lord Greystoke (Alexander Skarsgård of “True Blood” fame), has returned to England. Now, he must go back to the Congo on a trade mission. Could work well, could work poorly, but one has to ask oneself: When was the last time there was a genuinely good Tarzan movie? Could the answer be … never? (Friday)

“BFG.” The highly anticipated next movie by Steven Spielberg based on the Roald Dahl children’s classic, with Mark Rylance as the Big Friendly Giant and Ruby Barnhill as the orphan Sophie. Rumored to be a motion-capture tour de force. (Friday)

Blink-182, “California” (BMG Rights Management). Does a Blink-182 album exist if Tom DeLonge is not on it? I guess we are going to find out, as Alkaline Trio singer/guitarist Matt Skiba replaces DeLonge on this, their first album in five years. (Friday)

Maxwell, “blackSUMMERS’night” (Columbia). Dude’s first album in seven years. Yes, it’s the one slated to appear in 2012 as the follow-up to the 2009 album “BLACKsummers’night.” Also, have you seen the man recently? He is just as hot as he was in the “This Woman’s Work” era but in a completely different, grown-up way. Lord. (Friday)


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