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movies

Arizona Dream
Johnny Depp (as the young dreamer) and Faye Dunaway (as the older woman) enjoy a surreal encounter in this offbeat film by director Emir Kusturica. A sleeper in the cinemas, this 1994 release still pleases art-house audiences with its unusual cast, quirky storyline, and eccentric love affair.

Monster's Ball
In a small rural Georgia town, a white racist and a black woman form a tender and tenuous relationship after each suffers an unexpected loss. The story does not avoid clichés, but the characterizations and intense performances will haunt most viewers long after the film is over.

Animatrix
The Wachowski brothers commissioned Japan's heroes of anime to do a series of short films that would inform or be informed by The Matrix trilogy. While some of these are available online for download, this DVD release boasts all nine shorts, as well as informative documentary segments. The animation is consistently excellent, providing a dazzling array of styles and the high-concept writing that goes back to the golden age of sci-fi magazines.
Shane
Alan Ladd stars as the valiant gunslinger who defends homesteaders against a crooked cattle baron. Younger viewers may find it dated, but this highly influential, stunningly filmed, well-acted classic still resonates with Western buffs.

music

The Sea and Cake - One Bedroom
The Chicago quartet's sixth album on the Thrill Jockey label features nine originals and an overhaul of Bowie's "Sound & Vision", much of which sounds like a live recording glazed over with an electronic veneer. Songs charge forward but feel almost transparent, lifting even the most propulsive rhythm into the realm of deep reverie.
Up, Bustle & Out
God bless Ninja Tune's "UBO" albums - with a running theme of Cuban culture that keeps getting more authentic. Combining the trademarks of Bristol with the spirit of Cuba, this second volume in the series features laidback trumpetplay and traditional music combined with groovy beats and mellow samples.
India Arie - Acoustic Soul
Sultry soul music with an acoustic bent - Arie herself plays guitar, supplemented by strings (not synthesizers) and drums (not drum machines). Anything but average, Arie's debut marks the auspicious return of the black female singer-songwriter, in the vein of Me'Shell Ndegeocello, Tracy Chapman, and Dionne Farris.
Satch Plays Fats
Louis Satchmo Armstrong here pays tribute to another singing musician, perhaps the greatest stride pianist of them all - Thomas "Fats" Waller. A short-list of standards, this is also one of Armstrong's best recordings from the '50s, and the fabulous musicianship will have you toe-tapping, gyrating, singing and smiling. Essential.

CDs and DVDs available at www.bontonland.cz and www.dvdexpress.cz.

© The Prague Tribune, 2003
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