From the mind of Brad Bird, Pixar’s latest feature-length fantasy is – for lack of a better word – incredible. A truly engaging and entertaining story about the all-too-human foibles of superheroes is brought wonderfully to life with state-of-the-art animation and spot-on voice characterizations. As good as it was on the big screen, you’ll want the DVD to watch over and over again.
Viktor Navorski (Tom Hanks) arrives at New York’s JFK Airport, only to find that American officials will not honor his visa and passport – leaving him stranded in the international-transit lounge, his freedom snarled in bureaucratic red tape for nine months. A shallow but lighthearted, entertaining fable (nods to Frank Capra) about how one common man can make a difference.
This 1976 Oscar-winner for Best Picture made Rocky Balboa a household name and Sylvester Stallone an overnight celebrity. The sometimes amateurish, sometimes campy tale of a small-time club boxer’s once-in-a-lifetime chance to overcome the odds still packs the one-two punch of pathos and inspiration.
|Girl With A Pearl Earring
A speculative account of the life of Griet, a 16-year-old housemaid who sits for Johannes Vermeer’s now-famous portrait of the same title. As little is known about the 17th-century Dutch artist, room was available for cinematographer Eduardo Serra and director Peter Webber to create an exquisitely composed, gorgeously filmed melodrama.
|The Gorillaz – Demon Days
Darker and more intense than their smash self-titled debut, but no less eclectic, this album was co-produced by Damon Albarn and Danger Mouse. The band’s reputation for excellence has secured them a stellar guest list – from De La Soul and Deborah Harry to the Happy Monday’s Shaun Ryder and underground rapper MF Doom. A real treat.
|Roberta Flack – First Take
Roberta Flack’s voice is nothing short of magical, and on this album she displays her range on tracks like the cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye” and the brooding, Latin-flavored “Angelitos Negros”. If ever an album defined musical artistry, it would have to be this one, which was recorded on its “First Take”.
|Manishevitz – Roll Over
On his third solo album, Adam Busch (Manishevitz) borrows from different genres to fit the mood of each song – here a touch of gothic folk, there a bit of baroque pop, maybe even a little sensual R & B. Busch’s lyrics are strange and wonderful, a procession of surreal, non-sequiturial images that somehow cohere on a deeply intuitive level.
|Grieg – Lyric Pieces
Norwegian composer and pianist Edvard Grieg’s 66 Lyric Pieces were written over a 30-year period, serving as a sort of musical diary, rich in nostalgia and often evoking the long, bleak winters of the composer’s home. Here Leif Ove Andsnes plays 24 of them, with a lovely tone and virtuoso polish, on Grieg’s own 1892 model B Steinway in the high-ceilinged, wood-floored drawing room at Troldhaugen.