Look & Listen
Exciting, funny, and just plain weird – these are all ways to describe Baz Luhrman’s “post-modern” musical. From the moment the curtain (yes, there is a curtain) draws open, the film draws the viewer into its own strange genre. Refreshing and truly creative, with songs you can sing along to.
Based on the favorite children’s books, this is definitely a movie that parents can watch with their children and actually enjoy. Stuart, voiced wonderfully by Michael J. Fox, is an endearing character who’s just looking for a family to be part of, which he finds with the Littles. It’s a fairy tale with a modern sensibility.
|Saving Private Ryan
If Steven Spielberg’s emotional intelligence matched his visual genius, this 1998 film might qualify for one of the greatest war movies ever. While the director’s insatiable thirst for heroes at times lapses into cloying schmaltz, he uses gore and violence the way it should be used – to deglorify the overkill of modern combat.
A romantic comedy trying to shake hands with a Western, this effort by the director of Mousehunt has enough twists to make your neck ache. In spite of boasting two of the most bankable names in the business, the film affects the feel of a self-conscious indie. A few belly laughs make it worth renting, if not owning.
|Royksopp – Melody A.M.
Royksopp’s debut album features ten tracks of glorious, glistening downtempo and house spiked with ’80s-influenced pop sensibilities. It’s safe to say this was one of the best electronic albums of 2001, while the blend of raw funk basslines, polished low-down breaks and surreal echoed vocals make “So Easy” their finest single to date.
|The Shins – Oh, Inverted World
The Shins’ first effort sounds like it was recorded in a cavernous church with amps, drums and microphones that far predate the band members themselves. But somewhere underneath all the syrupy reverb and swirling psychedelic keyboards, there’s a decidedly “now” esthetic – proof that they do make ’em like they used to.
|Cal Tjader – Soul Burst
Another successful “Latin jazz soul” recording by Tjader, featuring a who’s who of Latin and jazz recording artists. Here’s a young Chick Corea on piano, Bobby Rodriguez on bass, Grady Tate on drums, and a trio of flautistas – who propel a lot of this album. Verve has been sitting on the Tjader catalog for far too long, and this title is hot.
|Ravel – Works for piano, violin and cello
This two-disc set begins and ends with two of Ravel’s most famous chamber music works, which flank earlier, lesser-known pieces and several transcriptions. The performances by three virtuosic soloists who have collaborated for two decades are technically brilliant and stylistically idiomatic, identifying with the composer’s every mood.
CDs and DVDs available at www.albumcity.cz.