Director Sam Raimi puts Marvel’s flagship superhero at the center of a colorful, computer-enhanced popcorn entertainment. Tobey Mcguire’s performance contains an exuberance too rarely seen in superhero movies, revealing the burdens of superpowers while living out every kid’s dream.
|Year of the Devil
Like a Czech folk-rock version of Spinal Tap, Rok ďábla combines a documentary with zany comedy. All of the eccentric central characters play themselves, and the free-flowing narrative even includes a running joke about spontaneous combustion. An unhinged and very funny film that showcases Čechomor’s music (a kind of Euro-bluegrass) brilliantly.
The cinematic equivalent of Gentleman’s Quarterly? Perhaps, but director Stephen Soderbergh has a blast with his dream cast, and the film-ending caper manages to surprise. It’s nice to see a talented group like this coming together and just basically having a good time, much in the spirit of Frank, Sammy and Dino.
|Rebel Without a Cause
Nearly 50 years after its release, this film still offers a strikingly sympathetic look at a nervous, volatile, soulful youth lost in a world that does not understand him. Following his death on September 30, 1955 (a month before Rebel opened) James Dean became an icon, and Nicholas Ray’s poignant film remains a lasting monument.
|Yann Tiersen – L’Absente
French composer Tiersen shares with Michael Nyman an inclination to use any available instrument in a percussion mode, often producing a gentle staccato, repetitive effect on which the melody can be built. Several of the slightly askew minimalist tracks from this album found a perfect home on the popular Amélie soundtrack.
|Flaming Lips – Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots
Following in the footsteps of 1999’s masterstroke, The Soft Bulletin, The Lips meet a daunting task with their latest offering of comforting, blissful, “out there” tunes. Acoustic strums, soaring strings, layered backing vocals, and a galaxy of funky space-rock touches create another impressionistic sonic wonder.
|Rae & Christian – Another Late Night
Manchester’s dynamic duo consistently outshines their beatboxing country-mates when it comes to break flavors and bottom-heavy hip-hop. This mix of remixes – whether rocking new cuts from Only Child, adding shine to Parliament’s “Flashlight”, or spicing up Jose Feliciano’s cover of “California Dreaming”- is 60 minutes of further evidence.
|Beth Orton – Daybreaker
Unofficially anointed the queen of strum ‘n’ bass, Orton has the foresight to thread beats through her acoustic compositions. Her mix of melancholy and devastatingly beautiful folk-with-gadgetry has rendered an album you’ll reach for on dark days as well as those sunny Sunday mornings when you just want to dance in your living room.