|The Shipping News
Director Lasse Hallström has turned the familiar novel by E. Annie Proulx into a film that should belong to a genre known as “Salt of the Earth Redemption”. Good, but not exceptional performances by Kevin Spacey and the other leads make the characters respectable, although not very likable or engaging.
Usually, calling movies “cartoonish” is an insult. In this case, it’s a compliment – as director Raja Gosnell offers a live-action film that’s true to its animated roots but aims the occasional gag above its kiddie audience’s heads. The film coasts on modern camp and sheer nostalgia, gleefully resonating its Saturday morning counterpart.
|The Panic Room
The latest effort from director David Fincher (Fight Club, Se7en) features a mother and daughter seeking refuge from a trio of criminals in a entry-proof “panic room”. While mostly an engaging cat-and-mouse thriller abetted by innovative camera work, the ending may disappoint Fincher fans expecting a grisly twist.
A science-fiction cannibal-zombie adventure about genetic experimentation and corporations that think they are above the law. Sound bad? Well, for horror fans it’s anything but. Unlike last year’s bloated, yawn-inducing Tomb Raider, this video-game-to-celluloid adaptation has a clammy, nightmarish glaze and tightly coiled sense of tension.
|Beck – Sea Changes
A musical chameleon, Beck has become everything from slacker icon to indie-hop magnate to disco king. This time around, he delivers a disc of quiet, somber and truly soulful songs. Flourishes of electronica and orchestration enhance the music throughout, without ever obscuring the fact that this record is really a spotlight on a man and his guitar.
|The Clinic – Walking With Thee
With a Brit deity status just shy of the Strokes and the White Stripes, these art-rockers from Liverpool offer lo-fi romps aplenty. Yet peel the layers from ghostly melodicas, distorted organs and Abe Blackburn’s freaky mantras and you’ll find pearls of melody from what is essentially a rock ‘n’ roll album disguised in sweet turbulence.
|The Best of Roberta Flack
You can’t argue with the staying power and sheer beauty of Flack’s voice, or the rich, sultry sound of her songs. This compilation contains all of her hits from the “Killing Me Softly” and “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” era, which don’t sound as dated as they actually are. A true testimony to a sophisticated balladeer and fabulous songwriters.
|Russian Piano Recital
Michael Lewin enjoys a distinguished worldwide reputation as one of the most exciting concert pianists of his generation. Acclaimed for his virtuosity, passion and intelligence, here the New York-based virtuoso takes on some complex compositions by Scriabin, Glazunov and Balakirev.