|Band of Brothers
Based on the non-fiction book by Stephen E. Ambrose, this sprawling HBO miniseries follows a WWII Airborne company from training in Georgia, to parachuting into France on D-Day, all the way to its capture of Hitler’s mountain retreat in Bavaria. Excellent production values and performances.
|The Royal Tenenbaums
Wes Anderson and co-writer Owen Wilson have followed Rushmore with something as genuinely fresh – a quirky look at a dysfunctional family, which unfolds with the heightened narrative convention of chapters in a book. The result is a comic drama evincing the same unique perspective on people and on cinema that made their debut feature so endearing.
Inspired by Chris Marker’s remarkable 1962 experimental short film “La Jetée”, this is a complex and disturbing science fiction story that will not be to everyone’s taste. Mixing time travel and schizophrenia, David People’s brilliant script provides director Terry Gilliam with some fascinating paradoxes to play around with.
Mia is a gangly, frizzy-haired 15-year-old “ugly duckling” of sorts who is confronted with news that she is heir to the throne of a Monte Carlo-like country named Genovia, thus turning her rather normal high school life into a media circus.
|Craig David – Slicker Than Your Average
Boasting a definite light hip-hop appeal, British-born Craig David seems determined to impress those who were a little skeptical after his debut smash, and has come across harder, more diverse and more urban this time. Horns, breakbeats and smooth, synthesized additives give the album a slick arcade-game feel.
|Lux Vivens (Living Light) – The Music of Hildegard Von Bingen
Enchanting and often otherworldly, this recording of 12th-century mystic Hildegard von Bingen’s music is a sheer delight, a beautiful collection of compositions for which the Benedictine nun claimed divine inspiration. Listening to singer Jocelyn Montgomery’s gorgeous renditions, lushly produced by David Lynch, that’s easy to believe.
|Solex – Pick up
Augmented by a drummer and a guitarist, Dutch record-store-owner-turned-sampling-queen Elizabeth Esselink cranks out electronic pop that’s as visceral as punk. Even if you don’t get the chills from her second album, you’ll still have to admit that she’s an original, a wide-eyed wise-ass whose sense of melody is sugar-sweet but never obvious.
|The Go-Betweens – Bright Yellow Bright Orange
After walking the fine line between punk and folk in the 1980s this Australian duo’s talent for crafting catchy pop remains enviable, especially considering they bypassed the ’90s musically. Their latest is a fine-tuned return to form, with a subtle backing chorus and other touches that guarantee you’ll give this disc more than a few spins.