In the suburbs of Sydney, Australia, four couples become physically and emotionally entangled during a missing persons investigation. A compelling character study serves as a breeding ground of secrets, deceit, betrayal and guilt as the characters flounder in a world where love alone is sometimes not enough to keep marriages intact.
|Talk To Her
Pedro Almodovar’s emotionally-charged drama centers on the intense friendship between a writer and a male nurse who are both caring for coma-stricken women. Although at times it resides too squarely in Almodovar’s own deranged, slightly perverted little world, this film is otherwise tender, affecting and wise.
An international phenomenon, Hideo Nakata’s Ringu (now a trilogy) has marked a resurgence of interest in Japanese horror cinema in the west. The initial mystery and creepy atmosphere are firmly sustained, culminating in a satisfyingly dark and downbeat finale. Beautifully shot and frequently quite terrifying.
The combination of Audrey Hepburn, Gregory Peck and the Eternal City (seen from the seat of a Vespa) guarantees that Roman Holiday still outshines any modern romantic comedy you might care to name. Add the meticulous, loving direction of William Wyler and you have one of Hollywood’s most enduring and endearing classics.
|Laika – Good Looking Blues
The UK band’s third release is a seductively fluid style-melding of celestial electronica, polyrhythmic drive and half-rapped, half-cooed vocals that are indeed blues derived. Live and looped instrumentation, fusionist brass and chirping turntable congeal and percolate with dub, hip-hop, and jazz to create the album’s dark, hypnotic pull.
|Frida – soundtrack
Far more than many soundtracks these days, Elliot Goldenthal’s Frida is a musical work – songs and score together – that is remarkably both intimate and huge in scope at the same time. Goldenthal employs a nucleus of several native Mexican acoustic instruments, adding only a small orchestral ensemble of primary strings to the mix.
|Andrew Bird’s Bowl of Fire – The Swimming Hour
Beyond his stints with the Squirrel Nut Zippers, fiddle-wielding Chicago songwriter Andrew Bird is interested in creating subversive hot music that skips across a continent of timelines and genre barriers. The latest effort shows Bird and his band spreading their stylistic wings even wider, changing moods and modes from track to track.
|US3 – An Ordinary Day In An Unusual Place
The dinner-party funkiness of Brit groove-jackers US3’s newest release reflects the band’s move to Verve, where they can now strip-mine the sample-rich Prestige catalogue. In addition to cool breaks and fusion-dabbled rapping, the album features King Britt collaborator Alison Crockett playing soul diva.