|Once Upon a Time in the West
A mysterious stranger with a harmonica joins forces with a notorious desperado to protect a beautiful widow from a ruthless assassin working for the railroad in Sergio Leone’s frontier epic. Mysterious pasts and the strength of loyalties are explored amid lightning fast gun battles and stylish vistas.
In this prehistoric “buddy picture”, a sloth, a mammoth, and a saber-toothed tiger join forces and go on a trek to return a human baby to its tribe. The writing is frequently laugh-out-loud funny, the 3-D animation has improved, and the celebrity voices are well-suited to the endearing characters.
Based on the same novel that inspired Silence of the Lambs, this star-studded homage to Hannibal Lecter (in fact a prequel), promises menace aplenty, yet never quite pays off. An entertaining mix of gruesome scenes and beautiful scenery, Red Dragon is actually a pale remake of Michael Mann’s 1986 Manhunter, which interested viewers should seek out.
John, a mild-mannered British bank clerk and closet porn junkie, attempts to upgrade his lifestyle by purchasing a Russian mail-order bride named Nadia. A black romantic comedy transforms to odd crime story with a few sly twists and hard-to-swallow incidents as John’s life plunges from sex-laden honeymoon to cautionary nightmare.
|Stereophonics – You Gotta Go There To Come Back
Following their last two albums, the long-struggling Welsh power trio was on the verge of becoming the next post-Oasis pop phenomenon. Critics have chastised the band’s change in direction, while the masses have flocked to the latest release. Pop or not, Kelly Jones’ lacerated voice still strikes an emotional nerve on heartfelt, hummable ballads.
|Lemon Jelly – Lost Horizons
The eccentric duo of Nick Franglen and Fred Deakin make the sort of brassy, beautiful downtempo music that leaves the listener desperately trying to suppress a goofy grin. Like their first collection of EPs, this sophomore effort bristles with shimmering, sunny instrumentation while quirky, oddball samples lurk ’round every turn.
|Stevie Wonder – The Definitive Collection
Though not as comprehensive as 2000’s four-disc box set, this greatest hits CD is still a worthy release for fans of the man who has truly lived up to the promise of his surname. Classic selections from his precocious career show how Stevie’s musical innovation and lyrical poignancy extend far beyond delineations of style or genre.
|Edvard Grieg – Peer Gynt & Holberg Suites
A convenient collection of the best-known orchestral music by Norway’s favorite son. Well-recorded, this set of suites is performed by the Berlin Philharmonic under the direction of Herbert von Karajan, who applies a uniformly lush sound to the music, smoothing off the rough edges and making everything sound more grand than courtly.