|Punch Drunk Love
Paul Thomas Anderson’s extremely odd comedy follows the bizarre romance that blossoms between the emotionally-stunted owner of a small business and a mysterious woman whom he meets through one of his seven overbearing sisters. While not Anderson’s best work, his micro-managing of Adam Sandler is commendable, and certain scenes will leave you absolutely euphoric.
A hip-hop Rocky centered around a blue-eyed, blue-collar rapper who fights for street credibility. Director Curtis Hanson offers views of the ravaged urbanscape of Detroit and the trailer-park squalor of the hero’s home life with his flair for grungy realism. Rap star Eminem’s performance does credit to the illusion.
|Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Lavish musical about two beautiful women breaking men’s hearts worldwide. The plot and songs may seem dated, but Monroe/Russell fans – and anyone who enjoys Hollywood-style glamor – will still be enchanted by Howard Hawks’ frothy delight.
As a Marvel superhero, Daredevil is an inspired character. As the actor chosen to portray him, Ben Affleck is not. Although aided by good cinematography and a supporting cast that includes Colin Farrell as an Irish dart-tossing baddie and Michael Clark as Kingpin, in the end “the Man Without Fear” is just no match for other comic-book-to-cinema heroes like Spiderman, Batman or the X-Men.
|Raveonettes – Chain Gang of Love
On the heels of last year’s excellent “Whip It Up” EP, the Danish duo of Sune Rose Wagner and Sharin Foo continue to carve out songs that are surf-reminiscent, but with an edgy twist. Imagine The Shirelles filtered through The Jesus and Mary Chain, and you’re getting close.
|Joseph Malik – Diverse
With his shimmering falsetto and a soothing mid-range smoulder, Glaswegian singer Joseph Malik has a voice that R&B and chill-out producers dream of. His full-length debut on the Compost label combines socially aware acoustic soul with an atmospheric, rootsy vibe. A beautiful album, and a “must have” for fans of serious soul music.
|Olivier Messiaen – Vingt Regards sur l’Enfant Jesus
As we look back upon the musical achievements of the 20th century, 1944’s Vingt Regards should stand as one of the great works written for solo piano. A longtime student of Messiaen’s wife, Yvonne Loriod, French pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard is an ideal match for the composer’s astonishing breadth and color.
|Boards of Canada – Geoggaddi
This full-length follow up to their 1998 classic Music Has The Right To Children offers the band’s signature sounds – skewed and subdued hip-hop beats coupled with weird field samples, and a lush bed of analog/synthesized composition. An easy album to recommend from one of the more inventive and seductive electronic acts around today.