Five beloved Czech cautionary fairytales are brought to life by veteran director Vlasta Pospíšilová in this beguiling puppet animation anthology. While a pair of these shorts date back to 1987 and 1991, the five together comprise a sprightly, eye-catching work that is tied together by a jovial, live-action storyteller whose face is never seen.
As two modern literary scholars in London investigate a suspected affair between two Victorian poets, they become more and more attracted to each other. Based on A.S. Byatt’s novel, Neil LaBute’s film is glossy but uneven; as events of the past become more interesting, those in the present become more disjointed.
This Golden Bear and Oscar awards winner for Best Animated Feature is down-the-rabbit-hole storytelling at its best. Director Miyazaki’s unforgettable backdrops and fascinating creatures recall vintage Disney magic, elevated to a higher realm of dreamy, worldly mysticism that will appeal to children of all ages.
A secretly masochistic young woman, recently released from hospital, goes to work for an uptight lawyer. Before long, their relationship takes a decidedly unprofessional turn. Mordantly funny, startling, erotic, and even almost chastely romantic, with fine acting by Spader and a phenomenal breakthrough performance by Gyllenhaal.
|Smoke City – Flying Away
The 2001 re-release of this 1997 album is a testament to its allure, even in the rapidly jaded realm of pop music. Band members collaborate on the music and lyrics, and many tracks are arranged to showcase the quirky, sultry vocals of Nina Miranda. Updated Brazilian influences are felt in nimble, chill-out vibes and bossa-nova beats.
|Soundtrack – Kill Bill
As in Tarantino’s previous film-music offerings, Kill Bill features a hodge-podge of old and new, this time rescuing tracks like Nancy Sinatra’s “Bang, Bang” from obscurity, and shamelessly slipping it in alongside Japan’s all-girl punk-kitsch band the 6.7.8’s. You’ll be hearing this one in restaurants for a while.
|Tzigane – The Violin of Central Europe
First-prize winner of international competitions like the Zino Francescatti, the Jacques Thibaud and the Paganini, Laurent Korcia ranks as one of the most outstanding French violinists of his generation. With pianist Georges Pludermacher, Korcia brilliantly interprets Bartok’s Hungarian Dances, and other famous works for violin.
|Elbow – Cast of Thousands
Grander and more diverse than the Manchester band’s 2002 debut, Elbow’s latest album veers from thrusting choral arrangements and fractured rock refrains to tactile minimalist shards and bluesy, soul-stirring melodies. Through it all, singer Guy Garvey still attempts to pry apart the chest of the band and reveal the heart beating beneath.