Based on Janet Fitch’s novel, this melodrama sees Michelle Pfieffer as an artistic mother who is convicted of murdering her boyfriend and who spends her prison visiting hours attempting to manipulate the life of her just-as-talented artist daughter. The performances have a credible resonance that is missing in some of the dialogue.
Stu Shepherd (Colin Farrell) is a hot-shot publicist who becomes trapped in a vestigial Manhattan phone booth by a sadistic sniper (Kiefer Sutherland) who’s versed in every detail of Stu’s complex and sometimes shady life. Soon there’s a corpse in the street, SWAT teams on every ledge, and Stu can’t hang up – or else.
Rowan Atkinson comes along to do the James Bond spoof all over again, as if no one ever had. A Mr. Bean-like British secret agent, Atkinson confronts a French tycoon who is out to usurp the British throne. All hints at EU paranoia aside, the question is: Is it funny? Answer: Not especially.
|Once Upon a Time in the West
Sergio Leone’s sprawling epic Western goes in for slow buildups, for prolonged and perspiring agonies, for grizzle and grime, for cynicism about the larceny in the hearts of men, and for unparalleled villainy in the person of duster-dressed, tobacco-spitting Henry Fonda. Also with Charles Bronson, Jason Robards, and Claudia Cardinale.
|Cody Chestnutt – The Headphone Masterpieces
Known best for his stints with The Roots, this sex-obsessed, spaced-out, spiritual musician delivers a lo-fi stew made of smooth funk, forceful rock, and gritty hip-hop, all topped off by the sweet-crooning voice of a great soul singer. Across an ambitious opening salvo of two discs and 36 tracks, Chestnutt invites you into his psyche.
|Kingsbury Manx – Aztec Discipline
In their third album, this North Carolina-spawned quartet effortlessly delivers another lonesome, whimsical collection of folksy chamber-pop nuggets, that manages to be nondescript and captivating at the same time. Aztec Discipline is a pastoral work for the ages; cultivating indie musical archetypes in a solitary, somehow uniquely timeless collage.
|Les Négresses Vertes – Acoustic Clubbing
Blending flamenco guitars with ska horns, rai rhythms with vocals drawn straight from the French Cabaret tradition, Les Négresses Vertes is always perfectly Parisian, and always big fun. Don’t worry if you don’t understand the lyrics, the band’s trademark is silly, almost nonsensical songs with hilariously bad puns.
Iceland’s progressive rock harbinger continues to mix the most interesting aspects of several indie art-bands, while not sounding like anyone else on the planet. Eight untitled tracks meander with cascades of moaning, bowed guitars that collide with low-end keyboards, while the lovely, alien-registered vocals of singer Jónsi float on top.