|In the Name of the Rose
Jean-Jacques Annaud’s adaptation of Umberto Eco’s best-seller, set in a 14th-century Benedictine abbey, emerges onscreen as an engrossing murder-mystery. As the Franciscan Sherlock Holmes, Sean Connery is apprenticed by a young Christian Slater, and surrounded by a Fellini-esque cast.
|Good bye, Lenin!
Wolfgang Becker’s superbly crafted film centers on a devoted son trying to save his mother’s life (she has a weak heart) after she awakens from a coma, by erasing all signs that the former DDR has changed since before the fall of the Berlin wall. Soulful social satire, with moments of inspired visual humor and deeply affecting performances.
|Battle of Britain
Star-studded, energetic WWII drama about Britain’s defense against German Luftwaffe bombings. Won acclaim for its stunning aerial sequences, but the film is really about individual sacrifices that people made in order to win the war.
|The Triplets of Belleville
Sylvain Chomet has made a magnificently wacky and poignant feature-length cartoon populated with distorted people, places, and things. Containing virtually no dialogue, the award-winning animated tale works brilliantly as a social satire on French and North American culture, encompassing the Tour de France, child-rearing, kidnapping and rescue, and grandmotherly devotion.
|Death Cab for Cutie – Transatlanticism
On the latest release from Seattle-based indie darlings, Ben Gibbard’s literate lyrics continues to melt amid tender lows and soaring highs, telling soul-bearing tales of dealing with post-relationship fallout. However, new guitar textures and rhythmic ideas, with layered, subtle sonic touches make Transatlanticism a definite “headphone record”.
|Wayne Shorter – Speak No Evil
Saxophonist Shorter’s compositions helped define a new jazz style in the mid-’60s, merging the force of hard bop with surprising intervals and spacious melodies suspended over the beat. The band on this 1964 session is a quintessential group of the period, a prime example of five Blue Note artists expressing their imagination through six extraordinary pieces all written by Shorter.
|Komeda – Kokomemedada
From foot-tapping percussion to molten groove, the third full-length by Sweden’s Komeda is sweet, seductive, and bracingly eccentric. The paradoxical element is that the music is so playful and upbeat, yet there’s some serious introspection going on lyrically.
|Streetlight Manifesto – Everything Goes Numb
The formation of Streetlight Manifesto brought together six seasoned veterans of the once-lively New Jersey ska underworld to form an all-star group. Beyond the angst-driven guitarwork and militant drumming, the musicianship on this album is superb, with basslines that virtually walk out the door and horns to rival any ska band.