Shyamalan’s allegorical fourth film concerns a turn-of-the-century Pennsylvania village surrounded by woods in which mysterious creatures dwell, keeping the townsfolk constantly on edge. When the brooding and determined Lucius Hunt (Phoenix) plans to violate the traditional boundaries and venture into the woods, it sets off a chain of events that eventually uncover the town’s dark secrets.
A hilariously quirky comedy set in Idaho about an oddball teenager who waits patiently until he gets his chance to shine. Imagine a John Hughes teen comedy remade by John Waters and dropped into the town that time forgot. Newcomer Heder delivers an excruciatingly wormy performance.
|Horem pádem · Up and Down
From renowned Czech director Jan Hřebejk comes a mix of drama and black comedy, with a fair amount of social commentary stirred in. It targets racism and social injustice with a biting wit, while developing characters we gradually come to sympathize with. The movie’s multiple narratives contain several moments guaranteed to provoke “laughter through the tears.”
|A Bridge Too Far
Richard Attenborough’s massive 1977 adaptation of Cornelius Ryan’s book is an excellent retelling of actual events that occurred in WWII. Featuring a virtual battalion of stars, the film is an epic rendering of a daring but ultimately disastrous raid behind enemy lines in Holland, which provides an exhaustive look at the mechanics of warfare – including history’s largest airborne assault.
|Fila Brazilia – Dicks
Steve Cobby and Dave McSherry are down-to-earth Northern lads who put Hull on the map and Brazil in their music. Their latest release is, as always, irresistibly funky, aimed at listeners’ heads as well as their feet, with Fila’s unique sense of surreal humor throughout.
|Mos Def – The New Danger
Although lambasted by (mainly white) critics, Mos Def’s new release experiments with musical and lyrical styles, featuring as much “ghetto rock” and blues as straight up hip-hop. The eclectic result is, in part, a worthwhile foray into soul music’s social conscience, via allusions to Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye, Shuggie Otis and others.
|Archer Prewitt – Wilderness
When singer-songwriters are a dime a dozen and the airwaves rife with top 40 jingles, along comes Archer Prewitt with another album of lush yet tightly orchestrated pop treasures. Dave Max Crawford, Mark Greenberg, and Chris Manfrin lay down the instrumental terra firma over which Prewitt’s rhapsodic guitar and poignant vocals float, creating the perfect soundtrack for a shimmering summer afternoon.
|Hélene Grimaud – Chopin & Rachmaninov
With the somewhat unusual coupling of the second sonatas by Chopin and Rachmaninov, French pianist Hélene Grimaud continues to offer a spellbinding depth of interpretive insight and clarity of articulation. This DG release is an outstanding performance of two of the most life-affirming works in the repertoire by one of today’s most gifted younger pianists.