Los Angeles is a morally jaundiced cityscape in which good and evil battle for human souls, and Keanu Reeves plays a renegade exorcist, executioner and Neo-noir savior. Scuffed deadpan cynicism is met with some interesting narrative hooks in this new film based on the Hellblazer graphic novels of DC Comics/Vertigo.
A young robot (voiced by Ewan McGregor) ventures from tiny Rivet Town to the bright lights and big business of Robot City, where he uncovers a conspiracy that will impact the lives of robots everywhere. This computer-animated joy ride is as much about the importance of spare parts as it is about following one’s dreams.
|Priscilla Queen of the Desert
Terrence Stamp, Hugo Weaving, and Guy Pearce star as three drag queens traveling to a gig across the Australian Outback in a pink bus named Priscilla. This outrageous musical comedy, full of Oscar-winning costumes and a soundtrack sporting the likes of ABBA and the Village People, has evolved into a cult favorite.
|Phantom of the Opera
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s stage musical comes to the screen with a lavish, big-budget production. Unfortunately, the story has been somewhat “younged down” and some inevitable nonsense added. While far from ideal in either dramatic or vocal performances, it is still arguably the best adaptation of Gaston Leroux’s novel.
|Apostle of Hustle – Folkloric Feel
This side project from the lead guitarist of Broken Social Scene, Andrew Whiteman, is at once bluesy and hypnotic, upbeat and engaging, using subtle Cuban flavor as a point of departure rather than a destination. Owing as much to John Zorn as to Manu Chao, the album unfurls like a snapping gray flag, with flashes of melodic grandeur.
|Smokey & Miho – Tempo de Amor
Multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Smokey Hormel teams up again with Miho Hatori (half of duo Cibo Matto), this time covering five tracks by Samba guitarist Baden Powell. Hatori’s distinctive vocals recapture the feel of the original singers, while Hormel’s fluid string work is able to bring a new, modern warmth to the spooky source material.
|Jimmy Smith – Organ Grinder’s Swing
Jimmy Smith is the undisputed master of jazz organ, and while Burrell and Tate are hot on this trio recording, Jimmy steals the show right off the bat with the title song. A whole generation of organists cut their chops on this album, and it remains a great set for grounding yourself in a sound that slowly is beginning to take off once again.
|Ottorino Respighi – Roman Trilogy
This Chandos recording of Respighi’s famed tone poems features superb playing by the Philharmonia Orchestra, and Yan Pascal Tortelier’s direction is extremely exciting. The final build-up in “The Pines of Rome” is huge, raucous and poetic in equal measure, while calmer moments such as the atmospheric wind solos in the “Fountains of Rome” benefit from the label’s meticulous production.