|Kingdom of Heaven
A medieval blacksmith joins his father’s crusade to the Holy Land, where his duty to defend Jerusalem clashes with his desire to bed its princess. Director Ridley Scott gives the movie all the spectacle, splendor, and impressive battle scenes that 130 million dollars can buy, but neither the story nor the characters achieve greatness.
Inspired by a visit to Southeast Asia, this “visual opera” is probably Patrice Leconte’s most personal film yet. With no narrative or plot or “real” actors, Dogora is very much in the tradition of Koyaanisqatsi and Baraka – a stirring musical soundtrack set to a stunning montage of images portraying everyday life in Cambodia.
|Work of Director Michel Gondry
Before the Versailles-born Gondry turned his creative ingenuity to feature films, his music videos and assorted shorts formed a legacy of supreme cleverness. This collection includes his dazzling work with such pop icons as Björk, The White Stripes, and Chemical Brothers, the autobiographical documentary “I’ve Been 12 Forever”, and much more.
UN interpreter Silvia Broome gets wind of a plan to kill an African leader. But when she contacts the US Secret Service, she herself becomes the target of suspicion by agent Tobin Keller. Although Sidney Pollack’s direction succumbs to liberal fluff a bit too often, the movie is enjoyable and stirring as a straight-ahead thriller.
The avatar of ambient music’s latest offering is a deeply personal song cycle that spans a 15-year production period. While some elements will be familiar to fans (cycling rhythms, ethereal guitars, pitch-shifted vocal harmonies), Eno also unleashes some fractured hymns that are surprisingly new and reflectively provocative.
|Minotaur Shock – Maritime
David Edward’s second album under the Minotaur Shock moniker is an atmospheric-techno record of scurrying melodies and skeletal beats. But the musician-mixer from Bristol has managed to articulate an intersection of seafaring themes and vintage FM rock with a conceptual charm that calls to mind the cryptic churnings of a ship’s hold.
|Andrew Hill – Judgement!
This complex, but appealing 1964 date with Bobby Hutcherson, Richard Davis, and Elvin Jones is an important early album that helped build Andrew Hill’s reputation as one of the most original voices in modern piano jazz. Its reappearance in Blue Note’s catalogue (with superb remastering) will be a source of elation for Hill’s devotees.
Dengue Fever’s 2003 debut album is an indicator of how good pop music can be, particularly in areas of multicultural urban sprawl. Though Cambodian singer Chhom Nimol’s sinuous vocals (in Khymer) dominate each song, Zachary Holtzman’s guitar riffs play an equally essential role in defining the band’s retro sound, conjuring visions of James Bond dancing the Swim in a Hong Kong nightclub.