Centered around the original fifth member of The Beatles, Stuart Sutcliffe, this biopic takes place within the little-known but seminal time before the band became the Fab Four, circa 1960-62. An intimate love story strums the power chords between John Lennon, his best friend Sutcliffe, and Astrid Kirchherr, the avant-garde German photographer who first captured The Beatles on film.
This devilishly good guy originally hails from Mike Mignola’s eponymous cult comic book, which shrugs off the respectability of the new literary graphic novels to embrace good, old-fashioned monster fighting. The loose, underwritten plot may keep Hellboy from hitting the genre-flick heights, but the gothic imagery astonishes while the freaky protagonist wins our sympathies.
The film that launched Steven Spielberg’s career into the fast lane. Duel is a nail-biting tale of cat-and-mouse between an Average Joe and a menacing, vengeful 18-wheeler, whose driver is never seen. Speilberg crafts a scant story with almost no dialogue into a quintessential thriller that shows how editing, music, cinematography, and inspiration can make up 90% of a riveting experience.
If you guessed that the topic of 1970s news anchormen and rampant sexism in television can’t possibly bear a feature-length spoofing, you’d be right. While it boasts a surreal touch here and again, and may find favor with Will Ferrell fans, Anchorman’s one-joke premise runs like an over-long “Saturday Night Live” sketch.
|The Black Keys – Rubber Factory
Dan Auerbach’s ferocious six-string and Patrick Carney’s cymbal-and-snare seizures continue to embody the archetypal blues fever that induced the birth of rock. With even greater assurance on their third album, The Black Keys’ roots-chewing, hormone-laced blues mesh melody and rhythm into a primal force that’s raw and pure.
|Tara Fuki – Kapka
Andrea Konstankiewicz and Dorota Blahutova are two energetic cellists whose music is an experiment between classical and folk styles, with emotive lyrics about life, love and human experience. These 10 tracks (sung in Polish, Czech and French) were recorded in the beautiful acoustic space of a renaissance chateau. The result is an exceptional, haunting album of dream-like poetry and dark urgency.
|Do Make Say Think – & Yet & Yet
Blending elements of jazz with chamber pop, this Canadian post-rock instrumental ensemble has composed a collection of gently flowing meditative tracks punctuated by shimmery cymbals, warm tones from analog synths and horns, and swells of guitar feedback. A good example of a small band helping to make the music industry a better place.
|Duke Ellington – Three Suites
In addition to Ellington and Strayhorn’s own superb “Suite Thursday”, this CD displays Duke’s brilliant tailoring of two great classics – “The Nutcracker Suite” and “Peer Gynt Suite” – to his unique, sometimes humorous, renditions. This is creative homage of the highest order, which reconceives the originals in gorgeous, fluid jazz terms.