Wednesday, June 27, 2001

Monk’s brilliant corners

The best writings on a modern jazz genius in this definitive collection.

Posted By on Wed, Jun 27, 2001 at 12:00 AM

The old saw that writing about music is like dancing about architecture, attributed to many but first uttered by Frank Zappa in a late-’60s interview, is only effectively dismissive if you don’t know how subtle dancing can be. Or writing. Still, one gets the point — and if ever there...

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Join the club

Posted By on Wed, Jun 27, 2001 at 12:00 AM

Everything in Victor Mancini’s life seems askew: a sexual addiction, a job portraying an indentured Irish servant at a historical preservation village, a dying mother responsible for his turbulent childhood, a morbid obsession with medical disorders, repeated fake chokings. But the point of author Chuck Palahniuk’s new novel, Choke,...

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Poolside angst

Gangster Brits with a firm grip on each other’s throats.

Posted By on Wed, Jun 27, 2001 at 12:00 AM

Lean, mean and crackling with tension, Sexy Beast strips the British gangster film to its bare-bones, bare-knuckle basics. In a terse 91 minutes, director Jonathan Glazer and screenwriters Louis Mellis and David Scinto (Gangster No. 1) explore the psyche of professional criminals — with Ray Winstone and the immensely menacing Ben Kingsley.

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Baby Boy

Posted By on Wed, Jun 27, 2001 at 12:00 AM

To save his family, Baby Boy’s got to cut his apron strings and become responsible, taking the accelerated course to manhood. Director John Singleton hammers on the note of the young, black, urban male’s militant immaturity, but his message gets drowned out by the screams of his characters as they plunge down the roller coaster of love — with Tyrese Gibson, Ving Rhames and Snoop Doggy Dogg.

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Songcatcher

Posted By on Wed, Jun 27, 2001 at 12:00 AM

The ballad "Barbara Allen" is sung three times in this blissful love letter to the old-time sounds which have the ability to haunt mountain folk and flatlanders alike, and the way it’s performed illustrates director Maggie Greenwald’s take on the place of folk music in America. Unfortunately, there’s a quaintness to Songcatcher that keeps it from truly expressing the power of the songs.

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The Fast and the Furious

Posted By on Wed, Jun 27, 2001 at 12:00 AM

This is a flick mostly about cars, women and the handsome grease monkeys who love them both. If the snarl of revving engines and the squeal of burning tires isn’t your idea of a love song, pick another flick at the multiplex. But if anything can take you for a ride in this muddle, it’s director Rob Cohen’s souped-up race-and-chase set pieces.

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Dr. Dolittle 2

Posted By on Wed, Jun 27, 2001 at 12:00 AM

Even the easily pleased need a little variety. I was reminded of this while watching Dolittle 2 at a tot-stuffed matinee, the perfect audience, one would assume, for this combination of whimsy and doo-doo jokes. But aside from the stray giggle arising out of the white noise of continual candy crunching, the troops remained mostly silent. I think they were bored," says Richard C. Walls.

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Violet Skin

Posted By on Wed, Jun 27, 2001 at 12:00 AM

Only slightly out of breath, Katie Janness bounces distorted but determined lyrics with a no-big-deal attitude over the jumpy lo-fi art-punk of her Violet Skin sisters. The rhythms have crunch and the melodies will stick in your head, but the song structure is anything but conventional. The sound suggests...

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Wednesday, June 20, 2001

Creampuff conquest

Posted By on Wed, Jun 20, 2001 at 12:00 AM

Interactivity: the chunky line that separates movies from video games. To paraphrase Syd Field, screenwriter extraordinaire, a good script has a beginning, a middle and an end. The audience watches; the credits roll. Yet, the idea behind gaming is to involve the audience, to make them the aggressive player...

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Bruised and famous

Walking the fine (painful) line of Hollywood relationships.

Posted By on Wed, Jun 20, 2001 at 12:00 AM

Truth and fiction seasoned with conflict are served up by Alan Cumming and Jennifer Jason Leigh, the writers, producers, directors and stars of this party and (as married Hollywood couple Joe and Sally Therrian) they’ll cry if they want to — or spar. The story, at its best, is a subtle satire of Hollywood values and the relationship of fact to fiction.

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