July 2002 | EW.com

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July 2002

Entertainment Weekly Recommends A CONSUMER'S GUIDE TO THE FLICKS, DISCS, BOOKS, VIDEOS, AND WEBSITES THAT MADE THE GRADE--B+ OR BETTER--IN ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

Movies

INSOMNIA Al Pacino, Robin Williams (R) Memento director Christopher Nolan proves he’s the real deal with this superb remake of a 1998 Norwegian thriller. Pacino is powerful as a cop staggering deeper into moral and physical lassitude as he investigates a murder. A-

THE FAST RUNNER (ATANARJUAT) Natar Ungalaaq, Sylvia Ivalu (unrated) Zacharias Kunuk’s stunning debut feature, the first film ever in the Inuktitut language, retells a thousand-year-old Inuit legend about a blood feud between families that’s unleashed by shamanistic forces but resolved by men. A

SPIRIT: STALLION OF THE CIMARRON Voices by Matt Damon, Daniel Studi (G) A solemn neo-Bambi that dares to enchant kids without comic relief, this animated fairy tale follows the born-to-roam-free vitality of a horse fighting to stay a beautiful, unbroken beast. Made with simple, elegant conviction, Spirit brings back some of the primal storybook innocence squeezed out of the genre of late. B+

THE LADY AND THE DUKE Lucy Russell, Jean-Claude Dreyfus (PG) Eric Rohmer’s engrossing period drama about aristocrat Grace Elliott weds classic storytelling to modern innovation – exquisite digital mise-en-scenes in which real actors step in and out of painted historical backdrops. B+

Video & DVD

THE MOTHMAN PROPHECIES Richard Gere (PG-13) Is the thing currently going bump in the night the same thing that killed a reporter’s wife? B+

DORA THE EXPLORER: DORA’S BACKPACK ADVENTURE Animated (unrated) Oh, the places you’ll go with this precocious Latina preschooler. B+

GOSFORD PARK Helen Mirren (R) Robert Altman’s brilliantly precise drawing-room murder mystery is a lesson in manners. A

BLUE VELVET: SPECIAL EDITION Kyle MacLachlan (R) Breathe deep as David Lynch’s freakfest comes to DVD with a dazzling retrospective documentary. A

MR. SHOW: THE COMPLETE FIRST AND SECOND SEASONS (unrated) Bob Odenkirk and David Cross are very funny men. Sick and twisted – at least, judging by their madcap HBO sketch comedy series, collected here with a running commentary – but funny. A

A BEAUTIFUL MIND Russell Crowe (R) Ron Howard finally got his Oscar for this peek into the muddled head of mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr. A-

JIMMY NEUTRON: BOY GENIUS Animated (G) What do you do when aliens have kidnapped all the parents? Save the world, of course. Duh. A-

Books

FICTION

BIG IF Mark Costello (Norton) Hilarity and dread mingle in Costello’s tale of a Secret Service agent and her fellow professional paranoids. B+

MEET JOHN TROW Thomas Dyja (Viking) Nothing alleviates a midlife crisis like adopting a new life as a Civil War reenactor, or so learns the hero of Dyja’s lampoon of nostalgia. A

NECTAR Lily Prior (Ecco) In one of the more intoxicating reads of the summer, the unlikely fun begins when a sociopathic albino maid named Ramona starts emanating an aroma that drives men wild. A-

NONFICTION

CUBA DIARIES: AN AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE IN HAVANA Isadora Tattlin (Algonquin) Writing under an assumed name, Tattlin tells on Cuba, a land frozen in the ’50s, in which the sublime coexists with the squalid. A

TALES OF TERROR Fred von Bernewitz and Grant Geissman (Fantagraphics) Decapitated heads and bug-eyed monsters are among the pulpy pleasures of EC Comics that come alive in this paperback. A

RUNNING WITH SCISSORS Augusten Burroughs (St. Martin’s) Burroughs defies the ”woe is me” stigma of modern memoir with a raucous recounting of his loony teenage years. A

Digital

OZZFEST (ozzfest.com) Like ol’ Ozzy himself, the Ozzfest site ain’t pretty but it totally rocks. Check out pop-up bios of all 26 bands on the tour, including System of a Down, P.O.D., and such unheralded second-stagers as Meshuggah and Otep (the only female-fronted act on the bill). B+

THE BOURNE IDENTITY (thebourneidentity.com) While surfing through an overflowing publicity dossier, you can play five relatively challenging (and free) games that attempt to solve the film’s central mystery: ”Who is Jason Bourne?” A-

THE SUM OF ALL FEARS (sumofallfearsmovie.com) Even better than the movie clips of Ben Affleck channeling Harrison Ford (or is it Alec Baldwin?) is an elaborate spy game in which you track fictional terrorists to win prizes – but only after divulging classified personal info of your own. A-

CHET: A TRIBUTE TO THE LIFE AND MUSIC OF CHET BAKER (geocities.com/BourbonStreet/Quarter/6174) CHET BAKER LOST & FOUND (chetbaker.net) With the release of Evan Horne’s mystery, Looking for Chet Baker, and James Gavin’s bio, Deep in a Dream, it’s high time to note how the cool-jazz giant comes across online. Together, the stylishness of the tribute site and the tumult of Lost & Found portray a talented, touching, tortured soul. The sites as a duo: A

Music

DAVID BOWIE Heathen (ISO/Columbia) With Young Americans producer Tony Visconti back on board, Heathen is imbued with the same shape-shifting sonic murk as that early period. B+

DJ SHADOW The Private Press (MCA) Shadow’s eclectic sound collages don’t recall Grandmaster Flash as much as they do modern composers like Philip Glass and Steve Reich. A-

PETER GABRIEL Long Walk Home (Real World) Gabriel’s languid score to Aussie import Rabbit-Proof Fence has the same ethereal grace as his Grammy-winning music for The Last Temptation of Christ. A-

MY VITRIOL Finelines (Epic) For this compelling mix of urgent and moody alt-rock, the Brits crib from the Smashing Pumpkins, My Bloody Valentine, and Foo Fighters. B+

ARTO LINDSAY Invoke (Righteous Babe) Born in the U.S. and raised in Brazil, the singer-songwriter-guitarist superimposes dense bilingual wordplay over shifting sonic textures to create idiosyncratic pop. A-

NELLY Nellyville (Universal) The indomitable St. Louis kid is in control of his flame and on top of his game as he takes aim at the pop charts once again. B+

SHEDAISY Knock on the Sky (Lyric Street) The twangy trio combines hyperpolished power pop with bright, unconventional songwriting. B+

SONIC YOUTH Murray Street (DGC) The art-punk vets’ 16th album, named after the site of their longtime studio near Ground Zero, is a guitar-shaped phoenix. A-

VARIOUS ARTISTS Constant Elevation (Astralwerks) This mainly instrumental set of turntablist, laptop, grit-hop, and soul-jazz mutations features El-P, Recloose, and beat-splicing vet Steinski. B+

DOVES The Last Broadcast (Capitol) The Manchester trio’s amalgamation of emotions helps make Broadcast the darkest feel-good record of the year. A-

DONELL JONES Life Goes On (Arista) With his tenderly earnest young-Stevie-Wonder-like delivery and consistently sharp lyrics, Jones is one of R&B’s most underrated talents. B+