Movie Article

The A List: June 2006

A handy guide to movies, CDs, DVDs, TV shows, and books that made the grade (A- or better) in EW during the past month

MOVIES

An Inconvenient Truth (PG)
How about these inconvenient truths: A 100-minute documentary. About global warming. Hosted by Al Gore. All of which describe one of the most thought-provoking (and, hopefully, debate-provoking) movies you'll see this year. There are plenty of revelations, not the least being Gore himself. The almost-president proves himself to be warm, witty, and eloquent — a reasonable voice shedding light on a catastrophe in the making.

THE PROPOSITION
Guy Pearce, Danny Huston (R)
A captured outlaw is given a terrible choice: turn in his vicious older brother or let his more vulnerable younger sib hang from the noose. Written and scored by gloom rocker Nick Cave, this Aussie Western — set in the late-1800s outback — achieves a gritty greatness.

ARMY OF SHADOWS
Lino Ventura, Simone Signoret
Released in 1969, this taut thriller from director Jean-Pierre Melville explores the code of men in a dangerous business — in this case, the French Resistance of WWII. The film makes its U.S. debut in a beautifully restored print.


MUSIC

PAUL SIMON
Surprise Still pensive after all these years, Simon offers finely wrought meditations on religion, politics, and, yes, the meaning of life. That he still knows his way around a tune helps his cause — as do the nifty sonic embellishments of producer (and fellow graying legend) Brian Eno.

GNARLS BARKLEY
St. Elsewhere Springing forth from the febrile and fertile minds of nerd-rap impresario Danger Mouse and Goodie Mob's funkmeister Cee-Lo: a sprawling jumble of radio-friendly hits (''Crazy''), wicked dance-floor grooves (''The Last Time''), and soultronica gems (''Just a Thought'').

JOLIE HOLLAND
Springtime Can Kill You Blessed with a voice both breathy and bold, Texan singer-songwriter Holland looks to the past and discovers a sound that perfectly meshes with her quirkily exquisite musical sensibilities. File this gem under Haunting Lo-Fi Neo-Retro Folk.

MIKE ANDREWS
Hand on a String Film composer Andrews (he scored Donnie Darko) makes a swell debut with an effort fairly glowing with incandescent indie-pop magic.

RÓISIN MURPHY
Ruby Blue Catchy hooks and earthy phrasings abound on the first solo album from this Irish lass, atop which DJ-producer Matthew Herbert adds a layer of beguiling musical playfulness.

JOHNNY CASH
Personal File Recorded between 1973 and 1982, these newly discovered tracks (nearly 50 traditionals and spirituals) reveal a man with a tortured heart — and the voice of God.


DVDS

THE NEW WORLD
Colin Farrell, Q'orianka Kilcher (PG-13)
The settling of colonial Jamestown and John Smith's courtship of young native girl Pocahontas is reimagined by maverick auteur Terrence Malick. The film's deliberate pacing and gorgeous imagery only add to its hypnotic and, ultimately, heartbreaking tone.

HARLAN COUNTY, USA
In 1973, a group of coal miners walked off the job in what became one of the most turbulent labor disputes in recent memory. Documentarian Barbara Kopple won a richly deserved Oscar for capturing the stories behind the divisive (and sometimes violent) yearlong strike.

MUNICH
Eric Bana, Daniel Craig, Geoffrey Rush (R)
Steven Spielberg tells the story of the Israeli hit squad sent out to deal with those responsible for the terrorist attack at the 1972 Summer Olympics. Beneath the fine acting and the bravura filmmaking is a sobering lesson about the morally corrosive effects of hateful vengeance. Get the two-disc Collector's Edition, packed with featurettes in which cast and crew discuss the challenges of bringing this film to the screen.

TENNESSEE WILLIAMS FILM COLLECTION (PG and R)
Neither time nor skittish producers have diminished the power of film classics like 1951's A Streetcar Named Desire or 1964's The Night of the Iguana — just two of the treasures in this six-film set: Extras abound, including a Streetcar screen test of a smoldering Marlon Brando.


TV

RESCUE ME
(FX, Tuesdays, 10-11 p.m.) Is it hot in here, or is it just Denis Leary? The acerbic comedian is back as acerbic firefighter Tommy Gavin for season 3 of FX's incendiary series. Expect more self-destructive behavior and messy entanglements. And sirens will wail when Susan Sarandon guest-stars as a sexy divorcée who has Franco (Daniel Sunjata) all hot and bothered.

THE THICK OF IT
(BBC America, Fridays, 9-10 p.m.) A biting satiric spin on British politics with People Like Us' Chris Langham as a hapless member of Parliament and a pitch-perfect Peter Capaldi as the prime minister's skewering adviser.

COMBAT DIARY: THE MARINES OF LIMA COMPANY
(A&E) A documentary that follows a group of reservists from Ohio on their seven-month tour of duty in Iraq. The stories told by these soldiers (and their families back home) are harrowing — with one in eight never making it back alive, theirs is the hardest-hit combat unit the war has yet produced.


BOOKS

HEAT
by Bill Buford
(Nonfiction) Savor Buford's reflections on food, particularly Italian cooking, with this delectable account of his misadventures — ''kitchen slave,'' hog butcher, pasta maker — in the culinary arts. A moveable and literary feast.

EVERYMAN'S RULES FOR SCIENTIFIC LIVING
by Carrie Tiffany
(Debut Novel) A sewing instructor and a soil expert unexpectedly find love amid science while traveling in Australia.

THE KING OF LIES
by John Hart
(Debut Thriller) Reminiscent of Raymond Chandler, this hard-boiled tale of twisted lovers and cold-blooded murder heralds a striking new talent.

FUN HOME
by Alison Bechdel
(Biography) Bechdel's comic autobiography about her dysfunctional family is as refreshingly open and generous as it is slender.

Originally posted Jun 09, 2006 Published in issue #882 Jun 16, 2006 Order article reprints
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