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Music Reviews

Tori Amos is ‘The Beekeeper’

‘The Beekeeper’, says Tori Amos, is about the “struggle to find a bedrock of truth beneath the tangle of lies, mythology, casual assumptions and political manipulation that have formed the cultural landscape of the USA today”.

Complicated enough for you?

Not for the artist who once took on a different persona for each song on her album of cover versions. Or catalogued the tracks on her greatest hits collection according to the Dewey decimal system.

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Movies Reviews

‘XXX2’: crash, boom, yawn

‘xXx2’ has it all. Implausible computer-generated action sequences, clunky dialogue with cringe-worthy one-liners, a secret government agency, a plot to assassinate the president of the United States, plenty of gadgets and cars, bimbos almost busting out of their dresses, and an annoying technical geek sidekick. And, just in case you missed the parallels, our hero decked out in a tuxedo.

Frankly, all that’s missing is the martini shaker – and some finesse.

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Movies Reviews

Underwater quirkiness with Steve Zissou

Steve Zissou is a man apart. He’s an oceanographer extraordinaire. He’s a bold adventurer who leads his crew (Team Zissou) on daring expeditions to the far ends of the world. He’s made highly celebrated marine documentaries. He’s a hero with his own fan club. He’s faced down the deadly jaguar shark. He wears a Speedo.

But Steve Zissou is also a man in crisis. His closest friend was savaged by that same shark. His most recent documentaries have flopped. His ship, The Belafonte, is falling apart. He’s running out of money. He’s the laughing stock of the oceanography scene. In short, Steve Zissou is washed up.

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Music Reviews

R.E.M. give a monster performance

“I don’t want to be Iggy Pop,” barks Michael Stipe on ‘I took your name’, the song that opens the first South African concert of R.E.M.’s world tour.

But – even decked out in a dark suit, white shirt and red tie – he’s not fooling anybody.

Behind him, the band grinds relentlessly on, all wailing guitars and pummelled drums, giving a potent song the powerhouse treatment it deserves.

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Movies Reviews

‘Sideways’ is to be savoured

‘Sideways’ is one of those rare Hollywood movies. Incredibly funny, without ever resorting to slapstick, it’s also a very accomplished human drama that’s not afraid to be emotional – but avoids mawkish sentimentality.

It’s familiar territory for the director, who mined it, and struck gold, with ‘About Schmidt’ – but, apart from Alexander Payne’s credibility, this movie didn’t have much going for it. On paper at least.

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Music Reviews

U2 get explosive

“Time won’t take the boy out of this man,” declares Bono on ‘City of Blinding Lights’, one of the numerous highlights on U2’s stellar new album. And he might just be right.

With its jangling guitars and keyboard melodies from 1983’s ‘War’ album, the song burns with the rampant energy of boys hungry for success. But, the passion and vintage sounds battle it out with the finesse and skill you get from a group of fortysomething men who’ve enjoyed that success for near on two decades.

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Movies Reviews

‘The Incredibles’ lives up to its name

‘The Incredibles’ blows ‘Finding Nemo’ out of the water, scares ‘Monsters Inc.’ under the bed and sends ‘Shrek’ packing back to the swamp.

Simply put, it’s incredible – the most groundbreaking, jaw-dropping 3D animated film since ‘Toy Story’ made a dinosaur of traditional animation.

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Music Reviews

‘The Cure’ demands to be heard

Press play, and within seconds Robert Smith is wailing “I can’t find myself” while a sole guitar strums in the background.

“Oh, grow up,” you might think. This is no way for a millionaire rock star in his mid-forties to behave. But Smith sounds so passionate that you actually believe his moment of crisis as the jagged music rises to match his pained, increasingly distraught vocals.

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Movies Reviews

The truth shatters

A gripping docudrama, ‘Shattered Glass’ introduces us to one of the most sought after young journalists in Washington. The year is 1998 and Stephen Glass is associate editor at The New Republic. His larger than life features, filled with vivid dialogue and detailed descriptions, appear in magazines like George, Rolling Stone and Harper’s. He flirts with his secretary, always helps his colleagues, and remembers everyone’s birthday. Despite his insecurities, Steve’s an all-round nice guy with a major talent for writing.

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Movies Reviews

Nothing lost in translation

‘Lost in Translation’ is one of those very rare American dramas where subtlety and nuance don’t take a back seat to overblown melodrama and cloying sentimentality. Tranquil and delicate, Sofia Coppola’s film offers an almost dream-like look at the city of Tokyo and its effect on two Americans.

Bob Harris is a 40-something movie star lured to the city for a few days by a multi-million dollar whisky endorsement contract. He’s somewhat embarrassed at his reason for being in Tokyo but, apart from the financial benefits, his trip is the latest episode in his midlife crisis.