News and Notes
Somewhat looser and less focused than the exquisite Low-life, Brotherhood is also more playful than its predecessor. It's impossible not to grin as Bernard Sumner literally laughs his way through the first line of "Every Little Counts." He reveals (and revels in) the tongue-in-cheek nature of the moment without compromising any of the song's inherent sweetness. After building to a lush crescendo, the band then throws a big monkey wrench in the mix -- and you're left scratching your head, wondering if there's something wrong with your CD.
Safe Area Gorazde
While the hard cover format and comics pages may suggest that this is a graphic novel, it's actually something that has never been done before: a first-person documentary in comics form. Reporter/artist Joe Sacco traveled post-war Bosnia in the company of reporters who phoned in sound-bites to CNN. He was no doubt seen as an oddity -- a guy who is going to spend months DRAWING his report as a comic book. But in the end, Safe Area is something far more valuable than a CNN sound-bite. It gives one an overview of what has gone on in the region in this century, what was happening during the Dayton accords, and collects the harrowing stories of civilian survivors who are now trying to reclaim the normal lives they once lived.
Set in the late-nineteenth century, an Anglican minister (Hugh Grant) and his wife (Tara Fitzgerald) are sent to a small town in Australia to convince a painter (Sam Neill) to withdraw some controversial paintings from an upcoming exhibit. When the local train is derailed, the couple, who lovingly refer to each other as Pooh and Piglet, spend a few days longer than anticipated with the painter, his wife, his models (one of them played by a voluptuous Elle Macpherson), and his mysteriously blind handyman. While the minister and the painter engage in heated debates about art and religion, particularly the image of the female nude, the minister's wife embarks upon her own exploration of forbidden sensuality and fantasy in this Australian version of the Garden of Eden. Prepare to be seduced.