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JORDI SAVALL/La Sublime Porte: I can hear this being something world beat fans might enjoy more than classical fans even thought the music looks at a Turkish world as old as dust. Under the leadership of Salavi, he brings his strings around to lead the ensemble through the souks, back alleys and underground of a teaming world that was over crowded back in the day. A wild ride through belly dancers, beheadings, expansionism and mysticism that falls together just right. With the kind of light/right touch that doesn't make this work to listen to, it's a dandy, theatrical feeling ear opener and one solid diversion that takes you to places you've only heard in dreams. Hot stuff.

KIRILL KARABITS/Tchaikovsky Mussorgsky: Want to spend 81 minutes in the Ukraine with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra as your guide? It's a trip well worth taking. The orchestra does wonders with the three pieces of war horse repertoire trotted out here giving the pictures on exhibition a new look, the night on bare mountain some new coverage and a new view of the little Russian. This is kind of stuff the old people were always listening to when I was a kid---don't know what things were like in your house, but it certainly brings a lot of atavistic moments back into the telescope. A well done reading, sympathetic and progressive at the same time, it really is old ground covered a new way. Solid listening.

MICHAEL TILSON THOMAS San Francisco Symphony/Mahler Symphony No. 3: Plain and simple, this double cd that explores this Mahler work to it's fullest is a great session of grown up listening. A fully rendered work that shows Mahler's debt to Beethoven as well as the changes the Mahler was going through in the course of the development of this work, the music is given room to breathe, is lush and ebbs and flows with the dramatic pull of your fave serious movie. There's nothing here you can do but let the polished pros do their thing leaving you free to absorb and delight in the power of this work. A winner throughout.

BODY PUZZLE: Talk about contemporary film noir taken to extremes that would meet with Joe Bob Briggs approval, this 1992 Italian import could give Freddy and Jason nightmares. A widow finds her house littered with an increasing pile of severed body parts while she's being done by the cop assigned to the case of finding out how her husband was shuffled off this mortal coil. Of course, dead hubby's gay lover figured into the mix and the whole thing gets thrown into the mix master as all the characters turn out to have something in common between them. Is that a mouthful or what? All lovers of hard core thrill rides will be enamored with this pic that'll probably be a view of first impression for most, a deluxe addition to the home vid collections of the experienced. With a deluxe package that includes a slew of extras on the disc and off, this is a cult film that treats the fans right throughout.

THE OVERCOAT: A 1952 Italian adaptation of a Russian short story, this is one for the books for the real film fan that has otherwise exhausted all the real film cognoscenti avenues and thought there was no more rocks to be looked under. As could only be written by an old school Russian, this is the story of the common man who is getting kicked to the curb. He gets the goods on the higher ups who buy him off to shut him up. Eventually, he gets kicked to the curb again, gets sick and dies, but comes back as a ghost that delivers a kick in the labonza to corrupt politicians that many politicians today could take a lesson from. With 60 years under it's belt, this pic might only appeal to the hard core classic and foreign film fan, but you they won't be able to shut up about it if this lands under their Christmas tree. (It's not released until January 17, 2012 so you'd have to give them a gift card for it, but still...) It's a prestigious pic that they've been making a big deal over in New York this past season so you can bet the hard core know ahead of time they are in for a good time.

MURDER OBSESSION: A grown up former psycho invites his pals to the family mansion for a few days of goofing off, when, lo and behold, he admits he killed his pop when he was a kid. Then his friends start dieing and guess who is thought the suspect? A 30 year old Italian psycho thriller that certainly displays a vastly different sensibility than similar American pics of contemporaneous times would have shown. You want something fairly familiar feeling with a way over the top reach? Check this out and bar the doors they next time you have some out of town guests staying over. Wild.

COME HAVE COFFEE WITH US: To get the vibe right, this Italian dark comedy could have only been made 40 years ago. A tax collector decides to use his knowledge of who has what money to find a rich wife. His original plan to find a young hottie doesn't work out, but he finds three virgin, spinster sisters. He marries one and has the other two on the side. Then he meets a screwy, young waitress and boffs her too but soon finds himself the epicenter of an emotional gangbang that has him worn out physically. Talk about a fantasy gone wrong. Even if the time, tide and mores are different, you can appreciate this as a smart comedy as opposed to a well meaning time piece, and the yuks do flow. Certainly a whacked out laugher that'll bring out your face-palms more than once along the way.

FINAL DESTINATION 5: The best part of this fifth installment in the nobody cheats death series that that you should not go on corporate retreats. Pay attention. This is not a benefit. The retreats are a pain in the ass, and now they bring death. One of the retreaters sees what's coming and tries to help his pals out of the way of the scythe, but you can't cheat death--or can you? Eye popping blu ray can get you losing your lunch if you forget it's only a movie. A grand thrill ride for fans of contemporary guiginol with a proto yuppie slant.

Volume 35/Number 45
December 15, 2011
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2011 Midwest Record

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