Movies

MANN GETS HELP FROM HER FRIENDS

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For years, Aimee Mann's sweet voice and her dark and brilliant lyrics have obscured the opportunities for strong electric guitar play in her music. On Tuesday night at Avalon, those opportunities fully flowered under the fingers of sideman Julian Coryell.

From a thrilling, reverberating, show-ending solo on "Long Shot" that was not deterred by his breaking a string to the subtle slide atmosphere he created for "Voices Carry," the 'Til Tuesday tune that Mann selected for her second encore, Coryell was the story of the evening.


SAME OLD COWBOY MOUTH

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It's not surprising that the jacket of "Mercyland" contains about 40 images of the New Orleans rockers Cowboy Mouth in concert, because live is where they shine. Drummer and band leader Fred LeBlanc is arresting onstage, sweating and spitting, and leaving a semicircle of woodchips -- evidence of what happens to drumsticks at high power. Alas, it's also not surprising -- given previous releases -- that what's inside is just regular rock 'n' roll. The tunes could have been created by any band or even by these boys four years ago; their sound hasn't gone anywhere.


SALMA HAYEK, THE FORCE BEHIND 'FRIDA'

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LOS ANGELES - What savvy actress wouldn't want to play Frida Kahlo, the Mexican artist and American pop icon whose 47 years on this earth would be unbelievable if they weren't true?

She survived a bus accident at 18 in which she was impaled on a metal rod - and nearly bankrupted her family during her convalescence. She began to paint as an outlet for her pain, which led her to a passionate and stormy relationship with fellow artist Diego Rivera; they married, divorced, then married again.


AMUSING 'MADE" DOESN'T LIVE UP TO EXPECTATIONS

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Make a rousing, hip, and funny film, and everyone thinks you have it made. All the right people return your phone calls, and the babies love you.

But with accolade comes expectation. And then comparison. If you want to stay on top, you not only have to make another hip and happenin' film, but it has to be even a little better.

Set against that backdrop, Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn, whose "Swingers" surprised and delighted audiences five years ago, don't exactly have it made anymore.


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