The Star-Telegram arts writers spotlight what's rocking their world this week.
1 Life of Pi: If ever there were a movie that should be seen on the big screen, it's Life of Pi. The story of a boy adrift at sea with a veritable menagerie is both emotionally enthralling and visually intoxicating. Yet even on a smaller screen -- it comes out on DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday -- its wonders still should be persuasive. It won four Oscars, including the Best Director award for Ang Lee, for a reason.
-- Cary Darling
2 The Insider: Director Michael Mann's riveting dramatization of Jeffrey Wigand's attempts to blow the whistle on Brown & Williamson, the country's third largest tobacco company, has lost none of its potency in the years since its 1999 release. Making its debut on Blu-ray (in stores now), The Insider can be appreciated anew, particularly Al Pacino's simmering turn as Lowell Bergman, the 60 Minutes producer caught between corporate desires and journalistic integrity, and Russell Crowe's wonderfully nuanced performance as the tortured Wigand.
-- Preston Jones
3 Ashley Monroe, Like a Rose : Wiser than her years, 26-year-old singer-songwriter Ashley Monroe, perhaps best known as part of Miranda Lambert's side project, the Pistol Annies, establishes herself as a talent to be reckoned with on the Vince Gill-produced Like a Rose, her sophomore solo effort. Although it's a brief glimpse of her skills (Rose blooms in less than 30 minutes), it's a potent one. Co-writing each of the nine tracks, Monroe, with one foot in Music City's sonic past, deftly captures bruised romance as easily as she does dark comedy, suggesting Nashville's future is in good hands.
-- Preston Jones