"The Understanding" (Röyksopp) ... the second album from two nerdy, synthy guys in Norway, sounds just as gleaming, less otherworldly, and more danceable, than their initial "Melody A.M." release. Highlights include echoes of their old sound on "Only This Moment" and "Circuit Breaker" (the former featuring guest female vocals), and new directions on "Follow My Ruin" and "What Else Is There?" Awesome production throughout.
"Plans" (Death Cab for Cutie) ... a warm, polished collection of ballads with some uptempo songs scattered throughout; the record sounds like DCfC has matured and knows it, losing the 20-something emo sound without compromising originality, but you suspect this arrangement was made with a much wider audience in mind. Thoroughly listenable and not too challenging, which might make this one a love-it-or-hate-it.
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (dir. Nick Park, Steve Box) ... the claymation heroes are fantastic in their first feature film, which keeps the feel of the three shorts released in the 90's, and the plot is substantial enough to sustain its 84-minute length. Eccentric and witty throughout, with some incredibly awful puns. Of course, the claywork was incredible. Highly recommended!
Firefly (created by Joss Whedon) ... a friend loaned me the DVD set of the series, of which I've now watched the first five episodes. The pilot was the most creatively realized premise I've seen in a TV series in a long time, with fresh characters and great dialogue. I was initially enthusiastic about seeing how the series fleshed out, but that's faded somewhat after viewing a few episodes. Granted, watching them without a week-long wait in between diminishes the squee factor, but some of the writing in the few that I've watched seems absolutely banal in comparison to the pilot. I'm still planning on watching the rest, though, to see if the series as a whole is able to exploit the potential provided by the pilot.