This high-speed action comedy stars Charlie Sheen as Jack Hammond, who has been given a life sentence for a bank robbery that he didn't commit. Hammond manages to escape, and while trying to avoid capture at a gas station, he ends up kidnapping Natalie Voss (Kristy Swanson); he threatens her with what she thinks is a gun, although it turns out to be a candy bar. Jack and Natalie take off in her BMW, with Jack unaware that his "victim" is actually Dalton Voss (Ray Wise), one of California's richest and most powerful land barons. Soon half the state's law enforcement officers and every member of the media is on Jack's tail as he races down the highway; in the meantime, Natalie and Jack get to know each other, and while she doesn't much care for him at first (as you might imagine), before long her attitude has softened quite a bit. Alternative rock fans might want to keep an eye peeled for Henry Rollins, playing a policeman, and Anthony Kiedis and Flea from The Red Hot Chili Peppers as a pair of yahoos with a very large truck.
Culled from four albums, except for one previously unreleased track, Shuggie's Boogie: Shuggie Otis Plays the Blues is a tour de force made all the more remarkable because the prodigy who produced it was so young. In fact, Shuggie Otis recalls during a boyish spoken intro in "Shuggie's Boogie" how he used to wear dark glasses and paint on a mustache to look older than his 14 or 15 years when he played in bars in the band of his legendary father Johnny Otis. During the same intro he effortlessly throws off guitar impersonations of T-Bone Walker, B.B. King and Elmore James. This compilation has a few rousing, up-tempo numbers, but the highlights are the slow, soulful tunes. One unfortunate omission is the seven-minute "Oxford Gray" from his 1970 album Here Comes Shuggie Otis.
Though her career stretched from the '30s to the '80s and she's widely considered possibly the greatest female jazz singer or all time, Ella Fitzgerald will probably forever be best known for a mid-'50s collection of albums collectively called the Songbooks, where she devoted entire albums to the works of such composers as Harold Arlen, Cole Porter, and Duke Ellington. THE BEST OF THE SONGBOOKS: THE BALLADS is one of the many compilations based on these recordings, and one of the best. From its beautiful, informative packaging to its gorgeously remastered sound, this 16-track, 64-minute collection treats the material with the respect it deserves. The material, of course, is first-rate, wall-to-wall standards from Johnny Mercer's wistful "Laura" to Ellington's sly "Do Nothin' Til You Hear From Me." Fitzgerald's performances are equally outstanding, as are the mostly big-band arrangements. This is as good as jazz ballad collections get.