Hidden away in the Himalayas are beguiling monkeys unlike any others of their kind. Only recently discovered, Yunnan snub-nosed monkeys have mesmerizing faces, with tiny noses, almond eyes and large pink lips that unavoidably call to mind the results of too much plastic surgery. Their elfin-like young have ears like Yoda. They are exclusive stars of their enchanted mountain valley, found not far from an ancient city named after the famous mythical paradise called Shangri-La. There are only a few thousand of them in the world. Representing the meticulous and ambitious work of an all-Chinese film company led by award-winning filmmaker, Xi Zhinong, this spectacular film is the true story of one family of these monkeys, followed by an intrepid team of filmmakers, rangers and scientists for two years. At the heart of the story are two young monkeys, half-brothers, who make their way in the world by very different paths - one protected and indulged, the other mostly a neglected and adventurous survivor.
Steve Vai's first album for Sony/Legacy is Stillness in Motion, a double-live set – it's available as a two-CD/two-DVD package – that captures the guitarist's October 12, 2012 concert at Club Nokia in Los Angeles. This is, for want of a better word, something of an extravaganza: 22 tracks over the course of 130 minutes, Vai dipping into nearly every phase of his career. He's as precise on-stage as he is in the studio, which may mean Stillness in Motion lacks the kinetic energy that is the hallmark of so many great live albums. What it has instead is fluidity: Vai and his backing band may specialize in pyrotechnics, but there's a grace to the playing on even the frenetic numbers, and that lyricism may be eye-opening to skeptics. To the converted, it is certainly a good reason to dive into this generous live set.