Critical Moment

Our Opinionated Guide From One to Five Stars MOVIES In the Mood for Love Shy Hong Kong neighbors contemplate affair. Quirky, gorgeous--and so elegantly acted that a trip to the noodle shop seems erotic. J.G. 4 Stars

Saving Silverman A pair of doofuses hate their best bud's vicious new girlfriend, so they kidnap her. Stay home instead and call it "Saving Nine Bucks." D.G. 1 Star

Nico and Dani Two Spanish boys, one gay, one straight, on summer holiday anchor this fresh, sensitive, seriocomic take on adolescent sexual awakening. D.A. 4 Stars

TV & VIDEO The Princess and the Marine (NBC, Feb. 18) Ripped from the headlines! A Bahraini woman falls for a U.S. Marine. Cheesy and delicious. M.P. 3 Stars

The Ballad of Lucy Whipple (CBS, Feb. 18) Glenn Close is plain and tall again as the frontier mother of an intrepid daughter (Jena Malone). M.P. 3 Stars

BOOKS Alan Furst, 'Kingdom of Shadows' (Random House) "You are really very good," says the hero's squeeze in this Pernod-smooth late '30s Eurothriller. One big plot instead of four little ones, however, and he'd have been excellent. P.P.4 Stars

Manil Suri, 'The Death of Vishnu' (Norton) A dying man on the stairs of a Bombay apartment house upends the lives of the residents and kick-starts this bitterly funny debut novel. M.J.3 Stars

William Gay, 'Provinces of Night' (Doubleday) The plot of this Tennesee family saga is a mess--one son simply vanishes mid-story--but Gay's gift with language makes you forgive him anything. M.J. 3 Stars

MUSIC Compay Segundo, 'La Flores de la Vida' (Nonesuch) The Buena Vista Social Club elder offers cigar-seasoned vocals atop old-style Cuban jazz. More saucy than sentimental. L.A. 3 Stars

Japancakes, 'The Sleepy Strange' (Kindercore) This obscure Georgia outfit offers shivery slide guitar over sublime, off-kilter melodies. Indie mood music, no pesky lyrics required. L.A. 4 Stars

Various Artists, 'Rarewerks' (Astralwerks) Remixes and unreleased tracks by Fatboy Slim, Air, Basement Jaxx and the Chemical Brothers. DJ culture at its best. L.A. HHH