The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California on November 27, 2006 · Page 46
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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California · Page 46

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ET_E_4_E4_LA_1_11-27-06_mo_1_CMYK 2006:11:26:15:10:51_ E4 MONDAY,NOVEMBER27,2006 CALENDAR LOSANGELESTIMES EL CAPITAN 6838 Hollywood Blvd. at Highland 1-800-347-6396 For Groups of 20 or more call 1-818-845-3110 Walt Disney Pictures Presents THE SANTA CLAUSE 3: THE ESCAPE CLAUSE(G) Digital Sound10:00  12:30  3:00  5:30  8:00 Plus, Disney's Holiday Spectacular An All New Holiday Stage Show! Now - January 4th Walt Disney Pictures Presents TIM BURTON'S THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS 3-D(PG) 10:30 Now - January 4th Presented For the First Time Ever in Disney Digital 3D LATE SHOWS ONLY Come Early and Enjoy a Holiday Breakfast With Mickey & Minnie! Before Every 10am Show of "The Santa Clause 3", come to Disney's Soda Fountain and Studio Store For Breakfast With Mickey & Minnie! Reserve Your Spot Today! TICKETS ON SALE NOW! Call 1-800-Disney6 or www.elcapitantickets.com Have Your Birthday Party at El Capitan Theatre. For More Information Call 818-845-3110. $2.00 Validated Parking Across the Street at Hollywood & Highland Special Engagement/No Passes Accepted GALLERIA STADIUM 16 Sherman Oaks Galleria Ventura and Sepulveda, Off 405 Fwy Parking Off Camarillo; 4 Hrs On-Site Free Validated Parking 818/501-5121 (#037) DÉJÀ VU(PG–13) ■▲ (1:00  2:30  4:10)  7:15  8:25  10:10 DECK THE HALLS(PG) ■▲ (12:35  3:00  5:20)  7:45  10:10 BOBBY(R)- ID REQUIRED (1:00  4:05)  7:20  10:10 TENACIOUS D IN: THE PICK OF DESTINY(RID REQUIRED (1:20  5:10)  7:40  10:05 THE FOUNTAIN(PG–13) ■▲ (1:30  4:20)  7:10  9:40 HAPPY FEET(PG) ■▲ (12:45  1:25  2:25  3:30  4:15  5:00)  7:00  7:40 9:50 CASINO ROYALE(PG–13) ■▲ (12:50  4:10  5:10)  7:00  7:45  8:30  10:15 Also Showing At Sherman Oaks 5 BORAT(R)- ID REQUIRED (12:30  2:45  5:00)  7:15  9:35 FLUSHED AWAY(PG) (12:40  2:50  6:00) THE QUEEN(PG–13) (1:30  4:20)  7:10  9:40 BABEL(R)- ID REQUIRED (12:30  3:45)  7:05  10:15 A GOOD YEAR(PG–13) 10:15 PM STRANGER THAN FICTION(PG–13) (1:15  4:05)  7:05  9:55 FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION(PG–13) Digital Sound(1:55  4:30)  7:25  9:45 SHERMAN OAKS 5 Milbank at Van Nuys 818/501-5121 (#392) CASINO ROYALE(PG–13) ■▲ (2:15)  7:20 Also Showing At Galleria Stadium THE DEPARTED(R)- ID REQUIRED (2:35)  7:05 FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS(R)- ID REQUIRED (4:45) PM THE PRESTIGE(PG–13) (2:00  4:45)  7:30 MARIE ANTOINETTE(PG–13) (2:05)  7:35 LET'S GO TO PRISON(R)- ID REQUIRED ■▲ (2:45  5:00)  7:40 LAKEWOOD CENTER STADIUM 16 Faculty and Candlewood 562/531-9580 (#046) DÉJÀ VU(PG–13) ■▲ On 2 Screens (1:30  2:30  4:30  5:30)  7:30  8:30  10:20 Also Showing At Lakewood South DECK THE HALLS(PG) ■▲ (2:20  4:45)  7:20  9:35 Also Showing At Lakewood South BOBBY(R)- ID REQUIRED (1:05  4:00)  7:05  9:45 TENACIOUS D IN: THE PICK OF DESTINY(RID REQUIRED (2:05  4:50)  7:35  9:50 THE FOUNTAIN(PG–13) ■▲ (1:45  4:25)  7:25  10:10 HAPPY FEET(PG) ■▲ On 2 Screens (1:15  2:15  4:15  5:15)  7:00  8:00  9:30 Also Showing At Lakewood South CASINO ROYALE(PG–13) ■▲ On 2 Screens (1:00  2:00  4:05  5:05)  7:10  8:10  10:15 Also Showing At Lakewood South BORAT(R)- ID REQUIRED (2:45  5:35)  7:40  9:55 Also Showing At Lakewood South FLUSHED AWAY(PG) (2:25  4:40)  7:10  9:25 Also Showing At Lakewood South SAW III(R)- ID REQUIRED (2:10  4:55)  7:50  10:20 BABEL(R)- ID REQUIRED (1:10  4:20)  7:25  10:25 THE RETURN(PG–13) Digital Sound(2:35  5:00)  7:15  9:20 LET'S GO TO PRISON(R)- ID REQUIRED ■▲ (2:40  5:20)  7:45  10:05 LAKEWOOD CENTER SOUTH 9 Faculty and Del Amo 562/634-9281 (#047) DÉJÀ VU(PG–13) ■▲ (2:00  5:00)  8:00 Also Showing At Lakewood Stadium DECK THE HALLS(PG) ■▲ (2:40  5:15)  7:50 Also Showing At Lakewood Stadium HAPPY FEET(PG) ■▲ (1:40  4:45)  7:30 Also Showing At Lakewood Stadium CASINO ROYALE(PG–13) ■▲ (1:30  4:30)  7:40 Also Showing At Lakewood Stadium BORAT(R)- ID REQUIRED (2:20  4:50)  7:10 Also Showing At Lakewood Stadium THE SANTA CLAUSE 3: THE ESCAPE CLAUSE(G) (2:15  4:20)  7:00 FLUSHED AWAY(PG) (1:50  4:00)  6:40 Also Showing At Lakewood Stadium ONE NIGHT WITH THE KING(PG) (1:20  4:10)  6:50 STRANGER THAN FICTION(PG–13) (2:10  4:40)  7:30 THE GROVE STADIUM 14 3rd & The Grove Drive Just East of the Historic Farmers Market 323/692-0829 (#209) 4 Hours On-Site Validated Parking Only $2 11 AM Show Is A Monday Morning Mommy Movie DÉJÀ VU(PG–13) ■▲ (11:00  2:10  5:25)  7:55  8:45  11:00 Also Showing With Reserved Seating On 2 Screens At ArcLight Hollywood DECK THE HALLS(PG) ■▲ (10:25  12:55  4:10)  7:10  9:40 BOBBY(R)- ID REQUIRED (11:30  2:25  5:20)  8:10  11:05 Also Showing With Reserved Seating At ArcLight Hollywood TENACIOUS D IN: THE PICK OF DESTINY(RID REQUIRED (11:00  1:40  4:25)  7:20  9:55 Also Showing With Reserved Seating At ArcLight Hollywood THE FOUNTAIN(PG–13) ■▲ (10:20  12:45  3:15  5:45)  8:20  10:55 Also Showing With Reserved Seating At ArcLight Hollywood HAPPY FEET(PG) ■▲ (10:20  11:15  1:05  2:05  4:05  5:05)  7:50 10:35 Also Showing With Reserved Seating On 2 Screens At ArcLight Hollywood CASINO ROYALE(PG–13) ■▲ (10:30  1:45  5:05)  7:05  8:30  10:30 BORAT(R)- ID REQUIRED (10:35  1:00  3:20  5:45)  8:25  10:45 FLUSHED AWAY(PG) (10:40  12:50  3:10  5:25)  7:35 THE QUEEN(PG–13) (10:15  12:35  3:00  5:30)  9:50 Also Showing With Reserved Seating At ArcLight Hollywood THE DEPARTED(R)- ID REQUIRED (12:35  4:15)  7:45  11:05 BABEL(R)- ID REQUIRED (10:30  1:45  5:00)  8:35 Also Showing With Reserved Seating At ArcLight Hollywood STRANGER THAN FICTION(PG–13) (10:45  1:50  4:55)  8:00  10:50 Also Showing With Reserved Seating At ArcLight Hollywood CULVER STADIUM 12 Culver and Washington 310/360-9565 (#065) 4 Hours Free Parking With Validation Lots on Ince, Watseka, and Cardiff DÉJÀ VU(PG–13) ■▲ On 2 Screens (1:40  4:00  4:40)  7:10  7:40  10:10 BOBBY(R)- ID REQUIRED (1:05  4:10)  7:05  10:00 TENACIOUS D IN: THE PICK OF DESTINY(RID REQUIRED (2:25  4:55)  7:25  9:55 HAPPY FEET(PG) ■▲ On 2 Screens (1:30  2:40  4:35  5:15)  7:20  7:50  9:40 CASINO ROYALE(PG–13) ■▲ On 2 Screens (1:00  3:40  4:15)  7:00  7:30  10:05 BORAT(R)- ID REQUIRED On 2 Screens (1:20  3:35  5:50)  8:10  9:50  10:20 FLUSHED AWAY(PG) (1:10  3:20  5:30)  7:35 THE DEPARTED(R)- ID REQUIRED 10:15 PM BABEL(R)- ID REQUIRED (4:05)  7:15  10:20 FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION(PG–13) (1:15  3:30  5:45)  8:05  10:15 BEACH CITIES STADIUM 16 Nash and Rosecrans 310/607-0007 (#028) 11 AM Show Is A Monday Morning Mommy Movie DÉJÀ VU(PG–13) ■▲ On 2 Screens (11:00  1:10  2:15  4:30  5:30)  7:30  8:30  10:25 Also Showing At Manhattan Village DECK THE HALLS(PG) ■▲ (2:15  5:00)  7:30  10:05 BOBBY(R)- ID REQUIRED (1:15  4:10)  7:25  10:20 TENACIOUS D IN: THE PICK OF DESTINY(RID REQUIRED (2:40  5:10)  7:50  10:25 THE FOUNTAIN(PG–13) ■▲ (2:20  5:20)  7:45  10:05 HAPPY FEET(PG) ■▲ On 2 Screens (1:45  2:25  4:30  5:15)  7:15  7:55  9:55 CASINO ROYALE(PG–13) ■▲ On 2 Screens (12:45  1:00  4:00  4:15)  7:10  8:05  10:20 Also Showing At Manhattan Village BORAT(R)- ID REQUIRED (2:30  5:05)  7:25  9:40 Also Showing At Manhattan Village THE SANTA CLAUSE 3: THE ESCAPE CLAUSE(G) (2:10  4:35)  7:05  9:30 FLUSHED AWAY(PG) (2:35  5:10)  7:20 Also Showing At Manhattan Village THE DEPARTED(R)- ID REQUIRED 10:30 PM SAW III(R)- ID REQUIRED 9:45 PM BABEL(R)- ID REQUIRED (12:50  4:00)  7:10  10:20 STRANGER THAN FICTION(PG–13) (2:05  4:50)  7:35  10:15 LET'S GO TO PRISON(R)- ID REQUIRED ■▲ (2:45  5:05)  7:40  9:55 MANHATTAN VILLAGE Sepulveda at Rosecrans 310/607-0007 (#056) DÉJÀ VU(PG–13) ■▲ (12:45  4:00)  7:00 Also Showing At Beach Cities CASINO ROYALE(PG–13) ■▲ (1:15  4:30)  7:40 Also Showing At Beach Cities BORAT(R)- ID REQUIRED (2:15  5:30)  7:45 Also Showing At Beach Cities FLUSHED AWAY(PG) (4:25) PM Also Showing At Beach Cities THE QUEEN(PG–13) (2:00  4:20)  7:10 FAST FOOD NATION(R)- ID REQUIRED (1:45)  7:25 FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION(PG–13) (2:30  4:45)  7:15 VINELAND DRIVE-IN Vineland at Valley 626/961-9262 Show Starts At 7:00 DECK THE HALLS(PG) BORAT(R) DÉJÀ VU(PG–13) THE DEPARTED(R) CASINO ROYALE(PG–13) SAW III(R) HAPPY FEET(PG) THE SANTA CLAUSE 3: THE ESCAPE CLAUSE(G) WINNETKA STADIUM 21 Winnetka and Prairie 818/501-5121 (#095) DÉJÀ VU(PG–13) ■▲ On 2 Screens(12:35  1:35  3:40  4:40)  7:00 8:00  10:10 Also Showing at Northridge Fashion Center DECK THE HALLS(PG) ■▲ On 2 Screens(1:10  2:20  4:10  5:10)  7:15 8:10  9:45 Also Showing at Northridge Fashion Center BOBBY(R)- ID REQUIRED (12:55  4:05)  7:15  10:15 TENACIOUS D IN: THE PICK OF DESTINY(RID REQUIRED (2:10  4:55)  7:50  10:15 Also Showing at Northridge Fashion Center THE FOUNTAIN(PG–13) ■▲ (1:40  4:30)  7:20  9:50 HAPPY FEET(PG) ■▲ On 3 Screens(12:30  1:15  2:00  3:00  3:50 5:00)  6:10  7:10  9:10 Also Showing at Northridge Fashion Center CASINO ROYALE(PG–13) ■▲ On 4 Screens(12:30  1:15  2:05  3:35  4:20 5:50)  7:00  7:45  8:30  9:30  10:20 Also Showing at Northridge Fashion Center BORAT(R)- ID REQUIRED (1:50  4:45)  7:20  9:40 Also Showing at Northridge Fashion Center THE SANTA CLAUSE 3: THE ESCAPE CLAUSE(G) (1:30  4:15)  7:05  9:50 FLUSHED AWAY(PG) (1:55  4:25)  7:05  9:25 Also Showing at Northridge Fashion Center THE QUEEN(PG–13) (1:45  4:35)  7:25  10:00 THE DEPARTED(R)- ID REQUIRED 9:45 PM SAW III(R)- ID REQUIRED (1:25  4:20)  7:25  10:05 Also Showing at Northridge Fashion Center BABEL(R)- ID REQUIRED (12:35  3:45)  7:10  10:20 STRANGER THAN FICTION(PG–13) (1:05  3:55)  7:05  9:55 LET'S GO TO PRISON(R)- ID REQUIRED ■▲ (2:25  5:05)  7:30  9:55 NORTHRIDGE FASHION CENTER STADIUM 10 Tampa and Plummer 818/501-5121 (#092) DÉJÀ VU(PG–13) ■▲ (2:00  5:10)  8:15 Also Showing at Winnetka DECK THE HALLS(PG) ■▲ (1:15  3:30  5:50)  8:30 Also Showing at Winnetka TENACIOUS D IN: THE PICK OF DESTINY(RID REQUIRED (1:15  3:35  5:55)  8:40 Also Showing at Winnetka HAPPY FEET(PG) ■▲ (1:45  5:15)  7:45 Also Showing at Winnetka CASINO ROYALE(PG–13) ■▲ (1:30  5:15)  8:25 Also Showing at Winnetka BORAT(R)- ID REQUIRED (1:30  5:45)  8:10 Also Showing at Winnetka FLUSHED AWAY(PG) (1:40  5:20)  7:40 Also Showing at Winnetka SAW III(R)- ID REQUIRED (2:20  5:50)  8:20 Also Showing at Winnetka STRANGER THAN FICTION(PG–13) (2:05  5:40)  8:30 Also Showing at Winnetka FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION(PG–13) Digital Sound(2:15  5:05)  7:50 PASEO STADIUM 14 Colorado & Los Robles 626-568-8888 (#206) 3 Hours On-Site Validated Parking Only $2 11 AM Show Is A Monday Morning Mommy Movie DÉJÀ VU(PG–13) ■▲ On 2 Screens (11:00  1:50  3:50  4:50)  7:00  8:00  9:50 DECK THE HALLS(PG) ■▲ (12:00  2:45  5:15)  7:45  10:05 BOBBY(R)- ID REQUIRED (11:45  2:40  5:20)  7:05  9:45 TENACIOUS D IN: THE PICK OF DESTINY(RID REQUIRED (2:05  4:40)  7:25  9:40 THE FOUNTAIN(PG–13) ■▲ (12:45  3:20  5:35)  8:05  10:20 HAPPY FEET(PG) ■▲ On 2 Screens (11:25  1:45  2:00  4:30  4:35)  7:35  10:05 CASINO ROYALE(PG–13) ■▲ On 2 Screens (12:15  1:10  3:40  4:15)  7:10  7:20  10:15  10:25 BORAT(R)- ID REQUIRED (2:55  5:20)  7:40  9:55 FLUSHED AWAY(PG) (2:50  5:10) MARIE ANTOINETTE(PG–13) 7:50  10:35 FAST FOOD NATION(R)- ID REQUIRED (1:35  4:25)  7:15  9:50 STRANGER THAN FICTION(PG–13) (11:40  2:15  4:50)  7:25  10:10 LET'S GO TO PRISON(R)- ID REQUIRED ■▲ 7:30  10:10 HASTINGS Rosemead at Foothill 626/568-8888 (#043) DÉJÀ VU(PG–13) ■▲ (1:20  4:20)  7:30 DECK THE HALLS(PG) ■▲ (1:40  4:35)  7:00 TENACIOUS D IN: THE PICK OF DESTINY(RID REQUIRED (2:00  4:45)  7:10 HAPPY FEET(PG) ■▲ (1:30  4:25)  7:05 CASINO ROYALE(PG–13) ■▲ (1:00  4:10)  7:20 BORAT(R)- ID REQUIRED (2:15  5:00)  7:40 FLUSHED AWAY(PG) (1:05  3:20  5:30)  8:00 BABEL(R)- ID REQUIRED (1:10  4:15)  7:25 COMMERCE 14 Goodrich and Whittier 323/726-8022 (#036) DÉJÀ VU(PG–13) ■▲ (1:40  4:50)  7:50 DÉJÀ VU(PG–13) Spanish Subtitles (1:05  3:50)  7:00  10:05 DECK THE HALLS(PG) ■▲ (3:00  5:30)  8:00 DECK THE HALLS(PG) Spanish Subtitles (2:00  4:40)  7:10  9:35 TENACIOUS D IN: THE PICK OF DESTINY(RID REQUIRED (2:50  5:15)  7:40  10:15 CASINO ROYALE(PG–13) ■▲ (1:15  4:25)  7:45 CASINO ROYALE(PG–13) ■▲ Spanish Subtitles (3:45)  7:05  10:10 THE FOUNTAIN(PG–13) ■▲ (2:35  5:00)  7:30  9:55 HAPPY FEET(PG) ■▲ (1:20  4:30)  7:20  10:10 HAPPY FEET(PG) Spanish Subtitles (2:40  5:20)  8:10 BORAT(R)- ID REQUIRED (2:45  5:05)  7:25  9:45 THE RETURN(PG–13) (1:00  3:20  5:35)  7:55  9:55 FLUSHED AWAY(PG) Spanish Subtitles (1:00  2:55  5:10) BABEL(R)- ID REQUIRED Spanish Subtitles (3:40)  7:15  10:15 LET'S GO TO PRISON(R)- ID REQUIRED Spanish Subtitles 7:35  9:50 Sunset & Vine 323/464-4226 www.arclightcinemas.com 4 Hours Validated Parking - $2 All Reserved Seating THE CINERAMA DOME Digital Projection Presentation HAPPY FEET(PG) Digital Sound 12:30  3:00  5:30  8:00  10:30 HAPPY FEET(PG) Digital Sound 11:45  2:05  4:25 DÉJÀ VU(PG–13) Digital Sound 1:15  4:15  7:15  10:05 THE FOUNTAIN(PG–13) Digital Sound 12:00  2:30  4:50  7:30  9:50 TENACIOUS D IN: THE PICK OF DESTINY(RID REQUIRED Digital Sound 11:35  2:15  5:15  8:05  10:25 THE HISTORY BOYS(R)- ID REQUIRED Digital Sound 11:10  1:50  4:30  7:40  10:20 FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION(PG–13) Digital Sound 11:20  1:20  3:20  5:20  7:50  10:00 BOBBY(R)- ID REQUIRED Digital Sound 11:15  1:55  5:05  7:55  10:45 STRANGER THAN FICTION(PG–13) Digital Sound 11:55  2:25  4:55  7:35  10:15 VOLVER(R)- ID REQUIRED Digital Sound 11:05  1:45  4:35  7:45  10:35 BABEL(R)- ID REQUIRED Digital Sound 11:00  2:00  5:00  8:10  11:10 FAST FOOD NATION(R)- ID REQUIRED Digital Sound 1:05  4:05  7:25  10:55 THE QUEEN(PG–13) Digital Sound 11:40  2:20  4:40  7:00  9:20 THE PRESTIGE(PG–13) Digital Sound 1:30  4:20  7:10  10:10 © 2006 11/27/06 ▲ HOLLYWOOD ArcLight Hollywood at Sunset & Vine (323) 464-4226 Daily: 11:05  1:45  4:35 7:45  10:35 AMPAS,DGA,WGA&SAGNOM.COMM.MEMBERS: YOURCARDWILLADMITYOUANDAGUESTTOANYPERFORMANCE. VOLVER PENÉLOPE CRUZ WWW.SONYCLASSICS.COM “ONE OF THE YEAR’S BEST!” -Peter Travers,ROLLING STONE WINNER BEST ACTRESS BEST SCREENPLAY CANNES FILM FESTIVAL ▲ WEST LOS ANGELES Laemmle's Royal (310) 477-5581 Daily: 1:20  4:10  7:00  9:50 VIEW THE TRAILER AT WWW.VOLVERFILM.COM AFILMBY ALMODÓVAR ❋ COSTA MESA Edwards South Coast Village 3 (800) FANDANGO #162 ▲ PASADENA Laemmle’s Playhouse 7 Cinemas (626) 844-6500 Tickets available @ laemmle.com ● ❋ ▲ MOBILEUSERS:ForShowtimes-TextVOLVERwithyourZIPCODEto43KIX(43549) ● ENCINO Laemmle's Town Center 5 (818) 981-9811 By Agustin Gurza Times Staff Writer Ricky Martin “MTV Unplugged” (Sony BMG) ★★★ ½ Ever since the end of his “ vida loca ” days, Ricky Martin has been trying to be taken seriously. He’s made a good Spanish album or twobut with little impact. He toured but came across asoutdated. The formula of his new “MTV Unplugged” CD seems an unlikely vehicle to establish artistic credentials, given its retrospective nature. But by reinventing his old hits in an acoustic setting with a monster band, Martin has finally reinvented himself. We discover an artist who is mature, grounded and focused on musicality, not celebrity. The first revelation is the choice of songs. “The Cup of Life,” his breakthrough World Cup ballad, isn’t here. Neither is “Livin’ la Vida Loca,” the 1999 mega-hit that ushered in the crossover craze. Commercially, Martin was never able to live up to that song. Or live it down, artistically. So best just forget it for this session. That leaves his ample pre- crossover work, music that made him a solo star in Latin America after Menudo. Martin and his robust band, led by guitarist David Cabrera, transform once superficial dance numbers such as “María”and “La Bomba”into exciting, swinging tropical celebrations with flamenco touches and pan-Caribbean accents. Who would have thought that Martin would be making some of the tastiest salsa music of 2006? The inclusion of a cuatro , a Puerto Rican guitar with a bright sound, adds an appealing, rootsy flavor to a big band with horns, strings and a powerful rhythm section. The second big surprise is the CD’s three new songs. “Tu Recuerdo” (Your Memory)is a beautiful love song written by producer and fellow Puerto Rican Tommy Torres. For this splendid duet, Martin doesn’t return to the usual suspects among his Miami neighbors (Shakira, Sanz). He features the relatively unknown Mari from Spain’s fabulous flamenco chill band, Chambao. It’s a magical choice. The CD closes with “Pégate,” an uplifting blast of a bomba, a native Puerto Rican style. Co- written by Martin, the tune touches an ageless theme in tropical music: The rhythm can ease your troubles. Andin the case of this still evolving star, it can also make you born again. Alejandro Sanz “El Tren de los Momentos” (Warner Music Latina) ★★ Sometimesthe toughest act to follow is your own. Spanish pop superstar Alejandro Sanz took a creative leap forward with his previous work, “No Es lo Mis- mo” (“That’s Not the Same Thing”), one of the best Latin records of 2003. The provocative title track was a stream-of-consciousness commentary built on clever wordplayflowing on a meandering melodic stream. With it, Sanz hit on a style that was both traditional and original, drawing on elements of flamenco and sly bohemian pop poetry. Sanz is joined again on “El Tren de los Momentos,” his new 10-song set, by Cuban producer Lulo Perez, who lent a groovy Caribbean touch to the previousal- bum. On this outing, however, the team has lost its chemistry— and its way. Before trying to replicate the recipe that yielded yesterday’s masterpiece, Sanz and Perez should have heeded the advice suggested in the new title: Once the train has left the station, the moment is gone. The success of the last album rested in its well-crafted, scintillating songs. And that’s where this one disappoints. None of these songs comes close to the philosophical depth or melodic complexity of “Mismo.” In the first single, the dark and depressing “A la Primera Persona” (To the First Person), Sanz is down in the dumps, along with his muse, and never climbs out. Shakira contributes a guest vocal on “Te Lo Agradezco, Pero No” (Thanks, but No), reciprocating Sanz’sguest spot on her smash hit “La Tortura.”But not even she can shake this tune out of its rut. The same goes for the guest guitar solo by Colombian superstar Juanes, on the lame “Peleí- ta,”which also features one of the rappers from the irreverent reggaeton/hip-hop duo Calle 13. With all that star power, mostly from Sanz’sMiami neighbors, you’d expect fireworks, but it backfires. Even Sanz’splain- tive, flamenco-tinged vocals — so distinctive and affecting on the last album — border on irritating yowling at times here. Every artist can have a slump. Here’s hoping Sanz’strain gets back on track real quick. Los Van Van “Chapeando” (Ahi-Nama Music) ★★★ For almost 40 years, Los Van Van has been on the cutting edge of Cuban dance music, developing new fusions, rhythms and patterns of playing drums and piano. This astounding band has been dismissed more than once along the way, only to come back twice as strong. Its latest release, “Chapean- do,” comes at a time when the Cuban fad in the U.S. has faded, along with dreams of capturing the U.S. market. So Van Van, like other bands, has retrenched on the island, away from the marketing hype that nearly destroyed their music. This album, recorded in 2004, is just now being distributed in the U.S. It’s a sign of the slump that until nownobody wanted to release the latest by the greatest band in Havana. But it’s never too late to catch up with this powerful and inventive group. This is the first studio album after defections that decimated the legendary lineup led by bassist-composer Juan Formell. It goes to prove that this cat truly does have nine lives. New vocalist JennyValdes, the band’s first female singer, establishes herself here as one of the island’s top soneras . And there’s an unusual guest vocal by flamenco singer Diego El Cigala. As in almost every album, the band includes a self-referential song. This time it’s the assertive and driving “Ven, Ven, Ven,” with this chorus: “No tengo nada dife- rente. Yo soy Van Van, el mismo de siempre.” (“I have nothing new. I’m just Van Van, the same as always.”) And that always means the best music Cuba has to offer, even in an off year. Lucero “Quiereme Tal Como Soy” (EMI Televisa) ★ ½ Never underestimate the shameless exercise of synergy in the Mexican music business. Veteran vocalist Lucero(the former child star Lucerito) appeared as co-host of this year’s Latin Grammys just in time for her new release, “Quiereme Tal Como Soy” (Love Me as I Am), on a label linked to the network that broadcast the awards. The TV exposure won’t salvage the lifeless, mediocre treatment she gives to wonderful romantic songs by Spain’s Rafael Perez Botija. Her insipid version of “La Gata Bajo la Lluvia” (The Cat in the Rain) makes you yearn for the strength and style of the late Rocio Durcal, who made the torch song a hit in the 1980s. Lucero’s 18th studio album takes its title from a song that means “love me just the way I am.” That’s asking a lot. Reviews are on a scale of four stars (excellent), three stars (good), two stars (fair) and one star (poor). Albums have been released except as indicated. agustin.gurza@latimes.com LATIN ALBUM REVIEWS Pulling the plug revives a career Bru Garcia AFP/Getty Images ACT 4: Ricky Martin finds his rhythm in an unplugged setting. Evan Agostini Alejandro Sanz

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