1. Finn Brothers, Everyone is Here (Parlophone): A more ambitious, considered and produced affair than their earlier Finn album, this has maturity, craftsmanship, a sense of reflectiveness and killer tunes within its broad and impressive range.

2. Strawpeople, Count Backwards from 10 (Sony): The sixth offering by the Auckland outfit comes with much electro-pop spark and some gently unsettling excursions.

3. Minuit, The Guns EP (Tardus): Nelson-bred electronica-rock trio follow up their impressive debut album with this, three new songs, two remixes, two live tracks and four video clips. Mixed results but, at its best, aims for arenas and dancefloors with considerable confidence.

4. Jordan Reyne, Passenger (Jayrem): Dark, atmospheric, electronica-influenced song cycle based on the local singer's time in Germany and the nihilism she feels.

5. ZZ Top, Rancho Texicano(Warners): If it ain't broke, just turn it up louder. This double-disc career-overview avoids later and lesser material for classic songs and diamond hard riffs that made this beardy Texas bar band into a stadium shaker.


1. Monster: Harrowing drama about the awful (real) life of American serial killer and prostitute Aileen Wuornos. It showcases the talent of Charlize Theron, who won just about every award going for her amazing performance.

2. 50 First Dates: Rom-com with Adam Sandler as a flirty marine biologist specialising in seals at an aquarium in Honolulu who falls for Drew Barrymore. Trouble is, she has short-term memory loss so he has to make her fall in love with him every day, over and over.

3. Hidalgo: Mostly made-up story of Frank Hopkins (Viggo Mortensen), a washed-up cowboy in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show who races his horse Hidalgo in a 5000km desert race from Aden. Action-packed, slightly dumb.

4. Starsky & Hutch: Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson team up for this parody remake of the 70s TV show as the good cop/lazy cop pair on the trail of a Bay City drug dealer, played hilariously by Vince Vaughn. Fashion crimes aplenty plus interesting Snoop Dogg cameo.

5. Secret Window: Johnny Depp plays Rainey, a divorced recluse fighting writer's block while living in a lakeside shack. Accused by an angry writer (John Turturro) of plagiarising his short story, Rainey becomes trapped as he loses hold on reality.


1. Auckland Art Gallery: Through the Eyes of Shirin Neshat, important exhibition showing the haunting work of exiled Iranian film-maker and photographer Neshat, who crosses the boundaries of nationality and culture. Opens tomorrow, with a curator's talk by Ron Brownson on Sunday at 1pm.

2. Studio of Contemporary Art, 5 Kingdon St, Newmarket: Light Box Invitation, invited artists with versions of light boxes, including Michel Tuffery, Karleena Mitchell and Jacqueline Elley.

3. Anna Miles Gallery, 4J, 47 High St: Pugs and Prey, by Octavia Cook and Kirstin Carlin, paintings and jewellery inspired by the often bizarre extravagance of the pre-Victorian era.

4. Milford Galleries, 26 Kitchener St: Voices, by Ross Ritchie, new works by the veteran artist whose work appears rarely but is always sought after.

5. McPherson Gallery, 14 Vulcan Lane: New work, by Zarahn Southon, courageous, accurate observations of working-class people, who are a vanishing breed.


1. Under Milk Wood: Ambitious revival of Dylan Thomas' masterpiece about the good, eccentric folk of Llareggub (bugger all), with the music of his language recreated in the setting of a recording studio in the 50s. The SiLo.

2. Whale Rider: Robust performances lift this ambitious stage version of the book-turned-film. Sometimes the merging of the two worlds of the natural and the supernatural, the scientific and the fantastic present technical and imaginative problems but it's still powerful. The Civic.

2. Evita: Across the road, the revival of the Rice-Webber musical about that most manipulative Argentinian glamour puss is made sexy and strong, particularly in the hands of lead Josie Walker and a charismatic cast. St James.

3. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? A fabulous pairing of David McPhail and Jennifer Ludlam highlights the raw emotional impact that arises out of playwright Edward Albee's unflinching portrayal of human frailty. For all its political resonance and linguistic dazzle, the real power of the play resides in the surface story, centred on the tempestuous love/hate relationship between George and Martha. The Maidment.

4. Meeting Karpovsky: Helen Moulder and Sir Jon Trimmer are perfectly paired in a poignant drama about a lonely woman whose dreams about a great dancer mysteriously come true. Herald Theatre.