Tuesday, May 31, 2005

media update: May

Asterisks denote something I particularly enjoyed or found especially worthy of my time; your mileage may vary.


1. Sideways by Rex Pickett: This may be the last time you ever hear me say this: the movie is much, much, much, MUCH better. Although the novel has several scenes that weren't included in the film, trust me, you won't be missing anything.


1. The Man Who Ate Everything* by Jeffrey Steingarten: Another collection of witty essays by the food critic for Vogue.

2. Wrong About Japan by Peter Carey: Travelogue of the author's trip to Japan with his manga/anime-obsessed son. Not nearly as good as I'd hoped it would be.

3. Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight* by Alexandra Fuller: Mesmerizing account of the author's childhood in Africa.

4. Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas: Mildly amusing and occasionally poignant memoir of the author's immigration from Iran to the US as a child in the early 1970's.

5. Hotel Secrets from the Travel Detective by Peter Greenberg: This book backs up my #1 rule of staying in a hotel...never, ever, EVER sleep under the bedspread.

6. Fat Girl* by Judith Moore: Wow. I'm not even sure what to say about this memoir about a woman's struggle with her weight and her nasty mother, but it's uncompromising and occasionally blackly funny, so I would recommend it with a caution that it gets very dark between those covers.

7. The Glass Castle* by Jeannette Walls: A stellar memoir about the author's childhood with an extremely unconventional, constantly broke, nomadic family.


1. I Love You Baby vols. 6-7 by Maki Yoko

2. Level C* by Aoi Futaba and Kurenai Mitsuba: I've had the original Japanese volumes for some time now, and I never thought I'd see the day when I could buy this at Borders. Granted, the translation doesn't add a whole lot---this is the epitome of PWP ("Plot? What plot?") manga---but I'm still glad to have it. Man, this is steamy.

3. Sullen Caress by Miyuki Kitagawa

4. Claudine* by Riyoko Ikeda


1. Unleashed*: Okay, parts of it were really hokey and manipulative, but I frickin' loved this movie. Bob Hoskins, playing the most creepily charismatic crime lord since Ben Kingsley in Sexy Beast, has trained a man named Danny to beat the shit out of people who owe him money, and treats him like a dog by keeping him collared and in a cage when he's not busting heads. When Danny escapes, he's taken in by a kindly blind piano tuner, but the crime lord wants his "dog" back. Jet Li shows surprising emotional depth in his performance as Danny, and do I even need to mention that there are some seriously kick-ass action sequences? During the first fifteen minutes alone, I was punching the air and yelling, which elicited chuckles from the people around us.

2. Dawn of the Dead*: This flick had it all as far as I'm concerned...characters I actually gave a shit about, a few poignant moments, some great black humor, and plenty of splatter to appease the gorehound in me. One of the rare remakes that did its predecessor proud.