Friday, March 31, 2006

media update: March

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


1. Parasite Eve by Hideaki Sena: Overly complicated sci-fi/horror novel about a cellular mutation called Eve. There's an old Playstation game with the same name and basic premise that I played way back when, although the game didn't include any lengthy descriptions of Eve's morphing, gushing vagina, fortunately.

2. In the Company of the Courtesan* by Sarah Dunant: The adventures of a famed Italian courtesan and the dwarf who is her constant companion. Gorgeous prose as elaborate as any Renaissance painting. Dunant's last novel, Birth of Venus, made my 2005 top ten, and although it's too early to say for sure, this one will probably follow its predecessor to the 2006 list.

Read so far this year: 11


1. Please Don't Kill the Freshman* by Zoe Trope: An occasionally annoying and frequently brilliant memoir supposedly written by a high school freshman, although with all the recent kerfuffle about Frey/Burroughs/LeRoy, I wouldn't be surprised if she was outed as being a middle-aged man. The first half is far superior to the second half, but I'm giving it a star because of quips like "I'm the reason I don't want to have children".

2. On Michael Jackson by Margo Jefferson: Critical essays on, well, Michael Jackson.

3. Self-Made Man* by Norah Vincent: The author was curious about how men really act when women aren't around, so she went undercover as a man for eighteen months. This is a riotously funny, occasionally sad book that made me feel both unbearably tender and incredibly pissy towards men.

4. Devil's Knot by Mara Leveritt: The story of the three teenage boys (aka the West Memphis Three) who were convicted of the brutal murders of three little boys, largely due to their musical tastes, black clothing, and interest in Wicca. If even half of the allegations of judicial inepitude and damning evidence pointing to another perpetrator are true, then these guys deserve a new trial. There's an excellent documentary about the case called Paradise Lost that's worth a looksee.

5. Cruising the Anime City by Patrick Macias and Tomohiro Machiyama: Man, I wish I'd had this book when I went to Japan last year; it's an invaluable guide to otaku paradise. True, it's fun to just wander around aimlessly and stumble upon cool stores, but I could have used the informative maps in here!

6. The Year of Yes* by Maria Dahvana Headley: Bored and wondering if she was too picky when it came to guys, the author vowed to go out with anyone who asked her on a date. Parts of this book were so funny that I was doubled over laughing in the break room, earning me nervous looks from my coworkers. It's also a good reminder that sometimes the biggest chances you take reap the greatest rewards.

7. What Einstein Told His Cook 2 by Robert L. Wolke: An unusual and informative tome about kitchen science.

Read so far this year: 19


1. Buddha vol. 6-7 by Osamu Tezuka

2. Maka-Maka by Kishi Torajiro

3. A Relation Is Still a Level 1 by Kazuhiko Mishima: No, I have no idea what the title means either, and I READ the damn thing!

4. Haa Haa* vol. 2 by Yoshihara Yuki

5. The Sword of Paros* vol. 3 by Yumiko Igarashi and Kaoru Kurimoto

6. Sweet II (anthology)

7. Desire Climax by Ukyou Ayane

Read so far this year: 24


1. Saw 2: It's not as inventive as the first one, but it's still tense as hell, and it gives you an idea of what Rube Goldberg would be like as a sadistic killer. Thankfully, the acting is infinitely better than the first installment...which is not to say it's Oscar caliber or anything.

2. Dark Water*: A woman in the process of a nasty divorce moves into a dilapidated apartment building with her young daughter, and it soon becomes apparent that things just ain't right. Suspenseful and surprisingly quite sad. John C. Reilly is uncharacteristically crappy as the hinky landlord, but both Jennifer Connolly and the girl who plays her daughter give excellent performances.

3. L.A. Story*: G made me watch this against my will, but I grudgingly have to admit that it was funny and charming. Don't tell him I said so.

4. The Libertine: Johnny Depp plays a horny writer in 17th century Britain who butts heads with the nobility.

5. Walk the Line*: An engrossing biopic about Johnny Cash, enlivened by excellent performances and a killer soundtrack.

6. Batman: Mask of the Phantasm: You get one guess as to whose movie choice this one was. Actually, though, it wasn't bad; the animation was very stylish, there was a twist I didn't see coming, and Mark Hamill did brilliant voice-over work as the Joker.

7. Howl's Moving Castle*: I get the feeling they omitted a lot of things from the book, because there were several plot points that either didn't make sense or were left hanging. However, I must give this a star because the animation was so unbelievably breathtaking.

Seen so far this year: 23