Sunday, April 30, 2006

media update: April

Before I get to the media update, I'd like to take a moment to discuss my third favorite animal, which is named for my second favorite deadly sin...sloth.

Now, despite my love for the sloth, I always used to say I would never touch one, because they're so damn slow that algae grows on their backs. But then I saw this picture:

This is Buttercup. Buttercup lives at a sanctuary in Costa Rica and is as neat and clean as can be. I would not only touch Buttercup, but I would cradle her in my arms and press her shaggy head to my bosom, because THAT'S HOW I ROLL.

And lest you mock me for loving the humble sloth, I ought to warn you that sloths are actually much more dangerous than you might think. Their lives of leisure are a front for their evil machinations, and I for one plan on sucking up to them as much as possible to avoid evisceration and/or enslavement when they take over the world.

Viva la revolucion!

(The preceding was brought to you by generic Sudafed mixed with Diet Dr. Pepper.)


1. The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult: A family is thrown into turmoil when the teenage daughter says she was raped at a party. It's excellent until the halfway mark, at which point it becomes too melodramatic to enjoy. There's a unique twist to this book, though: the main character is a comic book artist, and pages of his graphic novel separate the chapters of the "real" book.

2. The Typhoon Lover* by Sujata Massey: A typically excellent Rei Shimura mystery. In this one, Rei travels to Japan in search of a missing pitcher and winds up making a huge mistake.

3. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy: Um, holy freakin' depressing. The writing is utterly amazing, but I needed a hug and a Vicodin when I finished.

4. The 5th Horseman by James Patterson:, the short chapters are a nice concession to the ADD generation.

5. The Assassin's Touch by Laura Joh Rowland: The latest installment of Rowland's samurai mysteries isn't quite as good as I'd hoped it would be. Then again, perhaps I was somewhat prejudiced because the first copy I checked out smelled like urine...a fact I didn't discover until I opened the cover and the stench assailed my poor tender nostrils. Oy. Seriously, WTF is wrong with people?

Read so far this year: 16


1. How to Cook Your Daughter by Jessica Hendra: The author was infuriated when her father, Tony Hendra, published a "confessional" memoir because she felt he left one major detail out...that he sexually abused her. It's basically one huge "fuck-you-Dad" stretched out over 250 pages, but it's not bad.

2. I'm Coming to Take You to Lunch* by Simon Napier-Bell: A bitchy, dishy book about Wham's meteoric rise to fame, penned by their manager. It's not great literature or anything, but I can't imagine it could be much more entertaining.

3. A Piece of Cake* by Cupcake Brown: A riveting memoir about the author's messed-up childhood, even more messed-up adolescence, and her totally FUBAR'd adulthood. Not as depressing as it may sound; it's liberally spiked with humor and hope. (And yes, that's her real name; her mother craved cupcakes throughout her pregnancy.)

4. Everything I'm Cracked Up to Be by Jennifer Trynin: An interesting account of the author's rise and fall in the music world. (No, I'd never heard of her either, although I did download some of her music off iTunes after reading the book; man, that shit is catchy.)

5. Hungry Planet: What the World Eats by Peter Menzel and Faith D'Alusio: The authors photographed families throughout the world posed with a display of all the foods they eat in a week. I particularly liked the picture of one of the authors "enjoying" a deep-fried starfish on a stick.

6. Love My Rifle More Than You* by Kayla Williams: This fascinating story about the author's tour of duty in Iraq is like Jarhead with ovaries.

Read so far this year: 25


1. Keep Out* by Akira Kanbe

2. Fortune Fortune* by Mizuki Jun

3. Pathos* vols. 1-2 by Sadahiro Mika

4. Neighborhood Story vol. 5 by Yazawa Ai

5. Love Monster vols. 6-7 by Riko Miyagi

6. High School Girls vols. 1-3 by Towa Oshima

7. Nana* vol. 13 by Ai Yazawa

Read so far this year: 35 volumes


1. The Warriors*: A charismatic gang leader is shot and killed on the night of a truce, and the Warriors are falsely accused. With every rival gang in New York City after their asses, they have to try to make it back to their home turf. Stereotypical 70's wah-wah music, some hilarious macho posturing, and the gang outfits (Baseball players? MIMES?!?) are brilliant. And feast your eyes on this Warrior:

Cochise is the coolest mothafucka alive!

2. Waiting...: Okay, I really didn't need to see Luis Guzman's scrotum.

3. Slither*: A gleefully disgusting movie about alien parasites that invade a small Southern town at the height of deer season. Be warned, it's unbelievably gross, but it's also really damn funny, and if you can stomach the gore and goo, you'll have a blast.

4. Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit: Very cute, and the stop-motion animation is impressive. I probably would have enjoyed it even more if I hadn't been watching it while suffering from the crud.

5. Chronicles of Narnia*: Beautiful special effects enliven this enchanting tale about four siblings who find a magical world at the back of a wardrobe.

6. Junebug: A quirky little indie about a sophisticated art dealer meeting her husband's colorful family for the first time. Amy Adams' performance as a cheerful pregnant woman is by far the highlight of the film.

7. Silent Hill*: While I will always be a rabid and loyal follower of the Resident Evil games, especially after the brilliance of RE4, my fangirlish heart belongs to the Silent Hill series. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge fan of RE’s gory antics and jump scares, but Silent Hill’s got the edge when it comes to the psychologically disturbing. I care more about the characters in SH because I can relate to their quests; I can’t really imagine myself fighting an evil corporation, but I can sure imagine myself searching for a lost child or missing spouse.

Anyway, when I heard they were making a Silent Hill movie, I was utterly convinced they’d screw it up. Then I became optimistic when I heard about some of the people involved: Christophe Gans, director of Brotherhood of the Wolf; Roger Avary, who cowrote Pulp Fiction, and best of all, Akira Yamaoka, composer for all four SH games, doing the score. G warned me that it was probably going to suck, but I scoffed. “I’m not expecting a masterpiece,” I said. “If I don’t leave the theater feeling like they’ve completely trashed everything the series means to me, then the movie is a success.”

It was a success.

It's obvious that the movie was created by people who admire and appreciate the source material. The sets could not possibly be more accurate, the music is perfectly chosen (no big surprise, since they use music from the games), and my god, I almost had an orgasm when Pyramid Head made his first appearance. All this and Lisa too!

So to sum up, if I hadn't played the games, I would have enjoyed the music and the sets, and I would have found parts of the movie scary as hell (those nurses!), but I wouldn't have given it a star. But because they didn't crap all over the franchise, it gets one.

(And for the record, G admitted that it didn't suck.)

Seen so far this year: 30


1. "Li'l Red Riding Hood" by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs
2. "Gouge Away" by The Pixies
3. "Black Is Black" by Los Bravos
4. "Wave of Mutilation" by The Pixies
5. "I Walk the Line" by Joaquin Phoenix
6. "The Sound of Silence" by Simon & Garfunkel
7. "It Ain't Me Babe" by Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon
8. "No. 13 Baby" by The Pixies
9. "Tame" by The Pixies
10. "That's Alright Mama" by Tyler Hilton
11. "Don't Worry" by The Beach Boys
12. "Milk Cow Blues" by Tyler Hilton
13. "Crackity Jones" by The Pixies
14. "96 Tears" by ? and the Mysterians
15. "Monkey's Gone to Heaven" by The Pixies
16. "Dead" by The Pixies
17. "Mr. Grieves" by The Pixies
18. "There Goes My Gun" by The Pixies
19. "Ring of Fire" by Joaquin Phoenix
20. "Jukebox Blues" by Reese Witherspoon
21. "Here Comes Your Man" by The Pixies
22. "Better Than Nothing" by Jennifer Trynin
23. "La La Love You" by The Pixies
24. "Debaser" by The Pixies
25. "I Bleed" by The Pixies
26. "Get Rhythm" by Joaquin Phoenix
27. "They Say Vision" by Res