Thursday, June 30, 2011

media update: June

OMG OMG OMG! Today I got a notification that Swery65 is following me on Twitter! I AM SO EXCITED OMG.

::cricket chirp::

Okay, fine. Swery65 is the creator of the absolutely wackadoodle cult classic video game Deadly Premonition. I only have five Twitter followers (two of whom are complete mysteries since I've never heard of them, don't follow them, and have no idea how they found me) and now one of them is a freakin' gaming ICON.

/no1curr nerdery

Speaking of which, no video game review this month. G and I were actually playing Deadly Premonition, but I managed to score Shadows of the Damned from Gamefly, so we put DP aside for now since I actually own that one and can play it whenever I want GOSH. That was like going from the batshit frying pan into the crazycakes fire! Not that I was expecting anything less from Suda51, but SOTD is insane. And Poseidon's salty butthole is it HARD. I'm amazed that we haven't thrown the controller through G's TV. Then again, we haven't finished it yet, so that could still happen!

Oh, and as expected, Akira Yamaoka's soundtrack is utterly glorious. I mourn anew that he's abandoned Silent Hill.

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


1. The Tiger's Wife* by Tea Obreht: Natalia is a young doctor trying to piece together her grandfather's final days. As she does, she remembers two stories he told her: one about the "deathless man", and one about an abused young bride who becomes the titular tiger's wife. I enjoyed the stories much more than the present-day narrative, but this is still a beautifully written book with the feeling of a fairy tale. And the author is only 26 years old! Yes, at that relatively young age, she's on the New York Times bestseller list and, judging by her photo on the back cover, she is also very pretty. Therefore, despite the fact that I enjoyed this book, I am obligated to stew in a toxic soup of hatred and jealousy towards Ms. Obreht.

2. Dreams of Joy by Lisa See: When I reviewed Shanghai Girls back in 2009, I mentioned that it ended rather abruptly. Now I know why, because apparently the author was already planning this book. I can't go into great detail lest I spoil SG, but the sequel is set in 1957 and alternates between Joy, an angry young woman who flees to China, and her mother Pearl, who comes looking for her. Joy begins working in a commune and finds it idyllic at first, but when Mao's Great Leap Forward causes nationwide famine, she must struggle to survive long enough for her mother to find and rescue her. It's decent, but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who hasn't read SG first.

3. Don't Breathe A Word by Jennifer McMahon: A 12-year-old girl named Lisa goes off into the woods alone to meet a man she claims is King of the Fairies, and she never returns. Fifteen years later, her brother and his girlfriend receive a phone call from a woman claiming to be Lisa, back from fairyland. It takes a looooooong time to build up steam, and it can get confusing, but the last 100 or so pages are really good.

4. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children* by Ransom Riggs: Jacob is a rich, disaffected teenage boy whose world is shattered by his grandfather's horrific death. Trying to make sense of his grandfather's last words to him and a mysterious letter he finds, Jacob travels to Wales in search of the titular children's home, where his grandfather lived for a time. Featuring dozens of authentic and creepy vintage photographs (some of which have been edited in service of the story), this book combines Lemony Snicket with the X-Men and a touch of Lovecraft. I wish it had gone into more detail about the "peculiar children", because I didn't think they were particularly fleshed out, but maybe the inevitable sequel will do that.


1. Chocolate & Vicodin* by Jeanette Fulda: No, this isn't a book about my ideal weekend; that would be more accurately titled Chocolate & Vicodin & G & Video Games & A Huge Mothereffin' Pizza. Rather, this is the intriguing story of the author's desperate quest to find relief from a headache that began in 2008 and hasn't completely gone away since, despite sinking thousands of dollars into specialists, massages, and medicine.


1. Highschool of the Dead vol. 2 by Daisuke Sato and Shouji Sato

2. Chew vol. 3 by John Layman and Rob Guillory

3. Pure Heart by Hyouta Fujiyama

4. Fables vol. 15 by Bill Willingham

5. My Girlfriend's A Geek vol. 3 by Rize Shinba and Pentabu

6. Hot Limit by Akira Kanbe and Minori Shima

7. Life with Mr. Dangerous* by Paul Hornschemeier: Oh man, if you love Daniel Clowes, you owe it to yourself to pick this up. It's so---to coin a pretentious graphic novel nerd phrase---Clowesian that I almost wondered if he'd written it under a pseudonym. It's FANTASTIC.

8. 20th Century Boys vols. 3-5 by Naoki Urasawa

9. Seiho Boys' High School* vol. 6 by Kaneyoshi Izumi

10. Rasetsu* vol. 9 by Chika Shiomi


1. The Last Exorcism: A preacher decides to expose the exorcisms he's been doing as fake, and he asks a documentary crew to accompany him on one last exorcism. But to his astonishment, the teenage girl in question might be possessed for real.

This movie was really freakin' good (unnecessary and horrifying cat murder aside; seriously, horror filmmakers, can we quit with the cat killings? Just once I'd like to see a cat show up in a horror movie without something hideous happening to it) up until the last ten minutes. It's been a long time since I've seen an ending that so completely ruined everything that came before it. To give you an idea, G said that he'd been leaning towards giving it a 5-star rating on Netflix, and the ending changed that to a 3. Caveat watcher.

2. The Green Hornet: The rich heir to a newspaper publishing company (Seth Rogen) decides to fight crime under the guise of the Green Hornet, accompanied by his faithful sidekick Kato. A genially loud, stupid movie that's best avoided. Cool car mods, though.

3. Rubber*: Just when you thought there were no original ideas left, along comes this movie about a sentient, psychotic, telekinetic tire. Yes, a TIRE, and when he spots a beautiful young woman, he falls in love. And don't bother asking why a freakin' tire suddenly has these powers; a man pops out of a car trunk at the beginning to tell us that there's no reason for it, and then he gets back into the trunk and is driven away. Oh, and there's a Greek chorus of onlookers watching the events as they unfold. Why? No reason. It's not great, and the segments with the onlookers dragged on far too long, but I'm starring this movie for the sheer WTFness of it.

4. True Grit*: In this Coen Brothers remake of the classic western, a plucky young girl hires a hard drinking US Marshal to track down the man who murdered her father. Great performances and gorgeous cinematography.

5. I Saw the Devil*: When his pregnant fiancee is murdered, a Korean secret agent tracks her killer down. But instead of arresting him, the agent beats the shit out of him and forces a GPS tracker down his throat while he's unconscious, starting a brutal and excruciatingly suspenseful game of cat and mouse. Featuring the best opening 20 minutes of any movie I've seen so far this year, it's well worth watching unless you're squeamish. Notice I didn't say really squeamish, because there's no "really" about it. I had to stop halfway through and do something else for a while because I couldn't take it in one sitting.

Side note: Allegedly, Hollywood wants to remake this movie starring Russell Crowe as the killer, which is perfect casting. Ordinarily I wouldn't be down with retooling a perfectly good film just because us Americans can't stand to read no damn subtitles, but if they toned down some of the nastier bits, I'd definitely watch the remake too.

6. Drive Angry: In this grisly homage to the glory days of grindhouse, Nicolas Cage plays a man named Milton who's determined to track down the satanic cult that kidnapped his granddaughter. It's unbelievably stupid, and it shamelessly steals a scene from the infinitely superior Shoot 'Em Up, but it has a few fun moments courtesy of William Fichtner as the mysterious Accountant.

7. Jackass 3.5*: Watching this was bittersweet due to the recent death of Ryan Dunn, but it was still loads of fun. It's basically 90 minutes of outtakes from Jackass 3, but most of them are good enough that they easily could have made the final cut. My favorite stunt involved a slew of Jackass boys too greased up to escape a surprise paintball attack.