Media Mix

A Quick Take on New Releases for Sunday, June 4, 2006

Rumspringa: To Be or Not to Be Amish
By Tom Shachtman
North Point Press

A book-length exploration of the Amish coming-of-age ritual known as rumspringa, which draws from (and elaborates on) interviews from the 2002 documentary "Devil's Playground."
"The cars pass a young woman in a buggy heading in the direction of the party; she is smoking a cigarette and talking on her cell phone; the buggy's window flaps are open, to disperse the tobacco smoke and perhaps facilitate the cell phone connection."
Never sensationalizing, Shachtman lets the teenagers themselves articulate their struggle to choose between a tradition-bound life and the myriad temptations of "the real world."
The somewhat stodgy prose style ("wheels" equals "car," etc.) and a nagging sense that this story is perhaps best served by the visual medium may keep readers from getting wholly immersed.
Reviewed by Adriana Leshko

Tied to the Tracks
By Rosina Lippi

The award-winning historical fiction writer tackles romantic comedy with a clash-of-cultures, small-town love story set in Ogilvie, Ga.
"He had never imagined that Angie would still own that T-shirt, or what the sight of it might do to him... Angie in the morning."
Dr. John Grant waxes rhapsodic after seeing his ex in an old Nirvana shirt

Lippi's zany, likable characters including a frumpy Yankee filmmaker and a strong-willed elderly writer are imaginative and well-delineated.
Despite the author's best efforts to rise above the cliches inherent in the genre, the book is a romance novel above all else and a totally predictable one at that.
Sara Cardace

The River in Reverse
Elvis Costello and Allen Toussaint
Verve Forecast

The still-angry rocker teams up with the veteran New Orleans musician and songwriter for a moody album steeped in the despair, hurt and bitterness wrought by Hurricane Katrina.
"Thought I heard somebody pleading / I thought I heard someone apologize / Some fell down weeping / Others shook their fists up at the skies"
"Ascension Day"

This is a truly collaborative effort, with the duo sharing songwriting duties and pianist Toussaint playing a sly Big Easy bounce to flavor Costello's signature snarl.
For creating an album linked so clearly to a city's misery, it's unfortunate that the pair have no plans to donate any percentage of the album's profits to a deserving Katrina charity.
Joe Heim

The Bottle Rockets
Bloodshot Records

Straight out of Festus, Mo., the band that restored respectability and roots to Southern rock returns with its seventh album of original songs.
"I like the way you talk / Your voice is like a song / I don't correct you even when I think you're wrong / I put my whole heart / Into everything with you / But what you're doing next / I do not have a clue"
"Mountain to Climb"

Though the band has become more polished over the years, it has retained a satisfying gruffness that lends the songs real soul.
Dopey lyrics on a couple of songs ("Align Yourself" and "I Quit") are small blemishes on an otherwise very fine release.

Scott Pilgrim, Vol. 3: Scott Pilgrim & the Infinite Sadness
By Bryan Lee O'Malley
Oni Press

Slacker bassist Scott Pilgrim loves Ramona Flowers, but he has to defeat her seven evil ex-boyfriends in combat to keep on dating her.
"Dude, come on. We're shirking duties randomly made up by people who hate us."
Ramona convinces Scott to put off his fight with her ex Todd for another night

O'Malley stitches together indie-rock attitude, video game logic and romantic longing to make the book a hilarious, idiosyncratic gem.
Subplots detailing Scott and Ramona's dating histories make keeping track of all the characters and their relationships a little confusing.
Evan Narcisse

Glory Road
Rated PG
Walt Disney

Jerry Bruckheimer presents the real-life story of Texas Western basketball coach Don Haskins (Josh Lucas, right with Derek Luke), who led the first all-black starting five to a national championship in 1966.
"None of you white boys get it, because you don't have people breaking into your room, throwing blood on your walls or shoving your head in toilets."
One team member explains how external racial tensions are starting to affect the team's chemistry

Standard inspirational sports-flick moments are tempered by snappy ensemble acting and some witty dialogue.
Lucas's character is devoid of nuance unlike Jon Voight's perfectly hateable performance as legendary Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp.
Greg Zinman

Sarah Silverman: Jesus is Magic

Deadpan princess Sarah Silverman does her decidedly un-P.C. live comedy act, interspersed with musical numbers and sketches.
"I don't care if you think I'm racist. I only care if you think Im thin."
Silverman gets her priorities in order

With her coquettish, I-didn't-realize-anyone-would-be-offended persona, Silverman is able to render topics such as AIDS and slavery somehow hilarious.
The songs and vignettes seem as if they should be sidesplitters, but they aren't nearly as effective as the stand-up material; some viewers will feel hugely offended by nearly every line in the movie.

Jaws Unleashed
Xbox, PS2
Rated Mature

You are the razor-toothed killing machine swim around and terrorize Amity Island with impunity.
Aside from random swimmer gobbling, you can take on missions that require you to do things like going fin-to-fin with a killer whale.
Your shark can crush and munch nearly everything in the sea (mmm, Jet Skis!) a plus for fans of mindless destruction.
You sneak up on an unsuspecting scuba diver. Suddenly, the camera freezes. Where is your prey? Who knows? You have to hit reset.
Christopher Healy


PHOTOS: Courtesy
Adapted from version orginally published in The Washington Post

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