Graphic

Media Mix

A Quick Take on New Releases for Sunday, August 12, 2007


  Title Basic Story Sample Grab What You'll Love What You Won't Grade
Book
photo sample

Play Dirty

By Sandra Brown

Simon & Schuster

$26.95

The best-selling author returns with a schlocky suspense novel about the post-prison exploits of a football player who ruined his career by conspiring with the mob to throw a game.

"He'd told himself that the fi rst chance he got, he was going to say 'Thanks, but no thanks' and bolt. But he felt compelled to stay. Hell if he knew why."

— Disgraced quarterback Griff Burkett makes yet another bad decision

Brown's fiction reads like a long-form tabloid expose, full of steamy sex, intrigue and greedy secret plots by the rich and morally bankrupt.

The characters are a collection of depressing stereotypes -- the studly beefcake with a heart of gold, the ambitious but sad businesswoman -- and most of the would-be plot twists are predictable.

— Reviewed by Sara Cardace

D
Book
photo sample

Swim to Me

By Betsy Carter

Algonquin

$23.95

The author delivers a warm novel chronicling the coming-of-age of a fetching teenager who leaves the Bronx and rises to stardom at a mermaid-themed water park in rural Florida.

"Delores understood that if you behaved a certain way long enough and told the same story over and over, the act of repetition was all you needed to fog the truth."

— The protagonist

It's easy to lose yourself in Carter's cozy, generous story, in which second chances abound and change is almost always for the better.

Unlikely coincidences (the girl's long-lost father reemerges at a neighboring circus, for one) and Delores's easy rise to fame are hard to take seriously.

— S.C.

B-
CD
photo sample

Hey Hey My My Yo Yo

Junior Senior

Rykodisc

$16.98

The cartoonish dance-music duo from Denmark returns with a feel-great sophomore disc.

"You're about to plan / To throw my kiss in the garbage can"

— Guest singers Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson of the B-52's make a cameo on "Take My Time"

Bliss is ignorance? You can become so immersed in these ecstatic tunes that you'll hardly notice that nothing eclipses the pair's 2003 hit "Move Your Feet."

Some of these songs evoke the most cloying kiddie music. Imagine a bad trip back to the land of Fraggle Rock.

— Chris Richards

C+
CD
photo sample

Versatile Heart

Linda Thompson

Rounder

$17.98

After five years away from the spotlight, the legendary British singer pours her tender voice into this bouquet of folk ballads.

"So I'll swim for the shore even though I'll never make it / I'll sing once more about my heart and what you did to break it"

— "Give Me a Sad Song"

Misery loves company: The disc features impressive cameos from Thompson's son Teddy, daughter Kamila and Antony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons fame.

Many of these tunes are drumless affairs, sometimes producing humdrum results.

— C.R.

B+
Comic
photo sample

Killing Girl

By Glen Brunswick and Frank Espinosa

Image Comics

$2.99

A former prostitute named Sara eliminates targets on behalf of the Mafia until her once-suppressed memories lead her to hunt for her long-lost family.

"That new Russian democracy that everyone raves about can't make a move without Cosa Nostra."

— Sara muses about the scope of the mob's influence

Brunswick's hard-hitting pulp dialogue meshes seamlessly with Espinosa's kinetic pop-art illustrations to deliver a visceral impact.

Espinosa's art occasionally feels too loose and cartoonish for the life-and-death situations portrayed.

— Evan Narcisse

B+
DVD
photo sample

Fracture

Rated R

New Line

$28.98

Ryan Gosling and Anthony Hopkins star in director Gregory Hoblit's ("Primal Fear") cat-and-mouse thriller about a legal battle between a gifted young prosecutor and a cold, calculating killer.

"You look closely enough, you will fi nd that everything has a weak spot where it can break, sooner or later."

— Engineer Ted Crawford (Hopkins) makes a study of breaking points

The pairing of Gosling and Hopkins is inspired, and the film's best moments are when these two powerhouses go head-to-head.

The plot is never really credible, and the fi lm's denouement is particularly unsatisfying -- though the special features include two alternative endings if you are really put out.

— Justin Rude

C+
DVD
photo sample

Wild Hogs

Rated PG-13

Buena Vista

$29.99

John Travolta, Tim Allen, Martin Lawrence and William H. Macy star as middle-aged bikers who run afoul of a legitimate motorcycle gang on a cross-country trip.

"I think we should take the bikes back to the hotel, put them in a shed with the doors closed and then play Scrabble in the room with the shades down."

— Woody (Travolta) offers an alternative to confronting the outlaw bikers

Hard-core gearheads who can tune out the colossal comedic failures may be able to enjoy this as a feature-length Harley Davidson commercial.

After the unnecessary toilet humor, gay jokes, uninspired casting and a plot that has been seen a hundred times before, an alternative ending and deleted scenes just feel like cruel piling on.

— J.R.

F
Game
photo sample

Mario Strikers Charged

Wii

Rated Everyone 10+

Nintendo

$49.99

Nintendo's favorite mascots go crazy on the soccer fi eld using some very unconventional moves (e.g., breathing fi re or growing into a giant) to score.

Down by six goals? Don't worry, you can catch up by fl ying into the air, dividing the ball into six pieces and launching each one into the net.

Depending on which arena you choose, different environmental effects will get in the way, such as random lightning strikes or tornadoes blowing cows into players.

The game is exclusive to the Wii but makes no good use of that console's motion-sensitive controls.

— Christopher Healy

B+

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



© 2007 The Washington Post Company