Media Mix

A Quick Take on New Releases for Sunday, April 9, 2006

The Joys of Much Too Much
By Bonnie Fuller
Simon & Schuster

The tabloid queen (most famous for her super-successful reign as editor of Us Weekly) lays out the tenets of the perfect life.
"Simplifying down to the most precious objects and actions will result in sterility, which is the road to spiritual ruin and mental rigor mortis!"
- Fuller sings the praises of never taking a break from the action

Fuller doesn't shy away from dishing about her friends (and enemies) in the media — though the tidbits are all but lost in the avalanche of inspirational advice.
The book's underlying assumption — that you can fix your life if you could just fix that bad attitude! — is sophomoric and deeply presumptuous.
- Reviewed by Sara Cardace

The Nimrod Flipout
By Etgar Keret
Farrar, Straus and Giroux

This collection of 30 frequently absurdist short fictions from the popular Israeli author plumbs themes from canine loyalty to romantic betrayal (and, in one story, neatly combines the two).
"I’ve had it with how they turn me on and then leave the room, with how they sit in front of me but don't really watch."
- An anthropomorphized TV feels neglected in "A Good-Looking Couple"

Several stories (such as "Glittery Eyes," about unrequited kindergarten affection) wring genuine emotion from a few scant but evocatively written pages.
Quality is inconsistent: For every gut-punch ("Your Man"), you get a headscratcher ("Horsie").
- Carolyn Juris

Todd Smith
LL Cool J
Def Jam

The well-toned rapper returns with an album — his 12th — full of collaborations with artists such as Jennifer Lopez and the Neptunes.
"I know I said I would roll with you / Put my lifestyle on hold for you / All the sweet things that I told to you / This conversation is overdue."
- "Freeze"

Rising rapper Juelz Santana steals the spotlight on the hard-hitting "It's LL and Santana" — as do Lyfe Jennings and Teairra Mari on their respective guest-star turns.
The catchiest songs on the album are nothing more than thinly veiled rehashes of old favorites such as "Around the Way Girl" and "Going Back to Cali," and LL's raps on songs like the wedding-themed "Down the Aisle" are downright cheesy.
- S.C.

You in Reverse
Built to Spill
Warner Bros.

The seasoned indie rockers deliver a riffdriven album full of clever-cute lyrics and psychedelic jams.
"Something's you can't explain / Like why we're all embracing conventional wisdom in a world that's just so unconventional"
- "Conventional Wisdom"

Several songs, such as the catchy, galloping "Goin' Against Your Mind," recapture the warm, accessible sound that has brought the band so much success in the past.
Doug Martsch's excellent voice is inexplicably altered with heavy-handed effects, and some songs run on a bit too long.
- S.C.

Banana Sunday
By Root Nibot and Colleen Coover
Oni Press

When Kirby Steinberg and her three superintelligent primates move to a new school, she must deal with a cute guy, a snoopy reporter and a jealous clique queen — all while keeping her pets' true origins secret.
"Two bananas plus two bananas equals 'Oh boy, it's naptime!' Math is fun!"
- The slightly dim, narcoleptic monkey Go-Go blurts out a truism

Nibot and Coover combine screwball comedy and high school angst to make "Sunday" a breezy, madcap confection with a mysterious twist.
Often, Go-Go, Knobby and Chuck get better lines than the book's human characters.
- Evan Narcisse

Fun With Dick & Jane
Rated PG-13

This remake of the 1977 original finds an ambitious executive (Jim Carrey) and his wife (Tea Leoni), right, turning to a life of crime to support their upscale lifestyle in the aftermath of a corporate scandal.
"We're all just like cavemen with our own little patch of land. Well now I've got a club, and I'm gonna take what I need."
- Dick (Carrey) gives social Darwinism a spin

Alec Baldwin manages to elicit a few grins as a Ken Lay stand-in.
White collar malfeasance is a ripe subject for satire, but the film's flimsy structure collapses like Enron's accounting; Carrey never met a bug-eyed triple-take he didn't like.
- Greg Zinman

Wolf Creek
Weinstein Company

This indie Australian horror flick follows three backpackers who receive a tow from a stranger when their car breaks down. Things go horribly wrong from there.
"I'm going to do something now they used to do in Vietnam. It's called making a head on a stick.
- Mick (John Jarratt) prepares to do something truly vile to Liz (Cassandra Magrath)

Rookie helmer Greg McLean shoots the outback beautifully, making the landscape a silent, foreboding character; the believable first hour passes without horror, nicely setting up the story's tension.
The third act is chockablock torture and gore of the most graphic kind; Jarratt's evil Crocodile Dundee character goes several miles over the top.
- G.Z.

Rumble Roses XX
Xbox 360
Rated Mature

The ornery grappling gals of the Rumble Roses franchise return to the ring in the Xbox 360's first wrestling game.
The Photo Shoot mode lets players pose and snap pics that can be shared online via Xbox Live.
The new Battle Royale mode lets up to eight players throw down.
The game's amped fetish for humiliation and objectification of its characters will make some players cringe while playing.
- E.N.


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

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