Media Mix

A Quick Take on New Releases for Sunday, October 8, 2006

  Title Basic Story Sample Grab What You'll Love What You Won't Grade
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Insecure at Last: Losing It in Our Security-Obsessed World

By Eve Ensler



Ensler views her premise — that a misguided search for security leaves us powerless, both personally and politically — through the lens of her lifelong obsessions: violence and women.

"Is it possible to live surrendering to the reality of insecurity, embracing it, allowing it to open us and transform us and be our teacher?"

— The book's central question, as articulated in the introduction

The "Vagina Monologues" playwright breathes fresh, urgent life into familiar stories, from the treatment of Afghani women under the Taliban to Cindy Sheehan's journey to activism.

Cynics may cringe at the use of terms such as "Vagina Warrior" (as well as some well-intentioned but pretty awful poetry), but there's no doubt that Ensler has put her money, passport and life’s work where her mouth is.

— Reviewed by Adriana Leshko

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One Good Turn

By Kate Atkinson

Little, Brown


The best-selling mystery novelist returns to her popular character Jackson Brodie, a retired private eye who becomes embroiled in a tangle of deaths in Edinburgh, Scotland.

"Pandora, Eve, Bluebeard's anonymous wife and the entire ghostly audience of Take Your Pick were at his back, urging him on. Finally, he managed to remove the sponge. A gun."

— An unassuming writer named Martin nearly faints after discovering his companion's hidden weapon

Atkinson's sharp, imaginative prose is leagues above the scads of formulaic, dime-store crime writers on the market — and the story she has created is teasingly addictive.

She devotes nearly the first third of the book to setting up her characters, so the beginning drags a bit, and the wrap-it-all-up ending isn't quite as neat as it could be.

— Sara Cardace

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Global Underground


A side dish from Deep Dish member Sharam Tayebi, "Dubai" is a double-disc DJ mix from the local house music maestro.

"You wait for nothing and it never comes / At least you know you're not the only one"

— Planet Funk's "Everyday"

Dave Aude's "Pumps Dub" might be the only place to hear crunk teenagers Crime Mob spitting over a clinical house beat.

The bump and grind of the second disc feels mismatched with the squeakyclean uniformity of the first.

— Chris Richards

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Robbers & Cowards

Cold War Kids



The California hopefuls have caught the attention of bloggers and record execs. How long before their derivative songcraft catches the attention of the White Stripes' intellectual property lawyers?

"She's laughing like a choir girl / When she doubles over, sounds like 'Hallelujah!' "

— "Hair Down"

These ramshackle tunes are full of sharp hooks and clever lyrical quips.

Singer Nathan Willett often spoils things with his Jack White-aping mewl.

— C.R.

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The Surrogates

By Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele

Top Shelf


In a sterile dystopian future where people inhabit android bodies, cops have to determine what's behind a series of mysterious murders.

"You have traded flesh and bone for cosmetics and alloy. You live a filtered life."

— Steeplejack, the book's villain, jeers at a cop

Venditti's meditations on the ramifications of technological advancement find a strong partner in Weldele's bleak art.

It may be hard for some readers to get past the conceptual debt that "Surrogates" owes to "Blade Runner."

— Evan Narcisse

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A Prairie Home Companion

Rated PG-13

New Line


Robert Altman makes a fictional movie about a real radio program, providing a backstage view of the last broadcast of Garrison Keillor's folksy show.

"Every show is your last show. That's my philosophy."

"Thank you, Plato."

— Rhonda (Lily Tomlin) pokes fun at host Keillor

The cast, which includes Tomlin, Meryl Streep, Woody Harrelson and John C. Reilly, seems to be having a blast; the commentary, by Altman and Kevin Kline, is a treat.

Those looking for a strong narrative may be befuddled by Altman's gentle breeze of a story.

— Greg Zinman

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Rated PG-13



When an overworked architect (Adam Sandler) receives a remote control from a mysterious inventor (Christopher Walken), he finds that he can manipulate time and space.

"He's always chasing the pot of gold, but when he gets there... it's just cornflakes."

— Morty (Walken) tries to get Michael (Sandler) to stop and smell the roses

Special effects junkies will enjoy the disc's bevy of "making of" extras, which detail how the filmmakers spent untold amounts of time and money to make Sandler look realistically fat.

For all of its good intentions, the film is over-long and under-funny.

— G.Z.

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Xbox, Xbox 360, PS2

Rated Everyone

2K Sports


This top franchise returns with just about the most detailed re-creation of a genuine NBA game ever.

Just as in real life, every player moves differently; watching the screen, you don't feel like you're looking at computer-programmed animations.

The "Shot Stick" allows you to fine-tune your approach to the basket, whether it's a straight layup, powerful dunk or show-off move.

The variety of moves is so staggering, you'll probably learn to use only a third of what the game has to offer.

— Christopher Healy


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

© 2006 The Washington Post Company