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A Quick Take on New Releases for Sunday, March 26, 2006




         
TITLE
     
BASIC STORY
     
SAMPLE GRAB
     
WHAT YOU'LL LOVE
     
WHAT YOU WON'T
   
GRADE
Book      
It's Kind of a Funny Story
By Ned Vizzini
Hyperion
$16.95

     
A promising high school student landslides into manic depression and ends up checking himself into a mental hospital in the hopes of beating the illness.
     
"Oh right, God. Forgot about him. He's definitely, according to Mom, going to have a role in me getting better. But I find God to be an ineffectual shrink."
- The protagonist contemplates his prospects for recovery

     
The author, a former mental patient himself, supplies personal insights and a clever, self-deprecating tone that make the book an entertaining read.
     
If it weren't so funny, the story would be a total downer.
- Reviewed by Sara Cardace

    B
CD      
Show Your Bones
Yeah Yeah Yeahs Interscope $13.98
     
The hipster New York rock trio, fronted by frenetic singer Karen O, returns with its second full-length album, which hits hard while keeping the mayhem to a minimum.
     
"Take these rings and stow them safe away / I'll wear them on another rainy day"
- "Cheated Hearts"

     
Y3 delivers a CD packed with polished punk-pop jewels from the funky "Phenomena" and raw, countryish "Mysteries" to hookladen, hit-worthy classics such as "Gold Lion" and "Honeybear."
     
The only bad news is that the band's April 3 show at the 9:30 is already sold out.
- Joe Heim

    A+
DVD      
Get Rich or Die Tryin'
Rated R
Paramount
$29.99

     
50 Cent's pseudo-autobiographical film is about a fatherless young boy who starts dealing, is shot nine times and lives to rap about it all.
     
"It was either express myself or die. I know I did a lot of bad things in my life, but from that moment on, I decided to tell the truth."
- Marcus (50 Cent) finds light in lyrics while locked up in solitary

     
A strong supporting cast (Joy Bryant, Terrence Howard) make up for Fiddy's lack of actorly range; the scenes from our hero's adolescence on the streets simultaneously charm and horrify.
     
Though it starts strong, the film too quickly devolves into a compendium of selfmythologizing montages.
- Joe Heim

    C
DVD      
King Kong:
2-Disc Special Edition

Rated PG-13
Universal
$30.98

     
Peter Jackson's remake follows a filmmaker (Jack Black) who sets sail for Skull Island, where he finds a huge ape (Andy Serkis) with a soft spot for the picture's starlet (Naomi Watts).
     
"Monsters belong in B movies."
- Carl Denham (Black) gives a self-reflexive wink to those watching this $200 million flick

     
Kong is a dynamic computer creation, and his three-on-one battle with a gang of tyrannosaurs thrills; four hours of production extras should please monkey-mad fans.
     
The first hour is fantastically boring; Jackson's decision to play the damsel-Kong relationship as something like a real romance ends up being pretty creepy.
- G.Z.

    B
DVD      
Memoirs of a Geisha:
2-Disc Special Edition

Rated PG-13
Sony
$28.96

     
Rob Marshall directs this adaptation of the novel, about a 9-year-old girl who is sold to a Kyoto geisha house, undergoes humiliation and cruelty, and emerges as Sayuri, a gorgeous woman (Ziyi Zhang) who reaches the heights of her field.
     
"Geisha is an artist of the floating world. She dances, she sings. She entertains you, whatever you want. The rest is shadows, the rest is secret."
- An older Sayuri romanticizes her trade

     
The Oscar-winning cinematography, art direction and costuming make the movie worth watching, even when the plot crawls at a somnambulist's pace.
     
The film seems a little too nostalgic for an era in which children were sold into sexual slavery.
- G.Z.

    C
Game      
The Godfather
Multiple Platforms
Rated Mature
Electronic Arts
$39.99

     
Players control a young Mafioso's rise to power after his father dies in service to Don Corleone, voiced by Marlon Brando.
     
Many of the film's actors revisit their roles, including James Caan as Sonny Corleone and Robert Duvall as Tom Hagen.
     
Your virtual mobster absorbs businesses into the Corleone empire using a cunning blend of bullets, intimidation and strategy.
     
Repetitiveness and an unimpressive driving engine shortchange the rich fiction from which this game springs.
- Evan Narcisse

    C+
Game      
Me & My Katamari
PSP
Rated Everyone
Namco
$39.95

     
In its first handheld outing, gaming's wackiest royal family, the King and Queen of All Cosmos and their timid son, the Prince, uses its magic powers to create island homes for homeless animals.
     
Unlike the console titles, levels in the handheld version feature weather effects and dynamically changing paths.
     
Up to four players can battle for rolling supremacy in the wireless multiplayer mode.
     
The weird control scheme does the job but doesn't match the fluidity of the Katamari games on PS2.
- E.N.

    B-
Game      
Metroid Prime: Hunters
Nintendo DS
Rated Teen
Nintendo
$34.99

     
Seven intergalactic bounty hunters go toe-to-toe, hunting for artifacts rumored to possess the universe's ultimate power.
     
First-person shooter style comes to the DS and allows for precision targeting using the touchpad.
     
The graphics are stunning for a handheld, and the multiplayer death matches (via WiFi), gloriously chaotic.
     
The control scheme, which requires use of both buttons and stylus at the same time, takes some getting used to. Beware of hand cramps.
- Christopher Healy

    B+

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



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