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13 Assassins, Once Upon a River and other new-release picks for July 5, 2011

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Going back to work after a three-day weekend sucks, so take a few minutes to deviate from your expected tasks and plan your evening. Today promises some exciting new releases, which translates to exciting new ways to bond with yourself, whether it be chillaxing in your hammock reading a new book or comic or cussing at your television in an intimidating manner while throwing your XBox controller across the living room. To each his own. The most important thing about these new releases? They offer an alternative to spending twenty dollars taking a friend to Transformers 3.


13 Assassins (DVD, Blue Ray) 13 Assassins is a remake of a 1963 black-and-white Japanese film by the same name and is generally regarded by many critics to be "pretty badass." Based on true events, the movie tells the story of a group of samurai assassins who go on a rogue mission to destroy an evil lord. The film is set in feudalist Japan, during the end of the Samurai era. Director Takashi Miiki presents his cinematic vision stunningly while developing an intriguing plot with exciting twists. Buy this movie if you want to see a good action film this summer, because the American movie market promises only Michael Bay, and Michael Bay sucks.
Of Gods and Men (DVD, Blue Ray) Buying a French movie the day after the 4th of July may seem unpatriotic, but remember: The French helped win the revolution, gave us the Statue of Liberty and don't allow Michael Bay to touch the production process of any major motion picture. Sounds like a winning combination after all. This award-winning film tells the story of nine Trappist monks living peacefully in Algeria until the Civil War in 1996, during which seven of the monks were kidnapped and assassinated. With a focus on Muslim-Christian relations within Algeria, this one promises to impress your new hipster girlfriend, unlike Michael Bay. Books Once Upon a River, by Bonnie Jo Campbell Bonnie Jo Campbell's new novel tells the story of a young girl who takes to a rural Michigan river after her father's murder. Hailed by critics as a modern female Huck Finn adventure, Once Upon a River follows the protagonist as she grapples with her sexual identity, her place in the world and her role in her father's death. Sounds like a feel-good, tickle-your-ribs, laugh-a-minute read, doesn't it? Well, maybe not. But the good news is, nothing blows up, and the female characters offer more than one dimension, meaning that Michael Bay is highly unlikely to produce or direct any film adaptation of this book. Games Earth Defense Force: Insect Armageddon (Xbox 360) Blowing up giant insects while defending the earth encapsulates one of the best reasons to play video games -- because the bug guts are going to splatter your avatar, not you, yet you will get all the glory. Also, you control the action, not Michael Bay, so chances are there will be more than one major plotpoint. The game allows one- or two-player campaign mode, as well as a multiplayer mode, which allows you to connect online for up to six-player cooperative play and shit-talk some teenagers from the comfort of your couch. Comics Lucille GN A visually stunning masterpiece by Lodovic Debeurme, Lucille GN is the first English release of this critically acclaimed French comic that follows two teenagers as they form and maintain a romantic relationship in the face of illness and melancholy. Setting out on a journey across Europe, Lucille and Arthur (the two teenage protagonists) hope to leave their painful pasts behind and build a new future together. They grow together by bonding with mutant machines, capable of shape-shifting and waging war against a rogue robot species. JK. That's Transformers . Except better. Because Michael Bay had nothing to do with it.

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