Battle: Los Angeles, presidential assassinations and more new release picks for June 14, 2011

New release day is often a daunting experience -- if you're a big fan of wasting away all of your paychecks on media like us, it makes for hard decisions and awkward conversations with the bank. Even if you do have the time to keep up with things, it's still hard to ensure you're not missing something totally awesome, which is why we spent some time wading through the trash to find the treasure. Among our discoveries is a history of one of the presidential assassinations, a game that lets you play with four controllers stuffed in your pockets, an alien invasion war movie, a collection of essays updated by a crazy person, and a game in development for fourteen years.
Battle: Los Angeles (DVD, Blu-Ray) Nobody out there is going to argue that Battle: Los Angeles isn't a good movie by any respect, but that doesn't mean it's not an absurdly fun blockbuster filled with enough explosions to make you double check that Michael Bay didn't direct it. As far as science fiction invasion war movies go, it's got every cliché you need to make it a film that you don't need to pay attention to in order to enjoy. That might sound like a cop-out, but Battle: Los Angeles isn't trying to appeal to hardcore science fiction fans as much as war movie dorks and, in that respect, it nails all the archetypes on the head and kills them off when the story demands it. Jackass 3.5 (DVD, Blu-Ray) Nobody asked for another Jackass movie, but idiotic stunts will always have a place in the American box office, so why not let the masters of self-masochism have their cake? As long as you've actually heard of Jackass, you'll know what to expect, which is to say, there are plenty of childish, uncensored pranks going on here. For super fans there is also a documentary on the series, which might even shed some light on how the films even came to exist in the first place. The documentary might be more interesting than the movies themselves.
The President and the Assassin: McKinley, Terror, and Empire at the Dawn of the American Century by Scott Miller We all hear about presidential assassinations in grade school, but rarely are we afforded an intimate look at the actual moment and motives of the assassinations (save, perhaps, with John F. Kennedy). The President and the Assassin looks to tell the often overlooked tale of President McKinley and his assassin, Leon Czolgosz, an anarchist revolutionary disaffected by McKinley's backwards thinking politics to a point he decided to take a shot at him. Both the president and the assassin's tales are told in parallel and for history buffs looking to really nail down what happened and why, it should provide all the details needed. The Original Argument: The Federalists' Case for the Constitution, Adapted for the 21st Century by Glenn Beck Speaking of assassinating presidents, Glenn Beck has a new book out and it's bit different than his previous work. Namely, it's a weird postmodernist update to the Federalist Papers wherein Beck updates pre-Revolutionary War essays into modern times. Included are essays from Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay, which Beck contrives to fit his particular viewpoint by adding notes, addendums and a modern English rewrite. It's a bizarre experiment to be sure and one that we can't help being curious about. Regardless of one's opinion of Glenn Beck, it'll be interesting to see what he does with the literature used to found this nation -- for better or for worse.
Child of Eden (Xbox 360) What kind of game would ask you to put four controllers into each of your pockets and play it hands free with Microsoft's Kinect sensor? Child of Eden, of course, the follow up to the cult classic Rez. The game can be played with a traditional controller, but for those looking for the perfect synesthesia experience, you'll want to play with Kinect and the controllers vibrating in your pants. Describing the actual gameplay isn't exactly easy, but if you can visualize a psychedelic, on-the-rails shooter with music integrated into the core of the game, you'll be on the right track. Duke Nukem Forever (PC, Xbox 360, PS3) Duke Nukem Forever has been in development for fourteen years. Fourteen years of different studios, different developers and different release dates. So when the game comes out today as a complete mess of ideas, don't be surprised -- but for fans of the original Duke Nukem games or Duke Nukem 3D, you'll finally be given the opportunity to play through a game you've been waiting (perhaps) you're entire adult-life for. Childish humor, dick jokes, boobs and more will underscore the experience for you in ways we haven't seen in games in a long time. Which is to say that Duke Nukem Forever is a bit archaic -- but it's finally here.
Level Up by Gene Luen Yang and Thien Pham Level Up is a story about a boy addicted to video games to a point that he is eventually compelled by angels to enroll in medical school. If you really stop and think about it, medical school -- and medicine in general, is basically a real-life video game. Suturing things up, guessing what's wrong with somebody, doing colonoscopy's -- its familiar enough that the parallels are there. Well, at least with the colonoscopy's -- those are exactly like a video game. Nogoodniks by Adrian Norvid Nogoodniks is a semi-random collection of images from the brain of Adrian Norvid. Jumping around from popular brand slogans bad puns, the book is a more about the cartoon version of a one-liner than anything else. For fans of kneejerk commentary it should be a perfect fit on the bookshelf.
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Thorin Klosowski
Contact: Thorin Klosowski