All of these rain-soaked evenings have been keeping us locked indoors lately, and while we've got stockpiles of media to keep us entertained, that doesn't mean we don't want more. Of course, being that it's summertime, the media conglomerates have all teamed up to narrow the spectrum of new releases as part of a crazy master plot to force us all out into the world to see the newest Kevin James movie -- but we've dug deep inside the new release calendar to pick a few things more worthy of your time and money than Zookeeper. We promise you, you don't have to go see it this weekend if you don't want to. We'll keep you safe and entertained.
The Lucky Peach: Issue 1 Food writing is often an underappreciated artform. As is the case with a lot of cultural writing, many people simply want consumer-style reviews of restaurants, not long essays involving one's personal history with ramen. But that doesn't mean everyone wants those consumer reviews, either, and Lucky Peach is a new journal from McSweeney's that hopes to merge the essay with the recipe and deliver a different take on food criticism. If nothing else, it will probably be one of the only food magazines with tons of cursing in it to hit shelves. Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History by Ben Mezrich NASA intern Thad Roberts promised his girlfriend the moon and he was damn well going to deliver on that promise. Even if it meant stealing. So he did: He stole lunar rocks because NASA deemed them worthless and he gave them to his girlfriend hoping to impress her. It seems easy and simple enough, perhaps even not worthy of a book-length story, but author Ben Mezrich is the man behind The Accidental Billionaires, the book that ended up becoming The Social Network, so even if a moon rock heist doesn't sound all that sexy, Mezrich makes it seem like it is. No matter how you cut it, it's going to make the rest of us look bad for not delivering on that drunken, rambling moon promise.
Ms. 'Splosion Man (XBLA) Twisted Pixel's 'Splosion Man was one of those Xbox Live Arcade games that proved a downloadable title could be just as good as a full game. It was hard as hell, wonderfully ridiculous and filled with fast-paced puzzles that would ensure you'd be throwing your controller for a week. Ms. 'Splosion Man is the Ms. Pac Man-like sequel, retaining most of the same gameplay from the original but adding a bowed-female protagonist and some new obstacles. For those who didn't play the first, the core of the game requires you to jump around different courses and environments by "exploding." It's really that simple, but that doesn't mean the game is. Oblivion 5th Anniversary Edition (PC, PS3, Xbox 360) Sure, Oblivion is five years old now and the release of its sequel, Skyrim, is just a few months away -- but that's exactly why it's worthy of a fancy collector's release. For those who haven't played Oblivion, it's one of those games that has to be seen to be believed. It's a massive RPG with an incredibly open system to not just save the world, but actually live in it for a while. You'll also get all the expansion packs, a making-of DVD and a map.
Casanova "Gula" by Matt Fraction, Fabio Moon, Gabriel Ba Casanova follows the tale of Casanova Quinn, a secret agent who ends up being a pawn in a wide-ranging conspiracy. "Gula" continues the tale started in the first Casanova book, but ramps up the sex and violence to a degree that's hard to take too seriously. It might seem like it's a satire of the common thriller, but between Matt Fraction's ability to weave a wonderfully twisty plot and Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba's amazing artwork, Casanova is truly something else entirely. If you're a fan of thrillers, humor and fantastic writing, this book's for you. Bloom County to Mars, the Imagination of Berkeley Breathed by Berkeley Breathed Originally released in as part of the exhibition of Breathed's work at the Museum of Cartoon Art, Bloom County to Mars is a collection of never-before-seen shots of original artwork, interviews and essays by and about the cartoonist responsible for the likes of Opus, Bill the Cat, Milo Bloom and plenty of others. If you were a fan of Bloom County but couldn't make it to the exhibit, this is the next best thing.
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Rango (DVD, Blu-Ray) In Rango, Johnny Depp stars as a lizard dressed up like Hunter S. Thompson who has to save the town of Dirt from outlaws. It's equal parts comedy and western, and although it's a CGI film clearly designated to forever sit in the children's section, it's surprisingly witty and deep in its humor. It's not going to blow your mind, but if you're a fan of spaghetti westerns and can deal with a plot line pulled straight out of Chinatown, you'll enjoy your time here. Battle Beyond the Stars (DVD) Roger Corman is one of the worlds greatest collectors and distributers of crappy B-movies, and Battle Beyond the Stars is just that, with a space-opera twist. But like many Corman-released films, Battle Beyond the Stars has its own charm, especially when you consider the fact it had a lot of talented people working on it before they became famous, including James Cameron, James Horner, John Sayles and Gale Ann Hurd. Is it any good? Who cares? It's a space opera on a shoestring budget -- which means, if nothing else, it's enjoyable.