Sunday, January 20, 2008

This week: New Stephen King, Burnout

• Notable entertainment product in stores Jan. 22 and a movie in theaters Jan. 25.

Stephen King • Duma Key // What's the last really good King you read? Insomnia? An early Dark Tower selection? The Shining? The last couple novels — Cell and Lisey's Story — have given me some hope that the mid'90s to '00s slump of books like Rose Madder and The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon might be waning. Like Lisey's Story, Duma Key appears to be another of his Serious Writer efforts, and that's OK if it's as rich as Lisey's Story, which has its dead weight but is a step in the right direction.

MGMT • Oracular Spectacular // If the album is half as good as the first track, "Time to Pretend," which opens like a bad Erasure track but quickly redeems itself, this will be a must. "Time to Pretend" has been a free download at iTunes.

Natasha Bedingfield • Pocketful of Sunshine // Will she forever be remembered as Daniel Bedingfield's sister and the chick who churned out one great pop single, "Unwritten"? Herein may reside the answer.

Untraceable // The trailer seems to reveal 90 percent of what happens in the movie, a torture porn twist in which Diane Lane tries to stop a killer who broadcasts his unthinkable handiwork on the Internet, making everyone who looks an accomplice.

In a quiet week on the DVD front, I'm a tad ashamed to say I would watch The Simple Life: Goes to Camp (10 episodes), and proud to say I wouldn't watch Saw IV (how many more?).

Burnout Paradise (Playstation 3, Xbox 360) // The first incentive I've seen to actually buy a PS3: a title billed as a reinvention of the amazing Burnout series, a racing game focused on crashing and destruction that is a singularly brilliant catharsis.

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