True Grit, The Robocalypse top our new release picks for the week of June 7, 2011
It's already starting to get too hot to think outside, which means the summer-time media is starting to fly onto the shelves to offer up some escapism for those of us that can't handle the heat. Generally speaking, summer releases favor the blockbuster, the antithesis of a think piece -- but that's all your sun soaked brain can manage to understand anyway. Thankfully, this week there's a good mix of stuff, with a tale of robotic Armageddon hitting our faces from a real life roboticist, a classic western remake from the Coen brothers and a video game where you just run around electrocuting dudes in a giant city.
5. The Company Men (DVD, Blu-Ray)
Let's be clear: The Company Men is kind of cash-in on modern times. It's a story about a team of high-class douchbags who get laid off from their cushy jobs and have to redefine themselves into something non-douchy. That said, it's also a film where some rich people get some good old fashioned comeuppance, so if you're into that idea, you'll find some things to enjoy here in this tale of America's obsession with work and status and how to keep the unwavering desire for success in check. Or something like that.
4. inFAMOUS 2 (PS3)
The first inFAMOUS was a massive, open-world super hero game where you could run around destroying anything and everything you wanted. The second one picks up right where the first left off, with a slightly stupid story involving a bicycle courier-cum-superhero as he attempts to save or destroy a new city. It boils down to being a game for fans of Grand Theft Auto who always wished they could fly -- in other words, the perfect game for drunken summer afternoons.
3. Congress of the Animals, by Jim Woodring
If The Company Men isn't your thing, then you might enjoy a similar story in Congress of the Animals. Frank loses his house, takes a factory job then falls in with some bad company and has to flee the town. The adventure goes on to be far more epic than you'd expect and includes a jaunt on the high seas, a massive temple and an amusement park ride. It's all told through Woodring's Frank character, an uncertain species of animal he often describes as a "generic anthropomorph" who looks like something from a '40s cartoon.
2. Robocalypse by Daniel H. Wilson
Rarely are we afforded the chance to read a science fiction novel written by someone with a PhD in robotics, but that's exactly what we get with Robocalypse. The book picks up where Wilson's shorter, more essay-like novels left off, with robots working as laborers before -- you guessed it -- shit hits the fan. Bad things start happening as the world goes topsy-turvy and suddenly things are exploding, robots are rioting and humans are just trying to survive. It's a bit more Hollywood than Wilson's other work, but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable.
1. True Grit (Blu-Ray/DVD)
It's hard to describe exactly why True Grit worked as well as it did to anyone who hasn't seen it. But let's just say this, it features a child actor who doesn't stink, it's a Coen Brothers movie and it's a western. If all of these things together don't sound amazing, then you clearly don't like movies. We'd forgive you for disliking the ending, but the rest of the film is still a fantastically adopted remake -- even if they didn't shoot in Colorado this time.