It’s hard to make the argument that Rayman Raving Rabbids: TV Party is really any better than any other Rayman Raving Rabbids game—its inclusion in this gift guide is really something of a lifetime achievement award for the series. The first Rayman Raving Rabbids title may well be responsible for the capital-G-Glut of minigame compilations on the Wii, but despite the ignominy that comes with such a description, there’s no arguing that it was one of the most fun Wii experiences to be had at the time of the machine’s launch. TV Party is no different, and if anything, it’s better. Ubisoft has honed the combination of surreal humor and easy-to-grasp functionality to a science, the game is an appropriately chaotic multiplayer experience, and some of the new games are hilarious (one where you shoot rabbids dressed as chickens comes immediately to mind). Add to this formula balance board functionality and the continued presence of a drumming minigame that outdoes anything you could do in Wii Music in terms of pure fun, and you have a Wii game that may never be hailed as one of the classics, but might just be unbeatable this holiday season in terms of pure, stupid fun.
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Guided by voices, images, moods, and impressions of contemporary life, the prolific Robert Pollard’s songs are captured in images and poetry in this artsy book. Pop art collage, ruminations dark, satirical and humorous, fans of the musician and art students alike will enjoy this volume. I rather like it for the ‘thousand words’ the best images invoke. Gaze at it to Pollard’s tunes, or merely let your head provide the soundtrack. Either way, for either kind of reader, it works.
When we gaze into our doggy’s liquid brown eyes, our kitty’s crystal green eyes and wonder, “What is Ralphi/Raphael thinking?” and they gaze back at us, which prompts us to begin a conversation with them, a conversation of a kind that can only take place between dog and human or cat and human, are we, the humans, anthropomorphizing? projecting? communicating? And by turn, what is Ralph/Raphael doing with us? Does their gaze really just come down to imploring us for a treat? Animal lovers know better—there’s love in those eyes. They also know that the human/animal companion conundrum is one that may never be solved, and ultimately, as we love and delight in our animal friends, we can only really understand ourselves. These books satisfy that perpetual human itch to know thyself—and to love others. Be assured your animal lover’s furry friend will lay by her side for an occasional pet, as she reads.
As Japan’s leading absurdist, Kawaski is not beyond having puppets, amusement park like mascots, and inanimate objects carry the majority of his narrative load. With the arrival of Calamari Wrestler on American shores (that’s right - it’s about a grappler who turns into a squid), the unconventional director became a filmmaker to watch. Now, with the release of these three titles by Synapse, we witness the evolution of an artist - albeit one who turns an Australian animal into a serial killer, a policeman’s toupee into a lethal weapon, and the destruction of the planet into a stinging denouncement against the West.
If most Americans too young for membership in the Greatest Generation have any inkling at all who Bill Mauldin was, the knowledge probably comes smeared with a dash of sepia, like some Norman Rockwell of the cartoon world. The actuality of the man and his art, as presented in the fantastic two-volume box set, Willie & Joe: The WWII Years, has quite a bit more of the stink of reality to it. Said reality is accentuated by the olive-drab packaging and old typescript-dossier design. Not someone who trafficked in instant nostalgia (just as, come to think of it, Rockwell wasn’t either, regardless of his current reputation), Mauldin was instead a chronicler of the everyday grime and misery that was the life of the average G.I. The appreciation of the important if common reality of small things—cigarettes, pretty girls, wine, a bath, clean clothes—that runs through Mauldin’s work is a key to his enduring success. Wars, weapons, and causes may change, but soldiers are forever.
// Notes from the Road
"The Joshua Tree tour highlights U2's classic album with an epic and unforgettable new experience.READ the article