Beacon quick picks

by Bryan o’toole

Stephen King, Lisey’s Story, available Oct. 24

First Michael Jordan, then Jay-Z. Now add King to the list retirees who can’t help but come back to the game that made them famous. Unfortunately, King’s latest novel bears a striking resemblance to Mitch Albom’s new book, with King’s title character connecting with her dead husband from the afterlife.,Literature

by Bryan o’toole

Stephen King, Lisey’s Story, available Oct. 24

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First Michael Jordan, then Jay-Z. Now add King to the list retirees who can’t help but come back to the game that made them famous. Unfortunately, King’s latest novel bears a striking resemblance to Mitch Albom’s new book, with King’s title character connecting with her dead husband from the afterlife. The horrormeister’s novel has the added advantage of a magical world called “Boo’ya Moon;” that gem alone gives King’s latest promise over his last release, the disappointing Cell.

Danielle Steel, H.R.H., available Oct. 31

If you can’t find enough of the lifestyles of the rich and the famous in the pages of US Weekly or on the E! Channel, and need your fill of debaucherous sex and designer labels, snag the latest work from the master herself. Steel’s new book follows the philanthropic pursuits of Christianna, princess of Liechtenstein, and her romantic rendezvous with a hunky doctor. Love across class boundaries is a time-old topic, but it’s never been this fabulous with shopping sprees and sexytime.

Film

by Tali dumdai

The Prestige; in theatres tomorrow

The world of magic always astounds while creating an aura of mystery and intrigue. Look closely and maybe viewers will see the magic recipe that makes an extraordinary film: an exceptional cast (Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson and David Bowie), acclaimed director (Christopher Nolan, Mememto and Batman Begins), and a unique story. Finally something different from Hollywood, The Prestige promises the ride of a lifetime, full of twists and turns, on-the-edge-of-your-seat suspense and dark adventure; something audiences haven’t been able to get their hands on in a while. This is definitely a must-see.

Marie Antoinette; in theatres tomorrow

MTV acts as a force on the world nowadays, even after losing credibility (almost no videos?). The channel has even infiltrated film and now brings us Marie Antoinette. Director Sofia Coppola certainly has talent and credibility, after writing and directing Lost in Translation and The Virgin Suicides, but Marie Antoinette looks more like a music video than a film. The historically accurate setting and costumes look amazing, but the movie is appealing only to teeny boppers who don’t know anything about the history of the title character and are only drawn in by Kirsten Dunst, who plays the title role. If you’re looking for a girls’ night, this movie seems right. Otherwise, wait until it comes out on DVD.

Music

by Paddy Shea

Bright Eyes, Noise Floor (Rarities:1998-2005); Available Oct. 24

Would it really kill Conor Oberst to lighten up once in a while? Noise Floor makes one thing painfully clear: Oberst has always been singing the same hopelessly melancholy tune to whatever music ace producer Mike Mogis puts in front of him, even the electronic detritus from the Lua sessions. It’s a bad sign when the only breath of fresh air-and best song-on the record is a cover of “Devil Town” by Daniel Johnston, the bipolar cult folk-hero who nearly overdosed on lithium in 2005. Also, the tracks featuring M. Ward could have been vastly improved if M. Ward had been allowed to sing on them.

The Walkmen, Pussy Cats Starring The Walkmen; Available Oct. 24

The Walkmen are a perfect example of how awesome “not giving a crap” can be. The band plays free shows, wears shabby suits and swills beer on-stage. Now, based on a joke suggested by Sufjan Stevens, the Walkmen covered the John Lennon-produced Harry Nilsson album that got Nilsson dropped by RCA records. The band plays all Nilsson’s songs fast, “so it would stay fun,” they recently told Pitchfork.com. They’ve been closing shows with their mile-a-minute rendition of “Rock Around the Clock,” but the big deal is the cover of “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” which could supplant “The Rat” as the Walkmen’s best song.

DVD

by Caitlin Weaver

Saturday Night Live: The Best of Saturday TV Funhouse; Available Oct. 24

The one part of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” that is still consistently funny-despite its shrewdness, debauchery, vileness and foulness-is Robert Smigel’s “Saturday TV Funhouse.” This collection includes “The Ambiguously Gay Duo” (voiced by Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert), masters of the unintentional double-entendre, as well as “The X Presidents,” starring George H.W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford as hilarious superheroes given their powers by a dose of radiation at a celebrity golf tournament. Makes you wish the rest of “SNL” was on the same level.

Monster House; Available Oct. 24

Not just a kid’s film, the CGI-animated Monster House stars three kids who discover the house across the street is alive-and likes to snack on people, eating everything that ventures onto its property. While the plot seems a little iffy, it’s believable just because the young characters are smart and sarcastic with a sense of humor. Maggie Gyllenhaal (Mona Lisa Smile) and Jon Heder (Napoleon Dynamite) star as the voices of babysitter Zee and punk Skull, with the creepy house’s owner, Nebbercracker, voiced by Steve Buscemi (Reservoir Dogs). The house itself is voiced by Kathleen Turner (the voice of Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit). With an underlying dark theme, the film is the perfect release just in time for Halloween.