Beacon quick picks

Literature

by Jeannette Pomerance

Lemony Snicket; The End (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 13); Available now

Here we have the final, miserable 13th installment of Lemony Snicket’s melodramatic and maudlin A Series of Unfortunate Events. Some of the mystery surrounding the tragic Baudelaires is finally dissolved.,Literature

by Jeannette Pomerance

Lemony Snicket; The End (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 13); Available now

Here we have the final, miserable 13th installment of Lemony Snicket’s melodramatic and maudlin A Series of Unfortunate Events. Some of the mystery surrounding the tragic Baudelaires is finally dissolved. Who was Beatrice, and how did she get a day-pass from paradise? Why is Snicket obsessed with telling the orphans’ story? But this whirlwind conclusion leaves plenty of questions unanswered, and raises more. So is this really the end? Sure, and Harry Potter’s concluding in July. Either way, The End promises to be as enjoyable as its predecessors, an even mix of compelling plot, terrifying suspense and clever literary references.

Eric Nylund; Ghosts of Onyx; Available Oct. 31

Eric Nylund has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemistry, but he’s writing formulaic sci-fi novels based on an Xbox game; a shining beacon of hope for us all. Ghosts of Onyx, the latest novel set in the Halo universe, is part of the buildup for Halo 3, which will be released Nov. 16 to compete with Sony’s PlayStation 3. Cute idea, but it’s actually the $600 price tag and not Halo that will deter buyers from the PS3. Until Halo 3 is available, dorky boyfriends everywhere probably won’t unplug from Final Fantasy XI long enough to read a Halo novel.

Film

by Caitlin Weaver

Saw III; Opens Tomorrow

In the latest installment of the Saw horror movie series, psychopathic killer Jigsaw (Tobin Bell) uses his warehouse torture chamber on the outskirts of town to inflict vicious tests on his new victims. One of them is Dr. Lynn Denlon (Bahar Soomekh), who has been captured in order to keep the dying Jigsaw alive until all of his experiments are complete. Jigsaw’s apprentice, the wicked Amanda (Shawnee Smith), is the cruel puppet master behind the games that are terrifying the town. Creepy much? Saw is keeping up with yearly installments, and this one is being released just in time for Halloween weekend.

Shut Up Sing; Opens Tomorrow (Limited Release)

When Natalie Maines said “we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas” at a concert in London in 2003, her band, the Dixie Chicks, suffered from the backlash. Country radio stations wouldn’t play their songs anymore. People ran bulldozers over piles of the band’s CDs. Conservative groups protested. Maines even received death threats for speaking her mind. This documentary, directed by Academy Award-winner Barbara Kopple, follows the Chicks as they try to salvage what’s left of their careers. The protesters against the Chicks are ridiculous; in the trailer, one shouts, “Move to France, Dixie Chicks!”

Music

by Darcy Hofmann

Copeland; Eat, Sleep, Repeat; Available Oct. 31

Though Eat, Sleep, Repeat may be Copeland’s attempted statement about the monotony of life, nothing is routine about this new release. After hearing the first seconds of the album, you may check the album cover to make sure that this is, in fact, the new Copeland album. Pleasant melody bells start the record on the first track, “Where’s My Head.” The band successfully experiments with organ, strings, horns and percussion on this album to create a rich and fuller sound, as opposed to the airy and somewhat poppy feel of 2005’s In Motion.

Aiden; Rain in Hell; Available Oct. 31

Victory Records is releasing Aiden’s Rain in Hell EP and four other artists’ albums on Halloween as part of their “Tuesday of Terror” promotional ploy. This is fitting, as Aiden’s new release is downright petrifying. The record, which is horror for the ears, sounds like a cheap AFI knockoff. Unfortunately, Aiden’s lead singer, Wil, lacks the pipes to pull off anything close to the ability of AFI’s Davey Havok. Those who buy this EP will also receive a bonus DVD where you can catch a glimpse of the band’s perfect make-up and well-groomed manicures with a fresh coat of black paint-just in time for Halloween.

DVD

by Tali Dumdai

Mission: Impossible III; available Oct. 30

Hold on to the covers and be ready to close your eyes: the existence of a third Mission: Impossible may just be that frightening to some. Of course, Tom Cruise sells audiences as the hunky world-saving Ethan Hunt, and Philip Seymour Hoffman shines as the villain, but the supporting cast isn’t notable. Whether it’s the film’s incredible unoriginality or the fact that Cruise can actually pull off a third impossible mission that scares you, M:I3’s action is at least entertaining for a majority of the population.

Eraserhead; available now

In honor of Halloween, here’s an oldie to scare the crap out of you and make you pull the covers tighter. Pick the biggest TV you can find and plug in the surround-sound: this is a viewing experience where bigger is better. Eraserhead is a strange journey through the mind of one man who is forced to work in an industrial world and has a mutant baby with a woman who throws random fits of rage. Just like director David Lynch’s other films, you can expect to be at odds with the meaning of Eraserhead-which is perfect for those ever-present Emersonian debates.