Beacon quick picks

LITERATURE

by Lynda seumo

PHILIPPA GREGORY; THE BOLEYN INHERITANCE; AVAILABLE DEC. 5

Author of 2002’s The Other Boleyn Girl, Philippa Gregory has extraordinarily transformed the tale of Henry VIII’s downfall and the people involved in it. It is narrated in turns by Anne of Cleves, Henry’s German-speaking fourth wife; Katherine Howard, the English teenager who would later on replace Anne and become Henry’s fifth wife; and Lady Rochford (Jane Boleyn), Anne’s attendant.,LITERATURE

by Lynda seumo

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PHILIPPA GREGORY; THE BOLEYN INHERITANCE; AVAILABLE DEC. 5

Author of 2002’s The Other Boleyn Girl, Philippa Gregory has extraordinarily transformed the tale of Henry VIII’s downfall and the people involved in it. It is narrated in turns by Anne of Cleves, Henry’s German-speaking fourth wife; Katherine Howard, the English teenager who would later on replace Anne and become Henry’s fifth wife; and Lady Rochford (Jane Boleyn), Anne’s attendant. The story of Henry’s tragic demise is enhanced by the personal testimonies of these complex and calculating women. Gregory, with her vast and astonishing historical knowledge, has brought forth a convincing and intriguing story with some modern touches. Readers might already know the outcome of the story but will, nevertheless, enjoy Gregory’s careful crafting of the journey there.

SANDRA BROWN; TEMPERATURES RISING; AVAILABLE NOW

This story of a sizzling romance between Chantal duPont, the beautiful islander, and Scout Ritland, the dark and handsome Yankee who has come to build the new Coral Reef resort on her island, is being re-released this week in hardcover. DuPont only feels as though Ritland is here to destroy her tropical island home but at the same time she can’t help feeling attracted toward this mysterious man. Using the classic tale of forbidden passion and lust, Brown creates a predictable but a well-written and thoroughly enjoyable book.

FILM

by harry Vaughn

THE HISTORY BOYS; IN THEATRES DEC. 8

As if winning six Tony awards wasn’t enough, the tremendously successful The History Boys slides its way onto the silver screen in what appears to be an enthusiastic but hastily concocted film adaptation. The story, about a group of high-school-age Brits and their brilliant but flirtatious history teacher, keeps every stage actor intact, including the acclaimed Richard Griffiths, a man who could easily make two trips to the podium this year (he already won the Tony for Best Actor). The History Boys was an unprecedented stage production, but can the same be said for a last-minute transition to the camera? Lets hope that Alan Bennett’s sharp, dynamic script isn’t dulled down by the play’s sudden shift to the movie screen.

DECK THE HALLS; IN THEATRES NOW

The holiday season is never a good time at the movies, with toxic films like Deck the Halls offending your senses at nearly every theatre in the country. Even with the likes of Matthew Broderick and Danny Devito, the look of this kids’ film feels like nothing more than tired and thoughtless dreck coated in a thin shell of traditional family values. After all, what acceptable children’s movie would promote a grown man attempting to ignite and destroy his neighbor’s house because his Christmas lights look a little better? Holiday cheer anyone? Ho ho hell no.

MUSIC

by caitlin weaver

GWEN STEFANI; THE SWEET ESCAPE; AVAILABLE DEC. 5

Who else would think of using a sample of “The Lonely Goatherd” from The Sound of Music in a pop song? Stefani does this in The Sweet Escape’s lead single “Wind It Up,” kicking off the first verse by yodeling. While “Wind It Up” doesn’t sound as good as anything from her last album, it’s still catchy. Most of the album is produced by hit factory The Neptunes, with three songs produced by Tony Kanal of No Doubt. Tim Rice-Oxley of Keane co-wrote the track “Early Winter,” and rapper Akon produced the title track. A second solo album for Gwen is great and all, but it kind of makes us wish No Doubt would come back.

VARIOUS ARTISTS; THE O.C. MIX 6: COVERING OUR TRACKS; AVAILABLE DEC. 5

It’s uncertain if anyone really watches FOX’s “The O.C.” anymore (it’s in a ratings slump), but the show keeps spewing out these O.C. Mixes in a desperate attempt to formulate a credible soundtrack. Previous mixes have included tracks by Jem, the Dandy Warhols, and the Subways, but this mix is entirely covers of songs that relate to the show. Included are The Killers’ “Smile Like You Mean It,” performed by Tally Hall, and Modest Mouse’s “Float On” performed by Goldspot. Unless you are a devoted fan of the show (who is nowadays anyway?), you’re not going to want this. Then again, maybe bad covers are your idea of a good listen.

DVD

BY KATIE GREER

Rebecca Anne Flanagan

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MAN’S CHEST; AVAILABLE DEC. 5

Lo and behold, Pirates of the Caribbean is no longer just a theme park ride or a Johnny Depp movie, but a trilogy. Fortunately, that just means more Jack Sparrow goodness for us to enjoy, and the promise of at least one more movie full of pirate shenanigans. It’s best, when considering Dead Man’s Chest, to take it at face value: a family comedy (it is Disney, after all) that features some excellent acting on Depp’s part, some pretty pouting on Orlando Bloom’s, and some decent girl-power scenes for Keira Knightley. Oh, and a giant squid-like monster named the Kracken. Add a stunt-man’s dream fight on top of a wheel and it might just be worth the price of purchase.

CLERKS II; AVAILABLE NOW

Dante Hicks, that studmuffin, has done it again, landing himself smack in the middle of love triangle with two attractive women while working a measly behind-the-counter 9-5. Except in Clerks II, the sequel to 1994’s comedic masterpiece, Dante’s fiance has not orally pleasured 37 men and his kinda-lover doesn’t get freaky with a dead guy in a bathroom-though there is plenty of raunchy sex humor, from a disturbingly intriguing “interspecies erotica” sequence to genital gremlins to an homage to Buffalo Bill’s mangina dance from Silence of the Lambs. Oh, there’s also a plot in there about Dante’s impending nuptials and the totally un-PC antics of his best friend/hetero life partner Randal Graves. And if anything in Clerks II offends you, just remember: Kevin Smith is only “taking it back.”