Mini Reviews

Little Dragon
Little Dragon's self-titled first album oozes soul in every dance-electronic-pop-filled track. Let the lead singer's voice soothe and let the groove take you places. Each track has an appealing emotional ambiguity and with a huge range on this first album, from floating ballads to beat-heavy groove to the more trance-esque, it's a great offering from Sweden's electro-pop scene. One word: Soulful.

Mother 3
Videogame (GBA)
Much more thematically consistent than its predecessor, Mother 3 tells the story of a small boy and his dog (and a tomboy princess and a crippled thief and occasionally a monkey) fighting capitalism and a time-tavelling army of soldiers dressed as pigs. You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll trip out on mushrooms (in the game, that is). The rhythm-based combat feels a little gimmicky, but the inventive enemies and heart-warming humour makes this game feel fresh. A stand-out piece of often emotionally-charged writing and an adventure that'll stick with you.

Life on Mars
TV Series
The show's strength comes from its characters, all loveable 70's stereotypes. At times it feels like this would have been just as good without the time shift hook, but the “time travel” angle allows Sam Tyler (John Simm) to share our bemusement. The show is stolen by the chauvinistic, macho, but ultimately endearing Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister), who is an endless source of quotable insults and an embodiment of the best and worst of the era. Each episode offers a stand-alone detective story up there with the best of 'em.

House of Leaves
Adult Fiction
A cultural analysis in the form of a review of a potentially non-existent documentary, wrapped in an eloquent junkie's notebook, cushioned by editorial disclaimers and out of the mind of one author. For those who are still with me, it's worth reading House of Leaves just to join the art vs. pretension debate. The typesetting is an artwork in itself, with the text arrangement mirroring the constantly-changing subject in its visual style – be it architecture or mythology – and the extras included are truly something to behold. Hopefully it'll leave you with something to ponder. If not, it's still a pretty piece of publishing.

You're Beautiful
TV Series
If you like less terminal illness and more slapstick to your K-Drama, then you'll love what is essentially a cute catastrophe of contrived misunderstandings. This fish-out-of-water (or trainee-nun-in-a-boy-band) story showcases attractive guys and cute, bewildered looks. The scenario of Go Mi Nyu (Park Shin Hye) impersonating her twin brother is as implausible as it is fun, and at only 16 episodes, it's worth enduring the angst of the early second half to enjoy one of the most fun Korean romance dramas around.