A video game icon tops this week's pop culture picks.
TOP PICK — DK Jungle Climber
Gamedom's star monkey is still going strong after more than a quarter-century. Donkey Kong's latest adventure (for the DS) plays pretty much like his last few, but with tougher challenges. Prepare for lots of button-mashing: Players swing the great ape from one level to the next, through a series of jungle-themed puzzles and scuffles. The bonus mini-games and multiplayer battles are totally bananas!
TV — Edgar & Ellen: Trick or Twins
Nicktoons' new animated series centers on a pair of twins who are part Addams Family, part Tim Burton. This Halloween special (which airs at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday) starts off with a malicious plan to rob neighborhood kids of their trick-or-treat booty. But after Ellen's flesh-eating plant sips one of Edgar's bubbling concoctions, it grows to ginormous heights. Soon, the entire town is taken over by oversized hungry vegetables — including, yes, a great pumpkin. Call Linus!
VIDEO GAME — Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights
Tired of ultra-authentic racing games that leave your ride a mangled mass of metal after just one minor fender-bender? This action-packed street racer (for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, and Nintendo DS) is an old-school throwback, where a little bump and grind is encouraged. Definitely next-gen: the online career mode that puts players' pink slips on the line. Plus, the Driver DNA feature — which tracks and constantly updates driving characteristics — is way cool.
CD — Manu Chao: La Radiolina
Rock en español's MVP hasn't made a record since 2001's terrific Proxima Estacion: Esperanza. This 21-track song cycle is a worthy follow-up. Chao loads up on world pop, horny funk, and guitar-powered punk — pretty much anything and everything he can cram on there. At its core, La Radiolina is a protest album, but you'll hardly notice among all the glorious globe-trotting beats.
DVD — The Other Side of the Mirror — Bob Dylan Live at the Newport Folk Festival 1963-1965
Dylan made his career, and eventually tore it down, at this venerable music fest. His 1963 unplugged performances of sociopolitical sermons ("With God on Our Side," "Who Killed Davey Moore?") rub abrasively against his electric appearance two years later. You can feel the audience's discomfort with the loud "Maggie's Farm" and "Like a Rolling Stone." Pivotal and thrilling all the way.
COURTESY FLUSH, PLEASE — Transformers: Two-Disc Special Edition
Big-ass robots are awesome. Cars that turn into big-ass robots are even more awesome. But summer's box-office behemoth — now out on DVD — bores with its plodding back-story involving puny humans. Blame director Michael Bay, who never met a line of stilted dialogue or a room-rattling explosion he couldn't use (indeed — the movie's nearly two-and-a-half-hour running time is excessive). Making matters worse: a documentary that focuses on the people. Like anyone cares about them.