Here are the week's best releases from the pop culture universe
MOVIE: The Simpsons Movie
Homer unleashes a batch of nuclear waste into the local river, which prompts a parade of Springfield residents to exile our favorite cartoon family. The long-running series' first feature pretty much plays like a 90-minute version of the TV show, but the super-sized characters—Apu, Comic Book Guy, they're all here—effortlessly fill the big screen. D'oh!
VIDEO GAME: The Darkness
Based on a comic book about a mafia hit man who's possessed by a pissed-off demon, this next-gen first-person shooter (for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3) combines traditional blast-'em gameplay with supernatural elements. The seedy underworld is suitably creepy, as are the relentless enemies - soul-sucking devils and vengeful mobsters, all out for blood. Paranormal noir at its best.
TV: My Boys
TBS's comedy series about a sports-lovin', poker-playin' gal and her guy buddies returns at 10:00 p.m. on Monday. The male characters often slip into sitcom clichés—one man is married to a nag, another can't commit.... You get the picture. But Jordana Spiro, who plays spunky sportswriter PJ, charms from one scene to the next. She deserves to be a star.
DVD: Popeye the Sailor 1933-1938 Volume 1
This four-disc set gathers 60 of Max Fleischer's classic cartoons about a spinach-addicted seaman and his anorexic girlfriend. Chopped, cropped, and sloppy copies have plagued public-domain releases for decades. This is the first remastered and unedited collection, and it's a winner. Racy, funny, and groundbreaking, the shorts (plus a bunch of extras, including features and commentaries) have influenced generations of animators.
CD: Real Life
Joan As Police Woman's debut album mixes late-night ballads with a dash of coffeehouse indie-rock. Multi-instrumentalist Joan Wasser is known among hipsters for her work with Rufus Wainwright, Nick Cave, and Antony and the Johnsons (she was also Jeff Buckley's girlfriend at the time of his death). And like her former collaborators, she's soulful one minute, fragile the next—and captivating all the way through.
COURTESY FLUSH, PLEASE: Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Like the movie on which it's based, this video game tie-in (for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and Wii) is all about clobberin' your enemies with as little subtlety as possible. There's slight discernible difference among levels and enemies, and the button-mashing become tiresome after a few minutes. By the time the Silver Surfer arrives, your interest will make like the Invisible Woman and disappear.
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