Here are the week's best releases from the pop culture universe
DVD: The Film Noir Classic Collection Volume 4
Private dicks, dirty rats, and plenty of no-good dames are up to some bad, bad things in this five-disc set, which features 10 flicks from the '40s and '50s. Crime pics like Act of Violence, Crime Wave, and They Live by Night are particularly bleak offerings from the postwar era. Best is the rarely seen Decoy, in which a ruthless gal brings her dead gangster boyfriend back from the dead so she can she recover his missing cash stash.
VIDEOGAME: The Bigs
Think of this baseball sim (for the Xbox 360, Wii, PlayStation, and PSP) as America's favorite pastime on lots and lots of steroids. Basic gameplay isn't all that different from other games, but batters, pitchers, and fielders have superhero-like powers. Balls literally explode out the park, and fantastic catches defy both logic and gravity. And dig those curveballs—which loop about a dozen times before they reach the plate. Loads of fun.
VIDEOGAME: Hour of Victory
It plays a lot like the Call of Duty games, and its World War II locales aren't all that different from similar series. But this first-person shooter (for Xbox 360) has one advantage over the competition: Gamers can choose which of the three specialists they'll take into combat. Our favorite is the U.S. Army Ranger, whose super sniper skills just beat the British guy's reckless gun blasting.
TV: Indie Sex
IFC's four-part miniseries about sex in independent films includes appearances by John Waters, Piper Perabo, and Marilyn Manson's ex Dita Von Teese, who hosts. But the real focus is on the movies (like Midnight Cowboy, Deep Throat, and The Brown Bunny) and their taboo subject matter (teens, S&M, and gay hustlers). It airs at midnight Wednesday, August 1, through Saturday.
Zack Snyder's Spartan bloodfest works on many levels: as flawed history lesson, as stylized comic-book adaptation, and as homoerotic fantasy. It also features some of the most awesome battle scenes ever staged. There's not much of a story—warriors wage war on an army 100 times their size, basically. But it's so visually stimulating, you'll hardly notice. Deleted scenes and a "fact or fiction?" feature top the bonus materials.
COURTESY FLUSH, PLEASE: Let's Spend the Night Together: Backstage Secrets of Rock Muses and Supergroupies
Famous "band aid" Pamela Des Barres already wrote a book about shagging rock stars. This sequel of sorts to I'm with the Band finds Miss Pamela talking to two dozen colleagues—including Cherry Vanilla and Cynthia Plaster Caster, who took home souvenirs of her conquests in the form of plaster-cast penises. But once you've heard one "I inspired Mick Jagger" story, you've heard 'em all.
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