Six Picks for the Week of April 18-24

  • Publish Date: April 17, 2011
  • Comments: ↓ 3 user comments

Portal 2 PC Reviews 360 Reviews PS3 Reviews
New game in stores Tuesday

So much for your free time. A dilapidated Aperture Science is open for business once again on Tuesday in the action-puzzler Portal 2, Valve's heavily anticipated sequel to one of the most imaginative games in recent years, 2007's Portal (part of the Orange Box collection). As in the earlier game, you'll be challenged by GLaDOS to solve a series of physics-based puzzles using your wormhole-creating portal gun, though you'll also have some new tools to work with. Even better, the campaign is longer than in the original, and Portal 2 also introduces a cooperative multiplayer mode to the series. And Jonathan Coulton, the musician behind the first game's infectious closing song "Still Alive," returns with new songs.

Find out if the cake is still a lie at the official Portal 2 website.

Season 2 begins Sunday at 10pm on HBO

Though topping The Wire is an unrealistic goal, David Simon's follow-up HBO series, the post-Katrina, New Orleans-set Treme, earned strong reviews from critics when it debuted last year. Jumping forward in time to more than a year after the hurricane, the second season (beginning Sunday) will continue to focus on the rebuilding city's music and food scenes (with the latter beefed up by the addition of Anthony Bourdain to the writing staff) while also examining redevelopment efforts and criminal activity. Jon Seda (Homicide: Life on the Street) and David Morse (who appeared briefly last season) join an already stellar returning cast that boasts Wendell Pierce, Steve Zahn, Khandi Alexander, Clarke Peters, and Oscar-winner Melissa Leo.

HBO hopes you're comin' back to New Orleans at the official Treme site.

Mortal Kombat PS3 Reviews 360 Reviews
New game in stores Tuesday

Sharing a title with the 1992 arcade game that started it all, the ninth installment in the enduring fighting series is intended as a reboot for the franchise, returning it (via a time traveling plot twist) to the time period of the original three games. Though fighting will be a strictly 2D affair, the new Mortal Kombat (in stores Tuesday) does include 3D graphics, and boasts a number of online multiplayer modes, including a 2-on-2 tag team battle. Many of your favorite characters from the original Mortal Kombat games will return, joined in the PS3 version, oddly enough, by God of War's Kratos.

Choose your fighter at the official Mortal Kombat site.

w h o k i l l by tUnE-yArDs
New album in stores Tuesday

New England native and enemy of copy editors everywhere Merrill Garbus, who records under the name tUnE-yArDs, signed to 4AD on the basis of her 2009 DIY debut BiRd-BrAiNs, which suggested a bright future ahead with its challenging but engaging patchwork of sounds and styles. That future may already be here in the form of w h o k i l l, her second album, which arrives Tuesday. The new disc is more polished and accessible than her debut, but no less playful, original, or exciting, and the early reviews are universally positive.

Stream the album in its entirety at NPR prior to its Tuesday release.

Doctor Who
Season premiere Saturday at 9pm on BBC America

Doctor Who may be 47 years old, but recent seasons have seen the British series looking fresher than ever, under the guidance of Russell T Davies and then Steven Moffat (who also created last year's popular Sherlock). The new season kicks off with "The Impossible Astronaut," a two-part episode that begins Saturday night on BBC America and finds the time traveling Doctor (a returning Matt Smith) visiting America during the 1960s -- the first time the show has ever been filmed in the U.S. The first half of the season builds to a "game-changing" cliffhanger ... and then a frustrating wait until the second batch of episodes arrives in the fall.

Hop in your TARDIS and visit the show's official site.

Cinema Verite
Made-for-television movie premieres Saturday at 9pm on HBO

As it did in 2009's Grey Gardens, HBO has taken a landmark documentary and created a dramatized account of its filming. For Cinema Verite, the documentary in question is the 1973 PBS series An American Family, which single-handedly created the reality television genre by following an ordinary Santa Barbara family with a camera crew and filming their daily lives (which, fortunately for PBS and unfortunately for the family, turned out to be very eventful). Unlike the Albert Brooks comedy Real Life, which spoofed the PBS documentary, Cinema Verite sticks to the actual events of its filming. Cast and crew are strong; the HBO film (which debuts Saturday) is directed by Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini (American Splendor) and stars James Gandolfini, Tim Robbins, and Diane Lane.

Get to the truth at the official HBO site.

Closing the book on last week

#1 Movie Weekend Box Office Champion (Estimated, U.S. only; source:
Rio 65 $40.0 million; 1st week at #1
#1 Album #1 Album on Billboard 200 (Source: SoundScan)
Adele: 21 76 4th week at #1 (1st consecutive)
Top-Rated TV Show Top-Rated Primetime Broadcast Show (Source: Nielsen)
American Idol [Wed] (Fox) 23.1 million viewers; week of 4/4-4/10

We're sorry, but comments are closed for this article.

Comments (3)

  • dingo  

    yaaay tune-yards and portal. good week!

  • Randy  

    The last few weeks have been torture. Portal 2 finally comes out in two days. Two. Days.

  • Jeremy F  


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