Notable new releases and events
The symbol indicates titles of unusual interest, quality, and/or critical acclaim.
We never thought we'd be writing this, but after years of broken promises, the legendary shoegaze band My Bloody Valentine finally released a follow-up to 1991's classic Loveless last night. Available online at the band's website, the nine-track mbv is just the third studio album from Kevin Shields & co. in their 30-year history, and it follows a recent burst of activity (relatively speaking) for MBV that also has seen an EP/rarities compilation, album reissues, and some live dates over the past year. The entire album is streaming (as individual tracks) at MBV's YouTube page.
Eels, the long-running project from Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Mark Oliver Everett, takes more of a hard-rock approach on Wonderful, Glorious, the band's first album in three years; listen to it at Soundcloud. Also out Tuesday is Regions of Light and Sound of God, the solo debut from My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James. News From Nowhere, the sophomore LP from London electronica trio Darkstar, is the group's first release for new label Warp Records, and you can stream it at the label's website. Low-fi psych-rock outfit Unknown Mortal Orchestra move to Jagjaguwar for their aptly titled second album, II. And Scottish indie rockers Frightened Rabbit make their major-label debut with Pedestrian Verse, their fourth album overall (and one that is already receiving strong reviews).
One of the first major game releases of the new year, Tuesday's Dead Space 3 (360, PS3, PC) is the sequel to a pair of horror-themed shooters that scored an impressive 89 and 90 (for their 360 versions) in 2008 and 2011, respectively. Some longtime fans were unhappy with previews emphasizing the game's new cooperative multiplayer mode, which will include story elements unavailable in single-player. Whether you are playing singly or with a friend online, protagonist Isaac Clarke returns (joined by newcomer John Carver in the co-op mode) to battle the zombie-like Necromorphs, this time on the ice planet Tau Volantis. Reviews for the new game will be available early Tuesday morning.
Even handheld gamers have reason to cheer this week. Out Monday for the Nintendo 3DS, Fire Emblem: Awakening is already challenging The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D for the title of highest-scoring 3DS game to date. The tactical RPG is the 11th release in the Fire Emblem series, but enthusiastic critics note that it is both accessible enough for newcomers, and new enough to pose a serious challenge for longtime fans.
Finally out Tuesday after a lengthy delay, Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time is available both on Sony's own handheld (the Vita), or on the PS3 console, and it returns your favorite thieving raccoon back for another stealth mission (picking up right after the now-eight-year-old Honor Among Thieves left off), with time travel a key plot point. Thieves in Time also brings a new developer (Sanzaru Games) to the franchise, but expect gameplay to be similar to that of the first three games, though with a much bigger world to explore and a more refined graphical design.
Steven Soderbergh has announced that Side Effects will be his last feature film project, at least for the foreseeable future. The psychological thriller reunites the director with his Contagion screenwriter Scott Z. Burns for a story about a young woman (Rooney Mara) who turns to a variety of pharmaceuticals to deal with the stress of her husband's (Channing Tatum) impending release from prison; we won't spoil what the side effects might be, other than to say that the film weaves multiple genres and perspectives, offering constant surprises. Jude Law and Catherine Zeta-Jones also star, and early reviews suggest that Soderbergh is going out a winner.
Looking for something a bit lighter this weekend? R-rated comedy Identity Thief stars Melissa McCarthy as just that, while Jason Bateman is the hapless victim who tracks her down; the result is yet another odd couple road trip movie. There were no reviews available at press time, which may or may not be a bad sign.
Opening in limited release Friday is A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III, the second feature directed by occasional Wes Anderson collaborator Roman Coppola. Charlie Sheen, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, and Patricia Arquette star in this 1970s-set comedy about a successful playboy who begins questioning his life after he is dumped by his girlfriend. And select IMAX theaters will be graced by a 3D, large-format re-release of the 1980s hit Top Gun; if you can't remember what it's about, let Quentin Tarantino refresh your memory.
Tuesday's biggest DVD/Blu-ray releases include the Denzel Washington drama Flight, indie rom-com Celeste and Jesse Forever, and the poorly received thriller Alex Cross. Check our DVD Release Calendar for a full list of this week's new titles.
Will this be Community's final season? Though NBC insists it hasn't given up on the cult favorite, the network hasn't done it any favors by yanking it from the fall schedule at the last minute, or by firing series creator and showrunner Dan Harmon. But the comedy's fourth season will finally debut on Thursday (8p), with David Guarascio and Moses Port (Aliens in America) now running the show. Maybe things won't be all that different; the premiere features a Hunger Games-like competition that includes a dance between Jeff Winger (Joel McHale) and Dean Pelton (Jim Rash). Yes, cast member Chevy Chase was also fired, but you won't notice his absence until the very end of the 13-episode season.
Once destined to be a series, Syfy's Battlestar Galactica: Blood & Chrome (Sunday, 8p) is now a two-hour movie that takes place between the events of the network's heralded Battlestar Galactica reboot and its short-lived prequel series Caprica. Though it has been available for viewing online, Sunday's television debut will contain additional footage. Of course, fans of genre TV may be more excited about the return of The Walking Dead (AMC, Sunday, 9p), which resumes its third season right where it left off last fall, with Tyrese (The Wire's Chad L. Coleman) now a regular character.
Airing opposite both of those shows on Sunday will be the 55th Annual Grammy Awards ceremony, broadcast live on CBS at 8p (delayed on the West Coast). Performers will include Frank Ocean, Justin Timberlake, the Black Keys, Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Maroon 5, and Jack White. If you prefer your music with a bit of drama, NBC's Smash returns for its second season with a two-hour premiere Tuesday at 9p. There have been major changes on both sides of the camera, so if you are among the many viewers who felt it went off the rails as it progressed last season, there's a glimmer of hope that things could improve this year.
Newcomers this week include the CBS reality competition The Job (Friday, 8p) and medical drama Monday Mornings (Monday, 10p on TNT). The latter is a creation of David E. Kelley and CNN medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta; Jamie Bamber and Ving Rhames star. And though its not a new series, Touch (Friday, 8p on Fox) almost feels like it is, with the action shifting to Los Angeles for its second season and the Kiefer Sutherland-led cast swelling to include Maria Bello, Lukas Haas, Mykelti Williamson, D.B. Sweeney, and Frances Fisher.
Key TV on DVD releases this week include a newly remastered version of the original British series House of Cards, the inspiration for the new Netflix series of the same name. Find more releases in our DVD Calendar.
Closing the book on last week
|Most Popular Title on Metacritic|
|Ni no Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch (PS3) 87||Week of 1/27-2/2|
|Weekend Box Office Champion (Estimated, U.S. only; source: Boxofficemojo.com)|
|Warm Bodies 59||$19.5 million; 1st week at #1|
|#1 Album on Billboard 200 (Source: Billboard.com/Nielsen SoundScan)|
|Gary Allan: Set You Free 80||1st week at #1|
|Top-Rated Primetime Broadcast Show (Source: Nielsen)|
|American Idol (Fox)||16.1 million viewers; week of 1/21-1/27|