Notable new releases and events
The symbol indicates titles of unusual interest, quality, and/or critical acclaim.
Near the top of nearly every list of most-anticipated 2013 games, BioShock Infinite (360 / PS3 / PC) arrives on Tuesday. The game, which may have cost $100 million to develop (and that much again to promote), is set in an impressive mid-air metropolis (complete with a rollercoaster-like rail system) suspended by hot air balloons and blimps; there, you must liberate a young woman who has been imprisoned since childhood. Both location and storyline (set mostly in an alternate 1912, with some events taking place in other times) show off the imagination and attention to detail that BioShock fans have come to expect. Reviews will begin rolling in at approximately 8am PDT tomorrow, though an exclusive early review from IGN is already up (hint: it's a good one).
Also out Tuesday is Army of Two: The Devil's Cartel (360 / PS3), the latest co-op shooter in the Army of Two series, this time developed by Visceral Games of Dead Space fame and built around a new graphics engine. The game even has its own theme song by B.o.B and Big Boi. ... And Thursday should bring the new iOS title Nimble Quest, the latest title from the creators of the popular Tiny Tower and Pocket Planes; the new game offers more action than those previous games, combining classic "Snake" gameplay with an RPG format. ... Meanwhile, much of the gaming world will be gathered this week in San Francisco for the annual Game Developers Conference; find coverage throughout the week at our sister site, GameSpot.
Here's a good reason to take a break from playing BioShock: the launch of the third season of HBO's Game of Thrones (Sunday, 9p). Picking up roughly where season 2 left off, the new season is based on the first half of the third book (A Storm of Swords) in the series, and will introduce over a dozen new characters, including Dame Diana Rigg (Emma Peel in the UK television series The Avengers), playing The Queen of Thorns, Ciarán Hinds (Rome) as Mance Rayder, and Mackenzie Crook (Gareth on the UK version of The Office), who plays Orell. Though the season will once again be limited to 10 episodes, each week will run a few minutes longer than past episodes. Also growing in size this season: Daenerys' dragons.
Also premiering Sunday is the British import Mr. Selfridge, airing in the U.S. on PBS. The miniseries, which will run Sundays at 9p for eight weeks, comes from Andrew Davies (who also penned the recent Bleak House and Little Dorrit adaptations). Yes, it's another British miniseries set in early 20th century England, though this one features an American actor in the lead role: Entourage's Jeremy Piven, who plays the pioneering American founder of the famed Selfridges department store who is willing to try anything to "dazzle" his shoppers and create a historic commercial enterprise.
Debuting Saturday night on BBC America is Orphan Black (9p), a sci-fi thriller starring relative newcomer Tatiana Maslany as an orphan who witnesses the suicide of a woman who appears to look exactly like her—a woman who turns out to be her clone. After taking the dead woman's identity, she becomes caught up in a conspiracy. Paired with that show in BBC America's Saturday night lineup will be new episodes of Doctor Who (8p), as well as The Nerdist (10p), Chris Hardwick's pop culture podcast-turned-TV special that has now become a regular weekly show; expect guests like Seth Rogen, Elijah Wood, Guillermo Del Toro, Gillian Jacobs, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Robert Kirkman.
Monday, NBC's The Voice (8p; also Tuesday at 8p) returns for a new season with Shakira and Usher occupying the swivel chairs formerly belonging to Cee Lo Green and Christina Aguilera. Also back that night is the network's lone freshman hit, Revolution (10p). And Wednesday on USA, Psych (10p) will celebrate its 100th episode with an episode inspired by the movie Clue, with the film's Christopher Lloyd, Lesley Ann Warren, and Martin Mull guest starring. Find even more premiere dates for this and future weeks at our Spring TV Premiere Calendar.
Delta Machine is the first album from synthpop legends Depeche Mode in four years and their 13th studio LP overall. Produced by the band's Martin Gore with Ben Hillier (who also was behind the boards for the previous two albums), the new set was mixed by Flood, working with the band for the first time since Songs of Faith and Devotion. Early reviews vary widely, but you can listen to the full album at iTunes prior to Tuesday's release, or watch a making-of documentary at Rolling Stone.
|Is This It? (2001)||90|
|Room On Fire (2003)||78|
|First Impressions Of Earth (2006)||69|
The Strokes release their own "machine" album this week: Comedown Machine, the group's follow-up to 2011's Angles. Unlike the sessions for the latter album, which found singer Julian Casablancas recording his parts in a separate location away from his bandmates, the new album was recorded by The Strokes as a group in New York with producer Gus Oberg (who mixed part of Angles). Critics also can't seem to come to a consensus about this Machine—though, overall, it is on track to finish as the band's worst-reviewed album to date—but you can decide for yourself by streaming it at Pitchfork prior to Tuesday's release.
Also out Tuesday is Change Becomes Us, the latest from veteran English art rockers Wire. That album features reconceptualized versions of songs the band wrote (and in some cases performed) in the late 1970s, but never before recorded. ... Suicidal Tendencies return with 13, their first album of new material in 13 years. ... And San Diego surf-punk outfit Wavves will release their fourth album, Afraid of Heights; Jenny Lewis guests.
Blue Valentine 81 director Derek Cianfrance and star Ryan Gosling re-team for The Place Beyond the Pines, arriving in limited release on Friday. Gosling stars as a pro motorcycle racer who puts his bike skills to criminal use to earn extra cash after he learns he has a son. Those criminal pursuits cause him and his family to cross paths with a cop (Bradley Cooper), who also has a young son with his wife (Rose Byrne). Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle) provides the score for this ambitious drama which also features strong supporting performances by Ben Mendelsohn and Ray Liotta; early reviews are encouraging.
Opening nationwide on Friday is G.I. Joe: Retaliation, the long-delayed 3D sequel to 2009’s G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra 32. The cast has been beefed up with the additions of Bruce Willis, Dwayne Johnson, and RZA, though Channing Tatum reportedly makes only a token appearance in his second G.I. Joe outing. Step Up 3-D director Jon M. Chu takes over for Stephen Sommers.
The latest young adult sci-fi novel to jump to the big screen, The Host comes from the book by Twilight author Stephenie Meyer (which could be extended into a trilogy if this performs well). Andrew Niccol (In Time, Gattaca) directs this futuristic sci-fi romance set in a world where parasitic aliens called Souls have infiltrated the bodies and minds of most humans, but not that of a rebellious young woman named Melanie Stryder (Saoirse Ronan), who converts her alien occupier, Wanderer, to her own cause. Max Irons plays Melanie's boyfriend (when she was fully human) while Jake Abel and Diane Kruger appear in supporting roles.
Tyler Perry's Temptation is a drama adapted from the director's own play, Temptation: Confessions of a Marriage Counselor; Jurnee Smollett and Vanessa Williams star. ... In limited release, Friday's Wrong is the latest surreal oddity from Rubber director Quentin Dupieux; to get a feel for the absurdist comedy on display throughout (the story loosely revolves around a man searching for his missing dog, though that isn't entirely relevant), check out the trailer below... Already receiving strong reviews, the entertaining documentary Room 237 examines a small group of people who see coded messages and hidden meanings throughout Stanley Kubrick's The Shining ... The award-winning Spanish import Blancanieves is a silent, black-and-white take on the "Snow White" story set in 1920s Andalusia.... And Wednesday release Welcome to the Punch is a thriller starring James McAvoy as a London cop who may finally have an opportunity to capture the notorious criminal (Mark Strong) with whom he has been obsessed for years.
Closing the book on last week
|Most Popular Title on Metacritic|
|The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct (360) 36||Week of 3/17-3/23|
|Weekend Box Office Champion (Estimated, U.S. only; source: Boxofficemojo.com)|
|The Croods 56||$44.7 million; 1st week at #1|
|#1 Album on Billboard 200 (Source: Billboard.com/Nielsen SoundScan)|
|Bon Jovi: What About Now 49||1st week at #1|
|Top-Rated Primetime Broadcast Show (Source: Nielsen)|
|The Big Bang Theory (CBS)||15.9 million viewers; week of 3/11-3/17|