TOP PICK – CDs
Pearl Jam: Vs. & Vitalogy: Deluxe Edition
Pearl Jam’s last two classics (from 1993 and 1994) sound even more charged in this three-disc reissue that includes expanded editions of both albums plus a live CD. The outtakes and rarities (including fan fave “Crazy Mary”) are cool, but the 1994 concert from Boston features one of the band’s best performances, tearing through their top songs with ferocity.
Call of Duty: Black Ops “First Strike”
The Call of Duty series includes the most ass-kicking online multiplayer video games ever made. So it’s always a joyous occasion when new map packs are available for download. These five maps (just out for the PlayStation 3; Xbox 360 got ’em a few weeks ago) include a great one at the Berlin Wall. Plus, a brand-new zombie level featuring zombie monkeys!
The Fernando Di Leo Crime Collection
Di Leo’s stylish, ultra-violent movies from the ’70s were a huge influence on Quentin Tarantino (there’d be no Reservoir Dogs without them). This four-disc box includes the director’s Milieu Trilogy, all driven by ruthless gangsters in pursuit of piles of cash. Start with Caliber 9, a 1972 opus about stolen money, drugs, and a psychotic mob man who likes to torture victims.
The 1988 Oscar-hogger finally comes to Blu-ray. Stars Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise don’t offer commentary, but director Barry Levinson and his writers do, giving perspective and dishing on some behind-the-scenes stuff. And just in case you’re laughing too hard at Hoffman’s Academy Award-winning performance as a chatterbox, there’s a sobering look at autism.
Wire: Red Barked Tree
The post-punk legends’ 12th album sounds somewhat like their classic 1977 debut, Pink Chair. That means there are lots of jagged edges, spiky riffs, and not much of an emotional connection here. But that distance is precisely what makes the London trio sound so sharp on Red Barked Tree. Aging punks typically mellow; Wire sound like they still have something to prove.