Star Wars: The Force Unleashed
The best Star Wars videogame in a long, long time (the terrific Lego outings don't count) gives players the power of the Force . . . and the dark side. After an introductory turn as Darth Vader, gamers take lightsabers in hand and play as the Sith lord's apprentice, slicing and dicing various troopers, monsters and ginormous space vessels along the way. Best of all, you can clear any path with a twitch of your Force-equipped hands.
The Nightmare Before
We're more than a month away from Halloween, but this 1993 animated classic should prep you with its equal amounts of thrills and chills. Plus, there are plenty of appropriately dark songs in the story of a skeleton king who wants to dress up Christmas with a little spooky spirit. This two-disc set includes a couple of Burton's short films, making-of features and a poem read by monster-movie actor Christopher Lee.
Lykke Li: Youth Novels
Our favorite new Swedish pixie singer-songwriter doesn't so much sing as squeak her way through her debut album, a pop overload of handclaps, cheery choruses and electro swooshes. At times, you have to strain to hear the elfin-voiced Lykke Li (that's her first name), but paying attention can be rewarding Ð especially when you realize that most of these merry pop ditties are really kinda bitter.
The Big Lebowski: 10th Anniversary Edition
The funniest movie of the past decade celebrates 10 years with a bunch of new bonus features, including cast remembrances, behind-the-scenes docs and a look at the annual Lebowski Fest. But it's the film itself Ð about a White Russian-sipping Dude, his prized pee-stained carpet and a major mix-up involving somebody who shares his name Ð that puts this at the top of the Coen brothers' long list of classics.
Tom Verlaine reissues
After dissolving the great N.Y.C. band Television, Verlaine recorded a series of spotty solo albums. These two long out-of-print reissues are representative of his output: 1982's Words From the Front finds Verlaine traipsing through familiar sonic landscapes. But Dreamtime (originally released in 1981) ranks as one of his best records, a shattering and searing display of guitar heroics.