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Culture Jamming

Top pop culture picks for the week




Forever Marilyn: The Blu-ray Collection

(Twentieth Century Fox)

This seven-disc set marks the 50th anniversary of Marilyn Monroe's death. You could argue that her sex-symbol status always trumped her acting abilities, but what's the point?Her best performances are gathered here, from the fluffy Seven Year Itch and Gentleman Prefer Blondes to the far more dramatic The Misfits. Best is Some Like It Hot, which pairs a great comedic role for Monroe with a terrific Billy Wilder script.


Big Easy Express


This documentary boards a train with Old Crow Medicine Show, Mumford & Sons, and Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros as they travel from California to New Orleans. They stop along the way for shows, but the real magic happens when all the bands get together in the cramped locomotive after hours, jamming and making up songs. Highlight is Mumford's practice and onstage performance with a high-school marching band.


Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds reissues


The latest, and final, set of albums in the Nick Cave expanded reissues series continues with his three most recent LPs, two of which rank among the very best of his long career. Nocturama, from 2003, is fine but standard Cave; it's 2004's double Abattoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus and 2008's Dig!!! Lazarus, Dig!!! that push Cave's dark, brooding songwriting into even more despairing depths. Extras include B-sides and leftovers.


Cross of Lorraine

(Warner Archive)

The manufactured-on-demand Warner Archive series recently released a bunch of Gene Kelly movies in celebration of the 60th anniversary of Singin' in the Rain, focusing on movies in which the star doesn't sing or dance. The best is this 1943 World War II drama about a group of French soldiers in a Nazi prison camp. It's basically an escape film, but with a tougher script and direction. Kelly is good too.


Muddy Waters & the Rolling Stones: Live at the Checkerboard Lounge Chicago 1981

(Eagle Rock)

The Stones spent an off night in Chicago during their Tattoo You tour by checking out a show by veteran bluesman Waters and his band. Before long, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Ron Wood were onstage, jamming with the legend on several of his classic songs (like “Mannish Boy” and “Got My Mojo Working”). It's a loose set, perfectly captured on this DVD and CD combo.

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