CD -- Betty Davis reissues: Davis was the '70s version of Macy Gray: She had a raspy voice, favored space-age stage getups, and sported a ginormous 'fro. Her first two albums -- 1973's Betty Davis and the following year's They Say I'm Different -- are funky nuggets, featuring solid music backing by members of Santana and Sly & the Family Stone. Davis' career was overshadowed by her exes (boyfriend Jimi Hendrix and husband Miles Davis), but these terrific expanded reissues declare her individuality.
VIDEO GAME -- MLB 07: The Show: As baseball season nears its halfway mark, this venerable PlayStation 2 game remains the sport's most reliable sim. The rich roster and fluid field play make it the closest most of us will ever get to A-Rod-style greatness. The online suite includes an up-to-the-minute news ticker, so you can continuously modify your team. Plus, the improved pitching mode assists players in figuring out opponents' strengths and weaknesses. Batter up!
DVD -- The Sergio Leone Anthology: This hefty set gathers the Italian director's classic spaghetti-western trilogy, along with Duck, You Sucker! (making its DVD debut), and pairs each of them with a disc stuffed with extras. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is the must-see masterpiece, but A Fistful of Dollars and For a Few Dollars More (which made a star out of Clint Eastwood as the brooding Man With No Name) are just as timeless.
BOOK -- The Rock & Roll Film Encyclopedia: This breezy read features more than 250 detailed entries -- from Abba: The Movie to Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. Writer John Kenneth Muir breaks down casts, running times, and songs heard in the movies (like The Graduate, included because of its Simon & Garfunkel-fueled score). He also spotlights a few top-movie lists, based on genre, soundtrack, and star. No. 1 Rock Film of All Time: This Is Spinal Tap.
COURTESY FLUSH, PLEASE -- Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End: The multi-platform video game tie-in to the summer's swashbuckling blockbuster looks nice and certainly captures the film's playful appeal. But it's a soggy voyage, sunk by repetitive action sequences, simple quests, and brain-dead villains, who just stand there and wait to be killed. Avast ye, mateys.
-- By Michael Gallucci