Mafia II (2K) It looks and plays a lot like Grand Theft Auto with a bunch of Italian-Americans running around, but Mafia II (for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3) runs deeper than the stereotypes. For starters, the storytelling — centered on a young wiseguy named Vito (natch) — is richer than a box of cannoli. And the violent stuff is genuinely gripping. It's a game you can't refuse.
A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (Warner) It's never too early to feast on the middle chapter of Peanuts' holy trilogy. And now that it's finally on Blu-ray, we'll be watching it for the next two months. Peppermint Patty is at her self-absorbed best, inviting herself and all of her friends to Charlie Brown's house for Thanksgiving. The meal Snoopy whips up — pretzels, toast, jelly beans, and popcorn — is beyond awesome.
The Simpsons: The Complete Thirteenth Season (Twentieth Century Fox) After a detour earlier this year to get the 20th season out on Blu-ray, the series jumps back in line with all 22 episodes from the 13th season (also available on Blu-ray). The funniest of them take on religion ("She of Little Faith"), the environment ("Brawl in the Family"), and weed ("Weekend at Burnsie's"). Perhaps best of all, the cover boy is paste-eating goofball Ralph Wiggum.
Composed (Viking) Rosanne Cash is one of the most literate singer-songwriters of her generation, so it's no surprise that her memoir is such a terrific read. Of course she talks about growing up as Johnny Cash's daughter, but she also chronicles her marriages, her brain surgery, and the string of great albums she's released since the early 1980s. Not much dirt, but a lot of heart.
Frank Sinatra: September of My Years (Concord) Sinatra's 1965 album is one of his best — a midlife rumination on the wine, women, and song of his youth. Ol' Blue Eyes gets all misty here, especially on the hit "It Was a Very Good Year." The 50-year-old Sinatra would stick around for another 33 years, but this reissue sounds like a goodbye note filled with regrets. Eating breakfast off a hooker's chest isn't one of them.
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