TOP PICK – TV
Star Wars: The Clone Wars
The fourth season of the hit CG-animated series kicks off where it left off, but with a new “Battle Lines” storyline dominating the narrative. That's a good thing for fans who love the show's kick-ass combat scenes. The hour-long premiere, which airs at 8 p.m. Friday, packs in enough characters from the extended Star Wars universe to keep even the pastiest nerf herders happy.
Had Me a Real Good Time: The Faces Before, During, and After
This bio about one of the great underrated bands of the '70s stuffs plenty of info about the guys behind the music. Rod Stewart and Ron Wood naturally get the most ink, but writer Andy Neill spreads out the story, with backgrounds on how each member spent their time leading up to the Faces and a timeline of the great music they made during their short lifespan. And yes, there's sex and drugs and all of that too.
The key to this globetrotting thriller is Saoirse Ronan, who plays a 16-year-old trained assassin who treks from Finland to the other side of Europe to kill Cate Blanchett. Director Joe Wright (who made Atonement) builds suspense as Hanna preps for her mission and nears her target. But it's Ronan's sharp performance as the young killer that will leave you cold as the Finnish landscape.
Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide 2012
Yeah, the Internet Movie Database has claimed the title of Most Valuable Movie Reference Resource, but it's a lot easier to maneuver Maltin's annual book when you need some light bathroom reading. And even though the veteran movie writer seems to have even less tolerance for fringe movies these days, his thick guide still makes a handy reference for those Wi-Fi-less times you need to know the name of the woman who starred in The Alligator People.
1991: The Year Punk Broke
This documentary about Sonic Youth's 1991 European tour includes lots of onstage and backstage footage of the seminal noise rockers. But the reason you'll want to see it is for openers Nirvana, on the brink of becoming massively huge and totally disarming in their blistering performance. Babes in Toyland, Dinosaur Jr., and the Ramones also show up. Scrappy, loud, and rounded out by cool bonus songs.