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Must List: Week of August 30, 2009

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Inglourious Basterds | Mélanie Laurent, Inglourious Basterds Christoph Waltz is a supporting-actor lock from Quentin Tarantino's latest opus. But Laurent, so fierce as the film's true heroine, cannot…
Francois Duhamel

MOVIES

THE WOMEN OF INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS

Brad Pitt and the dastardly Christoph Waltz may be Basterds‘ big guns, but it’s Mélanie Laurent as Shosanna and Diane Kruger as Bridget who make Tarantino’s latest so glorious.

MUSIC

”RUN THIS TOWN” video, Rihanna and Jay-Z

Here’s how this is going down: In the post-apocalyptic world, Rihanna and Jay-Z will serve as our new overlords. And based on the swagger, rhymes, and badass duds in their video, we will obey.

TV

TOP CHEF: LAS VEGAS on Bravo

Tom, Padma, and the kitchen crew are back. We love early standouts Kevin and Jennifer C., and the Voltaggio brother drama, but the wildest spice is judge Toby Young. He’s so harsh about everything he puts in his mouth, he’s probably getting scratched from dinner-party invites as we speak.

TV

JORDAN AND JEFF on Big Brother 11

Could a nice (not so bright) guy and gal finish first? This cute couple managed to get power in the house. Here’s hoping they keep it.

BOOKS

AWAIT YOUR REPLY, by Dan Chaon

The novelist artfully weaves three tales of people running away into a gripping, satisfying read.

DVD

ADVENTURELAND

James (played by Jesse Eisenberg) gets an amusement park job in the 1980s. Usually that’s the setup for a few dozen lazy barf jokes, sex gags, and obvious doses of nostalgia. But writer-director Greg Mottola is subtler than that, giving us a snapshot of an era that somehow still feels timeless. The cast (including Kristen Stewart) is also terrific, and the soundtrack will take you back.

DVD

EARTH on Blu-ray

If you truly want to test-drive that new Blu-ray player, try this documentary (made with seen and unseen Planet Earth footage) about three families — lions, whales, and polar bears — struggling to survive in threatened ecosystems. The cinematography puts you right there with the animals, in the most heavenly resolution technology allows.

VIDEOGAMES

PROFESSOR LAYTON AND THE DIABOLICAL BOX for Nintendo DS

Puzzlers take heart (and head and scruples — you’ll need them all). The prof’s latest caper, cracking the deadly Elysian Box, is every bit as fun and mind-bendingly addictive as his last.

INTERNET

MAD MEN FOOTNOTES site

Wonder if that London Fog ad is real or what Bert Cooper’s art is all about? The detail-oriented sleuths over at madmenfootnotes.com know all, but beware: The notes on Peggy’s birth control pills will curl your hair.

READER’S CHOICE: TV

PROJECT RUNWAY on Lifetime

So they changed the channel? It’s the same Runway, down to the odd challenges, the designer meltdowns, and the beloved Tim and Heidi at the helm. All that’s new is the view: L.A. subs for New York, but we dig the sunnier outlook. —Submitted by Wesley

READER’S CHOICE: MUSIC

”CELEBRATION,” Madonna

”Gossip focuses more on her relationships, biceps, and kids than on her music, but Madge’s new single brings us all back to where our joyous love affair with the Queen of Pop initially blossomed: the dance floor!” —Qraig

READER’S CHOICE: BOOKS

REBEL PRINCESS, by Judith Koll Healey

”A historical mystery-romance full of intrigue, featuring Knights Templar, sassy, smart women, and evil bishops at the French court of King Phillipe II. It’s a beach read that’s actually informative.” —Anne

READER’S CHOICE: TV

MAN V. FOOD on the Travel Channel

”In the battle of Man v. Food, everyone wins. It’s thirty minutes of fratboy meets Kobayashi. The show redefines what it means to be a gastronome.” —Chase

READER’S CHOICE: MUSIC

”WHY DO YOU LET ME STAY HERE?” video, She & Him

”Starring Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, this gem of a music video features a good amount of lip synching, dancing, and the same quirkiness that made (500) Days of Summer such a joy. The actors are adorable together.” —Sarah

READER’S CHOICE: BOOKS

SENECA WOOD, by Gary Clites

”In this murder mystery set in West Virginia, the hero is Wood Garrett, while the minor character Wayne Zirk pops up unexpectedly at various points, providing a twisted sort of comic relief. Clites’ character introductions and development are perfectly timed and keep you wanting more.” —Bonnie

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