The Must List: September 1, 2006
1. ‘THE ILLUSIONIST’
A lovelorn magician attracts the interest of an Austrian prince and his chief of police. Forget the feats of conjuring — the real magic is in Edward Norton’s spellbinding performance. Review >
2. ‘SERENE VELOCITY,’ STEREOLAB
The ever-progressing sounds of the innovative London-based alterna-rockers are captured in 16 essential tracks from 1991 to 2004.
3. ‘SPECIAL TOPICS IN CALAMITY PHYSICS,’ BY MARISHA PESSL
Smart and inventive, Pessl’s debut novel is part tour of the Western canon, part murder mystery, and all po-mo fun. Review >
4. ‘VINTAGE T-SHIRTS,’ BY LISA KIDNER AND SAM KNEE
A visual history of tees from the ’70s and ’80s. Let us hope future generations do not judge us too harshly.
Dense and demanding to the end, HBO’s marvelously byzantine frontier series rides off into the grimy and profane sunset. Review >
6. ‘THE NAKED SPUR’
On DVD: Hot on the trail of an outlaw, Jimmy Stewart is all brittle menace in Anthony Mann’s underappreciated 1953 Western.
7. BILL FICHTNER IN ‘PRISON BREAK’
He trades his sheriff’s uniform from Invasion for an FBI agent’s crisp suit, but keeps his creepy intensity. You boys best start running real quick… Review >
8. DC COMICS SUPERHERO STAMPS
The Postal Service honors 10 crime fighters — including Batman, the Flash, and yes, Aquaman. Your only chance to give Superman a good licking.
9. ‘LOST AND FOUND,’ BY CAROLYN PARKHURST
The contestants on a televised treasure-hunt show fail to see the artifice of reality TV in a drily comic novel by the author of The Dogs of Babel. Review >
10. ‘RING THE ALARM,’ BEYONCÉ
Yet another sweat-inducing scorcher from Ms. Knowles — who, at this time, should officially be considered a cause of global warming.