Ben Affleck’s second directorial effort takes him back to Boston for an R-rated drama about a bank heist. Even with a star-studded cast, the cops-and-robbers tale has a blunt authenticity that makes for a tense, jangly thriller. (Out Sept. 17)
AFRICA: 50 YEARS OF MUSIC box set
Gathering the best music from a continent as vast and diverse as Africa is a Goliath task. But this 18-disc anthology does a wonderful job assembling works from 183 artists like Cameroon’s Manu Dibango and Nigeria’s legendary Fela Kuti (pictured).
THE VAMPIRE DIARIES
Like your vamps less X-rated than on True Blood? The teen series is back with a second season of beautiful people and soapy supernatural drama, including the return of Elena’s vampire doppelgänger, Katherine, and more smoldering from EW’s Sexiest Beast, Ian Somerhalder. (The CW, Thursdays, 8 p.m.)
THE DAILY SHOW’S EARTH (THE BOOK)
Jon Stewart and his crew of writers believe the world is ending, and this irreverent 244-page guide is their hilarious take on our dubious accomplishments in science and politics. (Out Sept. 21)
THE LOST DOGS, by Jim Gorant
The 51 pit bulls seized from NFL star Michael Vick’s dogfighting ring were thought to be lost causes. In this moving nonfiction book, a Sports Illustrated editor recounts the efforts to give some of them new lives. (Out Sept. 16)
”CAMERAS,” Matt & Kim
The Brooklyn indie-rock duo were last seen stripping naked in Times Square for their ”Lessons Learned” video. Now they’ve debuted this easygoing dance jam about an exuberant night in New York City.
ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST: COLLECTOR’S EDITION
How better to appreciate Jack Nicholson’s virtuoso performance as asylum rebel McMurphy or the bureaucratic evil of Louise Fletcher’s Nurse Ratched than by watching the 35th-anniversary DVD or Blu-ray edition of the 1975 Oscar-winning film? You’d be crazy not to.