Hey, this is Kimber with your new releases this week. The weather may be cold for most of you, but that’s all the more reason to enjoy what’s hot in music, movies, books, and video games. From a literary vacation through the Old West to a steamy trip to hell, there’s something for everyone in our roundup of some of the eye-catching releases hitting theaters, shelves, and websites this week.
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Fiction: A Dark Matter by Peter Straub
Peter Straub’s newest horror novel has been getting the kind of reviews normally reserved for literary darlings, not your typical genre fiction. But with near-effusive quotes from the likes of Michael Chabon, Lorrie Moore, and Stephen King, A Dark Matter is poised to put your mind in gear and your hairs on end. The novel features the differing viewpoints of four people looking back on a horrific event in their past, which had deadly, lasting consequences.
Gurus of items related to Dark Matter (including Rashomon, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Mr. King himself) have the opportunity to win a free copy of Straub’s chilling, thought-provoking novel. Go to A Dark Matter for the full list, and be sure to learn more about becoming a guru.
Also new in fiction books this week: Brava, Valentine by Adriana Trigiani, Midnight House by Alex Berenson, and more. See them all at Fiction New Releases.
Nonfiction: To Hell on a Fast Horse: Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, and the Epic Chase to Justice in the Old West by Mark Lee Gardner
Sam Peckinpah put a counterculture spin on the history of the famous sheriff and infamous outlaw in his 1973 film Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid, but author Mark Lee Gardner delves into the history of the pair for this historical investigation. Gardner himself is exactly what you want a Western historian to be: a genial, mustachioed writer who wears a cowboy hat on his head and his infectious love for the 19th century on his sleeve.
To Hell on a Fast Horse chronicles the cinema-worthy story of Billy the Kid (aka William Bonney) and his pursuer, Sheriff Pat Garrett, who knew each other before the law came between them. Gardner’s book promises to reveal all the excitement of their interactions, including the Kid’s notorious escape from a New Mexico courthouse in broad daylight.
Also new in nonfiction books this week: The Power of Half by Kevin and Hannah Salwen, About a Mountain by John D’Agata, and more. See them all at Nonfiction New Releases.
Sure to make women swoon (and their poor boyfriends groan), Garry Marshall’s Valentine’s Day seems to star every actor imaginable. Marshall regulars Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway, and Hector Elizondo are present, of course, but the cast also includes Bradley Cooper, Jessicas Biel and Alba, Patrick Dempsey, Jennifer Garner, Jamie Foxx, and a flurry of other recognizable names and faces. Rumored exes Taylor Swift and Taylor Lautner also star in their own mini-plot that should have fans flocking.
Valentine’s Day is set to follow in the high-heeled footsteps of last year’s hit He’s Just Not That Into You by incorporating numerous small stories into one big movie that features people at all stages of love. It’s a strategy likely to pay off with many viewers, from those sitting next to their significant others on a Valentine’s Day date to those enjoying a girls night out.
Also new in theaters this week: Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, The Wolfman, and more. See them all at Movies in Theaters.
Music: One Life Stand by Hot Chip
With One Life Stand, indie electro-pop practitioners Hot Chip continue the ascent they began with their breakout album, The Warning. Though that release and its follow-up, Made in the Dark, were full of driving, danceable beats, the British group slows things down for their latest record. Tracks like “Slush” and “Alley Cats” seem better suited to winding down than getting down, but those eager for the previous album’s energy aren’t out of luck.
“Hand Me Down Your Love” and the title track are irresistibly infectious, and much of the album features ’80s-influenced sounds that will have all but the most stoic of listeners moving. Surely a set of club-ready mixes will follow, and they’ll bolster this already-strong release.
Also new in music this week: Soldiers of Love by Sade, Haywire by Josh Turner, and more. See them all at Music New Releases.
It’s hard to predict what the Coen brothers will do next. After their dark thriller No Country for Old Men, they segued to the violent, chaotic comedy Burn After Reading. Their latest film, an Oscar nominee for Best Picture, finds the fraternal filmmakers somewhere in between. A Serious Man follows the Job-like plight of Larry Gopnik, played brilliantly by Broadway vet Michael Stuhlbarg, as he struggles to survive as every imaginable calamity befalls him.
With its largely unknown principle cast, A Serious Man doesn’t feature any of the normal Coens collaborators, such as George Clooney or John Goodman. However, their trademark black humor, rambling dialogue, and knack for character-actor casting are intact, ensuring that loyal fans — and possibly Oscar voters — are along for the ride.
Also new on DVD this week: Bronson, The Time Traveler’s Wife, and more. See them all at New on DVD.
It’s hard to imagine who wouldn’t be at least a little intrigued by Dante’s Inferno, the video-game adaptation of the epic poem that some still remember from high school reading assignments (or the CliffsNotes). Designed for Xbox 360, PS3, and PSP, the game should appeal to literary fans as well as gamers, but its proud M rating (for blood and gore, intense violence, nudity, and sexual content) means it’s probably not for the kiddies. Something tells me Dante himself would have wanted it that way.
A trip through the circles of hell may not seem like an ideal way to spend an afternoon, but Dante’s Inferno is garnering plenty of attention in the gaming world. Last year, Universal bought the movie rights, which is pretty impressive since the actual game isn’t being released until this week.
Also new in video games this week: Bioshock 2, Star Ocean: The Last Hope, and more. See them all at Video Game New Releases.