Recommendation of the Week: Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is probably the best movie Burton's done since, arguably, Ed Wood back in 1994. It's worth a buy if: you're a huge fan of either Burton, Stephen Sondheim, or Johnny Depp, who took a break from staying in character as Jack Sparrow and gave a growlingly intense performance. It's worth a rent if Burton interests you, but you didn't like the overt sentimentality of Big Fish... or if you enjoy musicals okay, but wish they were bloodier. If you're a big fan, there's a 2-disc edition, wherein you'll probably get to see Johnny Depp go through the painstaking procedure of getting into full makeup, as well as Helena Bonham Carter rolling out of bed that way.
Anti-Recommendation of the Week: Alvin and the Chipmunks, unless you don't care about your ability to enjoy Jason Lee in the future. Then, hell, go for it. But with the NBC Thursday comedy lineup due to return with new episodes, do you really want to suddenly be unable to enjoy the rustic pleasures of My Name Is Earl? Don't do that to yourselves.
TV on DVD: Murder She Wrote: Season 8 is now available for those of you for whom seven seasons of the very same episode clearly aren't enough. Why none of these murderers never thought to send Jessica Fletcher off on a day trip to the casino while they performed their nefarious deeds I'll never know. Law & Order: SVU puts their sixth season onto DVD, as they continue to find new and guest-star-friendly ways for people to get molested. Martin: Season 4 is yours for the buying, just in time for you to win that bet about whether Martin lasted four seasons.Good TV on DVD: Yeah, okay, so John From Cincinnati was pegged as impenetrable, confusing, and generally so far up its own behind it could barely appreciate the aesthetic pleasures of a vacant Austin Nichols in a wetsuit. But if you fiund yourself missing the rhythms of Deadwood's dialogue and decide to marinate in a collection of lost and lonely Californians, you might end up enjoying the series as much as I did.
Gag Gift of the Week: The Osmonds: Live In Las Vegas 50th Reunion. For that friend who used to have a poster of Donny in their bedroom or admitted to enjoying Marie on Dancing With the Stars last season.
Gag Gift That You Should Really Keep For Yourself: The Cutting Edge: Chasing the Dream. Because every condescendingly arched eyebrow shot your way when guests see this in your DVD rack will be worth it the first time someone busts out with a "toe pick" joke.
Local Interest Pick of the Week: "Local," that is, if you happen to hail from Buffalo, NY, like I do. Wing Chun once told me Buffalo was " the Canada of the U.S." on account of how I was always rushing to claim various notable figures (Jeff Fahey, Rick James, Millard Fillmore) as Buffalo's own. All of this makes Ani DiFranco's Live at Babeville DVD way more interesting to me than it normally would be. DiFranco, another Buffalo native, recorded this concert at a converted church in downtown B-lo that was once set to be demolished but instead was transformed into a concert hall/recording studio/HQ for her Righteous Babe record label. See everything you can learn on this blog?