Swiftpicks 10 things not to miss from A&E editor Tim Swift

November 16, 2008|By Tim Swift

FILM

'Slumdog Millionaire':

When an orphan from the streets of Mumbai starts winning on the Indian Who Wants to be a Millionaire, the host and police think he's a cheat. The interrogation that follows unravels a sweeping coming-of-age story that's sweet and touching, but also smart and riveting. This underdog rags-to-riches plot has been done to death, but somehow in the hands of director Danny Boyle, it feels fresh. In theaters Friday.

BOOKS

'Outliers':

by Malcolm Gladwell:

Why are some people so freakishly successful? That's what Gladwell, a best-selling author and New Yorker staff writer, wants to know in his latest nonfiction book. Hard work and smarts aren't enough to be the next Oprah Winfrey or Bill Gates, Gladwell says. His take: Serendipity and circumstance play a much bigger role than most people would like to believe. In stores Tuesday.

ART

'Cliff Evans::

Empyrean':

Evans puts the American media through a creative blender to create an intriguing video installation on display at The Library in Federal Hill. The imagery is surreal and cheeky. Brangelina rides across a desert on camelback while a U.S. border fence is emblazoned with Starbucks and 7-Eleven logos. The show was recently extended until Nov. 29.

For more: thelibraryproject.net

THEATER

'Grey Gardens':

The Broadway musical about the bizarre but lovable relatives of Jackie Kennedy might just be too cultish to ever grace mainstream stages like the Hippodrome. Luckily, D.C.'s Studio Theatre is willing to take a chance on the riches-to-rags story of Big Edie and Little Edie. Broadway vet Barbara Walsh - who performed at Center Stage last season - stars. Opens tonight.

For more: studiotheatre.org

POP MUSIC

'I Am ... Sasha Fierce':

by Beyonce:

Having an alter-ego must be a rite of passage for larger-than-life pop stars. David Bowie had Ziggy Stardust and Beyonce now has Sasha Fierce. Her new two-disc album is split between the upbeat sass of bad girl Fierce and the respectable ballads of good girl Beyonce. Not surprisingly, Ms. Fierce is much more fun. In stores Tuesday.

CONCERT

Tom Morello :

The Nightwatchman:

The guitarist for the hard-charging band Rage Against the Machine is hitting Baltimore this week, but expect the moshing to be kept to a minimum. This mellower Morello brings a more folksy sound to the stage. His lyrics can be a little much, but the music is polished. The show starts at 8 p.m. Wednesday at Sonar.

For more: sonarbaltimore.com

MUSEUM

National Museum:

of American History:

After a two-year renovation, the home of Julia Child's kitchen and the original Kermit the Frog is back in business Thursday, refurbished and reorganized. Baltimore's own Star-Spangled Banner gets a more prominent and permanent display. And a portrait of Stephen Colbert is among the new additions.

For more: americanhistory.si.edu

TV

'Summer Heights High':

Before the inevitable U.S. remake of the hit Australian comedy, HBO cuts to the chase and premieres the real thing. Filmed in the same documentary style and deadpan tone of The Office, Summer Heights High spoofs life at a public school. Comedian Chris Lilley plays three outsized characters, but the rest of the cast is made up of real students and teachers. Airs at 10:30 tonight.

DVD

'Tropic Thunder':

There's so much going on in the Vietnam farce Tropic Thunder, it's hard not to laugh at something. Ben Stiller, Jack Black and a hairy and heavily made-up Tom Cruise all ham it up as Hollywood hacks trying to make a war epic. Yet it's Robert Downey Jr. - as a white showboat who insists on playing a black sergeant - who gives the hit comedy of the summer real bite. In stores Tuesday.

GAMES

'Mortal Kombat:

vs. DC Universe':

Team-ups are all the rage in fighting games right now. So it's not surprising that the Mortal Kombat fighters are getting a chance to slap around the likes of Superman. While fighting games haven't changed much since the '90s, there are still some innovations, like being able to pummel your opponent in midair. Out Tuesday on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

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