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Five fresh picks for your shelf this week

TOP PICK

Jimi Plays Berkeley

(Experience Hendrix/Legacy)

This concert from 1970 has been around in various forms and stages over the years. It's finally available in Blu-ray, boosting both the occasionally dark and grainy image and muddy sound. Needless to say, it's never been in better shape. It helps that Hendrix (as well as Billy Cox and Mitch Mitchell) is on fire during classics like “Voodoo Child (Slight Return)” and “Machine Gun.”

VIDEO

The Conspirators and Three Strangers

(Warner Archive)

These two new made-to-order DVDs from the “Film Noir Archive Collection” reunite Casablanca and Maltese Falcon stars Sydney Greenstreet and Peter Lorre for appropriately gritty tales that don't stray far from the earlier classics. The Conspirators, from 1944, is a World War II thriller with Nazis and spies; better is Three Strangers, made two years later, about a fateful lottery ticket.

BOOK

Soul Eater NOT! Volume 1

(Yen)

No, the title isn't some Wayne and Garth wordplay. It stands for “Normally Overcome Target,” and this manga collection, despite that somewhat clunky title, is pretty straightforward in its storytelling. A group of high-school kids are trained in various weapons for their battles against witches and other evil presences who are up to no good. The stories are more character-driven that those that follow.

BOOK

Talking Heads: Fear of Music

(Continuum)

The latest volume in the “33 1/3” series of pocketbooks that break down one classic album is also one of the best. Hotshot writer Jonathan Lethem takes a look at Talking Heads' 1979 classic, a dark, funky, and musically expansive work that upped the band's cred. Lethem approaches the record as both fan and historian, chipping away at what first attracted him to the music and why it still matters.

VIDEO

21 Jump Street

(Twentieth Century Fox)

This big-screen remake of the 1980s TV show that gave Johnny Depp his big break is way better than you'd think. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum play mismatched undercover cops heading back to high school to uncover a secret drug trade. Funny, self-aware, and most of all smarter than it has to be, the Blu-ray comes with 20 additional scenes, none necessary but still worth your time.

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