Culture Jamming 

Five fresh picks for your shelf this week


Batman: The World of the Dark Knight


With the Dark Knight pretty much consuming our every waking moment lately, what better time to lose ourselves in this encyclopedia-style book that includes info about almost everything you'll ever need to know about the Caped Crusader? From villains to pals to gadgets to some of the best Batman comics ever written, this photo-stuffed volume belongs on the shelf right next to the Nolan Blu-rays.


American Reunion


The gazillionth American Pie movie is also the best since the original, a raunchy and -- dare we say? -- reflective look at friendship and getting older … and sex, of course. The original cast – including Jason Biggs, Alyson Hannigan, Chris Klein, and Tara Reid – returns all horned-up, making dick jokes and cracking on Stifler. The Pie movies aren't classics, but this one at least has some laughs.


Born on the Fourth of July


Oliver Stone's flawed but intense movie (based on a true story) features one of Tom Cruise's best performances, as a Vietnam War vet who returns to his country a broken and battered man. He fights back as an anti-war activist. The 1989 movie makes its Blu-ray debut with a news feature and commentary by Stone, who directed and co-wrote the screenplay with the film's real-life subject.


Smashing Pumpkins: Oceania

(Martha's Music/EMI)

The latest Pumpkins album supposedly contain the next chapters in Billy Corgan's 44-song Teargarden by Kaleidyscope project. We're not keeping score, so we'll take his word for it. Oceania does include some of Corgan's best work since the original Pumpkins disintegrated years ago. Long, sprawling, and buzzing like old-school Pumpkins orphans, the 13 tracks pulse with energy.


Wayne of Gotham


Here's even more Batman awesomeness riding on The Dark Knight Rises. This novel by Tracy Hickman takes Batman's origin story – millionaire Bruce Wayne's parents are gunned down during a robbery – and places it under a microscope, as new details emerge in the crime. Hickman pries into a tale that's acknowledged as the start of the legend and proceeds to unfold new layers of the mystery.

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