TOP PICK – VIDEO GAME
Gears of War 3
One of video games' all-time best series returns with its third outing and, not so shockingly, it's excellent. Once again you play as Marcus, the badass weapons-wielding leader of the Delta Squad. And once again you fight an infiltration of the killer Locusts. That's the single-person campaign. The online multiplayer is even better, with a bunch of new features, including Beast Mode, where you team up with others to take down the Deltas. One of the year's best.
The 12 movies in this three-disc set include a bunch of forgotten drive-in flicks from the '70s and '80s, like The Virgin Queen of St. Francis High, Weekend With the Babysitter, and Click: The Calendar Girl Killer. Some of the later movies are too self-conscious about their camp appeal or simply load up on T&A for no other reason but to get it out there. But the ones that think they're making movie magic are cult gold.
Hark! A Vagrant
(Drawn and Quarterly)
Our favorite webcomic, by Canadian Kate Beaton, often drops historical or literary figures into situations that sting with modern-day bite. This terrific book gathers a bunch of strips from the weekly comic, including the hilarious Nancy Drew series, in which Beaton continues stories based solely on the old mystery books' covers. Smart, funny, and way better than anything found in the Sunday paper these days.
Frank Sinatra & Count Basie: The Complete Reprise Studio Recordings
Jazz fans cherish the records Sinatra made with the legendary Basie in the '60s. This 20-song reissue collects the two albums they released: 1963's Sinatra-Basie: An Historical Musical First and the following year's It Might As Well Be Swing. The remastered reissue includes insightful liner notes that put the summit between the music giants in ring-a-ding-ding perspective.
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. 8-Movie Collection
The Man From U.N.C.L.E. cashed in on James Bond's popularity in the '60s, but the hit TV show often tapped 007 creator Ian Fleming for ideas, so it wasn't a total ripoff. The series was so popular that episodes were edited and beefed up for feature films that played overseas. This box (available at warnerarchive.com) gathers all eight of those movies, including The Karate Killers, featuring all-female spies. Groovy!