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Hail to the Chief 

A new Halo game tops this week's picks

TOP PICK

Halo 3: ODST

(Microsoft)

Yeah, the latest entry in the venerable videogame series (for the Xbox 360) is essentially an extended expansion of the great Halo 3. But who cares when the action is this fast and fun? Biggest change: You no longer play as hero Master Chief but as a trooper with a semi-new set of skills. Best of all, the multiplayer mode kicks major ass. Again.

CD

Cariad Harmon

Four Letters

(Mowo!, Inc.)

This British singer-songwriter makes late-night music that's part jazz, part folk, and all fuzzy and warm. Harmon's rich, welcoming voice guides the songs on her debut, but the subtle instrumental nudges — soft piano, gently strummed guitar — are inviting too. Perfect music to cozy up to on a chilly night.

DVD

The Paul Newman Tribute Collection

(Twentieth Century Fox)

This massive box stuffs 13 of Newman's best films onto 17 DVDs, including double-disc collector's editions of two of his greatest: The Hustler and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. There's also a book filled with previously unpublished photos. But it's the movies — some classics, some not-so-much — that fuel this perfect holiday gift.

BOOK

The Velvet Underground: An Illustrated History of a Walk on the Wild Side

(Voyageur)

Rock critic Jim DeRogatis marks the 45th anniversary of one of the planet's most influential bands with a photo-stuffed volume that traces the Velvet Underground's history and continuing inspiration. Interviews with band members and famous fans help tell the story, but all the cool pictures — many of them never seen before — capture the group's real wild side.

VIDEO

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Diamond Edition Blu-ray

(Walt Disney)

One of the greatest animated movies ever made finally comes to Blu-ray in a stunning three-disc set packed with games, documentaries and incisive commentary for cartoon buffs. The 1937 film still ranks as one of the genre's all-time best, with a classic villain and seven little guys who've influenced toon sidekicks for decades. Heigh-Ho!

mgallucci@clevescene.com

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