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The week's best releases from the pop-culture universe 

CD -- Planet Rock: The Album: Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force's second album -- never before released on CD -- is the cornerstone of so many genres, it's easy to believe that the very foundation of modern music would crumble without it. The 1986 album -- which includes the group's most seminal work -- takes early stabs at hip-hop, techno, and house. Start with "Planet Rock" and "Looking for the Perfect Beat."

CD -- Chaotic Resolve: Plumb has one of the blandest monikers in pop music, but she boasts one of the most stacked résumés. She's written songs for Michelle Branch and Mandy Moore. She's appeared on the soundtracks for Bruce Almighty and The Perfect Man. And she's invaded your TV via Dawson's Creek and ER. On her fourth album, the woman born Tiffany Arbuckle Lee effortlessly and tunefully skips from pop to rock to dance-goth. It's about time radio discovered her.

DVD -- Good Night, and Good Luck: George Clooney's biopic about TV newsman Edward R. Murrow's collision with Communist-hunter Joseph McCarthy deservedly racked up six Oscar nominations. Hopefully, the DVD release will snag some viewers. Shot in black and white and using actual footage of the principals, Good Night is no gimmick film. It's an exceptional look at the media, government, and, ultimately, our nation. Modern-day broadcast journalists could learn a thing or two from it.

BOOK -- I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell: Tucker Max's stories -- many originally published on his much-lauded and frequently visited website -- revolve around his life. And his life revolves around beer, women, and being a prick. This funny, captivating book features adventures in random sex, vomit, and road trips to Vegas. They don't necessarily make you like the guy, but you sure would like to spend a weekend with him.

DVD -- Through the Fire: Just in time for March Madness comes this doc about a hoops-playing kid from N.Y.C. and his struggles at school, at home, and on the court. The director's cut of the movie -- which recently aired on ESPN -- includes extra footage and deleted scenes. Yeah, it's an awful lot like Hoop Dreams, but the emotional score is all net.

VIDEOGAME -- State of Emergency 2: We can't get enough of games that put us on the streets, wielding big weapons and an even bigger attitude. This PS2 sequel -- more fluid and bloody than its predecessor -- is about a freedom movement's quest for liberation. But that's all just an excuse to blow away bad guys, drive tanks through alleys, and participate in gory death matches with pals. We love the "interrogation" move -- less talk, more ass-whupping.

COURTESY FLUSH, PLEASE -- Queen and Paul Rodgers: Return of the Champions: Queen's music demands an over-the-top frontman, one capable of swinging from falsetto swoons to hand-waving theatrics. Onetime Bad Company singer Rodgers is not that man. With the late Freddie Mercury, Queen swathed its decidedly nonrock lineage in chunky guitar riffs and bombastic production. This concert, which airs at 9 p.m. Thursday on PBS, features the guys in Queen who aren't dead, along with Rodgers -- clearly out of his element -- and plays sorta like a classic-rock fantasy league. We never thought we'd say this about Queen, but it just isn't gay enough.

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More by Michael Gallucci

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Staff Pick Events

  • John Caparulo @ Hilarities Comedy Club

    • Thu., Nov. 23
  • Cleveland Comedy Festival @ Playhouse Square

    • Wed., Nov. 29
  • Brandon T. Jackson @ Improv Comedy Club & Restaurant

    • Thu., Nov. 30

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