Six Picks: Recommendations from the Monitor staff
Dennis the Menace's early days now in hardcover, British crime series 'Cracker' new on DVD, Siegfried & Roy's final bow, and more.
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Aussie Baz Luhrmann ("Moulin Rouge," "Romeo and Juliet") isn't everyone's favorite filmmaker, but for those who appreciate his mix of the ironic, kitschy, and melodramatic woven into sweeping storytelling, Australia is the perfect flick. Featuring Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman, and the stunning Australian countryside. Available March 3 on DVD.
Score another one for the kids over at Google. Among the latest additions to the long-running Book Search project is a whole swath of magazine back issues, from Baseball Digest to New York. Now you can spend time reading about Ken Griffey Jr.'s rookie season or Madonna's domination of the pop chart in the 1990s for absolutely no cost. You don't get to hold that glossy treasure in your hand, but it's ecofriendly, easy to navigate, and you get all the content you want, without the filler you don't. Get browsing at books.google.com.
he's back, Mr. Wilson
Hank Ketcham first started sketching the Dennis the Menace comics in the early 1950s, drawing on the antics of his own young son. The strip eventually became a household name, and for a while, before he handed art duties over to a succession of younger artists, so did Ketcham. Now the Seattle publisher Fantagraphics is reviving the comic pioneer's work in a series of beautiful hardcover editions. The latest covers the period from 1959 to 1960 and is available on Amazon or fantagraphics.com. Dig out your slingshot and get reading.
The gifted crime-solver with a life plagued by personal problems is a fixture of the modern police procedural. Robbie Coltrane's forensic psychologist, Cracker, was no exception in a British television series (1993-95) that won more than two dozen awards. The 10-disc box set of the entire 22-1/2 hours comes out March 10. Viewers should take note that most of the crimes are graphic.
California singer/songwriter Molly Jenson has a voice that's part Sheryl Crow, part Jonatha Brooke. And her honest, often funny, lyrics ("This is for you, Mr. I-Don't-Know-Your-Name/ I saw you two months ago/ I wonder if you remember me like I remember you") get better with each listen. Check out this folk/rock musician on her debut CD, "Maybe Tomorrow," (rereleased March 3). The radio-friendly "Give It Time" will have you singing along with the "La da da la da da" chorus in, well, no time.
You may never have seen German-American performers Siegfried & Roy, the duo who wrangled white tigers at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas, but we bet you've heard of them. They withdrew from the stage and public life in 2003 when Roy was mauled by one of the giant cats. Tune in tonight, March 6 at 9 p.m., to watch a special edition of ABC's 20/20, Siegfried & Roy: The Magic Returns, covering what is most certainly their final appearance, a charity event presented this past Saturday night, live on the Strip.