The Hot Sheet
The Switch — This Jennifer Aniston–Jason Bateman artificial insemination rom-com might have flown under the radar and disappeared from theaters in a snap were it not for Bill O’Reilly making Aniston 2010’s Murphy Brown. The talk-show host suggested Aniston’s comments about the film were harmful to the American family and asserted that every child needs a mother and a father. Aniston, herself single and a longtime supporter of gay rights, came back swinging, suggesting not every woman has found her “Bill O’Reilly” and that there’s no clear-cut image of the perfect family. But back to the film, which is predictably getting mixed reviews with Aniston and Bateman largely escaping unscathed. On the heels of The Back-up Plan, which boasted a similar plot, look for The Switch to be better but fare worse.
Piranha 3D — The danger in setting out to make a “B-grade” horror film is that often it will miss the humor and camp that make those films successful and instead become just another bad movie. But director Alexandre Aja has smartly packed Piranha 3D with a cast of recognizable faces (Elizabeth Shue as the town sheriff, Christopher Lloyd as a fish expert, Jerry O’Connell as a Girls Gone Wild–type filmmaker) to make a film so bad, it’s great. And as in any film that tips its hat to Girls Gone Wild, there is the requisite make-out session between two girls — here, 90210’s Jessica Szohr and a porn star.
"Cascade" by Deluka — Ellie Innocenti, lead singer for Brit-pop band Deluka, delivers some of the strongest female vocals since Blondie-era Debbie Harry in the group's blazing single “Cascade.” The track features rapid-fire futuristic arpeggios over a steady sound that reminds 2010 what it means to be rock 'n' roll. Deluka will perform at San Francisco's Folsom Street Festival September 26.
As Day Follows Night by Sarah Blasko — Blasko’s breathy voice infuses every track on her new album, As Day Follows Night, with a constant hushed fervency. Calmer songs such as “All I Want” lay down elegant lyrics, while bluesy tracks like “No Turning Back” power forward with a beat that will leave you yearning for a bonus disc.
The City of Your Final Destination — Sir Anthony Hopkins in a spirited turn as a gay expat helps enliven the languid tale of a young academic's struggle to write a biography of a celebrated but deceased writer. Laura Linney costars in James Ivory's first solo film after the death of longtime partner Ismail Merchant.
Brothers and Sisters: The Complete Fourth Season — For anyone who’s wondering where to find the most accurate representation of gay people on television, look no further. Brothers and Sisters has always done right by its gay characters, but season 4 hit a new high. Kevin (Matthew Rhys) and Scotty (Luke Macfarlane) going through the ups and downs of surrogacy was certainly timely, but wrapping the difficulty Kevin had coming to terms with his sexuality as a teenager into the season’s big overarching mystery tugged at the heartstrings and spoke all too plainly to the issues of acceptance and fear so many of us have faced. Kevin’s subsequent heart-to-heart with mom Nora (Sally Field) was the conversation every gay man wishes they could have with a parent, and the season finale’s big reveal about Uncle Saul promises to broach the topic of health and gay seniors too often ignored not just by television but by our community.
All Fashion Is Fiction: The Collected Writings of Serg Riva — The diaries and transcripts of celebrity swimwear designer Serg Riva, edited by artist James Buckhouse, presents a curious manifesto: “The shallower you go, the deeper it gets.” The memoir unfolds in a surprisingly poignant look into the poetic intricacies of reputation, adoration, and diamond-studded bikinis. (CreateSpace, $14.95)
Mad Men Unbuttoned: A Romp Through '60s America by Natasha Vargas-Cooper — The author of the popular blog Footnotes of Mad Men links an array of vintage advertising and design images with details about the series's characters and specific episodes, making a perfect companion piece for AMC's slow-burning but compulsively watchable drama. (Collins Design, $16.99)