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Avatar - What you have heard ... most expensive movie ever made, James Cameron's first movie since Titanic, the gigantic blue catlike people make it look cheesy. What you haven't heard ... 87% of the country's top critics seem to agree it's one of the best films of the year. Whether that's thanks to the story or Sigourney Weaver's return to playing action hero, we aren't sure. But it should be worth checking out.
Did You Hear About the Morgans? -- Sarah Jessica Parker continues to have a rough time distancing herself from the romantic comedy genre (from playing Carrie Bradshaw, that is) in her latest pic, a witness protection program comedy with Hugh Grant. Well, hey ... at least this time she picked an appealing costar.
Nine - It doesn't get much gayer than Rob Marshall directing a bevy of beautiful (if some of them Botoxed) ladies in a new movie musical. Marion Cotillard is said to steal the show, but really ... Fergie, Nicole Kidman, Sophia Loren, Penelope Cruz, Kate Hudson, and Judi Dench all singing in the same film -- how could you miss it? Oh, and Daniel Day-Lewis stars and is said to be brilliant. Watch the lively "musical experience" trailer (for the 17th time, no doubt):
Stronger With Each Tear by Mary J. Blige --We've heard very little about Mary's ninth studio album, which worries us (as does a song titled "We Got Hood Love"). Regardless, the R&B queen almost always brings it, so it's worth a try (or a preview on YouTube). Out Monday.
The Element of Freedom by Alicia Keys-- It's hard to differentiate Alicia's hits, but that may be because they're always good in a familiar way. "Doesn't Mean Anything," the first single off Keys's new album (her fourth) follows the same pattern: soaring vocals and piano over a message of love being bigger than material possessions. But when Alicia picks up the pace, she thrills. On songs like "Try Sleeping With a Broken Heart" and "Wait Til You See My Smile," Alicia takes listeners up in the air with her. Released Tuesday.
Glee: The Music, Volume 2 -- This is a must-have for Gleekers. Supporting characters like Mercedes and Artie get to shine on this soundtrack sequel, with standout songs like Lily Allen's "Smile" and Van Halen's "Jump." Released Tuesday.
Sex Therapy by Robin Thicke-- A poor man's Justin Timberlake, or a pop maestro in his own right? Thicke probably won't convince many he's the latter with his new album's title track, a cheesy take on Marvin Gaye/Al Green soul. We're not ready to dismiss this whole album outright, though -- Thicke has produced some knockout songs before ("Magic") and on Sex Therapy he gets assists by old pros like Snoop Dog and Jay-Z, along with upstarts like Kid Cudi, Jasmine Sullivan, and Estelle. Released Tuesday.
Glee, Volume 1: The Road to Sectionals -- The folks at Fox have smartly decided to release Glee's first season on DVD in two sections -- and we say smartly because Gleekers are addicted and will buy anything this smartly written series has to offer ... hence some added Christmas rush cash for the Fox coffers. Check out what's made this show such a breakout hit, from the singing to the dancing to Jane Lynch in her career-defining role.
Inglourious Basterds -- If you never thought you'd see the words "entertaining" and "Nazi" in the same sentence, you've never seen a World War II action-comedy as made by Quentin Tarantino. Few people know film history like Tarantino, who goes from paying homage to German cinema and the sweeping epics of the '30s and '40s to a truly sinister take on the glass slipper scene in Cinderella -- and this film has all the camp value gay and men and women love. Watch a behind-the-scenes look at the film: