We already warned you that the holiday pre-game was about to hit, and that hasn't changed. There are new releases for everyone this week, whether you're a fan of foreign films, multi-player online games or neuroscience. We're a bit partial to the MMO for reasons that will be obvious in a minute, but that doesn't mean it's not an exciting new thing. Hell, we've even got a new game coming out this week that actually teaches you to play guitar properly -- so all those musicians who've been hating on rhythm games will need a new argument.
5. The Girl Who Played With Fire (DVD, Blu-Ray, Netflix Streaming) Stieg Larsson's "Millennium" trilogy has taken off in an unexpected way, and while lazy Americans are stuck sitting around waiting for the English-language versions of the film, the Swedes have already finished filming all of them. Today we get The Girl Who Played With Fire for good old-fashioned home viewing. The series is surprisingly good, with plenty of twists, turns, anti-heroes and craziness to keep people intrigued throughout the story. The whole series is kind of like a slightly higher-budget Law and Order with more boobs, but we're not complaining.
4. Lego Universe (PC) Lego Universe, on which local company NetDevil has been hard at work for some time, is finally seeing its public release. The premise is simple: Bring a World of Warcraft-style game to children -- which might sound dangerous to some over-protective parents out there, but rest assured, the coupling of NetDevil and Lego means a lot of thought has been put into the final product. Inside the game, you'll be able to explore fantastic new worlds, build your own Lego character and join together with friends to defeat the evil Maelstrom.
3. Rock Band 3 (Wii, Xbox 360, PS3) Ever since Guitar Hero was released, musicians everywhere have been pooh-poohing the very idea of the rhythm-based game. Finally, after years of ridicule, Rock Band 3 is fighting back. Not only does this installment add the much-requested keyboard, but it also features a pro mode that allows you to use a real guitar to play through the songs. You read that correctly: a real guitar so you can actually learn how to properly play songs if you're inclined. Take that, Van Halen.
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2. Inkstuds Inkstuds is a collection of interviews with cartoonists taken from the archive of Robin McConnell, who hosts a radio show of the same name. The fun thing here is that McConnell's archive includes a wide range of cartoonists; from the avant-garde to the underground, you're sure to not only learn something new, but discover new things altogether. It's the only way to get inside the heads of some of America's best comic artists, and this archive showcases just a small portion of the best.
1. The Mind's Eye, by Oliver Sacks Oliver Sacks has made a name for himself by being one of the best science writers around. It's rare that a neurologist also happens to have a penchant for writing great stories, but Sacks does so with efficiency. His books tend to find and stick with a theme, and The Mind's Eye is no different. Here he takes us into the minds of people who have lost what many would consider essential abilities: the power of speech, the capacity to recognize faces, the ability to read or the sense of three-dimensional space, to name a few. Sacks tackles big questions about the perception of the world through the stories of individuals, and in the end paints a vivid picture of the many ways we interpret the world.