Five new release picks for Tuesday, August 17

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The media of today is hard to keep up with -- it comes from so many directions and in so many forms that it's next to impossible to keep track of your favorite artists, let alone new ones. Because we're devoted to your convenience, we're going to pick five things each week that rise above the pale, that have some distinction, that, ultimately, we think are worthy of your notice. Feel free to sound off on anything you plan on picking up on release day in the comments.



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5. Dexter: Season 4 (DVD, Blu-Ray)If you're like us, you can't afford that fancy-shmancy cable programming, so when shows get released on DVD, it's cause for excitement. We've been slowly going through the Dexter series, and season four sounds like it's going to be a doozy. Dexter is married, Rita has given birth, and Dexter is trying to reconcile his urges to kill with his newfound family-man status. Sounds like a winner to us.


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4. Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light (Xbox Live Arcade)
If you're familiar with the name Lara Croft, you're probably noticing a distinctive lack of words in the games title -- namely, "tomb" and "raider." That's because Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light is a new type of game for the series. It's an isometric-puzzle-platformer: Think of it as a Nintendo demake of Tomb Raider with 3D graphics. It's also co-op, which is completely new for the series. With a new camera angle, the developers have finally had the time to work on the gameplay without wasting half the development cycle on Lara's, ahem, assets.


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3. Benj Clews and Michael Onesi - Four Word Film Reviews
Four Word Film Reviews is a companion book to the website of the same name. It's as simple as it sounds: movie reviews done in four words. It's astounding the creativity and complexity some of these reviews take. More often than not, a film's plot can be summed up in just four quick words. Some of our favorites include Jaws: "Eat ship and die" and The Da Vinci Code: "Joe versus the Vatican."



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2. Dark Rain - Mat Johnson, Simon Gane
Dark Rain is a political-heist-love-comedy set in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The story follows a couple of ex-cons as they attempt to make their way into New Orleans in order to pull off a bank heist during the fallout of Katrina. The book manages to entertain and inform about the human condition; it's a well-grounded look at the different ways humans react to situations. Simon Gane's art is a perfect accompaniment to Mat Johnson's tale.


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1. The Man Behind the Nose: Assassins, Astronauts, Cannibals, and Other Stupendous Tales - Larry Harmon with Thomas William McKenzie
Bozo the Clown is the world's most famous clown, and although Larry Harmon didn't invent him, he was the most recognizable of the hundreds of Bozos out there. He's also the one who initially brought Bozo to the masses on television. This book, finished right before Harmon's death in 2008, details many of the strange facts, tidbits and life behind the makeup. It's a lot wackier beneath that oil-based mask than you'd think.

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