Swiftpicks 10 things not to miss from A&E; editor Tim Swift

The Baltimore Sun



Talk about good timing. This documentary about the dangers of bad debt couldn't be more relevant amid a global financial meltdown. Inspired by the work of Baltimore-based publisher Agora Financial, the film made a splash at this summer's Maryland Film Festival and is now getting a well-deserved theatrical release. In theaters Friday.


'The Simpsons':

: After 20 seasons, The Simpsons is hardly must-see-TV anymore. But there is one exception every year: "The Treehouse of Horror." Homer is a little late for Halloween, but he is still in time for something potentially even scarier - Election Day. Look for a spoof of It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and a tale of a rogue voting machine. Airs at 8 tonight on WBFF, Channel 45.


'The New Normal':

A new exhibition opening at Maryland Institute College of Art this week has an unlikely muse - Dick Cheney. More than a dozen artists use a quote uttered by the vice president after the Sept. 11 attacks as a jumping-off point to produce artwork that reflects shifting notions of privacy and security. Opens Thursday at MICA's Decker Gallery.

For more: mica.edu


'Filthy Rich':

After a heavy season opener (Doubt), the Everyman Theatre turns to lighter fare this week with Filthy Rich. Like the play's mysterious suitcase full of greenbacks, this film-noir satire is bursting at the seams with plot twists. It has murder, a private eye, a bitter mayoral contest and, of course, a femme fatale - or two. Opens Friday.

For more: everymantheatre.org


'The Raven':

With a prelude to next year's city-backed celebration of all things Poe, conductor Leonard Slatkin returns to the BSO with his musical take on the dark poet's work. The Raven features John Astin of the original Addams Family as the narrator. Shows are set for 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Meyerhoff.

For more: bsomusic.org


Patty Smyth & Scandal:

Known for '80s anthems such as "The Warrior," Patty Smyth & Scandal exploded on the music scene but quickly went the way of parachute pants. But now, the band is enjoying a second life on tour after being reunited on VH1 a few years ago. The show starts at 7 p.m. Friday at Annapolis' Rams Head Tavern.

For more: ramsheadtavern.com


Sacha Baron Cohen:

in 'Madagascar 2':

While DreamWorks' latest animated film boasts big names like Chris Rock, it's Sacha Baron Cohen of Borat fame who steals the show (for adults, anyway). With delusions of grandeur, Cohen's lemur King Julien is a madcap sideshow as the Central Park Zoo animals work out more sensible solutions to plot twists. In theaters Friday.


'Traitor to His Class':

With the economy in the toilet, interest in the Great Depression is probably now higher than the Dow. But what about the man who led us out of it? H.W. Brands details how FDR became one of the greatest advocates of the poor despite being as upper crust as it gets. And as the title suggests, his rich friends didn't take it well. In stores Tuesday.


'Law & Order':

The "ripped-from-the-headlines" crime drama is back for a 19th season, slightly ahead of schedule. It was supposed to resurface in January, but it has been called in to help rescue NBC's saggy fall season. This week, the detectives (Anthony Anderson and Jeremy Sisto) investigate a street fight gone wrong. Airs at 10 p.m. Wednesday on WBAL, Channel 11.


'Gears of War 2':

One of the best third-person shooters for the Xbox 360 returns with an amped-up sequel. This time around, our heroes bring the battle to the home turf of the game's subterranean baddies, the Locust Horde. The original Gears was a little skimpy on firepower, but the sequel aims to rectify that with new weapons and sharper graphics. In stores Friday.

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