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

The Baltimore Sun

TV

'Dollhouse':

Talk about a clean slate. In a stylish new series from the creator of Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, pretty young things like Eliza Dushku's Echo are wiped of memories, only to have new personas uploaded every few days. Dark and kitschy, Dollhouse is a show you'll remember. Airs 9:01 p.m. Friday on WBFF, Channel 45.

FILM

'The International':

Finally, a vicious bank is ready to get beat down rather than bailed out. Clive Owen stars as an Interpol agent who risks everything to expose slimy moneymen who want to make the world "slaves to debt." Sound familiar? It's what makes this sometimes-plodding thriller extra satisfying. In theaters Friday.

POP MUSIC

'It's Not Me, It's You' :

by Lily Allen:

The past few years have been rough for this outspoken British pop star. But unlike her fellow tabloid divas, Allen has managed to channel her post-stardom demons to make good music. Who knew drug use and daddy issues could make for such airy pop songs? In stores Tuesday.

BOOKS

'Drood' by Dan Simmons:

Blending historical fact with supernatural fiction, Simmons re-creates the mysterious final years of Charles Dickens. The prolific writer's output slowed to a crawl after a train accident in 1865. That much is true, but Simmons fills in the gaps with an obsession and a horrific, caped figure named Drood. In stores Monday.

ART

'To the Teeth':

Just three words, "To The Teeth," was the genesis of a new show at the Creative Alliance. The artists riff on the concepts of tenacity and aggression through both the process and the completed work. To The Teeth runs through Feb. 21.

For more: creativealliance.org

TV

'Important Things:

with Demetri Martin':

The Daily Show alum brings his stream-of-consciousness comedy to prime time. Things has the quirky, comforting vibe of a retro Sesame Street segment. It's never uproariously funny, but Martin keeps you snickering. Airs 10:30 p.m. Wednesday on Comedy Central.

DVD

'My Name is Bruce':

Cult darling Bruce Campbell plays himself in this homage to the B-movies that made him famous. The residents of a small town enlist Campbell to save them from a head-hunting demon. But what they don't know is that the real Bruce is even more incompetent than his on-screen personas. In stores Tuesday.

CONCERT

Ben Folds:

He's got catchy melodies, a wry sense of humor and a bit of a potty mouth. Ben Folds, the one-man pop piano virtuoso, hits Baltimore this week fresh from his success with last fall's Way to Normal. Doors open at 8 p.m. Thursday at Rams Head Live.

For more: ramsheadlive.com

THEATER

'Is He Dead?':

It took more than 100 years, but Mark Twain's farce about an artist who fakes his death and returns as his "sister" has found an audience. Well received on Broadway, Dead comes to Olney Theatre Center for one of its first runs outside New York. Opens 8 p.m. Wednesday.

For more: olneytheatre.org

GAMES

'F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin':

While new Hollywood horror seems a little uninspired (i.e. Friday the 13th), thankfully video game designers haven't given up on original scares. In this sequel to the 2005 hit, gamers play as a Delta Force soldier up against a powerful psychic with some serious rage issues. Out Tuesday on PC, PS3 and XBox 360.

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