'Parks and Rec,' Kanye, Cyndi Lauper: The Week Ahead in Pop Culture

By Eleanor Barkhorn & Spencer Kornhaber

A look at the things we're most excited about watching, reading, browsing, and listening to:

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Two law-enforcement buddies get targeted by a murderous gang: Sounds like the plot for a generic buddy-cop film, right? But David Ayer's End of Watch has been receiving high marks for its kinetic, documentary-style feel, and for the performances of stars Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael PeƱa. "It should seem ludicrous, this top-heavy blend of action and drama, but Ayer whips us along, outpacing implausibility at every turn," writes The Guardian.

Clint Eastwood's first starring role since 2008's Gran Torino and 2012's RNC lecture at a chair is as a baseball scout hitting the road with his daughter in The Trouble With the Curve.


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G.O.O.D. Music's Cruel Summer is Kanye West's highly anticipated crew album, featuring up-and-comers like Pusha-T and 2 Chainz, as well as rap superstars like Jay-Z. Early reviews indicate it's uneven but often impressive; the Los Angeles Times says it "offers proof that West's Chicago posse has cemented its place as one of the most formidable cliques in the world."

Few bands do spindly, haunted, vocally layered voyages as well as Brooklyn's Grizzly Bear, who built a rep as reliably genius art rockers with 2007's Yellow House and 2009's Veckatimest. Their latest, Shields, is more raucous than usual. Says American Songwriter, "for how uncharacteristic it might seem for a band whose greatest gift, all along, was nuance, this louder take suits the band brilliantly."


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BOOKS

For sale Tuesday:

Two female musician-penned memoirs come out this week: One by Cyndi Lauper (titled simply Cyndi Lauper: A Memoir) is an accounting of her life so far, from her childhood in Queens to her success with songs like "Time After Time" and "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" to her work now as an activist. The other is Kicking and Dreaming, by Ann and Nancy Wilson of the band Heart. It focuses on Heart's groundbreaking music and the experience of being a woman in rock and roll.

Likely the strangest new release of the week is Emma Thompson's (yes, that Emma Thompson) sequel to the beloved children's story The Tale of Peter Rabbit. It is not clear why the Oscar-winning actress is writing fan fiction for a 110-year-old book, but if any celebrity could pull it off, Thompson would be the one: She won one of her Academy Awards for writing the adapted screenplay for Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility.


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TELEVISION

More season premieres this week: Fox's Bones on Monday; NBC's The Office, Parks and Recreation, and Up All Night on Thursday; and HBO's Treme on Sunday.

The most hyped premiere of the week is NBC's Revolution, which airs Monday and appears to be yet another attempt to fill the action/thriller/sci-fi void left by Lost, with a bit of The Walking Dead thrown in. It's about a family living in a post-apocalyptic world where all major forms of technology have disappeared.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/09/parks-and-rec-kanye-cyndi-lauper-the-week-ahead-in-pop-culture/262409/