A look at the things we're most excited about watching, reading, browsing, and listening to:
In theaters Friday:
In The Avengers, director Joss Whedon has assembled the rare big-budget super-hero film that "truly fulfills its hype," writes the Associated Press. Other critics agree. The culmination of a years-long project to bring Marvel stars to the big screen, the film unites Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man, Chris Evans's Captain America, Chris Hemsworth's Thor, Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow, Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye, Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury, and Mark Ruffalo's The Hulk.
Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, and Tom Wilkinson star in the well-reviewed comedy The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which chronicles four Brits' life in retirement in India.
On sale Tuesday:
Norah Jones has teamed with avant hip-hop producer Danger Mouse (one half of Gnarles Barkley) for Little Broken Hearts, an album that's moodier and weirder than anything she's previously done. "She hasn't sounded quite so free and engaged as she does on these songs," says American Songwriter.
The inventive, dub-influenced pop artist Santigold's second album, Master of my Make Believe delivers itchy guitar hooks, spiky but danceable beats, and sing-along lyrics about pretenders, riots, and cultural revolution.