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Best bets: Dakota Fanning scores double-bill

Dakota Fanning has two big-screen releases coming out this week. Also new: The Fray's second album, and a new four-pack of "Mystery Science Theater 3000" episodes.
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From Henry Selick, the director of “Nightmare Before Christmas,” comes “Coraline,” an off-beat tale of a girl (voiced by Dakota Fanning) who finds a secret door that takes her to another world. The film is based on the Hugo Award-winning book by Neil Gaiman and is filmed using 3-D animation. Considering Selick’s background with Tim Burton, expect this film to be happily askew. (Opens Feb. 6)

It must be Dakota Fanning week, because she also stars in the new thriller “Push.” The film tells the story of a group of ex-pats who are hiding from a government agency that wants to turn them into operatives. Fanning is a clairvoyant, Chris Evans has telekinesis, and Camilla Bell has the ability to influence other people’s actions by implanting thoughts in their brains. Sounds just wacky enough to be worth a look. (Opens Feb. 6)

Music For a while it seemed as though no hospital show on TV could exist without playing The Fray’s “How to Save a Life” (see: “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scrubs”).  Now the Denver-based band returns with their self-titled second album. And television has embraced The Fray yet again: ABC used their new song, “You Found Me,” to promote the new season of “Lost.” (On sale Feb. 3)

Melinda Doolittle finished third on season six of “American Idol,” but that isn't the only entry on her resume. The former back-up singer for such artists as Aaron Neville, Michael McDonald, and Kirk Franklin now releases her first solo album, “Coming Back to You.” During "Idol," the R&B singer always seemed stunned whenever she got a compliment – we’ll see if she's surprised with strong record sales. (On sale Feb. 3)

After a tough childhood in inner-city Detroit, Ben Carson struggled up from poverty to become a noted neurosurgeon.  His inspiring biography, "Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story" comes to the small screen this week, with Cuba Gooding Jr. playing Carson. (Airs Feb. 7, 8 p.m., TNT)

Are you a fan of BBCA's "Top Gear"? This week, the team presents a Winter Olympics special — they traveled to Norway to try out various Olympic events, but with cars. Ski jumping rocket-powered cars? Hockey in cars? A Jaguar racing a top speedskater on ice? Jumping a snowmobile off a ski jump? It's all there. (Feb. 2, 8 p.m., BBCA)

"Mystery Science Theater 3000" fans know it can seem like an awful long drought between new releases of episodes. Rejoice — there's a new boxed set of four films out this week. The movies include "Final Justice," in which a sweaty Joe Don Baker goes to Malta, and "Soultaker," in which an eyeliner-heavy Joe Estevez proves that talent doesn't always run in families. The other two films are "Mad Monster" (a rare season-one release) and "Manhunt in Space." (On DVD Feb. 3.)

"The Secret Life of Bees" was a bestselling Sue Monk Kidd novel before being turned into a film. Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Hudson, Queen Latifah, Sophie Okonedo and Alicia Keys bring the book to life. If you're too lazy to read the book for book club, you can now rent or buy the DVD, but remember what happened to George Costanza with "Breakfast at Tiffany's." (On DVD Feb. 3.)