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Best bets: ‘Julie & Julia’ heats up theaters

Meryl Streep plays the legendary Julia Child in the film that developed from Julie Powell's blog. Plus: "Monk" returns; "The Soloist" hits DVD.
/ Source: msnbc.com

Movies In the past couple of years, Meryl Streep has transformed into a summer box office queen, and this week’s release of “Julie & Julia” means she won’t be handing over that crown anytime soon. Streep plays Julia Child just as the famous cook was starting her cookbook career. Amy Adams is Julie Powell, a cubicle drone who is inspired to cook all of the recipes from Child’s book and blog about them. This is a movie you’ll definitely want to see on a full stomach. (Opens Aug. 7)

Charlyne Yi has a problem. She doesn’t believe in love. In “Paper Heart,” Yi goes on a quest to make a documentary to find out the secret of love. Along the way, she falls for Michael Cera. Everyone plays themselves in the film, and Cera and Yi used to be a couple. Even if their relationship didn’t have a happy ending in real life, here’s a chance to see their courtship at the movies. (Opens Aug. 7)

MusicNeed some more smooth R&B for your collection? Detroit singer K’Jon offers up, “I Get Around.” The singer calls R&B music “a great storytelling tool for love” and lists Marvin Gaye and Luther Vandross among his influences. Don’t be surprised if this rising singer gives Maxwell some competition (On sale Aug. 4)

Their name may be silly, but don’t dismiss teen poppers Japandroids without checking out their new album, “Post-Nothing.” Pitchfork.com gave the album an 8.3 and wrote, “This is terminally catchy music played with punk's enthusiasm and velocity, and maybe it's the fact that there's only two dudes in this band that makes you feel like joining in to bash along.” (On sale Aug. 4)

TVThe recent swine flu uproar had hand sanitizer flying off the supermarket shelves. And now a few million people have something more in common with Tony Shalub's germaphobic detective, Adrian Monk. "Monk" returns for its eighth and final season this week, with our man investigating a city official in a case that could be tied to the murder of Monk's wife, the one case he has been unable to solve. (Season premiere Aug. 7, 9 p.m., USA.)

"Forensics: You Decide," a new show on the Investigation Discovery channel, tackles a case and looks how the very same set of evidence can appear to work in favor of each side, when interpreted differently. Innocent? Guilty? Here's where things start to get complicated. (Series premiere Aug. 3, 10 p.m., Investigation Discovery.)  

DVD
"The Soloist"
is even more powerful because it's based on a true story. L.A. Times columnist Steve Lopez discovered cello prodigy Nathaniel Ayers, a schizophrenic who had become homeless and was playing his music in the street, and worked to help the man find his way back. With Foxx as Ayers and Robert Downey Jr. as Lopez, the film soars. Salon.com called it "a triumphant movie about failure." If you missed it in theaters, you can now check it out at home. (Out on DVD Aug. 4)