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Best bets: Swank hopes to soar with ‘Amelia’

Actress Hilary Swank plays the famous aviator Amelia Earhart. Also new this week: "It's Garry Shandling's Show" on DVD; new CD from Surfjan Stevens.
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Can Hilary Swank find success in a film where she’s not either a tomboy or an actual boy? In “Amelia,” Swank takes on the role of famous aviator Amelia Earhart, who disappeared while trying to fly around the world. The film looks at her adventurous spirit and her great loves (played by Ewan McGregor and Richard Gere). (Opens Oct. 23)

When “Antichrist” played at the Cannes Film Festival this year, there was applause, booing, hissing and one person even fainted. How can you possibly resist what might be the most controversial film of the year? Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg star in Lars Von Trier’s film about a grieving couple who hopes to recover from the loss of their child by retreating to a cabin in the woods. But nature doesn’t exactly cure their broken hearts — instead it fuels their guilt and rage. (Opens Oct. 23)

Music Abandoning his plan to write an album about every state, Sufjan Stevens returns with “The BQE,” which is named for the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway. Stevens is grandiose in all the best ways; musically, his albums are rich, layered and practically symphonic. And his shows tend to be costumed wonders. The New York Times wrote, “Mr. Stevens has emerged from indie rock as a mastermind of extravaganzas, and all the better if they’re laced with fond irony.” (On sale Oct. 20)

Alternative rockers Florence and the Machine’s debut album, “Lungs,” has already gone platinum in the U.K. Now it’s our chance to enjoy Florence Welsh, whose voice Entertainment Weekly compared to Kate Bush and Sarah McLachlan. The BBC wrote, “This album takes you somewhere you'll never want to come back from.” (On sale Oct. 20)

TVIf all you know about your local fire department is the sound of their sirens as they rush to an incident, tune in to the new show "The Academy: Orange County Fire." The show, which airs on Fox Reality, follows 28 recruits as they endure 18 weeks of pressure-filled training. (Premieres Oct. 24, 9 p.m., Fox Reality Channel.)

DVDIt's easy to forget how groundbreaking "It's Garry Shandling's Show" was when it launched back in 1986. It was goofy, funny, and creative in ways that TV hadn't been up till then, with Shandling playing himself and interacting with the studio audience and the regular cast in equal doses. The show was the first cable comedy to be nominated for an Emmy, and TV Guide called it "audacious, satirical, hip, sophisticated and wonderfully silly." Now the whole series is out on DVD. (Out on DVD Oct. 20)