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‘Daily Show’ at convention is Can’t Miss TV

Does “The Daily Show” do a better job of covering politics than mainstream news shows? Who cares? It’s funnier! Jon Stewart heads to Denver this week for the Democratic National Convention, and he’ll have John Oliver, Rob Riggle et al in tow.
/ Source: msnbc.com contributor

Television

Jon Stewart
** FILE ** In this Sept. 25, 2007 file photo, Jon Stewart is shown during a taping of Comedy Central's \"The Daily Show with Jon Stewart\" in New York. (AP Photo/Peter Kramer, File)Peter Kramer / KRAPE

Does “The Daily Show” do a better job of covering politics than mainstream news shows? Who cares? It’s funnier! That’s all that really matters. If you watch the conventions in the coming weeks and don’t find yourself in dire need of serious belly laughs, then you’re probably missing a screw. Jon Stewart heads to Denver this week for the Democratic National Convention, and he’ll have John Oliver, Rob Riggle, Samantha Bee, Jason Jones and more in tow. While various prominent Dems make long-winded speeches and try to keep delegates from slipping out to the bar, “The Daily Show” crew will be running around the city providing a perspective you won’t see anywhere else. And that’s no joke. (Comedy Central, all week, check local listings)

Movies

I have a feeling that when the “Ocean’s Eleven” series was being filmed, Don Cheadle spent a lot of time between shots chatting up Matt Damon about the benefits of doing action-thrillers with an espionage flavor. After all, Damon has done quite nicely with the “Bourne” films. Well, Cheadle now has his own start along that road with “Traitor.” It’s a complex yarn that has Cheadle playing Samir Horn, a mysterious individual who seems to be at the center of several international incidents. The FBI and CIA would like to talk to Horn to find out if he is a good guy or a bad guy; as usual, they’re not sure. Of course, if “Traitor” leads to “Traitor II” and “Traitor III,” Cheadle will be sure about action-thrillers. (Overture Films, opens Wednesday

Music

The Verve has a little problem remaining intact. The British practitioners of imaginative, experimental, atmospheric rock might sound like nothing you’ve ever heard, although Pink Floyd comparisons get thrown around a lot. But their internal chemistry is reminiscent of the tensions that occurred between David St. Hubbins and Nigel Tufnel of Spinal Tap. In this case, the sparks have been between vocalist extraordinaire Richard Ashcroft and guitarist Nick McCabe. But the lads managed to put their troubles aside to record “Forth,” their new reunion CD. Some of the more memorable tracks include “Valium Skies,” “Judas” and “Love is Noise.” The Verve might be considered quintessentially self-indulgent, self-destructive, arrogant and pretentious by many. But as “Forth” will prove, the band is also difficult to ignore. (Megaforce)

DVD

Do you have presidents on the mind? Is the Obama-McCain competition driving you to drink? Do you cringe whenever you see living presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton or George W. Bush on TV? First of all, make peace with it, because it’s not going to get better anytime soon. Second, maybe instead of fighting presidential fever you should embrace its old school symptoms by picking up a copy of “The Presidents Collection,” a new DVD set put out by PBS from its “American Experience” series. It includes profiles on Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Harry S. Truman, John Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Carter and Bush Sr. Maybe out of all that you can gain a new appreciation for the office itself. Maybe. (Paramount Home Entertainment)

Books

Schocken

Most people wonder, “What shall I have for dinner tonight? Italian? Mexican? Chinese? Thai? Southern cooking? Indian? Nouveau American? Cuban? Lithuanian/Inuit fusion? …” The list goes on and on. Somewhere way down the list – especially in non-Jewish homes – resides Israeli food. But perhaps after a perusal of Janna Gur’sdynamic new cookbook, “The Book of New Israeli Food: A Culinary Journey,” mouths will water in a new and interesting way. Gur, the founder and editor of Israel’s top food and wine magazine, “Al Hashulchan,” presents fresh takes on old classics like chicken soup and chopped liver, but also offers inspired dishes like figs stuffed with bulgur, citrus semolina cake and roasted chicken drumsticks in carob syrup, all laid out with terrific photographs. So go on, eat. Have a good time. Don’t worry about me. I’ll just sit here in the dark touting this book. (Schocken)