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Return of ‘Entourage’ is Can’t Miss TV

“Entourage,” the first-ever make-believe reality show, is back as Vince, Eric, Drama, Turtle and Ari return to L.A.'s hot spots, and TV screens, for season 5, plus Brian Wilson's new album and more.
/ Source: contributor


Image: Entourage

The boys are back in town. Actually, it’s likely they never left. The major players in “Entourage” — Adrian Grenier (Vincent), Kevin Connolly (Eric), Kevin Dillon (Johnny Drama), Jerry Ferrara (Turtle) and Jeremy Piven (Ari) — probably hung around the same nightclubs and eateries from the end of shooting Season 4 to the first day working on Season 5, which premieres this week. In fact, I’m not so sure the series is fictional. Ari certainly is not a caricature. Agents really act like that. And the only thing that doesn’t ring true about Vincent’s entourage is that it’s so small; usually young movie stars have to hire a fleet of limos to accommodate all their leeches. “Entourage,” the first-ever make-believe reality show, is back. (HBO, Sunday, 10 p.m.)


Image: \"Sukiyaki Western Django\"

In the 1960s, Italian director Sergio Leone crafted a series of spaghetti westerns that placed stoic heroes in the midst of harsh, grimy, violent, sometimes macabre conditions to create hyper-realistic conflict. So what happens when Japanese cult director Takashi Miike pays homage to Leone’s “A Fistful of Dollars” by mixing samurai elements with the American western, adding loads of gun play and bloodshed, and tossing in a supporting role from Quentin Tarantino? The result is “Sukiyaki Western Django,” a stylish mosh pit of genres designed to thrill. “Django” is sometimes lurid, sometimes excessive, but thoroughly entertaining. Imagine Clint Eastwood blowing away dirtbags in Japan instead of … well, Italy. (First Look Studios, in theaters now)


Image: Brian Wilson, \"That Lucky Old Sun\"

Brian Wilson is known in some quarters more for the quirky reclusiveness that overtook him after the Beach Boys became famous than he is for being one of the most brilliant pop songsmiths of the past half century. Because his name is often uttered in perplexed whispers, his whereabouts and doings are a mystery. But when he does emerge, it’s something special. “That Lucky Old Sun” is Wilson’s eighth solo album and represents another bold foray into uncharted musical territory. The title track was a hit once for Louis Armstrong in the late 1940s, and it appears here in a fresh and unique form. But the songs are thematically connected to a love of sunny Los Angeles, and some of the highlights include the sequel “Forever She’ll Be My Surfer Girl” and “Oxygen to the Brain.” Aside from some spoken poetry selections, this new musical journey is worth taking for all Brian fans. (Capitol Records)


Image: \"Salo\"

You know the expression “not for the faint of heart”? I’m not sure when exactly it was coined, but one guess could be around 1976, when Pier Paolo Pasolini released his final film, “Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom.” It’s no Disney romp. Rather, it’s a take on the Marquis de Sade’s 18th century work placed in the climate of fascist Italy during World War II. Suffice to say that a strong stomach should replace a faint heart in this equation. “Salo” is out on DVD this week in a special two-disc set with an orgy of special features, including a documentary called “Salo: Yesterday and Today” as well as two other feature docs and more. There’s a sticker on the package: “Warning: Explicit Content.” Right, as if the words “Marquis de Sade” and “Sodom” weren’t enough. (Criterion Collection)


\"Tim & Tom: An American Comedy in Black and White\"

Most fans of comedy will remember Tim Reid as Venus Flytrap in the sitcom “WKRP in Cincinnati,” and Tom Dreesen as a comic staple on late night television shows as a standup. But at one time, they formed an historic pairing — the first and only interracial comedy team. As you can imagine, joining forces to bridge the racial divide and generate laughs while doing it was not an easy task in the volatile late 1960s. Author Ron Rapoport has crafted a splendid account of Reid and Dreesen’s groundbreaking experiences in “Tim & Tom: An American Comedy in Black and White.” The world of comedy can sometimes devour even the heartiest souls. Reid and Dreesen not only survived the indignities and the low points, but they fed off the challenges, and later each went on to enjoy productive solo careers. It’s always satisfying to look back and see how far you’ve come. In the case of Tim & Tom, they’ve come a lot farther than most. (University of Chicago Press)