Top Picks: American Idol returns, 'The Social Network' on DVD, French film online, and more
A new season of Idol (minus Cowell,) 'The Social Network' released on DVD, the first French online film festival, and more recommendations
Short stories of the obsessive kind
In "The Devil & Sherlock Holmes," author David Grann dives into 12 true tales of curious crimes and quixotic quests. Through extensive reporting, he dredges up brilliant portraits of the madness that drives people to great and sometimes terrible things. The stories in the book, in paperback Jan. 11, range from the 81-year-old criminal hoping for a 19th successful prison break to New York City's deadly underground drilling expeditions.
Just the ticket
"American Idol," the Fox network juggernaut, returns for its 10th season. A few changes spice up this now-familiar sing-off: The acerbic Simon Cowell has been replaced by two industry pros, Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez (pictured), and the minimum age requirement has been lowered to 15. The season kicks off Jan. 19 with a two-hour episode at 8 p.m. and returns Jan. 20 for a single hour.
The face behind Facebook
"The Social Network," about Mark Zuckerberg and the knockabout beginnings of his creation, Facebook, is a warts-and-all celebration of visionary capitalism and of the moxie required to realize the vision. Director David Fincher and his screenwriter Aaron Sorkin loosely adapted Ben Mezrich's nonfiction book "The Accidental Billionaires" and turn Zuckerburg into both the unlikeliest and likeliest of heroes – or, more precisely, antiheroes – of our time. Out on DVD Jan. 11.
Vive le cinéma français!
The first French online film festival opens to Internet users around the world Jan. 14-29. MyFrenchFilmFestival.com was pulled together by Unifrance and Allociné, with the support of the Centre National de la Cinématographie and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and showcases young French filmmakers. The 10 feature films and 10 shorts will be available on Video on Demand and subtitled in several languages. Internet users will be able to vote for their favorite film.
Twelve thousand runners
For a postholiday boost, head over to one of nearly 350 theaters Jan. 11 for the national simulcast of "Hood to Coast," a documentary about the world's largest relay race, celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2011. The film takes viewers up close with the thousands of runners – pro and amateur (such as Team Thunder 'N Laikaning, above) – who turn out for this 197-mile trek from Mt. Hood, Ore., to the Pacific Ocean. The evening will include a live, red-carpet event as well as a pretaped panel with top names from the running world, such as Olympians Mary Decker Slaney and Kenny Moore. Tickets and info: FathomEvents.com.