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The Big Ten

What to watch, read and listen to this month

Illustration Chloé Fleury

1 GET TO THE POINTE

An evening at the ballet is always a horrifying prospect to some. Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan makes it scary for everyone. Natalie Portman gives one of her best performances as a troubled dancer, with Mila Kunis as her friend and rival. DECEMBER 1

2 WAY OUT WEST

The only thing tougher than the 14-year-old girl at the heart of this True Grit remake was the Coen brothers’ task of improving on the John Wayne original. The directors managed it by enlisting Academy Award winner Jeff Bridges in Wayne’s role. DECEMBER 25

3 THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL

First she predicted the vampire craze. Then she rewrote the gospels. In Of Love and Evil, Anne Rice combines good and evil to construct a story of murder, ghosts and sibling rivalry in Renaissance Italy—starring an angel- backed vigilante. OUT NOW

4 ART ATTACK

You’d have to work pretty hard to find a more perfect marriage than the one of money, art and suntan lotion at Art Basel Miami. Each year, aristocrats, artists and art lovers from around the world converge for four days of citywide buying and selling. DECEMBER 2-5

5 FASTER, STRONGER

If you’re going to remake a cult classic about being trapped inside a video game, it only makes sense that you enlist Daft Punk to handle the score. The electronic music pioneers assembled a 100-piece orchestra to create the soundtrack for the 3-D film TRON: Legacy. OUT NOW

6 WILDE THING

Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband makes its way back to London’s West End for the first time in over a decade. Samantha Bond, best known for her role as Miss Moneypenny in the James Bond films, stars in the sharp-edged critique of classic morality. OUT NOW

7 HEART OF DARKNESS

The Best American Noir of the Century is a compendium of crime writing that covers 1910 to 2010— perhaps the most fertile era of crime since the Visigoths sacked Rome. Contemporary powerhouses Elmore Leonard, Dennis Lehane and Patricia Highsmith hold their own next to Tod Robbins and the godfather of the genre, Mickey Spillane. OUT NOW

8 BRING THE KIDS

This month, three family adventures get the 3-D treatment: Dan Aykroyd and Justin Timberlake voice Yogi and Boo Boo in Yogi Bear; Lucy, Edmund and Eustace go for a sea voyage with Prince Caspian in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; and Jack Black plays a travel writer who ends up in Lilliput in Gulliver’s Travels. DECEMBER 17, 10, 22

9 MONKEE BUSINESS

After creating the Monkees and making Easy Rider, Bob Rafelson, Bert Schneider and Steve Blauner started production company BBS, which put out Five Easy Pieces, The Last Picture Show and Drive, He Said. Criterion Collection gives them their due with a nine-disc DVD set, “America Lost and Found: The BBS Story.” DECEMBER 14

10 SHINING CEE

After two big albums as half of Gnarls Barkley—the brooding duo behind the unlikely megahit “Crazy”—Georgia-based singer/ rapper Cee Lo finds himself in a killer mood. Lady Killer is a full- on party record with infectious neo-soul beats buoying vocals that are impossibly fast and irresistibly melodic. OUT NOW

American Gothic

Composer Danny Elfman gets the big-box treatment.

By Joe Keohane

THE 25-YEAR COLLABORATION between director Tim Burton and composer Danny Elfman—which has produced such films as Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, The Nightmare Before Christmas and Alice in Wonderland— has yielded a trove of brilliantly weird and wonderful music. Yet when Elfman’s agent proposed that they compile all of it, including outtakes, written sheet music and so forth, into a big, exhaustive box set, “I thought he was nuts,” Elfman says.

The trouble was, Elfman never consciously saved anything. He assumed it had all been lost. He was wrong. “My house cleaners—or whoever was going through these bags of stuff over the years—just dumped most of it into unmarked boxes and threw it into a storage room.” It fell to his agent and assistant to spend three months digging through unmarked boxes in storage rooms (which were also crammed with broken electronic components, doll parts, and the other bric-a-brac Elfman saves compulsively), in search of material.

The resultant box is titled “Danny Elfman & Tim Burton 25th Anniversary Music Box.” It costs $500. It’s the size of a microwave oven. And it’s packed with 16 CDs of scores, demos and Elfman’s personal tapes; a DVD; a 250-page hardcover book introduced by Johnny Depp; a working zoetrope (cylindrical flipbook) depicting Elfman’s head falling off and being danced on; a music box; and artwork by Tim Burton. The whole thing is unabashedly nuts. “We’ve crammed so much into this Box O’ Burton-Elfman,” he says, laughing. “Anybody who’s wrapped up in that world is gonna be very pleased.”

Photographs Courtesy of Niko Tavernise (1), by Lorey Sebastian/Courtesy Paramount Pictures (2), Courtesy of Art Basel (4), Courtesy of Disney (5), Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures (8), Courtesy of Criterion (9) , by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images (10), photo by Paul Redmond/Wireimage (Elfman)

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