1 “The Bling Ring” finds biting satire in the true story of a fashionista brat pack so obsessed with the trappings of fame that they went ahead and stole them. The stranger-than-fiction story is startling, disturbing and hilarious. Emma Watson’s deliciously shallow character launches things in a courthouse interview with a knot of paparazzi, behaving as if they’re there to do a celebrity profile of her. Writer/director Sofia Coppola’s scathingly funny film is as acid a take on the cult of celebrity as Martin Scorsese’s “The King of Comedy.”
2 Take everything there is to hate and love about Kanye West and turn it up to 11, and that’s pretty much what you get with his wowza of a new album, “Yeezus.” Issued to ample hubbub and hubris last week — right after his tabloid-queen girlfriend Kim Kardashian gave birth to their daughter — the record is raunchy, caustic and hugely cocky. But it’s also audacious, explosive and undeniably fascinating. It’s not a record to listen to over and over, but at least initially it’s hard to turn away.
3 Dan Savage has a mouth on him, and the syndicated sex-advice columnist uses that career-making asset to its best advantage in “American Savage.” This entertaining and thought-provoking collection of short-winded essays breezes through a host of topical subjects, including bullying, the Catholic Church, marriage equality and infidelity. It brims with Savage’s patented sharp analysis and biting wit. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll appreciate this modern-day Mark Twain all over again.
4 In Jeffrey Hatcher’s new “Sherlock Holmes and the Adventures of the Suicide Club” at Park Square Theatre, there is murder afoot in foggy London in the guise of distressed souls who have joined a compact through which they agree to kill and be killed — by each other. It’s macabre, yes, but Hatcher twists the story with so many delicious red herrings that even Perry Mason couldn’t untangle it. Of course, Steve Hendrickson, in his third appearance as Sherlock at Park Square, does. www.parksquaretheatre.org
5 Dan Brown’s brick-sized bestsellers are wild mashups of history, mystery, adventure, theology and completely made-up, bizarre stuff. In the new “Inferno,” dashing, wonkish Harvard professor of symbols Robert Langdon returns, waking up in a hospital in Florence, Italy, with a bloody head, amnesia and a strange item sewed into his jacket that a lot of nasty people want in the worst way. The story is breathless, punchy and entirely ridiculous, not to mention almost impossible to keep track of. Critics will hate it, and rightly so, but it’ll still be read on thousands of airplanes and beaches.