"The Dark Knight Rises," "The Sunshine Boys"
1. With the (probably) final installment of Christopher Nolan's epic Batman saga, we get suspense, surprise and shock. Nolan tells a complex, expansive tale, and he takes his time putting the elements in place for "The Dark Knight Rises." The first blast of Bat-action does not occur until 50 minutes into the cerebral two-and-three-quarters-hour blockbuster. In this psychologically fraught drama about a nuclear weapon threatening Gotham City, even the villains nurse inner traumas. The denouement, a cascade of startling reversals and reveals, wraps up the story tidily while leaving enough wiggle room for additional follow-ups.
2. The humor in Neil Simon's 1970s classic "The Sunshine Boys" is broad and fated. But we found ourselves laughing a lot at Gary Gisselman's gleeful production at the Guthrie. That's a testament to the cast, especially Peter Michael Goetz and Raye Birk as the estranged vaudeville comedy duo about to reunite for a TV special. www. guthrietheater.org.
3. If you're seeking the Twin Cities' best pizza, we've found a top contender at Pizzeria Lola. The south Minneapolis hot spot offers a few out-of-the-box pies on its fantastic list. But for a spicy kick look no further than the Korean BBQ pizza, which gives a nod to owner Ann Kim's heritage. The chewy-crusted pizza is topped with beef short ribs (which tastes a lot like bulgogi), mozzarella, scallions and arugula that's been tossed with sesame and soy-chili vinaigrette. The result is a true stunner. www.pizzerialola.com.
4. We have a few secrets of our own, and so we appreciated Nichole Bernier's new novel, "The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D.," which centers on a trunk full of journals, a woman dead too soon and a life that wasn't what it seemed. To her friend, Kate, Elizabeth was a happy, serene woman, content with her life as a stay-at-home mom. But after Elizabeth dies in plane crash, Kate begins reading her journals, one by one, and it becomes clear that everything she knew about her friend was wrong. Bernier will be at Common Good Books, St. Paul, at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
5. When you hear "Home Again," the single by British crooner Michael Kiwanuka, you might think of Bill Withers of Ted Hawkins or some other acoustic soul man. The acoustic guitar pattern swims in circles as the singer wallows in loneliness after a breakup. He knows he has to man up and move on, but he yearns to come home again. His soulful, honeyed voice reflects hurt but it's leavened by sweet guitar and buoyant strings.