Monday, January 28, 2013

BEST COMIX: 2012




BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL:




-STARSTRUCK Deluxe Edition (softcover),
by Elaine Lee, M. W. Kaluta, and Lee Moyer



"I was, and am, a huge fan of STARSTRUCK, which I think was one of the most brave and elegant experiments in comic book story-telling." -CLIVE BARKER

"Favorite comic of all time: STARSTRUCK, by Lee and Kaluta." -MIKE CAREY

"Pick up this book, because not having read it is sort of like not having read POGO, or listened to "Trout Mask Replica", or seen a Hayao Miyazaki film." -John Hilgart, THE COMICS JOURNAL

"STARSTRUCK could be both silly and smart, was progressive but unpretentious, and clever but not so impressed with itself that it ever forgot to entertain. IDW’s reprint of the series is a service to fans of science fiction, aficionados of comics as an art form, and anyone who loves a good story." -W. Andrew Shephard, THE NEW INQUIRY

Amazon
Barnes & Noble

STARSTRUCK Comics






BEST COMICS:



-----INDIES-----


-LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN: 2009,
by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill

It was always about the extraordinary woman.




-SAGA,
by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

An alternative STAR WARS.



-FASHION BEAST,
by Alan Moore and Malcolm McClaren with Antony Johnston

In the late 80's, Alan Moore wrote a script for a Malcolm McClaren film that didn't get made. Now the screenplay has been adapted into a comic by Antony Johnston.



-BLACK KISS II,
by Howard Chaykin

In the late 80's Chaykin's gothic noir was so raunchy that it was sold sealed in black plastic bags. This new sequel was too much for European distributers, who refused to import it.>



-FRANKENSTEIN ALIVE, ALIVE,
by Steve Niles and Bernie Wrightson

Wrightson. Frankenstein.








WORST COMICS





-----DC-----

The modern comics landscape was recreated by Alan Moore.

When corporations betray> great creators>> for a buck>, they don't get my money anymore.



-----MARVEL-----

The vast marvel landscape was blueprinted by Jack Kirby.

When corporations betray> great creators> for a buck>>, they don't get my money anymore.







BEST GRAPHIC NOVELS:



-ARE YOU MY MOTHER?,
by Alison Bechdel
The companion to the phenomenal FUN HOME (2006), which was TIME's Best Book of the Year.

-THE HIVE,
by Charles Burns
The second book in Burn's trilogy about a postpunk Tintin.

-THE COMIC BOOK HISTORY OF COMICS,
by Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey

-Harvey Pekar's CLEVELAND,
by Harvey Pekar and Joseph Remnant






Everybody's-Talking-About, Dept:

or, "Haven't read these yet, but the talk about them is great."

-A TALE OF SAND,
by Jim Henson and Ramon Perez

-THE MANHATTAN PROJECTS,
by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra



-LOST GIRL
If the great io9 says check this TV show out
>, that's good enough for me.





BEST COLLECTIONS:



-The Extraordinary Adventures of ADELE BLANC-SEC, volume 2,
by Jacques Tardi

Between TINTIN and LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN, there was the dour Adele.

-The Complete POGO, volume 2,
by Walt Kelly

-OCCUPY COMICS,
by various creators>






BEST MOVIES & TV:




-CHRONICLE

-COMIC-CON Episode 4: A Fan's Hope

-ARGO
(The Jack Kirby connection)

-JOHN CARTER

-SKYFALL

-ALTER EGOS

-THE AVENGERS

-THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN

-THE DARK KNIGHT RISES



-MISFITS, fourth season


See BEST MOVIES & TV: 2012





V For Vindication, Dept:

or, "Alan Moore knows the score."



Who cares about Hollywood adaptions when you can make your own films?

Alan Moore has teamed with filmmaker Mitch Jenkins to create a unified continuity of short films about a cabaret purgatory. And they're giving it away to you for free.

The prelude "Act of Faith" sets up the first film, "Jimmy's End".


-ACT OF FAITH,
by Alan Moore and Mitch Jenkins
Watch it here.

-JIMMY'S END,
by Alan Moore and Mitch Jenkins
Watch it here.







BEST MEDIA SITES




-io9

-The Mary Sue

-The Afro Futurist Affair

-STARSTRUCK Comics







REST IN POWER


Jean Giraud, a.k.a., MOEBIUS






Nuff said, pilgrim. Excelsior!







See also:

BEST MOVIES & TV: 2012
BEST MUSIC: 2012

BEST MOVIES & TV: 2011
BEST COMIX: 2011
BEST MUSIC: 2011

BEST MOVIES: 2000-2010
BEST COMIX: 2000-2010
BEST MUSIC: 2000-2010






Tuesday, January 22, 2013

BEST MUSIC: 2012, With Music Players!

Santigold






FAVORITE NEW ALBUMS:







BEST ALBUMS 2012:This music player has songs from the following albums, in the same order.


-Moon Duo, "Circles"

-Santigold, "Master of My Make-Believe"

-Tame Impala, "Lonerism"

-Pepe Deluxe, "Queen of the Wave"

-(Film Soundtrack), "DJANGO UNCHAINED"

-Dr. John, "Locked Down"

-THEEsatisfaction, "awE naturalE"

-Gary Clark, Jr., "Blak and Blu"

-Rocket Juice & The Moon, "Rocket Juice & The Moon"

-Lucky Jim, "The Lovers"

-Nona Hendryx, "Mutatis Mutandis"

-Hannah Williams & the Tastemakers, "A Hill of Feathers"

-Father John Misty, "Fear Fun"

-The Bamboos, "Medicine Man"

-La Sera, "Sees the Light"

-Antibalas, "Antibalas"

-Soundgarden, "King Animal"

-Tom Tom Club, "Downtown Rockers"

-Garbage, "Not Your Kind of People"

-Ruby Velle & The Soulphonics, "It's About Time"

-The Hives, "Lex Hives"

-Georgia Anne Muldrow, "Seeds"

-thenewno2, "thefearofmissingout"

-Galactic, "Carnivale Electricos"

-Led Zeppelin, "Celebration Day"

-Public Enemy, "Most of My Heroes Still Don't Appear on No Stamp" and "The Evil Empire of Everything"








COOL SONGS:



Funk, Garage Rock, Spaghetti Western, Psyche, Art Prog, Electro, AfroBeat, and Indie mindbendies!


Jesca Hoop; La Sera;
Lucky Jim; Lianne La Havas



COOL SONGS 2012

Featuring Jesca Hoop, Tame Impala, Galactic, White Fence, A.C. Newman, Geoff Barrow (Portishead), The Ting Tings, Sleigh Bells, David Byrne & St. Vincent, iamwhoiam, Hollie Cook, Nona Hendryx, Jack White, and the one and only Billy Shears!







FAVORITE MUSIC RE-ISSUES:



Quality is timeless.





BEST REISSUES 2012:This music player has songs from the following albums, in the same order.


1930's-1940's

-Woody Guthrie, "Woody At 100" box set (1930s-40s)


1950's

-Howlin' Wolf, "Smokestack Lightning" Chess box set (1950-60s)


1960's

-The Winstons, "Color Him Father" vinyl (1969)

-Daughters of Albion, "Daughters of Albion" (1968)

-Quincy Jones, "The Adventurers" soundtrack (1970)

-Honey Ltd., "Psychedelic Folk Essentials" (1969); Digital only >
(Produced by Lee Hazlewood.)

-Eve, "Essential Folk Masters" (1970); Digital only >
(HONEY LTD. changed their name to EVE.)


1970's

-Rodriguez, "Searching For Sugar Man" soundtrack (1971-73)

-Paul & Linda McCartney, "Ram" (1971)

-Marvin Gaye, "Trouble Man" soundtrack (1972)

-T. Rex, "The Slider" (1972)

-David Bowie, "Ziggy Stardust & The Spiders From Mars" (1972)

-Various Artists, "Ancestors of Rap" (1970s)

-Black Sabbath, "Iron Man: The Best of..." (1970s)

-Various Artists, "Dancing Time: The Best of Eastern Nigeria's Afro-Rock Exponents 1973-1977"

-Roxy Music, Catalog Remasters (1972-82)

-Sex Pistols, "Never Mind the Bollocks" (1977)

-The Avengers, "The Avengers" (1979)

-Francis Bebey, "African Electronic Music 1975-1982"

-23 Skidoo, "Seven Songs" (1979)

-Electric Light Orchestra, "Mr. Blue Sky: The Best of..." (1970s)


1980's

-Feedtime, "The Aberrant Years" (1980s)

-Tom Tom Club, "Tom Tom Club"/"Close To the Bone" (1981/1983)

-Talk Talk, "Spirit of Eden" (1989)

-Pixies, catalog box set (1987-92)



1990's

-Bikini Kill, "Bikini Kill" (1992)

-My Bloody Valentine, Catalog Remasters (1990s)

-Massive Attack, "Blue Lines" (1992)

-Soundgarden, Vinyl Catalog (1989-96)


2000's

-Goldfrapp, "The Singles" (2000s)









"A splendid time is guaranteed for all!"






See also:

BEST MOVIES & TV: 2012
BEST COMIX: 2012

BEST MOVIES & TV: 2011
BEST COMIX: 2011
BEST MUSIC: 2011

BEST MOVIES: 2000-2010
BEST COMIX: 2000-2010
BEST MUSIC: 2000-2010




Monday, January 14, 2013

BEST MOVIES & TV: 2012










"And...Action!"


FAVORITE MOVIES:



EROS




-PARIAH
✭✭✭✭✭
One of the best movies of the year.
Rings true and deep in every moment.

-HYSTERIA
The origin of the Vibrator: a love story.
Spread the good vibes!

-SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED
A special gem.

-Q (a.k.a., 'Desire'; France)
Lust is all you knead.

-CLOUD ATLAS
Love is all you need.





THINK




-RED TAILS
Good, with some clumsy moments but many more great ones.
There can never be enough movies about the Tuskegee Airmen.

-THE KID WITH A BIKE (Belgium)
A quiet mystery that takes hold of your heart.

-ON THE ROAD
Pretty darn good translation of the book.
A bop prosody for film.

-ARGO
A true C.I.A. rescue mission using a fake Sci-Fi movie storyboarded by Jack Kirby.
Well, what are you waiting for?

-ARBITRAGE
Do The Rich always get away with murder?

-LINCOLN
A fine companion to "A Color Purple" and "Amistad".
Now if only someone would make "Douglass" and "Tubman".

-BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD
✭✭✭✭✭
One of the best movies of the year.
Startling, fearless, intimate, epic.

-DJANGO UNCHAINED
a) Truly, every Western is just a fantasy, folks.
b) Slaver racists get wiped off the Earth very painfully,
and I'm just fine with that.

-ZERO DARK THIRTY
Mixed feelings, honestly, but the climax is undeniably riveting.
The true star is Kathryn Bigelow's direction.

-WHERE DO WE GO NOW?
The women in a Lebanese village use every scheme to stop the dumb-ass men from killing each other over religion.
A bittersweet parable from writer/director/star Nadine Labaki.



The Dark Side of Genius, Dept.
Alfred Hitchcock

(l) Anthony Hopkins; (r) Toby Jones and friend.


See "Hitchcock" and "The Girl", in that order, for a letter-perfect double feature.


-HITCHCOCK
First see this deviously wry take on the making of "Psycho" (1960) and its trying toll on Hitch's wife, Alma (Helen Mirren)...

-THE GIRL
...and then this more tensely dark take on the making of "The Birds" (1963) and "Marnie" (1965), and Hitch's unfair toll on Tippi Hedren (Sienna Miller).






SMILE




-INTOUCHABLES (France)
✭✭✭✭✭
Excellent, cocky, touching.
I laughed more at this film than most of the comedies below combined.

-EXTRATERRESTRIAL (a.k.a., 'Extraterrestre'; Spain)
Maybe aliens have invaded, but there's always time for an affair.

-TO ROME WITH LOVE
A good cast, but Woody steals the screen every time.

-2 DAYS IN NEW YORK
A fine sequel to the great 2 DAYS IN PARIS (2007): hilarious!
Julie Delpy writes, directs, stars in, scores for, and edits it all.

-SAFETY NOT GUARANTEED
Low-key greatness for the ages.
Sharp, tender, tricky.

-YOUR SISTER'S SISTER
That ubiquitous Mark Duplass flails in an unlikely triangle with Emily Blunt and her sister.

-THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL
Uneven, but fun and charming. Judi Dench.

-THE GIANT MECHANICAL MAN
The dialogue's a little flat, but it's generally good.

-SEARCHING FOR A FRIEND FOR THE END OF THE WORLD
Low-key, left-field, softly poignant.






DREAM




-HAYWIRE
A lo-fi homage to early 70's action films, by Soderbergh.
When Gina Carano punches you, you stay punched.

-UPSIDE DOWN
Once past the syrupy narration intro, there's sweet love and eye candy.

-JOHN CARTER
Truth: This is a fine homage to the novels that spawned all modern Sci-Fi and superheroes; smart folks like Neal Adams, Walt Simonson, and Howard Chaykin loved it; and it made its money back globally.

False: Any comment from snarks ignorant of the seminal novels which created every modern thing they love. Go get a tardy pass, kid.

-LOOPER
This is a fun B-movie, clever and a little moving.
Reviews trumpeting it over "John Carter" and "Prometheus" are ill-considered.

-CLOUD ATLAS
Irregular parts but I enjoy the sum.

-SKYFALL
The darkest, deepest, and most daring Bond ever.

-LIFE OF PI
What's the narrative of your spirit?

-THE HOBBIT: An Unexpected Journey
It's all there and done lovingly fine.









NIGHTMARE




-PROMETHEUS
✭✭✭✭✭
There have been enough remakes of "Alien".
Instead, Ridley Scott bravely gave us something more visionary with a new direction.
I think of this film every day, and can't wait for the second one.

-CABIN IN THE WOODS
A metatext, not just on horror movies,
but -more deeply- audiences.

-THE WOMAN IN THE FIFTH (French/Polish)
Understated, deft, mysterious. Between Hitchcock and Roeg.

-THE POSSESSION
Nothing will ever approach "The Exorcist".
But this is pretty solid, with a good cast and a fresh Hebraic angle.

-SOUND OF MY VOICE
Co-writer/producer/star Brit Marling ("Another Earth") wins again.



THE COMEBACK KID?, Dept:
Jennifer Lynch


In the early 90's, David Lynch was riding high on the initial success of TWIN PEAKS, while his daughter Jennifer also wrote the excellent tie-in bestseller, "The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer".

When PEAKS was cancelled, David was unofficially blackballed for these last two decades. This kneejerk backlash also derailed Jennifer after her directorial debut, BOXING HELENA (1993).



Jennifer finally came back via Canada with SURVEILLANCE (2008), an intense and underrated thriller with Julia Ormond and BIll Pullman that no one saw.>

With no support, she was finally forced to make an exploitation horror film in Bollywood. It was a nightmare that may ultimately turn out for the best.


-HISSS (a.k.a., Nagin The Snake Woman, 2010)
The final edit was taken from her.> (Even the name says 'His'.) And yet it's still pretty good.
A goddess star, inspired eroticism, elegant cinematography, and a sense of humor shine through. Herrrs, baby.
(HISSS is available for streaming from Amazon and NetFlix, but not on DVD yet.)


Jennifer then returned to Canada to make a low-key thriller.

-CHAINED (2012)
Dark, claustrophobic, anguished.
As good or better than any other thriller director out there not being routinely blacklisted.>
(CHAINED is on DVD now.)


But now a beam may have come through the clouds...

-DESPITE THE GODS (2012)
A documentary about Lynch's horrible trials trying to make "Hisss" in India.
Critically lauded, the film earned uniform sympathy for Lynch and her travails.
(Showing at film festivals, but not on DVD yet.)>


Jennifer has a new thriller film with Tim Roth called "A Fall From Grace" slated for 2013.

In the meantime, her universally-loved "The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer" has returned to print in a new edition, with intros by PEAKS creators Mark Frost and David Lynch.


".elyts ni kcab emoc ot gniog si
ekil uoy mug tahT"






GRAPHIC IMAGES



-CHRONICLE
From smarts and pure verve, this stunning indie gets everything right.

-ALTER EGOS
No-budget indie comedy with some savvy moves.

-THE AVENGERS
Writer/director Joss Whedon perfectly balances about 74 hot potatoes in this film without breaking a sweat. Miraculous.

-THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN
The reboot we all dreaded came out great.
Think of it as the 'Ultimate Spider-Man' equivalent for films.

-THE DARK KNIGHT RISES
The Harvard of hero films, the highest standard, comes to a majestic close.






ARTFLIX



-BRAVE
This should have been a great film about a warrior princess' journey.
It's still a pretty good one about family.

-THE LORAX
Some inspired invention, a crucial moral.
Strongest when satire, softest when saccharine.

-WRECK-IT RALPH
I like that it made all video games into a mythos, and turned them inside out with respect.
Sarah Silverman, Jane Lynch.

-PARANORMAN
Irreverent, edgier, adolescent. Not perfect, but different.

-HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA
Pinballs between Pixar inspiration and Dreamworks clatter, but still worth the ride.
By Genddy Tartakovsky ("Samurai Jack").

-ZARAFA (France)
The only hand-animated film here, where an African boy travels far in his promise to protect a baby giraffe.
Progressive, satiric, heartfelt, a slyly transgressive marvel.






FAVORITE DOCUMENTARIES:




-THIS IS NOT A FILM
A Iranian man in a room with a camera, incarnating the entire war of the creative soul versus the tyrannic state.
This is for real.

-WE ARE LEGION
The rise of Anonymous and hacker activism.
"People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people."

-PAYBACK
Does the concept of debt and payback really work toward justice around the world?, asks author Margaret Atwood.

-THE INVISIBLE WAR
The ongoing cover-up of rape in the U.S. military.



-THE DUST BOWL
Ken Burns.

-SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN
Sometimes quality finally gets its due.

-COMIC-CON Episode IV: A Fan's Hope
"Turn and face the strange." A doc on the Mothership of genre conventions, by Morgan Spurlock ("Supersize Me").
Creatives are the real culture rebels.>









FAVORITE TV:

(The season number follows each title.)



DRAMA




-GAME OF THRONES 2
✭✭✭✭✭
The finest, deepest drama on television.

-THE KILLING 2
a) The original Danish first season was 20 episodes, a bit wobbly toward the end before a grand save.
b) The American version wisely split the story across two seasons,
expanded the character depth, ironed out the wobble, and closed with a different fine ending.

-MAD MEN 5
Jessica Paré and 1967 refreshed it.






WONDER



-FRINGE 5
The show that fought the good fight bows out.

-AWAKE
Gone too soon, but good while it lasted.





UK



-SHERLOCK 2
✭✭✭✭✭
The best got better.
The opener, "A Scandal in Belgravia", is greatness that increases with each viewing.


-THE BLETCHLEY CIRCLE 1
A quartet of female WWII codebreakers reunites to stop a serial killer. Excellent!

-DOCTOR WHO 7
More focused, less frantic than 6. And a promising new Companion.

-MISFITS 4
There's a new cast. Can it stay fresh and go forward?
I'm feeling Yes and No the whole way.

-THE HOUR 2

-COPPER 1

-RIPPER STREET 1
COPPER is always good, RIPPER is even better.






COMEDY



-ELEMENTARY
I was the loudest grouch about 'America ripping off SHERLOCK'.
And it turned out just fine on its own merits.







YES/NO

Or, "Good Intent and Craft with Moments, But...," Dept.





These excited and frustrated equally.


-TWIXT
Coppola has earned the right to experiment.
But this one isn't as solid as "Youth Without Youth" and "Tetro".

-KEYHOLE
This experimental Noir is gorgeously shot and edited.
Too many moments ring pretentious, but the craft is stunning.

-THE MONITOR (Norway)
Was doing well as one film before misstepping into another.

-HOLY MOTORS (France)
Inspired puzzle or skits for shock?
Yes.




-ALCATRAZ 1
Repetitive without momentum.

-TERRA NOVA 1
Coloring book.

-THE RIVER 1
Bruce Greenwood's arrival course-corrected it at the end, but too late.

-LAST RESORT 1
Great ingredients unevenly cooked.

-REVOLUTION 1
The Civil War shtick wears me out.
Please get free of it to the electricity angle.






NO




-THE RAVEN
Winning elements, but mediocre beyond belief.

-SINISTER
Formula.
See "The Woman In the Fifth" instead.

-RED LIGHTS
How can a movie with Sigourney and DeNiro go so wrong? Don't find out.

-THE RAID: REDEMPTION
Shooter game with stabby-stabs.
See "Attack the Block" instead.

-FRANKENWEENIE
Burton's movies are all black...except for any of his characters.
His spoiled suburban angst is myopic.




THINGS TO CATCH UP ON, Dept.




(Drama)
-360


(Comedy)
-ROBOT & FRANK
-A LIAR'S AUTOBIOGRAPHY


(Documentary)
-5 BROKEN CAMERAS
-MANKIND: The Story of Us All
-DESPITE THE GODS
-A BAND CALLED DEATH


(TV)
-BOARDWALK EMPIRE 3
-TREME 3








See also:

BEST MUSIC: 2012
BEST COMIX: 2012

BEST MUSIC: 2011
BEST COMIX: 2011

BEST MOVIES: 2000-2010
BEST COMIX: 2000-2010
BEST MUSIC: 2000-2010




"Cut!