BEST MOVIES of the last few years! Highly Subjective Poll :)!

This was spurred by a post on another site, and I’ve decided to weigh in with my own two cents.

As always 🙂 .

As much as it’s popular to bash Hollywood they’ve made some really strong and some really brilliant films in the last few years. So forgive me if some of my list is “Hollywood” obvious. 🙂 .

300- A medium changing film

BABEL-I love this film, just masterfully done

CHILDREN OF MEN- ditto. I didn’t believe the hype people were giving it, but finally broke down and bought the DVD. Brilliant.

DEPARTED-for me a little Scorsese goes a long way, which means I get tired of his films quickly. That said I do think this is his best film in years.

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN- deserving of its accolades

I AM LEGEND- probably outside of IRON MAN (and EL BENNY) the most fun I’ve had in the theater all year. One of the rare remakes that transcends its predecessors. And that scene in the darkened building… heart-poundingly impressive

RAMBO- people write off Stallone as being stupid, and his films being mindless. I’d argue nothing could be further from the truth. I would say much like the first RAMBO (FIRST BLOOD: which Stallone worked on the screenplay for) this film is a sharp indictment of its audience. It is a mirthless mirror of the audiences own bloodlust, and the fallacy of concepts such as hero… or villain. It’s a mirthless satire painted in broad strokes of blood.

SUPERMAN RETURNS- Had its flaws, but its strengths outweighed them

A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE

DEVIL’S BACKBONE

PAN’S LABYRINTH- Del Toro’s most personal film, mixes beautiful fantasy and sickening horror, into a stew that is pure cinema.

OPEN RANGE- along with TOMBSTONE and UNFORGIVEN and LONESOME DOVE (yeah I know it was made for tv, it’s still great) one of the best westerns in the last 2 decades. And more than that it’s one of the best westerns… period.

THE DECAY OF FICTION- which had a new screening this year, is an experimental flick, with allusions to film noir and Bunuel. And more than anything… is a love letter to a building. Challenging going, but worth a viewing.

THE DESCENT-I thought Dog Soldiers was amateurish at best, boring and predictable and unoriginal at worst. The same is being said for the director’s DOOMSDAY film. But between those two films, he somehow managed to crank out one of the greatest horror films to hit screens since SEVEN. Unquestionably a work that will stand the test of time.

SLITHER- A throwback to everything great about 80s horror movies

Some lesser known, foreign, and straight to DVD recommendations are:

From Korea:

MEMORIES OF MURDER- Not just my favorite Korean Movie, but one of my favorite movies of all time. Just brilliantly made drama/thriller/cop procedural film.

HOST- follow-up by the director of Memories of Murder, is flawed and overlong, but is still frigging fantastic.

3-IRON- it defies words. Except to say… I loved it. Go buy a copy now. Don’t read anything about it, just buy the DVD pop it in, and prepared to be… entranced.

OLDBOY- While no fan of this director’s earlier SYMPATHY FOR MR. VENGEANCE, and while I have no intention of sitting through OLDBOY a 2nd time, I cannot deny it is astounding, mind exploding filmmaking.

TAE GUK-Is pretty much a Korean version of SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, but I think it is that rare homage that equals and some may even say… surpasses the original. Phenomenal film.

From Japan:

THE BIRD PEOPLE OF CHINA- From a director whose work I generally can’t stand, comes this meditative, funny, brilliant, warm, touching, and utterly human fable. Along with MEMORIES OF MURDER one of my favorite discoveries of the last ten years.

From Cuba:

EL BENNY- This bio-pic on Cuba’s greatest and most controversial musician, is done against the backdrop of the Cuban Revolution, and is a sumptuously photographed ode, to an age and a time and a county. Saw it at the 16th annual Pan-African film festival and again… it’s one that goes in that favorite discoveries pile. This is the film I’d urge you to see before anything else on this list. Not necessarily because it is better, it’s a B+ movie and some of the others on this list are As and A+s… but I think it may well be a film that adds something valuable to how you view the world…and as such I weight it a little higher than mere escapism. Plus it is a great film, with some of the world’s most beautiful women.

From Daresalam:

DARESALAM- Named after the region where blood still flows. Probably you have to go all the way back to BATTLE OF ALGIERS to find a film that is as utterly of and about, the nature of colonialism and what that means to still ongoing wars in distant lands. Yet another of my favorite discoveries of the last ten years. Hollywood needs to reach out to this director

From Brazil:

CITY OF GOD- an oldie, but a goodie. nuff said

DIRECT TO DVD

Steven Segal’s return to form comes in URBAN JUSTICE. This action film is smartly written, well directed, and with a movie saving performance by Eddie Griffen. After years of sub par Segal flicks, this one hits the target. Worth a buy.

And last but not least…

Actually not on DVD, and not strictly speaking a movie, the Internet Fan Film in 3 parts STAR TREK: OF GODS AND MEN… is just plain fun. A low budget ode to everything that made the original concept of Star trek so enduring, a concept that Paramount and the suits just don’t get. If you’re sick of bad star trek movies and bad star trek tv shows (the quickly canceled Scott Bakula Enterprise comes to mind) you might want to give this film a look (done by people who aren’t making a dime, for no other reason… than love). I enjoyed it, and you may too.

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BLACK PANTHER: THE BRIDE by Reginald Hudlin, TPB Review!

Song of the day: GOD”S GONNA CUT YOU DOWN Johnny Cash

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Book of the Day: BLACK PANTHER:THE BRIDE by Reginald Hudlin. For the record I’m a dyed in the wool fan of Christopher Priest, particularly his Black Panther run.

So the fact that Hudlin’s run ignores most of Priest’s five year run, has never sat well with me. Add to that the whole Black Panther/Storm wedding seemed so obviously forced, and this trade… THE BRIDE was not high on my list of things to read.

However, I stumbled across a copy at my local library and decided to give it a try.

The bad, as expected the whole revised history of the BLACK PANTHER/STORM characters doesn’t sit well with me. And much of the trade reads incredibly forced because of it.

That said, given this albatross, Hudlin has a feel for the regality of the Black Panther, particularly as he relates to others. His scenes with Power Man, Logan, Iron Man, Cap, all being great scenes. And also the actual wedding issue itself, much to my surprise I thought was incredibly well done, avoiding the typical cliches of such a comic event. The banter between Spiderman and Man-Ape was priceless, and really would have made Priest or Bendis proud.

And I would be remiss if I didn’t praise the art. Scot Eaton and Klaus Janson, offering dynamic layouts and emotive close-ups.

I don’t recommend this issue as a buy, but it is a definite read.

And now that these two protagonists (Storm, BP) have jumped the broom (forced or not), I’d like to see them be a successful couple, and stay together. And I’d like to see Hudlin find his own voice, rather than continually being dictated to by editorial.

But all in all, reservations noted, a good, sharp read. B-.

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Oldies but Goodies! Heroic Times… Year One!

I’ve done over 100 posts. So a lot of good stuff is buried in the back pages where the casual or 1st time reader isn’t going to find it. So I wanted to use this post to point you to some of the older ones that I think may interest you. Take a look.

The First Post or who this crazy guy is

This was the first thing I wrote on Percival Everett. And I like this post, it has a decent flow

This post went from music to the military without missing a beat

This post goes off the rails some, you can feel the train start sliding, but there’s a line or two in here… I like

I think this might have been my first rant. This post is why I have the Blog, this type of post. I love the reviews, and the articles, and the occasional interviews, but sometimes… just to speak clearly, to scream clearly… is a good thing.

Review of Christopher Priest’s THE CREW

List of some of my favorite fighters

This was my first WordPress post, as I was moving over from Blogger. Nice little recap post.

This post on Grant Morrison’s body of work… is one of my better posts. Give a read.

I like this post because it draws attention to Rick Veitch and his series MAXIMORTAL. Which for my money,you need to read. Forget the B/W trade paperback, grab the original issues and read this series in color like it was meant to be. Strong recommendation.

I got tired of people hating on Greg Land and Tom Cruise, hence this post

I give love here to Don Newton and Kevin Nowlan, two of my favorite artists

Another of my favorite posts, this covering my favorite actor… Sidney Poitier!

I think layout wise, flow wise, content wise this is probably really close to the top. Covers art books.

I really dig this list of best comic book runs, because they are books that flew under the radar

This is the blog now running smoothly, and kicking out a great eclectic mix of reviews!!

Wikipedia?… Just Say No

The Jerimiah Johnson movie review, is one of my favorites

Fluoride and Cigarettes are good for you…this is where I started stepping on toes

Ebay and The Peter Principle

This kicks off my 3 post coverage on the 2007 NY Comic Con! Great event, Had lots of fun! And got to talk to nifty people, read and you’ll see.

And the last post I want to toss some attention to is THE CONSCIOUS CARNIVORE. Definitely worth a read.

Okay and as a special present to all of you who think I cannot get any crazier, here’s a link to a post I hid (I moved it into the future) because I thought it was too wacky… even by my standards. Oh well… we’re all friends here. If I can’t vivisect myself in front of you, what good is a blog? 🙂

The NY COMICCON 2007 Coverage Pt. 1: The Black (you talking about shaft? Hush your mouth!) Panel

I had a great time at the NY comiccon. I thought with the exception of the rat like maze, laughingly referred to as a line, that it was a well conducted event.

Being my first con, I was definitely a little overwhelmed. The sales floor really was too much for me. Navigating it on Saturday (and I tried), was a herculean task, and I couldn’t find anything.

So I mossied (I couldn’t find it in the dictionary, but you know mosying , that thing cowboys do when they can’t find a horse. It’s kinda like walking 🙂 ) my way down to the panels.

The panels I had researched and knew what I wanted to hit. With one exception I hit pretty much every panel I was interested in, and on Sunday got to touch base with creators and personalities I’m a fan of.

Here’s a pic from the great Marvel Bullpen panel. Lot’s of fun, packed house. Sorry for the blurry pic, but I think you can pretty easily make it out. From left to right it’s Stan (The Man) Lee, Jolting Joe Sinnot, and Gracious Gene Colan!.

Stan was a riot! Panel also included Ralph Macchio and a lady they only referred to as Flo. Fun panel, full of reminisces of Marvel’s glory days. My 2nd favorite panel!

But in this installment wanted to talk about the panel that surprisingly was my favorite of the con. Michael Davis’ The Black Panel NYC.

Now, now… don’t give me that look, it was actually really good. :).

The unfortunate truth is you can’t say Black in this country without some idiot saying, “why it gotta be a Black thing” and the answer is always the same. For the same reason there is an Asian thing, or a Jewish thing, or an Italian thing, and let’s be honest America is a defacto white thing.

And for the absence of a strong sense of identity amidst that defacto standard, prisons are filled, and drugs go into veins. So it is very, very important to have a china town, or a little Italy, to have a language, and a country, and a history, and a culture, and idioms to call your own.

And a lot of that infrastructure is in need of building.

Not just for the good of the minority mind you, but for the good of the majority. It benefits the majority, for the pieces that make up the whole, to be able to bring their own identity, and strength to the table.

So trust me, a Black Panel, A China Town, a Little Italy…. these are good things.

Now quick thoughts on the panel:

Above is a nifty pic of the panel. From left to right you have:
Denys Cowan (You can just make out the tip of his hat, and his shoulder, but have a better pic below), Chuck Creekmur, Cheryl Lynn, Prodigal Sunn, Michael Davis, Reginald Hudlin, and Mark and Mike Davis of Blokhedz. I’ll get into who everyone is, and what they work on)

“I would love to work with (Christopher) Priest. Along with Denys (Cowan) he’s one of the creators I’ve reached out to.”
…Reginald Hudlin, Writer, Filmaker, Comics Pro, President of BET, and Renaissance Man, an excerpt from the absolutely was not to be missed Black Panel that took place at this years NY Comiccon. A panel decisively and brilliantly moderated by Michael Davis.

Because many times even when the panel is great, the questions are idiotic and insipid. As in the Stephen King panel, “well I haven’t read the book Mr. King, but a friend of mine told me….”

So it was great to not see that happen, and that Michael Davis steered the panel with a deft and strong hand. The panel was great, the questions were great, the vibe was stunning. You had a great Asian-Latin-Black lovefest and mutual admiration society going on, which is great and fitting, because Black really does encompass all those people, the mass media’s attempt to fractionalize that truth, aside.

Above is a pic of Prodical Sun, Michael Davis, Reginald Hudlin.

And I want to get further off topic here, Mr. Davis took flak from someone regarding using the term Black for his panel. Isn’t that amazing? You can have a Jewish Anti-Defamation League, or an Asian that, or a Korean this, or an Italian that, but noooooo… you can’t have a Black so and so.

But Luckily he told the guy go jump in the lake. Because honestly I frigging despise the term African American.

“OHHHHH!!” And the crowd gasps!

“No he didn’t just say that!”

“That Negro has lost his mind!”

Well actually I did say it, and I have as firm a grasp on my sanity as I ever had, which of course isn’t saying much.

But for you in the cheap seats, let me say it again so you catch every word: I frigging despise the term, African American.

Why?

Because it’s a very marginalizing, mass media term; that doesn’t encompass the rich vein of people and culture that word is tacked over, but segments them based on national/geo-political boundaries.

An idiotic way to define a people, painting them with a nationalistic brand or brush. And an inaccurate way.

60% (a low #) of what we consider Latin nations, Brazil/Cuba/Venezuela are heavily of African ancestry. So as a person whose blood line runs from Senegal to the islands to the Americas… Black works really well for me, hey I’ll even answer to Pan-African, Nubian, on an especially jovial day perhaps even colored(smile when you say that boy!) but you can take your African American and choke on it.

Because AA is a marginalizing divisive term taken out of the context it was first used in.


“Man that Negro is crazy!” “Pan-African please. 🙂 ”

So getting back on topic, the fact that it was called the Black Panel, worked for me. And I think it worked for the people who were there.

Because unlike my tirades 🙂 it was all about the creative process, and new projects, new visions, upcoming work, and generally just moving forward.

With Animation projects, comic projects, book projects, publishing ventures it was a really informative panel, bursting with networking goodness.

I should have recorded the panel, and hope someone did, because it was that good.

Here’s a better pic showing Denys Cowan and Chuck Creekmur.

Panelists were:

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Denys Cowan-Writer, Artist, Martial Artist. Very long, very brilliant comic career. Highlights for me being his work on the Question, Black Panther, Batman Blind Justice and his Milestone work, such as Hardware. Now VP of BETs new Animation Studio.

I’ve been a loud detractor of BET, since their sale to Viacom, my issue being how you can honestly call it Black Entertainment when it’s owned by a white company, you may be able to call it blackface, or propagation and fulfillment of black stereotypes but not necessarily Black entertainment.

But with names like Hudlin and Cowan at the helm I’m inclined to actually give the channel another look, and hope it becomes more than a station that panders to stereotypes.

Though I would love to see these men working on their own company rather than a subset of a larger company. Because end of the day as Michael Jackson, and Magic Johnson, and Prince have found working their projects under Sony, end of the day you are generating income for interests outside your community, making Sony’s name at the expense of your own, and end of the day when you stop generating income you will be discarded. As will your work.

That’s always the fear when talented creators of color invest their time, in properties they do not own. But again with Hudlin and Cowan in the game I’m inclined to be positive.

Check out Newsarama’s interview with him here:

http://www.newsarama.com/general/Cowan/DenysInt.html

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Chuck “Jigsaw” Creekmur- President of WWW.ALLHIPHOP.COM. I admit to being out of the hiphop loop, but the site looks like a fun, easily navigated, and thankfully Flash free site. I’d love to see him partner with creators such as Aaron Mcgruder and Keith Knight, to bring their respective funny endearing, and satire filled cartoons, BOONDOCKS and THE K CHRONICLES, to a hiphop audience.

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Ms. Cheryl Lynn- Unfortunately the only beautiful panelist (no offense guys) was not captured in any closeups. I consider myself pretty schooled on Comic/Cartoon history, but I was mistaken. As Ms. Lynn eloquently informed the audience about a wonderful female cartoonist who worked in the golden age of the medium, of whom I was totally ignorant… Jackie Ormes. She has a great site, and I urge you to do what I did, go to her site and get informed. And also it’s a great resource for cartoonists of color to join, or for finding great cartoonists to work with. http://theormessociety.com/.

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Prodigal Sunn of Wu Tang Clan– Wu Tang Clan is among the most effective musicians to use the comic medium as an expression and extension of the story their music told. And Prodigal with a solo CD about to launch, television work, animation, and film projects on the burner remains one of the busiest and most steadfast supporters of the medium of comics.

I’d love to see Prodigal’s website become Flash Free. 😉 [Black people, can’t we stop using Flash. :)]

But seriously, what I would like to see is Prodigal’s Wu Tang Clan comics syndicated/reprinted on ALL HIPHOP. Also what would be great is if ALL HIPHOP offered a store where you could purchase the books, of WU TANG CLAN, BOONDOCKS, K-CHRONICLES direct from their site. A win-win situation for everyone.

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Okay all the time I have for this installment. Next installment we’ll cover the last 4 members of NY Comiccon’s THE BLACK PANEL! ([ feel like that should be in big lights, and the name echoing :)]

All in all a fun, fun panel.

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QUANTUM AND WOODY, ROBIN OF SHERWOOD, and THE QUESTION

I’m watching ROBIN OF SHERWOOD, hands down one of my favorite television series, I’m reading QUANTUM AND WOODY by Christopher Priest one of my favorite writers, and I’m listening to ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT one of my fave bands.

Life is good.

Outside it’s snowing, first snow of the year. I mailed off a submission yesterday, so we’ll see what kind of response that gets, so I’m slacking off today. I’ll get back on the work treadmill tomorrow. Some minor issues with hearth and home to deal with tomorrow, but for today catching up on a pile of books, comics, and magazines; that have been waiting patiently for me to read them.

One of those being QUANTUM AND WOODY, and another being O’Neil’s THE QUESTION. I have both series complete, and have read enough to tell you… they are really, really good.

I’ll bring you more specifics as I work my way through both runs.

And finally recommended movie of the day is CAPPUCCINO. Very hard to find, but well worth the hunting down. One of my favorite Newage Noirs. Sexy and Suspenseful!

CITY OF SAINTS AND MADMEN or books that rock!

Hey! Nice to see you!! Don’t know if you got here by accident or design, but boy is it good to be read by you.

SEX. BOOBS. HELL.

heh..heh… :). That was just to keep your attention! I know your Attention Deficit Disorder is kicking in.

But seriously, pull up a chair for a few secs, and I’ll give you the movie preview version of this site, and why you’re going to want to make it a daily stop.

REALLY BIG BOOBS.

Sorry, just testing you.

Anyhow, slowly migrating over from blogger, which is why the blog currently just has a few old posts. I’m tediously reposting everything. But in a few days all the old stuff will be on this site.

THE ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE, IS NOT THE EVIDENCE OF ABSENCE.
… From the often brilliant satire that is THE BOONDOCKS

Reviews. DVDs. Movies. Comics. Music. Books. Love. Loss. Responsibility. Humor. Heroism.

That’s what this little soap-box on the byways of the internet is about. It’s about me going on about the things that I hunt for when on the internet: perspectives varied and hopefully valuable about things, and moments, and people… worth your time.

HEFTY OVARIES.

Sorry, I’ll stop now :).

But yeah in the pages you’ll find the kind of reviews and commentary I couldn’t find. Like what you ask?

CITY OF SAINTS AND MADMEN

So I went searching for innovate book designs. I’m not talking graphic novels here, or comic strips (though there are some that do meet the criteria, McKean’s 500 page over-sized opus CAGES coming immediately to mind), more than that I’m talking lavishly designed, and constructed, and almost pieced together tomes.

When I read the reviews Of CITY OF SAINTS AND MADMEN, it sounded like exactly what I was working for, Literature that was innovate even onto the looking at it, and reading of it. Literature that was both visual, dimensional and tactile.

It’s why for me computers or some such future display technology, will never replace a book, the simple immediacy of weight and substance, and ephemeral ideas made manifest.

Well, enough yapping, will upload, pics, images, later. Till then… be well.


p.s. You’ll be seeing a secondary date on my postings, it belongs to the ancient Ethiopian calendar which I’ve taken a shine to.

In the Ancient Ethiopic… today is the 18th Day of Tahesas, the year 7506 of the 8th Millennium, in the years of the world.

In the years of the world.

I never tire of living in the 8th Millennium. 🙂

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Christopher Priest’s THE CREW from Marvel Comics

So I hammered Priest’s early 1990s series THE RAY for DC, after reading a good bulk of the run. So you think I would have been Priested out on this blog for a while.

You’d be wrong.

I’ve just finished all seven issues of his THE CREW. In a word….BLOODY HELL! Okay two words.

This is absolutely brilliant, brilliant stuff!

This is what you hold up to your wife when she’s about to knock you out for raiding the kids college fund for comic money! It’s the medium as bloody art.

It confirms what I said about the series a few postings back…. WOW!

And have to praise the art of Joe Bennett, the Inks of Crime Lab, and the colors of Avalon Studio! Too often Priest will bring a strong story to the table and will be let down by bad art or bad production values, not this time. This time he’s found the perfect creative team!

Each issue just gets better and better, with issue #5 just blowing me out of the water! Being one of my fav issues. And issues 6 and 7 wrapping it up beautifully.

Only seven issues, before they pulled the plug.

But enough to tell a great seven part story.

But this should definitely be put out as a hardcover, and would love to see Priest and Bennett get the chance to tell more tales… of THE CREW. If not as a continuing series, then a series of mini-series.

Which may actually work better in Priest’s case, since the naysaying idiots (when he hits a series) are quick to want to talk cancellation… so beat them to the punch!

Don’t go for a continued series, go for the miniseries! That actually gives you a new promotional push, for each storyline you want to do.

Do a Warren Ellis or Grant Morrison, concentrate on the mini-series, the complete story, the arc. The one-shot.

So Priest, if you’re reading this… pick up the phone. Call Bennett, you’ve got a story you want to tell… tell it.

Hell do your own characters/books for Image or Boom Studios.

You’re way too good to be on the bench, to walk away from it.

Indie Spinner Rack guys (see my earlier review) mentioned reading Pope’s BATMAN 100 and how that was so beautifully drawn,it made them want to draw.

After reading Priest’s THE CREW I wanted to write, that’s what greatness does… it makes you want to… emulate it.

Hit and Miss

Well had to edit an earlier blog entry. First time ever! You all know what a big fan I am of Christopher Priest, so just got his series the RAY. Almost complete run, 19 issues, and I have to say… it’s absolute drek.

It’s really, really…. pretty far from readable.

Really bad.

So while great on other projects, his THE RAY is a series that should remain in darkness. If you want to get your toes wet with Christopher Priset, the good Christopher Priest, avoid his THE RAY and try some of the books I mention in my earlier post.

Sorry, had to get that of my chest. Couldn’t have someone picking up the Ray, on my recommendation of his other work.

That’s all for now 🙂

p.s. And Priest isn’t the only great writer who can be very hit and miss, Grant Morrison comes to mind. His Doom Patrol run, with rare exceptions was just plain awful.