(Were I on a “best of” list, it would likely be for Most Egregious Overuse of Quotation Marks and Hyphens. And Parenthesis.)
Suburban Nation, by Andres Duany, Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk and Jeff Speck is a fascinating and infuriating survey of modern civic planning, or lack thereof. You’ll never look at a cul-de-sac the same way. It probably shouldn’t be in this category because it has pictures, now that I think about it. I like pictures.
Paper Fan, by Terry Gould, is the true story of a Canadian investigative reporter’s search for a fugitive Triad boss who fakes his own death. Hunting a crimelord who doesn't want to be found is only a slightly better idea than frolicking with Mr. Chocolate. A gritty, compelling look at the Triad underworld and the societies that enable them to exist, Paper Fan reads like an Elmore Leonard novel, full of colorful rogues and snappy prose.
I’m also one of those blog geeks that loved Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s All-Star Superman, which seemed fresh and – forgive me – full of wonder. But holy shit does Superman have a huge neck in this comic! It was a little distracting.
What else? I enjoyed We3, Seven Soldiers, The Bulleteer (boobs!), and Alan Moore and Gene Ha’s The Forty-Niners. That Gene Ha can draw buildings like a mofo. I also liked Villains United, Wonder Woman, She Hulk, The Goon, and Brubaker's Captain America.
Those little penguins in March of the Penguins were hella cute and the cinematography was incredible, so that gets a thumbs up from me. I thought Batman Begins was keen. Come on, you know it was the best Batman movie, admit it.
Stop laughing at me! Tell me Kelly Preston doesn't look hot in body armor!
On DVD this year I enjoyed David Mamet’s Spartan, with Val Kilmer in full-on cryptic bad-ass mode. I know, it came out in 2004, but I didn’t see it until 2005. Same with House of Flying Daggers and Spirited Away – they were new to me. I saw Ong Bak this year and nearly had a religious experience. If you like the fu, you must check it out.
SOME OF MY FAVORITE BLOGS
All my favorite blogs are over there to the right. See them? They all get the big Dave’s Long Box thumbs-up. It’s difficult to single out particular blogs, but if I must:
Beaucoupkevin: Jesus, what a smart-ass. Kevin Church rocks out with his sock out on this acerbic and funny comics blog, home of Otter Prime and the Shit That Is Killing Comics feature, in which Kevin picks over the offerings in Previews like a big, sarcastic vulture. That can type.
Neilalien: Holy shit! It’s a motherfucking palindrome! Nelialien is Lord of the Linkbloggers and Devoted Disciple of Dr. Strange. He seeks out cool stuff so I don’t have to. A classic blog.
Comics Should Be Good: This blog has my favorite regular feature, Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed! The title says it all; Brian Cronin plays mythbuster with the shadowy tales that float around the comics world.
Mike Sterling’s Progressive Ruin: The ultimate comics blog! EVER!
Chris’s Invincible Super-Blog: Chris Sims is funny as hell. I wouldn’t pick him up if he was hitchhiking, but he’s funny as hell. Just stay on the other side of the computer, Chris.
Comic Book Galaxy: “Pushing comics up your bum since 2000.” I swear, that’s their motto. Okay, it’s not really a blog, it’s an online magazine run by Alan David Doane, the grand auteur of online comic criticism. With articles and columns by smart people, Comic Book Galaxy has a mission and you had best get the hell out of the way. Good stuff.
Brill Building: Ian Brill lands great interviews and writes insightful essays about comics. Plus, he is a kick-boxing champion who defeated a French savate master in The Kumite. ‘Nuff said.
The Savage Critic(s): Brian Hibbs’ round-up of recent comics, and online roost of Graeme MacMillan of the late Fanboy Rampage. I like to read their reviews of shitty comics so I can still feel like I know what’s going on without actually buying every damn book...
If you liked Kung Fu Hustle, seek out God of Cookery, which is Stephen Chow's best film. It ends with a martial-arts cooking battle that's like Iron Chef, but it's a million times more insane.
The film's kind of hard to find nowadays, but it's totally worth it.
Thanks very much for the link and the kind words, Dave!
I'm glad that I'm not the only one who forgot to pimp Comic Blogger's Poll until just now!!
Shaolin Soccer is another Sthepen Chow movie that comes highy recommended.
I GOT ON THE LIST. To quote the hax0rs, "woot!"
If I have my copy of God Of Cookery handy, I can lend it to you, Campbell.
Thank you very much for the shout-out (although I try to keep The Kumite thing under wraps). Your blog was one of my favorites this year.
I think The Aviator also came out in 2004 but fuck it, it was good enough to be listed this year.
I miss Sleeper too. Holden was so great as the damaged male role. And Miss Misery- nothing like a redhead femme fatale.
I don't think any of your blog favs were by women. Not stumping for my blog, but girls are not smelly!
Thanks for the good words, Mr. Dave. You and I need to have a supervillain team-up and destroy the comics internet, someday. You know you want to.
Jerry Orbach: Best. Animated. Candlestick. Ever. (And I don't even like that movie!)
"And then Mr. Chocolate totally fucking ate him" should be on the poster right underneath the last little tag line there.
And seek out Shaolin Soccer, but only if you can land an uncut import version. From what I understand, Miramax "improved" the film for U.S. release by cutting about 20 minutes from a 100-minute movie. Then I'm sure they looked confused when people said they still didn't like it.
1) I just like saying your entire name.
2) The current DVD for Shaolin Soccer has both the Chinese (112 minutes) and American (89 minutes) cuts on it.
HUGE fan of Shaolin Soccer. I've only seen the "pure" version. I heard the Americanized version had bad hip-hop music. I hope they didn't cut the egg-sucking sequences...
I con-quer, get God of Cookery posthaste.
Nice best of the year, Dave. and I liked Sky High too!
Upon watching both versions (i.e. bootleg chinese and American released dvd) versions back to back the differences are obvious. Yet perplexing. I think that the studio took things out that they thought would be culturally confusing. But in doing so only succeeded in making parts confusing.
Kevin "Two Sheds" Church:
1) Heh. Just don't call me "Eddie Baby."
2) I had heard the American DVD only had the American cut of the movie. After the U.S. releases of Shaolin Soccer and Iron Monkey (and this news story), I'm convinced that the Weinsteins should really just stop trying to bring Chinese cinema over here when they really don't know what the hell they're doing with it.
3) Hi yourself! (he said, channeling his inner Chris Claremont, and ain't it great that I can make a geeky joke like that and the Monty Python reference earlier in the post and have people get it)
Noooo!!! Serenity spoilers! I didn't get to see the movie in theaters (having a two-year-old will do that) and I just got the DVD for Christmas. I haven't watched it yet! Arg. I'm very unhappy now.
What, not Vincent Schiavelli? BigbooTAY!!! TAY! TAY! TAY!
"Noooo!!! Serenity spoilers! I didn't get to see the movie in theaters (having a two-year-old will do that) and I just got the DVD for Christmas. I haven't watched it yet! Arg. I'm very unhappy now."
So you probably didn't know that Shepherd Book died too, right? Whoops!
Spartan also has Kristen Bell.
Doane is a bloated crybaby.
Oh, man! Sorry about the Serenity spoiler - I'm a dick. And I didn't give props to any female bloggers - double dick! I suck sometimes...
And don't be such a meany, Anonymous. We're all pals here.
Wait, Campbell, does this mean Wash will pop out of Cloak's Cloak next summer?
It means at the end of the movie he straps a quiver of explosive arrows on to his back and gets too close to a fire.
"Not like this, Bendis! Not like this!"
The True Winnie the Pooh story
or at least what it should've been
when you hiccough & morph at the same time
Or choking sounds
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