Saturday, February 28, 2009

Watch Sita Sings the Blues (review roundup)

You can now watch Nina Paley's wonderful Sita Sings the Blues online right here (free downloadable versions are coming soon). The animated movie tells the parallel story of two breakups, one in modern New York, and one in ancient India, set to the circa 1920's jazz singing of Annette Hanshaw. You can purchase a few of the tracks not sung by Hanshaw here, and purchase t-shirts and other merchandise here. Via.

And a review roundup:

1. Thumbs way down for Philip Pullman's Once Upon A Time In The North. Man what a disappointment. The first two volumes of the His Dark Materials series were fantastic. It's been downhill since. The third volume was just decent, and the Golden Compass movie was apparently so bad that the sequels won't be made. Once Upon A Time is a prequel to The Golden Compass. The book's design gets an A+ - - it's a tiny hardcover and just feels special. It's filled with small illustrations and includes a board game in an envelope attached to the back cover. But the story itself is a stunning bore. It's less than 100 pages long, but took me weeks to finish. If you're still interested, it's $9 at Amazon.

2. Thumbs up for Jess Nevins' Impossible Territories, the unofficial companion to Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neil's The Black Dossier. When I read the third volume of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, I "got" almost none of the references aside from James Bond. Impossible Territories explains all those references, and I learned that I've never even heard of almost any of the original characters. One exception - - the woman who teams up with Bond is Emma Peel. That certainly hadn't occurred to me. $12 at Amazon.

3. Thumbs way up for The Amazing Joy Buzzards. The world's greatest rockstars are also racecar driving-ninjas, and their best friend is a mystical luchador/genie. Fun to read, and I've already professed my love for Dan Hipp's art. $15 at Amazon.

4. Thumbs down for 30 Postcards by James Jean. The book design is fine, but I don't care for the vast majority of the images included in the collection. "XOXO: Hugs and Kisses" is $10 at Amazon.

5. Thumbs way, way up for Stephen King's Dark Tower series. I recently reread books five through seven for the first time since they came out. When I originally read them, I was mostly disappointed, possibly because they deviated so drastically from how I'd envisioned the series progressing. But I loved them the second time through. If you've never tried the series, you're in for a treat - - it's King's attempt to write the Lord of the Rings as a post-apocalyptic western. Various editions available at Amazon.

*Previously: Alan Moore gives V for Vendetta a standing ovation.

*Buy Dark Tower art at eBay.