Rock On

ROCK ON by Dan Kennedy (Algonquin Books)
Ad writer Dan Kennedy got a job at Atlantic Records in 2002, quickly realizing the glory days of the music biz were fading. Actually, by 2002, they were long over, and that’s the problem with this book. You can’t cover a funeral after the body’s rotting in the ground.


My biggest problem with this parable about the golden age of R&B is that people didn’t OVERSING LIKE THAT in the 1960s and ‘70s. Believable period fashion means nothing when juxtaposed against the ear-splitting caterwaul of Jennifer Hudson. It’s AMERICAN IDOL’s world, we just suffer in it.

Evan Almighty

So many people I like… so humiliated… by this… horrid, predictable, unfunny, painful to watch pablum… Steve, Lauren, Morgan, Jon, John… why? Why? Surely you don’t need the money! Was it blackmail? Extortion of some kind? I guess it just doesn’t matter. If I had a soul, it would bleed.

Hear and Now

Immensely moving documentary about an elderly couple getting cochlear implants and hearing for the first time in their lives. Filmed by their daughter, the movie not only makes you revel in the smelling (or hearing) of the roses, but marvel at the delicacy of us poor mortals.


Smallville Season 7

Talk about overstaying a welcome. What was once a solid entrant in the Superman mythos has been dragged beyond verisimilitude with too many convoluted plotlines and shoehorned characters (mostly Supergirl). Sans Lana, Luthor and Millar-Gough, next season doesn’t bode well for a satisfying conclusion to this mess. A fanboy weeps.

Hell's Kitchen Season 4

TOP CHEF’s antithesis. Stupid wannabe chefs with little talent spend more energy in-fighting and bragging than proving they’re capable in the kitchen. And, Jesus, is every single one of them a chain smoker? That’ll help the palate! Gordon Ramsey’s really going to let one of these jokers run his kitchen??


VERMINATORS (Discovery Channel)
Why do I watch this show? I hate vermin (rats and roaches particularly). Yet, like a car-crash-rubbernecker, my eyes are glued to this look inside infested Los Angeles (how can people live like that!?). But I’m thinking the novelty will wear thin as fast as living with bedbugs would.


Iron Man

Maybe the golden age of superhero movies isn’t quite over yet…! Superb characterization, great acting, blistering action and a perfect tonal balance are only slightly dampened by a more traditional (and boring) slam-bang battle at the end (but oh! That post-credits tease!). The best Marvel movie since SPIDER-MAN 2.

DC Universe: 0

As a semi-lapsed fanboy, I’m in favor of any sweeping event that allows DC to re-re-re-boot its universe (no Clark Kent-Lois Lane marriage, please!), but this prelude to FINAL CRISIS is pretty hard to follow if you haven’t been buying COUNTDOWN. Essentially a 50¢ advertisement you can skip.

Iron Man: Beneath the Armor

IRON MAN: BENEATH THE ARMOR by Andy Mangels (Del Rey)
An unintentional treatise on the problem with comics’ continuity obsession, this comprehensive story of Iron Man becomes headache-inducing when it shifts from objective history of the comics to an attempt to explain 45 years of oft-discarded continuity as a cohesive timeline. (And wow! ‘80s-‘90s Marvel Comics were UGLY!)

Achtung! German Grooves

Various Artists, ACHTUNG! GERMAN GROOVES (Bureau B)
For fans of foreign esoterica who miss the glory days of Crippled Dick Hot Wax, this comp of funky German instrumental hipshakers from the 60s and 70s is nice, but not essential. Irgendein POPSHOPPING Vol. 1 oder THE IN-KRAUT dient Sie besser.

Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential Artist

One of a few comic artists worthy of a feature documentary, the late Eisner is well served in this biography / tribute that nicely traverses 50+ years and might even convince a non-comics reader to pick up one of the master’s graphic novels (preferably before THE SPIRIT movie comes out).

The Best of LCD

THE BEST OF LCD: THE ART AND WRITING OF WFMU edited by Dave the Spazz (Princeton Architectural Press)
Fantastic collection of writing, comics and art from the late (boo internet) program guide / magazine of legendary free-form radio station WFMU (now available worldwide; yay internet). Essential bookshelf fodder for any fan of Slim Gaillard, EIGHTBALL, the Shaggs, Ernie Kovacs, Pastor John Rydgren, Steven Keene and (not or) nihilism!

The Replacements, Let it Be

The Replacements, LET IT BE reissue (Twin/Tone / Rykodisc / Rhino)
At long last, the ‘Mats Twin/Tone albums get the remastered reissue treatment with worthy bonus tracks (altho’ sans Westerberg blessing). This gold standard of ‘80s indie punk sounds as vital as ever and feels even more indispensable today, whetting the appetite for a similar treatment of the Sire records.

The Number 23

It’s official! Joel Schumacher is utterly incapable of directing a cohesive film that fails to bow to (over)style over substance! And Jim Carrey is an awful actor! And movies love to insult the intelligence of their audience! And I wasted 1:45 of my life!