Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God

Alex Gibney’s heartbreaking and stunningly gorgeous documentary starts with the sexual abuse of over 200 students at a Milwaukee Catholic school for the deaf, and ends in the dirty hands of (ex-)Pope Benedict and his Vatican cronies. A must-see for everyone, particularly Catholics who defend / ignore the church’s ongoing malfeasance.

Jim Gaffigan, Mr. Universe

Jim Gaffigan, MR. UNIVERSE (Comedy Central Records)
Despite what Jim Gaffigan’s high-pitched, confused inner commentator thinks, the meat of his fast-food engorged body of work is one of the best in the business. In addition to his usual salient critiques of American health and eating habits, Gaffigan’s cynical take on Disney is worth the list price alone.

Paul Williams: Still Alive

An intimate look at the singer / songwriter / actor who was a ubiquitous fixture on 1970s TV, until substance abuse (blatantly obvious in many onscreen appearances) sidelined his career. Acolyte director Stephen Kessler becomes part of the documentary as Williams softens to the process, enhancing the film’s considerable charm.


Much as I loathe entertainment awards, there should be a special Oscar® for every actor (and singer and model) who managed to muddle through this ludicrous, forced piece of product with a straight face (did Liam Neeson lose a bet?). Ohhh, they really shoulda’ sunk this hysterically bad Battleship.


Secret Country, From the Barroom to the Bedroom

Secret Country, FROM THE BARROOM TO THE BEDROOM (Killing Horse)
Losing key founding members usually sounds a death-knell for bands, but Kearny NJ’s honky-tonk hot dogs have managed a masterfully sucessful reinvention, adding some classic rock riffs, more guitar, and (most affectingly) co-lead vocals from the amazing Katelynn Siegle, a voice that would make Patsy proud.

God and Science: Return of the Ti-Girls

GOD AND SCIENCE: RETURN OF THE TI-GIRLS by Jaime Hernandez (Fantagraphics)
Geekier fans of LOVE & ROCKETS can revel in Xaime’s full-on foray into superhero comics, albeit with his own inimitable twist. Mixing retro adventure comics tropes with an examination of wish-fulfillment, aging, grief and (of course) female empowerment, this invigorating collection is a worthy addition to a legendary oeuvre.


Purists and fans of BBC’s SHERLOCK may scoff, but CBS’ contemporary Sherlock Holmes reinterpretation is wickedly entertaining, thanks primarily to its casting: Jonny Lee Miller is damaged and charming as the brilliant “deductionist,” with complementary foils Lucy Liu (Watson) and Aidan Quinn (NYPD Captain Gregson) alternating aggravation, admiration and fondness.