Weekly Recommendations...from Needcoffee.com

Each Thursday (or Friday, since some weeks we seem to be running behind on everything), Needcoffee.com's staff of whackos will wrack our brains to give you interesting and new things to do over the weekend. Books, movies, whatever. We'll throw them out, you do with them what you will. And hey...if you have something you want to recommend--whatever it is--drop us a line.

Incidentally, we've provided links where we can for you to buy the stuff or find out more if you're interested, courtesy of those Amazon types. Hey, come on, we can't be totally selfless in this, can we?

April 16, 2004

Book of the Week:

. Well, it is National Poetry Month. All month. And one of my favorite poets is Neruda. The only thing better than reading his stuff in English is reading it in his native Spanish. Granted, this is an English-only volume, but what they lack in the Spanish originals, they make up for in sheer volume. Six hundred poems, folks. Nobody does the love poem like Neruda. If you're unfamiliar with him, fix that now. If you're very familiar, get reacquainted.

Audiobook of the Week: Soundless by Lysa Williams, performed by Christopher Lane. Here we have the story of Nick Raze, a violinist at the Chicago Symphony who has achieved a great level of fame. He makes a new friendship that causes him to revisit his past. In this Blackstone Audio release, Lane performs capably in an unabridged edition across seven CDs. Click on the link to go rent or purchase from the Blackstone site.

Comic-Related Book of the Week:

by Kevin Tinsley. I can't draw. If I could, I'd probably be doing comics instead of actual novels and such. However, the company that named itself after my style of illustration (Stickman Graphics), has put this resource out there that will please anyone who actually has talent and wants to create comics. Granted, you'll need Adobe Photoshop and Quark Xpress if you want to make full use of the words here, but if you want to look pro, you'll have those pieces of software anyway. Packed with illustrations and examples, it's good reading for anybody who wants to make the most of their comic-producing abilities.

Comic Book of the Week: Dead@17: Blood of Saints #1 by Josh Howard. Viper Comics returns with a sequel mini-series to the first (which sold like mad, incidentally), and those who have been wanting more will not be displeased. Nara, undead zombie ass-kicking schoolgirl supreme, is having a rough go of it. Being thought dead (well, more than thought, but let's not get into that here), she can't even see her parents. And what's worse, her relationship with her friend Hazy is getting strained. To make matters even worse, a new threat is on the horizon, and it looks to be even nastier than the first go-round. More, please.

TV DVD of the Week:

. In the first episode, as the title would suggest, Hopkirk takes the celestial dirt nap. Then he gets back up again, apparently--showing up in a white suit and only visible to his partner, Randall. Together they're on the case, and back again in this first set from A&E Home Video. You get thirteen episodes across four discs, along with a bonus episode of Haunted History from the History Channel that covers London. Tasty cult TV goodness from the 70s.

DVD of the Week:

. Jack Black in his all of his redonkulous glory? Oh hell yes. Paramount's got a sweet edition of the film, in which Black is a down-on-his-luck musician who poses as a substitute teacher at a private school, then decides to turn his class into his latest band. You get a commentary with Black and director Linklater, a commentary with the kids, making-of featurette (that's actually pretty good) and Black and a horde of extras begging Led Zep for permission to use "The Immigrant Song" in the movie. If you see only one bonus feature this year, make it that one.

Anime DVD of the Week:

. Anime lovers looking for the intense and weird need look no further than this release from Geneon: you've got a city beneath the world, a girl who can see the future, and a pit fighter who's lost a couple of limbs. This volume sets up the corrupt world we're going to be exploring later, and also the idea of the titular technology that allows for the cybernetic replacement of arms and legs. Ichise, the recipient of these new limbs, has plans. And you get the idea they're not necessarily cheerful. Get on board now.

Adverse Video of the Week:

. If you're looking for a film to slap you senseless with a religious agenda, look no farther than this adaptation of a Frank Peretti kiddie novel. Peretti's probably most famous among people who think for having written This Present Darkness, in which we learn that all of the bad things we do in life are caused by demons riding around on our heads and sinking their claws into our minds--these are demons called "Lust" and "Greed," naturally. The only thing scary about this film, sadly, is author Peretti stepping in and playing one of the teachers. Bonus feature covers spider wrangling. No, I'm not kidding.

Animation DVD of the Week:

. Sure, there's only three animated shorts to be had on this edition from Buena Vista, but they're fun and backed up with some choice bonus features. You see, these are shorts that McCartney worked on the music for, voices for and also served as executive producer. The shorts "Tropical Island Hum," "Tuesday," and "Rupert and the Frog Song" are here, as well as an interview with McCartney, a making-of docu, line drawings and more. Kids will enjoy them and so will fans of Paul.

Docu DVD of the Week:

. Carpenter, Craven, Cronenberg, Hooper, Landis, Romero, Savini--directors who have all turned out films considered to be the best of the horror genre. This docu from New Video theorizes about what could have spawned such mayhem--namely, that these beloved whackos are merely products of their time. True, on this site, a docu about the cultural importance of the horror genre is probably preaching to the choir--but still, it's a good flick to view.

Kung Fu DVD of the Week:

. No, we haven't lost our minds. Yes, it's basically two Chinese pop stars vs. vampires. But c'mon, campy fun is still fun--especially when the film has a Jackie Chan cameo and Donnie Yen behind the action sequences. And our two leads do fairly well considering they're usually dealing with microphones instead of stakes. So if you're looking for some fun chopsocky that doesn't require much brain power, look no further.

Music CD of the Week:

by Da˙de. Ah, Real World does a great job of keeping us happy. Case in point, this release from the Brazilian singer is filled with horns, percussion, tactical piano usage, bass and solid energy. It's a gorgeous blend of jazz and swing with great beats, and if you're looking for what to sample, "Canto de Ossanha" will blow your mind and "Muito Quente" will rattle it back in place. Definitely worth checking out.

Music Boxed Set of the Week:

by Bob Marley & the Wailers. Hip-O brings you this boxed set of Marley goodness from before most people outside of Jamaica knew about the man--but he and his band were good before "Catch a Fire," and this set proves it. From the opening of the original "Concrete Jungle" through all three discs, you get some brilliant, classic stuff. Other songs to check out are "Lively Up Yourself" and "Small Axe." Essential.