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 23, 2004

Book of the Week:

by Gary Snyder. I used to be an eco-freak. Then I outgrew it. At the time I found that Snyder's book here (which I originally heard in a performance with Paul Winter's group--and which appears to be back in print) was a nice cry for sanity. Even now when I'm a bit more sane myself, I still find that it's not dated--there is much beauty here without having to worry about paper or plastic. Snyder's penchant for nature and Zen thought is refreshing and has withstood the test of time. And it's still National Poetry Month, so get some culture in you, you damn heathens.

Audiobook of the Week:

by George R. R. Martin, performed by Roy Dotrice. Once I had recovered from listening to the first volume, I knew I would need to dive into this one, simply because I have no idea where Martin is going with all of this but I simply have to find out. It's the "gotta," as King would describe it. Part of what makes it easy to dive into this twenty-one (!) cassette second chapter to the epic is Dotrice's performance, in which he reaches Jim Dale-ian heights of quality and voice acting. If you want to spend more than a few weekends, get on board this series with help from Random House Audio.

Graphic Novel of the Week: The Octopi and the Ocean by Dan R. James. This recent release from Top Shelf reminds me of a strange twisted children's book. It's the tale of the shark, the octopi, the rivalry between the two, how an ancient artifact is wrapped up in the whole deal, and how a young boy is thrust into the middle of the whole mess. With a disturbingly whacked out artistic style (and a penchant for cleanliness and going pantless), it's definitely worth checking out.

TV DVD of the Week:

. The last Trek series (so far) to take place in the "future" that is the Trek universe (as opposed to Enterprise, which is a little closer to our time), it started off with a lot of promise...and where it went from there is a matter of some opinion and debate. Paramount adds some grist to the mill, however, with this first season DVD release across five discs, which is just as stacked as previous series have been. All fifteen episodes are here, with eight featurettes and a photo gallery,

DVD of the Week:

. This 1990 gangster film is packed with style and stars Christopher Walken (at his evil best), Laurence ("Larry") Fishburne, David Caruso and Wesley Snipes. Walken's drug lord character gets out of prison and wants to do some good for the community (among other things), however the cops have other plans and just want him to go away for good. This two-disc set from Lions Gate is fairly packed, with two audio commentaries, a docu on the director Abel Ferrara, and a docu on the gangsta rapper Schoolly D as well as one of his music videos.

Anime DVD of the Week:

. This ADV release comes with episodes of this wild and disturbing new series. Kino is a Traveler, going from country to country and spending no more than three days in each. As he makes his way around, he runs into a city populated entirely by machines, a city in which the end of the world is nigh, and another place in which you have children, surgery and a bizarre, wild twist. If you're looking for something to mess with your head, look no further. Comes with clean closing and opening animation as well as some production sketches.

Adverse Video of the Week:

. If you're looking for the same kind of twisty, erotic thriller that the first film gave you--you know, that at least had the titillation of recognizable stars getting mildly nasty--then you can look here, sure, but you won't be pleased with what you find. It's essentially the same film over again, but feeling tired, worn out and coming off as definitely unsexy. It's sad when not even nudity can save a film.

Animation DVD of the Week:

. This 1971 animated made-for-TV classic has been long awaited by many, primarily because the story and the songs were written by the late, great Harry Nilsson. It's also endearing, cute and well, has a point. It's the tale of Oblio and his dog, Arrow, and how they are exiled to the Pointless Forest because Oblio was born with a round head, unlike his people, who all have pointy heads. Narrated by Ringo Starr and featuring songs like "Me and My Arrow," this BMG release shouldn't be missed.

Comedy DVD of the Week:

. Isn't it odd that a film about the dangers of marijuana can probably be enjoyed even fuller if you're on a mind-altering substance? Regardless, Fox releases a very healthy "Special Addiction" of this cult screamer. You get a colorized version of the flick as well as the restored black and white. And--joy of joys--Mike Nelson of MST3K fame shows up to, well, MST3K the film. You know you've achieved a certain amount of cultural longevity when the name of your show has become a verb.

Family DVD of the Week:

. Okay, sure. Adults in the audience found this a little painful--but I guess you could say this thing turned out to be My First Horror Movie. Too kid friendly for grownups in cinemas, Disney is trying for a better life on DVD. Along for the ride are a deleted scene and bloopers, a virtual tour/game, an "Anatomy of a Scene" section, as well as a slew of equally kid-aimed DVD-ROM content. Start your kids off on this, then move to the Romero titles. Sure.

Music CD of the Week:

by The Temptations. This group had some classic smooth love songs and, as the title might suggest, the smoothest of them are on this recent release from Universal Music. Fourteen tracks, including usual suspects like "My Girl" and "Just My Imagination," as well as some that you might have to be reminded of, like "What Love Has Joined Together" and "Love Woke Me Up This Morning." Contains a couple of alternate mixes and an extended stereo mix as well.

Magazine of the Week: Back Issue. This latest issue from TwoMorrows speaks to my early comic geekdom, as they talk with the creative team behind the 80s comical version of Justice League (and the new limited series follow-up): Giffen, DeMatteis and Maguire. Also, a look at the Plastic Man flicks that never got made (including the script by the Brothers Wachowski) and a spotlight on everybody's favor scary clown, The Joker. Nice.