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Quexos (South FL)

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Cages
Cages
by Dave McKean
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You do it to yourself, and that's what really hurts, 27 Feb. 2011
This review is from: Cages (Hardcover)
I read this book a couple of years ago, and reread it a few weeks ago. I have never come across a story like this, in particular a story TOLD like this. With an incredibly impressive array of visual/narrative techniques, McKean presents an allegory (if that's what it is; the book can be ambiguous concerning certain developments) of creativity as well as despair, abandonment, frustration, and above all, the realization that things are actually pretty wonderful, if we can manage to alter our self-imposed perspectives.
This is one of the crowning achievements of the graphic medium, and a landmark in literature.


Erasure
Erasure
Offered by trec002
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Ambient Masterpiece, 27 Feb. 2011
This review is from: Erasure (Audio CD)
I am relatively familiar with Erasure's music, although I cannot say that I know too much about their work pre-I Say I Say I Say.
That aside, though, I feel compelled to express my opinion on this, their self-titled album. To begin with, this is an album that you will probably HAVE to listen to in its entirety in one sitting (or, in my case, over and over in one sitting) in order to grasp the full impact behind this work of art. Each and every track is a beautiful, emotional, melodic journey straight to the heart. When taken as a whole, however, they form to produce one of the most cohesive "concept" albums ever (truly this album is greater than the sum of its individual parts). THIS IS WHAT MUSIC SHOULD BE. Some have expressed their discontent with the length of the album (over 70 minutes) or individual songs (the longest clocking in at nearly 10 minutes). This is an example of the attitude toward and unfortunate state of "pop" music today. True art cannot, and should not, be judged by predetermined expectations of various constraints. Certainly in some cases albums tend to ramble on with unnecessary tracks or endless vocal repetitions. This is not the case here. If you are a connoisseur of romantic ballads and are weary of the current slate of musical offerings, I HIGHLY recommend this brilliant work by arguably the most accomplished synth-popsters in recent memory. You may end up wishing the album went on for another 70 minutes....


The Distance To Here
The Distance To Here
Offered by Fulfillment Express
Price: £5.78

5.0 out of 5 stars A Poignant Meditation on Existence, 27 Feb. 2011
This review is from: The Distance To Here (Audio CD)
This album is quite an achievement in today's music arena. Live, the band that caught alternative rock's attention with "I Alone" and "Lightning Crashes" has risen above the standard angst spiel and produced a work that eloquently explores and challenges the very nature of life, love, and God. The impression I come away with whenever I listen to this album (which, I should add, is no small number of times) is that Ed is searching for Something, and this comes across implicitly as a search for Love. However, it is NOT the traditional type of love which one usually gets from common rock ballads. These are lamentations going to the SOURCE of it all, a supreme being as it were. I am completely enthralled by this beautiful, heartfelt masterpiece of spiritual longing and desire to know and understand the purpose of one's existence. More than a few listens will probably be required to appreciate the true magic that this album casts, but it will be more than worth the effort. There are only a handful of bands that have the determination to take inventive leaps forward in an attempt to "remake" and reform the current staleness of rock music. Live has the opportunity to further this cause, and "The Distance to Here"(from the title, which may indicate a traversing to self-discovery, to the artwork to the songs themselves) is the most compelling, lasting, and rewarding work they have to offer. An insightful, timely, and grand accomplishment.


New X-Men Omnibus
New X-Men Omnibus
by Grant Morrison
Edition: Hardcover

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Next Men, 27 Feb. 2011
This review is from: New X-Men Omnibus (Hardcover)
First off, the presentation of all of Morrison's issues here in this hardcover edition is very well-crafted. Marvel has provided quite a bit of bonus material including scripts, unused art, the "Morrison Manifesto" and an introduction by Mike Carey. As for the stories themselves, the arc consists of about 42 issues, and is as well-executed and thought provoking as any X-men run in recent memory. (I hesitate to say "EVER" because comics were quite a different animal in the late 70s/early 80s when Claremont & Byrne were doing their thing.)
The one drawback or advantage, depending on your personal taste, is that the artwork varies over the course of the book; the product of different artists being utilized throughout. I personally did not find this detrimental; it was nice to see characters/situations presented in different styles while retaining the narrative voice. This collection is a breath of fresh air from one of comics' most distinct talents helming one of comics' premier series.


Batman: Arkham Asylum Anniversary Edition
Batman: Arkham Asylum Anniversary Edition
by Grant Morrison
Edition: Paperback

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You must be mad, or you wouldn't have come here, 27 Feb. 2011
When Arkham Asylum was first released in 1989, I read through it without much enthusiasm. The artwork, by and large, was groundbreaking for a mainstream book, however the story in itself left me unimpressed. Aside from a few memorable lines here and there, I found myself rather baffled by the actual "point" of the book. The same was true when I reread it a few years back. However, if there is one comic book that has benefitted most from the inclusion of its script, it is this one. Morrison's draft not only sheds some much-needed light on the proceedings, but is also accompanied with annotations of an even more enlightening nature. I read through the script, then the comic once more, and discovered much that I had missed or glossed over. The script is also written in a screenplay format, as opposed to the traditional comic draft. In addition, McKean does not adhere painstakingly to the script, but deviates into what I imagine is his own interpretation of the material. This becomes clear when comparing Morrison's notes and the resultant artwork. Finally, this edition includes thumbnails/sketches by Morrison for how the layout was originally envisioned, and an afterword by Karen Berger, editor of Vertigo. The story itself is highly symbolic and allegorical, much as a dream may seem...which leads to one possible conclusion that the events which transpire may very well be confined within Batman's own psyche or subconscience. There are a few snippets of dialogue within the pages that promote this, as well as the artwork during certain pivotal scenes involving Batman and Gordon, as well as the inmates of the asylum. The quotes from Alice in Wonderland which open and close the book also lean in this direction. The parallels between Amadeus Arkham and Batman himself are also fascinating and portray a few ideas that are rarely touched upon in the Batman mythos, particularly mental illness and its implications not just on the person, but on their surrounding environment as well.
This is not a typical Batman novel but a rather complicated and, at times, disturbing tale of madness and obsession which benefits greatly from the inclusion of various materials reflective of the creative process.


Hail To The Thief
Hail To The Thief
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £14.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Hail to the Chiefs, 27 Feb. 2011
This review is from: Hail To The Thief (Audio CD)
As with most other Radiohead albums, this took me a few listens to appreciate. Let me qualify this review by stating that I am not a big fan of Pablo Honey (aside from the prophetic Stop Whispering), nor did I thoroughly enjoy The Bends (exceptions: Fake Plastic Trees, Nice Dream, Street Spirit). But I was blown away (as were we all) by OK Computer. This, to me, was (and still is) one of the greatest examples of a high Concept album ever. Kid A left me with mixed feelings (Idioteque is bloody brilliant), and Amnesiac was another perplexing but enjoyable album. HTTT, however, gets it all right. These songs represent musical mood and style encompassing all of their work, and even introduces new directions (A Punchup at a Wedding, Myxomatosis, A Wolf at the Door). The reason that it takes a few listens to get into, in my opinion, is that Radiohead are SO unique that they don't really sound like any other band that I've come across, so you don't really have a frame of reference. Once you let their haunting melodies encompass you, it will be a trip you will not soon forget and will come back to time and again. HTTT is this iconoclastic band at the top of their form, filler-free (unlike Kid A, etc).
P.S. this edition comes with a neat little poster depicting the cover art style, but be CAREFUL removing it as it is glued on strongly and you may end up damaging it in the process. Enjoy!


Amnesiac
Amnesiac
Offered by DVD Overstocks
Price: £4.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amnesiac should not be forgotten (its not just "Kid B"), 27 Feb. 2011
This review is from: Amnesiac (Audio CD)
Radiohead have pretty much run the gamut of rock music (from alternative to uncategorizable), and nearly all of their albums have been fantastic. Following the unsettling and fascinating sonic landscape of OK Computer (my favorite description of it was that it "sounds like what the future will look like" or something to that effect), the band emerged with the bizarre Kid A, which has its great and not-so-great moments. Amnesiac was released shortly thereafter, with what appeared to be much less fanfare- and thus far less subsequent attention. However, it is the one Radiohead album I return to more than any other...even though I enjoy HTTT very much (and feel that it was their most cohesive record since OKC), both it and In Rainbows, as lovely as it is, do not match the spirit that lies within Amnesiac. At times sparse, at others emotionally complex, the songs that comprise this album are truly distinct and carry a weight which transcends melody or lyrics; they seem to have an urgency and depth about them, a sense of impending...well, inevitabllity- as though events are transpiring rapidly or coming up from all sides (both within and without) and we must navigate them with care lest we become caught within the labyrinth (as some of the artwork also seems to suggest). With the much-heralded release of IR, and the well-deserved accolades of OKC, Amnesiac should not be overlooked or dismissed as merely the happenstance sibling of Kid A, but observed perhaps as an artifact of some of our innermost (labyrinthine?) desires and often unspoken concerns...and cherished as such.


2001: A Space Odyssey (BFI Film Classics)
2001: A Space Odyssey (BFI Film Classics)
by Peter Krämer
Edition: Paperback
Price: £12.08

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mind Wide Open, 27 Feb. 2011
There have been myriad critiques written attempting to explain (or even comprehend) Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey since its theatrical release in 1968, and while I haven't examined these papers exhaustively, I do enjoy reading up on the various interpretations of its themes as well as production history, as it is such a rich one...and Peter Kramer's volume, though slim in girth, towers like a monolith with the best of these analyses.
Along with a compulsively readable style (rather uncommon in film criticism), Kramer expounds on the film's vague and unusual-for-its-time plot, and even extrapolates a few enlightening theories of his own- though some, he acknowledges in his annotations, have been culled from various sources. The parallel drawn between the mysteries inherent within the vertical black rectangular slab and those within the film itself as projected on a horizontal white rectangular slab (the movie screen), as well as analysis of the audience's incumbent participatory relationship to the film's "Beyond the Infinite" sequence, were especially illuminating.
I've read a number of BFI entries over the past few years, and they do vary greatly in terms of "quality", i.e. they all follow different paths from inception to completion of their respective films; some tend to meander off on tangents from the subject's critique, while others remain bogged down on the intricacies of the plot or even reception of the film upon its release. Rarely has one of them portrayed every pertinent stage of a film's genesis with such eloquence along with compelling ideas on its visuals, music and dialogue (sparse, in this case) as this one does.
I offer Peter Kramer's succinct book the highest compliment: it made me yearn to experience 2001 again as soon as possible, this time accompanied by a wonderful new outlook on perhaps the most wondrous film of all.


The American [Blu-ray]
The American [Blu-ray]
Dvd ~ George Clooney
Price: £8.99

9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An American Assassin in Italy, 27 Feb. 2011
This review is from: The American [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Anton Corbijn, who gained fame as a photographer and music video director, crafted a stark and intimate biography of Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis in Control, his first feature. Now, in a masterwork of minimalism, he takes George Clooney through the rustic Italian countryside, where he is laying low after an attempt on his life in Sweden. Clooney is Jack (or Edward, or neither), a gun runner- and probable assassin- who gradually realizes he wants something more from his life of shadows and mistrust after coming in contact with a well-meaning preacher and sympathetic prostitute (with whom he falls in love). Jack's cold mental and physical isolation is reflected through the small populace of the village he frequents as well as the serenity of nearby woods...and Clooney is compelling as an amoral (at best) mercenary grappling with the growth of his heart, if not his conscience. Corbijn has managed to update and transplant Jean-Pierre Melville's existential Le Samourai from France to Italy, and it clicks.


Daredevil By Brian Michael Bendis & Alex Maleev Omnibus Volume 2 HC
Daredevil By Brian Michael Bendis & Alex Maleev Omnibus Volume 2 HC
by Brian Michael Bendis
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars Bendis and Maleev are the real daredevils here, 27 Feb. 2011
Wow. What a rush. This concluding omnibus of Brian Bendis and Alex Maleev's run on Daredevil is even more compelling than the first (I was just about glued to the pages as this intricate tale approached its thrilling climax). The first thing that grabs you is the stellar artwork, and I do mean every aspect of it: pencils, inks, colors, layouts...this is as good as it gets in superhero comics. Then comes the story itself, which started out rather deliberately early on but now gets rolling like a downhill racer. Say what you will about Bendis, but when he's on (as is the case here), he's ON. The guy knows crime noir, and both he and Maleev blow the hinges off traditional superhero tropes with this engaging, gorgeous, and perhaps most importantly, unconventional contribution to the Daredevil mythos. The popular comparisons to Frank Miller's run are apt, particularly in the story's gritty tone- which matches the darkness and dread of even Born Again (and then some).
A brilliant, sprawling epic of one man's vigilantism as it comes crashing down around the very judicial system he upholds, and the effect this has on both friends and enemies...and much more besides.
"Hell's Kitchen" has seldom been this vibrant.


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