Monday, January 5, 2015

2014 Favorites

License:  Attribution    Some rights reserved by Alberto OG
I'm having a hard time building up to blogging much. I don't have much to talk about and I was almost completely offline for almost two months, so I don't have much news I can comment on. Since money is low currently, I can't really talk about movies or comics because I haven't seen or read any in a long time. And I performed rather pathetically on the reading front this year, with only 12 read in the WHOLE YEAR--Jesus what did I do with my time??

On top of all of that, I have this general mmmmbllllleeeerrrrrrrrgjkdlajgdafdafjkldaldieaveajiaeila feeling. I think that's a German term. Those Germans, always saying what English can't.

Anyway, since I'm still having trouble with blogging anything with any real enthusiasm, I've decided this is my "Fuck it. Here are some things I liked. Look into them if you want." Very little commentary or analysis because mmmmbllllleeeerrrrrrrrgjkdlajgdafdafjkldaldieaveajiaeila.

Okay?

Okay.

BOOKS

1. The Cormorant - Chuck Wendig
It's Chuck Wendig. It's Miriam Black. She's always great. Read this.

2. The Explorer - James Smythe
Very Twilight Zoney. I don't necessarily want to spoil the book but an astronaut is the sole survivor on a spacecraft that is drifting into space. Then things get worse. Thrilling. Dark. Great.

3. How to be Black - Baratunde Thurston
This book is hilarious. It's also a sometimes painful look at the relations between white people and black people. Read it. Learn from it.

4. The Mirror Empire - Kameron Hurley
Kameron Hurley is so goddamned talented it almost makes me angry. This book is action packed with one of the most inventive alt-world settings I've ever seen, and if that weren't enough, she packs the book with gender-binary defying individuals, people all across the sexuality spectrum, and a twisty, tense, plot. Makes me want to throw my writing racket down a la Jon Hamm in 30 Rock: "This keyboard is a fart. And SHE CHEATS!"

5. My Soul to Keep - Tananarive Due
An African inspired horror novel. What if you could never die? How would living through the ages affect your ability to relate to your fellow man? Is that a gift or a curse? Tananarive Due has me hooked and someday when I have two coins to scratch together, I'd like to read the next book in the series.

6. Revival - Stephen King
It's Stephen King. That should be enough. But if it's not: batshit Frankenstein homage with a little splash of Lovecraftian...sorta. It's one of King's best horror novels in a long time.
7. The Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroines - Mike Madrid
I knew a lot of the information in this book before going in. Even still, I learned a lot, and seeing the trends and character choices for various female characters contextualized was both eye opening and rage inducing. Smart, accessible, and often very wry.


COMICS

Before money became a thing only heard about in songs and legends from the days of old, this was my pull list. I recommend all of these as they are consistently fantastic and, unless something has changed since I last heard, it's BULLSHIT that She-Hulk is being cancelled.

1. Storm
2. Captain Marvel
3. Ms. Marvel
4. She-Hulk
5. Sex Criminals


MOVIES

Below are my favorite movies I saw this year. Not all came out this year. I just saw them.

1. Pontypool
Fantastic and trippy. A zombie-like virus is transmitted through words--hear the wrong word, and you're done for.

2. The Slanted Screen
A look at the history of Asian actors on screen. Very enlightening, and often very sad.

3. Inequality for All
Honestly, although this film tried to be uplifting, it was very depressing. I already knew on a surface level a lot of this, but, like the superheroine book above, seeing it all laid out was eyeopening.

From Google: "Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich discusses the grave economic and social consequences that may result if the gulf between rich and poor continues to widen."

4. Oculus
One of the best horror movies of the year. Fun, trippy, mind-freaky. With smart characters, no less.

5. X-Men: Days of Future Past
Fun follow up to First Class.

6.The Caller
Great. Tense. Surprisingly dark. Very fucked up. This was an unexpected gem I stumbled across on Netflix.

7. Edge of Tomorrow
A fantastic sci-fi movie with a very unique concept. It's a shame this didn't do better. As far as big-budget Hollywood sci-fi movies goes, this should have done gangbusters. The time-loop concept was used smartly, and the characters were all compelling, even Tom Cruise.

8. Guardians of the Galaxy
If you haven't seen this, I don't know what's stopping you. One of the most fun movies of the year.

9. Gone Girl
I loved the book. I loved the movie. Dark, twisted, and leaves a lot to chew on after watching.

10. Big Hero Six
Probably the most fun movie I watched this year. Fantastic. I loved this movie. Very much a spiritual successor to The Incredibles. I want this to become a franchise.