Check It Out Category: Picks by John

Staff Pick: The Long Goodbye

Picture of JohnRobert Altman’s pastel-noir subversion of the hard-boiled detective genre, The Long Goodbye, replaces Bogart’s iconic version of Philip Marlowe with a mumbling, likably disheveled portrayal by Elliott Gould. The film’s labyrinthine plot duels a loose, improvisational tone against a backdrop of playful details – until things suddenly get less playful…

Staff Pick: The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye by Sonny Liew

Picture of Summer Reading House headerThere are 8 more days until the end of Summer Reading! Every day during our countdown we will be featuring slices of library life, books, and topics designed to help you out as you work through 2017 Summer Reading at Mount Prospect. Read more about how you can join in on this celebration of reading and enter to win prizes!

Picture of JohnSonny Liew’s intricately invented graphic history traces the career of fictional comic artist Chan Hock Chye, with the sociopolitical history of Singapore cleverly mirroring the evolution of the comics medium as depicted via a dazzling series of pastiches. Spanning eight decades, The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye finds bittersweet parallels between artistic ambition and political idealism.

Read this for Summer Reading!

For the DIY Designers…
This book may be counted as a graphic novel, one everyone is talking about (it won the Eisner award), a book with a person of color as author, or a book under 150 pages.

For the Master Class Designers…
This may count as a book with a person of color as author or as a book highlighted on the MPPL website.

Staff Pick: The Young Girls of Rochefort

Picture of JohnPossibly one of the most gorgeous motion pictures ever made (and a major inspiration for La La Land), Jacques Demy’s The Young Girls of Rochefort takes the conventional musical off the studio set and envigorates it with colorful sunlit location shooting. Vibrant, occasionally silly, and about as charming a film as you’re ever likely to see, this picture seems to capture the very essence of springtime.

Staff Pick: 24 Hour Party People

Picture of JohnLike any number of films “based on a true story,” the docu-comedy 24 Hour Party People frequently exaggerates, distorts, fabricates and otherwise obfuscates the historical truth of its subject matter (in this case, the Manchester music scene of the 80s and 90s).  The difference is, this picture does so openly, amusingly, and with a cheerful wink to its audience.

Staff Pick: The Time by The Time (a side project by Prince)

Picture of JohnRumor has it that The Time’s eponymous debut album is effectively a Prince solo side project:  written, produced and performed by the legendarily prolific artist, with Morris Day’s vocals the only other contribution.  True or false, this slice of outstanding pop-funk can easily stand alongside the Purple One’s Dirty Mind/Controversy-era peak.

Staff Pick: The Disaster Artist by Greg Sestero

Disaster Artist Book CoverGreg Sestero’s memoir The Disaster Artist details his time as a reluctant star of the modern cult classic movie The Room, exploring his awkward friendship with the film’s bizarre writer-director-star Tommy Wiseau.  Sestero’s narration of the audiobook allows him to show off his uncanny Wiseau impression across a series of hilarious anecdotes.

Staff Pick: Dead Alive

Picture of JohnPeter Jackson’s Dead Alive reigns undisputed as the messiest zombie movie ever made. In Jackson’s gleefully over-the-top, relentlessly gory, black comedy, Lionel’s overbearing mother receives a bite of an evil Sumatran “rat monkey”. Soon she’s snacking on the neighbors, who rapidly zombify – and then things escalate (watch for the lawnmower).

 

Staff Pick: Jodorowsky’s Dune

Picture of JohnThe documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune chronicles the cult filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky’s mid-70’s attempt to mount an adaptation of Frank Herbert’s classic SF novel Dune.  Jodorowsky is a magnetic raconteur, detailing plans (A score by Pink Floyd!  Designs by Moebius!  Casting Salvador Dali and Mick Jagger in roles!) that suggest a fascinating divergence from the eventual 1984 David Lynch film.

Staff Pick: Here by Richard McGuire

Cover of HereJohn of Fiction/AV/Teen Services suggests Here by Richard McGuire

Richard McGuire’s inventive graphic novel Here is set in a single location for its entire duration: the corner of a room in a house.  However, each double-page image depicts this fixed space at a different moment throughout time, ranging the complete span of human history and beyond.   Grand changes play out over the years, juxtaposed against mundane still moments in the lives the home’s various inhabitants.  Events echo throughout time, such as when a window into the décor of 2014 is used to resonate with a scene from 1775.   Styles change, children grow older, and lives unfold in unexpectedly affecting fragments.  Here demonstrates that both the beautiful and ordinary qualities of life alike can remain strangely similar in any era.

For more formally complex graphic novels, try…

Cover of Ice HavenA series of stylistically diverse chapters mimicking comic strips collectively offer a multifaceted portrayal of a small Midwestern town in Ice Haven by Daniel Clowes.

Cover of An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True StoriesMcGuire’s original 1989 short story version of “Here” is featured in An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons & True Stories Volume 1 edited by Ivan Brunetti.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cover of Building Stories Building Stories by Chris Ware follows the dissatisfactions of a young woman and her neighbors across fourteen distinct printed comics.

Cover of BodyworldDash Shaw’s Bodyworld tells its futuristic tale of drug-induced telepathy as a vertical scroll of expressionistic imagery, illustrating a full range of sensory experiences.

Cover of Asterios Polyp Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli concerns a story of architecture and design, mirrored in its own elegantly crafted visual construction.