For more than twenty years, Jim Woodring’s elegantly wordless “Frank” comics have immersed readers in a dreamlike, richly allegorical milieu which is equal parts unsettling and whimsical. 2010’s Weathercraft is Woodring’s first long-form work and possibly his best-realized. It follows one character’s ascension from total debasement into a kind of unexpected nobility.
Check It Out Category: Picks by John
Running from 1978 to 1980 on British TV, The Sandbaggers was essentially the antithesis of the James Bond movies. It replaced exotic locations and outlandish action sequences with a John le Carre-flavored down-to-earth emphasis on the political and emotional cost of espionage work, and was never less than totally absorbing.
Paranoia Agent was the late anime master Satoshi Kon’s sole foray into television; this enigmatic, visually arresting and borderline Lynchian series follows a disparate group of Tokyo residents whose lives are impacted by a string of mysterious assaults.
Phase IV was the celebrated graphic designer Saul Bass’ lone film as a director, a cerebral and visually assured science fiction exercise depicting an ordinary ant colony unnervingly transformed into a genuinely alien intelligence.
Confirmed cynic Orson Welles reportedly said of Make Way for Tomorrow, “It could make a stone cry”—and this bittersweet, sharply observed, utterly heartbreaking 1937 picture will almost certainly move you as well.