This week is shaping up to be a very good one — good enough to tear me away from my shameless and repeated Justified viewings. (Truthfully, I think my fiancé is growing tired of hearing about Timothy Olyphant's unstoppable dreaminess, so this branching out is going to be a win for all of us.) Here's what I'm looking forward to this week.
By now, we all know that comics can be smart, political, witty, and moving. (Right?) Saga, the current comics, uh...saga from writer Brian K. Vaughan and artist Fiona Staples, is all of those things and more. It's a space opera about love and war, and I know that makes the story sound incredibly dorky, but hey, you liked Star Wars, didn't you? (I refer to episodes IV through VI only, of course.)
So, here's the deal. Alana and Marko are a pair of super-hot extraterrestrials from warring planets. Marko, a prisoner of war, meets Alana, who abandons her guard to fly off with him (forbidden love!). When we first meet the pair, Alana is giving birth to their daughter, Hazel — all while vicious bounty hunters are chasing down the family. There's magic, technology, family drama, a newborn with horns, and strong character development. I'll admit to a crush on Marko, who's pretty damn charming. But, Alana is as tough as tough can be, and she's yet another well-written woman within the Vaughanverse.
The next installment of the story arrives on Wednesday, but if your interest is piqued, I recommend starting with the first volume. Just don't blame me if you get caught up in the sexual friction between Alana and Marko. Those two are something else.
Watch: Ain't Them Bodies Saints
From the trailer for this indie drama, I'm picking up a vague Bonnie and Clyde vibe — which is, in my book, a very good thing. Ruth Guthrie and Bob Muldoon (Rooney Mara and Casey Affleck) play young, gorgeous, crazy-in-love outlaws living in 1970s Texas. While on the run, Bob takes the blame for Ruth's crime, and he's hit with a prison sentence.
Fast-forward a few years, and an incarcerated Bob discovers that he and Ruth have a child. So, he escapes from prison to seek his family. Except...while Bob's been on the inside, Ruth has been creating a new life for her and their daughter. I haven't seen the film, but I don't think it's unreasonable to imagine that drama and heartbreak will ensue. Especially because of the gorgeous cinematography, which won an award at Sundance, this film looks like one to watch (literally, figuratively) when it opens on Friday.
Play: Valerie June, Pushin' Against A Stone
I first heard about this singer a few months ago while in France, where every magazine seemed to be writing about the très cool Valerie June. It's easy to see why: She's stunning, but more importantly, the woman can sing. (And play the guitar, banjo, and ukulele, if you're counting.)
June's music spans blues, folk, and country, all done with a Southern flavor that showcases her Tennessee roots. Her new album, Pushin' Against A Stone, was co-produced with the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach — and while you can hear his influence, it's June who justifiably stands out most. It's out in the States this week, and if the slinky thump of "You Can't Be Told" doesn't get your hips swaying, I don't know what will.