This week in popular culture: “Doctor Strange” “Moonlight” and a mess of albums

“The Lyrics, 1961-2012” by Bob Dylan (Simon & Schuster). As you might have heard, this guy just won the Nobel Prize in Literature. Here’s why, more or less. (Nov. 1)

“Avengers” #1 (Marvel). Good jumping on point for all things Avengers. Current roster includes Captain America (Sam Wilson), Thor (Jane Foster), Vision, The Wasp (Nadia Pym), Hercules, and Spider-Man (Peter Parker). Mark Waid writes, Mike Del Mundo draws. (Nov. 2)

“Champions” #2 (Marvel). Mark Waid is also writing this fun book, which focuses on younger heroes disillusioned with the old fogey Avengers.

“Doctor Strange.” The next chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe stars Benedict “Sherlock” Cumberbatch as Dr. Stephen Strange, an arrogant surgeon who becomes humbled after his hands are damaged in a car accident. Seeking answers to life, the universe and everything, he travels to the East to study that which man was maybe not meant to know and becomes a master of the mystic arts. There was a bit of drama over Tilda Swinton cast as the Tibetan-in-the-comics Ancient One, given that she is not Asian. Chiwetel Ejiofor plays Baron Mordo (who may or may not be a bad guy; he is in the comics), and Mads Mikkelsen plays the super-obscure baddie Kaecilius.

Dr. Strange is the creation of Marvel creative godfather Stan Lee and Steve Ditko, also the creative team behind Spider-Man (whatever happened to that character?). While Spider-Man was very much the Hero Who Could Be You (school/work stress, lived with weirdly old aunt, girl trouble) who fought (in the beginning, anyway) street crime and midpowered supervillains, Dr. Strange was the hero who lived in a weird pad in Greenwich Village, had a servant named Wong (mercifully not a servant in the movie) and fought bizarre baddies in other dimensions while holding his hands in really odd ways. In an era when Marvel was giving comics fans increasingly psychedelic work, “Strange” was the trippiest. With luck, this will be a Marvel movie with a look and feel unlike any other. (Nov. 4)

moonlight-poster “Moonlight.” Barry Jenkins writes and directs this adaptation of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s play “In Moonlight Black Boys Look Blue.” Starring University of Texas graduate Trevante Rhodes, André Holland, Janelle Monáe and Mahershala Ali, the film is the first in-house production from indie powerhouse A24. It is also absolutely, positively one of the year’s very best movies. (Nov. 4)

 Common, “Black America Again” (Artium/Def Jam). America’s favorite rapper-turned-actor who isn’t Will Smith (OK, maybe he’s more popular than Smith at this point) delivers a new album complete with Stevie Wonder, John Legend, Bilal, Syd tha Kid and more. (Nov. 4)

Jim James, “Eternally Even” (ATO/Capitol). The My Morning Jacket frontman produces an allegedly political album, so, you know, it’s come to this. (Nov. 4)

Alicia Keys, “Here” (RCA). It’s the singer and “Voice” co-host’s sixth album and her first since “Girl on Fire” from 2012. The collection will likely include “Blended Family,” “In Common” and “Hallelujah” (not the Leonard Cohen song). (Nov. 4)

Tad, “God’s Balls (Deluxe Edition),” “Salt Lick (Deluxe Edition),” “8-Way Santa (Deluxe Edition)” (Sub Pop). Everything grunge is new again with the re-release of this Seattle outfit’s 1989, 1990 and 1991 albums. (Nov. 4)


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