Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Monday, November 26, 2012
Who can you trust? No one. I think it's a better film than Heist. For a long part you're not quite sure where the story is going. Then unfortunately it stumbles at the end. One twist too many. I think a darker, less happy ending would have been more satisfying - at least for us pessimists. I put a thief in my mouth to steal my brains.
Top five Mamet films:
1. House of Games
2. The Spanish Prisoner
3. Glengarry Glenn Ross
Friday, November 23, 2012
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
Well written, even though I'm not sure it brings that much new compared to the previous Chandler biographies. But it's always interesting to see how much a writer puts of himself into his literary character. Hergé said "Tintin, that's me." and Raymond Chandler is Philip Marlowe, or who he wanted to be.
That Summer in Paris by Morley Callaghan
An interesting book, and probably as close to the truth we're going to get about the famous boxing fight between him and Ernest Hemingway. At least truer than Hemingway's version, in a letter to Maxwell Perkins, claiming he was so drunk he could hardly see.
The Name of The World by Denis Johnson
Great novel, and very different from the Denis Johnson of Jesus' Son and Angels.
Winter Journal by Paul Auster.
Good but uneven memoir. Not the masterpiece that The Invention of Solitude was - though I should reread that book. Auster making a list of all the apartments and houses he's lived in is fine, but did we need two pages of his wife's board meeting reports?
Rendezvous in Black by Cornell Woolrich
Pretty good noir novel. Some of his books can be a bit hard to get through - they're more about the plot than about the characters, but this is a well written book, full of plotholes though it may be.
I'm Your Man: The Life of Leonard Cohen by Sylvie Simmons
I already got two biographies of Leonard Cohen, but I think this is the best one. Lots of stuff I didn't know, like him doing concerts at mental hospitals - a bit like Johnny Cash did in prisons. And the crazy story about his manager stealing all his money, that also includes a parrot saying " I see dead people." Yes. And it made me want to listen to the cds he did after I'm Your Man, that so far I've just skipped.
Came The Dawn by Wallace Wood
I planned to start buying the EC books from Fantagraphics, but based on this book I might... not. All the stories are seven pages, so okay, some narration is necessary, but they're just totally overwritten, stating things already shown in the drawings. The plots and twist endings are mostly pretty silly or dated. I can enjoy Wood's art as illustrations - they're gorgeous - but for me personally it works less as comics. And Wood was one of those cartoonists that had to fill every inch of every panel. Let the page breathe a bit! What's wrong with some open space?
Monday, November 19, 2012
Saturday, November 17, 2012
Friday, November 16, 2012
I haven't seen that many Altman films. Just this one, The Long Goodbye and Short Cuts. Personally I find them a bit hard to like - they're just too slow and not very fun. But that's a matter of personal taste. At least they're films for adults, something that hardly exists anymore. I liked the use of Leonard Cohen songs and the ending is very effective, despite the obviously fake snow storm. And I'm still curious about his film Nashville - I'll watch it if I find a copy.
A big budget three hour epic about an American communist? How the hell did this movie get a greenlight? By Warren Beatty being a big star at the time, I suppose. Anyway, it's pretty good. It takes its time, making us care about the characters. I must confess I don't know much about John Reed and the Wobblies and all that, only what I've picked up from reading Dos Passos. The film has lots of political arguing and so on, but there's also the good old reuniting of two people in a train station scene, always a classic.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
Kirk Douglas is a ruthless film producer. Also starring Lana Turner and Dick Powell, directed by Vincente Minnelli.
Ah, classic Hollywood! About Hollywood! In black and white! There are three stories, told in flashbacks, almost like a film noir. The film looks great. There are the 50s cars, and even, in one scene, you can see the iconic Hopper gas station pumps, and the Hollywood stuff is intriguing, like seeing that they did previews and asked for viewer comments even then, but the actual story, or stories, is less interesting and a bit hard to care about.
Monday, November 12, 2012
Gene Hackman and Delroy Lindo steal a bunch of gold for Danny DeVito. Or do they? Also starring Sam Rockwell, written and directed by David Mamet.
If you say you're gonna do the job, do the job. Since it's a Mamet film you know there's gonna be a twist. You wait for the twist. Is there gonna be a twist? There is a twist. What's the twist? I'm not gonna say. You're just too hip to be happy. Does the film have the Mamet lingo? Yes, it does. It has the Mamet lingo. It's poetry. Okay? It's fucking poetry. Is it a better film than House of Games? No, I think I still prefer House of Games. How long is a Chinaman's name. Okay? Okay.
Sunday, November 11, 2012
Rewatched the film and... still don't like it. The dialogues are just too silly and modern sounding. Okay, the film is more authentic than John Ford's version, but there are a lot of characters and backstory, and I think you really need to simplify or re-invent this story to make it work. Neither Kurt Russell here or Kevin Costner in his film manage to make Wyatt Earp into an interesting figure. Again, it's Doc Holliday that steals the show; Val Kilmer has the best lines of dialogue and his deathbed scene is the best scene of the film. Not sure if the director's cut brings anything new to the film, and anyway, I thought Kurt Russell was the one calling the shots after the original director had been fired early in the filming, not George P. Cosmatos.
Friday, November 2, 2012
It's a great little Western, and probably the darkest version of this particular story. It has the slowness of the 70s films, it's not all about the plot - there's the little details that make Doc and Kate seem like real people. Everybody is dirty and unshaved, the actors mumble their lines (so it's a bit unfortunate that there is no subtitles option.) Dunaway must be the ultimate 70s actress - next to Karen Black, I guess - and she does a good job here. Keach and Yulin are both terrific, neither heroes or villains. And the actual shootout is not dragged out,15 seconds and it's over.
Should I give Tombstone a second chance? I didn't like it the first time I saw it. Maybe the director's cut... I also see there's a movie called Hour of The Gun, a sort of sequel to Gunfight at The O.K. Corral, by John Sturges, but with other actors and made ten years later.
Thursday, November 1, 2012
Possibly not Kaurismäki's best film, but very hard to resist. A mix of Poetic Realism and Deadpan Fairy Tale, with the usual Finnish melancholy underneath, and probably Kaurismäki's most political and most optimistic film. It's a long way from The Match Factory Girl. Old Aki is growing softer, like most of us. There's a belief in the community and the good of man. Without making you want to puke. The cinematography has a touch of Edward Hopper, with diagonal lines of light from the windows.