Thursday, September 27, 2012

I often have this dream

Wyatt Earp

Wyatt Earp, by Lawrence Kasdan and with Kevin Costner in the title role, is a looong film - more than three hours. I like long films, but it helps if they're about interesting people. It's maybe more authentic than My Darling Clementine was, but where's the story? This film is pretty much, Earp lost his young wife which turned him into a grumpy old man. Then he shot some people. Okay... That's it? He meets Doc Holiday 85 minutes into the film, and for the first time there is some real energy in the film. You can't help but feel you'd rather follow Dennis Quaid as Doc, and see what happens to him. There's the standard Western scene of a guy buying a round of drinks for everybody, and then one guy, here Earp, refusing, causing a big fight. I wonder - did that actually happen in the Wild West, even once? The music, by James Newton Howard, is just far too pompous. It's a Western, put in a fiddle!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


Top 5 used bookstores in Montreal:

1. Encore Books & Records, 5670 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest
2. Odyssey Bookstore, 1439 Rue Stanley
3. The Word, 468 Rue Milton
4. SW Welch, 225 Rue Saint Viateur Ouest
5. Westcott Books, 4065 St Laurent

Encore is on the other side of town, so I've only been there once. It's huge. Westcott I mostly like for the two store cats. You can't help but like a bookstore with a fat cat sleeping right in front of the Hemingway books in the H section. Okay, you get the books for half the price at amazon, but you can't pet their cats.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Hello Emmy Lou

I've watched my first Emmy. It was... pretty boring. The scripted banter was mostly unfunny. On the other hand: Kat Dennings. And hey, two Emmys for Louis CK! I've seen the first episode of Homeland and will be binge watching the rest when I get the dvds. One of the channels showed Capote a couple of days ago. It's a great film. It's probably the best film I've seen during my three month stay in Montreal. I watched two films in a multi plex, Batman and Prometheus, both kind of meh, and as a movie experience kind of depressing, actually. The moment you step inside you feel like a consumer target. There must have been at least 15 minutes of commercials before the film. If you're over 25 years old you can't help but feel unwelcome by the constant pop music. Before Prometheus they played Barbiegirl, for pete's sake! I almost left before the film began...

I caught the end of The Majestic on tv the other day, the film by Frank Darabont with Jim Carrey in the lead. It seemed to be an oldfashioned film, Capraesque, but also quite slow. Anyway, the film takes place in the 50s and partly in this really amazing cinema. I don't know how typical that cinema was for the 50s, probably not too much, but still, compared to cinemas today... Come, come, nuclear bomb.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Tim Burton

There's a nice interview with Tim Burton in The New York Times, here:

I haven't seen Dark Shadows and don't really want to. I caught about 15-20 minutes of Alice in Wonderland on some channel and turned it off. I still have some faith in Burton. I liked Sweeney Todd and look forward to Frankenweenie. But I think I can pinpoint the exact moment I stopped being a fan: When he chose to do the aliens in Mars Attacks as CGI. That should have been guys in suits! Maybe with some tweaking in CGI. That should never have been a big budget movie. It should have had a low budget, like an Ed Woods film, and then Burton could see if he was able to recreate the poetry of those old horror movies. What I like about the early films - Pee Wee Herman's Big Adventure, Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands - is that they're not perfect. The special effects are clunky. That's part of the charm! It's strange to think about, that if he had made those movies today, with CGI and possibly in 3D, I'm sure they would be just as ugly as Charlie And The Chocolate Factory was and I would hate them.

Girl Reading

Friday, September 21, 2012

Happy birthday, Leonard Cohen!

I said to Hank Williams: how lonely does it get?
Hank Williams hasn't answered yet
But I hear him coughing all night long
A hundred floors above me
In the Tower of Song


I remember watching this French tv series as a kid about a man avenging the death of his girlfriend. Some hunters in a small plane throw a bottle out the window. It hits a woman on the head and she dies. Her boyfriend finds out what happened and one by one kills the people on the plane. He has a notebook with their names written down. After each death he puts a cross by the name and says, -Puni. Punished. That's about all I remember, but that series made a big impression on me. It was a major inspiration for my story Emily Says Hello.

It was exciting to discover that this story is based upon a novel by Cornell Woolrich. Some googling made me learn that the tv series, Rendez-vous en Noir,  was made in 77, with Daniel Auteuil as one of the actors. And the boyfriend doesn't kill the killers, he kills their wives or girlfriends. I remembered that wrong. Anyway, the book is ordered and I look forward to reading it. I might set myself up for a disappointment. Will the book make the same impression on me as an adult as the tv series did on me as a kid?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Draw Me A Detective...

I've been goofing off lately, not drawing anything. The story is told, all the decisions have been made, all the dialogue written. What remains is the boring stuff, background details and so on. But there's only one week left in Montreal, and I will finish the last ten pages before going back to Europe. Once I'm back (unless my apartment has burned down or something, who knows) I will scan some of the pages and put them up here. The book should be published, both in French and in English, in the spring next year.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Les Simpson

It's strange to watch episodes of The Simpsons dubbed into French Canadian. It's very different from the French dubbing. It's also strange to watch the early episodes, how much it has changed. But it is only to be expected, I guess. It takes some time for cartoonists and animators to find the characters. I also saw a newer episode and was a bit surprised by how far the quality has sunk. In the episode Lisa meets a boy referred to as hemingwayesque, and in a dreamsequence we meet Hemingway's two first wives, Hadley Richardson and Pauline Pfeiffer. So it was interesting, surreal almost, but it forgot to be funny!

There's about 50 channels on my tv here, a mix of Canadian and American. There are lots of shows I've never seen before, but the only one that actually is pretty funny and has likable characters is Big Bang Theory. One of the channels sends an episode each evening, so I will have seen the two first seasons by the time I go back to France.

And, apropos of nothing, is there something particular about Canadians and tattoos? It just seems a lot more common here than any other place I've been.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Madeleine Peyroux

               I was sitting in a Starbucks enjoying a caramel macchiato when they played this song, and for a second there I thought I was in heaven. What would a Leonard Cohen song covered by Billie Holiday sound like? Well, something like this.        

Stuff bought in Montreal

Crimes in Southern Indiana by Frank Bill
The Collected Stories by Carson McCullers
The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
Beautiful Losers by Leonard Cohen
Goliath by Tom Gauld
Papa: Hemingway in Key West by James McLendon
Hemingway: The Toronto Years by William Burrill
The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler

I already got the two Chandler books, but I really like the design of the Vintage Crime / Black Lizard editions. I already got five books in this series, and will probably go look for the two last ones as well, even though I already got those in other editions. Just to have all nine books of the series complete on my shelf, and I can see the similar spines each time I walk by! Why is that so important, really? I don't know! Help!

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by David Fincher
Season 8 of Seinfeld
Season 6 of Northern Exposure
Season 2 of Louie

The Girl is well done, but strangely uninvolving and less re-watchable than Seven and Zodiac.

You better talk to my mother

Monday, September 10, 2012

Summer has peaked

and fall is coming. I've spent more time biking around town than drawing lately. It would be a bit of a shame if I went back to France and only had seen the inside of my rented apartment, after all. I rode my bike up to Chalet Mont Royal and watched the view of Montreal from the lookout. It's pretty impressive. I didn't go inside the chalet, though. Maybe I should have. Also, I unfortunetely didn't have a time machine.