Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Some Books I've Read 9

Nancy Likes Christmas by Ernie Bushmiller
I'm still not quite sure if this is funny or not, but there's something fascinating about this strip, hypnotic even. I think I'm hooked, at least for a couple of books more.

The Twenty-Year Death by Ariel S. Winter
It consists of three novels, pastiches of Georges Simenon, Raymond Chandler and Jim Thompson, telling one story. An interesting idea, the Simenon part is maybe the weakest, and then ending with the strongest, the Thompson part. Each book is complete in itself. I thought maybe something would be revealed in the last one that changed the understanding of the two previous books, but that didn't happen.

The Stars At Noon by Denis Johnson
I finished the book, but I struggled a bit.

A Light That Never Goes Out by Tony Fletcher
A big, fat The Smiths biography. It's solid, even if Morrissey wouldn't talk to the writer. Don't drop it on your foot. At least not the hardcover.

The Given Day by Dennis Lehane
His novel about the Boston police strike. Lehane is a good writer, and it's an interesting time period. There's maybe a slight tv miniseries feel to the book, with the hero and heroine to root for and the bad guy to boo for. Not that there's anyting wrong with that.

Ghostwritten by David Mitchell.
My first Mitchell novel. And probably the last. I just found it a bit too new age-y, "everything is connected" and so on. The characters never came off as real people, they're just there to make some point, the dialogues didn't ring true.

Dockwood by Jon McNaught
The language of comics is still being created. It's always interesting to read something that feels new and different. Even though you can see some Chris Ware influence.

Currently reading:
Good Morning, Midnight by Jean Rhys
The Ecstasy of Influence by Jonathan Lethem

Monday, January 21, 2013

Pulp drawing

A drawing based on an old pulp illustration.

Django Unchained

So... am I the only one who was disappointed by this film? I enjoyed Inglourious Basterds. That first part, on the French farm, is some of Tarantino's strongest writing, and the last half hour was completely insane and unpredictable. Django Unchained on the other hand has Tarantino's maybe weakest script (next to Death Proof). In a revenge drama the story is already given. It needs some surprises. Here there are none, really. Even visually the film seems less assured than his previous films. The Candyland / Mandingo part feels pretty forced, with plenty of scenes or dialogue that could have been cut without much of a loss. I wanted to like this film, but... I didn't.

Top five Quentin Tarantino films:
1. Reservoir Dogs
2. Pulp Fiction
3. Kill Bill
4. Inglourious Basterds
5. Jackie Brown

Monday, January 14, 2013

Frida Kahlo

meets Jacques Tardi...


Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? Judex knows. Directed by Georges Franju.

It's one of those films you've subconsciously been looking for, and then you find it. Or it finds you. And it delivers! It has all the things a film should have: Disguises, magicians, men in cape, kidnappings, detectives, kid sidekicks, cat burglars, acrobats, rooftop fights. It's a remake of an old silent film serial and has that melodramatic quality you also find in Adèle Blanc-Sec. The story is mostly told visually, conversations are kept to a minimum. It's a strange and dreamlike film, and part of the fun is that the villainess is a lot more appealing than the square hero.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Lucky Luke

I'm re-reading my Lucky Luke albums. I have about 40 of them. Goscinny wrote some really clever and funny scripts. I got all the Asterix albums also, but I prefer the looser drawing style of Morris rather than Uderzo.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Robert Mitchum is haunted by a childhood trauma. Also starring Teresa Wright, directed by Raoul Walsh.

An interesting Western / Shakespearean drama (I guess! I've never seen any Shakespeare plays.) The story is told in flashbacks, like in Film Noir, but it's slightly artificial since Robert Mitchum is telling the story to Teresa Wright who already knows most of it. I wonder if this film was an inspiration for Death Rides A Horse, since it has a similar scene of a boy being witness to the death of his family and remembering one of the killers having boots with a particular set of spurs.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

One Million Years B.C.

Documentary about prehistoric life directed by Don Chaffey.

Dinosaurs! Giant spiders! Giant lizards! Cavegirls in bikinis! Raquel Welch! Loana! Tumak! Thunder! Volcano! Harryhausen! Tumak fighting dinosaurs! Tumak kills! Cavegirls catfight! Klarst! Flying dinosaurs! RAQUEL WELCH! Volcano erupting!