Friday, August 30, 2013

Wild River

Montgomery Clift is sent to Tennessee to buy land from an old widow, to build a dam that will stop floods, and falls for her granddaughter, Lee Remick. Directed by Elia Kazan.

Okay, maybe not a masterpiece in the same league as On The Waterfront, but still, a pretty good film, about both the good and the bad side of progress. Clift and Remick are very good and there's also the classic, understated direction by Kazan - not a single shakycam in sight.

If Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift were young today, what kind of movies would they do? Would they do superhero films? Would we see Brando as Wolverine or Clift as Batman? It's a bit depressing to think about.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Some Books I've Read 12

You're All Just Jealous of My Jetpack by Tom Gauld
Minimalistic and drily funny strips collected from The Guardian.

Sgt. Rock vol 3
Far too text heavy, often telling things you already see in the panels, just like in the EC comics - you end up just looking at the images by Joe Kubert (and sometimes Russ Heath), trying not to get ink in your eyes.

Billy Wilder in Hollywood by Maurice Zolotow
A great book about Wilder's life and career, not skipping the less successfull films of his later years.

Forgotten Voices of The Holocaust by Lyn Smith
Heartbreaking stories told by the survivors, and more powerful since you're getting the stories directly, in their own words, not retold by a writer.

Their Darkest Hour - People Tested to the Extreme in WWII by Laurence Rees
This on the other side has too short chapters, and it feels less powerful since you get the stories filtered through the writer.

After Daybreak - The Liberation of Belsen, 1945 by Ben Shephard
The story of the British troops and doctors trying to save the lives of the camp survivors, including mistakes that were done, causing more deaths.

Inside Scientology - The Story of America's Most Secretive Religion by Janet Reitman
It's an interesting book. So, apparently, Hubbard was a crook and the current leader, David Miscavige, is a sociopath. Most devastating are the chapters about the death of scientologist Lisa McPherson, that the church tried to cover up. Also, you'll never want to see another film with Tom Cruise.

Currently Reading:
Savage Continent - Europe in the Aftermath of World War II by Keith Lowe
We know what happened in WWII, but what happened after the end of the war, with people trying to survive in the ruins of Europe?

The Voice Is All - The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac by Joyce Johnson

Waiting to be read:
Surviving The Sword - Prisoners of the Japanese 1942 - 45 by Brian MacArthur
The Last Escape  - The Untold Story of Allied Prisoners of War in Germany by John Nichol and Tony Rennell
Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey

Friday, August 23, 2013

I am number four

It seems like Lost Cat is number 4 on the New York Times hardcover graphic novel bestseller list, between a Batman and a Wonder Woman book:

I'm not sure if I've been on the list before, or if not, why this is the book that made it, but anyway, thanks to everybody who bought a copy!

Morituri Zapata


World War 2. Marlon Brando is a German blackmailed by the English to be a saboteur. Can a good actor save a bad film? No. It's another one of Brando's many flops from the 60s. He's doing the German accent thing again, like in The Young Lions. It's a talkative film, not very exciting. Yul Brynner looks pretty bored. There are some 'splotions and stuff at the end, but it's too little too late.

Viva Zapata!

Much better! It takes some time to get used to Marlon Brando in brownface, to look more latin, but it's a good film, less dated than I feared, with Anthony Quinn as Brando's brother and a solid script by John Steinbeck.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Elmore Leonard

October 11, 1925 – August 20, 2013

Schindler's List

I'm reading Forgotten Voices of the Holocaust by Lyn Smith and Aamon Goeth's name is mentioned, so I thought I should re-watch Schindler's List, where Goeth is played by Ralph Fiennes. It's still an impressive film, but in my mind more uneven than Roman Polanski's The Pianist. In Spielberg's film there is a mix of documentary style images and more theatrical moments, like Goeth's monologue in front of the Jewish maid. The liquidation of the ghetto sequence is the real bravura part of the film. It belongs up there with the storming the beach sequence in Saving Private Ryan.

Of course, it's impossible now to watch Schindler's List without getting Louis CK and Seinfeld in your head. The Seinfeld parody is totally fair, I think. That scene in the film, where Schindler breaks down, is painfully phoney and sticks out like a sore thumb. Spielberg just couldn't help himself, I guess. But it could easily have been taken out, since the epilogue scene, where the real persons and the actors put a stone on Schindler's grave is a lot more powerful.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Aaand another

from Aint It Cool,

I hate to get all emo here, but reading the work of Jason hits me in places few other artists and writers could ever dream of doing. THE LOST CAT, containing all of the best elements of noir films such as THE BIG SLEEP and THE MALTESE FALCON, yet never forgetting to make us laugh with lines like, “That was straight out of the Rockford Files.” THE LOST CAT is another masterpiece in story and art from a true creator in the comics biz. If you’re a fan of powerful storytelling, strong characters, and moments that both caress and smack the soul, you should do yourself a favor and introduce yourself to the works of Jason. Start with THE LOST CAT and you’ll be hooked for life.

The Missouri Breaks

Jack Nicholson is a horsethief and Marlon Brando tries to capture him. Also starring Harry Dean Stanton, directed by Arthur Penn.

-Can I give my character an Irish accent?
-I guess you could, Marlon.
-And he's a birdwatcher.
-Well, Marlon, he's a regulator, you know, a gunman. This is a Western, after all.
-But he can still watch birds, no?
-Sigh... Okay, Marlon
-Can I wear a funny hat?
-Sure, Marlon,why not. You do whatever you want.

There was something wrong with my disc, so I was unable to watch the last half hour. I will never know how the story ends. Yes, life can be rough sometimes.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

And another

A review by Douglas Wolk inThe Washington Post,

“Lost Cat” is, in part, a riff on “The Big Sleep”: There’s a bookstore clerk, a significant nude picture, a P.I. getting roughed up at every turn. On the other hand, what it very cleverly builds toward isn’t exactly the resolution of a Raymond Chandler mystery. Its most “hard-boiled” moment is literal: Delon, alone in his kitchen, cooks some eggs, and when we look away from the stove again, years have passed. That’s followed by a third-act twist that has almost certainly never before happened in a noir story. Once again, Jason lets us know that what we’ve been reading is much stranger and sweeter — and darker — than we thought it was.

Bloom County

I've been rereading my Bloom County books. They're holding up quite well, I feel, no matter how 80s zeitgeist they are. I remember looking through Penguin Dreams and Stranger Things in my bookstore back in Oslo, never having heard of Bloom County before. The Michael Jackson glove strip clinched the deal and I bought the book. The strip peaked in the next book, Billy and The Boingers Bootleg, and then it unfortunately started going downhill in the next one, Tales Too Ticklish to Tell, with Breathed doing a lot of close-ups and changing the angle in each panel for no reason. If it aint broke, don't fix it.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

POP! list

A list of all the illustrations in POP!

Sayonara Black Rain


Marlon Brando falls in love with a Japanese woman.  It's one of those tragic love stories in an exotic location Hollywood did a lot of in the late fifties. It's slow, with stilted conversations and everybody is sleepwalking, including the camera. Brando is wasted - they should have asked Rock Hudson. Ricardo Montalban plays a Japanese man (and almost gets away with it) and apparently they also offered Audrey Hepburn the role as the Japanese love interest, but she wisely turned it down.

Black Rain:

Michael Douglas has to capture some yakuza guy in Tokyo. I saw this in the cinema when it came out. A second viewing now didn't improve my opinion. It's an 80s film, so will Douglas have a mullet and will there be a shitty synth score? Yes. It's directed by Ridley Scott, so will there be neon, smoke and wet pavements? Yes. Is it a good film? 'S okay, but too long. It looks good, very Bladerunnerish, but with a weak, clichéd script, you can't help but notice Scott's usual bag of visual tricks.

Monday, August 12, 2013


I've received an early copy of POP!, a collection of drawings - some of which have been posted on this blog - that will be published by Jippi Comics, , in September.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Another review...

this time from National Post, , saying among other things

And then comes the ridiculous twist in the end. It hits like almost divine irony, somewhere far deeper than just an absurd joke (though it is that, too). Jason is one of the few artists (or writers) who can make existential aches seem droll, but it makes the smiles being provoked feel as honest as the ones we get when standing across from someone who makes the world feel a little less lonely.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Sidney Lumet

Top 5 Sidney Lumet films:

1. 12 Angry Men
2. Dog Day Afternoon
3. Serpico
4. The Verdict
5. Before The Devil Knows You're Dead

The Blue Lotus

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Ah, youtube...

The dangers of youtube (rather than drawing your comics), part 2. There are lots of documentaries about or interviews with filmmakers. To watch stand up specials is also an easy way to lose time. Some people recommended Stewart Lee who I find a bit hard to get into. Dylan Moran on the other hand, the Irish comedian, is very funny, especially Monster. His sitcom, Black Books, I found less interesting. Demetri Martin is also a good comedian. I ended up getting his cd Stand Up Comedian.

And I got hooked on scientology. Not as a religion! Just by watching documentaries. There are two by John Sweeney from BBC. That lead to listening to podcast interviews with Lawrence Wright, the author of scientology exposé Going Clear. It's quite fascinating, and mindboggling, to learn about this "church", which in fact is a big bully, attacking members who has gotten out and whose response to any criticism is to lie about everything and then dig up dirt about the accuser. Not to mention Xenu the intergalactic warlord.