Thursday, November 28, 2013

Chris Isaak

Top 5 Chris Isaak songs:

1. Wicked Game
2. Back On Your Side
3. Heart Full of Soul
4. Blue Spanish Sky
5. Except The New Girl

Yes, I know, I know, having Wicked Game as no 1 is not the most original choice, but... it's a great song! The video isn't half bad either. The selftitled second album is his masterpiece, though. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


1. Ah, they should have made a film based on Ballad of the Salt Sea. About ten years ago. I think Daniel Day Lewis would have been a great Corto Maltese. Liv Tyler as Pandora. Not sure about who should have played Rasputin... Maybe Gary Oldman or Ralph Fiennes? And directed by Ang Lee or Peter Weir.

2. Watching JFK conspiracy videos on youtube is so yesterday. Now I've managed to get hooked on rewatching old episodes of L.A. Law. It was a pretty good show, yuppie or not. It's more than 25 years since I originally watched it, but there's lots of stuff I remember. Like the gorilla suit episode.

3. Damn, I was a bit disappointed by Inside Llewyn Davis. The film looks great, but the main character was so unlikable. Which is not necessarily a problem: Miller's Crossing being an example. I just never felt a connection to the story, and found the ending to be a bit weak. Too bad... The music was good, though.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Gunfight at the O.K. Corral

Burt Lancaster is Wyatt Earp, Kirk Douglas is Doc Holliday, there's a certain gunfight. Besides Lee Van Cleef and Jack Elam in small parts, there's also a young Dennis Hopper. Directed by John Sturges.

The film is closer to the real story than My Darling Clementine, but there are still some simplifications. There is no sheriff Johnny Behan for one thing. And Burt Lancaster doesn't wear the kind of soupcatcher mustache that the real Wyatt Earp had. The real shootout was over in 30 seconds - here it's dragged out to several minutes. There are two women in the film also, the classic good girl and bad girl, but they never really play a big part in the story. A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do, after all. Lancaster is fairly restrained as Wyatt, it's Douglas who's got the showy role as the terminally ill Doc. Besides being overlit in typical 50s style, it's not a bad film.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Some books I've read 13

The Letters of Ernest Hemingway vol. 2
The book covers the years 1923 - 25, leading up to his first novel The Sun Also Rises. There are letters to his family, including still polite ones to his mother, and to friends like Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound and Scott Fitzgerald. Some stuff about fishing and bullfighting, but he's still not the macho caricature he eventually ended up as.

The Voice Is All - The Lonely Victory of Jack Kerouac by Joyce Johnson
A sort of companion to Johnson's memoir Minor Characters. This book tells the story of Kerouac up to the point where they met, when he had finished writing On The Road. And that really was the peak of his life. She ends the book there, not going into his slow fall from grace, into a life of alcoholism and living with his mother. More than other biographers she concentrates  lot of time on his French Canadian background and how that influenced his writing.

Savage Continent - Europe in the Aftermath of World War II by Keith Lowe
A good book, mostly showing the great picture. And it's not a pretty picture, with lots of violence and killing even after the war ended. I would maybe have liked a bit more following the story of individuals over a longer period. But I guess there are other books that do that.

The Last Gunfight by Jeff Guinn
An interesting book, learning that it was Virgil Earp that was the police chief of Tombstone, not Wyatt, and that the famous shootout didn't even take place at the OK Corral. The backstory is fairly complicated. It's no wonder filmmakers just kept the names of the main characters and then made up the rest.

Palookaville 21 by Seth
I always look forward to a new Palookaville, but I found the Clyde Fans chapter to be a slightly frustrating read. Just when it's getting interesting it stops, and you have to wait a year or two for the next part. More than ever you can see the influence of Chris Ware in his work. My favourite part of the book is in his childhood memoir, Nothing Lasts, where the young Seth slowly realizes that his mother went through a period of mental illness and depression.

Gave up

on page 120: Alone in Berlin by Hans Fallada. I found the writing a bit weak. There wasn't the small details that make the story ring true. The characters never come to life. And 120 pages, but not a single sentence, where you go Wow, and have to read it out loud?

on page 86: Sometimes A Great Notion by Ken Kesey. I found the style, the constant jumping back and forth between the characters, hard to read and not appealing. And constantly having to reread things to understand who he was talking about... Maybe I'll give it a second try later.


Oh no, I've gotten hooked on watching JFK assassination conspiracy videos on youtube. This is the last thing I need! At least I haven't started reading all the books yet...

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Frankie and Johnny

Rewatched Frankie and Johnny, directed by Garry Marshall. It's a pretty good film. I like that there is some sadness in it. It's about two real people, so of course they're played by two moviestars, Michelle Pfeiffer and Al Pacino, but okay, that's fine, that's Hollywood - and they're both great. The wisecracking gay friend / neighbor has become a big cliché in this type of films, but I guess this was maybe one of his first appearances.

Top 5 romantic comedies even a guy can see without puking:

1. The Fabulous Baker Boys
2. Moonstruck
3. Sleepless in Seattle
4. Before Sunrise
5. Frankie and Johnny

Crossing Delancey and Green Card are quite good as well - hell, even Knocked Up. Groundhog Day? I'm excluding older films like It Happened One Night and Roman Holiday since they're more like classic comedies or screwballs, before romcoms became its own genre and then ruined by Kate Hudson.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


Why am I suddenly watching all these superhero films? I don't know. But anyway, I rewatched the first two X-men films. The CGI in the first one looks distractingly clumsy. The second one is a big step forward. Bryan Singer learned how to shoot action between the two films. And compared to a lot of the Marvel films like The Avengers, that look like tv with a bigger budget, Singer actually has the eye of a filmmaker.

Top 5 superhero films:
1: X2
2. Spider-Man 2
3: The Dark Knight
4: Thor 2
5: Iron Man

Monday, November 4, 2013

Thor: The Dark World

I rewatched the first Thor film and liked it better now the second time. It still has weaknesses, but I was more engaged in the story. It could have used a bit more time on the smaller scenes instead of constantly rushing on to the next fight scene or whatever, but I guess that's the way films are today. Then I watched Thor 2, and it was pretty great, actually.

It was dubbed into French, so I didn't understand everything, but ah, who cares, visually the film is HUGE. The way Asgard was portrayed was much better this time, less shiny - now it's actually a real place that people inhabit. I read some reviews that said the film dragged a bit in the middle, but I was never bored, really. There's lots of eyecandy to look at. The design people did a good job on creating a sort of... norsepunk? The director never does anything too fancy with the camera, he just tells the story. And there are even some good jokes!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Signing / Dédicace

I'll have a signing, together with American cartoonist Ted Naifeh, at the Azimuts comic book store in Montpellier Tuesday November 5, at 15.30.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Veronica or Lizabeth?

Veronica Lake looked great in photos, she's more iconic, but Lizabeth Scott was a better actress, plus she has that husky voice!