Saturday, September 27, 2014
As a facebook challenge I was asked to list ten books that have made an impression on me. Here's my list. For today. It might change tomorrow.
Sveve over vatna by Ragnar Hovland. A Norwegian novel by my favourite Norwegian writer.
Pet Sematary by Stephen King. In my late teens and early 20s Stephen King was my favourite writer. His books peaked with this one, I feel, and then it started going downhill. I gave up halfways in The Tommyknockers and haven't read anything by King after that.
Post Office by Charles Bukowski. I believe this was the first book I read by Bukowski. It left its marks.
The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway. Good old Hem, hard to avoid. This one, A Farewell to Arms and his short stories haven't lost any of their power.
The Cider House Rules by John Irving. Garp was the first book I read by Irving, then Hotel New Hampshire. Rules is still my favourite. After A Prayer for Owen Meany his books have been more uneven.
Moon Palace by Paul Auster. The first book I read by Auster. The rule that coïncidences happen in real life but not in books? Paul Auster doesn't give a damn about that rule.
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. East of Eden is also a masterpiece, but I think I would still place this a bit higher.
The Stories of Raymond Carver. The first book I read by Carver was Fires. Then I went back to the bookshop and bought this one that collects Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love and Cathedral. Short stories at their best.
Dreams of Leaving by Rupert Thomson. Maybe not his best book, but his first one and the first one of his I read. His later books have so far not disappointed.
Jesus' Son by Denis Johnson. A fairly recent discovery. I read Nobody Move first, then this one and Angels and became a big fan. Haven't been able to get through the whole Tree of Smoke yet, though...
Some books that were on the list but then fell off: Froth on the Daydream by Boris Vian, Pick-up by Charles Willeford, Down There by David Goodis, Anagrams by Lorrie Moore and Ask The Dust by John Fante.
Friday, September 26, 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
Sunday, September 21, 2014
So I re-watched Dark Knight Rises, and boy, it doesn't really hold up much, does it? Catwoman is pretty boring. She's feisty in a politically correct way. And her arc is she doesn't care about anybody, oh, no, wait, she does care. The only fun scenes are the ones involving Bane, and that's mostly because of his voice. If Nolan had told Hardy, no, don't do that silly voice, the whole film would have been worthless.
Drive is my first Nicolas Winding Refn film and my first Ryan Gosling film, and now I want to see all their films. Refn is like a young Ridley Scott, and Gosling has almost a Steve McQueenish vibe. The film is very stylish, but there's also a slight... emptiness? It's all pretty much surface. But that's okay now and then. Ordered Valhalla Rising.
Season 4 of Justified was pretty good, after the disappointing third season, but maybe not quite up to the second one. If I have a problem with the show it's that it moves so quickly. A lot of story is jammed into the 38 - 40 minutes of each episode. Slow it down, guys! Creating tension takes time.
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Tuesday, September 16, 2014
It turns out I don't like James L. Brooks films. I didn't like As Good As It Gets or Broadcast News. And now this film. Why did I watch it? Well, it won a bunch of oscars, including best film, and Jack Nicholson is in it. But it hasn't aged well. There's an annoying cuteness throughout the film. Even Shirley MacLaine's Give my daughter her shot! scene has a sitcom feel to it. And am I a complete monster for feeling nothing at the end, when, spoiler, Debra Winger dies? I have nothing against a good tearjerker. Kramer vs Kramer, E.T., It's a Wonderful Life, hell, even Forrest Gump... but this one doesn't work for me.
Friday, September 12, 2014
Gary Groth asked me for a synopsis of the new book, to be used in the Summer 2015 catalogue. Here's what I wrote:
A somewhat lighter collection of material from Jason this time, consisting of eleven stories that mix pop culture and genres, pastiches and mash-ups. Frida Kahlo is a hired killer. Santo, the Mexican wrestling film star, faces his ultimate challenge. The rise and fall of Chet Baker, told in six pages. Night of the Vampire Hunter. The last word on the JFK assassination conspiracies. A heist story told in non chronological order, that also somehow includes images by Magritte. A big bug story based on the 50's black and white films. And what would Van Morrison's Moondance album look like if it was a horror comic? All as foretold by Nostradamus.
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Monday, September 8, 2014
Friday, September 5, 2014
Corrupt L.A. in the 50s. A series of murder cases, three different detectives. Directed by Curtis Hanson.
Ah, Russel Crowe was a young, promising actor once. Guy Pearce has done a better job choosing good scripts after this film. Hanson doesn't go overboard in film noir pastiches, giving it a more contemporary look, but c'mon, not even the journalists wear hats?! All the actors do good work, but the real star of the film is the sharp as a nail script. As a viewer you're asked to actually pay attention, something that doesn't happen too much in movies today, and at the end it pays off - you feel like you've taken a real journey with these characters. This is the film that should have won the Oscar for 97, not Titanic, but oh, well... Rollo Tomassi.