All posts filed under: film

Review: Perfidia, by James Ellroy (2014)

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books / film / film noir

Musical Accompaniment: “Life During Wartime” by the Talking Heads In retrospect, I probably wasn’t ready to fully appreciate Perfidia. For background, about five years ago, I tore through James Ellroy’s First L.A. Quartet over the course of a summer. I first got into them by way of Curtis Hanson’s film adaptation of L.A. Confidential, which remains one of my favourite movies ever, and also through Brian de Palma’s ill-fated adaptation of The Black Dahlia, which I still don’t think is […]

Review: Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh (2014)

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books / film noir

In a near-future New York City that has been ravaged by dirty bombs, climate change and massive depopulation, a former garbageman-turned-hired killer named Spademan plies his trade for a modest fee. The philosophically bent Spademan is somewhat understandably leery of learning too much about his clients and their targets as this could lead to complications, and what does it really matter in the end when his boxcutter is up against their throat? Most of the […]

Review: The Fictional Man, by Al Ewing (2013)

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books / comics / film

Here’s another fun Hollywood-centred novel to add to my recent reading, alongside Zeroville, Beautiful Ruins and Night Film. In a world just a few steps away from our own, cloning technology has advanced to the point that living, breathing humans can be crafted out of traits culled from a fictional work. Hollywood is eager to jump in on this innovation as it saves them having to think too hard about casting people for roles, and by […]

Review: Low Town, by Daniel Polansky (2010)

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books / film noir

In Rigus, capital city of the Thirteen Lands, the detritus, down-and-outers and addicts all live in the old part of the city, Low Town. It’s a place where you can satisfy whatever craving you have, as long as you’re willing to deal with the constant risk of violence, plague and corruption. The enigmatic rogue and war vet known only as “The Warden” has made Low Town the seat of his narcotics empire, having rose to […]

Sitting in the Dark With Strangers 2013 REVISED AND UPDATED

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sitting in the dark with strangers

Here’s a list of all the new movies I watched in theatres (for the most part) this year, ranked from 1-47. It was a very good year! Upstream Color Spring Breakers Inside Llewyn Davis The Act of Killing The World’s End 12 Years a Slave Stoker The Broken Circle Breakdown Pain and Gain Gravity From Up on Poppy Hill Sightseers This is the End Pacific Rim The Wolf of Wall Street Rush The Grandmaster (HK […]

Review: Zeroville, by Steve Erickson (2007)

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books / film

Musical Accompaniment: “The Right Profile”, by The Clash: I feel like I’ve been reading a lot of novels about the movies and Hollywood lately, and with the exception of Marisha Pessl’s Night Film they’ve all been pretty stellar. I even re-read Theodore Roszak’s Flicker after being so disappointed by Pessl’s book, and was pretty pleased to see that it still held up after all these years. Based on a recommendation I picked up Steve Erickson’s […]

Review: Beautiful Ruins, by Jess Walter

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books / film

The gods returned to Rome one last time in the summer of 1962, as filming began on the 20th Century Fox film Cleopatra. The production is now mostly known for being legendarily troubled and over-budget, the primary reason being the tempestuous romance between megastars Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. Their frequent lovers’ quarrels, combined with Taylor’s myriad health issues and Burton’s gargantuan drinking habit, made Cleopatra run way over schedule and even threatened to destroy […]

Review: Bleeding Edge, by Thomas Pynchon

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books / film / film noir

As some of my friends from university who I subjected to drunken attempts at getting them to read The Crying of Lot 49 might attest, trying to condense a Thomas Pynchon story into a short synopsis is a bit like trying to explain math to a cat. Here goes: Maxine Tarnow is a fraud investigator from New York’s Upper West Side circa early 2001, who’s officially lost her license but doesn’t really seem to mind all […]

Review: Night Film, by Marisha Pessl

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books / film

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A disgraced journalist is brought into a case involving a young woman who has disappeared from her father’s million-dollar estate. He teams up with a plucky female sidekick to figure out what’s going on, and ends up way over his head. While I could easily be describing Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo there, these are also the broad strokes that lie behind Night Film, […]

Late to the Party: The Teleportation Accident, by Ned Beauman

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books / film noir

  This was a great book. A breakneck mix of Pynchonesque rollicking party scenes, hardboiled dialogue, a milieu that recalls Isherwood, Orwellian down-and-outs, with the spectre of Lovecraft lurking around the proceedings from the 8th page onward, Ned Beauman’s second novel more than deserved to be longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and has me eager to read his first, Boxer, Beetle. Egon Loeser, whose name I alternated between pronouncing as “loser” and “laser” in […]