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Everything posted by NBooth

  1. Sufjan Stevens?!? (update: interesting review)

    Surprise Sufjan.
  2. This might be of interest around these parts primarily for the Sufjan Stevens connection (that is, Stevens is providing the soundtrack, so here's a link to our thread): Aciman's most recent novel, Enigma Variations is getting a little positive buzz.
  3. David Peace

    I can't believe I didn't update the thread. Who Is Patient X? The new novel by David Peace. Not a conclusion to the Tokyo Trilogy--which is now scheduled to end in 2019 (maybe). Another thing entirely, though still set in Japan:
  4. Link to our threads on the movie versions of Red Riding and The Damned Utd. Link, too, to our thread on "Mystery and Detective Fiction" where Peace's books come up. Right, then. All linking being out of the way...has anyone else here read Peace? I'm midway through the Red Riding Quartet, having finished all that's out of the Tokyo Trilogy, and I'm absolutely in love with this man's work. Which is an odd thing to say, given the topics he writes about (and, if anything, his books are darker than the films based on them, as I observed here), but something about his books compels reading. They're not for the faint of heart; even his protagonists do horrible things to themselves and to other people, and the worlds he writes about (Yorkshire in the seventies; Tokyo just after WWII) are decaying and sordid. Things seldom end well; if you're the protagonist in a Peace novel you can bet that you'll end up insane, dead, or insane then dead. And yet, Peace shows the desperation of these times and men so effectively that one can't help but be sucked in. Recently, I came across a 'blog called k-punk, and the author there has several posts on Peace, including this one: "'Can the World be as Bad as it Seems?' David Peace and Negative Theodicy". In that post, the author gets to what I think is the heart of Peace's relationship with the sordid: Peace is, in The Red Riding Quartet, clearly interested in religion; at one point in Nineteen Seventy Seven, Jack Whitehead finds his thoughts about the Yorkshire Ripper and the pornography ring he's uncovered mixing with images of Christ on the Cross; the suffering Christ and the suffering world seem to be linked, but the only way out Whitehead can finally discover is an amateur lobotomy at the hands of an insane preacher. From what I understand of the way the Quartet ends, it's not so redemptive as the filmed adaptations--Peace seems to be a pessimist in many ways regarding the hope for change in this world (of course, his next novel--due out in 2012--is Tokyo Regained, which holds out a promise, at least, of some sort of redemption). [i notice that I've not said anything about Peace's prose style, which I've seen compared to Ellroy in several places. I've run on too long for an introductory post already, so let me just say that I find Peace's voice incantatory, moving--powerfully pulling the reader along toward the final dissolution that replaces resolution in the books]. Has anyone else here read these books?
  5. Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

    Well, this is actually happening. So I guess we should have a thread. Here's the trailer. Not really impressed. Dench and Dafoe look good, but I don't get much of a sense of the flavor of this adaptation. And Branagh's Poirot--at least, in this little bit we see--is a failure on pretty much every level.
  6. Ok, so not-bad-but-pressing-personal-life-stuff obviously kept me from watching this movie before yesterday. Like I mentioned when the film was suggested, I saw this movie (and liked it) a while back. Revisiting it confirmed that response; this is such a clean movie--by which I mean all the pieces fit together like clockwork. It's tight. The second half of the movie, involving the police-work, isn't what some folks would call exciting (it's procedural in the purest sense), but watching a room full of professionals do their thing well always holds a certain attraction to me. I was struck by how neatly the movie divides into two halves. The first half--which could be a movie in itself (a Hitchcock thriller, perhaps)--is, I think, markedly different in tone and focus than the second half, which is (as I say) much more strictly procedural. And I guess there's a corresponding shift between the high of the wealthy shoe manufacturer and the low of the beat cops and such (and, of course, this is a transition Mifune's character makes between halves as well, though he doesn't wind up quite as destitute as the kidnapper). Obviously, there's a lot to talk about here regarding class issues, and the way the movie ends--abruptly, with the kidnapper (now killer) breaking into hysterical screams--suggests that Kurasawa is at least as interested in that aspect as he is in the cop or thriller elements.
  7. Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

    Here's my piece on MOTOE, which is really about Branagh's Poirot. One thing I didn't get a chance to explore was the way in which, like the most recent MAGNIFICENT SEVEN remake, this movie shifts the races of several characters and attempts to use that shift to comment on contemporary racial anxieties. The problem, of course, is that the generic demands of the detective story are different, so it's hard to pull off what MAG7 did.
  8. Justice League

    I've blocked it from my memory, so I could be wrong. Looks like it's about manipulating markets, though.
  9. Justice League

    The first two had Luthor going for real estate, though it isn't exactly core in II. RETURNS has the New Krypton thing. MAN OF STEEL and JUSTICE LEAGUE are both about land-grabs on a global scale. So, arguably, that's five.
  10. Justice League

    Oh, and this is by my count the fourth movie featuring Superman to center on some sort of real estate grab.
  11. Justice League

    With the exception of Gadot and a few fleeting seconds where Cavill shows what a great Superman he *could* be with a decent script, this movie is a total disaster. It fails in so many basic ways (like, introducing the villain and building tension and maintaining tonal consistency) that it should be taught in film school as a cautionary example.
  12. Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

    I'm going to try to come up with something long-form about this movie, but for now: this is a film that benefits *tremendously* from lowered expectations.
  13. Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

    If I'm not mistaken, this just opened in China, so I'll be seeing it on Monday.

    I have The Entire Mystery. From what I can tell, the Criterion blu-ray essentially replicates the extras in that set (though it's got the essay! of course). There were issues with sound in some pressings of that set, but I never noticed any problems with mine.
  15. Rian Johnson's Star Wars Trilogy

    I need to rewatch it. It's been a couple of years and I want to see how it holds up.
  16. Rian Johnson's Star Wars Trilogy

    Counterpoint: the Red Riding trilogy.
  17. Rian Johnson's Star Wars Trilogy

    As dubious as I've become about DisneyWars, this is exactly the direction they should take. Not more Han Solo/Boba Fett/Pruneface spinoffs. If Johnson wants to hear my ideas for a noir flick set on Coruscant during the Clone Wars, he can feel free to reach out to me.
  18. I burned out on Lord of the Rings a while ago, so I don't have a dog in this fight. But given the ubiquity of the movies (there's still media being produced based on the films' aesthetic!), they're going to have a long row to hoe if they want this series to be judged on its own merits. OTOH, reviving or reworking a movie barely a decade after its release is nothing new. I recall that The Third Man ran as a TV series exactly ten years after the iconic Orson Welles film. So this isn't unprecedented.
  19. Are there absolutes in art?

    I often tell my students--sometimes with a conspiratorial wink and a grimace--that the dark, dirty truth about writing is this: if it works, it works. If you can get away with it, then go for it--the only absolute truth in writing. I maintain that the same is true of art.
  20. Not to interrupt the flow, here, but I got my habds on a copy of this and will be watching this weekend.

    Excerpt from Frost's new TWIN PEAKS book, out next week:
  22. I can do The Assassin or Cleo.
  23. Princess Cyd

  24. Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

    When you put it that way, it sounds Hegelian.
  25. Star Wars: Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

    Talk about destiny tends to be a very villain thing in Star Wars, anyway. Just as a rule--I think of Vader or Palpatine saying it more than, say, Obi-Wan. I'm not over the moon about the trailer. The Luke stuff is, at least, moderately interesting, but the rest of it is pretty meh. The porg made me want to throw something at my screen.