Wednesday, May 22, 2013
A good biography about the writer. So far I've only read his masterpieces, Grapes of Wrath and East of Eden, and I should check out some of his other books.
Fool for Love: F. Scott Fitzgerald by Scott Donaldson
Not as much a biography as a search for the writer through his books. I guess I prefer Hemingway of the two, but in the end I think Fitzgerald was probably a more interesting person, The Crack-Up essays a braver thing to write than Hemingway's And then I went to Africa and shot half the animals there.
The Lonely Hunter by Virginia Spencer Carr
Her big, fat biography of Carson McCullers, about the writer's fairly short and troubled life.
Minor Characters by Joyce Johnson
Her memoir about her time with Jack Kerouac, and what it was like being a woman in the Beat generation.
Jack's Book by Barry Gifford and Lawrence Lee
An oral biography of Kerouac. Not bad, but a bit thin compared to some of the later biographies.
Pagan Babies by Elmore Leonard
Good, but maybe not great book from Leonard.
In One Person by John Irving
I like that there is some anger behind the book, as in some of Irving's best books, like Garp and Cider House Rules, but the characters don't really jump off the page the same way Melony or Owen Meany did.
Hellboy: House of the Living Dead by Mike Mignola and Richard Corben
I enjoy Corben's drawings. I wish the book had been longer and Mignola had gone a bit deeper in the story. And I wish they had used a good oldfashioned letterer. The computer font and sound effects clash with Corben's rawer art.
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
And re-reading the Sin City: Hell And Back issues, I had forgotten how fun Frank Miller could be. He seems to have lost interest in a Gordon character, like in Batman Year One, grounding it in anything resembling reality. Now it's all tough guys and babes. Which can be okay as well, particulary with the cartoonier style he applies here - the big hands and feet he gives everyone. I especially enjoyed the colour issue, no 7, when the hero hallucinates and sees all kinds of pop culture characters from Miller's past. And this is probably the last good thing he did. Dark Knight 2 was kind of a mess, I haven't bothered checking out Holy Terror and let's not speak about The Spirit.
Friday, May 17, 2013
Not the most cheerful film ever made. Actually, it reminded me a bit of Bob Dylan's Talkin' World War III Blues. It's strange to see Fred Astaire in such a serious film, but he's good. Peck is a bit stiff. Gardner is great. She must be around 40 years old here, but looks amazing, showing a vulnerable side that maybe wasn't there when she was younger. And she came from the old Hollywood system that produced stars, distant godesses, not necessarily actresses.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
The film has one big problem. Mia Farrow, so good in Rosemary's Baby, is completely miscast in this film. It's just hard to imagine Redford longing for this woman, building a fortune just to win her back. He's Robert Redford, for one thing! And the rich people are all empty, superficial assholes, it turns out. The film was made in the 70s, but feels more like some oldfashioned Zanuck production from the 50s. A director like Nicolas Roeg or Robert Altman could maybe have done a more interesting job.