Thursday, April 30, 2009

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Friday, April 24, 2009

Tulkinghorn congratulates Johnny To

According to this morning's Variety, "Vengence", described as a Hong Kong-France-US coproduction , will be in competition in Cannes this year.

The line-up there makes even die-hard film haters like me drool: Tarentino, Almodovar, von Trier, Campion, Resnais, Park Chan-wook, Haneke.

Also gratifying is the almost total absence of movies that look like they might be Sundance favorites. Maybe the world is not going to hell after all.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

Tulkinghorn's Favorite Ad

Courtesy of Andrew Sullivan:


Monday, April 20, 2009

The more things change...

Michael Dirda reviews a new book about pornography in New York in the ninetheenth century, called "Licentious Gotham," much of it apparently devoted to legal stuff, alas.

But one thing made me look up... A man about 150 years before his time, the creator of American porno-gothic (!):

(The author) also briefly outlines the career of George Thompson, the most prolific writer of what has been called "American porno-gothic," a subgenre emphasizing graphic violence, dark secrets and sexual excess, including teasing hints of incest, miscegenation, orgies and public sex. Some of Thompson's novels include "The Ladies' Garter" (c. 1851), "The Gay Girls of New York" (1854) and "The Bridal Chamber, and Its Mysteries" (1856). While Thompson freely reveled in every form of splatter-flick violence -- including disfigurement by acid and cannibalism -- he would typically build up tremendous erotic tension, then suddenly announce that the law or morality compelled him to draw a veil or "drop the curtain" over what was to ensue between some snowy-globed damsel and her well set-up admirer.


Friday, April 17, 2009

I'll see your Chandler and raise you Chesterton

The criminal is the creative artist; the detective only the critic.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Raymond Chandler

"An average critic never recognizes an achievement when it happens. He explains it after it has become respectable."

"To exceed the limits of a formula without destroying it is the dream of every magazine writer who isn't a hopeless hack."

"When in doubt have a man come through a door with a gun in his hand."

-- "Introduction," The Simple Art of Murder (1950).


Tulkinghorn's Cloak and Dagger

(anything to break the silence)

Sarah Weinman notes the resurgence of the spy novel -- now essentially historical fiction, easier to pull off seriously than the pulpier and way more right wing timewasters like Brad Thor's 'novels' about Arab terrorists -- building from the rediscovery of Charles McCarry and the more recent work of Alan Furst.

Some good suggestions here. I just ordered the first in a series by Olen Steinhauer, which looks promising. Although they all seem like footnotes to Greenmantle or Ashes and Diamonds, I like Greenmantle and Ashes and Diamonds.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

A question that occurred to Tulkinghorn, too

Mickey Kaus asks (and do I really have to provide the name behind the blind item?):

Why would you leave a recurring part on a hit TV show--a job you "loved" --to become a mid-level liaison official in the White House? Either you are crazy or you have huge political ambitions. Or both.
As someone pointed out, he has to do better than poor Bobby Jindal....


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Tulkinghorn: Keeping your eyes open

Courtesy of Andrew Sullivan, an astonishing piece of film criticism, without a word spoken:

Friday, April 3, 2009

Ah, good plan!

From an article collecting suggestions from readers re. the economic crisis:

Patriotic retirement: There are about 40 million people over 50 in the work force … pay them $1 million apiece severance with stipulations. They leave their jobs. Forty million job openings — unemployment fixed. They buy new American cars. Forty million cars ordered — auto industry fixed. They either buy a house or pay off their mortgage — housing crisis fixed.
Where do I sign?


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Times Online 50 Greatest Crime Writers

Good list. Great links.


Tulkinghorn's Book of the Year

My friends know that I'm a restless reader -- always seeking the elusive sense of wonder that sustained me through many a long afternoon as a child. Although a few books have given me pleasure over the last year, I have not found that elusive combination of astringency, complexity, and beauty that really keeps my spirit alive. I'm just reading out of habit or as a relief from the stresses of the day (and of the market...) . Fun but not sustaining.

Until earlier this week...

David once accused me of not writing well about things I like, and I think I understand now what he meant, as I try to articulate what this book means to me.

Don't have enough time today, so I'll simply put it out there. Buy it, read it, and you'll like it a lot.