Sunday, May 31, 2009

As discussed

David Edelstein on Drag Me to Hell:

It’s Grand Guignol grand opera.

It’s also timely, its bloodbath born of economic desperation; even the séances cost an arm and a leg (not literally, but almost). Really, if the decrepit Gypsy woman (the aptly named Lorna Raver) carried health insurance, she wouldn’t need to borrow from her mortgage money to pay for her glass eye (and maybe that milky orb would fit more snugly in its socket)—and our good-hearted loan-officer heroine, Christine (Alison Lohman), wouldn’t find herself under pressure to deny the old bat an extension. Alas, Christine’s timing is disastrous. Desperate for a promotion, under the watchful eye of her boss (David Paymer), eager to prove to the wealthy parents of her boyfriend (Justin Long) that she’s not some underling off the farm, she tells the gypsy, “I’m sorry.” Much screaming, clawing, and emission of bodily fluids later, Christine winds up with a hellacious curse on her head—a casualty of capitalism.


Friday, May 29, 2009

Monday, May 25, 2009

How's your French? (Or Spanish?)


More than most want to know about cover design for Vertical Press

Christmas presents over the years from a generous friend: Tezuka translations and mysteries from Vertical Press. Wonderful book design, originally by Chip Kidd and now by a group of designers headed by a guy named Peter Mendelsund, whose day job is desigining for Random/Knopf. He discusses his process at length here.

From Stieg Larsson to Leo Tolstoy to Black Jack with stops in-between. All this courtesy of the Caustic Cover Critic, who interviews Mendelsund here.

Apropos of a previous discussion about the pretentiousness of faux Gold Medal covers is this uncharacteristic Mendelsund design for Black Lizard:

Cool Mendelsund quote follows. A full life.

About seven years ago, I was looking for a profession other than Classical Musician (the job description I’d always answered to) that would provide insurance coverage for my family. I assumed that, whatever this new gig was going to be, it would be temporary- a stop-gap until I could go back to the piano. My wife and I had a brain-storming session, during which we made a list of my interests:

macramé, animal husbandry, model-rocketry, heraldry, yodelling, anti-trust mediation, jujitsu, cryptology, forensic medicine, comparative theology, harpsichord maintenance, taxidermy, Graphic Design, historical re-enactment, rodeo clowning, cock fighting, oyster fishing, oyster fighting, clown fishing...

Design struck me as the most feasible alternative.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Cannes Cannes


Friday, May 22, 2009

New in the Tulkinghorn family t-shirt drawer

Never let it be said that the Tulkinghorns are not fashion forward.

The number one seller in apparel at Amazon represents a landmark of internet snark.

There are 494 reviews of this product, including one with an astonishing 6,000 favorable votes:

Pros: Fits my girthy frame, has wolves on it, attracts women
Cons: Only 3 wolves (could probably use a few more on the 'guns'), cannot see wolves when sitting with arms crossed, wolves would have been better if they glowed in the dark.


Thursday, May 21, 2009


C.I: Tulkinghorn


Maigret, c'est moi

In an earlier post I argued that novelist Georges Simenon modeled the methods of his signature character, Inspector Maigret, on those of a novelist. A corroborating passage turned up today in an excellent biography of the writer:

"...Maigret and Simenon did have a parallel understanding of their principal activities. They saw police work and writing as uncomplicated crafts. Both had an aptitude for living the lives of others and for immersing themselves in a milieu. The policeman felt uncomfortable between cases, the novelist when he was between books.

"...Maigret reasons as Simenon writes. Both tend to have more sympathy for the perpetrator than for the victim. The investigator often says that he knows the murderer only by getting to know the victim well, and the novelist builds his tale in exactly the same way. In the investigation itself, as in the writing that engenders it, atmosphere, milieu, and characters are more important than plot, clue and suspense."


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Critical Dig of the Week

David Edelstein: "With McG’s migraine-inducing jerky-cam and monochromatic palette (livened only by splotches of rust), Terminator Salvation puts the numb in numskull."


I am so ready to buy into this

What does that tell you?


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Prakesh Mehra



Monday, May 18, 2009

Johnnie and Johnny

Variety celebrates To, too: "Vengeance descends into a darkly beautiful Triad gang underworld, where every confrontation must be preceded by much slo-mo brooding and sizing up of one's competition, often through sunglasses."


Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Chaser

My LA Weekly review:

THE CHASER (South Korea) Writer-director Na Hong-jin’s smashing debut thriller vibrates in sympathy with its desperate antihero, a disgraced cop turned pimp racing to rescue one of his girls from a slacker serial killer. Na shows impeccable taste in stealing from genre classics both familiar (Silence of the Lambs) and comparatively obscure (The Silent Partner), but his clenched frustration with urban chaos and police corruption is felt and urgent. The scrambling messiness of the fights and chases juices the tension to almost unbearable levels.
Now on



For those who are not merely fair weather (or trade paperback) fans of the man who was Richard Stark, a new old Donald Westlake novel.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

On the other hand... could just stay home and read this.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Freedom: A sign of the times

I spend my time manically changing from a passionate love of digital culture to an angry fear that I'm wasting my life absorbing trivia, unable to sustain any serious reading, listening, looking, or conversation.

Just like everybody else.

Comes the digital solution: a chastity belt (or earplugs or blinders -- choose the appropriate reference) that disables your computer's network access for a period of time, up to eight hours, that you choose -- defeatable only by an irritating reboot.

Can't use it at work, don't need it at home, but what bliss!


Comedians, voluptuous women, aliens and Mexican wrestlers

Save the Date: UCLA Film & Television Archive at the Billy Wilder Theater.

El Santo never had a classier venue.


August 2009

Though inspired by European and classic Hollywood movies, these films are distinctly Mexican—often mixing multiple genres (horror, comedy, sci-fi) and featuring several ubiquitous figures: comedians, voluptuous women, aliens and Mexican wrestlers. This series will feature newly restored and subtitled 35mm prints from the vaults of the Filmoteca at UNAM (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), including:

  • The Aztec Mummy vs. the Human Robot / "La momia azteca vs el robot humano" (1957, Rafael Portillo)

  • The Monster's Ship / "La nave de los monstrous" (1959, Rogelio A. Gonzalez)

  • The Planet of Female Invaders / "El planeta de las mujeres invasoras" (1965, Alfredo B. Crevenna)

  • Santo the Silver Mask vs. The Invaders from Mars / "Santo vs la invasión de los marcianos" (1966, Alfredo B. Crevenna)

  • The Stronger Sex / "El sexo fuerte" (1945, Emilio Gómez Muriel)
  •

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Hulu Goes Bollywood

The conventional but cunningly crafted Rishi Kapoor/Shah Rukh Khan masala Deewana (1992) is in the first group of Hindi movies posted on Hulu.
The first musical number, "Sochenge Tumhe Pyar" ("Whether I love you"), around the 12 minute mark, is a good litmus test.