Monday, December 10, 2007

A quick update

Haven't blogged much lately. (I heard an expert say lately that blogs have lost some of their zest. It indeed seems that way, there are fewer comments on some blogs I've been following. I should say that with Facebook and other stuff the web moves away from being anonymous to being someone with a name and an identity. (Admittedly this notion comes from someone who's never understood the point of being anonymous.))

Okay, I digress. Some books and movies I've read and seen lately:

Allan Guthrie: Hard Man. Finally got around to reading this. Pretty much blew me away. I exchanged some e-mails with Allan (or should I say "Sunshine"?) about this and we discussed why a critic like Eddie Muller described the book as "torture porn". I can see that - I think it's mainly because Allan's book lacks (quite deliberately, I should think) social content. There's no whys and hows, there's only what (and how to get out). Allan wrote to me that the book is his most complex. Indeed, there are several discourses in the book, several points of view, and several narratives. It occurred me to compare Allan to - can you take this? - Vladimir Nabokov! His books are also complex and multi-layered, with the focus on the narration and the language, and I should say this applies also to Guthrie. (And I'm not kidding with this!)

Richard Matheson: I Am Legend. This one blew me away big time. Vow! From the start it's so suspenseful you want to die. This was quite recently translated for the first time in Finnish by a new publisher, Vaskikirjat. More power to them! Here's my friend pHinn talking about the book and digging up the old trailers from YouTube...

(I blogged about these on Crimespace. It's getting pretty difficult to keep all these Web 2.0 things together... Who remembers anymore that I have a MySpace account?)

Carl Th. Dreyer: Vampyr (1932). This one also blew me away. Almost like silent David Lynch of Lost Highway and Fire Walk With Me (even though the film is not silent, there's only very little of dialogue). Very inventive and very mysterious, based loosely on a story by Joseph le Fanu. The Redemption DVD I watched (thanks, Markku!) wasn't of a very good quality, but it may be the case that the negative of the film has been destroyed and all the copies are just as murky and dark. I don't mind: I've been waiting for 20 years to see this one. (Here is an essay about restoring the known prints of the films. Here's an essay comparing Vampyr to a film by Lucio Fulci. And here's the film...)

David Lynch: Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1994). Now, this one didn't blow me away. You may remember my fascination with the Twin Peaks series. I didn't like this film when I saw it originally, but I was ready to take a challenge. It's still flawed, but more interesting than the first time around. It's pretty difficult to fathom what one would think of this if he/she wouldn't have seen any episode of Twin Peaks. In this respect, the film is a precursor to Lynch's more mysterious latter-day films, such as Lost Highway and Mulholland Dr.

Okay, is there still something more? Oh, I've been reading Boccaccio's Decamerone and The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer, maybe later... And I started Sean Chercover's Big City, Bad Blood. Seems pretty strong so far.

Some late additions (I wrote the above yesterday): Antonioni's La Notte: nice photography and very nice ladies in the lead (Jeanne Moreau and Monica Vitti, in very nice early sixties party costumes and high heels!), but something in Antonioni leaves me cold. The films are detached, yes, and it seems quite deliberate, but still there's something... Pirates of the Caribbean: okay fun, but too long.

EDIT: I had some e-mail exchange with Sunshine Guthrie and decided to change my "blow me out" phrases into "blow me away". Sorry all. My English isn't flawless. And thanks, Al!

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