- I've complained before on this blog about the unavailability of various films on DVD. But I understand it doesn't make much financial sense for DVD producers to create costly discs of niche films that then fail to sell. Warner Brothers seem to have come up with a solution to this problem, with their new "Warners Classic Archive" operation. They have an enormous library of back catalogue titles unavailable at present, and they've just opened up a small portion of it. If you want one of these films on disc, you order it from the website. They print one off specifically for you. The selection is quite mixed, but there are a couple of intriguing possibilities: Francis Ford Coppola's "The Rain People" and Paul Simon's "One Trick Pony" both jump out at me. But whats more exciting are the possibilities it raises...
- If "Burn After Reading" was exactly the opposite of what I wanted the Coens to do after the success of "No Country for Old Men", and the forthcoming "A Serious Man" is exactly the opposite of what I would have liked them to do for a follow-up to the follow-up, they've finally made me happy with the announcement of what their next project will be. Charles Portis' "True Grit" is a great Western novel which was turned into a middling (but Oscar-winning) John Wayne vehicle by Henry Hathaway in 1969. The novel follows a young girl as she hunts the murderer of her father through Indian territory with the aid of a legendary US Marshall and Texas Ranger pursuing the killer for a different crime. The true glory of the novel - in common with Portis' other work - is the strength of the distinctive voice, for the girl narrates the novel in a sort of off-kilter frontier poetry. But the characters are pretty memorable too, none more so than Rooster Cogburn, the Marshall portrayed by Wayne in 1969, and a role crying out for Tommy Lee Jones in the Coens' version. What is really exciting is that the book seems a perfect fit with the Brother's sensibility: dark, violent, witty and yet slyly funny. Plus, every director should make at least One Western in their career.
- Some exciting announcements at DC of late. Kyle Baker on a very Joe Kubert-looking Hawkman, for one:
- Recent news that a fourteen year old product of the Real Madrid youth academy by the name of Enzo Zidane (whose many Youtube clips feature a pirouette very much like his Dad's) is to make his debut for the Spain under 15s made me think of this clip of Paolo Maldini's eight year old son executing a stunningly perfect sliding tackle on Clarence Seedorf at a Milan party (unsurprisingly, he's already on Milan's books):
- Mondo Tees do t-shirts and posters and stuff. Many are beautiful, some are funny, most are cool. This poster for "Point Blank" is just awesome:
- Back in the grunge era, I always preferred Pearl Jam to Nirvana, which wasn't the fashionable choice. Pearl Jam were too earnest, too rawk, too corporate (though they later proved that to be decidedly not the case). Now it makes sense to me, since Pearl Jam came far more from a Classic Rock tradition, whereas Nirvana had their roots in Punk, and I always had more of a leaning towards Classic Rock than Punk. Anyway, for a few years in my mid to late teens, they were easily my favourite band. A gateway act, too, leading me away from metal and towards wider, fresher territory. The shiny new super-duper reissue version of "Ten", originally released in 1991(!!) makes me feel very very old. But it also reminds me of what a great band they were and how much I loved them back then, and why. I have the first three records on my ITunes, and one of their songs crashing into a shuffle always makes me smile. Especially "State of Love & Trust", off the brilliant "Singles" soundtrack. I first encountered the song on their appearance on MTV Unplugged, and it took me a while to get my head around the electric version on "Singles", but I finally did. It rocks. The unplugged version, however, edges it somewhat in my opinion. Pearl Jam didn't approach Unplugged the way most bands did. Nirvana, say, showed up and played a polite, quiet little show. Dave Grohl used brushes on his kit. They foregrounded Cobain's melodic, pop songwriting ability at the expense of the fuzz and white noise of their records. It worked, it made for a great show and a nice album. Pearl Jam, however, just treated it like any other gig. They rocked, in other words. Acoustic guitars are battered, nary a brush comes near the drums, it all gets quite loud. Theres a DVD of the appearance on the new "Ten", which may be reason enough for me to get it. But then again, I know it off by heart. I must have watched this performance at least a hundred times as a 16 year old:
That? Up there?