J-J-J-J-Just s-s- s-s-
- Darwyn Cooke, one of my favourite cartoonists, tries his hand at hard-boiled crime comics with "The Hunter", an adaptation of one of Richard Stark's Parker novels. Which looks beautiful, and knowing the estimable, scarily talented Cooke (if you haven't read "New Frontier" you need to go to Amazon right now and buy it) will be a great read too:
- Last year I was dreading Sam Mendes' adaptation of "Revolutionary Road", because the director was wrong, the casting was wronger, and the mere fact of the movie was wrongest. This year I find I'm looking forward, sorta, to John Hillcoat's adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's "The Road". Interesting director, great screenwriter (Joe Penhall) and good casting of Viggo Mortensen in the lead. But when I read and loved the book I wasn't father to a little boy. Now I am, and I imagine that the film may be unbearably moving, if it captures even a tenth of the book's power. Anyway, the long-awaited trailer, featuring an excrutiating first 20 seconds or so of exposition reportedly entirely absent from the finished cut:
- Chris Ware, genius that he is, has contributed this amazing little single-page story about web culture and virtual friendship to Wired, which is almost worth buying the magazine for:
- Hernanes, next next-big-thing from Brazil, is currently playmaker for Sao Paolo, the country's most successful club in recent years. No doubt he'll be in Europe soon at a Big Italian, Spanish or Portuguese club. Its safe to say he's quite useful:
- The novelist Rick Moody is of that generation of US writers (alongside the likes of Jonathan Lethem and Michael Chabon, say) whose work is absolutely suffused in pop culture. Its an explicit presence in all of his writing, from the use of the Fantastic Four as a metaphor in "The Ice Storm", to the film references in "The Diviners". But music seems to have a particular centrality in Moody's worldview, as indicated by the references to the Jersey scene of the early 80s in "Garden State" and a particular story in his collection, "Demonology". "Wilkie Fahnstock: The Boxed Set" is a short story in the form of a set of liner notes to a 10-volume mix-tape chronicling the title character's life. The tracklisting is in a column on one side of the page, the liner notes in another. Moody has good, interesting, varied taste in music, which goes along way to redeeming the clever-clever aspects of the conceit. "The Feelies", one of the great lost bands of the 80s, feature prominently in "Garden State", and "Wilkie Fahnstock" is almost the perfect hipster playlist in its careful eclecticism.
Recently he's started to write a music blog for The Rumpus , which is a good read if you're interested in that kind of thing (Jazz, Springsteen, Syd Shaw, Frank Zappa) or in Moody's writing in general. Last year he also contributed a fascinating, rewarding playlist to the New York Times , which is, pleasingly, surprisingly heavy on folk music, not an interest I would have ever suspected Moody of having...all of which is basically just an excuse allowing me to post this. The Feelies greatest song, and one of my favourite songs of all time, "The Boy with the Perpetual Nervousness":
- Robert E. Howard created a slew of characters, but the 3 most important are the most visible in modern popular culture. Conan The Cimmerian, of course, is arguably the most popular and recognisable character in all fantasy literature, Tolkein excluded. Kull the Conqueror was the hero of a Kevin Sorbo film a few years ago. But the influence of Solomon Kane is more subtle. A 17th Century English Puritan gunman who travels widely across Africa and Europe, fighting and converting heathens, his character is more difficult and less instantly appealing. His influence is obvious visually across the fantasy and SF genres, however. Both Vampire Hunter D. and Van Helsing (and even V, in V for Vendetta, to some extent) are dead ringers for Kane. Kane himself seems to have been developed as a period version of the Shadow, in hatwear and cape, at least. But a new film, starring James Purefoy in the title role, should bring Kane himself into the cultural spotlight to some extent. Illustrator Gary Gianni has done some terrific Kane work in the past, perhaps establishing a definitive look for the character, which even that film appears to echo.
- I've talked here before about my affection for "Red Dead Revolver". Well, the sequel is incoming. Only this time its a free-roaming game, GTA in the West by all accounts. "Gun", only good, I'm hoping. Also hopeful that this has better acting, characters and plotting than GTA, and less tedium. Oh yeah, and more choice spaghetti soundtrack cuts. Whatever, the trailer looks great:
- Speaking of spaghetti Western soundtracks, the Cannes programme includes a listing of the Soundtrack for Tarantino's "Inglorious Basterds". The best thing about each of his last three films has been the soundtrack, and this one sounds just as good, stuffed to the gills as it is with Morricone, Tiomkin, both Charles and Elmer Bernstein, Gianni Ferrio and Lalo Schifrin, with just a little bit of Billy Preston and Bowie/Moroder thrown in. I am there. ITunes, I mean...
- YouTube is a treasure trove of boxing footage. When I was a kid, boxing was awesome. Giants still fought in the heavyweight division. Ali had only just retired. Larry Holmes was in his pomp. A young pitbull named Tyson was carving his name in the division in short, brutal fights. But even better was the Middleweight division, where the "Four Kings" co-existed to create the richest division since the Heavyweight era of Ali, Frasier, Foreman and Norton in the 1970s. Those four fighters were Roberto Duran, "Sugar" Ray Leonard, Thomas "Hitman" Hearns and "Marvelous" Marvin Hagler. They fought each other in different combinations over the course of a decade, creating a series of classic encounters. The most classic was "the War" between Undisputed World Champion Hagler and in-form Hearns at Caesars Palace on April 15, 1985. The first round may be the most exciting I've ever seen, and I vividly remember watching it in a Saturday morning ITV replay with my Dad. I doubt any fight I've seen since has really lived up to it, in its relentlessly gripping pace, its clash of style and personality and the sense that it was two true Greats, and equals at that, determined to beat the crap out of one another. Consider that the early stunning right Hearns catches Hagler with broke Hearns' hand. Consider that Hagler had only seconds before the fight would be stopped due to his bleeding eye. Consider that this fight is like something from a video game. When you've finished watching this, follow the links to watch Part 2. You know its right:
Miss Tesmacher to you, bud.