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August 19, 2008

Movie Linkage

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* David Chute suspects that Asian Westerns may be the next hot movie thing.

* Bay Area film buffs: Get thee to the Pacific Film Archives, where a series of films based on the writings of noir god David Goodis has a few more days to run. Kelly Vance writes a helpful intro to the series, and to Goodis too.

* Supersmart Ramesh Ram enthuses about about "HellBoy II," and is lovin' his Kindle.

* Anne Thompson notices that celebrity noses are growing smaller. Sigh: Must everything in America always evolve in the direction of corporate cookie-cutter blandness? Life needs more tang, not less, dammit.

* Michael Bierut raves about a new documentary about Philippe Petit's tightrope walk between the World Trade Center towers.

* Costume-lovin' blogger The Costuminatrix loves the coats in "Brotherhood of the Wolf."

* MBlowhard Rewind: I rhapsodized about the French actress Sophie Marceau.



posted by Michael at August 19, 2008


David Denby on the nose issue:

"Glenn Close is an actress whom people respect but don’t give their love to, the way they do to, say, the living national treasure Meryl Streep, who is roughly Close’s age peer and one of the few other American actresses who have some degree of majesty. (Anjelica Huston is another, but the list is short. All three, interestingly or not, have notably irregular, majestic noses. You aspiring actresses, cancel that consultation with the plastic surgeon.)"

Posted by: lj on August 19, 2008 3:23 PM

tj -- Cheers to that. My own wife has a Streep-ish nose. Distinguished, funny, idiosyncratic, whatever you want to call it, I love it. She'd be a quirky beauty even without it, but with it she's really double-something.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on August 19, 2008 3:32 PM


Since you seem to enjoy genre films, how about this new biker exploitation movie?

The damn thing even features Dennis Hopper!

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on August 19, 2008 3:42 PM

Is Glenn Close a woman? ;^)

Posted by: ricpic on August 19, 2008 3:50 PM

It's sometimes really tough to tell the difference between plastic surgery and the loss of baby fat on some of those actress' faces. To maintain her attractiveness at close to peak level a woman needs to hit the gym, but you can end up looking a bit too hard and angular in body _and_ face.

Posted by: Thursday on August 19, 2008 5:52 PM

I'm a fan of prominent nose bridges and I hate it when Jewish women get nosejobs. I can always spot a Jewish who's had a nosejob - it looks like something is missing and unnatural about her (otherwise attractive) face. Sarah Silverman, I'm talking about you, among many, many others.

Posted by: dan g. on August 19, 2008 6:37 PM

I loved the costumes in BotW. And the movie was preposterous fun. Here's a brief take on it from Slate magazine:

The movie is a teeming mixture of The Curse of the Werewolf and Cry of the Banshee and Jaws and Sleepy Hollow and A Fistful of Dollars and Let Joy Reign Supreme and The Name of the Rose and Fists of Fury and Mad Max and Once Upon a Time in China II and The Last of the Mohicans and The Hound of the Baskervilles and maybe a thousand other pictures that rumble around in the collective unconscious of schlock fiends.

The main hero, Fronsac is accurately described as "the cinema's first liberal rationalist pantheist forensic martial-arts swashbuckler". He and the other hero, Mani, an Iroquois ninja shaman druid acrobat, can't, not surprisingly, resist the movie's ultra babelicious Euro-babes. "Fronsac is torn between a kinky, hot-tempered Italian courtesan (Monica Bellucci--Michael take note!) and a chubby-cheeked, throaty ingénue (Emilie Dequenne); Mani is waylaid by a puffy-lipped Angelina Jolie-ish peasant who likes to toss her black mane and stick her tongue down the throats of various Road Warrior refugees."

A great review of a really great bad movie. Oh, and the coats are fantastic. I'd like to see modern materials science try to come up with clothing that looks just like that, but which is light and cool and unscratchy. The Costuminatrix is right: the costumes in that movie blew away the Matrix and Otherworld and all the other pseudo-cool leather trash of North Am spectral action cinema.

Oh, and the actor playing Fronsac was the slightly creepy love interest of Nathalie Baye (oh Natalie!) in a French flic called Venus Beauty Salon, which remains one of those strangely hypnotizing films that stay with you for no apparent reason. Maybe it was just Nathalie. to Helen Mirren (whom she slightly resembles) she's my favourite "older" woman in film.

Posted by: PatrickH on August 19, 2008 6:46 PM

Regional America after (or ignoring) WWll but before the Youth Culture: there's something about that setting that makes it perfect for good, straight fiction. There are no grand moral backgrounds, no straining for hard-boiled glamour. The prose is level, which always helps. The evil is shabby and domestic. I feel relaxed-in-a-good-way when I pick up a Goodis or James M. Cain, also Woolrich, Fredric Brown, others. The quality is very uneven - nearly all these guys died of the booze - but I usually pick up their works with a sense of relief and refreshment.

We're not alone in our admiration. For certain reasons, I need to keep an indiscriminate collection of texts in European languages. All the above authors figure prominently. The French, obviously, didn't overlook these unaffected but effective 'noirs'.

Cain had this to say about his work: "I make no conscious effort to be tough, or hard-boiled, or grim, or any of the things I am usually called. I merely try to write as the character would write, and I never forget that the average man, from the fields, the streets, the bars, the offices and even the gutters of his country, has acquired a vividness of speech that goes beyond anything I could invent, and that if I stick to this heritage, this logos of the American countryside, I shall attain a maximum of effectiveness with very little effort."

Posted by: Robert Townshend on August 19, 2008 10:14 PM

"The evil is shabby and domestic."

That's a really good description. I agree about that period of writing. Movies, too. The characters in them are all adults dealing with shit that seems very familiar, and it's portrayed in an honest, even-handed way.

Posted by: JV on August 20, 2008 11:09 AM

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