Thoughts on books and other assorted topics.
See also: http://goppf.wikidot.com/swstart
My name: Brian Martin
The Bride Wore Black (1940) by Cornell Woolrich
I Walked With a Zombie (1943), directed by Jacques Tourneur
The Blob (1958), directed by Irvin Yeaworth
Hell House (1971) by Richard Matheson
Burnt Offerings (1976), directed by Dan Curti
Twins of Evil (1971), directed by John Hough
Song of Kali (1985) by Dan Simmons
Child of Darkness, Child of Light (1991-TV), directed by Marina Sargenti
The Town That Dreaded Sundown (1976), directed by Charles B. Pierce
Rage (1977) by Richard Bachman (Stephen King)
Green Mansions (1959), directed by Mel Ferrer
The Leopard Man (1943), directed by Jacques Tourneur
Rope: The Twisted Life and Crimes of Harvey Glatman (1998) by Michael Newton
Dracula (1931), directed by Tod Browning
Halloween (1978), directed by John Carpenter
A Study in Terror (1966) by Ellery Queen
Heaven Can Wait (1978), directed by Warren Beatty and Buck Henry
True Grit (2010), directed by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
Virgin (1980) by James Patterson
She (1965), directed by Robert Day
The Lair of the White Worm (1988), directed by Ken Russell
Binary (1972) by John Lange (Michael Crichton)
The Zodiac Killer (1971), directed by Tom Hanson
Dial M for Murder (1954), directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Green Mansions (1904) by W. H. Hudson
Jaws (1975), directed by Steven Spielberg
Pretty Baby (1978), directed by Louis Malle
The Lair of the White Worm (1911) by Bram Stoker
The Terror (1963), directed by Roger Corman
True Grit (1969), directed by Henry Hathaway
She (1887) by H. Rider Haggard
Cam2Cam (2014), directed by Joel Soisson
The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (1999), directed by Luc Besson
The Werewolf of Paris (1933) by Guy Endore
Saint Joan (1957), directed by Otto Preminger
They Only Kill Their Masters (1972), directed by James Goldstone
Dracula: The Un-dead (2009) by Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt
The Bad Seed (1956), directed by Mervyn LeRoy
Heaven Can Wait (1943), directed by Ernst Lubitsch
Jaws (1974) by Peter Benchley
A recent discussion with Bookstooge -- during which I noted the complete failure of BookLikes to take any meaningful action to bring more members to the site and then suggested that perhaps making movies welcome on the database might be a step in the right direction -- led Bookstooge to inquire of BL why certain movies would come up in BL and not others. He thought it should be either all or none. BookLikes' answer can be seen in the Bug Reports section of their group, but I'll tell you what it is: None. That is, they don't want any nasty movies soiling their database. Well, I know that a few (I started to say a lot, but that's relative and BL can't be said to have a "lot" of members by any stretch of the imagination) -- that a few people agree with them. I think this attitude is short-sighted, narrow-minded, and just plain silly, but that's neither here nor there. But I give up. With BL's official word that movies aren't truly welcome on the site, I no longer feel that I am, either. We all know that many other people have left BL for a variety of reasons. This is mine. I never delete sites, but I do stop using them. And after this week, I will no longer be using this one. Again, if you care to, you can find me on WordPress at KinoLivres. If not, I wish you all the best.
Except maybe Bookstooge, who's going to forget me in short order. : -)
Set 10 years after the events of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Dawn opens with men and apes coexisting by staying out of each other's way. But with his fuel stockpile running out and in desperate need of power for his city, human Malcolm (Jason Clarke) leads a small team into ape Caesar's (Andy Serkis) forest home to ask permission to repair a hydroelectric dam. Nuts in each camp -- led by Koba (Toby Kebbell) in the ape enclave and Dreyfus (Gary Oldman) in Zone 2, the human city -- would rather wipe out the other side and be done with it. Frankly amazing ape effects that are so real they rarely amaze lay bare an all-too-conventional story of enemies learning to respect and care for each other. A movie with no surprises and little to delight the audience (other than a cute scene with a baby ape). And, in spite of the bad guys of both species understanding "human" nature better than their peace-loving leaders, no irony or satire either. Less a science fiction film than a slow-starting action movie, but well made.
Another Asylum (Sharknado) crockbuster, this one fudging its title from Edge of Tomorrow. "When the sun strikes an altar hidden within the ancient Pyramid of the Sun in Mexico, it creates a beacon that triggers an alien blitzkrieg." So says Asylum, in a tacit admission that when your films are as bad as theirs, not even an accurate plot description matters. Kelly Hu stars as an unimaginative prostitute whose liaison with a smug but untalented alien spawns the cast and crew of this film. Perfect for viewers with no self-respect. Direct-to-video.
Over on WordPress, someone commented on a post I put up for a Harlan Ellison story. He said Ellison himself had once commented on a review he had posted for one of the author's collections, and he provided the link. I found Ellison's words on author/reader/reviewer relationship very interesting in light of what's been happening more recently. Here's the relevant quotation:
Responding to reviews and/or criticism is actually a no-win proposition. If a creator chooses simply to ignore it all, just to motor on doing the job, then s/he is “reclusive,” “standoffish,” “elitist,” and ultimately, to the perception of the love/hate relationship critic, an “asshole” considered dismissive of the readership–some members of which never “get it” that all a reader is TRULY entitled to only this: THE BOOK SHE OR HE BOUGHT. not a smile from the Author, nor elaborately-demanded signatures and dedications on a horde of old Book Club, nor even a courteous hello. A book, that’s it. The word, that’s all. So if a creator chooses to honor his/her readership and their attentions, good or bad, and elects to reply (as I do here, with a smile), the risk is run of having the anonymous, distanced, love/hate communicant take umbrage and flame the more.
And here's the link to his full comment (a very gracious one) to Joachim Boaz:
1. Officially calling Bones of the Earth by Michael Swanwick a DNF. It's about time-traveling scientists studying dinosaurs, mixing in aliens (didn't get that far) and a love affair that spans millennia. It features characters from the "present" and the "future." The blurb focused on the dinos and going into the past; I didn't know I was in for multiple timelines and dull characters.
2. Lost my damn Star Wars book. This is the one written by George Lucas, back when Star Wars was Star Wars, not A New Hope. You know, back when it mattered. I've had the thing for nearly 40 years. It's just possible it got mixed up with some papers that got thrown away. After searching for it for days, I took a shot and went to Half-Price. And damn if they didn't have it. Exactly one copy, just for me. It ain't the same, but it'll do.
3. Finally -- finally -- read "The Yellow Wallpaper" by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. My advice: don't be like me. Read it now.
4. Who has any thoughts on Idris Elba possibly becoming the next James Bond? Cause, you know, he's black and stuff. I might care about that -- I really might; I mean, us white guys deserve our fantasy figures, too -- if the movies were worth even half their budgets. I'll tell you what, though: I could go for a Jane Bond. That might force the producers to re-think a number of things, leading to a vast improvement in the franchise. I don't think it would, but I'd rather take that chance than the other. Because you know that in a world where skin color isn't supposed to matter, Elba would be just like Craig and Brosnan and Dalton and all the rest.
5. I thought Unbreakable was kind of a weird movie, being only half a movie, until I saw Left Behind, which is a "precipitating event" stretched out to 90 minutes. The precipitating event is, of course...well, you know when the shark eats the skinny-dipper at the beginning of Jaws? Imagine if that segment had been stretched to feature length. That's what Left Behind is. I don't know if it's a faithful adaptation of the book (I kinda think it is), but talk about a perfect opportunity to improve on the source material. The Biblical apocalypse, taken literally, is one hell of a hook. Could have been a terrific movie.
I took the WordPress plunge. I know some of you are already on WordPress. Follow me or something so I can find and follow you.
I'm in the process of bringing all my stuff from here over there, but if you scroll through, you'll find a couple of things I haven't posted here.
I'm certainly not giving up on BookLikes (although I swear that as far as trying to bring new people to the site, the BL people have!), but I'm also not averse to trying something new. And I do like the layout on WordPress.
Anyway, I hope to see you over there!
This is the new ad I'm seeing on Goodreads.
Finding this amazing unbelievable, I checked it out.
Whoever created this ad not only can't write, but can't read either.
The first filmed adaptation of Agatha Christie's novel, though featuring a variation of the ending that Christie herself altered for a stage production two years earlier. Otherwise, the premise and the bulk of the story remain the same, as ten people trapped on an island are accused of various crimes and then picked off one by one by an unidentified member of their own party. If Christie neglected to include much humor in the novel, Clair rectifies that shortcoming and then some, playing out the mystery in almost farcical terms. It works, thanks less to the script than the cast, which includes Walter Huston as the alcoholic Dr. Armstrong and Richard Haydn as the unfairly mistrusted manservant Rogers. Nothing terribly remarkable, but a genial film nonetheless.
Disparate group of ten people are lured to an isolated island and killed off one by one by their mysterious host who, they realize, is one of them. One of the best-selling books of all time, its genius lies in combining the premise with murders that follow the lyrics of a well-known children's rhyme. That, and Christie's scrupulous integrity. What it lacks is atmosphere or humor: it's clever, but it isn't emotionally engaging. Rated as a novel; add an extra star if you're just interested in the puzzle.
Novelization of the film, also written by Seltzer. On its own, a semi-decent horror thriller about an American ambassador in London unwittingly raising the Anti-Christ, a young boy named Damien. Might have been better if written by a novelist, who could have given the dialogue more punch, the action scenes less of a cinematic flavor, and more depth to its religious themes. The popcorn version of Rosemary's Baby and The Exorcist.
Solid horror film starring Gregory Peck and Lee Remick as the unfortunate parents of the Anti-Christ. With Patrick Troughton as a priest who tries to warn Peck and David Warner as a paparazzi who discovers dark premonitions in his photographs. Several of its horror scenes have become iconic, including a spectacular beheading. Weakened only by the lack of a clear antagonist: Damien, the boy, behaves mostly like any other five year old kid, leaving it to the Devil himself to work his evil from off-screeen. Greatly superior to the novelization, also written by David Seltzer.