Friday, March 27, 2015

Boardwalk Empire season 4

The best season so far? Maybe. The writing was very strong. One weakness is possibly the Nelson Van Alden character. It seems they didn't quite know what to do with him anymore. And I still have some problems with the casting of Steve Buscemi in the lead role. Bill Paxton was busy? Him and Shea Whigham would have been more believable as brothers. Or Martin Donovan?  Anyway, I loved the way the season ended. Emotionally, it was very effective. And it felt right that the final image was the Richard Harrow character, who in many ways was the heart of the show. I know there is a fifth and final season, but I think maybe I'll skip it. Apparently it has only eight episodes, with lots of flashbacks, and some reviewers found it disappointing. I think maybe I prefer to let the ending of this season be the ending of the show. It's openended, but in my mind that makes it better. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Some books I've read 20

Les chiens enterrés ne mordent pas
La femme dans le frigo by Gunnar Staalesen
The Varg Veum books by Staalesen normally takes place in Bergen. In these two books Veum walks around in Oslo and Stavanger. You can see some Philip Marlowe in Veum, but Staalesen's language is not as inventive as Chandler's. Chiens loses some credibility at the end, and Femme has an intriguing mystery, but a somewhat dated solution.
Get in Trouble by Kelly Link
I really liked Link's first two books, Stranger Things Happen and Magic for Beginners. The third one, Pretty Monsters, was a bit disappointing to me. The same goes for this one. Her interest seems to have changed a bit; the stories are longer. I enjoyed the ghost story in space, Two Houses, but there's nothing in this book quite as strange or magical as The Girl Detective from Stranger.
Cul de Sac
Children at Play
Shapes and Colors by Richard Thompson
Okay, so I'm a bit late in discovering the work of Thompson, but these books have a charm that you normally never find in comic strips. And the drawings have a very appealing looseness. The characters even have a realness to them, that again is far from the usual funny pages. I'm sure Alice exists somewhere. I can see why Watterson is a fan.
Spawn of Mars and other stories by Wallace Wood
I know it's not fair or even useful, but I can't help but imagine Wood, instead of doing the usual 7 page EC stories, creating graphic novels. And with no narrative text, thank you! That's one problem with the book. What is all this unnecessary text doing on top of these great drawings?  Give the drawings some air, for pete's sake! And the lame twist endings don't help either.

Kahlo doodle

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Miami Vice

I watched the first half hour of this film and then gave up. It has the same ugly high def video look as Public Enemies. I thought that Michael Mann cared about authenticity, but the opening of the film takes place in a disco, with loud music, and people still talk in their normal voices, not having to shout back and forth. Right... There's also a lot of scenes of people talking on their cell phones. Cop movies should basically be set in the 70s. And since this is a Mann film, there's all that real cop lingo, making you have to guess what they're talking about half the time. Maybe I'll check out the rest of the film later, maybe not.

Sunday, March 15, 2015


Drawing done for Oslo's independent bookstore Tronsmo. Yes, that's Bukowski.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Public Enemies

I guess in theory it's an interesting choice to shoot a gangster film with handheld camera in HD digital, to give it an immediate feel, but in practice it makes the film look cheap and ugly. It looks like bad TV, with lots of close-ups. Boardwalk Empire looks better and more cinematic. And Johnny Depp's Dillinger is completely uninteresting as a character. Possibly the film is closer to reality than previous portrayals of the guy, but that's no excuse to tell a boring story. Maybe it's a genre that needs to be told in a more operatic style, like De Palma.
Top five Michael Mann movies:
1. Heat
2. Thief
3. Manhunter
4. The Last of the Mohicans
5. Collateral