Monday, April 18, 2005

“Good taste is the enemy of art.” – Pablo Picasso

Mario and Erwin have kindly invited me to join them as a regular host on the Gweilo’s Hour, so, yeah, if, like me, your Friday nights are free and you’re sober enough during the hour of 9-10 PM and can reach a radio, have a listen.

I may be away for a few days, starting tomorrow.

The Ring 2 sucks. Which is sad because a) it’s Hideo Nakata, and b) there was an interesting twist that was so ripe with potential, it was the perfect excuse to have a sustained feeling of tension/dread/terror, but no, they settled with cheap shocks and the Goddamn Hollywood One-Liner. Nice Gary Cole cameo though.

I liked Closer. I really thought I wouldn’t, when I saw the trailer. But it was good. It’s very obviously adapted from a play, though, and I’m really curious if the non-linear structure is faithful (it was adapted by the playwright himself). What’s interesting to me is that there actually wasn’t that much time for character development, it just jumps right into those pivotal moments in the relationship and the betrayals/counter-betrayals. So what happens is you bring a lot to it as an audience member; your memories and experiences and knowledge of how people are petty and shallow and insecure and cheap and selfish and fuck each other over, seemingly with abandon. A reviewer described it as an emotional Rorschach test of relationships, and that’s something to think about. I loved Clive Owen, especially his showdown with Julia Roberts, when he trapped her and I actually wanted to stand up and cheer (I settled for pointing at the screen, silently hooting). Occasionally, though, it irks me when the dialogue is TOO good, TOO perfect (too witty repartee, basically), and delivered so quickly. No one talks like that in real life. It’s something plays tend to do. When I argue with someone there usually aren’t these wonderful poison-laced bon mots that fly around like confetti, I’m not trying to use my tongue as a makeshift epee. I can admire the writing, but it doesn’t feel realistic, because normal people stutter, eat their words, stumble, say stupid things they don’t mean and sometimes things that don’t even make sense after you utter them and you’re left feeling embarrassed but still trying to appear dignified in your anger. But, yeah, Closer makes you think about relationships, particularly your own, and in that, it works great.

Forgot to mention that I finished, a while back, the Hitchhiker’s Guide books of Douglas Adams, and enjoyed them. It’s occasionally brilliant writing, though inconsistent. It is definitely brilliant comedy. It’s funny to realize how big an influence he is on Neil Gaiman (who wrote a Guide to Hitchhiker’s Guide called Don’t Panic! as one of his first major works as an unknown) and pop culture in general, but in its own very British way. Like big epics, it takes turns in directions you didn’t even know existed (like suddenly jumping 5 years within the turn of a page), and by the end you are most definitely in strange unfamiliar territory. I can only assume he intended to continue the series because WHAT HAPPENED TO FENCHURCH!? And other assorted plot bits were left dangling. With his demise, it looks like these will be questions for the ages.

I had a quick fever last week, like one day, but after I had a cough that still hasn’t left, and one afternoon I was watching HBO and caught the majority of The Emperor’s Club, a film I originally dismissed as another Dead Poets Society-type film, but I was still curious to watch it because I like Kevin Kline. It’s surprisingly different, for a reason I can’t divulge for fear of spoiling it, but the real surprise is FUCKING RAHUL KHANNA, ex-MTV VJ, who is in the film as some kind of genius! I was wondering where he’d got to.

PowerBooks is on sale until the end of the month. I highly recommend David B.’s Epileptic, which is in the biographies section. I’m going through that right now and it’s definitely one of the books of the year; one of the most significant graphic novels in the wake of Craig Thompson’s Blankets, Chris Ware’s Jimmy Corrigan, Paul Hornschemeier’s Mother, Come Home; etc. Also The Best of American Splendor & Posy Simmond’s Gemma Bovery in Graphic Novels.

Richard Kadrey has offered his new novel, Blind Shrike, to the public absolutely free as a downloadable .PDF. His Viperwire nanotales are still up on Infinite Matrix, and his earlier novel Metrophage is also still a free download.


Color Me Kubrick, starring John Malkovich

Daywatch, sequel to Nightwatch

Tony Scott’s Domino

And naturally, Breakdancing Transformers

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