Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Something silly

This is me, senior year of high school, receiving an award for being an outstanding American Government student. Though many others stand there, I believe it turned into my own fashion moment. I miss that skirt. And those shoes.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Seriously, January?

Carey Mulligan on W and Meryl Streep on Vogue. Top two actresses. Top two magazines. I like 2012 already.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

"Blackmail" (1929)

The first ten minutes of Alfred Hitchcock's  Blackmail begin as a silent, as Scotland Yard catches a criminal. One of these, detective Frank Webber, meets his girlfriend Alice later that night. Their awkward dinner conveys Webber's lack of interest in Alice, so her late night date with another man remains no surprise. However, Alice walks away from this secret date a murderer, and the plot twists from there.

I am a fan of early talkies, and this one is one of the best I have seen. When the film transitioned from silent to talkie, I literally exclaimed, "whoa!" It would have made sense either way. Furthermore, I am fascinated with what a consistent and quality filmmaker Hitchcock always was. His early work maintains the same standards classics like "Psycho," "The Birds," "Rear Window," etc. have that make him legendary today.

And, as always when I review a Hitchcock film, this review ends prematurely because of what I do not want to reveal. It remains worth seeking out.


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Book: "A Killing in Comics"

New York City, 1948: a birthday party for the publisher of the most popular comic book super heroes of the day, Wonder Guy. 

Guests include savvy ex-striptease artist Maggie Starr, who heads her late husband's newspaper circuit, which includes the comics; her stepson, VP, and occasional private detective Jack Starr; Wonder Guy's original creators, who bear chips on their shoulders for getting cheated out of some of the profits; and Donny Harrelson, the publisher, who weaves drunkenly through the guests --- before he drops dead on the floor.

This opening to Max Allan Collins' novel, A Killing in Comics concludes, and then takes readers, in Jack's point of view, through the classic "who done it," case, with a few twists. These include a film noir moments here (Jack tempting information out of Harrelson's secretary, Honey), and some comic book art there. Terry Beatty, who illustrated the Batman comics, combines his art with Collins' prose. Even adults can get picture books.

The characters remain devious. Jack discovers they each have a motive to kill Donny. Collins' tight and witty prose is, like I mentioned, similar to film noir, and it keeps the tension throughout. It remains filled with short lines of dialogue, sarcasm, use of nicknames like"Jackie," and femme fatales who wear red nail polish and negligees with company. The conclusion spins from an unexpected climax (introduced, of course, with comic book panels), where the killer's identity seems obvious, yet clever.

Collins wrote another graphic novel, Road to Perdition, among others. However, A Killing in Comics marks my introduction to his work. I could not stop this one, and I wanted to pick up something else once I admitted I finished. This book remains unique, in my opinion, and I am hungry for more.