Friday, July 30, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Abbot, Megan THROUGH A REAR-VIEW DARKLY
Abbott, Patti DAMN NEAR DEAD 2 (Busted Flush Press)
Anastasia, George SORTING OUT THE SYNDICATE
Anthony, Meredith PHILADELPHIA NOIR (Akashic Press)
Ashley, Cameron WRITERS ON NOIR
Benoit, Charles MASTER OF CEREMONIES
Boyle, William LAST CALL PANEL
Buntin, John SORTING OUT THE SYNDICATE
Case, Jarred DARK PASSAGE (THE MOVIE BY DAVID GOODIS)
Carcattera, Lorenzo WRITERS ON NOIR
Cohen, Jeff A. REALITY AND NOIR
Coleman, Reed F. WRITERS ON NOIR
Corbett, David WRITERS ON NOIR
Cupp, Scott DAMN NEAR DEAD 2 (Busted Flush Press)
Edwards, Rich PATRICIA HIGHSMITH AT THE MOVIES
Faust, Christa THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT
Forrest, E.B. DARK PASSAGE: NOIR POETRY
Gertzman, Jay THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT
Gilman, Keith PHILADELPHIA NOIR (Akashic Press)
Heffernan, William IACW LUNCHEON
Hendricks, Vicki WRITERS ON NOIR
Hoffman, Daniel DARK PASSAGE: NOIR POETRY
Jones, Meredith PHILADELPHIA NOIR (Akashic Press)
Kaufman, Thomas PATRICIA HIGHSMITH AT THE MOVIES
Lafferty, Don NOIR - GAY BINGO
Lashner, William LAST CALL
Light, Lawrence LAST CALL
Lippman, Laura GEORGE PELECANOS WITH LAURA LIPPMAN
Mayberry, Jonathan NOIR - GAY BINGO
McGoran, Jon LAST CALL/ NOIR - GAY BINGO
McLoughlin, Tim JOHNNY TEMPLE (AWARD) DINNER
Pelecanos, George WINNER OF THE DAVID LOEB GOODIS AWARD
Pettit, Ed DARK PASSAGE: NOIR POETRY
Phillips, Scott DAMN NEAR DEAD 2 (Busted Flush Press)
Polito, Robert DARK PASSAGE: NOIR POETRY
Rodman, Howard FANTOMAS AT 99 - THE LORD OF TERROR
Romano, Carlin PHILADELPHIA NOIR (Akashic Press)
Rozan, SJ DAMN NEAR DEAD 2 (Busted Flush Press)
Sand, Richard REALITY AND NOIR
Schenkar, Joan KEYNOTE SPEAKER
Simmons, Kelly NOIR - GAY BINGO
Smith, Neil A. THROUGH A REAR-VIEW DARKLY
Strunk, Keith NOIR - GAY BINGO
Stroby, Wallace REALITY AND NOIR
Swiercznski, Duane PHILADELPHIA NOIR (Akashic Press)
Tafoya, Dennis PHILADELPHIA NOIR (Akashic Press)
Temple, Johnny WINNER OF THE JAY AND DEEN KOGAN AWARD
Thompson, David JOHNNY TEMPLE WITH DAVID THOMPSON
Weinman, Sarah GEORGE PELECANOS (AWARD) DINNER
White, David FANTOMAS AT 99 - THE LORD OF TERROR
Withers, Larry DAVID GOODIS: TO A PULP (THE DOCUMENTARY)
Woodrell, Daniel WRITERS ON NOIR
Zervanos, Jeff PHILADELPHIA NOIR (Akashic Press)
Thursday, July 15, 2010
From IN CONTENTION.com by Guy Lodge
A short, sharp, deliciously black-hearted thriller that reads not unlike a readymade screenplay in its brisk, dialogue-dominated prose, Bruen’s novel makes its debt to Hollywood clear not only in its construction (brief, propulsive chapters of only a couple pages’ length resemble individual cinematic scenes) and its assorted winking namechecks of bygone films and stars, but in its very conception.
The title – not a location (locals will know that there is no London Boulevard in the British capital) but a metaphor of sorts – is our first clue to what Bruen is up to: the novel is itself an adaptation, and Billy Wilder’s gothic Hollywood noir “Sunset Boulevard” is the source material.
The novel’s allusions to the 1950 classic aren’t exactly subtle. Where Wilder’s film gave us Joseph C. Gillis, a destitute L.A. screenwriter who seeks shelter in the mansion of faded movie goddess Norma Desmond to escape the repo man, “London Boulevard” crosses the Channel, jumps a half-century forward, and replaces Gillis with Mitchell, a middle-aged ex-con who dodges the ghosts of his past (and his own compulsive criminal urges) by shacking up in the plush Holland Park pad of Lillian Palmer, a washed-up theater diva plotting her triumphant West End return.
If this all threatens to drift into smug, self-amusing pastiche, however, the surrounding narrative context of Mitchell’s bloody criminal misadventures bears little relationship to Wilder’s film (and a lot more resemblance to hard-boiled revenge thrillers like the namechecked “Point Blank”), ensuring “London Boulevard” a hybrid identity of its own. Bruen details the South London gangster racket that repeatedly ensnares Mitchell with brutal verbal wit, keen geographic specificity and violence that startles even on the page: it’ll be interesting to see whether Monahan’s film similarly dares to show its protagonist shooting a teenaged boy in the kneecaps.
Between its tight, tidy narrative, whip-crack dialogue and inbuilt cinematic reference scheme, then, “London Boulevard” would appear to be an entirely self-assembling adaptation prospect. Monahan, however, clearly has some other ideas, beginning with one curious stroke of casting that takes the material far from its fun“Sunset Boulevard” mirror-games – and I can’t help wondering whether or not he’s missed a trick.
Colin Farrell certainly isn’t the problem. 45, heavyset and decidedly unlike William Holden, the Mitchell of the novel suggests more of a Ray Winstone type (Winstone, ironically enough, will appear elsewhere as Gant, Mitchell’s dapper employer turned enemy). But the ample contrasts in the character of a well-read, Trisha Yearwood-loving thug should allow Farrell to work the same scuzzy charisma and bruised defiance that served him so well in Martin McDonagh’s “In Bruges.” (Indeed, between the films’ mutual leading man and the occasional similarities between Bruen and McDonagh’s respective of arch, Irish gallows humor, comparisons to McDonagh’s well-liked 2008 debut seem likely.)
The supporting cast looks dandy, too: if Monahan remains consistent with the novel’s characterizations, David Thewlis should ham it up righteously in Erich von Stroheim’s shoes as the debonair but lethal Jordan, while Anna Friel (best known to American audiences for her turn in TV’s “Pushing Daisies”) will hopefully find the mournful humor in Mitchell’s tragically dippy kid sister Briony. (On the page, there would appear to be less for the likes of Eddie Marsan and Ben Chaplin to do, but Bruen lets no walk-on character escape without a pithy line or two.)
My puzzlement and slight intrigue sets in when it comes to the casting of Lillian, the the film’s own Gloria Swanson. While reading the book, the mind feasts on the juicy opportunity available to assorted grandes dames of British film and theater, varying in age from Kristin Scott Thomas to Judi Dench. (Given her history with Colin Farrell, Eileen Atkins would have been a wicked in-joke choice.)
In his most externally obvious departure from the novel, however, the filmmakers have shattered the “Sunset Boulevard” template by reducing the character’s age by over three decades, and giving the role to Keira Knightley – not a little ironic, given the earlier film’s concern with Hollywood ageism. (The film’s synopsis still describes the character, renamed Charlotte, as a “reclusive actress,” though her youth brings question marks that I suppose could have psychologically interesting answers.)
The de-ageing of both lead characters would appear to take the film into less transgressively romantic genre territory than either the novel or its cinematic inspiration, but without having read Monahan’s screenplay, it’s difficult to gauge the wisdom of this decision. One would like to think it’s a grounded interpretive change rather than a mere concession to bankability, but fans of the novel may well wonder what might have been.
Putting this issue to one side, a crisp, crackling and pleasingly eccentric gangster outing should still await us. His sparky screenplay for “The Departed” suggests he could be the man for the job, but Monahan shouldn’t feel the need to take too many liberties with the jazzy rhythms of Bruen’s dialogue, with its often hilariously off-color asides and brainy non-sequiturs. Meanwhile, Monahan’s ace team of collaborators – including veteran DP Chris Menges and “Memento” editor Dody Dorn – promise a slick, grade-A vehicle, though not, ideally, one so palatable as to obscure the playfully nasty streak running through this terrific source novel, or the shadow of Billy Wilder behind it.
Posted by Lou Boxer at 6:41 PM
Ken Bruen, that elegant bard of noir hailing from Ireland, takes on the Wild West in his latest story, “Colt.” It appears in the August 2010 issue of Ellery Queen Magazine. In just six short pages, Bruen manages to pack in all that we love about his work—the personal tragedies of Tower (co-written with Reed Farrel Coleman), the inimitable punchy poetry of The Guards, and the gut-busting humor ofBust, Slide, and The Max (all co-written with Jason Starr)—but he also manages to show a new side to his art as well. Bruen is damn good at Westerns! It's funny, action-packed, and packs a solid punch at the end, and I can't recommend it highly enough.
“I had me a thirst, been riding hard, real hard, to get way the hell outa Arizona, they wanted me real bad in that godforsaken place
“The why is a whole other yarn and I ain’t gonna bother you none with that hokum now
“This here is about a gal
“Ain’t it always?”
The story is about a wandering gunman who learns the hard way why you keep you mouth shut at the bar. In between shots of whiskey he hears of an impending hanging that has everyone in town excited. Why, you ask? Because it isn’t just any old criminal at the end of the rope, it is a woman. And just who is that woman…someone from the gunman’s past that he can’t get out of his mind.
AUGUST 2010 cannot get here soon enough!
Posted by Lou Boxer at 4:37 AM
Monday, July 12, 2010
Here, prostitutes installed themselves on one side of the street, while a priest preached and handed out powdered milk to the poor on the other; social workers gave guidance, while drug addicts squatted under the stairs getting high; what were children's games centres by day became strip show venues by night. It was a very complex place, difficult to generalise about, a place that seemed frightening but where most people continued to lead normal lives. A place just like the rest of Hong Kong.
—Leung Ping Kwan, City of Darkness, p. 120
The Walled City of Kowloon has no visible wall around it, but it is as clearly defined as if there were one made of hard, high steel. It is instantly sensed by the congested open market that runs along the street in front of the row of dark run-down flats—shacks haphazardly perched on top of one another giving the impression that at any moment the entire blighted complex will collapse under its own weight, leaving nothing but rubble where elevated rubble had stood.—Robert Ludlum, The Bourne Supremacy, p. 149
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
To the uninitiated, TONY BLACK is a writer not to be missed. Check out this riveting, irreverent and incredibly visceral discussion about his latest book LONG TIME DEAD and the accompanying music video starring Tony in MY FATHER'S COAT.