Thursday, June 18, 2020

30 Days Has Noirvember: Jon Abrams

As far as anybody knows me by rep, they probably associate me with horror movies, maybe even Westerns. But noir films are a major interest of mine. I went almost half my life without any appreciation for the genre, but I was lucky enough to be prompted to study them at Wesleyan University, where I had access to explore these amazing films, before streaming services or even Blu-Ray existed. More importantly, every time my uncle and I get together, this is what we watch. It might not be my go-to field of expertise, but I love to be educated.

So here’s my list of five – I spent a lot of time deliberating over what to include before realizing that it’s such a rich genre that I could pick almost any five and not go wrong. So I just hurried up and picked a handful at random. With these five, trust me, you won’t go wrong.

The Big Steal (1949)

Most noir experts call Out Of The Past (1947) one of the finest films in the entire history of the genre, and I surely agree. It’s literally a perfect movie. The Big Steal doesn’t reach those heights, mainly because few movies can. But it’s worth revisiting if only because it reunites the stars of Out Of The Past, Jane Greer and Robert Mitchum. That’s a gigantic “if only.” Like Out Of The Past, The Big Steal was written by Daniel Mainwaring, this time adapting someone else’s source material rather than his own. Instead of Jacques Tourneur as director, we have Don Siegel, whose skill set is different but no less estimable. He’s more of a straight shooter, so to me, The Big Steal feels a mite more conventional than Out Of The Past, not as lyrical or romantic. Still a better-than-average example of a movie genre with more than its share of better-than-average.

House Of Bamboo (1955)

Lee Marvin aside, there’s no studio-era leading-man-slash-character-actor I love harder than Robert Ryan. In life he was a good man, but on screen he had a tremendous capacity for viciousness. What fascinates me about Ryan is how even when playing vicious men, his eyes suggested an inner torment, either causing or caused by the deeds his characters committed. It just wasn’t in him to play one-note villains. House Of Bamboo, directed by the master Sam Fuller, is a potent example of Cinemascope color-noir. It was shot by Joseph MacDonald, who also shot My Darling Clementine, itself a striking film visually since it beautifully and surprisingly wedded noir aesthetics to the expanses of the John Ford Western. If only for the look of it, and for the location photography of Japan, House Of Bamboo is an under-discussed gem, but Robert Ryan is what makes it essential. Robert Ryan is what makes American movies essential, really.

The Lineup (1958)

If up above I suggested Don Siegel was in any way a step down from Jacques Tourneur, I hope to make it clear, that wasn’t the aim. He’s one of my favorite directors and on a list limited to five, I’m naming another one of his films. This one works largely as a showcase for a single actor. The great and probably still underrated Eli Wallach plays a real nasty character called Dancer, who commits certain acts of violence in this movie that are truly shocking – I mean, the kind that’ll make you say “Oh shit!” out loud, and that’s even by the hardened standards of a modern moviegoer like myself who’s been on the receiving end of movie-maniac cruelty as depicted by practitioners as varied as Wes Craven and John Woo. Not sure anybody thinks of Eli Wallach immediately when asked to name the most unforgettable villains in American film, but go see The Lineup and get back to me.

Macao (1952)

Though I’m sure there’s plenty that can (rightly) be said about the appropriations and likely inaccuracies of Hollywood studio pictures depicting foreign locales and locals without ever leaving the soundstages of Los Angeles, there’s still something fascinating to me about them, the same way “spaghetti” Westerns are so enthralling to me. There’s a cultural dissonance to movies like that which feels weird to me and almost a little otherworldly. As these movies go, I feel like director Josef Von Sternberg’s earlier Far East noir The Shanghai Gesture is probably more, as the youths say, “problematic” when looked at with modern-day eyes. As art, Macao is probably slighter and maybe even more fun. It’s a trade-off maybe. Either way, this one has Gloria Grahame, from In A Lonely Place and The Big Heat, one of the absolute greatest noir actors there ever was. Seek her out!

Thieves’ Highway (1949)

If the game is picking underrated movies, Thieves’ Highway might not qualify; after all, it’s in the Criterion Collection. In the context of director Jules Dassin’s career, though, it’s definitely underrated – the two movies he made before this one were Brute Force and The Naked City, two of the greatest noirs, period, and the two movies he made after it were Night And The City and Rififi, which are also two of the greatest noirs, period. Thieves’ Highway stars noir stalwart Richard Conte, best known to most of us as Barzini from The Godfather, and it’s a vengeance-fueled crime story about truckers, which is low-key one of my favorite subgenres. Jules Dassin is one of the great directors of all time, surely highly qualified to be called “underrated,” although I hope more people continue to discover and appreciate and learn from his wonderful films.

Jon Abrams is the Editor-In-Chief at Daily Grindhouse. He is a New York-based writer, cartoonist, and committed cinemaniac whose complete work and credits can be found at his site, Demon’s Resume. You can contact him on Twitter as @JonZilla___

Saturday, June 6, 2020

May Daze

A few things from the last month or so

First I've watched some TeeVees - more than I have been lately - and highlights include:

ZeroZeroZero - miniseries about international crime as big business that splits the narrative three ways - the buyers (Italians), sellers (Mexicans) and brokers (Americans) in a mind-blowingly huge cocaine deal. I watched it because Stefano Sollima and Roberto Saviano were collaborators and fu-uck, it scratched my itch. Big, brutal, business. Bleak. On Prime. 

Damnation - After ZZZ I had to wash the corrosive taste of hyper-capitalism out of my system and this pulpy, operatic ultraviolent labor-wars drama did the job nicely. Too bad Tony Tost didn't get to tell a multi-season story, but the single season we got packed in plenty of plot, colorful characters and cathartic scenes of anti-authoritarian bloodshed. I swear some days I think about Logan Marshall-Green casually shooting oblivious cops for sport from a moving train and it's succor to get me through these trying times. On Netflix.

Movie (Series!)

The following are my final rulings on the rankings of a couple of franchises I finished in May.

First Blood > Rambo > Rambo: Last Blood > Rambo: First Blood Part II > Rambo III

Rambo: Last Blood got dumped on pretty hard last year. When I first heard about the it going into production Rambo vs. The Zetas (or whatever) sounded fucking perfect, but then when it turned out to be about the less specifically-Mexican issue of sex trafficking I got the same 'ah-shit' creeping dread that we were in for a border-fear-stoking shit-show, but I'm so happy to report that what we actually ended up with was about forty-five minutes of clunky set up followed by a couple of lovely beatdowns and topped off with the most fist-pumpingly gruesome and fucking mean finale I've seen in a minute set to The Doors' Five to One. Holy shit. As someone who didn't grow up watching the films and for whom the character doesn't hold any special place in my heart, I realize I might be in the tiniest minority in enjoying the way this closes the franchise, but... here I go again on my own. 

Death Wish > Death Sentence > Death Wish 4: The Crackdown > Death Wish V: The Face of Death > Death Wish II > Death Wish 3 > Death Wish (2018)

Yeah I still haven't read Brian Garfield's novels (Death Wish and Death Sentence), so I can't compare the original film with the source material, but even the first movie stands waaay apart from the sequels and seems like a sober-minded meditation on the price of violence - righteous or not - on your soul than the extreme stand your ground porn the franchise quickly descended (some would say transcended) into. For my money the best of the rest is James Wan's Death Sentence which combined gnarly violence with budding auteur-shit set pieces and visuals, but after Michael Winner's goofy grindhouse sequels (II & 3), 4 & 5 kept the ridiculosity of the violent confrontations, but took the plot in some new (though, hardly original) directions which elevate them slightly over the urban hellscape cleaning up the neighborhood retreads. I'm not sure when it became the thing to dunk on Eli Roth (I don't know anything about him outside of his movies), so I took the dismissal of his (Joe Carnahan penned) remake starring Bruce Willis with a grain of salt. Turns out you guys were right about it not being worthwhile. Limp and uninspired, but worst of all boring.

Brand new movies

Come to Daddy - Ant Timpson - Elijah Wood responds to an unexpected letter from his father who left him when he was a kid. It's an awkward reunion and full of unexpected dangers. This one jumps sideways pretty hard in a way that makes talking about it at length tricky, but the tone is darkly, uncomfortably funny and surprisingly gnarly when it gets down to the onscreen violence. It's also kinda sweet. Good shit (now on Prime).

Debt Collectors - Jesse V. Johnson - An unexpected sequel to 2018's Debt Collector which ends with the heroes French (Scott Adkins) and Sue (Louis Mandylor) pretty certainly dead from getting shot to fuck by Tony Todd's goons. Admittedly, the ending is a significant part of why I loved Debt Collector (now on Netflix) and giving the odd couple a new lease on life does kinda cheapen the original film... but it was already a cheap film, what the hell. Debt Collectors finds French and Sue as surprised as their audience that they're alive and even gives us an awkward scene of the two of them hashing over how puzzled they are the other survived (hard to say exactly how long after the events of the first film the sequel takes place - long enough for everybody to have healed from their significant injuries, yet not long enough for curiosity to have gotten the better of either buddy to the point that they did an online obituary search - it's a wonky world) and it's one of a handful of so below the bar nods to movie-make-believe that end up making the sequel work. Following the blueprint of buddy action comedies this one gives the dysfunctional duo a new set of situations to punch through, as well as a few new character wrinkles (ranging from laughably dumb to surprisingly affecting) in an effort to keep things fresh. Despite nothing about the franchise being fresh, I'd not call it a wasted effort because the effort shows and is charming at its best and good-naturedly owning its goofiness at its most clumsily mis-calculated. Yes, a lesser film than the first, but an onscreen team I would happy to spend another installment or two with. Now on Hoopla.

A Good Woman is Hard to Find - Abner Pastoll - Sarah Bolger is terrific as a recent widow and mother of two young children at the ragged edge of not getting by. She desperately needs help, but every bit of assistance offered (from family, from neighbors, from government representatives) comes loaded with barely concealed contempt, patronizing advice or a debasement clause that only adds to her burden. When a local dirtbag makes her an accomplice in his criminality she takes the money and keeps her mouth shut because she's out of options, but her (in)actions put her in the crosshairs of the police and rival drug dealers and it all escalates to a series of very satisfying confrontations that include the weaponization of dildos and the absolute best hiding place for a handgun. Also: electronic score, neon lights and hammers as weapons are officially tropes now.

Les Misérables - Ladj Ly - Ever timely drama about policing the over-policed. Damien Bonnard is the new cop on the block getting a tour of his new beat by a pair of detectives (Alexis Manenti's prick with a stick and Djibril Zonga's slightly more carrot-prone counterpart). Over the course of the day he'll be put through hazing rituals, meet the population and then put out a series of small fires threatening to consume the whole neighborhood. Police brutality caught on video, highly combustible racial tensions and rioting in case you're not getting enough of that right at home. Now on prime.

VFW - Joe Begos - This is the version of The Expendables I've been waiting for. A siege movie set inside a rundown VFW hall full of brokedown soldiers commiserating on their place in the world that's left them behind. Gnarly violence, kickass pacing and a cast of character actors to die for (Stephen Lang, Fred Williamson, William Sadler, Martin Kove, David Patrick Kelly and George Wendt finally back at the end of the bar). Definite John Carpenter two-fer vibe to the whole affair (like Assault on Precinct 13 set in the urban wasteland of Escape From New York). Available to stream on Hoopla.

Couple micro-budget mentions

Empathy Inc. - Yedidya Gorsetman - Cool little sci-fi crime/horror thriller with a social message way out front and honestly a little in the way... at first. But hang with this one and see if it doesn't deliver some legit thrills in the back half. Kinda like a mumblecore version of Strange Days. Check it out on Prime.

Thieves - Bryan C. Winn - Put the scripts to Heat, Thief, To Live & Die in L.A., Drive, The Killing and Narc in a blender, add a pinch of Points Blank and Break and I bet after five or six tries you'd arrive at this exact shooting script. Before you rush off to watch it lemme be clear, it's not a 'good' movie, it's amateur-hour everything, but if your tastes line up exactly right it might be a good time - kinda like those kids who made a shot-for-shot remake of Raiders of the Lost Ark - you're rooting for Winn and company and they do pull off an homage not really worth your time, but I bet they had a blast making it. And hey, more power to them. About five minutes in I thought it might make a fun drinking game - calling out the name of the movie that line came straight out of - but I cannot in good conscience recommend anybody do that... it would probably be lethal. Find it on prime.

Friday, May 8, 2020

Arky Fulla Malarky

Appreciated Jen Johans having me on her podcast Watch With Jen & Friends to talk about what we're watching and reading during quarantime. I took the opportunity to suggest an Eastern seaboard small town crime double feature of Danielle Krudy and Bridget Savage Cole's Blow the Man Down and Kevin McMullin's Low Tide. Both are feature directorial debuts with a lot of promise. No idea whether Krudy and Savage Cole's will be an ongoing partnership nor whether any of the parties will continue to focus on crime stores, but I was very pleased with each and you can tune in here to listen to my ramblings (and consider contributing to Jen's patreon).

On the episode I mentioned I was reading John Brandon's Arkansas in anticipation of the movie's imminent release. Happy to say, I dug both. I read and very much enjoyed Brandon's second novel Citrus County some ten years ago and snatched up a copy of Arkansas which then sat on my shelf until I saw the movie was coming and decided I really needed to read the book first.

Hoo-boy, I loved the book. Like really loved it. Even more so than I remember loving Citrus County (which I named one of my favorites of the year back when I wrote about books for that other site). It was funny and warm toward its characters without sparing them anything and as fun as the dialogue and actions were to imagine as onscreen antics it was most definitely a book - the structure was a little tricky with multiple POV characters and non-linear chapters. A successful film adaptation was going to be tricky.

Enter rookie feature writer/director Clark Duke, best known as an actor in connection with Rob Corddry in Hot Tub Time Machine (a movie I really love, btw) who also cast himself as Swin, opposite Liam Hemsworth's Kyle in an effort to break free from the type-casting rut he'd found himself in as a performer. Their odd-couple at the heart of the film are supported by Vince Vaughn, John Malkovich, Michael Kenneth Williams, Vivica A. Fox and Eden Brolin.

I really liked the film and loved the book and I'd encourage you to check out both.

Over at Daily Grindhouse I was the guest Stream Warrior this week and recommended a few overlooked, forgotten and small crime flicks currently available on Tubi, Netflix and Prime. You'll have to go on over there to see the picks, but I promise a mix of straight up trash, exploitation, innovation and A-list quality projects that completely missed with audiences.

Okay - I'll let you in on one of the picks, 'cause I really enjoyed rewatching it this week - Steve Kloves' Flesh & Bone starring Dennis Quaid, Meg Ryan, James Caan and Gwenyth Paltrow. Man, it didn't do shit when it came out, but it's a great little noir full of wonderful details that feels a lot like a Jim Thompson story to me... sure, I can see why it wasn't a blockbuster hit, but it was most definitely made for me.

And how cool was it to see S.A. Cosby's Blacktop Wasteland gracing the cover of Booklist magazine for just a minute. Turns out the cover upset some folks so much that Booklist decided to take it down and reprint the issue with a new cover. Fucking bummer man. Shawn's a real talent, a generous personality and a success story everybody can root for, right?  At least Booklist gave him a chance to respond publicly to the situation. You can read his response here and you can also read his twitter responses to the whole thing. Here's hoping Blacktop Wasteland is the breakthrough book for tomorrow's favorite new crime writer.

Shawn's contributed pieces to HBW several times in the last few years, if you're not familiar with him you can read those here, then if you can pre-order Blacktop Wasteland I heartily recommend that you do.

Another pal several hours into his fifteen minutes and not slowing down is William Boyle. His new book City of Margins is out and worth seeking out however you have access to books. He's guest edited byNWR's latest issue, the noir issue, Dark Brink of Love and he's brought along a host of contributors I'm a fan of... Scott Adlerberg, Ace Atkins, Marya E. Gates, Gabino Iglesias, Mary Miller, J. David Osbourne, Jack Pendarvis, Sarah Weinman and more. Check that shit out.

You can also get your fill of Bill on a previous episode of Watch With Jen & Friends and on a recent episode of Increment Vice with Travis Woods. (also check out Daily Grindhouse's Jon Abrams on the latest episode). In these times of isolation it's been nice to tune in and have the chance to hear pals chatting about the stuff I'm interested in. Good stuff.

Another N@B alum having a moment is Kansas City comic writer and artist Ande Parks whose graphic novel Ciudad (co-written by Joe and Anthony Russo) adapted into the fucking sweet action movie Extraction starring Chris Hemsworth. Ultra-violent and really great stunts and camera work, I loved it.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Towering Infernoir

Had a lot of fun going back to Alan J. Pakula's All the President's Men preparing for an appearance on the All the President's Minutes podcast. Pakula was on fucking fire for a stretch in the seventies crafting stylistically bold, innovative and influential films that smoldered, simmered and blazed on their own, but became some kind of towering infernoir of thematically scathing, acid-baths scalding off any sheen left on the American experiment. If you were going to compile a list of paranoia/conspiracy thriller all-timers you'd surely have to include Klute, The Parallax View and All the President's Men. You'd have to. Have to. You would.

As much as I admire Pakula and All the President's Men, it's not one I'd watched in probably twenty years (Klute's the one I re-watch the most), so revisiting I was a little shocked by how quietly it had set the template for so much of what followed. I enjoyed revisiting Dick (and even said I identified much more with Will Ferrell and Bruce McCullough's Woodward & Bernstein than I did Redford and Hoffman's - can't believe I actually admitted that publicly) and watching The Final Days. even snuck Elvis & Nixon in there because why the hell not - (btw Michael Shannon's Elvis is a performance you really need to experience. I've very much enjoyed recent depictions of The King including his and Ron Livingston's from Shangri-La Suite - I like how Elvis -and Nixon- have become mythic, larger than life figures to have a take on rather than historic figures to portray as strictly accurately as possible). 

My teenaged son sat in with me for a viewing and I especially enjoyed getting his perspective as a first time viewer relatively unexposed to Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman and Jason Robards, as well as fuzzy on the story of Woodward & Bernstein and Richard Nixon. All of that is discussed in the episode which you can listen to here.

The dogged pursuit of the the story in All the President's Men is complimented by the determination of All the President's Minutes' creator and host, Blake Howard. You may know his name from previous projects exploring his cinematic obsessions as the host of One Heat Minute, The Last (12 Minutes) of the Mohicans, The Take, Con(Ten)gen and as producer of Icrement Vice, Josie and the Podcasts and surely more to come including an examination of David Fincher's Zodiac and Michael Mann's Miami Vice.

Of fucking course.

Anyway, you should check out Blake's work including his essays and reviews. Most things Howard-centric can be found at the One Heat Minute Productions website.

Another one I recently revisited with my son was John McTiernan's The Hunt For Red October (talk about another on-fucking-fire-for-a-hot-minute guy: Predator, Die Hard, The Hunt For motherfucking Red October - fuck), I followed it up with my first viewing of Wolfgang Peterson's Das Boot which was yeah, great. Struck me that both films ask of American audiences that they ditch nationalism for humanity and sympathize with "the enemy," which is always a big ask for us, but maybe never more timely. Afterward I read Priscilla Page's terrific essay on Red October (knowing it was out there certainly contributed to my interest to revisit) and found she'd laid it out there even better than I just did.
Couple John McTiernan observations occurred to me though - the first is addressed in Page's piece, the similar framing device of Die Hard's John McClane and October's Jack Ryan being vulnerable heroes who have to deal with significant anxiety about flying. 
Compare McClane & Ryan's early scenes to our introduction to the mercs in McTiernan's Predator -all eager to outdo the other's macho posturing during the turbulent helicopter ride to the action - the mercs end up slaughtered when they encounter an adversary they can't understand. Seems like a clear understanding of your own vulnerability is a big key to surviving a McTiernan movie. 

Then there's that nationalism that both the antagonists of Red October and Die Hard's exceptional thieves count on the Americans being blinded by and unable to perceive what's really going on. The mercs in Predator are the "buckaroos" (Sean Connery's) Ramius knows will fuck it all up. Meanwhile McClane slips Hans Gruber's generalization of Americans who all want to be John Wayne by being more partial to Roy Rogers -the signing cowboy- actually.

I dunno, stood out. Maybe it's the pandemic.

Thanks to Jordan Harper's Letterboxd review I jumped on Golgo 13: The Professional and found the first anime feature I've ever enjoyed. It's on Prime now and I highly recommend checking it out. It's so stylish it's easy to see where folks from Michael Mann to John Woo and Christopher Nolan found inspiration for their visual storytelling. Based on the popular Manga, it's only one of several film and television adaptations including two 1970s live-action turns from Ken Takakura and Sonny Chiba. I watched a few and 1983's The Professional stands high above all of them.

During this pandemic I've been mining Ryan Jackson's Twitter feed for gold tracking his progress as he explores crime films of the 60s, 70s and 80s especially foreign imports. I've watched a lot of new to me titles based on his posts - sometimes just the poster and other times a review. I'd had Michael Apted's The Squeeze on my to-watch list for some time, but seeing Ryan's review made me finally get off my duff and watch it and ho-lee-shit it's the best new to me 70s crime picture I've seen in a while. Just fucking cold, hard, misanthropic nastiness. Really terrific. Stacy Keach is fantastic. Follow Ryan on Twitter @RyanJackson.

A bunch of the stuff Ryan's been watching are Italian Poliziotteschis of the 70s, a category I only started exploring myself a few years ago when I stumbled on to the works of Fernando Di Leo (who remains my favorite, most consistently good, director in the genre (though I've seen a stinker from him too). Basically the Italians flooded the market with their knockoffs of iconic American cop and gangster films making many hundreds of these pictures in such quick succession that the novelty quickly wore off and the quality dropped fast. But holy shit, the good ones are among the best crime films I've ever seen.

If you're new to them I'd recommend Anne Billson's piece Italy, Armed to the Teeth, on her favorites as a starting place or check out Mike Malloy's documentary Eurocrime! The Italian Cop and Gangster Films That Ruled the '70s now available for free on Tubi (and I heard it's coming to Prime soon).

I've enjoyed a lot of film docs recently because sometimes I need to take a break from watching films and instead watch films about films. A few I've especially enjoyed?

All the Colors of Giallo - Federico Caddeo - Nice overview of the genre's roots and the Italian film makers who defined the movement. It's available on Prime.

American Grindhouse - Elija Drenner - All the drive-in and grindhouse genres covered in this one now available on Prime and Kanopy.

De Palma - Noah Baumbach, Jake Paltrow - A film by film examination of Brian De Palma's body of work including brand new input with the man himself. Now available on Netflix and Kanopy.

Easy Riders & Raging Bulls - Kenneth Bowser - A look at the end of the big-studio system and the rise of independent film movement and New Hollywood.

Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films - Mark Hartley - The unlikely rise, ridiculous run and inevitable fall of Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, the dudes behind Cannon Films who left its mark on the 1980s.

Inside Deep ThroatFenton Bailey, Randy Barbato - A look at the cultural event that was Deep Throat and how it changed popular culture's relationship with pornography as well as the big business of porn and organized crime. Now on DirecTV and Starz.

The Kid Stays in the Picture Nanette Burstein, Brett Morgen - Based on the memoir of the same name by Robert Evans, the outsized ego behind a lot of your favorite pictures from New Hollywood era. Now on DirecTV and Starz.

Los Angeles Plays Itself - Thom Andersen - A look at the way the city has been represented in film for decades from iconic locales to the shifting demographics and identities of the natives and residents. Now on Kanopy and Mubi.

Machete Maidens Unleashed - Mark Hartley - A look at the Filipino film industry in the 70s with the explosion of western exposure with a lot of focus on Roger Corman (and, Cirio H. Santiago of course). Available on Hoopla.

Milius - Joey Figueroa, Zak Knutson - A look behind the myth and rumors about John Milius. Always an entertaining subject. Now available on Tubi, Hoopla and Prime.

OvernightMark Brian Smith, Tony Montana - The story of Troy Duffy is a hilarious cautionary tale of the dangers having a drop of talent matched with an outsized ego. Find it on Hoopla.

Remake, Remix, Rip-Off - Cem Kaya - A fascinating look at the cultural evolution of Turkish cinema. The inspiration, innovation and hutzpah the performers, and directors needed to pull off these cheap and wild films is incredible.

The SarnosWiktor Ericsson - Story of sexploitation filmmaker Joe Sarno and his wife Peggy. Dunno why I'm so fascinated by the dirty stuff, but there you go. Available on Popcornflix.

Survival of the Film FreaksKyle Kuchta, Bill Fulkerson - Fans, curators, film makers and distributors of the 21st century explore the idea, history and experience of 20th century cult films and speculate on the future. Now streaming on Prime.

Trumbo - Peter Askin - The story of Dalton Trumbo with special focus on his fight against HUAC and the blacklist with dramatic readings of his personal correspondence. Now on Kanopy and Prime.

Few more of my favorites films about films listed here.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Ike, Mike & Mustard

Had an absolute blast hanging out on The Projection Booth podcast again, this time to discuss Shane Black's Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. Man, I miss seeing people, but I tell you what, if you ever get the chance to chat with Mike White and Andrew Nette on the phone I highly recommend you take it.

I hope you'll listen and enjoy the conversation, but even if you have no interest in our discussion you should tune in for Mike's interview with Shane himself. That's right - Black and White in conversation. Listen here.
Of course along the way we also talk about other Shane Black movies, their common themes, tropes and obsessions as well as pulp detective books like the Michael Shayne series by Brett Halliday (KKBB is loosely based on his novel Bodies Are Where You Find Them),

Johnny Gossamer (screenwriter Black's stand-in for Michael Shayne whose non-existent books inspire the mindset and decision making of the KKBB's characters) and Raymond Chandler. (whose book titles are used as chapter titles in KKBB).

There's so much fucking yakkity-yak going on in this episode you can barely hear the talking monkey in the background.