Catching Up

Things are going absolutely crazy around here, and I know I haven’t posted much from the movie world lately, but there’s much on the way. First, many thanks to Now Voyaging: Journeys Through Life and Classic Film for nominating me for a Liebster Award! I look forward to participating in that process soon.

Second, here are a few upcoming items to look for in the near (and far) future:

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Herb Trimpe (1939-2015)

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Artist Herb Trimpe passed away on Monday at the age of 75. You can read more about Trimpe’s life and his passing but for me, Trimpe will always define how the Hulk should look. The Incredible Hulk was one of my favorite comics as a kid, largely due to Trimpe’s artwork and after seeing his version of the character, anyone else’s just didn’t seem to measure up.

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Blue Velvet (1986) David Lynch

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Blue Velvet (1986) David Lynch
Written by David Lynch
Produced by Fred Caruso, Richard A. Roth
Music by Angelo Badalamenti
Cinematography by Frederick Elmes
MGM
Amazon streaming (rental)
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The David Lynch Project Part V

With some films, you lose track of exactly how many times you’ve seen them. I can’t tell you for sure how many times I’ve seen The Maltese Falcon or The Bridge on the River Kwai or even Ghostbusters, but I can tell you very distinctly about the three times I’ve watched Blue Velvet.

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The April Webcomics Show

This month over at The Comics Alternative Podcast, Derek and I discuss three webcomics, two ongoing and one completed.

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First you’ll find Henchgirl by Kristen Gudsnuk, a humorous superhero/supervillain title, followed by Huge Hana, a science fiction title by Ian Burns, and an epic completed title, Digger by Ursula Vernon.

We’re always looking for more webcomics to discuss on the show, so whether you know of a good ongoing or finished webcomic, please let us know. Hope you enjoy the podcast!

Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir (1998) Eddie Muller

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Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir (1998) Eddie Muller
St. Martin’s Griffin
Trade Paperback, 206 pages
ISBN 0312180764
$29.99

Just say the name Eddie Muller and you’ve got my undivided attention. I think my first contact with Muller’s name was from listening to one of his DVD commentaries (which you can find here). Later I learned that he has written several books (fiction and non-fiction) on noir, so I sought out Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir and was not disappointed in the least.

Dark City stands both as a great introduction to film noir and an excellent resource for those who are already noir fans. Muller’s writing style recalls the hard-boiled prose style of Cain, Hammett, Chandler and many others, which makes the book all the more enjoyable, but the main selling points are Muller’s knowledge of noir and how he conveys it.

Novelist James Ellroy didn’t call Muller “The Czar of Noir” for nothing. Muller knows this stuff inside and out, backwards, sideways, through a strainer, meat grinder, you name it. Rather than presenting us with a long, boring history of noir, Muller jumps right in, giving readers the essential aspects of noir in chapters such as “The Precinct,” “Shamus Flats,” “Vixenville,” “Blind Alley,” “The Psych Ward,” and more. Each chapter includes what makes each theme important to noir and discusses films which represent those themes.

Yet knowing about the films means little without an examination of the times and conditions under which they were made and this is where Muller outdoes himself. Dark City is a study of American culture and life in the 1940s and 50s as well as a look at it’s noir offerings. Frequent excursions about the stars, directors, writers, and cinematographers aren’t really excursions at all, but rather essential information in helping us understand what makes film noir. And the photos? Stunning. Very highly recommended.

5/5

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I’m following this book with another from Muller, which I hope to start today, the recently released Gun Crazy: The Origin of American Outlaw Cinema. This book is not available on Amazon, but you can order it exclusively from Black Pool Productions.

(Photos: Eddie Muller)

Film Noir and Easter – Seriously?

A couple of months ago, I wrote a blog post called “Why I Love Film Noir,” focusing on some of the spiritual elements of why I adore noir. On my “About” page, I talk about how I often examine films and graphic novels from a Christian viewpoint. Today, Easter Sunday, I want to delve a bit deeper into this holiday, Christianity, and film noir, topics that may seem unrelated, but contain more connections than you might think.

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Two Raging Grannies (doc 2013) Håvard Bustnes (Annapolis Film Festival)

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Slowly but surely, I plan on posting about all the films I saw at last week’s Annapolis Film Festival. Previously I reviewed The Rewrite and Runoff. Today we’ll take a look at the first of four documentaries I viewed at the festival.

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Two Raging Grannies (doc 2013) Håvard Bustnes
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We meet 90-year-old Shirley Morrison (above left) as she’s driving her scooter along the sidewalks of Seattle, handing out clothes to the homeless. Later Shirley and her best friend Hinda Kipnis (who’s 86) go shopping for more items they can give to the homeless. Shirley is focused; Hinda, a bit cantankerous. “I love you dearly,” Hinda tells Shirley during the shopping excursion,”but we don’t see eye-to-eye on things.”

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