The Machinist (2004) Brad Anderson

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The Machinist (2004)
Directed by Brad Anderson
Produced by Carlos Fernández
Written by Scott Kosar
Cinematography by Xavi Giménez
Music by Roque Baños
DVD – interlibrary loan (1:42)

The Machinist disturbs us from the very first frame and never lets up until the final credits roll, yet when you think about it, we’re really not off the hook even then. Much of what disturbs us is watching an emaciated Christian Bale, who lost 62 pounds for the role of Trevor Reznik, a machinist with a prolonged case of insomnia. The disturbing sight of Bale is a strong foundation for more things that will disturb us in the film, grounding the audience in elements that have one foot in horror and the other in noir. Part of what makes The Machinist so powerful is in how it maintains that balance.

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Film Noir Releases in August 2017 (UPDATED)

(Please see the end of this post for an August UPDATE)

We’re not seeing as much film noir from the “classic” era (roughly 1941-1958) being released on Blu-ray and DVD these days, at least not as much as I’d like, but rest assured there are more classic noir titles in the pipeline. Still, you’ll find plenty of good stuff this month including several neo-noir and “noir-stained” titles (although some of those connections might be a bit tenuous). You’ll also notice a few previously announced releases that were delayed for various reasons. As always, the following discs are in the Blu-ray format for U.S./Canada Region A players unless otherwise indicated.

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Summer Reading Challenge: Asheville Movies Volume I: The Silent Era – Frank Thompson

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Asheville Movies Volume I: The Silent Era – Frank Thompson
Men With Wings Press, 2017
Trade paperback, 104 pages with photographs, notes (bibliography), people index, film title index

Even with the current technological potential to make movies practically anywhere in the world, when we think of motion pictures in general, we often think of those shot in Hollywood and New York. Sure, you might see an occasional American movie filmed in San Francisco, Chicago, maybe the South or the Southwest, or even New England, but we’ve come to believe that the bulk of American films are produced in New York or L.A.

Here comes Frank Thompson to turn your world upside down.

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Summer Reading Challenge: Design for Dying – Renee Patrick

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Design for Dying: A Lillian Frost & Edith Head Novel – Renee Patrick
Forge Books, 2016
Hardcover, 317 pages

Like many young women in Los Angeles in 1937, Lillian Frost wanted to make it big in the movies. Yet like so many others, she didn’t, finding work instead as a salesgirl at an upscale department store. But Lillian’s roommate Ruby seemed to be on the right track, going to the right parties and getting lots of attention, that is, until she wound up murdered. Not only that, but Ruby was found wearing a gown stolen from the Paramount wardrobe department, a gown designed by Hollywood wardrobe icon Edith Head.

Although respected and recognized in 1937, Edith Head was not yet a Hollywood household name and her eight Oscars for costume design were all in the future. So how in the world can Head and a young salesgirl join forces to uncover a murderer?

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