Thursday, September 30, 2004

Book: Fade to Blonde, by Max Phillips (2004)

Hard Case Crime goes two-for-two. The label’s first original title is a solid pulp thriller about a would-be screenwriter who drifts into hired muscle work and gets involved with the wrong woman. The plot shambles a bit, but Phillips’ tone is bang-on perfect. And his take on the femme fatale is a memorable one:

“Her eyes were large, pale, and set wide beneath a broad, low forehead. Her chin was pointed, but her fine-lipped mouth was wide. There wasn’t really room for it on her face, any more than there was room for that chest on her skinny frame. Her arms and legs were too long. Sitting there behind the wheel, she looked like she’d folded them up the wrong way, the way you’ll fold a road map the wrong way. I could see why she’d flopped in pictures. She was disturbing-looking. Ten thousand guys had made a play for her, but I don’t guess any of them kidded himself it was a good idea at the time.”

I’m ready to have Hard Case deliver their offerings to my door each month like NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC.

Cable Catch-Up: Shattered Glass (2003)

When I saw this movie in the theater, it struck me as admirable but small. An exposé of Stephen Glass’ deceptions as a writer at THE NEW REPUBLIC seemed the kind of story that would have played better on HBO. But I found myself thinking about it often. It had more staying power than most films I saw last year.

Watching it again, it’s revealed as one of the best movies to date on the modern American workplace. It has as much to say about today’s cubicle dwellers as THE APARTMENT did about the Organization Man. Forget the journalistic ethical dilemmas. This movie incisively anatomizes the psychological and political games that crop up in every office. Peter Sarsgaard gives a quietly blistering performance as editor Chuck Lane. Billy Ray’s film should be a staple in management seminars.

Miscellaneous: Links

The gifted cinematographer Christopher Doyle lets fly in this interview (reg. req’d.). Learn how Quentin Tarantino’s movies are like trips to the supermarket, how video games have brought about a sea change on par with “the death of talkies,” and how he and Zhang Yimou designed HERO to be processed on a purely visual level. Via Movie City News.

Just what the world needs: an argument in favor of hazing. Assuming that hazing is the real reason why he was wearing the boots, of course.