Saturday, August 19, 2006

Movie: Snakes On A Plane (2006)

Come on, people. Where else was I going to be this weekend?

I didn’t do the Thursday night show, which apparently was the way to go. But a good time is still to be had if you know where to sit. The key is to position yourself close to people who will get into the spirit of the thing. Talk back to the screen yourselves if you have to, just to get the party started.

The short review: If you’re inclined to see a movie called Snakes On A Plane, you shan’t be disappointed. If you’re not, don’t bother.

Unlike most people, I had decent expectations going in for one reason: SoaP was directed by David R. Ellis, who made Cellular. Regular readers know the high regard in which that movie is held around Chez K. I still say it’s one of the best movies of 2004.

Ellis knows how to bring it B-movie style. I would have preferred if the ending had gotten a little wilder. I would have sacrificed all the profanity-laden additional dialogue just to hear this line: “Get me a herpetologist!” And I wanted to see the villain who put the titular snakes onto the titular plane get his comeuppance. But that’s what novelizations are for.

Book: Lemons Never Lie, by Richard Stark (1971)

Another no-brainer. It’s Hard Case Crime and my spiritual uncle, Donald E. Westlake, writing the rare Stark caper that’s not about well-known hard case Parker. I wouldn’t mind reading more about this novel’s protagonist, Grofield, an actor who takes his craft so seriously that he refuses to perform before TV or film cameras. For him, it’s only the peculiar alchemy of the stage. But no one gets rich doing summer stock, so to support himself he pulls the occasional complex robbery. Anything for art. Novelist George Pelecanos had some interesting thoughts on the book when he sat in at Sarah Weinman’s Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind recently.

In other Hard Case news, here’s a personal first: I read their next reprint, Pete Hamill’s IRA thriller The Guns of Heaven, in its original publication some two decades ago. Further proof of my advancing years.