Sunday, May 11, 2008

Miscellaneous: Surfacing

Coming up for air to weigh in on a few things ...

Spiderweb/Shooting Star, by Robert Bloch (1954/1958). Hard Case Crime revives the double! Two Bloch novels in one, both set in a Hollywood where the tinsel is not so bright. Shooting Star, about a one-eyed literary agent turned gumshoe investigating a cowboy star’s suspicious death, is creaky but fun. Spiderweb is an unmitigated blast. A showbiz wannabe is groomed into a phony psychic so he can work his way to the top of the movie colony. And you know how I feel about phony psychics.

Redbelt. David Mamet has described his latest as both a fight movie and a modern Samurai tale. It’s really about the code of the warrior. Mamet strikes an idiosyncratic tone here, blending a knotty, intellectual plot with Rocky-style uplift. A good chunk of the audience I saw the movie with didn’t get it, which I understand. I, however, was on its wavelength from frame one. I heartily endorse its philosophy, it’s got some great Mamet dialogue (“Everything in life, the money’s in the rematch”) and my favorite scene of the year so far, where Chiwetel don’t-call-him-Chewie Ejiofor trains Emily Mortimer.

Iron Man. Haven’t seen it yet. Yeah, I can’t believe it, either. But I could only squeeze in one movie in the last week, and Redbelt had better start times. Soon, though. In the meantime, Jeff Bridges was kind enough to post his photographs from the shoot on his dandy website.

World Cocktail Week. It runs through Tuesday. Get out there and do your part. I had the boys at the Zig Zag CafĂ© fix me a “lost” classic cocktail featured on their website, a Firpo’s Balloon. Ask for it by name and give your bartender fits.