Monday, December 23, 2019

Keenan's Klassics: It's a Shane Black Christmas

It's the tenth anniversary of this beloved yuletide classic.

There I am at my favorite watering hole, talking with the staff, when the subject of Christmas movies is raised.

First suggestion, not made by me: the traditional double-bill of Die Hard and Die Hard II: Die Harder.

Thus giving me the tenor of the conversation. This is not the time, perhaps, to mention Remember the Night and Holiday Affair, two overlooked films (with noir connections!) that Turner Classic Movies has labored to turn into Yuletide staples. Although a mention of Blast of Silence, full of Wenceslas wetwork, might not be out of the question.

So I lobby for my own Christmas favorite, The Ref. And then observe, not for the first time, that the entire oeuvre of Shane Black – Lethal Weapon, The Last Boy Scout, The Long Kiss Goodnight, and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang – is set at the most wonderful time of the year. (Editor’s note, 2013: You can now add IRON MAN 3 to that roster. Editor’s note, 2016: And THE NICE GUYS. The Christmas trees are there if you look. Editor’s note, 2019: The streak comes to an end with Black’s 2018 film THE PREDATOR, which is set at Halloween. It was fun while it lasted.)

Therefore, as you venture out for that last round of shopping, I offer, by popular demand, what has become a VKDC tradition. (“By popular demand” meaning Rosemarie asked, “Why haven’t you posted this yet?” And she did write most of it.) Here, once again, is Shane Black’s 12 Days of Christmas. Record your church group performing this and we’ll post the video here!

Twelve cars exploding
Eleven extras running
Ten tankers skidding
Nine strippers pole-ing
Eight Uzis firing
Seven henchmen scowling
Six choppers crashing

Five silver Glocks

Four ticking bombs
Three hand grenades
Two mortar shells
And a suitcase full of C-4

God bless us, everyone. Or else.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

News and Noir City Notes

Lot of ground to cover here. I should probably point out that the eBook of the third Lillian Frost and Edith Head mystery Script for Scandal—written by the missus and myself under our pen name Renee Patrick—is available everywhere, with the print edition for sale in the U.K. now and coming to the U.S. on January 7, 2020. Hey, the reviews are good.

Next, the latest issue of Noir City is on the loose. The big news is behind the scenes. It’s Eddie Muller’s last edition of the magazine as Editor-in-Chief. He’s staying on as Publisher—the Film Noir Foundation is his baby, after all—but handing over the E-i-C reins to yours truly. It was a relatively bloodless transfer of power, no matter what Eddie says.

The Czar and I are cooking up big plans for 2020. In the meantime, the current issue is a gem. Steve Kronenberg on the tragic life of Gene Tierney. Ray Banks on officers behaving badly in Ealing’s postwar crime films. Sharon Knolle surveys the cinema of Grahame Greene. Danilo Castro on Paul Schrader’s quartet of night workers. Jake Hinkson on booze and blackouts in noir.

I provide the chaser to Jake’s piece, bellying up to The Lost Weekend and asking the timeless question: Noir or Not? I also provide a pair of book reviews, contribute to Noir City’s coverage of the Seattle International Film Festival, and serve up maybe my favorite drink to date in my Cocktails & Crime column. (BONUS: my interview with author and podcaster Karina Longworth from last issue is on the FNF website.)

How much for this bounty, you damn well better be asking? A donation of twenty dollars or more to the Film Noir Foundation’s efforts to keep shadows flickering on screens everywhere is all it takes. What, you’re still here? Get donating!

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Noir City: True Crime

I should be updating this website more often—for instance, to tell you Rosemarie and I are hosting a summer film series with SIFF if you haven’t picked up the news elsewhere—but for now, here’s a late-breaking bulletin on all the news that was fit to print in the latest issue of the Film Noir Foundation’s magazine Noir City, out last week.

My primary contribution this go-round is an interview with Karina Longworth, host of the acclaimed You Must Remember This podcast, which casts a gimlet eye on movie history. We had a wide-ranging conversation prompted by her new book Seduction: Sex, Lies and Stardom in Howard Hughes’s Hollywood, which in the words of FNF honcho Eddie Muller “offers a fresh and provocative slant on the eccentric billionaire and some surprising new information about some of the talented people in his life.”

Also in this issue is my look at Automata, the retro-noir web series (and possible TV series) spun off from a popular web comic. Plus my book and DVD reviews, as well as my usual Cocktails & Crime column featuring a round-up of the latest noir news.

Headlining the issue is a suite of articles about Tinseltown true crime: Alan K. Rode on how gangsters took over the studio unions (a subject that, rumor has it, may factor into the new novel from author Renee Patrick) and John Wranovics on gangster Johnny Rosselli’s short-lived stint as a moviemaking mogul. Plus my friend Brian Light’s reminiscences on collecting film noir posters, Ben Terrall’s appraisal of the career of novelist and screenwriter Jonathan Latimer, and so much more.

Interested? Of course you are. Swing on by the FNF website, make your donation, and have the issue sent to you.