Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Forgotten Movies: DELIMAN

Although this isn't exactly forgotten (2014), it is fairly obscure. It is playing on Amazon.
This documentary focuses on Ziggy Gruber, who co-owns a large deli in Houston and is also the grandson of the original owner of the Rialto Deli, the first Kosher deli to open on Broadway in New York City in the 1920s. The deli is the main love in this man's life. While the film also covers other famous Jewish delis in Manhattan, Queens, Los Angeles and San Francisco and their histories, the emphasis is on the cultural aspects of the food and how the culture and the desire for this food is disappearing. There were once thousands of these delis and now there's fewer than 150 left in the entire U.S. Such luminaries as Larry King, Jerry Stiller, Fyvush Finkel, Freddie Roman and Alan Dershowitz as well as various deli owners express their love for the culture and the food.

This is the description on IMDB and I would add that it sort of spells a death knell for the deli except as a cultural artifact. The food isn't healthy and younger people have not acquired the taste for it that their parents had. Ziggy is a great character and along with the deli, the love of his life is his grandfather who gave him his first apron at eight.

However nothing beats (for me) a corned beef sandwich on rye with coleslaw, swiss cheese and Russian dressing. I grew up in a neighborhood where this was as common as a hamburger. How about you? When was the last time you had lunch in a deli? I bet unless you live in an urban area, it was quite a while ago.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Religious Themes in Crime Fiction

Margot's review last week of FRIDAY THE RABBI SLEPT LATE reminded me that there are  crime-solving religious folks in the literature. The Pope's visit also brought this home.

Who are your favorite religious sleuths? Or what novel with such themes do you especially like?

Friday, September 25, 2015

Friday's Forgotten Books, Friday, September 25, 2015

Next week we will feature some reviews of the work of Ed McBain. Feel free to jump in with one. Send it to me if you don't have a blog. Or post it on Facebook. Let's do him proud.

From the archives

Al Tucher is the author of many stories about the delightful Diana. You can find him here.


By George Harsh.

Since 1986 I have worked as a cataloger at the Newark Public Library, which has existed since 1883. The library has some very deep collections, and exploring them is both my job and a perk of my job. A recent project in the biography section brought me into contact with Lonesome Road, a 1971 memoir by George Harsh.

In 1928 Harsh was a rich, arrogant, idle young college student in Georgia. He and other rich, arrogant, idle young men spent much of their time discussing their superiority over the masses and the uses to which they should put that superiority. This was only four years after the Leopold and Loeb case, but it seems part of the “superman” pathology to dismiss possible lessons from anyone else’s experience. The young men in Harsh’s circle decided that they were able and therefore obligated to commit the perfect crime.

For the thrill of it they began a string of armed robberies. When a store clerk resisted, Harsh was the one holding the gun and the one who fired the lethal shot.

The police easily caught the young supermen, and Harsh was sentenced to death. His codefendants received life sentences, and the prosecutor, troubled by the disparity, succeeded in having Harsh’s sentence commuted to life. Writing years later, Harsh is unsparing toward his young self. He deserved to hang, he says, but he received more mercy than he had shown with the gun in his hand.

He spent the next several years on a Georgia chain gang that was brutal even by the standards of the time and place. Eventually, he became a trusty with a job as an orderly in a prison hospital.

Here we encounter the first of several plot twists that only reality can get away with writing. When an inmate needed an emergency appendectomy, a freak ice storm kept the staff physicians from reaching the hospital. Harsh, who had assisted at several such operations, performed the surgery and saved the man’s life. The governor of Georgia pardoned him.

The year was 1940. George Harsh felt undeserving of peace and security while so much of the world was at war. He traveled north and joined the Royal Canadian Air Force. Harsh flew numerous bombing missions over Germany. His luck ran out in 1942, when he was shot down. His captors sent him to Stalag Luft III.

Fiction writers, try getting away with that one. In the 1963 film The Great Escape, the character called Intelligence, played by Gordon Jackson, is based on Harsh. He was not one of the 80-plus POWs who made it through the tunnel before it was discovered, which was just as well. Only a handful made it to safety. The rest were recaptured, and the Gestapo summarily executed more than fifty of them.

Harsh survived a brutal forced march westward, away from the advancing Red Army. His narrative ends there.

His story does not. In 1945 he was in his mid-thirties and had spent mere days as a grown man neither incarcerated nor at war. In another twist that in its own way might be the strangest of all, he worked for a while as a publisher’s traveling sales representative. The experiment in freedom was not a success. The memory of his crime tormented him, and he attempted suicide. Later he suffered a stroke, and in 1980 he died.

No collaborator in the writing of this book is named. If it is Harsh’s work, it counts as a remarkable achievement. He knows when and how to make his writing as terse and urgent as Morse code in the night, and his meditations on freedom, imprisonment, violence and war come with a hard-earned authority.

Did George Harsh atone for his crime? It’s a tough call that will vary from reader to reader. Does his book deserve a place on the shelf? In my mind, beyond all doubt.

Sergio Angelini, THE WIDOW OF BATH, Margot Bennett
Yvette Banek, BOOK COVERS 
Brian Busby, THE DAMNED AND THE DESTROYED, Kenneth Orvis
Bill Crider, THE BOYS FROM GROVER AVENUE, George N. Dove
Scott Cupp, ACADEMIA WALTZ, Berke Breathed
Martin Edwards, THE MAN WHO KILLED HIMSELF, Julian Symons
Rick Horton,  Another Ace Double: The Sun Saboteurs, by Damon Knight/The Light of Lilith, by G. McDonald Wallis
Jerry House, THEY CAME FROM OUTER SPACE, Jim Wynorski
Nick Jones, CAROL, Patricia Highsmith
George Kelley, THE GONZO PAPERS ANTHOLOGY, Hunter S. Thompson
Margot Kinberg, FRIDAY THE RABBI SLEPT LATE, Harry Kemelman
Rob Kitchin, ROME '44 William Treveleyn
K.A. Laity, THE JAMES BOND DOSSIER, Kingsley Amis
B.V. Lawson, APPLEBY'S END, Michael Innes
Steve Lewis/Dan Stumpf, HANGING JUDGE, Bruce Hamilton
Todd Mason, PUNAHOU BLUES, Kirby Wright
Neer, THREE CASES OF PERRY MASON, Erle Stanley Gardner
J.F. Norris, SEVEN DEAD, Jefferson Farjeon
Prashant Trikannad, The Novels of Jack Higgins
 Kevin Tipple/Barry Ergang, FAT OLLIE'S BOOK, Ed McBain
TomCat, THE CHINESE MAZE MURDERS, Robert van Gulik
TracyK, ASK FOR ME TOMORROW, Margaret Millar
Westlake Review, HELP, I AM BEING HELD PRISONER, Donald Westlake

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Network TV

I can't quite remember when network TV became so tired. Oh, yes, I still watch THE GOOD WIFE and occasionally BLACKISH or THE BIG BANG. But I would never consider taping them. What happened to network TV. Are their hands held behind their backs by having to turn out so many episodes and heeding stricter content guidelines.Why are TV shows on HBO, SHOWTIME, AMC, FX, NETFLIX and AMAZON so much better? Are they handicapped by not using arcs.

Am I missing something I need to see on the networks? Do you still watch any of them?

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Twin Sisters

 From IMDB) 

After the girls' father dies, Lote and Anya are left alone at the mercy of relatives who separate them. Lotte and Anna go through life, not knowing, at times, about one another, and spend most of their lives apart. Anna is raised as a mentally defective child although this is only to privilege her caretakers with an unpaid servant.

Lotte fares better. She was a frail girl growing up and her relatives dote on her since they regard her as an invalid. Lotte writes to Anna letters during the first years of being apart, but those letters are never sent.

The other encounter of the sisters occur too late in life. Lotte, who when first visits Anna at the place where she is employed as a maid, by a wealthy Nazi sympathizer, is appalled by the way Anna has turned out to be an anti Semite. This puts a barrier between them not to be broken until both are too old and too stubborn to recognize how wrong they both have been about the past. Their last reunion is a bitter experience, especially for Anna, who is in poor health.

This excellent Dutch film directed by Ben Sombogaart, is based on a novel by Tessa DeLoo, which was published in this country as "Twins", gets a magnificent treatment in a lavish production that covers several decades. The action is set in Holland and in Germany.

The film shows a talented director, Ben Bombogaart, doing an excellent job in this richly layered tale of sisterly love and missed opportunities. Heartbreaking but all too convincing.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

My Agatha Christie Experience

I was nineteen and newly married. Phil and I were on a vacation in Ocean City, NJ with my parents. We quickly exhausted the books we had brought along. I have the distinct impression that I had just finished THE MAGUS and Phil something like THE MISTRESS AND MARGARITA.

What to read next? We walked up the steps to the boardwalk and a down a few streets to where a bookstore had put boxes of low-priced books with covers missing that they were selling for a quarter each. Many of them were mysteries. Now I had watched my mother read mysteries for years, but once I got past Nancy Drew eschewed them myself. I was into LITERATURE.

But both Phil and I picked one up that day, figuring we could trade when we were done. If we could manage to read a mystery, that is. By the end of the afternoon, we had already traded. I believe the first one I read was THE MURDER OF ROGER ACKROYD. Because I had so little experience with mysteries, I had no notion of how unusual the ending was. By the end of our two weeks at the shore, we had read every Agatha Christie at that shop. We had done little else, in fact.

And we did not stop hunting them down until we had every one of them.

And then tragedy struck. A friend had a ill grandmother and asked me if I would consider loaning her my Agatha's for her long recovery. I obliged and a few months later, when I asked if she was done with them, was told that she had passed them along to a used book sale. "So many of them didn't even have covers," my friend said.

I never had the heart to buy another but I look at them longingly every once in a while.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

When You Say the Word Nether Around an Eight-Year Old

Crime Writers Choose Their Favorite Agatha Christies


Forgotten Movies: PROJECT NIM

PROJECT NIM was a documentary made in 2011. It concerns a chimp, taken from his mother shortly after birth, raised for a while by a human family and then the subject of various experiments in the use of sign language by chimps. But what the experiment devolved into was an experiment in how chimps, especially male ones, are far too strong, sexually interested and completely thrown off stride by such experiments. Nim's situations deteriorate until he is finally sent to live in a facility for mistreated animals--which he was although inadvertently.
This is one of the saddest tales I have even seen. There was no way it could have turned out any differently, He was deprived on any sort of normal chimp life-or any kind of human one. Poor Nim.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Why Woman Love Crime.


It's Damn Hard to Think of a New Idea

Just read a crime novel (Scandinavian) and it tread the same ground I find in all too many crime novels lately. A pedophilia is on the loose. Despite good writing and a bit of a twist it was all too familiar. An unpleasant subject really needs some exceptional writing and more than one twist to make it come alive for me. And a long denouement at the end, when the perpetrator gets to explain himself,
does not make ma any happier.

What topics are you tired of? Is it possible we have gone to the wells too many times and there is nothing new to mine?Remember those days of yore when finding the heist team was enough? Or proving someone did not commit suicide?

Friday, September 11, 2015

Friday's Forgotten Books, September 11, 2015

MURDER OF A BEAUTY SHOP QUEEN, Bill Crider (Patti Abbott)

Bill Crider makes writing delightful books look easy. In fact, it is not easy to combine a satisfying crime and its solution with great characters, terrific local color, a wry sense of humor and a style of writing easy to digest. Sheriff Dan Rhoades solves crimes and keeps order (and it is not always simple with a domestic animal population that is as troublesome as their owners, and in the case of feral pigs, no owners) down in Blacklin County, Texas.
In this outing from 2012, Lynn Ashton, a pretty hair stylist has been bashed over the head with a hair dryer. Suspects range from scorned lovers, to jealous wives, to two outsiders who have been scraping the town. Or maybe Lynn saw something she shouldn't have as she waited for a rendezvous with one of her clients. The characters, both new and old, all are the beneficiaries of inventive character development and the conclusion is satisfying and solid.

 The Collected Stories of Stephen Crane (Ed Gorman)

As the prime creator of Realism Stephen Crane shocked the world of letters both in his writing and his personal life. His first book was Maggie: A Girl of The Streets and he spent a good share of his adult life (as much of it as there was--he died at twenty-eight) living with Cora Taylor, the madame of a brothel. He wrote dozens of short stories as well as his masterpiece The Red Badge of Courage.

While he was accepted and praised by the literary critics of the time, he was frequently derided for the pessimism and violence of his stories. He brought "the stink of the streets" into literature as one reviewer said. But his streets could be found all over America, not just in the cities.

The Open Boat, The Blue Hotel, The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky, Shame and The Upturned Face give us portraits of different Americas. As I was rereading them lately I realized that they all have two things in common--their utter sense of social isolation and the intensity of their telling. Hemingway always put up The Blue Hotel as one of the most intense-"bedeviled"--stories in our language and man he was right. The fist fight in the blizzard on the blind side of the barn is one of those most hellish insane scenes I've ever read. And the ironic words at the last honestly gave me chills, even though I knew what was coming. His years as a journalist gave him a compassion for society's discards no matter where they lived or what color they happened to be.

His sense of place changed writing. Whether he was writing about the slums of Brooklyn or the endless ghostly plains of Nebraska in winter, his early years as a poet gave his images true clarity and  potency. One critic of the time said his stories were possessed of "a filthy beauty" and that nails it. 

Only a few of his stories are taught today; Red Badge is mandatory in schools. But in the many collections available of his stories you find a passion for life and language that few writers have ever equaled. Too many American masters get lost in the shuffle of eras. Crane is not only an artist he's one of the finest storytellers I've ever read.

Sergio Angelini, HEAT, Ed McBain
Yvette Banek. PASTIME, Robert Parker
Mark Baler, B IS FOR BURGLAR, Sue Grafton
Joe Barone, THE PATRIARCH, Martin Walker
Les Blatt, DIVIDEND ON DEATH, Brett Halliday
Brian Busby, MURDER WITHOUT REGRET, E. Louise Cushman
Bill Crider, A STRANGE KIND OF LOVE, Sheldon Lord (Lawrence Block)
Martin Edwards, KNOCK,MURDER, KNOCK, Harriet Rutland
Curt Evans, DEATH COMES TO TEA, Theodora DuBois
Ed Gorman, SATURDAY GAMES, Brown Meggs
John Hegenberger, TIMESCAPE, Gregory Benford
Rick Horton, TIMES WITHOUT NUMBERS, John Bruner
Jerry House, COME TELL ME HOW YOU LIVE, Agatha Christie Malloran
Nick Jones, THE SCORE, Donald Westlake
George Kelley, TALES OF THE OCCULT, ed. Isaac Asimov et al
Rob Kitchin, Mangrove Squeeze, Laurence Shames
B.V. Lawson. MISTLETOE FROM PURPLE SAGE, Barbara Burnett Smith
Evan Lewis, KILLER IN THE RAIN, Raymond Chandler
Steve Lewis/Barry Gardner, KISSING THE GUNNER'S DAUGHTER, Ruth Rendell
James Reasoner, THE EROTICS, Gil Brewer
Richard Robinson, THE MOOR, Laurie R. King
Kevin Tipple/Barry Ergang, A TIME OF PREDATORS, Joe Gores
TomCat, NINE MAN'S MURDER, Eric Keith
TracyK, WHERE MEMORIES LIE, Deborah Crombie
Westlake Review, BUTCHER'S MOON, Part 2

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Thursday Night Music: SPEAK LOW

Five Ordinary Things I Have Never Done (although this isn't my bucket list)

I have never made pancakes.
I have never pumped gas.
I have never knowingly watched a bad movie
I have never owned a dog or cat
I have never climbed even an ordinary ladder.

What haven't you done? 

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Wednesday Night Music: SPEAK LOW

First Wednesday 's Book Review Club: THE PAINTED VEIL, Somerset Maugham

This was a book club choice. Several times a year, we do classic novels and this one was chosen after several members had seen and admired the film of a few years ago.

THE PAINTED VEIL is set mostly in Hong Kong. Kitty Fane is unhappily married and engages in an affair. When her husband learns of it, he gives her an ultimatum: either marry your lover at once or come with me to a remote region where a cholera epidemic is raging. (Her husband is a bacteriologist). This seems like an easy choice, but her lover declines her proposal, preferring to stay with his rich wife and engage in short-term affairs. She is devastated because she believed them to be truly in love.

So Kitty must go with her husband. She quickly bores of her life as a rich and sequestered woman and begins to help the nuns at a nearby convent care for children. Her husband remains cold to her, but her work enriches her life.

To tell you any more would constitute a spoiler. So I will leave it with that.

This was a terrific novel until the ending, which I  disliked. Perhaps when I have time to consider it further, I will change my mind and see what Maugham meant to say. Perhaps not.

A terrific movie too with Naomi Watts and Edward Norton. The ending is different--wisely.

P.S. Most members of my book group did not care for this book. They thought the writing felt dated and the characters wooden. None had read Maugham before. Rather disappointing and I wondered if the three of us who saw the movie first carried that into the book with us. Or were the rest of them plain wrong. 

WHAT HAVE YOU READ BY Somerset Maugham? 

For more book reviews, see Barrie Summy. 

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Tuesday Night Music: SPEAK LOW

Most Satisfactory Movie Ending.

What movie ended most satisfactorily for you?

I am going with THE GRADUATE because the ambiguity in the final scene so reiterates the initial feelings experienced by Ben. By the second half, we are made to forget it, following his pursuit of Elaine. But the last scene brings it home.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Monday Night Music: SPEAK LOW


We have always been big walkers. In my old neighborhood, we would walk to shops and often combined walking with errands. We could also walk to the lake, although the communities made it hard to walk right along the lake for various reasons. Walking was straight, flat. It was hard to put much interest into it although the houses were quite lovely on some streets.

My new neighborhood is very different. Many of the streets curve and rise. You can walk along a golf course, by the back of the Detroit Zoo, along a very busy street or in fairly traditional suburban neighborhoods. There are a lot more people walking or running here. Lots of people on bikes. Many dog walkers. However, there are no shops within walking distance. Walking can serve no other purpose.

We try to walk an hour a day, broken into two segments. 

In the morning, I walk alone, listening to a podcast. Phil walks alone with his thoughts.
At night we walk together. 

Do you walk? What is your walk like?

Friday, September 04, 2015

Friday Forgotten Books, September 4, 2015


Ed McBain week is on October 2th. I have chose ME AND HITCH, not that I lay sole claim to it. 

The So Blue Marble Dorothy B.Hughes(reviewed by Ed Gorman)

I'm not sure exactly when Freud became an influence on popular culture but certainly in the Thirties and Forties his beliefs could be found in crime fiction and crime movies everywhere. Hitchcock sanctified him in Spellbound and many lesser directors followed suit.

One of the most prominent of Freudian tropes was phantasmagoria, the sense that the protagonist is lost in a chaos that may or may not be real. A nightmare or is he really about to die?

Dorothy B. Hughes certainly plays with this trope in her famous novel The So-Blue Marble (1940). Her lovely protagonist, saddled with the unlovely name Griselda, decides to visit New York and stay in her ex-husband's apartment, at his request. They haven't seen each other for four years during which he's become a major reporter for NBC worldwide and she's become both a writer and an unlikely (and unhappy) movie actress.

This is the Vogue magazine world just before the war. Everything is ridiculously expensive, everything ridiculously elegant, people, clothes, cars, apartments alike. There are always limos standing by and champagne to drink.

Griselda is accosted in chapter one by a pair of diabolocially handsome twin brothers, one blond one dark haired, called the Montefierrow Twins by everybody who knows them. They are most frequently  seen in tops hats, tails and carrying gold-handled canes, one of which has a dagger on its tip. In any kind of company other than their international che-che world these two would be dead in under five minutes.

The lads want a blue marble that they believe Griselda has. This is the McGuffin. A lot of people want the marble. Only the twins are willing to kill for it, something they do frequently. The marble isn't just a marble of course and there are hints that spies from three different countries have been searching for it, too.

The phantasmagoric aspect comes in when you realize that at times the story teeters on the brink of being unbelievable. It really does have the quality of a nightmare. The writing and social observation are so well done--Hughes, a Yale Young Poet in those days, obviously knew this turf well--you're swept up in all the calamity without worrying about some of the stranger twists and turns.

The most interesting character in the book is Missy, Grisedla's seductive sixteen year old sister. A true psychopath and the lover of one of the those god awful twins. Humbert Humbert would no doubt find her enchanting. Few writers have ever been able to create terror as well as Hughes and Missy is borne of that terror, another unsettling element play off again the real world.  To me it's clear that she dutifully read her Elizabeth Sanxay Holding and learned great deal from the experience.

This is the novel that set Dorothy B. Hughes on a career that would include two of her novels becoming Bogart pictures, the best of which, In A Lonely Place, is a noir icon. This is a swift, tart, dark novel set in the months before Pearl Harbor. The coming war is felt on every page.

From the archives

Jeff Meyerson was a member of DAPA-EM for over 30 years and published an early fanzine in pre-computer days called (way before the bookstore/publisher of the same name existed) The Poisoned Pen. I was a mail order book dealer, specializing in secondhand British mystery and detective fiction. I've read thousands of mysteries since 1970.

John Sladek, INVISIBLE GREEN (1977)
Bari Wood, THE TRIBE (1981)
Walter Mosley, WALKIN' THE DOG (1999)

I thought what I'd do this week was go back and see what I was reading the first week in December of 1979, 1989 and 1999, and the above three titles answer that question.
Sladek was mostly a science fiction writer, of course, but he wrote two wonderfully old-fashioned locked room mysteries in the 1970's, BLACK AURA and INVISIBLE GREEN, both featuring brilliant amateur Thackeray Phin. Sadly, there were no more of them, and both certainly qualify as unjustly forgotten books. You could check the online booksellers for copies. Both are available at a cheap price on ABE and both are well worth your time.
THE TRIBE was a hit at the time it came out, I believe, and Wood had several other bestsellers, including TWINS and THE KILLING GIFT. She's probably been pretty much forgotten these days, as her last published book was in 1995. To be honest I don't really remember much of this one, which the publisher tried to make a Jewish version of THE EXORCIST, with concentration camp victims and Jewish mysticism combining for rather tepid, if fast-moving, horror thrills. I don't have a copy so can't really be specific.
The Mosley was his second collection of Socrates Fortlow stories, and I'm a big fan of the series. Fortlow was a murderer who has been released from prison and is trying to get by in a tough Los Angeles neighborhood and negotiate his way in a white world. The stories here and in ALWAYS OUTNUMBERED, ALWAYS OUTGUNNED, the first book in the series, are well worth your time as Fortlow is - to me - a fascinating character, moreso than Easy Rawlins.

Sergio Angelini, THE SKELETON IN THE GRASS, Robert Barnard
Yvette Banek, DOWN AMONG THE DEAD MEN, Peter Lovesey
Les Blatt, AND THEN THERE WERE NONE, Agatha Christie
Brian Busby, ORPHAN STREET, Andre Langevin
Bill Crider, THE END OF THE GUN. H.A. DeRosa
Scott Cupp, BLIND VOICES, Tom Reamy
Martin Edwards, WAXWORKS MURDER, John Dickson Carr
Rich Horton, THE SEED OF EARTH and NEXT STOP THE STARS, Robert Silverberg
Jerry House, THE LIFE OF SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE, John Dickson Carr
Nick Jones, PITY HIM AFTERWARDS, Donald Westlake
George Kelley, FUTURE WARS, Hank Davis
Margot Kinberg, A BAD DAY FOR SORRY, Sophie Littlefield
Dana King, Summer's Best Reads
Rob Kitchin, THE EXTERMINATORS, Bill Fitzhugh
Evan Lewis, WHERE THERE'S A WILL, Rex Stout
Steve Lewis/William Deeck. THE HYMN TUNE MYSTERY, George Birmingham
Todd Mason, THE STARCHED BLUE SKY OF SPAIN, Josephine Herbst
J.F. Norris, CRUEL AS A CAT, Kyle Hunt (John Creasey)
James Reasoner, TRAIL OF THE MCCAW, Eugene Cunningham
Kevin Tipple, WHEN OLD MEN DIE, Bill Crider
TomCat, THE CASK, Freeman Wills Croft, WAS IT MURDER? James Hilton
TracyK, DIAMOND SOLITAIRE, Peter Lovesey
Westlake Review, BUTCHER'S MOON, Richard Stark

Thursday, September 03, 2015

A Heartfelt Thanks

To all of the people that have taken the time to read, review, and post about CONCRETE ANGEL on their blogs or on Amazon or Good Reads. Any small success I have is thanks to you guys.

And thanks to the reviewer from LIBRARY JOURNAL who gave it a starred review and is responsible for library sales I would never have had otherwise. So too the reviewer from BOOK LIST.

I am finishing up SHOT IN DETROIT as I write this. Next June, fingers crossed.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

What Actor Has Particularly Impressed You?

 I have seen quite a few films with Oscar Isaac in the last few years. SHOW ME A HERO is his latest role (HBO) and he sparkles. He was also great in INSIDE LlEWYN DAVIS, THE TWO FACES OF JANUARY,  EX MACHINA and A MOST VIOLENT YEAR. He has never played the same character twice. He can be treacherous, sympathetic, pushed to the edge, weird.

Seriously, after watching the last two hours of SHOW ME A HERO. They did.

Who has impressed you?

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

My Ten Favorite Movies of 1976

Taxi Driver
All the President's Men
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie
The Front
Face to Face
Small Change
Mikey and Nicky
Dona Flora and Her Two Husbands

The seventies are always heralded as a good era for films. This is just one year and although it is a good year it is not great. Studios were still putting out films that would be indies and in art houses today. Five of these would not be at your neighborhood multiplex. And that probably means that seeing them for most people would be on their TV or computer.

What about you? What did you like in 1976?