A short reblog today, only: The Beauty of Transport is one of the travel blog of the less common kind. For me, personally, it has become an important resource for my travels throughout Europe, because it highlights some places that an unknowing traveller likely walks idly by. This entry, about a bridge in Wales, especially caight my fancy. Enjoy!
All my recent rants might make people think that I am some sort of Shrek-like misanthropist who thinks TV is generally bad, and so on.
Nothing farther from the truth! I just like stuff that is, quite frankly, not dumb. Campiness can be good fun, but only if something campy is consciously made campy. If you know what I mean.
If the campiness is unintentional, not good. And, by Hextor, just leave classic literature alone! From the softcore porn version of Treasure Island, over the rather ridiculous demonization of Edgar Allan Poe, to the mind-numbing stupidity that is made of Washington Irving’s SATIRE Sleepy Hollow. (yes, it was a satire, not a ghost story. A satire about bigotted intellectuals, nothing about rolling heads.)
This war that US television seems to wage against literacy, it needs to stop. Stevenson, Poe, and Irving, three of the greatest authors to have ever graced the English language with its use, abused – not humorously persiflied, not mocked, not discussed, just abused – the way they are in a series of cheap TV that I wil not honor by linking to it again, is quite simply disgusting. – The lack of education is the beginning of slavery. Lack of education begins when people stop to read, or are told that books are bad for no good reason. There you go, Kevin Bacon, there you go!
But enough of this; more than that specifically The Following abuses one of my personal heroes in literary history, it offends me because it’s blatantly bad horror, one example for a genre that, very much in general, seems to deteriorate.
That’s my I was so charmed – and now we get to the core of this overlong article – by former Rue Morgue editor Jovanka Vuckovic’s first foray into filmmaking. I am not even all too much into horror as a genre by itself, but I had heard from this one already, and how awesome it would be.
And, after a year or so of waiting, here I went, and watched it.
And it lived up to the high expectations I had.
Check out more details here: http://thecapturedbird.com/
I sincerely hope this gets made a full-length feature – if Yuckovic can keep the mood and the tension for 90+ minutes remains up to see, but this is a great promise for a genre that has been devoid of perspective for quite a while.
Now, you will likely scold me again, but when was the last horror movie that had both mainstream appeal and some sort of intellectual dimension? Outside of The Captured Bird, a short film, no less, I find it very hard to come up with a name.
On a rational level, I dislike US-American literature.
On a less rational level, I’d like to be the next Terry Brooks. (Yes, there, I said it.)
The reason is quite simple – it’s not about the writers themselves, it’s about their writing contracts: If you want to make a decent living as a writer, you have to sell out, and that usually greatly affects the quality of people’s works.
Just to name a few current examples, George R. R. Martin, of A Game of Thrones fame would be guilty as charged. No, we couldn’t have the (supposedly) brilliant three-book version of A Song of Ice and Fire; no, let’s make a lavish seven novels, even if we have to stretch the action to the point where we run out of characters.
Or, T. C. Boyle. I loved When the Killing’s Done (we might hear more from it), but seriously, just how good would his stuff be if he took some more time to flesh his books out?
You can decide whether you want to have the nobel prize, or the yacht, but not both, I guess.
…Aaaaaaaaaaanyway, with US poets, it’s the same. I understand your reasons, but if you write fifty poems per year just so you can pump out one collection after another to keep your lifestyle, chances are, your poetry isn’t as good as it could be.
One of the rare contemporary exceptions that makes a poet that publishes a lot and still keeps a stellar level of quality would be John Ashbery, and he will be speaking on two ocasions next week, both of which can be viewed live on the web:
John Ashbery is a Kelly Writers House Fellow this season. Two events featuring him as a Fellow will be streamed live as webcasts.
1) On Monday, February 11, 2013, beginning at precisely 6:30 PM eastern time, J.A. will give a reading.
2) On Tuesday, February 12, 2013, beginning at precisely noon eastern time, I will interview J.A. and will moderate questions and comments from a live audience at the Kelly Writers House and a worldwide audience via webcast.
I will watch it.
I warmly recommend you consider watching it, too! 🙂
Here is also a link to a comprehensive, if dated, introduction to Ashbery and his work:
21st century contexts, Christopher Lee, James McTeigue, John Cusack, Kevin Bacon, Luke Evans, NSFW language, Puns, Raùl Garcia, Roger Corman, The Black Cat, The Fall of the House of Usher, The Following, The Lighthouse, The Raven (2012), The Tell-Tale Heart, Thomas Jane, V For Vendetta, Whitechapel ITV
I had planned another update for today, but then I realized that January 19th marked the 204th birthday of a certain Mr Edgar Allan Poe!
Picture taken from here.
It is a funny hat.
Mr Poe, as I have often mentioned, is one of my favorite autors, perhaps the one author that got me serious about studying English literature. (- What a sentence, indeed.)
Moreover, Poe is of special interest to us Coleridgians, because of… It will have to wait.
MOREOVER, Poe is pretty poe-pular, routinely serving as a model for lighthearted B-flicks and, lately, fairly bad TV. Which is reason enough for me, on this Sunday evening, to take a closer look at the latest cinematic hommages at the author whose poetrait I almost tattooed on my chest, and will likely one day hipsterishly tattoo on my arm.
So, let’s start with The Good:
I am certainly not “mainstream” in my movie tastes (and my grammar, I guess) – so I usually refrain from, in general, recommending movies, or, from recomending others stuff that I like (outside from the ones on this blog, which I consider relevant to the topic.)
Well, so, last spring in beautiful Madrid, I went to watch The Raven, starring John Cusack, and directed by the guy from V For Vendetta. And it was good. Completely fictional, of course, but highly entertaining, in the strangely lighthearted way of oldschool adventure movies from the 90s, which is the cinematic genre where a guy like me feels most at home.
Cusack delivers a brilliant performance, pretty boy Luke Evans plays his Watson in a surprisingly convincing fashion, and overall, the story quite simply sells itself well. (The soundtrack is worth an extra comment: Good work there, worth to check on itunes.)
I understand the movie gets a lot of rather negative reviews, but I would heartily recommend anybody not to miss this one; usually, I don’t buy hard copies of movies any more. Of this one, I will. 🙂
Well, so we have a recent Poe-inspired movie that I would personally rate with a satisfying 8 out of 10. And then we have…
What follows on “The Good”? – Yeah, The Bad.
This an R-Rated trailer, likely NSFW.
Don’t click it unless you’re okay with that.
The Following is so attrociously bad. Oh my goodness, it is so bad. Let me say, Kevin Bacon, probably my favorite male Hollywood lead for drama. Thomas Jane, intense in movies that would be outright crap without his acting. But this, oh this. – Bad pacing, bullshit premise, cheap jumpscares, and Christopher-Nolan-esque lighting, and, what’s worse, writing, that really only just work for the goddamn Batman.
And not to mention the Poe metaplot that will likely haunt this series for seasons to come: So, the serial killer, played by Jane, who gives apparently cannot play “angry”, developed his bloodlust through reading Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart, The Black Cat, and the page-long Lighthouse. Because, as the long story of cinematic anti-intellectualism has taught us, that’s what evil people do: Read.
In the end, I could rant on an on, but really, the only reason I got to see it was because a friend a from the States dropped by this weekend, and was gratious enough to tivo this for me poor flu-stricken boy, so I’ll not further exaggerate.
However, really – this is brainless bullshit, worse than even The Walking Dead. If this first episode is an indicator, I prefer to stay with The Mentalist, which sports a similar premise, but actually manages to pull it off without insulting the viewers’ intelligence.
– Or, if you like the gritty style, try the British Whitechapel. That one at least had witty writing besides the shock value.
And, least but not least… After “The Bad”… The Ugly!
“Why ‘ugly’, oh grumpiest Porlockian spoilsport? – This looks mighty fine!”
Because the chance that we, the public, are going to see this one unless we have the luck to be at a movie festival where it is shown, should be about ZERO. This movie came out – when? And a DVD or a digital download have not even been mentioned by the filmmakers.
And so, perhaps the most inspired Poe movie in recent history will get buried in some archives, as it seems.
But to end this on a lighter note, at least we can trust in Roger Corman. Brrr…