Ray Harryhausen passed away last week. This has been noted by people more qualified than I to discuss the master of stop-motion magic—Rick Baker, Adam Savage, Todd Masters, George Lucas, Peter Jackson, and more. The superhuman talent and perseverance evident in a Harryhausen effects sequence can easily be seen in countless visual effects artists since he first brought his creations to frame-by-frame life on the big screen. That makes sense. So how can I really say anything of worth when I say that I was also profoundly influenced by the artistry of Ray Harryhausen? With modesty, and a story about Clash of the Titans. Continue reading…
Ah, mid-February. That time of year in which Romance authors are hounded by the media for sound bites and wink-wink, nudge-nudge style “advice” for hackneyed articles about Valentine’s Day, most of which will appear under headlines made awkward by ham-handed double-entendres*. I’m all for Romance writers getting some press, but the box-checking, paper-thin nature of [...]
Alex’s excellent article last week prompted Gutter Overlord Carol to suggest we each use this month to write about masculinity in our own particular capacity. Having been by odd coincidence right in the middle of reading The Male Brain by Louann Brizendine (a fascinating look at the physical and hormonal characteristics unique to, um, the [...]
Ghost Wars: The Secret Wars of the CIA author Steve Coll writes of Zero Dark Thirty: “Zero Dark Thirty was constructed to bring viewers to the edges of their seats, and judging by its critical reception, for many viewers it has succeeded in that respect. Its faults as journalism matter because they may well affect [...]
“Recall that Bigelow wanted to make a movie about the failure to capture bin Laden, before the whole world knew, as she puts it, that he’s dead. Consider that she has still made a movie about a failure, a moral failure, our failure, embedded in a procedural success.” Sarah Nicole Prickett has more about Kathryn [...]
Jim Emerson ponders what he finds good and bad in Django Unchained and a lot of the good is Christoph Waltz: “Quentin Tarantino has found his actor in Christoph Waltz — someone who can speak Tarantinian fluently and still make it his own.” (via Roger Ebert)
Jelani Cobb considers Django Unchained and history at The New Yorker. “Tarantino’s attempt to craft a hero who stands apart from the other men—black and white—of his time is not a riff on history, it’s a riff on the mythology we’ve mistaken for history. Were the film aware of that distinction, Django would be far [...]
Beloved shipmates, Joe Hill has started a Moby-Dick big read along. The New Bedford Whaling Museum is holding its annual Moby-Dick Marathon today. And the Moby-Dick Big Read Podcast is still downloading a chapter a day with such dauntless readers as Tilda Swinton and ! It’s enough to keep you from knocking off gentelmen’s hats [...]
It’s the end of the year; I work in retail; I have the flu. All of which means that for the past couple weeks I’ve been re-reading rather than reading. Mostly Eva Ibbotson, whose warmth reminds me not only that I love reading, but why. Which makes this a good time for a retrospective list. [...]
I’ve been thinking about heroes and archetypes again (which is not actually news: story archetype is a sandbox in which I happily spend a lot of time). Feels like it’s everywhere these days. A few weeks back I was on a panel at the World Fantasy Convention that discussed love and monsters. Alex and Carol [...]
Character actor Hideji Otaki has died. Otaki worked with directors including Akira Kurosawa, Juzo Itami, Masahiro Shinoda and Koreyoshi Kurahara in films such as Kagemusha; Minbo: The Gentle Art of Japanese Extortion; A Taxing Woman; Gonza the Spearman and Black Sun. The Japan Times and The Kyodo News have brief English-language obituaries.
I’ve been on a bit of a historical binge recently: testing some new authors, re-reading old favourites. This trip down the historical record lane is due largely to author Sherry Thomas. More to the point, to her recent novel Ravishing the Heiress.
Actor Herbert Lom has died. The Guardian, The New York Times and the BBC all have obituaries. Lom is probably most famous as Inspector Dreyfus in The Pink Panther films, but he also starred in many other films including, Night And The City, The Seventh Veil, Spartacus, The Phantom of the Opera and Count Dracula. [...]
As I said this time last year, I like back to school season. I love the energy of it. I miss the sense of anticipation, of knowing I had lots of new things to look forward to. At least, usually I do. Perhaps I’m just feeling particularly curmudgeonly this season, or maybe summer was just [...]