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Archive for the ‘noir’ Category

Trailer: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

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The trailer for the American version The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is finally out. It looks really, really good:

Wired has more details on the movie here. It’s good to note that it is being directed by David Fincher, so it will be dark and twisted– and very good! The movie won’t be released until December 2011. This leaves me plenty of time to read all three of the novels and watch the Swedish versions of the films.

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Written by niraj

June 4th, 2011 at 12:47 am

Trailer: Salt

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Salt, starring Angelina Jolie, looks really, really good:

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Written by niraj

April 1st, 2010 at 6:19 pm

Remake The Third Man? No Way!!!

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The web site First Showing is reporting that actors Leonardo di Caprio and Tobey MaGuire are involved in a project to remake film noir classic The Third Man. Alex Billington, who reported the story, concludes: “It’s a true noir classic that really can’t be topped.”

Hard to disagree with this assessment. Leonardo di Caprio and Tobey MaGuire are good actors, but none of them have the presence, diction, or talent of Orson Welles, a giant among giants (see Citizen Kane, if you already haven’t done so).

What is it with certain Hollywood types who can’t leave something perfect like The Third Man well enough lone, but must submit to their massive egos, thinking that they can do better, or their new “interpretation” would be more relevant. It’s simply bullshit built on vanity and money.

I personally hope the project never comes to pass.

And for those who haven’t seen The Third Man, here’s the trailer:

If you are intrigued, I highly recommend watching the DVD from Criterion, which is filled with extras only a ciniphile would love. The Third Man is a film film, I would be very disappointed if you did not enjoy it it.

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Written by niraj

October 28th, 2009 at 1:45 pm

CSI: Guess Who’s Coming Back

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What the hell!

CSI boss Carol Mendelsohn wasn’t pulling my leg when she told me last October that we haven’t seen the last of Sara Sidle. Sources confirm that Jorja Fox has inked a deal to return for the show’s ninth-season premiere next fall.

Specifics of her comeback are being kept under lock and key, but my CSI mole assures me that she “won’t be appearing in a flashback.” The likely scenario has Sara returning to Vegas to shag Grissom mourn ex-colleague Warrick, who was shot (and presumably) killed in last week’s finale. I say “presumably” because in the current issue of TV Guide, Mendelsohn says Gary Dourdan will be back in the fall — and “not just in flashbacks.”

This is so stupid! Jorja Fox leaves, ostensibly because she’s tired of playing Sara Sidle, only to agree to return. The same with Gary Dourdan. They must have realized they have the acting ability of yams?

It is also sign a series that is in trouble. After eight years, CSI has reached the bottom of the barrel. Time to end it. Make the ninth-season its last.

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Written by niraj

May 25th, 2008 at 11:21 pm

Review: Best American Crime Reporting 2007

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Thomas Cook, Linda Fairstein, and Otto Penzler, eds. The Best American Crime Reporting 2007. New York: Harper Perennial, 2007. 384pp.

This year’s anthology returns to its roots with articles about bread-and-butter crimes, mostly murder. The editors have done a fine job of selecting the best of the best, and this year’s picks do not disappoint. All are well-written pieces of journalism about crime, its victims and the criminals themselves. These articles ask what we all ask when we hear or read about any criminal act– why? Most murders, it seems, are either crimes of passion or opportunity. Some crimes, like the story about a serial stealer of used books (who doesn’t sell them but keeps them for his own collection), are psychological in nature. But what rings true about all these articles is that they lay bare a part of human nature most of us never see or will experience. This is what makes these stories so compelling.

The 2007 edition of this excellent series is different on one note. The series title has been changed from Best American Crime Writing to Best American Crime Reporting. It seems the previous title caused some confusion as to whether the anthology is fiction or non-fiction, this new title should make it clear that it’s the latter.

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Written by niraj

April 25th, 2008 at 11:08 pm

Posted in books,noir

Review: Strangers On A Train

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Patricia Highsmith. Strangers On A Train. New York: W. W. Norton, 2001. 256pp.

Patricia Highsmith has written a taut psychological thriller examining a person’s capacity to murder; and the confluence of events that drive people to commit it. It is also a novel about fate: how a single event can irrevocably change the course of a person’s life.

Guy Haines, a floundering architect, meets with Charles Bruno, a professional loafer, on a train. They talk. They drink. They commiserate. Guy is on his way to Texas to demand a divorce from his adulterous wife Miriam. Charles is taking a holiday from his father, whom he despises for being both a skinflint and a lousy husband. Charles, a charming psychopath concocts, a scheme to get rid of their “problems”: Charles would kill Guy’s wife, while Guy would kill Charles’ father. The perfect murders. No one would know. Nothing to connect them. Guy dismisses the idea as crazy and decides right then and there to keep his distance from Charles and his murderous machinations.

But Charles won’t leave Guy alone. He likes Guy. He wants Guy. And the only thing standing between him and Guy, Charles strongly believes, is Miriam. So he murders her in cold-blood. Charles then hounds Guy to do his part: cajoling him, blackmailing him, threatening to ruin his career, which was on the rise. Guy should have dismissed Charles’ threats for what they were, threats, but Guy is racked by guilt: guilt for Miriam’s death; and guilt for not fulfilling his part of the bargain.

Twisted? Yes. But this is what Highsmith excels at: her portraiture of the human psyche. Highsmith spends inordinate amount of time examining what her characters are thinking. For much of the novel, the reader will literally reside in Guy’s head, as he battles not only guilt, but the dual nature of man: that inside all of us are two contradictory forces– one good, the other bad. Charles had a telling but chilling quote that is the overarching theme of the book:

Any kind of person can murder. Purely circumstances and not a thing to do with temperament! People get so far– and it takes just the least little thing to push them over the brink.

Charles is right, of course, but we must not forget that Charles is a psychopath: he feels no remorse, no guilt, nothing. Guy, on the other hand, guilt weighs heavily on his shoulders; often wishing to unburden himself by admitting everything, damn the consequences.

Yet Highsmith reminds us that this is not just some literary meditation on the pathos of guilt-ridden men, but a thriller of high-quality; and like any good thriller writer, Highsmith keeps us guessing till the end.

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Written by niraj

April 21st, 2008 at 11:01 pm

Posted in books,noir

Another CSI Star Leaves

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Gary Dourdan, who plays Warrick Brown, is leaving CSI at the end of this season. Remember Jorja Fox, who played Sara Sidle, left late last year. Both want to pursue other projects. I don’t blame them. They’ve been acting on the same show for over eight seasons now; and playing the same character over and over again is not only tedious but boring. Even Barry Pederson, who plays Gil Grissom, signed on for another season, but will appear only in a handful of episodes.

For me, it’s a sign that the show has run its course – creatively. But like the Law & Order franchise, CSI is a show where the process is the star, and the characters are secondary. So there’s a good chance CSI will last beyond its original shelf life.

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Written by niraj

April 15th, 2008 at 3:49 pm

Dirt: TV Worth Watching

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Saw the season premiere of Dirt last night. It was damn good. I’ve seen bits and pieces of the first season and thoroughly enjoyed it. The second season looks just as good, if not better.

What am I talking about, you ask? Dirt is about the Hollywood gossip machine, pitting tabloid journalists (can we call them that?) and the celebrities they cover. If there is one thing this remarkable series makes abundantly clear is that there is a symbiosis between the two– one simply cannot live without the other, like parasites. In this case, who is the parasite in this relationship depends on whom you ask.

It’s a sick, twisted relationship that Dirt delivers with style. It’s well written, well acted, and well made. Buy the first season at Amazon, or rent it through Netflix.

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Written by niraj

March 3rd, 2008 at 3:30 pm

Random Quote #1

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From Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers On A Train, a telling quote, and the novel’s defining theme:

Any kind of person can murder. Purely circumstances and not a thing to do with temperament! People get so far– and it takes just the least little thing to push them over the brink.

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Written by niraj

February 15th, 2008 at 3:21 pm