Monday, February 29, 2016

They Live, Always

I have mentioned the cult classic John Carpenter movie "They Live" before. Its imagery skewering the excess and subtly undermining control of the capitalist ideal has gained new life on the Internet, as so many such things have. Right now, in a magnificent example of if-the-shoe-fits, artwork casting current Republican front-runner-for-President Donald Trump as one of the iconic aliens is making the rounds. But that's not the most terrifying reference to the movie this week.

Workmen guarded by police entered a camp of migrants moved in to remove empty shelters. At least that's the government side of the story. Others contend there is not enough housing. In either case, as many as a thousand people will be relocated as a result. Matt Novak of Gawker superimposed screen captures of "They Live" with real-life shots from the camp. (There's also the obligatory reference to "Children of Men".), producing a rather chilling angle on the society we have become. Or, perhaps, the society we always have been. As Carpenter himself said, "The eighties never ended. They are still here, making more money than ever, they are still among us."

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Bookworming: Farewell My Lovely

Farewell My Lovely, Raymond Chandler, ***
Starting with the obvious caveats: this is a pulp novel from 1940, there is racism, sexism, homophobia, smoking, and whatever else you might expect from a novel of the time. If you find that a distraction or can't view it in that context, then keep moving.

Chandler's second Philip Marlowe novel somehow manages to be both better written and less interesting than The Big Sleep. The plot doesn't cohere until the very last moments of the novel, and barely even then. Marlowe is the only character with more than one dimension, and even his motivation is pretty thin. However, the story is buoyed by the iconic noir flavor and some truly excellent descriptive writing. I am calling it three stars, but just barely. If you are a fan of the writer, the character, or the genre, there is meat on this bone, but if you aren't, you might be better off elsewhere.

Bookworming: Locke & Key Vol. 4 Keys to the Kingdom

Locke & Key Vol. 4 Keys to the Kingdom, Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodríguez, ****
Another very good installment in the series. The tone jumps around a bit, bringing some interesting juxtapositions and a variety of uses of horror, before landing on a pretty great cliffhanger. If you liked the previous volumes, I am confident you will enjoy this as well.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

On the Occasion of Valentine's Day

Roses are red,
violets are purple.
Poetry is innacurate
because nothing rhymes with purple.