The other night, I did something I’d been meaning to do for years: watch William Friedkin’s 2006 adaptation of Tracy Letts’s 1996 play Bug. That it had taken me so long remains a mystery to me: Friedkin is, after all, the director of The Exorcist. I’d seen Letts’s play August: Osage County on Broadway and loved it. And the film’s two leads were the always reliable Ashley Judd and Michael Shannon. It took me over a decade to watch the film, but in the end it might be that I saw it at exactly the right time.
A Lebanese-American ferry pilot. A Chinese-American grocer. A Midwestern-born misfit with a gift for gab. A self-styled provocateur and his salon of associates.
They are among the many small-town eccentrics you meet in Fire Bones, a new multimedia series from the mind of poet Greg Brownderville. He describes the format of the series as “the world’s first-ever go-show.” Part film, part podcast, part musical performance, it’s a daring, genre-defying work of fiction designed specifically for your smartphone. If all this sounds overly conceptual, the story itself is anything but. Imagine a formally inventive take on Twin Peaks or True Detective, and you start to get the picture.
As long as there’s been a holiday season, there have been writers inspired by it. During this 2020 pandemic holiday, we’ll likely be spending a lot of time couchbound and watching movies. So, here’s a roundup of some of the best films about writers, literature, writing and publishing.
Few musical formats have had the comeback narrative that vinyl has in the last decade or so. A new documentary film, Vinyl Nation, explores the enduring appeal of LPs and the subculture that’s grown around them recently — including the rise of Record Store Day. I talked with directors Kevin Smokler and Christopher Boone to learn more about the film’s origins and how the project came to fruition.
Around these parts, we are huge admirers of the works of Dennis Cooper, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, novels told in GIFs or his comprehensive blogging. Recently, Cooper has been working on a film, Permanent Green Light, in collaboration with Zac Farley. Later this month, it will be shown at the Rotterdam Film Festival, and a trailer has been released–which uses minimal music and one image that’s beyond unsettling to powerful effect.
At first glance, legendary film editor Walter Murch seems like an unlikely choice for a literary muse. Murch is a groundbreaking figure in film, to be sure–and, as an author, he’s written the acclaimed In the Blink of an Eye, about the craft he’s helped shape. Waves Passing in the Night: Walter Murch in the Land of the Astrophysicists is actually the second nonfiction work by an already-admired author that’s taken Murch as its subject. The first is Michael Ondaatje’s […]
Speaking as someone who’s been intrigued by Ridley Scott’s film Blade Runner for a long time now, I found Paul M. Sammon’s Future Noir to be a fascinating look at the film’s creation, production, and subsequent placement in the cult canon. With Blade Runner 2049 out this fall, Sammon revisited Future Noir with a host of updates and additions. Via email, we discussed Blade Runner‘s influence, the challenges of adapting Philip K. Dick, and more.
I never met Vivian Maier and doubt whether we’d have gotten along if I had. Taciturn, solitary people obsessed with their own struggles don’t often make friends. Yet we walked the same streets, went the same places. We probably crossed paths more than once, but it was as strangers—the way so many do in the city—never meant to know one another as anything but passersby. Now, many, many strangers know Maier, or think they do. She probably wouldn’t like the […]