Character

A man walks down a hallway, carrying a knife, a crazed look in his eyes. He approaches a desk, stabs the knife into the desktop, and addresses the man sitting behind the ‘throne.’ He leaves, comes back, then leaves again with a bloodied face. Within hours, he’s arrested for that man’s murder.

And that’s only the first ten minutes. I love that!

The movie is “Character,” directed by Mike van Diem, and winner of the Best Foreign Language film Oscar in 1997.

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The fading art of speculation

We’re going to be doing something different this week, mainly because 1) I’m officially on vacation (whoo-hoo!) and 2) I haven’t been watching movies of late (but we’ll get back to that later this week).

As I’ve stated in other posts, I started watching “Battlestar Galactica” about five weeks ago. It has been one hell of a ride, and I can confirm that yes, this really, really is the best show on television. It’s not hype, it’s amazing. The “Battlestar” gang deserves every award made for TV (it won’t get them, but that’s beside the point).

But, I did not come here to praise “Battlestar Galactica,” or to bury it. Really, I’m writing about a larger issue; the value of speculation.

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Somewhere in the Night (quickie)

“Somewhere in the Night (1946),” directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, has something of an intriguing (if tired) premise; a man (John Hodiak) wakes up in a military hospital. He can’t speak because his jaw is wired shut, and he doesn’t remember who he is, but everyone keeps calling him George Taylor. He decides to go with it, and waits to recover, to give himself time to find out his identity.

It’s Film Noir, and it’s not bad so far; the trail he follows on the quest is kind of cool, mainly because he’s looking for another man, Larry Cravat, a friend of his who left him money and a letter, and who has since disappeared. Unfortunately for Taylor, he’s not alone in his quest; he keeps running into some unpleasant types, looking for Cravat and some money Larry may have stolen.

And I just had to stop watching at this point; I figured out the ‘mystery’ within the first 15 minutes, and the bad acting and endless exposition were not enough to make me stick around for the characters to figure it out too.

Want some noir with teeth? Go rent “Laura” or “The Maltese Falcon.” Leave “Somewhere in the Night” where it belongs; the back shelf of memory, never to be seen again.

“Somewhere in the Night” (1946)

Directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz

Written by Howard Dimsdale, Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Lee Strasberg

Starring: John Hodiak (George W. Taylor)

 Nancy Guild (Christy Smith)

 Lloyd Nolan (Police Lt. Donald Kendall)

12 and Holding

A few months ago, after watching David Gordon Green’s “George Washington,” I went to IMDB.com and low and behold, “12 and Holding,” directed by Michael Cuesta, was listed as a recommendation. So, having generally liked “George Washington,” I happily put “12 and Holding” into my blockbuster.com queue and waited, and waited, for it to arrive (it was rather far down the list).

I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting with this little indie flick, probably something like “Stand By Me” (a childhood favorite of mine), but well, this wasn’t it.

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Shameless self promotion blog

It was bound to happen sometime.

Another project of mine, The Dead Protagonists Society (an e-zine), has launched its inaugural issue, “The Deaths of David Carlyle.”

Intriguing title, don’t you think? The idea behind the zine is fairly simple; different writers share a character, David Carlyle, who dies in every story.

If you want to check it out, send an e-mail to deadprotagonists@gmail.com, and I will send you the PDF as soon as possible.

Happy reading!