Thursday, June 30, 2011

26 Soundtracks: CQ

The one and only film that has so far been directed byRoman Coppola  CQ, is a fun cool film that is positioned on the edge of 1970, and neatly looks at the end of the euro pop genre films of the 60s and the more personal films that would come out of the 70s. For the sound track Coppola picked the french band Mellow to provide much of, but not all of the cool fun bright pop songs that populate the film. There is something joyous and shimmering about the tracks, and even the music cues are fun to listen to outside of the context of the film.

It's a great soundtrack and I highly recommend it as well as the film.

1. Seek You
2. Codename Dragonfly
3. Take Me Higher
4. Love On The Moon
5. Ce Soir Je Valis Boire - Claude Francois
6. 321...Zero
7. Song For The Loved One
8. In The Cave - Antonello Paliotti
9. I Love You
10. A Vision
11. Airplane
12. Rivolizione Sessantanove
13. Le Responsable - Jacques Dutronc
14. Absolutely Free
15. CQ Theme
16. Chain Reaction
17. Multithing
18. CQ Car Chase
19. Tous En Scene - Paul Piot
20. The Lost One
21. Dragonfly M36
22. Dragonfly Car Chase
23. Who Is Dragonfly?
24. The End
25. CQ Song

Monday, June 27, 2011

26 Films: Don's Party

Don's Party (wiki, imdb) from 1976 is one of those films that it tripped over a VHS copy of in a donation bin somewhere. To be honest I didn't get all that much out of this film. It follows the guests at a part for the assumed winner of the 1969 Australian federal election. As the night wears on truths come out, people get drunk and there is some fighting and sex. 

I am sure that at the time it was shocking or at least edgy at the time when the play was written and the film was made. However like so many of the edgy sex comedies and dramas of the 70s it's dated when you think about films that have dealt with sex in the last decade and a half. 

One thing that I did really like was the sets, they were loud mod looking and had a fun vibe to them. I also dug the use of pop music on the soundtrack which featured great pop and rock tunes.

Over all it I don't know that I will be revisiting this film, at the very least if I do it will have to be a much cleaner copy of the film.

Friday, June 24, 2011

FFB: Double Trouble by Sheldon Jaffery

The full title:
Double Trouble: A Bibliographic Chronicle of ACE Mystery Doubles
Starmont Reference Guide #12

            A forgotten book about forgotten books, something about that idea appeals to me. The full title says pretty much of all of what you need to know, this slim volume, published in 1992, is a reference guide for the ACE Mystery Doubles published between 1952 and 1963. Covering the D through F series the book provides not only the publishing dates and biblogaphic information for each volume, but information about authors, the books and even occationaly reviews of books that were written at the time of publication.

            This isn’t the kind of book that has to be read cover to cover, but is easy to page though, and look up specific authors. It looks to be well researched and Jaffery obviously has an affection for these books, but never pretends they were more that entertinment for the most part.  As this is Starmont Reference Guide #12 I have to wonder what the first 11 cover and if there were more after this one?  The copy that I read I obtained via Inter Library Loan, which has been very kind to me when it comes to Friday Forgotten books that I have wanted to check out. A while back I was able to ILL Shoot, and currently have; What of Terry Conniston? by Brian Garfield, Black wings has my angel by Elliott Chaze, and 13 French Street by Gil Brewer from other libraries...All if which I have discovered though FFB and other blog posts from others.

Speaking of which, you can find more FFB's here

Thursday, June 16, 2011

26 Soundtracks: In Search of....

In Search Of... was a weird, low budget TV show that was produced in the late 70s and early 80s.  One of the things that made it creepy and even scary was the music, with it's odd edgy electronic sounds. Several years ago I ran across a copy of the soundtrack on LP and snatched up a copy. Over all it's a nice LP featuring mostly the kind of music that I recalled from the show.... only the main theme has been turned into a disco-tastic funky jam, that while fun and cheesy, is no replacement for the original.

Listening to the LP again, I am stuck at the strangeness and haunting feel of the tracks. I wonder what some of these would feel like remixed or covered by bands like Nine Inch Nails or Black Moth Super Rainbow. It's worth picking up if you find it for less than a couple of bucks, other wise I would pass on it.

Monday, June 13, 2011

26 Films: Kiss Or Kill

Kiss Or Kill


97 Minutes

Somewhere in hell and gone Austriala damaged young grifters Matt Day and Francis O’Conner are working their trade when something goes wrong and they end up with a dead mark. Along with the mark they also end up with a video tape that would be very damaging to a sports celiberty. Now all this is a pretty standeard Noir set up, young people with fucked up lived doing fucked up stuff headed for a fucked up end….. only in case, after a life full of bad descissions, a good one is made, get the hell out of dodge. Thus we have the start of a nice little nourish road film that at once has elements of the Not Quite Hollywood era of austrialian cinema with the great Road Games as a major touchstone, but also the DNA of such well reguarded more current Aussie crime films like Animal Kingdom (and if you saw that and liked it, I recommend that you seek out the amazing Noise).

I saw this film for the first time when it was relased in the states n DVD, I think it was a favorable review from Siskel and Ebert that lead me to the film, but I recalled enjoying it, and likeing at least the not what you expected story. I also really really like the leads, Matt Day has long been one of those actors who I am not sure why he didn’t become a big star in the states. He has a nice presence and great rockabilly hair. If you don’t know his name, I assure you that you have seen his work, as he had a small but pivitoal roll in Muriel’s Wedding.

Francis O’Conner is best known for her work in Mansfield Park in 1999. I think she is super cute and has a presence that is joyful and has a depth. I espically like that while both her charcter and Day’s charcter are damaged, it’s only her trauma that we really get to see and experience… mostly because she is the films narriator and focus. She also gets the silent moments of reflection and doubt in the film.

The rest fo the cast is filled with no one who I recognized, but I want to give a special mention to the pair of cops that are hot on the trail of the progatinists. They have a weird fun chemistery, and there is a moment centering around the eating of Bacon that is right up there with the Sam Jackson and John Trovolta moment in Pulp Fiction. Along the way there is a cast of charcters, a tracker, and the afore mentioned sports celiberty (who gives just a slight Buffllo ’66 feel to the film).

I have to say that I really liked the film a lot, I liked rediscovering it and I liked seeing it in the context of where it stands in the history of Austrialan film. Matt Day and Francis O’Conner will return in a future installment of this series covering one of my favorite over looked 90s gems…. A film where O’Conner plays the grilfrind of Radda Mitchel… but we will get to that soon enough. Sufficide to say that I think that this film got it’s US release because of the same interest in odd ball crime films that allowed I Went Down a release, as far as I can tell there isn’t a US domestic DVD or Bluray release, but it’s still worth seeking out.

Friday, June 10, 2011

FFB: The Broken Gun by Louis L’amour (1966)

The recent passing of James Arness has me thinking about westerns, and for whatever reason I could feel a Louis L’amour book tugging at the back of my brain. I only recalled a few things about the book. It was set in the 1950s, the protagonist was a western writer, who is lured to a ranch and ends up hip deep in a mystery, the nature of which I don’t recall..

I turned to Google and came up dry with my searches for about an hour. Finally I was able to triangulate enough information and discover that the book I was thinking of was…. The Broken Gun!

From Amazon:

Ninety years ago the Toomey brothers, along with twenty-five other men and four thousand head of cattle, vanished en route to Arizona. When writer and historian Dan Sheridan is invited to the missing brothers’ ranch by its current owner, he jumps at the chance. The visit fits right in with his plan to solve the century-old mystery—but it turns out that his host isn’t a fan of books, writers, or people who don’t mind their own business.

Soon Dan is living the dangers of the Old West firsthand—tracked through the savage wilderness by vicious killers straight out of the most violent pages of his stories. However, his enemies have made one serious mistake: Sheridan is no pencil-pushing greenhorn, and killing him won’t be as easy as they think.

Now to be honest, here is what I recall from the book… a daring escape from a canyon by our 1950s hero. Yep, that’s it, an escape. That’s not to say that it’s not worth checking out, but to say that like the airwaves of the 50s and 60s there was so much western story telling that much if it seems to bleed together. L’amour of course became the dominate voice in the genre for those decades, just as Gun Smoke and Arness did for the TV Western. I don’t think I have my copy of this book any longer, I am sure that I purchased it at a local used shop…. which I have left unnamed in hopes that it will pass from this earth as it should ….. and devoured it during a time when no one else that I knew was reading westerns. However, as I still could recall the book, even in a small way, it must have meant something to hangout in the back of my brain.

more Friday Forgotten Books can be found HERE

Monday, June 6, 2011

Score: 5 books for $12.82

Purchased today at Curious Books in East Lansing.

The Hit by Brian Garfield
The Crossroads by John D MacDonald
The Drowner by John D MacDonald
The Burglar by David Goodis
Saddle the Storm by Harry Whittington

Unknown to me all mysteries were 50% off today, so I didn't hesitate with the MacDonald books, which I had thought of passing on.... I only wish that I had picked up the copy of Charles Willeford's Sideswipe that was on the shelf. I picked up The Hit because of the posts on Brian Garfield over at Pulp Serenade

Thursday, June 2, 2011

26 Soundtracks: The American Astronaut

The American Astronaut Original Soundtrack

The American Astronaut has to be one of the strangest, weirdest, most odd ball musicals ever committed to film. It’s a low budget Sci Fi Western with a dance contest where all the contestants are men, a. boy whose single claim to fame is that he once saw a woman’s breast, and a planet of women who need a new man. It’ s the kind of project that would only come from the mind of a equally odd ball band, The Billy Nayer Show.

Of course if you are a band making a film, you better have a killer soundtrack, and The American Astronaut Original Soundtrack delivers… for the most part. It’s filled with an assortment of tunes in various styles. There is the majistic instro Ceres Walk, the slightly funky title track and my favorite the rocking Love Smiles. While the styles of the tunes vary there is an underlying element of both rock and country in them, they are the all too rare combination of odd ball and accessible and I dig them, and hope that the cult of the Billy Nayer Show (and of their films) grow over the years.

Track List:

The American Astronaut


Ceres Walk


Hey Boy

Love Smiles

Death Of A Pirate


Ship Alarm

Jupiter Arena


The Baby In The Jar

Death Of Vilensky


Like Nothing Ever Heard

The Silver Miners' Tale


Venus Landing


Girl With The Vagina Made Of Glass

The Cloning Device

You can find all things American Astronaut and Billy Nayer Show on the net HERE.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Books May 2011

The Black Ice Score by Richard Stark (Parker book 11)

Parker is back and this time the job has come to him. First he is warned off a job that he has no knowledge of, then he is offered the job and well you get the idea. I have to be honest, while I enjoyed The Black Ice Score, I can’t say it was one of my favorites. It’s got an interesting premise in that Parker is drawn into the job, and that he breaks his rule by working with armatures. I liked the book, but there was something missing from the zing of the world of Parker, it’s like the Mourner in that it deals with elements for developing nations politics (third world to all you not up on the latest PC lingo) which Westlake was good at, but as far as I can tell was never mastered by Stark. That said, it’s a solid read that is well worth it for Parker fans, and anyone out there that is looking for a softer entry to the Parker novels might find this one along with the afore mentioned The Mourner a entry point into the series.

33 1/3 Let It Be by Colin Meloy

See my FFB review HERE.

The End of Everything by Megan Abbott

I liked it; I will post a more in depth review when it comes closer to publication time.

33 1/3 Let’s Talk about Love by Carl Wilson

I know, I know, Celine Dion, right. I don’t like her music; I tried to listen to this album, but never got though more than 2 of the songs at a time. The book on the other hand is compulsively readable with is history of where Dion came from and it’s look at taste, the economics of mass popularity and the reality of how as we age, maybe it’s not worth the time to decry middle of the road comfort food music.

Lawrence Block book of the Month: Make Out With Murder

This was my first Chip Harrison novel and I found it very fun and enjoyable. There was a Meta element in that it was presented as the novel that Chip had written about his time as an assistant to a Detective who has a fixation on fictional Detectives. Block name checks; Chandler, A.C. Doyle, Michael Innes, the MacDonalds and of course Richard Stark. It was a breezy read and I think I have one more in the series coming up this year.

Stark House Press novel of the Month: The Three-Way Spilt by Gil Brewer

While taking a group of drunk tourists out on his boat Jack Holland get’s a lucky break and discovers the wreck of an centuries old ship off the coast of Florida. Knowing what this discovery means Jack keeps the discovery quite, only telling his girl Sally and his drinking buddy, a former salvage man, who knows the history of ships in the area and has the expertise to help Jack dive the wreck. … and then his estranged father shows up and that’s where things start to go wrong.

Three Way Split is a full blown Noir adventure that had me thinking of John D MacDonald and his Travis Magee books and just a bit of the adventure stories of Clive Cussler. I enjoyed the story overall, but felt the ending was a little rushed and that Brewer had been more interested in the archeology and search for the story of the discovered ship. With only a hand full of Brewer’s work currently in print, another volume from Stark House, a Hard Case Crime and a pair of reprints from The New Pulp Press, this is one of the few places you are going to find his work and it’s well worth owning.

33 1/3: The Gilded Palace of Sin by Bob Proehl

Another solid entry in the 33 1/3 series, telling the story of Gram Parsons, the Flying Burrito Brother, and the start of what has become known as Alt Country today. It’s a history lesson, not only of the music and the band, but the context of the time and place, of flawed young men with a vision and sound in mind. While not as personal as the Let it Be entry or as thought provoking on the bigger subject of taste as the Let’s Talk About Love book, this one still holds it’s own as a book that should be on the shelf of everyone who cares about what we call Alt Country today.

The Sour Lemon Score by Richard Stark (Parker book 12)

This time around we get Parker on the trail of a member of his crew who has tried to kill all the members of the crew. This is a minor mirror take on The Hunter. It’s a fast paced and action driven story, that while not the best Parker book is a solid read. It’s easy to see where the charges of Stark repeating plots can be leveled, but at the same time, Crime novels pretty much follow a simple plot through line, bad stuff happens and people are in trouble. All that said I liked it, I liked Parker having to pick up and work on the fly after a jobs goes wrong in the crew end. I recommend the book, and am looking forward to the next Parker installment. I would also not this was the 12th Parker book, which is the dead center of the series with only 4 more of the first era of Parker books remaining.