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L.A. noir to now

A visual tour of downtown Los Angeles, now and then:
[more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Jul 26, 2014 - 22 comments

Tozai Mystery Best 100

In 1985, the Mystery Writers of Japan (plus "508 people who love mystery novels") assembled two separate lists of the 100 best mystery novels: one each for the books of the East and West. A revised list came out in 2012. Both Western lists are remarkable for their comparative lack of overlap with the "100 best" lists produced by the American and British mystery writers associations. The Eastern lists are remarkable for the fact that fewer than a quarter of their entries have been translated into English. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Jul 18, 2014 - 14 comments

what if a 40-something secretary was secretly James Bond all along?

Ed Brubaker on Velvet (his new comic book series with Steve Epting): “I loved the idea of flipping the typical male-oriented spy story, and doing one about a woman who was also a mature, middle-aged woman.” [more inside]
posted by flex on Jul 15, 2014 - 32 comments

Brief film noir reviews: 290 and counting

Some guy has reviewed 290 film noir flicks and is still going.
posted by MoonOrb on Jun 11, 2014 - 15 comments

It was a night like any other night...

A bump on the head, a mysterious femme fatale and a strange encounter on a windswept peak all add up to a heck of a night for Manny Brot, Private Eye. Watch as he tries his hand at saving the dame and getting the cash! Shudder at the mind-bending geometric riddles! Thrill to the stunning solution of The Case of the Missing Fractals. (SLYT via via)
posted by tybeet on Apr 30, 2014 - 2 comments

His name was Dick

Sooner Or Later is a torch song written by Broadway idol Stephen Sondheim for the 1990 film Dick Tracey, Here's it performed by Bernadette Peters for the RuPaul show in 1997. Oscar performance by Madonna. Album version. Film version .
posted by The Whelk on Apr 8, 2014 - 11 comments

Oh Gosh.

The Dissolve (previously, previously) looks at the Coen Brothers' 1996 "homespun Midwestern murder story" Fargo: Masculinity And Mike Yanagita, Keynote: Fargo in Five Quotes, Morality And The Coens
posted by The Whelk on Jan 13, 2014 - 84 comments

The Elmore Leonard Paradox

If the sheer number of Leonard adaptations is remarkable, what is more remarkable still is how few of them are any good. No one was more aware of, or blunt about, this disappointing onscreen record than Leonard himself. His first crime novel, The Big Bounce, was twice adapted for film, in 1969 and 2004. Leonard memorably described the earlier effort as the “second-worst movie ever made”; it was not until he saw the 2004 version, he later said, that he knew what movie was the worst.
posted by Rustic Etruscan on Jan 3, 2014 - 60 comments

Not exactly master criminals

"At the trial, the DA told the jury that Joseph was a criminal type who had never been able to hold a steady job because he was simply too lazy to work. Joseph lost his head. The sheriff took him back to his cell. Joseph told the sheriff that the DA had made him mad when he called him lazy. He wasn’t lazy. He had robbed Wilbert German. That proved that the DA was wrong, as no one who was as lazy as the DA said he was would have gone through with the job.

The sheriff took the confession to the DA. Joseph was sentenced to two to four years in the Alleghenny workhouse." -- The story of Joseph Copple is but one of the real life crime stories found at Small Town Noir, a blog about the criminal history of New Castle, PA, from the 1930s to the 1950s.
posted by MartinWisse on Nov 2, 2013 - 12 comments

A Handsome Movie About Men In Hats

Miller's Crossing, 20 Years Later Photographing (and finding) the exact filming locations for the Coen Brothers' New Orleans classic and comparing them to present day. [via mefi projects]
posted by The Whelk on Aug 27, 2013 - 54 comments

You never see the big things until it's too late...

Flatland: Fallen Angle [Flash] is a Noir-influenced game inspired by Edwin Abbot's 1884 novella Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions [Previously]. The streets in this scenario may not appear rain-drenched, but perceiving the Z-axis is a luxury few people in this city can afford...
posted by Smart Dalek on Aug 19, 2013 - 8 comments

Nasty sex, nasty money, nasty murder, and nasty cops

Raymond Chandler: The Master of Nasty
posted by Charlemagne In Sweatpants on Jun 11, 2013 - 53 comments

The short sci-fi/fantasy/noir/b-movie stories of Richard Kadrey

Richard Kadrey is not the most prolific novelist in the world. Still, every five, six years or so out comes another book like Metrophage, or Kamikaze L'Amour, dark, violent, intense works mostly set in and around Los Angeles with characters straight out of a good punk rock song. The self-confessing film nerd is probably best known for his Sandman Slim series, and if you're impatient for the forthcoming Dead Set novel, you can bide your time with a ton of short stories online. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on May 7, 2013 - 14 comments

Midnight Rider - A short film

Midnight Rider [SLYT] (or if you prefer Vimeo: Midnight Rider) features Ryan Hurst (Opie from Sons of Anarchy) in a filmed monologue from the opening short story in the collection American Death Songs: Stories by Jordan Harper (mefi's own Bookhouse). Directed by Nina Corrado, music by Blake Neely.

[via mefi projects]
posted by cjorgensen on Mar 25, 2013 - 6 comments

The Hunter

The many lives of Donald Westlake creator of noir antihero Parker. (Previously)
posted by Artw on Jan 26, 2013 - 17 comments

An introduction to cult movies

"What is a cult film? A cult film is one that has a passionate following, but does not appeal to everyone. James Bond movies are not cult films, but chainsaw movies are. Just because a film has become a cult movie does not automatically guarantee quality. Some are very bad; others are very, very good. Some make an awful lot of money at the box office; others make no money at all. Some are considered quality films; others are exploitation movies. One thing cult movies do have in common is that they are all genre films - for example gangster films or westerns. They also have a tendency to slosh over from one genre into another, so that a science fiction film might also be a detective movie, or vice versa. They share common themes as well, themes that are found in all drama: love, murder and greed." - of the British TV film slots accompanied by an introduction perhaps the most celebrated is Moviedrome, running between 1988 and 2000 and presented first by Repo Man director Alex Cox and then film critic Mark Cousins. [more inside]
posted by Artw on Aug 3, 2012 - 88 comments

Peter Cheyney, and the strange adventure of Lemmy Caution

Peter Cheyney was a prolific author of pulp thrillers, whose tin-eared appropriations of American hard-boiled detective fiction were nevertheless wildly popular in Britain and France in his mid-20th-century heyday. Among his creations were the cynical British detective Slim Callaghan; the debonair Belgian assassin Ernest Guelvada (one of the lead characters in the so-called ‘Dark’ series of spy novels), and the oddly-named, trenchcoat-wearing FBI tough-guy Lemmy Caution, played on-screen in a series of French movies by the American-born actor & singer Eddie Constantine, a role he would later reprise to striking effect in Jean-Luc Godard’s 1965 movie Alphaville.
posted by misteraitch on Aug 1, 2012 - 13 comments

LA Noir.

Since 2009, a thread on the Skyscraper Page forums has been dedicated to trawling for old photos and stories of Los Angeles, mostly from the LA Public Library and USC Archives. Thousands of posts have accumulated into a fascinating portrait of the city. [more inside]
posted by anazgnos on Jul 4, 2012 - 8 comments

“I suppose the first thing I should do is apologize for the billions of dead.”

A famously reclusive writer, John Swartzwelder is responsible for many of The Simpson's iconic episodes. He stopped writing for the show in '04 and began to self-publish a series of increasingly absurd Sci-Fi Detective novels.
posted by The Whelk on May 16, 2012 - 47 comments

Alexander Mackendrick's "Sweet Smell of Success"

"A Movie Marked Danger" - a Vanity Fair article on Sweet Smell of Success (1957), directed by Alexander Mackendrick, screenplay by Clifford Odets and Ernest Lehman, cinematography by James Wong Howe, soundtrack by Elmer Bernstein. (previously) [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Apr 14, 2012 - 22 comments

Howard Hawks' "The Big Sleep"

The Big Sleep is a film I have found a very intense love for. The rotating cast of shadowy crooks and deceptive dames coupled with the roller-coaster plotting makes this classic movie endlessly entertaining. Bogart and Bacall are electrifying together and the supporting cast is equally captivating. Considering it’s over 60 years old, The Big Sleep still works in a big bad way and feels fantastically modern. It’s as if the film is simply too fast and too entertaining to age. It was crafted by the hands of some of Hollywood’s finest artists at the time and oozes quality as a result. Most of all though, this movie is just pulpy, fearless, fun and really, really cool. - Pictures and Noise [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Apr 7, 2012 - 56 comments

"Give Back and Learn"

"Fast Company’s four-hour interview with [Martin Scorsese] for their December-January cover story: How to Lead A Creative Life, was ostensibly about his career, and how he had been able to stay so creative through years of battling studios. But the Hugo director punctuated everything he said with references to movies: 85 of them, in fact." Welcome to Martin Scorsese’s Film School: The 85 Films You Need To See To Know Anything About Film [more inside]
posted by zarq on Feb 26, 2012 - 37 comments

Sleeper hits

Everything you need to know about Ed Brubaker and Sean Philips, the best writer artist team currently working in comics, and their particular brand of noirish crime and noirish supercrime. With their latest project, Fatal, they add a new ingredient to the mix and bring us noirish Lovecraftian crime.
posted by Artw on Jan 8, 2012 - 58 comments

Comin' at you like school's out.

Like Film Noir? Like podcasts? Here's Noircast.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy on Jan 4, 2012 - 12 comments

Translucent tape art of Max Zorn

Max Zorn makes translucent art with a scalpel and brown packing tape (though he has worked with blue and a bit of green). A self-taught "classical" painter, he turned to back-lit street art in May 2011, and now has a growing gallery of works that are inspired by American Realism/film noir.
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 4, 2012 - 17 comments

John Zorn's "Spillane"

Using his "file card" technique to create the title piece "Spillane" (whereby musical ideas written on note cards form the basis for discreet sound blocks arranged by way of a unifying theme), John Zorn forges an impressionistic narrative out of stretches of live-music jazz, blues, country, lounge, thrash, etc., and a variety of samples and spoken dialogue inspired by Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer detective novels (recited by John Lurie). - AllMusic [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Dec 2, 2011 - 7 comments

William Friedkin's "To Live and Die in L.A."

After 25 years I revisited To Live and Die In L.A. (1985), William Friedkin's cynical, fatalistic, hardboiled and high-energy crime noir about corruption and survival in the city of no angels. The script is literate, the characters are believable, the performances are brutally honest, the unpredictable twists keep coming, the action never stops, and the car chase is shot for real without any fake process. (spoilers)
posted by Trurl on Nov 4, 2011 - 60 comments

Arthur Penn's "Night Moves"

[Arthur Penn's Night Moves] does belong to a traditional, indeed obsolescent genre, but the distance it keeps from it (not an ironic or critical distance, just a distance) is such that genre-related expectations become irrelevant. Most of the time, the story line seems to meander aimlessly, taking in extraneous material, doubling back, going round in circles (the aimless is deceptive, a smoke screen obfuscating the complex, rigorous organization of an exceptionally well-structured script). The "mystery" aspect of the plot is dealt with in the most peculiar, topsy-turvy manner, withholding not the solution of the problem but the problem itself until the very end, when, in a dazzling visual tour de force, both are conjured up almost simultaneously. - Jean Pierre Coursodon [more inside]
posted by Trurl on Oct 1, 2011 - 19 comments

Just the facts, ma'am

Audio Noir offers a continuous stream of classic radio crime dramas, including Johnny Dollar, Broadway Is My Beat, and Dragnet.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn on Jul 12, 2011 - 14 comments

Oregon Noir

She Died In Terrebonne is a hard-boiled noir webcomic by Kevin Church. The Rack, The Loneliest Astronauts and his other comics can be found at Agreeable Comics.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn on May 26, 2011 - 10 comments

Robert Aldrich's "Kiss Me Deadly"

At the core of Kiss Me Deadly are speed and violence. [more inside]
posted by Trurl on May 18, 2011 - 23 comments

It's Chinatown

Videogames reach the uncanny valley with the facial animations (yt video) in Rockstar's L.A. Noir, their 1940s Los Angeles set detective game.
posted by Artw on Dec 18, 2010 - 77 comments

Weasels Ate My Flesh!

Men's Adventure Magazines is a blog inspired by the 1956 "Weasels Ate My Flesh" cover of Man's Life, featuring hundreds of covers from "Men's Adventure" magazines from the 50s and 60s. (some blog entries have a little bit of illustrated partial nudity here and there) [more inside]
posted by empath on Dec 12, 2010 - 26 comments

Look! A Small Moon!

Ben Kenobi: Private Jedeye
posted by azarbayejani on Nov 1, 2010 - 20 comments

I smell expensive perfume... I'm standing on some sort of fur rug. There's music... I must be in the Playboy Mansion!

Stan Lee has not yet been told about ... GRIT! FEATURING -- Dourdevil, the man without a sense of humor (different presentations of the same comic). The year was 1983, and Alan Moore was spoofing the style of Frank Miller (bibliography), towards the end of Frank Miller's run with Daredevil. Moore thought highly of Miller, if one believes what Moore wrote in "The Importance of Being Frank" (linked therein as a .cbz file), which was published in the same comics magazine run as Grit! [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 21, 2010 - 53 comments

"She can't be all bad. No one is." "Well, she comes the closest."

Over the course of four months earlier this year, Dave at Goodfella's Movie Blog posted 100 (!) sharply written analyses of a wide range of classic Noir films. The top position was a bit of a surprise amid the obvious standards, but the real meat is in his informative takes on dozens of lesser-known gems. [more inside]
posted by mediareport on Aug 19, 2010 - 62 comments

Have a nice day.

All twenty four episodes of Roque Ballesteros's 2000-2001 noir action flash cartoon Joe Paradise, finally available after all these years on You Tube.
posted by cthuljew on Jul 28, 2010 - 4 comments

A Taste For Death

Gil Brewer is Back. [more inside]
posted by dortmunder on Nov 19, 2009 - 5 comments

Slumming It?

Thomas Pynchon’s latest novel Inherent Vice, is causing quite a stir, and not just because all his novels cause a stir. It seems the author of epic novels of giant adenoids and invisible clockwork ducks has written a-gasp-detective novel, which weighs in at an astoundingly reasonable 384 pages. Some have noted confusion among Pynchon aficionados at the author’s choice to work in such a genre. One writer has used the opportunity to examine why supposed “literary” writers have turned to the crime genre with varying degrees of success, and at least one critic seems genuinely put out by Pynchon’s creative choice.
posted by dortmunder on Aug 3, 2009 - 97 comments

Film Noir: Flip Side of the All-American Success Story

Maybe you already know about film noir, how Italian-born French film critic Nino Frank coined the term in 1946, and that Dashiell Hammett's book The Maltese Falcon was adapted for film 3 times in 10 years. Or perhaps you've just browsed through the detailed Wikipedia page, and found the list of film noir series and films to be daunting, and IMDB search provides a list that is lacking. Either way, Noir of the Week has a wealth of information if you crave more details, but focuses on one film per week if long lists are daunting. Not interested in this week's film? They have over 240 movies covered to date.
posted by filthy light thief on Jun 30, 2009 - 20 comments

When Gravity Fails

Editor Marty Halpern looks back at the career of George Alec Effinger (part 1, part 2, part 3), a prolific author best known for his work set in the Budayeen, a walled city in a future Islamic state, teeming with gangsters, hustlers and transsexual prostitutes, many of them habitual users of plug in personality modules. The noirish tone and exotic technology of the Marîd Audran books (When Gravity Fails, A Fire In The Sun, The Exile Kiss) made Effinger one of the leading lights in the cyberpunk movie, and spawned a videogame - a rare attempt at a graphical adventure from Infocom - and an RPG setting. Sadly Effinger faded from prominence after that, and he suffered from a number of health and financial setbacks before passing away in 2002. His work has had somewhat of a resurgence in popularity of late, with the Marîd Audran books coming back into print in 2007, a long with a collection containing The Wolves of Memory, Effinger's personal favourite amongst his novels.
posted by Artw on Jun 9, 2009 - 32 comments

Like cult films, but without all that filming

Bizarro fiction isn't really a new genre. Just a new term. The current crop of bizarro authors are generally young and new to being published, with Carlton Mellick III as "both the Johnny Appleseed and the Johnny Rotten" of the newly dubbed genre, who started printing his stories under the header of Eraserhead Press. But what is Bizarro Fiction? A battle between the real William Shatner vs all the film versions of himself, resulting from a failed terrorist attack by Campbellians; bizarro-noir novellas, set in a world of murderers, drugs made from squid parts, deformed war veterans, and a mischievous apocalyptic donkey; or just a nice children's book about two Vampires who compete in a mustache competition to prove who is the faggiest of all. (via a local paper, though I didn't see the article isn't online) [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on May 4, 2009 - 22 comments

Thomas Pynchon is 71 years old.

"To make off with hubby's fortune, yea, I think I heard of that happenin' once or twice around L.A. And… you want me to do what exactly?" He found the paper bag he'd brought his supper home in and got busy pretending to scribble notes on it, because straight-chick uniform, makeup supposed to look like no makeup or whatever, here came that old well-known hard-on Shasta was always good for sooner or later. Does it ever end, he wondered. Of course it does. It did. Thomas Pynchon's next novel, the 416-page Inherent Vice, is described by Penguin Press as "part noir, part psychedelic romp, all Thomas Pynchon — private eye Doc Sportello comes, occasionally, out of a marijuana haze to watch the end of an era as free love slips away and paranoia creeps in with the L.A. fog." While we wait for its August 4 publication, we can read an essay on the dystopian musical he co-wrote at Cornell or watch a clip of that movie they made of Gravity's Rainbow. [more inside]
posted by Joe Beese on Feb 6, 2009 - 76 comments

Hard-Boiled Detectives, female and male

Early Female Authors of Hard-Boiled Fiction. Chester Himes and Early African-American Detective Novelists. The Detective's Code. The Femme Fatale. Just a few of the many fascinating offerings at detnovel.com.
posted by mediareport on Dec 8, 2008 - 4 comments

Certiorari Noir

"Officer Sean Devlin, Narcotics Strike Force, was working the morning shift. Undercover surveillance. The neighborhood? Tough as a threedollar steak. Devlin knew. Five years on the beat, nine months with the Strike Force. He’d made fifteen, twenty drug busts in the neighborhood." Dashiell Hammett? Raymond Chandler? Nope. Chief Justice John Roberts (pdf).
posted by Knappster on Nov 4, 2008 - 16 comments

James Ellroy's Crib Sheet

Real L.A. Noir. (Video/audio auto-plays). Los Angeles Times reporter Paul Lieberman has been chronicling the era of the LAPD Gangster Squad, a secret division of the department that tried to combat the mobs of Jack Dragna and Mickey Cohen in the 1940s and '50s. (Keep the cast of characters straight with this handy chart.)
posted by Bookhouse on Nov 1, 2008 - 9 comments

To Live

American audiences remember Akira Kurosawa as the genius of the samurai epic, a past master who used the form both to revise and revive Western classics - Shakespeare with Ran and Throne of Blood, Dostoevsky with Red Beard and The Idiot, Gorky with The Lower Depths - and to give splendid and ultimately immortal life to new archetypes, as in The Seven Samurai, Rashomon, Yojimbo. But Kurosawa also made films of his own time. His masterpiece, in fact, was the quiet story of a gray Japanese bureaucrat dying in post-war Tokyo, and of his attempt to do something of lasting good before he leaves. The film is Ikiru ("To Live"; 1952). [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Jan 29, 2008 - 46 comments

How could I have known that murder could sometimes smell like honeysuckle?

"But, it's a post on film noir!" I told her. She jerked away from me like a startled fawn might, if I had a startled fawn and it jerked away from me. I knew that caving into my desires meant I might lose her. But I didn't care. I went out to the kitchen to make coffee -- yards of coffee. Rich, strong, bitter, boiling hot, ruthless, depraved. I knew she'd be back. [more inside]
posted by miss lynnster on Jan 11, 2008 - 48 comments

The Unsung Joe: Where bit--part actors go when they die

The Unsung Joe: Where bit-part actors go when they die. Biographies of the most obscure micro-stars of 1940s and '50s cinema, all remarkably well-researched and richly illustrated.
posted by jack_mo on Dec 11, 2007 - 28 comments

Where's An Egg, and other wonderful fake flash games.

Where's an egg? Psuedo-Russian noir wumpus action. Confused? Consider bidding on the only copy of the instructions in existence. Need a break? Check out some other fine titles from completely made up game company Videlectrix.
posted by cortex on Jul 17, 2007 - 41 comments

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