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AlbertV

What Books Are You Currently Reading or Read?

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I've just finished Jimmy Sangster's (Hammer films etc) "Do you want it good or Tuesday?" which was a very good and interesting read.

is it still in print?

btw have you ever stumbled upon the amicus:studio that dripped blood book before?

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almost done with the review (does this read OK?):

Dying to Belong: Gangster Movies in Hollywood and Hong Kong (2007) by Martha P. Nochimson

It has been quite a while since I have been this disappointed in a book. I was looking forward to a comparison of Hong Kong and Hollywood gangster films. The Hollywood sections were decent especially with 1930s gangster cinema, but I was disappointed with the lack of knowledge of Hong Kong cinema, overuse of materialist theory and a misuse of the term immigrant especially in dealing with Hong Kong.

In her opening chapter she makes a salient observation about distinguishing between the gangster film from the "lone outlaw/couple crime film and the caper film" and she further defines her study for inclusion that the films must "construct the narrative through the gangster protagonist point of view." I tend to define "gangsters" as anyone belonging to a gang. She states that the first Hong Kong gangster film is A Better Tomorrow (True Colors of a Hero 1986). One always has to be careful to write about firsts especially when The Club (1981), Long Arm of the Law (1984), Hong Kong Godfather (1985) came before. It seems weird to completely ignore Long Arm of the Law which is critically popular among Hong Kong film critics making the Hong Kong Film Awards 103 Best Chinese Films list in 2005 (two years before the book.)

It is wrong not to mention the influence of Jean Pierre Melville on both John Woo and Johnnie To especially with gangster aesthetics (though this might go against her thesis) or Chang Cheh's influence on Woo. While she has Kenneth E. Hall's John Woo: The Films book in the bibliography she completely ignores the book when she states "...even those that discuss John Woo have little to say about his or any gangster films." Hall's book, now in a second edition, is a must for those wanting to learn more about John Woo.

I am always a bit wary of terms like "American Materialism", "Materialism" and "Modernity" because of the relativity or overly generic usage. For example how does Japanese Materialism differ from American Materialism: more gadgets? The amount of times these terms are bandied about one does not need to know they are used more for anti-Americanism rhetoric sometimes just being plain wrong like when she stated about Hong Kong "fighting against the depersonalized influences of American technology..." when they are actually much more influenced by the latest Japanese, South Korean and now Mainland China's technological gadgets. Also since materialism is the focus, the ideas of solidarity and brotherhood seemed glossed over

However, its use of the term immigrant had me more annoyed than anything. Immigrants are people who migrate to a different country and their importance in gangster cinema is well noted. However, the next generation and those after are no longer immigrants themselves. She notes this issue with a chapter on The Sopranos, but does not use it correctly on Hong Kong cinema. While she discusses the Triads as immigrants she seems to ignore the fact that many are in fact born in Hong Kong and have a Hong Kong identity not an immigrant identity. She does not mention that one group, The Big Circle Gang (Tai Huen Chai) which in Hong Kong would be considered immigrants and have made for some fascinating cinema and would fit perfectly in her book.

The book ends on a high note with an enlightening interview with David Chase. She does note that his knowledge of Hong Kong films is quite low, but if you are a fan of his series The Sopranos you will like it as well as the previous section "Afterword: From Here to Modernity" which also focuses on the show. Her knowledge of Hollywood gangster cinema is fine but when comparing and contrasting a limited amount of Hong Kong films (though the Young and Dangerous series discussion was good to read) one feels that there is still room for a better book on the subject. For fans of John Woo I would read Kenneth E. Hall's John Woo: The Films and for fans of Johnnie To I would read Stephen Teo’s Director in Action instead.

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i suggest The Wanderers by Richard Price. Price also wrote Clockers, which became a Spike Lee Joint

the wanderers is a tale centered on an Italian street gang circa 1963, that takes on all sorts of other gangs, allthewhile goes through the trials and tibulations of growing up in that era. it was written in seventy five i believe

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Admire you for finishing that book, master.....

I would probably not have gotten through the first chapter on HK cinema with that level of incompetence.

Quick rant:

What bothers me most is that this passes through academia. In a way Ric Meyers is more honest, fun to read, even with his vast amount of mistakes. She has a docotorate (I believe in film, though she got it after this book) and comes with an authoritative view yet has many more mistakes than I mentioned in the review (especially dealing with HK). She wraps everything up in a Marxist bow, which in a way is disparaging to the Hong Kong films since they are so much more diverse than the materialistic rhethoric she paints every single film with.

She also disparages Woo's American films, Scorsese's The Departed (while she does love most of his films) without much reason which is something you would not expect from a teacher.

She talks about how books ignore gangster films from Hong Kong, yet I learned more from Stephen Teo's Hong Kong Cinema and it focuses on Hong Kong cinema in general.

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I just can't be bothered with these half ass "experts" when 80% of the people on this forum could write a better book.

There's this woman film critic on danish tv who is the most incompetent cunt I have ever seen in my life when it comes to film, and even just the most basic film knowledge, and it just burns me that she can make a living out of this cuz of the right connections or whatever. I have no tolerance for people who yammer on about shit they know nothing about, and furthermore makes a profit from it.

Am I being bitter and petty cuz I don't have her job..... you're fucking A right I am!:tinysmile_angry2_t::smile:

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...and it just burns me that she can make a living out of this cuz of the right connections or whatever. I have no tolerance for people who yammer on about shit they know nothing about, and furthermore makes a profit from it.

Am I being bitter and petty cuz I don't have her job..... you're fucking A right I am!:tinysmile_angry2_t::smile:

I think a hilarious example of semi-recent TV film critic gaffs was when Ben Lyons had stated I Am Legend as one of the greatest films of all-time, though his short lived tenure at At The Movies was pretty hilarious in his ineptitude of being a film critic. He got his job because of connections, of course.

Bad teachers burn me. Probably more than even now especially since of high fees and the fact that they push bad facts/opinions into their classroom to unsuspecting students. Luckily I have one degree already, but I've thought about going back and getting a Masters. I do miss being combative in class.

On a side note: it is so difficult to make money being a film critic/reviewer (and writer) these days even if you are knowledgable and a good writer.

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Not actual reading, but I bought some books recently:

Persuasion by Jane Austen

I was missing this one, so now I have her 6 classic novels as well as the Marvel Illustrated Pride And Prejudice and Sense And Sensibility graphic novels - I have 3 of the novels in English and the other 3 in French though... Guess I'll need to re-buy these masterpieces. :tongue:

A couple of martial arts related books:

livrenunchuck_zpsd767bf0e.jpg

livrekungfushaolin_zpsebb32c49.gif

(was looking for a nunchucks book but never expected to get a Kung Fu book. :tongue: )

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I have several Jane Austen books I bought as well (and got as gifts). I still need to read them.

Finished this last week.

Me: Stories of My Life (1991) by Katherine Hepburn

“I’ve made forty-three pictures. Naturally I’m adorable in all of them – but I don’t want to kill any of you, and some of them have a dangerous virus called boredom.” – Katherine Hepburn

[on George Cukor] “His was an extraordinary career, and yet he is seldom listed with the so-called great directors: John Huston – George Stevens – John Ford – Willy Wyler – Billy Wilder – Hitchcock.”

This autobiography is the second book by Hepburn I have read after her experiences in The African Queen detailed in The Making of the African Queen or How I went to Africa with Bogart, Bacall and Huston and almost lost my mind. The benefit of that book is that it is more detailed while this one sporadically covers her life until 1991. Like many movie-star autobiographies I have read there is more on pre-movie life and early career then

Katherine has a tendency to use a stream-of-consciousness style of writing that can sometimes be irksome as her mind meanders to different time periods and characters often too quickly. She does have a dry wit that sometimes infuses passages with humor. There are a couple of sections that I did not find overly interesting like a rather large chapter on her helping author Willie Rose get his Maserati in Italy (37 pages) and the fact that The Corn is Green gets the most writing out of any of her films.

But there is enough to be interested in if you are a fan of hers or at least Hollywood should find this a fun and informative read especially her chapters on Howard Hughes (those of you who have seen The Aviator should compare what is written here to what is shown in the Scorsese film) and Movies. She writes quite a bit on her parents, her growing up in Hartford Connecticut, her days at Bryn Mawr College and the time spent afterword, mostly unsuccessfully, on the stage. She infuses comments on Spencer Tracy throughout, but she does have a few pages in the Dear Spence chapter. The Movies chapters are just comments on what she remembers for a selected variety of films. You might be disappointed if you are expected a large amount of information on them since she does not discuss some of her films at all and some she barely mentions.*

There are some surprises to me in the book. I found it interesting that she found Sylvia Scarlett boring. It has improved with critics minds over the years, but was one of the films that made her known as “box-office poison.” She had great things to say about L.B. Mayer (has a whole chapter on him.) She feels bad the way she treated her first husband Luddy and has nothing bad to say about him.

* I hate when books do not have an index especially if you want to refer back to a specific movie or actor so it is hard for me to tell if she mentions a film once or not at all. I would have loved to hear more (or anything at all) on Dragon Seed, Undercurrent, Pat and Mike, Desk Set and several others.

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Rochelle, Rochelle- A Young Woman's Strange Erotic Journey From Milan To Minsk

Well well well and whoop de doo!!!! Good for you TWC!!:wink:

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Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan by Jake Adelstein, published in 2010 by Vintage Books.

Daniel Radcliffe will play Jake Adelstein in the film adaptation.

One item in the book is a sort-of confirmation (from the mouth of a yakuza) that Japanese director Juzo Itami (Tampopo) did not commit suicide in 1997. He was forced to jump off a roof by armed yakuza, because he was planning to make a movie about the Gotogumi yakuza group and its relationship with the religious group Soka Gakkai.

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Tokyo Vice: An American Reporter on the Police Beat in Japan by Jake Adelstein, published in 2010 by Vintage Books.

Daniel Radcliffe will play Jake Adelstein in the film adaptation.

Nice choice. The part about the trafficking lobby is pretty messed up. I didn't know about the film adaptation.

Right now I'm reading Merchants of Grain by Dan Morgan. It's a really nice work on the companies at the center of the world's food supply.

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The Stone Cold Truth - Steve Austin's autobiography that describes his life and career from birth to Wrestlemania XIX in 2003, which was originally his final match. A great read!

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