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Read two more WWE Autobiographies:

Rey Mysterio: Behind the Mask - great read about the high flying masked luchador.

Heartbreak and Triumph: The Shawn Michaels Story - excellent read about Michaels' rise to the top and how he he almost fell hard b/c of a problem he had with prescription pills that ultimately led to his redemption in finding God through his wife.

Also read:

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre Companion - great read that had interviews with filmmakers and cast members of the original TCM series and how Matthew McConaughey wanted Return of TCM to be released, but his agency didn't think it was a good idea (Return later became TCM: Next Generation...IMO the worst of the bunch). Pretty good read.

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Just finished an awesome graphic comic by Kagan MacLeod...Infinite Kung Fu!. Gordon Liu wrote the introduction to this comic, about an ex-Imperial soldier who must cut ties with his military past when the Eight Immortals have chosen him to save the world from the evils of an undead Emperor and members of the Poison Clan.

The comic references the likes of Drunken Master, The Five Venoms, and elements of blaxploitation all rolled up in one awesome package! I highly recommend reading this!

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The Making of Return of the Jedi by JW Rinzler and Brad Bird. Its here, but have not started reading it yet. Did look through it just for the pictures.

The Star Wars (rough draft) comic

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Currently reading Planet Of The Apes by Pierre Boulle for a school report. Great stuff, but very different than the 1968 film.

Cool!!! Been years since I've read that. Wonder if I can find my copy.:nerd:

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Finished POTA a couple of days ago and the backstory of the Planet with the ape revolution is still haunting me. Very well written and pretty frightening - probably because it seems people are getting more and more stupid while growing more and more lazy, the only thing missing being the trained pet monkeys and their anger causing a revolution (something used in the 1972 movie Conquest Of The Planet Of The Apes).

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Well I'm not going to get to my goal of 50 books this year, but I was close. I don't think I'll finish anything tonight. One of the first things I will read next year will be Shaw Screen (so happy to have that now.) I am in the middle of Island of Dr. Moreau so that will be the first thing read next year.

Here is what I read this year:

1. Total Recall (2012) by Arnold Schwarzenegger (656 pages)

2. The Guy Under the Sheets: The Unauthorized Autobiography (2012) by Chris Elliott (238 pages)

3. Why Orwell Matters (2003) by Christopher Hitchens (211 pages)

4. Head First HTML 5 Programming (2011) by Eric Freeman & Elisabeth Robson (548 pages) CS

5. The Invisible Gorilla: How Our Intuitions Deceive Us (2010) by Christopher Chabris & Daniel Simons (289 pages)

6. The Conservative’s Handbook (2008) by Phil Valentine

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

8. The Film Book: A Complete Guide to The World of Cinema (2011: Ronald Bergan)

9. Film and Censorship: The Index Reader (1997) Edited by Ruth Petrie and Introduced by Sheila Whitaker

10. The Orange Revolution (2010) by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton

11. Trump Card (2009) by Ivanka Trump

12. Shaq Uncut: My Story (2011) by Shaquille O’Neal with Jackie MacMullan

13. Free Prize Inside!: The Next Big Marketing Idea (2004) by

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

15. Theodore and Woodrow: How Two American Presidents destroyed Constitutional Freedoms (2012) by Judge Andrew E. Napolitano

16. Man in the Middle (2007) by John Amaechi with Chris Bull

17. Black Belt Patriotism: Expanded Edition (2010) by Chuck Norris

18. Keep It Pithy (2013) by Bill O’Reilly

19. The Sixth Man (2006) by Chris Palmer

20. Unfair Advantage (2011) by Robert T. Kiyosaki

21. Silos, Politics and Turf Wars (2006) by Patrick Lencioni

22. The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America Second Edition (2008) Warren E. Buffett selected by Lawrence A. Cunningham

23. Rich Dad’s Increase Your Financial IQ (2008) by Robert T. Kiyosaki

24. Eleven Rings (2013) by Phil Jackson

25. The Mind of the Market (2008) by Michael Shermer

26. Broke (2010) by Glenn Beck

27. Postmodernism (2002) by Christopher Butler

28. Bushido: The Soul of Japan (1905) by Inazo Nitobe

29. West by West: My Charmed, Tormented Life (2011) by Jerry West

30. The Liberty Amendments (2013) by Mark R. Levin

31. Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen (2013) by Al Jourgensen with Jon Wiederhorn

32. The Cinema of Hong Kong History, Arts, Identity (2000/2002) Edited by Poshek Fu and David Desser

33. You are not a Gadget (2010) by Jaron Lanier

34. David and Goliath (2013) by Malcolm Gladwell

35. The Three Signs of a Miserable Job (2007) by Patrick Lencioni

36. Asian Horror (2010) by Andy Richards

37. Iconoclast (2010) by Gregory Berns

38. The Book of Five Rings (1645/1974) by Miyamoto Musashi trans. Victor Harris

39. Letters to a Young Contrarian (2001) by Christopher Hitchens

40. Assisted (2013) by John Stockton with Kerry L. Pickett (forward by Karl Malone)

41. Ender’s Game (1994) by Orson Scott Card

42. Zero Cool (1969) by John Lange (aka Michael Crichton)

43. Grave Descend (1970) by John Lange (aka Michael Crichton)

44. Electronic Life (1983) by Michael Crichton

45. Binary (1972) by John Lange (aka Michael Crichton)

46. Peter Pan (1904) by J.M. Barrie

47. Rules for Aging (2000) by Roger Rosenblatt

48. Dealing, or The Berkeley-To-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag Blues (1971) by Michael Douglas (aka Michael and Douglas Crichton)

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I need to eventually read that as well. Liking it so far? I'm want to increase my literature readings next year (too much non-fiction over the past several years.)

Fun read so far. But I'm a big Jane Austen fan, Sense And Sensibility and Mansfield Park rank among my very fav' novels ever - not a big fan of Pride And Prejudice though, I find this one pretty overrated.

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masterofoneinchpunch that's a lot of reading you ant playing around :nerd:

well I just order from hkbookcity shaw screen-a preliminary study book just waiting for them to ship it out and also waiting to read it cant wait

Well I'm not going to get to my goal of 50 books this year, but I was close. I don't think I'll finish anything tonight. One of the first things I will read next year will be Shaw Screen (so happy to have that now.) I am in the middle of Island of Dr. Moreau so that will be the first thing read next year.

Here is what I read this year:

1. Total Recall (2012) by Arnold Schwarzenegger (656 pages)

2. The Guy Under the Sheets: The Unauthorized Autobiography (2012) by Chris Elliott (238 pages)

3. Why Orwell Matters (2003) by Christopher Hitchens (211 pages)

4. Head First HTML 5 Programming (2011) by Eric Freeman & Elisabeth Robson (548 pages) CS

5. The Invisible Gorilla: How Our Intuitions Deceive Us (2010) by Christopher Chabris & Daniel Simons (289 pages)

6. The Conservative’s Handbook (2008) by Phil Valentine

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

8. The Film Book: A Complete Guide to The World of Cinema (2011: Ronald Bergan)

9. Film and Censorship: The Index Reader (1997) Edited by Ruth Petrie and Introduced by Sheila Whitaker

10. The Orange Revolution (2010) by Adrian Gostick and Chester Elton

11. Trump Card (2009) by Ivanka Trump

12. Shaq Uncut: My Story (2011) by Shaquille O’Neal with Jackie MacMullan

13. Free Prize Inside!: The Next Big Marketing Idea (2004) by

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

15. Theodore and Woodrow: How Two American Presidents destroyed Constitutional Freedoms (2012) by Judge Andrew E. Napolitano

16. Man in the Middle (2007) by John Amaechi with Chris Bull

17. Black Belt Patriotism: Expanded Edition (2010) by Chuck Norris

18. Keep It Pithy (2013) by Bill O’Reilly

19. The Sixth Man (2006) by Chris Palmer

20. Unfair Advantage (2011) by Robert T. Kiyosaki

21. Silos, Politics and Turf Wars (2006) by Patrick Lencioni

22. The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America Second Edition (2008) Warren E. Buffett selected by Lawrence A. Cunningham

23. Rich Dad’s Increase Your Financial IQ (2008) by Robert T. Kiyosaki

24. Eleven Rings (2013) by Phil Jackson

25. The Mind of the Market (2008) by Michael Shermer

26. Broke (2010) by Glenn Beck

27. Postmodernism (2002) by Christopher Butler

28. Bushido: The Soul of Japan (1905) by Inazo Nitobe

29. West by West: My Charmed, Tormented Life (2011) by Jerry West

30. The Liberty Amendments (2013) by Mark R. Levin

31. Ministry: The Lost Gospels According to Al Jourgensen (2013) by Al Jourgensen with Jon Wiederhorn

32. The Cinema of Hong Kong History, Arts, Identity (2000/2002) Edited by Poshek Fu and David Desser

33. You are not a Gadget (2010) by Jaron Lanier

34. David and Goliath (2013) by Malcolm Gladwell

35. The Three Signs of a Miserable Job (2007) by Patrick Lencioni

36. Asian Horror (2010) by Andy Richards

37. Iconoclast (2010) by Gregory Berns

38. The Book of Five Rings (1645/1974) by Miyamoto Musashi trans. Victor Harris

39. Letters to a Young Contrarian (2001) by Christopher Hitchens

40. Assisted (2013) by John Stockton with Kerry L. Pickett (forward by Karl Malone)

41. Ender’s Game (1994) by Orson Scott Card

42. Zero Cool (1969) by John Lange (aka Michael Crichton)

43. Grave Descend (1970) by John Lange (aka Michael Crichton)

44. Electronic Life (1983) by Michael Crichton

45. Binary (1972) by John Lange (aka Michael Crichton)

46. Peter Pan (1904) by J.M. Barrie

47. Rules for Aging (2000) by Roger Rosenblatt

48. Dealing, or The Berkeley-To-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag Blues (1971) by Michael Douglas (aka Michael and Douglas Crichton)

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masterofoneinchpunch that's a lot of reading you ant playing around :nerd:

well I just order from hkbookcity shaw screen-a preliminary study book just waiting for them to ship it out and also waiting to read it cant wait

That's cool that you got it (I wish it was easier to get here in the States:D). Also post your thoughts about the book when you get to it. Next I'm going to try to find the Chang Cheh memoir.

Checking my movie list I also saw 460 movies this year (not counting shorts.) If I cut my movies down I can get more books read -- nah.

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masterofoneinchpuch just sent you a pm about the chang cheh book

That's cool that you got it (I wish it was easier to get here in the States:D). Also post your thoughts about the book when you get to it. Next I'm going to try to find the Chang Cheh memoir.

Checking my movie list I also saw 460 movies this year (not counting shorts.) If I cut my movies down I can get more books read -- nah.

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I finally finished the City on Fire book. Debating on doing a proper review.

Ultimately I have very mixed feelings about this book from Lisa Odham Stokes and Michael Hoover. I like the amount of research that went into it and the amount of interviews that were specifically done for the book. The majority of the study is on films from the 1990s. I originally thought there was going to be more allusions to the 1997 handover (and there is a decent amount of them) but the amount of Marx and postmodernist quotes are overdone. I would not doubt that Marx is mentioned at least 100 times (wish I had a pdf or other digital copy to check this.) It gives one the feeling that the authors did not project enough of their thoughts and leaned on certain social philosophers that often had nothing to do with Hong Kong cinema. It takes on an anti-capitalist stance throughout without being as hard on the PRC (Peoples Republic of China) though at the last chapter Meet the New Boss it equates the two as the same: Apparently, the interests of the capitalist class in Hong Kong and the rulers in Beijing are the same: keeping the workers down and minimizing popular politics.

This book has a strange style for commenting and sometimes strains to connect social points and often spouts truisms or tautologies. For example on Long Arm of the Law: Britains much-ballyhooed hands off approach to Hong Kong notwithstanding, as Chandra Mohanty remarks, colonization almost invariably implies a structure of domination and political suppression. First I am always wary of ellipses in quotations as they can dramatically alter the meaning. Second I am not sure who Chandra Mohanty is or why we should care. There is no introduction. You have to go to the notes page to find out she is an author of Under Western Eyes: Feminist Scholarship and Colonial Discourses. Third the quotation comes off as a truism. Did that statement need to be there? There are hundreds of these type of quotations some of which I quoted in past posts.*

The book has 12 chapters, an epilogue Hong Kong calling and quite a bit of end notes that are worth reading. The first chapter Mapping the Territory literally maps a historical account of Hong Kong. The second Reeling in the Years is a too short account for the history of its cinema. Chapters three through twelve take a variety of topics from John Woo to comedy, describe the plots and often put it in a social-political bent with a Marxist and postmodern influence as well as many allegorical usage of the 1997 handover. The epilogue has several pages of interview quotations from a plethora of people including Tsui Hark, John Woo, Donnie Yen, Ronny Yu, Chris Doyle and Chow Yun-fat.

It is not a book I would recommend for starting into HK cinema. Stephen Teo's Hong Kong Cinema and David Bordwell's Planet Hong Kong (2nd Edition) are easily more complete reads on Hong Kong cinema. If you are looking for a social critique with postmodernistic and Marxist fervor on mainly 1990s Hong Kong films then this is your book. But since there is a lot of interviews done specifically for the book interspersed throughout as well as a good amount of research, scholars of Hong Kong cinema will want this for their library.

* Another example: on Chungking Express: he says Do you think Ive change? Getting optimistic all of a sudden and things just turn beautiful. You look a lot cuter than before now. You were sort of neat and that was alright. But this goldfish look? With patches all over? Have you been fighting? Marx notes that Commodities as such are indifferent to all religious, political, national and linguistic barriers. Doesnt this read awkwardly? It seems like a forced attempt to thrown in a Marx quote.

"Legebvre suggests that the privatization of consumption means a replacement of signs by signals and of symbols by images. This condition strips individuals of their ability to connect; people cannot totalize their experiences. Commodified objects contribute to a condition in which alienation has become social practice, creating what he calls the bureaucratic society of controlled consumption."

---------------------- some comments I have on the first couple of chapters (originally posted at Bullets and Babes)

What I do like about the book is the interviews done for it. I am certainly highlighting quite a bit of it. Unfortunately, too much is on attacking capitalism and quoting Marx. When I first heard the complaints on the book I thought it was exagerated, but she and Hoover draw from the same well too much. I find it interesting that the main reasons Mandarin speakers came here after the war was "wishing to escape Chiang Kai-shek's censorship policies" and yet while later mentioning "A third wave of people began flowing into the colony following the establishment of the People's Republic in 1949..." yet never mentions in this section Mao by name.

Some interesting quotes from the second chapter (yes I'm picking on a little bit, but still having fun with the book; I probably made a few mistakes here and there transcribing):

"...commercial studios fostered possessive individualist values associated with consumer capitalism while exploiting the Chinese diaspora's curiousity about its culture and history."

"...despite the glaring inequalities present in the colony, movie audiences continued to grow."

"His words have a striking similarity to Marx's description of "the transformation of the laborer into a workhorse, [which] is a means of increasing captial, or speeding up the produciton of surplus value..."" [there is a block quote here that goes on for awhile.]

"provides a disturbing visual reminder of Marx's words."

"...whose consideration of women and sexuality not only deconstructed the ways that cinema 'naturalizes' socially constructed masculine fantasies and ideologies but also problematized essentialism of a 'heterosexual division of the universe.'"

"As Marx noted, the methods of early captialism were 'anything but idyllic.'"

"As Homi Bhabha points out, 'cultures are never unitary in themselves, nor simply dualistic in reltion of Self to Other.'"

"...what Uma Magal calls the 'reverse angle' of global cinema."

"...that Ackbar Abbas calls 'postcoloniality that precedes decolonization'"

"...what Michel Pecheux calls 'identification'"

"...affirm Horkheimer and Adorno's depiction of the culture industry as amusement, diversion, and distraction."

On Chapter 3: Whose Better Tomorrow

"What better contemporary vision to describe early capitalism than the imprimatur of John Woo's martial-arts-with-automatic-weapons movies, where competition rages among petty capitalists in the guise of Triads?"

"...the most meanly odious,' characteristic of early capitalist expropriation."

"Blood Brothers (1973), considered Chang's masterpiece" [now being more serious, I like this film, but this is an interesting choice to consider his "masterpiece"; Chang is tough to just pick one film it is kind of like saying Raging Bull is Scorsese's masterpiece.]

"Financial gain and expanded profit margins are all that matters to these villains."

"Shing will be the vampire-capitalist, who 'only lives by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labor it sucks.'" [the inner quotations are direct quotations from Marx, same goes to the previous quotations in the earlier posts]

"Ko's ruling passions are avarice and a desire to get rich, shared by every capitalist upstart."

"To Ko they are a 'disposable reserve army of labor ... a mass of human material always ready for exploitation.'"

"Yet it is the expressiveness of such a scene that communicates to an audience and provides an alternative to a world currupted by capitalism."

"...they serve to reflect the harsh social reality for the many stepped on or over in a capitalist society."

"As Marx puts it, 'One capitalist always kills many.'"

"Marx reminds us, and 'the birth of the latter [Modern Industry] is heralded by a great slaughter of the innocents.'"

"Woo's gangster movies create a political and social subtext of early capitalism as a bloody battlefield."

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"...commercial studios fostered possessive individualist values associated with consumer capitalism while exploiting the Chinese diaspora's curiousity about its culture and history."

In other words, they made popular movies that the average, traditional Chinese person identified with, enjoyed and wanted to see. Could there be anything that a hardcore leftist would resent more than that? :wink:

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My Lunches with Orson (2013) Edited and Introduction Peter Biskind

There is some controversy as whether this was recorded without Welles knowing about it. But it is a fascinating unguarded free-for-all by a provocateur and raconteur. It reminds me of the Louis Malle’s film My Dinner with Andre (worth watching for you cinephiles), but with multiple lunches. It did not take me long to finish the book (director Steven Soderbergh has a blurb on the book where he states he read it in one sitting.) I do not always take everything he says on face value because there are a couple of spots where he does go against earlier statements (some of what he states on Charlie Chaplin) and he does seem he is trying to be provocative.

Here are a bunch of quotes which I liked and highlighted when read. I did not include long talk about not liking Hitchcock, Woody Allen and a variety of directors. If you are a fan of Orson or interested in his opinions than this is easily a must read.

Here are a bunch of quotes which I liked and highlighted when read. I did not include long talk about not liking Hitchcock, Woody Allen and a variety of directors.

“Don’t you know there’s such a thing as physical dislike?

“He has the Chaplin disease. That particular combination of arrogance and timidity sets my teeth on edge.”

“Well, most great actors aren’t. Larry [Olivier] is very – I mean – seriously stupid.”

“I lived for years in Ireland. The majority of intelligent Irishmen dislike Irishmen, and they’re right.”

“Yes, they become a new and terrible race. Which is called “Irish-Americans.”

“I’m not gonna set John Wayne straight. I never had any trouble with extreme right-wingers. I’ve always found them tremendously likeable in every respect, except their politics. They’re usually nicer people than left-wingers.”

“Richard Burton had great talent. He’s ruined his great gifts.”

“The Godfather was the glorification of a bunch of bums who never existed.”

“Thalberg was the biggest single villain in the history of Hollywood.”

“Von Sternberg was a real louse.”

“Now, Bogart, who was both a coward and a very bad fighter, was always picking fights in nightclubs, in sure knowledge that the waiters would stop him.”

[Charles Laughton] “When he played Rembrandt for Korda, years before – a wonderful performance, one of the only times an actor has ever persuaded you he’s a genius…”

“I don’t think it is possible to live a moral and civil life unless we accept the possibility of choice.”

“You must stop trying to figure out why I have antipathies.”

“I don’t read books on film at all, or theater. I’m not very interested in movies.” [both points can be refuted by reading further into the book]

“The Orient is the graveyard of American directors. The only really bad [Frank] Capra picture I’ve ever seen is Shangri-La.”

[it’s a Wonderful Life] “But you cannot resist it! There’s no way of hating that movie.”

“Von Sternberg never made a good picture.”

“I recently saw what I’ve always been told was Jack [Ford’s] greatest movie, and it’s terrible. The Searchers. He made many very bad pictures.”

“But Jack made some of the best ever.”

[The River] “Very bad picture.”

[Grand Illusion] “Probabgly one of the three or four best ever.”

“The mystery surrounding Shakespeare is greatly exaggerated.”

“I’m not interested in the artist; I’m interested in his work. And the more he reveals, the less I like it.”

“…F for Fake is the only really original movie I’ve made since Kane.”

“But my point of view, my idea of art – which I do not propose to be universal – is that it must be affirmative.”

“Nobody who didn’t see him in theater will ever know how great W.C. Fields was. … [Al] Jolson, too”

“For [sergei] Eisenstein, on the other hand, montage is the essence of cinema. But he is the most overrated great, great director of them all.”

“People who don’t really understand German culture always think Germans are very literal. But they’re not literal at all. They’re mystics, -- you know, hysterics.”

[Cannes] “The cultural importance of the festival vanished years ago. It’s now ceased to be anything except a market.”

“His first picture, The Maltest Falcon, was totally borrowed from Kane.”

[Jack Barrymore] “He was the greatest Hamlet of the century, and the great Richard the Third…”

[Charlie Chaplin] “That’s why [buster] Keaton is finally giving him the bath, and will, historically, forever. Oh, yes, he’s so much greater.”

“I think The General is almost the greatest movie ever made. … To my great sorrow, I’ve got to the age now where all my old minority opinions are ceasing to be minority.”

[Ronald Reagan] “They’d written a very short, gracious speech, which he read with that Reagan skill, which can be very good.”

[The Third Man] “The real makers of that film were Carol Reed and Korda. Greene was nowhere near it.”

“Because Carol was the kind of person who didn’t feel threatened by ideas from other people. A wonderful director. I really worshipped him.”

[Hitchcock] “The English noes are better than the American pictures, the very early ones, like The 39 Steps.”

“I’ve never shot a master in my life. Gregg told me that Jack Ford never did it, so I never did it, either.”

“The first reel in the history of movies made without a cut was in Ambersons.”

“And France is actually the only country in the world where old, ugly actors are stars.”

“I’d rather play Iago than any part in Shakespeare, but I’m not built for Iago.”

[Michael Caine] “Because he’s maybe the best actor on the screen now, he’s so good.”

“Gary Cooper turns me right into a girl!”

“Not your friend Dusty Hoffman. No dwarfs.”

“But I don’t think Lubitsch has a strong visual sense. He wasn’t interested in the sets. I watched him shooting, and it was all about the actors and what they’re saying.”

“The only thing I can say for myself is that I do not have on my record a single clear-cut artistic failure.”

“You really don’t know, in any single instance, whether it’s the actor or the director. But you never can tell that to a critic.”

“It’s often the people who are not religious who are the most superstitious.”

“English actors are more modest than Americans, because they’ve never had Lee Strasberg to teach’em that they know better than the director.”

“I can’t admit the existence of an artist who dominant personality is masculine.”

“That was what Citizen Kane was originally going to be, the film that Kurosawa finally made, Rashomon.”

“But in the profession which I have chosen, my only real disappointment is that I feel I’ve never been properly appreciated as an actor.”

“Film is a popular art form. It has to have at least the kind of success that European and early Woody Allen movies had.”

“I noticed that the new movies for television, which are obviously made by young directors out of film school, are technically much better than they were five, six years ago.”

“I regard posterity as vulgar as success. I don’t trust posterity. I don’t think what’s good is necessarily recognized in the long run.”

Some Came Running review (July 17, 2013)

Q&A: Director Henry Jaglom (July 20, 2013)

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Books... What is that :tongue:

Seriously though, I haven't read a book in years. Although I got a whole lot of them crammed up in a bookshelf.

Last book I remember reading was Mas Oyama's "The Kyokushin Way".

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I read Behind the Bell by Dustin Diamond. This was a first-hand look at what happened during the making of the series Saved by the Bell. Diamond later would go on OWN to denounce the book with claims a ghost writer basically trashed the other cast members (though did mention Mark-Paul Gosselaar became a decent guy later) while making him look good and as a victim. This was the basis for the recently aired Unauthorized Saved by the Bell Story that was on Lifetime two days ago.

I'm currently reading The Last Party by Anthony Haden-Guest. This revolves around the nightlife of the 70's and early 80's in New York City, prominently Studio 54. I am a sucker for nostalgic pop culture and it's quite a read from someone who experienced all the disco madness first-hand.

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John Woo Interviews (2005) Edited by Robert K. Elder

For fans of John Woo this is certainly a must own. Like a lot of the interview series (the last one I read was on Buster Keaton) there is repetition because interviewers often repeat the same questions over and over again. You might get tired of how many times he is asked what the symbolism of doves mean in his films and you will certainly have memorized how he got his English name. But it is still good to get a variety of interviews collected in a single area. It also has significant portions of his Criterion commentaries on both The Killer and Hard Boiled, something I had wanted to transcribe in the past (it does not have the whole commentary of either though to the chagrin of Roger Avary who is completely put out of the Hard Boiled one.) I have used this book for research in the past including my reviews on Laughing Times and Plain Jane to the Rescue. While he does not quite make his goal “So I set out with a rather ambitious goal: to create the single most accurate, authoritative source on Woo’s films ad biography” it is a worthy purchase.

Woo has had a huge influence from film. He is a fan of multiple auteurs from Martin Scorsese, Chang Cheh (whom he worked with and praises quite a bit in these interviews), Akira Kurosawa, Jean-Pierre Melville, Sam Peckinpah and more. He is a student of film. What seems to be missed from many interviews, and you can see this when he seems to want to talk more about it but then the interviewer goes elsewhere, is that many opportunities to just talk about film in general from theory to longer talk on directors are missed. Just imagine how much he could talk about movies.

I would like to see Woo direct an American style musical. I know he has wanted to probably since the beginning of his film career. He often cites The Wizard of Oz as one of his first films that he watched and loved (using a newer version of the Under the Rainbow song in Face/Off.) One thing I learned from this book was that he turned down, to his chagrin, Chicago because of his commitments on other films.

Still the best resource on John Woo is the Kenneth Hall book John Woo: The Films. I have the first edition (1999), but a second edition came out at the end of 2011. I will eventually get that. It is unfortunate that it is not more known. Hall also has a Hong Kong University Press monograph on The Killer which I have not read yet.

If anyone is interested I can post quotes from this book.

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