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shermanlukas has commented on (5) products.

Ray Harryhausen: An Animated Life by Ray Harryhausen
Ray Harryhausen: An Animated Life

shermanlukas, October 25, 2006

If there were any justice, Ray Harryhausen would be as well known as John Ford & Howard Hawks. He is, arguably, the most important animator/special effects man of his time. His menagerie of creatures, almost all of which were stop motion, may look quaint by our ultra-slick & realistic standards, but they have charm, homemade quality, and fantastical element that most computer generated characters lack. Harryhausen covers his career in an informative, low key, and self-effacing way. The book is full of cool photos, stills, drawings, story boards, and posters.
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(9 of 14 readers found this comment helpful)



Blind Man with a Pistol (Vintage Crime) by Chester B Himes
Blind Man with a Pistol (Vintage Crime)

shermanlukas, October 24, 2006

Along with Raymond Chandler, Chester Himes is a strong candidate for the greatest American crime novelist of the 20th century. Unfortunately, he remains somewhat unknown. A former convict (he served time for a jewelry theft), Himes created vividly pungent and seedy stories about all manner of illegal activity (drugs, murder, prostitution) in Harlem. His two nickle plated gun carrying detetives, the terrifically named Coffin Ed (whose face is acid scarred) and Grave Digger, wade through the muck with unflinching toughness and occasional brutality (Himes is far from PC). "Blind Man with a Pistol" (whose title comes from a real incident) came out in the tumultuous year of 1969 and it taps into the unsettled rage and seething inequalities of the times. The novel brims with racial tension, black power movements, knife murders, con men, hustlers, hucksters, perverts, and violence. Like the best crime novelists, Himes is always entertaining, but there is something serious underlying the story. He also has a morbid sense of humor and a tendency towards the grotesque that, at its best, recalls Dickens.
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(7 of 15 readers found this comment helpful)



Vernon God Little by D. B. C. Pierre
Vernon God Little

shermanlukas, October 20, 2006

This is by far the worst book I've read all year. It's incoherent, stupid, and ugly. D.B.C. ("dirty but clean" wtf?) Pierre no doubt thinks he's beeing very edgy and topical by dealing with school shootings, underage lust, and the media circus. His supposedly satiric version of America (he's Australian) is so grotesque and ludicrously overwrought as to be unrecognizable. What's more picking small town Texas idiots to make fun of isn't exactly edgy. Pierre seems to have absorbed his version of America via bad cable TV, video games, and trashy check out line magazines. Though supposedly comic, it's about as funny as a pencil stabbed into your ankle and broken off. And this won the Booker Prize (putting Pierre alongside Salman Rushdie & A.S. Byatt), which shows that just maybe some people in Britain want to see America as this horrible, violent, and senseless fun house. This is not me being provincial; there is much about our culture that is ripe for satire, but not by somebody who knows nothing about it or about writing. Man this book sucked so much.
PS: A fun game to play when you get bored is spot the obscenity on every page.
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(14 of 25 readers found this comment helpful)



Hollywood Horror: From Gothic to Cosmic
Hollywood Horror: From Gothic to Cosmic

shermanlukas, October 18, 2006

A lavish, thorough, well researched, lovingly written history of the American horror movie from its early days to its heyday (Frankenstein, Dracula) to its decline. Author Mark Vieira covers all of the important films and many lesser know ones, as well as notable directors (Whale, Tourner), stars (Lugosi, Karloff), and producers (Lewton, Castle). For any interested in the genre, this is an aborbing, affectionate book, full of terrific black and white photographs.
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(6 of 13 readers found this comment helpful)



Radiohead: Ok Computer (33 1/3 Series) by Dai Griffiths
Radiohead: Ok Computer (33 1/3 Series)

shermanlukas, October 16, 2006

The 33 1/3 series is a great idea and has spotlighted some of my favorite albums (Velvet Undergound & Nico, In the Aeroplane Over the Sea). OK Computer is another favorite, but Griffiths manages to miss what makes the album so transcendent and powerful. While it is, at times, informative to read a more technical (he is the head of a music department) review of the album, his bland writing and overuse of musician speak also reduces the album to something cold and abstract. Griffiths doesn't seem to fully understand the album and he gives virtually no context for it, history of Radiohead, or account of its creation. And, frankly, he's just not a very imaginative or interesting writer. So skip the book and listen to the CD again.
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(13 of 24 readers found this comment helpful)



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