14 posts

Movie still: The French Connection

100 Greatest Gangster Films: The French Connection, #30

New York City is more gritty than pretty in this period piece, which was shot before the Big Apple’s late-20th century revival. The skies are gray, vacant lots are strewn with debris and there’s a doomed look to the city—right down to the rusty Rheingold beer signs. It’s not attractive, but the urban tangle is a genuine representation of a time and place.

Book Review: Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussman

A potential reader sizing up Liza Klausmann’s new novel, Tigers in Red Weather, would do well to pay more attention to the cover art – a vintage photo from the Conde Nast archives showing two models on a beach, their red straw hats and parasols silhouetted against the blue sea – than to the knowledge that Klausmann is Herman Melville’s great-great-great granddaughter and that the title is taken from a Wallace Stevens poem. The book, in the end, is a bit more upscale beach read than Great American Novel.

100 Greatest Gangster Films: Point Blank, #81

Walker just wants his money back. And he’ll go to anywhere and confront anyone to get it. That’s the premise, based on a pulp fiction novel called The Hunter by Donald E. Westlake, for this stylized drama—a movie with 1960s sensibilities that doesn’t always hold up that well.

Movie Review: Taking Woodstock

Though his oeuvre includes everything from melodrama to martial arts, Lee’s most endearing projects are intimate, sensible, plausible stories about people who might as well be your parents, your friends, or your schoolteacher. Taking Woodstock is based firmly in reality, but the film isn’t about one character’s journey: it’s a coming-of-age story about America.

The Attack on the Liberty: The Untold Story of Israel’s Deadly 1967 Assault on a U.S. Spy Ship by James Scott

The book reveals for the first time the extent of the outrage and widespread disbelief of many of President Johnson’s senior advisers over Israel’s claim that the attack was an accident. Even LBJ was convinced the attack was no accident and confided his disbelief in Israel’s story to a Newsweek reporter, stating that he believed Israel attacked the ship because it was spying on the war. The book also quotes many senior State Department, Navy, NSA and CIA officials talking of their disbelief in the story.