Category Archives: Books
If you haven’t had the opportunity to go to the cinema lately, or you have but you’ve just been disappointed by a plethora of uninteresting movies I severely suggest you make the time to go and see The Nice Guys, directed and co-written by Shane Black, the guy that directed Iron Man 3 and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. I think he wrote Lethal Weapon as well, or something. He was definitely involved in it in one way or another.
Shane Black has absolutely no shame in parading around his love for film-noir which I also share. I loved this movie more than most movies I’ve seen in a while and certainly would put it on par, comedy movie wise, with the likes of Deadpool. I might be over selling this a bit, do you ever watch a film and it happens to tick all the boxes of the exact movie you wanted to watch, even if you didn’t know what that was? Well for me that was The Nice Guys, a neo-noir film based in the 70s starring Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe. Russell Crowe looks like he wouldn’t even need the phone from a Hotel to knock the shit out’ve you and Gosling, who still sits in my head as a rom-com guy, has an incredible comic timing. In fact the whole film is just made up of small moments of fabulous comic and dramatic timing.
Gosling plays a private eye who is so lazy that he is only one step up from a grifter, Russell Crowe plays an aggressive man who punches people for money, like The Punisher but less violent and more fiscally motivated. As it is Film Noir there is a dame/broad that has gone and got herself killed, there are a handful of storylines going on at once and they all meet up beautifully and yet messily throughout the movie. It’s stylish, faithful to the genre in my opinion and the best thing Shane Black has done by far. I’m not sure about you but I know a lot of people who wouldn’t go and see this movie because of
a) Ryan Gosling
b) Russell Crowe
c) Film Noir
but try and talk everyone out’ve their prejudices and take them to the cinema. Do yourself a massive favour and go and watch it immediately on my recommendation and avoid all trailers, the comic and dramatic timing can be somewhat ruined by a trailer designed to tickle your interest gland and this film deserves a blind viewing.
It feels like it could inspire a resurgence in great neo-noir and could be a great introduction for people who aren’t ware of it as a genre, and for everyone who is really into it there has been a tie-in book released on the Hard Case Crime label that is worth diving into for the rest of your life. In lots of respects it is to Film Noir what The Kingsman was to Spy movies, except you can tell there is a lot more respect for the genre with The Nice Guys and I think everyone you know will love it.
by Dave Roberts
I always thought that the first book I ever really enjoyed was at 12 years old when I first got my hands on the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy but this was untrue. I recently discovered that my previous favourite and the epicentre of my fear of being buried alive was three years earlier, in the shape of R.L Stine’s ‘One day at Horrorland.’ I genuinely believed that my love of media rested exclusively in the ‘comedy’ camp. It is only recently I’ve discovered it was equally divided between comedy and horror. So it was inevitable I would discover and enjoy ’Dead Funny’.
Dead Funny is a collection of short horror stories edited by (horror fiction authority figure) Johnny Mains and co-edited by (comedian, actor, writer and broadcaster) Robin Ince. The stories are written exclusively by comedians and though some of them will make you laugh briefly, (I’m fairly sure Richard Herring’s is an amazing story I heard him mention on a podcast) they are horror stories and not comedy.
Right out’ve the gate Reece Shearsmith writes a story so visceral that I remember it every time I go to a park, but it also had such a specific blend of dark humour that you would’ve known exactly who had written it even if it hadn’t been clearly stated. It made me feel very uneasy many times, such as making me want to kick a blind child into a fire. Sara Pascoe creeped me out so much I re-told her story to everyone I met for two days. Charlie Higson’s story is really satisfying and has a slightly higher quality that reeks of ‘I do this for a living now’. Robin Ince has a great twist on a thoroughly explored horror genre that has the hallmarks of a workaholic comedian who sits around thinking up horror stories every time he is left alone without a microphone. Al Murray does the equivalent of a creepy documentary and Michael Legge utilised his infamously bottomless well of frustration and rage to craft one of the most satisfying stories in the book.
For at least a couple of the authors I know this is the first time they’ve attempted to write anything like this. Some of them didn’t really work for me though some of the stories I loved really irritated other people. Dead Funny has resurrected my love for horror stories, and made me want to go mad so I can write some. It is a satisfying read with a lot more authors than I’ve stated, I can’t imagine you are going to be crying yourself to death after reading them but I enjoyed them a hell of a lot.
I have genuinely had nightmares for the whole week I was reading Dead Funny, though that’s probably a lot more to do with my decaying mental stability and impending breakdowns than with these stories. Except Sara Pascoe’s story A Spider Remember which creeped me out permanently and has supplied me with a semi-permanent twitch. Copies of Dead Funny, at the moment at least, are available in a very physically attractive small format hardback book, and there’s a sequel collection on the way so you should buy it even if you just want to look more interesting to other people.