Posts Tagged ‘Django Unchained’

The “D” is Silent

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

I have just wrapped up my first original novel for Thomas & Mercer (i.e., Amazon), WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU. It’s a thriller that my Harrow series collaborator Matt Clemens worked on with me – our usual pattern of me coming up with the idea, the two of us co-plotting, and Matt writing a story treatment (sort of a short rough draft) out of which I develop the novel. I was behind deadline, which means I worked through the holidays on it. The story has to do with a Victims of Violent Crimes support group, some of whose members team up to go after the serial killer who targeted all of their families. With its young female lead, it’s at least vaguely an American take on THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO. It’ll be out late this year.

My favorite (and least favorite) movie list got a lot of play on the Net last week, with plenty of people disagreeing with me on the DARK KNIGHT RISES, but otherwise generating quite a bit of agreement. If you’re wondering why DJANGO UNCHAINED didn’t make either list, it’s because I hadn’t seen it yet.

Well, I have now, and it would have rated high among my favorites. It took me a long time to warm to Quentin Tarantino – I found RESERVOIR DOGS and PULP FICTION full of themselves, and didn’t like the KILL BILL movies, either. I knew all of the references and cringed when too-familiar music was used in his cobbled together soundtracks (the IRONSIDE theme…really?). But JACKIE BROWN, with the underpinning of a real Elmore Leonard story, was terrific, and INGLORIOUS BASTERDS, with its inherent love of film and hatred of Nazis, made me a fan. Now the world’s most famous know-it-all video clerk has hit a grand slam with DJANGO UNCHAINED. As with BASTERDS, the writer/director does better within the confines of period dialogue (not that anachronisms don’t crop up, but unlike the earlier movies, it doesn’t sound like QT is just talking to himself). DJANGO is a witty, wonderfully over-the-top tribute to both the MANDINGO Southern gothic genre and Italian westerns (with the patched-together score working extremely well with this appropriate music, familiar but using the sources not specific enough to distract) with bold jagged red credits, camera zooms and grainy flashbacks, plus many wonderfully familiar faces (Bruce Dern among them). You also get to see QT blow himself up real good (worth the price of admission). This is the first movie in a very long time that I would like to see again on the big screen.

I would also recommend the Danish crime series THE KILLING, the third season of which has just appeared on DVD and blu-ray in England. A great, gritty series with a strong female detective and unusual emphasis on politics as well as the cost of crime upon a victim’s family. Each season explores one case (Barb and I watched the ten-hour third season in one excessive Sunday marathon). This is advertised as the third of a trilogy, though the ending is a cliffhanger of sorts. I have never seen the American version of this show.

Here’s a nice review of TARGET LANCER from Richard Katz of Milwaukee’s great mystery bookstore, Mystery One.

Over at CRIMESPREE magazine, editor Jon Jordan has included TARGET LANCER on his memorable reads of the year list.

Here’s another Best Books of the Year list TARGET LANCER made (ranking high among thrillers).

Jeff Pierce’s indispensable Rap Sheet has a preview of coming attractions that includes both SEDUCTION OF THE INNOCENT and the forthcoming MIKE HAMMER comic strip collection.