Monthly Archives: April 2010

Get your kicks

This fight scene from The Protector, which shows star Tony Jaa ass-whupping his way up the levels of a high-rise restaurant full of opponents in one  continuous tracking shot, is pretty amazing. I’m not a huge fan of martial arts movies, having gorged my fill in the Seventies when Bruce Lee and his Hong Kong colleagues emerged to take America by storm, but I’d heard enough about Jaa to make me curious. He really is the shit. I particularly appreciate his disdain for wire-fu trickery, and his reliance on spectacular mastery of muay thai. The film is also made with a slightly higher degree of artistry than one would expect, especially in the early scenes when we see his character’s family raising elephants in the backwoods of Thailand. Not since Dumbo traumatized me at a tender age have I been so inclined to weep over the injustices done to pachyderms.  Time to put Jaa’s breakout feature, Ong Bak, on my NetFlix queue.

Tagged , ,


I know computer games are supposed to be the enemy, but just the other morning my oldest daughter was burning to get down as much as she could of a story in progress. She’s been a near-obsessive player of The Sims for the past year or so, only now it turns out that she uses the characters as springboards to independent short stories. I find that pretty cool.

Tagged ,

Friday finds

There’s more than one way to play the guitar, as Botswanan player Ronnie shows. Michael Nelson ponders a few more example.

Having killed off God at the end of the His Dark Materials cycle, Philip Pullman now offers his own take on the life of Jesus — and just in time for Easter, too.

Using The Wire as a teaching tool.

Join James Bridle on a walking tour of the bookshops of Mexico City.

A thorough, well-illustrated analysis of the visual style of William Cameron Menzies.

Now it can be told: How the screenplay for Battlefield Earth came into being.

“There can be as many Ballardian worlds as readers, and thus many Ballards. (For whom what is the collective noun: A flight? A fugue? An empty pool of Ballards?) Each of those Ballards is real enough to someone, thrown up by a reader who experiences the world through the fiction. Even the word “Ballardian” is now commonplace, enshrined not only in the url of an extensive website of speculative cultural investigation but also the entirely mainstream and eminently respectable Collins English Dictionary. But this profusion of Ballards cannot deter one from passing judgment among them: these Ballards must be compared, and some found more Ballardian than others.”

The entire back catalogue of Broadside magazine is available online.

Tagged , , ,