Netflix Movie of the Day : Andrew Goth’s GALLOWWALKERS!

Andrew Goth’s GALLOWWALKERS is an odd but effective mating of Sergio Leone’s ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST and Alejandro Jordorowsky’s EL TOPO with a bit of Raimi and Fulci tossed in, but for all its influences, there is a lyric mania to this film that is all its own.

GALLOWWALKERS is a decidedly new and lurid and grand guinol take on one of the oldest of film genres. Plus it is just a beautifully shot film, with some of the best end-credits I’ve seen; a film that deserves to be owned, and will only grow more favored with repeat viewings. Grade: B+.

TOP OF THE PILE: What I’m Watching and Reading and listening to!

2 Albums by Taureg music group TINARIWEN. Both come recommended. AMAN IMAN and TASSILLI

BIUTIFUL- by the director of BABEL, comes an intriguing and well performed, if pessimistic film. Not something to re-watch.

BLOW-UP – Highly overrated film and more than a bit boring

OPEN CITY – Italian neo-realism, not in the mood.

FRED THE CLOWN Graphic Novel -Excellent humor book, with lovely cartoony art. Worth owning

THE BEST OF THE SPIRIT- reads more than a bit dated, not as visually dynamic as I was led to believe. Plus the poor newsprint paper doesn’t help, as it muddies any details in Eisner’s art

AGONY- Surreal does not translate always into Good, as this experimental but not very engaging movie on the life of Russia’s mad monk, illustrates. Plodding.

THE WAY- excellent 2nd film by Emilio Estevez, stars his father Martin Sheen. Great film.

LIMITLESS- Visually imaginative, stylish, entertaining and addictive film

Friday DVD Review: Jean Cocteau’s ORPHEUS (1950)


Judgement: Your name?

Orpheus: Orpheus.

Judgement:Your Profession?

Orpheus: Poet.

Judgement: It say’s here ‘writer’.

Orpheus: It’s almost the same thing.

Judgement:There is no ‘almost’ here. What do you mean by ‘poet’?

Orpheus: To write, without being a writer.


I love ambition and audacity.

Not alone. Alone they are bitter and brutal sins, but alloyed to art and humanity, ambition and audacity makes for cinema at its finest.

Cinema such as that of Jean Cocteau.

I’m watching his ORPHEUS, which is very stream of consciousness, an odd mating of deliberation and fancy. The film is not as good as his BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, is a bit plodding and unlikeable, mostly because the central character of Orpheus is plodding and unlikeable.

A few times I almost shift away from it. But I stick, and it’s largely because its story is secondary to its visual poetry; is secondary to the ambition of Cocteau’s imagination and the audacity of his storytelling and effects.

Costumes change colors in mid conversation, mirrors are walked through, death is made life. Just the sheer creativity of this film makes me smile. I couldn’t give it a buy, but it’s a recommended rental. Just be aware going into it, that you have to take the film at its pace rather than yours, and I think you’ll find ORPHEUS a dream…. worth dreaming.

Grade:B-.

Orpheus (Criterion Collection)

PHOTO OF THE DAY: MY STAY AT A HAUNTED HOTEL


“After that, nothing was real. It was fantasy, ecstasy, dread and apprehension. It was glory. They went to live in her apartment, and did not need a thing. Neither people nor food nor sleep. Nor the world. Because there was too much of each other within the hours that they would never have.”
— SO SOFTLY SMILING by Chester Himes from
The Collected Stories of Chester Himes (Himes, Chester)

I see her often.

When I have given up seeing everything.

In the darkness and in the light, when it’s softly raining and when it’s hardly night… I see her often.

She’s in the places where corridors end, and doors that are shut… speak of being opened.

In the middle of the night I find myself in endless hallways, in strange cities, in tortured lands, waiting for the one corner that I will turn, the one door I will open, the one promise I will break…

And she will be there.

And hell will have no dominion.

It’s a dream… I have.

—NO DOMINION copyright 2012 HT

Images of the Day: Art to make you go WoW!! Paintings from the Masters!

Title says it all, enjoy:

Beksinski has been called, and rightly, the master of the Aftermath, check out my previous posts on him.

Now a landscape painter I was introduced to just today, who was born nearly two centuries before Zdislaw Beksinski, and does not deal in Beksinski’s fantastic/visionary imagery, however in mood, in languid foreboding and beauty, he is very much a kindred spirit to Beksinski. I speak of German landscape painter Caspar David Friedrich.

However where Caspar David Friedrich was the greatest painter of German Romanticism, the American Romantic movement would broaden that movements intimate, small scope, and improve upon it, introducing the world to the grandeur and beauty of the landscape en masse. There was and is no better representative of American Romanticism/Landscape Painter, than the criminally neglected Robert Scott Duncanson, Abolitionist, Painter, World traveler. Born in Cincinati to a Scottish Father and African Mother, Duncanson’s work unfortunately remains underseen and underdocumented (unlike Beksinski and Friedrich, we still await the beautiful over-sized art book on Duncanson) . Where Beksinski is the master of the Aftermath, Duncanson is the master of the Grandeur.

On Beksinski! Comparing the artbooks FANTASTIC ART and BEKSINSKI 1!

“In the medieval tradition, Beksinski seems to believe art to be a forewarning about the fragility of the flesh– whatever pleasures we know are doomed to perish– thus, his paintings manage to evoke at once the process of decay and the ongoing struggle for life. They hold within them a secret poetry, stained with blood and rust.” –director Guillermo Del Toro

I’ve been singing the praise of Zdzislaw Beksinski since 1998 when Morpheus International introduced his art to those outside Poland by publishing THE FANTASTIC ART OF BEKSINSKI.

The Fantastic Art of Beksinski (Masters of Fantastic Art S.)


Twelve years later and Beksinski’s work is more well known to the point where there are films and filmmakers singing his praises, bands doing albums to him, and additional art books produced about him. Sad that this increased exposure couldn’t arrive while he was still alive.

However, that injustice aside, I’m glad the art books and product are, in the wake of his demise, finding an audience. The work of Beksinski deserves to… persist.

One recent art book is BEKSINSKI 1 by publisher Bosz Art. A 2009 printing, which I only recently received. Having loved THE FANTASTIC ART OF BEKSINSKI, (it remains 12 years later, and hundreds of art books later, my essential art book) I had constantly been on the search for more art books by this “master of the aftermath”, and BEKSINSKI 1 fit the bill nicely.

It’s a bit more substantial of a book than Morpheus’ THE FANTASTIC ART OF BEKSINSKI. BEKSINSKI 1 is about the same height as THE FANTASTIC ART OF BEKSINSKI (which is 12″ by 9.6″) while being over an inch thicker, and sporting about 100 more pages.

Zdzislaw Beksinski (Bosz art) (Polish Edition)

There’s a very nice forward, both in Polish and English, by Wieslaw Banach, that is quite eloquent and slightly poetic. Beyond those few pages the rest of the books is given over to just a broad selection, listed chronologically, of Beksinski’s art.

The strength of this tome is its size allows it to include a lot of art not in THE FANTASTIC ART OF BEKSINSKI, some of it quite arresting. The weakness of this tome however is most of the tome is given to his post 1990 work, which is in a different less beautiful/fantastic realist style than his earlier work. It gets quite repetitive actually.

A 2nd failing is while the paper stock is thick, it is a dull, matte finish that does not show off the art of Beksinski as well as the Morpheus tome.

The glossy Morpheus paper, really captures the brightness and vibrancy of Beksinski’s colors, it makes the art come alive. An illusion that is lost in the dull matte finish of the Bosz Tome. Also with the inclusion of quotes interspersed, quite thematically, throughout the entirety of the book, as well as framing the art against, mostly haunting dark colors, THE FANTASIC ART OF BEKSINSKI is just a far superior designed book.

So I don’t regret spending the money to acquire BEKSINSKI 1, it’s a nice expansion to the world of Beksinski, but Morpheus International’s 12 year old tome, THE FANTASTIC ART OF BEKSINSKI remains the definitive book on the last great surrealist.

The Fantastic Art of Beksinski (Masters of Fantastic Art S.)

Final Grades: A+ for THE FANTASTIC ART OF BEKSINSKI B+ for BEKSINSKI 1.