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In the Palm of the Hand

Cormac McCarthy’s Killing Machines — A friend tells me about the formatting - how with his script for The Counselor, the novelist Cormac McCarthy isn't even bothering with standard screenplay conventions anymore. Obtaining a copy I see that, sure enough, McCarthy has stripped away all the awkward visual notations that make screenplays so tedious to read. He opts instead for a minimalist layout, with a central column for dialogue, and block-like paragraphs for scene descriptions delivered with a minimum of camera notation. On the page the script looks almost like a Doric column - stark and Classical – which is appropriate given the tale’s astringent stoicism. The Counselor is also perhaps the first screenplay written about a new device … [Read more...]

The Thingifyer

Dark Hope in No Country – That Oscar gold will shower down this year on James Cameron's Avatar, with its connective planetary goddess, says a great deal about how deep a ditch we have dug for ourselves. The central idea of the film, after all, is that while the ruination of our own ecosphere is a done deal there exists, somewhere far far away, a planet where human greed and aggression will finally meet their match. If hope is your cup of tea you might want to look a little closer to home. For that purpose another recent Oscar winner comes to mind - No Country for Old Men by the Coen brothers, based on the noir thriller by Cormac McCarthy. The hope it contains may be on the dark side, but so are the forces that have pushed our world … [Read more...]