Thursday, November 8, 2018

FFB: Guns of Brixton by Paul D. Brazill

It is hard as hell to be funny in print – just ask anyone who ever sent a supposedly humorous text only to have it backfire.

But Paul D. Brazill makes funny writing look easy in his crazy crime novel, Guns of Brixton.

Fast paced, this 2014 book is filled with odd, weird, violent, and often hilarious characters.

Two dim goons are sent out to retrieve a lost briefcase for their gangster boss, and manage to screw things up at every turn, including a side trip to rob a jewelry store while dressed in drag.

They kill a man, hide him in the trunk of their car, then crash into the Mercedes-Benz of a young executive who is far tougher than they ever expected, and on and on.

In the meantime, the big boss sends others out to clean up the mess, including a killer priest.

Brazill loads up his story with bizarre twists and some of the most laugh-out-loud writing I have encountered in a long time.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

“Bohemian Rhapsody” the movie

Despite the reviews, “Bohemian Rhapsody” is not a bad film. What it is, is a safe film.

This biography of the band Queen and its lead singer Freddy Mercury is slick and well crafted with a lot of the group’s hits, one outstanding performance by Rami Malek as Freddy Mercury, and a faithful recreation of the band’s set at the 1985 Live Aid concert (although anyone interested can see the real thing on YouTube).

It is a pleasant evening’s viewing. And that is too bad. It seems the producers sanded off any rough edges on a film that could have been edgy and terrific.

Making movies about celebrities is a risk, and it is especially risky when there is so much original footage about a person or group. Watching actors (and Malek really is very good) portray extraordinary people, just reminds viewers of how talented and charismatic the original subjects were.

After watching “Bohemian Rhapsody,” I made a short list of rock films about actual rock bands and came up with a few I thought were well done. See if you agree.

“Control” about Ian Curtis of the band Joy Division;

“Love & Mercy” about Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys;

“Backbeat” about the Beatles’ early days playing in Hamburg;

“Purple Rain” this may be cheating, but it is a good film with Prince playing Prince;

And my all time favorite, “A Hard Day’s Night,” with the Beatles played by the Beatles.