‘Cinema Speculation’ by Quentin Tarantino: Talking Trash

by Paul Wilner

Cinema Speculation (400 pages; Harper), billed as Quentin Tarantino’s “first work of nonfiction,” could easily fall into the category of a quickie volume sold on the basis of the Pulp Fiction auteur’s brand value. So it’s a welcome surprise that this book is entertaining, smart, and vivid. Tarantino hasn’t been making the talk-show circuit as much as the pre-streaming old days (for a while, he was a fixture with the now-discredited Charlie Rose), but he brings the same feisty, movie-mad energy to his prose as he did to his early breakthrough films.             Even his book’s title seems like a […]

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Q&A with Mick LaSalle: ‘Dream State’ & the American Soul

by Zack Ravas

Local readers likely know Mick LaSalle as the longtime film critic for the San Francisco Chronicle, where he’s worked since 1985. What they may or may not know is that he’s also an accomplished author: we featured his short story “Fresh Kills” in Issue 108, and he has several books to his name, including Complicated Women: Sex and Power in Pre-Code Hollywood, about the actresses who rose to fame during that brief window of time before Hollywood censorship took hold; and The Beauty of the Real: What Hollywood Can Learn from Contemporary French Actresses. His latest book, Dream State: California in the […]

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Examining Daily Life with the Care of Ozu: ‘Talkativeness’ by Michael Earl Craig


Like films, the poems in Michael Earl Craig’s Talkativeness (104 pages; Wave Books) juxtapose pedestrian settings with dreamlike events. And like films, these poems appeal mostly to the visual sensibility, with spare, declarative language that gets out of the way of their delicately rendered imagery. There are abrupt “cutaways” between unrelated scenes—particularly in such associative pieces as “I Am Examining A Small Crumb” and “Quarter to Five”—and narrative pauses during which the poet fixates on some peripheral animal or prop, like a cinematographer racking the focus of a shot. Film figures explicitly into many of these poems; while Craig’s domestic […]

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