Film Notes: Cold in July (2014) directed by Jim Mickle

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USA / 109 minutes / color / BSM Studio, Belladonna Production, in association with Backup Media, Paradise City Dir: Jim Mickle Pro: Linda Moran, Rene Bastian, Adam Folk, Marie Savare Scr: Jim Mickle, Nick Damici Story: based on Cold in July by Joe R. Lansdale Cine: Ryan Samul Mus: Jeff Grace Cast: Michael C. Hall (Richard Dane), Sam Shepard (Ben Russell), Vinessa Shaw (Ann Dane), Nick Damici (Ray Price), Wyatt Russell (Freddy), Don Johnson (Jim Bob Luke),Brogan Hall (Jordan Dane) Lanny Flaherty (Jack Crow), Release Date in Spain (theatres) 1 January, 2015.

About Cold in July (Source: IFC Films) How can a split-second decision change your life? While investigating noises in his house one balmy Texas night in 1989, Richard Dane puts a bullet in the brain of a low-life burglar, Freddy Russell. Although he’s hailed as a small-town hero, Dane soon finds himself fearing for his family’s safety when Freddy’s ex-con father, Ben, rolls into town; hell-bent on revenge. However, not all is as it seems. Shortly after Dane kills the home intruder, his life begins to unravel into a dark underworld of corruption and violence. Twists and turns continue to pile up as the film reaches its inevitable destination: a gore-soaked dead end.

Michael C. Hall brings a shell-shocked vulnerability to his portrayal of Dane that contrasts perfectly with the grizzled “badasses” portrayed by Sam Shepard and Don Johnson.  Directed with an excellent eye for the visual poetry of noir, this pulpy, southern-fried mystery is a throwback to an older breed of action films; one where every punch and shotgun blast opens up both physical and spiritual wounds. Cold in July is hard to shake as an east Texas summer.

Film critic Robert Edger wrote: ‘The essence of Lansdale’s slippery story is onscreen thanks in no small part to Hall, Shepard, and Johnson. But there’s so much wrong with the film’s tone and style that it’s impossible to enjoy what’s right.’ You can read his full review here. Begoña and I went to see this film a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately, the film did not lived up to my expectations, and I quite agree with Robert Edger’s view.

Read a more positive review at The Hollywood Reporter.

Notas de Cine: Frio en Julio (2014) dirigida por Jim Mickle

Sinopsis (Source: Sensacine) Richard Dane (Michael. C Hall, Dexter) padre de familia, se despierta en mitad de la noche a causa de un extraño ruido. Coge su pistola, aquella que nunca pensaba que utilizaría, y tropieza cara a cara con un desconocido armado. El hombre dispara, instintivamente él devuelve el disparo acertando en su ojo derecho. Hay sangre por todas partes, el intruso está muerto. La policía reconoce la identidad del difunto, se trata del ex presidiario Fredy Russell (Wyatt Russell, Cowboys & Aliens). El problema es que Freddy tiene un padre, Russel (Sam Shepard, Agosto) al que no sólo le entristece la noticia de que su único hijo haya sido asesinado, sino que a partes iguales, también le enfurece.

El padre del fallecido consigue esquivar la seguridad policial y apuntar a Richard con una pistola. Antes de disparar este le muestra una foto de su hijo, lo que estremece a Richard, “ese no es el hombre al que disparé”. Devastados, ambos patriarcas, con la ayuda del investigar privado Jim Bob (Don Johnson, Django desencadenado), deciden unir sus fuerzas para desentrañar el engaño, buscando al hijo de Ben y tratando de descubrir quién es el hombre al que realmente disparó Richard.

El crítico de cine Robert Edger escribió: ‘La esencia de la resbaladiza historia de Lansdale está en la pantalla gracias en gran parte a Hall, Shepard, y Johnson. Pero hay tantas cosas mal con respecto al tono y al estilo de la película que resulta imposible disfrutar de lo que tiene de bueno.’ Puede leer su reseña completa aquí. Begoña y yo fuimos a ver esta película hace un par de semanas. Por desgracia, la película no estuvo a la altura de mis expectativas, y estoy bastante de acuerdo con la opinion de Robert Edger

OT: Camins del Priorat 2010

Camins del Priorat is the youngest wine by Alvaro Palacios ​​in Priorat. It is made of grapes from different very small vineyards grown on slate soils on the typical steep slopes of the different municipalities of the region (Gratallops, Porrera, Torroja, Les Vilelles, El Molar, Poboleda, etc.). Each vineyard has different characteristics that provide many different nuances to the wine. This Priorat wine combines the elaboration in stainless steel, cement and wooden vats. The malolactic fermentation takes place in wooden vats. It is aged for 8 months in French oak vats and barrels. A wine with a great value for price, perfect to discover the essence of the lands of Priorat. (Source: Decántalo)

  • 20150125_143422 Winery: Alvaro Palacios, S. L. Polígon 6, Parcela 26. Gratallops (Tarragona)
  • Phone: + 34 977 83 91 95
  • Winemaker: Álvaro Palacios & Oriol Castells 
  • Website: n/a
  • Brand: Camins del Priorat Production: 190,000 bottles
  • DOQ/DOCa: Priorat
  • Type: Young Red wine with 14.5 % alcohol content. Aged 8 months in French oak barrels
  • Grapes Variety: A blend of 35% Garnacha (Grenache), 35% Samsó (Carignan), 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Syrah
  • Vineyards: The vines, between 10 and 40 years-old, are on steep slopes and terraces with different exposures, located between 350 and 600 meters above sea level.
  • Soil: Llicorella, a free-draining, nutrient-poor soil made up of partially-decomposed slate and quartz (‘llicorella’ is the Catalan name for slate).
  • Bottle Size: 75.0cl.
  • Price: Camins del Priorat 2013 (40% Garnacha, 20% Samsó, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Syrah y 10% Merlot) is available at Bodegas Santa Cecilia at € 14,40.
  • My wine rating: I’ve still to taste Camins del Priorat 2013, but this 2010 is quite superb for a relatively inexpensive red Priorat. 95/100.

    Read more about Priorat wines at wine-searcher 

    Álvaro Palacios came to the Priorat, to the town of Gratallops to be precise, following the lead of a group of local producers fully intending to pass on through their wines all the character of this land, full of its own brightness, with the shining Mediterranean sun, the gleaming slate in rocky crags, and brightly-coloured fennel in the olive groves. This is mystic, spiritual country tracing back its past to the Carthusian monks, who worked at cultivating vines for more than six centuries. Growing in open-sited, alkaline soils, the old Garnacha vines enjoy a Mediterranean climate with more than 3,000 hours of sun per annum, an average yearly rainfall of less than 380mm, and close proximity to the sea, which provides freshness from the sea breeze (known locally as the “garbinada”) in summer. Spirit, patience, passion, light and rigour have all played their part in creating fresh and mineral, well-rounded wines, which have revolutionized the Spanish wine-making scene and reached the greatest heights of prestige and recognition on the worldwide stage. (Source: Vinissimus)

  • Forbrydelsen (The Killing – Danish TV Series) Third Series

    I started recently to watch the first episode of the third series. Inspector Sarah Lund (Sofie Gråbøl) returns in the long-awaited third and final series of The Killing (Forbrydelsen) Trilogy. The financial crisis is raging and the number of bankruptcies and repossessions is on the rise, but Detective Inspector Sarah Lund has a newfound sense of peace in the form of a new job, a new home and the recognition of achieving 25 years of service in the Police Force.
    What appears to be a random murder at a scrapyard in the Copenhagen docks begins to interfere with Lund’s plans for a quieter life and draws attention towards the shipping and oil giant Zeeland, run by billionaire Robert Zeuthen, who is the third generation head of the family to run this business empire. He is already troubled by his recent divorce and internal struggles within the company.
    Meanwhile Sarah Lund is disturbed by an old flame, Mathias Borch, from the National Intelligence Service (PET) who fears that the killing in the docks is the beginning of an assassination attempt upon the Prime Minister. Prime Minister Kamper is himself in the middle of a turbulent election due to the pressures of the financial crisis and is looking for backing from the commercial sector, including Zeeland. Rumours arise that Zeeland is threatening to move the company and its production aboard–a potential disaster for the local economy.
    Both Lund and the investigation quickly become embroiled in the politics of the financial crisis and all too late she begins to piece together the perpetrator’s plan and the sort of debt he is seeking to reclaim; a moral debt which costs lives and involves the taking of a particularly chosen hostage.
    Destinies cross over all sections of Danish society as the hunt for the perpetrator intensifies towards a dark secret which eventually puts everything at stake for both the Prime Minister, Robert Zeuthen and Sarah Lund. (Source:

    OT: Pétalos del Bierzo 2012

    20150124_140931 Probably one of my favourite wines, if not my favourite wine for every special occasion:

    • Winery: Bodega Descendientes de J. Palacios S. L. Calvo Sotelo, 6. Villafranca del Bierzo (León). The winery Descendants of J. Palacios emerged in 1999, has a total of 27 acres. with strains of high quality, production is done by biodynamic methods. They get this wine with fresh, smell and taste good reflection of Bierzo. The vineyards are divided into small plots on different altitudes because the terrain consists of steep slopes.  
    • Phone: +34 987 54 08 21
    • Winemaker: Álvaro Palacios / Ricardo P. Palacios
    • Website: n/a.
    • Brand: Pétalos del Bierzo
    • DO: Bierzo
    • Type: Red wine Crianza 2012. 14%. It is fermented with the entire grapes without being previously desteemed. The wine is left to stand for four months in French oak barrels.
    • Grapes Variety: 95% Mencía, 3% Uva Blanca, 2% Alicante Bouschet and other local varieties. 
    • Vineyards: 80% of the grapes comes from selected vineyards in the town of Corullón, and 20% is selected from several vineyards in the municipalities hills of: Valtuille, Villadecanes, Paradones and Villafranca del Bierzo. The age of the vines is 40-90 years.
    • Soil: The local soils are extremely poor, composed mostly of schist but with incredible diversity.
    • Bottle Size: 75.0 cl.
    • Price: 13,10 € in Lavinia.
    • My wine rating: 9.8/10

    Pétalos del Bierzo comes across as a young and fragrant wine, conveying to perfection all the nuances of El Bierzo region: old vineyards planted in rugged slaty soils lined with stone that produce the best Mencía. A great wine boasting an unexpected freshness, mineral hues, refinement and balance. The 2011 vintage was named best Spanish wine by Parker for its value for money. Following suit, this 2012 vintage also comes across as a great and surprisingly fresh wine, with its characteristic mineral hues. On the palate, it proves remarkably refined and well-balanced.

    “At the end of the day, if I really have to recommend a wine from this collection, the one I’d buy for my cellar, it will be the 2011 Petalos del Bierzo. It is 95% Mencia mixed in the field with 3% of white grapes and the rest Alicante Bouschet and other reds, fermented after de-stemming in open wood and inox vats and aged ten months in French barrels, of which 20% are new. Eighty percent of the grapes are grown on slate in the Corullon vineyards, with different altitudes and orientations, and the remaining 20% come from clay soils from the valley. It all adds to the complexity of the wine. The wine is very aromatic and flowery (violets), almost heady, with clear notes of blueberries and licorice. The oak is perfectly integrated, almost imperceptible, save for a touch of spices and a lactic hint denoting a very young wine. It has a medium body, with a thick silky texture, is very tasty, with some acidic strawberry flavors. This is one of my go-to wines at restaurant lists, as it offers very good value for money and is widely available in Spain (and elsewhere, I hope!), as 320,000 bottles were produced. This could very well be the best Petalos produced to date. Drink now through 2019”. (The Wine Advocate) Source: Bodeboca.

    Read more about Bierzo, Mencía and Álvaro Palacios:

    Bierzo is a natural region located in the northwest of the Spanish province of León, in the Castile and León. With 2,954.28 km2, covering 18% of the provincial area. Geographically it borders the provinces of Orense, Lugo, Asturias and the following areas of Leon: La Montaña (Murias de Paredes and Laciana), Cabrera and La Meseta, thus being a transition zone between Galicia, León and Asturias. The area of wines ​​production under this Denominacion de Origen is located in the municipalities that the Regulator Board considers suitable for grape growth. Bierzo is a set of small valleys in a mountain area and a wide flat depression, ´el bajo Bierzo´, that will shape the types of crops.  Bierzo has a very special microclimate, very suitable to the crops in the area. A soft climate, rather mild regulated by a certain humidity, all of this is undoubtedly due to the fact that el Bierzo is situated in a valley. Its climate is similar to the Galician as far as moisture is concerned and on the other hand is dry as the Castile climate, which makes it very distinctive keeping a water balance to which another advantage is added, Bierzo low altitude generally prevents late frosts which is quite benign to vintage that is normally about one month ahead of the rest of Castile. Bierzo Denominacion de Origen wines must elaborated exclusively with the following varieties: Mencía, Garnacha tintorera, Godello, Doña blanca and Palomino. (Source: Consejo Regulador de la Denominación de Origen Bierzo)

    Mencia is a red-wine grape native to the northwest of Spain. It is most commonly associated with the red wines of Bierzo, which were once light and astringent, but since the discovery of low-yielding vines planted on poor soils high on the hills, have become more intense and concentrated, attracting the attention of the wine-drinking world. Mencia wines tend to exhibit earthy, vegetal characters with berry nuances and stony minerality. The variety, with its thick-skinned, violet-blue grapes, was once thought to be related to Cabernet Franc. Modern DNA testing has disproved this theory, however, but has uncovered that it is in fact genetically identical to Portugal’s Jaen. This has led to some uncertainty as to the origin of the variety: while most signs point to Bierzo as Mencia’s home, it could well have been brought there from Dao in Portugal. Mencia’s role as a simple, regional grape variety used to make table wines has been challenged in recent years following the attention of famous Spanish producer Alvaro Palacios, one of the pioneers of the Priorat region in Catalonia. Old vines and Bierzo’s dramatic, high-altitude terroir have proved useful for the quality of the wines, helped along by improved viticultural methods and extra vigilance in the winery. Wines today are more likely to have a bright complexion with a vivid maroon color, fresh acidity and tannins, and dark-fruit flavors with a herbal dimension of mint or thyme. Mencia is quite fussy in the vineyard, and has a tendency toward low yields, making it a challenging prospect for growers and winemakers. It is susceptible to botrytis and mildew, and can lose its characteristic acidity quickly if not harvested promptly. Mencia’s high alcohol and high acidity must be kept in check to retain the wine’s balance. Oak is used sparingly, as it can overwhelm Mencia’s rather delicate flavor profile. Outside of Bierzo, Mencia is found in several other northwestern Spain DOs, among them Valdeorras, Monterrei and Ribeira Sacra. (Source: wine-searcher)

    Álvaro Palacios A Passion for Mencía: Tasting Bierzo with Alvaro Palacios (Video)

    Review: The Man Who Bought London by Edgar Wallace

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    Delphi Classics, 2014. Format: Kindle Edition (43526 KB). First published in 1915. Delphi Complete Works of Edgar Wallace. ASIN: B00IIWW2JE.

    In contribution to Rich Westwood’s meme on his blog Past Offences: the year for January is 1915.


    King Kerrie, an American multi-millionaire who together with his associates controls billions, has settled in London as a result of the Sherman Anti-Trust Law. They have liquid assets, hard cash ready for employment at a moment’s notice. These are men who had done nothing in their lives but combine conflicting business interest into one great monopoly. One day Elsie Marion bumps into a charming grey-haired man on the tube. Once again, she is late for work. In a dreadful rush, she can’t imagine how much her life is about to change. The charming stranger has just bought Tack and Brighten, her place of employment, and he will offer her a new job she won’t be able to turn down. Soon after saying goodbye, two shots are heard and a bullet is about to brush against the grey-haired man’s face.

       “That’s yours, Mister!” howled a voice, and the next instant the owner was grabbed by two policemen.
    A slow smile gathered at the corners of the gray man’s lips.
    “Horace,” he said and shook his head disapprovingly, “you’re a rotten shot!”
    On the opposite side of Oxford Street, a man watched the scene from the upper window of a block of offices.
    He saw the racing policemen, the huge crowd which gathered in a moment, and the swaying figures of the officers of the law and their half-mad prisoner. He saw too, a gray-haired man, unharmed and calm slowly moving away, talking with a sergeant of police who had arrived on the scene at the moment. The watcher shook a white fist in the direction of King Kerrie.
    “Some day, my friend!” he said between his clenched teeth, “I will find a bullet that goes to its mark  and the girl from Denver City will be free!”

    Although I have found the plot rather far-fetched, the narrative manages to grab the reader’s attention, the book is well-written, and has a surprising final twist. All in all, this is a mystery fiction that reflects faithfully the time when it was written, but it isn’t exactly my preferred kind of entertainment. In my view I don’t think is one of Wallace’s best novels. The Man Who Bought London was made into a film by the same name, a 1916 silent crime movie directed by Floyd Martin Thornton and starring E.J. Arundel, Evelyn Boucher and Roy Travers.

    My rating:  C (I liked it with a few reservations)

    Richard Horatio Edgar Wallace (1 April 1875 – 10 February 1932) was an English writer. Born into poverty as an illegitimate London child, Wallace left school at 12. He joined the army at 21 and was a war correspondent during the Second Boer War for Reuters and the Daily Mail. Struggling with debt, he left South Africa, returned to London and began writing thrillers to raise income, publishing books including The Four Just Men (1905). Drawing on time as a reporter in the Congo, covering the Belgian atrocities, Wallace serialised short stories in magazines, later publishing collections such as Sanders of the River (1911). He signed with Hodder and Stoughton in 1921 and became an internationally recognised author. After a disastrous bid to stand as Liberal MP for Blackpool in the 1931 general election, Wallace moved to Hollywood, where he worked as a script writer for RKO studios. He died suddenly from undiagnosed diabetes, during the initial drafting of King Kong (1933).

    A prolific writer, one of Wallace’s publishers claimed that a quarter of all books then read in England were written by him. As well as journalism, Wallace wrote screen plays, poetry, historical non-fiction, 18 stage plays, 957 short stories and over 170 novels, 12 in 1929 alone. More than 160 films have been made of Wallace’s work. He is remembered for the creation of King Kong, as a writer of ‘the colonial imagination’, for the J. G. Reeder detective stories, and the Green Archer. He sold over 50 million copies of his combined works in various editions and The Economist describes him as “one of the most prolific thriller writers of [the 20th] century”, although few of his books are still in print in the UK (?). (Source: Wikipedia) The question mark is mine.

    Delphi Classics

    Edgar Wallace: the Man Who Wrote Too Much? by Michael Mallory

    Past Masters: EDGAR WALLACE

    Profile of Edgar Wallace for Crime Time magazine

    El hombre que compró Londres de Edgar Wallace

    King Kerrie, un multimillonario estadounidense que junto con sus asociados controla miles de millones, se ha asentado en Londres como resultado de las Ley Sherman Antimonopolio. Tienen activos líquidos, dinero en efectivo listo para ser empleado en cualquier momento. Son hombres que no han hecho nada más en su vida que combinar intereses opuestos en un gran monopolio. Un día Elsie Marion tropieza con un hombre encantador de pelo gris en el metro. De nuevo, llega tarde al trabajo. En un apuro terrible, no puede imaginar lo mucho que su vida está a punto de cambiar. El encantador desconocido acaba de comprar Tack and Brighten, su lugar de trabajo, y le ofrecerá un nuevo empleo que ella no podrá rechazar. Poco después de despedirse, se escuchan dos disparos y una bala está a punto de rozar la cara del hombre con el pelo gris.

    “Esto es para usted, señor!” aulló una voz, y un instante después su dueño fue agarrado por dos policías.
    Una lenta sonrisa se formó en la comisura de los labios del hombre de gris.
    “Horace”, dijo y movió la cabeza con desaprobación, “eres un pésimo tirador!”
    En el lado opuesto de Oxford Street, un hombre observaba la escena desde la ventana superior de un bloque de oficinas.
    Vio a los policías corriendo, la enorme multitud que se reunió en un momento, y el bamboleo de las siluetas de los agentes del orden y de su detenido medio loco. Vio también a un hombre de pelo gris que, ileso y en calma, se alejaba lentamente hablando con un sargento de policía que había llegado a la escena en el momento. El vigilante sacudió un puño blanco en dirección a King Kerrie.
    “Algún día, mi amigo!” dijo apretando los dientes, “voy a encontrar una bala que haga blanco y la joven de Denver City será libre!”

    Aunque he encontrado la trama bastante inverosimil, la narración consigue captar la atención del lector, el libro está bien escrito, y tiene un giro final sorprendente. Con todo, se trata de una novela de misterio que refleja fielmente la época en que fue escrita, pero no es exactamente mi tipo preferido de entretenimiento. En mi opinión no creo que sea una de las mejores novelas de Wallace. El hombre que compró Londres fue llevada al cine con el mismo título, una película muda de 1916 dirigida por Martin Floyd Thornton y protagonizada por EJ Arundel, Evelyn Boucher y Roy Travers.

    Mi calificación: C (Me gustó con algunas reservas)

    Richard Horatio Edgar Wallace (Greenwich, 1875 – Hollywood, 1932) fue un novelista, dramaturgo y periodista británico. Era hijo ilegítimo del actor Richard Horatio Edgar y de la actriz Marie (Polly) Richards. Fue adoptado por George Freeman, mozo del mercado de pescado de Billingsgate. Entre los 12 y los 16 años trabajó en varias imprentas, una zapatería, una fábrica de impermeables, como cocinero en un buque, como albañil y como repartidor de leche. Fue corresponsal en Sudáfrica de la agencia Reuter (1899-1902) y del Daily Mail (1900-1902); fundó y dirigió el Rand Daily Mail, de Johannesburgo (1902-1903); dirigió The Week-End Racing Supplement y la sección de carreras de caballos del Evening News (1910-1912); fundó los periódicos deportivos Bibury’s Weekly y R. E. Walton’s Weekly (1913); dirigió Ideas y The Story Journal (1913); colaboró en Town Topics, que luego dirigió (1913-1916); fundó The Bucks Mail (1930); dirigió, sólo nominalmente, la revista Hush (1930-1931); dirigió el Sunday News (1931). Colaboró asimismo en más de cincuenta publicaciones periódicas de Sudáfrica, Inglaterra y Estados Unidos.

    Edgar Wallace creó el “thriller” con su novela Los Cuatro Hombres Justos (1905), y consolidó este género narrativo con su obra posterior. En Wallace, los elementos del enigma están diluidos en la acción. Son sucesos aparentemente incongruentes, y es precisamente esta incongruencia la que actúa como acicate de la curiosidad del lector. Sólo al final encajan las piezas del rompecabezas, y una nueva lectura de la narración pone de relieve que los indicios ya habían sido expuestos, y de manera tan evidente que resulta admirable cómo el lector no había caído en la cuenta de su significado. Murió en Hollywood mientras trabajaba en el guión de la película King Kong. (Fuente: Wikipedia)

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