Friday, July 30, 2010

Understanding Comics

Grade: F
Title: Understanding Comics
Author AND Artist (oh yeah double-whammy): Scott McCloud

I know what you're thinking: this looks cheesy. At least, that's what I thought when my friend's older brother told me to read this comic book. However, since I wanted to get to know comics better I thought that it might be a little useful, and so I read it.

(admit it - that intro made you smile). However, I couldn't have underestimated this comic book more. To make a small digression, one thing I want you to understand (since this is my first grade of a "F' that I have given) is that I don't think the work is perfect (for example, in this book I dislike how he always undermines his own arguments with "at least to me" etc. qualifiers, and I think he simplifies the complexities and connectedness between the medium and the message too much - just to name a few). Rather, the piece moved me, made me think in a way I should have been thinking, revealed true beauty or something similar. Basically, I expect it to be something I can literally call "life-changing." This is precisely what I found in Understanding Comics. It helped me to break through the preconceived notions I had for comic books.

McCloud's comic book highlights one hugely important "detail" about comics that I want to clear up right now. Comics are NOT literature! Yes, at one time - after I had just "discovered" them - I used to try and argue that they were, but after a year and a half, a conversation with a good friend, and reading this book (took a lot, didn't it) I finally understood that there is no way they ever would be - no more than movies are theater. Comics are their own separate medium. Seems obvious to me now, but at that time I would have argued till I was blue in the face that they were literature because, of course, what I was really trying to argue was that they should be respected and read not disregarded and ignored.

Anyway, Understanding Comics is excellent because it, quite cleverly, uses the very medium that it is illuminating. McCloud focuses on several aspects of comics that prove helpful in order to be a better reader and help in grouping the more abstract aspects of comics for easier understanding (for example, the chart breakdown he provides of the different artists who vary from realistic to abstract to symbolic, making a triangle - though a little too simplified - is not only fascinating but quite helpful in grasping all of the comics in existence).

Thus, this book is one of the most helpful for those who are skeptical of the comic book medium or simply want to learn more. It tremendously helped me to finally look beyond misconceptions I had about this art form that I didn't even realize were there.

I really loved this comic book, and highly recommend it to everyone, especially because I believe it will make anyone who reads it want to read more comic books (which is my goal in life). Until next time; go enjoy some art!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Grade: E

Director: Christopher Nolan
Notable Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page (and about a dozen others).

This past Sunday my delightful parents took me to see
Inception. My mother enjoyed it, but my dad thought a more fitting title would have been Insipid
. Obviously, I agreed more with my mom. I thought it was an intriguing movie, finding particular pleasure in the focus and attempt to understand the characters.

Of course, the obvious concept that Nolan was using is at least as old as Plato (see Cave) and has been an idea that has fascinated people for centuries (from Berkley's notable ideas to the more recent
Matrix). Personally, I have always enjoyed the question of what is true and happening versus what we have merely perceived to be reality. I also love the questions about how memory and memories are what we live off of. We place so much confidence in our memories, when we might be more prudent not to. This is just the kind of idea Nolan focuses on in his other film, which I also thoroughly enjoyed, Memento

Naturally, I did not find
flawless. There are some issues within the plot itself ( i.e. how his children didn't age or how the father appeared to reside in Paris, but was waiting for his son in L.A. among numerous other things - both of these and any other hole might be answered by the ambiguous end of the movie, which left the end to interpretation).

The most problematic issue I found was the pacing and length of the film. While I was enthralled and I wanted to see fulfillment for all the plot points, it dragged at times. I fear this is an issue that Nolan might need to guard against within himself because he seemed to struggle the same way with
Dark Knight
where he didn't end one of his plot points at the right place.

As I mentioned before, despite the flaws this movie possess, I believe the film is beautiful and made me really care about the characters from Cobb's relationship to his wife

to the poor man they were planting the idea in and his relationship with his father and god father. The movie made me want to look deeper into those around me. We all have our secret depths and pains that we bury or hide but really want to show and heal because, as
Inception noted, positive emotions are what we seek - we all yearn for reconciliation.

I didn't find the plot "too complex" as I have heard it condemned nor boring as a friend reported. Instead, I was pleased with how
Inception directed my thoughts and helped me to look beyond myself into another person's mind and subconscious. Until next time; go enjoy some art!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Kingdom Come

Grade: O
Title: Kingdom Come
Author: Mark Waid
Artist (or as he likes to call himself "painter"): Alex Ross

As you can tell from my grade, I was less than impressed with Kingdom Come. In fact, I would say that it is the most overrated graphic novel that I have read. It has so much hype - "great story" "terrific art" "It'll blow your mind!" Let me just say, I found that I disagreed with pretty much all of these observations. Part of me feels bad - as if I have missed something huge, but then the other part (the much larger part) knows that I'm right. Of course, the fact that the introduction to this book rubbed me the wrong way (call me crazy, but I don't take too well to patronizing narratives) did not help my outlook as I began to read.

Let's begin with the artwork (Yes, that is Superman in overalls sans shirt . . . . classy). This is what is usually highlighted the most within this work - everyone told me I would love Ross,; sadly, I did not find it so. I really wanted to like it. In fact, I felt like I should, but I just couldn't force myself. I do appreciate parts of it (which is why I didn't give it a "P"), but it just does not connect well with the story. The paintings (as they are referred to) seem to lack power and emotion at the most important parts. For example, when a superhero is winding up to hit someone it feels like it is simply a tableaux. We all know it is not really happening - a very bad sign in any kind of fiction or story.

Also, I feel like the images in this story are too inundated with bright, sunny light. It doesn't work for me when I find myself thinking of Thomas Kinkade,

which I try at all costs to avoid, rather than looking at say a Vermeer (who is a good example of a painter who is both realistic and uses light a great deal - of course, he does so much more successfully, as seen below).

Not only did the art fall short for me, so did the text. There were parts that simply did not ring true. For example, at one point in the story Spectre (who acts as a kind of guide) is talking with a priest (the prophet-esque person he is kind of guiding) about Superman. Spectre uses the term "otherworldly" to describe him, to which the priest responds, "Otherworldly . . . ? Of course. Superman is an alien." Now, let's break down why this statement didn't work (although I am sure they could give me a reason for putting it in): A) It simply didn't it in the context of the dialogue B) redundant for anyone who has ever known of Superman (which, one presumes, all are who would find themselves reading this book) and C) awkward in its flow and presentation. Also, there are elements that revealed a disconnect with plot follow through. For example, at one point the priest is pulled out of his placement in time and space, rendering him visible to Superman and the gang - they respond, but when he disappears they act like it is not a big deal. Very odd behavior and not believable.

Essentially, it comes down to the fact that I don't care about the story they have created. It is not believable to me at many points (which is unusual because I love fantasy - good fantasy - and these type of dystopic tales). I believe that the sun-inundated hyper-realism of the art just doesn't work with this story, which makes them both fail.

Now, don't get me wrong. This piece does have some elements that are good and even beautiful. For example, I quite enjoyed the irony and humor present in the restaurant of Superheroes where Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are eating served by people dressed up as them ( as well as Nite Owl - in fact, all throughout this story there was little homages to Watchmen, as well as almost every comic book, which are pleasant enough to pick up on). There was also a very humorous moment to me when Batman and Superman are talking in the Bat-cave and Batman turns around and Superman has disappeared (as he was want to do) and he responds by saying "So that's what that feels like," which I really enjoyed because I love Batman so much.

Thus, there are some good parts in this piece - enough to perhaps merit a reading. Indeed, many people do love the art and this story, so you might as well. However, it falls far short for me and failed in just too many ways, forcing me to give an "O" (don't I feel harsh). Until next time; go enjoy some art!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Le voyage dans la lune

Le voyage dans la lune (1902)
Director: Georges Méliès

Sadly, and I hate to admit this, the first time I heard about this film was through The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, which I read because all of my friends were in children's lit and thought I would enjoy the pictures (ironically, people always give me a hard time about not reading books sans pictures, but I only started reading graphic novels two years ago - recently highlighted for me when I attended a bridal shower with people who last knew me in high school as a reader of classics and wondered what I was doing with comic books). After reading The Invention of Hugo Cabret I watched Le voyage dans la lune (or A Trip to the Moon) and found it endearing.

This movie is quite short (running around fourteen minutes) and you should take the brief time to view it because of its whimsical (a word I find especially fitting for the whole of this film) adventures in sci-fi and its nostalgic presentation of the early nineteen hundreds. However, apparently because it is such a film it lacks character development (or characters even really being present) or even plot development. In fact, it may be a little hard to follow, but the fact that the scenes abruptly (as well as the logic) jump is supported by the film's representations of a fanciful space - seen in the representation of the moon, which is one of the best scenes in the film. The moon is first shown as the man in the moon as one might see it with the naked eye. Then, as the ship moves closer, it is easier to see that he has a real face, quite alive with emotion. Finally, the ship lands in the moon's eye, creating an iconic shot I am sure you are familiar with.

As seen in this photo, the space that the assortment of, what appears to be, scientists (though they often look like wizards) embark to the moon together is fantastic. Endearingly, once they land all of the scientists pile out and immediately set to yawning and lay down - forget seeking to gain one's bearings. The next highlight - apart from the Mucha-esque star, moon, and planet appearance -

is when they venture underground in a cavern of over sized mushrooms and meet the first "moon man."

After attempting to rid themselves of the moon people, the French explorers are captured and taken to the place of the moon people, where one of the scientists picks up the seeming leader of the moon men and throws him down, causing him to explode. From there, it is a scurry to get back home, landing in the ocean where they are lead to safety and celebrate their adventures in a parade. I love the tone and feel of Méliès' because it reminds me of several things I always want to remember like imagination, ingenuity, and whimsy.

Essentially, the great thing about Le voyage dans la lune is that it showed, definitively through its creative and inventive future in motion pictures. However, it lacks a true story and - often with all of its elements it still remains a little too naive. This story reminds me how wonderful silent films can really be. Le voyage dans la lune is in public domain, so you can easily access it on youtube: Until next time; go enjoy some art!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Midnight Days

Grade: G+
Title: Midnight Days
Author: Neil Gaiman
Artists: Dave McKean, Matt Wagner, Richard Piers Rayner, Mike Hoffman, Mike Mignola, Teddy Kristiansen, and Steve Bissette and John Totleben.

I was somewhat surprised to find that I really enjoyed this collection of short comic stories by Neil Gaiman and various artists (most notably, in my opinion, Dave Mckean). However, before I go into the stories, a brief note about the author Neil Gaiman. You might as well know - I am currently writing my masters thesis on Sandman, written by Gaiman. He is truly a fascinating writer and has done much for comics (i.e. Sandman - really you should read it as it proves itself to be very interesting, haunting, and, ultimately, beautiful - and Black Orchid,among other briefer works). I would recommend almost anything he has written, though he has the tendency to be a little dodgy (both in some aspects of his writing and some of the mature content he chooses to include).

For Midnight Days, I was quite glad I had just read Swamp Thing by Alan Moore (see previous post on July 2nd) because three of the five stories are some development of it. Out of the three - some quiet odd, especially "Swamp Thing Annual."

I am afraid there might have been several references I just did not understand ( i.e. about the puppet who got struck by lightening) in this story. The previous story dealt with the Swamp Thing taking care of people who died of the plague, which is interesting if nothing else. At the same time, the second one is most assuredly interesting and has some good parts (for example, there are two pages where Batman himself puts in an appearance and you know how I feel about Batman). Overall, with "Swamp Thing Annual" I just did not appreciate it like I felt I was supposed to.

Out of these three, the last story provided me with the most pleasure because it laid out Gaiman's idea of plantology. It was intriguing to see where he wanted to take Swamp Thing (originally he was going to write some of this series, but he opted not to when the current writer left early . . . here is my plug for introductions: you should pretty much ALWAYS read them. OK, there are some exceptions, but if the introduction or preface is written by the author you really have to read it. Luckily, Gaiman makes his so interesting and funny that they are always worth the read)! Thus, he seems to reveal in his introduction that if he had stayed with Swamp Thing instead of creating Sandman, he still would have weaved all of the different mythologies in with one he already created.

However, the story in this collection that surprised me by its depth and tenderness (since the first three were really about a young writer attempting to become familiar with his own writing) was Gaiman's collaboration with Dave McKean in "Hold Me." This story includes as its protagonist an intriguing character named John Constantine who Alan Moore originally created. The story is beautiful in its dark simplicity as a dead person (at least that is what I am going to call him since Constantine seemed to in the story) wanders around looking for someone to hold him because he is so cold. Intertwining this with Constantine's own story, creating something really special. Of course, Dave McKean's art is what elevates this piece even higher. His lines are exquisite and he captures expressions exceptionally well.

McKean's art also works to provide a pertinent tone to the story overall. Through his use of more sketchy lines, he is able to reflect the story itself. This story really represents what good comic writing is all about - neither words nor images should be privileged, instead they should work together to further the success of the story.

Finally, the collection ends with a story bringing together the two Sandmans (the pulp, gas mask wearing one with Gaiman's creation of the one from the Endless). I did enjoy this story, but one really should have read his Sandman to appreciate it. Also, I couldn't help but wonder how much I missed for not having read the original Sandman. The story was able to stand up though because it was interesting and presented some great characters who did not appear cheesy at all (which I have to admit I was expecting from the pulp Sandman).

Rather, the characters were both believable and identifiable, especially the enigmatic priest. The art in this story was refreshing most of the time, reminding me of Edward Hopper in some places. Altogether, this collection is absolutely worth the read, and some of the stories are so enjoyable that I hope you are able to make the time. Until next time; go enjoy some art!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Brazil (1985)
Director: Terry Gilliam
Notable Actors: Jonathan Pryce and Robert De Niro

In the year of 1984, dystopia movies were abounding, and how could they not be? Orwell's book has haunted and projected onto the subconscious of our society for over sixty years. Consequently, when Terry Gilliam (of Monty Python fame) created Brazil, a satire that lays bureaucracy under the operator's knife, it was not expected to be that different. However, seeing this movie twenty-five years later has revealed that Brazil is not just another dystopia film because this movie is unique, clever, humorous with just enough biting wit, and sublime (according to Longinus' definition of the word). I actually stumbled across Brazil in Target one day when I had a gift card and really wanted to buy a movie. They didn't have the film I wanted, but I really wanted to watch something new that night. I found this movie and bought it solely based on the amazing cover (how can you say no to a man flying in Icarus-esque wings). [a quick note: Do NOT see the "Love Conquers All" version! It is much shorter and loses most of the true beauty of the film. The most painful cut of all is that they completely change the ending to make it "happy," which does not work and ruins the whole point of the movie].

The first aspect of the movie that jumped out at me (other than that great opening music) is the incredibly likable nature of the characters from the hero, Sam, to the Judas, Jack. Sam immediately separates himself from the rest of the people introduced because he is a dreamer. In fact, he has a pretty well-developed dream world that he has created, dealing with a beautiful woman and himself dressed up as a sort of knight angel. The dreaming allows the audience to understand Sam beyond the place where he works, which is imperative since he is constantly doing inane, pointless things, showing the pitfalls of bureaucracy. Brazil does an effective job of revealing what is dangerous about a people completely dependent on bureaucracy and form filling. Nothing can get done, and when a mistake is made, instead of correcting it, the job seeks to bury it and anyone who might start complaining because of it. This, of course, is exactly what happens, and Sam is the one who notices the discrepancy. However, when he tries to help set things right he gets sucked into dangerous situations and, in the process, quite literally meets the girl he has been dreaming about.

Part of what helps Brazil stand above most of its other brothers and sister dystopia movies is that it has a lighthearted tone, even amongst all of the machinery and paper work. All throughout the movie, up till the chilling end, there are little things that are very funny. For example, Sam's mother, and all her friends, are obsessed with looking younger and all of the surgeries and procedures they force themselves to endure provides quite a number of amusing situations.

Other than that, Sam works in the office that provides no individuality and doesn't appear to get much work done. When he finally accepts a promotion, Sam is moved upstairs to have his very own office, which ends up being a tiny closet with half a desk in it. While he is settling himself in, Sam notices that his half of the desk is being pulled through the wall, revealing that he is forced to share everything with his neighbor (including the art decorations - in this case a poster). This type of situation is typical in Brazil and represents the norm that the characters were being forced to experience.

Apart from the hilarity, which often proves to be double-edged (like any satire should), there is a pleasing kind of, and I hesitate to use this word, whimsy. For instance, when Sam is being held prisoner, his boss comes to see him dressed as Santa Claus. It is such an odd placement of what is expected to be a happy time that it works perfectly well to further the purpose of the film. Little hints like this help to make the movie more enjoyable on the second viewing because there are lots of small details that build to make the overall atmosphere and tone.

The atmosphere is obviously a little dark, even as it is presented as lighter because the people in the story have forced themselves to accept it and make their lives around it. However, the fact that Gilliam is able to marry the dark with the light makes the movie so interesting to watch. In the above picture, you see Sam, locked to a chair about to be tortured, while he is being approached by a very serious torturer who happens to be wearing a chubby mask over his face. The mask is undoubtedly creepy, but it does hearken back to the idea of Santa Claus - the things we loved as children like dressing up. All this to say, Brazil is able to capture the nature of what a dystopia would be like without losing the humanity because man cannot exist without humor or childish aspects.

Ultimately, Gilliam presents a completely satisfying film that provides entertainment, thought-provoking questions, and a better understanding of the dangers of bureaucracy. This movie is pure joy to watch, and it represents truth beyond what I expected to find in it. I hope you enjoy it! As always, when buying or viewing a film try to secure the Criterion Collection (it really makes a difference). Here is a link to Brazil on amazon: But I will tell you that it is also available to watch on youtube. Until next time; go enjoy some art!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Superman For All Seasons

Grade: G+
Superman For All Seasons
Author: Jeph Loeb
Artist; Colorist: Tim Sale; Bjarne Hansen

I have to admit right at front that this book was hard for me to grade. I am pretty sure that I am prejudiced to some extent because my heart already belongs to Batman (I will give you one good reason - even though there are so many more than that - he is not an alien. . .just kind of a plus). However, I really enjoyed some parts of this book, though I thought there were some issues. Ultimately, I love the quiet classic American feel that pervades this piece, and I find it refreshing that this is not a plot driven graphic novel; rather, it is more of a character sketch of Clark Kent. All that being said, it did feel like it was missing something. It did not take the time to connect me with all the people it seems like they should have. I left the book wanting more (which is always a good thing) and still being hungry (this is where it worries me a little).
Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, the people who wrote and drew this book, have teamed up before, having great success with their wonderful and compelling Batman comics, most noticeably in The Long Halloween. I would suggest anyone who has extra time should read this as soon as possible.

This image from the first chapter (of which there are four, named after the seasons of the year) epitomizes what Loeb was trying to do in this book. He wanted to capture the thinking Superman who is attempting to understand what to do with the gifts he has been given. This idea really struck the proverbial nerve with me because I am always struggling with trying to do what I need to do and accepting that I cannot save the world all by myself - I cannot help every person, which is fundamentally hard to accept, which is precisely what is seen in this book. However, Loeb did not explore it enough for me. I found that I wanted him to dive deeper and really pull at the nature of this and how one might find a solution. His ending did not satisfy me, even though the two pages that contain the churchyard candlelit vigil was beautiful and perfect.

For me, what makes this book shine, bringing it from a "G" to a "G+" is the simple, evocative art. Tim Sale, the artist, is one of my favorites because of his amazing depiction of the Dark Knight (he might draw my favorite version). His work illuminates the story, bringing out the classic American feel that the whole story seems focused on.

Bjarne Hansen, the colorist, did a truly amazing job with this book. Typically, I dislike pastels, but the way he depicts the sunset and makes his colors shine and come to life is sublime (and I do not use this word lightly). I also love the way he colors the sky (see below). He captures the life of the color, not weakening it as often happens with this style. Also, I have usually thought of Superman as irritatingly bright, but in this graphic novel, though he is as bright as ever, it seemed to work and not look cheesy, even when they gave us a closeup of his truly odd choice of clothing in which to save the world (his cape has just never been able to work for me. Batman's becomes an extension of himself, a way to dominate the frame and control the panel, while Superman's often seems superfluous - though I do appreciate certain things they do in this work with Superman's cape).

This above picture is wonderful because of the undertones it is speaking. I love the way Smallville is a part of his cape indicating that without it Superman would not be the same if he would exist at all. Also, I love how the clouds form behind him, reminiscent of Thayer's depiction of his daughter representing winged victory after her mother had died (see below). Overall, I enjoy the cool tones that are used in this picture as well because even though warmer tones would normally be used to bring about a feeling of peace in the viewer, the cool tones are just as effective, if eerier.

In the end, I found Superman For All Seasons to be well worth the read, but not quite life changing or stimulating. It was deep in many ways, and enjoyed a great deal of hidden complexities that are rewarding upon reading. Also, it is very approachable for those new to comic books. It is a self-contained story and, as Miles Millar and Alfred Gough note, connects well with any number of John Ford's lyrical American films. If you would like a link to look into it more here you are:
Until next time; go enjoy some art!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Grade: F
Title: M (1931)
Director: Fritz Lang
Notable Actors: Peter Lorre

I stumbled across M quite on accident one day as I was looking at the legendary director Fritz Lang. I had recently seen his phenomenal silent film Metropolis (which if you have yet to see, please make the effort - you will not be disappointed) again and was stunned. Having watched it years previously on TCM, I had somehow forgotten how gripping a silent film, when done well, could be. Thus, I was re-inspired to look back into Lang.

He is well known for more than just his enduring movies. In fact, he has been said to fit the classic German stereotype - right down to the monocle.

It is obvious that he is not the most approachable of men, but his work was almost always exceptional. Metropolis represents his work in the silent films, which were just dying as he was directing. M was one of his first talkies and an aesthetic success, using sound to grip and warn the audience. There are several scenes in M where there is pure silence: no music, no background noises, no skidding feet as he runs - just quiet, which at many times works to make the audience even more fearful as it reflects the unnatural subject of the film: a child murderer. In fact, M is the first movie to ever represent a serial killer of any kind, let alone a serial killer who preys on children. It is unclear whether or not he sexually abuses them (the officers just leave it as "the child vanishes . . . when they reappear . . . well, we all know what has happened to them"), and much of the material dealt with surprised me for a film of the 30s. However, the fact that it was made so early in the film industry works to its advantage. Instead of shrill screams from the children or a bloody murder scene, Lang deftly alludes to what happens. The subtlety of his cinematography is quite beautiful. For example, after the introduction of the town that is being terrorized (the movie begins with a chilling scene of children happily playing a game on the street where they sing about the man in black who will take one of them away to make mincemeat out of them) a little girl is found to be walking home from school. She stops to bounce her ball on a post, which has the information about the murderer pasted to it. A shadow appears on the post while the little girl turns to meet the stranger.

This image is gripping, even though the shadow may be too concrete to really seem natural. Once again, the whole movie is about the unnatural. I rated this movie an "F," which means here the highest grade rather than the lowest, because of these startling moments in the film that really works to get the viewer on edge. Lang had his audience in suspense, even though he told them who the killer was early on.

Peter Lorre is able to shine forth breathtakingly in this film. I grew up watching Arsenic and Old Lace (where he played the somehow endearing doctor who seemed forced to carve up a murderers face to keep him hidden) and The Brave Little Toaster (which has a ceiling lamp caricature of Lorre), so it was surprising to see Lorre in such a unique role. I had seen him play villains before (like in My Favorite Brunnette and The Man Who Knew Too Much) and knew he could be sinister and frightening, but in M he is something altogether different. He is at once repugnant and pitiful. The picture above shows Lorre as he contemplates himself in the mirror while a psychiatrist lists the attributes this kind of murder would have. It creates a disturbingly intriguing atmosphere, which makes it hard to pull away from this film even upon a second viewing.
Other than M's ability to keep me in my seat the entire time (although I should put in a brief warning that all may not be of this opinion - clearly they need to work on maturing their taste - because, I have been told by someone I tried to make watch M that it could be considered slow. I think it is beautiful, and takes its time as it builds both the disturbing character of the murderer and the frenzied nature of a town on edge, making a truly gripping film), I really enjoyed the second half of the film. This is the part where Lorre is being sought by all of the criminals in the town rather than just the police. One of the most iconic scenes from the movie appears after the blind man has heard the fateful whistle (something that Lorre does often throughout the film, usually when he is about to kill a child, which I have to admit means that I will never be able to hear "In the Hall of the Mountain King" again without becoming at lest a little uneasy) and reports it to a criminal on the street. The murderer is labeled in an almost Scarlet Letter kind of way as a street thug is able to pat a chalk "M" on his back. He does not see it until the little girl, his prey, points it out to him. What ensues next is an intense chase and search for M. Interestingly in this hectic search, Lang is able to make his viewer pity the murderer, even while he is shown to be abhorrent. You find yourself thinking about how dreadful and frightening it would be to be M as all the criminals of the city trap and hunt you.

They finally work to catch him, and in a chilling scene put him on "trial."

He fights for what he does and attempts to explain it, even having a "lawyer." However, the criminals are out for blood. All in all, M is a classic movie that goes beyond its gripping plot and intriguing characters. The simple beauty present in many of the scenes makes this movie worth more than just one watch. I have been looking to buy this movie the past couple of months, but have only been able to find it on amazon to buy (, but it is available on Netflix to watch instantly, which I have made great use of!

Just to keep you aware, I will be selecting my movies from 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die. I will be hopscotching all around that book, mostly because some of the movies (i.e. Birth of a Nation) might prove hard to find. Until next time; go enjoy some art!