From Hitchcock to Jim Thompson: A Review of The Mad and the Bad

Mark Asch


New blood fills the rerelease of Jean-Patrick Manchette’s 1972 novel, The Mad and the Bad. Mark Asch reviews.

Review of Dissident Gardens by Jonathan Lethem

Mark Asch


Jonathan Lethem’s latest chapter of New York novels is in some sense “a commensurately “big book,” about family, and the promise and disappointment of the Left, its chronology-skipping chapters encompassing protest singers, hippie anarchist communes, Sandinistas, Quakers, queers, academic Theorists and Occupy crusties.” Ah but there’s more…

Renata Adler: Radical Intelligence

Mark Asch


Picking up the threads of Renata Adler’s novels and readdressing the weave: the reissue of Speedboat and Pitch Dark by NYRB prompt a closer look at the wit that wove them together.

Possession: Once Upon a Time in America

Mark Asch


Thirty years on there’s yet another cut of Sergio Leone’s epic of assimilation in the early 20th century, Once Upon A Time In America where murder, rape, booze and opium make the palette of a focus of nature, red in tooth and claw. Mark Asch reviews on the occasion of a Film Forum screening.

Hallelujah and Hail Satan

Mark Asch


It’s not unusual for a rock musician—like Robert Johnson playing the blues—to have sympathy for the Devil. Mark Asch takes us to the crossroads, where Black Sabbath, The Mountain Goats’s John Darnielle, and the Man of Wealth and Taste himself commune.

Review of Dangerous Laughter by Steven Millhauser

Mark Asch


Worlds within words within worlds. Mark Asch tackles the infinite regression of Steven Millhauser’s latest short story collection.

The Year the Western Returned?

Mark Asch


Mark Asch takes a look back through 2007 – a year that found filmakers producing perhaps an inordinate amount of neo-Westerns – then decides whether or not they live up to the the standards of the classics. Seems many missed their mark, nevertheless a few have now cleaned house at the Oscars.

Berlin Alexanderplatz on Criterion DVD

Mark Asch


Long unavailable on these shores, Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s monumentous Berlin Alexanderplatz super-sizes the defining obsessions of a prodigious career. Criterion’s long-awaited DVD box is your one-stop shop for decaying social structures, sexual opportunism, and righteous, bracing aesthetics; Mark Asch breaks it down.

We’ve Lost Control (of the Ian Curtis Legend)

Mark Asch


Anton Corbijn’s new black-and-white biopic of Ian Curtis, which opens today, has the approval of the singer’s widow, whose memoir it is based on, and the backing of numerous film critics, many of whom can still remember their first intoxicating spin of Unknown Pleasures. But Mark Asch wonders whether something doesn’t get lost when we demystify our rock icons.