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Film

Godard's Sci-fi/Noir Alphaville' Is Witty and Subversive

Alphaville's pulpy sci-fi plot acts as a warm coat of familiarity as Godard slyly subverts one genre trope after another.

Recent
Books

'Smoking Kills' Revels in the Many Joys to Be Found in Death

Antoine Laurain's Smoking Kills is provocative and funny, but its meditations remain consistently mature.

Television

Outrageousness Takes a Holiday in 'Archer S8: Dreamland'

This may be a clever homage to classic hard-boiled detective fiction from the '40s, but Archer in Dreamland is not the wild man we've come to love/hate.

Books

Matthew Weiner's 'Heather, the Totality' Is Chillingly Empty

The Mad Men creator's debut novel has noir roots but plumbs his familiar territory of modernist anxiety with a savage precision.

Books

'The Best of Richard Matheson' Is Among the Best of Pop Culture

Richard Matheson's work has so permeated modern pop culture that it can be hard to find works not at least partially indebted to an idea of his or, as is more often the case, someone influenced by him.

Television

'Gotham: Season 2' Is a Muddled, Middling, and Messy Fare

Gotham steeps itself in Batman lore without ever becoming too faithful, its piety only extending far enough to communicate its loose ties to the source material.

Games

Moving Pixels Podcast: 'White Night', White Noir

White Night tells the story of a haunted house and a decaying American economy.

Games

Scarcely Seeing: Light as a Limited Resource in Survival-Horror

In White Night, it is not a shotgun, but light itself, that is your only ally, and light in in this game is in terrifyingly short supply.

Books

From Tehran to Tel Aviv: Of Crime and the Cities

Akashic Noir series continues to serve up delightful and disturbing gems that offer remarkable insights into the world’s great (and not-so-great) cities.

Games

Hard Boiled Combat: Enduring the Quick Time Event

The Wolf Among Us's quick time events typify the hard boiled genre better than any elegant combat system would or than any analytically driven puzzle solving might. Moments less to be won than to be survived or endured.

Comics

Garden State Greaser Noir in 'Iron Bound'

Most of the action in Brendan Leach's graphic novel, 'Iron Bound, boils over with smashed car fenders and swollen knuckles in Newark, New Jersey.

Books

The Connoisseur of Crime, John D. MacDonald, Is Shadowing the E-Book World

Available again in ebook form, the crime classic Stephen King called "one of the greatest American novels of the 20th century", The End of Night, is ready for rediscovery by a new generation of readers.

Jeff Tompkins
Books

Bill's Beatdown: 'Donnybrook'

Frank Bill’s stories are as rough as they come, hard packages of violence and sadness, tales of lives ripped apart by poverty and shame.

Reviews

Sunlight As Shadow in 'Purple Noon'

Purple Noon is a noir that isn't; while back-stabbing and deception are rife, the locale has shifted from shadow-painted alleyways to the gorgeous Italian coast.

Comics

Humble Beginnings: Ed Brubaker's "Scene of the Crime"

In some sense, Scene of the Crime birthed the universe of grifters, drug runners, and unlucky bar flies that help make Ed Brubaker's books what they are…

Comics

Self-Contained Madness in 'Murder Book' Comic

Ed Brisson's comics are relatively short on the caliber of details you'd find in an actual "murder book", but we're probably better off that way.

Music

Alberteen: Metal Book

A fairly light-hearted take on noir, Metal Book is a fun record, though not a wholly memorable one.

Film

Kafka Noir: 'The Sickroom' and 'A Country Doctor'

Serge Marcotte's The Sickroom compresses Franz Kafka's A Country Doctor into a nightmarish rush of hard-boiled film noir cynicism that, like all the best literary adaptations, is simultaneously faithful and unique.

Games

Batman and “Bitches”

In noir, men do bad things to women, women do bad things to men, people do bad things to each other. One of the central conceits of noir is very simple: people are creeps.

Reviews

'Pale Flower': Living for Death

Into this movie's milieu of prison terms, all-night gambling sessions and literal and figurative back-stabbings arrives a dewy young woman named Saeko (pronounced, more or less, 'psycho') who is very young and very tired of life.

Reviews

Deadly Cocktail, Perfect Mix: Styles Clash in Blue Estate 3

Even in meeting the demands of the crime noir genre, and giving the story a cooling off period Viktor Kalvachev brings an intensity to Blue Estate.

Michael D. Stewart
Games

'L.A. Noire': The Fatalism of American Sticktoitiveness

You can get through the entire story by being the least competent detective in the world. The story will unfold, as it were, despite you.

Reviews

'Winter's Bone': Where Crime and Loss are the Only Family

A tough 17-year-old dropout searches for her missing father in the poverty- and meth-scared hills of the Missouri Ozarks.

Television

'The Wire' As American Noir

HBO's The Wire’s intentional difficulty and rigor -- along with academia’s ongoing love affair with cultural studies -- might very well explain its emerging as a centerpiece in a growing number of courses at many colleges and universities in the United States.

Trevor Dodge
Books

The Bronx Kill by Peter Milligan and Jason Romberger

There are crooked cops, a dangerous dame with a past, and a man on the search for the truth, but the most compelling character is the titular body of water.

Books

'Elegy for April': Benjamin Black's New Dublin Noir

John Banville's alter ego resurrects Quirke in another 1950s Dublin noir adventure.

Books

The Dead Hand: A Crime in Calcutta by Paul Theroux

Writing a novel about writer’s block is a bit like cleaning a revolver when you’re not entirely incapable of suicide. Paul Theroux’s new book, a clumsy attempt at the mystery novel, goes off in his own hand.

Reviews

Chinatown (Centennial Collection)

Despite bringing film noir into the daylight and into color, this is among the darkest of Southern California tales.

Books

Boston Noir by Dennis Lehane, Ed.

This anthology is a lot like the city it aims to depict: occasionally impressive, at times insincere, and very proud of its quirks and foibles.

Film

Pete Kelly's Blues

Jack Webb's glum radio series 'Pete Kelly's Blues' is a sigh of a tribute to the roaring '20s, a melancholic parade of blistering jazz and the pointlessness of its own nostalgia.

Reviews

Loney, Dear + Dennis Crommett + Aric Bieganek

Loney, Dear’s Emil Svanängen has long since made the transition from secluded laptop folk artist to full-fledged pop bandleader.

Books

The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps

The good stories are terrific reads and the not-so-good stories are never dull.

Peter Swanson
Books

A Nail Through the Heart by Timothy Hallinan

A Nail Through the Heart can be read as an anti-noir, eschewing the taciturn, solitary detective for a man whose only desire is to connect.

Chris McCann
Books

Wall Street Noir by Peter Spiegelman [Editor]

For desperate acts, psychosexual kinks, and a pervasive sense of fatalism, there are better places to look than the office of a CFO.

Michael Antman
Books

The Yiddish Policemens Union by Michael Chabon

Yiddish detective tracks a killer across Alaska in Michael Chabon's brilliantly conceived noir history.

Connie Ogle
Music

Anat Cohen: Poetica / Noir

The time was right for Cohen to make a big statement. Instead, she made two.

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