Best Home Alarm System: Man’s Best Friend

In my search for different and interesting ‘small screen’ series to sample, I stumbled upon a couple of good ones recently:  Human Target (from 2010 but cancelled after second season) and The Fall (from 2013 with three seasons to date).  I’m still watching Limitless, pausing briefly after watching the pilot to watch the movie that spawned the series, but otherwise continuing with 2-3 episodes per week.

Terry and I have finished two of three DVDs for the first season of Human Target.  I was hooked after the first episode, and not just because Christopher Chance’s pet was a Rottweiler named Carmine.  This show packs a lot of punches into a scant hour of programming and each episode is something completely different.  It’s fun to watch and even has me looking for the original graphic novels to read, but libraries are totally not up to speed in that area.  Continue reading “Best Home Alarm System: Man’s Best Friend”

Book Review: The Big Sleep by Chandler (4 Stars)

The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler

4 out of 5 stars

Read in June 2009

My first foray into the crime fiction genre.  I liked private investigator Philip Marlowe.  An intelligent, patient, witty guy treading water in the morass of 1930s Los Angeles society, both high and low.  Amazing how closely connected the upper and lower strata actually are.

Marlowe accepted a job from a very wealthy elderly General, to investigate and thwart a blackmail attempt concerning his daughter.  But blackmail wasn’t what was on everyone’s mind.

It’s hard to review mysteries, or crime, fiction without spoilers.  So I won’t despoil your enjoyment of this classic.  I do highly recommend it though.

Movie Review: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2011)

3.5 out of 5 stars

Perhaps I should have read the book first.  Or at least read a plot synopsis.  As much as I love hacker themes, I have a hard time swallowing and digesting violence, especially that perpetrated against women.  That being said, I still feel a bit disappointed in Lisbeth’s response to her assailant.  I thought she went too easy on him.

The ‘locked room mystery’ portion of the film held most of my interest, causing me to pause and rewind the BluRay several times, and play sections of it in slow motion.  I love a great mystery and I adore female characters who don’t slow down for inferior intellects.  Keep up, or shut up and get out of the way.

The ending convinced me to stick to non-contemporary literature for my fiction reading.  What has that got to do with this movie?  Well, as we all know, real life sucks.  As far as I can tell, contemporary literature, especially crime novels, which this movie was based upon, exists to expose us to the absolute worst aspects of humanity and society, leaving us with little resolution and a scarcity of hope.

Give me a good fantasy film like The Prince Bride (the debut film for Robin Wright who also appeared in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) any day.  At least then I won’t yell at my husband how much I hate men while watching it.  (Yeah, I paid for that comment for  hours after the movie ended).

Movie Review: Point Blank (2010)

Point Blank (2010)

3.5/4 out of 5 stars

Summary from IMDB:  Samuel Pierret (Gilles Lellouche) is a nurse who saves the wrong guy — a thief (Roschdy Zem) whose henchmen take Samuel’s pregnant wife (Elena Anaya) hostage to force him to spring their boss from the hospital. A race through the subways and streets of Paris ensues, and the body count rises. Can Samuel evade the cops and the criminal underground and deliver his beloved to safety?

I added this film to my Netflix streaming queue yesterday morning because after reviewing the DirecTV guide for Sunday the 15th, I could not find anything worth watching.  Initially, I did not fully grasp the fact that the movie was filmed in France and had English subtitles.  This did not put me off, though, as most action movies tend to have less dialog and I read very fast.  Being able to pause and rewind also helps get the entire experience (not just the read dialog, but the body language of the actors).

That being said, this film impressed me.  The story, the action, the stunts, even the acting, were every bit as good as movies made in Hollywood.  In fact, it outshone many of those.  This is by no means a ‘new’ twist on the ‘old’ crime thriller.  It had all the usual suspects: organized crime henchmen and bosses, dedicated detectives and their bad apples (corrupt cops), innocent bystanders who push the moral envelope to ransom their kidnapped loved ones.  Tons of tension and thrills abounded and I had no trouble staying riveted to the screen.

Movie Review: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows

Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)

Four out of Five Stars

My husband and I braved the last-Sunday-before-Christmas-crowds at the Legends shopping center to watch this latest installment in the Sherlock Holmes universe.  Strangely, our theatre (the largest one at the Phoenix Theatre complex) was sparsely populated for the mid-afternoon matinee.  Be that as it may, we thoroughly enjoyed the film. The musical score grated less on the ears this time (more classical orchestration instead of the out-of-tune upright piano cacophony overused in the first movie). I can’t wait to re-watch this on DVD so I can pause it and examine certain scenes minutely. Even with my photographic memory, modern day editing gives viewers nanoseconds to absorb an incredible amount of relevant detail.  Despite the dreary gray British and French winter countryside, the cinematography was gorgeous, the highlight being the Swiss Alps.  The action frequently sported ultra-high-speed slow-motion sequences, punctuated with excellently choreographed audio.