Sunday, December 26, 2010

John Sandford's Storm Prey



Feeling Minnesota: The 20th installment of the Prey Series and Lucas Davenport is at it again- solving crimes and kicking ass in his usual stomping ground.

The victims in this case were mostly at the 'wrong place at the wrong time' and Davenport had his sidekick Virgil Flowers in tow to solve the case of 'bad medicine' as well as neutralize the threat to his wife Weather Karkinnen, a surgeon at the hospital where a fatal robbery occurred that put into motion the series of killings in the Twin Cities and its outskirts.

After this latest installment, the Sandford faithful will probably wonder whether the series still compels and is therefore worth keeping? Or realize that it is time for the author to hold the pill and spare his readers of the overdose?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Mr. Monk in Trouble


This book is trouble, a case that even the brilliant Detective Adrian Monk on his best days cannot solve. Lee Goldberg tries to duplicate the success in the boob tube of the idiosyncratic detective into book form but fails.

One of the few times that the TV show is better than the book.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

DONG XOAI


Vietnam 1965: Joe Kubert captures the action and confusion of the men in the heat of battle through his ink and style. In this fiction loosely based on real events of the Vietnam War, he was able to depict the story clearly with his unique brand of illustrations- raw, rough and real.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Rembrandt Affair


I am a thriller junkie, schooled by the old Robert Ludlum school which by any standard is the best in the genre. So, any writer aspiring to be in his league has some huge shoes to fill in my book.

But Daniel Silva had me the moment I first laid my eyes on his novel The Unlikely Spy while browsing the book exchange section of a local library a couple of years ago.

Then I read the first book of the Gabriel Allon series, The Kill Artist, and I was hooked. Since then I have read all of his books and never looked back.

Daniel Silva is one great thriller writer in the league of an Alan Furst or a John Le Carre with a twist. Unlike some of his contemporaries, Silva is a fan of the Mossad, Israel's secret intelligence service, and Gabriel Allon its legendary assassin, is his man.

Gabriel Allon is the sensitive artist and the ruthless assassin whose exploits in and out of the spy game makes him the ideal renaissance man of the espionage world; when he is not tracking and killing the enemies of Israel, he is somewhere restoring old paintings back to their old glory.

In The Rembrandt Affair, Gabriel Allon is once again drawn back into the fire, not by his mentor Ari Shamron, as is usually the case in the past, but by his dear old friend, London art dealer Julian Isherwood.

Isherwood is in a big predicament when an art- restorer he commissioned, who was once Gabriel's classmate and rival when they were both studying under a renowned art teacher, was murdered, and the Rembrandt painting he was working on went missing.

Gabriel Allon simply cannot refuse an old friend in dire straits and went on a quest to find the missing painting that in so doing opened a can of worms while tracing its provenance and made him face the inherent dangers that come with it.

Daniel Silva once again proved his mastery of the genre as he deftly maneuvered Gabriel Allon into the realms of the evil that men do: from the Nazi's systematic art thefts in WWII to a "hidden child" in Amsterdam to the Gnomes that inhabit the Swiss banks and to the man who would stop at nothing and commit murders to prevent his dirty past from ever coming out.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Girl with the multi- colored hair



Mary Elizabeth Winstead aka Ramona V. Flowers

What would a guy do to win her love?

Fight and defeat her seven evil exes even if one of them is a girl.

Scott Pilgrim did.

How about you?

Well, the movie is good for cheap laugh but her beauty is not.

Yes, there is really a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.





Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Black Blizzard


Yoshihiro Tatsumi's 1956 thriller Black Blizzard provides us a look into his past, when he was still a raw and inexperienced writer and mangaka.

Tatsumi, in several interviews, never hides the fact that he has 'conflicting' feelings about Black Blizzard to which he described it as "nostalgic for the past, for the days of my youth" but it's also "like exposing something shameful and private" that he would rather bury and have "hidden from sight."

But the work in itself is not bad for a twenty- one year old aspiring and struggling writer- cum- cartoonist. On the contrary it probably revolutionized the alternative comic scene in Japan in those days that eventually made him a gekiga pioneer.

Tatsumi's unorthodox visual narrative is like a study in contradiction; it was simple but is actually ahead of his time. The focus and angles are like those that can be seen from the eyes of a master filmmaker; the drawings speak for themselves.

The plot and storytelling are light and direct to the point. Even the dramatic moments were handled and told in a straightforward manner and avoided the melodramatic traps.



In Black Blizzard, the protagonists, Susumu Yamada, a depressed pianist, and Shinpei Konta, a hardened criminal, are both accused of murder although under different circumstances but were forced to work together when fate suddenly gave them a chance to be free.

What turns out next was both ordinary and extraordinary. The choices that they have to make are grim and the struggle that goes with them can make one cringe. But the twist in the end will make us heave a sigh of relief.

The story was simple, short and sweet.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Pirate Latitudes


Found and published after the author's death. Pirate Latitudes is one swashbuckling read. As is always the case, Michael Crichton is a master of the pen; his works always enjoyable, enlightening and well- researched.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Bourne Objective



Eric Van Lustbader continues the Ludlum tradition and then some- mercenaries & assassins, mysterious organization, King Solomon's Gold, and of course, Leonid Danilovich Arkadin.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Morihei Ueshiba & Aikido



"Always keep your mind as bright and clear as the vast sky, the great ocean, and the highest peak, empty of all thoughts. Always keep your body filled with light and heat. Fill yourself with the power of wisdom and enlightenment."

-Morihei Ueshiba


video

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Damn Yankees: Katie Holmes & Tom Cruise

See TomKat purr and meow their way at the A Fine Romance Benefit gala for The Motion Picture and Television fund into the hearts of the fortunate audience who witnessed them perform "Whatever Lola Wants" from the musical Damn Yankees in Los Angeles.

Amid the surprise and laughs, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes proved that they are both game and natural performers whether it is on the stage or in film.

Did this number also show that whatever Katie Holmes wants from her hubby, she gets it?


Friday, January 8, 2010

Happy Birthday Elvis!



Among the names enshrined in the pantheon of music, there is only one name that stands out among the legends. Among the names etched in our memory, there is only one name that is never forgotten. And in the history of Rock and Roll, there is only one true King-

ELVIS

John Lennon summed it all up best, “Before Elvis, there was nothing.”


Friday, January 1, 2010

Cloud NINE

Despite the lousy box office showing and some critics bashing it to high heavens, I still loved

NINE.



Sorry folks but I fell in love with Marion Cotillard a long time ago and after watching this film I guess I can honestly say that I still am. She'll haunt you with her voice. She'll kill you with her eyes. She's just a beautiful presence on the screen.



The movie is not the best one that I have seen in years but I'll take it especially in this age of bad sequels and screw- up comedies. At least this is way better than The Love Guru or worse, The Hangover.

Fergie is a great revelation. Judi Dench is steady. Nicole Kidman is as luminous as ever. And Sophia Loren is just Sophia Loren.

Be Italian... Be Italian...




Daniel Day Lewis é meraviglioso. Marion Cotillard é fantastico..Kate Hudson é stupendo...





BUT




Penélope Cruz is just downright funny and fiery.

Excelente!




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