Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Episodes - DVD Review

        I admit that I’m behind in this series - just finishing the second season - but I have to say that Matt LeBlanc has come a long way from Friends and it’s good to see that he’s in a great comedy like Episodes.   

        The series is about a TV series that was adapted from two people from London, Sean and Beverly Lincoln.  In the first season, Matt, who plays himself, has already ruined the marriage of the Lincoln’s yet wants to make up for it by buying each of them a Mercedes.   Of course, they argue about accepting the car, which makes that scene as hilarious as others in the show. 

         John Panklow plays Merc Lapidus, the producer of the show who has problems due to the fact that the show has bad ratings.  He’s a foul mouth executive who seems just like Ari if you watched the series Entourage with Jeremy Piven.  Not a pleasant character by any means but since this is on cable TV, they can get away with his constant cursing since it can’t be done on Network TV. 

          In the meantime, Matt is having an affair with his wife, who is blind,  while Merc is having an affair with his assistant.  When Sean and Beverly find out about Matt’s affair, they yell at him and Matt’s reply is ‘I miss this.”  

          Being that this show is on Showtime, the writers have the advantage of being outrageous and pushing the comedy to unlimited means, such as Matt having an affair with his stalker.  Not sure that other actors or actresses would appreciate the humor considering the stories in the media regarding stalkers.   

           Of course, everything seems to be coming to a head during the finale.  Will Sean and Beverly get back together.  Will Merc find out his wife is having an affair with Matt.  Will the show make it to another season?   

            I really enjoy Episodes and have to say that it’s worth five stars.   

Ron Hummer

Tripwire - Book Review

         One thing that you can appreciate from a writer is is how he draws the mystery out.  In the case of TripWire, it’s something as simple as making you wonder if someone is alive or dead.    

         The person is Victor Hobie.  Reacher takes over an investigation by his mentor, Leon Garber.  An elderly couple to find out what happened to their son who died in a helicopter crash during the Vietnam War.  They can’t get any answers from the army.  If that isn’t enough, their son isn’t going to be honored by being on the Vietnam War.  

          The other part of the story is about Hook Hobie, a loan shark who wants to take over a business and will go by any means to do it once he has the owner of the company in his grasp.  Hobie is a man with a disfigured face and a hook for a right hand, making him a very scary character throughout the book.  

          Of course, there is a lot of action with Reacher and his new girlfriend, Jodie Garber, as they are caught in the crossfire of Hobie because he doesn’t want Reacher to investigate what happened in Vietnam.   This includes some gunplay and a car chase which brings out more tension in the book, beside a great romance between Reacher and Garber.   

           The book is more of a mystery rather than a action packed novel that Child has written such as Die Trying but I don’t mind since I enjoyed Running Blind, which was a great mystery as well.  Reacher thinks he has all the answers but you see the other side of him as he tries to deal with the issue that he may be wrong about what he things about Hobie.  All that makes the mystery even more intense as I turned the pages in this book. 

           There seemed to be some complaints about long drawn out descriptions or that the book was too tedious.  I really didn’t see that in this book.  Most of all, I was happy that even though Child could have shown his characters to be more brutal, he didn’t, leaving that to the imagination of the reader which I always appreciate.   

           This is Lee Child at his best and again, I’m happy to give it more than five stars.  Looking forward to reading Echo Burning soon.  

Ron Hummer 

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Three Days To Kill - DVD Review

          Kevin Costner’s back in Three Days To Kill, playing a CIA agent named Ethan Renner.  He’s dying of cancer and he only has a few months to live so he wants to reconnect with his daughter who he hasn’t seen for years.  

           Amber Heard plays Vivi Delay, a woman who may have the solutions She has a drug that that is in the experimental phase and could cure his disease.   Costner will have access to this drug on one condition - he must find the two men that he failed to kill on his last mission.  They are the Albino and the Wolf.  

           Much of the movie is based on a nice blend of action and comedy.  Costner looks fot thees two men by questioning other men.  He captures one man and while he is interrogating him in the bathroom, his daughter calls him and said she wasnt to make him dinner but doesn’t know hot to make the sause for the pasta.  Fortunately, the man that Ethan is questioning knows of a long lost family recepie.  

             The other part of the movie has Ethan trying to reconnect with his daughter.  It seems difficult along the way with Ethan buying his duaghter a bike that she doesn’t want because she doesn’t know how to riide one.  Of course, Ethan gets closer to her by teaching her to ride the bike. 

              I thought this was a good role for Costner.  Most of his movies don’t have that blend of comedy and action but this one was a great hit for me.   It seemed that many other critics didn’t like the blend since it came from Luc Besson, who did the Taken movies.  I didn’t see the confusion that other critics saw since the spy movie was a blend with a family divorce and a daughter who drew close to her father while learning to ride a bike or learning to dance before going to her prom. 

              Of course, this is the kind of movie that is fun and you can check your brain at the door.  Many of these movies get criticized because the plot is absurd and I can agree on that but all in all, it was a fun movie for me and I’m happy to give it five stars.  

Ron Hummer

Tigerlilly's Orchards by Ruth Rendell - Book Review

           This is the first book that I have read by Ruth Rendell.  I was attracted to the book due to the dynamic writing since the point of view would be with different characters.  It seemed like a dark comedy and a murder mystery to boot.  

            Getting into the book was another matter.  The main character for the book was Stuart Font, who was having an affair with a married woman named Claudia.  Her husband, Freddy, wasn’t happy about this.  He had her followed by a detective and he even bugged the computer where she was contacting Stuart by e-mail.  

              This lead to a violent confrontation at a party that Stuart was holding.  At the party were a variety of characters ranging from an alchollic, a hippie, and other types of characters, most of them with no redeeming values.  An example would be Sophie, who took advantage of an alcoholic named Olwen by stealing money from her ATM card without her knowing.  

              Much of the book was focused on Stuart, which included his obsession with an Asian woman named  Xue, who lived near one of his other friends named Duncan.  She took care of flowers along with other people, thus naming this book Tigerlilly’s Orchards.  

               Yes, there was a murder involved but that happened three quarters of the way into the book.  Even though the book was 257 pages, reading it felt like it was a lot longer.  The story was character driven at a very slow pace, much of it due to the fact that all the characters had some sort of side story that weighed the book down.  

                The murder was a surprise and I was even more surprised by who the killer was because I didn’t see any clues that led towards that person.  Maybe it was the slow pace of the story and the fact aht you had to follow all the side stories that the characters had throughout the story. 

                The last quarter of the book brought the story together but I really did not enjoy this book.  I’d still like to try other stories by Ruth Rendell but I can only give this book two stars.