Friday, September 26, 2014

Dead Drop - DVD Review

           Dead Drop is a movie about a man named Dwight - played by Cole Hauser - who is in a plane and falls out over 3,000 feet but somehow lives.  The reason for the drop is because he is a CIA operative turned government contractor who has infiltrated a Mexican drug gang and the leader discovered that he may be an agent.  

           After Dwight is out of the plane, the next scene has him in a hospital and his boss has said that she wants him off the case.  Not good enough for Dwight.  He wants to get back in the gang so he can get revenge on the leader that nearly killed him.  

            Yes, the story is easy to predict from there.  Dwight is going back in the gang to get his ex-girlfriend and at the same time, he will be in constant gunfights with the men who are protecting their leader.  It seems predictable to say that Dwight will find the leader and have some more gunfights before we are satisfied with a predictable plot and ending to this movie.  

             In between the predictable plot and ending is the constant showing of Dwight falling out of the airplane.  Must have happened at least 10 times but I wasn’t counting.  It got to the point where it happened so many times that it was annoying and a good reason to stop watching this movie.  

             No memorable characters in this movie.  No fight scenes for action lovers. Just lots of gunplay and most of it was predictable.  You could say that one part of it wasn’t predictable but the character that was supposed to be part of the CIA didn’t make much sense in the movie as well. 

              This movie seemed to lack everything to me.  It lacked memorable characters as well as suspense and a plot.  The only thing it had going for it was that you knew what was going to happen next most of the time.  Even though there was one time that something happened that was unexpected, it wasn’t worth thinking about since that didn’t seem to work well with the movie.  

              If anything, this movie will lack stars for me as well.  I can’t give it more than one star.  It goes to show you that you can’t even trust the coming attractions of the movie since that part was played over in the movie several times.  

Ron Hummer 

The Girl With A Clock For A Heart by Peter Swanson - Book Review

The Girl With A Clock For A Heart is a psychological thriller that is character driven, mainly by Liana Dector, who is a Femme Fatale type character in the book. Her victim in this case is George Foss, an ex-lover from their days in college. 

The story moves based on the present and the past. In the present, George is helping Liana with a problem that she has with another ex-lover that she was involved with. The past is when George met Liana while they were going to school and the problems that developed between the two while they were dating. 
The story moves along based on Liana, who is someone that you can’t trust. On the surface, she seems like a pleasant person but her actions towards George and other characters in the story make you wonder if she is telling the truth at any time in the story. This helps her in making her to be a very powerful and memorable character in the story. 

George seems to want to go along with anything that Liana wants, even when it drives him into further trouble with other characters that he is meeting such as Jenks, who seemed like Ray Liotta. In fact, there is a reference to the movie Something Wild and how Liana feels about changing her personality in the story. 
I liked the way the author brought the story about George and Liana’s days in college, especially with the music from the Grateful Dead. Then there were other characters that helped in seeing the type of character that Liana was as the story moved along. She drove the story because you never knew what was going to happen next. 

If you’re a fan of Bruno Fischer like I am, there are great parallels in the story since he wrote several psychological thrillers with Femme Fatale characters such as So Wicked My Love and The Lady Kills. I would say that Liana character is more powerful in this story than Fischer’s story since those characters actions weren’t hidden in any way. You could say that that was the reason that Fischer’s stories were more predictable than Peter Swanson’s book. 

As far as the ending goes, I could see that many people were unhappy with it. It was an open type ending that didn’t satisfy the reader since we hoped for a lot more since we invested time in reading the book. It’s not the first time I’ve seen endings like this one. One other author that comes to mind in leaving open endings like this would be Robert Ludlum. 

To me, the story would be spoiled if the ending was unbelievable like it was in Gone Girl. Then again, I can think of an ending for The Girl With A Clock For A Heart that would be much worse than the way Peter Swanson ended his book. 

Here would be my alternate ending that would want to make me throw the book against the wall. How would you feel if George woke up at the end of the story and you found out that all this was a dream? Or better yet, what if you thought that all this was in George’s head and none of this happened. 
If you think about this, then there was a book that had this type of ending. That would be Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane. I was very disappointed in the ending and a friend told me that he saw the movie without reading the book and was very angry about the ending as well. I would say that I have run into people who disagree with me on this. 

So much for endings. I’m happy to give this book five stars and would read more books by Peter Swanson.  

Ron Hummer 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Non-Stop New York - Noir Review

          This movie takes place in 1938 and if you saw the preview on Netflix, you would need to know that it’s misleading.  The movie is not about a hi-jacking on a plane.  Yes, a plane gets hijacked but that’s during the last 10 minutes of the movie.  

           The story before that stars Anna Lee, who plays Jennie Carr.  She goes home with a lawyer named Billy Cooper for dinner only to find that a mobster has invaded the room and Lee is escorted out of the home.  A homeless man remains hidden in the terrace.  

            The Cooper tells Hugo Grant, the mobster, that he will not be involved with him anymore.  Grant would shoot Cooper and leave his home, leaving the homeless man to be accused of the murder. 

             The suspense of the movie is based on Anna being a witness to the crime.  She has to appear at the trial of the homeless man because if she doesn’t, then the man will be put to death.  Grant’s men will try and stop Anna from testifying, making the movie more suspenseful.  

              You could say that Grant seems like a shady and scary character throughout the movie.   Not much of a performance by Lee, who just seems to drift along throughout the movie.   John Loder has top billing in the movie as Inspector Jim Grant even though he’s only in the movie for about 20 minutes.  

               Not much suspense at the end with the hijacking of this plane that is built like a boat.  Hard to believe that this plane could actually fly.  No reason to give this movie more than two stars.  

Ron Hummer 

Bloody Secrets by Caroline Garcia-Aguilera - Book Review

         In Bloody Secrets, Luis Delgado is a Cuban refugee who arrives in Miami on a raft.   His plan is to get the money back that belongs to him from Miguel and Teresa de la Torre, a rich family who also arrived in Miami on a raft a few years ago.  

           Once Delgado arrives, he meets a man who attempts to kill him.  Delgado stops the man and tells him that he won’t kill him as long as he tells Miguel and Teresa that his attempt to kill him was successful.  

            Now in hiding, Delgado wants Lupe Solano to investigate Miguel and Teresa and find a way to get his money back from them.  After some consideration, Solano agrees to take the case.  

            Much of the suspense in the story for me was wondering why Solano wanted to take the case.  Delgado doesn’t seem like a man that you could trust and could be dangerous yet Solano wants to help him get the money back.  

             In addition, the book moves with some humorous moments when Solano is taking other cases such as following a man to see if he is having an affair.  Her goal was to get some pictures of the man with the woman.    

              Other moments included her assistant, Leonado, who spends time in the office fumigating Solano’s office after Luis leaves since he smokes cigars.  If he’s not doing that, he’s growing pot in Solano’s yard.

               Like her other novels in this series, Carolina blends the story with some history about Castro and the feelings that characters have in the story towards the dictator such as her father.  It is a learning experience for me since I do not know much about the feelings that the Cuban community has towards Castro and it makes the book more interesting.  

               There is a mystery added as well with some murders during the story and Solano manages to solve the mystery since it was a surprise as to who the killer was.  

Lupe Solano is a fun character in the story who would be considered feisty and funny with a lot of sass.  She does make this mystery very entertaining.  

                Other than that, I thought the pace of the story was slow and there were times that the suspense wasn’t there for me.  All in all, I enjoyed the story enough to give it four stars and want to continue to read this series.  

Ron Hummer