Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Last Passenger - DVD Review

       The Last Passenger is a movie that takes place in London.  The movie centers around five passengers who are on a train that is taken over by a warped driver who has plans to send the train on a runaway trip to their death.  

       Much of the movie focused on the father son, Lewis and Max, as Lewis seems to meet a woman on the train that is attracted to him.  The suspense of the movie is built on these characters as someone takes over the train.  

       There doesn’t seem to be much of a plot to this movie since I didn’t understand why this person took over the train to begin with.  No explanation was made in the movie since no one was actually able to communicate with the driver.  

        You could say that the suspense of the movie was the fear that the passengers were feeling as the train sped along, not stopping at any stops at a run away speed.  The only hope was to find a way to stop the train so no one would get killed.  

        As far as the characters were concerned, they weren’t developed very well throughout the movie.  Other than some moments with the father and son, the characters seemed to lack any chemistry and their reactions to being trapped on the train seemed unbelievable at times.   

        As the movie sped along to the end, I would say that it did seem predictable.  I can’t give this movie more than two stars.  

Ron Hummer 

The Preacher by Camilla Lackberg - Book Review

        Patrik Englund is back to solve another mystery in Camilla Lackberg’s second novel in the series, The Preacher.  The subplot involves his wife, Ericka, who is married to him now and pregnant, offers some comic relief to the murders in this story. 

       The murder scene seems complex.  A woman is murdered and there are two skeletons under the body, making Patrick wonder how they got there and if there is a connection in the murder.  The police chief is there, offering his usual inappropriate comments.  

       Unfortunately, there are a lot of other people in the book and their point of views are included as well.  I would say that there were so many that I lost count, whether it was other police officers, the police chief, and the murder suspects.  

        Yes, there were some humorous moments in the book such as the mail order bride that the police chief got involved with as well as Ericka’s family who would spend so much time with her that she would go crazy and spill food all over them. 

        While there were a lot of comic moments in the book, I would say that it was difficult to keep up with all the characters due to the constant changing of points of view throughout the story.  It certainly took away from the mystery and the answers to who the killer was.  

         The book would have been easier to follow if there point of view were limited. If that were the case, the story would have been easier to follow.  Have to give this book two stars as a result.  

Ron Hummer

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Gone Girl - Movie Review

          After reading the book Gone Girl, I was anxious to see what the movie would be like.  I know that on one hand, I read the book and have an idea what was going to happen but that has happened with other movies that I saw after reading a book.  

           It’s hard for me to remember the book since I read it before the movie came so that usually doesn’t deter me from seeing the movie.   Since this movie had an alternate ending, I thought that it would be interesting to see if that would improve the movie and make it even better. 

           My reaction after seeing this movie is that I was very disappointed.  There were times that I felt guilty for even recommending it to my wife since she didn’t read the book.  You would think that Hollywood couldn’t botch a movie that was based on a book like Gone Girl but I just shook my head by the time it was over and apologized to my wife for taking her to see this movie. 

           It was good that on one hand, the producers did not change the movie around except for the ending.  But the movie seemed to take on a very dark tone with the music as well as well as some of the sex scenes, which were not very good and seemed like it was out of a campy horror movie, making me wonder if Jason was going to walk in like he did in the Friday the 13th movies.  

           What made the movie even worse for me was the murder scene that Amy was involved in.  It was more than over done with so much blood that I just couldn’t help but turn away.  I did not think there was any reason for the producers of the film to do that.  It was one of the worst scenes that I saw and it again ranked up there with a horror movies that I saw in the 80’s that I would like to forget.  

            As far as the alternate ending was concerned, it was worse than the one in the book.  You could see from the movie that Amy’s story had flaws in it and there was no reason why the producers could work on an alternate ending that would go after the flaws in her story.  I realize that these were the same flaws in the book but seeing it in the movie just made it more obvious for me. 

            Not much that you could say for the performances of the Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, who seemed to just go through the motions throughout the movie.  I think Pike’s performance could have been much better if the producers looked to Sharon Stone’s performance in Basic Instinct, which was a similar role that Pike took on.   

             My feeling is that if you haven’t read the book, then don’t see the movie.  If you read the book, then don’t see the movie.  I will give it two stars.  

Ron Hummer 

Witchling by Yasmine Galenorn

Here is another story about the modern magic underworld with the D’Artigo sisters. You have Camille, the main character, who has magic powers that seem to go on the fritz at times. Then there is Deliah, who can shape shift into a cat for example when she is upset. And finally, you have Menolly, who is considered part of the evil underworld since she is a vampire. 

Other than the fact that this is a story about three sisters, I guess you would say that there is no relation to the hit TV series that I really enjoyed called Charmed. The sisters in this case work for the OIA otherwise known as the Otherworld Intelligence Agency. Their job is to make sure that evil monsters don’t invade earth through the portal that is part of the Wayfarer inn. One of these groups is called Shadow Wing. 

As a story, it seems like a murder mystery in the beginning since there is a murder but as the book moves along, it’s not based on clues or finding out who the killer is. That seems evident in the story and the three sisters have to battle evil monsters in order to make sure that this doesn’t happen again. 

I think my biggest complaint about this book is that there are just too many characters, whether it be the monsters, or the men that Camille seems to be interested in. It becomes hard to follow when there are at least three men that she is interested in and two of them seem to be at odds with each other and the third one is just joining in at the end. Again, these men have powers as well which make the story even harder to follow as it moves a long. 

You can say that there is a lot of suspense though since there are a lot of battles with these monsters. It’s hard to say what the outcome will be and in some cases, it’s not always predictable since there are casualties. That helped to move the story along in any case. 

As the first book in the series, I would say that this book is better than other books that have been written by other women who write in this genre. I would have gone to five stars if there wasn’t so many characters but in any case, I’ll still give this book four stars. 

Ron Hummer