Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll - Sitcom Review

The new FX comedy is out with Dennis Leary, taking a great title from rock and roll music and turning it into a sitcom.  Leary plays a rock star who was big at one time in the band called the Heatheans, only to be washed up years later because of too much drugs.

           Things change for Leary as he is reunited with his daughter at her request.  She has a proposal: write songs for me so I can be successful.  Leary, who is out of options on his life, decides that this is the best thing for him so he agrees to his daughter’s terms.  

           Part of the proposal with Leary is that he will have to get back to the band members.  Leary is worried about one member since he thinks that he will sleep with his daughter.  This is one of several conflicts that come up between the band members.  

            Leary seems great as a rock star, mentioning all the popular groups of the 70’s and 80’s such as The Rolling Stones and Pat Benatar.  Leary also feels that he can’t write songs for his daughter unless he’s high or drunk.  Leary’s daughter feels that he can write songs without being high or drunk.  

             Leary’s character doesn’t seem that believable to me since we have to rely on his knowledge of music, which comes from popular bands like the Rolling Stones, The Doors, or Pat Benatar.  If Leary wants to seem more believable to me and people of the 60’s to 80’s generation, then I would think he would have to mention other great bands such as Grateful Dead or Hot Tuna. 

              Leary’s daughter in the show plays a young rock star, taking on the role of getting the younger generation interested.  Explicit language in the show seems somewhat excessive but in the end, I felt that the characters pull off a goo job. 

              As far as a rating would go, I would give this show 4 stars. 

Phantom Instinct by Meg Gardiner - Book Review

       Phantom Instinct by Meg Gardiner is a great psychological thriller which focuses on two characters, Harper Flynn and Aiden Garrison.  One thing that makes this book a great thriller are the main characters, since the story builds around them, making them memorable. 

        The story starts out fast paced, with Harper Flynn working in a popular L.A. Club as a bartender.  This night would change her life and others as there men would invade the bar.  Shots would be fired, causing terror in the crowd.  As a result, Flynn’s boyfriend, Drew, is shot and killed.  

         Harper would try and rebuild her life a year later, only to find out that the third man involved in the shooting is still out there.  The police don’t buy her story and her only hope is that she can get Aiden Garrison to help her since he was the only other person who saw a third shooter that night at the club. 

          As Harper and Aiden go after the killer, they discover that this person is from Harper’s past, bringing a whole new character out in Harper that I didn’t expect.  The story only became even more intriguing for me when I learned about Aden Garrison’s traumatic brain injury, which was called Fregoli Syndrome.  

          This would more than help in developing the story further as Harper and Aiden go after the killer, only to find that the killer has a plan for both of them which would take the story to a new level.  I found myself on the edge of my couch as the story rocketed along, turning the pages over and over again, wondering what was going to happen to Harper and Aiden. 

          As a result, there were a lot of surprises in Phantom Instinct, which led to a great ending that was more than exciting.   This book was considered a great summer read by Oprah.  Once I read Phantom Instinct, I understood the reasons why and I would be happy to rate this book more than five stars. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

City Hunter - South Korean Drama

      If you’re into a action packed martial arts drama with romance and comedy, then you may be interested in watching City Hunter, which is on Hulu.  It’s a 20 part series that takes place in South Korea.  

      The show begins when the South Korean President is visiting Burma along with some delegates.  A bomb explodes, killing some of the delegates.  South Korean officials want to strike back so they create a covert operation called the sweep mission called Operation Cleansweep.  The five men who plan this mission would send send a team of 21 men into North Korea to kill some of their delegates.  This team would be led by Lee Jin-pyo and Park Moo-yul.  

        At the last minute, the five officials decide to abort their plan because they’re concerned that the United States will withdraw their nuclear protection if the mission is made public.  When the mission is aborted, the officials decide that the men must be killed as well.  All the men would be killed by snipers except Lee Jin-pyo - also known as the General - who is saved by Park as he sacrificed his life.  

        Lee wants revenge on the men who killed his comrades so he would kidnap Park Moo-yul’s infant son, go to the Golden Triangle, and raise the child as his own and train him in the martial arts.  He would name Park’s son Lee Yoon-sung.  

         This is the plot which leads to City Hunter as Lee Yoon-sung grows up, looking to help Lee with his revenge on the 5 men who betrayed him.  The conflict though is that Lee Yoon-sung does not want to kill the men.  Instead, since the five men hold high levels of position in the government, Lee feels that he wants to bring them to jail for their corruption of the government.   In order for Lee to do this, he would have a secret identity as City Hunter.  

           Lee is also becoming involved with a woman named Kim Na Na, creating further conflict as the General doesn’t want to risk Lee revealing his identity to her.  This creates even more battles as Lee will have to use his martial arts skills to protect Kim Na na from the 5 men in the government as well as the General, who has his own agenda for the 5 men that ordered him to be killed. 

            There are some attempts at humor with other characters in the story as well as Kim Na-Na, since she is in a love hate relationship with Lee Yoon sung, who is a player in the drama as well.  Not knowing the truth about being kidnapped creates more tension between the General and Lee, especially when Lee wants to know what happened to his mother.  

             The conflict of Lee not wanting to kill the five men in office is intriguing, especially when he says that he doesn’t want to kill the men because he would never be the same again.  This conflict for Lee would be difficult to continue since the General is determined to have his own revenge, even if it means killing Lee in the process.  

              The drama is slow moving in the beginning until it picks up in the middle of the story.  As far as the ending goes, my feeling was that it was flat and unexpected, bringing it down a star for me.  Still, with all the martial arts action and the conflict and romance in City Hunter, I would still give it 4 stars.  

Underwater by Julia McDermott

If you’re into reading a story that is purely character driven, then this would be a book to read since the conflict is between two characters, Candice Morgan, a wealthy entrepreneur, and her brother Monty. Much of the conflict is based on the death of their mother, which has driven a wedge between the two, causing them to blame each other for their mother’s death since it happened during a car accident which involved all of these characters. 

Julie McDermott does a great job of portraying Candace as a business woman, covering all the bases that include what a business goes through with social media. It creates a great conflict with Julie and Monty since there is a lot at stake for Candace if she loses her business. 

The book works well as a page turner since Monty is portrayed as a vile character to say the least. He is the type of character that will cause the reader to grind their teeth, shake their head, and even throw something against the wall, hoping that Monty will face the worst kind of death at the very end of the story. 

Underwater does have problems though since the point of view switches to different characters in the story. At times, I lost count and it does make the book harder to follow since there are a lot of characters introduced during the story, which makes it more difficult since you may not remember the roles the characters play in the story. 

In addition, Monty is a vile character and there may be times when you might question if he is a believable character. Since this is a story about a dysfunctional relationship based on manipulation and guilt, I had to wonder many times if Monty’s character was a little too overwhelming to be believed and if Candice was believable in her reactions to Monty, especially towards the end of the story.
As far as the ending was concerned, I had to wonder in the back of my mind if that was close to believable since it involved Monty and his wife. The climax leading up to it was riveting but the ending just left me shaking my head even more. With all this said, I would give this book 3 stars.