Tuesday, April 24, 2012


I liked this book written by Stephen King. Jake Epping is a 35-year-old English teacher in Lisbon Falls, Maine, who makes extra money teaching GED classes. He asks his students to write about an event that changed their lives, and one essay blows him away – a gruesome, harrowing story about the night more than 50 years ago when Harry Dunning’s father came home and killed his mother, his sister, and his brother with a sledgehammer. Not much later his friend Al, who owns the local diner, divulges a secret: his storeroom is a portal to the past, a particular day in 1958. And Al enlists Jake to take over the mission that has become his obsession – to prevent the Kennedy assassination.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Jack and Jill (2011)

This is a solid movie. Advertising executive Jack Sadelstein (Adam Sandler) lives in Los Angeles with his beautiful wife Erin (Katie Holmes) and two kids. Jack is not very fond of his fraternal twin sister Jill (also played by Adam Sandler) and is irritated that she is coming to visit for Thanksgiving. Jill is still single and Jack suggests that she try online dating even though she has very little experience with a computer. Her profile initially is ignored, but then Jack posts a misleading message about her on a different website and soon she is asked out on her first date. Later, at a Lakers game, Jill meets Al Pacino and he instantly falls for her.

Enemy of the State (1998)

This is a solid movie. Congressman Phil Hammersley remains firmly opposed to passage of new legislation that dramatically expands the surveillance powers of law enforcement agencies. To ensure the bill's passage, National Security Agency official Thomas Reynolds (Jon Voight) kills Hammersley, but he is unaware of a video camera set up by wildlife researcher Daniel Zavitz that has captured the entire incident. While being chased by the NSA, Daniel sees old college friend and labor lawyer Robert Clayton Dean (Will Smith) in a lingerie store and sticks the computer disc containing a copy of the video into his shopping bag.

A 2009 episode of PBS' Nova titled "Spy Factory" reports that the film's portrayal of the NSA’s capabilities is fiction.

Green Lantern (2011)

This is a solid movie. A group of beings called the Guardians of the Universe used the green essence of willpower to create an intergalactic police force called the Green Lantern Corps. After killing four Green Lanterns and destroying three planets, Parallax attacks Sector 2814 and mortally wounds Abin Sur, who escapes and crash-lands on Earth. The dying Abin Sur commands his ring to find a worthy successor on the planet. Test pilot Hal Jordan (Ryan Reynolds) is chosen by the ring and transported to the crash site, where Abin Sur appoints him a Green Lantern.

Six Flags debuted two roller coasters named Green Lantern at Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, New Jersey, and Magic Mountain in Valencia, California, in 2011 to coincide with the film's release.

Clash of the Titans (2010)

This is a noteworthy movie. In ancient times, the gods led by Zeus (Liam Neeson), Poseidon and Hades betrayed their parents, the Titans, and banished them to the underworld with the help of the Kraken, a sea monster born of Hades. Fisherman Spyros finds a casket floating in the sea containing a still living baby. He and his wife adopt the boy and name him Perseus. Years later, Perseus (Sam Worthington) is fishing with his family and witnesses soldiers destroying a statue of Zeus and subsequently being attacked by the Furies. As the Cult of Hades grows in number, a desperate Cepheus asks Perseus to lead the King's Guard to discover a way to kill the Kraken.

This is a remake of the 1981 British film starring Harry Hamlin and Laurence Olivier. A sequel, Wrath of the Titans, was released on March 30, 2012.

Guilty Wives

This is an okay book co-written by James Patterson and David Ellis. Only minutes after Abbie Elliot and her three best friends step off of a private helicopter, they enter the most luxurious, sumptuous, sensually pampering hotel they have ever been to. For four days in Monte Carlo they're free to live someone else's life. As the weekend brings pulsating discos, high-stakes casinos, and more, Abbie is transported to the greatest pleasure and release she has ever known. In the morning’s harsh light, Abbie awakens on a yacht, surrounded by police. Abbie, Winnie, Serena, and Bryah are arrested and accused of the foulest crime imaginable.


This is an okay book written by Harlan Coben. 17-year-old Haley McWaid is a good girl, the pride of her suburban New Jersey family, and headed off to college next year with all the hopes and dreams her doting parents can pin on her. Which is why, when her mother wakes one morning to find that Haley never came home the night before and three months quickly pass without word from the girl, the community assumes the worst. Wendy Tynes is a reporter on a mission: to bring down sexual predators via elaborate – and nationally televised – sting operations. Wendy and her team have shamed dozens of men by the time she encounters her latest target.

Con Air (1997)

This is a solid movie. Former Army Ranger Cameron Poe (Nicolas Cage) is sentenced to a maximum-security federal prison to serve a 12-year term for killing a man who tried to assault him and his pregnant wife. During this time, he communicates with his wife and new daughter through letters and pictures. After eight years he is released on good behavior, and is excited for the chance to finally meet his daughter. He is put on an aircraft to be sent home, along with several dangerous criminals who are being transferred. During the flight mastermind Cyrus "The Virus" Grissom (John Malkovich) decides that the prisoners should hijack the airplane.

The title is based on the nickname for the Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System. After the September 11, 2001 attacks, when the Federal Aviation Administration grounded all civilian air service, JPATS was the only non-military air service allowed to continue flying in U.S. airspace. Some of the filming took place in Salt Lake City and at the Wendover Airport. The old wartime bomber base in Wendover was used for the aircraft boneyard scenes with the original swimming pool at the base. On August 29, 1996, Phillip Swartz, a welder, was crushed to death in Wendover when a static model of the C-123 fell on him. Another filming location included Ogden Airport in Utah where the exchange of prisoners is seen.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Hancock (2008)

This is a solid movie. John Hancock (Will Smith) is an alcoholic man with super powers and though he has rescued many people, his reckless approach makes him unpopular. When public relations spokesperson Ray Embrey (Jason Bateman) is driving home after an unsuccessful sales pitch he becomes trapped on railroad tracks with an oncoming freight train. Hancock saves him but causes a lot of property damage in the process and a crowd of people start to insult him. Ray speaks up and says he is thankful to be alive, and then offers to help improve Hancock's public image so that more people will appreciate his abilities.

Smith was suspended by wires 60 feet above the ground and propelled at 40–50 miles per hour. Film producers Akiva Goldsman and Michael Mann appear as executives listening to Ray's pitch. For scenes in liquor stores, fake labels were used for the bottles because some real companies refused to lend their names. The film had the third-biggest opening 4th of July weekend after Transformers and Spider-Man 2.

Death Benefit

This is an okay book written by Robin Cook. Pia Grazdani is an exceptional yet aloof medical student working closely with Columbia University Medical Center’s premier scientist on cutting edge research that could revolutionize health care by creating replacement organs for critically ill patients. Through her work with the brilliant molecular geneticist Dr. Tobias Rothman, Pia knows she will be given the chance to fulfill her ambition to participate in medical discoveries that can help millions while bringing her a measure of personal peace that might once and for all push aside memories of her difficult and abusive childhood. But when tragedy strikes in the lab, Pia, with the help of infatuated classmate George Wilson, launches an investigation into the unforeseen calamity in the hospital’s supposedly secure biosafety lab.

Cowboys & Aliens (2011)

This is an okay movie. In 1873 Arizona Territory, Jake Lonergan (Daniel Craig) wakes up in the desert injured, with no memory, and a strange metal shackle on his wrist. After killing three drifters who try to rob him, he takes their clothes, weapons and a horse. He wanders into the small town of Absolution, where the local preacher treats his wound. Sheriff Taggart recognizes the stranger as a wanted outlaw. Colonel Woodrow Dolarhyde (Harrison Ford) arrives and demands he be given custody of Jake for stealing his gold. During the standoff, alien craft begin attacking the town. Several men decide to go in search of the aliens’ hideout.

The film is based on the 2006 graphic novel created by Scott Mitchell Rosenberg. Ford had previously acted in three Western films: A Time for Killing (1967), Journey To Shiloh (1969) and The Frisco Kid (1979). The aliens were loosely based on the Anunnaki gods of Zecharia Sitchin's interpretation of the Babylonian religion, who have a distinct interest in gold. The heads of the aliens were based on those of sea turtles. The technological difference between the humans and aliens has been compared to the Europeans' advanced military technology against the Native American tribes. John Wayne's grandson Brendan appears as Charlie Lyle, deputy to the town's sheriff.

Underworld (2003)

This is a solid movie. A secret war has raged between vampires and Lycan werewolves for centuries. Vampire Selene (Kate Beckinsale) is hoping for revenge because the Lycans killed her family when she was a child. Selene follows the Lycans back to their den and learns that they have developed a new bullet that can kill vampires. She realizes that the Lycans have been tracking a human named Michael Corvin (Scott Speedman) and wants to find out why. She believes that her fellow vampire Kraven is involved in a secret conspiracy and she decides to awaken the hibernating elder vampire Viktor many years sooner than planned.

A copyright infringement lawsuit was filed and given a confidential settlement because of similarities with Vampire: The Masquerade and Werewolf: The Apocalypse role-playing games and also the Sonja Blue vampire novels. Three other films have been released in the series.

X-Men: First Class (2011)

This is a solid movie. At a World War II concentration camp in 1944, scientist Dr. Klaus Schmidt orders young Erik Lensherr to move a coin with his mind, but then kills the child's mother when he is unable to. At a mansion in New York, young telepath Charles Xavier meets young shape-shifter Raven and invites her to stay as his foster sister. Eighteen years later, Lensherr is tracking down Schmidt, while Xavier (James McAvoy) is graduating from Oxford University. Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), with an ability to absorb and redirect energy, intends to start World War III, destroy the humans, and trigger mutant dominance.

This is the 5th film in the series. This was the first English language film for Spanish actor Álex González who played Riptide, a mutant with the ability to create powerful whirlwinds. Jekyll Island, off the coast of the state of Georgia, was used during filming. The 1960s setting was inspired by the James Bond films of that era. Visual effects were done by six companies. The mirrored nuclear reactor scene where Magneto battles Shaw was influenced by the mirror maze fight in Enter the Dragon (1973). The naval battle was almost entirely digital. The British pop group Take That provided the official song, "Love Love."

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Mirror Mirror (2012)

This is an okay movie. After getting re-married to Queen Clementianna (Julia Roberts), the King leaves to fight a great evil and never turns. Snow White (Lily Collins) remains with her step mother who can't stand her and often forces her to stay in her room. The baker convinces Snow White that she should go out into the village and see the poor conditions of the people. In the forest, she meets Prince Andrew Alcott who had been attacked and tied up by the dwarfs. The Queen devises a plan to marry the prince so she can be wealthy again. Snow White teams up with the seven dwarfs to regain her rightful authority with the crown.

Kill Me if You Can

This is an okay book co-written by James Patterson and Marshall Karp. Matthew Bannon, a poor art student living in New York City, finds a duffel bag filled with diamonds during a chaotic attack at Grand Central Station. Plans for a worry-free life with his gorgeous girlfriend, Katherine fill his thoughts—until he realizes that he is being hunted. Chasing him is the Ghost, the world’s greatest assassin, who has just pulled off the most high-profile hit: killing Walter Zelvas, a top member of the international diamond syndicate. There’s only one small problem. The diamonds he was supposed to retrieve from Zelvas are missing. Now the Ghost is on Bannon’s trail – but so is a rival assassin who would like nothing more than to make the Ghost disappear forever.

Smokey and the Bandit (1977)

This is an okay movie. Legendary driver Bo "Bandit" Darville (Burt Reynolds) and his truck driver friend Cledus "Snowman" Snow are hired to move 400 cases of Coors beer from Texarkana, Texas, to Georgia, at a time when it was illegal to cross state lines with the drink. During the trip, Bandit picks up runaway bride Carrie (Sally Field). The groom's father is Texas Sheriff Buford T. Justice who chases after Bandit in an effort to stop him. Bandit receives help from other truck drivers who communicate with him through CB radios. The sheriff becomes increasingly angry as his police car is damaged through various mishaps.

The film was the fourth highest-grossing of 1977 and there are two sequels. Texarkana, Texas, is located in a dry county and Coors was not legally sold there, and the trip is actually only 1260 miles. The movie was filmed primarily in Georgia in the cities of McDonough, Jonesboro, and Lithonia. The film made use of four modified black 1977 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am "Special Editions." The bridge, though no longer used for traffic, was still intact prior to filming. The middle section was demolished specifically for the jumping stunt. The Bandit Run is a reenactment of the journey portrayed in the film. The first reenactment took place on May 15, 2007 and has become an annual event.

The Rope

I liked this book written by Nevada Barr. 35-years-old, fresh off the bus from New York City, and nursing a shattered heart, Anna Pigeon takes a decidedly unglamorous job as a seasonal employee of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. On her day off, she goes hiking into the park never to return. Her co-workers think she’s simply moved on – her cabin is cleaned out and her things gone. Anna herself wakes up, trapped at the bottom of a dry natural well, naked, without supplies and no clear memory of how she got into this situation. As she slowly pieces together her memory, it soon becomes clear that someone has trapped her there, in an inescapable prison, and that no one knows she is even missing.

This is the 17th novel in the series.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Seven Up

This is an okay book written by Janet Evanovich. All New Jersey bounty hunter Stephanie Plum has to do is bring in semi-retired bail jumper Eddie DeChooch. For an old man he’s still got a knack for slipping out of sight – and raising hell. How else can Stephanie explain the bullet-ridden corpse in Eddie’s garden? Who else would have a clue as to why two of Stephanie’s friends suddenly vanished? For answers Stephanie has the devil to pay: her mentor, Ranger. The deal? He’ll give Stephanie all the help she needs – if she gives him everything he wants. As if things weren’t complicated enough, Stephanie’s just discovered her Grandma Mazur’s own unmentionable alliance with Eddie.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

This is an okay movie. In 1845, James Howlett discovers his mutated bone claws after witnessing the death of a man he believed to be his father. He and his half-brother Victor Creed (Liev Schreiber) spend the next century fighting in wars. Major William Stryker approaches them and offers membership into Team X, a group of mutants. James (Hugh Jackman) leaves the group after disagreements with their actions. Six years later, Victor murders James’ girlfriend Kayla. Stryker tells him that the only way he can get revenge on Victor is to undergo an operation to have his skeleton reinforced with an indestructible metal.

This is the fourth installment in the film series. The film was mostly shot in Australia and New Zealand. A July 26, 2013 release date has been set for the sequel. Jackman worked with Schreiber before, in the 2001 comedy Kate & Leopold.

Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)

This is a noteworthy movie. The Autobots assist the United States military in preventing conflicts around the globe. During a mission to Chernobyl, to investigate suspected alien technology, Optimus Prime finds a fuel cell from the Ark, discovering that it had survived its journey from Cybertron. The Autobots are attacked by Shockwave, who manages to escape. Sam Witwicky (Shia LaBeouf) is frustrated that he is unable to work with the Autobots and is failing to find a job. He also becomes envious of the close relationship between his new girlfriend, Carly Spencer, and her boss Dylan Gould (Patrick Dempsey). The Decepticons unveil a plan to enslave Humanity and bring back Cybertron.

This is the third film in the series. The story is set three years after the events of the second film. The film is currently the fourth highest-grossing of all time, the highest grossing film in the series, and the tenth film to gross over $1 billion. A sequel to the film, directed once again by Michael Bay, is scheduled for release in June 2014. Sentinel Prime was voiced by Leonard Nimoy who also did the voice of Galvatron in the 1986 animated film The Transformers: The Movie. Filming in Gary, Indiana, was used to portray Ukraine. A steel cable snapped and injured an extra in the film and left her permanently brain-damaged, paralyzed on her left side with her left eye stitched shut.

Dr. Seuss' The Lorax (2012)

This is a solid movie. 12-year-old Ted Wiggins (Zac Efron) lives in Thneed-Ville, a walled in city where everything is artificial, including the trees. He has a crush on an older girl named Audrey (Taylor Swift) who wishes for a real tree. After talking with his grandmother, Ted decides to leave the city and visit the Once-ler who knows what happened to all of the trees. Many years ago the man discovered that by harvesting trees he could make a popular item to sell. His business became very successful, but soon all the trees were gone and he closed the shop. He has waited for the day when he will be able to pass on the secret of the trees to a willing listener.

The film is based on the 45-page children's book written by Dr. Seuss in 1971. The movie was released on the author's birthday. This had the biggest opening for a feature film adaptation of a book by Dr. Seuss. It also scored the third-best debut for a film opening in March, and the eighth-best of all time for an animated film.

The Pelican Brief (1993)

This is a solid movie. After two Supreme Court justices are assassinated, law student Darby Shaw (Julia Roberts) realizes the only connection between the men are their rulings on the environment. She writes a legal brief explaining her theory that greed is involved and shows it to her law professor lover. He gives a copy of the paper to his friend in the FBI and then dies in a car bomb. She realizes that her idea must be accurate and reaches out to reporter Gray Grantham (Denzel Washington).

The film is based on the 1992 thriller written by John Grisham.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Four to Score

This is an okay book written by Janet Evanovich. The unflappable, fashion-savvy bounty hunter Stephanie Plum returns to action when her bondsman cousin hires her to haul in waitress-gone-bad, Maxine Nowicki. With her unruly sidekicks, transvestite rock musician Sally Sweet, ex-hooker and wannabe bounty hunter Lula, and crazy Grandma Mazur, Stephanie braves hot Jersey streets and endless threats to track down the fleeing felon. Stephanie figures apprehending Nowicki will be easy money, but she couldn’t be more wrong.

Thor (2011)

This is a solid movie. Odin's son Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is prepared to ascend to the throne, but the ceremony is interrupted by the Frost Giants who were able to bypass security. In revenge he visits their land and starts a fight. Odin becomes upset that he would upset the relationship between the two groups and he banishes Thor to Earth and temporarily prevents him from using his powerful hammer. Astrophysicist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) finds him in the desert and decides to help him. Thor's adopted brother Loki becomes the new king and he sends a robot to Earth to kill Thor.

The film is based on the comic book character. A sequel, set for release November 15, 2013, is in development. Stan Lee has a cameo appearance as a truck driver. The first television advertisement was broadcast during Super Bowl XLV. An animated direct-to-video film called Thor: Tales of Asgard was also released.


This is an okay book written by Patricia Cornwell. Leaving behind her private forensic pathology practice in Charleston, South Carolina, Kay Scarpetta takes up an assignment in New York City, where the NYPD has asked her to examine an injured patient on Bellevue Hospital’s psychiatric prison ward. The handcuffed and chained patient, Oscar Bane, has specifically asked for her, and when she literally has her gloved hands on him, he beings to talk – and the story he has to tell turns out to be one of the most bizarre she has ever heard. The injuries, he says, were sustained in the course of a murder…that he did not commit. Is Bane a criminally insane stalker who has fixed on Scarpetta? Or is his paranoid tale true, and it is he who is being spied on, followed and stalked by the actual killer?

This is the 16th novel in the series.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011)

This is a solid movie. Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) is brought before King George II, who wants him to guide an expedition to the Fountain of Youth before the Spanish locate it. Heading the expedition is Jack's old nemesis, Captain Hector Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush), now a privateer in service to the Royal Navy after losing his leg and ship, the Black Pearl. Jack learns his former lover Angelica, daughter of the ruthless pirate Blackbeard, has been impersonating him. Jack is taken aboard Blackbeard's ship, the Queen Anne's Revenge, and forced to lead the way to the Fountain.

This is the fourth film in the series and is based on the 1987 novel written by Tim Powers. Three other actors from the previous films returned, Kevin McNally as Joshamee Gibbs, Greg Ellis as Lt. Theodore Groves, and Damian O'Hare as Lt. Gilette. Keith Richards also had a cameo, reprising his role as Captain Teague. During filming, Penélope Cruz discovered she was pregnant by her husband Javier Bardem. Her sister Mónica Cruz doubled for her in some of the scenes. Casting for mermaids required the actresses to have natural breasts—no implants. The film's score was written by Hans Zimmer.

Immortals (2011)

This is an okay movie. The mortal Hyperion (Mickey Rourke) is pillaging villages with his army as they try to locate the powerful Epirus Bow and unleash the Titans. Zeus tells the other gods that they should allow the humans to resolve the war on their own. The enslaved Theseus (Henry Cavill) escapes with the oracle Phaedra. Poseidon purposefully falls from Olympus into the ocean, causing a tidal wave that wipes out Hyperion's men. Theseus discovers the Epirus Bow embedded in nearby rock and frees it. Theseus kills Minotaur, but then he collapses from the poisoned scratches.

The film is loosely based on the Greek myths of Theseus and the Minotaur and the War of the Titans.

Fearless Fourteen

This is an okay book written by Janet Evanovich. Dom Rizzi robbed a bank, stashed the money, and did the time. His family couldn't be more proud. He always was the smart one. Joe Morelli, Dom Rizzi, and Dom’s sister, Loretta, are cousins. Morelli is a cop, Rizzi robs banks, and Loretta is a single mother waiting tables at the firehouse. The all-American family. Less than a week after Dom’s release from prison, Joe Morelli has shadowy figures breaking into his house and dying in his basement. He’s getting threatening messages, Loretta is kidnapped, and Dom is missing.