Thursday, September 27, 2012

As the Crow Flies

This is an okay book written by Craig Johnson. Wyoming Sheriff Walt Longmire has a more important matter on his mind than cowboys and criminals. His daughter, Cady, is getting married to his undersheriff Victoria Moretti’s brother. Walt and old friend Henry Standing Bear are the de facto wedding planners and fear Cady’s wrath when the wedding locale arrangements go up in smoke two weeks before the big event. The pair set out to find a new site for the nuptials on the Cheyenne Reservation, but their scouting expedition ends in horror as they witness a young Crow woman plummeting from Painted Warrior’s majestic cliffs.

This is the 9th novel in the series. The A&E TV series Longmire, based on Johnson's novels, premiered on June 3, 2012. Longmire debuted as A&E's #1 original-series premiere of all time with 4.1 million total viewers.

Wrath of the Titans (2012)

This is a solid movie. Ten years after defeating the Kraken, Perseus (Sam Worthington), the demigod son of Zeus (Liam Neeson), now lives as a fisherman with his 10-year-old son, Helius and has been widowed by the death of Io. One night, Perseus is visited by Zeus, who tells him that the powers of the gods are fading and the walls of the underworld prison of Tartarus are breaking due to the lack of devotion from humans. Afterwards, Zeus travels to Tartarus to meet with his brothers Hades and Poseidon, and his son Ares. Hades tells Zeus that he is still furious with him for his banishment to the Underworld after he helped conquer the Titans, and is not interested in helping Zeus.

This is the sequel to the 2010 film Clash of the Titans. Some of the filming took place on location in Surrey, South Wales and in the Canary Islands on the island of Tenerife.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Kindle version of my book

The Kindle edition of my book Serket's Movies: Commentary and Trivia on 444 Movies is now available for $9.99!

A Wanted Man

This is an okay book written by Lee Child. Four people in a car, hoping to make Chicago by morning. One man driving, eyes on the road. Another man next to him, telling stories that don’t add up. A woman in the back, silent and worried. And next to her, a huge man with a broken nose, hitching a ride east to Virginia. An hour behind them, a man lies stabbed to death in an old pumping station. He was seen going in with two others, but he never came out. He has been executed, the knife work professional, the killers vanished. Within minutes, the police are notified.

This is the 17th novel in the series.

Three to Get Deadly

This is an okay book written by Janet Evanovich. Cursed with a disastrous new hair color and unable to shake Lula – a 230-pound former prostitute and bounty hunter wannabe – Stephanie must find Mo Bedemier, Trenton’s most beloved citizen, before it’s too late. With the body count rising, Stephanie struggles to stay one clue ahead of gun-toting drug dealers.

Trickster’s Point

This is an okay book written by William Krueger. Cork O’Connor is sitting in the shadow of a towering monolith known as Trickster’s Point, deep in the Minnesota wilderness. With him is Jubal Little, who is favored to become the first Native American elected governor of Minnesota, and who is slowly dying with an arrow through his heart. Although the men have been bow hunting, a long-standing tradition among these two friends, this is no hunting accident. The arrow turns out to be one of Cork’s, and he becomes the primary suspect in the murder. He understands full well that he’s been set up.

This is the 12th novel in the series.

Red Tails (2012)

This is a solid movie based on true events. In 1944, after enduring racism throughout their recruitment and training in the Tuskegee training program, young African American USAAF fighter pilots are finally sent into combat in Italy, flying worn-out Curtiss P-40 Warhawk aircraft and assigned to simple jobs shooting trains and enemy ground transport. Col. A.J. Bullard (Terrence Howard) convinces the military bureaucracy to allow his fighters to escort the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bombers, but only on the condition that his unit be supplied with the new North American P-51 Mustangs.

In researching the film, Lucasfilm invited some of the surviving Tuskegee Airmen to Skywalker Ranch, where they were interviewed about their experiences during World War II. While shooting in the Czech Republic, the actors underwent a boot camp program, during which they lived in similar conditions to the actual Tuskegee Airmen. In order to achieve a realistic reaction, actors were flown in actual P-51 Mustangs at the Planes of Fame in Chino, California, to experience the forces involved in dogfighting. In April 2009, Tuskegee Airman Lt. Col. Lee A. Archer Jr. was hired as an advisor. He died in 2010 while the film was in post-production and the final credits bear a tribute to him.

The Last Victim

This is an okay book written by Karen Robards. Dr. Charlotte Stone sees what others do not. A sought-after expert in criminal pathology, Charlie regularly sits face-to-face with madmen. Charlie desires little else from life – no doubt because when she was sixteen, she herself survived a serial killer’s bloodbath: a man murdered the family of Charlie’s best friend, Holly, then left the girl’s body on a seaside boardwalk one week later. Because of the information Charlie gave police, the Boardwalk Killer went underground. She kept to herself her eerie postmortem visions of Holly and her mother.

Bones are Forever

This is an okay book written by Kathy Reichs. Forensic anthropologist Tempe Brennan is faced with one of her most difficult assignments yet when she’s asked to assist in a case involving the mysterious deaths of three babies. Making matters even more difficult for her is that she’s forced to team up with her one-time boyfriend Detective Ryan on the case. As the investigation takes them from the heart of Montreal to the mining town of Yellowknife, the two discover a truth about the deaths more shocking than they could have imagined.

This is the 15th novel in the series.


This is an okay book written by James Rollins. Galilee, 1025. A cunning Templar knight uncovers a holy treasure: the Bachal Isu – the staff of Jesus Christ – a priceless icon that holds a mysterious and terrifying power that will forever change humanity if unleashed. A millennium later, Somali pirates hijack a yacht off the coast of the Horn of Africa, kidnapping a young pregnant American woman and brutally killing her husband. Painter Crowe and his SIGMA team are enlisted for the top secret rescue mission. The kidnapped woman is Amanda Gant-Bennett, the daughter of U.S. president James Gant.

This is the 8th novel in the SIGMA Force series.

Project X (2012)

This is an okay movie. In North Pasadena, California, high school students Costa (Oliver Cooper) and J.B. plan to throw a party for their friend Thomas Kub's birthday, with the aim to increase their popularity with their peers. Thomas's parents go away for the weekend, leaving him alone in the house, but warn him not to have too many people over. Thomas (played by Thomas Mann) is reluctant to have the party at his house, but Costa continues with his plan. As the number of people who come over continues to rise, Costa admits that he placed ads on Craigslist and told a local radio station. After a few hours the crowd grows too big and rowdy and the party spills out into the street, causing the police to arrive to try and stop it.

This is British-Iranian director Nima Nourizadeh's feature film debut. The title was initially just a placeholder, but interest generated by the secretive title kept it in place. The film is presented as a home video. Following release, incidents of large scale parties referenced or blamed the film as an inspiration. Mann had previously acted in the film It's Kind of a Funny Story (2010). Alexis Knapp's character required nudity for a sex scene and she was initially uncomfortable with the idea due to the moral implications. Dax Flame, who plays the character holding a video camera and is rarely shown, was discovered through his personal Youtube video blog. During filming, Burbank police were called to the set concerning noise complaints made by nearby residents.

One for the Money (2012)

This is an okay movie. Stephanie Plum (Katherine Heigl) is out of work and out of money, so in desperation she blackmails her disreputable cousin Vinnie, owner of Vinnie's Bail Bonds, for a job. She immediately becomes a bail enforcement agent, despite having no training. Her first assignment is to track down Joe Morelli, a former vice cop who is wanted for murder. He is the same man who took her virginity at a bakery when she was a teenager. In the process she seeks out the mysterious and handsome Ranger for advice on capturing fugitives who have failed to appear in court.

The film was adapted from the 1994 novel written by Janet Evanovich. The film was universally panned by critics and flopped at the box office, not even recouping its $40 million budget. Despite the poor reception, Evanovich was delighted with how the movie turned out and stated that she would now envision Heigl as Stephanie Plum when writing the character. The film was shot in the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Area of Pennsylvania.

Calico Joe

This is an okay book written by John Grisham. In the summer of 1973 Joe Castle was the boy wonder of baseball, the greatest rookie anyone had ever seen. The kid from Calico Rock, Arkansas, dazzled Cubs fans as he hit home run after home run, politely tipping his hat to the crowd as he shattered all rookie records. Calico Joe quickly became the idol of every baseball fan in America, including Paul Tracey, the young son of a hard-partying and hard-throwing Mets pitcher. On the day that Warren Tracey finally faced Calico Joe, Paul was in the stands, rooting for his idol but also for his dad. Then Warren threw a fastball that would change their lives forever.

Grisham once dreamed of a career as a professional baseball player for the St. Louis Cardinals. The novel is inspired by the real life story of Ray Chapman, the only professional baseball player killed by a pitch.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

Stay Close

This is an okay book written by Harlan Coben. Megan is a suburban soccer mom who once upon a time walked on the wild side. Now she's got two kids, a perfect husband, a picket fence, and a growing sense of dissatisfaction. Ray used to be a talented documentary photographer, but at age forty he finds himself in a dead-end job posing as a paparazzo, pandering to celebrity-obsessed rich kids. Broome is a detective who can’t let go of a cold case – a local husband and father who disappeared seventeen years ago – and spends the anniversary every year visiting a house frozen in time, the missing man’s family still waiting, his slippers left by the recliner as if he might show up at any moment to step into them.

New Year’s Eve (2011)

This is an imperfect-but-creditable movie. Vice-President of the Times Square Alliance Claire Morgan (Hilary Swank) is making the final arrangements for the ball drop when one of the billboard lights malfunctions, jamming the ball. Ahern Records secretary Ingrid (Michelle Pfeiffer) quits her job and offers the courier Paul tickets for the Masquerade Ball if he helps her complete a series of New Year's resolutions before midnight. Comic book illustrator Randy (Ashton Kutcher) gets stuck in an elevator with aspiring singer Elise who will be providing back-up for a show in Times Square.

Back Fire

This is an okay book written by Catherine Coulter. San Francisco judge Ramsey Hunt, longtime friend to FBI agents Lacey Sherlock and Dillon Savich, begins the murder trial of Clive and Cindy Cahill only to have federal prosecutor Mickey O’Rourke, known for his relentless, aggressive style, suddenly turn tentative and distracted. Hunt suspects that something is very wrong – and then O’Rourke goes missing and Judge Hunt gets shot in the back. Savich and Sherlock receive news of the attack as a mysterious note is delivered to Savich at the Hoover Building: FOR WHAT YOU DID YOU DESERVE THIS. Who sent the note? What does it mean?

This is the 16th novel in the series.

Back of Beyond

This is an okay book written by C.J. Box. Cody Hoyt, although a brilliant cop, is an alcoholic struggling with two months of sobriety when his friend Hank Winters is found burned to death in a remote mountain cabin. At first it looks like the suicide of a man who’s fallen off the wagon, but Cody knows Hank better than that. As Cody takes a closer look at the scene of his friend’s death, it becomes apparent that someone murdered him and tried to make it seem like something else. After years of bad behavior with his department, he’s in no position to be investigation a homicide, but Cody will stop at nothing to find his friend’s killer.

Istanbul Passage

This is an okay book written by Joseph Kanon. A neutral city straddling Europe and Asia, Istanbul has spent World War II as a magnet for refugees and spies. Even American businessman Leon Bauer has been drawn into this shadow world, doing undercover odd jobs and courier runs for the Allied war effort. Now as the espionage community beings to pack up and an apprehensive city prepares for the grim realities of post-war life, he is given one more assignment, a routine job that goes fatally wrong, plunging him into a tangle of intrigue and moral confusion.

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

This is a solid movie. Wayne Enterprises is nearly bankrupt after investing in board member Miranda Tate's clean energy project, designed to harness fusion power. Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) had become a recluse, but is convinced by Detective John Blake that he needs to come back. Bane attacks a stock exchange and bankrupts any remaining assets Bruce had. Cat burglar Selina Kyle (Anne Hathaway) leads Batman into a trap with Bane and he is taken to a foreign prison where it's nearly impossible to escape. Bane traps most of Gotham's police underground, releases the prisoners from Blackgate Penitentiary, and plans to detonate a fusion bomb.

This is the final film of a trilogy. The story was based on Bane's comic book debut in the 1993 Knightfall storyline, the 1986 series The Dark Knight Returns, and the 1999 storyline No Man's Land. This movie is currently the twelfth highest-grossing film of all time and the second-highest-grossing film of 2012. Bane's mask supplies him with an analgesic gas to relieve pain from an injury to his face. Several members of the Pittsburgh Steelers make cameo appearances as members of the fictional Gotham Rogues football team. Senator Patrick Leahy returned for another cameo appearance. On July 20, 2012, during a midnight showing of the film in Aurora, Colorado, gunman James E. Holmes, wearing a gas mask opened fire inside the theater, killing twelve people and injuring 58 others.

Judgment Call

This is an okay book written by J.A. Jance. When Joanna Brady’s daughter, Jenny, stumbles across the body of her high school principal, Debra Highsmith, in the desert, the Cochise County sheriff’s personal and professional worlds collide. Though she’s tried to protect her children from the dangers of the grown-up world, the search for justice leads straight to her own door and forces her to face the possibility that her beloved daughter may be less perfect than she seems. Yet the deeper Joanna digs, the more complications she uncovers. It seems the quiet, upstanding principal had a hidden past, full of mysterious secrets she’s successfully kept buried for years.

This is the 15th novel in the Joanna Brady series.

Think Twice

This is an okay book written by Lisa Scottoline. On the run from drug dealers, Alice Connelly spikes her twin sister Bennie’s drink in an attempt to steal her identity and money. The plan works perfectly, and Bennie is left to explain her situation to the police. When her pleas fall on deaf ears, she teams up with another one of Alice’s victims to reclaim her identity.

This is the 13th novel in the Rosato & Associates series.

Memorial Day (2011)

This is a solid movie. During a game of hide and seek 13-year-old Kyle Vogel finds a World War II footlocker belonging to his grandfather stored away in a shed. His grandpa (James Cromwell) is initially reluctant to talk about the war, but Kyle keeps pressing him on it until he agrees to share the stories behind three items. Several years later, Kyle (Jonathan Bennett) joins the National Guard and reflects on his conversations with his grandfather while recuperating from injuries suffered fighting in Iraq.

The Storm

This is an okay book co-written by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown. After a NUMA research vessel is attacked in the Indian Ocean by a mysterious swarm of black particles, Kurt Austin and Joe Zavala are on their way. What they will find there on the smoldering hulk of the ship will eventually lead them to the discovery of the most audacious scheme they have ever known.

This is the 10th novel in The NUMA Files series.

The Risk Agent

This is an okay book written by Ridley Pearson. A Chinese national working for an American-owned construction company is grabbed off the streets of Shanghai in broad daylight. His one-man security detail goes missing as well. Rutherford Risk, the company’s international security contractor, specializes in negotiation for and recovery of kidnapped hostages. Private investigation is illegal in today’s China. Operating within her borders is difficult at best: complex political situations and corrupt individuals combined with the intricacies of Chinese culture make such work anything but straightforward.