Sunday, December 23, 2012

Poseidon’s Arrow

This is an okay book co-written by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler. It is the greatest advance in American technology in decades – an attack submarine capable of incredible underwater speeds. Nothing else in any other nation’s naval arsenal even comes close. There is only one problem: a key element of the prototype is missing – and the man who developed it is dead. At the same time, ships have started vanishing mid-ocean, usually never to be found again, but when they are, sometimes bodies are found aboard burned to a crisp. What is going on?

This is the 22nd novel in the series.

The Last Man

This is an okay book written by Vince Flynn. Joe Rickman, head of CIA clandestine operations in Afghanistan, has been kidnapped and his four bodyguards executed in cold blood. But Mitch Rapp’s experience and nose for the truth make him wonder if something even more sinister isn’t afoot. Irene Kennedy, director of the CIA, has dispatched him to Afghanistan to find Rickman at all costs. Rapp, however, isn’t the only one looking for Rickman. The FBI is too, and it quickly becomes apparent that they’re less concerned with finding Rickman than placing the blame on Rapp.

This is the 14th novel in the series.


This is an okay book co-written by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge. All over the world, brutal attacks are crippling entire cities. Jackson Oz, a young biologist, watches the escalating events with an increasing sense of dread. When he witnesses a coordinated lion ambush in Africa, the enormity of the violence to come becomes terrifyingly clear. With the help of French ecologist Chloe Tousignant, Oz races to warn world leaders before it's too late. The attacks are growing in ferocity, cunning, and planning, and soon there will be no place left for humans to hide.

This is Patterson’s ninth novel to include Ledwidge as a co-author.

Dark Shadows (2012)

This is an okay movie. In 1760, Joshua and Naomi Collins, with young son Barnabas, set sail from Liverpool, England to start a new life in America. Sixteen years pass and Barnabas (Johnny Depp) has the world at his feet -- or at least the town of Collinsport, Maine. The master of Collinwood Manor, Barnabas is rich, powerful and an inveterate playboy until he makes the grave mistake of breaking the heart of Angelique Bouchard (Eva Green). A witch, in every sense of the word, Angelique dooms him to a fate worse than death: turning him into a vampire and then burying him alive. Two centuries later, Barnabas is inadvertently freed from his tomb and emerges into the very changed world of 1972.

The film is based on the gothic soap opera that ran between 1966 and 1971. This marks Richard D. Zanuck's last film as a producer; he died on July 13, 2012 (two months after its release). It also featured the final appearance of original series actor Jonathan Frid, who died on April 14, 2012. He shared a cameo in the movie with former co-stars Kathryn Leigh Scott, David Selby, and Lara Parker. Victoria Winters and Maggie Evans' roles, separate in the series, were combined in the film, with Maggie choosing to adopt the name of Victoria. The film was scored by long-time Burton collaborator Danny Elfman.

Merry Christmas, Alex Cross

This is an okay book written by James Patterson. It’s a snowy Christmas Eve, and Detective Alex Cross is at home celebrating with his family. Nana Mama’s famous pecan pie is in the oven, and the kids are hanging their favorite ornaments on the tree. Just as Alex’s wife emerges from the kitchen with a bowl of homemade eggnog, his phone rings with news that shatters the night: at a nearby home, a family has been taken hostage – and the situation is spiraling out of control fast. Alex rushes to the scene and confronts the unthinkable: a father is threatening to murder his children and ex-wife.

This is the 19th book in the series.

The Black Box

This is an okay book written by Michael Connelly. Harry Bosch first encountered Anneke Jespersen in a dark alleyway. She'd been shot, execution-style, on one of the most notorious nights in Los Angeles history, a night when the city burned and the police protected no one. Anneke carried a journalist’s credentials, and Bosch assumed she had come to the center of the riots in search of a story. In the wake of the smoke and chaos, his investigation was reassigned and went nowhere. Jespersen’s murder was never solved. Nearing the 20th anniversary of the riots, the Open-Unsolved Unit is tasked with clearing cases from that era.

This is the 18th novel in the series.

Last to Die

This is an okay book written by Tess Gerritsen. For the second time in his short life, Teddy Clock has survived a massacre. Two years ago, he barely escaped when his entire family was slaughtered. Now, at fourteen, in a hideous echo of the past, Teddy is the lone survivor of his foster family's mass murder. Orphaned once more, the traumatized teenager has nowhere to turn—until the Boston PD puts detective Jane Rizzoli on the case. Determined to protect this young man, Jane discovers that what seemed like a coincidence is instead just one horrifying part of a relentless killer’s merciless mission.

The author’s real first name is Terry. This is the 10th novel in the series.

The Tombs

This is an okay book co-written by Clive Cussler and Thomas Perry. Husband-and-wife team Sam and Remi Fargo are intrigued when an archaeologist friend requests their help excavating a top secret historical site. What they find will set them on a hunt for a prize greater than they could ever imagine. The clues point to the hidden tomb of Attila the Hun, the High King who was reportedly buried with a vast fortune of gold and jewels. The Fargos find themselves pitted against a group of treasure hunters, a cunning Russian businessman, and a ruthless Hungarian.

This is the fourth novel in the series.

Alvin and the Chipmunks 3: Chipwrecked (2011)

This is an okay movie. Dave Seville (Jason Lee) takes the Chipmunks and Chipettes on a cruise ship. Dave notices that his old boss, Ian Hawke is working as a safety monitor on the cruise. Alvin goes parasailing on a kite and he flies away with the other chipmunks. Dave and Ian grab onto a hang glider to chase them and everyone ends up on an island. The chipmunks go in search of food and discover an island castaway named Zoe (Jenny Slate). They go to her tree house and Simon gets bitten by a spider, altering his personality and inhibitions. She later confesses that she came to the island in search of a hidden treasure.

The movie featured one of Carnival's newest and biggest cruise ships, Carnival Dream. The external shots and interior stateroom suite were filmed during a 7-day Caribbean cruise. This is the only film in the trilogy with a G rating.

Live By Night

This is an okay book written by Dennis Lehane. Prohibition has given rise to an endless network of underground distilleries, speakeasies, gangsters, and corrupt cops. Joe Coughlin, the youngest son of a prominent Boston police captain, has long since turned his back on his strict and proper upbringing. Now having graduated from a childhood of petty theft to a career in the pay of the city’s most fearsome mobsters, Joe enjoys the spoils, thrills, and notoriety of being an outlaw. But life on the dark side carries a heavy price.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Racketeer

This is an okay book written by John Grisham. Who is the Racketeer? And what does he have to do with the judge’s untimely demise? His name, for the moment, is Malcolm Bannister. Job status? Former attorney. Current residence? The Federal Prison Camp near Frostburg, Maryland. On paper, Malcolm’s situation isn’t looking too good these days, but he’s got an ace up his sleeve. He knows who killed Judge Fawcett, and he knows why. The judge’s body was found in his remote lakeside cabin. There was no forced entry, no struggle, just two dead bodies: Judge Fawcett and his young secretary.

The Line Between Here and Gone

This is an okay book written by Andrea Kane. Each day is a struggle for Amanda Gleason’s newborn son as he battles a rare immune deficiency. Justin’s best chance for a cure lies with his father, who was brutally murdered before Amanda even realized she carried his child. Or was he? One emailed photo changes everything, planting a seed of doubt that Amanda latches on to for dear life: a recent photo of a man who looks exactly like Paul. Could Justin’s father be alive? The mother in her is desperate to find out. But tracking down a ghost when every second counts is not for amateurs.

This is the second Forensic Instincts novel.

Confessions of a Murder Suspect

This is an okay book co-written by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro. On the night Malcolm and Maud Angel are murdered, their daughter, Tandy, is one of the last people to see her powerful parents alive. Tandy and her brothers are the only suspects, and as she begins to remember flashes of disturbing past events, she’s forced to ask this question: what is the Angel family truly capable of?

The Cutting Edge

This is an okay book written by Linda Howard. Can love survive the ultimate test? Brett Rutland, Carter Engineering’s top troubleshooter, is sent to the L.A. office to crack a case of embezzlement. Brett’s a hard man, so it hit him like a sledgehammer when he fell in love with Tessa Conway. Half the men in the office had been in love with her for years, but Brett was the first she’d loved in return. Their love is perfect, too perfect to last. And when Brett discovers the identity of the embezzler, his whole world is about to come crashing down.

The Ideal Man

This is an okay book written by Julie Garwood. Dr. Ellie Sullivan has just completed her residency at a large urban hospital. While jogging in a park nearby, she witnesses the shooting of an FBI agent in pursuit of wanted criminals, a couple identified as the Landrys. The only person to see the shooter’s face, Ellie is suddenly at the center of a criminal investigation. Agent Max Daniels takes over the Landry case. A no-nonsense lawman, he’s definitely not the ideal man that Ellie has always imagined, yet she’s attracted to him in a way she can’t explain.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012)

This is an okay movie. In 1818, plantation owner Jack Barts attacks Nancy Lincoln and she dies shortly afterwards. Nine years later, a vengeful Abraham Lincoln (Benjamin Walker) attacks Barts at the docks, but is shocked to discover that he is a vampire. Henry Sturges (Dominic Cooper) rescues Lincoln and then teaches him the skills to be a hunter. Lincoln is sent to Springfield, Illinois and gets a job as a shopkeeper where he meets his future wife, Mary Todd. Sturges writes him letters telling him who the evil vampires are and how to kill them. But all Lincoln really wants to do is get revenge on Barts.

The film is based on the 2010 novel written by Seth Grahame-Smith. The movie was screened to over 1800 sailors aboard the Navy aircraft carrier, USS Abraham Lincoln, which is stationed in the Middle East.