Sunday, March 17, 2013

MOVIE - Oz the Great and Powerful

PG (2:07)
Wide release 3/8/13
saw it at ElCon with Sheila on Tuesday 3/12/13
RT Critic: 61  Audience: 69
Cag: The more I got into it, the more it grew on me, 4-Liked it quite a bit
Directed by Sam Raimi
Walt Disney Pictures

Actors:  James Franco, Michelle Williams, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weiss

Rotten Tomato Synopsis:  When Oscar Diggs (James Franco), a small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz, he thinks he's hit the jackpot-fame and fortune are his for the taking-that is until he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone's been expecting. Reluctantly drawn into the epic problems facing the Land of Oz and its inhabitants, Oscar must find out who is good and who is evil before it is too late. Putting his magical arts to use through illusion, ingenuity-and even a bit of wizardry-Oscar transforms himself not only into the great wizard but into a better man as well. When small-time magician Oscar Diggs (James Franco) pulls one flimflam too many, he finds himself hurled into the fantastical Land of Oz where he must somehow transform himself into the great wizard-and just maybe into a better man as well

My comments:  It started out a little slowly at first, but as I got into the movie and story I really liked the way it paralleled the original and used the same characters and premises, just fleshing them out.  Yay, munchkins! The reality vs. animation worked really well, the makeup was excellent.  Boy those three actresses are gorgeous!  I adore James Franco in anything, and don't agree with the naysayers about his role in this particular movie.  Sure, maybe it could have been cast a bit better, but he pulled it off quite least, good enough for me!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

8. Let the Devil Sleep - John Verdon

Dave Guerney #3
2012, Crown Publishers
Murder Mystery for Adults
Finished March 10, 2013
Goodreads Rating: 3.80
My rating:  4/ Liked it a lot
Acquired: TPPL
Setting: Upstate New York, end of winter/beginning of spring
First Sentence/s: "She had to be stopped.  Hints had not worked.  Subtle nudges had been ignored.  Firmer action was called for.  Something dramatic and unmistakable, accompanied  by a clear explanation."

My Comments:  It took me awhile to get through this, but I had a lot going on and very little time to read. Another good tale from a cracker-jack storyteller. I love the wonderful words he uses, very upper-end vocabulary, which might actually be off-putting to some readers. I actually had some insight to solving the crime (but not the WHO part) way earlier on than in his first two books, but the resolution was still very satisfying. Great author - hope he's fast at work on another Dave Guerney. I need more insight into the relationship Dave has with his wife, Madeline -- I can't quite get a handle on it...

There's one passage that I loved...Guerney is talking to his difficult sort-of-friend, a curmudgeon cop who helps him out once in awhile - begrudgingly.  
"Gurney though back to the request he'd made that morning.  'The first one being the history of Mr. Meese-Montague?'"     'Actually, Mr. Montague-Meese, but more about that anon.'     'Anon?'     'Yeah, anon.  It means "soon."  One of William Shakespeare's favortie words.  Whenever he meant "soon," he said "anon."  I'm expanding my vocabulary so I can speak with greater confidence to intellectual dicks like you.'"
And here's another that made me think...and exemplifies the kind of writing that you discover, once-in-awhile, in Verdon's writing:
     "How bland the morning felt --- in the way that mornings often felt bland, unthreatening, uncomplicated.  Each morning --- assuming that some minimal intervention of sleep had demarcated it from the day before --- created the illusion of a new beginning, a kind of freedom from the past.  Humans, it seemed, were truly diurnal creatures, not simply in the sense of being non-nocturnal but in the sense of being designed for living one day at a time --- one separated day at a time. Uninterrupted consciousness could tear a man to pieces.  No wonder the CIA used sleep deprivation as a torture.  A mere seventy-two hours of uninterrupted living --- seeing, hearing, feeling, thinking --- could make a man wish he were dead." 

Goodreads Review:  The most decorated homicide detective in NYPD history, Dave Gurney is still trying to adjust to his life of quasi-retirement in upstate New York when a young woman who is producing a documentary on a notorious murder spree seeks his counsel.  Soon after, Gurney begins feeling threatened: a razor-sharp hunting arrow lands in his yard, and he narrowly escapes serious injury in a booby-trapped basement.  As things grow more bizarre, he finds himself reexamining the case of The Good Shepherd, which ten years before involved a series of roadside shootings and a rage-against-the-rich manifesto.  The killings ceased, and a cult of analysis grew up around the case with a consensus opinion that no one would dream of challenging  -- no one, that is, but Dave Gurney.  

Mocked even by some who’d been his supporters in previous investigations, Dave realizes that the killer is too clever to ever be found.  The only gambit that may make sense is also the most dangerous – to make himself a target and get the killer to come to him.

To survive, Gurney must rely on three allies: his beloved wife Madeleine, impressively intuitive and a beacon of light in the gathering darkness; his de-facto investigative “partner” Jack Hardwick, always ready to spit in authority’s face but wily when it counts; and his son Kyle, who has come back into Gurney’s life with surprising force, love and loyalty