Wednesday, December 18, 2013
But it is such a delight when it's true, and with Hope Clark it is so true. She's not only the founder of FundsforWriters, one of the best writing newsletters out there (if you're not subscribed and you want to be a writer, get subscribed, it's that important), but also someone I have interviewed for years in The Writer's Chatroom, a mentor, and a friend. And she has written two fantastic thrillers, the second even better than the first.
Hope Clark is smart, clever, savvy, and sassy - a fireball of a writer, and her protagonist, Carolina Slade is just like her. "Biologically I could be her mother, in a Loretta Lynn kind of way." That is one of my favorite lines from the book. This is the kind of snark and sass that Slade is all about. She's a southern belle spitfire with a dash of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, and I love it.
TIDEWATER WATER in one sitting, just as I did with its predecessor, LOWCOUNTRY BRIBE, something I rarely do, but I could not put it down. They are both such smooth and pleasurable reads, while being tense rides as well. Clark has the same sort of style as Stephen King, a prose that compels you to keep reading.
This is not praise I hand out easily, I am not a mystery guy. And as much as I liked LOWCOUNTRY BRIBE, I dug the second book even more. I would not have believed it was possible, but it is. I am waiting with baited breath for the next in the series.
And if you'd like to know the true story behind LOWCOUNTRY BRIBE, and how Hope met Mr. Clark, you need to check out "Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dating Game." You can get it on Amazon here.
I will be interviewing Hope at The Writer's Chatroom on Sunday evening, December 29th, so please come on by then and join in on the discussion. Details can be found here.
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
The Dumpsta Players Present "PRISONER ON PASSYUNK AVENUE"
The Date: Wednesday, DECEMBER 18, 2013
The Time: Doors open at 10 PM, show time is 11 PM sharp! 21+ $1.99 cover!
The Place: Bob and Barbara's, 1509 South Street, Philadelphia PA
PATTY & PETEY PONZIO VS. BROOKLYN FOOD BULLIES… ZZ TOP VS. FOOD BLOGGER JULIA SLUTWIG… MUST BE JELLY CAUSE JAM DON'T SHAKE… +2012 DUMPSTA AWARDS & HIGHLIGHTS!
Daughter Francesca swears she can sell lots of her new rap record to pay off their debts in time for Christmas, but Brooklyn restauranteur, Kunthy Twat and her shallow banjo playing hubby, Dylan Douche, have the nerve and cash to gobble up all the businesses on Passyunk Avenue.
But wait! Is that Texan Blues rockers ZZ Top I see? What are they doing on Passyunk Avenue? And what does notorious Foodadelphia blogger, Julia Slutwig write in her make or break review of The Ponzio's restaurant?
Eat a hoagie, buy some pizzelles but don't burn down Palumbo's in - “PRISONER ON PASSYUNK AVENUE!”
A portion of proceeds from this event benefit, Philabundance, driving hunger from our communities.
Check out The Dumpsta Players on Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and on their own website.
Thursday, December 12, 2013
We begin moments after the end of our last episode as Central City CSI intern Barry Allen has been recruited by the Arrow team to save Oliver from an unknown drug he was injected with after getting his ass handed to him by the not-yet-Solomon-Grundy Cyrus Gold. Barry gets right to work. Rat poison sure has some interesting uses, doesn't it? Oliver is none too happy Barry knows his secret when he wakes up.
Shado warns Oliver to put down the bow, take off her father's hood, and stop fighting - or everyone he loves will die. Even though Thea questions Oliver on who he's talking to, indicating there was no one there, we jump back to flashback island. Apparently, after obtaining the super-soldier serum, Ivo gave Oliver a choice - he could kill Shado or Sara or both. I think we know who he chose. Or do we? Ultimately he doesn't choose, and Shado dies at Ivo's hand.
Speaking of the Speedy Gang, while watching, I finally remembered where I know Sin from. She's Bex Taylor-Klaus, the best thing about the last season of "The Killing," and pretty much the only reason to have watched. I like her, and hope we see a lot more of her.
Brother Blood sics Cyrus Gold on the Starling City police. It's a trap set up by Blood and his plant in the department. In the middle of the episode as I watch Gold beating on Lance, I wonder if this might be the death rumored. As much as I would miss Paul Blackthorne, it would give Laurel a bit more angst, and almost seem fitting - after all, it would be a doomed Earth-Two character taken out by a major Earth-Two villain (Larry Lance and Solomon Grundy).
Oliver's second ghost is Slade Wilson, who shows up in the Arrowcave where the two fight, smashing everything except miraculously the blood test Barry is running. The results? Oliver is clean. If he's hallucinating, it's in his head, not in his blood. Hmmm... we did always know he was a sociopath, maybe Oliver is a psychopath too.
Oliver's third ghost is Tommy, telling him he's not going to die, that he's going to fight. He's telling him what he's going to do. The tumblers click into place. If Tommy is the ghost of the future, and Shado perhaps represents sins of the past, does that put Slade in the present? Does that mean Deathstroke is alive in the present?
Tommy's appearance occurs after Roy is kidnapped and injected with serum by Brother Blood. When Arrow arrives there's a rematch with Gold, in which the villain gets doused with chemicals in derivative Two-Face style. Props to the "Arrow" folks for being unpredictable, but come on, I think we all wanted to see him thrown in a swamp not turned into yet another Batman reference.
The end of the episode is one of beginnings. It seems I was right on target (sorry, Arrow pun) with Slade Wilson. He's alive, and looking much more like his comics counterpart. And he's running Brother Blood. Looks like these Teen Titans villains stick together. And Barry left Oliver a present, finally a mask.
And Barry? He went home to Central City just in time (so unlike him) to see the particle accelerator blow up. Seconds afterward he's struck by lightning in his lab with a plethora of chemicals splashing on him. Sound familiar? Yeah, we've just seen the origin of the Flash. And was that Linda Park on the TV reporting the particle accelerator story?
There's no solid date for when the Flash pilot airs or when the series begins as of yet. They are apparently still casting for Iris West and someone referred to as Detective West, so it's a ways off. "Arrow" however returns on January 15th. See you in the New Year.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
The Die Hard we all know and love, starring Bruce Willis, and made in 1988, was based on a book by crime novelist Roderick Thorp. The book's original title was Nothing Lasts Forever and it was published in 1979. Thorp had been wanting to write a sequel to his earlier novel, The Detective, and felt inspired after watching the film The Towering Inferno.
Nothing Lasts Forever was destined for the screen almost immediately, but Frank Sinatra, who portrayed Joe Leland in the film based on the first book wasn't interested. The idea floated around Hollywood for a while, was even suggested as the basis for a sequel to Arnold Schwarzenegger's Commando movie at one time.
Eventually it ended up with producers Joel Silver and Lawrence Gordon, and director John McTiernan. The script was revamped and updated, some names and details were changed, and Bruce Willis came on board to play the younger John McClane as opposed to much older Joe Leland. The film went on to become a blockbuster with multiple sequels.
But as I mentioned, Roderick Thorp wrote a Joe Leland novel before Nothing Lasts Forever. The Detective was published in 1966, was a bestseller, and fast tracked to the screen starring Frank Sinatra two years later. The book featured a police case with as many possibilities as characters, almost reminiscent of a Raymond Chandler novel.
The film, while dated, lacks the humor of Willis' John McClane or even Sinatra's other crimestopper of the day, Tony Rome, so it has a very different vibe. Joe Leland is very serious about his police work. Those around him may joke, but Joe holds it together. Advertising of the time called it an adult look at police work.
The film features one of Sinatra's strongest performances of the late 1960s, a performance only elevated by the cast that surrounds him. Look for character actors Robert Duvall, Jack Klugman, Tony Musante, and William Windom, as well as beauties like Lee Remick and Jacqueline Bisset. There's also a great Jerry Goldsmith score that we just don't hear enough of.
While there are a few light moments, the film lacks the humor, and for that matter, the action, of Bruce Willis' Die Hard. Sinatra may well be a god in the film and music industry, but he's no Bruce Willis, and this was no Die Hard. It is however, quite a good film, and definitely worth a viewing. Recommended.
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
They certainly made a movie called Godzilla, but there was no Godzilla in it, any more than the Big G was in Gorgo or Cloverfield, they made a movie about a giant monster on the rampage, but it wasn't Godzilla.
The American Godzilla was and is much maligned in fan and genre circles. I don't know about you, but I know that I, and every other fan, cheer loudly whenever we see Godzilla obliterate the American doppelganger (whom Toho dubbed Zilla) in Godzilla: Final Wars.
It's at times like those above that I hope that the new American version of Godzilla from Legendary Pictures might get it right. Here's the first official teaser trailer:
At least the monster looks like Godzilla. It has promise. I will wait and see. Godzilla opens on May 16th, 2014.