The Polish Officer

This is a work of historical fiction – a spy tale set in various locales during the start of WWII. Furst’s attention to detail and research is admirable. However, I felt this read more like a TV series – episodic, with none of the episodes building on the other, except, perhaps, in the incrementally positive…

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The Boxer Rebellion – Diana Preston

After reading Diana Preston’s “The Boxer Rebellion,” I’ve learned something about my taste in history books. Full-length books on relatively brief historical events tend to be filled with anecdotes. I do not enjoy reading a book full of anecdotes. A encyclopedia entry will suffice. This is a book admittedly telling only the Western side of…

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The Brave One

Confession: I watched this movie because Jodie Foster is too damn cute on the cover. We’ll see how my DVD cover instincts turn out judging a movie as a whole. Foster plays Erica Bain, a radio show host doing a “life on the streets,” “slice of life,” “heavy prose” presumably public radio show that I…

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Midnight in Paris

“Midnight in Paris,” Woody Allen’s current, in-theaters release is what I see as the perfect summer movie: not too long, doesn’t take itself too seriously, but is also very clever and has only the slightest hint of fluff. It is somewhat over-the-top, fanciful, and has a certain element that I’ve always deemed a deal-breaker (hint:…

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Consent to Kill

After the upheaval that is moving your stuff from one structure to another, I desperately need to get back in a routine of writing. Without further ado, I’ll discuss my encounter with “Consent to Kill,” a spy thriller written by Vince Flynn. This novel had a Tom Clancy, “best seller” air to it, and I…

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Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Elizabeth Taylor’s death prompted me to watch “Cat On a Hot Tin Roof” via Netflix instant viewing. I was instantly endeared to this film as the brat children are described as “no neck monsters” unrestrained by their parents. The endearment continues with the pure, Southern gothic screenplay adaptation of Tennessee Williams’s Pulitzer-winning play, co-penned by…

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The Seventh Seal

Yet another one of my 50% off Criterion purchases was Ingmar Bergman’s “The Seventh Seal” made in 1957 – widely lauded as a classic cinema masterpiece. It takes its name from the Bible’s Book of Revelation, wherein seven seals are opened before rapture takes place and final judgement is rendered. As the film notes, “when…

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The Call of Cthulhu

The 2005 film adaptation of “The Call of Cthulhu” done by the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society is an admirable attempt at creating a period, silent-film retelling of the famous H.P. Lovecraft story. Although a very well-done endeavor, I find the mix of modern and silent film-making techniques to be distracting. An “either/or” philosophy would have…

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