Showing posts from August, 2017

Snapshots - #37: It, Breathe, Mark Felt – The Man Who Brought Down the White House

It (2017), (♦♦♦♦): Four inseparable friends in middle school bond with other three newcomers. They all have in common that they are bullied by the same people. Over the course of one summer they'll fend off bullies and face a centuries-old demon in the form of a clown, named Pennywise, whom has been disappearing kids and terrorizing the town of Derry, Maine, every twenty-seven years since the town was founded.
Based on Stephen King's novel of the same title, It is a movie with a smart script and a sympathetic ensemble of nerds that deliver light humor, and deep thrills. It doesn't hurt that each and every character has his or her own arc, thus one gets to know their motivations and fears before Pennywise enters head on into the picture.
In a nod to 1980s movie classics such as The Goonies, and the Brat Pack ensemble, the newest adaptation of It takes place at the end of that decade, when it seems, at least from the Hollywood perspective, that every kid harbored a genius insi…

The Library of Light and Shadow by M.J. Rose (♦♦♦)

Daughters of La Lune
Delphine Duplessi is a descendant of renowned French courtesan La Lune. As a “daughter of La Lune”, she has inherited psychic gifts, but also a curse. Her gift is that she is able of drawing “shadow portraits”, which depict people’s secrets. Unfortunately, Delphine’s gift comes at a high price, for her personal and love life have suffered in consequence. Because she drew the shadow portrait of the man she loved and saw herself committing an unspeakable crime, she has left that man and moved from Paris to New York, where she has lived for the past five years. She has made a living in New York drawing shadow portraits for the rich at society parties, but when one of those portraits triggers a tragedy in high circles, Delphine comes to re-evaluate her psychic powers and how she earns a living. I requested a galley of The Library of Light and Shadow by M.J. Rose because I read The Book of Lost Fragrances by the same author and really liked it. This novel has two paralle…

Snapshots - #23: The Night Of, Silicon Valley, and more…

TV shows...
The Night Of (♦♦♦♦♦): Young Pakistani Nasir Khan steals his father’s cab in Queens, NY, and drives to a party in New York City. He stops for a while in the street to get his bearings for he is lost, but his cab has the light on and a young woman boards the cab, a pretty woman who claims she doesn’t want to go home or be alone that night. At her home, drugs are consumed, there is dangerous foreplay, and finally they have sex.
Hours later, Nasir wakes up in the kitchen and realizing it’s late he goes to the bedroom to collect his things and say goodbye before heading home, but realizes with horror that the woman he has spent the night with has been ruthlessly stabbed to death. Was it him? Why can’t he remember crucial hours from that night? As he is charged and tried for homicide, several unsavory characters will come to the fore, some with violent histories and with motive to have committed the crime. But… what makes the detective so sure he got the right man?
The Night Of, an…

Snapshots - #22: The Hollow Crown, Season 2

The War of the Roses Henry VI, Part I (♦♦♦♦♦)

Henry V has died. His body is not yet cold but three provinces of France have fallen for lack of men and resources. Henry's son, nine months old Henry, is named King Henry VI of England and France. His uncle, Humphrey Duke of Gloucester, is named the King's Lord Protector.
Seventeen years later, Edmund Mortimer (Michael Gambon), a Plantagenet in direct line of succession to Richard II, dies and leaves his nephew Richard as heir. The king recognizes Richard's claim and makes him Duke of York. Moreover, France is in turmoil again. Henry VI (Tom Sturridge) sends Lord Talbot Earl of Shrewsbury and his son, the Earl of Warwick, and Richard Duke of York to fight the French. William Earl of Somerset must provide them support and fails intentionally to do so, thus Lord Talbot and his son are killed at Rouen.
Joan of Arc, on behalf of France's Dauphin, leads the French army at Rouen and Anjou, where she is captured and burned at the sta…

Snapshots - #21: The Hollow Crown, Season 1

Richard II (♦♦♦♦)

Henry Bolingbroke (Rory Kinnear), Duke of Hereford, cousin of King Richard II (Ben Whishaw), accuses Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, of treason. Brought in front of the king, neither wants to go back on their word, thus, to prevent the spilling of blood, the king banishes to foreign lands his cousin for six years, and Mowbray for life.
Meanwhile, Ireland is in turmoil, and the king is surrounded by vain flatterers. Upon the death of his uncle Old John of Gaunt (Patrick Stewart), Duke of Lancaster, the king pilfers his uncle's possessions to fund an offensive in Ireland. Deprived of inheritance, Bolingbroke, now Duke of Lancaster (in title only), returns to England from exile, raising his men against the king and setting in motion the king's abdication.
The soft pastels of the king's attire are perhaps a metaphor for King Richard II being a monarch that values style above substance. He is surrounded by boy-men that, with honeyed words, have garnered coveted …

House of Spies by Daniel Silva (♦♦♦♦)

Gabriel Allon Series Book 17
It's been a few months since Israeli art restorer and master spy Gabriel Allon has assumed the directorship of the Office. Not far from his mind are the events unfolded in Washington, DC months ago— at the center of the previous installment, The Black Widow— by master terrorist Saladin, and now new attacks have occurred in London and Paris with his signature all over. It will be up to Gabriel to plan, organize, and carry out an expensive operation, encompassing the world's preeminent intelligence agencies, to tease out Saladin’s whereabouts from prominent criminals in France's and Morocco's underbelly.
At the center of his plot is a couple— Mikhail posing as Dmitri Antonov (a Russian millionaire who has, presumably, amassed his enormous fortune dealing in arms) and Natalie Mizrahi posing as Sophie, his dazzling French wife— recruiting as an asset French businessman Jean-Luc Martel, who is rumored to be a world-class drug trafficker on the sid…