Friday, July 31, 2015

Book Review: The Last Apprentice (2): The Curse of the Bane

The Last Apprentice (2): The Curse of the Bane by: Joseph Delaney Glenwillow Books, Great Britain 2005.  Illustrations by Patrick Arrasmith.
For those who don’t know a bane is a terrible monster, who has been confined to the catacombs.  He was weak for a time, but is now gaining in power, and controlling the minds of others.  Evil is becoming more rampant in the land.  Gregory, the Spook, is determined to destroy him.  However there is much in his way, including the Inquisitor who want to burn the Spook at the stake and rid him of evil.  He is also after the apprentice, Tom Ward, and has captured Alice, Tom’s favorite witch.  The Inquisitor is after anyone he feels he could destroy and fatten his pockets with their property.  He enjoys making others suffer.  The only thing which could be worse would be for the bane to be released into the country side; which is what happens.  This is a tale with lots of danger, and not for the weak at heart.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Book Review: The Last Apprentice: The Witch's Revenge (1)

This is an introduction into a world created by Joseph Delaney which includes things from the dark side, and “Spooks” who fight against them; even though they delve in knowledge of the dark side in order to do so.  In this first installment, the Spook chooses an apprentice, Tom Ward, and then tries to teach him fast enough that he doesn’t get himself killed.  Not all of his lessons are heeded, which leads to his releasing a witch.  This causes all kinds of mayhem.  This book is made more complicated as Ward falls for a pretty girl, who is the niece of one of the most notorious witches in the area.  It seems Ward's faith in the girl is mislaid, and the Spooks advise to not go near her would have been good advice; however Tom still has faith in her.
The story line in this book makes part of the story line for the movie "Seventh Son."

Book Review: Jinx' Fire (Jinx series #3)

Jinx’s Fire Sage Blackwood, Katherine Tegan Books, New York, 2015.
This is the final and best installment of the Jinx series.  Jinx is a young wizard, although a very powerful wizard because he can draw on the power of the forest, the warmth of the forest.  However, something is blocking the forest.  He can feel it less and less.  His master, who was taken prisoner by the evil Bonemaster is being used as a plug to stop the flow of the warmth.  How could the rescue the master without killing him.  At the same time there are three armies marching on the forest, and they are intent on each having a portion of the forest for themselves, using whatever cunning and force they need. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Music Review: B.B. King: Austin City Limits (1982)

This 1982 concert has been recently replayed on Austin City Limits and available at PBS online.  This is likely related to his passing in May.  B.B. King is quite the musician and entertainer.  He can really handle his blues guitar, and he vibrates the notes in a crazy manner, giving that blues feel.  He also provides the vocals.  His whole band is good, and King shares the stage, there is piano solo, bass guitar, trumpet and saxophone, and King provides the lead guitar music.  It is amazing how King can take just a couple phrases, and entertain for five minutes.  He does audience sing along, and many things very well.  This concert has a lot to enjoy.

TV Review: Columbo



Columbo is Peter Falk at his best.  His bumbling character, who is not bumbling but more hounding is a delight to watch.  Crime films in his day are much different than they are now.  Now they focus on the blood, and on Columbo the blood was not a part of the scene at all.  It is incredible how little the victims bleed. There is no blood splatter.  There is no KNA testing, no swabbing.  None of that stuff.  However there is Columbo, who has a sense about who the murder is, and then has to go about  proving it with the murderer doing everything to not leave evidence.  However there is always something that makes Columbo think, and feel ill at ease, and so he pursues things like a hound dog.  This is now available on instant Netflix.  There are many high powered guests.  Steven Bochco is usually writing the screenplay.  Columbo first came out in 1971  for NBC and was a staple for many years with the final production in 2003, although it was not a continuous run.  It ran for about 7 years, and then came back 10 years later for a 10+year run.  

Monday, July 27, 2015

Music Review: Blindside: About a Burning Fire

To say the least, this is not my style of music.  However I found I really like the song "Shekina."
Like joy was something you could touch
I wrap it around me
Like a blanket
It's just you, me and the moon

This song they mellow their hard rock flavor for a more mellow sound, adding in almost a yodel.  It is very effective.

I really like the accompaniment for "Roads" as well.  It moves you like a Clearwater Revival Son.  The bass is very neat sounding.

Blindside is a Swedish rock band which came out a spiritual movement.  

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Book Review: Deltora Quest

Deltora Quest by Emily Rodda, Scholatic Books, Australia.

This volume is actually eight books, which comprise the Deltora Quest.  Three companions, a blacksmith’s son, a wild woman of the forest and a king’s guard, are given the task of restoring the belt of Deltora, which when worn by the rightful heir of the kingdom will give the power to conquer the Shadow Lord.  There are seven gems, and the book titles give the quest of each book:  The Forests of Silence, The Lake of Tears, City of the Rats, Shifting Sands, Dread Mountain, The Maze of the Beast, The Valley of the Lost and Return to Del.  This book has many incredible adventures,  and likable characters.  I really loved it.  In fact, I would compare it favorably to the “Wizard of Oz” series.   In this book, each chapter includes a journey and a goal.  It seems the odds are insurmountable; but somehow.  The ending of this series is nothing like I suspected.  Throughout the book they are weary of a spy amongst the group.  (Not our loyal three, but among those they befriend along the way.) 
My only regret with these books is that they had to end.  However, I now see there are a couple of subsequent series. 

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Movie Review: Kilroy Was Here (2006)

This is part of the indie festival on PBS 2016 but was made at University of North Carolina 2006.  This is an interest WWII short drama.  It shows a soldier hanging from his parachute in a tree, with a branch having stabbed his leg.  He appears hopeless.  Some orphan children, scavengers, but with their own resistance of a sort.  There goal is to survive.  When German soldiers come by, chasing the kids and scattering machine gun fire, the man, Kilroy, shoots them.  The take his food, but one of the children shares with him, and is punished by the largest child.  They find his harmonica, and eventually give it to him.  However he is still stuck in a tree, and near death.  How can he survive?  The ending to this story was different than I expected.  I enjoyed this short.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Movie Review: ***Box Trolls (2014)

Boxtrolls.  I think the characters in this film are a little too intense for young children.  The Boxtrolls, even though they are kind, are scary in their way.  However even more intense and scary are those that hunt the Boxtrolls.  However, Tony is eight and he seemed to enjoy this movie.  It is a bit dark, and sometimes, with the accents hard to understand.  It appears to be clay animation.  This type of animation leaves something to be desired in the fluidity of movements.  However this is a good story, and is based on the novel "Here Be Monsters"  by Alan Snow.  Ben Kingsley voices the villain, in a double role as a Boxtroll catcher and as a female singer.  Our young heroes are voiced by Isaac Hempstead Wright and Elle Fanning.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Movie Review: **^The Mountain Men (1980)

I would have scored this movie higher, but it was very violent and very graphic.  This film centers around four main characters, and includes a love triangle.  Two mountain men, Billy Tyler and Henry Frapp (Charlton Heston and Brian Keith) are looking for the good life with beaver pelts, which seems to allude them.  They take on an Indian hostage, Running Moon (Victoria Racimo).  Running Moon falls for Tyler, who treats her much better than her husband.  Turns out her husband, Black Foot warrior, Heavy Eagle (Stephen Macht) wants to kill Tyler, and can really carry a grudge.  These people are all on a collision course.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Movie Review: ****The High and the Mighty, John Wayne (1954)

This is a John Wayne movie, but not a classic John Wayne where you expect to see him as a cowboy.  In this movie he portrays the co pilot on a Hawaii to San Francisco flight.  He is portrayed as the washed up flyer on his way out.  However sometimes it is up to those washed up people to save the day in the end.  Also starring in this movie are Robert Stack as the Captain and Robert Newton as a passenger and Mormon actress Laraine Day as a wealthy heiress.  The plain is in peril, as one of the propellers malfunctions causing them to lose an engine, and more importantly precious fuel.  This movie is interesting based on the changes in the characters as they are faced with the prospect of death.  We have a boy, a honeymoon couple, a couple on their dream vacation, which didn't turn out, an heiress and her husband, a fleeing nuclear scientist,  Someone going home to his family, and a young lady to her intended, who has never seen her but thinks she is much younger.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

TV Movie Review: ***^Jesse Stone: Thin Ice (2009)

This film is based on the characters of Robert Parker.  I have not read the books, but this is the first film installment not based on the books.  There are two major story lines, Captain Healey from the state police and Stone are shot doing a surveillance; and a woman whose son was kidnapped and presumed dead shows up with questions.  She received a letter which tells her that her son is still alive.  Stone at first stays away form this investigation, allowing officer Rose (Kathy Baker) follow the leads.  Stone on the meantime pursues who would shot the Captain.  I like the music, the storm weather of the North East also adds to the film, as does Stone portrayed by Tom Selleck.