Monday, September 6, 2010

Four reviews with a view

Erin Boheme is a very good jazz vocalist and this CD of hers is very good. She's got a jazzy/smoky voice that is at home covering jazz and pop standards as well as her own original compositions. If you like the sultry blondes who sing the jazz, then you'll like this CD. Me, I really like it.
Let me say upfront that before I read this novel by TC Boyle I liked the previous novel of his that I read and I have liked all the short stories of his that I read as well. And I like the first two thirds of this novel, Talk Talk. But the last third, boy what the hell happened? It stank. It was like Mr. Boyle ran out of steam but he kept going anyway. By the time he had set up the final showdowns I wanted to strangle all his characters and then do the same to Mr. Boyle for ruining his novel. I'm glad I bought this book off the remainders table for a buck, at least I didn't waste much money on it. Not recommended.
One of the best things about the Vertigo series of comics from DC is that they take minor characters from DC's past and give them new life in grown up stories in the graphic novel format. This second graphic novel with the heretofore minor DC character Madam Xanadu, Exodus Noir, really rocks. It's two stories in one book, it tells a tale of Madam Xanadu's past along with a tale of her investigation into a series of murders in 1940's era NYC. The writing is crisp, the art is great, and the colors are eye popping. I devoured this graphic novel in two nights. I highly recommend it. (I'm reading the first one now and I like it a lot less than this one.)

This little noir thriller is claustrophobic and just when you think you have all the angles figured out, they zig when you think they're going to zag. I quite liked the whole thing, except for Forest Whitaker's horrendous accent and the fact that it takes place in some hellish looking high plains/prairie location, all that flatness gave me the willies. I liked all the machinations between Julia Stiles and Jeremy Renner's characters, I liked how they showed the big insurance company to be just as despicable as the people who are trying to con it, and I like all the close ups of Ms. Stiles, but for my money, there's never enough close ups of Julia Stiles. I highly recommend this one, especially if you like noir and con men films.

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