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David E. Miller "LividEmerald" RSS Feed (Las Vegas, USA)
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Battle Los Angeles
Battle Los Angeles
DVD
Price: $8.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A Gritty War Movie, November 3, 2014
This is a gritty war movie that really does keep you on the edge of your seat. The special effects are excellent. The characters may not be full developed, but neither are they generic or faceless. I would have to agree with those who say it borrows a few ideas from other films (e.g., the LAV running over aliens instantly reminded me of a scene from James Cameron's "Aliens"), but there are also plenty of fresh ideas to be found in the film (e.g., the design of the drones). One thing that did puzzle me, though, was that near the end of the movie, when the troops are approaching the aliens' command asset (aka command-and-control), they go underground in the dark of night at 1 hr 35 min, and emerge into broad daylight at 1 hr 37 min., despite the fact that the action seems to unfold in real time. That would seem to be a major continuity error, but despite this and a few other quibbles, I wholeheartedly endorse this film.


The Shade of the Moon (Life As We Knew It Series)
The Shade of the Moon (Life As We Knew It Series)
by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $12.76
97 used & new from $1.31

2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Chewed through the pages, July 26, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
If I had known that "The Shade of the Moon" was a young adult novel, that, despite what its cover implied, it contained virtually no elements of science fiction, and that, to top it all off, it was the fourth in a series with which I was totally unfamiliar, I would not have ordered this book. In fact, I put off reading it a long time. I finally began reading it, but, finding myself somewhat confused by the deluge of names in its first few pages, I tossed it aside. Then yesterday, I found the determination I needed to start again from page one and to read the book through, virtually nonstop. Although it took me awhile to keep all the character names straight, as well as their relationships, I was soon deeply involved in the story. My only lingering frustration, as I chewed through the pages, had to do with the circumstances surrounding Julie, a character who had mysteriously met her demise in a previous installment. Julie's death gnaws at Jon's conscience, and I didn't know why. I was therefore very grateful when the author finally addressed Julie's death. In so doing, the author reveals additional details, unbeknownst to Jon, that affect the way in which he interacts with other characters in the story. This brings up a point, and may help explain why I am giving this book a strong review. There are a number of details in this book which serve to pique the reader's interest now, and which serve to advance the plot later, thereby justifying their inclusion in the book. I failed to pick up on the importance of one of these details, and was truly stunned by an identity twist towards the end (I won't spoil it here, though). Once I finished reading the last page, which, to my surprise, left me wanting more, I determined that what truly impressed me about this book was that it was so well structured. I appreciate the remarks made by a Vine reviewer who is obviously familiar with the series. No doubt that reviewer's excellent analysis is spot on in terms of the plausibility of the segmentation of society occurring so soon after a major catastrophe. And perhaps that reviewer is also right to conclude that the romance between Jon and Sarah could have been fleshed out a bit more, though I bought it without difficulty. I would simply reiterate here that, on a technical level, I found this book to be well plotted, well structured, and thorough in its use of details to further a good story. I liked the way the story unfolded, and the way it slowly intensified towards a satisfying conclusion. In short, I am thankful that I ordered and read this book. That is something of a feather in the author's hat, since, as stated previously, my initial reaction was negative (I'm too old for YA; I wanted to read a sci-fi book; and this was the fourth book in an unknown series). Now I face a dilemma. Should I purchase the previous installments? Should I collect future installments? I think the answer is yes.


Eva's Eye: An Inspector Sejer Mystery (Inspector Sejer Mysteries)
Eva's Eye: An Inspector Sejer Mystery (Inspector Sejer Mysteries)
by Karin Fossum
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $9.67
61 used & new from $0.99

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A compelling story, July 16, 2013
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
"Eva's Eye," the first book in Karin Fossum's Inspector Sejer Mystery series, was first published in 1995 under the title "Evas řye." The book was translated from the Norwegian by James Anderson, and was published in Great Britain in 2012. American readers will have some fun with this translation, as it is somewhat amusing to hear Norwegian characters using distinctly British expressions ("Bloody hell," "He was a funny bloke," "Oh well, I shan't hold that against him," "Just an ice lolly?" "...dragging some innocent bugger . . . into this sodding storm . . ."). There are many British terms in the narration, too (words like "windcheater." "jumper," and "bedclothes;" and automotive terms like "lorry," "screen wash," "bonnet," and "petrol"), but they can be understood in context by those not used to them.

The Inspector Sejer Mystery series is very popular. Several of the books have been filmed (as either a movie or a TV mini-series). "Eva's Eye" was released theatrically in 1999, and received generally positive reviews, including a 5-star review on www.amazon.com. I really don't know why it has taken so long to translate this book, especially since it is the introductory book in a popular series, and also since it has been adapted to film.

The book is comprised of 35 chapters. Chapter 1 briefly introduces the two main characters, Inspector Konrad Sejer and Eva Marie Magnus. The scene is a flashback to a point in the story that won't be reached until much later in the book. This is a bit confusing. Chapter 2 relates the discovery of a dead body in the river and sets up the mystery. Chapters 3-15 basically center on the investigation and Eva's actions pursuant to the discovery of the body. At the end of Chapter 15, Eva is arrested. Her confession is related in Chapters 16-31--over 150 pages which read like a separate novel, not like a confession. It's a literary gimmick, of course, but she pushes the boundary a bit when the POV becomes that of others--relating thoughts and actions that she could not possibly have known. The final chapters involve a couple of plot twists and a wrap-up.

Although I am not fond of the structure of this novel, I understand that the "Norwegian queen of crime" wanted to maintain the mystery surrounding Eva's behavior following the discovery of the body, as well as put the reader in Inspector Sejer's shoes as he tries to unravel the clues to what is, in actuality, a double murder. Still, I thought the 100-page pre-confession part of the book was a bit underdeveloped when it came to investigative analysis. I also thought that Eva's confession, which comprises half of the book's length, emphasized a lot of non-essential details and rushed through certain crucial scenes, especially the first murder, though the lack of detail does serve to set up a twist at the end of the book.

I was a bit disappointed that the author does not follow up on Eva after her confession. Even though Inspector Sejer is the main focus of the series, Eva is actually the more important character in this book. I also had hoped that the author would reveal what happened to the money she went to such great pains to acquire in a small cabin in the woods. In general, though, the author was good about avoiding loose ends.

The story itself is very compelling. I have to admit that Eva's confession is the most interesting part of the book. I would have preferred that the author structure the novel differently, weigh the amount of text spent on various parts of the story, and provide a bit more meat here and there. However, "Eva's Eye" is definitely worth reading, and it does make one curious to see the film. It might also coax the reader into checking out other books in the Inspector Sejer Mystery series.


Coming Home: The Return to True Self
Coming Home: The Return to True Self
by Martia Nelson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.59
30 used & new from $3.15

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for me, June 9, 2013
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This self-congratulatory book drove me nuts. Maybe I'm a hard target, since I'm more pragmatic and down to earth, as opposed to spiritual, meditative, and Gaia-loving, but it seems to me that for everything she advocates she also offers a disclaimer. I'm glad the author found so much success with her books, true self seminars, art classes for cancer patients, and dance classes for dog owners and their pets, but not everyone in life is as fortunate as this lady, and though she seems to acknowledge that, she doesn't seem to fully comprehend it either. Such phrases as "nothing is everything," "renewing the knowing," and discussions of the joy of death puzzled me. And when, in a hair salon, overhearing another lady speak about a dog she's training, the author suddenly "knows" that she is truly, deeply in love with dogs, I just gave up. Fortunately, this happens in the final pages of the book. The one thing that impressed me is that the author does know how to write eloquent sentences (even when they are a bit obscure in meaning--at least to me), and I didn't find a single typographical error in the book (which is a rarity, even for expensive editions). Acknowledging that the fault may lie within me rather than within the author's attempt to convey a message, I'll just give this book three stars and let you decide for yourself where it falls on the scale.


The Stalking Moon
The Stalking Moon
DVD ~ Gregory Peck
Offered by Surplus DVD Source
Price: $7.08
51 used & new from $2.51

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ode to Mescalito, November 12, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Stalking Moon (DVD)
I saw this movie at the theatre, and bought the DVD a few years back. At the dinner table, for many years, one of my father's lines was, "Please pass the peas!" which is a reference to a monologue delivered by Peck in the film. Oddly, what spurred me to purchase the film, apart from an old memory and my father's adopting the peas line, was the discovery that the movie was filmed in Red Rock Canyon. I live in Las Vegas, and I've hiked Red Rock many, many times. Upon viewing the film, I immediately recognized the Mescalito, the pyramid-shaped sandstone peak that is the backdrop for his homestead. In fact, the Mescalito splits the Wilson Cliffs at this point into two small canyons, both named Pine Creek (north and south). I've hiked both, but have a preference for the north canyon. In any event, although I love this film, I cannot watch it without being distracted by every scene in which the Mescalito--and the Wilson Cliffs that frame it--appears. I will say that there are some awesome scenes of the Mescalito, including one that is sunny and especially colorful, and one or two in which the peak is enshrouded in mist. As something of an aside, I think many of the first scenes in the film, where Gregory Peck is scaling rocks, may have been filmed in the Calico Hills, which are also located in Red Rock Canyon. There is a glimpse of the Calico Hills in the film. Anyway, regardless of the beautiful distraction of one of my stomping grounds, I highly recommend this film. You'll enjoy the setting, and the story is riveting.


Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue
Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue
DVD
Price: $2.99

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unlikely viewer..., November 29, 2010
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Based on my delight with the first TinkerBell movie, I purchased the other two titles that are currently available and watched them all back to back. I can't wait for the fourth one (and I believe a fifth one is planned, as well). The other reviews capture my enthusiasm for these films, and I do not want to reiterate what they have already said. What makes me an unlikely viewer is that I am a 56-year-old male who's never had a child! After watching Crank 2: High Voltage the other day (over the top, but definitely entertaining), the TinkerBell films were such a change of ... pace! Anyway, I suppose if a 56-year-old guy can enjoy these films, anyone can---if they can just put aside the stigma associated with children's films (especially for the younger set), and watch with an open mind. The child in you will fall in love with TinkerBell. If you feel a bit embarrassed afterwards (for having enjoyed them so much at your age), then, hey, there's always Jason Statham to help you crank up your manlihood again!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 3, 2010 5:59 PM PST


Inside (Unrated)
Inside (Unrated)
DVD ~ Beatrice Dalle
Offered by The Big Lebowski
Price: $44.20
14 used & new from $18.95

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Betty Blue Goes Bloody Red, May 31, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Inside (Unrated) (DVD)
Béatrice Dalle of "Betty Blue" fame (she gouged out an eye in that psycho-naturel masterpiece) goes deep red in this film. At first, she is a creepy apparition. Then she is a roaming intruder who looks like the Grim Reaper's twisted sister. Finally, she is a one-woman gore fest. Neither stock suspenser nor senseless slasher flick nor gratuitous torture porn, "A l'intérieur" ("Inside" - neither the French title nor its perfect English translation is very effective, however accurate) incorporates all of these basic elements of the horror genre in a fresh and very disturbing way. If you like your horror intense, this film will not disappoint. It builds up to a riveting climax, avoids the anti-climax like the plague, and closes quickly in a very satisfying and brutally honest way, with just a dash of ironic and totally unexpected pathos for the killer, who has blessed us with never a Dalle moment!


Grindhouse Presents, Planet Terror - Extended and Unrated (Two-Disc Special Edition)
Grindhouse Presents, Planet Terror - Extended and Unrated (Two-Disc Special Edition)
DVD ~ Rose McGowan
Price: $4.87
244 used & new from $0.01

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best zombie film I've ever seen!, November 11, 2007
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This film far exceeded my expectations, and instantly became my favorite zombie film of all time! (Just for the record, the Resident Evil films are lame in the zombie department, but I'm a big fan of Milla Jovovich. I recommend Peter Jackson's gore fest, "Dead Alive," and also "Lifeforce," an offbeat space/zombie/vampire flick.) Anyway, "Planet Terror" is phenomenally good, and will be one of those films that I will watch again often (read: one of my elected classics). I'm embarrassed to say that I'd never heard of Rose McGowan, but she was terrific, and I've just ordered "Devil in the Flesh" based solely on her performance in this film.

I also bought and watched the Grindhouse companion piece, "Death Proof," which I enjoyed. However it doesn't have "repeat viewing" written all over it.

By the way, I loved "300" and "Sin City." I disagree with one reviewer that didn't like "Sin City" because its plotlines didn't make sense. I suggest that individual watch it again a few times. It makes perfect sense, and is a top-notch film on all counts (Jessica Alba notwithstanding).

"Planet Terror" is riveting entertainment. Fun, scary, and exciting. A zombie masterpiece!


Tremors Attack Pack (Tremors / Tremors 2: Aftershocks / Tremors 3: Back to Perfection / Tremors 4: The Legend Begins)
Tremors Attack Pack (Tremors / Tremors 2: Aftershocks / Tremors 3: Back to Perfection / Tremors 4: The Legend Begins)
DVD ~ Kevin Bacon
Price: $6.96
86 used & new from $3.99

4.0 out of 5 stars third one a blast, November 11, 2007
Having watched all four films this weekend, I can say that I like the original the best, but that the third film (Return to Perfection) is a very close second (and would be my favorite if the CGI were more sophisticated). I didn't care much for the second and fourth films (so I deducted one star). Return to Perfection (actually, I don't think the original location, Lone Pine, CA, was used) has great characters. Shawn Christian does a great Brad Pitt impression and is really fun to watch. Susan Chuang steals some scenes with some really humorous lines. In fact, Return to Perfection made me laugh on several occasions; it has a very witty script. Also, I thought Michael Gross, who was too over the top in Aftershocks, really nailed his Burt Gummer character in Return to Perfection. In the future, I will watch Tremors and Tremors: Return to Perfection as worthy companion pieces, and forget about the other two.


The Hot Spot
The Hot Spot
DVD ~ Don Johnson
Offered by Amazing Savings USA
Price: $34.50
39 used & new from $13.00

1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Cad and the Stud, May 26, 2007
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Hot Spot (DVD)
Once you get past the incredibly sultry Virginia Madsen and the lovely Jennifer Connelly, take a gander at the Cad and the Stud. No, I dont mean Johnson & Johnson, I'm referring to the legendarily photogenic '59 Pink Cadillac and the rarely seen '59 Studebaker (Silver Hawk). These rides are as dramatically different from the vanilla on the used car lot as their ultra sexy drivers are from the Texas townspeople. (As for Jeniffer, she likes to walk; and the snivelling blackmailer drives something out of Mad Max---but let's not go there!) I think the Cadillac is an obvious choice for Madsen. The Studebaker is an interesting choice for Johnson. The Silver Hawk (or its older brother, the Golden Hawk) is a strange mix of automotive design---an unlikely collection of dissonant pieces that somehow come together to create a unique, fascinating, and bold work of art. The automotive equivalent of, say, Stravinsky's "Rites of Spring." It strikes me as a very masculine car, and it definitely has "Drive me, Don Johnson!" written all over its muscular grille. There is a lot to see and appreciate in this movie. Obviously, Dennis Hopper made a very conscious decision to hire some wheels for a few key roles. But he must have been stumped when it came to Connelly. What car would have been a good match for her? Not an easy ride...


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