Me

Movie Critique – Adventures of Jane Arden

Stars: 4 / 5

Recommendation: Spunky, brave, and always after the truth, our girl reporter turned amateur sleuth finds her story in the end, despite coming close to losing her life.

Adventures of Jane Arden is a 1939 American crime film starring Rosella Towne in the titular role. She is supported by William Gargan, James Stephenson, Benny Rubin and others. 

Reported Jane Arden goes undercover to expose a gang of jewel thieves. However, her identity is revealed by one of the gang members; putting her life in peril; taking her from New York City to Bermuda to the lairs of the antagonists. 

Jane Arden was a long-running daily newspaper comic strip that ran from November, 1928 thru January, 1968. She was the original "spunky girl reporter" who seeks to expose criminal activities rather than just report them. Created by Mohte Barrett and Frank Ellis, she influenced the creation of Lois Lane, supporting character in the Superman series; and another comic stirp Brenda Starr, Reporter. 

The comic strip was adapted to a radio series which broadcasted from 1938 through 1939 with Ruth Yorke playing the titular role. However only one movie was made based on the comic strip, this 1939 version. Jane Arden wasn’t a huge hit in America, but remained a successful comic strip in Canada and Australia until 1968.

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53 Week Journey through the Land of Drapes and Colors: Week #21

For details on all the sarees I have posted so far, go here.

On May 30 of this year, NASA and America created history. A Space Launch, in nearly a decade, by American astronauts in an American space craft, was successfully executed. The SpaceX Crew Dragon space craft carrying NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley lifted off from NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida at 3:22PM EST on May 30th.

SpaceX company owned by Elon Musk, who is also CEO and product architect of Tesla, created Crew Dragon Demo-2. The first private company to successfully send humans into outer space. The two astronauts safely reached International Space Station on May 31, 2020.

If the pandemic wasn’t there, I would have made it a point to go to Florida to watch the lift-off in-person. So, I watched it on Live TV, the next best thing, and felt thrilled to be part of such a monumental event. 

Yes, it is monumental because this also confirms another of the objective Musk has for his company, SpaceX. He want to get the world to a point where anyone can go into space by buying a ticket, just like how we go on a plane from place to place on Earth now.

Well, Musk! It might take another century for us to get there, but you did give it a start. Kudos! And Good Luck!

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Movie Critique – Smallfoot

Stars: 5 / 5

Recommendation: A charming animated tale that gives a strong positive message hidden behind the thread of comedy flowing through.

Smallfoot is the 2018 American computer-animated musical comedy film produced by Warner Animation Group with a plethora of voice cast including Channing Tatum, James Corden, Zendaya, LeBron James, Danny DeVito among others. 

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Movie Critique – A Shot in the Dark

Stars: 5 / 5

Recommendation: A fast paced mystery movie; entertaining and enchanting 57 minutes that wont bore you even for a second. 

A Shot in the Dark is a 1941 American comedy mystery film starring William Lundigan, Nan Wynn and Ricardo Cortez. Film is based on a short story, No Hard Feelings, by Frederick Nebel in the Black Mask magazine. It is also a remake of the 1937 film Smart Blonde starring Torchy Blane.

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Book Critique: Seeing Darkness (Krewe of Hunters #30)

For review of all books in this series: Go here.

Stars: 3 / 5

Recommendation: Yes, pick it up for a mystery involving paranormal elements, historical flair and the romantic side of the plot. 

Seeing Darkness is the thirtieth book in the long-running series, Krewe of Hunters, by Heather Graham and published in May of 2020. The primary plot is centered around Special Agent Jonathon "Jon" Wolf Dickson - from the Krewe of Hunters department in FBI - and Kylie Connelly - a curator of a museum in New York City. It is set in Salem, MA.

This forms the first book in her next trilogy in the series. Pretty much from the ninth book The Night is Watching, Heather has been releasing her books in the Krewe of Hunters series in threes, creating multiple trilogies within the series. However, we do see some characters that have been floating from the beginning of the series that started in 2011 with the very first book Phantom Evil.

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Movie Critique – Whistling in Dixie

Stars: 3 / 5

Recommendation: A slap stick comedy with wit, humor, mystery, lost gold and every body who comes across the protagonists is a suspect leading to a trail of mishaps, bloopers and twists. If only the repetitive comedy was a little less, it would have been more enjoyable.

Whistling in Dixies is a 1942 American crime comedy film starring Red Skelton as Wally "The Fox" Benton and Ann Rutherford as Carol Lambert. This is the second of the three films series starring these two. 

Wally Benton is a radio detective and an amateur crime solver. He solves the cases with help of his fiancée Carol Lambert. In this episode they venture into Georgia to help an old friend of Carol, Elamae Downs (portrayed by Diana Lewis) taking them from local mystery to hidden gold to traps to fights.

This is the first time I am watching any movie of either of the protagonists. The film is filled with all the funny bloopers that Wally lands into, his mishaps and the expressions and antics he does after an "accident" are very very comical. The chemistry between Wally and Carol is spot on and the timing of the comedy is flawless.

One of the scene in the movie shows the crime hour on radio and the various actors playing a drama. I have heard so many old time radio mystery shows in past year, always wondered how the noises in the background were made. Finally got to see how they made.

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Book Critique – Still Life (Gamache Series #1)

For review of all books in the series: Go here 

Stars: 4 / 5

Recommendation: A murder set in a quaint village investigated by a pair of detectives, all the while unearthing hidden secrets of the locals and creating ripples in their calm pool. What else you need for a successful murder mystery?

Still Life is the first book in the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Series by Louise Penny first published in January of 2005. Chief Inspector Armand Gamache is introduced here in his very first case of a suspicious death of a local prominent person in the village of Three Pines. This was also the debut novel for Penny which earned her several awards like New Blood Dagger Awards, Arthur Ellis Award, the Dilys Award, 2007 Anthony Award and the Barry Award.

The series revolves around Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Québec, the police force for Quebec, investigating secrets and shadows beneath the tranquil world of the village of Three Pines. He also unearths some of his own secrets, faces his own fears and exorcises some of his own ghosts, along the way. The series has won many acclaimed awards such as New Blood Dagger, multiple  Agatha Awards among others. A total of 16 books and 1 novella have been published so far beginning with Still Live in 2005, and the series still continues with the 16th book set to be released in September of this year.

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Movie Critique – The Lady from Shanghai

Stars: 5 / 5

Recommendation: A dark home movie made by a true artist, though considered a wreck, created some stepping stones for future film making, showing the genius behind the camera and on screen, despite the battles the cast and crew faced. 

The Lady from Shanghai is a 1947 film noir directed by Orson Welles. He also starred in it along-side his estranged wife Rita Hayworth and Everett Sloane. The film is based on the 1938 novel If I Die Before Awake by Sherwood King.

Irish sailor Michael O'Hara (played by Orson Welles) is hired by Elsa "Rosalie" Bannister (played by Rita Hayworth) to help her and her husband Arthur Bannister (played by Everett Sloane), a disabled criminal defense attorney, sail their yacht around America. Little does he realize he would be caught in a whirlpool of intrigue and murder. 

The movie contains a narrative style with Welles doing the narration as the story progresses. The film was shot in 1946 but wasn’t released until 1947. The film has two very volatile ingredients that could have burned on screen - explosive genius of Orson Welles; and America's reigning love goddess, Rita Hayworth. 

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Book Critique – The Release (Prey #3)

For review of all books in the series: Go here.

Stars: 3 / 5

Recommendation: Hope & Despair; Friendships & Betrayals; Love & Hatred; Cruelty & Revenge; Rulers & Subjects; Captures & Escapes; every page gives you a variety in characters, emotions, plans, mishaps and terrors. A recipe for a dystopian novel successfully executed.

The Release is the conclusion to The Prey Trilogy by Tom Isbell published in February of 2017. The plot begins n Camp Liberty two months after where it ended in previous book, The Capture, with Book, Cat and Hope, rescuing the surviving Sister and Less Thans, but stuck there for now.

The series is set in post-apocalyptic United States after the world was destroyed by nations who go on nuclear war against each other - an event called Omega. One enormous burst of electromagnetic radiation and everything electronic gets destroyed - no modern amenities left for common man to use. The US becomes the Republic Of The True America and divided into different Resettlement Camps and Territories. The Camps are handled by Military Sergeants, Colonels and Majors and myriads of Soldiers called Brown Shirts. The specific territory that this plot takes place in is the Western Federation Territory.

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Book Critique – The Capture (Prey #2)

For review of all books in the series: Go here.

Stars: 3 / 5

Recommendation: Hope & Despair; Friendships & Betrayals; Love & Hatred; Cruelty & Revenge; Rulers & Subjects; Captures & Escapes; every page gives you a variety in characters, emotions, plans, mishaps and terrors. A recipe for a dystopian novel successfully executed.

The Capture is the second book in The Prey trilogy by Tom Isbell published in January of 2016. The plot begins where it ended in the first book The Prey, with a group of Less Thans and Sisters heading back to rescue the rest.

The series is set in post-apocalyptic United States after the world was destroyed by nations who go on nuclear war against each other - an event called Omega. One enormous burst of electromagnetic radiation and everything electronic gets destroyed - no modern amenities left for common man to use. The US becomes the Republic Of The True America and divided into different Resettlement Camps and Territories. The Camps are handled by Military Sergeants, Colonels and Majors and myriads of Soldiers called Brown Shirts. The specific territory that this plot takes place in is the Western Federation Territory.

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