Me

Movie Critique – Smart Blonde (Torchy Blane #1)

Stars: 4 / 5

Recommendation: Fast-talking smart sleuth teams up with her amiable lieutenant boyfriend, does everything she can for a scoop; and comes out smarter than others in the plot. The short film does pack a punch in comedy, drama and mystery.

Smart Blonde is a 1937 American mystery film, the first of the nine films in the Torchy Blane series by Warner Bros. Pictures Inc. Glenda Farrell starred as Torchy Blane in the series. This film was directed by Frank McDonald, produced by Jack L. Warner and Hal B. Wallis. Screenplay provided by Kenneth Gamet and Don Ryan. 

The film is based on the 1938 short story No Hard Feelings by Frederick Nebel published in the Black Mask magazine in February of 1938. In the original series the detective duo are two men - McBride and Kennedy. Kennedy, a drunken reporter was changed to fast-talking and smart female, Torchy Blane. She becomes a female reporter who teams up with her boyfriend Steve McBride in solving mysteries and crimes.

In this film, Torchy and her boyfriend Steve are embroiled in the mystery of the killing of an investor, Tiny Torgenson (portrayed by Joseph Crehan). And Torchy becomes a witness to Tiny's murder. She teams up with her boyfriend Steve (portrayed by Barton MacLane) in solving the case. Several suspects turn up at every turn of the reel for Torchy and Steve making their life difficult to weed through them. 

Collapse )
Me

Book Critique: Secrets In Death (In Death # 45)

For review of all books in the In Death series, go here.

Stars: 4 / 5

Recommendation: Contrary to her usual race against time plots, this was Robb's much slower paced, yet with police procedure depicted close to reality. I found it gripping, entertaining and at the same time intriguing; touching all senses of human mind despite the gruesome crime.

Secrets in Death is forty fifth book in the long running In Death Series by J. D. Robb, the alter ego of the famous American romance novelist Nora Roberts, first published in September of 2017. The plot takes us through another case by Lieutenant Eve Dallas that practically lands in her lap - the murder of gossip reporter Larinda Mars. However, little does Eve realize that while treading the past of Larinda Mars she might find hidden doors and secret pockets that she might want closed forever and never revealed.

Collapse )
Me

Movie Critique – Ladies They Talk About

For review of all movies starring Barbara Stanwyck, go here.

Stars: 4 / 5

Recommendation: A delightful tale of an evangelic reformer falling in love with a gun moll from his own home town; an early pre-Code drama showcasing Stanwyck so good at being bad.

Ladies They Talk About is a 1933 pre-Code American crime drama directed by Howard Bretherton and William Keighley; uncredited production by Raymond Griffith; and released by Warner Bros. Pictures. The film stars Barbara Stanwyck, Preston Foster, Lyle Talbot and Dorothy Burgess among others. 

Nan Taylor (portrayed by Barbara Stanwyck), a known member of a bank robber group, gets arrested while her gang is stealing a bank. Radio actor David Slade (portrayed by Preston Foster) falls in love with her, and tries to get her released. In the prison when an escape is attempted after her gang is also arrested, it is foiled and the leader of the gang Don (portrayed by Lyle Talbot) is shot dead. Now Nan vows to take revenge on Slade since she believes that Slade had foiled their plans.

The film is based on the 1932 play Women in Prison or Gangstress by Dorothy Mackaye and Carlton Miles. The play is based on Mackaye's real-life jail-time experience. Screenplay for the film was given by Brown Holmes, William McGrath and Sidney Sutherland.

Collapse )
Me

Movie Critique – Killer's Kiss

Stars: 4 / 5

Recommendation: A film filled with Manhattan showed in it's full glory in the night; a tough boxing match of a fading boxer; a ballet dance interlude; and an interesting climax with the mannequins. This is most certainly 67 minutes of genius we see of a young Stanley Kubrick.

Killer's Kiss is a 1955 American crime film noir directed and produced by Stanley Kubrick, distributed by United Artists. The film stars Jamie Smith, Irene Kane, Frank Silvera and Jerry Jarrett among others. Screenplay was also written by Stanley Kubrick with uncredited support by Howard Sackler. Morris Bousel co-produced the film.

Davey Gordon (portrayed by Jamie Smith) is a middleweight New York boxer who is at the end of the line in his career. He is attracted to Gloria (portrayed by Irene Kane) who is tired of working as a taxi dancer. One day Gloria Price is attacked by her employer Vincent Rapallo (portrayed by Frank Silvera). He comes to her rescue. They both decide to leave New York. But are pursued relentlessly by Vincent making their escape harder and harder. 

The film is notable for on location shooting, giving viewers a front-row seat of glimpses into New York from the 1950s - old Penn Station (which was demolished in 1963), Time Square and some of the Brooklyn streets and SoHo areas.

Collapse )
Me

Movie Critique – Edge of the Garden

Stars: 4 / 5

Recommendation: Time travel romance plot delighting you at every scene; amazing the viewer with the imagination of how one can share space years apart; and at the same making you think some times love is timeless.

Edge of the Garden is a 2011 American romantic time traveling film released by Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel; Directed by Michael M. Scott; Produced by Harvey Kahn; and Screenplay written by Duane Poole. The film stars Rob Estes, Sarah Manninen, Kelly Monaco and David Lewis among others.

A workaholic Brian Connor (portrayed by Rob Estes) moves to Maine where his new job is, when his fiancée Julie (portrayed by Kelly Monaco) breaks up with him when he misses his own engagement party while busy working. He buys an old abandoned home in the new place. Soon after he starts to feel presence of people, and eventually meets Nora Hargrave (portrayed by Sarah Manninen). Only problem is that both are fifty years apart, and somehow culminates in that house where both times exist together; share the same space. 

I always like a book or film that has time traveling element tied to it. I posted a film of similar genre a while ago - the 1998 The Love Letter, also released as part of Hallmark Hall of Fame series. In that the primary characters exchange letters that travel across time to go back 100 years. Naturally I was drawn to Edge of the Garden for the basic concept of the plot. But it charmed me more once I saw the film.

Collapse )
Me

Book Critique - Born To Die (To Die # 3)

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

Stars: 3 / 5

Recommendation: Bone-chilling thriller with the touches of romance, lust and twisted minds - a perfect medley to enjoy the plot despite the shivers it leaves in the reader's spine.

Born to Die is the third book in the To Die Series by Lisa Jackson, published in January of 2011. The plot is set a few months after the events from the second book, Chosen to Die ends.

Dr. Acacia "Kacey" Collins Lambert moves back to the small town of Grizzly Falls, Montana, to start fresh, forget her past. However, women who have resemblance to her are falling to death, accidental deaths as police all it, around her. She begins her own investigation with help of Trace O'Halleran, her romantic interest. But the women dying also have a sort of connection with Trace. As Kacey is getting closer and closer to unraveling the mystery, she is being ever closer to be in the sights of the killer. 

The first two books gives the readers a view into the very dysfunctional family that Detective Regan Pescoli has and how her life is all so mixed up and complicated. In this book, Lisa gives us more insight into Pescoli's partner, Detective Selena Alvarez.

At the end of the second book, Chosen to Die, Nate Santana and Pescoli decide to move in together with her kids. However, in this plot, Lisa doesn’t do that, instead keeps them living separate. Interesting! I wonder how long will Nate wait for Pescoli to come around.

Collapse )
Me

Kitchen Fun - Paneer Pancakes

In my Obsession with Pancakes series, the next one I present are Paneer Pancakes. Sometimes called as Cottage Cheese, Paneer is non-aged, non-melting soft cheese made from curdling milk. Although Paneer doesn’t have a taste in itself, it absorbs all the flavors that from the dish it goes into, thus making it part of the dish; and yet somehow stands out too.

For a while I was thinking of making savory pancakes using Paneer. And here they are now, come to fruition in my kitchen. They are light and fluffy with distinct flavor of cream; and tingling your senses with the savory-sweet taste.

Collapse )
Me

Movie Critique – The Magnificent Ambersons

Stars: 4 / 5

Recommendation: A woman suffering with stupid pride; a child spoiled rotten; an aunt half-jealous and half-ashamed; and a family caught in all this with only an outsider who can see the path they were taking to depravity and decay. There was nothing "Magnificent" about these Ambersons.

The Magnificent Ambersons is a 1942 American period drama film produced, directed and screenplay written by Orson Welles; with uncredited directorial debut of Robert Wise. The film stars Joseph Cotten, Dolores Costello, Anne Baxter, Tim Holt, Ray Collins and Agnes Moorehead among others. It was released by RKO Radio Pictures and Mercury Productions.

Isabel Amberson, one of the Ambersons - the wealthiest family in their city in the end of the 19th century - marries a passionless Wilbur Minafer (portrayed by Don Dillaway) even though she had loved Eugene Morgan (portrayed by Joseph Cotten). Twenty years later, Eugene now a widower with a daughter Lucy (portrayed by Anne Baxter), attends a party thrown for George (portrayed by Tim Holt), Isabel and Wilbur's son. Despite the social and personal differences George starts courting Lucy. But times change, and bad luck befalls the Ambersons; turning the tides in favor of the Morgans. And the feud between the magnificent Ambersons and the rising Morgans begin.

Collapse )
Me

Book Critique: Leopard's Rage (Leopard People # 13)

For review of all books in this series: Go here

Stars: 3 / 5

Recommendation: Shape-shifting Leopards, Mobsters and Love - A weird combination right? Well, it's worth reading on those lazy days or to bring you out of any kind of dull mood. Although there is a slight drag in this plot.

Leopard's Rage is the thirteenth installment the Leopard People Series by Christine Feehan published in November of 2020. The central plot revolves around Sevastyan Amurov - an Amur leopard, cousin and Head of Security for Mitya Amurov - and Flambe Carver - landscaper artist & a strawberry leopard shifter.

Leopard People Series focuses on a shape-shifter species who can shape-shift to leopards. Each plot covers one couple that are destined to be mated in this lifetime just like so many lifetimes in the past. And surrounding this couple the plot expands, their advantages, their perils and how their lives move along. They are either set in Borneo Rain Forest - coast of South East Asia - or in Louisiana and Texas in USA or eventually lead there. Coming from hard and cruel lairs, these leopards come out on their own, find their mates, infiltrate the mobs and acquire the territories taking over them.

In Leopard's Wrath, we see the character of Sevastyan grow larger than previous books. So I had a feeling that her next book would center around him. True to my notion, Christine stuck to the Amurov Leopards, and gives us Sevastyan's story.

Collapse )