July 5th, 2016


Book Critique 2016 – 04/17/2016: Perry Mason in The Case of The Fiery Fingers (#37)

Continuing with the critiques I started in 2015, here is the next in series – a book review.
Prologue: Go here.

Stars: 4 / 5
Recommendation: For everyone who have fetish for courtroom drama, this is the lawyer's case files that one would definitely have to read.

The Case of the Fiery Fingers in the 37th Perry Mason case written by Erle Stanley Gardner and published originally in May of 1951. A seemingly simple advice counsel turns to a full-blown murder case with elements of fraudulence and conspiracy.

Nellie Conway, mousy night nurse-maid comes to Perry Mason's office for an advice on what her employer want her to do. She pays $1 for that. The case in point being Nellie claims that her employer Nathan Bain has asked her to give some poisoned pills to his wife, Elizabeth Bain whom she was taking care of during the nights. Elizabeth had broken her back in a car accident and had been confined to her bed and her room. Nellie was the night-nurse while there was another one for day. Nellie had approached the cops about what Nathan had asked her to do but they dismissed her suspicions claiming that the pills were nothing but asprin. After listening to her case, Mason takes one pill and gives back three pills sealed in an envelope asking her not to use them at all. She leaves unsatisfied with the advice and Mason is left feeling that he had just been dragged into middle of something that was going to turn bigger.

True to his feeling, Nellie calls Mason the following evening claiming that Nathan Bain is getting her arrested for thievery. That Nathan has proof that she has stolen one of the pieces from his wife's jewelry box. Naturally Mason takes up the case to defend her. However, his dealings with Nellie and Nathan doesn’t end there. And that leads to murder, investigation and defending again another person. As much as Mason gets irritated by the mess in the first-place, again with his trusted associates Della Street and Paul Drake he not only unravels the mystery but also solves the murder much to the frustration of DA Hamilton Burger.

Another charming and quite an interesting court-room drama between Mason and Burger written oh ever so mysteriously by Gardner. I have watched the entire series and the movies but hadnt read a book till now. It is no wonder Gardner is so good that the book comes alive even if you hadnt watched the series. And yes, it is not until the last chapter that we get to know who the murderer or culprit is. I could never guess in any of his plots. Always complicated plots and ever feeding your curious mind. And don’t forget the language used. It is so different from modern books like - Mason quipping angrily of course "by making a goat out of me" or the words "temerity", "monkeyed". I am looking forward to read the rest of the books when I get a chance.

If you want to get defended anytime, it would better to have Perry Mason on your side. Jokes apart, a very good book to read to satisfy your noodles.

Here is the episode in the TV Series made based off of this book.


Movie Critique 2016 – 04/18/2016: Dirty Dancing

Continuing with the critiques I started in 2015, here is the next in series – a movie review.
Prologue: Go here.

Stars: 5 / 5
Recommendation: Definitely to watch even If you don’t like dance, just for the sheer romance in it, if not for the reality.

Dirty Dancing is the 1983 classic American romantic film starring Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey in the lead roles. A movie made on low budget with the less-named actors went on to become the top grosser film of that year, winning awards and still captures audience. Who would have thought Baby and Johnny could create so much sensation.

The plot is very simple. A well-to-do family of four (Father, Mother and two daughters) goes vacationing to a resort hotel. Youngest daughter being shy keeps exploring the area around and encounters the lead dancer of the resort's entertainment band.  She falls for him and also helps him in situations that he and his band fall into. And the story continues showing how they fight the hurdles, and eventually win their father's acceptance as well as a partnership for life within them. Seemingly simple story yet it had earned millions of dollars and still earning. What could have made the movie such a sensation, such a classic? Here are my 2 cents as to why.

1) True to the heart chemistry between Patrick Swazye and Jennifer Grey as Johnny Castle and Frances "Baby" Houseman is electric, even when she was just a shy girl trying to get out of her shell.

2) Jerry Orbach - the only famous actor in the movie at that time - fit perfectly into the role a protective father, Dr. Jake Houseman. With his dialogues like "Don't you tell me what to see! I see someone in front of me who got his partner in trouble and sent her off to some butcher, while he moved on to an innocent young girl like my daughter", oh he definitely fit the part.

3) The plot that jumps from simple to complex in just one scene. Although removes the fairy-tale element but kicks you into the seat of reality with a lesson. One scene that explains depths.

4) However, the budding romance between a shy teenager and an experienced adult brings back the element of fairy-tale romance. And still the hard-work and effort they put in keeps the reality element without missing a beat.

5) And who can forget the memorable dialogues. A few here:

Penny: Go back to your playpen, Baby.

Johnny: Nobody puts Baby in a corner

Baby: I carried a watermelon.
[Johnny walks away]
Baby: [to herself] Carried a watermelon?

6) And the finale…The Time of My Life - a song that has become an iconic song for many weddings, anniversaries, valentine days and all those special occasions that couples would want to celebrate.

It has become a cult for romantics and has been made into numerous versions. However the original always is the best.

Do you need any more reasons for watching this movie again and again? Go check netflix, youtube or search your dvds and pop it in. Curl up on the sofa and enjoy the movie, live the romance and experience life.