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Book Review: CITY OF THE LOST by Kelley Armstrong

May 26, 2016 – 11:10 pm | One Comment

I featured this book in May’s Nerdy Special List, but the full review below appeared in Shelf Awareness for Readers and is republished here with permission.
” ‘I killed a man,’ I say to my new therapist.”
With …

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Movie Review: THE NICE GUYS

May 19, 2016 – 8:18 pm | 5 Comments

nice guysShane Black, the screenwriter who shot to fame with the Lethal Weapon movies, may have had a few stumbles in the last three decades, but with The Nice Guys, a 1970s noir detective story Black cowrote with Anthony Bagarozzi, Black is firmly in his element.

Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe play low-rent PI Holland March and enforcer Jackson Healy, respectively, who meet in a painful way—at least for March—but then team up when clues indicate that Healy’s missing client, a girl named Amelia (The Leftovers‘ Margaret Qualley), may be in grave danger. When they step up their search for her, the violence escalates, as mysterious parties either don’t want her found or they want her dead.

Part of the fun of viewing this movie is in its bizarre twists and turns so I won’t say much more about plot. It’s reminiscent of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, a low-budget gem Black also wrote and directed, in its style and tone, and in how much of the action occurs during one very long night.

The biggest pleasure is in watching Gosling and Crowe sling Black’s signature rat-tat-tat lines at each other with perfect comic timing. Yes, the movie is seedy and brutal, but the, ah, Black humor makes it very funny also. The actors’ chemistry is so good, you’d think these guys have been partners for decades. Gosling displays physical comedy chops I didn’t know he has, and it’s the loosest Crowe performance in years.

Also noteworthy is Angourie Rice (you wouldn’t now she’s Australian by listening to her) as March’s tween daughter Holly, who often has to be the adult in her dealings with Dad. Rice delivers her lines in a dry, weary, but sharp-witted way, depicting a girl who understands much more than her father gives her credit for, and is usually the only sane person in the room.

The city of L.A. is a character in itself, all seductive at night despite its crumbling Hollywood sign and porn industry and drug-addled parties. Another selling point? This movie isn’t a sequel or remake and there are no superheroes in sight.

Nerd verdict: Funny, noirish Nice

Photo: Warner Bros.

Girl, You Need New Friends

May 10, 2016 – 9:17 pm | 4 Comments
pexels-photo

I’ve been reading a couple of books in which a woman experiences or witnesses something shocking and she tells someone or several people. And no one believes her, not even her closest family members and friends.
They suggest …

Movie Review: THE JUNGLE BOOK

April 13, 2016 – 9:41 pm | One Comment
jungle book mowgli bagheera

The first question I asked when I went into a screening of Disney’s live-action remake of The Jungle Book was: Is this a musical? The answer: No.
Fine by me.
My second question was: Will “The Bare Necessities” …

Nerdy Special List April 2016

April 4, 2016 – 10:06 pm | 4 Comments
king-maybe

I’m so excited April is here, because not only is it my birthday month, about 93 people I know and love also have birthdays. There will be lots of celebrating ’round here! (With loads of cake …

Book Review: THE WATCHER IN THE WALL by Owen Laukkanen

March 30, 2016 – 8:38 pm | 2 Comments
watcher in the wall

Adrian Miller, tired of being tormented at school, hangs himself while home alone. But there’s a witness to his act—someone watching via videocam on his computer. Not just watching but encouraging him to do it, …

Movie Review: BATMAN V. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE

March 25, 2016 – 12:00 am | 4 Comments
(Clay Enos/AP)

When I was a kid—heck, even now—nothing much could get me out of bed early on a Saturday morning. If something could, it was a BIG DEAL.
And so it was, the show Super Friends, which …

Nerdy Special List March 2016

March 8, 2016 – 1:51 am | 2 Comments
jane steele

So…it’s been an interesting month. For the past several weeks, I’ve been traveling a lot—all over California, into Nevada, and down under to Australia. Some of it was work-related, some not, but none of it was …

Book Review: THE SHUT EYE by Belinda Bauer

February 10, 2016 – 8:20 pm | 4 Comments
the shut eye

Detective Chief Inspector John Marvel is obsessed with the disappearance of 12-year-old Edie Evans, who went missing more than a year earlier while riding her bike, but Marvel’s boss, the superintendent, wants the detective to …

Nerdy Special List February 2016

February 7, 2016 – 9:18 pm | 8 Comments
back blast

I’m baaack!
I’ll wait until all 3 of you are done thinking, “Wait, she went somewhere?”
This past month was challenging because Mr. PCN had surgery, but he’s well on his way to recovery so life has returned …

Thoughts on the 73rd Golden Globes

January 10, 2016 – 11:02 pm | 5 Comments
Alicia-Vikander-Golden-Globe-Awards-2016

This was one of the weirder Golden Globes ceremonies in recent memory. Sylvester Stallone winning best supporting actor in a motion picture for Creed? Lady Gaga is the best lead actress in a limited series for American …

Q & A with Robert Crais

January 8, 2016 – 12:26 am | 8 Comments
IMG_2496

After a long wait for readers, Robert Crais released The Promise last November. I pounced on it like it was the last piece of bacon post-apocalypse. It’s billed as an Elvis and Joe novel but …

Nerdy Special List January 2016

January 5, 2016 – 11:23 pm | 5 Comments
even dogs in the wild

Happy 2016! Hope your holidays were beautiful and full of things that made you all fuzzy inside. Or on the outside, if that’s your preference. I don’t judge.
I had a wonderful time with family, mooching …

An INSIDE OUT Christmas

December 14, 2015 – 8:31 pm | 5 Comments
FullSizeRender

This past weekend I attended my friend Mari’s annual holiday theme party. Long-time PCN readers might remember her incredible Harry Potter party and the Dr. Seuss one, among others. This year’s theme was:

In case you don’t …