The Unusual Suspects – season 1

Not great. But there are some things to like in this Aussie heist comedy.

The music is good.

A 4-episode miniseries that seems not be renewed.

It’s in both English and Tagalog as the characters are Filipina and Aussie.

The target is a multi-million-dollar necklace. The thieves hilariously incompetent.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Theodore Boone: books 2-3-4

Theodore Boone: The Abduction, written by John Grisham, is the second book in the Theodore Boone series. It is written for 11 to 13-year-olds.

It’s worth reading this series in order.

Grisham is such a good story teller, that I was convinced to stay with the plot. I was cheering for Theo.

His good friend, April, disappears from her bedroom in the middle of the night.

No one, not even Theo Boone – who knows April better than anyone – has answers.

As fear ripples through his small hometown and the police hit dead ends, it’s up to Theo to use his legal knowledge and investigative skills to chase down the truth and save April.

Children’s Books Wiki

Theodore Boone: The Accused #3 is just as good.

Theo’s home town anxiously awaits the new trial of infamous murder suspect Pete Duffy.

There’s been a robbery and Theo is the accused. His reputation is on the line, and with the evidence building against him — and dangerous threats looming —Theo will do whatever it takes to prove his innocence–even if it means breaking a few rules.

It’s a page turner.

Theodore Boone: The Activist #4 is a longer book. The case more complex.

Theo is still age-13, but starting to grow up.

Small town Strattenburg is divided over a hot political and environmental issue — whether or not to build a $200 million freeway bypass while schools, police, fire, and all other town budgets are being cut.

Theo finds himself right in the thick of it … strongly opposed to the plans.

But when he uncovers corruption beneath the surface, no one—not even Theo—is prepared for the risks—and potential harm—at stake.

Torn between his conscience and the law, Theo will do whatever it takes to stand up for what is right.

The end of this book is the best single scene in the series so far.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

The Coffin Dancer by Jeffery Deaver

The Coffin Dancer is a 1998 novel by Jeffery Deaver. Book #2 in the series featuring Lincoln Rhyme, a quadriplegic detective.

Rhyme is brilliant. But gets outwitted by a killer hired to do away with 3 witnesses in the last hours before their grand jury testimony.

It’s personal for Rhyme as the same man had killed two of his assistants 5 years before.

If you like surprise plot twists, this book is for you.

Tear It Down by Nick Petrie

Tear It Down is the 4th book in the Peter Ash series. And the weakest, so far.

Lots of action. But the plot is simply too impossible, even for me.

Iraq war veteran Peter Ash is restless in the home he shares with June Cassidy in Washington State.

June knows Peter needs to be on the move, so she sends him to Memphis to help her friend Wanda Wyatt, a photographer and war correspondent who’s been receiving peculiar threats. When Peter arrives in Memphis, however, he finds the situation has gone downhill fast–someone has just driven a dump truck into Wanda’s living room. But neither Wanda nor Peter can figure out why.

At the same time, a young homeless street musician finds himself roped into a plan to rob a jewelry store. The heist doesn’t go as planned, and the young man finds himself holding a sack full of Rolexes and running for his life. When his getaway car breaks down, he steals a new one at gunpoint–Peter’s 1968 green Chevrolet pickup truck. 

Peter likes the skinny kid’s smarts and attitude, but he soon discovers that the desperate musician is in far worse trouble than he knows. And Wanda’s troubles are only beginning. Peter finds himself stuck between Memphis gangsters–looking for Rolexes and revenge–and a Mississippi ex-con and his hog-butcher brother looking for a valuable piece of family history that goes all the way back to the Civil War.

Fairy Tale by Stephen King

King is a great story teller. And his books are long.

Fairy Tale (2022) is twice as long as most novels. Too long, I’d say.

I really enjoyed the first half. But found it began to drag in the middle.

In fact, I would have been happier to stop reading at the halfway point.

The novel follows Charlie Reade, a 17-year-old who inherits a portal to a hidden, otherworldly realm, and finds himself leading the battle between forces of good vs evil.

A German Shepherd dog, named Radar, is important to the voyage — through a shed — to Empis, an unhappy land where Charlie befriends exiled members of the royal family.

If you like King’s books, you’ll like this one too.

It’s a scary, modern fairy tale with references to Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, H.P. Lovecraft, and Ray Bradbury.

A film adaptation is already in the works.

Where the Crawdads Sing – the movie

The book is fantastic.

The story follows two timelines that slowly intertwine.

The first describes the life and adventures of a young girl named Kya as she grows up isolated, parentless in the marshes of North Carolina from 1952–1969.

The second timeline follows a murder investigation of Chase Andrews, a local celebrity of Barkley Cove, a fictional coastal town of North Carolina.

I liked the film, even if it is a bit schmaltzy in places.

David Strathairn was my favourite character, as lawyer Tom Milton.

Daisy Edgar-Jones as Catherine “Kya” Clark is great, as well.

Reviews have not been good. 😀

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie

I really liked Kenneth Branagh’s film Death on the Nile (2022).

The film is a much better version of the story than the book published 1937.

A lot of changes were made for the movie. For the better.

Salome Otterbourne, a romance novelist in the book, becomes a Black blues singer in the film. My favourite character.

Christie speaks very little of the tourist activities on the Nile while the film makes excellent use of the scenery.

Son of a Critch – TV and Book

Mark Critch (born May 14, 1974) is a Canadian comedian, actor, and writer.

He is best known for his work on the comedy series This Hour Has 22 Minutes, initially as a writer and then as a regular cast member beginning in 2003. …

In 2018, Critch announced the release of his early life memoir, Son of a Critch.

I found it hilarious. Funnier than Rick Mercer’s early memoir. Also in Newfoundland.

Next I watched Son of a Critch, a Canadian television comedy series, created by Mark Critch and Tim McAuliffe, based on the book. I watched it for free online, on CBC’s streaming platform, CBC Gem.

11-year-old Mark is growing up in 1980s Newfoundland, where he navigates starting junior high school, making friends, and connecting with the small collection of people in his limited world. Mark is a nerd.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

Mark Critch plays Mike Critch, Mark’s father and reporter for radio station VOCM.

Malcolm McDowell plays Patrick “Pop” Critch, Mark’s grandfather.

Season 2 launches January 2023. I’m sure I’ll watch it too.

Son of a Critch is a good addition to the CanCon SitCom genre, easier watching even than Kim’s Convenience and Corner Gas.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.

House of the Dragon – season 1

Most of the personalities in House of the Dragon are horrible people.

There’s no Arya nor Jon Snow to cheer.

Closest to someone I might like in the first episodes is Gavin Spokes as Lord Lyonel Strong.

My favourite character is Milly Alcock as the young Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen.

I found her very believable.

Emma D’Arcy is perhaps equally believable as the adult Rhaenyra. But life has gone to crap by this point.

It’s difficult to end entertainments. I’d say the ending of season 1 was about as good as any TV series or film I can recall. The highlight moment.

Film students will be studying that scene.

At times I liked Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen even more. But that role confuses me.

Similar to his turn as Prince Philip in ‘The Crown’, he’s got the look. Charismatic? Evil? Both?

Perhaps the most impressive performance is Paddy Considine as King Viserys Targaryen.

What a complex and nuanced role.

Produced for a fraction of the cost / episode of Games of Thrones or Rings of Power, this TV series is pushing limits for television. Sex. Violence. The dangers of childbirth before modern medicine.

Not always easy to watch, but #respect for the creators.

Also — the dragons are cool.

Click PLAY or watch it on YouTube.