Featured

Rocketman

uploadscardimage9964749ca94b84-337b-4fee-b183-e5172f15b6c5.jpg950x534__filtersquality80I had to think about this movie for a couple days to let it sink in. Given that time to mull it over I have to say I was not impressed by Rocketman – the story of Elton John. Cathryn loved the movie so this review will give you both perspectives. She liked the music selection and thought the actors playing John as a child and adult (Taron Egerton) did a fabulous job.

The film accurately mimicked many of the rock star’s wild and crazy outfits, but made no attempt to play his music in the order the songs were released. Theatrical creativity must have been the point since the song lyrics were used to describe the events of the artist’s stage in life. Oddly enough, it was Bernie Taupin who wrote the lyrics and Elton added the music.

For me the story dwells too long on Reg Dwight’s (Elton John) woe is me childhood. They show us how he came up with his stage name – the second half taken from John Lennon, but that fact in not true. Granted, John was executive producer of the movie, but he obviously decided to portray his life as he perceived it and not as how it actually happened. Thus there are other historical inaccuracies.

I was also unimpressed with the movie being a fantasy musical. I thought it took away from many of the great songs that I love. Nothing in the reviews I read said anything about the format. Overall the movie was still entertaining with a couple of zen moments to put you in the zone.

I rated it a 5 and Cathryn a 10 out of 10.

John Wick – 300 (Parabellum)

WickI use the number 300 instead of 3 – for the third installment of the John Wick, the master assassin. Seeing the film with an action-appreciating buddy, we couldn’t keep track of the bad guys killed by Wick. He commented later that it was the highest body count he’d ever seen in a movie, a bold statement considering other slaughter movies we’d seen, like Rambo 3 or Hacksaw Ridge.

I’ve always liked Keanu Reeves and that includes his John Wick character, but I started to chuckle after his first 30 or 40 kills. The man deserves credit for the way he handles himself in the action sequences – basically a two hour long chase and fight scene. He masterfully handles an assortment of weapons that must have taken hours of practice to successfully operate.

If you don’t mind a few dozen blood-spattering head shots and an overly violent plot, this movie could be for you. I do find it odd though, in this day and age, how movie makers can present us with such mindless slaughter, and add a dry touch of humor to make the film more entertaining. In a way this movie reminded me of the Walking Dead – the bad guys weren’t dead until you shot them in the head, in many cases more than once.

Enough about the violence. The movie has a highly paid all-star cast, perhaps to give the flick some credibility with movie buffs. I have to say I was shocked at the other online reviews I read from sites like Roger Ebert and company. So maybe it was just me…and my buddy, who thought there was enough carnage to call the John Wick movies a trilogy and leave it at that.

Cathryn could never have sat through this movie with her eyes open. I don’t think my buddy was too impressed. For the sake of mindless entertainment I give it 5 out of 10.

The Guardian -Nicholas Sparks

15925The Guardian 
by Nicholas Sparks (Goodreads Author)

15204490

Edmond Gagnon‘s review

Mar 07, 2019


First of all, this is not the type of book I normally read, but it was either this novel or choosing one written in Russian or German. My choices were limited while on the island of Zanzibar.
I recognized the authors name and his award-winning novel The Notebook. Maybe it was the movie that won all the awards, either way I knew it as what I call a ‘chick flick.’
I sucked it up and started flipping pages, literally, right off the bat I found the plot sappy and the characters predictable. But I carried on, thinking I needed to broaden my genre horizons.
It may have been a bit painful at times, but one of the characters was a Great Dane who captured my attention. I guess the story was okay, but the interaction between characters and the resulting relationships reminded me of high school. Are there really that many simple-minded and gullible people out there?
I trudged on and managed to finish the book, but wasn’t happy with the ending. Without spoiling it I’ll leave it at that.
I’m sure many women readers will love the book. What can I say, I’m a guy.

NYPD Red 3 – James Patterson & MarshallKarp

22674493NYPD Red 3 (NYPD Red, #3) 
by

James Patterson (Goodreads Author),
Marshall Karp (Goodreads Author)
15204490

Edmond Gagnon‘s review

Feb 26, 2019  


I can’t remember if it was 1 or 2 of the NYPD Red series that I read, but I enjoyed it more than this installment. Of Patterson’s stable of underwriters, I like Marshall Karp and his stories. As was the last, this one is fast paced with colorful and interesting characters. The police drama and content is believable, but like a Hollywood movie, a bit over the top and too familiar at times. The plot delivers an antagonist who is easy to hate from the first sentence written about him. The banter is fun between the cop partners, and references to their personal lives giving the story it’s sense of humanity. It was a good and easy read.

Die Trying – Lee Child

220969Die Trying (Jack Reacher, #2) 
by

Lee Child (Goodreads Author)
15204490

Edmond Gagnon‘s review

Feb 23, 2019  


I’ve read several of Lee Child’s Jack Reacher novels now and I can easily say this was my least favorite. It wasn’t anything in particular that stopped me from a better review and adding a star to the rating. I guess it comes down to personal taste and this story didn’t have the right flavor for me. It’s only the 2nd book in the Reacher series so perhaps it didn’t contain the ingredients I usually find palatable in Child’s writing.
The story is descent, with good characters, but the plot seemed too familiar, maybe lacking enough spice to make a great dish. It was an entertaining read that I ripped through quickly, but only because I had nothing better to do.

Origin – Dan Brown

32283133Origin (Robert Langdon, #5) 
by Dan Brown (Goodreads Author)

15204490

Edmond Gagnon‘s review

Feb 21, 2019  


I generally liked this novel and was leaning toward a fourth star, but I think it fell short of the great stories that preceded this Robert Langdon novel. As usual, Dan Brown weaves an interesting tale of intrigue, but he added a bit too much fluff and back story for my liking. His detailed descriptions of religious sites and places in Spain gave me the impression I was reading from a Wikipedia post or even a travelogue.
The plot was good and the author keeps you guessing for more than half the novel. It didn’t move as quick as other Langdon stories, but as usual the story and characters were realistic, making for a good read.

The Narrows – Michael Connelly

409918The Narrows (Harry Bosch, #10; Harry Bosch Universe, #13) 
by

Michael Connelly (Goodreads Author)
15204490

Edmond Gagnon‘s review

Feb 17, 2019  


What crime fiction reader doesn’t like Harry Bosch? He’s my kind of cop with an attitude similar to mine when I was on the job, but I surely didn’t take it home with me or let it keep me up at night.
Having read several books in the series I wish I’d stated from the beginning, but I stumble across them while I’m travelling and trade them up as I go.
Michael Connelly knows how to tell a good copy story, his characters and police procedures are spot on. He makes it easy to love the good guys and hate the bad ones.
In this novel Bosch teams up with FBI agent Rachel Walling, after they discover they’re both working the same case from different perspectives. I enjoyed the crossover with the Terry McCaleb story.
The plot builds speed quickly and it kept me flipping pages quick enough to act as a paper fan to keep me cool in the extreme heat here in Zanzibar, Tanzania.
What crime fiction reader doesn’t like Michael Connelly?