Kinship and Connections A place for every kind of relationship http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections <![CDATA[ 'Delivery Man' one of the Two Jews On Film thinks this movie delivers (Video)]]>                                                                             '
By Joan Alperin-Schwartz
To say that David Wozniak (Vince Vaughn) is a 'Big Daddy' would be an understatement...Because, he's the 'biggest daddy' of them all.
                                                                     
David has fathered 533 children of which 142 have filed a class action lawsuit to find out the identity of their biological father.
 
If you're wondering, how exactly David became the father of all these kids, wonder no more.  From 1990 thru 1992, he made multiple sperm donations under the pseudonym of...Starbuck.  He was paid $35.00 a pop by a fertility clinic racking up over $20,000.
 
Apparently, David's sperm was very popular.
 
'Delivery Man', written and directed by Ken Scott, based on his French Canadian film 'Starbuck' is the story of what happens when a screw-up is faced with making a very grown up decision.
 
David is 42 and is one of those guys who never got his life together.  He works as a delivery guy for his family's meat business, is $80.000 in debt to some very nasty guys, and his pot plants that he's growing in order to make money, are dying.
 
Right after David finds out about the 533 children and the lawsuit, his on and off girlfriend policewoman, Emma (Cobie Smulders) informs him, she's pregnant.  David's ecstatic, until Emma tell him, that he's not father material and she may not let him anywhere near the kid.
 
That's all he needs to hear, for David to decide...it's time to get his act together.
 
With the help of his best friend/lawyer, Brett (Chris Pratt) David sets out to discover, exactly who are the 142 kids filing suit and in the prcess, winds up becoming their guardian angel.
 
'Delivery Man' is a very sweet, touching film.  It's even funny at times and Vince Vaughn is better than he's been in quite a while.  He makes us really care about David as well as his new found family.
 
For that reason, I gave 'Delivery Man' which opens in theatres, Friday November 22nd, 2013, three and a half bagels out of five.  John's back to his old self and completely disagreed with my opinion.
 
Check out our video for his bagel score and for more of our thoughts.
                                                                   
Please SUBSCRIBE to our youtube channel and LIKE us on our Two Jews On Film facebook page.
 
Thanks everyone
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/d/UserReview-_Delivery_Man_starring_Vince_Vaughn-925-1888351-241910-_Delivery_Man_one_of_the_Two_Jews_On_Film_thinks.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/d/UserReview-_Delivery_Man_starring_Vince_Vaughn-925-1888351-241910-_Delivery_Man_one_of_the_Two_Jews_On_Film_thinks.html Tue, 19 Nov 2013 23:43:12 +0000
<![CDATA[ 'Delivery Man' one of the Two Jews On Film thinks this movie delivers (Video)]]>                                                                             '
By Joan Alperin-Schwartz
To say that David Wozniak (Vince Vaughn) is a 'Big Daddy' would be an understatement...Because, he's the 'biggest daddy' of them all.
                                                                     
David has fathered 533 children of which 142 have filed a class action lawsuit to find out the identity of their biological father.
 
If you're wondering, how exactly David became the father of all these kids, wonder no more.  From 1990 thru 1992, he made multiple sperm donations under the pseudonym of...Starbuck.  He was paid $35.00 a pop by a fertility clinic racking up over $20,000.
 
Apparently, David's sperm was very popular.
 
'Delivery Man', written and directed by Ken Scott, based on his French Canadian film 'Starbuck' is the story of what happens when a screw-up is faced with making a very grown up decision.
 
David is 42 and is one of those guys who never got his life together.  He works as a delivery guy for his family's meat business, is $80.000 in debt to some very nasty guys, and his pot plants that he's growing in order to make money, are dying.
 
Right after David finds out about the 533 children and the lawsuit, his on and off girlfriend policewoman, Emma (Cobie Smulders) informs him, she's pregnant.  David's ecstatic, until Emma tell him, that he's not father material and she may not let him anywhere near the kid.
 
That's all he needs to hear, for David to decide...it's time to get his act together.
 
With the help of his best friend/lawyer, Brett (Chris Pratt) David sets out to discover, exactly who are the 142 kids filing suit and in the prcess, winds up becoming their guardian angel.
 
'Delivery Man' is a very sweet, touching film.  It's even funny at times and Vince Vaughn is better than he's been in quite a while.  He makes us really care about David as well as his new found family.
 
For that reason, I gave 'Delivery Man' which opens in theatres, Friday November 22nd, 2013, three and a half bagels out of five.  John's back to his old self and completely disagreed with my opinion.
 
Check out our video for his bagel score and for more of our thoughts.
                                                                   
Please SUBSCRIBE to our youtube channel and LIKE us on our Two Jews On Film facebook page.
 
Thanks everyone
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/d/UserReview-_Delivery_Man_starring_Vince_Vaughn-925-1888351-241909-_Delivery_Man_one_of_the_Two_Jews_On_Film_thinks.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/d/UserReview-_Delivery_Man_starring_Vince_Vaughn-925-1888351-241909-_Delivery_Man_one_of_the_Two_Jews_On_Film_thinks.html Tue, 19 Nov 2013 23:42:00 +0000
<![CDATA[ Puts things very simply for guys new to the single life]]> You suddenly find yourself single, either by choice or by divorce. Now what do you do?

If your soon-to-be-ex agrees, hire a mediator or write the divorce agreement yourselves. It will save both of you a lot of money over hiring divorce attorneys, and it will cut down on the arguing (very important if there are children involved). If you are the one who is moving out, look for a new place now (don't put it off). Make sure your children have a space of their own when they visit your new residence.

Your new home will probably need a good cleaning; even if it looks clean, a thorough cleaning is still a good idea. The author looks at various cleaning products that have worked for him. After all that cleaning, you are going to be hungry. In the kitchen, the author suggests sticking with the basic items for now, like pots, pans and measuring cups. The fancy, high end items can come later.

At some point, you will want to invite women to your home. No to pictures of your ex, or of scantily clad women. Yes to plants, candles or pictures by your children. Other good ways to impress a woman are by showing her that you know how to cook (easy recipes are included), and that you know your way around the world of wine; the author helps with the basics.

How else can a single guy meet women? Volunteer your time, learn how to dance, join a fitness class or shop in a women's clothing or personal care store. Make sure you look presentable, approach her with confidence, and say something interesting (more than "Hey, you wanna go to a nightclub?"). When creating a dating website profile, it's OK to get a bit creative with your photo. Don't make it look like a mug shot, but don't make it part of an obviously cropped group photo. Keep the background simple. Included are suggestions for your first two dates; also, keep it simple. Give her a reason to open your message before all of the others she receives.

This book is excellent. It puts things very simply, for guys who have never been on their own, or whose wife has done all the cooking and cleaning. This gets two strong thumbs up.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-Single_Guy_How_to_Live_Smarter_Date_Better_and_Be_Awesomely_Happy-925-1886436-240996-Puts_things_very_simply_for_guys_new_to_the_single.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-Single_Guy_How_to_Live_Smarter_Date_Better_and_Be_Awesomely_Happy-925-1886436-240996-Puts_things_very_simply_for_guys_new_to_the_single.html Tue, 1 Oct 2013 00:36:22 +0000
<![CDATA[ 'Don Jon' Proves Joseph Gordon Levitt Is A Triple Threat (Video)]]>
By Joan Alperin Schwartz
First I have to say that I love Joseph Gordon Levitt.  He is one talented actor and with his new film, 'Don Jon', he shows us that acting, is not the only thing he's good at. 
                                                              
Not only does Levitt star in this film, he wrote and directed it as well.  
 
Levitt plays Jon Martello, (aka Don Jon) an Italian American from New Jersey. Jon is single...Works as a bartender...Loves to hang out with his buddies at the local clubs, loves to pick up girls and have sex with them and...loves to watch internet porn.  
 
In fact, Jon is addicted to porn...Watches it before sex, during sex and after sex. The dude can't get enough of it...And he just doesn't watch it...He gets off to it...at least 17 times a day.  That's right, 17 times a day, give or take one or two times.
 
He's also a good Catholic boy. Every Sunday, in the confessional, Jon tells his priest, all about his sexual escapades.  The priest gives him a bunch of Hail Mary's and Our Father's to recite and then Jon, having been absolved of his sins, is free to start sinning, over again.
 
Jon's one happy guy...But of course, this being a movie, his contentment cannot last.  Conflict is just around the corner...and it comes... 
 
In the form of a gorgeous, bright, extremely high maintenance, New Jersey girl, Barbara Sugarman (the wonderful Scarlett Johansson).
 
Barbara, who loves Hollywood movies, is determined to find her Prince Charming...Well Jon isn't exactly her Prince Charming, but that's not a problem for Babs. She'll just turn him into one and Jon, thinking he's in love, is more than happy to oblige. 
 
Jon even returns to school and of course, promises (after he's caught) to give up watching porn, forever.
Piece of cake, right? Not exactly...
 
'Don Jon' is a funny, touching, romantic film that even has a couple of surprises.  
 
It also has the always excellent, Julianne Moore, who plays Esther, a woman who comes into Jon's life and turns it upside down.  
 
I liked 'Don Jon' which opens in theatres, Friday September 27, 2013 a lot and gave it 4 bagels out of 5.
 
Check out our video to see John's bagel rating (Hint: He actually liked this one) and for more of our thoughts.
                                                                                       
 
Please SUBSCRIBE to our youtube channel and LIKE us on our Two Jews On Film facebook page.
 
Thanks everyone.
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/d/UserReview-Don_Jon_2013_film_-925-1886274-240859-_Don_Jon_Proves_Joseph_Gordon_Levitt_Is_A_Triple.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/d/UserReview-Don_Jon_2013_film_-925-1886274-240859-_Don_Jon_Proves_Joseph_Gordon_Levitt_Is_A_Triple.html Wed, 25 Sep 2013 19:37:55 +0000
<![CDATA[ 'Prisoners' A Dark, Disturbing, Must See Film (Video)]]>
By Joan Alperin Schwartz
From the moment 'Prisoners', directed by Denis Villeneuve ('Incendies') began, I knew I was about to see a film that was really, really good. And I was not disappointed.
 
In fact, by the time the end-credits rolled, I was actually feeling 'creeped-out (in a good way, if that's possible) and that feeling stayed with me for several hours.
 
The film, written by Aaron Guzikowski ('Contraband') is a dark, twisted, thrilling ride about a very important subject...Child abduction.
 
If you're wondering why you would want to see a movie, about a subject that unfortunately, is in the news practically everyday,...Here are several reasons...
 
Hugh Jackman, Maria Bello, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, Terrence Howard, Paul Dano and Melissa Leo.
 
Jackman is Keller Dover, a blue collar carpenter and self proclaimed survivalist.  He's a loving husband to his wife, Grace (Maria Bello) and his two children.  He's a man that is ready for anything...Or so he thought.
 
When his six year old daughter, Anna goes missing, along with her young friend, Joy (Howard and Davis's child) he has to decide how far he will go to save her.
 
Leading the investigation is Detective Loki (Jake Gyllenhaal) who has to deal with his own demons, as he races against time to find the two young girls.
 
The best lead is a dilapidated RV that has earlier been parked on the families street.   Loki arrests the driver, Alex Jones (Paul Dano) but due to lack of evidence, he's forced to let him go.  
 
From here on, the desperate Dover decides to take matters into his own hands and realizes there's nothing he won't do to protect his family.  
 
'Prisoners' is an edge of your seat thriller, with twists and turns that will have you guessing right up to the end.
 
I gave 'Prisoners' which opens in theatres, Friday September 20, 2013 4 1/2 bagel out of 5 and John, was pretty close in his bagel score.  Yes, this is a film he actually liked.
 
Check out our video for more of our thoughts and his rating.
                                                                              
 
Please SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel and LIKE us on our Two Jews On Film.
facebook page.  Thanks everyone.
 
Let us know what you think about this movie.
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/d/UserReview-Prisoners_2013_film_-925-1882750-240696-_Prisoners_A_Dark_Disturbing_Must_See_Film.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/d/UserReview-Prisoners_2013_film_-925-1882750-240696-_Prisoners_A_Dark_Disturbing_Must_See_Film.html Thu, 19 Sep 2013 20:55:57 +0000
<![CDATA[ 'We're The Millers' This Is One Road Trip You Definitely Want To Take (Video)]]> By Joan Alperin Schwartz
 
So what happens when a pot dealer (Jason Sudeikis), a stripper (Jennifer Anniston) a runaway (Emma Roberts) and a virgin (Will Poulter) pretend to be an 'All American Family' and go on a marijuana run to Mexico in a very big R. V.?
 
Well in the film 'We're The Millers' directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber, you're in for one very entertaining ride...
                                                                                 
 
Especially when you throw in an angry drug lord, a vicious tarantula, a pornographic game of Pictionary, and an impromptu sing-along...
 
Jason plays David Clark, a small town pot-dealer, whose clientele, includes chefs and soccer moms.  David has been dealing pot since college and you can definitely call him an 'under-achiever'.
 
But David isn't just a pot dealer...He's a guy with a good heart.  We know this because  early in the film, he comes to the rescue of a homeless girl, Casey (Emma Roberts) and his teenage neighbor, Kenny (Will Poulter) who are being harassed by some local punks.
 
For David, however, this proves to be a very bad move.  The punks steal his back pack containing his stash of unsold pot and $45,000 of his drug supplier's money.
 
When his supplier (Ed Helms) finds out David has lost his money, he offers him a choice...David could either be killed or he can take a trip across the border to Mexico and bring back a 'smidgen' of weed...Well maybe it's two smidgens of weed.   
 
Of course the later choice seems much more appealing than death.  Now the only question is...How can David make this drug run and not get caught?
 
Easy...Find an All American Family.  After all no one would ever suspect the Osmonds of smuggling pot...Now since our guy doesn't have an 'all american family', David will just have to create one...And that's exactly what he does.
 
He convinces Rose, Kenny and Casey to pretend to be his wife and kids. 
 
And so 'The Millers' are born...
 
Trust me folks, you have never seen an all american family like this one.
 
I absolutely loved the film and gave it 4 bagels out of 5.  

It's filled with unexpected twists and turns, including a hysterical encounter with another 'All American Family' (Nick Offernan, Kathryn Hahn, Molly Quinn. Plus not only is it funny and clever, it has a lot of heart.  I cared about the Millers and you will too.
 
'We Are The Millers' opens in theatres, Wednesday August 7th and it's a must see for anyone who loves to laugh.
 
Check out our video for John's rating...HINT:  He actually scored it the same as me! 
                                                                     
Please SUBSCRIBE to our youtube channel and LIKE us on our Facebook page.
Thanks everyone and don't forget to let us know what you think about this film.
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/d/UserReview-We_re_The_Millers_2013_film_-925-1877765-239240-_We_re_The_Millers_This_Is_One_Road_Trip_You.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/d/UserReview-We_re_The_Millers_2013_film_-925-1877765-239240-_We_re_The_Millers_This_Is_One_Road_Trip_You.html Wed, 7 Aug 2013 03:50:46 +0000
<![CDATA[ 'World War Z' These are not your mamas zombies (Video)]]> By Joan Alperin Schwartz
Nothing scares me more than zombies and that's why I can't get enough of them. I've seen every George Romero film as well as '28 Days Later' many, many times. Plus I own the first two seasons of 'The Walking Dead'.
 
Needless to say, I was really looking forward to 'World War Z' and I'm happy to report, I was not disappointed...
                                                                         
First of all, the zombies in 'World War Z' are not your every day slow moving zombies...Nope, these flesh loving guys and gals can jump so high you think they're flying. Not only that, they can run...and I mean...fast.
 
These zombies are definitely what I'd call...new and improved.
 
'World War Z' shot in 3D and directed by Marc Forster ('Quantum Of Solace') is an intense, scary and gripping film. The first 45 minutes alone will have you sitting on the edge of your seat.
 
That's when we meet family man, Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt), his wife played by Mireilla Enos from the AMC tv show 'The Killing' and his two daughters (Sterling Jerins and Abigal Hargrove). Gerry is preparing a pancake breakfast for his family and it's obvious, he loves being a stay at home dad.
 
This is one happy family...Of course, this kind of contentment can't last for too long...Not in this kind of a film.
 
As Gerry and his wife drive the kids to school in downtown Philadelphia, they notice that something is not quite right. In fact, something is very, very wrong. People are viciously attacking each other and in seconds, those attacked are turning into something unrecognizable...that's right folks...flesh eating zombies.
 
Gerry has only seconds to get his wife and kids off the streets and to safety. Lucky for him, he calls his old boss at the U. N. and he hears the words...'Gerry I need you'. Seems Gerry is an ex U.N. investigator who traveled all over the world as a trouble shooter. His boss promises him a safe haven for his family, if he agrees to leave them for a bit and save the world.
 
Gerry agrees of course. He says bye bye to his family and takes off around the globe to track down 'Patient Zero' and hopefully find a cure for this plague before humanity is wiped out for good.
 
Hey somebody has to do it and why not someone as handsome as Brad Pitt, right?
 
'World War Z' which opens in theatres, Friday June 21, 2013, is loosely based on Max Brooks novel, 'World War Z an oral history of the Zombie Wars'. I'm sure fans of the book might be a little disappointed with the changes that were made for the movie, but personally I thought they worked.
 
For that reason, I gave the film 4 bagels out of 5. John however had a very different opinion, but that's not surprising. 
 
Check out our video to see his bagel rating and for more of our thoughts.
                                                                              
 
Please SUBSCRIBE to our youtube channel and LIKE us on our Two Jews On Film facebook page.
 
Thanks everyone and let us know what you think.
]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/movie/UserReview-World_War_Z_2013_film_-925-1857286-237080-_World_War_Z_These_are_not_your_mamas_zombies.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/movie/UserReview-World_War_Z_2013_film_-925-1857286-237080-_World_War_Z_These_are_not_your_mamas_zombies.html Thu, 20 Jun 2013 03:55:14 +0000
<![CDATA[ A story about the west and a brave protagonist]]>
Kerney accepts the case for Sammy's sake and learns that Sammy was stationed at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

Knowing that the military brass would react better to a person in authority, Kerney visits a friend, Andy Baca who is a Sheriff in  a nearby town.  Andy learns the facts and appoints Kerney a temporary lieutenant.

Kevin meets with Captain Sara Brannon and eventually they decide to work the case together. As this happens, a romantic interest is established.

They travel through mountain trails and learn that the area in which Sammy disappeared is rich in history between the U.S. Cavalry and the American Indian.

The story is well told and includes colorful characters. There are a number of surprises along the way and we also learn the facts about the history between American Indians and the U.S. Cavalry.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-Tularosa-925-1536014-231625-A_story_about_the_west_and_a_brave_protagonist.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-Tularosa-925-1536014-231625-A_story_about_the_west_and_a_brave_protagonist.html Mon, 7 Jan 2013 20:51:56 +0000
<![CDATA[ What a help to listen to this book on audio tape]]>
The Panther is the leader of an al-Qaeda terrorist organization. He was responsible for the murders of a number of U.S. Sailors on the U.S.S. Cole and boasts of his work in killing Americans.

Among the group sent to kill the Panther  is John Corey, a wise-cracking former NYPD police officer.

The story is well told and the action is nicely done, not only between the USA and the Arab terrorists, but also the CIA and FBI who are trying to win credit for any victory against al-Qauea.


A very enjoyable audio-book that was just right for the patient in bed.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/d/UserReview-the_panther-925-1847686-231276-What_a_help_to_listen_to_this_book_on_audio_tape.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/d/UserReview-the_panther-925-1847686-231276-What_a_help_to_listen_to_this_book_on_audio_tape.html Fri, 28 Dec 2012 19:15:49 +0000
<![CDATA[ Vader's Fist]]>
In "Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith," the clone troopers with blue markings who marched into the Jedi Temple on Coruscant behind a freshly dubbed Darth Vader walked into Star Wars canon as the 501st. This figure (along with a few others in other lines) cements the group's canonicity even more.

The figure's sculpt is excellent. It looks exactly like the troopers from the film. The paint job is excellent as well, featuring the token blue markings and even a bit of battle damage from purging Jedi from the galaxy.

The figure comes with "secret weapons" and a Galactic Battle card and die as well.

The only reason I give this figure three stars is as far articulation is concerned, the toy falls short. The legs are primarily stationary at the hip, with very little articulation at all. The arms are limited in range due to the armor as well.

If you're just purchasing this figure to add to your collection mint in box, I recommend getting the Vintage Collection version of the figure. If you're picking it up for yourself or your chld to play with, go with this Saga Legends version.

It's a nice looking figure, it just doesn't move very much.

In its Saga Legends box, I recommend this figure to folks who enjoy opening and playing with their toys.

]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/d/UserReview-Star_Wars_Saga_Legends_501st_Clone_Trooper-925-1847138-230980-Vader_s_Fist.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/d/UserReview-Star_Wars_Saga_Legends_501st_Clone_Trooper-925-1847138-230980-Vader_s_Fist.html Fri, 21 Dec 2012 15:45:36 +0000
<![CDATA[ 'This Is 40' shows us Judd Apatow at his best (Video)]]>
Debbie and Pete (Paul Rudd) her husband are turning 40, but Deb just won't admit it...Can't admit it...

Judd Apatow's new film 'This Is 40' is a followup to 'Knocked Up'. If you've been wondering what happened to those two main characters in that film, here's your chance to find out.
                                                                     


Debbie and Pete are happily maried with two girls, Sadie (Maude Apatow) and Iris (Charlotte Apatow) The family lives in a beautiful, lavish house that they can barely afford.

Pete's indie label isn't doing very well and his next big launch of Graham Parker And The Rumor's comeback record, doesn't look too promising.

Plus someone has stolen $13,000 from Leslie's Lula Lemon type store. It's either her top salesperson, Desi (Megan Fox) or her pet employee, Jodi (Charlene Yi).

On top of all this, Pete's father, (the wonderful smarmy, narcissitic, Albert Brooks) is constantly borrowing money him...money Pete doesn't have, but he just can't say 'no' to his daddy.

Oh did I mention that Debbie, also has a father (John Litgow) but he couldn't care less about her? All his affections are for his younger, picture perfect NEW family.

'This Is 40' is an emotionally insightful, hysterically funny film. It touches on issues everyone can relate to...sex, family, marriage, parents, kids, growing old, and life in general and it does it with Apatow's brilliant, spot on dialogue.

'This Is 40' opens in theatres, Friday, December 21, 2012...a perfect film for the holidays.

Check out our video on our Youtube to find out our bagel score, see Mango do absolutely nothing and of course, for more of our banter.
                                                           


Please SUBSCRIBE to us on Youtube and LIKE us on our Two Jews On Film facebook page.

Thanks everyone and let us know what you think about this film.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/d/UserReview-This_is_40-925-1847078-230896-_This_Is_40_shows_us_Judd_Apatow_at_his_best.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/d/UserReview-This_is_40-925-1847078-230896-_This_Is_40_shows_us_Judd_Apatow_at_his_best.html Thu, 20 Dec 2012 07:30:43 +0000
<![CDATA[ Here's a story that makes the reader pant.]]>
The Panther is a leader of al Qaeda and one of the planners of the attack on U.S.S. Cole which killed a number of American sailors.

The plan is to let the Panther know that Corey is coming to Yemen in order to lure the Panther out into attempting retaliation.

The drama is well done as we follow the deceit between members of the CIA with Corey trying to find out what they really plan. It is also interesting to see the philosophy of a number of terrorists, in particular Nabeel who is the Panther's representative who comes to the United States to keep track of the Panther's parents and sister. This is a person who worms his way into the Panther's confidence but when he's confronted by Corey, he turns into a sniveling coward.

The story is interesting as is the history of Yemen and the poverty of that country.

The story is told on a number of layers, with the Panther and his goals on one level, the CIA and their plan and the FBI.

Very enjoyable and recommended for those who enjoy audio books.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/d/UserReview-_The_Panther_-925-1846664-230724-Here_s_a_story_that_makes_the_reader_pant_.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/d/UserReview-_The_Panther_-925-1846664-230724-Here_s_a_story_that_makes_the_reader_pant_.html Mon, 17 Dec 2012 01:43:01 +0000
<![CDATA[ There's a man in the funny papers we all know, Big Dave, Big Bad Dave...Barry]]>
Two high school boys are playing a game called killer. The rules are to use their water gun and shoot a fellow student with a third student to confirm the 'kill.'

The target of this play 'kill' is Jenny Herk, the step-daughter of a man who is both a gambler and an embezzler. He picks the wrong people to attempt to steal from and a hit is place on him.

With the real and pretend hits at the same time, a hilarious mix-up occurs. There is no harm to anyone but the TV screen gets shot when one of the gunman shoots it just as the Herk's dog buries its head in the man's crouch.

Arthur Herk is embarrassed with his cowardice in front of his family. He goes to a bar that is really a front for buying weapons. He wants a missile he can use in revenge for the high school boy who made him look like a coward.

One thing leads to another and culminates in a wild chase to the Miami airport.

This is one of the funniest stories I've had the pleasure of reading. There are wonderfully developed characters and a setting that is easy to visualize.

Don't miss this one.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-Big_Trouble-925-1491369-230592-There_s_a_man_in_the_funny_papers_we_all_know_Big.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-Big_Trouble-925-1491369-230592-There_s_a_man_in_the_funny_papers_we_all_know_Big.html Thu, 13 Dec 2012 02:13:07 +0000
<![CDATA[ In the world of thieves, the only final sin is stupidity" Hunter Thompson]]>
Michael St. Pierre is a professional thief. Promising each other to have a better life, he and his girlfriend, KC, vow to give up the life. However, he's persuaded by his friend, Simon, to go on one more caper.

KC's faith in Michael is shattered when she learns of his deceit. She decides to leave him but is waylaid at the airport when a woman asks if she would like to accompany her on an adventure. What KC thought would be fun, is her own kidnapping and she's informed that she has to steal a part of an ancient puzzle or Michael would be killed.

Michael is also set up. The leader of a rogue U.S. military unit orders him to steal another part of the puzzle or he will order KC's murder.

In a fast paced action thriller, the author makes the action believable as we also learn of Chinese history, particularly after the Japanese defeat in WWII and the ransacking of the country by Japan in which they stole many treasures.

We are also given the conspiracy of two avaricious brothers who are competing for the treasure. The fast moving plot leaves room for the author to describe the historical elements of the story and this, along with his skillful storytelling, creates a very entertaining read.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-_The_Thieves_of_Legend_A_Thriller_-925-1844871-230359-In_the_world_of_thieves_the_only_final_sin_is.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-_The_Thieves_of_Legend_A_Thriller_-925-1844871-230359-In_the_world_of_thieves_the_only_final_sin_is.html Wed, 5 Dec 2012 19:46:26 +0000
<![CDATA[ Hauntingly good]]>
Cormac Maguire is an archaeologist working at the National Museum and is asked to examine the head to see if a crime has been committed. He asks Nora Gavin, an American pathologist to help.

The reader learns that other young women have been disappearing from the area, including the wife of a wealthy landowner, Hugh Osborne.

After finishing their examination, Hugh asks Cormac to help in an archaeological survey, which Cormac agrees to and again asks Nora to join him. That way, they can do their own investigation into the girl whose head they found.

This is a wonderfully descriptive novel full of the emotions of the locals, the music that gives meaning to their lives and the history of the bog which has provided the livelihood of many of the people for generations.

When Cormac and Nora continue their investigation, they learn something that tells them the date of the girl's death, 1652. They ask a teacher what was going on in this area at the time and are told that this was when there was an ethnic cleansing in Ireland similar to modern Bosnia.

The characters are memorable as is the setting. The reader hopes that Cormac and Nora will return in another novel to follow their romance.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-Haunted_Ground_A_Novel-925-1536140-230266-Hauntingly_good.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-Haunted_Ground_A_Novel-925-1536140-230266-Hauntingly_good.html Sat, 1 Dec 2012 20:15:13 +0000
<![CDATA[ "There will be bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover." Song lyrics]]>
Charlie is asked by Elliot Norton, an old friend from Charlie's days on the New York PD, to help on a case in Charlotte, South Carolina. Elliot is defending a man who is black and accused of the rape and murder of his white girlfriend. She also happens to be the daughter of one of the richest men in the area. Elliot is afraid that his client will be taken out of jail and murdered before he comes to trial.

Charlie is to help protect the man and gather evidence on his innocence.

Charlie is joined by his friends Angel and Louis. They learn that the man's family and the girl's family have connections back to the Civil War days and that her family often mistreated their slaves, In addition, two women from the man's family have been missing and part of the investigation unearths what happened to them.

John Connolly is an excellent storyteller who knows the way to his readers hearts and mind. There is enough legend and history of racial tensions in the South so that the reader's attention is immediately captivated. In addition, the story follows the action in Connolly's last novel, "The Killing Kind" where a Rev. Faulkner was arrested for killing the Aroostook Baptists. Now that man awaits trial and some of the right wing men in Charlestown are funding his defense.

The novel is skillfully plotted and is a first rate thriller.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-The_White_Road-925-1844632-230264-_There_will_be_bluebirds_over_the_white_cliffs_of.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-The_White_Road-925-1844632-230264-_There_will_be_bluebirds_over_the_white_cliffs_of.html Sat, 1 Dec 2012 19:22:20 +0000
<![CDATA[ "Humor is the pursuit of a gentle grin, usually in solitude." Frank Muir]]>
Cotton pulls some favors and gets the records of the sub. 

However, he has competition, one powerful  man wants to keep the info from the sub a secret and will do whatever it takes to do so - even murder.

In a quick succession of events, with numerous deaths, Cotton ends up working with twin sisters whose father was also on the sub. These middle-aged, attractive sisters are competing with each other to see who can get the info on the sub first. Their iron fisted mother has promised the family wealth to the sister who gets the info first.

It's hard to know who to trust and people are killed left and right in this exciting story.

There is a puzzle that must be solved and ancient history comes into play - the history of Charlemagne. In trying to solve this puzzle there is good suspense and action.

The reader looking for an exciting read and a trip through history will enjoy this novel.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-The_Charlemagne_Pursuit_A_Novel-925-1535586-230093-_Humor_is_the_pursuit_of_a_gentle_grin_usually_in.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-The_Charlemagne_Pursuit_A_Novel-925-1535586-230093-_Humor_is_the_pursuit_of_a_gentle_grin_usually_in.html Sat, 24 Nov 2012 21:27:46 +0000
<![CDATA[ Practical and easy to read]]>
Many of our attitudes toward disputes and conflict resolution are formed by our families while we are still children. Anger can range from loud and violent to giving each other the silent treatment to blaming the other person and being judgmental. Such people have never learned healthy attitudes toward conflict and anger.

Everyone has things that they don't like about themselves. Whenever they are mentioned by others, intentionally or unintentionally, they can cause feelings of shame or self-hatred. No one can make you feel like a victim unless you allow it. Whenever your height, weight, ethnicity, etc. are brought up, have a response ready to say to the other person or to yourself, to keep that comment from getting you upset.

There are many unhealthy ways to express anger. Among them are constant whining, throwing temper tantrums, being convinced that you are perfect and the rest of the world is wrong, people who remember every injustice ever perpetrated against them and aren't afraid to throw them in your face, bullying & intimidation and gossiping. The book tells how to deal with each type of person.

Perhaps the cause of your anger is more physical than emotional. Maybe eating too much sugar, or not drinking enough water, will cause a meltdown. The cause of your anger could be lack of sleep, or consuming too much alcohol. The book explores what happens to our bodies in the midst of long-term, unhealthy anger.

For married couples, notice your partner's anger style. Are they passive-aggressive or a shouter? At your next argument, consider: taking a time-out, avoiding hurtful words, admitting your frailties, not interrupting and changing your behavior.

At the end of each chapter, there are exercises and places to write down your thoughts and feelings. This is a practical and easy to read book that can help bring about changes in our relationships, and inside ourselves. This is very much worth the reader's time.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-The_Ultimate_Guide_to_Transforming_Anger-925-1842474-230092-Practical_and_easy_to_read.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-The_Ultimate_Guide_to_Transforming_Anger-925-1842474-230092-Practical_and_easy_to_read.html Sat, 24 Nov 2012 20:54:33 +0000
<![CDATA[ "Everybody wants to rule the world." Song title]]>
Tom and his roommate, Paul, are both extremely interested in finding the secrets of the book, such as, who is the real  author. Tom also wants to study why the book has such a major effect of those who read it.

This is a slow moving, analytical book that is advertised as being similar to the "Da Vinci Code." "Hyperotomachie Polyphile" is coded in seven languages and the text is a passionate love story and a mathematical labyrinth.

The authors went to a great deal of work in researching this book and have a real grasp of college life and the students doing research papers. However, I found the reading dry and although the authors tried hard to establish the characters and their personalities, with the slow pace of the novel and the excess information, I didn't find them interesting.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-The_Rule_of_Four-925-1536290-229939-_Everybody_wants_to_rule_the_world_Song_title.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-The_Rule_of_Four-925-1536290-229939-_Everybody_wants_to_rule_the_world_Song_title.html Sat, 17 Nov 2012 15:02:12 +0000
<![CDATA[ Choosing the Community That's Right for You]]> When you plan of purchasing a new home for you and your family, it is always indispensable to contemplate on the considerations that you should make in order to achieve a peaceful residence.

When you plan of purchasing a new home for you and your family, it is always indispensable to contemplate on the considerations that you should make in order to achieve a peaceful residence. One of those is choosing your community. In signifying an area that you want, there are important factors that you need to remember so that you are ensured of safety when you move into your new home. Taking time to explore, and understanding this unique concern will help you decide whether the place you plan to live in is the best choice for you. Here are some considerations you must know in choosing your neighborhood.

1. Safety. You need to make sure that the community where you had purchased your property is safe so that you can live peacefully. A not-so-good community, without a doubt, can have an off-putting result to a person's behavior. Living in a bad community might meddle with a family’s daily activities, and most especially, in achieving a peaceful, and worry- free environment. Safety is a very important factor because it will help people to have a nonviolent, and worry-free living. Also, a community that recognizes the public good, and is aware of its economic, social and cultural vitality is a good indication that you are going for the right direction.

Here are some nifty steps in helping you find a safe community:

  • Research. Make a research about the community's safety through the Internet. This will help you determine the crime statistics of the place where you plan to stay. Large cities mostly provide criminal reports to give awareness to its residents and future tenants. Also, prime reports on home security system warnings directed to police stations are also recorded; these can give you additional information.
  • Observe on your own. Driving around the neighborhood would allow you to see how people interact with each other, what they do, and how they live. Also, be aware if the neighborhood has ready- installed security cameras for security purposes. This is a big plus!

2. Accessibility.A neighborhood that is accessible to functional areas like schools, churches, institutions, hospitals, commercial and entertainment hubs gives you a chance of discovery, equipped with a much healthier lifestyle. It is but a fancy for every homeowner to have all these places within reach.

3. Quality of school. If you have kids or planning to have your own children, it is better to know if the schools in your community are giving quality education. Accessibility isn't as much as necessary a motivation to having everything at their best. You have to make sure that your children will receive the quality education that they deserve. Remember that your children’s future at large is subjective to the education they receive.

4. Neighbors. In choosing your community, you need to consider the people who will be living with you. Your neighbors are your dynamic influencers who from time to time, may shape your behavior and outlook in life, which is why it is better to know them personally along with the activities that they do in the community. This will help you grasp their viewpoints, and from there, build relationships.
 
A sense of community is important to establish peace and harmony among the society. It doesn't only start from one’s household, which is why it is important to be able to reach out. These considerations are just few of the many things you need to reflect on as these will come handy when you move in to a new place sometime in the future.
 
Do keep in mind that when it comes to purchasing a property, it isn't just about finding your dream home, but about finding it in a community that's right for you and your family.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/d/UserReview-How_to_Find_a_Safe_Community_-925-1842308-229872-Choosing_the_Community_That_s_Right_for_You.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/d/UserReview-How_to_Find_a_Safe_Community_-925-1842308-229872-Choosing_the_Community_That_s_Right_for_You.html Wed, 14 Nov 2012 09:26:48 +0000
<![CDATA[ "Swannie, how I love 'ya" song lyrics]]>
A wealthy attorney hires him to find his rebellious daughter who he hasn't heard from. She's living somewhere with her boyfriend. The attorney is suspicious of the boyfriend and might be after the attorney's daughter's money.

Swann investigates and finds reason to question the boyfriend's activities as a grad student. He seems like a clever thief who makes money by selling well done imitations of classic books.

I enjoyed the story and found Swann a refreshing character but I also found significant resemblance in the plot to "Gone" by Randy Wayne White.

In "Gone" a fishing guide who learned detecting through her uncle, is hired by a wealthy client to find the man's daughter. She is with her boyfriend and the client feels he is unscrupulous and dangerous. Although the daughter cashes a monthly check, the client has not heard from her.

In "Swann Dives In," the skip tracer is asked by a wealthy attorney to find the man's daughter who is with her boyfriend. The attorney thinks that the boyfriend might be after her money and he hasn't heard from her.

There are excellent parts in "Swann Dives In," such as when the author describes book collecting and the aspects of that field.

I enjoyed the plot twist the author added toward the conclusion of "Swann Dives In" but felt that the plot didn't really uncover any new ground.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-swann_dives_in-925-1842251-229829-_Swannie_how_I_love_ya_song_lyrics.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-swann_dives_in-925-1842251-229829-_Swannie_how_I_love_ya_song_lyrics.html Mon, 12 Nov 2012 18:40:14 +0000
<![CDATA[ For a photo, she would do anything.]]>
Unfortunately, she meets a reporter who gets into an argument with her. Cass had proven that a photo used by the reporter had been doctored.

Soon after, Cass comes upon the body of a man killed with a tommyhawk.

When she gives her statement to the deputy sheriff, she can tell by the man's aggressive behavior that he sees her as a suspect in the murder.

The writing is colorful as we learn of Indian traditions and the realism that re-enactors insist about the rendezvous and their outfits.

Cassie has few friends who take her side and we follow her attempt to prove her innocence.

The setting is picturesque and I compliment the author for an original story and for introducing a woman who, in a male dominated society, bravely fights to prove she isn't a killer.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-A_Rendezvous_to_did_for-925-1840831-229766-For_a_photo_she_would_do_anything_.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-A_Rendezvous_to_did_for-925-1840831-229766-For_a_photo_she_would_do_anything_.html Fri, 9 Nov 2012 22:15:58 +0000
<![CDATA[ Death mirrors art]]>
The Ravens are members of a society dedicated to reading and studying the works of Edgar Allen Poe. 

When one member of the group is murdered and another survives a serious auto accident, Genevieve O'Brien asks her friend, P.I. Joe Connolly to investigate. 

Genevieve knows about horror and killing since she survived being held prisoner by a crazed killer.

To add fun to the story, the author uses phrases and titles from Poe's works as she takes us through the story. At one point, a psychic tells of her image of the auto accident and concludes that besides the image, a word came to her, "nevermore."

Joe works the case and gets help from a number of people who have died, including his cousin and his cousin's fiance.

The story is a quick read and doubly entertaining with the story and the author's play on words, telling a story where the killer makes his crimes mirror Poe's work.

The characters are interesting and the story is well written.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-The_Death_Dealer-925-1840800-229725-Death_mirrors_art.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-The_Death_Dealer-925-1840800-229725-Death_mirrors_art.html Thu, 8 Nov 2012 01:30:32 +0000
<![CDATA[ "Oh, the night life." Song lyrics]]>
In Seattle, Blake Sanders was a former college basketball player, public affairs official and family man. He overcame ADD to get where he was but lost everything in a financial scandal involving a political campaign. He still grieves over the loss of his son, to suicide. Now, he gets by from delivering newspapers.

Blake still has a very empathetic manner and his part of the story begins when he talks a woman from jumping from a bridge and committing suicide.

The last stop on his newspaper delivery route is an elderly woman who often invites him in for tea and conversation. This night, someone kills the woman and tries to pin it on Blake.

A part of the story is a bequest made to an order of nuns in the eighteen fifties. They were given land and mineral rights to the land. Now, people are trying to find more of the bequest because riches might be involved.

The author has a gift of pacing as action builds up followed by segments of needed background. There are many decent characters in the story but it is Blake who is the most sympathetic and who we want to succeed.

Readers looking for an excellent story and well written literature will be rewarded with this edge of seat thriller.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-Night_Blind-925-1840583-229657-_Oh_the_night_life_Song_lyrics.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-Night_Blind-925-1840583-229657-_Oh_the_night_life_Song_lyrics.html Mon, 5 Nov 2012 02:53:22 +0000
<![CDATA[ "You're breaking my heart 'cause you're leaving." Lyrics]]>
He has a particular love for the Carnegie-Hayden Building in New York. His mother taught him to love the building and that it was meant for the people. Now, however, it might be turned into one of the first 'for profit' prisons.

When Bill breaks into a luxury building, he's caught, naked and with a razor he used to cut himself. He's brought to the psych ward at New York's Bellevue Hospital. Here he meets Sharon Blautner, a psych nurse assigned to evaluate him.

Sharon works with Bill and finds him to have many qualities. When he's transferred to a police unit, she unwittingly helps him escape. This changes her life.

Edward Mackinnon is the corrupt exec of the company wanting to make the for profit prison and destroy a New York landmark. He earns Bill's resentment for this and for his past actions against Sharon's father who was a business partner.

This is a finely crafted story with sympathetic characters, good pacing and excellent descriptions of New York and the building of the Carnegie-Hayden Building.

I was drawn to the characters of Bill and Sharon and became more and more absorbed with the story as it played out.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-The_art_of_breaking_glass-925-1840256-229625-_You_re_breaking_my_heart_cause_you_re_leaving_.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-The_art_of_breaking_glass-925-1840256-229625-_You_re_breaking_my_heart_cause_you_re_leaving_.html Sat, 3 Nov 2012 02:50:04 +0000
<![CDATA[ Dark and depressing]]>
He works with a Mafia kingpin named Maxim and another powerful person referred to as The General. He has a girlfriend named Valya who is beautiful but also provides back-up when he's dealing with criminals of Russia.

First he's asked about diamonds and then about a lost Da Vince painting.

He's a compassionate person and shows this with one of his friends who he met at a clinic for amputees.

There is a surprise in who Volk really is and this would be interesting to the reader.

The novel is dark and the characters are not figures the reader would relate to. For reading a story on the dark side of Russia, this would provide entertainment. For those who look for uplifting characters or a story, this wouldn't meet that objective.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-Volk_s_Game_A_Novel-925-1633658-229595-Dark_and_depressing.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-Volk_s_Game_A_Novel-925-1633658-229595-Dark_and_depressing.html Thu, 1 Nov 2012 16:16:55 +0000
<![CDATA[ Action adventure galore in a science fiction thriller]]>
Alix Nico is a nineteen-year-old rising star with ExOps, a covert organization that protects the U.S. from its enemies.

She's given an assignment to find out what happened to her father who was captured a number of years ago and was presumed dead.

This is a cat and mouse adventure where Alix travels to various places in the world, meets the enemies and does battle with them in spectacular fashion.

The story is well written and intricately plotted. Alix is a modern bionic woman who likes noting more than to kick butt. With the scientific advances to her body, she is able to dodge bullets and punch holes in cars.

The fans of science fiction will greatly enjoy this novel. Others will need to suspend their view of reality and be ready to go on an adventure.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-Blades_of_Winter-925-1840172-229529-Action_adventure_galore_in_a_science_fiction.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-Blades_of_Winter-925-1840172-229529-Action_adventure_galore_in_a_science_fiction.html Wed, 31 Oct 2012 21:52:11 +0000
<![CDATA[ death be not proud]]>
The story opens when a man is killed and officials aren't sure if it was from a human or byea a Florida panther.

Officials call in news media to warn the public in case this was a renegade panther.  Almost immediately, TV newsman Matt Bowens notices something about the body that gives a clue.

Emotions run high about relocating the panther from the Everglades region, killing the animal or letting it be. In the meanwhile, we follow an investigation led by Matt, into the history of the man killed.

This was an easy read with predictable results. I applaud the author for writing a story about an endangered species.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-DEATH_BY_DEADLINE-925-1837950-229436-death_be_not_proud.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-DEATH_BY_DEADLINE-925-1837950-229436-death_be_not_proud.html Fri, 26 Oct 2012 14:13:45 +0000
<![CDATA[ "I want to walk away too. But I want you to say you're sorry." Lyrics]]>
Various theories arise but nothing results until three years later there is a double murder in the farm house where one of the girls lived. This was during one of the worst blizzards in history and police couldn't respond fast enough to the 911 call.

Police ask clinical psychologist Joe O'Loughlin for help on why the farm house may have been the subject and what he thinks might be happening to the girls.

Soon after, something is revealed.

This is a very readable book where Joe peels down the layers of mystery and connection to the two murders and the teenagers. Joe brings in his friend and ex-cop Vincent Ruiz to help and provide some law enforcement money for his friend that was promised as a benefit of helping the police.

I enjoyed the story and was totally surprised with an event late in the plot that opened my eyes on the development of the story.

The author continues building his reputation as one of the world's most acclaimed mystery and thriller writers.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-_Say_You_re_Sorry_-925-1837907-229376-_I_want_to_walk_away_too_But_I_want_you_to_say.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-_Say_You_re_Sorry_-925-1837907-229376-_I_want_to_walk_away_too_But_I_want_you_to_say.html Tue, 23 Oct 2012 00:46:17 +0000
<![CDATA[Ghosts in Manhattan Quick Tip by mikedraper]]> http://www.lunch.com/reviews/book/UserReview-Ghosts_in_Manhattan-74-1837880-229342.html http://www.lunch.com/reviews/book/UserReview-Ghosts_in_Manhattan-74-1837880-229342.html Sun, 21 Oct 2012 20:29:26 +0000 <![CDATA[ "I'll take Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island too." Song lyrics]]>
Nick Farmer is a successful bond trader at Bear Stearns with a seven figure income. His work includes keeping the people he supervises happy as well as other traders. This comes in the manner of after work celebrations that include alcohol, strip joints, cocaine, and prostitutes. Eventually, this takes a toll on his family, his wife wants the old Nick back and Nice seems to want that too.

Fred Cook is a nerdy risk market analyst who predicts doom for Bear Stern's high mortgage backed securities. He's one of the few people in the story who is honest.

When Nick adds his support to Fred's theory, no one listens.

the author paints a dismal view of what was going on with the employees and management at Bear Stearns.  From the point of view of showing what was happening in the mortgage securities market, this is a well done and important message.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-Ghosts_in_Manhattan-925-1837880-229341-_I_ll_take_Manhattan_the_Bronx_and_Staten_Island.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-Ghosts_in_Manhattan-925-1837880-229341-_I_ll_take_Manhattan_the_Bronx_and_Staten_Island.html Sun, 21 Oct 2012 20:20:12 +0000
<![CDATA[ "From this valley they say you are going...just remember the red river valley."]]>
Travel writer Lea Sutter is at a small island off South Carolina. She learns that the island was destroyed by a hurricane in 1935 but was quickly rebuilt by the dead who came to life when the flood waters filled their graves and allowed the undead to rise above ground.

The island returned to normal except that the undead, with no eyes, rotting flesh and broken bones enjoyed sunlight and seemed almost normal. They continued to roam the island.

A new hurricane hits when Lea is there. Again many deaths and severe damage is everywhere. After the story, Lea sees two young boys who turn out to be twins. Wanting to do something to help, she adopts the twelve-year-old boys and brings them back to Long Island. Who would have imagined that soon after the boys arrived  with their unusual powers, Lea's husband Mark would be accused of two brutal murders?

This is a well written, nail biting novel with characters who are powerful, scary and just in time for Halloween.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-Red_Rain-925-1837768-229211-_From_this_valley_they_say_you_are_going_just.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-Red_Rain-925-1837768-229211-_From_this_valley_they_say_you_are_going_just.html Tue, 16 Oct 2012 22:22:46 +0000
<![CDATA[ Listen to me people, we're on the brink of destruction.]]>
In Mexico, outside a former monastery, Texas Ranger Danny Cavanaugh is contemplating suicide after being charged with the murder of a dirty FBI agent. He observes a nearly naked woman running from a man with a gun.

Danny saves the woman, Sydney Dumas, and learns that she is a judge who was at a meeting analyzing a suit by Japan against the U.S. Sydney thought there was something bogus about the operation and then someone attempted to kill her.

Danny and Sydney head to Washington, D.C. to tell their fears about a plot to the President. However, he's in the midst of action against finding two dirty bombs that would have killed many people.

This is a very complicated plot, readers who enjoy solving a puzzle might be entertained. I found myself going back in the story a number of times to be sure what was happening. In addition, many of the characters seem trustworthy or untrustworthy and change their loyalties to add to the confusion. Although I did find the story entertaining, I found the premise of the story unlikely.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-The_Brink-925-1837584-229003-Listen_to_me_people_we_re_on_the_brink_of.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-The_Brink-925-1837584-229003-Listen_to_me_people_we_re_on_the_brink_of.html Sat, 13 Oct 2012 15:05:17 +0000
<![CDATA[ Did I chase the glitz and glamour money fame and power? Quote]]>
The injured man, Lt. Vincent Moro, goes to San Juan to recuperate. He spends much of his time with a lovely, but naive prostitute named Iris. Her goal is to go to Atlantic City to become a hostess at a casino.

Another man arrives in Puerto Rico and begins following Moro. This man rents a taxi and poses as a tourist taking photos. The cab driver wants to help but the man realizes that the cab driver has seen too much.

Teddy Mazyk is a deranged killer, recently released from jail. His goal is to take revenge against Moro, the cop who caught him in a crime and was responsible for his jail time.

We are able to follow the story as if it was unraveling before us. The author uses crisp dialogue and condensed language with the result that the pages unfold as if we were in the action.

This is a carefully crafted novel that will entertain the reader right from the first page.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-Glitz-925-1551825-228964-Did_I_chase_the_glitz_and_glamour_money_fame_and.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-Glitz-925-1551825-228964-Did_I_chase_the_glitz_and_glamour_money_fame_and.html Thu, 11 Oct 2012 13:54:13 +0000
<![CDATA[ "Our founders got it right...our rights come from nature and God."]]>
He believes that the world is heading for a financial disaster that will have cataclysmic results.

As the story opens, we learn of the chaos in Chicago, Washington, D.C. and other cities due to the increase in the price of oil, making it unaffordable. The U.S. dollar falters and electricity goes off the grid permitting gangs and criminals to band together. Law, as we know it, disappears.

Groups of people have prepared by having a disaster action plan. They get together in various places to defend their freedom. Family and friends become the most important criteria. Other things these people all seem to have in common is a faith in a higher being, a belief in freedom and desire to do whatever is necessary to bring law and order back to where our founding fathers wanted.

The plot is complicated but well thought out and authentic. The author also provides hints of survival ideas for people to consider.

The author has the unique ability to take a group of colorful characters from around the United States and weave them together to make a story that will inform and entertain the reader.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-Founders-925-1836994-228898-_Our_founders_got_it_right_our_rights_come_from.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-Founders-925-1836994-228898-_Our_founders_got_it_right_our_rights_come_from.html Tue, 9 Oct 2012 13:47:16 +0000
<![CDATA[ "Killing me softly with each word." Song lyrics]]>
A construction crew unearths an unmarked cemetery in the upper regions of Maine.

In that area there had been a sheltered religious community for a number of years. Then, members of the community weren't seen or heard from. It was assumed that they had relocated.  The bodies that were uncovered, showed that they were the victims of homicide.

PI Charlie Parker is hired to look into the death of Grace Peltier, a college student doing her thesis on religious groups in upper Maine. The Aroostook Baptists history fascinated her. She had been to the offices of another religious group, the Fellowship but then soon after, was found dead in her car. It was believed to be a suicide.

Charlie searches for the history of both religious groups and comes into contact with a Mr. Pudd, a spider lover and enforcer of the Fellowship. The story continues to move along nicely as we learn of the philosophy of the original religious group and their unrelenting leader, Rev. Faulkner.

The story is original and Parker is a character who the reader can appreciate for his courage and determination to find answers. One of his friends says that he represents the dead as well as the living.

The readers will enjoy the story and it will be stored in their memories on those dark and stormy nights...perfect for Halloween.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-The_Killing_Kind-925-1836949-228839-_Killing_me_softly_with_each_word_Song_lyrics.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-The_Killing_Kind-925-1836949-228839-_Killing_me_softly_with_each_word_Song_lyrics.html Sun, 7 Oct 2012 00:31:32 +0000
<![CDATA[ "In any man who dies, there dies with him, his first snow, and kiss and fight." Yevtishenko]]>
There is instant drama in the novel as Vaara narrates the story in the hard boiled tradition of Hammett and Chandler. He is analytical and unemotional when dealing with these brutal crimes. His descriptions of the setting are also well done as when he describes the nights being so cold, he removed the battery from his car and brought it inside his home to be sure it would start in the morning.

This is an intense and deeply interesting novel about a part of the world so different from what we are accustomed to. With the story being told during the Christmas season, we also have the juxtaposition of the happiness with the tragedy of death.

It's the time of darkness that adds to the depression of many people leading to alcoholism in many instances. In addition, when viewing the community's struggle in the winter, it is compelling to view what some people do to survive while others succumb.

This is a well written novel with an original plot. Inspector Vaara is an appealing character with love for his current wife and dedication to his job.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-Snow_Angels-925-1535030-228799-_In_any_man_who_dies_there_dies_with_him_his.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-Snow_Angels-925-1535030-228799-_In_any_man_who_dies_there_dies_with_him_his.html Fri, 5 Oct 2012 14:35:18 +0000
<![CDATA[ The words pierced his heart]]>
Juul gets a call in his office in Norway. The caller, Tore Pulli, is in jail for murder and tells Juul he was framed. If Juul will get Pulli out of jail, he'll tell Jull what he knows about the fire that killed his son.

As we follow Juul's investigation, there is a side story about a TV cameraman being manipulated by a criminal. The man's girlfriend has been interviewed by a so called reporter and was asked, how far would she go to save her family.

I became enthralled with the story immediately and like most readers, put aside other things so I could find out what was going on with the plot. With the story in Norway and with an investigative crime reporter, there are similarities to Steig Larsson's "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."

The author is a craftsman and among his talents seen in this book is the well framed dialogue, the good descriptions and a conclusion that is excellent.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-_Pierced_-925-1836892-228771-The_words_pierced_his_heart.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-_Pierced_-925-1836892-228771-The_words_pierced_his_heart.html Thu, 4 Oct 2012 14:05:28 +0000
<![CDATA[ "You set yourself on fire, you're still not as hot as me." Song lyrics]]>
President Huerta took over the presidency in questionable means and Poncho Villa, who was a bandit, raised an army to oppose Huerta. Villa has the support of many common people and Kit wants to write a story about him.

This is an exciting time in Mexico and Kit runs into various people of note including journalist and novelist Richard Harding Davis.

Kit is waiting to travel to the countryside for a chance to interview Villa. While waiting Kit falls in love with a lovely Mexican laundress - who has a secret  she's not telling him about. One night he spots a German official sneaking into the town, coming from a German munitions ship in the harbor. Kit thinks the man is up to no good and follows him.

Kit is a swashbuckling person who thinks nothing of grabbing a gun to fight his way out of a difficult situation. When he is traveling to see Villa, Villa's men are attacked by another group and Kit takes part in the defense of Villa's army.

This story is written in a literary manner with good descriptions of the country and with keen dialogue.
It was informative to have the short history about the Mexican civil war and the conclusion of the story is highly satisfactory.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-The_Hot_Country-925-1836876-228752-_You_set_yourself_on_fire_you_re_still_not_as_hot.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-The_Hot_Country-925-1836876-228752-_You_set_yourself_on_fire_you_re_still_not_as_hot.html Tue, 2 Oct 2012 14:33:22 +0000
<![CDATA[ The Title is Not a Contradictory Statement]]> Star Rating:


There’s a scene in The Rocky Horror Picture Show in which the Janet Weiss character seduces the muscle-bound Rocky through song and physical gestures, none more overt than when she places his hands on her breasts and lets him fondle them playfully. At a midnight theater in Pittsburgh, where Rocky Horror plays every weekend, a high school senior named Sam (Emma Watson) assumes the role of Janet as part of an ensemble floorshow cast. One night, her newest friend, a freshman and fledgling writer named Charlie (Logan Lerman), acts as understudy in the role of Rocky; the point at which the two must reenact the onscreen seduction is nearly ruined when he hesitates to put his hands on Sam’s chest. She gets him to comply just in the nick of time, and the rest of the night goes smoothly. He even gets a standing ovation when the film ends and the cast members take their bows.
 
We’re initially led to believe that Charlie’s moment of hesitation stems from natural adolescent shyness. Indeed, he’s introverted and socially awkward, having never touched or kissed a girl, let alone had feelings for one. But the more we learn about him, the clearer it becomes that something much darker is at the root of the problem. He has been severely damaged. The recent suicide of his only friend months before the start of high school is a contributing factor, but earlier traumas hang over him like heavy rainclouds. His is a perpetual cycle of shame and guilt, resulting in bouts of blacking out. His immediate family knows that he’s mentally fragile, but they don’t know the full extent of how he came to be that way. It’s not that he doesn’t love them, nor that they don’t love him; it’s merely a matter of mutual misunderstanding stemming from a lack of communication.

                                               
                                                 
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, adapted by writer/director Stephen Chbosky from his own novel, is a deeply involving coming of age story, in large part because it examines mature subject matter in a way that’s tactful and compelling. Charlie is not the only damaged character; Sam has a rather promiscuous history, beginning with a very inappropriate encounter with her father’s boss when she was only eleven. And then there’s Sam’s stepbrother, Patrick (Ezra Miller), also a senior. Although he’s openly gay, he’s in a secret relationship with a closeted student, whose largely unseen father is alarmingly homophobic. Outwardly, Patrick passes himself off as a wisecracking extrovert – outgoing, loud, the life of the party, and taking it in stride every time one of his classmates refers to him by the nickname Nothing. Within, he’s in a tremendous amount of pain.
 
Putting the three of them together, given the tremendous hardships they have all faced, one would expect the film to be a shamelessly soapy melodrama. Nothing could be further from the truth. Rather than conjure up traumas for the sake of emotionally manipulating the audience, Chbosky cares enough about his characters to let them develop realistically. We can actually invest in them. Not all of us can relate to their past experiences, but there is something universal about feeling different and isolated and the healing that comes with finding the right people. Therein lies the meaning of the title, which I grant you sounds like a contradictory statement; the characters are by and large suffering, and yet they take comfort in the fact that, by being in each other’s lives, they’re no longer suffering alone. They have attracted the people they need in order to get them through the difficult times.

                                               
                                                 
The story is narrated by Charlie in the form of letters he writes to an anonymous friend. We see him bond with Sam, Patrick, and their circle of friends. This would include Mary Elizabeth (Mae Whitman), a punk girl and a Buddhist who becomes annoyingly clingy when she comes to believe that Charlie is her boyfriend. We see him form a friendly relationship with his English teacher (Paul Rudd), who allows him to read a series of novels that weren’t assigned and write essays on them. We see him interact with his family, especially his sister (Nina Dobrev), who’s clearly in an abusive relationship with the high school football star. We see him struggle with his past relationship with his aunt (Melanie Lynskey), who’s only seen in very fragmented flashback sequences. When the film begins, he claims she was the only person who understood him and that she was his favorite person in the world.
 
All descriptions of the novel say that the story takes place in the early 1990s. The film doesn’t give us a period of time, although the early ‘90s would be consistent with the alternative soundtrack and the fact that most of the lead characters trade mix tapes rather than CDs or MP3 files. There’s also not a cell phone to be seen in any of its 103 minutes. Perhaps that would partially account for why it feels so much more personal and introspective; no one is busy droning into a piece of technology or texting one of their friends in unintelligible English abbreviations. Then again, I think it mostly comes from the fact that The Perks of Being a Wallflower is not intended to be about one specific time or one specific place. It’s intended to be about friendship, first loves, coming to terms with painful events in our lives, and simply getting from one day to the next.

                                                     ]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/d/UserReview-The_Perks_Of_Being_A_Wallflower-925-1836384-228708-The_Title_is_Not_a_Contradictory_Statement.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/d/UserReview-The_Perks_Of_Being_A_Wallflower-925-1836384-228708-The_Title_is_Not_a_Contradictory_Statement.html Mon, 1 Oct 2012 01:18:33 +0000
<![CDATA[ "Moody River your muddy water took my baby's life." Song lyrics]]>
One day a few of her friends are fishing and pull her body from their nets in the Sabine River in West Texas.

Sue Ellen lives by the river and she and her two best friends, Jinx, a colored girl, and Terry who thinks that he might be gay, decide to make May Lynn's dream come true. They want to dig up her body and take her ashes to Hollywood and spread out the ashes in the land of May Lynn's dreams.

While digging up the body, they find money hidden in a grave. Then, when they set out on a raft to travel down the Sabine River, there are people after them for the money.

The three are joined by Sue Ellen's mother who is trying to get out of a bad relationship.   Along the river, various things happen and their travel is a central part of the story. In this, it reminded me of "Lonesome Dove," where Gus McCrae gets his friend Captain Woodrow Call, to bring his body to San Antonio after he died, so he could be at the place where he had the best moments in his life.

I enjoyed the manner in which the characters overcame their obstacles and how they learned more about each other along the way.

The concluding moments of the novel will enable the reader to catch their breath and nod in agreement that this is the only manner in which the story could have ended.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-Edge_of_Dark_Water-925-1836821-228690-_Moody_River_your_muddy_water_took_my_baby_s.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-Edge_of_Dark_Water-925-1836821-228690-_Moody_River_your_muddy_water_took_my_baby_s.html Sun, 30 Sep 2012 00:15:49 +0000
<![CDATA[ Paradise offers no king immunity from care]]>
Gregory Peck once said it's hard to make a good man look interesting.

You can probably imagine in a cinematic world peopled with antiheroes, flawed heroes, or unrealistic superheroes, how refreshing it might be, to encounter a good guy we can relate to, in situations that parallel those we might actually experience.

George Clooney plays Matt King, a lawyer, businessman, and hardworking mostly absent father of two girls. He happens to be wealthy because of his descent from the original landowners of Hawaii, the real Hawaiians, who own most of Hawaii. Sole trustee of the family's interests, and now because of succession rules faced with the situation of having to sell off thousands of acres of pristine land to resort developers. Despite his family wealth Doug leads a very modest life. He drives a metallic silver Honda Civic, a sensible car.

When his thrillseeking wife ends up in a coma following a powerboating accident, he is thrust into the unfamiliar role of looking after his two daughters each bringing their own challenges. The younger one has difficulties in school, the older one, well, she's a teenager.

We learn early in the movie that the wife had an affair, making a difficult situation even worse. George Clooney Alex Payne manage to create apposite emotions for the movie goer. While distressed he pads out the front door, dons flipflops and runs to his wife's best friend house. He runs funny. A comic relief followed by a dramatic confrontation. Tension, and shock artfully modified by humor make this movie an emotional wonder.

When he breaks the news of his wife's condition to his older daughter she ducks underwater and we see an invisible breakdown. Some of these scenes are tender. In the hospital there are various monologues to the comatose mother, from a cheated husband, an unforgiving daughter, and a wounded wife.

The presence of Clooney vastly elevates the movie, as does the acting performance of Shailene Woodley, giving a tremendous breakthrough performance as the teenage daughter you worry might go off the rails. Judy Greer, who you probably know from Two and a Half Men appears later in the movie.

The Descendants is among the leading Oscar nominated movies. Although nine movies are nominated for Best Picture, only three I believe are genuine contenders, The Artist, and Hugo being the other two. Nominations for The Descendants include Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay.

Previously, Alex Payne won the Academy Award for the Sideways screenplay.

Based on The Descendants: A Novel (Random House Movie Tie-In Books) by Kaui Hart Hemmings.

Now Payne has won his second Academy award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

I think you will enjoy one of the years best movies, and I hope this was helpful.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Descendants_2011_movie_-925-1752576-228666-Paradise_offers_no_king_immunity_from_care.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Descendants_2011_movie_-925-1752576-228666-Paradise_offers_no_king_immunity_from_care.html Fri, 28 Sep 2012 07:50:05 +0000
<![CDATA[ Paradise offers no king immunity frfom care]]>
Gregory Peck once said it's hard to make a good man look interesting.

You can probably imagine in a cinematic world peopled with antiheroes, flawed heroes, or unrealistic superheroes, how refreshing it might be, to encounter a good guy we can relate to, in situations that parallel those we might actually experience.

George Clooney plays Matt King, a lawyer, businessman, and hardworking mostly absent father of two girls. He happens to be wealthy because of his descent from the original landowners of Hawaii, the real Hawaiians, who own most of Hawaii. Sole trustee of the family's interests, and now because of succession rules faced with the situation of having to sell off thousands of acres of pristine land to resort developers. Despite his family wealth Doug leads a very modest life. He drives a metallic silver Honda Civic, a sensible car.

When his thrillseeking wife ends up in a coma following a powerboating accident, he is thrust into the unfamiliar role of looking after his two daughters each bringing their own challenges. The younger one has difficulties in school, the older one, well, she's a teenager.

We learn early in the movie that the wife had an affair, making a difficult situation even worse. George Clooney Alex Payne manage to create apposite emotions for the movie goer. While distressed he pads out the front door, dons flipflops and runs to his wife's best friend house. He runs funny. A comic relief followed by a dramatic confrontation. Tension, and shock artfully modified by humor make this movie an emotional wonder.

When he breaks the news of his wife's condition to his older daughter she ducks underwater and we see an invisible breakdown. Some of these scenes are tender. In the hospital there are various monologues to the comatose mother, from a cheated husband, an unforgiving daughter, and a wounded wife.

The presence of Clooney vastly elevates the movie, as does the acting performance of Shailene Woodley, giving a tremendous breakthrough performance as the teenage daughter you worry might go off the rails. Judy Greer, who you probably know from Two and a Half Men appears later in the movie.

The Descendants is among the leading Oscar nominated movies. Although nine movies are nominated for Best Picture, only three I believe are genuine contenders, The Artist, and Hugo being the other two. Nominations for The Descendants include Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay.

Previously, Alex Payne won the Academy Award for the Sideways screenplay.

Based on The Descendants: A Novel (Random House Movie Tie-In Books) by Kaui Hart Hemmings.

Now Payne has won his second Academy award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

I think you will enjoy one of the years best movies, and I hope this was helpful.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Descendants_2011_movie_-925-1752576-228665-Paradise_offers_no_king_immunity_frfom_care.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/movie/UserReview-The_Descendants_2011_movie_-925-1752576-228665-Paradise_offers_no_king_immunity_frfom_care.html Fri, 28 Sep 2012 07:49:54 +0000
<![CDATA[ "We were more than friends." Song lyrics]]>
This could only mean that there was a traitor in the group. Finding out who and punishing that traitor became a number one priority.

In London, the two idealistic Palistinian students are discussed. Malik and Chaudhry really want what is better for Pakistan and feel that because of terrorism, people around the world, have a bad impression of Muslims.

The British intelligence officer handling the two men is Dan, "Spider" Shepherd. He's a man of compassion and wants to keep his two assets safe.

At the center of the story, al-Qaeda is planning a new strike in England. This could cause thousands of deaths. Dan knows it's dangerous but wants to keep Malik and Chaudhry in place so he can find out the details of the operation.  

There is also a side story where right wing men are trying to purchase a large quantity of arms to strike against Muslims. They feel that it would be good if they could rid the entire country of Muslims.

Even though the story had flaws, I was entertained. I also felt reassured by reading the words of Malik and Chaudhry and reaffirming that moderate Muslims were still active and trying to get people of different faiths to live and work together.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-close_friends-925-1836742-228651-_We_were_more_than_friends_Song_lyrics.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-close_friends-925-1836742-228651-_We_were_more_than_friends_Song_lyrics.html Thu, 27 Sep 2012 14:01:44 +0000
<![CDATA[ Sometimes active, other times retired.]]>
John Madden's "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" is like a whimsy fairy tale almost entirely starring old British people; some cranky, some kindly, others just trying to get by at an older age. It is a film that treats the topics of aging and opportunism lightly but not with so much as a hint of arrogance; the film feels true to its themes and always comes off as honest. It's a crowd-pleasing film that I can imagine will win over a lot of people, and for the most part, I can gladly say I'd join in for the admiration of the picture. Yet about half-way through, I started feeling more than a little unfulfilled. I went in with the understanding that it wasn't going to be anything particularly new, and I'd been told that the cast is really what made this one work; not colorful direction or brilliant writing. Whoever told me this is damn right.

The titular exotic hotel is intended as a retirement home for "the old and the beautiful", and it is located in India. There are seven elderly characters total that all come to exist under a single roof, and before they relocate, we get to meet them all. There's the recently widowed Evelyn (Judi Dench), the high court judge Graham (Tom Wilkinson), married couple Jean (Penelope Wilton) and Doug (Bill Nighy), royalty-seeking Madge (Celia Imrie), sporadic Norman (Ronald Pickup), and the racist and wheelchair-bound Muriel (Maggie Smith). We know instantly that they are not all as different as most ensemble pieces would probably want them to be.

Here's the "plot" as it is: each of the seven characters discovers something about themselves through others. For instance, we learn that Doug and Jean are not so happily married, leading Jean to become infatuated with Graham, who is a closeted homosexual with a romantic connection in the country. Meanwhile, Doug and Evelyn seem to connect quite nicely; whilst Marge helps Norman to achieve his dream; which is to successfully reclaim his youth in India. So of course, with that, there's a whole lot of walking around; several days spent enjoying the virtues of the country and its culture. Most members of the crew find so much comfort in themselves that they might as well skip the usual fish-out-of-water shtick. But it's still kind of there.

When it comes to an ensemble piece, it can either be really good or it can be shit. Or it can be like "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" and it can sort of exist on the border between the two. In my humble opinion, it's neither close to being really good nor is it close to being really bad. It is a mostly entertaining human comedy with some welcome dramatic touches, although not all of them actually work. I feel this would have worked better as a film that focuses on the Doug-Evelyn relationship, because I thought it was kind of the centerfold of the film. Don't get me wrong, most everyone has an interesting story to tell, but it becomes sort of an enjoyable but slightly irritating mess really fast. To be completely honest, it lost me a few times.

Oh, and I can't forget to mention the character of Sonny (Dev Patel), the hotel's young manager. He's supposed to bring some sort of youthful dynamic to the story amidst all these older gents and ladies, with a sub-plot involving his girlfriend and the like, but I thought he slowed the plot down. Obviously, this isn't supposed to be a breakneck-paced feature, but all the scenes heavily involving Sonny and his problems reminded me of how overlong the film really was. Now, it's not painfully overlong (in fact, it's just a tad), but if Madden had chosen to focus more on the elderly that this younger and less intriguing character, things might have come off as a little less messy. "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" is a pleasant yet frustratingly familiar film, one that I can say I respect and for the most part enjoyed, but at the same time recognize that there are just far too many dull stretches in between the truly good stuff. It's just not very ambitious, although that's not something that bothers most people who go to these kinds of movies anyways.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/d/UserReview-The_Best_Exotic_Marigold_Hotel-925-1813606-228635-Sometimes_active_other_times_retired_.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/d/UserReview-The_Best_Exotic_Marigold_Hotel-925-1813606-228635-Sometimes_active_other_times_retired_.html Wed, 26 Sep 2012 21:47:51 +0000
<![CDATA[ "I'm back in the saddle again." Song lyrics]]>
Ramsey is a close friend to FBI husband and wife team Lacey Sherlock and Dillon Savich.

In this taut and stimulating story, we find a message has been delivered to Savich at the FBI headquarters "For What You Did You Deserve This." Officials think this relates to the judge but still check the criminals Savich has put in jail to see if any of them just got out and has revenge as a motive.

The central part of the story about the FBI continuing to see if they can break down Clive and Cindy continues but suddenly the part about the letter joins in and two stories become one leading to a very exciting final quarter of the book.

I enjoyed the story and found the characters to be appropriately portrayed. There were a number of clever surprises that added to the entertainment of the novel.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-Backfire-925-1836574-228560-_I_m_back_in_the_saddle_again_Song_lyrics.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-Backfire-925-1836574-228560-_I_m_back_in_the_saddle_again_Song_lyrics.html Mon, 24 Sep 2012 17:25:43 +0000
<![CDATA[ "Song about a girl up to a point." Song title]]>
In a dreaded scene that parents traveling with youngsters can relate to, the adult accompanying five-year-old Jimmy Higgins, Stephanie Harker, has a number of pins in her leg from an accident. She knows she'll set off alarms with airport security.

She informs Jimmy that he'll have to go through a different line but that he should wait at the end of that line. Then she sees Jimmy going off with a security agent. When he yells that someone is taking her kid, it seems like an act and she isn't listened to. Finally, she gets an FBI agent to listen. They see footage of the boy walking away with a man dressed in a TSA uniform.

We learn that Stephanie is a ghost writer and had done work with a  reality TV star named Scarlett. We also learn how Stephanie came to have Jimmy after Scarlett was diagnosed with lung cancer.

The author creates suspense with a story and characters who are so real, it is easy for the reader to place themselves in the character's position. I felt for Stephanie and breathlessly followed her path as she explains to the FBI and tries to find what happened to Jimmy.

The unique quality of McDermid's writing is that she creates a superior thriller with excellent dialogue and memorable characters.

The conclusion of the story brings everything together nicely. There is a surprise that makes this story even more entertaining. Readers will want to discuss the conclusion and relive the excitement they had with this book.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-The_Vanishing_Point-925-1836505-228482-_Song_about_a_girl_up_to_a_point_Song_title.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-The_Vanishing_Point-925-1836505-228482-_Song_about_a_girl_up_to_a_point_Song_title.html Sat, 22 Sep 2012 00:14:36 +0000
<![CDATA[ "Ma Belle Amie" Song]]>
Dave isn't sure if the events were just a dream but the i-Pod is by his bed. When he's well enough to leave, he learns that Tee Jolie is missing. He moves his recovery into speed drive and is soon working full time.

As he searches for Tee Jolie, he comes into contact with Pierre Dupre an artist, and his grandfather, who has a questionable past during WWII.

A number of people try to take action against Dave and they are killed. Then, Dave and his partner, Clete Purcel, learn that a new contract killer has come to town. Clete meets a woman, Gretchen Horowitz and thinks she might be the contract killer. He is also sure that she is his daughter from an affair many years ago. 

Burke's writing is always imaginative and eloquently descriptive. For example, "There was a Japanese tulip tree by the edge of the water...wind blew and a shower of pink and lavender petals on top of the water slid in with the tide."

I was entertained by the characters with Dave and Clete having one of the longest and closest relationships of any characters in literature.

A novel not to miss. It adds to Burke's reputation as one of our best writers.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-Creole_Belle-925-1835564-228415-_Ma_Belle_Amie_Song.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-Creole_Belle-925-1835564-228415-_Ma_Belle_Amie_Song.html Wed, 19 Sep 2012 13:39:02 +0000
<![CDATA[ "I thought happiness was...Texas in my rear view mirror." Song lyrics]]>
Duane Moore is an oil man with huge debts. Like many people in his town, they became wealthy during the rise in cost of oil. Then OPEC cut prices and Duane is growing broke, like everyone else.

He enjoys the easy life for himself and family and tries not to think of his financial problems. He's asked to help pick the name of a person to honor at the centennial but can't think of anyone worth mentioning.

With little else happening, he spends much of his time reminiscing about his high school days and the glory of small town football.

To top matters off, his old high school girlfriend moves back to town after acting in Europe. Things get complicated.

The characters are well described and easy to picture. The author has written many stories that have been turned into films and has the knack for describing events as if they were already on the screen.

While I did enjoy the story, I don't think it was up to the level of "The Last Picture Show," or "Lonesome Dove," which he wrote just before this novel.]]>
http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-Texasville-925-1836410-228398-_I_thought_happiness_was_Texas_in_my_rear_view.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/book/UserReview-Texasville-925-1836410-228398-_I_thought_happiness_was_Texas_in_my_rear_view.html Tue, 18 Sep 2012 13:39:29 +0000
<![CDATA[ Review: 'The Perks Of Being A Wallflower' A Beautiful, Touching, Funny Film About Being An Outsider]]>  
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  •  Some critics, especially those who have majored in journalism, take great pride in dissecting a film...The story, structure, characters, doing their best to impress us with their knowledge about what works and what doesn't.

    I am definitely not that kind of critic. All I do is share my subjective, emotional reaction to a film and sometimes, call my husband, John, an idiot if he doesn't see it my way.

    With that said, I will now share my emotional reaction to...'The Perks Of Being A Wallflower' ...I ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT. IT'S OUTSTANDING...A PERFECT FILM and...

    So far, my favorite film of 2012...


    'The Perks Of Being A Wallflower' is based on the bestselling novel of the same name. The book and the film was written by Steven Chbosky and he directed it as well. And all I want to say is...BRAVO Mr. C. Well, of course that's not all I want to say...

    The film is about an outsider...a lovable, naive, troubled, high school freshman, named Charlie (the super fabulous Logan Lerman) who is dreading his first day of school...In fact, he's already counting down the days until the summer break.

    Charlie is picked on by the other kids...He's too scared to raise his hand in English class, even though he knows all the answers...He's haunted by the death of his Aunt Helen (Melanie Lynskey) as well as the suicide of his best friend.

    Charlie is one scared, alienated, lonely dude...

    Until...he is taken under the wing, by some pretty extraordinary seniors...

    They are in no particular order...
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    Sam (Emma Watson at her best) and her stepbrother, the flamborantly gay, Patrick (the equally wonderful Ezra Miller).

    Angry Buddhist chick, Mary Elizabeth (Mae Whitman) and her bff, Alice (Erin Wilhelm) welcome Charlie into their group, known as...'The island of Misfit Toys'.

    It's through Charlie's relationship with this fantastic group of eccentric characters, he's able to step out of his shell, face his demons, deal with his guilt, and eventually step into his true self. Oh, he even gets to perform in a production of 'The Rocky Horror Show'

    'The Perks Of Being A Wallflower' is an incredibly moving take on love, loss, hope and the unforgettable people that help us through life.

    In Charlie's case, it wasn't just his friends, but his supportive teacher (Paul Rudd) who sees his potential to someday be a great writer.

    The dialogue is some of the best and every actor is pitch perfect in their performance. The sound track...KILLER!

    You will laugh, cry and applaud. This is not just a film for teenagers...It's a must see film for everyone...Because, when Charlie, in V.O. says...

    'There is this one moment when you're not a sad story...You are alive and you stand up and see the lights of the buildings and everything that makes you wonder and you're listening to a song and you're driving in a car with people you love most in the world and in that moment, I swear we are...infinite'...

    No matter what your age, you will understand what he means...Because we've all had at least one moment in our life, when we have felt...infinite.

    'The Perks of Being A Wallflower' opens in theatres Friday September 21st, 2012. I gave it five bagels out of five and John was just a half a bagel away in his rating.  Check out our video for more of our thoughts.


     Please SUBSCRIBE to our channel and LIKE us on our Two Jews On Film facebook page. Love to hear what you think.
    Thanks everyone.
     
     
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    http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/d/UserReview-The_Perks_Of_Being_A_Wallflower-925-1836384-228366-Review_The_Perks_Of_Being_A_Wallflower_A.html http://www.lunch.com/KinshipConnections/reviews/d/UserReview-The_Perks_Of_Being_A_Wallflower-925-1836384-228366-Review_The_Perks_Of_Being_A_Wallflower_A.html Sun, 16 Sep 2012 19:01:11 +0000