Saturday, November 13, 2010

CBS's "Psycho" Trend

Has anybody noticed CBS's penchant last week for referring to Alfred Hitchock's Psycho film?

On Wednesday night's Criminal Minds, that was the whole plot twist of the episode.  Robert Knepper is kidnaping, mutilating, and murdering girls to try and recaptured the beauty of his mother, faded film star May, played by Sally Kirkland.  There is a lot of give-and-take dialogue between Knepper's character, named "Rhett," and May.

When the police show up, Rhett and May surrender to the FBI and squad cars outside.  The sequence is shot from many alternating points-of-view.  One of these POVs is Rhett and May descending the front steps of their brownstone, like Gloria Swanson ready for her close-up.

It's only in one of these POVs that we get the clue that Mummy is -- er, a mummy.  Yep, May has been a silent partner all along while Rhett committed the murders.

Shrieking violins, anyone?

Now, on Friday, November 12, we saw a CSI:New York epsiode called "Scared Stiff."  A death in Central Park leads the investigators on a merrie chase which leads them to a closed-down funeral parlor.  As they wander through the basement where the processing rooms are, Detective Don Flack (Eddie Cahill) makes a comment like, "If we find a little-old-lady body in a black dress in a rocking chair, it's every man for himself."

Do you suppose this is a simple coincidence?   If, on  Sunday night's CSI:Miami, Horatio visits "Norman's Baits Shop," it's every man for himself!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Awkward Phrasing 101

Here we have a book by Michel Flynn, In the Country of the Blind, about conspiracy theories and secret societies and attempts to influence history by identifying key events and giving them a little nudge to provide the desired outcome.

Unfortunately, this interesting idea is handled competently, and no more.  At least in my opinion.

There are a few instances when the style of writing simply reaches out of the book and slaps you in the chops, really ruining the story experience.  A novel like this wants to involve you in its tale and characters.  It's a real detriment when something criminally clumsy reminds you that this is all a book that you can put down at any time.

Here is a very laughable, and truly pathetic example.  Here we have the situation of a creepy fellow who is being held at gunpoint by an equally creepy lady.  She is his superior in one of the several secret string-pulling conspiracies featured in this book.  She is also (like the guy) twisted in a sexual manner, too.  Having caught the guy betraying the company, she holds him at gunpoint and orders him to sexually service her.

Here is the deathless prose in its context on page 330:

Just when you figure out that Kennison has an erection, and that his female boss desires to avail herself of it, we find out that he "stiffened" when she points a gun at him.  I thought he was already stiff  ?!?

And the next sentence takes you from humor to sheer disgusted mourning for the sheer dopiness.  "She UNCOCKED the gun."

Well, now that I have given you a reason not to buy this book on Amazon for a penny, I'll leave you until Monday, when we will meet "The Two Ghosts of Superman!"

Monday, November 08, 2010

Soon I Will Be Invincible

This is a delightful read.

It's told in two first-person POVs.  The first is the tale of the greatest criminal genius of all time, whose first name was once Jonathan, but whose official moniker is Doctor Impossible.

The good Doctor gives us a fine insight into how obsession can become commonplace, how dedication to a certain idea can seem mad.  But it's only such madness that can lead to the power.  The power to move the Earth.  The power to build an island hideaway from which to laugh at the Earth's heroes.  The power to sneak into the Supers' own hideout, and laugh at them therefrom.

Ha ha, to LAUGH at them!

...Ahem.  The second POV is the tale told by Fatale, a robo-Bionic Woman kind of character, who honestly doesn't remember who she was before she woke up with -- er, augmentations -- after a terrible traffic accident.

Fatale's story and thoughts give us the other half of a world where Supers and their Nemeses are real.  We have the attempted government co-option of heroes, the effect of Magic on Heroes, the history and future of the world, invasions from space -- AND THOSE ARE JUST PART OF THE BACKSTORY,

Excessive capitalization aside, this is a fun book that will appeal to folks who like Watchmen or Mayer's Super-Folks, or who have just seen Megamind.

And, you've got to love the chapter titles, too.
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© by Mark Alfred