Wednesday, June 12, 2013

F.B.I. Trilogy

I wrote in my previous post re: Prison Break Trilogy that Allison Brennan's writings had been getting better, but this FBI Trilogy was published after and I think this is the worst compared to previous books. Or maybe it's I who don't like the plots she had chosen this time. I think this trilogy lacks of plot twists, it's banal. Published in February, May, and July 2009, this trilogy each featuring a female FBI agent - except Sonia Knight in book 2 who is an ICE agent - and the case she investigates will lead to someone from her past who targets her as the final victim.

Book 1. Sudden Death
Here we meet FBI Supervisory Agent Megan Elliott, ex-wife of Mitch Bianchi from previous book 'Playing Dead'. She works together with Jack Kincaid, the renegade in the family. Jack is a mercenary in Hidalgo and hired by the FBI as a consultant because the prime suspect has a military background. The case becomes personal to Jack when one of his friends was also murdered and another friend a target. The title is not very creative, imo, because it's about serial murders, and in murders there are sudden deaths (yes, in plural) if we don't count the tortures. The story of how and why the killers choose the victims seems flat (basically they are just crazy) and uninteresting.

Book 2. Fatal Secrets
This is the most boring book among all Allison Brennan's works. ICE agent Sonia Knight, who was sold by her father for prostitution when she was 13 - but escaped, works with Assistant FBI Director Dean Hooper to prove that human trafficker Xavier Jones is laundering money. Dean Hooper is the older brother of Detective Will Hooper from Killing Fear. Again, the title seems not right. The secrets in this book are not fatal. Dean Hooper spends many pages to explain about money laundering and I lost my interest.

Book 3. Cutting Edge

Here we meet FBI Agent Nora English, who spent her childhood with domestic terrorists. Her specialty is catching environmental activists who turn arsonists, bombers, murderers. She works with Duke Rogan from a private security company to solve a series of murders, starts with the death of Duke Rogan's good friend in a fire. Compared with the previous 2, this book is better because the killer is still mysterious until 1/3 of the story, so we learn the progress of the investigation from the protagonists's point of view.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Astérix et Obélix: Au service de Sa Majesté (2012)

Based on 'Astérix in Britain' and 'Astérix and the Normans', this movie shows how Astérix and Obélix helps the British people to defend themselves against the Romans and helps Goudurix, the village chief's nephew, to become a man.

Jolitorax from Britain comes to the Gauls to ask for a barrel of their magic potion so the British soldiers can be strong and drive the Romans away. Jolitorax here is a bit like a secret agent, if we look at the title: 'In Her Majesty's (Secret) Service'. Astérix and Obélix escort him to return to Britania safely, and they drag along Goudurix, who actually wants to be a bard, but in the eyes of the Gauls, a man should be able to fight - and chase wild boars.

What follows is more or less like in the books, with some new characters, notably Ophélia, Jolitorax's fiancée, and her governess.

Show me your ID

Jack The Giant Slayer (2013)

Many of us are familiar with H.C. Andersen's version of Jack and The Beanstalk, but when I saw the trailer of Jack The Giant Slayer on TV, I knew I would enjoy this movie.

And I did. Basically it was the same story, but I never knew that the giants really walked on our earth and did massive damage. In the Andersen story, the giant ran after Jack in his land in the sky and fell to the earth to his death when Jack cut down the beanstalk.

In this new movie version, the giants came to earth and were driven away to the land in the sky, waiting for their opportunity to return. One greedy man from earth is enough to make their return possible. Jack also gets a princess as his wife in the end.

Jack and the Beanstalk is a British fairy tale, and it's interesting to see how the magic crown used to defeat the giants here were cast into the royal crown.

Brave (2012)

Brave is not as good as I've expected. I expected it would be great because it was made by Pixar. It's not bad, either, because to me, any Pixar movie is still better than animations by other companies.

The Scottish accent in Brave is so heavy, there is even a character who cannot be heard clearly what he is saying. Without subtitles, it would be hard for me to understand the dialogues. The story itself reminds me of Brother Bear and The Emperor's New Groove.

The main character here is Princess Merida, firstborn of King Fergus, who must choose among her 3 suitors - none is what we call a typical Prince Charming. She refuses to choose, of course, and asks a witch to change her mother. Instead of changing her mother's opinion, the witch changes her into a bear. Now Princess Merida must find a way to change her mother back.

Actually, when I read the title, I imagined the heroine here would somehow lead her people against the enemy or something like that. Well, the plot is nothing like that. She is a spoiled child, who refuses to listen to her parents, and finally has her mother bewitched.