Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Mickey Mouse - Color Sundays vol. 1 & 2

This box set consists of 2 books: Call of The Wild (vol.1) and Robin Hood Rides Again (vol. 2). This is a nice change (for my eyes) from the previous Mickey Mouse by Floyd Gottfredson box sets because, like its name, Color Sundays, this is in colour.

The stories are usual days in Mickey Mouse's life, with his girlfriend Minnie, his dog Pluto, and friends Horace, Clarabelle, Goofy/Dippy, and Donald Duck; with several exceptions when the stories are fairy-tale-like: Rumplewatt The Giant, The Robin Hood Adventure, and The Brave Little Tailor.

In book vol.2, there are stories without Mickey, but involved Floyd Gottfredson as one of the artists: Lambert The Sheepish Lion, The Seven Dwarfs and The Witch Queen, Sleeping Beauty and 101 Dalmatians. The last 2 titles are similar to the Disney's classic movies with the same titles.

First panels from The Brave Little Tailor
I must say that compared to Carl Barks's works, I prefer Carl Barks'. This Mickey Mouse stories remind me of old silent movies with Harold Lloyd because they have similar themes, even the humor is almost the same, but I think it's because they were from the same era.

Lambert's expression in this panel is priceless! 
Lambert The Sheepish Lion is my personal favourite among the stories in these 2 books. A childless ewe and an orphaned little lion find each other. Unlike H.C. Andersen's The Ugly Duckling, the mother unconditionally loves the lion, who becomes a joke in the flock.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Bat - Jo Nesbø

The Bat (the Aboriginal symbol of death) is the first book in the Harry Hole series. Harry Hole was sent to Sydney, Australia, to help the local police investigating the murder of a Norwegian girl.

Now I knew how to spell his name. As the first name was an English name, it was easier to assume that the family name was also the same. The correct spelling is 'hoo-leh'. In The Bat, he let himself to be called Holy. "Harry Hole considered his options. He had decided to spend the first days in Australia correcting the pronunciation of his surname so that he wouldn't be confused with apertures or orifices. Mr. Holy however, was infinitely preferable."

He fell in love with a beautiful Swedish girl, Birgitta, who worked in a local bar, same as the victim. Birgitta would be mentioned again in later books. I liked Harry Hole in the first part of the book, when he was sober; but then he started drinking after the death of his partner. I myself never understand why one glass was not enough. I think Harry Hole himself knew that by drinking he couldn't forget and couldn't solve the problem, not the mention that he had to empty the contents of his stomach later.

I have read some reviews that said The Bat was disappointing, but I disagree. I enjoyed reading this book and I think this is one among the best crime books I have ever read.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Headhunters - Jo Nesbø

This book started slowly, with the lead character, a top headhunter named Robert Brown, interviewing a job seeker. Robert Brown loved his wife, Diana, very much; and in order to please her, he needed more money than he could make. As a side job, he stole paintings from the people he interviewed. The trouble started when Diana told him that she might have met the right person for the CEO of a company named Pathfinder, a GPS technologies company. This candidate, Clas Greve, was an ex-Commando, and he would do anything to get that position, even if he had to kill the headhunter.

At first the story was boring, but once I got past the usual introduction, I almost couldn't put this down. Art thieving, industrial espionage, murder, deceit, plus clever tricks (but not the same) as Jo Nesbø had used in Harry Hole series. I thought that this could make a good movie, but it turns out that it has been made in 2011, even won several awards and nominated for BAFTA.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Police - Jo Nesbø

The book started with a patient in a coma condition, guarded by the police. Since the previous book, Phantom, ended up with our hero shot in the chest and head, of course I thought the patient was our hero. I should have read more carefully, because I was wrong. Of course, how could he be the hero if he had been dead.

Now Harry Hole, who was no longer a policeman, was hired as a consultant to help the police solve police murders. The victims were lured to locations of unsolved cases and murdered there.

This book, in my opinion, is the best among Harry Hole series. I liked how he managed to escape grave situations where he almost lost his life, like in The Snowman (he lost his middle finger though), in The Leopard (how he escaped the Leopold's apple - I had thought it had been impossible to escape from such a deadly weapon); and yet he cheated death again in Phantom, and now in Police he escaped from a bomb (reminded me of a scene from Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull), and together with Rakel and Oleg they saved themselves from the cop killer.

Will there be new Harry Hole book again? Because they haven't caught Valentin Gjertsen yet and it seems he has been stalking Ståle Aune's daughter.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Following (TV) (2013)

The antagonist was a handsome serial killer, Joe Carroll, ex professor of English literature -expert in Edgar Allan Poe's works - who had searched inspirations to write his novels by torturing and murdering young women. He had been caught by FBI agent Ryan Hardy, who almost died in his hand, and since then living with the help of a pacemaker. In prison, Joe Carroll received many of his fans, who were killers like him. Together they planned his escape.

The series was enjoyable to watch, even though I found the story didn't make sense. Joe Carroll had violently murdered 14 women and I thought that the authority should have considered him as dangerous and put him in isolation. In this series, the warden didn't seem to care about Joe Carroll activity. Carroll was free to teach his 'students' when they visited him in prison, threatened his lawyer, and planned the kidnappings of his wife and son, planned his escape, and avenged Ryan Hardy.

Too many serial killers in this series and they all idolized Joe Carroll. Most of them had uninteresting personality - mostly they were insane. I prefer watching movies with smart serial killers (and not a group of slaves like in this series), with smarter detectives to catch them.

"The grim reality is that there are always somewhere between 35 and 300 active serial killers (depending on who you ask) in the US alone." And from this fact, the creator of this series gathered them all and made them love Joe Carroll. What was so special about Joe Carroll, anyway? Apart from his good looks and good manners, he actually failed: both as a writer and a serial killer.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Phantom - Jo Nesbø

The previous book, The Leopard, had already had a sad feeling about ruined family; and now in Phantom there was even more a tragic situation. Harry Hole's girlfriend's son, Oleg, who considered Harry as his own father, was in jail for killing his friend, Gusto. Those who read this series from the beginning would know that Harry loved Rakel and vice versa and it was so sad that they couldn't be together, that Harry could not become Oleg's [step] father. Oleg, who had been grown up and became a young man, befriended a troubled teenager named Gusto and later these two friends became drug sellers. When Oleg first appeared in The Redbreast, he was just a little boy, and now in Phantom, he was as tall as Harry Hole.

After leaving the Crime Squad, Harry Hole lived well in Hong Kong, worked as a debt collector. He returned to Oslo to investigate Gusto's murder because it was impossible that sweet Oleg could murder anyone, let alone his friend. In his investigation Harry would solve several puzzles (including the identity of the mysterious Dubai, Gusto's boss), but only in the very end he finally found the real killer of Gusto. Unlike previous books, since he was not a policeman anymore, Harry acted without a partner.

This book is called Phantom because of Dubai, Harry's main enemy, was like one. This Dubai monopolised narcotics market in Oslo with heroin-like opioid violin, a very strong drug. "All she had heard about Dubai were the same rumors about his flitting around town like some kind of phantom and that no one knew who he was or what he looked like, and that he was like the wind, impossible to catch."