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Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Thursday, January 15

Taken 3 & Oscar Nominees

Take John Wilks’ Keanu Reeves and The Equalizer’s Denzel Washington, put ‘em together, shake ‘em up. And what do you get? Taken 3’s Liam Neeson. Actually, that makes it sound like Neeson’s Bryan Mills is better at what he does than Reeves and Washington together. Nah, he’s not as good as either. I think Liam Neeson may be getting too old for this sort of role, the deadly spy who’s come out of the cold to live among normal people. In this latest Taken (and I hope it will be the last), his ex-wife has been killed and he’s been set up as the likely killer. Naturally, he runs and cops chase. Naturally, he loses them and gets together with his old covert ops crew, who help him find the killer and prove his innocence. The plot was fairly predictable as was the action—lots of really fast car chases, lots of hand-to-hand violence, lots of shooting up of stuff in a convenience store and fancy stuff in the bad guy’s fancy apartment. And because Liam Neeson probably is no longer up to such action, these scenes were shot in fast-motion with a herky-jerky camera to disguise his now old-age ineptitude. I love Neeson in these tough guy roles, but I loved even more Keanu Reeves’ John Wilks and Denzel Washington’s Equalizer.
I was somewhat surprised by Forest Whitaker’s entry into this C-to-B film. He’s too good for this role as Inspector Franck Dotzler, even though he did his best to make the man memorable, with his penchant for rubber bands, string, and the knightly chess piece he keeps fondling. Oh, yeah, you may be wondering exactly who was taken in this one. No one really, although the wife Lenore (Famke Janssen) was taken just before she was killed, and daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) was sort of taken several times before dad Bryan could extricate her. Whenever the action wasn’t in fast mode, I enjoyed the scenes and the acting. But there were too many holes in the plot for me to swallow, like when about fifty cars on the freeway were annihilated during one of Bryan’s escapes, with probably about fifty people dead because of it, and no one seemed to care much about all those casualties. And even though the final scene hinted at a situation that could lead to a Taken 4 , I doubt they’ll do it. At least I hope not.

Okay, the nominee slots for the Oscars have been filled, mostly by predictable people and films, but with a few surprising absences. The most obvious film slights go to Wild, Gone Girl, Into the Woods, and Interstellar. The directorial slights go to Clint Eastwood for American Sniper and Ava DuVernay for Selma. No Ben Affleck for Gone Girl, no David Oyelowa for Selma, no Patricia Arquette for Boyhood, no Jake Gyllenhaal for Nightcrawler. And the original songs are about as unknown and forgettable as they have been for the past decade. Where's the "Moon River" of my past?
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