by Helen McCloy
1980 Nero Award
2 stars - just didn't grab me
Helen McCloy, an author I had not read before, was certainly prolific. I selected this volume from the Nero Award list for literary mysteries.
I'd classify it as a cozy mystery with warm, fuzzy characters and limited blood and gore.
Harriet Sutton, author, moves to Boston, buys a Beacon Hill fixer upper, fixes it up, rents the apartments out to other writers, goes about her life, until..... murder! Yup, dude is found right on her living room sofa with his throat torn out. Uh oh.
I can't fault the writing or the characters and I think that many (OK, both) of my followers might enjoy the book, but it just never really gripped me and had it been more than a scant 182 pages, I might not have finished it.
There is, however, a dog in the story. Ajax, the overly trained attack German Shepherd. Maybe I just finished to see what happened to him. I felt sorry for the poor chap, trained into total submission so that he wouldn't even eat a meatball without permission.
Let's move on to a couple of excellent, five star movies, shall we?
starring Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones
5 stars - outstanding
I'm not sure that being middle aged in a marriage that has spanned more than one decade is a prerequisite for enjoying this movie, but it sure helps.
Where to begin? Short plot summary:
After thirty years of marriage, a middle-aged couple attends an intense, week-long counseling session to work on their relationship.
Blech. If not for Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones I would have taken a pass. But I really enjoy both of them so I figured, why not?
This is no chick flick. The pain and longing attendant with complacency in a relationship are so real that my husband and I were both squirming in our seats. I found plenty to identify with in both characters. I really appreciated how totally and unashamedly middle-aged the actors looked. None of the eternal youth taught face and six pack abs crab. Real people with a little paunch and questionable fashion sense.
The marriage started out fine and they remain devoted to each other, but life events have pushed each away from the most important person in his or her life. Plenty to think about here.
Warning! After the movie finishes and the credits run there is a segment that is quite disarming. In fact when it concluded, my husband and I exclaimed almost simultaneously "phew, glad that's over, I was going to cry if it went on any longer." Trust me, we are *not* the cry during movies types.
starring Colin Farrell, Brenden Gleeson, and Ralph Fiennes
5 stars - will watch again
Guilt-stricken after a job gone wrong, hit man Ray and his partner await orders from their ruthless boss in Bruges, Belgium, the last place in the world Ray wants to be.
If you like dark "dramedies" like Fargo, this one is for you. Foul language, blood, but a very human story with characters one cares about. Colin Farrell is excellent as a conflicted man who is haunted by the act he has committed. His partner, Brenden Gleeson, gives us a believable portrait of a person who has reached the age where he is reconsidering his values and priorities. Ralph Fiennes is a total psycho.
The pacing is gentle and compelling, the scenery beautiful. Excellent dialog with supporting characters who come and go in curious ways to move things along.