Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Richest Men in World are in Trouble

The Jefferson Club is a remote private resort for the super-rich. The buildings, the amenities, and the security are state of the art and beyond compare. Many of the world’s wealthiest people-- business leaders, entrepreneurs, politicians, celebrities-- gather for the most exclusive New Year’s Eve party in the world. As the expensive champagne flows and multibillion dollar deals are arranged, the unimaginable happens-- a highly trained, heavily armed paramilitary force calling itself the Third Position Army breaches the world’s best security system and takes everybody hostage.

“Mickey” Hennessey, former U.S. Special Agent, is the head of security for the Jefferson Club. A divorced father of three teenagers, he’s spending the holiday with his kids. When the club is attacked, his entire team is wiped out and only he makes it out of the club alive. Now he’s outside while his kids are trapped inside, hostages of the Third Position Army, who are putting seven of the ten richest men on “trial” for their crimes against humanity, live on the internet for the world to see. While a top FBI rescue team works feverishly to rescue all the hostages, Hennessey is determined to do all he can to overcome every obstacle and to ensure his children’s safety-- or die trying

Title: Triple Cross
Author: Mark T. Sullivan
Start & Finished: 8/3/10
Published: April 14, 2009
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Pages: 390
Genre: Thriller- Political

Mark T. Sullivan is an avid skier and lives in the skiing region of Montana, his book Triple Cross was inspired by an ultra-private skiing vacation place near his home that is for the rich, powerful, and famous. Also, the "shady activity going on in the U.S. financial markets” had an impact on this story because if there was "an attack on such a club stocked with some of the world’s wealthiest people would undoubtedly have an immediate, harsh effect on the stock markets." The author also said that "the idea of a voice of the people came from "Network," one of [his] favorite films. The idea of putting the trials on the Internet seemed obvious. We have Judge Judy on TV, why not Judge Truth on the Internet? When [he] put the two together it seemed like a strong weapon that the Third Position Army could use to influence public opinion and the stock markets."

There are some parallels between this book and things that have happened in real life but oddly enough, Mr. Sullivan finished writing Triple Cross before the "Wall Street meltdown, eleven months before terrorists seized two luxury hotels in Mumbai, India, and twelve months before the Bernie Madoff investment scandal came to light." I know little of politics and even less of the stock-market so those parts were like another language to me. I did think it was unnecessary for the main character Hennessy, to keep going on about his own portfolio not being what he wants it to be. He just came off as bitter to me but politics and the stock market both are a major theme throughout the story.

Mr. Sullivan was a political and later an investigative reporter and from that he’s met several interesting people and heard several things that normally don’t get reported so from both of these things, this book was helped along into being written. The author said that "The negative portraits of the men who are put on trial in the novel I’m sad to say were drawn from real events and trends in American business during the first eight years of this century. I’m even sadder to say that most of the illegal activity described in the novel pales in comparison to the scandals, swindles and market manipulations that have come to light after the 2008 stock market crash." Considering some of the crimes addressed in this book, that’s an incredibly scary thought!

Though the dad in Triple Cross does play a significant part at the end, the heroes of this book and the ones that are constantly at risk are three teenage triplets. The best characters by far in this book are these triplets (Connor, Bridger, and Hailey, the two sons and one daughter of Hennessey) and if the author ever wants to write a young adult novel I heartily recommend that he use these characters. Technically however, the main character is supposed to be Mickey Hennessy who is a flawed, but overall good man. FBI special agent Cheyenne O’Neil wasn’t too bad a character either though even when she was narrating, I never got the feeling that we really knew her.

Corruption and second chances are the two main themes of Triple Cross, however, not many of the corrupt businessmen in the book are the ones who get second chances. I had no problems visualizing everything the author writes so I believe this would make a great movie (the reason I read it in the first place was it kind of reminded me of a Die Hard film), maybe even better than it would a book to be honest. This was a good book and while I was able to figure out the “major twist” at the end fairly easily, I still enjoyed Triple Cross but in my opinion, the triplets are what carried this story.

Favorite Quotes
Mouse gazed at the general as if he were some kind of prophet, saying, “It’s time to make them pay for the hell they’ve inflicted on people.”

His wife’s fists clenched. “Don’t you have enough to do without adding to Guilio’s job? Why don’t you go jump off the mountain and parachute down or something?”
Burns cocked his head toward the windows. “Kinda snowing and windy out, in case you hadn’t noticed, my sweet.”
“Then go in your padded room and bang your head against the walls, because you are driving everyone here crazy. Especially me.”

“Oscar-winning actresses are kinda out of my league.”
“Don’t know until you try,” Burns said. “And the more times you try, the more times you win. Take a risk, make the big play. That’s always been my motto, Mickey. If you’re going to shoot, shoot for the moon. Why not? Someone’s gotta win. Someone’s gotta be the number one. And no one remembers the guy who comes in second or third.”

“The Jefferson Club is a retreat from a busy world,” Burns went on. “A place for the accomplished to come and relax in luxury, yet rugged enough to challenge the most hard-core skier and alpinist.”

“One hundred million dollars in return for your son’s life,” General Anarchy said. “Less than a single percentage point of your net worth. What do you say, Mr. Doore? Deal or no deal?”

“Those maniacs are hunting them. It’s all they’re talking about on the news shows. Our children and the hostages. Whether they’ll live or die.”
“Don’t listen,” Hennessy said.
“How can’t I?” she shrieked back. “It’s everywhere! People are downloading the trial and the execution to their iPods and phones by the hundreds of thousands. They had one expert on just now who said that this might be the first global event to unfold primarily on the Internet. My babies are in the middle of it!”

First Paragraph: True winter hit around eleven a.m. that New Year's Eve. North winds slanted in, bearing temperatures in the low teens. Iron clouds followed, casting a pale and crystalline-gray glow across the west flank of the Jefferson Range in southwest Montana.

Find Mark T. Sullivan Online
Official Site
Author’s Blog (last update 10/13/09)

Author Wikipedia
Behind the Book
My Cover Contemplation Post
Book Club Queen

Source: Personal collection, courtesy of MediaMuscle

Picture Explanations
Skiing: The Jefferson Club is a skiing club for the rich and famous
Snowmobiles at Night: How the bad guys get around
Gavel: There are mock trials in this book by The People of the Third Position
Helicopter: How else would you get up the mountain on short notice?

Friday, August 27, 2010

Momma the Matchmaker

Will this bad boy make it to the altar? It takes a very special woman to catch a Chandler man... Meet the Chandlers - a trio of sexy brothers and the most eligible men in town...until their mother falls ill. As her three sons gather at her side, she makes two desperate demands: "Get married! Give me grandchildren!"

Foreign correspondent Roman Chandler has always prized his freedom above all else. Now losing a coin toss has sealed this youngest brother's fate. Finding someone to escort down the aisle is the easy part - every wannabe bride in sleepy Yorkshire Falls is itching to get hitched to this gorgeous, globe-trotting Chandler man. But Roman still lusts after the woman who got away.

Stunning heartbreaker Charlotte Bronson has come home to put down roots and get her erotic lingerie business off the ground. She wants a man who won't go chasing off to the far corners of the earth for a breaking news story. He wants her to say "I do". Will-she or won't-she? Can the love of the right woman transform a go-it-alone guy into a stick-around-forever kind of man?

Title: The Bachelor
Author: Carly Phillips
Series: The Chandler Brothers, Book 1
Start & Finished: 7/30/10- 7/31/10
Published: July 1, 2002
Publisher: Warner Books
Pages: 301
Genre: Contemporary Romance

You often hear of a mother trying to marry off her daughters but Carly Phillips has flipped it with her Chandler Brothers series. Though not her first published book, The Bachelor was Phillips’ first single title release under this pseudonym (she has published under her real name Karen Drogin before) and it was very successful mainly thanks to the fact that Kelly Ripa featured it for one of her book club picks. The main idea for this series was given to Ms. Phillips by an editor and the author said she just “ran with the rest.”

The Bachelor vaguely reminded me of It’s a Wonderful Life when George Bailey was going to leave Bedford Falls and travel the world except Roman has already done that and he doesn’t want to be tied down (once his father died, his older brother even got roped into keeping the family newspaper running too). Unfortunately, his mom tells him and his brothers that she is ill and hints that she wants grandchildren before she dies. Through a coin-toss, he’s the one who gets picked to give up his bachelor ways though he still plans on not being tied down. Charlotte on the other hand, wants a man that will stick around. Her father left her mother heartbroken when he went off to become a Hollywood actor. No matter how much attraction there has always been between the two, and the attraction is just as instant in their reunion, she refuses to give in… at first of course. Its freedom vs. stability in this book and how much will the two main characters be willing to compromise?

Carly Phillips writes mainly character-driven plots and while not as funny as Susan Elizabeth Phillips (the panty thief in this one notwithstanding) her romance is just as hot. Her characters--even the minor ones-- are so memorable that I wouldn’t be surprised if Yorkshire Falls is based on a real town. I really liked Roman and Charlotte as well; even if I sometimes had problems with things they did or said. For example, their reunion bothered me a little. I know that Phillips books are generally like this but they jumped right into the nuzzling before the reintroductions. I don’t care what kind of chemistry you have with someone; it’s highly unlikely that’s going to happen. However, this is a fantasy romance and I was more than willing to suspend disbelief.

Favorite Quotes
Since taking over as publisher of the Yorkshire Falls Gazette for his father almost twenty years earlier, he’d become much too serious, bossy, and overprotective. Thank God he had his father’s handsome, chiseled face to make a decent first impression before he opened his mouth and started taking control. Good thing women loved a protective man and most single women in this town would marry Chase in a heartbeat. He was handsome, as were Rick and Roman.
Her goal was to marry off all her three of her boys, and she would. But first they had to desire more from woman that sex. Not that there was anything wrong with sex; in fact, it could be more than pleasant, she thought, remembering. But it was her sons’ mind-set that presented her with a problem. They were men.

But in today’s world, a woman had to offer a man a challenge. Excitement. And even then, Raina sensed her boys would balk. Chandler men needed a special woman to pique their interest and keep it. Raina sighed. How ironic that she, a woman who held marriage and children as her ideal, raised three sons who thought the word bachelor was sacred. With their attitudes she’d never have the grandchildren she desired. They’d never have the happiness they deserved.

Ten years, and the flame burned hotter than ever. Which only proved one thing: Temptation or no temptation, Roman couldn’t afford to get involved with Charlotte. Not now. Not ever.

Just as he came to the conclusion that he wanted only one woman, the single females of Yorkshire Falls decided to declare open season. Roman let out a heavy sigh as he realized what was in store for him from the town’s feminine population. In his younger days, he’d have appreciated the attention. Now he just wanted to be left alone.

Chandler Brothers Series
1. The Bachelor (2002)
2. The Playboy (2002)
3. The Heartbreaker (2003)

First Paragraph: You're fit, Mrs. Chandler. The cardiogram is normal and so is your blood pressure. Nothing more than a bad case of indigestion. An antacid, some rest, and you should be fine." The doctor slipped her stethoscope around her neck and made another notation in the chart.

Find Carly Phillips Online
Official Site
PlotMonkey's Blog (group author blog)

Author Wikipedia
Diary of a Cinderella Story Article by Carly Phillips
My Cover Contemplation Post
My Shelf
A Romance Review

Source: My personal collection, paperback

Picture Explanations
Lingerie Shop: The main female character in this book owns a lingerie shop called Charlotte’s Attic
Newspaper: The main male character is a freelance writer for various newspapers
Heartburn: Raina Chandler is willing to do anything to see her boys married, including pretending her bad case of heartburn is really a bad heart!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Reopening the Sweetheart Murder Case

It's a minor accident that brings prosecutor Kerry McGrath to the plastic surgeon's office with her beloved daughter, Robin. But even as the doctor assures Kerry that her daughter's scars will heal, she spies a familiar-looking beautiful woman in the waiting room and is seized by an overpowering sense of deja vu. When, on a return visit, she sees the same haunting face-- on another woman-- she has an intense flash of recognition: it's the face of Suzanne Reardon, the "Sweetheart Murder" victim, killed more than ten years ago! The case resulted in a guilty verdict and a life sentence for Suzanne's husband, Skip. But for what possible reason would Dr. Smith be giving his patients the face of a dead woman?

As Kerry immerses herself in a fresh investigation, she is catapulted into the strange and ominous territory of those so obsessed with beauty they'll kill for it. Each new piece of evidence she unearths reveals a disturbing cache of questions. Not only does everyone involved want to keep the case closed, it's clear somebody will stop at nothing to keep it sealed forever. As she delves deeper she finds she's wrestling with a force so sinister that her own life-- and her daughter's-- is threatened with increasing peril...

Interweaving fascinating characters with deeply daring, staggeringly unpredictable plot twists; Mary Higgins Clark reminds us that she is, indeed, America's Queen of Suspense.

Title: Let Me Call You Sweetheart
Author: Mary Higgins Clark
Start & Finished: 7/29/10- 7/30/10
Published: May 1, 1995
Publisher: Pocket Books (Simon & Schuster)
Pages: 308
Genre: Mystery/ Cold Case- Crime (Lawyers)

Plastic surgeons, art thief’s, a wealthy crook, and an innocent man in prison are all connected to the ten year old murder of Suzanne Reardon in Mary Higgins Clark 1995 New York Times bestselling book Let Me Call You Sweetheart. Kerry McGrath, attorney prosecutor is the main character here and when she stumbles across the fact that the man convicted of the killing may be wrongfully accused, she stops at nothing-- even the fact that it could cost her judgeship or even her daughter‘s life-- to find out the truth.

A good number of this author’s titles are based on popular songs including this one which has been recorded by several artists since including Bing Crosby. However, even though the song does make its way into the story, Ms. Clark says that her editor Michael Korda gave her the idea for this story when she told him she wanted to write about plastic surgery. In an interview she claimed that: "Michael said, 'What if a plastic surgeon gave the same face to a bunch of different women? Why would he do that?' Then I knew we had it. That became the book." Mary Higgins Clark has had twenty made for TV movie’s adaptations from her books including this one in 1997 starring Meredith Baxter.

Let Me Call You Sweetheart is written from a multitude of different points of view- even the murderer- though you have to guess which one he is (no, I wasn’t able to guess who the murderer was until the last minute). Surprisingly I didn’t find this too confusing since the author had fleshed out almost all of the characters (even minor ones) very well. Just about every character in this book is some kind of lawyer, married to a lawyer, or in the case of little Robin, related to one. I don’t tend to read books where lawyers are the main character very often (which is why I wasn’t that fond of the book at first) but I was pleased to note that not much lawyer jargon makes it into the book. Matter of fact, I got the feeling that the reason so many of the characters were lawyers in the first place was to make their investigation more plausible. The characters are also all equally obsessed with something or someone. For some, it’s Suzanne Reardon, others the pursuit of justice or staying out of prison, and still others like Jason Arnett and Suzanne herself, its riches and lovely things.

Even though the story is told through multiple people, Kerry McGrath is definitely the main character. I felt like Kerry’s character could have used some more exploring though. I wasn’t even too sure if Kerry was bitter about her divorce or not. She doesn’t seem to like her ex-husband- who I really, really didn’t like- very much but I still got the feeling she regretted his decision to leave her. She just had this loneliness to her though it’s never specifically stated so I was glad of Geoff Dorso’s addition to the story. I was really fond of him, especially since Robin said he reminded her of Jimmy Stewart. At times I got the feeling that this could have been the start of a series (which to my knowledge, this author does not write) because it felt like everyone but the main character was fleshed-out.

This book does start off slow but I was very eager to learn “whodunit” about halfway through and once I thought I had it, I thought Ms. Higgins Clark was very clever! I waffled back and forth on who could be the murderer and who was just too conveniently set up to look like the murderer that I almost didn’t quite catch on to the real murderer until it was too forgone to come to any other conclusion. The real murderer shocked me stupid because it seemed to come out of left field (I was really upset with who it was, though I‘ve heard that this is a fairly common plot device for some mystery writers). There were no clues as to who it was but a steadily revolving door of suspects of who it could be. I found some reasonable doubt for every one of them too, except of course the real killer because nothing was ever even hinted at to make me suspect that person. I even believed at first that the husband could have been the murderer after all but I very quickly dismissed that thought when I realized the whole purpose of the book was to get him out of jail, plus it didn’t seem very likely when it was his turn to narrate.

Let Me Call You Sweetheart is only the third Mary Higgins Clark book I’ve ever read (Nighttime is My Time and On the Street Where You Live before this one) but it’s the second time I’ve seen her use a cold case as the jumping off of her mystery, there the similarities end. While I was right about the doctor, the thief and the crook’s motives for and against them being the murderers, I was disappointed that the author felt like she had to pull the trick she did with the ending after she had set everything up so neatly throughout the course of the book.

Favorite Quotes
Kerry’s throat tightened. I know you, she thought. But from where? She swallowed, her mouth suddenly dry. That face-- I’ve seen her before.

“I just inherited some money from my aunt. Can you make me pretty?”
He had done more than that-- he had transformed her. He had made her beautiful. Now Barbera was working in Manhattan at a large, prestigious P.R. firm. She had always had brains, but combining those brains with that special kind of beauty had truly changed her life.

She scanned the article, then dropped the newspaper back into her briefcase. Shaking her head, she remembered how appalled she had been when, shortly after Robin was born, Bob had told her he had accepted a job with Bartlett and Associates.
“All their clients have one foot in jail,” she had protested. “And the other foot should be there.”
“And they pay their bills on time,” Bob had replied. “Kerry, you stay in the prosecutor’s office if you want. I have other plans.”
A year later he had announced that those plans included marrying Alice Bartlett.

Over coffee they finally discussed the Reardon case. Kerry began by saying frankly, “I sat in on the sentencing ten years ago, and the look on his face and what he said were imprinted on my memory. I’ve heard a lot of guilty people swear they were innocent-- after all, what have they got to lose?-- but there was something about his statement that got to me.”
“Because he was telling the truth.”
Kerry looked directly at him. “I warn you, Geoff, I intend to play devil’s advocate, and while reading that transcript raises a lot of questions for me, it certainly doesn’t convince me that Reardon is an innocent man. Neither did yesterday’s visit. Either he’s lying or Dr. Smith is lying. Skip Reardon has a very good reason to lie. Smith doesn’t.

The accusations she had thrown at him made him shudder with revulsion. It was the same revulsion he felt when he looked at a maimed or scarred or ugly face. He could feel his very being tremble with the need to change it, to redeem it, to make things right. To find for it the beauty that his skilled hands could wrest from bone and muscle and flesh.

First Paragraph: As often as humanly possible he tried to put Suzanne out of his mind. Sometimes he achieved peace for a few hours or even managed to sleep through the night. It was the only way he could function, go about the daily business of living.

Find Mary Higgins Clark Online
Official Site
Simon & Schuster Webpage (videos included)

Audio Excerpt
Author Wikipedia
My Cover Contemplation Post

Writers Write
Q&A With the Author

Source: My personal copy, paperback

Related Reviews
On the Street Where You Live (2001)

Picture Explanations
Roses: Scattered over the deceased’s body
Courtroom Scales: A majority of the characters are lawyers, senators, and would-be judges.
Prison: Suzanne’s husband was convicted of killing her but he’s innocent!
Art Thief: Jason Arnett is an art theif who hangs around the high society then robs them blind

Monday, August 23, 2010

McQueen is Bullitt

Detective Frank Bullitt has just received what sounds like a routine assignment: keep a star witness out of sight and out of danger for 48 hours, then deliver him to the courtroom on Monday A.M. But before the night is out, the witness will lie dying of shotgun wounds. And Bullitt, a no-glitter, all-guts cop, won't rest until he nabs the gunmen... and the elusive underworld kingpin who hired them.

Steve McQueen plays the title role in Bullitt, a gritty detective thriller featuring the Academy Award-winning editing of Frank P. Keller and the tautly realistic direction of Peter Yates (Breaking Away, Robbery). From opening shot to closing shootout, Bullitt is packed with authentic touches-- on-location San Francisco filming, crisp dialogue and uncompromising, to-the-letter police, hospital and morgue procedures.

But the most memorably authentic touch of all is Bullitt's celebrated car chase. McQueen, an expert automobile and motorcycle racer, does his own stunt driving as he propels his high-performance Mustang GT around and over San Francisco's fabled hills at speeds up to 115 miles an hour. The chase, filled with screeches, sensations and stomach-churning leaps, is one of the most memorable pursuit sequences in movie history.

Bullitt's tough-minded realism is never off target. McQueen-- cool, calm and convincing as only he can be-- is a master at this style, and Frank Bullitt is his masterpiece.

Title: Bullitt
Release: October 17, 1968
Genre: Crime Drama
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Based On: Mute Witness by Robert L. Fish (aka Robert L. Pike)
Writer: Alan Trustman & Harry Kleiner
Director: Peter Yates
Music By: Lalo Schifrin
Produced By: Philip D'Antoni
Distributed By: Warner Brothers/Seven Arts
Run Time: 114 minutes

Now widely acknowledged as the first of the great modern car chase movies, Steve McQueen’s 1968 signature cop movie Bullitt was nominated for Best Sound but it won the Oscar for Best Film Editing and the screenwriters for the film won an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America among several other awards. A slightly convoluted film, Bullitt is very reminiscent of other cop TV shows and movies from the time period but it’s the car chase that makes Bullitt worthwhile. It’s not as fancy as the ones in today’s movies so it’s not sleek and pretty (well, the cars are) but it’s much more real. Ironically, that particular car chase scene serves as inspiration to a good majority of directors who make chase scenes in their films.

We’ve definitely come a long way since the hospitals, police work, and airports back when this film was made! One thing we haven’t improved and that’s the cars, well the look of them anyway. Steve McQueen has an awesome cop car in the form of a 1968 Ford Mustang GT 390 CID Fastback and the villains drive the even prettier 440 Magnum Dodge Charger. McQueen actually did almost all of his own stunt driving in the film and those are the actual speeds (sometimes 115 mph) in the chase, not camera work. They worked on a racetrack at first but the entire chase scene with those beautiful cars flying (they are literally airborne several times) by on the San Francisco streets are all filmed on location. Of the car chase sequence LIFE magazine said, "Thanks to nothing more complicated than good, basic moviemaking (intelligent camera placement and editing); this becomes an action sequence that must be compared with the best in film history."

All the hospital scenes are real with real doctors and nurses in a real hospital. They did go back sometimes and film with actors but the director wanted this picture not to be theatrical but more based in reality. Mr. McQueen said, "The operation that takes place in the film was with an actor of course but with real doctors. The feelings, the sensitivities that were in that hospital, this is the kind of reality that's important in motion pictures. If you try to act it, it doesn't quite come across as if you're really doing it. We had the reality we wanted." This firm basis in reality is one of the main reasons that this film has endured.

Frank Bullitt's girlfriend Cathy brings a bit of softness to the film (and McQueen’s character) that is predominately about gritty police work, which is something she doesn't really approve of. She's also the only female character (not including nurses and crowd extras of course) in the film. Cathy is played by Jacqueline Bisset (a Bond girl in Casino Royale) and this was her breakout film. The first movie I saw with her in was Murder on the Orient Express where she played a Countess but I liked her a whole lot more in this role. It was rumored that McQueen and Bisset had an affair during the filming of the movie and whether it’s true or not, I thought they had great chemistry.

Peter Yates was hired to direct this film because McQueen had seen his car chase scene in the film Robbery. This was his first American film and though McQueen was said to be hard on directors, they got along fairly well. McQueen and Don Gordon (who were friends and worked together in several other films) did their homework for this film by riding with San Francisco police to get a feel for police work. Gordon, who often played police officers on TV, was actually mistaken for a real cop at the time!

This was the first film I’ve ever seen with Steve McQueen in it but I did know who he was before I watched it because he is such a big name star even 30 years after his death. Especially with all of the tributes to him in film and music. He truly was a good-looking guy and he was often proclaimed as the “King of Cool.” He’s also a really good actor and the best thing in this film (mainly his friction with Chalmers the politician played by Robert Vaughn) besides the car chase scene. Though Bullitt made him a ton of money, McQueen originally didn’t want the role in the film because this was the time when people, a good majority his younger fans, started calling cops “pigs“ (not to mention his own troubled youth had made him slightly prejudiced too). It was because of the realistic portrayal that he decided to take the role of Frank Bullitt. In an interview promoting Bullitt McQueen said, "We're trying to show what a cop could be like. Everybody dislikes cops till they need one." There have been rumors of a remake of Steve McQueen’s enduring film but as of yet, there’s no one to even attempt to step into his shoes.

Favorite Quotes
Bullitt: I want to know about Ross. What is the deal you had with him?
Chalmers: Deal? Lieutenant, don’t try to evade the responsibility. In your "parlance", you blew it. You knew the significance of his testimony, yet you failed to take adequate measures to protect him. So to you it was a job, no more. Were it more, and you'd the dedication I was lead to believe…
Bullitt: You believe what you want. You work your side of the street, and I'll work mine.

Bullitt: Look Chalmers, let's understand each other... I don't like you.
Chalmers: Oh come on now, don't be naive now lieutenant. We both know how careers are made. Integrity is something you sell the public.
Bullitt: You sell whatever you want, but don't sell it here tonight.
Chalmers: Frank, we must all compromise.
Bullitt: Bullshit. Get the hell out of here now.

Find Bullitt Online
Wikipedia (neat featurette on stuntmen, talks about Bullitt too)

Bullitt Locations in San Francisco
Steve McQueen Online
A very thorough Fan Site


Best Classic Car Chase (slow first 3 min)

The Making of Bullitt

Related Reviews
Jacqueline Bisset
Murder on the Orient Express (1974)

Friday, August 20, 2010

No Soul but Plenty of Personality


First, she has no soul. Second, she’s a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire-- and the appalling Lord Macon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia is responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London’s high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plan embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

Title: Soulless
Author: Gail Carriger
Series: The Parasol Procterate, Book 1
Start & Finished: 7/22/10- 7/27/10
Published: October 1, 2009
Publisher: Orbit (Hatchette Book Group)
Pages: 357 (paperback)
Genre: Victorian Urbane Fantasy/ Romance- Steampunk, Comedy

“What’s the weirdest most eccentric historical phenomenon of them all? Answer: The Great British Empire. Clearly, one tiny island could only conquer half the known world with supernatural aid. Those absurd Victorian manners and ridiculous fashions were obviously dictated by vampires. And, without a doubt, the British army regimental system functioned on werewolf pack dynamics.” This was what inspired Gail Carriger (which is a pseudonym) to write her debut novel Soulless, which is the first story in her Parasol Protectorate Series featuring Miss Alexia Tarabotti. Soulless was the winner of ALA’s Alex Award (books written for adults with an appeal to YA audiences), a Locus Award Finalist (write-ins from readers of the Locus magazine) for first novel, a few other award nominations, and on several bestseller lists.

I don't read that much set in Victorian times, I’ve never read a steampunk novel before, and I'm not a Jane Austen fan yet I still just adored Soulless because though it has all of these elements, it remains modern too. I wasn’t sure what to think about this at first since everything seems to be written in third person but it didn’t take me long to realize I had discovered something truly unique. It was an amazingly built alternate world, the story and characters were actually funny, and the romance angle is swoon-worthy. The alternate history on why people left for The Colonies (Queen Elizabeth sanctioned the supernatural presence in England, making America into a “deeply superstitious place“) was interesting but it doesn’t reflect favorably upon America (‘Strange place, that overseas land, where religion and wealth did the talking and history and age held so little sway‘). Which is why I had originally thought the author herself was British but she’s actually American too.

Alexia is very prim and proper (even slightly snobbish at times) but at the same time exactly the opposite of what you think of when you hear those words. She’s a lady but she never hesitates to say what’s on her mind, bash the rude over the head with her parasol, and do precisely as she wants despite society’s rules. She’s a very intelligent woman (not quite as intelligent as Agatha from Girl Genius but they could definitely talk shop, though for Alexia it‘s all theory) in an age when her gender is held against her and she’s very fond of tea and food too. I did think it was sad how much Alexia’s family seemed to dislike her though because being soulless doesn’t mean she doesn’t have feelings and their actions towards her has obviously affected her self-worth. Especially since her family does not know about her soulless state! Ms. Carriger said in an interview that Alexia was slightly inspired by a real person named Amelia B. Edwards who was also a very proper Victorian lady who wrote a book called A Thousand Miles up the Nile about traveling along the Nile in Egypt essentially by herself at a time when that simply wasn't done by a woman.

It’s very strange how Carriger presents her vampires. I’ve honestly never seen it done before (well, I‘ve never heard of a soulless human that can turn vampires and werewolves human by touch either but it was certainly neat). They’re mostly like bees and they even use bee terminology like drones, hives, queens, etc. It’s very odd but it does work for the world presented. The werewolves are very similar to others I have seen in fiction except that they eat a lot of raw meat. Normally I don’t like it when an author’s werewolves are more interesting or appealing than the vampires but I didn’t have that problem here (I don’t hate werewolves but I don’t love them very often. I do like all other kinds of Weres usually though), mainly because these characters are all so very rich and vibrant. Everyone from Alexia’s friend Ivy of the ugly hats to the flamboyant vampire friend Lord Akeldama of the dramatically outrageous fashions. The two werewolves presented were neat too. Professor Lyall actually reminded me a little of a Doctor Watson-type of character while Lord Maccon was very Alpha-male.

As you can probably tell, Soulless is a very character driven book and that is probably what made the story so very appealing to me. I really do hope that Ms. Carriger writes a short story one day featuring Alexia and Lord Maccon’s very meeting. That hedgehog incident that was referred to a few times sounds delightfully funny! I would love to see something with Lord Akeldama as well, maybe how he and Alexia first met. I could easily see a graphic novel for this entire series as well. The author has said that she would like to give Alexia’s father his own book at one point which I’d love to read because though he’s mentioned quite often in Soulless, there wasn’t too much information about him in the story. Not even how he died!

The author said in an interview that Soulless is essentially a “spoof on Victorian melodrama romance” but she added to it. If Carriger had not included the steampunk, alternate history, supernatural, and preternatural elements in this story it would have been a typical spinster-catches-handsome-earl type of romance but with the way everything was written, Soulless is truly an amazing book. I haven’t seen so many blending of genres done so expertly in such new ways since Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton (however, Alexia won‘t be featured in more than five novels). The author also “tossed nineteenth century science into the mix and realized that if the Victorians were studying vampires and werewolves (which they would do if they knew about them), not to mention developing weapons against them, technology would have evolved differently.” Carriger even sprinkled some steam punk, “as a side effect of [her] world’s theories about the soul” which is somewhat based in reality as there were scientists who tried to weigh the soul (by weighing the dead) in the real Victorian era, in amongst all the other subgenres too. In addition, she manages to add a bit of a mystery with the disappearing supernaturals and science fiction with the creepy scientists too. Can you tell how much I adored Soulless?

Favorite Quotes
The fact that Alexia was preternatural had been explained to her at age six by a nice gentleman from the Civil Service with silver hair and a silver cane-- a werewolf specialist. Along with the dark hair and prominent nose, preternatural was something Miss Tarabotti had to thank her dead Italian father for. What it really meant was that words like I or me were just excessively theoretical for Alexia. She certainly had an identity and a heart that felt emotions and all that; she simply had no soul. Miss Alexia, age six, had nodded politely at the nice silver-haired gentlemen. The she had made certain to read oodles of ancient Greek philosophy dealing with reason, logic, and ethics. If she had no soul, she also had no morals, so she reckoned she had best develop some kind of alternative.

Recently, this particular meadow, open to the sky and off the beaten track, had come into use by a dirigible company. They flew Giffard-style steam-powered airships with de Lome propellers. It was the latest and greatest in leisurely travel. The upper crust, in particular, had taken to the skies with enthusiasm. Floating had almost eclipsed hunting as the preferred pastime of the aristocracy. The ships were a sight to behold, and Alexia was particularly fond of them. She hoped one day to ride in one. The views were reportedly breathtaking, and they were rumored to serve an excellent high tea on board.

I kissed her,” he explained, aggrieved.
“Mmm, yes, I had the dubious pleasure of witnessing that, ah-hem, overly public occurrence.” Lyall sharpened his pen nib, using a small copper blade that ejected from the end of his glassicals.
“Well! Why hasn’t she done anything about it?” the Alpha wanted to know.
“You mean like whack you upside the noggin with that deadly parasol of hers? I would be cautious in that area if I were you. I am reasonably certain she had it custom made and tipped with silver.”

She was after all, soulless and practical. “Mine is not precisely a bad life. I have material wealth and good health. Perhaps I am not useful or beloved by my family, but I have never suffered unduly. And I have my books.”

The Parasol Protectorate Series
1. Soulless (2009)
2. Changeless (2010)
3. Blameless (2010)
4. Heartless (2011)
5. Timeless (2011)

First Paragraph: Miss Alexia Tarabotti was not enjoying her evening. Private balls were never more than middling amusements for spinsters, and Miss Tarabotti was not the kind of spinster who could garner even that much pleasure from the event. To put the pudding in the puff: she had retreated to the library, her favorite sanctuary in any house, only to happen upon an unexpected vampire.

Find Gail Carriger Online
Official Site
Livejournal Blog

The Soulless Victorian Dress-Up Doll Game
Alexia’s Character Dossier (PDF)
The Parasol Protectorate Facebook Group
My Book, The Movie (Guest Blog)
Book Girl Blodueuedd- About Characterization (Guest Blog)
Strange & Random Happenstance- A Paranormal Home in Victorian London (Guest Blog)
Butterfly Book Review- Historical Quirks (Guest Blog)

Scribbles & Stories
Murder By the Blog
With Characters Alexia Tarabotti & Jane True (from Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler)
Watch the Skies
RT Book Reviews
Natalie Allen
Ghost in the Machine (podcast)
I Should Be Writing (podcast)
Steampod- On Steampunk mostly (podcast)
Writing Habits Special (podcast)
The Agony Column (podcast)
Babbling About Books
The Hiding Spot
Fantastic Book Review
Jonathan Moeller's Backup Blog
Cleverly Inked

*If I missed yours, let me know

Source: Won from Ramblings of a Bibliophile (not active).

Book Trailer:

At BookExpo:

Picture Explanations
Wolf: Professor Lyall and Lord Maccon are both some of the werewolves in this book. Lyall travels in his wolf form a bit.
Parasol: Alexia is awfully fond of her parasol.
Ceiling: This could easily be Lord Akeldama’s ceiling. His home is just as elaborate as his clothes.
Octopus: The scientists in this book seem to have a fascination with these creatures for some reason.
Gail Carriger: I had to include one of the author’s publicity photos. Isn’t it great?!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Under Da Sea

Lily Sanderson has a secret, and it's not that she has a huge crush on gorgeous swimming god Brody Bennett, who makes her heart beat flipper-fast. Unrequited love is hard enough when you're a normal teenage girl, but when you're half human, half mermaid, like Lily, there's no such thing as a simple crush.

Lily's mermaid identity is a secret that can't get out, since she's not just any mermaid-- she's a Thalassinian princess. When Lily found out three years ago that her mother was actually a human, she finally realized why she didn't feel quite at home in Thalassinia, and she's been living on land and going to Seaview High School ever since, hoping to find where she truly belongs. Sure, land has its problems-- like her obnoxious biker-boy neighbor, Quince Fletcher-- but it has that one major perk: Brody. The problem is, mermaids aren't really the casual dating type-- the instant they "bond," it's for life.

When Lily's attempt to win Brody's love leads to a tsunami-sized case of mistake identity, she is in for a tidal wave of relationship drama, and she finds out, quick as a tailfin flick, that happily ever after never sails quite as smoothly as you planned.

Title: Forgive My Fins
Author: Tera Lynn Childs
Series: Mermaids, Book 1
Start & Finished: 7/20/10- 7/21/10
Published: June 1, 2010
Publisher: HarperTeen (HarperCollins)
Pages: 293
Genre: YA-Fantasy, Romance

Tera Lynn Childs; the RITA winning author of the Oh. My. Gods series (a YA series about a school of descendants of mythological Greek gods), has taken a break from Greek myths and tackled another type of mythical creature, the mermaid in Forgive My Fins. The author admitted to being slightly inspired by the movie Splash (the first mermaid movie she ever saw) and her love of water for the reasons why she wrote this book.

This is a typical girl has a crush on boy A who never really notices her, while boy B has a crush on the girl and shows it by annoying her type of story. In this particular book, it just so happens that the girl is half-human, half-mermaid, and a princess at that. The romance in this story has been done a million times but Ms. Childs brings a fresh perspective to the tired high school drama with the interesting mermaid angle and lore. Childs says she didn’t do much research on mermaids for this book, she made most of it up, “In my mermaid world, they have eyes that glitter when they cry, can transfigure back and forth between mer and terraped (human) form at will, and have a mer mark on the back of their neck that matches the color of their tailfin. Making things up is half the fun!” The best part of the book is the underwater kingdom Thalassinia which was beautifully described, I did love all of the water settings and descriptions though.

Forgive My Fins was the first mermaid story I’ve ever read and I thought it was a cute cotton candy kind of tale with a dash of sea slang (“son of a swordfish!”) and though very predictable, it still is a good story. The characters do seem younger than they are supposed to be however, well actually Lily does. I’m somewhat ambivalent about her because she’s a little annoying to be truthful. The real gem in this book is the character Quince who definitely “got more than he bargained for” when he kisses Lily. A sensitive bad boy, what more could you want? It was all the other characters I had a problem with. They weren’t bad, just not as developed as I would have liked so I’m hoping that they’ll be better in the sequel coming out next year tentatively titled Fins Are Forever.

Favorite Quotes
We mermaids are a cowardly bunch. Keeping our existence a total secret makes cowardice pretty much a necessity. If we don’t flee fast enough at the first sign of a passing ship, we might end up on the cover of next week’s Flash Paper. We’re more of an escape-now-ask-questions-later kind of species.

Merfolk are a pretty peaceful people, but that boy makes me wish I had free reign of Daddy’s trident for a good five minutes.

I’d always been a little intrigued by humans and their culture-- how very Little Mermaid of me, I know-- but when I found out I was half human, the interest became more personal.

He looks me right in the eye as he says, “Love is already the strongest magic in the world.”
The laughter drains right out of me. It’s obvious that he truly believes this. He believes in the omnipotent nature of love. I never knew he was such a romantic.

I laugh. Partly at his joke, but partly at the ridiculousness of this situation. I mean, how did I-- Thalassinian royal princess-- wind up bonded to a land lover who can’t swim and hates sushi? If ever there was a more unsuitable match, I haven’t seen one.

Mermaid Series
1. Forgive My Fins (2010)
2. Fins are Forever (2011)

First Paragraph: Water calms me. It's like chocolate or hot tea or dulce de leche ice cream. After a rotten day, I lock the bathroom door, fill Aunt Rachel's old-timey tub with steaming water and bath salts, and then sink into a world where my problems all melt away.

Find Tera Lynn Childs Online:
Author’s Blog
Group Blog: Books, Boys, Buzz

The Book Butterfly
All Things Urban Fantasy
Fantastic Book Reviews
My Overstuffed Bookshelf
Supernatural Summer (Guest Post)
Vision Quest Fail (Guest Post)
Author’s Blog (Characters Interview)
Meet Lily, Quince, Brody, Shannen, & Dosinia
YA Literature Review (podcast)
21 Pages (Guest Blog)

Source: Courtesy of author from Books, Boys, Buzz blog, autographed!

Author at a Signing:

Picture Explanations
Bimini Road: The main gate of Thalassinia
Blue Sand Dollar: A gift Quince receives
Mermaid: Self-explanatory

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Marmee Noir is Back

The music came back up and the next group of little girls, slightly older, came out. There was a lot of that in the next hour and change. I liked dance, and it was no reflection on the kids, but my will to live began to seep away on about the fifth group of sequined children...

Anita Blake is back in St. Louis and trying to live a normal life-as normal as possible for someone who is a legal vampire executioner and a U. S. Marshal. There are lovers, friends and their children, school programs to attend. In the midst of all the ordinary happiness a vampire from Anita's past reaches out. She was supposed to be dead, killed in an explosion, but the Mother of All Darkness is the first vampire, their dark creator. It's hard to kill a god. This dark goddess has reached out to her here-in St. Louis, home of everyone Anita loves most. The Mother of All Darkness has decided she has to act now or never, to control Anita, and all the vampires in America.

The Mother of All Darkness believes that the triumvirate created by master vampire Jean-Claude with Anita and the werewolf Richard Zeeman has enough power for her to regain a body and to immigrate to the New World. But the body she wants to possess is already taken. Anita is about to learn a whole new meaning to sharing her body, one that has nothing to do with the bedroom. And if the Mother of All Darkness can't succeed in taking over Anita's body for herself, she means to see that no one else has the use of it, ever again. Even Belle Morte, not always a friend to Anita, has sent word: "Run if you can..."

Title: Bullet
Author: Laurell K. Hamilton
Series: Anita Blake, Book 19
Start & Finished: 7/17/10
Published: June 1, 2010
Publisher: Berkley Publishing (Penguin)
Pages: 356
Genre: Mystery, Urban Fantasy-Romance


Set a year after the previous book Flirt (though it was published only a few months prior), Laurell K. Hamilton’s nineteenth book in her Anita Blake series Bullet has Anita finally getting her house in order... or would that be men in order? Everyone from Asher- who finally stands up for himself- to Haven (Cookie Monster) the werelion lets their feelings and demands be known. Even Richard is finally coming around thanks to all the therapy he’s had since we last saw him in The Harlequin. There is a whole lot of sex in Bullet and at times the main plot thread does get pushed aside for it, but since Anita, Jean-Claude, Richard are trying to make their triumvirate “into a cohesive whole” and sex is their main power then it does make sense.

Marmee Noir has been a Big Bad since her very first appearance in Danse Macabre but it wasn’t until she lost her earthly shell in Skin Trade that she truly became dangerous. Like the First Evil on Buffy level of dangerous. When the Council came to town in Burnt Offerings, there was talk that Jean-Claude was trying to set up his own council in America when he wasn’t at all. Now because Mommie Dearest has taken over a good bit of the European council, times are a changing!

Anita only leaves the Circus once during the entire the book and that was at the beginning but it‘s one of the best scenes in the book. It shows how much Nathaniel and Jason have grown up (or “growing into themselves”) and what happened to Monica Vespucci and her baby that she was pregnant with in The Killing Dance. He’s now three years old! It’s almost startling to realize how much everyone has grown up since Guilty Pleasures or the various books they were introduced in. One character that hasn’t grown up is Haven also known as Cookie Monster. This was the last book he’s in and though I always thought he was a neat character, he wasn’t a good guy and he just didn’t fit in Anita’s life as he wanted to. While I’m happy that almost all of the guys are making an effort to work together now, especially Richard since he’s no longer hindering the triumvirate too much, he still gets on my nerves too.

With Crispin and Domino (the weretigers from Blood Noir and Skin Trade) teaching the other shifters how to calm their beasts so they don’t miscarry, suddenly babies are a possibility for many of the shifters. It’s brought up a lot of issues for a lot of them. I am curious to see if Anita will ever get pregnant (I’m assuming Nathaniel will be the father if it does ever happen) since there’s already been one pregnancy scare in the series but since Hamilton already went down that road with her Meredith Gentry series, I’m not going to hold my breath. What I’m most looking forward to is how the author will deal with all of America’s vampires and their politics once Jean-Claude starts forming that council. Ms. Hamilton is currently hard at work writing the twentieth book in this series.

Favorite Quotes
“Funny how it’s never your fault when you have to have sex with all these men, Anita,” and with that she walked away. She walked away with the proverbial knife stuck deep and hard right through my heart. Nothing cuts deeper than when another person says exactly what you’re afraid to say out loud.

If I had ever wanted to give in to hysterics, it was then. How do you fight something with no body to kill? How do you fight something that can possess the most powerful vampires in the world and use them like puppets? How the fuck does anyone fight something like that?

Richard held out his hand, and after a moment of hesitation Jean-Claude took it. I laid my hand on top of theirs, and all I could think was, Is this how revolutions begin? Not with a proclamation or a riot, but with a few people in a room somewhere with their hands clasped and a purpose. We were trying to save our country. I was betting the other Masters of the City wouldn’t believe we were saving anything but ourselves, and patriot wouldn’t be what they called us. No, motherfucking bastards, more like.

I wasn’t monogamous, that was okay, but there’s not being monogamous and there’s having so many men in your life that you can’t possibly do justice to any of them. I was either at that point, or perilously close, and now we were going to add more. It sounded like a bad idea to me.

Anita Blake Series
1. Guilty Pleasures (1993)
2. The Laughing Corpse (1994)
3. Circus of the Damned (1995)
4. The Lunatic Café (1996)
5. Bloody Bones (1996)
6. The Killing Dance (1997)
7. Burnt Offerings (1998)
8. Blue Moon (1998)
9. Obsidian Butterfly (2000)
10. Narcissus in Chains (2001)
11. Cerulean Sins (2003)
12. Incubus Dreams (2004)
13. Micah (2006)
14. Danse Macabre (2006)
15. The Harlequin (2007)
16. Blood Noir (2008)
17. Skin Trade (2009)
18. Flirt (2010)
19. Bullet (2010)
20. Hit List (2011)

First Paragraph: I was worming my way through a mass of parents and children with a tiny clown hat clutched in one hand. In my navy blue skirt suit I looked like a dozen other mothers who had had to come straight from work to the dance recital. My hair was a little curly and little too black for all the blond mothers, but no one gave me a second glance. The one saving grace as I threaded my way through the crowd of parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and siblings was that I wasn’t one of the parents. I was just here as moral support and last-minute costume rescuer. It was just Monica Vespucci’s style to leave par of her son’s costume at her house and need an emergency save. Micah and I had been running late with client meetings so we go to ride to the rescue, and now since the vast majority of the performers were female I was the only one safe to go backstage without scandalizing the mothers. What did little girls who only had male relatives do at things like this? My dad would have been at a loss.

Find Laurell K. Hamilton Online:
Official Site

Author Wikipedia
Book Wikipedia
Anita Blake Wiki
Author's Blog Post on Bullet
My Post on Bullet Covers

The Trades
Q&A with EW

Bullet Promotion on New Day:

LKH Bullet Tour:

Source: From personal collection, courtesy of an Amazon GC from GALtime

Picture Explanations
Tiger: The Las Vegas weretigers have rallied the other tigers to Anita so she can bring them into their power among other things.
Lion: Anita and the others have issues with the werelions in this book.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Who's Salt?

Angelina Jolie stars in Salt, a contemporary action thriller from Columbia Pictures. As a CIA officer, Evelyn Salt (Jolie) swore an oath to duty, honor and country. Her loyalty will be tested when a defector accuses her of being a Russian spy. Salt goes on the run, using all her skills and years of experience as a covert operative to elude capture. Salt's efforts to prove her innocence only serve to cast doubt on her motives, as the hunt to uncover the truth behind her identity continues and the question remains: "Who Is Salt?"

Title: Salt
Release: July 23, 2010
Genre: Action
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Writer: Kurt Wimmer & Brian Helgleland
Director: Phillip Noyce
Music By: James Newton Howard
Produced By: Lorenzo di Bonaventura & Sunil Perkash
Distributed By: Columbia Pictures
Run Time: 100 minutes
Official Site

Angelina Jolie has made several action films over the years but in her latest film, she gets to play a character named Evelyn Salt who is nearly the female equivalent of James Bond or Jason Bourne. Salt is a film that is a somewhat throwback to the era when a film about spies just had to be tied to the Russians somehow but while it has that feel and even some of the plot devices of those earlier spy films, Salt does manage to seem like it could happen at any time. Matter of fact, the idea of deeply buried sleeper agents like the ones in the film that are only waiting for the signal to attack is actually a real theory within the CIA though some do dismiss it as a merely a myth. However, a real spy ring did emerge that coincided with the release of Salt remarkably enough.

With so many films similar to this one out there, I’m pleased that someone finally decided to do one with a woman instead of a man as the main character. What’s interesting is that it was originally written with a male in mind (Tom Cruise was actually approached for the role) and where that would have been an okay summer popcorn flick (though maybe too much in the same vein as the Mission Impossible movies), the fact that the main character is female in a what is normally a male role makes a difference. “Females in those films rely on being female but we wanted to ignore that. She’s just Salt. It’s not about being a female and she certainly doesn’t use her sexuality to get anything in the film,” Ms. Jolie said in an interview.

The main character in this film may be Evelyn Salt but she does have a few secondary characters that help move the film along such as Liev Schreiber who plays Ted Winter, Evelyn Salt’s boss and friend and Chiwetel Ejiofor who plays Peabody the agent who is determined to bring her down. While both of these characters were interesting enough that I actually remember their names, I still think that it was Jolie who carried this film on her own shapely shoulders. Surprisingly enough, Salt wasn’t about her looking pretty while doing it and for the most part she truly wasn’t as elegant as she is often portrayed either.

Jolie actually did as much of her own stunts as possible (99% according to her stunt director Simon Crane) and that kept the stunts more plausible than many action films of today. The director said in an interview that he would have been more comfortable if Jolie would have done some of the stunts blue screen. ''She was often suspended up to 10 stories high and she'd leap from vehicle to vehicle at high speeds. She doesn't have to do it, but she has absolutely no fear. Usually when an actor becomes more and more successful, they play it safe. But that's not Angelina Jolie.'' She was even injured during one the stunts for this film and now has a scar from it.

Sony has made it known that they are hoping for Salt to be their next big spy-film franchise and I have to say that I fully endorse that idea. No, this wasn’t the best spy movie I’ve ever seen but it’s one of the few where a woman is the main character in an action themed film and while I wasn’t blown away by the movie, I did enjoy the performances, especially Salt since she threw herself so willingly into the role. For that fact alone, I hope that there will be a sequel. There is a bit of suspension of belief here and there in the movie such as how Ms. Evelyn Salt never manages to be badly injured while she’s jumping from truck to truck on the highway, climbing the side of a building, blowing stuff up, etc but despite the plot holes throughout the film, I did like Salt.

Find Salt Online
Official Site

Day X Exists Salt Game
Angelina Jolie Blog with links to Salt articles
Team Jolie Fansite
Who is Salt YouTube Channel

Entertainment Weekly-Angelina Jolie & director Phillip Noyce
Entertainment Weekly-Liev Schreiber
MTV-Lorenzo di Bonaventura (producer)
Business Mirror- Angelina Jolie
Making Of- Simon Crane (video)
Examiner- Liev Schreiber
MB- Angelina Jolie and director Phillip Noyce
Film Review Online- Chiwetel Ejiofor
Black Voices- Angelina Jolie & Chiwetel Ejiofor


At Comic Con:


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Scream 3
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