Showing posts from June, 2024

GoodFellas (1990)

Director: Martin Scorsese Writers: Nicholas Pileggi & Martin Scorsese, based on the book by Nicholas Pileggi Stars: Ray Liotta, Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco, Paul Sorvino, Frank Sivero, Tony Darrow, Mike Starr, Frank Vincent, Chuck Low Martin Scorsese's epic tale of the rise and fall of  small-time Mafioso Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) and his associates is riveting storytelling that is often as densely packed with information about the details and culture of mob life as a documentary.  As a boy, Hill aspires to the power and wealth of the wiseguys he sees around the neighborhood.  As he rises through the ranks, accumulating money, power, and a beautiful wife (Lorraine Bracco), Scorsese shows us how seductive this lifestyle can be.  Yet he never flinches from its basic brutality and the thuggish mindset that money cannot change.  In the end, the concept of honor among thieves is shown to be a lie, a self-aggrandizing fiction that lasts only as long as it coincides with s

Catacombs (1981)

by John Farris A super-spy and an archaeologist's daughter join  the race for blood-red gems, excavated from the site of a lost civilization on Mount Kilimanjaro, that contain the secret to a technological advance that could allow world domination for the possessor.   John Farris is best known as a horror author. John Farris I’ve only read one other book of his--Fiends, which is a horror novel--and it is considerably better than this one.  This appears to be Farris’s attempt to break into the high-tech spy thriller market.  "Bloodstones" (German) It has a good basic plot but is hopelessly padded; dozens of pages go by with nothing of consequence happening. Main protagonist Matthew Jade is so ridiculously skilled that he tips over into the superhuman; one development in particular near the end of the novel is a ridiculous cheat to get our heroes out of a hopeless situation. Still, if you want to skim past the extraneous parts, you may find an entertaining story.

The Gods of Riverworld (Riverworld #5) (1983)

by Philip Jose Farmer Having reached the tower of the Ethicals in the previous  volume, Burton and his comrades must solve the mysterious death of the last Ethical and come to terms with their own godlike powers of resurrection now that they are in control of the tower's machinery.   I was disappointed by the first four novels, but, unfortunately, I am OCD when it comes to series, so I felt compelled to read this book anyway.  (I also have "Quest to Riverworld" on my bookshelf.)  The narrative often gets lost in the backstories and side stories of the numerous characters, so author Philip Jose Farmer doesn't manage to build up much narrative drive. Philip Jose Farmer "Gods of the Riverworld" (Russian) "The Gods of the Riverworld" (German) "Gods of the Riverworld" (Polish) "Gods of the Riverworld" (Romanian) "Gods of the Riverworld" (Czech) "The Gods of the River" (French) "Gods of the Riverworld" (S

11/22/63 (2011)

by Stephen King Jacob Epping uses a portal to the past to prevent  the Kennedy assassination.   The basic premise of the novel is easily told, but Stephen King mines it for all it’s worth, producing a deeply satisfying epic.   Stephen King One of its many pleasures is the richly detailed sense of time and place.   Jacob has to live in the past for several years waiting for that fateful day in 1963 and in that time he builds a life.   King introduces us to a cast of characters that we can really care about.   He has also given a lot of thought to all the details that a man from the future would have to deal with.   "Dallas '63" (Polish) The nature of time, its resistance to change, and the consequences of time travel introduce a healthy dose of existential horror. "22.11.1963" (Slovak) "November 22, 1963" (Bulgarian) "11/22/63" (Ukranian) "Dallas '63" (Serbian) "22/11/63" (Hebrew) "JFK 11.22.63" (Romanian) &qu