Monday, September 2, 2013

Under the Dome Episode 11 "Speak of the Devil"

The kids are all in the barn, examining the constellations and trying to figure out what's up.  They feel overwhelmed, but figure they can tell Julia everything that's going on, since the dome has "spoken" to her without apparent consequence.  Linda is grilling Big Jim, but as usual, he's turning her suspicions onto someone else, in this case Barbie.

Julia comes down to check on Barbie, who is in the doghouse and sleeping on the couch.  Since she's realized he's farrr superior to her loser husband, she thinks their relationship can move forward as long as she sees her husband's grave.  But she doesn't get very far, because Maxine rings the freakin' doorbell and shoots her right in the chest.  WTF this lady is insane.  Luckily Barbie has a walkie talkie and is able to contact Linda ASAP to rush over there.

Junior thinks that his involvement in the dome means that he and Angie should be together.  God, why does she keep involving herself with this nutbag?!  She says that they'll never be together, but somehow I don't think she's going to follow through on that.  Junior threatens to leave the whole mini-dome setup, because he'd rather die in the dome than be away from Angie.

Joe and Barbie have possibly the best exchange of the ep, and maybe the season:

Barbie: Joe!  Can you drive?

Joe: I have my learner's permit but the guy said I didn't check my mirrors.

A storm is brewing outside, and Maxine rushes over to the police station to pretend to care about Julia, and hit on Junior.  Big Jim refers to her as "the devil."  Joe drives very badly, and Scream King repeatedly asks why Joe doesn't cover the gunshot wound while Barbie drives instead.  Then he would have more time to worry about the dome being "angry with them."

Luckily Julia has a Prius, which they plug in before they can even get Julia into the hospital.  The nurse deserts Barbie and Julia to tend to someone else, but apparently Barbie is basically a doctor so we're all set.  Jim tries to fill Junior in on Maxine's evil, but Junior's probably pretty focused on her appearance. Jim fears Max will try to hurt Junior.  Since apparently this is how their family solves all problems, Big Jim locks Junior in the house to defend himself.

Dodee gets the radio working again, and hears some people talking about how they're looking for Barbie.  Angie goes rushing to Junior's to beg him to rejoin the group and stop the storm.  Apparently the dome really wants them to be together because it backs the fuck off.  Dr. Barbie saves the day, AS EXPECTED.  Joe waxes poetic about Barbie saving the whole town.  He thinks HE IS THE MONARCH.  Mind blown.

Maxine takes a quiet, post-attempted-murder stroll along the water, and of course, finds her dead mother conveniently washing ashore.  Barbie stands at Julia's bedside and literally gets hotter by the moment.  He entrusts her care to the stupid nurse that ran off earlier.  Major Prius product placement with all this plugging and unplugging.  If you own a Prius, you will be able to travel about if trapped in the dome.

Barbie and Jim argue about how to take care of Max.  Barbie uses the word throne!  Symbolism!  Joe just has such a man-crush on Barbie.  The quartet decides to travel to a specific point in the dome and touch it together.  They think this will provide answers.  Barbie starts hooking up electronics and explosives and Jim is definitely thinking he can't keep up.  Linda is starting to suspect Barbie in Linda's shooting....nooo.

Jim and Barbie try to sneak into the underground fight club/cement factory the back way, but get grabbed by Max right off the bat.  This chick just will not give up her romantic interest in Barbie. Apparently she shot Julia out of jealous rage!  Ew, find your own man, bitch.  Once again, Barbie saves the day McGuyver-style, while Linda continues her search for him.

OMG Big Jim is such a psycho.  Barbie needs to get away from him ASAP.  Of course, after shooting Max and her goon, and planning to shoot Barbie, he still finds a way to frame Barbie.  Linda shoots at Barbie, but he manages to make an escape.  Big Jim gets on the radio, accuses Barbie of all the murders and declares a state of emergency, and a dome-wide search for Barbie.

The four touch the dome at once and see an image of Big Jim bleeding from several stab wounds, and all the kids holding a bloody knife.  Creeeeppppyyyy.  They think that the dome will come down if Big Jim dies.  I wouldn't argue with that kind of logic!

Next week?  Big Jim hides the truth!  Norrie says he doesn't scare her!  Jim says the dome CAN'T come down!  2 more episodes left!  Yipeee!

Gingerbread Man by Maggie Shayne

I had been going through a real dry patch lately with free Kindle books, as well as the ones offered in the Prime members lending library.  But as they say, when it rains, it pours, and there have been some really great thriller/horror offerings as of late.

Next up is Gingerbread Man, by Maggie Shayne.  Murder mystery in a small town...doesn't get much better than that.  Detective Vince O'Mally is strung out and overworked, after promising a distraught mother he would find her missing children.  He finds them alright...both dead in an abandoned warehouse.  His department forces him to take some time off, but he has a different plan.  He found an old children's book at the murder scene, which he traces to a nearby small town, Dilmun.

He rents a house on lake, planning on researching the murders on his own from a distance, as well as digging into the origin of the book.  It all links him back to a troubled woman named Holly, who lost her sister to a kidnapping, and presumed murder, at a young age.  As Vince and Holly dig into the long-cold case, they realize that they may have pinned the wrong man for the murder, and that the real kidnapper/killer may still be on the loose.

Not only are secrets seemingly being covered up in this small town, but there are lots of interesting characters in the mix, including an aging horror film star, his oddly-behaving niece, a Native American doctor, Holly's overprotective uncle, and a whole bunch of people that want Vince to stop putting his nose where it doesn't belong.  Will they find the real killer?

I really liked this book overall, and it was a fast-paced and interesting thriller.  I think the culprit was well-positioned and I was pretty surprised to see who it was.  There were a lot of creepy little elements, and that small-town, almost Twin Peaks-dynamic that definitely added to the story.     The book was a good length, and everything tied up nicely.

However **SPOILER ALERT** there were a couple things that kinda bugged me a little about this story.  First, how did this girl not recognize her own sister?  I have known my sister for 27 years and I would recognize her anywhere even if we hadn't seen each other in years. Or even the mom? And no one else saw the resemblance or the coincidence of her disappearance and subsequent return?  Secondly, I felt that, while the romance between Vince and Holly sizzled somewhat, they fell into bed far too quickly and awkwardly.  First this chick is a sheltered little mouse that gets scared at the drop of a pin, then she suddenly turns seductress?

Under the Dome Episode 10 "Let the Games Begin"

The first rule of Dome Club is....tell everyone about Dome Club, hire some bouncers, and form an orderly queue?  Only 9 days into the dome, and Maxine has already created an underground fight club at the old cement mill.  There's booze and fights for gambling purposes, and also for Maxine to gather supplies for herself.  She blackmails Barbie into fighting, but he throws the fight, which doesn't matter because she bet against him anyway.  She tries to once again get in his pants but he's having none of it.  He's tired of her holding this Peter-death-thing over his head so he gives up and decides he doesn't care if Julia finds out.  Julia is surprisingly chill about it, as she discovers that Peter wanted to commit suicide due to his crippling debt, but the murder worked out and everything because she'll collect on a giant life insurance policy.  Also, Barbie is wayyy hotter anyway.

Meanwhile, Linda goes digging for some more background on the drug trade, specifically Duke's involvement.  She finds out that after Duke's son died from drugs, he was obsessed with keeping them out of Chester's Mill.  Therefore he made the deal with Maxine that they could store all the drug stuff here as long as it got sold outside the area.  The creepy Reverend was in charge of laundering the money.

Big Jim goes looking for where Maxine is staying and he runs across Agatha, who he thinks is the caretaker of this really nice house.  Nope, turns out it's Maxine's mom.  Agatha claims to know all of the town's secrets, including those of Jim and Barbie.  However I think they've both had enough of this blackmailing nonsense.  Agatha should know that Big Jim will off anyone at the drop of a hat, and he has no problem tying her up and giving her a little tap off the edge of the boat.  Problem solved.

Linda comes to Big Jim's house to confront him about the drugs, but she lets him off wayyy too easy, like it seems everyone on this show does.  She wants to chat now, but he suggests he'll just meet her in the morning at the police station and for some reason, she totally goes for it.

Back to the mini dome.  Joe, Norrie, and Angie are still trying to find the "fourth hand" but in the midst of their search, Dodee sneaks into the barn and touches the mini dome, causing her to pass out.  The kids rush her to the hospital, where Angie asks if they can remember anyone else ever having a seizure.  The nurse reminds her that Junior had a seizure during their tenth grade dance.  I guess it only makes sense at this point that Junior would be the "fourth hand."  When they all touch the dome together, pink stars go flying all over the barn.  But what does it all mean?!  Also there might be a butterfly living in the mini dome.  Until next week!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

The Caller (2011)

This movie has been lingering forever on my Netflix queue, until I noticed that it stars my new favorite redhead, Rachelle Lefevre, who is currently heating up the screen on Monday nights on Under the Dome.  Also, Stephen Moyer!  I'm Team Eric, but I'll still watch him in a movie.  Also, it's filmed in Puerto Rico, where I just traveled to and absolutely loved!  So these are all good reasons to devote a couple hours to a horror movie, right?

Mary Kee (Lafevre) is going through a difficult divorce, involving restraining orders and the whole nine yards.  Desperate to get quickly separated from her husband, she rents a rundown apartment in San Juan.  After her arrival, she begins to receive strange phone calls from an older woman, Rose, looking for someone named Bobby, who obviously doesn't live there.  Annoyed at first, Mary thinks the woman may be lonely and disturbed, so she chats with her a bit.  But as she begins to become frightened by Rose, Mary attempts to cut off contact.  This greatly angers Rose, who sets out to exact revenge.

[Side note: Can either of these people do a sex scene wrong?  Between Bill/Sookie and Julia/Barbie, and now these two together, it's surprising that my TV doesn't catch fire]

Supernatural movies are sometimes a little confusing to me, especially those that attempt to bend the space/time continuum as this one does.  The premise of this movie reminded me a bit of The Butterfly Effect, like you can change something small that happened in the past and it alters your entire future.  When Mary talks to Rose, she can alter the past, most notably the behavior of her younger self.

For a ghost/supernatural movie, this flick was pretty good.  Since I'm more of a fan of real-life horror movies, I would have loved if the lady actually was stalking her a la Inside.  Fun fact: the caller's voice is the creepy lady from Drag Me to Hell (Lorna Raver).  The acting was good and everything was significantly creepy, although I do think they could have done a little more with the ties to the past.  Some more scenes like the boiling water/instant scars would have been cool.  But not a bad watch.  Check it out on Netflix instant.

Regret by Michael Robertson Jr. and Dan Dawkins

After reading Rough Draft  I was thrilled to find out that another Michael Robertson Jr./Dan Dawkins book, Regret, was available for free in the Amazon Prime Lending Library.  After reading both books, especially in such quick succession, I'll say that Regret was definitely my favorite of the two.

Regret is the story of Dan Dawkins, who up until recently is an unassuming English teacher, living a quiet life with his wife, Amy. While cleaning out their attic, Amy finds some stories that Dan wrote in college, and encourages him to pick up writing again.  This leads to him landing a lucrative book deal, and flying to New York to meet with his young and attractive agent, Jenna.  One thing leads to another, and he strays from his marriage, with deadly results.

Suicidal and confused, he sells his house and begins meandering across the country, landing at a quiet bed and breakfast in rural Oklahoma.  Initially stranded there because of the storm, he decides it will be a good place to hole up for a bit as he gets his shit together.  Not only does he find himself getting cozy with the routine and anonymity of small town life, but he finds himself itching to write again.  But not about just anything.  He's clamoring to write about Jackson, the incredibly violent protagonist of his hit book.  But it seems like he can't keep Jackson's evil actions on the page...

I really enjoyed this book, and found it to be a fun ride throughout.  Although there definitely is blood and gore, and plenty of sick thoughts, none of it is put in just for shock value.  It all ties in together, and I like how the ending wrapped it all up.  I personally appreciated the character development, and found it very creepy how cold and disconnected Dan became throughout the story.

I will say that it was a little odd that no one ever suspected who was responsible for the violence until Mr. FBI showed up, but I imagine that's the trusting country attitude versus my incredibly wary and cynical city view.  Definitely check out Regret -- it's only $2.99 on Kindle, or free through the Prime members lending library.