We watched June movies over the last weekend to go with our Japanese takeout food. The food was delicious. I wish I could the same about the movies. “The Batman” and “Nightmare Alley” were from Netflix. Season 2 of “A Discovery of Witches” was from our wonderful local library.
Yet another Batman movie. This synopsis is from the back of the DVD (and I quote): “The Batman. Two years of stalking the streets as the Batman, striking fear into the hearts of criminals, has led Bruce Wayne deep into the shadows of Gotham City. With only a few trusted allies amongst the city’s corrupt officials and high-profile figures, the lone vigilante has established himself as the embodiment of vengeance amongst his fellow citizens. When a killer  targets Gotham’s  elite with a series of sadistic machinations, a trail of cryptic clues sends the World’s Greatest Detective on an investigation of the underworld.”
That’s the summary on the DVD. Here’s my take. Grim. Somber. Horrific. Dark, physically dark (characters frequently use flashlights to light their way in the darkness), and emotionally dark. The Batman, masked and unmasked, never smiles. A brief romance between the Batman and the Catwoman was unbelievable and unconvincing. There are hints of “L.A. Confidential” and “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”. The complex plot of city corruption, involving Bruce Wayne’s family, and the insane killer was suspenseful to the end. Suitable for Batman fans and horror fans.
And yet another remake of an earlier movie. This synopsis is, too, from the back of the DVD. “Nightmare Alley. In this remake of a noir classic, wily hustler Stanton Carlisle finds the carnival the perfect place to ply his trade. Setting himself up as a spiritual guru, Carlisle wastes no time in parting the wealthy from their money.”
Not exactly. WHY would anyone remake an old, weird movie? The above synopsis is sketchy. Here’s my take.
Stanton arrives on a bus at the carnival, penniless with a guilty conscience—he’s just killed a man. He’s hired as a workman, taking down and putting up tents. He forms an alliance with a “psychic reader” and her elderly father. He learns how the psychic reader does her act (the old “basket switch”, which Tom showed me in his stage magic equipment catalog from 1930) and learns many tricks from her father, acquiring his book of sentence prompts.
Stanton tires of the carnival (which has a geek) and, with his girlfriend, takes off for the Big City. There, he perfects a psychic-reading/spiritualist show (the two practices often go together) in fancy nightclubs until he meets his match—she’s a glamorous psychiatrist with many wealthy clients. From there, the story does not end well.
If “Dune” was a disappointment, the two above movies depressed me. I want to be entertained when I view movies, not depressed.
I didn’t care much for “A Discovery of Witches”, Season 1—fortunately, I liked Season 2. Tom was getting into the story (sometimes marriage means compromise) so I consented to see Season 2. This time, Diana and Matthew “time-walk” into 1580 London in search of the mysterious Book of Life. Vampires, by definition, are dead or “undead”. They don’t drink wine or eat food or have sex (because they have no blood beating in their veins). The series blithely ignores these basic vampire rules. If you’re okay with this, you’re okay with the series. The alternating narratives with 1580 London and the present-day story were well done. The story set-up for Season 3 is ripe with suspense, so we’ll probably see it.
So there you have it, my friends. Can you recommend any recent movies?
ODDITIES: 22 Stories is on Kindle worldwide, including in the US, in the UK, Canada, Australia, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, in the Netherlands, Mexico, Brazil, India, and Japan. ODDITIES: 22 Stories is in Print as a beautiful trade paperback in the US, in UK, Canada, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and Japan. New! Now in Print in Australia
Strange Ladies: 7 Stories (“A must-read collection—The San Francisco Review of Books). On Nook, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. On Kindle at US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands. Strange Ladies: 7 Stories is in Print in the U.S., in the U.K., in Germany, in France, in Spain, in Italy, and in Japan. New! Now in Print in Australia
Summer of Love is a Philip K. Dick Award Finalist and a San Francisco Chronicle Recommended Book.
Find the Print book of SUMMER OF LOVE in the U.S., U.K.,  France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, and New in Print in Australia The ebook is on US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. On Kindle worldwide in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands
The Gilded Age (a New York Times Notable Book and New York Public Library Recommended Book). On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. On Kindle worldwide in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands. BACK IN PRINT! Find the beautiful trade paperback in the U.S., the U.K., in France, in Germany, in Italy, in Spain, in Japan, and in Australia.
CHROME (five-stars) an ebook on Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Apple, Kobo. And on US Kindle, UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, India Kindle, Germany Kindle, France Kindle, Spain Kindle, Italy Kindle, Netherlands Kindle, Japan Kindle, Brazil Kindle, and Mexico Kindle. IN PRINT at U.S. print as a beautiful trade paperback. Also in U.K. print, in German print, in French print, in Spanish print, in Italian print, in Japanese print, and in Australia.
The Garden of Abracadabra (“Fun and enjoyable urban fantasy . . . I want to read more!) On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. On Kindle worldwide in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands. NOW IN PRINT! Find the beautiful trade paperback in Print in the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Japan, and in Australia.
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ARACHNE in Print in the U.S., in the U.K., in Germany, in France, in Spain, Italy, in Japan, and in Australia.
Cyberweb (sequel to Arachne) is on US Kindle, BarnesandNoble, Apple, Kobo, and Smashwords. Also Kindle worldwide on UK Kindle, Canada Kindle, Australia Kindle, Brazil Kindle, France Kindle, Germany Kindle, India Kindle, Italy Kindle, Japan Kindle, Mexico Kindle, Netherlands Kindle, and Spain Kindle. Back in Print in the U.S., in the U.K., in Germany, in France, in Spain, in Italy, in Japan
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One Day in the Life of Alexa (“Five stars! An appealing narrator and subtly powerful emotional rhythms”). On BarnesandNoble, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. On Kindle worldwide in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands. Order the beautiful trade paperback of One Day in the Life of Alexa in the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Japan, and in Australia.
Celestial Girl, The Omnibus Edition, A Lily Modjeska Mystery (Five stars) On Nook, US Kindle, Canada Kindle, UK Kindle, Smashwords, Apple, and Kobo. On Kindle worldwide in Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Mexico, and Netherlands.
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