Category Archives: Reviews

Night Shift #12 – The Ledge…

619i-4slsfl645695221..jpgWord count – 6,700

The Ledge tells the story of a man who has fallen in love with the wrong woman – by which I mean she is attached to a local mobster. As a result of this he is blackmailed into walking around the ledge of the building, forty-something floors up.

What the story lacks in action it more than makes up for with good pacing and expertly crafted tension… and of course, a pigeon that doesn’t know when to quit.

The Ledge is a great tale. If I was being picky I could say that perhaps it is overly simplistic in its delivery, and it is possibly a little truncated in places, but the core of the story is very enjoyable, and it is certainly in the top tier of the stories I have read from Night Shift so far.

Recommended ⇑

Potted Film Review: The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006)

220px-Poster_-_Fast_and_Furious_Tokyo_DriftStarring: Lucas Black, Sung Kang, Bow Wow

Tokyo Drift is the third film in the Fast and the Furious franchise, and while it is decidedly a step up from the catastrophe that was the second entry, it still falls a little short of where it needs to be.

The action is moved to Japan (big surprise there, right?) and the cast is shaken up as well. There’s nobody in this one from the first two episodes… well, except for a cameo at the end from Vin Diesel.

The first half of this is decent enough, with some impressive stunt work – and for the majority of the time Lucas Black (complete with his Texan drawl) is an acceptable protagonist – but the story loses me in the back end and just fails to leave me with enough positive vibes to recommend it.

Not Recommended ⇓

Eagles, Chapter V – Hotel California (1976)

Members: Don Felder, Glenn Frey, Don Henley, Randy Meisner, Joe Walsh

Hotel California is the seminal album in the discography of the Eagles, and even those who are not fans know this one.

With the addition of Joe Walsh and the departure of Bernie Leadon, the quartet that remained had left its country roots well and truly behind, and the Eagles emerged as a very different band.

Hotel California (Don Felder / Don Henley / Glenn Frey)
Lead – Henley
There’s nothing new left to be said about this song – from its lyrical mystery to its fantastic two minute guitar outro. It’s not only their most famous track, but also one of the defining songs of the seventies. 10
New Kid in Town (Don Henley / Glenn Frey / JD Souther)
Lead – Frey
I always found this song to be overrated, which is not to say it’s bad, just that it’s the lowest point on an album filled with great material. 7
Life in the Fast Lane (Don Henley / Glenn Frey / Joe Walsh)
Lead – Henley
A great rock song with a biting Henley vocal and some influential guitar work from Walsh. 9
Wasted Time (Don Henley / Glenn Frey)
Lead – Henley
One of my favourite Eagles songs, and up there with the best ballads Henley ever tipped his vocals to. This is even more poignant if you’ve let go of a relationship. 10
Wasted Time (reprise) (Don Henley / Glenn Frey / Jim Ed Norman)
instrumental
A nice little breather, before…
Victim of Love (Don Henley / Glenn Frey / Don Felder / JD Souther)
Lead – Henley
A very good rock track that often gets unjustly overlooked on this album amongst all the classics. 9
Pretty Maids All in a Row (Joe Walsh / Joe Vitale)
Lead – Walsh
The first lead vocal for the newest Eagle, Joe Walsh. Nobody would suggest Walsh has a great voice, but with the right song it can work, and this is the right song. 8
Try and Love Again (Randy Meisner)
Lead – Meisner
This is Randy’s last lead vocal on his final album with the Eagles, and it’s also his best. A beautiful song. 9
The Last Resort (Don Henley / Glenn Frey)
Lead – Henley
This epic Eagles track – the way that it dramatically builds musically, lyrically, and vocally – is one of my favourites. 10

Overall: 90%
I usually love to hold the contrarian opinion, but there’s a reason this album is so highly rated: and that’s because it’s a fantastic collection of songs… and it’s hard to argue otherwise.

Night Shift #11 – Strawberry Spring…

619i-4slsfl645695221..jpgWord count – 3,700

Strawberry Spring is told as a flashback tale about the murder spree at a college in the late sixties, as experienced through the eyes of one of the students.

This short story surprised me – not with the twist, because I saw that coming a mile away – but with the accomplished manner in which it has been written, given that this was originally published when King was only twenty-one.

It’s one of those stories where it doesn’t matter if you can see you ending before it happens, because predictability is not necessarily a bad thing. If it is written well – and this is – then you just have to stand up and applaud the work, and this is one of the best entries I have read so far in Night Shift.

Recommended ⇑

Potted Film Review: 2 Fast 2 Furious (2003)

220px-Two_fast_two_furious_ver5

Starring: Paul Walker, Tyrese Gibson, Eva Mendes

There is no other way around it, 2 Fast 2 Furious – even by the franchise’s own ridiculous standards – is a silly movie, but not even silly in a good way. It takes all of the borderline plausibility of The Fast and the Furious and turns it up to eleven. Even the title is terrible.

Although Vin Diesel could not be regarded as a great actor, his absence here is sorely missed. I know he comes back into the franchise, and if this is what the movies without him are like, his return cannot happen soon enough.

The cars may still be cool, but I would be very surprised if there is a worse entry in the series.

Not Recommended ⇓

Night Shift #10 – Sometimes They Come Back…

619i-4slsfl645695221..jpgWord count – 9,700

There is an interesting idea buried in here about reincarnation, but it takes so very long to get to anything interesting in Sometimes They Come Back that it’s already an uphill battle to win my attention over, and it never manages to do it.

The second act is fine and the most involving part of the story, but it is flanked by a beginning that takes forever to get where it is going, and an end that doesn’t really pay off what has happened before.

This is the halfway point of Night Shift, and although the entries have been mostly positive so far, Sometimes They Come Back is a let down – not least of all because they managed to make a trilogy of movies out of it. It is one of the longest entries so far in this collection and certainly one of the weaker ones.

Not Recommended ⇓

Potted Film Review: Green Book (2018)

220px-Green_Book_(2018_poster)Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali

Films about race relations in the United States of the sixties can be very hard to balance – they are either too steeped in history and are not entertaining as a result, or they try to tackle the issue in a manner they are ill-equipped to do – but Green Book sits somewhere in the middle. It is very easy to watch, and extremely simple to become invested in.

Mortensen channels his best Tony Soprano throughout as the blue-collar driver who just wants to get back home for Christmas, and Ali is charming as the refined musician who doesn’t really appreciate what life is like for ‘his kind of people’ in the states down south.

Green Book won the Oscar for Best Picture, and I certainly won’t argue with that.

Recommended ⇑