Will iconic images recorded in the grooves of an ancient vase unite the Holy Land or rip it further apart?


A novel by Mark M. DeRobertis

Muhsin Muhabi is a Palestinian potter, descended from a long line of potters. His business is run from the same shop owned by his ancestors since the day his forebears moved to Nazareth. The region's conflict saw the death of his oldest son, and rogue terrorists are in the process of recruiting his youngest in their plot to assassinate the Pope and Israeli prime minister.

Professor Hiram Weiss is an art historian at Nazareth’s Bethel University. He is also a Shin Bet operative on special assignment. With the help of fellow agent, Captain Benny Mathias, he plans to destroy the gang responsible for the death of his wife and only child. He puts a bomb in the ancient vase he takes on loan from Muhsin’s Pottery Shop.

Mary Levin, the charming assistant to the director of Shin Bet, has lost a husband and most of her extended family to recurring wars and never-ending terrorism. She dedicates her life to the preservation of Israel, but to whom will she dedicate her heart? The brilliant professor from Bethel University? Or the gallant captain who now leads Kidon?

Harvey Holmes, the Sherlock of Haunted Houses, is a Hollywood TV host whose reality show just flopped. When a Lebanese restaurant owner requests his ghost-hunting services, he believes the opportunity will resurrect his career. All he has to do is exorcise the ghosts that are haunting the restaurant. It happens to be located right across the street from Muhsin’s Pottery Shop.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Movie Remakes-sometimes they're better

Some movies from Hollywood are so good they should never be remade. Several come to mind. Gone With the Wind tops that list. It better never get remade. I thought that King Kong might also be on that list, but after considering the outdated Special Effects, it was a movie that could use a modern upgrade, (as good as the stop frame animation was at the time of the original release, they are outdated now.) But when it was remade in the seventies, it was lousy. Of course, Peter Jackson's remake was terrific, and with those state of the art special effects, it was well worth the effort.

But sometimes a movie should be remade, not just because the special effects are better, but because the story itself could use some improvement. I just saw The Invasion on TV last night. I was just flipping through the channels and landed on it pretty much at the beginning so I stayed with it. And I realized that it was the fourth attempt at that story line, and the third remake.

We all know about the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers from 1956, and then the somewhat better remake with the same name from 1978. And I never even saw the one from 1993, called Body Snatchers. But this last one, The Invasion from 2007, I thought was the best, at least of the ones I've seen, and I suspect the best of them all, since Body Snatchers doesn't seem to be one that would compete.

The one thing I thought was better, was that instead of making a duplicate body, as the first two movies had happening from the space spores, the spores actually took over the original body, much like a virus. And I thought that was an improvement in the writing. It's like what, the original body was just garbage now, or what? No, the original body should have been taken over, like a virus can do. But these viruses are from outer space. They are alien spores, and they acted like viruses taking over a body, like viruses can do.

I didn't believe the acting was all that, but it was sufficient. And I didn't mind the main character being a woman played by Nicole Kidman, either. For that kind of movie, her performance was acceptable. It was interesting seeing a pre-James Bond Daniel Craig, too, although he played second fiddle to Nicole Kidman's character. It was okay. And a better movie than the oldies.

Still, I prefer original movies, with original stories, and not a rehash. With Invasion of the Body Snatcher having been done four times, now, let's move on, shall we?

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