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

THE VASE

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.



Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Replacing Actors for Established Roles--Not Easy

I've already blogged that I'm not happy with the new star on the latest Transporter movie. Ed Skrein is no Jason Statham, not even close. Which means he's wrong for the role of Frank Martin, yet they made the movie anyway. I'm not going to see it. At least not in the theaters.

Speaking of replacing actors for established roles, Roger Moore, and all the other actors who have played James Bond were not close to being Sean Connery. I will concede that Daniel Craig made a good James Bond, however, but it took some forty years to finally find an actor right for the role since Connery.

Chris Pine is horrible as James Kirk, btw. I don't know why he got the role, but probably no one but William Shatner could play that part, so it didn't matter who they cast. Interestingly, Zach Quinto made a good Spock, but no one else in the Star Trek reboot worked as well as Quinto. Worse than Pine as Kirk was Zoe Saldana as Uhura. But then again, just as only William Shatner could play Kirk, only Nichelle Nichols could play Uhura, so it was another impossible task.

Probably the worst recasting of all time was Will Smith as James West. I mean, what were they thinking? Well, I know what they were thinking, but it was nothing but wrong. As for the Spider-man movies? It really didn't matter. Tobey Maguire was never right for the part, so replacing him was the right thing to do. Chris Reeves and Brandon Routh were good as Superman, but Henry Cavill I think plays the part better than all others before him. Cavill to me is Superman, just as Connery was Bond and Statham was Frank Martin.

One thing that disappoints me is they never found the right actor to be Conan. Arnold and Jason Mamoa were not good enough for the part, and I don't think the right actor even exists. Perhaps more importantly, you need the right director for a Conan movie. In a perfect world, it would have been Peter Jackson making Conan movies. The directors for the prior ones did nothing but butcher the Conan legend. I'd rather have no movie than the ones they made about Conan. But the world isn't perfect. That much is certain.

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