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.



Monday, July 25, 2016

New Star Trek movie - a bad comedy

Just saw Star Trek Beyond with my 14 year old son, and like the title of this post says, it was a bad comedy. What a shame that that's what the Star Trek franchise has become. A series of comedies. I don't usually like comedies. I've liked a few. Galaxy Quest comes to mind. That movie was brilliant. And if I were to compare Star Trek Beyond with Galaxy Quest, then Star Trek Beyond really sucked. And the reason? Star Trek Beyond wasn't really supposed to be a comedy.

Sure there were comedic moments in it. Just like the original had. And some of those moments were kind of funny. Just like the original. But Star Trek Beyond went beyond the moments. The whole movie was nothing but a parody of the great original series. A very bad one. A very, very bad one. It downright sucked. And it really did suck. And you know what? It sucked so bad that if I were to try to list all the reasons why it sucked, it would take too long. And it's not worth my time.

Instead I'll write the much shorter list of things were good about it. (Very short list.) One thing is Chris Pine seems to be growing into the role of Captain Kirk. And NOT because of the script. The script was one of the major factors why the movie SUCKED. No. He's LOOKING more like Captain Kirk. And that is purely going on looks. He's not there yet when it comes to ACTING like Captain Kirk, but that might have something to do with the horrible script and equally horrible directing. I am ready to believe that if someone, somewhere could actually WRITE a great Star Trek script, then Pine might indeed be right for the role. So that is definitely a good thing.

Okay, what else? Well, Zachary Quinto was always well cast as Mr. Spock. He plays the part well, too, so there was never a problem there.

But what else was good about it? I guess Karl Urban is turning out to be acceptable as Dr. McCoy. He seems pretty comfortable in the role now. The first couple movies I just couldn't get Karl Urban's tough guy image out of my head. I mean Karl Urban had played the parts of big, physically strong tough guys before his role as Dr. McCoy. Like that dude he played in Chronicles of Riddick. Since Chronicles of Riddick is one of my all time favorite movies, I had Urban's character stuck in my head. McCoy was not a tough physical guy. And Karl Urban played a very physically tough guy in Chronicles of Riddick. Then seeing him as Dr. McCoy just didn't seem right. But now, he's older, not so tough anymore, which makes him more suitable as the not so physical Dr. McCoy.

As for casting, that's about it. No one else is cast well in that movie. But what else was good about it? Well, we don't have to even mention special effects anymore. In this day and age, special effects are going to be great. The computer age saw to that.

I must say at this point that my list of good things about Star Trek Beyond is done. I told you it was going to be a very short list. Look. Star Trek was a drama. Sure there were some light moments, and sure one of the best Star Trek episodes was a light one in Trouble With Tribbles. But that's one show out of over seventy! It's supposed to be a drama. Now, it's reduced to a comedy. And a not very good one at that. It's a shame. Can't SOMEONE out there write a great Star Trek script? Anyone? I know not all the original series' scripts were great. But a darn lot of them were! It's what made the show a TV legend. It's what the later TV shows and this run of movies owe their existence to. Sadly, no one is stepping up to the plate. Sadly.

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