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.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Kong-Skull Island OK

I did not really want to go see Kong-Skull Island, but it was my younger son's birthday weekend, and he wanted me to take him to see that movie. I relented. As for action adventure movies, it was okay. But it had so many holes in it, and the writing could have been so much better. I left the movie thinking if the producers, director, and writers wanted to, they could have made that movie into a movie to be remembered. As it was, it won't be.

As far as King Kong movies go, I'd rank it with that forgettable Kong movie from the seventies. Peter Jackson's King Kong still rates as the best, imo, followed by the original from the thirties. And to me, those are the only ones worth seeing. Like I said, the other two are forgettable.

Now for an evening with your son, this latest one was okay. I don't believe I wasted my money. It would have been a waste had I seen it alone, but time spent with your son is never wasted, and so...

As for holes, they were too obvious. The first one that struck me, is the ship had four helicopters on the deck, and it was all that would fit. The next thing you see, is over a dozen of them flying toward Skull Island. It's like, wait a minute... Where did all those extra copters come from?

Then when Kong suddenly appears, he throws a strike from a distance. Meaning a tree comes from out of nowhere and lands a bull's-eye into the lead copter. Then Kong himself jumps out of nowhere and starts swatting the copters out of the sky like mosquitos.

Okay, it can be argued the copters are caught by surprise, and Kong gets two or three of them. But do the others recover from their shock and fly beyond his reach? Why, no, they don't. They start circling around him firing their machine guns at him. You might say that's what they should do. If that's what you say, then you're not so smart. What I would say is get those choppers beyond arm's reach of the big ape. Surely, soldiers know that machine guns have a long range. But instead of flying beyond Kong's reach to shoot him, they remain within his reach so that he can continue to swat them down.

And that's exactly what he does until every chopper is swatted out of the sky. Every single one of them. I just can't believe not one pilot had the brains to say, "You know, maybe I should fly a little farther away from that monster so he can't grab my copter like he's doing to all the other copters, and smash it to the ground." Nope. Not one. At one point the civilian guy said, "Get this chopper out of here!" but the brainless pilot replies, "You're not the one who gives me orders."

So of course that copter, too, gets swatted down like all the others. I am not one to verbalize my displeasure during the course of a movie out of respect to my fellow movie goers, but I instinctively said "Bullshit!" out loud at that point. My son didn't mind. He agreed. No one turned to frown at me, so I'm thinking everyone else agreed too.

There were many other holes, but there were good things, too, btw. The special effects were good, and the acting was good. Samuel Jackson, although overexposed by being in just about every movie these days, is a good actor and played his part well. The guy from WWII had a good role and played it well. The British secret service guy was well cast, and well written.

I don't know why they made the bad monsters legless. I'm talking about the "Skull-crushers" as the old dude called them. They crawled around using their front two legs, or arms. It reminded me of the crippled son from the TV show Viking. I think they should have had rear legs, and ran around like lizards, but whatever.

There was another thing that bugged me. There were too many useless deaths. Too many dudes getting offed just for effect, it seemed. The lowest point being when John Goodman's character was offed. It just didn't work. Nor did the killing off of most of the soldiers. The surviving soldiers were one white, one Asian, and one black. I guess they wanted equity. Of course, no female characters were killed. The girls seemed immune to any danger. In this movie you had to be a dude to die.

There were so many other holes, like since when do apes stand straight like a man? King Kong was standing straight the whole time. Even my wife made that point. I had noticed it too, but there were so many other holes, that one, although major, was minor in comparison.

So go with your son, and have a good time. My son did like the movie and was glad we went. I was glad to spend time with him at the movies. A show like this is good for that. But that was all it was good for. Too bad we missed The Great Wall. Was that one any good? I'll find out soon enough when it comes on TV. Until then...

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