Nora, Corrie, cannibalism star in Preston & Child’s gripping, creepy ‘Old Bones’ (Book review)

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n Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child’s co-authored debut “Relic” (1995), Agent Pendergast is already established in his career. The same goes for Lt. D’Agosta and other staples of their quarter century of novels. What’s particularly neat about “Old Bones” (August, hardcover) is we see the very first case of FBI Agent Corrie Swanson, whom we first met as a punkish Kansas teen in “Still Life with Crows” (2003).

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PKD flashback: ‘Puttering About in a Small Land’ (1985) (Book review)

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ne of the paradoxes of Philip K. Dick’s career is that he wrote his most robust and mature observations about human behavior at the sputtering start of his career, with none of those nine books from 1950-60 being immediately published. Then he tried his hand at pulp SF and got good at it. But writing about the human condition in 1950s California under American societal morals of the time was arguably his natural calling.

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It’s the Sixties, man, as ‘Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ Season 3 discovers subtlety to go with bombast (TV review)

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eason 3 of “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon Prime) starts off in the too show-offy fashion that marks the worst excesses of writer-director Amy Sherman-Palladino. Comedian Midge (Rachel Brosnahan) opens for singer Shy Baldwin (Leroy McClain) at a tour-launching USO show, and there are colorful costumes, long panning shots, tons of extras, and big music numbers. But after episode one, something remarkable happens in the following seven: “Maisel” no longer feels the need to prove itself, and it even features moments of subtlety – yes, subtlety from Amy and Daniel Palladino (who each take four episodes this season).

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Tarantino loves, lampoons motion picture industry in luscious ‘Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood’ (Movie review)

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uentin Tarantino low-key makes fun of 1969-era movie- and TV-making in “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.” But the production design by Barbara Ling and cinematography by Robert Richardson are as lush as “La La Land” (2016) and arguably even more impressive because this film is recreating a very specific time. So there’s no doubt the writer-director adores this time period.

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‘Blinded by the Light’s’ Pakistani family drama awkwardly mixes with Springsteen tunes (Movie review)

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love the way Javed (Viveik Kalra) loves Bruce Springsteen in “Blinded by the Light.” The Pakistani-British youth sings and dances in the street once he gets the Boss bug. He smiles when listening to the lyrics. He writes about the Boss for his school paper. He wins an essay contest and a trip to America by waxing poetic about Springsteen.

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Mamet Monday: ‘Deceptive Practice’ (2012) explores the history of magic, with Mamet friend and collaborator Ricky Jay at its center (Movie review)

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crolling through options under a “David Mamet” search on my Roku, “Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay” (2012) comes up a lot. (It’s currently available for free with ads on Vudu.) It’s only tangential to Mamet, who is one of the interview subjects in the documentary. But Jay (1946-2018), like Mamet, is fascinating to listen to when he talks about his craft, so this will likely be of interest to both Mamet fans and magic fans.

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First episode impressions: ‘The Terror: Infamy’ (TV review)

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he Terror” was one of the most gripping series of 2018, a rare horror TV show that maintains a creepy aura even with the escape provided by commercial breaks. It’s slow-paced, and it doesn’t stick the landing, so it barely missed my end-of-year list. But I’m happy to return for “The Terror: Infamy” (Mondays on AMC).

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Mamet Monday: Mamet, Dreyfuss create a sympathetic portrait of a famous mob boss in ‘Lansky’ (1999) (Movie review)

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he Amazon Prime description for “Lansky” (1999) includes “notorious,” “gambling,” “bootlegging,” “racketeering” and “murder,” but the film – written by David Mamet and directed by John McNaughton for HBO – paints a warm picture of mob boss Meyer Lansky (1902-83). Along with a treasure of a performance by Richard Dreyfuss, “Lansky” is driven by the intrinsic fascination of someone who is a normal family man and skilled businessman, but who is targeted by the U.S. federal government and hated by a percentage of the populace.

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Mamet Monday: Mamet does a deep – and not as depressing as you’d fear — dive into the mind of a wrongfully accused man in ‘The Old Religion’ (1997) (Book review)

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avid Mamet is known for writing great dialog, but “The Old Religion” — his 1997 novel about the murder trial and conviction of innocent Jewish factory manager Leo Frank in 1914 Atlanta — is mostly an inner monologue. While the book is based on historical facts, getting into Frank’s head is purely a matter of the author’s imagination. But the directions Frank’s mind goes in as he tries to make sense of what’s being done to him feel accurate.

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