Movie Review: 12 Rounds

This ought to give you some idea of how many movies are in our Netflix queue – this movie came out in 2009 and I’m pretty darn certain we put it in our queue when we saw the previews… and we’re just now watching it.  It’s 2012 by the way if you didn’t know.  So yeah, three years’ worth of movies passed.  Craziness. 

Anyways, I have to say I rather enjoyed this movie.  There were some hokey parts that were to be expected (especially considering the main actor is a WWE wrestler).  I mean, let’s face it, WWE guys aren’t exactly known for their amazing acting skills (The Rock anyone?).  John Cena does a pretty good job though all things considered.  It’s not as though the guy is a trained actor.  Strangely enough, Brian White (who plays his partner) and who is a good actor (watch The Family Stone for proof) totally sucks it up in this movie.  He’s just not believable.  The acting just seems forced.  Maybe he just wasn’t able to channel his inner cop.  Steve Harris, on the other hand, is tooootally in sync with his FBI persona.  You pretty much hate him in the end.  He’s a self-righteous prick.  Although, if I remember correctly, he also played a self-righteous prick of a lawyer in some TV series (Ally McBeal, The Practice?  something like that).  Maybe he’s just a self-righteous prick. 

It irks me that we don’t find out until the last five minutes of the movie what John Cenas’ characters wife does for a living (her name is Ashley Scott btw).  Here’s why it’s irritating:  it’s the key to this entire freaking movie.  I didn’t see the end coming at all which is fine, I like that.  However, I felt irritated at the end because I didn’t have all the facts.  It’s like trying to complete a puzzle when the person across from you is hiding a few pieces in their pocket.  NO FAIR! 

The only other issue I had with this movie is that John Cena’s character struggles to even manage a pull up.  Even if you didn’t know going in that he’s a wrestler, the guy is in ridiculous shape.  I don’t know a single guy in that kind of shape who couldn’t manage to do one single pull up.  If you’re going to put in an actor with that sort of physical prowess then let him show off a little.  It doesn’t have to be flashy or overdone, but I’m pretty sure those muscles are capable of doing more than making women drool. 

Last but not least, there’s a song at the very end of the movie (during the credits if I remember correctly) that I love.  Sadly, I can’t find the name of it.  Someone with better internet skills than myself want to give it a shot? 

What’d you think?  Have you seen this movie?  Did you like it?  Do you think that wrestlers should just stick to wrestling? 

Random I know, but is it just me or does John Cena look like an older, and much more muscly version of Channing Tatum?

Book Review: The Bricklayer by Noah Boyd

I honestly really enjoyed this book.  It kept me on my toes and I liked the characters.  The only downside was that I knew who the bad guy was pretty early on.  Aside from that, this was a great read.  If you’re looking for a suspense-filled summer read I highly suggest this one especially if you’re a fan of crime dramas.  I loved that even though I knew who they were going to catch in the end I couldn’t figure out how they were going to catch them. 

The author, Noah Boyd, is an ex-FBI agent and you can totally tell, or at least you can if you read a lot of crime novels like I do.  He writes like he knows what he’s talking about and that’s because HE DOES. 

I like that he throws in some ‘office politics’ but it’s not overdone.  There’s just a touch of romance as well but not enough to overpower the book which I think is great.  It’s really focused on the crime and how they’re going to solve it without completely muddling the story up with steamy sex scenes.  In addition, the main character, Steve Vail, does some things that require impressive physical prowess but it’s not so over the top that you wouldn’t believe that a guy who is an ex-agent and is currently working in the very physically demanding field of brick laying wouldn’t be able to do. 

This book gets two thumbs up from me.  Noah Boyd has two other novels (Agent X and Last Chance to Die) out now and I might just pick those up too!

 Here’s the synopsis from Barnes & Noble:

Someone gives you a dangerous puzzle to solve, one that may kill you or someone else, and you’re about to fail. . . . And there is no other option. No one who can help. No one but the Bricklayer.

The Bricklayer is the pulse-pounding novel introducing Steve Vail, one of the most charismatic new heroes to come along in thriller fiction in many years. He’s an ex-FBI agent who’s been fired for insubordination but is lured back to the Bureau to work a case that has become more unsolvable-and more deadly-by the hour.

A woman steps out of the shower in her Los Angeles home and is startled by an intruder sitting calmly in her bedroom holding a gun. But she is frozen with fear by what he has to say about the FBI-and what he says he must do. . . .

A young agent slips into the night water off a rocky beach. He’s been instructed to swim to a nearby island to deposit a million dollars demanded by a blackmailer. But his mission is riddled with hazardous tests, as if someone wanted to destroy him rather than collect the money. . . .

Vail has resigned himself to his dismissal and is content with his life as a bricklayer. But the FBI, especially Deputy Assistant Director Kate Bannon, needs help with a shadowy group that has initiated a brilliant extortion plot. The group will keep killing their targets until the agency pays them off, the amount and number of bodies escalating each time the FBI fails. One thing is clear: someone who knows a little too much about the inner workings of the Bureau is very clever-and very angry-and will kill and kill again if it means he can disgrace the FBI.

Steve Vail’s options-and his time to find answers-are swiftly runningout.

Book Review: Over Tumbled Graves by Jess Walter

Hi friends.  Miss me?  As some of you may have guessed the Hubs and I went on vacation for the last week.  We were in beautiful Lake Tahoe with some other members of my family.  It was amazing.  The weather was just outstanding.  90s during the day but practically zero humidity and it dropped into the high 30s at night.  Why do I live in Texas again?  Anywho, my apologies for my blog absence but upon returning we had major technical issues with computers and we’re also just having a hard time getting back into the swing of thing after being gone.  It’s vacation hangover. 

So guess what that means?  More book reviews!  You’re thrilled aren’t you?  Ha!  Well I couldn’t just leave you hanging and not tell you about the books I read by the hotel pool.  So, here goes…

Excerpt from Barnes & Noble:

During a routine drug bust, on a narrow bridge over white-water falls in the center of town, Spokane detective Caroline Mabry finds herself face-to-face with a brutal murderer. Within hours, the body of a young prostitute is found on the riverbank nearby. What follows confronts our fascination with pathology and murder and stares it down, as Caroline and her cynical partner, Alan Dupree—thrown headlong into the search for a serial murderer who communicates by killing women—uncover some hard truths about their profession . . . and each other.

Rich with the darkly muted colors of the Pacific Northwest skies, Over Tumbled Graves established Jess Walter as a novelist of extraordinary emotional depth and dimension.

My first thought when I finished this book was ‘God that was depressing.’  Don’t get me wrong, I love murder mysteries but geez in the end I just sort of expected everyone to jump of a cliff or something.  Criminal Minds is one of my favorite shows and it never leaves me with this down-in-the-dumps feeling.  Even though they find the guy in the end I still wouldn’t call it a ‘happy’ ending.  And what in the world is with all of the serial killers in the Pacific Northwest anyways?  Do people just go crazy because of all the rain or something? 

In the story two glory-hog FBI profilers are bought in and by the end of the book you basically just want to run them over with their cars.  They might be good at profiling serial killers, but they’re crappy people.  They’re way more concerned with the fame and getting their name in the papers than they are with the actual murders.  One guy doesn’t even want to get involved until the murders enter into the double digits!  Pompous ass.  I seriously hope that real FBI profilers aren’t that way. 

I liked the main character, Caroline.  She’s believable.  It’s nice that she doesn’t know it all.  She’s confused and she flounders and she’s real.  Her partner, Alan, kind of cracks me up.  He’s very sarcastic and sardonic but I get it.  I can totally see how being a cop for twenty-plus years could make you that way. I’m sure it’s his coping mechanism but it works. 

I will say that you totally don’t see the end coming, or at least I didn’t.  In that sense I truly enjoyed the book because it wasn’t predictable and I didn’t know how the book was going to end three chapters into it.  All in all, I’d say it’s a decent read but I wouldn’t suggest reading it if you’re having a bummer kind of a day… or if you live in the Pacific Northwest.