Friday, April 07, 2006

A Book Review and a Movie Review

I finished up the last two entries in the Jane Austen mystery series by Stephanie Barron. #7 is Jane and the Ghosts of Netley Manor and #8 is Jane and His Lordship's Legacy. Spoiler....

As you can guess from the second title, something tragic happened to Lord Trowbridge in these installments. This saddened me greatly, but I hardly expected him and Jane to live happily ever after. These two books were a fitting and well-crafted end to their relationship. I have to say that the mystery fell a bit by the wayside in #7, eclipsed by the Jane/Trowbridge characterizations. Nevertheless, I found this to be a worthwhile read. #8 was even better. In it, Jane receives a trunk of Trowbridge's papers from twenty years before, which hold the clues to a mystery facing Jane right now. Barron includes the text of several letters, giving readers a chance to examine the evidence themselves. This entry is well-paced, and allows readers to commiserate with Jane over the loss of Trowbridge.

In other news, I saw Thank You For Smoking last weekend. It was CRAZY. But in a good way. Aaron Eckhart plays a wiley Big Tobacco lobbyist who must face down the challenges of Senator Finistirre (William H. Macy), a tree-hugging type politician who wants a skull and crossbones printed on every box of cigarettes. Then a whole bunch of looney stuff goes down. There really isn't a plot, but it doesn't matter. All of the actors embrace the their parts with bravado, reveling in the smarminess. These performances combined with Jason Reitman's spry direction make this film a hilarious and dark look at what goes on behind the curtain in American business and politics.

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