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Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Writer's Life 4/1 - No Fools

John Wick (2014) is another entry in the long line of one-man-army flicks, and Keanu Reeves is perfect for the lead. I caught up to it last night courtesy of Netflix. The story is simple: just three days after the funeral of his wife, three knucklehead low level Russian gangsters break into his house, cold-cock him, kill his dog and steal his Mustang. Big mistake. The Russian don, father of one of the knuckleheads, tells his arrogant offspring that Wick is not a bogeyman - he is someone sent to kill the bogeyman. Once the mayhem begins the bodies pile high. The action is crisp, the violence well-staged. Although most of the scenes take place at night, the blood splatter is often visible, more than I've seen in a while in a mainstream work. Of course, the proceedings are ridiculous, but that is to be expected in such fare. Only one part was egregiously faulty. It involves Willem Dafoe. I'll say no more, as it would be a spoiler. Michael Nyquist, a Swede, plays the don. Hollywood vets Ian McShane, Bridget Moynahan and John Leguizamo have small roles. The performances I enjoyed most were by Lance Reddick as a quirky concierge, and Adrianne Palicki as a committed assassin. I was unfamiliar with Palicki's resume, most of which is in popular TV shows I haven't watched. She communicated an intensity that fell refreshingly well short of the stereotypical psychotic. Chad Staheski directed, his first time at the helm after years as a stuntman and actor. He did the recently released sequel as well. Derek Kolstad wrote the screenplay for both films, and is involved in a proposed, eponymous TV series, all of which will probably make him rich. He has created a character that resonates with a solid fan base. Made on a budget of "only" $20 million, John Wick returned more than twice that in the USA alone. After DVD sales and rentals, the producers must be ecstatic. 300,000+ users at IMDb have rated it, forging to a consensus of 7.2 on a scale of ten. I wouldn't go nearly that high, although I found it entertaining, and it runs only an hour-and-forty minutes. Any action fans who haven't seen it would probably love it. Anyone squeamish about violence should pass.  

From, edited by yours truly: Here's a use of drones few have considered: A Dutch startup is set to release a fleet to combat the 220 million pounds of dog poop left on the Netherlands' streets each year. Called Dogdrones, separate devices will work together as a team to detect and scoop up the crap. The aerial drone is fitted with cameras and thermal energy technology that transmits GPS coordinates of the feces to a rolling robot on the ground that immediately leaves its hub to clean up the waste. I would love to see this tried on the sidewalks of NYC. A third drone would likely have to be used for protective surveillance.

April started off splendidly for the floating book shop - no foolin'. My thanks to the lovely young teacher's aide who bought Killing, and to Bill Brown, author of Words and Guitar: A History of Lou Reed's Music, who bought a collection of horror short stories; and to the girl I mistakenly directed to young adult material, who wound up taking only a poetry collection from that box, but three thrillers from the rest of the display. Since her grandma was present, I didn't have to worry about blowback from the irate parents of a 14-year-old.
Vic's Sixth novel: 
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