Sunday, June 27, 2010

Mel Gibson: Edge of Darkness

Though I know we can never resurrect the Martin Riggs of the Lethal Weapon classics and I realize the trials of time have forever taken the shine off his star, I was hoping Mel Gibson could recapture some of his former luster as Boston homicide detective Thomas Craven in Edge of Darkness. And he did, but just barely.

Is it the case that we will never again allow the Jew hating, crucifix toting Gibson to emerge as a victorious hero in a modern day police drama? That seems to be what we’re being told here. After Craven’s daughter Emma is killed by a shotgun blast outside his Boston home, it appears at first that the shot was meant for Craven himself. But, in time, it’s revealed that she had gotten on the bad side of a coalition of industrial bad guys, a private security death-squad and your run-of-the-mill government assholes who, in retaliation for her threatening to blow the whistle on their nuclear bomb business, had managed to poison her by slipping some radioactive morsels into her food supply. In other words, she would’ve died even if she hadn’t been blasted.

Unfortunately, we learn how this particular poison works because the avenging Gibson is also poisoned. With nothing to live for and not much time, he manages to kill quite a few culpable people. Enroute he meets his adversaries’ Security Consultant Jedburgh, played by Ray Winstone, whose respect he apparently gains since untimately it’s Jedburgh who eliminates the remaining no-good scum who orchestrated the plot, shooting them at point blank range during a meeting where they were deciding how they should spin Craven’s demise.

As cheery as that ending is, the reality that Craven and his daughter are both dead sort of takes the shine off the moment. The final cut shows the spirits of Emma and her father walking off into the white light. I guess that was supposed to be uplifting. It didn’t work. Everything that precedes that moment confirms that that could not happen, ever.

I think this movie would have been somewhat better if all the good guys hadn’t gotten killed, but such is life. I give it a C-.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Ed Emberley: Children’s Drawing Books and More

Ed Emberley is the illustrator and author of over 80 books, including the bestselling Go Away, Big Green Monster! and his enormously popular "Drawing Book" series. He has received many awards and accolades, including a Caldecott Honor in 1967 for One Wide River to Cross and a Caldecott Medal in 1968 for Drummer Hoff. Ed Emberley lives in Ipswich, Massachusetts, with his wife, Barbara.

That blurb comes from Ed Emberley's Amazon page. I was drawn there recently when someone purchased several of his drawing books via my site Honestly, prior to that, I had never heard of him. That’s probably because I no longer have little children with whom I can share my love for reading and my love of books.

But those who are familiar with Emberley’s work are filled with praise. In fact, customer reviews of his books average 5.0, the highest possible rating on Amazon.

My interest piqued, I googled Ed Emberley and was led to his website What a great site! If you have kids, I suggest you steer them there. If not, go there yourselves like I did. I’m sure you’ll get a kick out of it.