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Book Review

Movie Reviews

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Book Review: The Summons

Hot off the press, The Summons (ISBN 0-440-29600-5) is the latest fiction piece from well known author John Grisham (The Client, The Firm and many others). Like the previous examples, this is another thriller, set within a legal family, with Judge Atlee from Clanton Mississippi representing the typical conservative viewpoint of yesterday. His sons, one a law professor and the other an alcoholic drug addict are shown in their correct positions within the family hierarchy. However, all good things must come to an end, and the book really begins with the demise of the old judge, by then a cancer-ridden shadow of his former self at 79 years of age.

Grisham has the ability to describe life, its circumstances and the people in it with an amazing accuracy. Attention to detail is one factor that has made his books so believable, and if you then add in an exciting plot you have a classic book of this genre. It is no wonder that they have ended up on the silver screen.

In The Summons, following the death of the patriarch, his sons appear, the respected law professor and the hopeless alcoholic, with the latter letting the professor execute the apparently simple division of the estate. It all goes smoothly for a while until a large amount of money is discovered. Money that could not have been earned by the normal endeavours of a county judge.

The professor has now to attempt to find out just how his father came by this money. If illegally, it will damn the memory of his father forever, but if come by legally, and incorporated in the estate, it will be subject to investigation and tax by the Inland Revenue Service.

With his legal mind, the professor begins to attempt to find where the money came from. Gambling perhaps? Stocks and shares? The next factor was to see if any of his late father’s close associates knew of “extra” money. All this he has to do in a clandestine manner, something which is foreign to the nature of a law school professor.

When he finds out that someone else knows about the money, his troubles are compounded. The roller coaster ride starts about now and you will not be able to put the book down! Believe me!

The review copy was made available by Bookazine and has an RRP of 350 baht. It is a fascinating story, and not so much of a legal tale, as most of his previous books, but one that goes much deeper than that. This is not just corporate crime, or legal manoeuvring, this is examination of disturbed minds and the reactions of supposedly normal minds. Grisham’s book shows complete knowledge of small towns, small town legal issues and a keenly honed insight into small town human psychology. He does this with a dialogue that keeps the reader turning pages, wondering just what is coming next. The pace is too fast to attempt to reach your own conclusions, and the final pages are electric with suspense. A thriller in the grand manner and a damn fine read.

Movie Reviews: My Big Fat Greek Wedding

When I saw the title of this movie I thought, “great, sounds like a really stupid movie”, bearing in mind, I was on a plane at the time and unable to avoid watching it. What made it worse was that for some unknown reason we could only get it in French, and my school French is sketchy with the best will in the world.

It turned out to be a movie to make you smile and anything that can make me smile in economy class in French on a long haul flight must be good!

Toula Portokalos (Nia Vardalos) is thirty years old, lives with her parents in Chicago and works in the family restaurant, ‘Dancing Zorbas.’ Her father Gus (Michael Constantine) is a staunch Greek and expects his daughter to marry in true Greek fashion and spend the rest of her life bearing little Greeks with of course a Greek husband . Toula begins taking some college classes, puts on some makeup, exchanges the glasses for contacts and gets a job in her aunt’s travel agency. Then she meets a man named Ian Miller (John Corbett), who is most definitely not Greek and things lead to love.

Ian, meanwhile, is about to experience a severe culture shock, as he is about to be confronted by a family that includes, for example, twenty-seven first cousins. It gets worse when Ian’s straight-laced parents enter the fray. “They’re like dry toast,” Toula’s father complains.

Toula’s mother, Maria (Lainie Kazan) is fabulous, the character she creates is totally credible, and she’s just a joy to watch. My favourite line is: When Toula protests her father’s claim that he is the head of the house and his decision is final, her mother counters with, “The man is the head but the woman is the neck - she can make the head turn any way she wants.”

Directed by Joel Zwick


Nia Vardalos ... Foutoula Portakalos

John Corbett... Ian Miller

Michael Constantine... Gus Portakalos

Lainie Kazan... Maria Portakalos

Andrea Martin... Aunt Voula

Joey Fatone... Angelo

Christina Eleusiniotis... Toula age 6

Kayle Vieira... Schoolgirl

John Kalangis... Greek Teacher

Marita Zouravlioff... Toula age 12

Music CD Reviews: Volume 4 - Black Sabbath

***** 5 Stars Rating

As a big “Black Sabbath” fan I have to tell you that, if you can only own one Sabbath album, then this should be it. Now I’m not saying that most Black Sabbath albums are not good. (How can anything with Toni Iommi on lead guitar be bad?) In fact, the first six are out and out classics with “Heaven & Hell”, “Born Again”, and the wonderful “Re-union” album joining these ranks. It’s just that Volume 4 has got it all.

Already international superstars upon its release, “Volume 4” consolidated their position as the world’s number one Heavy Metal band, a position that has never seriously been challenged. (Have you heard Creed’s new album “Weathered”? Talk about a load of Sabbath Wannabes.)

Whilst recovering from tour exhaustion, Sabbath promised that their new album would be more experimental, more progressive, and unbelievably heavier than anything they had ever done before. This was quite a claim from a band whose last album had been the classic “Masters Of Reality”.

The opener “Wheels Of Confusion” was straight away a departure for Sabbath, clocking in at over eight and a half minutes. This was not some rambling heavy blues based jam, but a well structured epic with its inspiration coming from what was termed at the time as Progressive Rock, only, of course, played the Sabbath way. It proved that the band had no lack of inspiration either musically or lyrically. Ozzy singing Geezer Butler’s words with real menace:

“Lost in the wheels of confusion

Running Thru Valleys of trees

Eyes full of angry delusion

Hiding in everyday fears”

“Wheels Of Confusion” transforms from crunching power chords into a glorious Sergio Leone pastiche, overlaid with thundering guitars.

Bursting through the speakers after this was the new single at the time “Tomorrow’s Dream”, the first Sabbath single since worldwide smash hit “Paranoid”. A song that is about as commercial as Heavy Metal can get.

Then came the real shock, horror of horror, Sabbath do a ballad. Not only a ballad, but a piano led ballad that would not have been out of place on a Barry Manilow album. Fans were always prepared for Sabbath to experiment with different styles, and after the hard rockin “Paranoid” had given them a well deserved hit and a following of teenage girls, it is still frightening to imagine the audience of Radio 2 (Britain’s very staid radio channel) listeners this song would have attracted, had it been released as a single and been a hit.

But from here on out it’s pure Sabbath with Toni Iommi taking the lead and laying down some of his best known heavy riffs. Although it’s not all just a bunch of loud detuned e-chord riffing, as there are plenty of subtler moments, especially in the two instrumental Iommi solo spots “FX” and “Laguna Sunrise”, Vol 4 also catches Ozzy at his outrageous best. You can almost hear the frills on his jacket bashing together as he stomps along with the rest of the band in the heads down, no nonsense, mindless boogie sections of the songs. Geezer Butler not only gives Ozzy some wonderful lyrics to sing, but lays down some bass work that was going to become the template for all players of the four string guitar for years to come. Bill Ward is the only drummer for Black Sabbath. Full stop no argument.

If you are a stranger to Black Sabbath’s Volume Four and you like your rock music hard heavy with genuine excitement, acquaint yourself.


Tony Iommi - Guitar

Geezer Butler - Bass Guitar

Ozzy Osbourne - Vocals

Bill Ward - Drum

(and Geoff Nichols - Keyboards un-credited)

Track Listing

1. Wheels Of Confusion

2. Tomorrows Dream

3. Changes

4. FX

5. Supernaut

6. Snowblind

7. Cornucopia

8. Laguna Sunrise

9. St. Vitus Dance

10. Under The Sun