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Okay, so I didn't intend ONLY to post reviews on Sunday...but last week was chaotic as I tried to adjust to my new determined lifestyle...with mixed success. So, it is time for the weekly RieViews.

First, on the literary front, I just finished reading A. Lee Martinez's Too Many Curses. Disclaimer here: I love Alex's work. He has yet to disappoint me, and he has an amazing range. So there is no way I could have been dissatisfied with this book. However, I don't think you would be either--even if you have never heard of the man before. :)

Nessy the Kobold is in charge of housekeeping for an evil wizard named Margle. It is her job to keep the castle clean and all Margle's cursed enemies fed and in check. Everything is going fine, until Margle gets himself killed, and it is all downhill from there. Especially when the even MORE wicked Tiama the Scarred shows up at the front door demanding to see the master.

I have read all of Alex's books but one, and this is the best one yet. His characterizations feel deeper here, and they are brilliantly executed. How many books have you read with a Kobold for a heroine? I didn't think so... And yet, Nessy is a wonderfully rounded character. The supporting cast is varied and whimsical -- from The Door at the End of the Hall to Decapitated Dan the mad skull. No one is entirely black and white. There are subtle shades of character even in the jar full of wizard parts that used to be Margle's brother and the castle itself.

The plot moves smoothly along with twists and turns and unexpected surprises around each corner of the corridors. If you have never read an A. Lee Martinez book, start with this one. If you HAVE, and you haven't found this one, drop what you are doing and go get it! I can't wait to see what he turns his hand to next...


On the video front, my sister gave me a copy of Be Kind Rewind for my birthday several months ago. We hadn't gotten around to watching it until last night, despite the fact that I am a huge Jack Black fan. I have to admit, it started slow for me, and I was beginning to wonder why she had raved about it so...until they started remaking movies, and then I was hooked.

The story opens with a grainy black and white scene from an obviously homemade film about Fats Waller. As it goes on, you discover that the title refers to the name of a video store in Passaic, New Jersey run by Danny Glover and his assistant Mos Def. Things aren't too great business-wise, but they are struggling to get by--hindered more than helped by well-meaning Jack Black, who is convinced their brains are being scrambled by the power plant nearby.

While attempting to sabotage the power plant, Jack manages to get himself magnetized...which isn't a good idea in a video store that rents VHS tapes.

With the boss out of town, the two young men have to figure out a way to keep the store going without any tapes to rent. So they start remaking them with a hand-held video camera and more heart than sense. Their "sweded" films are a highlight to the movie.

I don't want to give away any more of the plot, but I can recommend the film as a wonderful, weird little escape movie. As I say, the beginning is a bit slow, but once they pick up the camera, it really is a lot of fun. Jack is at his manic best, and I was surprised by Mos Def who I don't remember having seen in a film before.

Those are my Rieviews for this week. Who knows what I'll think of next week? ;)

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