Val’s Movie Roundup #11: Hallmark Edition


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Mystery Woman: In The Shadows (2007) – Once again, we join Kellie Martin and Clarence Williams III at the Mystery Woman Bookstore. This time the two are at a book signing when the author announces that his next book will name a KGB agent. I think this is the best of the three Mystery Woman movies I’ve seen so far (Oh Baby, Redemption, and In The Shadows). I like that fact that it involves international intrigue instead of just some local person murdered in Centerville, USA where a busybody takes it upon themselves to investigate. I also love that most of the movie Kellie Martin is in the hospital and out of commission. As much as I like her, it was really nice to see Williams shine. He knows about this secret world and it’s fun to watch him navigate it. I know there are other Mystery Woman films, but of the ones I have watched, this is the one I recommend most strongly.

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Garage Sale Mystery (2013) – This, on the other hand, is the typical Hallmark mystery fare these days. It’s not good. This one follows Lori Loughlin who runs a consignment store and hits garage sales for items to resell. When a friend is found dead and it might tie in with garage sales, then this woman who can’t mind her own business begins investigating. There is a cop on the case, but he seems pretty incompetent and worthless to the film. Loughlin just seems to sleepwalk through the whole thing. There just isn’t anything here worth watching. It’s better than some of these mystery movies on Hallmark, but that’s not saying a whole lot. I really wonder who thought it was a good idea to remove all edge, suspense, feeling, and reality from murder mysteries, then decided to make tons of them. At least there is a scene where her son has her play Minecraft to clear her mind. That was interesting even if we never actually see the game or her really play it.

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Garage Sale Mystery: All That Glitters (2014) – I guess since it wasn’t a total mound of caca doo doo, they thought it was ready for a full series. It still sucks. Again, one of her friends ends up dead. I guess being friends with Lori Loughlin’s character means you’re marked for death. At least Jessica Fletcher brought death to the places she visited. Loughlin’s just thinning out the population of her own town. This time the person killed is tied to a storage facility she won in an auction. Of course there are rare items and in short order a guy shows up wearing a sign that says I’m the bad guy. Luckily, he’s played by Kavan Smith of Eureka. He was a welcome sight even if by being well known it meant he was the bad guy. I’m not giving anything away here. It’s really really really obvious. Plus, I’m leaving the details out. At least this time people tell her she should mind her own business. She ignores it, but it’s nice to hear some voices of reason. Skip this one too. I wonder if the other two Garage Sale Mystery movies are any better. I doubt it.

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Murder 101 (2006) – This is how you do a murder mystery! Someone is murdered, so a cop brings a criminology professor in to help solve the case. Simple! The non-police officer actually has a reason to be there investigating. And the criminals aren’t a joke. Also, this isn’t some weird Stepford Wives world where everything exists in fantasy. It even has Dick Van Dyke and his son Barry who, by the way, looks like Michael Bay in this. It’s kind of funny. A business executive is killed in an explosion. Barry brings Dick into the investigation and an investigative reporter comes along since she was there. It’s nothing amazing, but far better than movies like Garage Sale Mystery, Murder, She Baked, Wedding Planner Mystery, Aurora Teagarden, etc. I wish Hallmark would go back to doing mystery movies like this and Mystery Woman again. They are so much more enjoyable and far better made in general.

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Artist Profile: Rudolph Belarski (1900 — 1983)


Born in Pennsylvania at the turn of the 20th Century, the prolific illustrator Rudolph Belarski dropped out of school at the age of 12 and spent the next ten years working in the coal mines.  During this time, he studied mail-order art courses at night from the International Correspondence School, Inc. of Scranton, PA.  In 1922, he moved to New York City and studied at the Pratt Institute.  Upon graduating in 1926, he taught at Pratt for 5 years.  He started his career as a cover artist in 1935 and worked regularly until 1960, painting covers for both pulp magazines and paperback books.  His greatest work may have been done during World War II, when he served with the USO and drew thousands of portrait sketches of hospitalized veterans in New York and London.

A small sampling of his pulp work can be found below.

1 Dead Hands on the Moon Don't Ever Love Me Homicide Johnny The Case of the Constant God The Devil's Diary The Gods Hate Kansas The Murder of the Circus Queen The Wingless Wonder The Young Sinners

AMV of the Day: Skyfall (Cowboy Bebop, Fate/Zero)


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Skyfall was the James Bond that seemed to have resonated with the so-called millenials. For the most part, James Bond the film franchise was considered dated and quaint when compared to the more action-oriented and cynical spy thrillers like the Jason Bourne franchise. This younger generation couldn’t take seriously a superspy who dressed in exquisite suits and tuxedos. A spy who bedded beautiful women like young people collected causes to support and/or protest.

This type of generational ennui, thankfully, hasn’t truly hit the otaku set. No matter how old an anime we otaku would have heard of it, watched it and, most of the time, enjoyed it. We’re not just stuck on what’s the latest trend in the anime scene. We’ll search out old with the new. While the quality of the animation have improved since the early days of the medium the storytelling from way back still remains strong and resonates with the oldest and youngest crowd.

So, the latest “AMV of the Day” is a celebration of that appreciation for not just the now but what came before: James Bond with Cowboy Bebop (with some help from Fate/Zero).

Anime: Cowboy Bebop, Fate/Zero

Song: “Skyfall” by Adele

Creator: Okill78

Past AMVs of the Day

4 Shots From 4 Films: Lisa Loves Giallo Edition


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films.  As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films is all about letting the visuals do the talking.

4 Shots From 4 Films

Forbidden Photos Of A Lady Above Suspicion (1970, directed by Luciano Ercoli)

Forbidden Photos Of A Lady Above Suspicion (1970, directed by Luciano Ercoli)

Torso (1973, directed by Sergio Martino)

Torso (1973, directed by Sergio Martino)

Spasmo (1974, directed by Umberto Lenzi)

Spasmo (1974, directed by Umberto Lenzi)

The House With Laughing Windows (1976, directed by Pupi Avati)

The House With Laughing Windows (1976, directed by Pupi Avati)