Friday, February 3, 2012

A Dublin Student Doctor
Irish Country Doctor Series
By: Patrick Taylor
2011

Patrick Taylor’s devoted readers know Doctor Fingal Flahertie O’Reilly as a pugnacious general practitioner in the quaint Irish village of Ballybucklebo. Now Taylor turns back the clock to give us a portrait of the young Fingal—and show us the pivotal events that shaped the man he would become.

In the 1930s, fresh from a stint in the Royal Navy Reserve, and against the wishes of his disapproving father, Fingal O’Reilly goes to Dublin to study medicine. Fingal and his fellow aspiring doctors face the arduous demands of Trinity College and Sir Patrick Dun’s Hospital. The hours are long and the cases challenging, but Fingal manages to find time to box and play rugby—and to romance a fetching, gray-eyed nurse named Kitty O’Hallorhan.

Dublin is a city of slums and tenements, where brutal poverty breeds diseases that the limited medical knowledge of the time is often ill-equipped to handle. His teachers warn Fingal not to become too attached to his patients, but can he truly harden himself to the suffering he sees all around him—or can he find a way to care for his patients without breaking his heart?

A Dublin Student Doctor is a moving, deeply human story that will touch longtime fans as well as readers who are meeting Doctor Fingal O’Reilly for the very first time.


Sherlock (Season 1)
Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch & Martin Freeman
2010

A contemporary take on the classic Arthur Conan Doyle stories, Sherlock is a thrilling, funny, fast-paced adventure series set in present-day London. Co-created by Steven Moffat (Doctor Who, Coupling) and Mark Gatiss, Sherlock stars BAFTA-nominee Benedict Cumberbatch (Hawking, Amazing Grace) as the new Sherlock Holmes and Martin Freeman (The Office, Love Actually), as his loyal friend, Doctor John Watson. Rupert Graves plays Inspector Lestrade. The iconic details from Conan Doyle's original books remain--they live at the same address, have the same names and, somewhere out there, Moriarty is waiting for them. And so across three thrilling, scary, action-packed and highly modern-day adventures, Sherlock and John navigate a maze of cryptic clues and lethal killers to get at the truth.


The Vault
By: Ruth Rendell


The newly-retired Inspector Reginald Wexford is back. Now living part-time in London, he has been asked by the local police department to lend his practiced eye to a puzzling case. Known for her police procedurals, author Ruth Rendell shows the painstaking police work that goes on behind the scenes of this headline-grabbing crime. Suspects are tracked, connections are made, and new crimes are uncovered. Wexford continues his stolid, reliable, unwavering hunt for the answer even in the face of a family drama. This book is a companion to “A Sight for Sore Eyes,” which was published in 1998, and tells the story of what happened before Wexford arrived on the scene. There are lots of suspects (possibly too many?) and not much suspense, but lovers of Wexford, Rendell, and a good puzzle will enjoy this mystery.




Perrier's Bounty
Starring: Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson, Jim Broadbent
2009

An ordinary guy gets himself in an extraordinary amount of trouble in this blend of comedy and action from director Ian Fitzgibbon. Michael McCrea (Cillian Murphy) is a regular guy who isn't especially good with money, which leads him to borrow some money from Perrier (Brendan Gleeson), a local loan shark and strong-arm man. Unfortunately, Michael isn't able to pay back the money on schedule, and he quickly learns that Perrier is one man you don't want angry; now there's a price on Michael's head and he needs to pay his debt quickly if he wants to live. Michael accepts a proposal from a small-time hood to do a quick breaking-and-entering job in exchange for part of the loot, but things go very wrong and somehow the neighbor girl Michael is sweet on, Brenda (Jodie Whittaker), ends up shooting someone. Now Michael is on the run from two sets of crooks, has a dead body to deal with, must find an alibi for Brenda, and has to mend fences with his crusty father (Jim Broadbent) before his dad is willing to help. Perrier's Bounty was an official selection at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival.




Midnight in Paris
Starring: Owen Wilson, Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody
2011

This film has now been nominated for an Academy Award as Best Picture. It tells the story of a successful screenwriter, Gil, who has come to Paris with his fiancee, Inez, and her parents-surely the most shallow tourists to visit Europe since the Griswolds. Gil has been working on a novel and is stuck creatively. He wanders the streets of Paris, wondering what it would be like to be in Paris during the 1920’s, when so many creative people were living in the city. One night, an automobile pulls up and transports him to that era. He meets his literary heroes, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, and many others. Gertrude Stein advises him on his novel. He also meets a beautiful artists’s model, Adriana, who has posed for Picasso. Night after night, he returns to this Paris and falls in love with Adriana, who also longs for another golden era in Paris, the “Belle Epoque.” He travels to this time with Adriana, and Adriana and Gil both have to make a difficult decision. The film explores themes of yearning & nostalgia. The scenes of Paris are so beautifully photographed that you will want to pack your bags and book a flight. This is an enjoyable light romantic fantasy from the hands of the master, Woody Allen.



Super 8
Starring: Joel Courtney, Kyle Chandler, Elle Fanning
2011

This film is an ode to young filmmakers. Set in the 1970’s, 14 year old Joe & his friends are making a zombie movie to enter in a local film competition. Setting up their camera at a train station late one night, their lens captures a horrific train derailment-and “something” escaping from the wreckage. Within days, life changes in the Ohio town of Lillian-all of the dogs run away, and electrical components and appliances disappear-along with a number of people, including Alice, one of the young filmmakers. Joe and his friends overcome their fears to search for Alice, manage to go places the Air Force can’t, and even invoke some sympathy for the villain. There is lots of suspense, action and things exploding, but it is an enjoyable science fiction film. The young actors do a wonderful job, especially Joel Courtney as Joe, and Elle Fanning as Alice.



Flambards
1980

Set in the years surrounding the First World War, the story depicts how Christina, a young orphan sent to live with her cousins and uncle at a decaying country estate, Flambards, comes of age amid the conflicts, passions, loyalties, and tragedies which follow from her new life. Her uncle Russell, wheelchair-bound for life due to a fox-hunting accident, compounds his misfortune through heavy drinking by the fireplace, and takes his sole pleasure in life from the vicarious adventures in the hunting field which his rugged son Mark shares with him. They are callous to their servants, and cannot understand anyone who does not share their absorption in the world of hunting, hounds, and endless leisure. Mark's brother William could not be more different. Gentle, sympathetic to the servants and the plight of their class, and passionately devoted to the design, building and flying of planes, he too is injured while engaging in the one sport he hates - fox-hunting - and must now walk with a limp. Christina, in her late teens like William, prefers his gentle company, yet thrills to the excitement of the fox-hunt. And she soon learns that her ample inheritance, due when she is twenty-one, has been earmarked for the restoration of Flambards - and that she is to marry Mark, who, among other brutalities, has provoked the firing of Violet, the kitchen maid, after making her pregnant! The rest of the series portrays the growing attraction of Christina and William, their escape from Flambards into the world of the early aviators, and the disruptions in their new life resulting from the epic slaughter of the First World War.

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