Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, September 27, 2014

MVNews this week:  Page A:11



Mountain Views-News Saturday, September 27, 2014



Jeff�s Book Picks By Jeff Brown


by Sarah Waters

This is an enthralling novel about a 
widow and her daughter who take 
a young couple into their home 
in 1920s London. It is 1922, and 
London is tense. Ex-servicemen 
are disillusioned; the out-of-work 
and the hungry are demanding 
change. And in South London, in a 
genteel Camberwell villa�a large, 
silent house now bereft of brothers, 
husband, and even servants�
life is about to be transformed as 
impoverished widow Mrs. Wray 
and her spinster daughter, Frances, 
are obliged to take in lodgers.With 
the arrival of Lilian and Leonard , 
a young couple of the �clerk class,� 
the routines of the house are 
shaken up in unexpected ways. 
Little do the Wrays know just 
how profoundly their new tenants 
will alter the course of Frances�s 
life�or, as passions mount and 
frustration gathers, how far-
reaching, and how devastating, the 
disturbances will be. Sarah Waters 
has earned a reputation as one of 
our greatest writers of historical 
fiction, This is a love story, a 
tension-filled crime story, and a 
beautifully atmospheric portrait 
of a fascinating time and place.


by Mark Whitaker

Based on extensive research and 
in-depth interviews with Cosby 
and more than sixty of his closest 
friends and associates, it is a frank, 
fun and fascinating account of his 
life and historic legacy. Far from 
the gentle worlds of his routines 
or TV shows, Cosby grew up in a 
Philadelphia housing project, the 
son of an alcoholic, largely absent 
father and a loving but overworked 
mother. Award winning journalist 
Whitaker tells the story of how, 
after dropping out of high school, 
Cosby turned his life around by 
joining the Navy, talking his way 
into college, and seizing his first 
breaks as a stand-up comedian. 
The book reveals the behind-the-
scenes story of that groundbreaking 
sitcom as well as Cosby�s bestselling 
albums, breakout role on I Spy, and 
pioneering place in children�s TV. 
But it also deals with professional 
setbacks and personal dramas, from 
an affair that sparked public scandal 
to the murder of his only son, and 
the private influence of his wife 
of fifty years,. Whitaker explores 
the roots of Cosby�s controversial 
stands on race, as well as �the Cosby 
effect� that helped pave the way for 
a black president. For any fan of 
Bill Cosby�s work, and any student 
of American television, comedy, 
or social history, Cosby: His Life 
and Times is an essential read.
Fargo Adventure) 

by Clive Cussler

The outstanding new Fargo 
adventure from the #1 New York 
Times�bestselling author. Baffin 
Island: Husband-and-wife team 
Sami and Remi Fargo are on a 
climate-control expedition in the 
Arctic, when to their astonishment 
they discover a Viking ship in 
the ice, perfectly preserved�
and filled with pre�Columbian 
artifacts from Mexico.How can 
that be? As they plunge into their 
research, tantalizing clues about 
a link between the Vikings and 
the legendary Toltec feathered 
serpent god Quetzalcoatl�and a 
fabled object known as the Eye of 
Heaven�begin to emerge. But so 
do many dangerous people. Soon 
the Fargos find themselves on 
the run through jungles, temples, 
and secret tombs, caught between 
treasure hunters, crime cartels, 
and those with a far more personal 
motivation for stopping them. 
At the end of the road will be the 
solution to a thousand-year-old 
mystery�or death.

By Sean Kayden

Liam Neeson in yet another 
revenge thriller? Not exactly. 
�A Walk Among The 
Tombstones� differs from 
Neeson�s other roles such as 
�The Taken Series�, �Non-
Stop,� and �The Grey.� Neeson plays Matthew Scudder, 
a former NYC cop, now practicing as an unlicensed 
private investigator. He�s hired by a drug trafficker (Dan 
Stevens) to find the kidnappers responsible for killing his 
wife. The story behind the murder isn�t as cut and dry as 
Neeson first believes. �A Walk Among The Tombstones� 
is based on the book by Lawrence Block. The Matthew 
Scudder character appears in a series of books written 
by the author. Veteran screenwriter Scott Frank (�Out 
Of Sight,� �Minority Report,� �The Lookout�) wrote 
and directed the adaptation for the big screen. There�s 
quite a bit to enjoy here, however, the plot becomes a bit 
muddled after the first half of the film. With too many 
one-dimensional, uninteresting supporting characters, 
all you have is the always-compelling Liam Neeson. 
While that doesn�t sound like such a drag, (and believe 
me it�s not) you�re still only left with a dark thriller relying 
on familiar tropes and clich�s. They merely only satisfy, 
but never excite. 

The film opens up in 1991 with a grisly Scudder sitting at 
a bar. When two men decide to rob the place and shoot 
the bartender, Scudder, off duty, chases after the thugs. 
We witness Liam Neeson be yet another man with a 
special set of skills to take down these men. However, 
something seems to have gone wrong. Flash-forward 
to 8 years later, we see a different, cleaned up version of 
Scudder. An ex-druggie approaches him at a diner for a 
job. Scudder is reluctant, but agrees to meet the man�s 
brother. This is where we find out about the drug dealer�s 
wife who was kidnapped in broad daylight and chopped 
up into pieces. He doesn�t want to go to the police. He 
wants these men brought to him. These two sickos are 
creepy and downright eerie. However, there�s not a lot 
of depth to them. One of the kidnappers doesn�t even 
speak until nearly the end of the film. Neeson�s character 
eventually teams up with a young black boy he meets 
at public library. The two form an unconventional 
partnership. The troubled boy has Sickle Cell Anemia, 
which is thrown into the plot for seemingly no reason 
at all. We also have other social commentaries such as 
gun safety and Alcoholics Anonymous thrown in for 
good measure. As Scudder grows closer and closer to 
the villains, the audience may grow further and further 
away from the befuddled plot. The third act showdown 
was as clich� as they come by. Unfortunately, Scott Frank 
couldn�t throw any appealing twists or turns to give it a 
fresh approach. 

Scott did indeed make a moody, old-fashioned crime 
drama. The film is loaded with things from the 90s like 
Y2K, video stores and payphones. The cinematography 
is top notch with creepy visuals. There are some graphic 
scenes here, which is a nice throwback to darker dramas 
of the past. Overall, I thought the film started off 
promising, but fell apart in the second to third act. It felt 
like it was borrowing a lot from other and better films. I 
think it was a well-made film, but it lacked true identity. 
It all came down to a predictable and play-it-safe kind of 
ending. Little thrills, many kills, �A Walk Among The 
Tombstones� offers Neeson as engaging as he�s ever been 
in recent memory, but his one-man show is merely the 
only thing worth checking out. Final verdict: Rental at 

Grade: 3 out of 5

On the Marquee: Notes from the Sierra Madre Playhouse

By Artistic Director, Christian Lebano

It is Friday morning and we are just hours away 
from opening Amy Herzog�s Pulitzer-nominated 
play 4000 Miles in its Los Angeles County 
premiere. As I write this piece there are lots of 
people working very hard to get our show and the 
opening night reception which follows it tonight 
ready for a sold-out house. 

As the director of the play, one of the Producers, 
and the Artistic Director of the theater, I am 
in a constant state of humbled gratitude at 
the dedication of all of the people who are 
working so hard to bring this beautiful play to 
life tonight. From the marvelous cast (Mimi 
Cozzens, Christian Prentice, Alexandra Wright, 
and Susane Lee) who have shared themselves so 
fully with me in rehearsals and worked so hard to 
create the wonderfully complex characters they 
are each playing, to the incredible designers who 
have manifested all of my ideas for this show so 
well (Set Designer John Vertrees who has helped 
me build the world in which our show happens, 
Lighting designer Pablo Santiago � nominated 
for an Ovation award this season � whose lights 
really help tell our story, Costume Designer 
Kristen Kopp who last worked with me on 
Driving Miss Daisy and who has really found the 
essence of each character, Barry Schwam who 
has worked tirelessly to incorporate the sound, 
Lisa Wasserman who has created a wonderful 
lobby exhibit, and Jonathan Beard who has 
written the most evocative music for our show,) 
and the relentless work of our Stage Manager 
Sarah Poor, her Assistant Wysper Erigio, and our 
House Manager/Props Mistress Olivia O�Neill.

On this show we have three community partners 
who have made a huge contribution to the 
production �Matthew, Michael, and Brandon of 
Centric Bike Company of Sierra Madre have given 
us technical assistance, loaned us a bike, and are 
hosting our opening night party; Christian Boehr 
of Atomic Threshold Scandinavian Furniture has 
leant us the beautiful furniture we are using in the 
production � all of which is for sale afterwards!; 
and Friends of the Sierra Madre Library who have 
so kindly loaned us all the books we are using to 
dress the set. Without them this show would not 
have happened and I am incredibly grateful.

We have a terrific group of volunteers who have 
showed up to help us with the party tonight and 
as ushers during the show Cara Clarke, Annette 
Dray, Prudence Levine, Marianna Catz, Jane Park 
and Linda Trevillian.

I couldn�t accomplish half as much as I do without 
the support of our Board members Louise 
Calaway, Paul Van Dorp, and Serge Varella - each 
of them have played a significant role in making 
tonight happen.

Our small but mighty staff of Box Office Manager 
Mary Baville, Social Media Manager Jill Maglione, 
Photographer Gina Long, and Website Manager 
Daniel Pelletier make sure that the world knows 
what we are doing!

And finally, the tireless work of SMP�s Management 
Team: Estelle Campbell our Managing Director, 
Ward Calaway our Operations Director, and Ben 
Womick our Technical Director � without them 
there would be no Sierra Madre Playhouse.

This list only hints at all the work done by so 
many people to bring 4000 Miles to life. I am 
incredibly proud of this show and what we are 
doing at the Playhouse. Please come see what 
we are up to � and if you know of someone who 
hasn�t been to our theater bring them along. The 
best support we can get from this community 
is a sold-out run. I think this show deserves it. 
Come see if I�m right.

To purchase tickets call 626.355.4318 for 
reservations or go to our website www.