Saturday, 03 June 2023

Arts & Life


A writer of detective pulp fiction, Raymond Chandler made his literary mark with fictional private eye Philip Marlowe in a series of novels, several of which were adapted into films starring Humphrey Bogart, Robert Montgomery, and Robert Mitchum, among others.

The spirit of the hard-boiled detective lives on with Irish novelist John Banville who chooses to publish under the pen name of Benjamin Black, at least for crime fiction, including “The Black-Eyed Blonde,” subtitled “A Philip Marlowe Novel.”

If film noir is defined by stylish crime dramas featuring characters with cynical attitudes, then any movie with gumshoe Philip Marlowe qualifies for the genre. Just take a look at Bogart in “The Big Sleep” or Mitchum in 1975’s “Farewell, My Lovely.”

A dedicated cinephile of the film noir genre would most likely choose Humphrey Bogart’s 1946 “The Big Sleep” as the definitive Philip Marlowe film, with no small measure of help from a starring role for Lauren Bacall.

Liam Neeson, the man with a “special set of skills” in recent action films, is now the brooding, down on his luck detective, the titular character in “Marlowe” and not to be confused with the 1969 film of the same title starring James Garner.

This new “Marlowe” is not based on a Raymond Chandler novel, but rather the contemporary work of Benjamin Black’s first foray into imagining the private eye’s involvement with a wealthy heiress’ search for a missing lover.

While Black’s story is set in the early 1950s, “Marlowe” hews to a fitting time of 1939, where the fedora-wearing sleuth seems to be more appropriately situated in the milieu of a film noir environment.

Peering out his office window on to a street that’s probably in Hollywood, notwithstanding the fictional Bay City setting, Marlowe spots a leggy beauty making her way in the direction of his building.

Of course, this beautiful woman, Clare Cavendish (Diane Kruger), is the type of femme fatale that’s bound to need the services of a detective, in this case to locate Nico Peterson (Francois Arnaud), an ex-lover gone astray.

Initially, the case appears to be solved as a death after a hit-and-run outside the Corbata Club, but then there’s been an apparent sighting of Nico very much alive, maybe in Mexico.

The search for the truth results in Marlowe tangling with an assortment of sinister characters, from the slimy owner (Danny Huston) of the Corbata Club, to a drug smuggler (Alan Cumming) and the usual thugs hired as muscle.

Figuring into the mix of other players are Clare’s mother (Jessica Lange), a film star with an unhealthy interest in her daughter’s personal life, and a couple of Marlowe’s pals from the police force (Colm Meaney and Ian Hart).

The storyline gets convoluted enough that it’s easy to lose track of how sex, drugs, a corrupt studio system and some Mexican gangsters figure into a bigger picture that looks conceivably conspiratorial.

One can’t help but think that Liam Neeson, fittingly world-weary here, may have aged too much for the physical necessities of the role, which he confirms by saying “I’m getting too old for this” after dispatching a bad guy.

The one compensation for Neeson’s senior status is being taller than most of the others, even though we must suspend disbelief that his Marlowe would get the best of thugs half his age.

The saving grace to “Marlowe,” if there actually is one, is that the production’s aesthetic style captures the essence of film noir and the period look of the shady underbelly of Los Angeles as well as the glitzy Golden Age of Hollywood.


Remember when Jared Fogle became recognizable as the pitchman for Subway due to his story of overcoming obesity through a diet of the chain’s sandwiches? He was a model of inspiration for people struggling with weight problems.

But in 2015, Americans were stunned when authorities brought multiple charges of child endangerment against Jared Fogle and his business partner Russell Taylor.

ID TV’s new three-part series, “Jared from Subway: Catching a Monster,” reveals the shocking, previously untold story of the investigation that exposed the monster insidiously lurking behind Fogle’s charming persona and how his true nature as child sex predator was finally revealed.

Charting Fogle’s rise from morbidly obese teenage outcast to beloved Subway spokesman, “Jared from Subway” offers exclusive access into the rise and fall of the disgraced weight loss sensation and the investigation that brought him down.

Over the course of three parts, the docuseries provides key insight from local Florida journalist Rochelle Herman, a single mother of two who later worked with the FBI to investigate Fogle, revealing her secret recordings of his disgusting and disturbing confessions.

The series also explores the charges against Russell Taylor that ultimately led to the raid on Fogle’s home that uncovered child pornography. Emotional interviews with Russell’s stepdaughters reveal how they were victimized by Fogle and their stepfather.

Tim Riley writes film and television reviews for Lake County News.


Investigation Discovery, known in shorthand as ID TV, is the leading crime and justice network on television, which delivers the definitive nonfiction programming. Just ask Detective Joe Kenda (ID TV fans know who he is).

The new series “Death by Fame” touches on the starry-eyed hopefuls whose fairytale dreams devolve into horrific nightmares.

The six-part series goes behind the scenes to uncover the sinister side of fame and reveal the true stories behind the murder of promising stars.

In the first episode “Celebrity Sexpert” ID TV recounts the heartbreaking death of Drew Carey’s ex-fiancee and renowned Hollywood family and sex therapist, Dr. Amie Harwick, who was found murdered the day after Valentine’s Day.

Police are left to investigate who might be capable of such a deadly act. According to news reports, another ex-boyfriend has been ordered to stand trial for murder of Harwick, allegedly throwing her from the third-floor balcony of her West Hollywood residence.

Additional episodes explore the coldblooded murder of “The Voice” sensation and rising star, Christina Grimmie, whose YouTube channel attracted a stalker with sinister motives, and the story of Macedonian model Adea Shabani who arrives in Los Angeles with dreams and then goes missing.

Figuring into an episode of “Death by Fame” he may not want, actor Lloyd Avery II has overnight success after starring in “Boyz N The Hood” and then goes on the run in a bizarre portrayal of life imitating art.

ID TV bares all with “The Playboy Murders,” revealing tragedies that span decades of the once-iconic brand. A dark side lurks behind the adult men’s magazine that faded away from its print version to apparently being available only online.

This new anthology series recounts murders and mysteries that intersect with the world of Playboy. The six-part series is hosted and executive produced by former Playboy Bunny Holly Madison.

In the premiere episode “Bunny Meets Bachelor,” a tabloid media frenzy occurs after a Playboy party hostess and model is found dead and dismembered in a dumpster.

The mutilated body of 28-year-old Jasmine Fiore was found stuffed in a suitcase, and her fingers and teeth were missing in an attempt to hide her identity. Serial numbers on her breast implants confirmed her identity.

At the time of her murder, Jasmine and her husband Ryan Jenkins, a VH1 reality contestant, were living apart, and he took off for the Canadian border since he was the prime suspect.

Additional stories include Stacy Arthur, the middle-American mom who spent hours on Playboy’s premium 1-900 number, attracting one fan’s fatal obsession who stalked and murdered her husband in a parking lot.

Not every episode centers on a woman being a victim of a horrible crime. Former Playboy bunny Carole Gold was sentenced to life in prison for the first-degree murder and conspiracy in the death of her husband Charles, a gunslinging Wild West show performer.

The cotton-tailed bunny hired a hit man to eliminate her spouse, with the motive being to collect on a life insurance policy. Not every murder is motivated by jealousy, rage or obsession in “The Playboy Murders.”


PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel continues the legacy of Masterpiece for exceptional British drama by expanding to include award-winning TV series and movies from around the world.

Streaming during the month of February will be three seasons of “The Tunnel,” based on the original Swedish series “The Bridge.” The series centers on the investigations and relationships between two detectives.

British detective Karl Roebuck (Stephen Dillane) and French detective Elise Wassermann (Clemence Poesy) are forced to work together when crimes involving both countries are committed.

Season One follows Karl and Elise as they investigate a dismembered body on the border of both countries in the Channel Tunnel. The second season has them reunited to probe a case where a French couple have been abducted from the Eurotunnel.

The third season is set in a mid-Brexit Europe where the English and French teams come together once more in the emotionally charged finale when a stolen fishing boat is found adrift and on fire in the English Channel.

Started as what the New York Times called a “chic TV boutique with a foreign accent,” Masterpiece’s “Walter Presents” showcases award-winning foreign language drama as a service named after its curator, Walter Iuzzolino, a passionate drama fan.

“Walter Presents: Acquitted” achieved the biggest launch ever in Norway when it premiered in 2015. The series follows Aksel Borgen (Nicolai Cleve Broch), a successful businessman who is asked back to his hometown in rural Norway.

Borgen has spent the last 20 years in Asia, and now he’s returned to save the town’s main company from bankruptcy. However, Borgen, who left after being acquitted of the murder of his high school girlfriend, is haunted by his past.

The three seasons of the crime drama “The Tunnel” include 24 episodes in English and French. “Walter Presents: Acquitted” is a 10-episode series in Norwegian with English subtitles.

Tim Riley writes film and television reviews for Lake County News.


Just in time for the festivities surrounding the final playoff game of the National Football League’s season, “80 for Brady” takes us back to the run-up to Super Bowl LI in 2017 when New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady would guide his team through a thrilling game.

This film, in which Brady appears as himself and also serves as producer, is the story of four mostly octogenarian Massachusetts women who gather to watch the Patriots with their fervor fueled by a love for a quarterback in the hunt for a fifth ring at the time.

“80 for Brady” is, in fact, inspired loosely by the true story of best friends living life to the fullest when they take a wild trip to Houston to see their hero, all the while wearing homemade jerseys sporting the film’s title.

The all-star cast includes Lily Tomlin’s Lou, a cancer survivor who for reasons that are understood from a flashback to chemotherapy treatments early in the century is a catalyst for the ladies love of Tom Brady.

Even though her cancer has been in remission, Lou is dodging calls from her oncologist about test results because she figures a trip to Texas could be her swan song now that the Patriots’ victory in the AFC championship game has them headed to the Super Bowl.

While Lou instigates the life-changing excursion, Jane Fonda’s Trish is the group’s most outgoing and outrageous member, who once had local fame as a model for an ad campaign and is now a novelist specializing in erotic football-themed fan fiction.

Falling in love too easily over and over is as problematic as her flirtatious behavior. Fitting for the Super Bowl is the release of her latest book titled “Between a Gronk and a Hard Place,” referring to Patriots’ tight end Rob Gronkowski.

The liveliest and best dancer of the quartet, Rita Moreno’s Maura, while still grieving over the loss of her husband, has moved into assisted living where her neighbor Mickey (Glynn Thurman) is drawn to her fiery passion for life.

The responsible member of the group is Sally Field’s Betty, a retired mathematics professor needing a little escape from her needy husband (Bob Balaban) who often needs a reminder to put on his pants. Is there a chance that Betty might cut loose a bit on this trip?

Hijinks come into play even before the ladies can make it to the Boston airport. First, they have to stage a jailbreak at the retirement facility to free Maura from the rules laid down by the despotic manager (Jimmy O. Yang).

Once in Houston, the fan festival NFL Experience beckons, and Betty taking up the challenge of a hot wings contest hosted by Guy Fieri portraying himself proves that being hungry will overcome extra spicy hot sauce.

With Trish being the glamorous one with a suitcase full of wigs, it’s no surprise that she’s soon caught up in a flirty hookup with smitten, fictional Super Bowl champion Dan O’Halloran (Harry Hamlin).

At a party on the night before the big game, more mischief ensues when some of them consume drug-laced edible gummies. Having a fondness for gambling, Maura ends up in a poker game where in her hallucinatory state every player looks like Guy Fieri.

Game day holds a few surprises, with Billy Porter being impressed with the women’s determination to become his backup dancers and Ron Funches comically taking his security guard role too seriously when confronting them.

What is the audience for “80 for Brady,” a female-centric story of obsession with a truly gifted football player? For a guy, it may work as a date night movie because at least there is some gridiron action to revive memories of an exciting game.

For fans of a storied franchise that once called Oakland home, the controversial “Tuck Rule Game” that resulted in the Patriots defeating the Raiders in the AFC championship game still lingers as a really bad memory.

The Silver and Black fandom would find a celebration of Brady an even more bitter pill to swallow knowing that the outcome of that contentious playoff game was the fact that Brady went on to win his first Super Bowl by prevailing over the St. Louis Rams.

One has to wonder how the film will play for audiences in Boston and Atlanta when actual footage from the game reveals incredible plays that upend what looked like an inevitable rout. The fan base sure to lament the outcome may not want to relive the experience.

A fair assessment of “80 for Brady” is that the leading ladies are not only effortlessly talented, but believable as lifelong friends bonding over their love of a team and hero worship of its star player.

Moreover, these senior citizen thespians look to be having an authentically good time throughout their adventure with an enthusiasm so infectious that, at least, it should rub off on the audience.

Tim Riley writes film and television reviews for Lake County News.

Jim and Susie Malcolm. Courtesy photo.

KELSEYVILLE, Calif. — Award-winning Scottish folk singers Jim and Susie Malcolm will return to Lake County to perform in concert on Saturday, March 4.

The concert will be at the Fore Family Winery located at 3924 Main St. in Kelseyville.

The doors open at 7 p.m.

The special guest Beth Malcolm.

This is a benefit concert for KPFZ 88.1 FM.

Tickets are $22 for KPFZ members and $25 for non-members.

For information and reservations call 707-262-0525 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

KELSEYVILLE, Calif. — On Friday, Feb. 24, at 6 p.m. in Kelseyville there will be a public showing of the documentary, “The Fight for Peace” with Morgan Freeman.

Morgan Freeman travels the world to study the cycles of war and peace.

From the ritualized combat of the sacred Tinku festival in Bolivia to Rwanda's post-genocide reconciliation program, this episode deals with humanity's enormous capacity for violence and the endless pursuit of harmony. Conflict can drive innovation, but is war necessary?

The documentary will be shown free of charge at the Lake County Unitarian Church, 3810 Main St., in Kelseyville, and will be followed by a moderated discussion.

All are welcome to attend.

UPPER LAKE, Calif. — The annual winter concert series at the Tallman Hotel in Upper Lake continues on Sunday, Feb. 19, at 3 p.m. in Riffe’s Meeting House next to the hotel.

The program features the veteran Bay Area jazz and blues pianist and educator Macy Blackman and two members of his band, the “Mighty Fines,” Nancy Wright on sax and vocals and Bing Nathan on bass.

“Hearing Macy Blackman at the piano is like stepping into an uptown New Orleans club circa 1955” says Tallman and Blue Wing owner Bernie Butcher. “He’s a great entertainer with a wonderful trio including our personal favorite Nancy Wright on sax.”

A renowned musicologist, Macy has been into New Orleans-influenced jazz music since before graduating from NYU with a music degree in 1970.

He moved to San Francisco in 2000 to teach courses at UC Berkeley. These popular classes explored major American musical styles of the 20th century — rhythm and blues, swing and classic jazz.

He soon drifted back to his roots in New Orleans R&B and formed The Mighty Fines in 2003. That band has recorded four CDs including the most recent titled Shoorah Shoorah — The Songs of Irma Thomas and Allen Toussaint.

Sax mistress Nancy Wright needs no introduction to Lake County music fans as she’s performed here at the Blue Wing Blues Festival, the Soper-Reese Theatre and a variety of other venues.

She has recorded and performed in the U.S. and abroad with artists including John Lee Hooker, B. B. King, Elvin Bishop, Joe Louis Walker, and Commander Cody and she now has her own “Rhythm and Roots” Band.

Tickets at $30 + tax are available by online at or calling the Tallman Hotel at 707-275-2244, Extension 0. Coffee and cookies are served to guests.

The 3 p.m. start offers opportunities for either a late lunch or early supper at the Blue Wing Restaurant next door.

Upcoming Calendar

06.07.2023 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
East Region Town Hall
06.08.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
Middletown Art Center
06.09.2023 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Crafters group
06.10.2023 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Crafters group
06.10.2023 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Ladies of the Lake Quilt Guild
06.10.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
06.12.2023 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Ladies of the Lake Quilt Guild
Lakeport Senior Center
Flag Day
06.15.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
Middletown Art Center

Mini Calendar



Award winning journalism on the shores of Clear Lake. 



Enter your email here to make sure you get the daily headlines.

You'll receive one daily headline email and breaking news alerts.
No spam.
Cookies! uses cookies for statistical information and to improve the site.

// Infolinks