Wednesday, 23 March 2011 10:20
titleThe real proof in the new medical examiner drama Body of Proof, which from a special preview looks like a run-of-the mill series, may not be in the plots, but in the appeal of Dana Delany.

Delany brings a touch of class and an emotional resolve that makes you want to root for whatever character she is playing.
Body of Proof will need every millimeter of Delany’s appeal if there is to be a future for this new ABC drama that begins at 10 p.m. EST on March 29. (Check your local listings).

Delany stars as Dr. Megan Hunt, a once-successful workaholic neurosurgeon in Philadelphia. Professionally, Hunt was brilliant, even if she often appeared cold and a bit too clinical. Then she pretty much lost everything. Following a divorce, she lost custody of her daughter and then, following a horrific car accident, lost her job.
Body of Proof picks up five years after that accident when the only job Hunt can get is as a medical examiner.

Although her confidence has been a bit shaken, Hunt is still tough as nails and sure of her skills. She also has found a new calling – speaking for the dead.

Body of Proof follows a formula set by previous cop and medical shows. Hunt will, of course, be in constant conflict with the cops with whom she works, the medical examiner’s staff and her supervisors. And she will often be right. And everyone will have a grudging respect for her.

Although Body of Proof doesn’t break any new ground, Hunt’s unresolved issues with her ex-husband and her daughter bring an undercurrent of vulnerability to the character and a hope of more complex and original storytelling to come.

Sonja Sohn (The Wire) co-stars as Det. Samantha Baker, although her role seems to be just window dressing for now.

Body of Proof replaces Detroit 1-8-7, which had an 18-episode run.

ABC’s “Body of Proof” stars Dana Delany as Dr. Megan Hunt. (Photo/ABC)
Abc’s Body of Proof
Oline Cogdill
abcs-body-of-proof
titleThe real proof in the new medical examiner drama Body of Proof, which from a special preview looks like a run-of-the mill series, may not be in the plots, but in the appeal of Dana Delany.

Delany brings a touch of class and an emotional resolve that makes you want to root for whatever character she is playing.
Body of Proof will need every millimeter of Delany’s appeal if there is to be a future for this new ABC drama that begins at 10 p.m. EST on March 29. (Check your local listings).

Delany stars as Dr. Megan Hunt, a once-successful workaholic neurosurgeon in Philadelphia. Professionally, Hunt was brilliant, even if she often appeared cold and a bit too clinical. Then she pretty much lost everything. Following a divorce, she lost custody of her daughter and then, following a horrific car accident, lost her job.
Body of Proof picks up five years after that accident when the only job Hunt can get is as a medical examiner.

Although her confidence has been a bit shaken, Hunt is still tough as nails and sure of her skills. She also has found a new calling – speaking for the dead.

Body of Proof follows a formula set by previous cop and medical shows. Hunt will, of course, be in constant conflict with the cops with whom she works, the medical examiner’s staff and her supervisors. And she will often be right. And everyone will have a grudging respect for her.

Although Body of Proof doesn’t break any new ground, Hunt’s unresolved issues with her ex-husband and her daughter bring an undercurrent of vulnerability to the character and a hope of more complex and original storytelling to come.

Sonja Sohn (The Wire) co-stars as Det. Samantha Baker, although her role seems to be just window dressing for now.

Body of Proof replaces Detroit 1-8-7, which had an 18-episode run.

ABC’s “Body of Proof” stars Dana Delany as Dr. Megan Hunt. (Photo/ABC)
Sunday, 20 March 2011 10:34

Zora and Me, by Victoria Bond and T.R. WoodSo often I am asked for suggestions on which book to read. Usually, I ask what is the person interested in, does he or she like the hard-edged stories or the softer ones, and even what the person’s occupation is. The answers factor into my recommendations.

Except when it comes to children.

Since I don’t read young adult or juvenile mysteries, I often am at a loss for recommendations. Time is the only issue on why I don’t read this category of mysteries.

But the next time I am asked, I have an answer ready: Zora and Me by Victoria Bond and T.R. Simon.

Zora and Me is inspired by the early life of African-American author Zora Neale Hurston and is set at the turn of the 20th century in a southern black community.

Zora and Me is nominated for an Edgar for Best Juvenile Mystery. (The winners will be announced April 28 in New York City.)

As Nancy Drew empowered girls of another generation, so does Zora and Me, which is all about girl power.

Zora, the “girl detective,” takes her investigating very seriously, sneaking out of the house, ease dropping and following clues. In Zora and Me, Hurston is a bright fourth grader who lives with her family in an all-black Florida town, around 1900. Zora, Carrie (the first-person narrator) and their friend Teddy investigate after a man’s headless body is discovered by the railroad tracks. Sounds like a female version of Stephen King’s “Stand by Me.”

The real Hurston often wrote about racial problems and became famous as being a part of the Harlem Renaissance writers. She wrote four novels, more than 50 published short stories, and several plays and essays. Her most famous novel was Their Eyes Were Watching God, published in 1937.

Although she died in poverty and obscurity in 1960 while living in Florida, her work continues to make an impact. About 500,000 copies of Hurston’s books are sold each year, according to the Zora Neale Hurston Trust, created in 2002.

Zora and Me is the first book not written by Hurston to be endorsed by the trust.

Now I know what to recommend the next time friends ask me what their daughters should be reading.

Zora Neale Hurston: Girl Detective
Oline Cogdill
zora-neale-hurston-girl-detective

title

Often I am asked for suggestions on which book to read. Usually, I ask what is the person interested in, does he or she like the hard-edged stories or the softer ones, and even whatthe person’s occupation is. The answers factor into my recommendations.

Thursday, 17 March 2011 19:38
title
Photo: Matthew McConaughey (left) and author Michael Connelly on the set of The Lincoln Lawyer. Photo credit: Lionsgate

From the moment that Matthew McConaughey steps into that Lincoln and leans back, surveying his “office,” he is Mickey Haller, the title character in the excellent The Lincoln Lawyer, the film based on the novel by Michael Connelly.

McConaughey’s smooth delivery, the way he flirts with Mickey’s near-conman persona and his cynical view of the law makes us almost forget that the actor has become more famous for starring in a string of dumb comedies or being photographed running shirtless.
Instead, The Lincoln Lawyer makes us remember how good McConaughey was in such dramas as A Time To Kill and Lone Star.

McConaughey aside,
The Lincoln Lawyer works so well as a movie because it is as faithful to Connelly’s 2005 novel as it can get. It doesn’t scrimp on the twists and turns that Connelly wove into his novel nor does it neglect Mickey’s crisis of conscience, his angst about being a part-time father or the integrity that he has buried deep inside.

While a few elements of the book aren’t included,
The Lincoln Lawyer keeps the spirit of the novel. Everything that needs to be in the movie version is here, even some of the dialogue.

The movie also has the look of and affection for Los Angeles that is pure Connelly. Each of Connelly’s
novels is an homage to L.A., illustrating its best and worst. That is there on the screen including panoramic views of the cityscape.

Connelly’s
The Lincoln Lawyer set a new milestone for this best-selling author. While faithful readers had long known that Connelly was a master at creating new, intriguing characters whether in his Harry Bosch novels or his stand-alones, he took a step further in The Lincoln Lawyer.

Here was, at first glimpse, an anti-hero of sorts, the epitome of what many of us believe is wrong with defense lawyers. The kind of lawyer who specializes in getting off his bottom-feeder clients. The kind of lawyer who is proud of the ads he’s placed on bus benches and billboards.

That the lawyer conducts business from the back of his Lincoln town car added to the anti-hero mystique.
The Lincoln Lawyer made it to No. 1 on the New York Times Best Sellers List for hardcover. It won the Macavity and the Shamus and was nominated for an Edgar.

Betrayal, manipulation and greed imbue the plot. In the film and the novel, Mickey is hired to defend Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe), a wealthy Beverly Hills playboy accused of attempted murder. Mickey is blinded by the dollar signs he sees in this case, but he also wonders if his client may be that rarity – an innocent man.

Each cast member shines in The Lincoln Lawyer. Phillippe’s wide-eyed innocence belies a seething ruthlessness. Phillippe makes us both want to offer Louis comfort and our unshakeable belief in his innocence while also making us very afraid. Oscar winner Marisa Tomei displays a steely resolve as Maggie McPherson, a prosecuting attorney who also is Mickey’s ex-wife and the mother of his daughter. The chemistry between Tomei and McConaughey shows us why their characters are divorced, yet still attracted to each other.

The always fascinating William H. Macy adds a bit of levity to his solid performance as Frank Levin, Mickey’s private investigator.
Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston makes the most of his role as detective Lankford; as do country singer Trace Adkins as Eddie Vogel, the leader of a motorcycle gang; Shea Whigham (the sheriff on Boardwalk Empire) as jailhouse snitch Corliss; and John Leguizamo as bail bondsman Val Valenzuela.
Brad Furman, whose last movie was the obscure crime drama The Take in 2007, shows an affinity for directing a more nuanced film. The action never lags, even when Mickey is just tooling around Los Angeles, which is shown in all its glory – and all its grittiness.

While I still prefer the book to the movie, The Lincoln Lawyer has captured the essence of Connelly’s
solid novel.

Connelly’s next novel also is a Mickey Haller novel,
The Fifth Witness is due out April 5.
The Lincoln Lawyer is rated R for some violence, sexual content and language. Running time is 119 minutes.

Movie Review: the Lincoln Lawyer 3 Stars
Oline Cogdill
movie-review-the-lincoln-lawyer
title
Photo: Matthew McConaughey (left) and author Michael Connelly on the set of The Lincoln Lawyer. Photo credit: Lionsgate

From the moment that Matthew McConaughey steps into that Lincoln and leans back, surveying his “office,” he is Mickey Haller, the title character in the excellent The Lincoln Lawyer, the film based on the novel by Michael Connelly.

McConaughey’s smooth delivery, the way he flirts with Mickey’s near-conman persona and his cynical view of the law makes us almost forget that the actor has become more famous for starring in a string of dumb comedies or being photographed running shirtless.
Instead, The Lincoln Lawyer makes us remember how good McConaughey was in such dramas as A Time To Kill and Lone Star.

McConaughey aside,
The Lincoln Lawyer works so well as a movie because it is as faithful to Connelly’s 2005 novel as it can get. It doesn’t scrimp on the twists and turns that Connelly wove into his novel nor does it neglect Mickey’s crisis of conscience, his angst about being a part-time father or the integrity that he has buried deep inside.

While a few elements of the book aren’t included,
The Lincoln Lawyer keeps the spirit of the novel. Everything that needs to be in the movie version is here, even some of the dialogue.

The movie also has the look of and affection for Los Angeles that is pure Connelly. Each of Connelly’s
novels is an homage to L.A., illustrating its best and worst. That is there on the screen including panoramic views of the cityscape.

Connelly’s
The Lincoln Lawyer set a new milestone for this best-selling author. While faithful readers had long known that Connelly was a master at creating new, intriguing characters whether in his Harry Bosch novels or his stand-alones, he took a step further in The Lincoln Lawyer.

Here was, at first glimpse, an anti-hero of sorts, the epitome of what many of us believe is wrong with defense lawyers. The kind of lawyer who specializes in getting off his bottom-feeder clients. The kind of lawyer who is proud of the ads he’s placed on bus benches and billboards.

That the lawyer conducts business from the back of his Lincoln town car added to the anti-hero mystique.
The Lincoln Lawyer made it to No. 1 on the New York Times Best Sellers List for hardcover. It won the Macavity and the Shamus and was nominated for an Edgar.

Betrayal, manipulation and greed imbue the plot. In the film and the novel, Mickey is hired to defend Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe), a wealthy Beverly Hills playboy accused of attempted murder. Mickey is blinded by the dollar signs he sees in this case, but he also wonders if his client may be that rarity – an innocent man.

Each cast member shines in The Lincoln Lawyer. Phillippe’s wide-eyed innocence belies a seething ruthlessness. Phillippe makes us both want to offer Louis comfort and our unshakeable belief in his innocence while also making us very afraid. Oscar winner Marisa Tomei displays a steely resolve as Maggie McPherson, a prosecuting attorney who also is Mickey’s ex-wife and the mother of his daughter. The chemistry between Tomei and McConaughey shows us why their characters are divorced, yet still attracted to each other.

The always fascinating William H. Macy adds a bit of levity to his solid performance as Frank Levin, Mickey’s private investigator.
Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston makes the most of his role as detective Lankford; as do country singer Trace Adkins as Eddie Vogel, the leader of a motorcycle gang; Shea Whigham (the sheriff on Boardwalk Empire) as jailhouse snitch Corliss; and John Leguizamo as bail bondsman Val Valenzuela.
Brad Furman, whose last movie was the obscure crime drama The Take in 2007, shows an affinity for directing a more nuanced film. The action never lags, even when Mickey is just tooling around Los Angeles, which is shown in all its glory – and all its grittiness.

While I still prefer the book to the movie, The Lincoln Lawyer has captured the essence of Connelly’s
solid novel.

Connelly’s next novel also is a Mickey Haller novel,
The Fifth Witness is due out April 5.
The Lincoln Lawyer is rated R for some violence, sexual content and language. Running time is 119 minutes.