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It's muscles, mayhem, and murder in Venice Beach, California, where ex-bodybuilder turned private investigator Gunnar Marino runs his business.
And this is where World Bodybuilding Federation President of Operations, Laura Preston, finds herself in the middle of a blackmail scheme, with bodybuilder Brad Holt threatening to expose a shattering secret from her past.
After Holt dies at a contest from what appears to be a dangerously unhealthy diet regimen, Marino is hired to look into whether or not his demise might have been the perfect act of murder. But the deeper Marino digs into the case, the more unsettled he is by Holt's background, questioning the morality of seeking justice for a corrupt murder victim and pursuing a prime suspect who might have been a victim herself.
Conspiracy Films: A Tour of Dark Places in the American Conscious
For many years, conspiracy theories have been among the most popular story elements in Hollywood films. According to the "conspiracy culture," Government, Big Business, the Church, even aliens - all of which, bundled together, comprise the ubiquitous "Them" - are concealing some of the biggest secrets in American and world history. From The Manchurian Candidate (1962) to JFK (1991), The Matrix (1999) to The Da Vinci Code (2006), this decade-by-decade history explores our fascination with paranoia. The work paints a vivid picture of several of the more prevalent conspiracy theories and the entertainment they have inspired, not only in theatrical films but also in such hit television series as The X-Files, and Lost.
Blood, Guns, and Testosterone: Action Films, Audiences, and a Thirst for Violence
Since the early days of film, the representation of masculinity has changed considerably. In the beginning, men on screen instinctively knew right from wrong. They rode to the rescue and saved the day in the nick of time to the admiration of society. But over the decades, such figures evolved from larger-than-life, infallible heroes to cynical, washed-up, unwanted outsiders. The violent content in these films also evolved, escalating in frequency, intensity, and graphic depictions.
But there is more to this genre than violence, and Blood, Guns, and Testosterone presents an entirely new perspective of the nature of such entertainment. Barna William Donovan argues that far from becoming violent, admirers of action films view the genre as an artistic rumination on the nature of good and evil and the ever-changing definitions of manhood.
The Asian Influence on Hollywood Action Films
Filmmakers of the Pacific Rim have been delivering punches and kicks to the Hollywood movie industry for years. This book explores the ways in which the storytelling and cinematic techniques of Asian popular culture have migrated from grainy, low-budget martial arts movies to box-office blockbusters such as The Magnificent Seven, The Matrix, and Transformers. While special effects gained prominenece, the raw and gritty power of live combat emerged as an audience favorite, spawning Asian stars Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan and martial arts-trained stars Chuck Norris and Steven Seagal. As well as capturing the sheer onscreen adrenaline rush that characterizes the films discussed, this work explores the impact of violent cinematic entertainment and why it is often misunderstood.
The Cedar Valley Covenant
Jessica Lafayette, best-selling relationship author and soon-to-be radio personality, had a near-perfect life. But she dreamed of reconnecting with her estranged father. Then an accident along a dark stretch of highway shattered everything. Instead of making peace, Jessica comes to attend a funeral in the idyllic Southern Illinois college-town of Cedar Valley.
After claiming her father's ashes from the local funeral home, Jessica begins to suspect the unthinkable. The urn she had been given does not contain ashes, and the remains of the dead might be used in the savage rites of unimaginable conspiracy that has taken control of the town.
With no way out, Jessica must now fight back and uncover the devastating secret of...The Cedar Valley Covenant.
Confirmation: Investigations of the Unexplained
From Mount Shasta City, California, to San Diego, Scotland, Italy, and Cairo, 20-ton granite globes suddenly appear out of nowhere. For the first time, the world is witnessing a truly unexplainable phenomenon.
As Rick Ballantine and Cornelia Oxenburg, cast members of the low-rent supernatural reality show, "Confirmation: Investigations of the Unexplained," quickly realize, the globes' greatest effect is the way they make people speculate about their origins and purpose. Some think the globes are placed by aliens. Other think it's all a hoax. Many more fear sinister government conspiracies behind it all. But each of these points of view believes they're absolutely right...and others who disagree are dead wrong...and dangerous...and must be dealt with by any means necessary!