Friday, November 30, 2012

The Fourth Wise Man Movie Review

I watched this movie last Sunday at my youth group, and decided that I must do a review of it because this movie is so good. And here is the review. :)

This movie is based on the story "The Other Wise Man" by Henry van Dyck. Artaban (played by Martin Sheen) is a young Wise Man whose dream is to follow the Star to the newborn Saviour and give Him gifts. Accompanied by his slave Orontes (played by Alan Arkin), who has been promised his freedom if he returns Artaban back home safely, Artaban sets out on his quest. However, Artaban keeps coming across people, who need his help and keep him from his quest. Orontes would have happily passed by these obstacles, and tells his master so, but Artaban's kind heart will not let him do this. First, the other three magi leave without him. Artaban keeps following on with his quest, but he is always one step behind the Saviour of the world.

This movie is pack-full of adventure, making it an engaging and interesting story with a good Christian message. Orontes provides a comedic element to the movie.

And just as a side note, I think that Artaban is good-looking as a young man. ;) Just thought I'd mention that. :P

Caution for parents in showing this movie to their children: At the scene of a leper's camp, there are two or three lepers, who have no body below their waists. Also shown is the face of a leper, which is not too disfigured, but is still not that pleasant a sight. Another caution is that near the end of the movie, Artaban and Orentes hear Jesus being whipped.

Alyianna's rating: 10 out 10

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Take Me Home - First Impressions

One Direction put their new album Take Me Home up on iTunes that their fans can listen to for a limited time before the album came out on November 14th (as far as I've heard). I've listened to the whole album (not the yearbook extended version, though) a couple of times and I thought I'd post some of my first impressions.

So far, I'm pretty impressed. There are a couple of songs that I don't care for, but I haven't listened to a single album that I liked all of the songs on the first few listens. My favourite songs are "Last First Kiss", "C'mon C'mon", "I Would", "Live While We're Young", and "Little Things" AND "Over Again" (both by Ed Sheeran, just like 1D's song "Moments"). I like how the boys added more guitar into their music.

One thing, though (yes, that was done on purpose ;0)...I find that the music has edged a little closer to the "more mature" side with phrases like "take it all the way", etc. etc. I prefer to interpret the music my own way, so it's one of those things that you have to decide whether to take it or leave it (like most music nowadays).

Other than that, I'm impressed. :) When the album officially comes out...(actually, it already has so when I get the album), I will do a more extensive review of it.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Hawksmaid by Kathryn Lasky BOOK REVIEW

As you can see by the title, this story is the author's version of Robin Hood. The story focuses on Matty, or, Maid Marian. Her mother was murdered by Guy of Gisborne before she turned ten, and her father taught her to read, write, and be a falconer. As the story progresses, Matty becomes closer to the four falcons that she and her father have left, even to the point that she is able to talk to them in their own language. Meanwhile, the English are getting poorer and poorer. King Richard is away on the Cruasdes, and Prince John is taking advantage of his older brother's absence. Matty's best friend, Fynn, and his friends start a troop of outlaws, stealing from the rich to give to the starving poor. But when King Richard is captured, can the friends find a king's ransom?

I was very much impressed by this book. One - because I wasn't expecting to find anything appropriate, let alone, good, in my library's young adult section. Two - because the story was interesting and because of the Catholic content. I certainly was not expecting the latter!

The book sucks in the reader right away. There are only traces of romance in the book, almost nothing to speak of - THANK GOD THAT THIS AUTHOR CAN PUT ROMANCE IN A BOOK WITHOUT...well, without writing what most teen authors do nowadays. However, I was a little disappointed by the ending. I was hoping Matty and Fynn (aka Robin) would swear their undying love to each other...get married...something like that. Instead, they just tell the other that they love him/her, like it's not too much of a big deal. Yes, I did appreciate that the romance was only a very minor part of the book, but couldn't the author have made the ending a little more of something worthwhile?! SPOILER SELECT TO SEE: Matty has just been rescued from certain death and the book ends almost right after she wakes up!

Other than that, the book was very good. The only part that I didn't like was just that disappointing ending.

As I said above, I really liked the Catholic elements - and the forces of good vs. evil (the part about good people stealing is a point I'm a little uncomfortable with, but I'm just going to let it go in this review), even within the Church. As I hope most of you know, the Church has not been without people, who have let the devil work within them. Two Bishops are mentioned in this story - one is loyal to King Richard and a good man, the other is loyal to Prince John. Also loyal to Prince John is a very evil abbess.

Alyianna's rating: 9 out 10