30 July 2012

Book Review: Wuthering Heights

Title: Wuthering Heights
Author: Emily Bronte

Synopsis: When Mr. Lockwood rents Thrushcross Grange, just a little ways from Wuthering Heights, and decides to visit his landlord, Mr. Heathcliff, master of Wuthering Heights, his life is changed forever by one long story told by his housekeeper, Nelly. The story follows Heathcliff, his lover Catherine, her lover Edgar, his sister Isabella, her son Linton, Edgar's daughter Cathy, and Heathcliff's likeness, Hareton. All these characters are bound up in one large story of abuse, revenge, hate, romance, and love --- as some give into the odds and some defy the odds.

Positives: Nelly seeks truth, justice, and true love above all the revenge, hate, and grudges that gather thickly around Wuthering Heights. Nelly encourages Heathcliff to look to the Bible for truth, and she tries to instruct her young charge (Cathy) in the way she should go. Mr. Lockwood is only a curious onlooker, meaning no harm.

Negatives: This book shares the effects of abuse, hate, and revenge, which can be dark themes. There is a lot of abuse in this book, verbal and physical. There is some minimal language; marital unfaithfulness; and Cathy lies to and deceives her father multiple times.

-Someone else's hate can't destroy your love
-Hate destroys lives
-Forgiveness and reconciliation brings healing

Conclusion: I loved this book. I thought it was an excellently written story, engaging and interesting, and the way the author revealed the effects of abuse and later revenge and hate and more abuse, was powerful. The end I found a bit abrupt and somewhat confusing, but as I've thought about it more, I've liked it better. It is a dark story, and so I understand that some people may not like it. Finally, it's hard to describe, so you're better off reading it yourself. :) I recommend it for boys and girls ages 16+. It is definitely written for a more mature audience.

Rating: 4 (Liked it!)

13 July 2012

Movie Review: Warrior

Title: Warrior
Genre: Drama & Sports
Rated: PG-13

Synopsis: In years long past, Paddy Conlon was a drunkard and abusive, driving away his wife and one of his sons and creating enmity with his other son. During more recent years, Paddy has been living alone and has had a change in life. He no longer drinks, thanks to his "pal Jesus," and he is trying to reconcile with his sons (his wife has died), but one son, Tommy Conlon, is only interested in his dad as a coach, as a way back into MMA fighting, and Brendan Conlon is okay with forgiving his dad but can't trust him yet. Now, Brendan finds himself in need of a job and begins to take up MMA fighting again. Then, both brothers must face each other at a large championship, Brendan, following his father's footsteps in forgiveness, and Tommy bitter and angry and ready to hurt anyone who gets in his way. 

Positives: There is an extremely subtle Christian message in this story. With Paddy leaving Church in the beginning of the movie, a bible sitting on a table in Paddy's living room, and Tommy briefly asking Paddy where Jesus was when his mother was dying. If you listen closely, you can also hear that Paddy has given up drinking due to the change Jesus made in his life, and at the end, some of the t-shirts read with very hidden Christian messages. Tommy is battling anger and bitterness and through Paddy and Brendan's witness he comes to the breaking point and accepts their forgiveness. Paddy attempts reconciliation with both sons, and Brendan is ready to forgive both his father and his brother. Brendan's wife, though unhappy about his choice to rejoin MMA, later supports him. 

Negatives: Some language. The MMA fighting can be brutal at times, with the fighters breaking each other's bones, throwing each other across the arena, and Tommy is especially brutal, out there to win and not caring about the other person. An underdressed woman walks past the screen at one of the competitions (short but there). Paddy relapses to drinking at one point due to depression but when Tommy reaches out to him, he recovers. Paddy is definitely not perfect though he is changed by Jesus. 


Conclusion: I watched this movie 2.5 times and understood things better the more I watched it. The message was touching, even if the end seemed abrupt, and I was surprised at the subtle Christian messages in a  secular film. It was nice to see a film go deep, digging into anger and forgiveness, themes that most movies don't touch on. The acting was also very impressive. I would recommend this for ages 13+ boys and girls, though some girls may not appreciate the MMA fighting, but I think the storyline was worth it, and the fighting did lend to the storyline, as the director, Gavin O'Connor, told Plugged In, the title doesn't just refer to "guys in a cage beating the heck out of each other . . . the intention of the title had more to do with spiritual warfare." 

Rating: 5 (Loved it!)

12 July 2012

Movie Review: Sherlock Holmes 2

Title: Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Genre: Drama & Comedy
Rated: PG-13

Synopsis: Following the first Sherlock Holmes... there are mysterious bombings taking place around Europe, and Holmes has decided to take on the case! Watson is getting married and trying to move on in life . . . but due to a series of life-threatening events, he decides to help Holmes. Now Holmes and Watson take on the case side-by-side. Holmes's arch-enemy Professor Moriarty is giving the two detectives a hard time . . .

Positives: It is a very light-hearted movie with a lot of clean, fun humor. Holmes and Watson care for each other and try to help each other out even when the other is being obstinate or annoying. Holmes is trying to save lives throughout the movie and succeeds most of the time. 

Negatives: Some violence though none of it is very graphic. The bad guy poisons one girl and bombs quite a few buildings killing many people. There is one scene where a man is nude, and it is portrayed in a humorous light. Some minimal language. Watson and Holmes (among others) drink, and Watson gets drunk. Watson also gambles. There is a scene where Moriarty hooks Holmes up, enjoying watching Holmes in pain. Holmes is at first annoyed that Watson is getting married, but later either gets over it or learns the value of Watson's wife. 

-Risking a life to save others

Conclusion: This movie was really just pure fun. There wasn't much meaning in it (at all!), but Holmes really does care for people and does his best to foil Moriarty's evil plans to plant bombs, but all-in-all, I can't say I got a lot out of it, but I would recommend it for a light, fun time, ages 13+ (it can be dark at times) boys and girls. 

Rating: 4 (Liked it!)