Novel Series for teens – But Punches harder than the Hunger Games!

August 24, 2012
The Last Hunter – Descent is Book 1 of the Antarktos Saga by Jeremy Robinson. This is a YA action/thriller based on Robinson’s Antarktos Rising novel (for more mature audiences).
If you have read any of Jeremy’s books, then you know the awesome flavor he deals out on the page. His books have big action with relatable characters who fight fantasy monsters, The monsters are grounded enough in some reality that they come out hardcore and never corny. The plots are the same. They are roller coaster rides but intelligently done so you are never taken out of the story.
This book, unlike his others, is not as gory, has no cussing, and no adult romance. Still, hits as hard as his other books. It never feels like it’s sanitized or that he’s pulling punches. You are right there and get all the “butt” kicking you expect from this style of book. I know he planed this as a YA book, but it reads as if it just happened to work out that way.
This is a great book to pick up, especially for Boys, who have run out of Hunger Games books. It’s also about a teen boy, who is a strong male character with out having to be sexiest or superficially macho. I love the idea here. He is trying to fight between being the savage killer and being a real person. If you are at all into thriller (for adults, kids, or teens) You should pick this up.

If the thing you liked about Hunger Games was the Twilight style romance and just endured the rest of it to find out what happened with that Bread Guy… then pick out a different book.

The Last Hunter – Descent

Jeremy Robinson

Antarktos Rising

Jeremy Robinson

The Hunger Games

Suzanne Collins

Movie Recommendations

August 24, 2012

So. I updated my Movie Recommendations page. It’s funny. It started at this list:
What are your favorite movies?

Lord Of The Rings (1 movie in 3 very long parts)
The Passion of the Christ
Signs
Mercy Streets
Luther
Babe: Pig in the City
The Addiction
Phonebooth
Jonah: A Veggie Tales Movie
The Wild One
Godspell

Now it’s up to 53 films. (54 if you count my either or at number 23)

The numbers are not a ranking, but the order you should see them in.

(First Read JRR Tolkien’s

The Tolkien Reader

ON   FAIRY-STORIES)

  1. B000JLTR8QM. Night Shyamalan’s Lady in the Water  (pe) (d) (bl)
  2. Babe (m) (f) (bl)
  3. Babe Pig In The City (m) (d) (bl)
  4. Nanny McPhee
  5. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941)(d) (nf) (pe)
  6. B000OHBCI8The Picture of Dorian Gray (1945) (d) (nf) (c)
  7. The Exorcism of Emily Rose   (nf) (pe) (d) (bl)
  8. Luther   (c) (nf)
  9. Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (c) (d)
  10. The Village (pe) (nf)
  11. SE7EN (pe) (nf) (d) (bl+)
  12.  Let The Right One In (m) (nf) (D) (bl)
  13. The Addiction (c) (nf) (d) (bl+)
  14. Signs   (c) (nf)(bl)
  15. Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers (c) (d)
  16. Godspell (c) (f)(bl)
  17. The Miracle Maker (c) (d)
  18. Ben Hur   (c)
  19. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe  (c)
  20. The Passion of the Christ (c) (nf) (d)
  21. Lord Of The Rings: Return Of The King (c) (d)
  22. To End All Wars (c) (nf) (d)(bl+)
  23. I Am Legend (c)(nf)(d)(bl) or   The Book of Eli (c)(nf)(d)(bl)
  24. On The Waterfront(c)
  25. The Incredible Adventures of Wallace & Gromit [3 shorts] (f) (s)
  26. The Incredibles (m)
  27. Testament: The Bible In Animation [9 shorts] (c) (d)
  28. Rope (d) (m)
  29. In The Bedroom (d)(nf)(pe)(bl)
    Note: “The Bedroom” in the title refers to a compartment of a Lobster Trap
  30. Mercy Streets (c) (nf)
  31. Citizen Kane (m)
  32. Phone Booth (m) (pe) (d) (nf)(bl++)
  33. Man On Fire (c) (nf) (d)(bl+)
  34. The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra (s)
  35. Newsboys Down Under The Big Top (c) (s) (f)
  36. Napoleon Dynamite (s)
  37. Danielson a Family Movie (or, Make A Joyful Noise HERE) (c) (pe) (nf)(bl)
  38. Extreme Days (c) (s)
  39. Arsenic and Old Lace (s)
  40. 13 Going On 30 (m) (s)(bl)
  41. Chillicothe (s) (m) (d)   (nf) (slightly – pe)(bl)
  42. Lars and the Real Girl  (c) (nf)(bl)
  43. Sense and Sensibility (c)(f)
  44. Maltese Falcon
  45. Vertigo (d)
  46. Pride and Prejudice  (m)
  47. Unbreakable (nf) (d)(bl)
  48. The Wild One (m)
     (Under Midnight’s Void album is a concept album imagining the inner thoughts of a space aged Wild One)
  49. Casablanca (m)
  50. The Lord of the Rings Extended Edition   (one movie in three parts) (c) (nf) (d)

In the comments below tell me:

  • How many of the list you have seen.             or
  • Which movies you think are good choices.   or
  • Which movies are bad choices.                     or
  • What should be added.

And for the big time film aficionado…

  • Which movies are in the wrong spot.

Happy Birthday Alfred Hitchcock

August 13, 2011

Happy Birthday Alfred Hitchcock. (1899–1980)
For thous of you unfamiliar with this genius, Hitchcock had no morals, he did not believe in them. Still he loved drama and he loved story and though that they did not work with out morals. (To paraphrase) he said that to create drama, you draw a clear moral line and then have a character obviously cross it (in an entertaining fashion). Now, when there is a moral law and you break it, there must be a consequence. You are now waiting for the consequence and that creates drama. It’s funny how, as a creator he mirrored his CREATOR much more than he did as a creation. Still, not all of his films end up on the moral high ground, but he did make some of the best films ever and many of them at least land on the right foot. I suggest you start with films like Vertigo, Rear Window, Notorious and Rope. I would avoid films like “The Trouble With Harry” that were supposed to be funny because he didn’t include the “moral line.” All he accomplishes here is to prove that yes, he needed the moral line to create great film.
If you want to go modern, I would not bother with the remakes but check out M. Knight Shamalon’s “Signs” From the opening music you can tell this is a tribute to Mr. Hitchcock and from the raw genius and strong moral lines, it is a fitting one.

Car CD for May 2011

May 21, 2011

So, I have just been putting my iThing on shuffle, but Eowyn started asking if there could be a new CD with a hand full of songs. So, if filled it in and here is the fist full of songs we came up with it.

As I listen to the cd, I realize that lots of this is based on books we are reading.

1) Are you going to Narnia (sample)

The 2nd Chapter of.Acts
2) Every Grain of Sand –

 ghost something (Bob Dylan Cover)

3) Bumping up and down (Red Wagon) –

Singable Songs For The Very Young

Raffi

4) Ponies need Shoeing

The Hobbit; Rankin Bass Production; Complete original soundtrack including Dialogue, Music and Songs; 2x LP boxed Set; Booklet; 1977

Glenn Yarbrough

the hobbit soundtrack ( The Hobbit; Rankin Bass Production)

5) Teddy Bear Picnic

6) Old Mac Donald had a Band

Singable Songs For The Very Young

Raffi

7) There aint no bugs on me

8) Down By The Bay / Brush your teeth

Singable Songs For The Very Young

Raffi

9) The Cow by Robert Louis Stevenson – Sean McKinley – Librivox

10) Cows

Philadelphia Chickens

Sandra Boynton / The Seldom Herd

11) Crocodile Fishin’ –

Wild Anamalz

Beau Young

12) 5 Green and Speckled Frogs

Singable Songs For The Very Young

Raffi

13) Less frogs

14) Even less frogs

15) The Witch is dead (Get it through your head) / Something strange is happening to me – )

The 2nd Chapter of.Acts

16) Here Lies A Tree

Pooh

Three Cheers for Pooh

17) Hosanna in the highest – ? – Scripture Rock

18) Psalm 23

1959

Soul-Junk

19) Aslan is killed

The 2nd Chapter of.Acts

20) Lift Up Your Hearts

Christian Songs

Joy Electric

21) Fox in Sox Rap

22) Ill-M-I  (Soul Junk Cover)

Welcome to Diverse City

Tobymac

23) And So It Goes

Dad

Breakfast With Am

24) Icky

Everything Was Beautiful and Nothing…

Breakfast With Amy

25) Son Dancer

Into The Son

Dakoda Motor Co.

26) All good generals

Into The Son

Dakoda Motor Co.

27) Dandelions

Proof That the Youth Are Revolting

Five Iron Frenzy

28) Undignified

Chris Tomlin

545

29) Ron Paul Anthem

30) New World

Music Inspired By The Chronicles of …

TobyMac

31) Bilbo’s Last Song

The Lord of the Rings

J.R.R. Tolkien

So as you look at this list, you might figure out that some of this came thanks to the ad intensive web page http://www.video2mp3.net/ Then a bunch more were brought to the computer by an Ion TTUSB Turntable with USB Record (This thing works great. It just plugs in to your computer and the program records the audio and splits up the tracks)

And, as you may have guessed, lately we have been  reading:

The Chronicles of Narnia

C. S. Lewis

Lady in the Water

M. Night Shyamalan

The Annotated Hobbit

J.R.R. Tolkie

A Child’s Garden of Verses

Robert Louis Stevenson

Pooh Library original 4-volume set

A. A. Milne,

Psalm Twenty-Three

Tim Ladwig

Fox in Socks Book & CD

Dr. Seuss

and of course!

Bilbo’s Last Song

J.R.R. Tolkien

True Grit

April 25, 2011

This is a review of the movie True Grit
It answers the questions
What Is It?
How Was It?
Is It Good For Kids?
What About Spiritual Issues?
and
What Is Your Recommendation?

The music is “My Darling Whippoorwill” by Mortal from their album “Wake”
Here is the link for that -http://goo.gl/EDx7F

God’s Gonna Cut You Down by Johnny Cash from America 5
http://goo.gl/PL7Al

True Grit DVD
http://goo.gl/925kz

True Grit Soundtrack
http://goo.gl/6JF1W

Hanna Q&E Review Show

April 20, 2011


Check out the review for

The theme music is “My Darling Whippoorwill” by Mortal from their album “Wake”

Q&E is Back

April 18, 2011

Yes, Welcome to Question Entertainment: The Basement Years!

As Promised, here are all the links I talk about in the video:

http://www.liasophia.com/abigailrooney

http://christopherouellette.wordpress.com/speaking/

http://DancingSkunkMedia.com/

PS
The music at the end is “My Darling Whippoorwill” by Mortal from their album “Wake”
Here is the link for that – http://goo.gl/EDx7F

A Book I Wrote*, and Things I said

October 28, 2010

I’m sorry it’s been a while since I have posted. Lately I have loved “Let the Right One In“Book Of Eli” “Devil” and “Ink” I have Hated “Legion” “Mega Force” and I left after 15 min of “Let Me In” due to porn…

I am looking forward to Dawn Treader and True Grit!

But There are exciting happenings over here. I am getting ready to do my “20 Questions” presentation in Chichester in November. You can see more about that here. It’s a class that teaches you how to understand story and find the teams of a story. Anyone is welcome, but it’s geared toward educators who teach story in any form.

And the book I wrote with Eowyn (My 4 year old Daughter) is just about to come out. You can read more about that right here!

I hope to see you on the 9th of November!

 

Are we keeping our children safe?

July 23, 2010

When it comes to children, I think society pressures us to keep there bodies too safe and there minds not safe enough.  Kids are hard pressed to just play anymore. They might hurt themselves running climbing and jumping. They might get wounded if the build something. So what do they do. They can sit and stare at a screen that is Physically Safe fun for them. Most of it is (at the very least)  “not exactly what I want them to hear but it’s not that bad.” Still the slight message that might have been a forgettable side note becomes drilled onto there head when they watch the same movie again and again. (sometimes multiple times in a week.) When they are not watching it they can  partake in preprogrammed play with action figures and recite the movie they have heard again and again. (safely, on the carped floor, with no small parts to make them choke) The child has no input at all. The TV tells them each character and what the say and how they act. It is much safer mentally to read them lots of books. Then, even if there are pictures they learn to engage their mind to put the story together. You are also reading to them, and thus set the tone and can preempt the parts that they might not be ready for or that might be objectionable. I don’t need to out line all the benefits of reading to your kids and encouraging them to really play. As they jump off things and become real kids they may get bums bruises and scrapes but those will heal  much easier than the latest humanistic philosophy sloped in to the next “family” DVD. We are raising God’s children and preparing them for the future. What sort of adult life  are they prepared for when the thing they best know how to do is to sit in a padded room and stair blankly at the flashing lights?

PS.

Frank Luther put out a popular kids record in the 30′s called “Songs Of Safety.”  It has one song that goes “Johny climbs fences, and Johnny climbs walls and Johnny climbs banisters up in the halls but when Johnny climbs fences and Johnny climbs wall, Johnny is careful so he never falls.

Here is an NPR interview with Lenore Skenazy of Free Range Kids

M Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender

July 20, 2010

What is it?

Based on a very inventive and fun cartoon from Nickelodeon, The Last Air Bender is an adventure in another world. This world is made up of four nations, Water, Fire, Earth, and Air. Some members of each nation can “Bend” or move their element through space. Though there may be plenty of other applications, It’s mostly used as a marshal art to fight others with.

Balance is thrown off when the Fire Nation attacks the other three, in an attempt to rule the word. In the midst of this conflict, To Teens, Katara (Nicola Peltz) and Sokka (Twilight’s Jackson Rathbone) Discover the last living Air Bender, 12 year old Aang (Noah Ringer). Aang is not only the last of his people, he is “The Avatar.” A special warrior who has the ability to master all four elements, Bridge the Physical and Spiritual world, Bring balance and understanding, as well as kick major butt with his awesome power.

How was it?
The scope and magnitude of the film raises the level of the film in such a way that the failure of the movie to do anything worth while is simply magnified to a level that begs comparisons to Ed Wood. Right away the acting is on par with a well done Christmas play over at your local jr. high. Unfortunate the dialog complements the acting perfectly. Then there is the story line, it played like a ten year old explains season one of the tv show ( and then this happened, and then that happened..) as a studio exec’s secretary took dictation. The special effects were good but the actual “fighting” was boring and confusing. Where most the fighting was done with element bending, what you see is elongated ti-Che looking dancing with stuff swirling around them. As impressive as the dancing and effects were, I often thought “oh just punch him!”
This is the problem if you only watch the movie, but if you are a fan of the show (or like me, and watched it because you were excited about the movie) you will be even more disappointed. The show is for kids and has goofy humor, but is a lot o fun. Not only is the story very well thought out, the characters are dimensional and interesting. The result is that you care about the characters (even the “bad guys”) and are very interested in the story. All the humor is gone as well as the heart. Aang himself no longer fears being the avatar because he will have to sacrifice his own child hood for the good of the world. (A pain that makes him a real character who you can feel for as well as allowing him to be a fun character.) In the film Aang does not want this duty because the avatar can never have a family. Not only is he a twelve year old boy hoping to grow up to be a family man, its even more ridiculous when you realize he was raised by monks in an all male temple! The result on the movie is it suffers more by comparison. (thus you suffer more as well.)
Just to top everything off, the last image on the screen are the words “written, directed, and produced by M. Night Shamalon. This is killer. This man is the genus behind “Signs.” intact, of his 9 films, one I have not seen, one was silly, six were nothing short of amazing films that rival the films of Alfred Hitchcock, then, the ninth is this atrocity afflicted on film and unleaded on sad audiences with overpriced tickets trying to comfort themselves with thoughts like “maybe he will fix it in the sequel” or “at least I wasn’t watching the new Twilight.” but then you remember that Mr Shamalon had the nerve to include a twilight vampire in the cast, the hurt and sorrow return like flowing water that bends into tears as you just move on to the next question.

Was it worth the extra $3 for 3D?
I think the $3 for 3D was much better spent than the rest of the ticket. The effects were the best part of the film and they looked cool in 3D. I did think the effect was not as flat as Alice in wonderland but not as good as the preview for Voyage o the Dawn treader. There was something weird going on when they has fur hoods on and it got blurry when they panned (which they did a  lot). Maybe if the movie was better, the slight defects in the 3D would detract from the story telling, but with no real storytelling in sight – the 3D helps you focus on the effects.

Is it good for children?
There are some things that may scare small children. Armies are hunting down a 12 year old. But mostly kids will be confused, and fans of the show will be disappointed that “Saka’s not funny and Aang is boring.”

Was it racist?
The tv show has all the characters oriental, though each people group is a different sub set where the group all look like each other but do not look like the other nations or tribes. So, though they are all oriental, you can tell what people group they belong to by there racial features. This seems to me to be a nightmare for casting. So what M. Night has done in this film was to make each nation a fully different race. This is not racist but racial. (If you are unsure of the difference, ask Rhett and link.) Still some point out that the water tribe are heroes and are white while the fire nation are villeins and they are dark. First, the fire nation is is a little more complex that. (That comes through despite the shallow nature of the film.) Further more, the fire nation is Indian! The same nationality as the director / writer / producer. So why would he cast his own race as the fire nation? I do think all the races he picked fit well with the look of the show but the choice was probably just so he could give himself a cameo as a fire nation soldier.

What about spiritual issues?
The show for season one uses Hindu symbolism but in season two starts to get into Hindu/buddhist philosophy as well. Though in the season finally of one, princess Yue is given Christ symbolism when the moon god is killed and she gives her life for his resurrection and the physical salvation Of her people. In the movie the scene is so rushed that the beauty and pain of sacrifice is just laborious. All the buildup that points out the symbolism is reduced to the princess putting her arms out while in close up. Aang himself is a savior of a fictional world with many links to Jesus. In the finally of the second season Aang himself is killed and redirected and along the way strikes a Michelangelo influenced Jesus pose.

 Like Yue, Aang’s symbolism is boiled down to a modification of his back tattoo.
So, even spiritually the show is complex and interesting, and the movie is confusing chunky and unsatisfactory.

What is your recommendation?
This could have been M. Night Shamalon’s “Lord of the Rings,” but ended up his “Plan 9 from Outer Space.” this is a dull trip through cartoon cliff notes is not worth it on any level. Still if you are going to bring your kids to this film or the show you will want to talk about the fantasy world’s philosophy and it’s links to the our worlds philosophies, the truth and the lies.
My real recommendation… Start at M. Night’s “Wide Awake” and keep going until you get to “Lady in the Water.” Just stop before you get to “The Happening” and you will never have to bother with “The Last Airbender.”
(I’ll get back to you after I finish season three and yes I will go to the other two sequels.)


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.