Reading, Watching, Opinions

Winter’s Tale

This movie. This movie was achingly beautiful, perfect, subtly fantastical, wonderful, well done, and in the end infuriating.

It tells of a world where demons and angels battle over the souls of man, and where everyone has one miracle they can use with only one other person. When we die, our souls are given wings, if we were good, and we fly up to the heavens to become stars and live out eternity with those we love best.

It tells of a man headed down the wrong path until he met a girl. This very special girl is about to die but isn’t bitter. Demons gather around him thinking his miracle must be to save the girl’s life, and tip the balance in favor of the angels. The demons are wrong. In a heart-breaking scene, the girl dies. The man who loved her didn’t. 100 years later, he is still walking around NY City but with no memory of who he is or who he loved. The only thing he knows is he must save a red-haired woman.

When everything is said and done, they were drawn together because it was her miracle to save him even as she died, and that miracle gave him long life so he, in turn, could save a little girl from dying of cancer. The demons are destroyed with the help of a beautiful white horse who then transports the man to his place in the stars with the woman he loved.

It was a really beautiful movie. Until the end. At the end, the voiceover narration, which started the story, explains how maybe the universe is on our side and is willing to move heaven and earth to save one life. At first, I thought this idea worked for the movie, but in a world where we abort so many of our children it falls flat. There was a deeper issue with this movie, too. This movie had demons, angels, and even Lucifer, but no Christ. God is mentioned in passing but only by the demon and only as an observation that he must be as blood-thirsty as the rest of us.

What I came away with is something I think you see a lot of in our world. We will gladly have angels and demons. We will gladly have faith, hope, and love. We will even accept Lucifer. But, we will never never never accept God and Christ. We will believe in a Universe that is like God, but not God himself.

It sickened me.

How rebellious are we as a people? Anthropomorphically, how frustrating must it be for creation to have the creatures given dominion over it, given an image of God in their being, turn around and declare that the universe, just another part of creation, must be our god?

Not only do we throw that in God’s face, but we also cast out his Son. We take the Son—who God loves, who came to earth a willing sacrifice—and we spit on the idea of salvation. We don’t want it to be about God. We want it to be about us. We want to save ourselves by our own light, our own hope, our love, and our goodness. We think we can overcome demons on our own. We think that if we just hope in hope, love love, and have faith in faith, we can save this world.

That is a lie and Lucifer is still chuckling.

We can’t have truth without God and his Word. We can’t have real Hope, Faith, and Love without knowing what we hope in, where our faith is anchored and who loves us with a worth-dying-for love.

So, while part of me really wanted to love this movie, the other part of me thought it was so humanistic as to turn my stomach. I’d rather go watch something like Stardust which doesn’t try to get so theological, because at least I don’t spend all day arguing with a movie.

Have you seen this? I think it’s worth at least one viewing. It is a very pretty movie with a moving story and it can spark interesting conversation afterwards. Let me know what you thought! I do plan on reading the book and seeing if it is any better.

Rated PG-13

Other Recently Watched Movies and Read Books:

Non-Stop: This thriller takes place on a plane and stars Liam Neeson as a burned out US Marshall. Someone threatens the lives on the plane. When Neeson starts to investigate, he is framed for the crime. I went into it thinking it would be more of an action flick, but it’s definitely a thriller. Lots of fun and well done, it won’t win any Oscars but is a good weekend watch.

Rated: PG-13

Hercules: Normally, I’m a pretty solid Rock fan. (ha!) I like most movies Dwayne Johnson makes. This one isn’t going to be high on the list. It was fun, but not anything great. The best way I can sum it up is this: If I was eight and my parents had taped it off TV (thus, eliminating the one or two bad words and inappropriate and totally pointless scenes), I would have loved it. I would have watched it over and over. As an adult, it seemed to lack a little . . .something. I did not like the overall message of the movie: you’re a hero if you think you are. Really? You can think you’re a hero all day long, but until you act like one, sorry, you’re not.

Rated: PG-13

Guardians of the Galaxy: From what I’ve heard, this summer movie season isn’t going very well, except for this movie. Guardians is a lot of fun, cute, touching, silly, and quote-able. It is the story of five misfits coming together over a shared enemy and the need for the Galaxy to be saved. Out of all the comic book movies, excluding the Avengers, it feels the least comic-book-y. This is one I might even add to my movie collection, and I can’t wait to see it again.

Rated: PG-13


TMNT: Not much to say here: The Turtles were really well done. I loved them. Megan Fox didn’t drive me up the wall and had an awesome yellow jacket, as well she should. The plot was full of very big holes. Ultimately, it was fun, but forgettable. Again, the Turtles themselves rocked.

Rated: PG-13

Expendables 3: This was my most anticipated movie of the summer. I know, I’m really strange when it comes to movies. The plot was great. It was all about how old guys are afraid they don’t have anything to bring to the table anymore. I loved the idea. The problem was in the execution. The middle dragged because we all knew where it was going and we were just waiting for it to get there. I also thought the end rescue seemed a little too predictable and tactically didn’t make sense. Why would they approach the city walking right down the middle in a canyon of fallen buildings? Does this scream “Trap!” to anyone else? Mel Gibson was great. I wish Antonio Banderas had been smooth and cool, instead of silly, but he still did a great job. The moment the team reunites is epically perfect. I’ll probably buy it just so my collection is complete, but Expendables 1 is still my favorite. They tried to be less catch phrase and more serious, which I like, but the editing just seemed off. I will say this, Stallone and Stathem are really good together. I wish they’d make an off-shoot of them in an action flick.

Rated: PG-13

Divergent: Boring. That is all I have to say. I spent most of this movie bored and I don’t get bored easily in movies. If they had made the overarching political plot more obvious so that there was something going on that you cared about, and if they shortened her training down to a montage. It would be like watching Harry Potter going to school without knowing anything about Voldemort until the end and with no trips to the Forest or any other crazy things like Trolls going on. In other words: boring.

Rated: PG-13

Raising Dragons by Bryan Davis: I had a hard time with this book and I also liked it. I can see why young people from 12-16 would like it. I would have loved it at that age too. Raising Dragons strikes me as the kind of young adult fiction that is young adult not so much because it centers around children, but because the characters aren’t deep enough to ring true with adults. The Christianity in the book doesn’t add depth but an odd sense of doctrinal untruth. Ultimately, it was a fun book, but due to the lack of real suffering, I didn’t find myself deeply hooked.

Rated: PG

Anansi Boys: Neil Gaiman has a fascination with gods. He’s not focused so much on the true Christian God, but all the other man-made, little ones. This story is about a very normal man who has very un-normal things happen to him when his father dies. This leads him to discover he is the son of a god and he has a brother. Anansi Boys is very well written, beautiful, and funny. The relationship between the two brothers is the heart of the story along with a determined but confused cop, a ghost, a psychopath, and a group of old ladies who are really witches. I would highly recommend this book.

Rated: PG-13

Good Omens: One of Neil Gaiman’s most popular books and written with Terry Pratchett, this story covers the last few years and days of the Apocalypse as an angel and demon who are having too much fun here on earth fight to stop it from happening. Again, you can’t get better writing. The use of language alone keeps you glued to every page. Doctrinally, it’s a mess. I think that might be its draw. People suppress the truth and they enjoy seeing it made fun of. It was a little hard not to argue with the book at some points, but most of the time it was so off point that it didn’t bother me one bit. It was clever and funny. The ending wasn’t as tidy as I wanted. There were vague references to British things that made it a bit confusing. Other than that, a great read, but I don’t think I’m going to re-read it thousands of times like some of its other fans.

Rated: PG-13

Sharpe’s Rifles by Bernard Cornwell: I can’t stress enough how much I love Bernard Cornwell’s writing. His stories capture you from the beginning and hold you until the very end. His characters are memorable, and his historical settings are rich and well-developed. I’ve read only one other of the Sharpe’s novels and this one, neither disappointed. I can’t wait to get the rest of them.

Rated: PG -13

Red Seas Under Red Skies (Gentleman Bastard, #2) by Scott Lynch: Reading this book in 30 minute intervals while I worked out didn’t really do it justice. Trying not to cry while you work out is also not the best of ideas. All the Gentleman Bastard books have been amazing. The plot keeps you going. The twists and turns keep you on the edge of your bicycle seat, and the loyalty between the two main characters keeps you cheering them on. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series. The world building is excellent and even my brother would have approved of the high-seas shenanigans. This book series is rich and well-developed.

Rated: R

Well, that’s what I’ve been reading and watching. I hope you enjoy!

Books: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch


Midsummer-Mark; The Day of Changes, the seventeenth of Parthis in the Seventy-eighth Year of Aza Guilla, as the Therin Calendar would have it. On the Day of Changes, the city of Camorr went mad. – The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

I follow a blog by a Library where they review books. I enjoy the reviews because they’re short, to the point, and generally true in my experience. This blog has only added to my reading list, so follow it at your own risk.

The other day, I read a review for Red Seas under Red Skies, by Scott Lynch. To be honest, and if you know me you won’t be surprised, it was the caution at the end of the article which caught my eye and made me want to read the book. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy high fantasy, and I enjoy clean fantasy if it’s done well. But, what I don’t like is insipid fantasy with no teeth.

Needing a new book to read on my phone while I work out, I looked up Scott Lynch. I found that Red Seas under Red Skies is book 2 of the series, so I downloaded a sample of The Lies of Locke Lamora, book 1. It hooked me instantly. Reading this book was akin to when I watched the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie. I literally grinned from ear to ear the entire movie and couldn’t stop grinning when I left the theater. It was fun. It was just plain fun.pirates-of-the-caribbean-johnny-depp-orlando-bloom

The Lies of Locke Lamora is a very well written fantasy. You know when you dabble in an art form for a while and it gives you an appreciation for the artists because you know how much work it is to do what they do? I felt that way the entire time I read Scott Lynch’s book. I have a good sense of what goes on behind the words on the page. Lynch has done the work. His world is well-developed, in-depth, gritty, and unique. I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a fantasy book this much in a long, long time.

I find much of fantasy and urban fantasy annoying, degrading, and poorly written. Lynch’s book is none of those. He’s gritty, but not quite to the George R.R. Martin level. His rich world is familiar, but not just another medieval fantasy. He doesn’t insult my intelligence by having a sex scene on the first page as a hook. Nor does he treat women as eye candy and men as idiots. He uses a series of flashbacks to develop the characters and constantly ratchet up the tension level until the reader is strung out and begging for relief.

The story—without giving too much away—is about a young man, Locke, who is a thief in a dark and dangerous port city. Locke is far more than a pickpocket. He uses costumes, language, and fashion to steal from the one group of people he shouldn’t steal from by the laws of the Secret Peace. He has just enough moxy to get him in deep trouble, and just enough savvy to get him out. But, Locke is also a very loyal man guided by what he views as right: stealing is fine, but murder isn’t. As the plot thickens, this loyalty is used against him over and over, but he never waivers from it. Locke is no Robin Hood. He steals from the rich and keeps it for himself. But he is clever, kind, and has the snarkiest sense of humor even in the tightest of spots. This sense of humor is one of the most enjoyable parts of the book.

10327143_10200897433198493_1895951008_nThe Lies of Locke Lamora did put me in a very uncomfortable position. I both wanted to keep reading and I wanted to stop. I wanted to make sure everyone came through the twisted heist and double-crossing alive and well—they don’t—but I didn’t want to leave the world. I wanted to stay with Locke and his gang for as long as possible. If I read in little increments, I could stay longer. If I savored the moment of tension when lives where on the line, I wouldn’t have to return to a world without honorable thieves dressed in fake beards wielding stilettos and a sharp tongue. If I just read a little . . .

It didn’t happen. Lynch weaves a tale of high stakes and high tension with twists and turns reaching to grab the elusive Locke and his gang in a grasp of death. Putting the book down left Locke, Jean, Galdo, Calo, and Bug in dire circumstance. I just couldn’t do it. So, what did I do? How did I solve the horrible situation Lynch put me in? I instantly got book 2!

I do feel obligated to put in a word of caution. This book is pretty clean, all things considered, on the sex side, but it is filled with language and violence. If you have no stomach for such things, please just pass on it. But, if you think you might enjoy something that reads like a mix between Game of Thrones and Pirates of the Caribbean, that’s just a bit easier to read, and where a few people make it to the end, try the Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch.

If you’ve already read it, let me know what you thought! If you click the picture of the book below, it will take you to Amazon where you can order the book, plus I get a little kick back for being the link you used. 🙂


Jean, Locke, Bug, Calo and Galdo…or Galdo and Calo.