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Showing posts from March, 2014

Movie Review: "Noah" (Mild Spoilers)

If nothing else, Darren Aronofsky's "Noah" is a film of beauty, albeit cold and disturbing beauty.  The cinematography, the visual effects, and the score by Clint Mansell are all very stirring and epic.  The stark Icelandic landscape in which "Noah" was filmed is a believable backdrop for a world in which - as Aronofsky's tale goes - man is an eco-terrorist and has spoiled and consumed nearly all of God's creation.  God communicates to Noah through dreams and hallucinations that all people save for him and his family will be destroyed by water as judgement for their wickedness.  The loneliness of Noah as he prepares for the flooding of the earth is felt acutely by the audience, since there is often nothing but his tiny family in the vast expanse of the uncivilized land.

Sparking the Imagination: A Look into Flint Books

When I was in fourth grade, my whole class participated in a writing program in which we could write original stories on lined pages, adorn them with illustrations, and then have them laminated and bound with real spines by our teacher.  Yes, the illustrations were in crayon, and the writing was very much at a fourth-grade level, but that program changed my life.  From that school year up until this day, I have always believed I was meant to tell stories and to write.  I find great fulfillment in doing so.

Allowing young minds to do the storytelling is the specialty of Flint Books.  They are called Flint Books because, as creator Kevin Meier says: "...kids are amazing storytellers, but sometimes they just need a little spark."  The books are designed to give kids just enough visual inspiration to get them started on their own completely original tale.  There is even a space for them to dedicate the book and write a little "About the Author!"  The eye-catching and …

Hayao Miyazaki's "The Wind Rises"

"The Wind Rises" has to be my favorite Miyazaki film since "My Neighbor Totoro."  While still whimsical, beautiful, and fantastic, "The Wind Rises" will be much more appreciated by adults than by children, which isn't always true for Miyazaki's work.  The story follows the career, aspirations, struggles, and romantic life of Jiro Horikoshi - a Japanese airplane engineer who designed aircraft for the Japanese military during WW II.  The film has themes of corrupt and flawed governments, life-threatening illness, and war, much of the dialogue about which might be a little bit lost on younger audiences.  But just because "The Wind Rises" is animated doesn't mean it cannot entrance adults.  It is a very artfully told story.  The scenes in which Jiro is dreaming are especially beautiful and really showcase Miyazaki's unique style.

My favorite parts about the film were the cast chosen for the voices of the main characters - John Krasin…