Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Review of the Movie "Harry Brown"

To whoever reads this:

This is the first review that I have written for a movie. Consequently, the style may be a little bit wrong; however, I think that I get my point across. Anyway, since this is a first, any comments you have are appreciated.

Sincerely,
Peter Last

Review of Harry Brown:



                The movie Harry Brown, (Rated R for strong language, bloody violence, drug use, and sexual content) is a good example of a movie that is too much like real life to be good. It stars Michael Cain as Harry Brown, an older man living in a neighborhood where the senseless violence of the younger generation has created a living nightmare. A few scenes of kids smashing up and burning cars, beating each other up for no reason, and even killing each other drives this point home very well. Early on in the film, a gang kills Harry’s lifelong friend, setting the scene for the rest of the story.
            The death of his friend, and the inability of the police to find and punish the killers was the last straw for Harry, and he decides to take matters into his own hands. The remainder of the movie tells the story of how Harry decides to confront the violence.
            The biggest fault that this movie has is that it has no moral to it. It’s almost as if the writers started telling the story with no specific end in mind, and consequently the movie simply ends. There are no stunning revelations, no look into the morality of right and wrong, no point that can be taken from it; In fact, where other movies have made a strong case for vigilantes fighting crime when the police can’t or won’t, Harry Brown fails because of the character’s motives. Rather than confronting evil for the common good, Harry’s motives were purely those of revenge. Because of this, he is removed from the position of a hero and seen only as a regular person seeking revenge, something that God tells us we should not do. Consequently, it is hard to cheer for Harry and feel good about what he does.
            The one thing that the makers of this movie did well was their choice of actors. Michael Cain did a remarkable job acting as the main character. His portrayal of an elderly man who still has the ability and mettle to look violence in the face was excellent and something that few others could do. The supporting actors and actresses also performed believably in their roles. The result was a movie that felt very real, almost more like a documentary than a movie.
            But not even the acting of Michael Cain and the others could save this movie. With nowhere to go and nothing to build up to, all of their efforts only made very realistic a movie about a world of depraved humans with no source of hope for them. And this is how it ends, with the viewer wondering whether Harry Brown was really better than the people that he was fighting.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Review of "Moby Dick" by Herman Melville

To whoever reads this:

This is a report on the Herman Melville's classic. Enjoy.


            The mind is the most important gift that God gave to mankind. It is what distinguishes us from animals and allows us to choose whether we will accept Jesus as our savior or not. The mind is one of the strongest parts of our body as it can literally determine whether we live or die; however, it is not so strong that it is not susceptible to being damaged or broken. In Moby Dick there are several instances of characters spending too much time on a whaling ship and away from civilization which caused their minds to be injured.
           The first case of a character being mentally injured is when the first whale is killed by the crew of the Pequod, the whaling ship that is the setting of the book. Stubb, the second mate of the ship, killed the whale, so when the beast had been secured to the side of the ship, he had one of the ship’s harpooners cut him a steak from the whale and had the ship’s cook prepare it for him. As he was eating the steak, he was disturbed by the noise of sharks that had gathered to feed on the carcass of the whale. To deal with the troublesome situation, he called the ship’s cook onto the deck and told him to preach to the sharks and tell them to behave in a Christian manner. Stubb obviously did not have all of his mental faculties about him if he actually thought that preaching to the sharks would produce the desired effect.
            Ishmael, the narrator of the book, spent less than a year on the Pequod; however, this was more than enough time to damage him mentally. As Ishmael was narrating the story, he would periodically insert information and thoughts about whales into the text, and it is in these parts of the book that his mental injury becomes evident. He was so enamored with the occupation of whaling that he tried to show what an honorable profession it is. One of the ways that he did this was by claiming that in the story of St. George and the Dragon, St. George was not fighting a dragon but a whale that had been beached. To make this idea even more ludicrous, he proposed that the animal that St. George rode may have been a large seal or seahorse. It is clear that Ishmael was not right in the head to have come up with this idea.
            Ahab, the captain of the Pequod, was influential in the book due to the fact that he was insane. On a previous whaling trip, Ahab had lost his leg to the legendary white whale Moby Dick, and this loss drove him crazy and caused him to go out of his way to kill the whale. In a way, Ahab saw Moby Dick as the embodiment of all that was wrong in his life, and his obsession with killing the beast caused him to lead his ship and crew into harm’s way in order to slay it.
            To some, Moby Dick may just be a book about a demented captain leading his ship on a hunt for a specific whale; however, there are very important lessons to be learned from the story. Though all of the sailors on the Pequod came from different backgrounds, they were all subjected to the same mental torture of separation from civilization, and as a result, the minds of many of them were injured or broken completely. God created in us a need to live in a civilization, and we should not try to defy this need or we will find out that the mind is not so mighty a stronghold that it cannot be overcome.

Thank you for your time and for reading my blog.

Sincerely,
Peter Last

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Review of "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain

To whoever should read this:
The following is a review of the book "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain. Enjoy.

           There are many things that people count on in this world. While some people put their trust in money or power, others trust in material possessions. Though all of these things will fail given enough time, a true friend can be trusted no matter what happens. In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, many of the characters were not particularly wealthy, but their friends always upheld them in their times of need.
            One of the closest friends of Huckleberry Finn, the main character of the book, was a runaway slave named Jim. When he found Jim, Huck decided not to return him to his owner. Instead he promised to help Jim run away to freedom, so the two of them set out on a raft down the Mississippi River. On the trip down the river, Jim was of invaluable help when things went awry. At one point in time, Huck was separated from the raft which was a serious problem because the raft had all of the food and other provisions. Though Jim could have left Huck and tried to reach freedom by himself, he searched for Huck and eventually found him.  At another point on their trip down the river, the raft was lost and Huck found himself separated from Jim and in the midst of a family feud. Again Jim could have run off and left Huck with his troubles, but he found the raft and Huck and together they escaped.
            Huck was also quick to help those whom he considered to be his friends, even if he had only known them for a very short period. On one of the stops during his travels down the Mississippi River, he got mixed up in an ugly affair concerning the considerable wealth of a dead man. Two con artists were pretending to be the relatives of the daughters of the dead man so that they could get their hands on the money that was to be the girls’ inheritance. Huck knew that these men were not who they claimed to be, so he devised a plan to expose them and get the money back to its rightful owners. Even though this was perhaps not in his best interests Huck did it for the girls whom he considered his friends.
            Huck also had the opportunity to help his friend Jim on their trip down the Mississippi River. Since Jim was a black, he could not move freely through the southern states without being taken by a slave trader and sold. Huck helped Jim as much as could by hiding him when necessary for him to avoid detection; however, Jim was eventually caught and sold. When this happened, Huck had to decide whether he was going to continue on his own or free his friend. In Huck’s mind there was no choice; he was going to help free his friend no matter what might happen because of it. He did all that he could to free Jim, even getting shot in the process, and in the end Jim was free.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is fun to read but more importantly contains ideas of great truth that come straight from the Bible. When the characters of the book were in bad situations, it was not their material possessions but their reliance on their friends that sustained them. Moreover, they were more than happy to return the favor when the opportunity presented itself. As it is stated in Proverbs 17:17 A friend is loving at all times and becomes a brother in times of trouble.


Thank you for your time and for reading my blog.

Sincerely,
Peter Last

My First Post

To whoever decides to read this:

I am an aspiring author, and this is officially my first blog entry. I don't really have anything to post at the moment, but I will in the next few days. Thank you for your time and for visiting my blog.

Sincerely,
Peter Last