Monday, January 15, 2018

Music Review: Nat King Cole: The Christmas Song

N one sings "The Christmas Song" better than Nat King Cole.  It is just pleasing to listen to.  There are two version, one with his daughter Natalie Cole and the other single.  "Away in a Manger" is done with such reverence and humility it is one of my favorite.  A choir takes over the second verse, but aCole sings the first and third.  While in a contrary vein, but also works is the upbeat version of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen."  "I Saw Three Ships" is also very nice.

Music Review: Christmas Around the World

Putamayo Present: Christmas Around the World, 2001.
This is a nice selection of different musical styles and instruments, around the theme of Christmas.  I wouldn't say it is all inclusive of the world.  It is weighted heavily to Latin cultures, especially Cuba, and American Cajun music.  Instruments featured include violin, steel drum, accordion and banjo.  Styles include Twoubadou, Cuban nueva trova, CajunTrinidad steel drum, Cuban jazz, gypsy rumba Flamenco, Cuban campesino and banjo driven music.
I enjoy this different sounds and genres.  I am really attached to Latin sounds. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Movie Review: ****Justice League (2017)

Something is coming and with Superman dead, who is going to keep things in order.  Batman (Ben Affleck) is desperate to build a team.  He puts together a pretty good team with Aquaman (Jason Momoa), The Flash (Ezra Miller), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher).  It is still not enough as they face Steppenwolf and his minions who feed on fear.  Steppenwolf is seeking three boxes with incredible power.  Batman and his team use the box they possess to bring Superman back to life.  His body did not decompose even though he was dead.  Something about his cells.
This movie is fun.  There is plenty of action and struggle, and teamwork.  Each gets to be a hero and save others. 

Friday, December 29, 2017

Picture Book Review: Moonstruck: The True Story of the Cow Who Jumped Over the Moon

Moonstruck: The True Story of the Cow Who Jumped Over the Moon by Gennifer Choldenko illustrated by Paul Yalowitz, Scholastic, New York, 1997.
A silly story about the cow, who trained with the horses, so he could jump over the moon.  This is about someone doing something they are not expected to be able to do, because of their own dream and desire. 

Movie Review: ***^ Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017)

Jumanji is just a fun movie.  It is not a movie with any moral lessons, but just to have a good time.  Four high school kids, transport themselves from high school detention to inside the Jumanji Game, where they have to go through a series of levels, and save Jumanji.  At the same time, they have only three lives.  In real life a nerd, Spencer (Alex Wolff) becomes the hero in Jumanji (Dwayne Johnson.)  The football player, Fridge (Ser'Darius Blain) becomes the back pack holder (Kevin Hart.)  the socialite Bethany (Madison Iseman) changes gender, loses her phone and becomes a zoologist (Jack Black.)  Martha, a nerdy woman (Morgan Turner) becomes the woman in short shorts (Karen Gillam.)  Each has their own skills and weaknesses.  Spencer is a good runner and climber.  Fridge blows up when he eats cake, Martha is good at fight dancing and Bethany knows animals.  However the team is not complete until they find someone who has been in the game for 20 years, Alex (Nick Jonas.)  This movie is pretty OK throughout.  There are some cracks at humor based on the changing gender, and part of Bethany. 

Movie Review: ****^The Greatest Showman (2017)

This is a positive thinking film of the first order.  It shows what happens when you chase a dream, lose sight of the dream, and then regain your focus.  P.T. Barnum is from a poor family, with a big dream and a love of his life who is from a rich family.  How can he support her in the style she deserves.  He comes upon the idea of presenting those who are on the edge of society, a midget, a bearded lady, a tall man, a fat man etc.  His show in New York keeps getting bigger and expanding.  However he loses sight we he tries to be accepting by the aristocratic society, financing a U.S. tour of a European opera star. 
P.T. Barnum... Hugh Jackman
His wife Charity Barnum...Michelle Williams
Co M.C. Phillip Carlyle...Zac Efron
Trapeze artist...Zendaya
Opera singer Jenny Lind...Rebecca Ferguson
Bearded woman Lenny Lutz...Keala Settle
Midget Tom Thumb... Sam Humphrey
Young P.T. Barnum...Ellis Rubin
Barnum children Caroline and Helen...Austyn Johnson and Cameron Seely
This movie is thoroughly entertaining throughout.  Tony and Miranda are still singing the songs.  The theme of pursuing your dreams is prominent.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Martina McBride's Christmas Songs [[full album]]


This is an DVD with most of my favorite songs.  There is "Silver Bells," "Do You Hear What I Hear?," "Away in a Manger," "Silent Night" and "What Child Is This?"  Even part of this set, as songs from four different versions.  There are  additional and different songs and even different covers.  Some of the songs include "Blue Christmas" with Elvis Presley and "Baby It's Cold" with Dean Martin."  Plenty of fun listening.  McBride has a beautiful voice that is very clear.