Book Review- Scream by Mike Dellosso

What if death and hell stared you in the face?

For Mark Stone it had come close enough. Every time he had a phone line conversation with another soul, it was interrupted by terrifying voices. A cacophony of screams. What was this and how come the one he spoke to would have their line cut out before their untimely death?

This throws the idea of death and peril into Mark’s mind as this curse, this vision makes him race against the clock. Then he realizes that it is inevitable with his own power.

And then death gets personal.

This was a great and clever book. I like that this book doesn’t make light of making the Christian themes in it as some writers would (or some do now as time passes and they find a more mainstream audience). It also gives us terror of what can be a possibility of other people’s fates.

It doesn’t have to be this way for people to be separate from the love of Christ as the characters know including a Christian female cop. There is evil within the themes of this book but also the chance of salvation and love on the other side all given a tough to put down narrative. I hope people who have read this (but wouldn’t be surprised if it has happened) will feel the want to minister to others for Christ. I think the message is that powerful here in this book.

And also Dellosso’s way of writing kept me glued to the pages with its flawed characters, suspenseful and terrifying situations, and enough twists that will make you quit guessing. You are just in it to learn the going on of this main character and another person seemingly apart from the main story but it doesn’t lose its interest.

I found this second piece of the story uneven at first but as time with the book goes on getting further into the mysteries of this person with unknown true intentions, it became a separate highlight as well.

While Christian fiction rarely finds an audience or a workable narrative adapted for film, I wish this was a movie. Come on, Three and House jumped on the celluloid bandwagon so my wonder is why this true Christian Horror story hasn’t come along for the theater ride?

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Movie Review- A Charlie Brown Christmas

Television special: Not rated

Rating: 3 stars out of five.

Review: What makes this one-hour special so charming? Is it the light and pleasant score mostly on piano? Could it be the humble voice-over “actors” who had never done such work before? Is it …. well, just Snoopy?

The answer may be all of the above as we watch the famous “Peanuts” crew on-screen for the first time. This would be the debut but be followed by many specials that Charles Schultz would work with animators and producers to bring out more featuring the title character and the gang.

I can’t pick more than a few favorites in this sweet but short mini-movie. I love (as well as many others) the antics of the walking-dancing beagle Snoopy, the frantic dancing of the kids whose looping movements make it entertaining as well as hard to glance away from, and the overall simple but effective art style.

A part that especially tugs on my heart-strings is Charlie’s plight to find a Christmas tree for their play. He goes far out to the sea of Aluminum trees (apparently too “commercial” for his taste) and ends up seeking what he didn’t expect. A lowly sapling. He talks about how he doesn’t think it’s too bad even though there are gorgeous huge trees in the midst of the selection but he picks it anyway.

I don’t exactly know why but that moment has made me misty-eyed almost every time (the first times I saw it I was too young to experience those kinds of emotions I guess :P). That and when Linus bravely pierces commercialism and tells loud and clear the true meaning of Christmas I feel are two big highlights (Note: Even at the time this was first released Linus’s speech was considered too controversial and the following year the special was aired it had been excised, causing viewers to be upset enough it was put back and its in that form to this day).

Now I know this is not a perfect little film. Seeing it recently I realized I didn’t find the unprofessional actors as charming as I did before though that wasn’t too much of a complaint. Another thing I found strange was Charlie’s constant ranting about how commercial the celebration had become. Now I don’t mind that it ends up revealing a message but him saying that word over and over again just felt nearly annoying.

Other than that this is a great special, a poignant portrayal of Schultz’s beloved characters, and a personal tradition of mine. I love to watch out for this on t.v. every year. And I wouldn’t be surprised if you do too.

Movie Review- The Second Chance

Genre: Drama

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and language

Rating: Three *** stars out of five

Synopsis: Ethan Jenkins seems to have it all together. A book about living for God, a big house, even leading ministry comfortably and only within the walls of his church. His father realizes the quiet crisis and seeks he go to a place he’s not used to. One of many places planted by Ethan’s father, he gets sent to the Second Chance church that is within the heart of an urban community.

There Ethan learns the meaning to serve as well as leaning on and learning with a street-minister who is stubborn as well as zealous to the Lord. There two churches different but founded on principles will have their foundations shaken, their hearts stirred on what truly is right in the eyes of God and what man does that sometimes stops God’s blessings from continuing on for the ministering for others.

Review: I’ll admit it. When I first saw this film, I did not totally like it. I was shocked at the surprising amount of language, sexual suggesting with one character, and overall “unholy” aspects of it. That is until I realized at its heart what it really is that I changed my opinion.

This is about imperfect people all realizing the grace of God and serving Him as well as learning all in the heart of two places, a church with brutal realities and another that appears to have lost its goals on what God wants for ministry and use for His will.

They both clash and one threatens to be torn apart. But people who know what love and humility is about fight to keep their foundations from being taken.

What we have here is a “Cross and the Switchblade” for a new generation. Every person is flawed no matter how small their character and the tender love that is shown between the bodies that are churches is wonderful. Mostly by the church called “the Second Chance” where Ethan gets sent to to find out what real servitude is, and that is not what he’s used to, not sharing the love of Christ and staying only within his walls of comfortable lifestyle.

This is a good film. Yes there is some violence, a mention and woman attired that shows she was getting away from prostitution, but through it all people get the second chance to life. Not all listen but the truth hits home to anyone who knows people or better yet know they themselves used to live a certain way but were rescued by the blood of Jesus.

And this story is good for churches (probably no kids if there should be a free showing; there is language just not as “bad” as other movies that are garnered a PG-13 rating) or just to watch with close friends and family it is a story that must be seen to want to serve and believe. Serving is a matter of the heart, not by one’s appearance or by just looking like one does have it all together.

We all when we tell or receive the gospel need a second chance (or more). All we know is while we are imperfect, Christ is by our side through thick and thin, through death and life, and that makes it all worth it.

And God bless you for reading this review.