Favorite Family Films: Ladyhawke

All growing up as far back as I can remember, my family had a regular “Family Night” on Friday nights. It was simple, this Family night. Often we referred to it as “movie night” because that’s generally what we did. We watched a movie and ate pizza, maybe had popcorn or dessert, and then when the movie was over we couldn’t help but discuss it. We’d quote our favorite lines, talk about which parts we liked best, exult over the moments that we guessed before they happened, and just generally have a lively discussion about the movie.

This shared time of discussing the movie after we watched it is part of my favorite memories growing up. To this day, when my family gets together, we still enjoy talking about movies – either new ones we’ve seen, or old ones we watched numerous times as a family, or going to see new ones together and then going out to pizza afterwards and discussing. For days we would continue to quote the movie, and even to this day when we are together we will quote a movie and pause, giving our family members a moment to identify the movie said quote is from.

Watching movies and reading books together as a family was always a social experience. Sometimes it was almost an Olympic Sport!

This tradition was fun, but it was also beautiful. It lent itself to creating a shared experience, a shared character, a shared ideal… even a “shared soul” between my siblings and my parents and myself.

Which brings me to the reason for this post. I know there are other families out there who love to read books and watch movies together. And perhaps you might find yourself looking for something to watch this summer. So, I thought I’d do a Friday series through the summer on some of my favorite movies. This will be different from my normal movie reviews as these movies will be on the older side… and some of them you may be familiar with… but you may find a new treasure in this series.

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Today’s feature is my second favorite movie of all time: Ladyhawke

Enter a medieval world of knights, priests, pickpockets, and magic. Follow a young thief as he escapes from an inescapable prison and stumbles into Captain Navarre and his tragic tale and gets swept up on Navarre’s quest for vengeance.

Rutger Hauer does a brilliant job in his best role ever as the troubled and brooding Captain Navarre. You will fall in love with this character as you travel with him on his quest to restore his honor, and the tragic twist to his story will bring you to tears.

The lovely Michelle Pfeiffer does a fantastic job as the mysterious leading lady. She is the epitome of femininity, and though her fate has been ripped from her hands, she retains a strength of heart and a nobility that is admirable. She manages to be strong without being abrasive, and submissive without seeming helpless.

But it is Matthew Broderick – through whose eyes the story is told – who will capture your heart. This young scamp who unwittingly falls into a story of magic and evil curses and danger is one of the most lovable characters I’ve ever come across. Philippe “Mouse” has a quick and witty sense of humor, and travels through the story while carrying on a running conversation with God. You’ll want to pay close attention to his lines, because they are hilarious and poignant all at the same time.

I’ve seen a lot of movies, and this one is still up there in my opinion as one of the best fantasy-films of all time. While most fantasy movies tend to come across as “campy” or “cheesy” this one lacks those elements. I think it succeeds where other fantasy films fail because it keeps the “fantasy” elements somewhat in the background, highlighting instead incredibly real moments of character development, a plot that is as tragic as it is beautiful, and witty dialogue that will make you laugh out loud. My husband thinks the soundtrack is a bit “too eighties” but I think it’s fantastic… I’ll leave it to you to decide whether you think it adds or detracts from the story.

If you love noble and heroic characters, sword fights, witty humor, the medieval time period, and a hint of fantasy I think you will fall in love with this movie.

Have you seen Ladyhawke? Does this sound like one you’d be interested in? If you watch this one this summer, I’d love to hear what you thought!

Ladyhawke is available to rent at amazon, youtube, iTunes, and google play. You might be able to find it at your local library, as well.

~ jenelle

Mountains of Books

Saw the idea for this post over at Zac’s Blog, and promptly decided to steal it!

There is a singular difficulty in the life of a book-wyrm. If you are a fellow voracious reader, you already know what this problem is, and while your problem will be unique to you, it is also in many respects exactly the same as mine and every other book-loving-fiend.

The problem is as follows:

All. The. Books.

Seriously, all of them. The cry of the reader is that of one happily drowning in an ocean far too vast to span or buried within a mountain surrounded by a truly dragonish hoard comprised solely of books… worth more than the Arkenstone itself. Why are we in this plight? Because there are always more books to read than we have time to read them in. Perhaps, once upon an era long ago, there were not so many written words available. But that time is long past. We live in a time when there is a plethora of stories to read, more stories than we ever could read. We need never fear running out of reading material. (This is, perhaps, the most compelling argument I can make for being perfectly content to live in THIS era).

On goodreads I have 129 books on my To-Read pile. 129!! And that’s just books I KNOW of that I want to read. And it’s not counting all the books that I would love to re-read at some point. Or all the books that I know may be coming in the future but aren’t available yet… or various sequels in series because I’ve only tagged the first book in a series until I know whether or not I like the book or the author.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to go through all the books on my list… just the most notable ones!

Let’s start with the books I already own but haven’t gotten around to reading yet:

TBR Pile

Look at that tower. Eeeeep! I’m not even sure that’s all the books I own that I haven’t read… there may be a few I couldn’t find, or some in the storage unit, as well. Okay, technically I’ve read all the stories in “Fantastic Creatures” but not the finished versions! All of these are definitely on my REALLY WANT TO READ pile, so don’t think that just because I haven’t gotten to them it means I don’t want to!

The Wingfeather Saga

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I NEED to read these books. They have been recommended by multiple sources, and the titles themselves intrigue me. Despite knowing a rather unfortunate and enormous spoiler due to last year’s Silmarillion Awards (we are fixing that error this year), I still want to read them. Just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

Everything by H.L. Burke

You’ll see that Spellsmith and Carver is in that stack above, but I also NEED to finish the Dragon and Scholar series!

A Branch of Silver, A Branch of Gold by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

I had a copy of this, and then decided to gift it to someone. So now I need another copy!!!! I mean, one of my favorite authors tackling one of my favorite fairy tales? This is a MUST READ!

The rest of the Trelian Trilogy

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I loved the first book, and seriously need to read the rest of the series.

The Out of Time series by Nadine Brandes

I know, I know, I really missed the boat on this series. A couple years back it was all anyone in the blogosphere was talking about. Well, I still haven’t read them, but I very much want to.

Anything by Timothy Zahn I haven’t read yet…

 

Particularly THRAWN because… I mean… it’s Thrawn! What more is there to possibly say?

All the series I’ve started and haven’t finished!!!

Most notably the Thursday Next series, The Dragonback series, The Ender’s Shadow series (there’s one book I haven’t read yet), The Defenders of Shannara, The Bright Empires Series, the Dragonfriend series, The Ilyon Chronicles, the Cendrillon Cycle, the Queen’s Thief series, Firethorn Chronicles… probably others I’m forgetting.

And then there’s all the new books I want to read by people in the Fellowship of Fantasy group. I haven’t been disappointed by that group yet!

There are also a few that my blogging friends have recommended so enthusiastically that I really feel I will be missing out if I don’t read them. The ones that stand out most are these:

 

And that’s all I really have time for today… the more I talk about books, the more my mountainous TBR pile appears to grow. How many books are on your TBR mountain? What book are you MOST anxious to read, but haven’t gotten around to yet? What title has sat on your list the longest? Does anyone else own books they want to read but haven’t had a chance to yet (possibly for a ridiculous amount of time)? Come on, fess up! I’d love to hear about your leaning towers of books! 

~ jenelle

Halayda

The May read for the book club, I almost passed on this one because I knew May was going to be so busy with writing, but I couldn’t resist that cover!

Halayda was quite the surprise, actually. I think the series title including the words “Star Fae” had me sort of expecting a fantasy series set in a sci-fi sort of realm. Then I found out that it was a story about fairies, and I pictured Tinker Bell and kind of lost interest. However, I was wrong on both counts. In fact, nothing could be further from what I originally imagined this story would be about. This is a classic fantasy, set in a realm that is like earth, but not – a realm that sits side-by-side with the realm of faerie, separated by a veil. On the earth side of things are the alchemists, who use chemistry and science to gain power. On the faerie realm are all the creatures you would expect to find there, and they use magic. But these are not little fairies like the ones you’ll find in Disney cartoons. No, these are the fae, like the Seelie and Unseelie hosts ruled by Titania and Oberon, there is a much more classical mythology feel to these fae. They are powerful and solemn and while you get hints that they could be mischievous and havoc-wreaking, this is a culture that has been on the brink of war for so many centuries, that is all they know.

In between the realms of humans and fae you have these sort of “lost ones” – children with faerie blood, but not enough human or faerie in them to be fully accepted by either side. And in the middle of everything is Sylvie Imanthiya. An alchemist half-fae herself with no visible faerie abilities, she cares for other half-fae orphans like herself, but enjoys the occasional request for help from Taylan, the King of Faerie. Four times a year, he employs her alchemical talents to help keep the peace between their people. But when an attack occurs that Sylvie cannot prevent, something happens that nobody expected, and Sylvie and Taylan find their destinies have collided in ways neither was prepared for.

This story was an adventure from the first page. The characters drew me in and carried me off on their adventure and it was nearly impossible to put the book down until I had finished the last page. I enjoyed watching Sylvie discover the world of Faerie. I loved the glimpses of back-story I got throughout the story as important tidbits of information about each character were doled out at just the right moment, but not so much that it interfered with or detracted from the adventure at hand.

It’s hard to talk about the story without giving away spoilers, so I’ll just talk about the characters for a moment.

Sylvie is just the sweetest heroine. She is braver than she thinks, but often thinks longingly of her blankets and wishes she could just go home and hid in them. In addition to having a knack with alchemy, she is also an artist – a hobby that is woven into the story with a care and gentleness I appreciated. It made her more real without smacking me across the head.

Taylan is not your typical fae-folk. I tend to think of the fae as being flighty and vain and disinterested in anyone but themselves… Taylan is none of those things. He is a warrior who took the kingdom from its last ruler by force because that is the only way to take the rulership of Faerie, but he has been plagued by that decision ever since. For thousands of years he has held the throne, knowing he is not the right man for the job, but truly feeling that he has Faerie’s best interests at heart and unwilling to hand the power of the throne over to anyone who might care less for this realm. He has seen Faerie suffer and worries that it is a reflection of his leadership causing it, but unable to figure out how to fix it.

There are other amazing characters woven throughout the story, and each of them has their own struggles to overcome and back-story to reveal, but I’ll let you discover them on your own. And while I’m usually not a huge fan of romance, the elements of that in this story were sweet and beautiful.

I’m kind of hovering around 4.5 dragon eggs on this one.

So, we’ll go with 4 dragon eggs, since the rest of the series isn’t out yet. But I have a feeling that if the rest of the books are as good as this one, I’ll be bumping it up to 5 dragon eggs at some point.

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~ jenelle