Books, movies, Music, Regina Doman

It’s time for…

Mirfain’s END OF YEAR LISTS!!!!

First of all, I shall list the movies I saw for the first time last year, as far as I can remember. They are in no special order, unless you count the order I remember them in. I will rank them according to quality at the end. Not all of them were released last year; it so happened that I saw them last year. Note that mention of a book, movie, or CD on my blog does not indicate my wholehearted endorsement of it; certainly not for all ages. Always ask first…

1. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
2. Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief
3. Tangled
4. Inception
5. Alice in Wonderland.
6. Toy Story 3
7. Despicable Me
8. My Neighbor Totoro
9. Ponyo
10. The Passion of Joan of Arc
11. Holiday
12. Star Wars
13. Up
14. My Fair Lady
15. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
16. The Passion of the Christ

Books:
1. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
2. Emma – ditto
3. Persuasion – ditto
4. Northanger Abbey – ditto
5. Mansfield Park – ditto
6. The Aeneid – Virgil
7. The Shadow of the Bear – Regina Doman
8. Black as Night – ditto
9. The Midnight Dancers – ditto
10. Waking Rose – ditto
11. Alex O’Donnell and the Forty Cyberthieves – ditto
12. Eclipse of the Sun – Michael O’Brien
13. Plague Journal – ditto
14. Looking for the King – David C. Downing
15. Coraline – Neil Gaiman
16. Poetic Diction – Owen Barfield
17. Odyssey – Homer
18. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee

Musical recordings (purchased and/or listened for to the first time):

1. La Nua – Lunasa
2. Fit? – Old Blind Dogs
3. Se – Lunasa
4. The Kinnitty Sessions – Lunasa
5. Clannad – Clannad
6. “D” Flute Album – Kevin Crawford
7. Sweeney’s Dream – Kevin Burke
8. Korong – Kornog
9. Harvest Storm – Altan
10. The Red Crow – Altan
11. Cuilidh – Julie Fowlis
12. On Common Ground – Cillian Vallely and Kevin Crawford
13. Tripswitch – John McSherry and Donal O’Connor
14. Light on a Distant Shore – Ossian
15. Live in Japan – Vasen (this is the only non-Celtic recording on the list–it’s Swedish.)

And now for *drumroll* my top five of each!

Movies:

1. The Passion of the Christ (2004). Heartbreaking, bloody, and worth watching every Good Friday. Highly recommended, but the violence makes it highly unsuitable for children.

2. The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928). This is an astonishing film. The actress playing St. Joan (who happens to be my confirmation saint) is sometimes considered to have given the greatest performance, silent or not, in any film of all time.

3. Inception (2010). This is easily the best film released in 2010 that I have seen, and I saw an unusual number of films released this year (six, I believe — normally I see one or two in theaters and the rest on DVD). Plot-driven, brilliant, well-made… my caveat is that the whole premise of the film revolves around implanting an idea inside someone’s mind, an act not merely illegal but immoral. Sadly, this comes pretty close to spoiling the movie. As a work of art it is mindblowing. There’s little other objectional material. No adult content, some taking of the Lord’s name in vain, and a good bit of violence, though it’s neither graphic nor gratuitous. Indeed, there is very little blood at all.

4. My Neighbor Totoro (1988). A sweet, beautiful movie.. Here is my review of it.

5. Up (2009). I love Pixar, and this is one of their best films. It’s touching and adventurous at the same time.

Books:

1. Pride and Prejudice. I read five of Jane Austen’s six novels, and she being so overrepresented I decided to just pick one. I think the things I like best about Austen are her excellent sense of humor and brilliant character sketches. Or maybe it’s the elegant, civilized world she writes about. Maybe it’s the long, mouthfilling sentences, or maybe it’s the romance. Whatever. It’s good. As C. S. Lewis said (roughly), her books have only two faults; they’re too short and too few.

2. The Aeneid. I wonder at myself placing it over the Odyssey, but there it is. I long for the day when I can read it in Latin…

3. The Odyssey. Who could resist it? “Rosy-fingered dawn”, “goddess grey-eyed Athene”, “sacred dwelling of Circe” on the one hand, and on the other the Cyclops, the charming princess Nausicaa washing her clothes and playing ball, and the weeping Penelope.

4. To Kill a Mockingbird. I liked this book. I do not know whether it’s a great book or not, but it is certainly a good one. I recommend this book to older teenagers only. The subject matter for much of the book is somewhat mature and there is one scene in a courtroom in particular where unsuitable matters are discussed.

5. The Midnight Dancers. I really think this the best of Regina Doman’s books. It’s also the most mature in theme. I wonder if she will rise to these heights again. It’s excellent light reading imbued with some interesting philosophical themes on the way. I’m not sure if I wholeheartedly agree with the apparent conclusions drawn, however. My main objection when reading it is that “But not all girls who wear long skirts are forced to do so, neither are they devoid of any spiritual, aesthetic, or intellectual life.” Additionally, I think her rather too bold in her identification of the beautiful with the good. “His way to salvation was through beauty”, etc. Regina Doman being a practicing and orthodox Catholic, I assume she means merely that all beauty points to God as he is all Beauty as well as all Goodness and Truth, but surely it’s a bit risky to talk about beauty in such a way, even if the rest of your book makes it clear what you mean most of the time. Anyways, the truest beauty is Sanctity, a truth that is pointed out in the book, I believe.

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