Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, December 20, 2014

MVNews this week:  Page B:6



Mountain Views-News Saturday, December 20, 2014

Jeff�s Book Picks By Jeff Brown





by Richard Paul Evans 

More than 7 million people have been touched by 
the magic of The Christmas Box, a holiday classic 
that is as beloved in our time as A Christmas Carol 
was in Dickens�s.The Christmas Box was intended 
it as a private expression of love for his two young 
daughters, Jenna and Allyson. Though he often 
told them that he loved them, he didn�t feel that 
they could ever really understand the depth of 
his feelings until they had experienced the joy 
of rearing their own children, and by that time 
their relationship would have changed forever. 
In writing The Christmas Box, he hoped that at 
some time in the future they would read the book 
and know of their father�s love. He was amazed 
at the inspiration that flowed into his mind and 
heart. He completed the moving story of a widow 
and the young family who comes to live with her 
in less than six weeks, and bound twenty copies to 
give as Christmas presents to family and friends. 
Those twenty copies were shared and passed along 
from family to family, from friend to friend, and 
what began as a tale for two little girls became a 
message of miracles, hope, and healing for people 
throughout the world.

BOY�S LIFE by Robert McCammon

Don�t miss this wonderful novel(a favorite book 
of many ) from bestselling award-winning author 
Robert McCammon, in a book that Publishers 
Weekly calls �both a mystery that will satisfy 
the most finicky aficionado and a boisterous 
travelogue.�Zephyr, Alabama, is an idyllic 
hometown for eleven-year-old Cory Mackenson�a 
place where monsters swim the river deep and 
friends are forever. Then, one cold spring morning, 
Cory and his father witness a car plunge into a 
lake�and a desperate rescue attempt brings his 
father face-to-face with a terrible vision of death 
that will haunt him forever. As Cory struggles to 
understand his father�s pain, his eyes are slowly 
opened to the forces of good and evil that are 
manifested in Zephyr. From an ancient, mystical 
woman who can hear the dead and bewitch the 
living, to a violent clan of moonshiners, Cory must 
confront the secrets that hide in the shadows of his 
hometown�for his father�s sanity and his own life 
hang in the balance.


by Glenn Beck 

Radio and television host Glenn Beck delivers an 
instant holiday classic about boyhood memories, 
wrenching life lessons, and the true meaning of 
the gifts we give to one another in love. If You 
Could Change Your Life by Reversing Your 
Biggest Regrets, Sorrows and Mistakes...Would 
You?We weren�t wealthy, we weren�t poor -- we 
just were. We never wanted for anything, except 
maybe more time together....When Eddie was 
twelve years old, all he wanted for Christmas 
was a bike. Although his life had gotten harder 
-- and money tighter -- since his father died and 
the family bakery closed...Eddie dreamed that 
somehow his mother would find a way to have 
his dream bike gleaming beside their modest 
Christmas tree that magical morning.What he 
got from her instead was a sweater. �A stupid, 
handmade, ugly sweater� that young Eddie left in 
a crumpled ball in the corner of his room.Scarred 
deeply by the realization that kids don�t always get 
what they want, and too young to understand that 
he already owned life�s most valuable treasures, 
that Christmas morning was the beginning of 
Eddie�s dark and painful journey on the road to 
manhood. It will take wrestling with himself, 
his faith, and his family -- and the guidance of 
a mysterious neighbor named Russell -- to help 
Eddie find his path through the storm clouds of 
life and finally see the real significance of that 
simple gift his mother had crafted by hand with 
love in her heart.Based on a deeply personal 
true story, The Christmas Sweater is a warm and 
poignant tale of family, faith and forgiveness that 
offers us a glimpse of our own lives -- while also 
making us question if we really know what�s most 
important in them.

By Sean Kayden

The most original film of 
2014 comes in the form 
of Alejandro Gonz�lez 
I��rritu�s �Birdman.� Michael Keaton stars 
as Riggan, a one-time A-list movie star that�s 
attempting to recapture his glory from twenty 
years ago with his own Broadway production. 
He�s washed-up and is trying to overcome his 
ego and family distress as his play, which he 
adapted, directed and starring in is about to be 
underway. A colorful list of actors round up the 
cast including Zack Galifianakis, Naomi Watts, 
Emma Stone, Amy Ryan, and Edward Norton. On 
paper, Birdman may not seem all that original, but 
you have to see it to believe the true wonder of it 
all. Supplying one of the finest ensembles of any 
motion picture this year as well as the best camera 
work I�ve seen all year, �Birdman� truly sets itself 
apart from the majority of films released this year. 
The one-two mighty punch of the Michael Keaton 
and Edward Norton combo alone is easily worth 
the price of admission. Fortunately, there�s so 
much more than just that to astound you. 

Riggan�s play, �What We Talk About When We 
Talk About Love� based on the story by Raymond 
Carver is going to be a disaster. Various calamities 
keep occurring in the production. To avoid even 
further setbacks, they decide to still roll out with 
the scheduled previews. As Riggan is trying to 
come to terms with his own existence, he seems to 
being living in two realms at once�the current one 
and his past (with the Birdman character being his 
alter ego). His present reality consists of battling it 
out with Mike, the new actor that comes on board 
right before the first preview. Mike, portrayed by 
the electric Edward Norton, was to replace another 
actor who is out of commission due to an accident 
on set. He is absolutely on fire with this character. 
A supporting actor nomination is practically 
guaranteed. In addition, Emma Stone plays 
Riggan�s daughter/personal assistant, who is out 
of rehab for drug use. She and her father aren�t on 
the best of terms, which has Riggan contemplating 
if he was actually a decent father all these years. 
�Birdman� explores the inner depths of what it 
means to be relevant, important, and noticed. In 
the world we live in that is rapidly changing and 
expanding, how long can one hold onto relevance? 
In fact, most are trying to obtain it, let alone hold 
onto it for as long as they can.

The way the movie was filmed gives the illusion 
it was one continuous shot. Obviously the editing 
is magnificent. Needless to say, this film should 
take home the film editing, sound editing, and 
cinematography awards at next year�s Oscars. I�ve 
never seen such a film with so many close-ups on 
the actors. You honestly feel right there behind 
the scenes of a real Broadway play. Things become 
even more surreal and unconventional in the third 
act when Riggan hits rock bottom. He�s having a 
meltdown and his comic book character persona 
a.k.a. alter ego only drives him closer to the edge. As 
for the ending, the film leaves the audience to their 
own interpretation. Love it or hate it, it should still 
be considered an all around original conclusion to 
a superbly crafted motion picture. The film is also 
quite humorous, dark, and surprisingly heartfelt. 
Beautifully shot, spectacularly acted, marvelously 
executed from screenplay to screen, �Birdman� 
takes flight right from the beginning and soars its 
magical wings for the entire two-hour duration. 
What a ride!

Grade: 5 out of 5

Happy Holidays