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'The Luckiest Man': a movie review

The Luckiest Man - Official Trailer (Credit: Fotolanthropy via Vimeo)The Luckiest Man is a powerful presentation of a man whose soul was set free as his body became a prison. It chronicles the journey of John Paine and his family as they look back on the way God has redeemed his ALS diagnosis and the myriad ways that the disease has impacted their relationship with each other and with Lord.

Prior to his diagnosis, John was a fiercely independent business man who prided himself on his ability to manage a consistently busy schedule. While family and the Lord were always important to him, they were not always the priorities that they should have been. However, all of that began to change following his diagnosis.

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'The Revenant': a movie review

Leonardo DiCaprio in 'The Revenant.' (Credit: 20th Century Fox)The Revenant is the latest offering from Academy Award winning director Alejandro G. Inarritu and stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Hugh Glass and Tom Hardy as John Fitzgerald. The film is an epic story of survival and determination that is, at times, both hard to watch and hard to look away from. The Revenant was inspired by true events and based on Michael Punke's 2002 novel by the same name. However, Inarritu's adaption adheres fairly loosely to its historical sources and is a more emotionally engaging and moving film as a result. The addition of Glass's half-Native American son Hawk (Forrest Goodluck) is what truly sets the film's story apart from its previous iterations as it gives the film's hero a sense of depth and purpose that would otherwise be lacking.

The Revenant opens with Glass and Hawk hunting a moose as part of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, who have hired Glass to be their guide through the unforgiving wilderness. However, the group is beset shortly thereafter by a group of Arikara warriors who mistakenly believe that the trappers have taken their chief's daughter captive. Their pursuit of the survivors plays an integral role in the events that follow.

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The American Odyssey of George H.W. Bush: a book review

Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush by Jon Meacham (Credit: Random House Publishing)George H.W. Bush grew up in a house on Grove Lane in Greenwich, Connecticut. The front yard, littered with grand trees to the average spectator, took on the appearance of obstacles to the Bush children. Dorothy Bush expected her children to fearlessly climb, to compete with each other and seek to outdo one another in excellence in the pursuit of success. In this instance, success was expected and took the form of overcoming both fear and trees. And overcome they did.

In Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush, author Jon Meacham is as gracious as his subject—affectionately known as 41. Delving into the life and events and personalities that encompass the Bush world, Meacham chronicles the former president in a way characteristic of Bush himself. He spent nine years conducting interviews, exploring with full access the diaries of George H.W. and Barbara Bush, and interviewing both family members and friends. The result is a book that serves the reader a fully-orbed, introspective look at a person that shunned such introspection throughout his life.  However, just as Meacham served the leader, Bush sought to serve the country in any capacity he could.

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'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' – a movie review

Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer (Official) (Credit: Star Wars via Youtube)Star Wars: The Force Awakens is one of the most highly anticipated movies to hit theaters in quite some time. It has already shattered numerous box office records and is sure to break many more before its time in theaters is done. As an avid Star Wars fan, I went into the film with great excitement but also a healthy dose of apprehension given the way that the last three movies failed to live up to the hype. However, The Force Awakens did not disappoint and felt far more like the original trilogy than the prequels with regards to the quality of the acting and the plot. It is a worthy addition to the Star Wars franchise.

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'In the Heart of the Sea': a movie review

Chris Hemsworth as Owen Chase and Sam Keely as Ramsdell chase a great white whale in a whaleboat in a scene from the new Warner Brothers film directed by Ron Howard, In the Heart of the Sea, which is based on the book by Nathaniel PhilbrickIn the Heart of the Sea, Ron Howard's latest film, is based on the true story of the Essex, a New England whaling ship, and its crew. Theirs is the story that inspired Herman Melville's classic Moby Dick, though Melville's account was a fictionalized version of the Essex's travails and only told part of the story. Thus Howard attempts a more historically accurate adaptation of events, told through the prism of a young Melville's conversation with Tom Nickerson, the Essex's last remaining survivor, some thirty years after the trials that claimed the lives of so many.

However, as the film opens, Nickerson has little interest in helping the aspiring author craft what would become his legacy. You see, even decades after finally returning home, Nickerson remains haunted by the events aboard that fateful ship and has refused to tell anyone, not even his wife, about what truly happened. Eventually though, his wife is able to convince him to open up and share a bit of his tale, arguing that they need the money Melville has offered while separately informing the inquiring author that she feels it would also be good for her husband to share the burden of his past experiences.

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