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Dying is easy, living is harder: 'Hamilton' the musical

Lin-Manuel Miranda performs during a musical number in Hamilton: An Americal Musical (Credit:  Hamilton the Musical)They are trying to remove him from the $10 bill, but Lin-Manuel Miranda's phenomenal new musical is placing him straight in our hearts. The new musical "Hamilton" is resurrecting the once-orphaned founding father from the dead and bringing him to life on the Rogers Theatre stage on Broadway in New York City. With hip-hop beats laced with energy and traditional show tunes that evoke sympathetic feelings, this show doesn't take you on a roller coaster ride of emotion, but sits you front row through the birth of a nation.

From the opening number, Miranda's "Hamilton" traces the extraordinary and tumultuous life of Alexander Hamilton. Starting with his orphan beginnings and ending with his fatal duel with Aaron Burr, audiences watch how Alexander diligently works in order to gain standing and accumulate honor in his new found home of New York. Coming from the Caribbean Islands as an orphan child, Alexander eagerly tries to prove himself, not to his peers but to his harshest critic -- himself. Others see the extraordinary talents and mind of Hamilton, however Alexander is always exercising a foresight that would prove indelible and crucial in the founding of the country. He refused to "talk less, smile more."

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Pan: a movie review

Pan movie poster, with Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard, Garrett Hedlund as Hook, Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily and Levi Miller as Peter Pan (Credit:  Dune Entertainment)Pan is a new take on Peter Pan's origin story. The film opens with a young mother (Amanda Seyfried) leaping over gates and rushing through the night to leave her infant child at the front door of an orphanage in London. As she kisses the boy goodbye and tells him that he is loved, she tucks a small note into his bassinet, in which she promises that they will one day be reunited. That note and the pan flute at the end of a small necklace are the only traces Peter (Levi Miller) has of his mother when the action picks up eleven years later.

At this point we learn of the recent disappearance of several children. England is in the midst of World War II and the assumption is that the children were taken out of the city for their own safety. That assumption is proven wrong when we learn that the mistresses in charge of the orphanage have been selling the children to pirates, led by Blackbeard (Hugh Jackman), from Neverland who take the boys at night in order to mine for Pixium. Pixium is a calcified form of pixie dust that grants Blackbeard immortality so long as he has a steady supply of it.

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The Intern: a movie review

Robert De Niro as Ben Whittaker, a widower and retired executive from a phone directory company, who serves as intern to Jules Ostin, founder and CEO of About the Fit, a fast-growing e-commerce fashion company, played by Anne Hathaway in an office scene where the two discuss how to use Facebook in the new Warner Brothers movie The Intern (Credit:  Warner Brothers Pictures)Nancy Meyers's latest film, The Intern, is an entertaining and relatively wholesome story that revolves around the relationship between Jules Ostin (Anne Hathaway) and Ben Whittaker (Robert De Niro). Ben is a seventy-year-old widower who has found retirement without his late wife to be rather unfulfilling. So when he sees a flyer advertising a senior internship program at Jules's online apparel store, About the Fit, he sends in a video résumé and is eventually hired.

Ben is assigned to work under Jules, who initially sees him as more of a burden than an asset. However, he slowly gains her appreciation and trust, becoming something of a confidant whose experience and calm demeanor help her to regain the confidence that has slowly eroded since starting her company eighteen months ago. From a humble beginning in her kitchen to a multiple-site business that employs 200 people, in many ways the company had grown too fast for its own good. Some of the venture capitalists who helped fund her company concluded that it would be helpful to hire a CEO to oversee the business's operations. They asked Jules to meet with potential candidates, though the decision on whether or not to hire outside help will ultimately be left to her.

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Everest: a movie review

Everest trailer: Watch Jake Gyllenhaal and Jason Clarke fight for their lives in movie based on 1996 Mount Everest disaster (Credit: Universal Pictures)Everest, Universal's latest offering depicting the true story of Rob Hall and his team's 1996 fight against the elements atop Mount Everest, opened this past weekend in select IMAX theaters around the nation. The film will be released in all formats on Friday and, while the IMAX 3D version was visually stunning, the movie is also worth seeing in standard formats for those that would rather not pay twice as much for a ticket.

In Everest, Rob Hall (played by Jason Clarke) is the founder and lead guide of a group called Adventure Consultants who help thrill-seeking mountaineers scale the world's tallest mountain. Their business is based on the willingness of individuals to pay upwards of $60,000 for the chance to say they reached the top. And while they don't guarantee the opportunity to make that final push to the summit, they also go into the film boasting that, in addition to guiding thirty-nine climbers to the top, they've never had anyone die in the process of trying.

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Dangerous Wonder by Mike Yaconelli: a book review

Dangerous Wonder: The Adventure of Childlike Faith by Michael Yaconelli (Credit: NavPress)Mike Yaconelli is one of the people I most want to meet in heaven.

He was known to the Christian world primarily for his books, articles, and work with Youth Specialties, an organization that trained thousands of student ministers. I knew him differently, as editor of The Door, a magazine of Christian satire (originally called The Wittenburg Door). Mike wrote the final article in each month's edition (something he called "The Back Door"). I subscribed to Mike's magazine primarily so I could read his articles. They were unfailingly brilliant, funny, and disturbing.

One in particular chronicled his week-long encounter with Henri Nouwen, an event that transformed his life. During that retreat, Mike came to realize that Jesus loved him simply because he loved him. Not for anything he had done or not done, not for his reputation in the Christian world or dedication to the church. Simply because God is love and because the Father loves his children. I needed that message as much as Mike did, and will always be grateful for the impact his transparency made on my soul.

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