Soundtrack Review: Knight And Day

Knight And Day
(Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Composer: John Powell
Running Time: 55 min.
Released: 2010



Knight And Day may not be the jaw-dropping masterpiece that How To Train Your Dragon was, but it is still one of John Powell’s best scores to date, and a worthy addition to any music library. It’s fun, engaging, and fresh – and smoothly alternates between a sense of relaxed “coolness”, anticipation, and racing intensity. Powell has always had a knack for seamlessly blending electronics with a traditional orchestra, and he does so in this score, to superb effect. Also, in keeping with the Spanish-flavoring of the score, Powell incorporates renowned guitarists Rodrigo E Gabriela, which is icing on the cake.

At The Airport starts the album off on a cool, nonchalant note, and introduces us to several key themes. Hostage features a catchy guitar tune, while Rooftops is an impressive action track dominated by strings, drums, and horns. The Villa initially sounds like a repeat of the first cue, but midway it evolves into something much more intense and builds to incredible climax. The explosive Bull Run is undoubtedly the funnest and most memorable track on the score, starting out fast and never stopping till the very end. The final track is Going To Cape  Horn? Take A Jacket. It has an awkward title, but its trouble ends there. Offering a clever solo guitar variation on the main theme, it brings everything to a quiet, restful conclusion.

Buy the MP3 album on or iTunes.

The Glorious Gospel of Christ

“The glorious gospel of Christ!” 2 Corinthians 4:4

“The gospel is a glorious revelation of divine grace – a manifestation of the purpose and good pleasure of God, to save sinners in harmony with, and to the honor of – all His divine perfections.

“The gospel contains . . .
the loftiest doctrines,
the largest promises, and
the freest invitations conceivable!

“The gospel exhibits the Lord Jesus Christ, in . . .
the glory of His person,
the depth of His love,
the vastness of His merit, and
His infinite willingness to save the vilest sinners!

“The gospel is a proclamation . . .
of peace by the blood-shedding of God incarnate;
of a full, free, and complete salvation – for all who truly believe on His name;
of a glorious inheritance, an everlasting kingdom, and a crown of glory – as a free gift for the vilest of men! Or in other words, the gospel is the good news of pardon, peace, protection, and everlasting life – for all who are willing to receive and enjoy them!

“In the gospel . . .
God’s heart is laid bare,
the fullness of Christ is thrown open, and
miserable souls are invited to come and be made eternally happy!

“The gospel contains . . .
God’s kindest thoughts,
God’s wisest plans,
God’s most gracious promises, and
God’s fullest revelation of Himself!

“The gospel is . . .
balm for sinners’ wounds,
solace for the troubled conscience,
and the remedy for a sin-broken heart!

“The gospel is God’s powerful instrument, through which He . . .
raises the dead in sin,
enlightens the blind mind,
pardons the guilty,
cleanses the filthy heart,
heals the sin-sick soul, and
makes the miserable, eternally happy!

“In a word, the gospel reveals . . .
all that God can give,
all that man can need, and
all that the child of God can enjoy!

“Yet many spurn the gospel . . .
some on account of its simplicity,
some on account of its spirituality,
and some on account of its purity.

“The gospel lays man in the dust – and places God on the throne! It places man as a sinner, at the sovereign disposal of God. It will yield nothing to man’s pride, and pays no compliment to man’s supposed goodness or abilities.

“If a man is saved at all . . .
it is of grace alone,
it is by Christ alone,
it is to God’s honor alone!

“The gospel despises the wisdom of the world, and puts the rich and the poor, the moral and immoral, the learned and illiterate – on the same level! The pride of man cannot tolerate this!

“The gospel must be experimentally known by the teaching of the Holy Spirit – before it will be loved, prized, and practiced as it ought!

“Do WE personally and experimentally know the gospel? Have we tasted its sweetness – as well as felt its power? Is it to us, more desirable than gold – even the finest gold? Is it sweeter than honey – even honey dripping from the comb?

“Have we received the gospel with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power?
Has it . . .
enlightened our judgments,
purified our hearts, and
corrected our lives?”

~ James Smith, Rills from the Rock of Ages

HT Grace Gems

Cram Them Full…

“You can’t build a house without nails and wood. If you don’t want a house built, hide the nails and wood. If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him to sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none. Let him forget there is such a thing as war. If the government is inefficient, topheavy, and tax-mad, better it be all those things than that people worry over it. Peace, Montag. Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popular songs or the names of the state capitals or how much corn Iowa grew last year. Cram them full of noncombustible data, chock them so d—– full of ‘facts’ they feel stuffed, but absolutely ‘brilliant’ with information. Then they’ll feel they’re thinking, they’ll get a sense of motion without moving. And they’ll be happy, because facts of that sort don’t change. Don’t give them slippery stuff like philosophy or sociology to tie things up with. That way lies melancholy. Any man who can take a TV wall apart and put it back together again, and most men can, nowadays, is happier than any man who tries to slide-rule, measure, and equate the universe, which just won’t be measured or equated without making man feel bestial and lonely. I know, I’ve tried it; to hell with it. So bring on your clubs and parties, your acrobats and magicians, your daredevils, jet cars, motorcycle helicopters, your sex and heroin, more of everything to do with automatic reflex. If the drama is bad, if the film says nothing, if the play is hollow, sting me with the theremin, loudly. I’ll think I’m responding to the play, when it’s only a tactile reaction to vibration. But I don’t care. I just like solid entertainment.”

~ Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 (pp. 60-61)

Book Review: The Road

Reading The Road was one of the most disturbing, haunting, and profoundly moving experiences I have ever had. It was like taking a literary punch to the gut; a punch so hard it was nauseating. As another reviewer aptly said, “There is an urgency to each page, and a raw emotional pull… making it easily one of the most harrowing books you’ll ever encounter… Once opened, [it is] nearly impossible to put down; it is as if you must keep reading in order for the characters to stay alive…”

A masterful, inventive piece of apocalyptic fiction, The Road – written by prolific American novelist Cormac McCarthy – is a tale of desperate survival, unrestrained depravity, and courage in the face of horrifying odds. But most importantly, it is a love story; a powerful love story. One that passionately depicts the fierce, undying affection that burns between a father and his son.

McCarthy’s novel follows an unnamed father and son as they walk alone through the desolation that was once North America. Nothing stirs in the ruined landscape except ash, blowing in a wind cold enough to crack stone. When the snow falls, it is gray. When the rain falls, it is sooty. The sky is dark and forbidding. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what awaits them there. They have nothing: nothing save the clothes on their backs, a shopping cart full of scavenged food, a revolver, two bullets – and each other.

This world-wide devastation was the result of a cataclysm, one which McCarthy wisely leaves unspecified. Most of mankind is dead  – snuffed out by famine and disease. But there are survivors. Some, like our protagonists, are forced to pursue a life of perpetual wandering, scavenging for food and fighting for life as best they can. Others commit suicide, convinced that there is nothing to live for. Still others – indeed, the vast majority – become cannibals, eaters of human flesh, banding together to prey on their weaker brethren. Thus the story. Thus the tragedy.

Heavy stuff, indeed.

McCarthy possesses a massive vocabulary, and he unleashes it to stunning effect. The stark, hardened prose fits the story like a glove. When the characters feel fear, you feel fear; when they grieve, you grieve; when they find refuge from danger, you are relieved. Consider this passage:

He walked out in the gray light and stood and he saw for a brief moment the absolute truth of the world. The cold relentless circling of the intestate earth. Darkness implacable. The blind dogs of the sun in their running. The crushing black vacuum of the universe. And somewhere two hunted animals trembling like ground-foxes in their cover. Borrowed time and borrowed world and borrowed eyes with which to sorrow it.

The world of The Road is a world unto itself – a world that feels real; danger that feels real; and characters that feel as real as you or I.

Speaking of characters, those in McCarthy’s story make for a very interesting study…

The Mother views the devastated world through a lens of bitterness and selfish despair. She offers no encouragement or strength to her husband and young son. She forsakes them. She rails against God; and then she kills herself.

Standing in contrast is the Father. He is ill – dying in fact – and yet, through wracking pain and exhaustion, he is purposed not to give up. His lion-like devotion to his son, and his determination to protect him at all costs, is what keeps him going. “My job is to take care of you,” he tells the child. “I was appointed to do that by God. I will kill anyone who touches you. Do you understand?”

For the Boy, the devastated world is the only world he knows. He was born into it. He remembers nothing before it. There is an innocence, a purity, a gentleness about him which, at times, acts like a restraining hand upon his father’s harsher inclinations. Yet he loves and trusts his father implicitly. He could not live without his father; his father would not live without him.

As far as content goes, I wouldn’t recommend this book for readers under 15. The themes are mature, and there’s quite a bit of disturbing, violent content related to cannibalism and suicide. There is also some crass swearing scattered throughout.

The Road is definitely not for everyone. And McCarthy is not coming from a distinctly Christian worldview. But for lovers of exceptional literature, I would highly recommend this one. It offers much to think about: especially concerning the power of filial love, and the deep dark ugliness that naturally lurks within the heart of man.