Snapshots - #39: Coco, Pitch Perfect 3, Star Wars: Episodes VII and VIII

Coco (2017), (♦♦♦♦): Miguel, a young aspiring singer, is afraid to defy his family's forsaking of music. On the Día de los Muertos, a Mexican holiday to celebrate the dead, Miguel is, unwillingly, granted night passage to the Land of the Dead, where he meets his ancestors and gets valuable life lessons.

This Disney/Pixar production has great animation and music, is colorful, fun, has endearing characters (both living and dead). Coco also has meaningful lessons about the value of traditions, the importance of family, loyalty, and honoring one's ancestors, all in a very entertaining package. Don't let the fact that it is an animated movie deter you from enjoying this gem. Coco is a great story to ponder for kids and adults alike.

Pitch Perfect 3 (2017), (♦♦♦♦): The members of the a cappella singing sensation ‘The Bellas’ have graduated from college and are realizing that they suck big time at real life. They miss the singing, the mischief, and the camaraderie. The father of on…

The Lost Painting: The Quest for a Caravaggio Masterpiece by Jonathan Harr (♦♦♦♦)

I enjoyed this book very much; it took me two days to read it. The story flows easily as if it were a book of fiction, but as it turns out it is based in real life. Caravaggio, one of the Great Masters in the history of art, lived a short life, by today’s standards, but enjoyed fame and fortune in his day, thanks to secular, wealthy patrons and commissions of religious authorities to depict religious themes in his paintings. One in particular, “The Taking of Christ”, also known as the “Betrayal of Christ by Judas”, was part of a collection that belonged to the Mattei family and that got lost through the centuries. The painting had an interesting history since the Mattei family lost its fortune and was forced to sell its estate. The picture was sold to a Scottish for one amount and its cost noted for another amount to avoid tax penalties when taking the painting out of Rome. Sloppy accountants reported the painting under the authorship of Honthorst, so it was missing and mislabeled for about two centuries until Sergio Benedetti, one of the art restorers at the National Gallery of Ireland, discovered it in Dublin in the summer of 1990, among a stack of paintings in a Jesuit religious home.

If you like to read about art history, and even if you don’t know anything about it, you’ll like this book!