May Your Life Be Deliciosa
By Michael Genhart, illustrated by Loris Lora
Reviewed by Sonya VanderVeen Feddema
Young Rosie loves to spend Christmas Eve with her extended family in her abuela’s kitchen as they embark on their tradition of making tamales. Abuela shares stories as she gives each person a task, and they work together. Wisely and deftly, Abuela finds a metaphor for each part of the tamale to equip Rosie to remain resilient and loving within her family context.
Illustrator Loris Lora explains that her artwork was inspired by her Mexican family’s rich tradition of making tamales. Her vivid and engaging pictures capture the “warm essence of family, food, and togetherness” as she had hoped they would. (Harry N. Abrams)
Star Trek: Strange New Worlds
Reviewed by Sam Gutierrez
Fans of Star Trek have a reason to rejoice (yet again!). Star Trek: Strange New Worlds is currently streaming on Paramount+ and on Crave in Canada. Set 10 years before the original Star Trek series, the show follows Capt. Christopher Pike and a young Spock as they navigate the newly minted Enterprise on its first mission to explore the galaxy.
Stylistically, the creators chose to harken back to the feel of the original 1960s series, first by making the show more episodic than serialized. Each episode tells a complete story with its own beginning and end, though story arcs can build on previous episodes. The sets and costumes also take their cues from the fashion of the original series to create a fresh translation of mid-century modern style. (Paramount+ and Crave)
Reviewed by Daniel Jung
Produced by Ben Stiller, the multiple-Emmy-nominated series Severance centers around Mark Scout (Adam Scott) and his job at Lumon, a dystopian corporation with cult-like aspirations of global proselytization. All employees of Lumon are subjected to a medical procedure called “severance” in which their memories are surgically divided between their work and home lives.
For the Christian viewer, Severance is a chilling reminder that to be a people who were created in the image of God means to accept the entirety of our human experience. Our memories, no matter how painful or distressed, give us reason to step into the experience of creation and embrace life as those who have been grafted into a furiously intimate relationship with the Creator. (AppleTV+)
The Lost City
Reviewed by Lorilee Craker
The Lost City, starring Channing Tatum and Sandra Bullock, follows the tried-and-true recipe of other lost-treasure caper movies. Bullock, as a frustrated romance novelist, is superb at physical comedy, and Tatum knows exactly how to play it straight as her muscle-bound cover model in this screwball comedy. Beyond the silliness, the two soon forge a tender bond that feels real even in preposterous circumstances. Brad Pitt’s cameo might get the biggest laughs, but the two leads generate authentically heartwarming moments.
Rated PG-13 for some language and sexual innuendo, The Lost City is a bright light in what is often a dark, gritty moviemaking landscape. It just goes to show that sometimes high-quality ingredients mixed in a time-tested way are just the ticket. (Paramount+, Amazon Prime)
Glorifying God in a Diverse World: In the bestselling book The Next Worship, now rereleased as part of the IVP Signature Collection, Sandra Maria Van Opstal provides biblical foundations for multiethnic worship along with practical tools and resources for planning services that reflect God’s invitation for all God’s peoples to praise him. (IVP)
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: This epic drama series, set thousands of years before the events of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, brings to screens for the very first time the heroic legends of the fabled Second Age of Middle-earth’s history. (Sept. 2, Amazon Prime)
Starring Saoirse Ronan, Adrien Brody, and David Oyelowo: Set in 1950s London, See How They Run is a farcical mystery in which plans for a movie version of a smash hit play come to an abrupt halt after a pivotal member of the crew is murdered. (Searchlight Pictures)
Behind Miranda’s Other Broadway Smash (Audiobook): In the Heights: Finding Home reunites Lin-Manuel Miranda with Jeremy McCarter, co-author of Hamilton: The Revolution. In this audiobook, they do more than trace the making of an unlikely Broadway smash and a major motion picture; they give listeners an intimate look at the decades-long creative life of In the Heights.