Lynnette Jalufka

One of my favorite movies is National Treasure, partly because I like history. It’s a heart-pounding race to find the greatest fortune ever put together, the Knights Templar Treasure. Ben Gates is obsessed with it; his family was entrusted with a clue to its whereabouts since the American Revolution. But when he discovers the clue leads to another one hidden in the Declaration of Independence, he and his ruthless partner, Ian, split ways. Ben is left with an agonizing decision: to save the Declaration, he must steal it before Ian does.

The movie is a fun ride with the clues leading through American history. It keeps you on the edge of your seat. Grab some popcorn and enjoy.



The Scarlet Pimpernel


The Scarlet Pimpernel

By Nandy Ekle

I am not normally a fan of romance stories, but if they include captivating characters in clever adventures, danger, intrigue, and fun little sword fight, I’m all in.

The Scarlet Pimpernel is a movie that is all that and more. It’s an older movie (I hesitate to use the word “old” as it dates me) that’s based on a book written by Baronnes Emmuska Orcszy. I have read the book, and, really and truly, this is one time I like the movie better. Anthony Andrews plays Sir Percy Blakeney, Jane Seymour plays Marguerite St. Just, and Ian McKellen plays Chauvelin. A brilliant cast.

The story is set in the French Revolution. Sir Percy is part of the British aristocracy, and has a lot of close friends in the French aristocracy, including King Louis and Queen Marie Antoinette. It’s not hidden from us that he plays a double role as the Scarlet Pimpernel in freeing as many French “Aristos” as he can. He and his band of friends are shallow-minded pompous aristocrats during the day, but plan daring and dangerous ploys by night.

When Sir Percy meets Marguerite, he falls instantly in love and woos her with lavish attention and gifts. However, she has a past with Chauvelin, who is a member of the Committee of Public Safety, and in charge of beheading the “aristos”. 

The story is presented with all the period costumes and landscapes, and ends with a fun little sword fight. Look for this movie and enjoy.


The Hobbit Movie Review

The Hobbit Movie Review

by Adam Huddleston

A few days ago, my son and I watched the first of the recent Hobbit movies, “An Unexpected Journey”.  I was extremely proud of him for finishing the book and excited to begin viewing the films with him.  I had seen the movies when they first came out, but that was admittedly several years ago.  

My first observation of the film is that the writers attempted to include much of the exact dialogue from the novel.  A lot of our favorite lines made the movie and that is always enjoyable.  Another thing I noticed is that the film makers did a fairly decent job of making Bilbo the main character.  However, it did irk me that they really pushed the character of Thorin Oakenshild.  I understand that he is important to the tale, but it seemed that the movie focuses a bit too much on him.

Another failure of the film is it’s overabundance of CGI special effects.  When done correctly, computer-generated images blend in perfectly with the scene and are not noticeable.  When not, they stand out like a sore thumb.  For example, the groups’ escape from the goblins near the end of the film is so scattered and cluttered, I had a difficult time distinguishing what was happening.  

Overall, the film is a good effort at capturing Tolkien’s tale in live-action, however, it could have been done much cleaner.  Still, if you are a fan of the story and/or fantasy films, I would recommend giving “An Unexpected Journey” a once over.  


Outtakes 388



By Cait Collins


Having worked for Disney part time for five years, I developed a deep respect for the animation teams that created the magic we saw on the screen.  I can truthfully say the hours I spent on stage in the new Disney Store in Amarillo were some of the most fulfilling work hours I ever experienced.

Walt Disney believed in the magic of movies.  I recall his black and white television show from the fifties.  The weekly forays into Adventure Land, Fantasy Land and Tomorrow Land were anticipated. We were living in St. John’s, Newfoundland.  My Dad and some of the other fathers would load kids into cars and take us to the base theater on Saturdays for the matinees.  The innovation and skills of the animation and live action teams entertained my friends and me.

Disney has always been a leader in technology and storytelling.  While I loved the animated movies, I relished his live-action movies.  The recent release of Aladdin is further evidence of the studio’s commitment to innovation and storytelling.  Guy Ritchie led the cast and crew to the Middle East and into the lives of a young man struggling to survive and a princess who wanted freedom.  Theirs is a love story told against the backdrop of the ancient city of Agrabah skillfully created by scene and set designers. The viewer is there in the streets of an old city, in the Arabian desserts, in the Cave of Wonders, and the waters of the bays right along with Aladdin, Jasmine and the Genie. We are a part of the story and not merely an audience.

The music is pure magic, incorporating the Howard Ashman/Alan Menken lyrics and score from the animated movie Aladdin with new music from La La Land songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. Pasek and Paul gave Jasmine her voice with a new song. Her song.

The staging and costumes are magnificent. The cast skillfully selected from actors and actresses of ethnic cultures that cemented the look of an ancient kingdom.  Mena Massoud’s portrayal of Aladdin as a charming street rat longing to escape his world is perfect. Naomi Scott brings Jasmine from a voiceless woman to a leader. Marwan Kenzari’s Jafar is deliciously evil. Dalia, Jasmine’s handmaiden, played by Nasim Pedrad, has just the right spunk.  She’s loyal, wanting only the best for Jasmine.

Will Smith’s portrayal of the Genie is magic. He brings just the right combination of mystic, wish granting, and humanity to the character.  Genie is a teacher, leader, confidant, and father figure. His performance is deserving of an Oscar.

Aladdin is not just a kid’s movie.  The story can take us back to the times in our lives where we were unsure, lonely, and searching for who we really are.  It reminds us that dreams are the seeds of finding ourselves.  It doesn’t matter if you’re five or fifty, Aladdin will take you on a journey from a dream to fulfillment.  It’s one movie you don’t want to miss.

The Old Man and the Sea

Based on the novel by Ernest Hemingway. Santiago goes out on his usual fishing trip and makes a huge catch, the biggest of his life. Then a shark attacks and tries to steal his catch. Santiago battles with the shark for days. He returns to the shore beaten, tattered and torn, and his catch consisting now of mostly bones.

I love this story. I recommend both the book and the movie.

Thanks for following WordsmithSix

Rory C. Keel



Review by

Natalie Bright

This classic novel by Natalie Babbitt tells the story about a young girl who stumbles upon a family’s stunning secret. If you could live forever, would you?  This book has always been a favorite of mine since an early age, but have you re-read any books from your childhood lately? The writing absolutely blew me away. The setting is stunning, the characters are perfection, and the emotion packs a punch. The story lingers in your head for weeks after. Don’t you love it when that happens?  As a writer, I have discovered a whole new appreciation for the children’s literature. TUCK EVERLASTING is as entertaining for adults as well as kids. Watch the movie too, but the book is worth your time and study of story craft.

Now you have homework: pick up one of your favorite childhood book and savor the greatness with a completely new mindset as an adult.

Happy writing!



Lynnette Jalufka


Last week, I wrote that The Lion Kingsolidified its place as my favorite movie after I watched it in 3D. This happened shortly after I saw the last Harry Potter film, also in 3D. I’m referring to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, my reserve champion of movies.To be fair, it is only half a movie. You had to have seen Part 1 first to follow the story. And none of it makes any sense unless you’ve watched the other six films, because important things from them show up in these two movies.

Both parts of Deathly Hallows are amazing when put together. They tell the story of Harry’s final showdown with his enemy, Voldemort, who has taken over the magical world. Harry goes on a difficult journey with his friends to find and destroy objects called Horcruxes, which, once all are destroyed, will be the end of Voldemort. That is, if he can do it before the Dark Lord kills him.

Part 2 is the more action-packed and emotional of the two movies. It contains a huge battle at Harry’s school, Hogwarts. I love this line from Harry as he argues with Hermione about returning to the school. He says, “Hermione, when have our plans ever actually worked? We plan, we get there, and all hell breaks loose.” It summarizes what has happened before and foreshadows what is to come.

I read the book before and after I saw the films. I’m glad the novel was made into two movies, because they contain all the emotion from the book. (I have shed tears in Part 2 ever since I watched it in 3D, which is incredible since I don’t usually cry in movies, and this is an action-packed film.) In my opinion, these movies are as close to the book as films can get.

“The Dark Tower” Movie Review

“The Dark Tower” Movie Review

by Adam Huddleston

So, I attended the premiere of “The Dark Tower” last night, and I wanted to throw my two cents in about the movie.  Due to the fact that there are many who have not read the source material, and I absolutely loathe folks who spoil the story for others, I will do my best not to ruin the plot for you.

Ok, after months and months (years actually) of speculation and chatting on Reddit about the movie, I went in cautiously optimistic.  If you read online reviews of the film, you will see a myriad of responses; some constructive, most destructive.  My overall impression was this: it was mediocre.

I understand that, when trying to appeal to a wide audience (most of whom have never read the novels), you have to make the story interesting without overwhelming people with exposition.  The filmmakers included a good mix of several of the books and most of the performances were great.  I felt that Matthew McConaughey’s portrayal of the Man in Black was sufficiently menacing.  Isris Elba and Tom Taylor did a respectable job as Roland and Jake, respectively.  

The action was probably the best part of the film, even if it did border on absurd a few times.  The dialogue was hit and miss, mostly miss (it seemed like sometimes they were just throwing in phrases from the books to try to make the “Constant Reader” happy).  I’m hoping that the movie will make enough to allow them to proceed with a television series.  According to the filmmakers, the series would be closer to the canon of the novels.

Anyway, whether or not you are a fan of Stephen King or have read the novels, I suggest you at least give the film one viewing.  You just might like it!



Natalie Bright



Whether you craft detailed character profiles or you let the character take you on their journey, it is helpful to really KNOW your character’s personality. By understanding the inner core of your characters, you understand their personalities, motivations, and how they will react to conflict and to each other. There are several books that make your job easier.

Writer’s Guide to Character Traits by Dr. Linda Edelstein

From Sex to Schizophrenia: Everything you need to develop your characters! As a psychology-based book for writers, this is an excellent addition for your reference library. With insightful summaries, you can dig deep into motivation and conflict, and create complex characters that readers love.

45 Master Characters: Mythic Models for Creating Original Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt

This book explores the common male and female archetypes that have been used in story-telling for centuries. This gives you ideas for traits, habits, hidden secrets, desires and greatest fears as a foundation for creating compelling characters and storylines. Dig deep and ask why. This will help you understand your characters’ motivation, making them intriguing and realistic. And added bonus are the examples for each archetype drawn from literature, television and movies. This is a great book.

Happy Writing!

STILL THE KING – Movie Review


Lynnette Jalufka


It’s movie review month here at Wordsmithsix, and I’m starting off with my favorite, The Lion King. I can remember the first time I saw it in the theater. The opening scene took my breath away as a cheetah stood on a rock in the glowing sunrise. Okay, I love big cats. But it’s the story that matters.

Young lion cub Simba can’t wait to grow up to be the king of the Pridelands, like his dad. When his uncle tricks him into believing he caused his father’s death, he is driven into exile. Simba meets new friends who teach him how to live without worries. Life is good until a friend from his past shows up. Great songs, awesome music, and beautiful animation aid in the telling of this story about facing the past and accepting responsibility.

I’ve seen this movie in various formats, from a VHS tape on a small TV to 3D on the big screen, and it hasn’t ceased to amaze me. I happened to catch it in 3D shortly after I watched the last Harry Potter film, also in 3D. I took a moment to compare the movies as to which one I liked more. Without a doubt, The Lion King still reigns supreme.