Saturday, September 13, 2014

CMA Dallas Chapter 9/15/14 Meeting

9/15/14 CMA-Dallas Meeting: BENJAMIN DANE 

Benjamin Dane
(photo credit: Jeffrey Nicholson)
Benjamin Dane, CMA-Dallas Chapter Leader, will be the host of the September 15th meeting being held at Theatre 166. A multi-talented actor and producer with numerous stage and screen credits,  Ben will soon be seen in Beyond the Farthest Star (he is also executive producer), Red on Yella Kill a Fella and Second Impression. Ben and his wife also own award-winning Robinson Creative Inc, a creative design firm specializing in innovative marketing, branding and identity solutions.

Connect with Benjamin:
Benjamin Dane IMDb

Benjamin Dane on Now Casting
Benjamin Dane on Actors Access
Benjamin Dane on Facebook
Follow @benjamindane on Twitter

Notes About the Meeting:
If you are in Film, TV, Church Media, Communications - You do not want to miss this exciting event. The legendary June Hunt will be speaking on Ethics and Integrity in Media. June practically invented the radio therapy program format and is now heard around the world!

TV Experts Media Panel
There is also a TV Experts Panel... June will join Michael Jay Solomon (former head of Warner Bros TV and CEO of the new Truli Media), Jimmy Swan (Music manager, producer and recent creator of an upcoming TV reality show), Sherry Bronson (she created and launched her own talk show magazine, The Sherry Bronson Show) and Tracey Mitchell (Host & Founder of "The Winning Woman" TV Show) to answer YOUR questions. It is sure to be our best event this year leading up to our incredible convention next month! 


Two Christian Media Association National Headquarter Staffers will be with us (come and meet them) AND they plan to announce the keynote speaker for the convention at the meeting! They might ALSO be giving away a very special DVD on Scriptwriting, Acting, and Cinematography - for everyone who registers for the 2014 CMA Convention Monday!

IF you are unable to attend on Monday, you can still be a part - Watch CMA-Dallas Meeting on Livestream


Theatre 166
2425 W. Parker RD
Carrollton, TX
 

6:30-9pm
 

FREE to the public; RSVP is required.
RSVP on CMA website
CMA-Dallas Chapter Event page


*Reposted from Christian Media Association blog with permission from owner.  

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The Confession by Robert Whitlow

In Holt Douglas's line of work, there's nothing sweeter than a confession of guilt. Assistant D.A. Holt Douglas makes his living exposing lies and sending criminals to jail in Ashley County, Georgia. His job is always easier when defendants, instead of remaining silent, blame someone else or try to excuse their actions. With a confession in his hand, Holt knows a guilty plea will soon follow.
But lurking in Holt's past is a dark secret that could end his successful career and possibly his relationship with Angelina, his hoped for fiancé.

When Holt reopens a cold case involving the death of the town's wealthiest businessman-allegedly killed by a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest-Holt doesn't believe it was suicide. Instead, he suspects murder.
As he investigates, Holt's own guilt threatens to destroy him and the cause of justice he's sworn to serve. While he knows his own confession could absolve him of his sin, it could cost him his future. Will he survive long enough to uncover the true crime that this small southern town has been hiding? (from the publisher)

My Review: The Confession by Robert Whitlow is a suspenseful legal thriller that deals with ethics and if it is okay to sometimes hide the truth. As Holt tries to uncover the details of a crime that he believes was covered up, and sorts through who is being truthful...or not, he begins to feel convicted about a cover-up in his own past. Is lying ever justified? There are twists and turns throughout the book, and some romance. He has a steady girlfriend, Angelina, but the deputy sheriff he works with, Trish Carmichael, has a huge crush on him. As they work closer together, and find so much common ground, will he and Trish fall in love...or do their past experiences put too great a wedge between them?

I am a huge fan of Robert Whitlow's books, and I loved this one too. It kept me guessing and made me think deeper into the issues brought to light. The characters develop into people who grow to care about as you read, and the plot kept my interest. The Confession is another winner!


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Sunday, August 31, 2014

A Long Way Off

A Long Way Off is a modern day retelling of The Prodigal Son. Jake Abraham (Jason Burkey) works for his father (John Diehl), a prosperous farmer in North Carolina. Jake doesn't feel like farm living is the life he was meant to have, so tells his dad that he is quitting, and, by the way, would also like to have his inheritance NOW! He has to have money to invest it... and will need a few dollars to live on as he waits to get richer.

When he reaches the big city, he meets a new friend, Summer (Zoe Myers), who works at a nearby coffee shop, but is drawn to actress, Laura (Johanna Jowett), despite the fact that she appears to be in a relationship with Frank (Robert Davi). Spending money freely, it appears he will waste it all until one of his investments pays off big. However, when the investment falls through, Jake is left with no money, no friends, an angry mobster who is threatening him...and no where to turn.

A chance encounter at a homeless shelter with Al (Rusty Martin Sr.) leads to a job on a pig farm, and some wise advice. Setting aside his pride and fears, he throws himself on the mercy of his father. Will he be accepted or rejected?

  
A Long Way Off also stars Dave Blamy (as Jake's brother, Seth), Robert Amaya and Edie McClurg. Written by Jon Macy and co-directed by Michael Davis and John Errington. Davis also serves as producer; Gerald McGlothlin and Christy McGlothlin are the executive producers for ProdigalFilm LLC. For more info on the film, visit their website at  www.alongwayoffthemovie.com.


My Review: This film is based on one of my favorite parables told by Jesus, "The Prodigal Son". For any unfamiliar with the story, it is the ultimate example of God's grace and forgiveness toward His children who reject Him (but don't hesitate to take His blessings) and His acceptance of those who humble themselves, ask forgiveness, and return to Him. I cry each and every time I read about or see a re-enactment of this Father and child reunion.

This film was no exception! I don't feel like I am giving away anything. The basic plot of the story in in the Bible, and the difference is in the setting and the details. This was a well acted story and looked great. Those looking for foul language and signs of nudity will be disappointed (thank goodness!). Some parts are not necessarily suitable for younger children, but even the worst is better than the average person sees daily. It is certainly suitable for teens and up. Jake's lavish lifestyle may look attractive, but is also a prime example of how quickly people will desert you when you are no longer useful to them. 


I admit, that I am more prone to identify with the older brother in this tale. I loved the way this part of the story was handled, and thought Dave Blamy was excellent in the role of Seth, the "good" brother who felt his efforts were unappreciated. Jason Burkey is an outstanding actor and easily portrayed a believable character who made a complete turnaround with his life. John Diehl was also remarkable as the dad who reluctantly gives in to his son's demands, and his part in the climactic scene will long remain with me, especially when I am reading this story in my Bible.

Disclaimer: Thank you to Edify Media and Word Entertainment for providing me with a copy of this dvd for review purposes. No expectations were given for a positive review; only an honest one.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Identical

The Identical

Identical twin brothers (Blake Rayne), born during the Great Depression, are separated shortly after birth. Their parents (Brian Geraghty, Amanda Crew) simply cannot afford 2 babies, so the dad sees it as Divine Providence when a passing evangelist asks for prayer for his own wife's (Ashley Judd) infertility. The brothers, unaware of each other, have very different upbringings, but share a passion for music. One of the boys, Drexel Hemsley,  becomes a rock ‘n' roll superstar, nicknamed "The Dream". Ryan Wade is torn between his love for music and not wanting to disappoint his father (Ray Liotta), who expects his son to become a minister. Ryan is encouraged by his wife Jenny (Erin Cottrell) and lifelong friends Dino and Avi (Seth Green, Joe Pantoliano) to follow his musical dreams and enters a Drexel Hemsley Impersonator contest. Ryan easily wins and becomes known as "The Identical"!!
 

This is a story of love, hope, forgiveness, redemption, restoration, and family. It is directed by Dustin Marcellino and written by Howard Klausner for City of Peace Films and Identical Production Company. Yochanan Marcellino is the executive producer and was the composer and musical supervisor.

Buy Advanced Tickets & Take a Group on Opening Weekend -Sept 5th, 6th & 7th! CLICK HERE!!




My Review: All in all, this is a good film. I love Ray Liotta, and he is the stand out performer for me, but everyone did well. This is Blake Rayne's first acting gig, but what he lacked in experience was fine for his character (or characters, in this case). As a musician, his performance, naturally, came to life during the performances. The music was, for the most part, excellent. To be honest, it was just my personal taste when I did not enjoy it as much. Each piece went well for the time period it represented. Speaking of music, the story really pulled me in with a fantastic performance by Noah Urrea (Ryan as a child) during a church scene. It's also the first film directed by Dustin Marcellino, but he surrounded himself with professional cast and crew, and it is a high quality film.

The story seemed more of a "What If?" tale based on the life of Elvis Presley, but it was interesting speculation. I thought it seemed odd that there was not a bit more curiosity about the fact that the 2 performers looked and sounded the same, but I may be looking at it through more modern eyes. I know adoptions were much more secretive years ago, and people seemed a bit more respecting of the privacy of others. (Again, that may just be me. I have never understood the 'Celebrity Worship' culture.) I honestly think I would have preferred the film as a mini-series to delve more deeply into BOTH brothers and to each era, especially the music, but it is a satisfying film. It is great for the whole family to watch, and while it is listed as a faith-based film, it is not a proselytising film. I enjoyed it. 

The Identical website
 
The Identical on IMDb

The Identical on Facebook


Blake Rayne on Christian Movie Connect
Erin Cottrell on Christian Movie Connect 
Yochanan Marcellino on Christian Movie Connect 
Examiner Article

Disclaimer: I was provided with a link to see this film for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review, or to review it at all. All opinions are my own. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Your Core by Callie Grant

Everyone has an inner place made by God for welcoming and meeting with Him. Inspired by Ephesians 3:14-19, Your Core appeals to the youngest readers with simple text and colorful scenes to convey a difficult concept to grasp—even for many adults.

Absorb
books connect studies about the facts of God with a child’s inner life – what Jesus cares about most. Children assimilate on a personal level who God is and how they are made to be with him, trust him and love him. (from the Graham Blanchard website)


My Review: This latest boardbook by Callie Grant is not only perfect for young hands to hold, but also explains the Holy Spirit in such a simple manner that children can get a basic grasp of who He is. The Trinity is a hard concept for even adults to understand sometimes, but this is an excellent starting point. The colorful illustrations by Missy Jay also serve as a visual to help anyone learn the message the book teaches. I highly recommend this book for Sunday School classes, church libraries, or your home library for the young children in your life. Also check out the Tips For Grown-Ups link on the Graham Blanchard website for more ways to interact with your child about the lesson learned.

 I received this book free of charge from Shelton Interactive in exchange for my honest review.

Graham Blanchard: Christian Children's Books
Callie Grant

Shelton Interactive
Missi Jay

Gigglebox


Holy Ghost movie


Can the Holy Spirit Direct a Movie?
  
In this fast-paced documentary from the director of the popular films Finger of God, Furious Love, and Father of Lights, Darren Wilson sets out to make a movie that is completely led by the Holy Spirit. No plan, no script, no safety net — just go wherever he feels the Spirit leading him to try and discover the adventure God has for him. Whether it’s the riches of Monte Carlo, a heavy metal concert, or the oldest city in world, the result is a film that not only challenges and excites, but also reveals a God who is far more alive and active than you ever imagined.

The movie features big names such as Lenny Kravitz, Brain “Head” Welch, Bill Johnson, Michael W. Smith, Todd White, Meredith Andrews, DeVon Franklin, William P. Young, Phil Vischer, and many more! (from the press release) 


My Review: After watching Holy Ghost several times, I remain ambivalent. My favorite parts were anytime Jake Hamilton sang. The boldness of sharing your faith and not limiting God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) to our own conceptions also was clearly brought out. In my opinion, we do not teach as much as we should on Holy Spirit in our churches. The movie has great lighting and no issues with the cinematography. There is also Closed Captioning and Director's Commentary!!

Negative is that much of it seemed to be very condescending toward Christians who disagree with the filmmakers. Yet, with nonbelievers, it was all, 'Yeah, man. Jesus loves you. It's all cool.' Frankly, I find that as disturbing as I do the screaming "Turn or Burn" type people. Perhaps they did a follow-up that was not shown on camera, but it felt more like a display of signs and wonders or party tricks...and that they were using Holy Spirit rather than letting Him work through them. Other times, I felt like I may be missing the point. Something about the score bothered me, but I often find that true in documentaries. No doubt that the composer is talented, but I had to turn it down several times.

Great conversation starter and gives the viewer some things to think about. I think I sometime took offense where none was intended, but I also felt that some parts lead to more confusion. Sometimes the director's commentary helped clarify, but other times I still felt there was too much arrogance or attempts to manipulate. To be honest, except for missing Hamilton's music, I prefer to watch the dvd with the commentary on. I believe the film can be used, though. One thing I do know is that you cannot limit Holy Spirit or what He will use to convict.

Holy Ghost Movie website


On September 6th, Wanderlust Productions will host the FREE worldwide premiere of the film at this site —> HolyGhostMovie.com

GIVEAWAY: FlyBy Promotions Blogger Network has a copy of the DVD available for one of my readers. Simply leave a comment to be entered into a random drawing. Deadline to enter is September 7, 2014 at 7pm (CDT). Open to US and Canada residents only.

 Disclosure: I received a copy of this movie from FlyBy Blogger Network in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

When Calls The Heart: Second Chances


When Calls the Heart- “Second Chances” is a feature length film from the episodes of the When Calls the Heart television series.  The When Calls the Heart television series debuted on the Hallmark Channel to more than 3 million viewers, making it the No. 2 for the night on all of cable for the primary telecast at 9 p.m and No. 3 overall in households.   Distributed by Word Entertainment, previous DVD’s are available to purchase in Christian Retail.

Synopsis-  As Elizabeth and Jack fight to restore their relationship, she searches for ways to help one of her older students learn how to read. Meanwhile, Adam Miller struggles to adjust to his new disability. With so many difficult changes affecting the community, can Elizabeth create a Founder's Day play that will spark hope in everybody's hearts?

My Review: Once again this multi-talented team has produced a high quality film with a storyline that draws you in. Hope and moving on from the past and handicaps is key to this film. Jack and Elizabeth finally decide to pursue a courtship, Abigail moves on to a new level of independence in opening a restaurant, Adam Miller (the only miner to survive the explosion) returns and his family must adapt to his diability, and Elizabeth works to help a student overcome a reading disability.

Watching as each character overcomes fears and failures and works hard to attain goals is inspirational and, not only teaches a lesson to the viewer, but entertains as well. A wonderful balance is struck between the drama and the humor and makes for a wonderful film suitable for the entire family.



 I received this DVD compliments of Word Films and Edify Media for my honest review. I was not required to write a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.