Saturday, March 30, 2013

Calvin Clayman: BTFS Characters

Calvin Clayman





An unexpected visitor, he looked like an ad in an American Express travel magazine. Calvin's smile faded as Maureen closed the door behind her. He lingered too long on the porch. Adam asked, "We played on the basketball team together? That's how you know my wife and me?" Contempt flashed in Calvin's eyes.

William McNamara as Calvin Clayman

William McNamara on IMDb

William McNamara on Facebook
Follow @williammcnamara on Twitter

  Important Info:



  What Would You Do To Save Your Family?

Plot outline:
A twist of fate brings the national spotlight to a forgotten Texas town and a once famous preacher has an opportunity to either regain his former glory or seize one last chance to restore his fractured family. Narrated by his fifteen-year-old daughter, we watch as Adam Wells, a minister driven by the prospect of achieving greatness as the next nationally-syndicated TV Evangelist, faces the possibility of laying down his opportunity at “celebrity” and even his own life in order to become something even greater... a loving husband and father to his wife and daughter.
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Beyond The Farthest Star will be in theaters in 2013. If you want to help get it to a cinema near you, click BRING IT and let them know you want to see this film!

Mrs. Harper: BTFS Characters

Mrs. Harper


One word describes her... tight. When Anne's poem upsets her, this no nonsense teacher takes immediate action. Her mouth clamped shut with disapproving lips, she speaks in clipped, tight phrases. Bursting into Principal Johnston's office, she slams a handwritten note down on his desktop. "What's this?" Johnston sputters.

Stephanie Dunnam is Mrs. Harper....in BTFS.


Stephanie Dunnam on IMDb

 Important Info:



  What Would You Do To Save Your Family?

Plot outline:
A twist of fate brings the national spotlight to a forgotten Texas town and a once famous preacher has an opportunity to either regain his former glory or seize one last chance to restore his fractured family. Narrated by his fifteen-year-old daughter, we watch as Adam Wells, a minister driven by the prospect of achieving greatness as the next nationally-syndicated TV Evangelist, faces the possibility of laying down his opportunity at “celebrity” and even his own life in order to become something even greater... a loving husband and father to his wife and daughter.
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Beyond The Farthest Star will be in theaters in 2013. If you want to help get it to a cinema near you, click BRING IT and let them know you want to see this film!

The Message of the Cross

 Now, let me ask you something profound yet troubling. If you became believers because you trusted the proclamation that Christ is alive, risen from the dead, how can you let people say that there is no such thing as a resurrection? If there’s no resurrection, there’s no living Christ. And face it—if there’s no resurrection for Christ, everything we’ve told you is smoke and mirrors, and everything you’ve staked your life on is smoke and mirrors. Not only that, but we would be guilty of telling a string of barefaced lies about God, all these affidavits we passed on to you verifying that God raised up Christ—sheer fabrications, if there’s no resurrection.
 If corpses can’t be raised, then Christ wasn’t, because He was indeed dead. And if Christ weren’t raised, then all you’re doing is wandering about in the dark, as lost as ever. It’s even worse for those who died hoping in Christ and resurrection, because they’re already in their graves. If all we get out of Christ is a little inspiration for a few short years, we’re a pretty sorry lot. But the truth is that Christ has been raised up, the first in a long legacy of those who are going to leave the cemeteries. ~ 1 Corinthians 12-20 (The Message)


Friday, March 29, 2013

Apostle Peter & The Last Supper

Apostle Peter And The Last Supper is a family friendly biblical story of  that tells the story of Jesus through the eyes of His disciple, Peter. The film begins in Rome. AD 67 at the Mamertine Prison when the Romans take custody of a famous criminal. He is Simon Peter of Galilee---apostle, disciple, and the personal friend of Jesus (Bruce Marchiano), also called The Christ. Knowing that he will soon be put to death, the elderly Peter (Robert Loggia) spends his remaining time telling the story of his life from his first encounter with Jesus when he was a simple fisherman to becoming known as one of the boldest figures in all of Christianity. His focus is on the night Jesus is arrested, the reaction of all of the disciples, and the resurrection of our Lord. His words make an unforgettable impression on his jailers (Laurence FullerDavid Kallaway) as they slowly turn from disbelief to faith.



This is actually a fairly good film. I rarely find one that simply follows the Bible and tells the story as it is written, and this one is another that takes a few liberties with the story...but not enough to have me screaming at the television. (There's a reason I prefer to watch films alone. LOL! I'm not always a passive viewer.) What I liked was the scenes, especially during the passover meal, as several of the disciples are questioning---in their own minds---if he will be the one to betray Jesus through a character flaw. So, while there are things that irk me a bit (the extremely clean foot that gets washed, for example), it also made the real story come more alive as I watched the interaction between these men and Jesus. Of course, Bruce Marchiano's portrayal of Jesus is outstanding, as always.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Home Run by Travis Thrasher

Hone Run is a novel about baseball star Cory Brand--a man who knows how to win the game. His personal life, though, is a falling apart and his escapades are becoming more legendary than his ability on the field. His past is full of regrets and memories that haunt him, and he has chosen to keep the past, including his family, out of sight and out of mind much of the time. However, his out of control drinking, temper, and other antics finally push his management and publicists into a suspension while he gets his life together and allows the PR people time to re-invent his public image.
"To save his career, Cory must go back to the town where it all began. His plan is simple: coach the local Little League team, complete a recovery program, and get out as fast as possible. Instead, he runs headfirst into memories he can’t escape ... and the love he left behind. Faced with a second chance he never expected, Cory embarks on a journey of faith, transformation and redemption. And along the way, he discovers a powerful truth: No one is beyond the healing of God."  (back cover)
 
 Ok, I have been hearing rave reviews about the film that will be released next month, so I was quite excited to be offered the chance to read the novel. I hate to say it, but I didn't feel the book held up to my expectations. I mean, it was good, but not great. Some of it seemed a bit superficial and I had a lot of questions that remained unanswered. (I won't get into them because I prefer not to do spoilers, esp for new products) That being said, I still want to see the film, and I do recommend the book to others. I will probably read it again because I do feel that it deserves another chance; I have changed my mind on other films and books before. So, I would give it a high 3 stars, but it's not close enough to be a solid 4 for me.

Speaking of the film, I am including the trailer here. I really do want to see the film (& then I will re-read the book).

The book is out now and  Home Run - the movie will be released in theaters on April 19th. Click here to find a theater in your state.
Also, if you need a Biblical, balanced program to help you with past hurts, hang ups, and habits, please look for a Celebrate Recovery group near you.

GIVEAWAY: To win a copy of this book, please leave a comment on blog to let me know you wish to be entered. The winner will be randomly selected on Sunday, April 7th at 6pm CDT.

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. 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."
Also, all opinions about the product or other products or services are strictly my own.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Jackson Tucker: BTFS Characters

Jackson Tucker


Kyle’s father, Jackson Tucker, a wiry man with a gaunt weather-beaten face is known as the town drunk, and a violent man. When Kyle appears with fresh bruises, Chief Burns confronts Tucker when he sees him in his beat-up, mud-stained truck. As Chief Burns’ flashlight searches the floorboard’s empty beer bottles, he says, “Been hittin’ your boy again, Jackson?”

Jodie Moore is Jackson Tucker in Beyond The Farthest Star.

 Jodie Moore on Facebook
 Jodie Moore on IMDb 

Important Info:



  What Would You Do To Save Your Family?

Plot outline:
A twist of fate brings the national spotlight to a forgotten Texas town and a once famous preacher has an opportunity to either regain his former glory or seize one last chance to restore his fractured family. Narrated by his fifteen-year-old daughter, we watch as Adam Wells, a minister driven by the prospect of achieving greatness as the next nationally-syndicated TV Evangelist, faces the possibility of laying down his opportunity at “celebrity” and even his own life in order to become something even greater... a loving husband and father to his wife and daughter.
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Beyond The Farthest Star will be in theaters in 2013. If you want to help get it to a cinema near you, click BRING IT and let them know you want to see this film!


Monday, March 25, 2013

Joseph Harrison: BTFS Characters

Joseph Harrison

Joseph Harrison is the attorney who steps in to represent Adam Wells in Beyond The Farthest Star. Harrison met Adam many years ago and his life has never been the same. Now he provides a voice of reason and compassion during this trial as he attempts to pay forward the profound impact Wells had on his past...and his present circumstances.

Lou Beatty Jr is Joseph Harrison.

Lou Beatty Jr on IMDb

Important Info:


  What Would You Do To Save Your Family?

Plot outline:
A twist of fate brings the national spotlight to a forgotten Texas town and a once famous preacher has an opportunity to either regain his former glory or seize one last chance to restore his fractured family. Narrated by his fifteen-year-old daughter, we watch as Adam Wells, a minister driven by the prospect of achieving greatness as the next nationally-syndicated TV Evangelist, faces the possibility of laying down his opportunity at “celebrity” and even his own life in order to become something even greater... a loving husband and father to his wife and daughter.
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Beyond The Farthest Star will be in theaters in 2013. If you want to help get it to a cinema near you, click BRING IT and let them know you want to see this film!

The Trial

The Trial , based on the Robert Whitlow book, is a 2010 film directed and produced by Gary Wheeler. Attorney Kent "Mac" McClain (Matthew Modine) is considering suicide after the deaths of his wife and sons. However, the local judge (Rance Howard) insists Mac provide counsel for a young man (Randy Wayne) who is accused of murder. Mac rehires his assistant Mindy (Nikki Deloach) and his investigator Ray (Robert Forster) and gets assistance from psychologist Dr. Anna Wilkes (Clare Carey). With the prosecuting attorney, Joe Whetstone (Bob Gunton) pushing for the death penalty, will Mac be able to save the young man's life...and begin to live again himself?





 This courtroom drama is not the most compelling I have ever watched, but I did enjoy it. It has been a while since I have read the book, so I couldn't remember the details well enough to compare the two. I thought it was well written, and the actors were believable in their roles. A highlight, though, was the comic relief of Rodney MacFarland (Danny Vinson). Altogether, though, I really liked the film.

One Hit From Home

One Hit From Home is a faith-based sports-themed film that apparently was written, directed, and stars the same group of people. Synopsis: After suffering a career ending knee injury, pro-baseball superstar Jimmy Easton returns to a place he has not been in a very long time…home. Here, Jimmy confronts dark memories from a tragic past as he tries to make peace with a life he once left behind. Things take an unexpected turn when he is forced back into the world of baseball as the coach of an underachieving college team. Coach Jimmy’s rocky relationship with Brandon Elliot, the team’s only star, forces both of them to deal with their similarly troubled pasts. (IMDb)




Frankly, I stayed so distracted by poor acting, coloring, editing, script that I couldn't focus on the story. For the first 30 minutes, Jimmy stayed in a bad mood. For the next 30, Brandon was in a bad mood. The final 30 minutes were a jumbled mess of changing circumstances, coincidences and, I assume, a happily ever after ending for everyone. I was majorly disappointed, and for the record, I stayed in a bad mood through the majority of the film. I would not recommend this film to anyone.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Amazing Grace

 The Amazing Grace is a 2006 Nigerian-British historical film based on the song written by John Newton. Nick Moran, who plays the lead role of John Newton, is one of the writers. Jeta Amata directed, produced, and was a writer. This is the story of British slave trader John Newton's voyage to West Africa and the events that inspired him to write the world's most popular hymn, Amazing Grace. Also stars Scott Cleverdon, Mbong Amata, Fred Amata and Joke Silva. It was filmed in Nigeria.



 If you watch more than just the trailer, you have wasted your time...in my opinion. I can allow a little bit of leeway and fiction in historical dramas...but this is ridiculous! I checked out a few reviews who mentioned that this was the story from the slaves POV and that caught my attention; I love to see things from another angle. But this film consistently portrayed the song "Amazing Grace" being inspired from a song the Africans were singing and that is a lie. The words may have been inspired by John Newton's time spent in slave trade, but I found no evidence from any resource I checked that the melody originated in Africa. The cinematography and acting weren't the worse I've seen, but not good enough for me to suggest you simply enjoy the film as a highly fictionalized bio. This is a film I hope to forget.

Amazing Grace

In 1797, William Wilberforce, the great crusader for the British abolition of slavery, is taking a vacation for his health even while he is sicker at heart for his frustrated cause. However, meeting the charming Barbara Spooner, Wilberforce finds a soulmate to share the story of his struggle. With few allies such as his mentor, John Newton, a slave ship captain turned repentant priest who penned the great hymn, "Amazing Grace," Prime Minister William Pitt, and Olaudah Equiano, the erudite former slave turned author, Wilberforce fruitlessly fights both public indifference and moneyed opposition determined to keep their exploitation safe. Nevertheless, Wilberforce finds the inspiration in newfound love to rejuvenate the fight with new ideas that would lead to a great victory for social justice. (IMDb)


Amazing Grace is a 2006 film starring Ioan Gruffudd as William Wilberforce, a wealthy politician and reformer. After a religious conversion, Wilberforce considered becoming part of the clergy, but was encouraged to continue to serve God as a politician. While the film does contain a few historical inaccuracies (for instance, he sings Amazing Grace several years before the tune was added to the lyrics), it is a very well made movie that captures the heart and spirit of Wilberforce and the causes he championed.

Frankly, it is one of my favorite films from this century and one I watch several times a year. The emphasis on his relationship God and his belief in treating all humans (and animals; Wilberforce was also a founding member of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) with kindness and respect are done quite well. I highly recommend this film!

Anne Wells: BTFS Characters

Anne Wells 

 Anne Wells is the Goth teen daughter who struggles with depression and cutting. She feels rejected by her parents, especially her dad, and has placed an emotional barrier around herself. This latest move to the small town of Leonard, Texas, is another reminder that she is an outsider who cannot find her own niche...although she has found one person who wants to be her friend. Will she found the truth she is searching for?

Cherami Leigh stars as Anne Wells in Beyond The Farthest Star.

Follow @CheramiLeigh
Cherami Leigh on IMDb

Important Info:



  What Would You Do To Save Your Family?

Plot outline:
A twist of fate brings the national spotlight to a forgotten Texas town and a once famous preacher has an opportunity to either regain his former glory or seize one last chance to restore his fractured family. Narrated by his fifteen-year-old daughter, we watch as Adam Wells, a minister driven by the prospect of achieving greatness as the next nationally-syndicated TV Evangelist, faces the possibility of laying down his opportunity at “celebrity” and even his own life in order to become something even greater... a loving husband and father to his wife and daughter.
 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Beyond The Farthest Star will be in theaters in 2013. If you want to help get it to a cinema near you, click BRING IT and let them know you want to see this film!


Friday, March 22, 2013

A Man Called Peter

Richard Todd delivers a thoroughly winning performance as Peter Marshall, the Scottish-born minister who became Chaplain of the U.S. Senate. While still a boy, Peter wants only to go to sea. But as a young man he experiences a profound awakening which leaves him with the unwavering conviction that he has been called upon to do the Lord's work. He completes his religious training in the United States, where he presides over several congregations. A compelling speaker who believes religion should be fun, Marshall inspires young people to renew their interest in the church, and his ministries prosper. Eventually, he becomes pastor of the prestigious Church of the Presidents, in Washington D.C. and is asked to serve as spiritual guide for the Senate. Co-starring Jean Peters as Marshall's devoted wife, Catherine, "A Man Called Peter" is the deeply moving tale of "a man and his close friendship with God"- (Amazon)



This 1955 film on the life of Peter Marshall is based on the biography written by his widow, Catherine (most famously known for Christy). I remember seeing this film as a child and have watched it several times as an adult. This is an interesting Bio-pic of a man who was one of the best known pastors in America in the 30s & 40s. What impresses me the most, is not so much the look of the film, but the fact that Dr. Marshall's sermons are just as fresh and inspiring today as they were when he initially preached them. This is a film well worth watching just to hear snippets of what he said to say. This is a film that should not be overlooked.

 


I couldn't find my favorite from the film, but here is a link to several of his quotes.

*just as a side note. I love the irony of the dvd cover featuring Richard Todd (as Peter) wearing a clerical collar. One of the more humorous scenes was his adamant refusal to wear one.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The American Bible Challenge Season 2

The American Bible Challenge is returning for it's 2nd season. The premier is tonight, March 21, 2013 at 9/8c on the Game Show Network! In case you missed hearing about it last year, "The American Bible Challenge" is a spirited game show that will celebrate the Bible and its place in American culture. Bible enthusiasts from all across the country will compete in a variety of challenges that put their knowledge of the Good Book to the test. The show’s prizing will further reflect the celebration of faith, as teams will earn money for the charity of their choice. A huge success, the show was even awarded The Epiphany Prize at The 21ST Annual MOVIEGUIDE® Awards!

This year they will have new teams plus will welcome back Jeff Foxworthy as host. Joining Jeff this year-----musical co-host, Kirk Franklin! This season is sure to be a huge hit with everyone!

 
 
 Take a sneak peek at is in store for the viewers this year:


Make sure you tune in tonight and join the fun...and test your own knowledge as the contestants are challenged.

"Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. 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."

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

God Of Wonders dvd

God of Wonders is an 85 minute documentary that combines Scriptures, scientific insights, and stunning nature footage to reveal the wonders of our Creator as observed throughout His creation.

Join us on a remarkable journey of discovery as we explore the Creator's handiwork and what His creation reveals about His character. Survey the unimaginable size of the universe and ponder the vast energy present in all matter. Examine the elegant water molecule essential to all life and discover how God combines these molecules to form beautiful and symmetrical snow crystals. Learn about the incredible complexity of DNA and the miraculous workings of the tiny seed. From the design functionality of birds to the incredible transformation of butterflies, these and many other features of creation are highlighted in this visually stunning presentation. (product description)









"Declare His glory...His wonders among all peoples." - Psalm 96:3

This film explores a variety of topics from the expanse of the universe, the tiny hummingbirds, thunderstorms to the intricacies of dna. Interspersed with Scripture and explanations of scientists about the obvious design behind these marvels of the universe, this is an excellent resource for those wanting to learn more about God's design. The scientists kept my attention, but it was the awesome photography that kept me entranced. Of course, I also loved the Scripture used throughout the film. The narration was a tiny bit dry, but not enough to be distracting. I will watch this more than once...especially the stars and the thunderstorms. :) I do recommend this film, especially for homeschoolers.

Natalie Grant - Held


Matthew Navarro
Jan. 11, 1974 -
Mar. 20, 1974

He answered, “While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept. I thought, ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.’
  But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.” ~ 2 Samuel 12: 22-23



Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Dream So Big

A Dream So Big is the story of how one person with a dream can make an enormous difference. Steve Peifer was living the life many call "The American Dream": great job, nice house, 2 sons, and he and his wife, Nancy, were thrilled to be expecting their third child. The joy soon turned to heartbreak when they learned their son would not live long due to a chromosomal disorder. They treasured the 8 days their son lived, but the loss left an empty spot in their lives. Nancy had always wanted to be a missionary in Africa, so when an offer to be dorm parents at a school for missionary kids for one year in Kenya was presented, the Peifer family saw a chance for Nancy to experience her dream, plus an outlet work though their grief by pouring their lives into other people. 

 In this book, Steve tells a story that happened not long after their arrival in Africa. When visiting a local school, he asked why the children were allowed to lie on the floor rather than sit at desks to do their schoolwork. When the teacher explained that most were too faint from hunger to sit, Steve knew that something had to be done to help. Knowing that the key to escaping poverty is education (Kenya had a very high drop-out rate), he went on to devise a plan that gave the kids the nutrition they needed and an incentive to stay in school. His effort not only impacted the lives of the people of Kenya, but those who were given to opportunity to be a part of the funding. 



Book Review: I love this book!! Not only is this a story that is  inspirational for what has been done and continues to be done through the efforts spearheaded by Steve...but it was a lot of fun to read. Of course, I cried during parts of it, but I also laughed at loud during much of it too. The personality of Steve shines through and you are drawn into his world. The co-author, Gregg Lewis, skillfully crafted an absorbing tale and presented it in a manner that was spell-binding. Each time I laid the book down, it stayed on my mind, and I was eager to return to it. I frequently read uplifting stories and appeals for help, but this has become interwoven into my thoughts and prayers on a daily basis. Steve may have started out as a reluctant missionary, but his willingness to adapt his desires to obeying God led to international recognition for his food and computer program, Kenya Kids Can!. Also, the Peifer family's 1 year mission project has extended to more than a dozen years in Kenya. Definite proof that when you submit your will to God, your desires of the heart may be molded into something unexpected.




Steve Peifer serves as Director of College Guidance for Rift Valley Academy in Kijabe, Kenya. He established a rural food program in 2002 that provides lunches for 20,000 Kenyan schoolchildren a day. He has also built the first solar-powered computer-training center in Kenya, and is now developing twenty computer classroom labs for rural schools. For his work on behalf of Kenyan children, he was awarded the CNN Heroes Award for Championing Children in 2007, the 2007  Yale Counseling Award and the 2010 NACAC Excellence in Education Award. Steve and Nancy have four children.

Steve Peifer on Facebook
Steve Peifer on Twitter
KenyaKidsCan.org
Africa Inland Mission International
Rift Valley Academy
Building Computer Labs in Kenya

I received a copy of this book for free in hopes I would review it on my blog. No promises were made of a positive review and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Steve Peifer will be stateside to promote his book March 21- April 13, 2013. For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Katie Broaddus at Katie@katiebroaddus.com.

 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

In The Blink Of An Eye

In The Blink Of An Eye is a combination of an end-times film and Groundhog's Day. Two detectives manage to talk a man suspected of criminal activity into inviting them and their wives for a weekend vacation aboard his yacht after thwarting the kidnapping of the man's girlfriend. David (David A. R. White) and Lori (Andrea Logan White) have a fight since David considers this less a vacation, and more of an investigation after he gets a call from his boss (Eric Roberts) saying that the kidnapper and the boyfriend were seen in a photo together. The other couple ( Lonnie Colon, Anise Fuller) are Christians, and when approached following their argument, Sue explains to Lori about Jesus and how He can give her the peace she needs. Lori asks God into her life and becomes saved.

The next day the 2 couples go to visit an island, but each pair then goes to spend some time alone together. Lori tries telling David about her new relationship with Jesus, but the rapture occurs...leaving David alone on the island. The others aboard the yacht are very suspicious of what he is saying and angry confrontations begin. Yet, the day keeps getting replayed with slight changes each time. The film was directed by Michael Sinclair.



 Honestly, I was a bit skeptical going into the film, but each time the day was repeated, the plan of salvation was made a bit more clearer. I liked the way that many misunderstandings and questions were answered as David realized the truth and tried to understand why he had been left behind. This is good for those who are seeking to understand Christian beliefs better.

New Hope

Michael (Samuel Davis) is not thrilled about his family's move to New Hope, a small, close-knit southern town. After all, it is his senior year. He is even less enthused about joining the town's high school basketball team, especially when he begins to bump heads with the team's star player, Lucas (Ben Davies). Lucas is fiercely loyal to the memory of his brother Chase -- the victim of a suicide that shook the entire town to its core. To Lucas, Michael is reaping everything Chase left behind -- an insult he refuses to accept. Jasmine (Perry Frost), Chase's longtime girlfriend, still has not found peace a year after his tragic death -- until a chance meeting with Michael. Michael's faith is tested as he endures confrontations with Lucas on and off the basketball court and through his growing fascination with Jasmine. With topics including peer pressure, alcohol, sex, suicide, relationships, and acceptance, New Hope captures the life of the modern teenager. Written by R2 PRODUCTIONS



I really wanted to like this film, but I didn't. The three stars were good, but many of the actors in the adult roles were very wooden when speaking; there were pauses in odd places. The animosity between the 2 male accelerated too quickly and ended so suddenly that it made little sense. The whole storyline just seemed too rushed, especially for the time frame indicated. There were believable moments, but then they would be shattered by little things that I found annoying. Life is messy, so I guess it is to be expected in a film too. This isn't one I want to watch twice to see if I just missed something.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Run On

Run On features David A. R. White, Tommy Blaze, and Brad Stine in this theatrical comedy. Each give a humorous, yet poignant history of their own prodigal journey. Although told from personal experiences and very different backgrounds, they all have the same theme of trying to escape and run from God.

David A.R. White, shares his story of how he left his Mennonite community in Kansas and came to Hollywood at the age of 19.

Tommy Blaze, a comedy veteran, tells his story of his marriage difficulty and trying to get a divorce that God wouldn’t allow.

 Brad Stine, “God’s Comic”, one of the most well known Christian comics in the country, shares his experience of being called to “ministry” and ending up in the belly of a whale.


The Parable of the Prodigal Son is one of my favorite stories in the Bible and these 3 versions these men share from their lives is told in a manner that made me laugh...and cry. Tears may seem odd since this is a stand-up comedian venue, but laughter and hope are what remains. This is one that you will not want to miss!!

Brother White

David A.R. White, Reginald VelJohnson, Jackee Harry, and Ray Wise star with Bruce Davison and Victoria Jackson in this heartwarming fish out of water comedy. James White (White) is one of dozens of associate pastors at a mega church in Southern California under the tutelage of television evangelist Johnny Kingman (Wise). He always longed to have his own church and jumps at the opportunity to become pastor of the impoverished Divine Faith Apostolic Church in Atlanta. His wife (Andrea Logan White) and two children aren't very enthusiastic about his assignment. Neither is the congregation itself, but they will have to learn to trust each other and pull together to save the church from a corrupt banker anxious to foreclose. It will take a musical miracle, supplied by BeBe Winans himself, to save them all in this heartfelt, family-friendly comedy.



Brother White was a bit of a disappointment to me. I honestly do enjoy a "fish out of water" type comedy and had high hopes for this one. There are certainly moments that are a lot of fun, but this seems to have a bit of a rushed feeling to it. All of the cast and crew are in films I love, but this just wasn't quite up to what I usually find. I kept getting lost in the time frame. Did all of this happen in a week? There were just things that didn't make sense to me. I think it would be a fun television series, and the film could be revamped to set the stage...but too much was crammed into the film without a smooth flow. I really did laugh (in a good way!) but wish this one had been tweaked a bit better before being released.

Hidden Secrets

Hidden Secrets is an ensemble cast film that reminds me a lot of The Big Chill. When several old friends gather for a long weekend to attend the funeral of a beloved friend, the old memories, new lifestyles and rigid attitudes cause conflict among them and jealousies to surface. Jeremy (David A.R. White) arrives with fiancee' Rachel (Staci Keanan) who is clearly jealous of his past relationship with Sherry (Tracy Melchior). Successful author Harold (Gregg Binkley) is married to the rigidly legalistic Rhonda (Autumn Paul). Rhonda is determined to convert Gary (John Schneider)...much to his amusement. The secrets that some of these people have are very hot topic issues that can be treated with contempt or overlooked as being inconsequential depending on your worldview or beliefs. Will their past change their present when it is revealed? Other cast includes Corin Nemac, Reginald VelJohnson, Rachael Lampa, and Building 429. Directed by Carey Scott and written by Sean Paul Murphy, Timothy Ratajczak, Michael Scott, Carey Scott, David A.R. White, and Russell Wolfe.


Actually, this is one of my favorite faith-based films. I think I have known most of these characters and been a few of them during different times in my life. Rhonda was the character most either disliked, laughed at, or identified with up to a point. It can be hard to love others as Jesus does when you always see things as black and white, wrong or right; you can easily lose your compassion for others when legalism rules your thoughts..I think this film has a good balance between relaying a Christian message and entertaining the viewer. I laughed, and even got teary-eyed at points, but there were things that made me think too. I found myself examining my own attitudes toward many people and topics. Great writing and believable characters and just a lot of fun to watch.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Suing The Devil

Suing The Devil is a Christian legal thriller/parody that provides both some thought-provoking moments and lots of humor. Due to a series of events that did not turn out as he hoped, frustrated law student Luke O'Brien (Bart Bronson) has had all he can handle! Based on the premise that he is responsible for all of the world's evils, Luke decides to sue Satan for 8 trillion dollars. Against all odds, the devil (Malcolm McDowell) shows up... with a full team of the most capable lawyers money can buy. The team of lawyers are reminiscent of the OJ Simpson trial, and the news panel discussing this trial in-depth (& nonstop) can be seen on any cable news channel, but it gives a feeling of authenticity. There is no doubt that a trial like this would be given world-wide, round-the-clock coverage.
The entire world watches intently to see who will win this unimaginable court battle. Will justice prevail and overcome evil? feeling of authenticity.



There are uneven spots, especially with some of the acting, but Malcolm McDowell's performance as Satan makes this a film well worth watching. It is a very humorous portrayal, yet it makes it easier to see how insidious the devil really is and how attractive sin can be packaged. It has a more evangelical approach than some of the other faith-based films, but can appeal to a wide variety of people. Truth is presented in the film, and that can be controversial to some. I am a Christian, so I look at the message in this movie from the POV of a believer. There are other faith-based movies that may appeal more to a wider audience, I did enjoy watching the film...but would be hesitant to share it with friends who are not believers.

Seven Days In Utopia

Seven Days In Utopia follows the story of Luke Chisolm (Lucas Black), a talented young golfer set on making the pro tour. When his first big shot turns out to be a very public disaster, Luke escapes the pressures of the game and finds himself unexpectedly stranded in Utopia, Texas, home to eccentric rancher Johnny Crawford (Robert Duvall). But Johnny's more than meets the eye, and his profound ways of looking at life force Luke to question not only his past choices, but his direction for the future.

I had heard good reviews of this film from various friends who had seen it, so I did look forward to seeing it. I have always loved Robert Duvall and am also a fan of Lucas Black (who was born in a town near me). Other than a childhood love for Goofy Golf in Panama City  (the one with the giant monkey!!), golf is not a sport that particularly interests me, though. So I was relieved to find this is more than just a golf movie: this is a message about golf... life, and God all wrapped up in a story that kept my interest. The lessons that Johnny teaches Luke are those that are important for everyone. The people in the film are flawed, but aren't we all? Suspicions and early jealousies turn into a mutual respect and friendship.



Seven Days In Utopia is more than just a film. Utopia, TX is also an actual place you can visit. There is a golf course, retreats, a book (Golf's Sacred Journey )and you can see videos of the lessons on their website.

Did He Make The Putt?

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The One Good Thing by Kevin Alan Milne

For as long as Halley Steen has known her husband Nathan, he has carried a handful of stones in his pocket. Each day he uses those stones to remind him to follow the Golden Rule, moving a stone from one pocket to the other with each act of kindness. So it's not unusual that Nathan stops to help a stranger on the side of the highway while on his way to his son's football game one Friday evening. But that one act will change all of their lives forever, when a car hydroplanes off the road, killing Nathan instantly.

As Halley and her children Ty and Alice struggle with their grief, Nathan's spiritual legacy lives on. A Facebook page appears, where countless stories about Nathan's selfless acts are shared. But among them is one that stands out, from a woman who says that Nathan saved her life. Neither Halley nor her children have ever heard of Madeline Zuckerman. But soon Halley discovers years of e-mails from this woman to her husband on his computer that refer to "our little girl." How could her husband have kept the secret of this other child for their entire marriage? Why had he lied to her? Was he not the man she thought he was?

Only thirteen-year-old Alice maintains unwavering faith in her father. She knows there's an explanation. When she sets out to find Madeline and learn the truth, she will start to unravel the complex story of The One Good Thing Nathan Steen did that had the greatest impact of all. 


If you want a book that is entertaining, filled with mystery, and edifying...this is a must read! Honestly, I started to pass on it since I had too much going on right now and a stack of other books and films I had promised to look at and was concerned about fitting it into my schedule since the blog tour is this week. I finally decided that it looked like something I would enjoy in between some of the "heavier" books I was reading. This became one of those books I did not want to put down once I got started. The topics of bullying, secrets, and the impact it has on families and told through multi-generational layers and time periods showed a cause and effect that changes a life and determines how you treat others.

One man's life changed when he caught a glimpse of the inner heartbreak of a classmate. His honor and acts of kindness are what he has become known for, but his unexpected death reveals secrets that appear to vindicate those who felt he had betrayed them in the past. Was Nathan the good man everyone thought he was or was he trying to atone for lies he kept covered? The use of many characters voicing their POV in individual chapters, in addition to the comments left by others on the Nathan Steen Facebook Tribute Page "The One Good Thing" gave a well-rounded look at the man.

This also lets the reader ponder what each of us may face and how it appears to others. I loved the actual use of stones Nathan used to help him make a conscious effort to do a good thing. We often hurl stones of indifference, hatred, avoidance ,etc. at others and think nothing of it. Is lack of action, when offered the chance to do good, as bad as doing evil? Two of my favorite quotes sum up my opinion:
"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing" ~ Edmund Burke
"Do to others as you would have them do to you." ~ Jesus Christ

 
GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment letting me know that you would like to be entered in the drawing to win your own copy of
"The One Good Thing". Drawing will be held Tues., March 19, 2013 at 1pm CDT.



Kevin Alan Milne is the author of The One Good Thing, The Paper Bag Christmas, The Nine Lessons, Sweet Misfortune, and The Final Note. He earned an MBA at Pennsylvania State University. Born in Portland, Oregon, Milne grew up in the nearby quiet country town of Sherwood, Oregon, where he currently resides with his wife and five children. 

I received my copy of this book from Sarah Reck at Hachette Book Group and Center Street for the opportunity to review it. I was not required to give a positive review or to participate in the blog tour.