Peanuts and Popcorn

Peanuts and Popcorn

‘Black or White’ is More Grey – but in a Good Way

posted by jtotey
Jillian Estell and Kevin Costner star in "Black or White." (Relativity)

Jillian Estell and Kevin Costner star in “Black or White.” (Relativity)

Kevin Costner is a busy actor these days playing everything from a superhero’s father (Man of Steel) to a dying CIA agent (3 Days to Kill). Next month he’ll play a high school cross country coach in McFarland, USA, but this weekend he shines as the imperfect Elliott Anderson in Black or White. It’s a different type of role for him. He’s a lawyer, he’s old and he’s salty.

As the movie opens, we are with Elliott at the hospital when he receives news that his wife who was in a car accident didn’t survive. Understandably he falls apart. Not so understandably, he turns to the bottle for help. Back home, Elliott is tasked in telling his granddaughter, Eloise (Jillian Estell) the sad news. Eloise’s mother, (Elliott’s daughter), died in childbirth and Eloise barely knows her father. Eloise’s mother was white; her father is black.

To make matters more difficult, Eloise’s grandmother on her father’s side, Rowena (Octavia Spencer), wants nothing more than for her son, Duvan (Mpho Koaho) to be reunited with Eloise. That’s not going to happen if Elliott get’s his way. Let the courtroom drama begin.

Black and White is unique in that nothing in it is completely…black or white. Elliott is rich and can provide anything that his little Eloise would ever need. Rowena also has money, not the kind of money that Elliott has, but she is doing alright for herself. Elliott and Eloise live alone. Rowena has a huge family living with her. Duvan is a former drug addict. Elliott is an alcoholic. Questions rise up on whether Eloise would do better living with a black family rather than a white one. Some family members want to make the situation a race issue while others appear to be colorblind. There is no simple answer, but in the end, the right one wins out.

Black or White is not a perfect movie, but it is engaging. Jillian Estell is a charming actress and looks very natural throughout the film. However, one of the weirdest parts of the story is the inclusion of Elliott’s business partner’s girlfriend Fay played by Gillian Jacobs. She is a blond airhead whose character really has no reason for being in the movie. Fortunately, about after halfway through, she isn’t anymore. Her character, obviously meant for comedy relief, just doesn’t work.

The movie posters for the film make the story look more rosy than it is. Costner’s character isn’t really likeable (but of course he is grieving through most of it) and Octavia’s character is a lot more fun than you would think it would be for a family drama like this.

All in all, Black or White is definitely worth seeing and though the film is intended for adults, pre-teens could benefit from seeing this movie as well. Some great conversations could be had afterward.

More than 320,000 Students will see ‘Selma’ for Free

posted by jtotey
Paramount Pictures

Paramount Pictures

What started as a local event has grown to a national one in just a few short weeks. The “Bring Selma to Students” program began on January 8th in New York City when 27 African-American business leaders created a fund for 27,000 of the city’s 7th, 8th and 9th grade students to see the film for free. Due to the overwhelming demand, the New York City effort sold out in the very first weekend and was expanded to 75,000 tickets.

Since then, other African-American business leaders across the U.S. have joined in with Indianapolis and West Palm Beach being the newest, which means that the film will be shown to students for free at 34 locations nationwide.

Selma chronicles the tumultuous three-month period in 1965, when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led a dangerous campaign to secure equal voting rights in the face of violent opposition. The epic march from Selma to Montgomery culminated in President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most significant victories for the civil rights movement. The film stars Tom Wilkinson, Cuba Gooding Jr., Alessandro Nivola, Giovanni Ribisi, Common, Carmen Ejogo, Lorraine Toussaint, with Tim Roth and Oprah Winfrey.

Due to the program’s popularity and the ongoing efforts of the organizers, student tickets in Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Miami, New York, Northern New Jersey, Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, St. Louis and Washington D.C. have sold out. Philadelphia expanded its program and added 3,000 more tickets to meet the overwhelming demand, while the business leaders in Northern New Jersey raised additional funds to send 1,000 students in Trenton, NJ to see the film.

Viacom’s Paramount Pictures, which is distributing the Academy Award-nominated film for Best Picture and Best Original Song, is coordinating the programs with participating theaters in the U.S. For a list of participating theaters in select cities offering free admission to students during this program and for information on group sales, visit www.SelmaMovie.com/studenttickets. Middle and high school students who present a current student ID or report card at the box office of any participating theater will receive free admission while tickets last.

K-LOVE Announces Fan Award Nominees

posted by jtotey
From L to R: Matthew West, Steven Curtis Chapman, Plumb, John Sanders (K-LOVE Fan Awards Co-Creator and Producer), Jon Klein (TAPP Co-Founder and CEO), Mike Novak (K-LOVE President and CEO), Francesca Battistelli, David Pierce (K-LOVE CCO) and Colton Dixon. Photo Credit: Aaron Crisler for The Media Collective

From L to R: Matthew West, Steven Curtis Chapman, Plumb, John Sanders (K-LOVE Fan Awards Co-Creator and Producer), Jon Klein (TAPP Co-Founder and CEO), Mike Novak (K-LOVE President and CEO), Francesca Battistelli, David Pierce (K-LOVE CCO) and Colton Dixon. (Photo Credit: Aaron Crisler for The Media Collective)

The K-LOVE Radio Network is known for its 446 signals in 47 states and boasts of a listening audience of 14 million. Last night at the Franklin Theatre outside of Nashville, the K-LOVE announced the nominees for the 2015 Fan Awards Show. The special will be presented on May 31, 2015 at the Grand Ole Opry House in Music City.

Among the attendee’s for the press conference were President and CEO Mike Novak and CCO David Pierce, as well as host Steven Curtis Chapman, Colton Dixon, Francesca Battistelli, Matt Maher, Matthew West and Plumb.

Leading the nominations with four each, including Artist of the Year, were Newsboys and For King & Country. Additional nominees for Artist of the Year include Casting Crowns, Chris Tomlin, MercyMe and TobyMac. For the first time, nominees were selected and voted upon completely by fans. Voting for the 2015 K-LOVE Fan Awards will open at midnight (ET) on May 1 and will close at midnight (ET) on May 30. Nominees for Film/Television Impact, Book Impact and Sports Impact Awards will be announced at a later date.

And the nominees for the other awards are:

Male Artist of the Year:
Chris Tomlin, Colton Dixon, Crowder, Jeremy Camp, Matthew West and Steven Curtis Chapman

Female Artist of the Year
Francesca Battistelli, Jamie Grace, Kari Jobe, Mandisa, Natalie Grant and Plumb

Group/Duo of the Year
Casting Crowns, For King & Country, MercyMe, Newsboys, Tenth Avenue North and Third Day

Best Live Show
For King & Country, Need to Breathe, Newsboys, Tenth Avenue North, Third Day and TobyMac

Worship Song of the Year
“Overwhelmed” (Big Daddy Weave), “Jesus Loves Me” (Chris Tomlin), “Come As You Are” (Crowder), “No Other Name” (Hillsong Worship), “How Can It Be” (Lauren Daigle) and “Because He Lives” (Matt Maher)

Song of the Year
“Hope In Front of Me” (Danny Gokey), “Fix My Eyes” (For King & Country), “He Knows My Name” (Francesca Battistelli), “Do Something” (Matthew West), “Greater” (MercyMe) and “We Believe” (Newsboys)

Fifty Alternatives to Fifty Shade of Grey

posted by jtotey
A

Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson in “Fifty Shades of Grey” (Focus Features)

The wait will soon be over for those panting in desperation to see the new Fifty Shades of Grey movie based on the best-selling book of the same name by E. L. James. It comes to theaters on Valentines Day with the attitude that this is what today’s woman wants in a romantic movie – a twisted tale of fantasy and domination. Even many Christian women have read the series while men everywhere are scratching their heads in confusion.

If Fifty Shades isn’t your thing, you’ll be glad to know that you do have some alternatives. One is actually going head to head with Fifty Shades on Valentines Day, but appears to have a theme that is polar opposite. In fact, the latest preview for Old Fashioned actually pokes fun of the darker film.

“This Valentine’s Day,” says the trailer, “leave the door open to two souls who take the time to discover not manipulation but healing.” “Sexy corporate mogul” appears onscreen and a red line strikes through the words. Scenes then contrast the opposing stories: fantasy wealth and a contract to inflict pain  . . . or two down-to-earth, relatable people with failed romances, now finding their way to real love.

Jonathan Patrick Moore and Lacey Chabert in "Christian Mingle: The Movie" (Home Theater Films)

Jonathan Patrick Moore and Lacey Chabert in “Christian Mingle: The Movie” (Home Theater Films)

The indie film, which has already won a few awards, focuses on a former frat boy who now runs an antique shop in a small midwestern town. A young woman rents the apartment above his shop. He is ultra conservative; she is much more of a free spirit. Both have been hurt from past relationships but somewhere they meet in the middle. It stars Elizabeth Ann Roberts, Rik Swartzwelder and Dorothy Silver.

The odd thing about this promotion is that it is doubtful that the same audience attracted would be attracted to both films. Somewhere between these two films lies another indie film that is now available on DVD. Despite the film’s terrible name, the premise of Christian Mingle: the Movie sounds appealing. A 30-something marketing professional has it all – except a man. She wants a “good guy,” so she posts a profile on the dating website touting the virtues of her faith-filled life, which is basically a sham. Christian Mingle is by Corbin Bernsen and stars Lacey Chalbert and Johnathan Patrick Moore.

B

Rik Swartzwelder and Elizabeth Roberts in “Old Fashioned” (Skoche Films)

 

A in the Clouds  –  A Walk to Remember  –  Beastly  –  Beauty and the Beast  –  Bed of Roses  –  Better Off Dead  –  Big Business  –  Casablanca  –  Cinderella  –  Clueless  –  Emma  –  Enchanted  –  Ever After: A Cinderella Story  –  Family Man  –  Fireproof  –  Forever Young  –  Groundhog Day  –  It Could Happen to You  –  Lady and the Tramp  –  Ladyhawke  –  Leap Year  –  Maid in Manhattan
Marriage Retreat  –  My Big, Fat, Greek Wedding  –  New in Town  –  No Reservations  –  Notting Hill  –  Ratatouille  –  Return to Me  –  Roxanne  –  Sabrina  –  Sleeping Beauty  –  Sleepless in Seattle
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs  –  Tangled  –  Tarzan  –  The African Queen  –  The Apartment
The Hundred Food Journey  –  The Little Mermaid  –  The Love Bug  –  The Princess and the Frog
The Princess Bride  –  The Proposal  –  The Shop Around the Corner  –  The Wedding Singer  –  What’s Up Doc  –  While You Were Sleeping  –  You’ve Got Mail

Previous Posts

‘Black or White’ is More Grey – but in a Good Way
Kevin Costner is a busy actor these days playing everything from a superhero’s father (Man of Steel) to a dying CIA agent (3 Days to Kill). Next month he

posted 11:19:02pm Jan. 29, 2015 | read full post »

More than 320,000 Students will see ‘Selma’ for Free
What started as a local event has grown to a national one in just a few short weeks. The “Bring Selma to Students” program began on January 8th in New York City when 27 African-American business leaders

posted 6:58:00pm Jan. 29, 2015 | read full post »

K-LOVE Announces Fan Award Nominees
[caption id="attachment_825" align="alignleft" width="450"] From L to R: Matthew West, Steven Curtis Chapman, Plumb, John Sanders (K-LOVE Fan Awards Co-Creator and Producer), Jon Klein (TAPP Co-Founder and CEO), Mike Novak (K-LOVE President and CEO), Francesca Battistelli, David Pierce (K-LOVE CCO)

posted 7:56:50pm Jan. 21, 2015 | read full post »

Fifty Alternatives to Fifty Shade of Grey
The wait will soon be over for those panting in desperation to see the new Fifty Shades of Grey movie based on the best-selling book of the same name by

posted 11:34:11pm Jan. 16, 2015 | read full post »

Paddington Will Win Over Your Heart
The TV commercials for the new Paddington movie do not do the movie any justice. The images of the little bear riding a bathtub down the stairs and the

posted 12:00:09am Jan. 16, 2015 | read full post »


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