Peanuts and Popcorn

Peanuts and Popcorn

A ‘Hundred Foot Journey’ to a Near Perfect Dish

posted by jtotey
Papa Kadam (Om Puri) , Hassan Kadam (Manish Dayal) and Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren) in "The 100 Foot Journey." (DreamWorks)

Papa Kadam (Om Puri) , Hassan Kadam (Manish Dayal) and Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren) in “The 100 Foot Journey.” (DreamWorks)

It would be easy to excuse and skip The Hundred Foot Journey film as an artsy, fluffy movie that nobody wants to see. There’s no sex, violence, action or language. Nobody died while making the film and it isn’t surrounded by scandal. But Journey is one near perfect example of storytelling that would be a shame to miss

With the look and flavor of an indie film, “Journey” was funded by the big names of Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfey, who serve as producers of the film and was created by DreamWorks. It stars Helen Mirren and the story was written by Steven Knight, a name not well-known to American audiences, but is huge in England.

As a comedy/drama/romance, Journey focuses on the battle between two cultures and two restaurants. The Kadam family, native from India, have been displaced and move to France of all things. The family business is running a Indian restaurant, something that seems out of place in France. Papa (Om Puri) finds the “perfect” location to set up shop – right across the street (one hundred feet in fact) from Le Sale Pleureur, a Michelin-starred classical French restaurant which is run by Madame Mallory (Helen Mirren). Madame is sure that new restaurant will detract from her own and gives a rather chilly reception to the family. However, Madame has a sous chef, Marguerite (Charlotte Le Bon) who takes a liking to Papa’s son, Hassan (Manish Dayal) and helps to teach him the finer aspects of French cooking. Hassan is already a cooking prodigy, so this battle will be harder to win than Madame thinks.

And what one hopes will happen, happens in this story. Walls are slowly taken down and we slowly find a more loving and friendly person inside Madame while Marguerite begins to stiffen when she realizes that her career maybe at stake for helping “the enemy.”

“Journey” has the flavor of other family comedies like My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Bend it Like Beckham as there is much to like here. While the story focuses mostly on Hassan, the rest of the family get a few good lines here and there as well. The story is squeaky clean with no bad language (that I can remember anyway) and really, there is nothing in it to be offended by. However, that will be enough reason for some critics to give the film a bad review because it isn’t “edgy” enough. The film is totally enjoyable and is a rare gem indeed.  Some may take issue with the fact that Papa tends to “hear” from his dead wife who gives him direction beyond the grave, but the story doesn’t focus too much on this and one could argue that the “voice” he hears is actually God leading his family.

The budding romance between Hassan and Marguerite comes off as realistic and watching all of the food be prepared will definitely make you hungry.

Nominees are Announced for 45th GMA Dove Awards

posted by jtotey
The GMA Dove Awards will be shown on TBN on October 7, 2014.

The GMA Dove Awards will be shown on TBN on October 7, 2014.

The Gospel Music Association (GMA) announced this week the nominees for the 45th Annual GMA Dove Awards and as it stands now, writer and producer Wayne Haun leads with the most nominations (12) and artists Hillsong United, Lecrae, Mandisa and Matt Maher have 5 nominations apiece.

The Dove Awards are sort of like the American Music Awards for Christians. This year’s award show will be presented on October 7th at Lipsomb University’s Allen Arena October 7 and will air on the Trinity Broadcasting Network.

“To be announcing that the 45th Annual GMA Dove Awards have a new home with TBN generates a lot of excitement for our organization,” said Jackie Patillo, Executive Director of the Gospel Music Association. “Not only do our organizations align in mission, but TBN will get the show and our music out to a greater audience than ever before.  With their global and multi-platform enabled technology, virtually everyone, anywhere will be able to watch this year’s show.” Last year’s presentation was aired in UPTV.

“Once again the GMA Dove Awards will bring together the best and brightest singers, songwriters, musicians, and professionals in Gospel and Christian music,” said Matthew Crouch, Vice President of the Trinity Broadcasting Network. “And TBN, the leader in Christian television and America’s most-watched faith channel, is honored to serve as the exclusive broadcast host for this night of unforgettable and life-changing music.”

Also this year, the Dove Award will be giving a special award for the Most Inspirational Film of the Year, whose new category started last year.

Here are the nominees for 21 of the most popular categories. For full list of nominees go to www.doveawards.com/nominees

Casting Crowns

Casting Crowns

Artist of the Year

  • Casting Crowns
  • Hillsong UNITED
  • Lecrae
  • Mandisa
  • NEEDTOBREATHE
  • Switchfoot

New Artist of the Year

  • 1 Girl Nation
  • Andy Mineo
  • Ellie Holcomb
  • Hillsong Young & Free
  • Love & The Outcome
Hillsong United

Hillsong United

Song of the Year

  • “Fix My Eyes” – for KING & COUNTRY
  •  “Hello My Name Is” – Matthew West
  •  “Hurricane” – Natalie Grant
  •  “I Can Trust Him” – The Perrys
  • “Lord I Need You” – Matt Maher
  •  “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” – Hillsong UNITED
  • “Overcomer” – Mandisa,
  • “Revival” – Karen Peck and New River
  •  “Say Amen” – Brian Free & Assurance
  •  “That’s Why” – Ernie Haase and Signature Sound

Contemporary Christian Performance of the Year

  • “Fix My Eyes” – for KING & COUNTRY
  • “Hurricane” – Natalie Grant
  • “Lord I Need You” – Matt Maher
  •  “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” – Hillsong UNITED
  •  “Overcomer” – Mandisa
Lecrae

Lecrae

Southern Gospel Performance of the Year

  • “Love Is Stronger” – Jason Crabb
  • “Revival” – Karen Peck and New River
  •  “Say Amen” – Brian Free & Assurance
  •  “Search Me O God” – Cathedrals Family Reunion
  •  “That’s Why” – Ernie Haase & Signature Sound

Gospel Performance of the Year

  • “Every Praise” – Hezekiah Walker
  • “Help” – Erica Campbell (ft. Lecrae)
  • “I Can Only Imagine” – Tamela Mann
  • “I Love The Lord” – Natalie Grant
  • “If He Did It Before…Same God”
Mandisa

Mandisa

Rap/Hip Hop Song of the Year

  • “100” – KB (ft. Andy Mineo)
  •  “Dear Mr. Christian”- Derek Minor (ft. Dee-1 and Lecrae)
  •  “Head Held High” – Rapture Ruckus
  •  “Stop The Traffic” – Andy Mineo (ft. Co Campbell)
  • “You Can’t Stop Me” – Andy Mineo

Rock Song of the Year

  • “Die For You” – Red
  •  “Not Gonna Die” – Skillet
  • “Run And Escape” – Red
  •  “We Are The Brave” – VERIDIA
  • “Zombie” – We As Human
Need to Breathe

Need to Breathe

Rock/Contemporary Song of the Year

  • “Don’t Deserve You” – Plumb
  •  “Let it Be Love” – Family Force 5
  •  “Love Alone Is Worth The Fight” – Switchfoot
  • “Multiplied” – NEEDTOBREATHE
  • “Never Gone” – Colton Dixon

Pop/Contemporary Song of the Year

  • “Alive” – Hillsong Young & Free
  • “All The People Said Amen” – Matt Maher
  • “Fix My Eyes” – for KING & COUNTRY
  • “Hurricane” – Natalie Grant
  • “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” – Hillsong UNITED

Switchfoot

Inspirational Song of the Year

  • “As Long As You Will Walk With Me” – Devin McGlamery
  • “Lift Up His Name” – The Browders
  • “Stronger” – TaRanda Greene
  • “You Amaze Us” – Selah
  • “Who is Like Our God” – Laura Story

Country Song of the Year

  • “Love With Open Arms” – Doug Anderson
  • “Only Jesus” – Point of Grace
  • “Pray For Me” – Sweetwater Rain
  • “That Whosoever Was Me” – Adam Crabb
  • “While I Still Can” – Devin McGlamery

Contemporary Gospel/Urban Song of the Year

  • “Every Praise” – Hezekiah Walker
  • “Help” – Erica Campbell (ft. Lecrae)
  • “No Gray” – Jonathan McReynolds
  • “Our God” – Micah Stampley
  • “Same God…If He Did it Before” – Tye Tribbett
  • “Sunday Kind Of Love” – Israel Houghton

Worship Song of the Year

  • “Future/Past” – John Mark McMillan
  • “Lord I Need You” – Matt Maher
  • “Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)” – Hillsong UNITED
  • “Open Up The Heavens” – Meredith Andrews/Vertical Church Band
  • “The Only Name (Yours Will Be)” – Big Daddy Weave

Rap/Hip Hop Album of the Year

  • 100 – KB
  • Invader – Rapture Ruckus
  • Minorville – Derek Minor
  • Never Land – Andy Mineo Azucena
  • Royal Flush – FLAME

Rock Album of the Year

  • Fear Inside Our Bones – The Almost
  • Proof Of Life – Scott Stapp
  • Release The Panic: Recalibrated – Red
  • Rise – Skillet
  • We As Human – We As Human

Rock/Contemporary Album of the Year

  • Everfound – Everfound
  • Fading West – Switchfoot
  • I Am Mountain – Gungor
  • Inland – Jars Of Clay
  • Rivers In The Wasteland – NEEDTOBREATHE

Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year

  • As Sure As The Sun – Ellie Holcomb
  • If We’re Honest – Francesca Battistelli
  • Overcomer – Mandisa
  • Thrive – Casting Crowns
  • We Are Young & Free – Hillsong Young & Free

Country Album of the Year

  • All Things New – Gordon Mote
  • Drive – Doug Anderson
  • Here Comes Sunday – Wilburn & Wilburn
  • Surrender – Adam Crabb
  • Triplicity – Red Roots

Praise and Worship Album of the Year

  • Home – Kim Walker-Smith & Skyler Smith
  • Kingdom Come – Bryan & Katie Torwalt
  • Majestic – Kari Jobe
  • Passion: Take It All – Passion
  • We Are Young & Free – Hillsong Young & Free

Inspirational Film of the Year

  • God’s Not Dead
  • Grace Unplugged
  • Heaven Is For Real
  • Son of God
  • When Calls The Heart

Oh ‘Baby’ – Amy Does it Again: Music Review

posted by jtotey
Amy Grant's "In Motion: The Remixes" will be released on August 19, 2014. Sparrow Records

Amy Grant’s “In Motion: The Remixes” will be released on August 19, 2014. Sparrow Records

It’s pretty cool when your teenager comes into the room and asks what you’re listening to. He heard the new tweaks to Amy Grant’s dance mix of “Baby, Baby” and said that it was pretty strange to see his dad listening to the same music that he listens to. I think I blew him away when I told him that I had listened to Amy Grant since I was his age.

We’re not the only ones listening either. This week it was announced that the re-mixed single (the original came out in 1991) had broken into the Top Ten and making it the #8 spot of the Billboard Hot Dance Club Play chart.

In Motion: The Remixes releases next week (August 19) and includes the hit which DJ and remixer Dave Audé had put a new spin. “Remixing ‘Baby, Baby’ has definitely been one of the highlights of my career,” Audé said. “I loved this song when it was released in 1991, and I still love hearing it today; you can’t say that about many records 23 years later. ‘Baby, Baby’ has crossed genres, and I’m hoping my remix will add yet another genre to this timeless classic.”

“Baby, Baby” is clearly the best song on the album and is most suitable to be turned into a dance mix, but the others are a lot of fun too. The album has the potential of reaching two different generations of listeners – Grant’s faithful following and the younger dance crowd. The album features nine of her most popular songs, plus two bonus songs, all remixed by different DJs.

If you enjoy dance music, (even if only move in the kitchen when no one is home), and you are a fan of Amy’s music, this is for you. Almost every song features a fun twist while keeping the integrity of the original. That is except for “Better Than a Hallelujah” which is slightly offensive, at least to this listener. (Although I am sure that this is purely unintentional). The original version is a tribute of sorts to Rich Mullins who wrote and sang the song on his last album before he passed away. The new song is tweaked to sound like a cheap southern gospel tune complete with an outspoken preacher, which takes the sentimentality out of the song.

The complete list of song on In Motion: The Remixes includes:

  1. That’s What Love Is For (Featuring Chris Cox)
  2. Stay For Awhile (Featuring Tony Moran and Warren Rigg)
  3. You’re Not Alone (Featuring Guy Scheiman)
  4. Every Heartbeat (Featuring Moto Blanco)
  5. Better Than A Hallelujah (Featuring Mark Picchiotti)
  6. Find A Way (Featuring Ralphi Rosario)
  7. Baby, Baby (Featuring Dave Aude)
  8. Say Once More (Featuring Hex Hector)
  9. Out In The Open (Featuring 7th Heaven), bonus track
  10. BONUS MIX: Stay For A While (Featuring Tony Moran)
  11. BONUS MIX: Mega Mix (Featuring DJ Andy 7th Heaven)

In Motion: The Remixes follows the success of last year’s How Mercy Looks From Here, which debuted at #1 on the Billboard Christian chart, making it a record-setting 16th #1 album for Grant in the Christian genre.

Next month, Grant will team up with Athena® Bottled Water and give back to the American Cancer Society. Grant will perform at a private, invitation-only event in Nashville, “Eat-Drink-Party Pink” on September 30 to kick off Breast Cancer Awareness month. During the festivities, Grant will debut a new song, “Welcome Yourself,” which will later be available for sale on iTunes with proceeds donated to the American Cancer Society as well.

Second ‘Alice’ Movie in the Works

posted by jtotey
Mia Wasikowska and friends will be back for "Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass" in 2016. Disney

Mia Wasikowska and friends will be back for “Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass” in 2016. Disney

Don’t get too excited, it may be a bit too soon to shine up that teapot and tea cups. Right on the heels of the release of much-anticipated Maleficent and previews for the upcoming Cinderella, Disney has announced that another live action version of one of its famed animated tales has just started production, Alice in Wonderland: Through the Looking Glass, but it won’t arrive in theaters until 2016, but boy is it packed with star-power.

As a sequel to the 2010 hit, began principal photography recently featuring returning cast members Johnny Depp (Mad Hatter), Anne Hathaway (White Queen), Mia Wasikowska (Alice) and Helena Bonham Carter (Red Queen/Queen of Hearts). The first Alice in Wonderland was directed by Tim Burton, but this time around he is just one of four producers. The new story, loosely based on Lewis Carroll’s book, is being directed by James Bobin who was at the helm of the two recent Muppets movies. The story itself has once again been penned by Linda Woolverton who wrote the first story as well as this summer’s hit, Maleficent and the animated classic Beauty and the Beast. Filming at Shepperton Studios in England, the film is slated for release on May 27, 2016.

Joining the classic cast of characters is Rhys Ifans  (The Amazing Spider-Man) as Zanik Hightopp, the Mad Hatter’s father and Sacha Baron Cohen (Les Misérables) was called on to bring the character, Time to the big screen.

Through the Looking Glass also boasts an extraordinary voice cast including Stephen Fry (Cheshire Cat), Toby Jones (Wilkins), Alan Rickman (Blue Caterpillar), Michael Sheen (White Rabbit),(Bayard), Paul Whitehouse (March Hare) and Barbara Windsor (Dormouse).

The film welcomes back several key members of the “Alice” team, including award-winning composer Danny Elfman, three-time Oscar®-winning costume designer Colleen Atwood and five-time Oscar-winning VFX supervisor Ken Ralston who won a Satellite Award for best visual effects for Alice In Wonderland.

Bobin’s award-winning production team also includes Oscar®-winning production designer Dan Hennah (King Kong, The Hobbit trilogy, The Lord of the Rings trilogy), and Stuart Dryburgh (The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Bridget Jones’ Diary, Oscar nomination for The Piano) as director of photography. The film welcomes Oscar-winning make-up and hair designer Peter King (Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, Oscar nominee for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey), and Oscar winner Neil Corbould (Gravity, Gladiator) is special effects supervisor. Andrew Weisblum (Noah, Black Swan) is editor.

Carroll’s works have such an interesting history when it comes to movie adaptations. Despite how popular his stories are, they usually don’t translate well to the cinema. Disney experienced this firsthand when the 1951 animated film did poorly. Disney lamented that the film had “no heart.” Still, the characters of Alice remain to be very popular among the Disney theme parks. The 2006 film seemed to figure out the right combination of honoring the original’s basic storyline and improving on it.

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