Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

The story of the birth of Jesus as told by Matthew and Luke…

While Joseph was engaged, before they had consummated their union, he discovered that she was already with child. He was a good man and did not want her to suffer any shame so he decided it would be best to divorce her quietly.

As he considered his options an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. The child that grows within her womb was conceived by the Holy Spirit; it will be a boy and you will name him Jesus because he has come to rescue men from sin.”

Now all of this came about to fulfill a prophecy spoken by Isaiah centuries before when he foretold of a virgin that would conceive and bear a child named Emmanuel, which means God is with us.

After Joseph awoke from his dream he did as he was told and wed Mary, but he did not consummate the marriage until after the child they named Jesus was born.

In those days, sometime during the spring of what we now calculate to be somewhere between 3 and 5 BC, Caesar Augustus called for census of the known Roman world. Everybody had to be enrolled, and each registered in the town of their heritage. So Joseph, being a descendant of David, took Mary with him from Galilee and they went to Bethlehem.

While they were there she delivered a child and put him in a manger because there were no rooms available in town.

And this is how we know it took place in the spring, because a group of shepherds in the vicinity of Bethlehem were out tending their sheep by night. An angel of the Lord also appeared to them, shining with the glory of the Lord, which frightened them to the very core.

But the angel said, “Do not be afraid! I bring you good news of joy for all the people of the world, for today a child is born in the city of David—a savior—who is Christ the Lord. This is how you will know it is true: you will find a babe wrapped in strips of cloth lying in a manger.”

Suddenly, a multitude of angels appeared in the heavens praising God, saying, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace and goodwill toward men.”

After the angels disappeared from the sky, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go over to Bethlehem and see what God has shared with us with our own eyes.”

With haste they went until they found Mary, Joseph, and the child, lying in the manger just as they had been told. Afterward, they told everybody about what they had been told concerning this child, but Mary kept all these things to herself, pondering them in her heart.

In accordance with Jewish custom and law, Jesus was circumcised on the eight day and when the time came for their purification they took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord. There they dedicated the child to God and made sacrifices of two turtledoves or two pigeons in accordance with the law.

It was there they met a man named Simeon, a righteous and devout man filled with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit had revealed to him that he would not pass from this earth before he had seen the Christ. So the spirit led him to the temple that day and when Mary and Joseph presented the child, he took him in his arms and blessed God saying, “Now let me leave this world in peace, Lord because my eyes have seen your salvation prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light of revelation to the Gentiles and for the glory of your people of Israel.

Anna, an elderly widowed prophetess, who never left the temple because she worshiped with fasting and prayer both night and day, also gave thanks to God and spoke to all those looking for redemption in Jerusalem.

Wise men, Magi from East, came to Jerusalem after the birth of Christ asking, “Where is the child that has been born, the king of the Jews? We have seen his star in the East and have come to worship him.”

When Herod heard of this, he was greatly troubled, as were many others in the city of Jerusalem, including the chief of priest and the scribes of the people. He gathered them together and asked them where the Christ was to born, they told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, as the prophets have foretold.”

Herod called for the Magi in secretly and ascertained the time at which the star had appeared, then he sent them onward to Bethlehem saying, “ God and find the child and when you do, please send me word so that I too may go and worship him.”

Once they resumed their journey, the star, which they had seen in the East, led them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. Upon seeing the star, they rejoiced and when they saw the child with his mother Mary they fell down and worshiped him and gave him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

But God warned them in a dream not to return to Herod and so they to another route back to their home country. An angel appeared to Joseph in another dream and said, “Take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt until I tell you it is safe. Herod is about to search to the child in order to kill him.” There they remained until the death of Herod.

Herod, realizing the Magi had duped him, was furious. He ordered all the male children both in Bethlehem and throughout the region under the age of two put to death. This fulfilled a prophecy spoken by Jeremiah: “A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled because they were no more.”

When Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared again to Joseph down and Egypt and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and return home.”

So they returned to Galilee and the city of Nazareth, where the child grew and became strong in stature, filled with wisdom; and in favor with God and man.

The apostle John wrote that The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever should believe in him might have everlasting life.”

The birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus brought Salvation to all mankind.

Peace! And on earth, goodwill toward men!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Starting Lineup

We're Back for the Summer!

Poseidon R
Starring: Josh Lucas, Kurt Russell, Jacinda Barrett, Richard Dreyfuss, Jimmy Bennett
Director: Wolfgang Petersen
View Trailers & Clips

Goal! The Dream Begins R
Starring: Kuno Becker, Alessandro Nivola, Marcel Iures, Stephen Dillane, Anna Friel
Director: Danny Cannon
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Just My Luck PG-13
Starring: Lindsay Lohan, Chris Pine, Samaire Armstrong, Bree Turner, Faizon Love
Director: Donald Petrie
View Trailer

Monday, February 06, 2006

Journals, Blogs, and Novels... Oh, My!

Movie reviews have had to take a backseat for the past six months and I still have several major projects that require my immediate attention so I'm not too sure when I'll be able to get back here and give this place its proper due. I have a few free moments right now, so I'll explain.

My screenplay, Coffee, Tea, or Me, is one step closer to becoming a feature film. I have to do yet another rewrite on it though. It doesn't involve changing too much aside from trimming it down, but it does include one major change to the back-story and that will alter the entire script in one way or another. That'll take some time.

On the recommendation of several involved in bringing CTM to the big screen, I started a novel of the same name. I've finished the first two chapters.

I gave LDR another slash-job, too. It's now a tight 108 pages. I just shared it with another writer who loved it so much she wants to hook me up with her litterary agent, so that looks promising, too.

I've started another novel called Teammates about four friends who played football together in high school, but went on to experience quite different lives. Much of it will be autobiographical so I can work out some of my angst, of which there is an over-abundance these days due to current events out here.

Wife bought me a snazzy new journal for Christmas and that's just given me an excuse to ignore this place even more.

Our fledgling production company, El Jefe Media, Inc., had a great start in December, but we've fallen back in January and February looks like it will be slow as well. On the other hand, we'll probably be get it rolling like gangbusters come March, and that will take some time.

Once El Jefe gets rolling, I plan on using a great deal of my time running a handful of movie-related web sites as another source of income.

That's if for now. More later...

Sunday, December 18, 2005


Don’t get me wrong. I love West Texas. The people are fabulous, the economy is booming, and the cost of living simply can’t be beat. I have a job that brings in a steady paycheck that lets me have more fun sometimes than one man should possibly be allowed to have.

Still, I wish I had the cash flow to open a theatre out here because the ones we have serve as a constant reminder that, in a very real way, I still reside in Hicksville.

Take last night, for example. The wife and I decided we wanted to go see King Kong. I had just finished officiating a friends wedding so we rushed home to check out the movie times online. Low and behold, there were no movie times posted! Get with the times, people! You mean to tell me that I can see what’s playing in Big Spring, but I can’t find any listings for the Hollywood Permian Palace in Odessa? We wound up checking the times the old fashioned way—by calling in.

Wait! It gets worse.

When we arrive at the theatre the line is crawling right out the front door and, since the so-called Permian Palace is in a mall, I had to park somewhere near Imperial. I dropped the wife off at the entrance and made my pilgrimage to join her in due haste. I was amazed to discover that only ONE person was selling tickets. They have enough accommodations for four, but apparently they’re so cheap they only wanted to pay ONE person to sell tickets. The busiest box office weekend since summer, and they only had ONE person selling tickets.

At long last we got our turn only to discover that the screening we wanted to catch was already sold out. And they didn’t even have the decency our courtesy to post a sign notifying us this was the case.

Yeah, I love West Texas, but do our theatres have to be so discourteous and behind the times?

Friday, December 16, 2005

Where Has The Bull Been?

A funny thing happened on the way to my blog…

I became screenwriter. No more is this notion fleeting fancy (a hobby as some might contend); it’s a reality. I sold an option on one of my screenplays several months ago to another filmmaker here in the Permian Basin and since that time my life has been much akin to a good old-fashioned West Texas dust-devil. Closing that deal opened a door of opportunity. The producer invited the wife and I to merge our fledgling production company with his and the end result is El Jefe Media, Inc. We now do web design, web hosting, instructional and training videos, commercials, weddings, special events, and (of course) we’ll be shooting our first feature film this fall. Check us out!

Last night we offered a part to a very wealthy and important person in these parts. We didn’t do it because we wanted some of his money (although that wouldn’t be too bad either). On the contrary, we offered him the part because the character was loosely based on him in the first place. It’s not a leading role, but certainly one that will get him back out there in the public eye, where he hasn’t been for a very long time.

Next step: finding a lead actress.

The film is entitled Coffee, Tea, or Me. It’s set in a truck stop in barren West Texas and the lead character is a female waitress whose nickname is “Me.” The story has lots of colorful characters (much like the fellow we offered the part to last night.) and takes place over the course of one very pivotal day. There are four primary female roles up for grabs, including the lead, and one leading African-American male. We plan to start casting these after the first of the year. We’ll fill out the rest of the cast with interesting characters we know from around here that fit the bill.

Eventually, our media group will also have a full-fledged on-line movie magazine. We hope to have the rolled out by the end of 2006.

More great news—Shari Hamrick has agreed to be the president of The Basin Film Society. Shari has over fifteen years experience in the film industry as a production assistant, production coordinator, location coordinator, and producer. Check out her IMDb page! As you can see, it makes mine look pretty sparse. Her primary agenda as our president will be to form our non-profit status.

Which is great news for The Desert Reel Film Festival. We’ve been in limbo ever since ArtWalk folded last year, sans tax shelter. Once Shari manages to get our non-profit status up and running, The Basin Film Society will be able to oversee the festival.

Festival dates for The Desert Reel Film Festival have been moved to November 2-5, 2006.

It’s going to be a life-changing, fantastic year!

Monday, December 12, 2005

Angst on Paper

When I was a freshman in high school I remember writing a short story about kid that was injured during a big football game. It was the first time I had really put a story on paper and I was very excited about it so I gave it to my parents to read. I'll never forget my mother's reaction.

"Please tell me you're not going to turn this in," she said curtly.

We proceeded to argue the merits of my story, which was laced with some minor league profanity and contained a scene of a young couple parking. She doesn't remember this moment at all; neither does my father for that matter, but their initial reaction of shock and dismay probably set my writing career back a full decade.

That and a wretched girl named Emily... and a neurotic one named Jennifer... but I digress.

When people who know me read something I've written, they most frequently respond in a similar manner. Obviously there's a proverbial dark side lurking inside me and it tends to throw people aback when they compare it to the kind of life I actually now lead. This is something I've never really been able to explain to myself, much less to anyone else, but it all comes back to this--almost everything I write has a distinct element of truth.

Sometimes the stories are based on situations and events that happened to me, other times the characters are based on people I know, and more often than not, those characters become all too vividly real.

It's interesting to me when people say, "Okay, but that scene right there could never really happen." Invariably they say it in regards to something that really did.

This is something I've wrestled with for years, knowing fully well that if any of my material actually finds its way to film, there will probably be serious repercussions, including the shock and awe of family and friends and perhaps a good old-fashioned excommunication by my religious peers.

The fact that my wife has come on board has made all the difference in my life. In fact, that's probably why I married her. I gave here some of my stuff to read and sat back patiently awaiting her reaction. I even gave her time to process it and all that the changes it could mean to her life if she stayed with me when some of my stuff finally made it to film.

You have to understand something here--this was no small decision. First, she realized that I actually had talent and that my future as a writer was much more than a pipe dream. Perhaps it was inevitable. Second, she came to see all the possible ramifications of my success. And third, she decided that was something she could live with.

Having somebody that believes in you (and there's more out there than just my wife these days) is imperative in this business because talent doesn't pay the bills.

I keep a journal (I recommend that every aspiring filmmaker, storyteller, and writer keep one) and as I was looking back on my goals for 2005 I realize that I had achieved 60% of them. Now that makes 2005 a banner year and the turning point in my career. I sold an option on a screeplay, formed a production company, and we're moving ahead with our plans to shoot it in the fall of 2006.

As I look ahead to what it will mean when this film is complete, I more frightened of success than I am failure. If it succeeds, it will open up a whole new can of worms (so to speak) that I'm not too sure I'm ready to deal with just yet. My life had changed so drastically it bears little resemblance to the people I've known and the places I have been. But my writing comes from those dark days, and so, there will be many that didn't know me when that will react with shock and dismay.

To them, I apologize in advance. Sorry to disappoint.

Friday, August 12, 2005

The Starting Lineup

Now Playing!

The Great Raid R
Starring: Benjamin Bratt, James Franco, Robert Mammone
Director: John Dahl
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Four Brothers R
Starring: Mark Wahlberg, Tyrese Gibson, Andre Benjamin, Garrett Hedlund, & Terrence Howard
Director: John Singleton
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The Skeleton Key PG-13
Starring: Kate Hudson, Gena Rowlands, John Hurt, & Peter Sarsgaard
Director: Iain Softley
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Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo R
Starring: Rob Schneider, Eddie Griffin, Jeroen Krabbe
Director: Mike Bigelow
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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

DVD Rundown

Now Available on DVD

Kung Fu Hustle R
Starring: Stephen Chow, Kwok Keun Chan, & Siu Lung Leung
Director: Stephen Chow
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Because of Winn-Dixie PG
Starring: Annasophia Robb, Jeff Daniels, & Eva Marie Saint
Director: Wayne Wang
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Thursday, August 04, 2005

The Starting Lineup

Now In Theatres

The Dukes of Hazzard PG-13
Starring: Johnny Knoxville, Seann William Scott, Jessica Simpson, & Burt Reynolds
Director: Jay Chandrasekhar
View Clips & Tralier

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Article from Sci Fi Wire

"Underworld: Evolution once again stars Scott Speedman and Kate Beckinsale (who met Wiseman on the first film and married him last year). In a separate interview, Beckinsale told SCI FI Wire that she worked with Wiseman to make her character—the vampire warrior Selene—more emotionally evolved as well. "Len and I both felt that she was very repressed in the first one and we wanted to open her up, to [be] just a tiny bit more human," she said. "I mean, it's not like gags and all that stuff, but just to have a little lightness, a little bit more fun with it this time. But in terms of her relationship with Michael [played by Speedman], that's kind of opened her up a bit as well." Underworld: Evolution opens Jan. 20, 2006. "

Read the entire article at Sci Fi Wire

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

DVD Rundown

Now available on DVD

Alexander (R)
Starring: Colin Farrell, Anthony Hopkins, Rosario Dawson, Angelina Jolie, Val Kilmer, & Jared Leto
Oliver Stone
View Clips & Trailers

Guess Who (PG-13)
Starring: Ashton Kutcher & Bernie Mac
Kevin Rodney Sullivan
View Clips & Trailer

Friday, July 29, 2005

The Starting Lineup

Not exactly a great week to head for the movies, but here we go anyway...

The Aristocrats (R)
Starring: Gilbert Gottfried, Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, George Carlin, Phyllis Diller, & many more
Director: Paul Provenza, Penn Jillette
View Clip & Trailer

Must Love Dogs (PG-13)
Starring: Diane Lane, John Cusack, Elizabeth Perkins, Christopher Plummer, & Stockard Channing
Director: Gary David Goldberg
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Sky High (PG)
Starring: Kurt Russell, Kelly Preston, Michael Angarano, Lynda Carter, & Bruce Campbell
Director: Mike Mitchell
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Stealth (PG-13)
Starring: Josh Lucas, Jessica Biel, Jamie Foxx, & Sam Shepard
Director: Rob Cohen
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Thursday, July 28, 2005

AeonFlux (Poster)

Not too sure about this one...

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Underworld Evolution (Poster)

The picture says it all.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

DVD Rundown

Now available on DVD!

The Upside of Anger (PG-13)
Starring: Kevin Costner, Joan Allen, Erika Christenen, Evan Rachel Wood, & Keri Russell
Director: Mike Bender
View Clips & Trailer

XXX: State of the Union (PG-13)
Starring: Ice Cube, Samuel L. Jackson, Scott Speedman, & Willem Dafoe
Director: Lee Tamahori
View Clips & Trailers

King's Ransom (PG-13)
Starring: Anthony Anderson, Jay Mohr, Kellita Smith
Director: Jeff Byrd
View Clips & Trailer