All posts by alanwp

“Strange But True” Arrives on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital. Hardly strange, but true.

It’s hardly strange.
But definitely  true.
Based on the acclaimed novel by John Searles, Strange but True had just arrived on Blu-ray (plus Digital), DVD and Digital October 22 from Lionsgate. This film is currently available On Demand.
Produced by Academy Award nominee Fred Berger and Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, the film stars Oscar and Golden Globe nominee Amy Ryan, as well as Nick Robinson, Margaret Qualley, Mena Massoud, Golden Globe nominee and Primetime Emmy winner Blythe Danner, Golden Globe nominee and Primetime Emmy winner Brian Cox, and Daytime Emmy winner, Academy Award, Golden Globe and Primetime Emmy nominee Greg Kinnear in a riveting tale of a family facing an unlikely truth that unravels a web of lies and deception.

OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS
A family is caught in a web of lies, fears, and suspense after the ex-girlfriend of their deceased son appears five years after his death—and tells them she is carrying his child.

Mark Hamill, iJustine and Ron Perlman are all washed up . . . that’s a compliment!

Fishing for some family fun?
Try Go Fish, a fun, heartwarming under-the-sea journey for the entire family,  that arrives on DVD, Digital and On Demand November 19 from Lionsgate.
Winner of the Dove Seal of Approval for all ages and featuring the voice talents of iJustine, Mark Hamill and Ron Perlman, this delightful film about friendship, adventure and helping the environment “teaches kids how humble wisdom can make you” (The Dove Foundation). The will include a music video for “Go Fish (Side by Side)”–an original song performed by pop singer Kate Steinberg– and a digital comic book.

OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS
All his life, plucky parrotfish Alex has dreamed of being a superhero. He gets his chance when a mysterious flood of black goop erupts near his coral reef. As Alex and his pals—a sea horse, an eel and a blowfish—swim off to confront the menace and save their home, they face a sunken ship with hidden treasure, an abandoned airplane, angry sharks and an undersea volcano.

“Angel of Mine”: A thrilling treat and oodles of tricks

Halloween is a day away.
And a few screams as well.
Noomi Rapace, Yvonne Strahovski, and Luke Evans star in the tense psychological thriller Angel of Mine, which just landed on Blu-ray (plus Digital), DVD and Digital from Lionsgate. This film is currently available On Demand.
Directed by Kim Farrant and written for the screen by Luke Davies and David Regal, Rapace gives an “Oscar-worthy performance” (The Weekend Warrior) as a woman on the edge who believes the daughter of a neighbor, played by Strahovski, is actually her own. The Blu-ray and DVD  includes a “making-of featurette” and cast/crew interviews.

OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS
Noomi Rapace stars as Lizzie, a woman who, having suffered a tragic loss years earlier, is trying to rebuild her life when she suddenly becomes obsessed with a neighbor’s daughter, believing the girl to be her own child. As Lizzie’s shocking, threatening acts grow increasingly dangerous, they lead to an explosive confrontation with the girl’s angry, defensive mother (played by Strahovski).
Indeed, a treat full pf tricks.

Wanna work at MedExpress? Consider, instead, playing in a dog house. Read on!

Hmmm, looks empty to me. Where are the dogs?

Jacque DeRubbo loves Maverick, her German Shepherd, almost as much as her husband hates the dog.
In fact her husband hates all dogs.
Jaclyn likes to dress Maverick in caps and sunglasses and other assorted clothing and accessories. And she’s thinking of dressing him (the dog, not the hubby)  as James Garner (as Bret Maverick) for Halloween.
How do I know such frivolous fodder?
Jaclyn claims she is the “Manager” of the MedExpress on Mossside Blvd. in Monroeville, PA. MedExpress is one of those drop-in medical centers that you rush into if you (a) have no money; (b) have no insurance: (c) like waiting in an airport-like lounge  for a few hours.
Jaclyn claims she also “oversees” another such “urgent care” joint in Monroeville, as well as one in Murraysville (PA).
How she ever gets “work” done is something I have wondered about for the last couple of weeks.
Let me explain.
Knowing I was in-between books, I was contacted by MedExpress to gauge my interest in working part-time . . . their “part-time” consists of a 12-hour days.
This nightmare began with an email from “Rebecca Burroughs”, who claimed to be a  MedExpress “Recruitment Coordinator”. She called me, “interviewed me” and asked me if I wanted an in-person interview with “Melissa”.
Oops! An email later, she said she “misspoke” and that Melissa was actually Jaclyn. “Please let me know if you have any questions”, she cooed in an email. “We look forward to your interview!”
And so I went to meet Jaclyn/Melissa.
She was late for the interview; she arrived with a woman named Terri, who she had hired to be the manager of the Butler (PA) joint.
Terri is also a dog lover.
Stay with me.
The interview lasted 2 hours and 18 minutes . . . and at least 120 minutes of the “professional” interview was devoted to dog drama. Jaclyn/Melissa and Terri pulled out their cell phones to show off pooch photos. Over and over and over again.
Was I on Candid Camera?
These broads were too young to know Candid Camera. No?
But Jaclyn/Melissa remembered the day she had to reprimanded a doctor when he didn’t wear navy blue scrubs (“And they have to be navy blue!”).
And she knew remembered the day she reprimanded a front office associate about “talking too much to customers”. I’d thought she’d use the word “clients”, but I was barking up the wrong tree.
I felt like I was watching a Fellini flick. Or starring in a Marx. Bros. comedy, with me as Harpo, the silent one.
This is how professional interviews are held?
I didn’t get the job.
I didn’t want it.
Yet I knew I had a tale to tell when I left the doghouse diatribe.
What surprised me even  more was that MedExpress didn’t spend even a medicated minute to tell me, “Thanks, but no thanks”.
I emailed corporate media relations, asking for the reason for such unprofessionalism.
No one ever got back to me.
I mailed Rebecca and asked why all that time wasted.
Her last email: “I am sorry to hear of your displeasure.  While the recruitment process can seem lengthy at times, it is never a waste of our time to thoroughly screen and interview qualified candidates.  So it is disappointing to hear you feel it was a waste of your time.  I will speak with my team on how we can improve our process”.
Perhaps I should have sat, rolled over and licked their faces?
Or kissed their asses?

 

Rolling Stoner Bill Wyman shows how his music has given him so much satisfaction

Throughout his three-decade career as a founding member of and bassist for The Rolling Stones, Bill Wyman was known to the world as the band’s “quiet one”. Now, in The Quiet One (IFC Films), the famously private music legend speaks out about his extraordinary life and experiences as part of “the greatest rock and roll band in the world.”

Opening up his vast personal archive—a lifetime’s worth of previously unseen home movies, photographs and memorabilia— Wyman reflects on his early years with The Stones, the band’s meteoric rise to fame, and his search for a sense of “normalcy” amid the whirlwind of sex, drugs, and rebellion. Endearingly humble and down to earth, Wyman pulls back the curtain to offer a one-of-a-kind perspective on life as a reluctant rock star who let his pulsating bass do all the talking on “Brown Sugar,” “Gimme Shelter,” “Paint It Black” and countless other Stones classics.
 
The Quiet One also includes interviews with Eric Clapton, Bob Geldof, and Stones record producer Andrew Oldham and engineer Glyn Johns. The San Francisco Chronicle‘s Joel Selvin said, “After umpteen previous documentaries, concert films and video biographies, that this film consists almost entirely of previously unseen footage of the band qualifies as something of a minor miracle.”

A real-time thriller promises a bad-ass female motorcycle courier

Olga Kurylenko, Gary Oldman and Dermot Mulroney star in the fast-paced action-thriller The Courier, arriving in select theaters and everywhere On Demand on Friday, November 22 from Lionsgate. Kurylenko stars as a bad-ass female motorcycle courier who must fight off a sadistic crime boss’ henchmen in order to protect the one witness that can bring him down!
Drop image here
The official scoop:
This intense action-thriller unfolds in real time as two embattled souls fight for their lives. Oscar- winner Oldman stars as a vicious crime boss out to kill Nick, the lone witness set to testify against him.

He hires a mysterious (and, yes, gorgeous) female motorcycle courier (Kurylenko) to unknowingly deliver a poison-gas bomb to slay Nick, but after she rescues Nick from certain death, the duo must confront an army of ruthless hired killers in order to survive the night.

“Sacred Liberty” offers a dramatic, sweeping survey of how America built a unique model of religious freedom, perhaps the nation’s “greatest invention.”

Our current climate of divisiveness over religion is not new, but our misinterpretation of religious liberty is. In fact, Steve Waldman argues, we are now at risk of undermining this hard-won and fragile American right.

Waldman’s latest book, Sacred Liberty, (HarperOne, $28.99), is a sweeping historical survey of how our principles evolved and matured from the founding of the nation and the Constitution under James Madison to the fraught and often controversial integration of various faiths—Jews, Catholics, Native American, African slaves and their religions, Mormons, and now Muslims—into the American mainstream, sometimes successfully, sometimes not.

Waldman makes clear that these battles resulted in today’s firm legal foundation of both the separation of church and state and the protection of religious minorities—which, counterintuitively, has allowed the U.S. to become the most religious country among developed nations. He contends that religious liberty is at the core of America’s success.

“Depriving someone of their money or property can certainly wound,” he writes, “but blocking their path to God deprives them of
something even more important—their own quest to find meaning in life.”

Yet the consensus around religious freedom is fragile. There are signs that the core principles of religious freedom are not universally shared or understood. In reminding us of our past, Waldman hopes this history can illuminate our path forward.
Over the course of its development, America has been tempted to forget its principles of religious freedom and vilify particular religious minorities.

But each time there have been heroes who have stepped forward to remind us of our better natures and encourage us to stand by our core principles.To protect out most fundamental rights—enshrined in the First Amendment—we must remember the lessons of our past and defend the hard-won progressive values that are the true heart of America’s greatness.

Howard Stern on his new book: “Fuck Hemingway! I put my heart and soul into this book and could not be more proud of it.”

Simon & Schuster is doing a pretty good job when it comes to the meat of Howard Stern’s new book private, as in private parts. The price is known ($35, retail) and the cover as well. And, of course, one important fact: Howard Stern Comes Again is his first book in more than 20 years and hits shelves and amazon.com May 14.

Private Parts, published in 1993, was (at that time) the fastest-selling book in the history of Simon & Schuster. When the first-printing of 250,000 copies sold out in just a few hours, a second printing of 600,000 copies was ordered. Within two weeks the book would be in its eighth printing, for a total of more than one million copies. So great was the demand that 10,000 people turned up for a signing at the midtown Barnes & Noble, creating a massive traffic jam in which Stern himself was trapped, effectively shutting down Fifth Avenue.

Private Parts went on to spend 20 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list—all the more remarkable considering that several national accounts refused to sell the book.

Stern’s follow-up, Miss America, released in 1995, sold even faster. Barnes & Noble recorded 33,000 sales on publication date—a one-day record for the chain at that time. 15,000 people showed up for a signing at a Borders Books & Music in Los Angeles. Miss America spent 16 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.

“I’ve been waiting two years for this book to be finished, because Howard Stern told me to be patient,” says Jonathan Karp, Publisher of Simon & Schuster. “It was well worth the wait. Howard Stern Strikes Again is certain to be one of the most entertaining and widely read books of the year.”

Stern, when asked to comment, offered “Fuck Hemingway! I put my heart and soul into this book and could not be more proud of it.”

Meet Shannon Watts, the “NRA’s Worst Nightmare”. Go get ’em girl!

She is one of our favorite women. She’s a fave with Michael Bloomberg, Hilary Clinton and Katie Couric, this gem named Shannon Watts—and dubbed “the NRA’s Worst Nightmare”.

Fight Like a Mother: How a Grassroots Movement Took on the Gun Lobby and Why Women Will Change the World Fight Like a Mother: How a Grassroots Movement Took on the Gun Lobby and Why Women Will Change the World (HarperOne, $25.99) tells the inspiring story of how Watts’ rallying call-to-action grew into a powerful women’s
movement to protect children from America’s epidemic of gun violence, and offers lessons for others who want to make a difference in their community.

Fight Like a Mother: How a Grassroots Movement Took on the Gun Lobby and Why Women Will Change the WorldOn the morning of December 14, 2012, stay-at-home-mom Shannon Watts was folding laundry when the news broke that there had been a shooting in Newtown, Connecticut involving young children. Outraged and heartbroken, Shannon felt an overwhelming need to act. Discovering there was no organization for gun violence correspondent to MADD—Mothers Against Drunk Driving—she vowed to build it.

Fight Like a Mother is the powerful story of how one mother’s cry for action started a national women’s movement—MADD
Mom’s Demand Action—to fight some of the richest and most powerful people in America: the gun lobby. It is an inspiring
record of how outraged mothers became engaged citizens, creating a powerful grassroots network of local chapters in all
50 states.

Along with her observations and wisdom, Watts shares inspiring messages of perseverance, courage, and compassion, and outlines the core mantras and principles that MDA has used to battle the NRA and the intimidating tactics they use to prevent gun safety progress. Throughout, Shannon proves that a woman with a laptop can be more powerful than a man with a gun.

Fight Like a Mother explores the unique power of women. While not everyone can be on the front lines of the fight, every mom is already an organizer, and Shannon shows them how to put their skills to use in their own community, in their own way. Bringing activism into the everyday, the book will inspire everyone—mothers and fathers, students and teachers, lawmakers, and every citizen outraged, angry, and motivated to work for change—transforming hearts, minds and laws, and most importantly, show them how to honor their values with action.

“How the Bible Actually Works” explains that the Bible is powerful learning tool that nurtures our spiritual growth by refusing to provide us with easy answers

So what is this hype about a book called the Bible?

In How the Bible Actually Works (HarperOne, $26.99), controversial evangelical Bible scholar, blogger, podcast host Peter Enns  explains that the Bible is not an instruction manual or rule book but a powerful learning tool that nurtures our spiritual growth by refusing to provide us with easy answers, instead forcing us to acquire wisdom.

For many Christians, the Bible is a how-to manual filled with literal
truths about belief about God that must be strictly followed. But the Bible is not static, Peter Enns argues. It does not hold easy answers to the perplexing questions and issues that confront us in our daily lives. Rather, the Bible is a dynamic instrument for study that not
only offers an abundance of insights but provokes us to find our own answers to spiritual questions, cultivating God’s wisdom within us.

“The Bible becomes a confusing mess when we expect it to function as a rulebook for faith. But when we allow the Bible to determine our expectations, we see that Wisdom, not answers, is the Bible’s true subject matter,” writes Enns. This distinction, he points out, is important because when we come to the Bible expecting it to be a textbook intended by God to give us unwavering certainty about our faith, we are actually creating problems for ourselves.

The Bible, in other words, really isn’t the problem; having the wrong expectation is what interferes with our reading. Rather than considering the Bible as an ancient book weighed down with problems, flaws, and contradictions that must be defended by modern readers, Enns offers a vision of the holy scriptures as an inspired and empowering resource to help us better understand how to live as a person of faith today.

How the Bible Actually Works makes clear that there is no one right way to read the Bible. Moving us beyond the damaging idea that “being right” is the most important measure of faith, Enns’s freeing approach to Bible study helps us to instead focus on pursuing enlightenment and building our relationship with God—which is exactly what the Bible was designed to do