Saturday, December 30, 2017

MOVIE REVIEW: All the Money in the World

MOVIE REVIEW
All the Money
in the World
Imperative Entertainment
TriStar Pictures
(Running time 133 minutes)
_________________________

It was a sensational story 
one that owned worldwide
headlines for months in
1973. A story I remember
vividly from my childhood,
I had to see the big screen
recreation of this epic event
as an adult, on opening day.
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Based on author John Pearson's 1995 bestseller, Painfully Rich: The Outrageous Fortunes and Misfortunes of the Heirs of J. Paul Gettydirector Ridley Scott's much-anticipated feature opened officially nationwide on Christmas day. Boasting an impressive all-star cast, All the Money in the World recounts the gripping story of the 1973 abduction of sixteen-year-old John Paul Getty III, grandson of billionaire oil man J. Paul Getty.

A bona fide thriller, the film reenacts the infamous kidnapping in short order. From there, drama ensues immediately as the Getty family patriarch refuses to pay the Italian mob's 17 million dollar ransom demand, creating non-stop tension between the abductors, the Getty family and the young hostage — all the way through to the closing scenes.

Michelle Williams and Mark Wahlberg
in All the Money in the World.
Award-winning actress Michelle Williams delivers an Oscar-worthy performance as Gail Harris Getty, the desperate mother of the kidnapped teen, while acclaimed veteran actor Christopher Plummer is superb as the cold and callous elder Getty. Kudos are also due to Mark Wahlberg in his role as Getty family security "muscle," Fletcher Chase and Charlie Plummer as Getty III.

The film has received high marks for accuracy. However, even for those who followed the story as it played out on nightly news reports back in the day, All the Money in the World still packs plenty of punch and is well worth the journey to your local cineplex during this arctic season.

-Christopher Long
(December 2017)

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is available NOW on Amazon.

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Friday, December 29, 2017

TOP SEVEN BEST ALBUMS OF 2017 (Guest Feature)

TOP SEVEN BEST
RECORDS OF 2017
(Guest Feature)
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Innovative ice cream creator
and pop culture aficionado 
Jesse Tanner Long returns
with his latest "Guest Feature."
_________________________

"Among a few good releases,
seven albums stand out in
2017  a year I am dying
to let slip from my memory."
-Jesse Tanner Long

7
EIDOLA
To Speak, To Listen

6
SCALE THE SUMMIT
 In a World of Fear

5
THE CONTORTIONIST
Clairvoyant

4
CHON
Homey

3
INTERVALS
The Way Forward

2
A LOT LIKE BIRDS
Divisi

1
ODDISEE
The Iceberg

_________________________

Get the full "scoop" on
Jesse Tanner Long's
unique ice cream
creations HERE
_________________________

Thursday, December 14, 2017

ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS (Is a Generous Heart)

ALL I WANT
FOR CHRISTMAS
(Is a Generous Heart)
_________________________

The words are biblical  from
Jesus himself. However, the
simple and pure message is
one everybody knows. In fact,
even some of the most hard-
hearted ogres subscribe to the
sentiment: It is more blessed
to give than to receive. 
_________________________

"Excuse me, sir. Do you work at this plaza?"

It was a warm Florida night, as this holiday season was revving up — and it was particularly dark out behind the shopping center. I was running late, prepping for my DJ shift at a nightclub tucked inside the strip plaza. In NO mood for nonsense or interruptions, I was approached by a young man on a bicycle as I retrieved my laptop from the front seat of my car, parked out behind the club. Having prefaced this engagement with, "sir," I knew the 20-something was ramping up to ask for money. Oddly, he wasn't. "I haven't eaten in days," he continued. "If your place of employment has a kitchen, could you please give me a slice of bread?" A slice of bread? Really? Clearly, this fella wasn't one of the area's resident panhandlers. The man was merely hungry  and desperate.

I was so moved by his seemingly honest transparency and genuine need, I couldn't just give him the standard, "Here's a buck, now go away donation." I only had a little cash on me, but I felt compelled to give him what I had. My newfound friend was so overwhelmed with gratitude, I thought he was gonna burst into tears, as I slipped him two crisp five-dollar bills. And I quickly pointed out a couple of nearby eateries where he could maximize his $10 budget.

I'll wager a bet that we've ALL "visited" places of need at some point during our lives — I sure have. And I recognize completely the comfort from receiving a "hug" — when it's needed most. As a result, I possibly felt blessed more by giving than my buddy did by receiving. The only problem was, I now wouldn't have enough on-hand scratch for gas to get home. Oddly, my tip jar overflowed literally that night — nearly $100. Funny how the generosity thing works sometimes.

_________________________

...You should remember the words
of the Lord Jesus: "It is more
blessed to give than to receive."
Acts 20:35 (NLT) 
_________________________

A few nights later, I was approached by another guy, this time in the parking lot of my local Zip-E-Mart as I was scoring a couple of energy drinks to get me through that night's DJ shift. Carrying a hefty-sized duffel bag, he cut to the chase, informing me of how he had just been released from jail and was in need of "a couple of bucks." Was this hard luck story authentic? I didn't care. If it was simply some sketchy ruse, well, shame on him. The man appeared (to me) to be in genuine need, so I gave him my last $10. In return, he gave me a hug. In my mind, it was a fair exchange.

I've experienced several other opportunities throughout this Christmas season in which to be kind and compassionate. And every time I respond generously, I'm the one who seems to walk away feeling blessed. Note to self: The spirit of giving is pretty cool. I just hope this gift of a generous heart is one that won't be soon discarded along with the floral neck tie and the "I'm with Stupid" T-shirt from seasons past  — as I want to continue sharing it with others for years to come. 

-Christopher Long
(December 2017)

The latest from author Christopher Long
is available NOW on Amazon.

Also from Christopher Long...
Get it on Amazon.

Currently in development...

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

RECORD REVIEW: Geezër - "Heavy Metal Xmas" b/w "Jingle Bells"

RECORD REVIEW
Geezër
"Heavy Metal Xmas"
b/w "Jingle Bells"
_________________________

Miami's #1 super-crunk, pop-punk
combo returns this holiday season
to carve out a super-crunchy and
extra-catchy chunk of yuletide glee.
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In the spirit of full disclosure, I'll confess openly to not being a big fan of holiday music. Don't get me wrong  I love the true Christmas classics. I'll take "Oh, Holy Night," "Away in the Manger," “O Little Town of Bethlehem," "Silent Night" and my personal favorite, "Little Drummer Boy" all year long. But it's the saccharine-laced, secular-style stuff — "Ruloph," "Frosty," "Santa Baby," etc. that makes me cringe — specially when force-fed such Twinkie-type tunes non-stop from pre-Thanksgiving until post-Christmas. YUCK! However, this year, I've taken to a particularly crunchy and catchy holiday single.

The new holiday classic from
Geezër - available NOW at CD Baby.

Many critics didn't know quite what to make of Geezër when the super-crunk, pop-punk combo broke onto the Miami club scene with their self-titled debut record in 2015. Since then, band has developed a fervent following — amassing a legion of loyal super-teen fans. 2016 saw the release of the band's acclaimed sophomore effort, Geezër II. And in 2017, they're back with a raucous Christmas single.

Geezër injects pure adrenaline into
this much-loved Christmas standard.
Following the recent death of original drummer, Victor Farnsworth, co-founding frontman Harvey Geezer, guitarist Leonard Geezer and bassist Calvin Sizemore vowed to move forward. They brought convicted street thug, gangsta back-up vocalist, Lil Shoogie and new drum recruit, Ms. J into the fold and cut a couple of new tracks, just in time for the holiday season.

A modern-day anthem, "Heavy Metal Xmas" smacks of authentic, hard core chaos, while their remake of the classic, "Jingle Bells" crushes even my personal disdain for secular holiday music. Mad props are also due to famed recording engineer, Brendon Paredes for keeping the energy high, and the guitars out front. Crunchy, indeed!

-Christopher Long
(December 2017)
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GET BOTH TRACKS
NOW AT CD BABY

_________________________



The latest from author Christopher Long
is available NOW on Amazon.

Also from Christopher Long...
Get it on Amazon.

Currently in development...