Tuesday, September 25, 2018

RECORD REVIEW: Lauren Daigle "Look Up Child"

RECORD REVIEW
Lauren Daigle
Look Up Child
(Centricity Music)
__________

 A young, fresh-faced Christian
singer / songwriter breaks onto
Billboard's Top 200 chart at a
jaw-dropping #3 with her latest
effort — out-performed only by
new releases from rock legend,
Paul McCartney, and slop hop
prophet, Eminem. Hmm. I had
to swoop in for a closer look.
__________

“I’m so grateful for the opportunity to passionately throw myself into what I love — my music,” confessed 27-year-old Lauren Daigle, just prior to releasing Look Up Child in September 2018. And it's that unique sense of humility and irresistible charm that helped make the Louisiana native an overnight sensation in 2015 with her platinum-selling debut, How Can it Be.

Produced to perfection by Paul Mabury and Jason Ingram, this inspirational collection kicks off strong with "Still Rolling Stones." Enveloped by Adele-flavored allure, the epic track points directly to the redemptive power of Christ, and what a glorious gift that is to receive — Now that you saved me, I sing 'cause you gave me, a song of revival. So fragile and transparent you can hear Daigle's soul crying, the equally moving, "Rescue" reassures us of Christ's committed love — I will send out an army to find you in the middle of the darkness — I will rescue you.


Dripping with warm '70s-style R&B authenticity, "This Girl" is another of the record's most compelling highlights. What have I done to deserve a love like this? — Daigle asks thoughtfully in "Love Like This" — a beautiful, heart-stopping praise ballad. And while the enormously popular lead-off single, "You Say" offers incredible encouragement to today's hurting and broken world, it's Daigle's uncompromising revelation of surrender that makes the delicate, piano-driven "Rebel Heart" the pick of this 13-pup litter.

A celebrated, two-time Grammy Award nominee, Lauren Daigle appears to be the real deal, indeed — delivering a bold message, free of ambiguity. At a time when lowest common denominator content is an increasingly precious "cultural" commodity, Look Up Child is refreshingly powerful — honest and pure. 

-Christopher Long
(September 2018)

____________________

LAUREN DAIGLE ONLINE
____________________



Score the latest books from author
Christopher Long NOW on Amazon!

(2014)

C'MON! -
(2012)

- SUPERSTAR -
(Coming April 7, 2019)

Sunday, September 23, 2018

TOP TEN BEST RAP RECORDS — 2000-2018 (Guest Feature by Jesse Tanner Long)

TOP TEN BEST RAP
RECORDS — 2000-2018
(Guest Feature by Jesse Tanner Long)
__________

Innovative ice cream creator
and songwriter / music producer
Jesse Tanner Long returns with
his latest insightful countdown.
___________

From conception (1993), ’til summer 2000, the
only music I ever really heard was KISS. Thanks,
Mom and Dad. And it came to the point where
I no longer wanted to "rock and roll all night."
However, to  "party every day," that was another
story. I was fortunate to soon be introduced to
the musical stylings of Eminem and Lil Jon.
And for the last 18 years, I've been influenced
heavily by rap music. Here are my Top Ten
best rap record picks so far in the new millennium.

-Jesse Tanner Long
__________

10
LL COOL J
(Def Jam - 2004)
__________

9
MELLOWHIGH
(Odd Future - 2013)
__________

8
ODDISEE
(Mellow Music Group - 2017)
__________

7
CHANCE THE RAPPER
(Independent - 2013)
__________

6
DANNY BROWN
(Fool's Gold - 2013)
__________

5
RUN THE JEWELS
(Mass Appeal - 2014)
__________

4
MAC MILLER
(Rostrum Records - 2011)
__________

3
CHILDISH GAMBINO
(Glassnote - 2011)
__________

2
50 CENT
(Interscope 2003)
__________

1
LUDACRIS
(Def Jam South - 2001)


_____________

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

BE MY "GUEST!"

Do you have something to say, something to get off your chest or an amazing story to share? From pop culture views and reviews to political commentary to messages of faith, my website is a great platform for writers to showcase their work. There are very limited criteria for submitting a post. Your views don't even have to be in line with mine — just create and contribute a compelling, well-written story. Interested? Send me and email.

-Christopher Long
AuthorChristopherLong@yahoo.com
_____________


Thursday, September 13, 2018

MOVIE REVIEW: Peppermint

MOVIE REVIEW
Peppermint
STXfilms / Lakeshore Entertainment
(Released Sept. 7, 2018 / 102 Minutes)
__________

Scumbag drug lords, dirty cops,
a corrupt justice system and a
vengeful wife and mother with
a score to settle. Okay, I'm in!
__________

What parent and / or spouse couldn't sympathize with Riley North? The loving wife and mother witnesses the horrifying, savage murder of her husband and young daughter — gunned-down on the sidewalk at a hometown Christmas carnival by heartless, drug-dealing thugs. Although North also is struck in the line of fire, she survives. Five years later, it's now her mission to avenge her family members' deaths.

Directed by Pierre MorelPeppermint is what it is — a fast-paced, edge-of-your-seat action thriller, and Jennifer Garner offers a heart-stopping performance as North. However, the film also packs an impressive ensemble cast, including John Ortiz as LAPD detective, Moises and John Gallagher Jr. as Moises' partner, Carmichael. Annie Ilonzeh is engaging as FBI agent, Inman and Juan Pablo Raba provides a stand-out performance as the despicable drug lord, Diego Garcia. While his screen time was minimal, Method Man is riveting as Agent Barker. In fact, the story could have likely benefited from more of MM's character. 

Jennifer Garner is powerful in Peppermint.
Simply put, it ain't Chocolat though I doubt that was the intent. But Peppermint does succeed in delivering exactly what it promises  100+ minutes worth of action and suspense, with a few "gotcha" twists and turns along the way — all strapped into a roller coaster-style story. AND Jennifer Garner is still super-hot and she sells this role convincingly. While I don't subscribe personally to vigilante-type justice — preferring instead to always embrace forgiveness, Peppermint provides an entertaining "escape," and for me, was well worth the $8.75 admission.

-Christopher Long
(September 2018)
__________


Score the latest books from author
Christopher Long NOW on Amazon!

(2014)

C'MON! -
(2012)

- SUPERSTAR -
(Coming April 7, 2019)

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

SUNSHINE STATE AUTHOR EXPO @ Open Mike's / Melbourne, FL (10.6.18)

SUNSHINE STATE
AUTHOR EXPO
@ Open Mike's / Melbourne, FL
(10.6.18)
__________

Truth be told, I'm a fervent
supporter of fellow authors
 attending their personal
appearances and buying
their books. As a result, I'm
honored and delighted to be
part of this fantastic event.
__________

Personally, I find the in-store meet-and-greet aspect of book promotions to be incredibly rewarding. As I've traveled to various chain outlets and indie shops across the country, it's been my distinct pleasure to connect with folks of all ages who typically are less impressed by my past rock and roll exploits and more intrigued by the fact that I'm an author. It's particularly refreshing to talk to kids who possess a genuine passion for reading and writing. In fact, I find myself signing many books to teens and pre-teens, encouraging them to stay in school, study diligently and achieve good grades. Holy cow, I’ve become my father! 

My first book tour.
(Melbourne, FL 2010)
Needless to say, I'm quite excited about appearing at the upcoming Sunshine State Author Expo being held right in my own hometown. Moderated by Canadian author, popular podcast host and outspoken music critic, Brent Jensen (No Sleep 'Til Sudbury, Leftover People, All My Favourite People Are Broken), the expo will take place at Open Mike's Coffee Lounge in Melbourne, Florida on Saturday / October 6, 2018 from 1-4pm.

Brent Jensen mugging with Macon, GA
fans while on his 2013 U.S. book tour.
Author Amy Sweezey at 2015
Orlando book launch party.
Featuring guest authors, TV meteorologist Amy Sweezey (It Never, Ever Snows in FloridaLet's Talk Weather), award-winning children's / YA author Jaimie Engle (Clifton Chase and the Arrow of LightThe DredgeDreadlands), career advancement expert Amy Davies (Be, Leave), and myself (C'MONShout it Out LoudSuperstar), the expo will offer a lively panel discussion of various publishing and creative writing-related topics as well as an audience-driven Q&A session and individual meet-and-greet experiences with each author.

Author Jaimie Engle at 2017 school book event.
Author and career advancement expert, Amy Davies.
Boasting a super-chic atmosphere and offering an array of signature coffees and unique, taste-tempting menu options, Open Mike's is one of Florida's premier east coast venues. Of the upcoming author expo, owner Mike Della Cioppa commented recently, "We're thrilled to be hosting such an impressive and distinguished event."

Open to enthusiasts of all ages, this informative and interactive event is FREE to the public and promises a plethora of door prize giveaways  an awesome, educational experience for the entire family.

THE SUNSHINE STATE AUTHOR EXPO: Meet the Authors. Hear Some Stories. Ask the Questions. Get Some Tips. See ya there!

-Christopher Long
(September 2018)
__________


Score the latest books from author
Christopher Long NOW on Amazon!

(2014)

C'MON! -
(2012)

- SUPERSTAR -
(Coming April 7, 2019)

Saturday, September 1, 2018

MOVIE REVIEW: "F.R.E.D.I." (Guest Feature by Bryan Dumas)

MOVIE REVIEW
F.R.E.D.I.
Skipstone Pictures
Running Time 1 hr 30 min
(Guest Feature by Bryan Dumas)
____________

It's been quite some time
since we've heard from guest
contributor, Bryan Dumas.
However, he returns with
a review of a film that has
piqued his interest recently
on many different levels.
____________

Truth be told, I don’t go out to see too many movies these days. The big multiplex theaters just don’t feel like a place to view “art” — especially when today's “art” has become defined by computer-generated animation, with actors placed in front of green screens. But I managed to man-up and venture out this weekend. I'd purchased my ticket online in advance, and I was all ready to enjoy a comfy, reclining leather seat in a thoroughly modern, state-of-the-art theater — the Skylight Cinema in my hometown, Bentonville, Arkansas,

Filmed primarily on location here in Bentonville, F.R.E.D.I. is a new, family-friendly feature with many identifiable sites just steps away from the theater. As a result, the place was packed  energized by a great vibe, as I soon discovered several of the locals featured in the movie were in attendance at this particular showing.

Lucius Hoyos as James, with F.R.E.D.I.
I came in to the screening a bit skeptical, as the movie’s trailer felt a bit too familiar. Shades of E.T., and WALL-E, as well as a host of “teenagers fighting the bad guys” films were clearly apparent. So, would this just be a predictable re-telling of another tale? While the story is somewhat familiar, the approach is quite fresh in many ways. For starters, this is a “real” movie, shot with actors in front of cameras on actual locations, not just sets. Even "F.R.E.D.I." is “real,” in that an actual robotic puppet was created for most scenes, giving the actors something to respond to.

So, how did creator and producer, Johnny Remo, transform this familiar-feeling story into a fresh, fun film that's got people buzzing? It's simple, by combining believable actors with engaging, relatable characters. The three teenage friends at the center of the story, James (Lucius Hoyos), Danny (Reid Miller) and Natalie (Casimere Jollette) are kids we all know, and like — not the "hyper-complicated" teens presented by Hollywood way too often these days.

The fabulous teenage cast of F.R.E.D.I.
For the most part, the adult actors and characters shine as well. Kelly Hu sparkles as F.R.E.D.I.'s creator, Dr. Andi Palmer. Hu has a screen-filling presence that begs for more time. Angus Macfadyen does a fantastic job portraying the film's main villain, Grant. His two henchmen, Williams (Christina Cox) and Brody (Texas Battle) have a great X-Files-like appeal while still being good for a few laughs. Played by Tyler Christopher, James' dad, Randy, starts out a little low-energy. However, by the end, he's engaged fully. Harvey Guillen plays Lopez, a scientist tasked with finding F.R.E.D.I. and providing comic relief. His goofy nature stuck out in a movie that otherwise shunned stereotypes for more relatable characters. Finally, Candace Cameron Bure as the voice of F.R.E.D.I. also worked quite well.

F.R.E.D.I. was thoroughly enjoyable. The movie and its cast have won numerous awards at recent film festivals and has earned as many accolades as just about any major motion picture released in the last year or so. And I certainly believe it would have done extremely well in wider release over this past summer season. Fortunately, it will be available on DVD and Blu-ray on October 9, 2018. 

-Bryan Dumas
(September 2018)

____________________

BE MY "GUEST!"
Do you have something to say, something to get off your chest or an amazing story to share? From pop culture views and reviews to political commentary to messages of faith, my website is a great platform for writers to showcase their work. There are very limited criteria for submitting a post. Your views don't even have to be in line with mine — just create and contribute a compelling, well-written story. Interested? Send me and email.

-Christopher Long
AuthorChristopherLong@yahoo.com
____________________