Saturday, February 26

Rob Bell's "Love Wins"

LOVE WINS. from Rob Bell on Vimeo.


An interesting little promo for Rob Bell's upcoming book Love Wins. People are up in arms in what appears to be Rob taking on a "Universalist" approach to Heaven in Hell. I'm will to give it a chance when it comes out. Rob is an engaging speaker and extremely articulate. Even if I don't end up agreeing with him, I know it will be an engaging read.

What about you? Will you temporarily suspend your judgment, good or bad, until you read the book? Or is the video enough?

Friday, February 25

Sticking Around

A music video I was Director of Photography as part of my film classes.

Sticking Around from CUMediaDepartment on Vimeo.

Wednesday, February 23

About "Surrogate Mother"

About Surrogate Mother

Surrogate Mother is a short film about the importance of a mother's role in the life of her child. The majority of the story takes place inside a stalled elevator, where an up-and-coming businessman who is too busy for family and a young baby are trapped together waiting for rescue. During the course of his confinement, the businessman is forced to see to the needs of the helpless child. Needless to say, when the elevator doors finally open, our protagonist emerges a changed man.

Surrogate Mother is in need of about $1,000 worth of funding to go toward production design, post-production, and marketing costs. The majority of funds allocated to production design will be used to build an elevator with fly-away walls and doors, allowing the crew to manipulate light freely and well. Additional funding is also required for location fees, props, and other miscellaneous items.

Neither the cast nor the crew will receive payment for working on Surrogate Mother, but will be provided with meals and snacks during every shoot, plus complimentary Surrogate Mother memorabilia. Funding is required for this as well. Should the film do well in the festival circuit, the cast and crew will also benefit from those rewards.

Part of the beauty of Surrogate Mother is its simplicity. From a relatively small budget, we will create a truly powerful and entertaining 8-minute film. The entire production team is passionate about creating a quality product that will impact audiences for the better. The producers are grateful for any and every contribution toward our project.

Click here to learn how you can help finance this project.

Want to Help Finance an Independant Short Film?

Dear Future Investor,

Thank you for considering making a contribution towards the film Surrogate Mother. The production staff very much appreciates your assistance. It is our goal to create a quality film that will move and inspire audiences. Once the film is completed (in early May), the producers will enter it into numerous festivals with the intention of generating a profit via awards and other acknowledgments.

Surrogate Mother will not need funding for production or post-production equipment, as we will have access to $20,000 worth of equipment owned and managed by Cornerstone University. Funds raised through investors will be used for production design, marketing and distribution costs, craft services, and festival fees, plus miscellaneous production costs.

We realize the risk involved with investing in an independent film, and want to acknowledge your contribution with incentives to invest. An investment of any amount will be acknowledged on the official Surrogate Mother website, and the investors recognized as contributing toward the film.

An investment of $25 or more will be rewarded with an official Surrogate Mother T-shirt, plus the above rewards.

An investment of $50 or more will be acknowledged with a movie poster signed by the cast and crew, plus the above rewards.

Sunday, February 20

The Promises She Keeps - a review

The Promises She Keeps is the second solo novel by Erin Healy, who broke into fiction writing by co-authoring with Ted Dekker on Kiss and Burn.   Her first solo outing was titled Never Let You Go.

 

As would be expected by someone who worked with Ted Dekker, Healy’s novel writing bears strong elements of the spiritual thriller novel.  What differentiates her writing from Dekker’s, though, is that a lot of her characterization and struggles rely on internal choices and decisions.  Dekker’s books tend to be much more action oriented, and even more dialogue oriented that Healy.

Promise is a college student who aspires to be a singer, despite having been diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis.  She yearns to have people hear her voice and to know who she is.  On the side she dabbles in modeling, often posing for art classes at her school.  Her medical condition means she has a much lower life expectancy. 

Saturday, February 19

Oscar predictions 2011

Oscars 2011

Here’s my list of which movies I think will win big at the Oscars (or at least who I want to win).

Best Picture
:

I’m torn between The King’s Speech and The Social Network, and I’d be completely happy if either one. In the end, I think I edge towards The Social Network, which I thought was amazing on so many levels, and is my favorite movie from 2010.

In this category I’ve seen: The Fighter, Inception, The King’s Speech, The Social Network, Toy Story 3, True Grit, and Winter’s Bone.

Best Actor

Colin Firth. His portrayal in The King’s Speech was fantastic.

In this Category I’ve seen: True Grit, The Social Network, and The King’s Speech

Best Actress:

Although I haven’t seen it I’ve heard amazing things about Natalie Portman’s role in Black Swan. Though I thought Jennifer Lawrence did fantastic in Winter’s Bones, I’m pretty sure Portman’s getting this one.

In this category I’ve seen: Winter’s Bone


Sunday, February 13

Things Film Students Like ....

… Bashing Popular Movies

Let me be clear up front, this post is not indicative of all Film Students, nor does it mean that this post is applicable to all popular movies. I have specific examples that I have noticed and will reference.

There’s an interesting situation I’ve noticed with Film Student in the past couple of years. It has become popular to attack popular movies. By popular I generally mean they earn big bucks at the box office. Here’s some examples I’ve seen in the past two years. From the top grosser in 2009: Avatar, Transformers 2, Twilight: New Moon, and X-Men Wolverine. From 2010: Alice in Wonderland, Twilight: Eclipse, Shrek Forever After, and Clash of the Titans.

Now, I am in no way claiming that all of these movies are good. Some of them I didn’t like at all, and I have my reasons. When there are movies that do well in the box office, but I don’t like them, I find it easier to state why I didn’t like them. When a movie bombs, it’s significantly harder.

Tuesday, February 8

Win a Free Copy of "The Brotherhood" by Jerry B. Jenkins

Do you want to win a free copy of "The Brotherhood" by Jerry B. Jenkins which I earlier reviewed? Here's what you have to do:


Post a comment to my review of "The Brotherhood, this post, or send me a message via Twitter to @jonathonburns containing this: a quick story of a time you suffered and how you were brought through it. It doesn't have to be long. I'll randomly choose a winner.

The deadline for this contest has been extended once again to February 16th, 2011 at 11:59pm Eastern Time. You must be 13 or older to enter and must live within the United States.

This prize comes in the form of a certificate which can be redeemed either at a Christian bookstore or by mailing directly to Tyndale.

Employees of Tyndale, their relatives, and my relatives cannot participate in this contest.

EDIT: This contest has ended and will not be extended further. A winner has been chosen.

Saturday, February 5

The Next Christians, a review

The Next Christians by Gabe Lyons

Gabe Lyons is one of the co-authors of the bestselling book UnChristian and in the introduction to The Next Christians explains his hope is that The Next Christians can be seen as a follow up piece of work. UnChristian shows how Christians have not been acting very Christian-like. The Next Christians attempts to show ways that Christians are reacting to this negative image, and how this can be a good reaction.

The main focus then, is that of restoration. This is more than just restoring our image, for that should not be our goal. Rather, the focus is on restoring what it means to be a follower of Christ and what it means to be a Christian in this world.

One of the chapters which really stuck me was “Provoked, Not Offended.” On page 81, Gabe writes, “Provoked Christians resist judging non-Christians. Anecdotal research suggests that offended Christians have held those who never claimed to follow Jesus to a standard they haven’t signed up for. They expect non-Christians to conform to the same moral code as a Christ follower. But does that set a realistic expectation?” How many times I have seen Christians hold others to standards they don’t want to be held to? How often have I done that? This truly does not seem like a good way to bring people to Christianity.

Thursday, February 3

The Brotherhood review

Read through to the bottom to see how you can win a free copy of The Brotherhood.





The Brotherhood tells the story of Boone Drake, the man who has everything: he’s a respected cop and has a beautiful wife and a baby boy. His partner at the police force is one of his closest friends, and Boone aspires to get on the OCD (Organized Crime Department). But a terrible tragedy sends his life spiraling downward and he doesn’t know if he’ll ever pull through. He has to, however, because his help is needed in dealing with one of the largest Mob bosses in Chicago. Will Boone be able to overcome the tragedy he suffered, or will he turn his back on his dream?

The hook for the books was good, straightforward and intriguing. Also, Jerry B. Jenkins has a distinct way of creating characters. Early last year I read his novel Riven, which I thought was a solid story about a prison chaplain. When I started The Brotherhood I instantly was able to see the similarities in how Jenkins creates characters. If you love Jenkin’s character’s you may very well want to read this book.

However, I found the story often clichéd, and at times a bit long. A couple chapters into the book is when the tragedy happens (which I will not spoil for you), and then the Mob Boss isn’t introduced until well past page 200. And, despite the suffering and pain Boone goes through, many other things happen that seem too good to be true. At one point he is accused of brutality after accidentally injuring a criminal. Instead of seeing the case all the way through, the criminal drops the charge because he has a guilty conscious and knows Boone didn’t mean to hurt him. In the end none of it seemed believable – I wasn’t drawn into the story.

That said, it is still impressive that Jenkins decided to tackle the theme of suffering. It is something many authors, fiction and non-fiction have tried to do and it is not always done well. Though clichéd and cheesy in a way that only Christian fiction can be, Jenkins still has a well thought out approach. Suffering is not a sensible things and it when it hits it is never pretty. However, suffering need not be the end all, and strength can be found in friends and in faith.


Jerry B. Jenkins co-authored the wildly bestselling series Left Behind as well as the aforementioned Riven. He purchased and owns the Christian Writers Guild, an organization which has the goal of improving the quality of Christian Fiction.

To learn more, visit www.tyndale.com.

2.5/5 stars

I received this book free from Tyndale. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

Do you want to win a free copy of "The Brotherhood" by Jerry B. Jenkins which I earlier reviewed? Here's what you have to do:


Post a comment to my post on this contest, this post, or send me a message via Twitter to @jonathonburns containing this: a quick story of a time you suffered and how you were brought through it. It doesn't have to be long. I'll randomly choose a winner.

The deadline for this contest is February 16th, 2011 at 11:59pm Eastern Time. You must be 13 or older to enter and must live within the United States.

This prize comes in the form of a certificate which can be redeemed either at a Christian bookstore or by mailing directly to Tyndale.

Employees of Tyndale, their relatives, and my relatives cannot participate in this contest.

EDIT: This contest has ended.