Friday, October 26, 2007

HJ Live To Hit Internet Radio

Starting Monday, October 29, 2007 HJ Live will go on line. This live call in internet radio program will feature guests, movie reviews and more. We have a special kick off program on Monday, at 4:30 PM EST, 3:30 PM CST, 2:30 PM MST, and 1:30 PM PST. Our first guest during the program will be Comedian, Victoria Jackson, formerly of Saturday Night Live.

The url for HJ Live is The call in number to speak to the guests or hosts for the program is: (646) 716-8853. HJ Live will initially start with a Friday program airing at the listed times above, but plans are in place to schedule other programs in the future at additional days and times. These will include programs to interview guests where HJ readers have the opportunity to call in and ask questions, as well as feature programs through the week. Feature programs will include the Friday Show which will ultimately focus on current and new releases, a Monday Review program, and a Tuesday DVD feature to focus on current and new DVD releases.

On Friday, November 3, special guest will be David Bruce, founder of Hollywood Jesus. In this program, we will talk about the origins of Hollywood Jesus, its purpose and more. We also hope to feature reviewers at Hollywood Jesus on a frequent basis. While Mike Furches, will host the show, it is hoped that HJ Live will become an extension of the work at Hollywood Jesus. Individuals will not only be able to listen to HJ Live, they can call in, access archived programs, and subscribe to RSS feeds which will allow for regular downloads via, ITunes, My Yahoo, Newsgator, Bloglines, Google, and My AOL.

Don’t forget the first broadcast on Monday, October 29, with Victoria Jackson.

The following is information provided by Ms. Jackson’s publicist.

Victoria Jackson is an outgoing, gregarious, intelligent young woman whose high-pitched voice and comedy appearances with Johnny Carson and on Saturday Night Live have convinced many people she is something of a ditzy blonde. The fact is, she is married, raising two daughters, Scarlet and Aubrey, attended Furman University and Auburn University in pursuit of a career as a dramatic actress and spent a year studying at Florida Bible College.

Born in Miami, Florida on August 2, 1959, she and her brother were raised in an atmosphere of gymnastics and 1930’s music (their father is a gymnastics coach, ex-vaudevillian and pianist), uncluttered by the pervasive influence of television. There was no TV set, by parental edict, in the Jackson home.

Victoria became a high school cheerleader and homecoming queen, an extrovert who enjoyed being funny and getting attention. The cause was helped considerably by her “baby” voice, which had always seemed normal both to her and her family until a doctor pointed out that it was a result of a congenital defect of the palate and could conceivably cause problems for her out in the real world. Several doctors, in fact, urged her to undergo a surgical correction of the defect. By a unanimous family vote, the idea was vetoed at the dinner table.

Given her voice and youthfully exuberant face that simply did not lend itself to serious drama, the drama departments at both Furman and Auburn didn’t quite what to do with her. Eventually, the combination of schoolgirl innocence, gymnastics and rollicking sense of humor led her away from Portia and Ophelia and into the world of comedy.

Not that it was all that easy. With stints at three colleges behind her, she supported herself as a typist, a waitress in a retirement home, and a nightclub cigarette girl, did “Summerstock” and finally wound up in Los Angeles doing a stand-up comedy routine that consisted largely of standing upside down while reciting poetry. But the act led to her first booking with Carson (she’s made 22 Tonight Show appearances since), 6 seasons of Saturday Night Live, roles in films such as Baby Boom with Diane Keaton, Family Business with Dustin Hoffman, I Love You to Death with Kevin Kline, The Pick-up Artist, Couch Trip, and UHF with Weird Al Yankovich She also has had many guest roles on numerous TV shows including In the Heat of the Night with Carroll O’Conner, The Jeffersons, General Hospital, The Smothers Brothers, Half Nelson with Joe Pesci, Diagnosis Murder, the FOX movie of the week, Based on an Untrue Story, Perry Mason, Touched by an Angel, The X-Files, and much more proving that her talent and expansive range defy skeptic’s type-casting limitations.

Victoria still does her trademark “handstand poetry,” discusses her career and marriage, and plays her original ukulele songs. She has completed three CD’s: Use Me, produced by VJ and Blackmarket Productions is for adults; and her award-winning Ukulele Lady and Ukulele Ditties for Itty Bitty Kitties, were produced by Choo Choo Records.

Victoria met her husband, Metro Dade Police Helicopter pilot, Paul Wessel, in seventh grade at Dade Christian School. They were engaged in 1976 but didn’t marry until 1992 after a 12 year separation. “His strict father said we were too young to get married, so he finished the college I couldn’t afford and I went off to Hollywood,” Victoria explains. Victoria splits her time between her home in the Hollywood Hills of California and her home in Miami where she spends her time between acting jobs raising her daughters, working on her poetry book, writing songs with her Ukulele and enjoying her high school sweetheart, Paul.

Victoria appears in the new DVD release of Thou Shalt Laugh the Deuce along with various other comedians and hosted by Tim Conway.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Mr. Brooks DVD Release

Mr. Broooks, is an edge of your seat thriller that is laced with spiritual themes. This recently released DVD has an all-star cast that simply put, comes through with their performance and a wonderful tight script that will have the viewer on the edge of their seat until the very end. While this is far from the best movie I have seen, it is a movie I am still thinking of some days after review of the DVD and while my criteria for a DVD is somewhat different than that of the theatrical release, I was pleased with this effort and product, and believe those who like a good thriller and exploration of the human psyche will fall into the same category.

Mr. Brooks does a great job of not losing any of the quality from the theatrical release. While it is wonderfully shot and filmed, the close quarters and close ups throughout the film do not loose their importance on the small screen. In fact, in some ways, this wonderful little thriller may be better in the quaintness of ones living room, especially during the Halloween season. From a fun filled musical score to the sound one can find themselves enjoying the frights, thrills, and suspense of Mr. Brooks. While there are some gruesome scenes, there is nothing so bad it would prevent most people from enjoying the story.

Mr. Brooks also has a wonderful ensemble cast that does not loose sight of their purpose and role. Kevin Costner plays the title role of Earl Brooks, a local business man of the year who also has an addiction that has him interacting with an alter ego constantly challenging him. This alter ego, played on screen by William Hurt is a part of Mr. Brooks but he is also a reflection of all of us. Some can imagine the little angel sitting on one shoulder and the little devil sitting on the other, one challenging us to do right, and the other to do wrong. This imagery of the conscious and the concept of good and evil existing within each of us is wonderfully portrayed in a thoughtful imaginative way. William Hurt takes on this difficult role, and does a great job with it. It is one of the best roles for Hurt in some time. Not only do we see this struggle between Hurt and Mr. Brooks, we see a struggle going on with other characters within the film, characters like Detective Tracy Atwood played by Demi Moore, and Mr. Smith played surprisingly well by Dane Cook.

The essential story of Mr. Brooks is that while continuing to struggle with his own addictions, he is challenged to balance his desires, his life, with the life of the family which he genuinely loves. He has a terrible sin that many won’t relate to, a terrible sin that one would wonder how his family would never know. But being a resident of Wichita Kansas and having done a great deal of study on our recent serial killer known as BTK, I understand to some extent how a mind like Mr. Brook works. Just like Dennis Rader, AKA, The BTK Killer, Mr. Brook has a way of keeping things from his wife and family. His secret life is one which is filled with mystery, and death. As the story progresses we see Mr. Brook struggle with his own sins. He has the desire to give them up, but has found himself trapped by the reoccurring consequences of his sin..

The concept of facing the consequences of sin is wonderfully played out in a thought provoking way. While we may not all be a Mr. Brook, at least to his extreme, Mr. Brook represents all of us to some degree. We may not think about the wrongs we do, but we eventually discover, just as Mr. Brook, there are consequences for our actions, and often those we love end up getting hurt. There are also those on the outside looking at us who think things are better than they really are. They may even covet or desire the things we do and the way we live. We see this especially in the character of Mr. Smith played by Dane Cook. But just as there are consequences of Mr. Brook’s actions we see ultimately consequences for those like Mr. Smith who would desire the evil things in life for their own benefit.

There is an interesting thought illustrated in Mr. Brook that looks at the genetic concept of behavior. While the film could have done a better job at exploring this it at least brings up the question and for those who believe in what some say is the Biblical concept of the sins of the father being passed down, there is room of discussion for this aspect. We see this in the life of Mr. Brook’s daughter. In a shocking and surprising scene towards the end of the movie, we are shocked, and ultimately forced to think of this concept.

I was very pleased with the DVD release of Mr. Brooks. The DVD contains a good selection of special features. The deleted scenes are especially nice as we see an obvious subplot contained within the character of Detective Tracy Atwood played by Demi Moore. It opens up the viewer to a better understanding of this character and all she is going through. The directors commentary is also nicely done with some very thought provoking concepts discussed. As far as the special features go, for buffs like me you won’t be disappointed.

To see the trailer for Mr. Brooks just double click on the video below. If the video don't appear, just click on the following link:

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