29 December 2008

All Things Are Possible

Hanukkah and Christmas may be over for this year, but one can still maintain a commitment to hope. Right now many people are doing this by making new years’ resolutions. By setting goals we strengthen our hope because that shows we have faith in it. This is the way to extend the season of miracles throughout the year.

22 December 2008

The Season of Miracles

This is the season of miracles. The Jewish tradition of Hanukkah (the Holiday of Lights) commemorates the time when a small amount of oil lasted eight days and kept the light in the temple from going out. Christmas celebrates the coming of the “Light of the World,” God in human form: Jesus.

I have been watching my share of Christmas movies on Hallmark Channel and Lifetime Television. Each of the stories entails the theme of miracles. A family that usually does not celebrate Christmas has a stranger come into its life who introduces everyone to the glory of Christmas; a single woman who has had a negative experience with dating swears she is content without a steady companion suddenly meets and falls in love with a man who is just right for her; or a tragedy occurs in the life of someone who does not want to observe Christmas eventually experiences something, like an epiphany, and chooses to embrace the holiday, managing to inspire others.

I hope these stories do not seem too sentimental to you. I like them. I think we need them. Just as Emily Dickinson has written:

“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all.”

That is just the first stanza of her poem, “Hope is the Thing with Feathers.” She personifies hope, giving it a life of its own, which makes me think that hope is something we should welcome. Hope is what can keep us alive, especially during this difficult time when so many have lost their homes and jobs. In the midst of those unfortunate circumstances, one can still hold on to hope, and believe this is the season of miracles.

17 December 2008

Internet Social Networking

It seems Internet social networking sites are becoming more popular. I am even connected, and have been able to keep up with my busy friends through these sites. If you are on LinkedIn (professional networking), Plaxo, or Facebook you may connect with me so we can keep up with each other as well. Right now I am talking with people about my book, GROWING PAINS – 10 short stories about growing up. Please visit my Web site at http://www.tdaentertainment.com to read descriptions of the stories and see places where you can buy the book. We are also selling THE TWO SISTERS on DVD and via streaming VOD, as well as collectible items. If you are not on any of the above mentioned networking sites, the TDA Entertainment Web site has a Guestbook you may use to post comments.

10 December 2008

Slumdog Millionaire

I saw the movie SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE last night. I thought it was a fun story. Everyone who worked on this movie did a great job.

SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE is a very unique film, and is particularly refreshing because it has a mostly Indian cast and was made in India. The story is about two brothers, “Jamal” and “Salim,” who live in the slums of Mumbai. One day a group of men raid their community, killing many people, including “Jamal” and “Salim’s” mother. The two boys run away, and a young girl named “Latika” follows them. “Jamal” immediately makes a connection with “Latika.” As the result of some unfortunate events, “Latika” is separated from “Jamal” and “Salim.”

I am not going to tell you what happens next. Some of what I have already stated may explain the “slumdog” part of the title. As for the word “millionaire” being in the title, several years later “Jamal” goes onto the television game show, Who Wants to be a Millionaire? (Hindi version). He does not desire to be rich, but goes onto the show hoping “Latika” is watching and they can be together again. “Jamal,” played by Dev Patel, is charming in the game show scenes.

The movie is adapted from the novel, Q&A by Vikas Swarup. The cast is fantastic and I loved the music. I wish more movies like this were made.

There are predictions that Dev Patel may be nominated for a 2009 Academy Award for his performance, Danny Boyle may be nominated for directing, and SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE may receive a nomination for Best Picture (along with the exceptional THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON). I sure hope it happens, as the recognition is deserved.

The Visitor

THE VISITOR is a movie I saw during the summer that I thought was awesome. I have recently learned that 2009 Academy Award nomination predictions are being made for actors Richard Jenkins and Hiam Abbass. This is good news because both performances were fascinating.

THE VISITOR is about a widowed college professor (Richard Jenkins) in Connecticut who is told to attend and speak at a conference in New York City. When he arrives at his apartment in New York, a man named “Tarek,” played by Haaz Sleiman, and his wife “Zainab,” played by Danai Jekesai Gurira, are living in it. They are more startled than he is. He realizes they will be homeless if he makes them leave, so he invites them to stay in the apartment with him.

In an even more unprecedented twist, the three of them gain respect for one another and become friends. “Professor Walter” learns that “Tarek” and “Zainab” may be deported because they are not U.S. citizens; when Tarek is arrested “Professor Walter” visits him and develops a special friendship with his mother (Hiam Abbass) who comes to New York City after not hearing from her son in a while.

As usual, I will not tell you how this ends. I think THE VISITOR is a special movie that is well-paced. The characters are real people and the direction by Thomas McCarthy (who also wrote the screenplay) is fine (as in sharp, polished, and refined). THE VISITOR is an independent movie that I watched at an independently-owned movie theatre. Please support independent film.

04 December 2008

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Last night I attended a VIP screening of THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, starring the very talented Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, along with remarkable performances by Julia Ormond and Taraji P. Henson. I really liked this movie and recommend it, so I will not give too much away. The diversity and realism of the well written, multi-dimensional characters certainly captivated me.

THE CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON has more class than I have seen in films for a long time. By class I mean the story is complex, advanced, and respects the viewer’s intelligence. The movie is based on a short story written by F. Scott Fitzgerald and opens in theatres on Christmas Day. I hope you check it out.


My new novel, THE TWO SISTERS, is available for purchase:  The Two Sisters by Terri Dawn Arnold . The story has crime, drama, and mystery. L...