Falling Crude Oil Prices Lead to Oil Company Layoffs


Falling Crude Oil Prices Lead to Oil Company Layoffs

By Burt Carey

Crude oil traded at just $40 per barrel last week, adding to the dramatic downfall in gasoline prices at the pump for consumers. But cheap gas isn’t being heralded by more than 100,000 American workers whose jobs have disappeared since June 2014 because of it.

Oil giant ConocoPhillips announced this week that it will lay off 10 percent of its workforce, some 1,800 jobs in total, and 500 in its Houston headquarters alone. ConocoPhillips said 400 workers plus another 100 contractors in Canada will be affected, which was even more painful news for a country that announced Tuesday it is now officially in economic recession.

crude oil, gas, worldwide job cuts, unemployment, layoffs

The latest layoffs follow a familiar pattern for the oil industry. When crude oil drops below $100 a barrel, industry execs start tightening their belts to make up for lost revenue. Industry giants Schlumberger, Halliburton and Baker Hughes have already eliminated more than 70,000 jobs dating back to late 2014. Chevron and BP have cut a combined 10,000 jobs.

“Our industry is undergoing a dramatic downturn, which has caused us to look at our future workforce needs,” said Daren Beaudo, ConocoPhillips’ director of communications. “As we have assessed the implications of lower prices on our business, we’ve made the difficult decision that workforce reductions will be necessary.” Beaudo said the company has already undergone spending cuts and reduced its plans for deep-water exploration.

With a ban on exporting American crude oil now in its 40th year, oil industry executives are imploring Congress to overturn the ban so that fewer jobs will be lost. But a government report released today by the Energy Information Administration argues that lifting the ban would do little to boost prices or production because other petroleum-producing countries, including OPEC members, would continue producing, and crude oil prices would fall even further.

Worldwide job cuts since crude prices started slipping now total an estimated 176,000 workers. North America has suffered the brunt of the layoffs because much of its newest oil comes from shale fields throughout the Midwest. Shale oil production is more expensive than other crude oil production.

Especially hard hit have been oil-producing states North Dakota, Texas, Louisiana and Oklahoma. North Dakota had the country’s lowest unemployment rate until this spring. Of the nearly 200 rigs in the state, fewer than half are now in operation.

The West Texas Intermediate crude price dropped slightly below $40 a barrel last Friday but has rebounded this week to about $44. The WTI is the benchmark for U.S. oil prices. U.S. crude sold for $93.96 in August 2014 before falling to $43.46 in March.

Industry analysts have predicted that gasoline prices at the pump will drop yet again after Sept. 15. That’s the date refineries begin delivering winter-grade petroleum to gas stations throughout the country. Federal air quality regulations by the EPA require stations to sell a more expensive summer blend during the warmest months.


Source:  Sportsmans Lifestyle


Reno in September: Ribs, Balloons and Airplanes


Reno in September: Ribs, Balloons and Airplanes

By Burt Carey

If Burning Man wasn’t the thing to attract you to northern Nevada, then perhaps the Great Reno Balloon Race is more your style. Or eating barbecue. Or watching airplanes race. Take your pick, as they’re all happening near Reno this month.

More than 125,000 spectators from around the world come to Reno each September to see wildly colored hot-air balloons glow in the cool air during the Friday Super Glow Show and then see those colors during the day splashed against unforgettable desert backgrounds. September 11-13 marks the 34th annual Great Reno Balloon Race.

34th annual Great Reno Balloon Race, aviation enthusiasts, National Championship Air Races, West Nugget Rib Cook-off, Reno, Nevada, accommodations, Burning Man

2014 Great Reno Balloon Race                                                                     Photo: Darron Birgenheier


Upwards of 100 hot-air balloons are signed up to take flight in the world’s largest free hot-air balloon festival.

The balloon race and festival has become a major economic driver for this northern Nevada community, and unlike the pagan Burning Man festival, this one is geared for family fun. It’s supported by a host of volunteers who work with city and state tourism officials and local businesses to draw some of the most spectacular hot-air balloons in North America and abroad.

This year’s event includes a pilot from Belgium who will thrill Star Wars fans by flying Darth Vader and Master Yoda balloons.

The race is held each year just a few miles north of Reno from Rancho San Rafael Regional Park, where early morning spectators are entertained with a Glow Show, Dawn Patrol, Mass Ascension, a kids interactive area and shopping on Balloon Boulevard.

Finding a place to stay in Reno is not a problem at all. The following hotels are major and founding sponsors of the GRBR, and offer competitive room rates: Peppermill Hotel/Casino – (800) 282-2444; Silver Legacy Resort Casino – (800) 687-8733; Sands Regency Casino (pet friendly) – (800) 648-3553; Harrah’s Reno (pet friendly) – (800) 427-7247; Circus Circus – (866) 447-7728; Grand Sierra Resort (pet friendly) -1-800-501-2651; and Whitney Peak Hotel – (775) 398-5400. For more information on lodging, including RV parks, visit http://www.visitrenotahoe.com/reno-tahoe/accommodations.

If you get to Reno a few days early, you’ll want to check out the Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-off. It’s billed as America’s biggest and best free rib festival. And with a half-million visitors who come each year, neither billing is in question.

34th annual Great Reno Balloon Race, aviation enthusiasts, National Championship Air Races, West Nugget Rib Cook-off, Reno, Nevada, accommodations, Burning Man

The 27th annual Best in the West Nugget Rib Cook-off began Sept. 2 and runs through Labor Day, Sept. 7. It’s held at Victorian Square in Sparks, Nev., on Victorian Avenue between 14th Street and Pyramid Way.

Stay beyond the GRBR and you’ll be greeted by other visitors from the sky Sept. 16-20 when the city opens its doors to the Reno National Championship Air Races and Air Show.

The National Championship Air Races is the last event of its kind, carrying on the tradition of the Cleveland Air Races of the 1920s, 30s and 40s. In 1964, Bill Stead organized the first air race near Reno, and more than 50 years later it is still going strong in the northern Nevada desert. The event has been interrupted only once: following the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington D.C., in September 2001, when all aircraft in the United States were grounded.

Held every September just north of Reno, the National Championship Air Races have become an institution for northern Nevada and aviation enthusiasts from around the world. For one week, the high desert north of Reno becomes home to hundreds of aircraft, their pilots and crews. In the past 10 years, the event has attracted more than 150,000 spectators and generated more than $66.5 million a year for the region’s economy. The event features six racing classes, a large display of static aircraft and several military and civil flight demonstrations.

For tickets and more information, go to http://airrace.org/.


cc.largeImage: 2014 Great Reno Balloon Race


Source:  Sportsmans Lifestyle


Jason Day’s Rising is Great for Golf


Jason Day’s Rising is Great for Golf

By Burt Carey

Jason Day didn’t merely win the Barclays championship. He absolutely crushed the field with a six-shot victory in the first of four playoffs for the FedEx Cup and its $10 million prize.Jason Day, Golf, Barclays championship, FedEx Cup, Henrik Stenson, PGA Tour

Having won the year’s fourth major, the PGA Championship, earlier in August, Day’s flight to the top of the FedEx Cup standings was virtually unfettered. Henrik Stenson closed to within two strokes of the lead at one point, but even his superb 66 on the final day didn’t come close to matching the winner’s 62.

When Day won at Whistling Straits, he out-dueled fan-favorite Jordan Spieth and took home an emotional first career major championship. With former world No. 1 Spieth failing to make the cut at the Barclays, the New Jersey fans decidedly chose to cheer for the 27-year-old Australian.

And suddenly gone were the marquee names in golf: Tiger Woods was eliminated for the season a week earlier; Phil Mickelson struggled to a 1-over par finish; two-time Masters champion Bubba Watson never shot over 69 but finished third, eight shots back; and Rory McIlroy was somewhere in Europe watching.

Golf can be a fickle game. But rarely in the sport’s history has its royalty changed crowns so quickly. With one exception this year (39-year-old Zach Johnson’s win at the Open Championship), the game’s youth movement is in full swing. World No. 1 McIlroy, No. 2 Spieth and No. 3 Day are all in their 20s. Rounding out the Top 5, No. 4 Bubba Watson is the grand old man of the group at age 36, and No. 5 Rose is 35.

Leading the trio to three titles in the last four tournaments, Day said missing the Open Championship playoff by one stroke was a turning point. Including the Open, he’s shot 73 under par in his last 20 rounds of golf, by far the best on the PGA Tour. The golfer who comes closest is South African Justin Rose, who’s played the last 20 rounds to 49 under par.

As the PGA Tour looks ahead this week to the Deutsche Bank Championship, Day could move to No. 1 in the World Golf rankings with a win. Spieth could also re-assume the world’s No. 1 position, as his slip at the Barclays allowed the idle McIlroy to retake the spot by a mere .13 points.

What all of this spells for golf is great for the game not just in the U.S. but abroad. Day is entering hero status much like his countrymen Greg Norman, Peter Thomson, Adam Scott, Ian Baker-Finch, Geoff Ogilvy and Stuart Appleby. McIlroy has already joined the ranks of Padraig Harrington, Christy O’Connor Sr., Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell in their native Ireland. And Rose is coming ever so close to touching the hems of Gary Player, Bobby Locke, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen. Fans pay big money to see masters of this game.

And they will pay big money this weekend to see Day go head-to-head with Spieth and Watson. The trio, ranked Nos. 1-3 in the FedEx Cup standings, will tee off together Friday at 9:30 a.m. from the No. 10 hole.


Source:  Baret News

Award-Winning Filmmaker Discusses Kickstarter Campaign for Emmett Till Biopic


Keith Beauchamp
The “Till” Interview

with Kam Williams

Award-Winning Filmmaker Discusses Kickstarter Campaign for Emmett Till Biopic

Producer Keith Beauchamp is no stranger to Emmett Till. It was his Emmy-nominated film, The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till, that prompted the U.S. Justice Department, to reopen the case in 2004. Since his production of Untold, Keith has worked closely with FBI and their Civil Rights Cold Case Initiative, producing documentaries on other unsolved civil rights murders in his capacity as Executive Producer and Host of Investigation Discovery’s (ID) crime reality series, “The Injustice Files.”

Keith Beauchamp, The “Till” Interview, Kam Williams

Originally a Criminal Justice major at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Keith  left school to pursue justice for Emmett Till. He remains the only filmmaker to work closely with the Till family and is dedicated to sharing their heartbreak and their mission to advocate for change.

Now, he has launched a Kickstarter in support of Till, a feature-length drama he’s making about the life of Emmett Till. “After dedicating two decades of my life seeking justice for Emmett Louis Till,” Keith explains, “I’m truly excited and moved to finally bring his true story to the world.”

“Here is a story that is as much a part of American history as the Boston Tea Party and may stand as the greatest argument for getting rid of sanctioned racism,” adds Producer Whoopi Goldberg. “Emmett Till’s brutal death at the hands of ignorant, brutish people exposes the Jim Crow-era South that gave the implicit okay to uphold that kind of racism without any real fear of repercussions. Today, the return of rampant, unchallenged racism cries out for the telling of Emmett Till’s story again.”

Kam Williams: Hi Keith, thanks for another interview.

Keith Beauchamp: Always great speaking with you Kam. Thanks again for the support and for the coverage.

KW: What interested you in making a drama about Emmett Till, since you already did a documentary about him?

KB: My life/career has come full circle. I’ve always wanted to produce a feature on the Till case. In fact, that’s how my journey as a filmmaker started. The documentary, “The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till” was my second vehicle to get the true story of Emmett Till out to the public. After gathering research, in 1998 I wrote a screenplay that was later optioned off by producers who had a deal with Showtime. Not knowing much about the industry, I felt that I gave my baby away because of the option period and the lack of interest in a Till film. The option eventually expired, but during that process I continued to travel to Mississippi and around the country gathering information on the case. After I discovered vital information that I felt could be critical in the reopening of the case, I decided and was encouraged by Mother Mobley to pursue the documentary so we could use it as a stepping-stone to get the case reopened.

After Mother Mobley’s passing and before the documentary was finally released in theaters in 2005, the 50th anniversary of Emmett’s murder, I was already, behind the scenes, sharing the evidence I’d gathered with federal authorities and local officials. It would be those meetings that led to the reopening of the case on May 10, 2004. Considering that I was involved with the Till investigation, I had to be very careful about what was presented in the documentary. The Till feature will be my second chance to get the full and true story of Emmett Louis Till out to the masses. Lastly, it also helps to have a Dream Team that includes, Fred Zollo, Whoopi Goldberg, Tom Levin, Susan Rose, Paul Kurta and my co- writing partner Michael Reilly.

KW: Who do you want to star in the film?

KB: [Smiling] Great question, Kam. I’ve devoted 22 years of my life telling the story of Emmett Louis Till and pursuing justice in his case. I’ve worked closely with Mother Mobley for 8 1/2 years before she passed away. It’s very important that my team and I choose someone that will portray my late friend and nurturer in the right way. Although we have not locked the title role as of yet, I’ve been thinking a lot about Taraji Henson. I’ve watched her career flourish over the years and when I saw her performance in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, it sealed the deal for me. But there’s also Kerry Washington and others that I believe could play the role well.

KW: What’s going to be the focus of the film?

KB: Till is adapted from my documentary, The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till and from research used to get the case reopened, as well as from Simeon Wright’s book, “Simeon’s Story: An Eyewitness Account of the Kidnapping of Emmett Till.” Mr. Wright was my missing link in getting the case reopened. He was also the cousin who shared the bed with Emmett Till the night he was abducted. Our focus will be Emmett Till’s murder and the catalytic decisions made by his courageous mother, which led to the mobilization of the American Civil Rights Movement.

KW: What message do you want people to take away from Till?

KB: I want people to be inspired and understand that the fight for freedom and justice is a continuous one, despite the post- racial society concept, that some of us want to believe. I firmly believe that this film will be a catalyst for change, just like the murder was in 1955.

KW: Do you think the movie is more relevant, given the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement?

KB: Yes, the timing could not be any better than now. As we continue to witness the ongoing police shootings of unarmed black males with no accountability and those suffering an injustice within our broken criminal justice system, Emmett Till’s name is often evoked.

KW: How do you explain the country’s sudden attention to the killings of blacks by police and white men? Is it just that so many incidents are being captured on cell phones?

KB: Unfortunately, what we are seeing today is not a new phenomenon. Police brutality and hate crimes committed against African-Americans and other people of color can be traced all the way back to the South Carolina Slave Patrol and the moment we planted our feet on American soil. Yes, I believe that because of technology we are now subjected to being exposed to this epidemic daily. Although it’s great to be aware of what’s going on in our country, receiving daily doses of this type of cruel behavior is very harmful to our spirit and human beingness.

KW: Why did you turn to a Kickstarter campaign to underwrite the project?

KB: We chose Kickstarter because I wanted to make a film for the people and by the people. Over the years, Fred Zollo and I pitched the film to studios and no one would bite. Perhaps the timing was wrong or they were just not interested. We decided long ago that we will make this film with or without a studio being attached, which led us to the Kickstarter platform. Understand that we are not trying to break any Kickstarter records with a goal of just $50,000. Our main mission for using this vehicle is to allow the public participation in the making of this film, and to garner grassroots support, just like I had in the making of the documentary. This is not just a movie to me, it’s a movement. It’s a way to awaken the “Sleeping Giant  for Change” once again.

KW: Are you still reopening cases of unsolved lynchings around the South?

KB: Yes. I still have The Injustice Files franchise at Investigation Discovery and continue to assist the FBI with their Civil Rights Cold Case Initiative. However, for a year now, I’ve been on hiatus, gathering myself so I can fully focus on our Till feature. I will continue to investigate and produce documentaries on civil rights murders. This is my golden opportunity that I’ve been waiting for to crossover into the feature film genre, but I will always be here for families who are in need.

KW: How many black people do you think were lynched between Emancipation and 1980?

KB: There are at least 4,000 documented lynchings between Emancipation and 1980. However, there are some experts that believe there were two to three times more undocumented lynchings… Disturbing data that is unimaginable to think about.

KW: AALBC.com founder Troy Johnson asks: What was the last book you read?KB: Lately, I have been re-reading James Baldwin’s books. “The Fire Next Time” and his old lectures inspire me, because they speak to the way I feel at this moment and time. http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1883011523/ref=nosim/thslfofire-20

Baldwin said “To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in rage almost all the time.” It is also great to read the work of someone whose second play, “Blues for Mister Charlie,” was loosely based on Emmett Till’s murder.


KW: Was there a meaningful spiritual component to your childhood?

KB: I’ve always been a God-fearing man and often felt that what’s for me, will be. I heard it from my mother all my life and, with the experiences I’ve had along this journey, I can’t help but think there’s something higher watching over me.

KW: Who loved you unconditionally during your formative years?

KB: I would have to say my parents, Mr. and Mrs. Edgar Beauchamp. They have allowed me to charter uncertain waters without discouragement. You can’t imagine their faces when I decided to leave college in my junior year to work in film with my childhood friends. I consider myself an unintentional filmmaker, because I was hoping to become a civil rights attorney. Early on in my life, my parents instilled in me the value of speaking for those who can no longer speak for themselves. If it wasn’t for my parents believing in me and financing Untold, it would not have been made and there would be no Keith Beauchamp filmmaker today.

KW: Finally, what’s in your wallet?

KB: I carry a money clip. Not much there but credit cards. Many of us who work in the field of civil rights know that it does not come with a paycheck. So, it’s a constant struggle to survive while doing this work. But I’ve been very blessed to do this work and maintain a humble lifestyle.

KW: Thanks again for the time, Keith, and best of luck with the project.

KB: Thank you, Kam. I’m very happy and excited to bring this to the world. Another promise fulfilled and dream coming true.

To contribute to the Kickstarter campaign for Till, visit: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/653510710/till

Keith Beauchamp, The “Till” Interview, Kam Williams

 Source:  Baret News Wire

Top Ten DVD List for September 1, 2015

This Week’s DVD Releases

by Kam Williams

Top Ten DVD List for September 1, 2015          

Top Ten, DVD Releases, September 1, 2015  

Mad Max: Fury Road        


I’ll See You in My Dreams


Braddock America


William Castle Horror Collection: 5 Movie Pack [13 Ghosts / 13 Frightened Girls / Mr. Sardonicus / Homicidal / The Old Dark House]


Good Kill


Five Star




Our Man in Teheran


A Bunch of Munsch: The Complete Series


Chicago Fire: Season Three


Honorable Mention

Run Hide Die




The Surface


Dark Was the Night


Paw Patrol: Meet Everest!


The Summer House


I Am Dale Earnhardt


Vampire Diaries: The Complete Sixth Season




Nashville: Season Three


Lost after Dark


The Originals: The Complete Second Season


Broken Horses


Five Star


Chicago P.D.: Season Two


The Curse of Downers Grove


Wolf Warrior




Source:  Baret News

Former Philadelphia Eagles Linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Stars In THE NORTH STAR

Former Philadelphia Eagles Linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Stars In THE NORTH STAR


RLJ Entertainment acquires THE NORTH STAR for 2016 release on UMC – Urban Movie Channel following a limited theatrical run in September 2015


RLJ Entertainment, THE NORTH STAR, Thomas C. Bartley Jr., Jeremiah Trotter

PHILADELPHIA, PA,  – RLJ Entertainment (NASDAQ: RLJE) has acquired all North American rights, excluding theatrical, for writer/director Thomas K. Phillips’ feature film THE NORTH STAR. The production company, LuckPig Studios, will release the film in theaters in September 2015, beginning its theatrical run in Philadelphia, where the movie was filmed. THE NORTH STAR will be featured on RLJE’s proprietary digital channel UMC – Urban Movie Channel, a premium subscription-based video streaming service created by Robert L. Johnson, chairman of RLJ Entertainment and founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET), and released on DVD and Digital HD in early 2016.


THE NORTH STAR is the story of BENJAMIN “BIG BEN” JONES (Jeremiah Trotter) and MOSES HOPKINS (Thomas C. Bartley Jr.), two slaves who escaped from a Virginia plantation and made their way to freedom in Buckingham, Pennsylvania in 1849. THE NORTH STAR is the first film from Doylestown, PA native Thomas K. Phillips. It tells an uplifting and inspiring story of people from different races and backgrounds coming together to triumph over slavery.


In addition to Trotter and Bartley, cast members for THE NORTH STAR include Clifton Powell (Ray) Lynn Whitfield (HBO’s Josephine Baker Story), John Diehl (Jurassic Park III), Keith David (Platoon), Christopher Mann (“The Wire”) and April Woodall (Broadway actress and vocalist).


Director Thomas K. Philips notes, “My wish is that The North Star will resonate positively with its audience and show the good of humanity at such a dark time in American history. One of my goals is to shed light on the thousands of courageous individuals that took the perilous journey to freedom, leaving the only life known to them; a life of forced servitude and inhumane treatment, for a better life for themselves and future generations. In addition and most important to me, I hope that THE NORTH STAR will create a dialogue with audiences about how people came together for the cause of abolishing slavery; people of different ethnic and religious backgrounds who heard the word of God in their hearts and risked a great deal by their actions. I believe it is still relevant in solving some of today’s issues.”


THE NORTH STAR’s original score was composed and performed by Grammy Award winner Ramsey Lewis with his son Frayne Lewis.   American Idol finalist Jermaine Jones is featured on two tracks. A young adult novel adaptation of THE NORTH STAR will be published this fall.


THE NORTH STAR will open at the County Theater and Penn Cinema in Wilmington on Friday, September 18th and will expand to theaters in NY, LA, Miami, Washington, DC and Chicago later this fall.


LuckPig Studios will celebrate the film’s theatrical release with a Philadelphia red carpet premiere at the Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday, September 17th. Red carpet attendees will include writer and director Thomas K. Phillips, and producer and former Executive Director of the NAACP, Dr. Benjamin Chavis, along with key members of the cast. Tickets for the 5:30 PM screening and 8:00 PM red carpet premiere start at $12.99 and are available at kimmelcenter.org.



About RLJ Entertainment

RLJ Entertainment, Inc. (NASDAQ: RLJE) is a premier independent owner, developer, licensee, and distributor of entertainment content and programming in primarily North America, the United Kingdom, and Australia. RLJE is a leader in numerous genres including feature films and urban with distinct content via its owned and distributed brands such as Acorn (British TV), Acacia (fitness), Athena (documentaries), and Madacy (gift sets). These titles are distributed in multiple formats including broadcast television (including satellite and cable), theatrical and non-theatrical, DVD, Blu-Ray, digital download, and digital streaming.


Through Acorn Productions, its UK production arm, RLJE owns all rights to the hit UK mystery series Foyle’s War and is developing new programs. RLJE owns 64% of Agatha Christie Limited, which manages the intellectual property and publishing rights to some of the greatest works of mystery fiction, including stories of the iconic sleuths Miss Marple and Poirot.


RLJE leverages its management experience to acquire, distribute and monetize existing and original content for its many distribution channels, including its branded digital subscription channels, Acorn TV, AcaciaTV, and UMC – Urban Movie Channel, and engages distinct audiences with programming that appeals directly to their unique viewing interests. Through its proprietary e-commerce web sites and print catalogs for the Acorn and Acacia brands, RLJE has direct contacts and billing relationships with millions of consumers. For more information, please visit www.RLJEntertainment.com



UMC – Urban Movie Channel launched in November 2014. UMC is a premium subscription-based streaming service exclusive to RLJ Entertainment, Inc. and it is devoted to the acquisition of feature films, comedy specials, stage plays, documentaries, music, and entertainment for African American and urban audiences, with plans to move into future development and production. New titles are added weekly in addition to the more than 150 titles in our UMC library, which include live stand-up performances featuring Academy Award ® winner Jamie Foxx and comedic rock star Kevin Hart; documentaries Dark Girls and I Ain’t Scared of You: A Tribute to Bernie Mac; feature films All Things Fall Apart starring Grammy Award ® winner 50 Cent and directed by Mario Van Peebles, The Last Fall starring budding superstars Lance Gross and Nicole Beharie, and The Colony starring Laurence Fishburne; and stage play productions including What My Husband Doesn’t Know by David E. Talbert, who is described by Variety as “the acknowledged kingpin of urban musicals.” UMC is available on the Roku platform and subscribers can access UMC from their tablet, phone and laptop to watch movies from today’s most recognizable talent available on demand and commercial-free. Visit www.urbanmoviechannel.com.



About LuckPig Studios

LuckPig Studios is a film and music production studio located in Doylestown, PA. From pre-production, writing, directing, audio, and post-production – the team at LuckPig envisions a turnkey solution for aspiring writers and directors. The North Star is the first motion picture produced by the studio. LuckPig Studio is owned and operated by the DeLellis family.


Source:  Baret News

Historical Documentary Chronicles Rise and Fall of Incendiary Political Party

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution

Film Review by Kam Williams

Historical Documentary Chronicles Rise and Fall of Incendiary Political Party

The late Stokely Carmichael is famous for coining the phrase “Black power!” What he might not be as well remembered for is founding the Black Panthers. Frustrated by the tortoise-paced progress of the Civil Rights movement and by the number of martyrs
dying and disappearing around the South, he decided to leave SNCC (The Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee) to form a group for folks interested in self-defense.The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, Film Review

“You tell the people of Mississippi that all the scared [N-words] are dead!” he announced. However, Stokely had little to do with the organization after opening that first chapter in 1965 in Lowndes, Alabama (an 80% black county where no African-American had ever been allowed to vote).

Instead, it would be fall to Huey Newton and Bobby Seale to popularize the Panthers. They opened a storefront in Oakland in 1966, but they didn’t really catch fire until Martin Luther King was assassinated.  At that point, many young African-Americans became disenchanted, which made the idea of confronting the police by brandishing weapons very appealing.

Soon, Panther chapters began spring up all over the country. And it helped recruitment immeasurably when ex-con-turned-best-selling author Eldridge Cleaver came aboard as Minister of Information. After all, the media-savvy spokesperson gave good soundbite, even if it only served to antagonize the police and establishment.The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, Film Review

For instance, he called then Governor Reagan “a punk, a sissy and a coward,” going so far as to challenge the Gipper to a duel to the death. And after Huey was arrested for the murder of a police officer, Eldridge threatened open armed war on the streets of the country, if  Newton weren’t freed.

Meanwhile, J. Edgar Hoover was cooking up a counterintelligence program (COINTELPRO) designed to bring down the Panthers. The FBI proceeded to embark on a surreptitious reign of terror which included frame-ups, disinformation, assassinations and infiltration. The ploy worked, as paranoia came to permeate the organization, which splintered when the leadership became suspicious of one another. Huey called Eldridge a coward. Eldridge then quit and called for hits against anyone still in the Party.

Thus unfolds The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, a warts-and-all documentary directed by Stanley Nelson (Freedom Riders). The film is fascinating not only because of its copious archival footage, but on account of the many revelations exposing the dark underbelly of an outfit often given a pass in spite of myriad flaws in terms of misogyny and machismo.

The Black Panthers revisited less as a political party concerned about the welfare of the people than as an internecine power struggle between a couple of larger than life egos.

Excellent (4 stars)


Running time: 113 minutes

Distributor: Firelight Films

Source:  Baret News

Ethan Hawke and Zoe Kravitz Co-Star as Drone Pilots in Afghan War Flick

Good Kill

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Ethan Hawke and Zoe Kravitz Co-Star as Drone Pilots in Afghan War Flick   

Tom Egan (Ethan Hawke) is a U.S. fighter pilot who was grudgingly grounded to fight the War on Terrorism via drone technology. The good news was that the reassignment meant his life would no longer be in jeopardy, since he’d now be stationed in New Mexico on a base located in the desert where he’d engaged the enemy 7,000 miles away from the theater of conflict. He was also guaranteed to see his wife, Molly (January Jones), and daughter, Jessie (Sachie Capitani), every day after work; and they no longer needed to worry about his safety.Good Kill DVD Review, Ethan Hawke, Sachie Capitani, January Jones

Nevertheless, orchestrating remote attacks still took an unexpected toll on Tom, given the dispassionate fashion in which he was expected to bomb the Taliban and even accept the occasional killing of innocent civilians with friendly fire as mere collateral damage. Because he’s developed the proverbial 1,000-yard stare of a soldier who’s seen too much combat, Molly started accusing him of being emotionally distant.

His complaint to her that “I am a pilot; I am not flying,” only falls on deaf ears. He doesn’t like the fact that he has to wear a flight suit either. Consequently, he only finds solace in a bottle of alcohol, and in crying on the shoulder of his co-pilot, Vera Suarez (Zoe Kravitz). She’s just as disillusioned about the grisly business of dropping warheads on foreheads.

By comparison, their relatively-cavalier colleague, Danny (Michael Sheets) claims to be “Living the dream!” He’s the gung-ho type who doesn’t lose any sleep following orders from their immediate superior (Bruce Greenwood), despite the periodic presence of non-combatants in the kill zone. After all, he’s more concerned with providing critical support for the American boots on the ground.

Thus unfolds Good Kill, an Afghan War saga directed by Andrew Niccol (Gattaca). The purpose of this modern morality play is ostensibly to question the wisdom of the widespread use of military drones. In the end, it rather effectively drives home the point that there is no such thing as a surgical strike and that a soldier doesn’t have to be deployed overseas to develop PTSD.

Good Kill DVD Review, Ethan Hawke, Sachie Capitani, January Jones

The film features a number of noteworthy performances, especially those by Ethan Hawke, Zoe Kravitz, January Jones and Bruce Greenwood. In sum, a sobering, anti-war parable designed to remind the Playstation Generation, desensitized to violence, of the grim consequences of joysticks haphazardly delivering deadly payloads.

Excellent (3.5 stars)

Rated R for violence, rape, profanity and sexuality

Running time: 102 minutes

Distributor: Paramount Home Entertainment

Blu-ray Extras: Good Kill: Behind the Scenes.

To see a trailer for Good Kill, visit:  http://www.ifcfilms.com/videos/good-kill


To order a copy of Good Kill on DVD, visit:


Source:  Baret News

Reason to Carry


Reason to Carry
by Rich Grassi




I was recently asked to give the top ten reasons to carry a concealed handgun. The concept surprised me, but I quickly defaulted to my family, myself and my community. I couldn’t come up with ten reasons unless I started with the names of the people for whom I care deeply.

I’m sure it wasn’t meant that way. I have to conclude that the question was serious. The sole reason I could articulate was “to meet the sudden emergency of a life-threatening attack.” The answer is along the lines of “in case I get a flat tire” when asked why do you carry a spare tire – or “in case of fire” if asked why do you have a fire extinguisher.

I carry a pistol to stop a fight – specifically stopping the “immediate, otherwise unavoidable danger of death or grave bodily harm.” That’s the circumstance that justifies homicide. I learned that from about our best guy in the instruction of deadly force, Massad Ayoob.

That answers the “carry a handgun” component but perhaps not the “concealed” part. For defense, the best surprise is no surprise. For TRR_0065_SW-200x300dealing with the sudden threat – a robbery perhaps – the best thing I have going is surprise. I carry concealed so the first inkling the violent criminal actor gets that something is wrong will be the sudden appearance of the concealed defense handgun.

I carry concealed because “if he can’t see it, he won’t know it’s there.” He would have to formulate an attack on the holstered handgun after he found out it was present – as in a physical struggle. If you carry the handgun indiscreetly, the gun grab assault can be planned sooner and from a distance.

I carry concealed because—well—it’s polite. I don’t want to “frighten the horses.” There are people who are simply and unreasonably fearful of armed persons. They scare easily – and who needs that? There are also the clowns who want to “SWAT” those who carry indiscreetly; they call the police with a complaint that you are a dangerous armed person in the hopes the police will attack you. It’s not smart and it’s something that could yield a charge of obstruction, false reporting and likely other violations in some states.

There are people who want to carry concealed but don’t want to put in the effort. They’ll carry something small, a ‘talisman’ to ward off evil-doers. The pistol isn’t a lucky charm. It’s a pain to have to lug it around with all the responsibility (and weight) it entails. But, if you don’t want the burden just take your chances.


IMG_2663-300x190I did a comparative test some years back using Smith & Wesson M&P pistols – the M&P9, a service-size 17-shot 9mm, and the M&P9C, a compact 12-shot 9mm. Using similar holsters I found that, with a little effort, the full-size gun hid just as well as the smaller counterpart. I also found that the time to a first hit in the scoring rings of the IALEFI-Q target from seven yards averaged the same elapsed time from identical holsters.

This was no surprise. To really hide the full-size gun, I used an inside-the-waist holster. Carry outside the waistband was fine for casual concealment. I also found both guns shot just about the same in terms of practical accuracy. I used the Glock 30SF, a compact 10-shot .45 Auto, on the FBI Firearms Instructor Bullseye course of fire. I scored just over 92%, not enough for a gold medal but enough to gain entry into or stay in their firearms instructor course.

The bottom line is, if you’re going to carry a gun make it one worth carrying. Put the effort into dressing around the gun and practicing enough to be skillful in gun handling and accuracy.

Carry it legally. And pray you never have to use it.


Original Source;  TRUGLO.com


Rich Grassi, founder and editor of The Tactical Wire and Ready for Anything Wire —both free-subscription email news wires, has been an outdoors writer for over 21 years. Retired from a career in local law enforcement, his experience includes law enforcement firearms instruction and as a university adjunct instructor in criminal justice.

Massad F. Ayoob is an internationally known firearms and self-defense instructor. He has taught police techniques and civilian self-defense to both law enforcement officers and private citizens in numerous venues

Road Warrior Reboot Released on DVD

Mad Max: Fury Road

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Road Warrior Reboot Released on DVD

Fury Road reboots the legendary Mad Max franchise which has been sitting dormant for several decades. This fourth installment was again produced, written and directed by Oscar-winner George Miller (for Happy Feet) who tapped Tom Hardy to replace disgraced
Mel Gibson in the title role as Max Rockatansky, the highway patrol officer-turned-intrepid road warrior given to dispensing a grisly brand of vigilante justice.Mad Max: Fury Road, DVD Review

Set in 2060 AD, this post-apocalyptic adventure unfolds in the relentlessly-grim dystopia left in the wake of the series of global calamities that led to a total breakdown of civilization. At the point of departure, we find Max haunted by his tragic past and hunted by desperate scavengers as he drifts around the vast wasteland in a rusty, rattling, off-road muscle car.

The stoic gunslinger’s resolve to go it alone is soon tested when he crosses paths with Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), a fearless alpha female making a break across the desert with former sex slaves hidden in the hold of her big rig. She’s just freed the traumatized quintet from the clutches of Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne), a ruthless tyrant who wants his breeders back, especially Splendid (Rosie Huntington-Whiteley), since she’s already pregnant and possibly carrying his first male heir.

The enraged warlord has dispatched a caravan of bloodthirsty goons who will stop at nothing to retrieve his so-called “wives.” Fortunately, they’ve found a sympathetic soul in Max who agrees to join forces with Furiosa upon being apprised of their plight.

The plan is to drive non-stop across the desert to “The Green Place,” a Shangri-La rumored to be teeming with water, vegetation and other scarce natural resources. But getting there proves to be all the fun, as our intrepid hero and heroine negotiate a relentless gauntlet of evil adversaries in dune buggies outfitted with a very creative variety of deadly military hardware.Mad Max: Fury Road, DVD Review

An edge-of-your-seat, adrenaline-fueled, high body-count splatterfest that remains riveting from start to finish despite dispensing with the idea of plot development once the basic premise has been set.

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated R for disturbing images and relentless intense violence

Running time: 120 minutes

Distributor: Warner Home Entertainment Group

Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Extras: Maximum Fury: Filming Fury Road; Mad Max: Fury on Four Wheels; The Road Warriors: Max and Furiosa; The Tools of the Wasteland; The Five Wives: So Shiny, So Chrome; Fury Road: Crash & Smash; and deleted scenes.

To order the Mad Max: Fury Road Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack, visit:


Source:  Baret News