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Jeri Jacquin aka Movie Maven and Jenise Jacquin aka Film Brat
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MOVIE MAVEN'S MENU OF GOODIES

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And its time to clear out our own home entertainment library so....look to your left where you see "Movie Maven's Menu of Goodies", click on SPECIAL EVENTS and see what we are giving away! Please read the instructions and its all easy from there! Hope you find something everyone in the family will enjoy!



Celebrate the Return of FERNGULLY

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray and DVD from director Bill Kroyer and Shout! Factory Kids is the thirty-year anniversary of the beautiful FERNGULLY: The Last Rainforest.

Living in the lush rainforest of FernGully lives Crysta (voiced by Samantha Mathis), a fairy who is very curious about everything and the world outside. Magi (Grace Zabriskie) explains to young Crysta that once upon a time the fairy folk lived with humans but were plagued by Hexxus, a dark spirit who only lived for destruction. It was the fairy folk who had him put up tight in a tree.

While Crysta and her friend Pips (Christian Slater) are having fun in the rainforest, a new friend joins them. Batty Koda (Robin Williams) is a bat who has been tampered with my humans. The fairies do not exactly like him, but Crysta wants to find out how he came to be. Taking a risk and going above the canopy, Crysta sees something that she can not explain and gets answers from Magi, not happy with those answers, she takes it upon herself to explore.

She finds Zak (Jonathan Ward), a very large lumberjack who is tagging trees that will be cut down and she is horrified. Zak does not realize that one of the trees he has marked is home to Hexxus (Tim Curry) and when a tree comes close to hitting Zak, Crysta shrinks him to her size. Trying to explain her world to Zak, they have more worries when Hexxus is freed!

Crysta explains to Zak that what he is doing is destroying their home and all those that live in it. When Hexxus comes for them, Zak realizes that he must help his friends before the machine destroys everything and it is the end of FernGully!

Mathis lends her voice to Crysta, a young fairy that does not realize yet she has such power within her small, winged body. Her curiosity is what gets the better of her but then again if she had not been so curious, she would never have Zak to help FernGully and all the creatures living in it. Mathis gives Crysta her firey spirit and it is wonderful.

Ward as Zak is a young man just plodding along living his life marking trees. What he does not realize is that he is headed for something amazing life changing. Slater as Pips wants to make sure his friend Crysta and FernGully are protected in equal measure. 

Williams as Batty gives everything we have loved Williams for. Batty is hilarious, loving, and cautious and never far away from silly one-liners. Batty became a beloved character and I know this because I still have the stuffed animal I got after FERNGULLY came out. 

Curry as Hexxus proved he had the voice and attitude to play a dark spirit. Of course, it is not hard to believe since he portrayed evil in the 1985 film LEGEND playing of Darkness. I just love that he gets to sing a tune because even though Hexxus is evil, I kind of liked him (minus the destruction). 


Other cast includes Geoffrey Blake as Ralph, Tone Loc as Goanna, Townsend Coleman as Knotty, Brian Cummings as Ock, Robert Pastorelli as Tony, Cheech Marin as Stump, Tommy Chong as Root, Danny Mann as Ash and Anderson Wong as Rock. 

SHOUT! Factory has grown into a tremendous multi-platform media company. Releasing new animated features such as the exquisite Long Way North, and the epic fantasy Beauty and The Beast. Also, their own original horror film, Fender Bender gives fans a good scare. For more of what SHOUT Factor has to offer please visit www.shoutfactory.com.

Bluray includes the Special Features of New Introduction with Director Bill Kroyer, Including Never-Before-Seen Pencil, Character and Animation Tests, Audio Commentary with Bill Kroyer, Art Director Ralph Eggleston and Coordinating Art Director Susan Kroyer, “Seed of the Story” – Script to Screen Comparison with Optional Commentary by Screenwriter Jim Cox.

Also, “From Paper to Tree” – Making-Of Featurette, “Behind the Voice: Toxic Love” – Multi-Angle Scene Study, Original Featurette, “If I’m Gonna Eat Somebody (It Might As Well Be You)” Music Video and Theatrical Trailers and TV Spots. 

Diana Young is the author of the FernGully stories, and this film is adapted from those very stories. The soundtrack for the film includes 14 tracks and was composed by Alan Silvestri. “Batty Rap” is sun by Robin Williams and Tim Curry lends himself to the song “Toxic Love”.

It is so amazing that Shout! Factory Kids is celebrating FERNGULLY: The Last Rainforest with this 30th Anniversary Edition. It is so important for kids to see because, although the film came out in 1992, the issues are even more crucial today. The fear of Ferngully can be seen through climate change today.

Crysta makes it clear that someone needs to stop the destruction and by reaching Zak as a human being, she has found the voice, but the fight still continues. One small little fairy knows what we all should know that the world is shared by so many that we forget that it is not all about us individually but collectively.

The animation is still amazing with its restoration and there is so much to talk about once the film is finished. I would love to see this in all educator’s classroom library as a way to reach children and explain what can happen if we do not all come together to keep our world a beautiful place. Kids get it!

In the end – one courageous sprite must save them all!

BLACK BIRD 

Jeri Jacquin

Currently streaming on Apple+ from director Dennis Lehane is the story of a man who had it all and became careless with it in BLACK BIRD. 

Jimmy Keene (Taron Egerton) is a handsome and impeccably dressed young man who finds himself in a position of losing money and defending a friend who cheated and lied. Thinking that event was over, his house is raided by the FBI. Now he has traded in his impeccable suits for an orange coverall.

Visiting his son is, Big Jim Keene (Ray Liotta), a former cop, tells Jimmy that local prosecutor Edmund Beaumont (Robert Wisdom) can not be bought. Pleading guilty, he discovers that everyone who promised a few years lied as the judge hands down a 10-year prison sentence. Seven months in Jimmy comes face to face with Beaumont again and with Agent Lauren McCauley (Sepideh Moafi).

Admitting that Jimmy could charm his way out of anything, Agent McCauley wants Jimmy to get information from a serial killer. In exchange for his help, Jimmy would get full commutation of his sentence. If he doesn’t get the information then he is back where he started. At first, he says no because he does not trust Beaumont, but McCauley leaves the file for him to see what they are up against – and he starts to read. 

In 1994, Brian Miller (Greg Kinnear) is a Chief County Investigator for the sheriff along with Officer Holt (Trazi Lashawn) found one of the young victims in a corn field. Beginning their investigation, Miller discovers that the information they have matches with other incidences that have happened. Officer Chris Drysdale (Carlo Alban) mentions Larry Hall (Paul Walter Hauser) and Miller’s ears are burning. 

A chance to interview Hall, Miller also meets Det. Aborn (Cullen Moss) and they all think that the talk is a waste of time. That is until Larry starts talking about what he dreams about and about brother Gary (Jake McLaughlin) and then when presented with a photograph of a young woman, it all falls apart. 

Miller has no choice but to take it up the chair, enter Beaumont and McCauley and deciding if Jimmy can handle dealing with a serial killer. Bring Larry in again, he again starts talking and this time about his depression and loneliness and it leads to a shocking confession. As the team gets things on paper, they are shocked once again. Brother Gary is furious with the police and refuses to believe anything they say about Larry.

Now, Jimmy is being transferred to Springfield to the prison where Larry is being held. The rules are simple, don’t make an instant friendship with Hall, don’t break any rules and the only people who know who he really is are the warden and Dr. 

Outside, the court of appeals is moving forward and so is the schedule that Jimmy is on. Now the real story begins.

Egerton as Keene is a kid who has spent most of his life without doing what ever he wanted as if almost feeling bulletproof. Prison definetly is not for him so when offered a way out, he did not trust it because of lies he had been told before prison. The more he talks with the FBI, and with his father ill, Keene decides this is a way out. Egerton gives his character so much charm and, dare I say, almost as sly as Larry Hall without the murder. As he listens to the stories that are meant to free him, the walls are closing in and Egerton shows us that Keene is no longer bulletproof – he is literally crawling his way to freedom.

Kinnear as Miller is struck from the moment he is taken to the body of Jessica Roache. The look that this actor gives lets you know from that moment on, nothing is going to stop him from finding the killer. Hitting wall after wall, Miller twists, turns and dodges until he gets the answers. Kinnear does a stellar job in this role and I enjoyed it immensely which is odd considering the content of the material.

Moafi as McCauley is the proverbial dog with a bone. No one is going to convince this agent that anyone else is responsible other than Larry. Teaming up with Miller, they pull apart and piece together clues that lead to shocking revelations. Moafi gives her character courage, righteous anger and a coolness that I gave plenty of nods too.

Liotta as Big Keene is a father who is trying to do the right thing after knowing he was not the father he should have been. The problem is, now he is going overboard and puts his son’s life in danger. It was awesome to see Liotta and will be missed on big and small screens. Wisdom as Beaumont is doing his job but, in Keene’s eyes, he is not to be trusted. Alban as Drysdale can not believe that Larry could do anything wrong and refers to him as a “serial confessor”. McLaughlin as Gary is a dedicated brother who will protect him to the end – but what will it cost humanity?

Now, I save this for last because I still am stunned (but I shouldn’t be) at the performance of Paul Walter Hauser as Larry. The first time I truly noticed this actor was in the 2019 film RICHARD JEWELL and was gob smacked at his performance. When I read that he was in BLACK BIRD along with Egerton, I knew I had to see it. I was not disappointed – instead, I was disturbed, disgusted, confused, angry, yelling at the screen and exhausted by the end of the series. THAT is how you know that only Hauser could have played this role. Every moment Hauser is on screen is pure perfection (again, is weird considering the material, right?). He takes the audience on a journey as Larry of insanity, justification, weird innocence, even weirder childhood and a way of talking that is almost hypnotic and explanations that are jaw dropping. 

Apple+ is a video on demand web television that debuted in 2019. Viewable through Apple’s TV app, CEO Tim Cook wanted original content calling it “a great opportunity for us from a creation point of view”. From THE MORNING SHOW to TRYING and THE BANKER and Jason Momoa in SEE, there is plenty of choices for everyone. Plenty of genres? That is exactly what they are bringing to viewers and to see more of what they have to offer please visit www.apple.com/tv/.

Director Lehane should be awarded for what he has put together with a cast that is so well chosen and riveting to watch. The mixture of flashbacks, the victims’ stories and those involved whirlwind around Keene and Hall as their own story unfolds. It is the bouncing back and forth between Keene and Hall that is a match that will send the brain scrambling. 

There is not one episode that wavers with the breakdown at the end of reality for almost everyone involved. The breaking point is so fragile in each of the characters that being prepared for it – I wasn’t. 

In the end – only one knows the truth until now!

Celebrating its 40th Anniversary is the Beloved E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

Jeri Jacquin

On Bluray, DVD and Digital from director Steven Spielberg, Amblin Pictures and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is the return of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.

Elliott (Henry Thomas) is a young boy living with his mother Mary (Dee Wallace), brother Michael (Robert MacNaughton) and sister Gertie (Drew Barrymore) the suburb of the San Fernando Valley. It is a boy’s night as cards, music and pizza are taking over the house. Elliott thinks he sees something in the backyard and goes to investigate throwing a baseball toward a shed and is stunned when it comes back.
Running back into the house shrieking, he tries to tell everyone there is something out there. Finding nothing, everyone goes back to having fun but Elliott decides to set a candy-trap for whatever is out there. It works and he leads the creature into his large bedroom closet.

The next day he tells Mom he is sick and she trusts him to stay home in bed. The real plan is for Elliott to spend time with his backyard find. He spends the day showing the creature around introducing him to object and food. There is also a strange connection happening between the two.

When his siblings return home, Elliott introduces E.T. announcing that he’s keeping him. They all discuss what the plan is while E.T. shows what he can do reviving flowers and fixing a wound on his new friend Elliott. When he returns to school the next day, E.T. is at home gathering objects to make a strange contraption while Elliott is having a strange reaction at school.
Now called E.T., Elliott is told that his small friend wants to ‘phone home’ and it is clear that his health is failing. The boy enlists the help of Michael to find a way to get E.T. out so he can make contact with others of his own kind. What they don’t know is that there is someone else looking for the little alien as well.

Halloween provides the cover they need dressing up and taking E. T. out of the house. But the next morning, Elliott and E.T. are very sick. Keys (Peter Coyote) finds Elliott and E.T. as a crew takes over their house. Elliott turns to Michael and his friends Greg (K.C. Martel), Steve (Sean Frye) and Tyler (C. Thomas Howell) to get the connected pair away.
What they see changes them all forever!

Thomas as Elliott has solidified himself as the young man who brought us the meaning of true friendship. This young boy did not see a dangerous creature but instead, a friend beyond the stars. He is a part of our collective childhoods and it has become generational. Though this actor has played man roles throughout his career, he will always be the most beloved as the boy who flew with E.T.

Barrymore as sister Gertie is sassy and certainly can not be bullied by her brother or anyone else for that matter. She embraces E.T. and shows him kindness from the moment she meets until the moment they part. MacNaughton as brother Michael follows along with his little brother’s friendship and plan to help get him home. I always thought this character showed such courage protecting everyone as the man of the family.

Coyote as Keys is a man who is determined to find E.T. At first his plan seems nefarious, but meeting Elliot, he explains what his true intentions are. I have always enjoyed Coyote as an actor and this is one of his most memorable roles. Wallace as mom Mary is just trying to keep her family safe. Going through her own problems with an ex-husband who prefers his own life to that of his children, she also sees what Elliot is going through and does her best to protect him.

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has just added an amazing film to their library and making it available for us to all experience and re-experience in our own home theaters. There are films of every genre available from scary to drama to family films. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.uphe.com.

MOVIES ANYWHERE gives viewers the ability to download the Movies Anywhere App. With that you can view films by downloading or streaming to your favorite device using a Digital Code. For more information on Movies Anywhere please visit www.MoviesAnywhere.com.

The Bluray includes over four hours of Bonus Feature including 40 Years of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, TCM Classic Film Festival: An Evening with Steven Spielberg, Deleted Scenes, Steven Spielberg & E.T., The E.T. Journals, A Look Back, The Evolution and Creation of E.T., The E.T. Reunion, The Music of E.T.: A Discussion with John Williams and more!

It has been 40 years since E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial landed in theatres to delight and thrill audiences with his humanity, love and friendship. Matching him with Elliott only made the film even more endearing. Watching their relationship become one and the same, we saw, as Neil Diamond sang, their heart-light.

I saw E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial when I was younger, introduced my own children to the film when they were kids and now, they are doing the very same to theirs. It has been such a wonderful experience watching the film with them because it is timeless. 
Spielberg brought us all something wonderful, memorable and movie lines that are still used today. The character is recognizable and still, to this day, children wear E.T. costumes on Halloween. That is the magic of E.T. who shows us all the things we hope we truly are in our hearts, on this planet or any other. 

In the end – E.T. phone home!

The Iconic TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to 4K Ultra HD, Bluray and Digital celebrating its 60th Anniversary from director Robert Mulligan and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment based on the novel of the same name by Harper Lee is TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. 

Jean Louise Finch (Mary Badham) is a young girl who questions everything and is curious about the world around her. Called Scout by her brother Jem (Philip Alford) and father Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck), they all live in Alabama in the 1930’s. Being raised by a single father, he relied on the help of their beloved housekeeper Calpurnia (Estelle Evans).

Scout and Jem spend their summer playing with friend Dill (John Megna) with their biggest game being that they want to see Boo Radley (Robert Duvall). He is a recluse who is never seen but lives with his brother Nathan (Richard Hale). That is odd considering Jem finds things inside a tree in the Radley yard. One time, Jem finds little carvings that look like Jem and Scout!

While they are off adventuring, father Atticus is a lawyer that works hard for the people of their small town. Sometimes folks pay with money but others pay with whatever they have, like food. All of his cases are important, but this summer Atticus is about to take on the hardest case ever. Tom Robinson (Brock Peters) has been arrested for the attack on Mayella Ewell (Collin Wilcox), the bigger issue, however, is that Tom is African American and Mayella is white.

Atticus does whatever possible to protect Tom until the trial starts as Jem and Scout see how the town reacts. When a covered mob of people come to the jail, it is Scout who calls out in recognition one of the men and they leave quickly. 

As the trial begins, Tom tells how he had seen Mayella on the day in question and she looked like someone had beaten her up. She asked that Tom help break down a cabinet, a chifforobe and that is supposedly when he attacked the girl. Atticus also calls the girls father, Bob Ewell (James Anderson), and confronts the man about the actions of his daughter. 

When the jury reaches its verdict, the African American community shows Atticus respect and soon after the reality of the world comes crashing home. Trying to continue with life, time passes as Scout is part of a school play, on their walk home, the children are attacked. Rescuing them is the most unlikely town’s person and who attacks them is no surprise.

What is a surprise is the decision to carry on as Scout walks Boo home.

Peck as Atticus Finch is a man who keeps himself in check at all times. He doesn’t ruffle easily and if he did, you would never know it. Peck gives the performance of a father who wants his children to always be aware of the world in its true form, with no blinders. I love this character and see why Peck was chosen for the role. It is honorable and beautiful in equal measure.

Badham as Scout is a young girl who questions everything and is probably the first female character that I remember not having a filter. Even when her own father tries to reign her in, Scout finds a way to make sure she is heard. She is a strong girl who sees injustice as her father taught her, knows life isn’t always fair and can be truly dangerous. Badham is perfection.

Alford as Jem also sees what his father is going through and feels extra protection toward pesky sister Scout. His is like Atticus in many ways in his quiet demeanor as if he is taking everything in rather than act out. Alford gives a wonderful portrayal. 

Peters are Tom is a man who knows that there is no one who is going to listen or believe him except for Atticus. Telling his truth, the real truth falls on deaf ears during a time and place that makes it clear that only one race can be believed. Peters gives us all the emotion we would expect to see and does so with grace. 

Wilcox as Mayella is a young woman that has no idea what she is doing. Whether put up to it by her father or trying to escape the life she is trapped in, this is a disturbed woman. From the moment she steps on the stand, it is hard to hear the lies that she is trying to believe herself. Well done Ms. Wilcox. Anderson as Bob is everything about the racially motivated south in his hatred of Tom and knowing he can hide behind his color. His anger and idea of revenge comes through the screen and it is frightening. 

Now, let us speak on Mr. Duvall as Boo Radley – absolute and stunning perfection. His character does not have a big role in the film but instead a subtle reality of the world without a word being spoken. Instead, Boo is a gentle soul that finds his own way through the insanity and Scout sees its beauty. Just spectacular and memorable. 

Other cast include Jester Hairston as Spence, Frank Overton as Sheriff Tate, Hugh Sanders as Doctor Reynolds, Rosemary Murphy as Miss Atkinson, Ruth White as Mrs. Dubose, Paul Fix as Judge Taylor, Paulene Myers as Jesse, Alice Ghostley as Miss Crawford, Jamie Forster as Mr. Townsend, William Windom as Horace Gilmer, Crahan Denton as Walter Cunningham, Kim Hamilton as Helen, Bill Walker as Reverend Sykes, and Kim Stanley who narrates the beginning of the film as adult Scout.

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has just added an amazing film to their library and making it available for us to all experience and re-experience in our own home theaters. There are films of every genre available from scary to drama to family films. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.uphe.com.

MOVIES ANYWHERE gives viewers the ability to download the Movies Anywhere App. With that you can view films by downloading or streaming to your favorite device using a Digital Code. For more information on Movies Anywhere please visit www.MoviesAnywhere.com.

Bonus Features include TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD: All Points of View, Two Feature Length Documentaries: Fearful Symmetry and A Conversation with Gregory Peck, Academy Award Best Actor Acceptance Speech, American Film Institute Life Achievement Award, Excerpt from Tribute to Gregory Peck, Scout Remembers, Feature Commentary with Director Robert Mulligan and Produce Alan Pakua and more. 

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD is an iconic and beloved film and if you haven’t read the book, you really should. The film is stark, strong and powerful every step of the way. Seeing it in black and white is sublime and if they ever tried to colorize it, I’d probably lose my mind. 

The film was nominated for 8 Academy Awards with a win for Best Actor in a Leading Role for Gregory Peck, Best Writing Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium for Horton Foote and Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Black-and-White for Alexander Golitzen, Henry Bumstead and Oliver Emert. 

Also, a winner is Robert Mulligan for the Gary Cooper Award at the 1963 Cannes Film Festival, winner Best Foreign Actor for Gregory Peck from the David di Donatello Wards, Golden Globe winners Best Actor-Drama for Gregory Peck, Best Original Score for Elmer Bernstein and Best Film Promoting International Understanding. The list is almost endless!

I have always believed classrooms should carry this film, even with its delicate subject matter, because it is a teachable film. It is a story of humanity, lack of humanity, brutality, honorable actions and acceptance of those who might be different in so many different ways. 

If it has been some time since you’ve seen the film, then see it again as well as introduce it to the next generation. 

In the end – it is a sin to kill a mockingbird!




THE GOOD NURSE

Jeri Jacquin

Currently streaming on Netflix from Film Nation is the suspense drama based on a true story with THE GOOD NURSE.

Amy (Jessica Chastain) is an ICU nurse trying to make ends meet while also raising a daughter. Learning that her heart is in trouble, Amy continues to work and keeps the condition to herself. Charlie Cullen (Eddie Redmayne) is the new hire who is just as compassionate and caring as Amy which makes for a good friendship. 

Daughters Maya (Devyn McDowell) and Alex (Alix West Lefler) are under the care of Jackie (Marcia Jean Kurtz) while Amy works. The great part is that they also enjoy the company of Cullen so it is a really good friendship.

They are both working the night shifts so it is easy for them to share what is happening in each other’s’ lives. When patients pass, Amy believes they should be just as compassionate in death as they should be in life. In the case of one patient, Ana, something seems wrong. Led by Risk Manager Linda Garran (Kim Dickens), they inform the authorities including Det. Danny Baldwin (Nnamdi Asomugha) and Det. Tim Braun (Noah Emmerich).

The police aren’t happy with the length of time the hospital waited to call them making their investigation more difficult. Even more so when they are told that they cannot question staff in a room alone. Linda announces to the nurses that there is a case that is being investigated and it makes them all nervous. 

Charlie sees that Amy is struggling and he reiterates that he wants to do whatever he can to help and explains things to daughter Alex. In the meantime, Baldwin and Braun are losing their collective law enforcement patience and let Linda know they understand that she is hiding something.

The investigation starts to heat up as Amy tries to help the police figure out who is responsible and the hospital hides behind itself. What’s more – there may be other patience like Ana.

Chastain as Amy is a mother of two girls and trying to keep it all together. The new health issue is making that even more difficult than ever. That is what Chastain does in this role, manage to keep it together when it becomes even more and more dangerous. Taking on the different and unusual, Chastain has always been the actress who has never put herself into one category of roles and it is always awesome. 

Redmayne as Charlie is charming and caring but there is something that causes Amy to question their friendship. Having his own difficulties with not being able to see his kids, he is drawn to Amy and the girls so he can have a bit of something he’s missing in his life. Redmayne gives his character a struggle and a mystery that I love about the roles he chooses. 

Asomugha as Det. Baldwin is a man who is not going to stop looking no matter how little evidence they have to go on. Taking it step by step, he works with Amy to do whatever they can with the little they have. Asomugha gives this character strength of character but that doesn’t mean he won’t be shocked in the end. 

Emmerich as Det. Braun sees that the one responsible is tricky and has managed to slip through the cracks. Frustration seeps in and the time comes when he will be face to face with questions. Emmerich has always been a straight forward actor who takes his roles to places never expected.

Dickens as Garran is the risk manager at the hospital who clearly understands what is at stake. That doesn’t stop her from working the system that has done nothing to stop the deaths. Dickens is straight forward with a straight face and 

Lefler as Alex is a pre-teen that has the attitude to match. She does understand that her mother is ill but at the same time is struggling to understand it all together. She is a strong actress who gives a stellar performance. 

Other cast include Judith Delgado as Ana Martinez, Jesus-Papoleto Melendez as Sam Martinez, Myra Taylor as Vivian Neal, Ajay Naidu as Dr. Robert Hind, and David Lavine as Duncan Beattie. 

Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with over 158 million paid memberships in over 190 countries. Enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films, Netflix is across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere and on any internet-connected screen. For more information, please visit www.netflix.com.

THE GOOD NURSE is a hospital thriller that is filled with twists and unexpected turns. Once again, one woman takes on an establishment that is not only hurting her physical existence but mental as well. Making it clear from the beginning that they will do whatever is necessary to protect themselves, Amy is the only way to find the answers.

One thing that the film says under its breath is that hospitals were not held accountable for anything that happened to patients. That was aggravating to see because it is easy for them to hide with the money and power of good lawyers over patients who do not have the same access. 

This is also a crime story because of what happened these patients and who caused it. That is the twists because suspicions are just flipped through distractions and ways around accepting what the truth really is. Yes, I’m been a little bit vague here because I want the viewer to take the same ride through it all as I did. 

In the end – this is an unthinkable true story!



​THE NUTCRACKER AND THE MAGIC FLUTE

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to On Demand and Digital in time to start the holiday season from director Victor Glukhushin and Lionsgate is THE NUTCRACKER AND THE MAGIC FLUTE.

Marie is a young girl who has just learned that a debt her father is owed has come due. Now, she and her mother might lose everything. Something strange happens when Marie sings a song and discovers that her room is about to change her. Shrinking to a small size, she is attacked by a large rate and rescued one of her very own toys – the Nutcracker named George!

From Curly the sheep, to her country of girlfriends to the Wizard, she learns that the magic spell will be lifted for her to change back. But George wants to go after the rat because the spell won’t be broken if he is not back in the room where it originated. So off they all go to find George.

They all arrive in the Land of Flowers only to be chased by soldiers and Queen Charlotte that is when George begins to remembers his life. His step-mother and step-brother Philip cast a spell turning him into the Nutcracker and tossed aside. The problem is that Marie needs him back in her room but learn that George is actually Prince George.

An agreement is made that Marie and her friends will help George and in return he goes back to help break the spell. Going back to the castle is the first step to stop the Queen from keeping the King in a trance that has him seeing rats. She wants one thing from him, the location of a magic flute!

George discovers from his ghostly family that a flute can help him with the rats in the castle. When they run into trouble, George’s friend Margaret wants to help them rescue his father. At Phillips party, Marie creates a distraction so that George can find his father or the flute. 

Finding his father, they also discover even more magic and wonderment that can help them. The search brings them all to the throne room as Queen Charlotte decides to take matters into her own hands. That is until help comes from the most unlikely of places as morning comes and the reality of it all comes home for Marie. 

It is true magic that breaks the spell!

Lionsgate is a global leader in motion picture production and distribution for theatres, television, home entertainment and more. Theatre franchises include THE HUNGER GAMES, and DIVERGENT along with JOHN WICK. Now, adding this film to its 16,000-motion picture and television titles you can see everything coming soon as well as available now at http://www.lionsgate.com.

THE NUTCRACKER AND THE MAGIC FLUTE is a beautifully animated story of friendship, life and magic. All of the things we find wonderful this time of year. This is a lovely way to introduce kids to the Nutcracker adventure. The music is wonderful and adds such richness to it all.

Marie is a young girl who just wants to help her mother find an answer to their current predicament. Never in her wildest dreams did she think an adventure was going to push her in a direction of another land! Prince George is in a fight of his own for the father he loves dearly. He is skilled and knows exactly what needs to be done – but will he be able to take on Queen Charlotte?

Queen Charlotte is a hand full and determined to get what she thinks is rightfully hers.
Each character has his/her part to play and even the ostrich Red Beak, who would rather put his head in a thimble to avoid problems, discovers he can be strong when it is needed. Curly is a character that provides really silly but good one-liners and keeps everyone on track. 

It is a story of love, friendship, loyalty and devotion to those they love. All of those qualities are so wonderful and the characters have us cheering for them every step of the way. This film had my granddaughter captivated from start to finish. She was fascinated with each one and wanted to know if there were stuff animals available for each one of them. 

Spend some time together with the family experiencing the story that has captivated us all for generations!

In the end – their adventure is filled with magic!

AMAZING GRACE: Country Stars Sing Songs of Faith and Hope

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to DVD in this 10-disc set from Time Life is the deeply moving collection from country music’s legendary performers with AMAZING GRACE: Country Stars Sing Songs of Faith and Hope.

Growing up, country music was always playing in my childhood home. There were family roots in the south and a love of the genre of music was played with heart and soul. Along with the usual twang and heartbreak came the sweet and humble songs of faith. That is what this collection brings for me, faith and memories of childhood.

It was a woman named Fanny Crosby who would become known as the Queen of Gospel Songwriters and for good reason. In her lifetime she wrote over eight thousand hymns including Pass Me Not and Blessed Assurance. Along with Crosby, such names as Ira Sankey, Philip Bliss and Horatio Spafford, Charles McCallon Alexander, Homer Rodeheaver and the legendary Carter Family. 

From Loretta Lynn to Ernie Ford, releasing gospel albums proved very successful. Johnny Cash and his distinctive voice recorded several of these albums bringing him into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame. The group Alabama, along with Reba McEntire, Willie Nelson, B.J. Thomas, Martina McBride and Vince Gill continued the gospel tradition with successful album releases as well.

One of the most majestic places I’ve ever visited was the original Grand Ole Oprey but, there is a history behind that as well. The building was originally called the Union Gospel Tabernacle build by Captain Thomas Ryman. He found his faith from preacher Samuel Jones. The halls were once filled with the sounds of Buck Owens, Charley Pride, Bill Anderson, Porter Wagoner and Barbara Mandrell. 

That is just the beginning of the classic and beloved songs that this collection brings home.  

Time Life continues to bring never before released anywhere classic collections of television shows for fans to revisit and remember what has made television so special. Time Life has released Mama’s Family, CPO Sharkey and The Tonight Show and they now remind of us of a time when sex and politics were up for grabs with ROWAN & MARTIN’S LAUGH-IN. For more of what Time Life has to offer fans of classic television visit www.timelife.com.

The Bonus Feature’s include a 36-Page Collector’s Booklet – filled with full-color photos, artist quotes and liner notes, 2 Bonus DVDs of Opry Gospel Classics – rarely seen historic performances from the archives of the Grand Ole Opry by Johnny Cash, the Hee Haw Gospel Quartet, Loretta Lynn, Barbara Mandrell, Dolly Parton, Charley Pride, Porter Wagoner, and many more. 

Also, Interviews with More Than A Dozen Top Country Stars – Including Vince Gill, George Jones, The Oak Ridge Boys, The Statler Brothers, Marty Stuart, Josh Turner, and more, Bonus Performances – including Alabama’s Randy Owen singing “Amazing Grace” with his mother and Marty Stuart singing “Keep on the Sunny Side” with the Carter Family. 

Country music has always been a staple in my life and all the names in this collection are those of people I have grown up listening to. These songs of inspiration help families through difficult time because that is what music does, it brings hope, grace and even joy. 

Each of the 10 discs contains songs of devotion like The Oak Ridge Boys singing Loving God, Loving Each Other, Alan Jackson with When We All Get to Heaven, Alabama and The Old Rugged Cross. Vince Gill Tell Me One More Time About Jesus and George Jones with Amazing Grace.

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band brought their own brand of gospel to Will the Circle Be Unbroken, Gene Watson Where No One Stands Alone, Randy Travis Open the Eyes of My Heart, and Josh Turner’s How Great Thou Art can be found in this collection.

Let’s not forget the women who brought the sweet sounds of faith Loretta Lynn’s in the Garden, Connie Smith He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands, Cristy Lane One Day at a Time, and Dolly Parton with My Tennessee Mountain Home. 

There are 153 performances over the 10-disc collection and will be an amazing musical addition to any home entertainment library.  

In the end – it is the sound of amazing grace!

Get Ready to Dine to THE MENU

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres this Friday from director Mark Mylod and Searchlight Pictures is the tasty and delectable food on THE MENU.

On a beautiful island, a very special dining experience with Chef Julian Slowik (Ralph Fiennes) awaits invited guests. Arriving on the dock are food critic Lillian (Janet McTeer) and Ted (Paul Adelstein), a movie star (John Leguizamo) who loves to drop names and his assistant Felicity (Aimee Carrero), Richard (Reed Birney) and wife Anne (Judith Light), and business buddies Bryce (Rob Yang), Soren (Arturo Castro) and Dave (Mark St. Cry).

Finally, foodie groupie Tyler (Nicholas Hoult) and date Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy) follow the group led by Elsa (Hong Chau). Explaining the surroundings of how the menu is created for the Hawthorne, it is clear that the staff is devoted to Chef Slowick. Led into the dining room, the group is served wine as they wait for the chef to appear.

When he does, he explains that the courses are special and have meaning. From molecular gastronomy to art on a plate, Chef Slowick wants his guests to taste everything. That is when Elsa whispers to the chef that Margot is a guest not on the original list. That upsets the him as he explains each part of the experience was perfectly planned and, Margot is not eating the food in front of her. 

Tyler is jealous that the chef wants to speak to her and not him but is not going to let that stop him from enjoying the plates put before him. As the evening progresses and the wine flows, the truth of their dining experience becomes clearer than a wine glass! 

Fiennes as Slowik gives a performance that is deliberate, controlled and knowledgeable. Even when you think he is going to lose control, he diverts to a story that should tell the guests everything. Fiennes is just a plate of perfection in this role and is the straight man to the last frame of the film. I just adore this performance from him.

Taylor-Joy as Margot is just a strong mysterious character who is not afraid of saying what she thinks or standing her ground. Even as she comes face to face with the chef, Margot does not back down as her part in all this expands more and more. Taylor-Joy meets his control word for word and even her panic is controlled and it is powerful.

Hoult as Tyler is just that guy who is so drawn into being a foodie groupie that he blocks out everything else that is happening. Upset with Margot that she does not share in his obsession, he looks forward to each plate with tunnel vision. Hoult gives it his all and although irritating at moments, his character has a purpose.

Bloom and Adelstein are so precocious that its hilarious and proves that having an opinion can be, well, dangerous. Leguizamo and Carrero have their own boss/employee issues with each other as the name dropper has his own confessions to make. Birney and Light are a couple that has spent a lot of time at Hawthorne dining and its time to pay the check.

Yang, Castro and Cyr are three men who have their own secrets that will take flight right before their eyes. 

A big mad respect shout-out to Chau as Elsa because I loved ever minute she was on screen. This character is not afraid of anything or anyone and has no problem saying ‘no’. The scene when the three business men try to bread-bully Elsa, she says with a straight face ‘no’, I broke out laughing. Chau is stunning!

Other cast include Christina Brucato as Katherine, Peter Grosz as the Sommelier, Adam Aalderks as Jeremy, Jon Paul Allyn as the Boat Waiter and Rebecca Koon as Linda.

Searchlight Pictures is responsible for such films as SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, 12 YEARS A SLAVE, THE SHAPE OF WATER and THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING MISSOURI. They have an extensive film library as well as documentaries, scripted series, and limited series. For more information, please visit www.searchlightpictures.com.

THE MENU is nothing short of a plate full of perfection, it is deliciously phuged-up and I could not get enough of it. Keeping the cast in one room 99% of the time is brilliantly done and as Fiennes character controls every aspect, it is thrilling to watch how each character begins to crack around the edges and Taylor-Joy matching wits with the chef. 

Those in the kitchen also have a part to play and are the raw characters. They are dedicated to the chef and they seem detached from everything that is happening. Focused on making delicious and intricate food, you hardly ever see them looking into the dining room. It was actually kind of freaky and disturbing but I loved it as well. 

The plates of food served are stunningly beautiful but, like Margot, is probably not something I would eat. That makes her character relatable on so many non-conformist levels. The last plate served was exactly my cup of flower-tea sizzling with no pretentiousness or fan-fare. 

Vague enough? Of course this is, why would I give away the best parts of the film when THE MENU is waiting to serve you as well. I am just going to let my palate savor every drop of what Chef Slowik served up and keep his secret recipes for everyone else to discover.

In the end – wonderful surprises wait you all!

They Take the BONES AND ALL

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from director Luca Guadagnino and MGM/UA is the love story with BONES AND ALL.

It is the Regan years and Maren (Taylor Russell) is a young woman living a secluded life. Dad Frank (Andre Holland) is doing all he can to protect the girl from the world. Coaxed to go against her father’s wishes, Maren starts to stretch her teen-legs. Sneaking out one night to hang out with girlfriends turns disastrous and the duo can only run out of town.

In the morning, Maren discovers Frank is gone leaving her with a birth certificate, a few dollars and some tapes. She decides it is time to go find the mother she never knew. At the bus stop, Maren meets Sully (Mark Rylance), and discovers that she is not the only person with her, shall we say, condition.

Sully shares things with Maren that surprises her. The behavior that drives her are considered normal to Sully and nothing to be ashamed of. After a night of feasting, Maren realizes she needs to go – and quickly.

At her next stop she meets Lee (Timothee Chalamet) and is even more shocked at his openness and finding someone else like her in such a short amount of time. The make a connection as they feed when they can and drive down the country’s back roads toward Maren’s mother. When Maren discovers that Sully is not far behind, things begin to come unraveled and that is never where Frank intended for his daughter to end up and a mother’s love has boundaries.

Russell as the young Maren is absolutely riveting to watch. Not quite understanding the world, it is the secrets that are what make it difficult for this character to survive it all. She is trusting and yet pensive, angry yet confused to just wanting to live some semblance of a free life without fear. Even with a father, this character basically raised herself in many ways. As Maren learns about her condition, she becomes more aware of the dangers. Russell captures and exudes every spectrum of emotion and yet it is all so subtle that it quietly screams out to be noticed. 

Chalamet as Lee is laid back casual with his own past he is dealing with. Not accepted by his own family, he keeps moving on down the road. Finding Maren, he now has something and someone else to focus on, even if they tiff a tad. Chalamet makes not excuses for who he is and tries to share that with Maren who is still learning to accept it all. Chalamet’s gives his character charisma (which I’m assuming is necessary for their condition) and non-apologetic for anything he does. Yet, something comes out in Lee the longer he is with Maren.

Rylance as Sully – oh my gosh, I’m ready to hand him awards, I don’t care which ones. I’ll make one if I have to! The character of Sully is slow, deliberate, eerie, needy, and informative. Speaking about his performance I was telling a friend that it is ingenious that as Sully, Rylance has once again shown why he one of the best actors of our time even though he freaked me out. At the same time, my granddaughter sees him as the 2016 loveable BFG (Big Friendly Giant)! That is the diversity of Rylance. As Sully, he states his case to Maren and then skulks into the background and I mentally beg him to get back on the screen. 

Shout out to Michael Stuhlbarg as Jake for making me hold my breath. Your beer talking back woods screeching behavior will have me forever shook!

Other cast include Madeleine Hall as Him, Sean Bridgers as Barry, Anna Cobb as Kayla, Kendle Coffey as Sherry, Ellie Parker as Jackie, David Green as Brad, Jessica Harper as Barbara Kerns, Burgess Byrd as Gail and Chloe Sevigny as Janelle.

MGM is a leading entertainment company focused on the production and global distribution of film and television across all platforms. Owning one of the world’s deepest libraries of premium film and television content and is home to two of the longest-running and most successful film franchise in cinematic history with JAMES BOND and ROCKY. For more please visit www.mgm.com.

As of this writing, the Venice Film Festival as awarded Taylor Russell with Best Actress with the Marcello Mastroianni Award, Best Director Silver Lion to Luca Guadagnino and nominated for the Best Film Golden Lion for director Guadagnino. The Gotham Awards has nominated Mark Rylance for Outstanding Supporting Performance and nominated for Outstanding Lead Performance for Taylor Russell and UA/MGM. 

The Hollywood Music in Media Awards gives a nominee nod to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for Best Original Song – Feature Film with ‘(You Made It Feel Like) Home’. Reznor is a member of the band Nine Inch Nails and took his music into films such as NATURAL BORN KILLERS, LOST HIGHWAY, THE SOCIAL NETWORK and THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO.

Director Guadagnino says, “There is something about the disenfranchised, about people living on the margins of society that I am drawn towards and touched by. I love these characters. The heart of the movie is tender and affectionate towards them. I am interested in their emotional journeys. I want to see where the possibilities lie for them, enmeshed within the impossibility they face. The movie is for me a meditation on who I am and how I can overcome what I feel, especially if it is something I cannot control in myself. And lastly, and most importantly, when will I be able to find myself in the gaze of the other?”

BONES AND ALL is an intense story but with so many different layers. It is a story of a young girls search for who she is and where she belongs, it is a story of being different, it is a story of stranger-danger, it is a story of abandonment and so much more. Even if you took out one of the elements, the story would still hold together.

That being said, it is, well, a feast for the eyes also on several levels. The issue of cannibalism is a huge distraction from the other issues that each of the characters have but it is part of who they are. After a few jaw drops, I winced a bit but my jaw stayed in place as the film went on. I began to understand that as with most unusual things human beings do to each other, Maren and Lee do not shy away but instead keep pushing forward.

I loved this film on so many levels as well and the acting is so damn stellar. Watching BONES AND ALL again is something that I have to do because I want to understand even more about the direction Guadagnino takes these characters without the shock factor intruding. The cast has brought a story that is complex, complicated and worth every moment of big screen time.

In the end – it is a masticating love story!















He Survives THE INSPECTION

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from writer/director Elegance Bratton and A24 is the story of survival and acceptance from THE INSPECTION.

Ellis French (Jeremy Pope) is trying to find his place in life. He decides that the U.S. Marine Corps may be the answer of finding a path forward. Going to mom Inez (Gabrielle Union), he is met with a brick wall as she makes it clear that he had better come back straightened out. Parris Island, South Carolina is where French lands for boot camp.

Almost immediately, it seems that the instructor, Leland Laws (Bokeem Woodbine) has it out for French. Boot camp is tough enough for all the new recruits but Laws takes advantage. Keeping his hands clean, Laurence Harvey (McCaul Lombardi) becomes the person to especially watch out for. 

Aware of what is happening, Rosales (Raul Castillo) tries to intervene when things become dangerous. Instead of running away, French tries to help fellow recruit Ismail (Eman Esfandi) who is dealing with his own abuses.

Taking it day by day, French begins to not only find his voice, but the strength to stand. When the voice of dissent comes, it is his brothers who stand with him as well.

Pope as French is a young man torn up by the streets. Living on his own since he was 16 and disconnected from his mother, the state of the world leads him to the Marines. Pope gives the performance of a man that has lived in fear and uncertainty. 

Union as Inez is a character that is just distasteful in every aspect of being a human being. That has to be a tough role for Union to play knowing there would be that reaction but her performance embraced all the ugly in Inez and she went for it.

Woodbine as Laws is what you would expect from an instructor in boot camp. That being said, he goes far beyond the yelling, screaming and insulting into a dangerous zone. Woodbine’s performance is straight forward and straight-faced during scenes where my jaw was dropping. Well done. 

Castillo as Rosales knows that Laws is crossing the lines in so many ways and tries to be the buffer between the boot camp life and that line. That is a difficult place as he has issues of his own that are coming to the surface. Esfandi as Ismail is stereotyped by Laws and uses that to the point of breaking his spirit. It is heartbreaking to watch which translates into a very good performance.

Lombardi as Harvey seems to enjoy being the mini-Laws. He shows no sympathy or emotion to what he is doing and who he is doing it to. Harvey is the definition of absolute power corrupts absolutely and Lombardi holds nothing back as this character. 

Other cast includes Nicholas Logan as Brooks, Andrew Kai as Label, Aubrey Joseph as Boles, Wynn Reichert as Chaplain, Eddie Plaza as Bam Bam, Tyler Merritt as Shamus, Steve Mokate as Col. Casey and Aaron Dominguez as Castro.

A24 is an independent entertainment company that specializes in film and television production based in New York City. Films such as A GLIMPSE INSIDE THE MIND OF CHARLES SWAN III, the amazing EX MACHINA, ROOM and THE WITCH. Many of their films can be found on DirecTV Cinema and Amazon Prime. For more information, please visit www.a24films.com.

The Chicago International Film Festival nominated Elegance Bratton for Best Feature and Gold Q-Hugo, the Gotham Awards also nominated Elegance Bratton for the Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director Award and Outstanding Supporting Performance by Gabrielle Union. The Montclair Film Festival gives Bratton the award for Breakthrough Director & Writer and the Santa Barbara International Film Festival gives the Virtuoso Award to Jeremy Pope. 

THE INSPECTION is a story of struggle, pain, love, loss, and the journey of finding a path and French gives the heart-tugging performance needed to make the story work. Union’s character is still just a reminder of so many people’s beliefs to the point of hurting family. I know people like Inez and watching this character is just so painful.

Woodbine and Castillo remind me of Sgt. Barnes and Sgt. Elias from the 1986 film PLATOON. That being destruction vs. understanding and although one could say that instructors are always like this, even Castillo’s character of Rosales knows the line may be thin but there is a line and Laws puts just one toe over it to meet his own need for control. 

Through the struggle is the constant search for acceptance, especially when it can’t be found from French’s own flesh and blood. That internal part of this character is that he slowly begins to see his own self worth and that is everything. 

In the end – it is a struggle for one man’s life!

It’s the Life of THE FABELMANS

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres this Thanksgiving from writer/director Steven Spielberg, Amblin Entertainment and Universal Pictures comes the tender story of THE FABELMANS.

Burt Fabelman (Paul Dano) and his wife Mitizi (Michelle Williams) are about to introduce their son Sam (Mateo Francis-DeFord) to his first movie, THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH. Watching in a crowded theatre, his attention is captivated during the circus train crash. Now, the young boy is wanting only one thing – a train set.

Wishing for a train set for Hannukah, Sam takes it one step further when mom Mitzi puts an 8 mm camera into his hands. What comes from all of this is a young boy’s dream coming true. He can not stop himself from creating more and more stories on film with his sisters Reggie (Birdie Borria), Natalie (Alina Brace) and Lisa (Sophia Kopera) as his actors.

The family gets together with family friend Bennie Loewy (Seth Rogen) and it is movie night. That is until the family moves to Phoenix, Arizona as dad Burt moves up in the technology world. Growing up, Sam (Gabriel LaBelle) never stops making films and while in Boy Scouts uses the opportunity to make his own film to get a badge. 

When a family tragedy happens, Burt asks his son to put together something lovely for mom to bring her some joy. Uncle Boris (Judd Hirsch) comes to visit and tells Sam that he comes from a family of artists and what that can do to a person but it also those words leave a lasting impression. So much so, that Sam discovers something about his mom that he cannot deal with in the right way. 

Once again, the family moves to norther California and Sam has lost the urge to create and puts his camera down. Focusing on school, a new challenge happens as antisemitism reaches into his life. Through harassment and bullying, Sam learns that he must take a stand in some way and with the help of girlfriend Monica (Chloe East) and a 16mm camera, he takes on a high school event to present at prom. 

Now ready for college, the family dynamic has changed and Sam must face his father with what he wants for life. After years of dad calling his filmmaking a ‘hobby’, the young man finally says the words to make his father understand that everything has led up to that moment. 

These are the Fabelmans!

Williams as Mitzi is a complex, complicated and very supportive wife which keep the family moving forward. That comes with the flaws of being a woman in 1952 and the stereotypes of keeping a perfect house with perfect kids and a perfect marriage. All of that comes with a price and William’s portrayal for Mitzi shows us that the cost is so personally destructive. Once again, this actress gives a performance that will make the list of awards but more importantly, leaves an impression for the viewer that is shaken and stirred.

Dano as Burt is a father trying to get ahead in the business world creating, supporting a family and making everyone happy. He is also set in the 50s stereotype that he does not realize affects his son. Dad wants a studious kid who will one day follow in his footsteps and although supportive, in a way, of his son, he continues to consider it only a ‘hobby’. Dano gives Burt that struggle of a man who has one idea of family in his head while the reality of family is passing him by. Dano is stunning!

LaBelle as Sam is nothing short of fantastic. He also lives in this world created by the times he lives but does not quite fit into the mold everything thinks he should. While excited about the prospect of making film and supported by his mother, he runs into those who can not embrace the prospect of filmmaking as a career. There are such beautiful moments that LaBelle provides in his role of Sam that are touching and heartbreaking all at the same time. We follow his life of creativity and growing pains willingly because the viewer also wants him to succeed. That is acting at its finest and well-done LaBelle!

Rogen as Bennie is Burt’s best friend and basically an uncle to the kids. They share everything together and it is all beautiful, until it isn’t. Rogen is equally into his work as Burt and also shares his total support of Sam and his filmmaking showing up for every showing. Rogen keeps his character a bit on the back burner of the Fabelman family. The scene between Bennie and Sam at the camera store is so heartbreaking to watch, trust me on this. 

Shout out to Mateo Francis-DeFord as the young Sam because here is a young actor who just melted my heart. I know that feeling of being in a theatre for the first time and worrying about everything being so big when you are so little. My first film was BAMBI, and my ‘train scene’ was the death of Bambi’s mother and while everyone else around me was crushed and crying, I was riveted. Francis-DeFord took me there once again and that, for me, is priceless so thank you young man and extremely well done.

Other cast include Robin Bartlett as Tina Schildkraut, Sam Rechner as Logan Hall, Oakes Fegley as Chad Thomas, Isabelle Kusman as Claudia Denning, Jan Hoag as Nona, Nicolas Cantu as Hark, Cooper Dodson as Turkey, Gabriel Bateman as Roger, Lane Factor as Dean, Chandler Lovelle as Renee, Keeley Karsten as the older Natalie Fabelman, Julia Butters as the older Reggie Fabelman, Jeannie Berlin as Hadassah Fabelman and David Lynch as John Ford. 

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has just added an amazing film to their library and making it available for us to all experience and re-experience in our own home theaters. There are films of every genre available from scary to drama to family films. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.uphe.com.

THE FABELMANS is written by Steven Spielberg with co-writer Tony Kushner who has written with the Oscar winner on the 2005 film MUNICH, the 2012 film LINCOLN and the 2021 WEST SIDE STORY. 

On the recreating of his early works, Spielberg says, “It was joyful being able to recreate those films. I shot a lot of films when I was a kid on 8mm. It was unique in those days. Not a lot of people were going out and shooting in 8mm. It was physical; it was a craft. You had to sit there with a splicer, and then you had to scrape the emulsion off the film in order to get a seal so when you put glue on it, you literally glued the film together. I must say, I miss it.”

Being semi-autobiographical, it really is not something I concentrated on watching the film. Instead, I let the story tell me what it wanted to tell me in any way it wanted to present itself. Fact or fiction did not mean anything because THE FABELMANS swept me up in a story of family, love, secrets, perceptions, realities, sadness, fun and possibilities. These are all things that are relatable no matter who you are.

The cast is one of the best I have seen in a long time and with even the short stint for Hirsch, he was just so lovely to watch as a man who knows the pain of creativity! He sees what Sam is reaching for and although supports it, slaps on a warning label as well. Each character is memorable and unique to the journey we are all invited on.

For some it will be a look into the past of how the world perceived the role over mother, father, husband, wife and expectations of kids. Spielberg is doing what he does the best taking us from point A to Z with a box of tissue in-between, the dude is beautifully exhausting.

In the end – capture every moment!

AINBO: Spirit of the Amazon

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to DVD, Digital and On-Demand from directors Joe Zelada, Richard Claus and Shout! Factory Kids is the tale of AINBO: Spirit of the Amazon.

Hidden deep in the jungle of the Amazon, Ainbo (Lola Raie) is a 13-year-old-girl who wants nothing more than to be the best huntress for her tribe. Zumi (Naomi Serrano) is her best friend and is about to be crowned the Queen of the Candamo civilization.

Caught in her own favorite tree trap, spirit guides Dillo the armadillo and Vaca the tapir who tell Ainbo that they are Zumi’s spirit guides. She is going to need them as the curse of Yacuruna seems to be taking over the jungle. Trying to gift them to Zumi, Dillo (Dino Andrade) and Vaca (Joe Hernandez) don’t show up and it causes the tribe to think she is lying.

Chuni (Alejandra Gollas), who takes care of the girls, causes Ainbo to run away with the nasty Atok (Rene Mujica) chasing them running into the westerner Cornell DeWitt (Thom Hoffman). In the forest, the two spirits tell her that Motelo Mama (Susana Ballesteros) the turtle can help with the quest that she is now on and talks more about Ainbo’s favorite tree. From there she finds the sloth spirit Pelejo (Rico Sola) who gives her another item on her journey to a volcano. 

Coming back to the tribe, Ainbo finds that Atok and Zumi are in the company of DeWitt who promises to cure the illness of the people and land in exchange for gold. Calling upon her mother Lizeni (Yeni Alvarez), two who are against one another become one in the fight for the people of Candamo!

Raie as the voice of Ainbo gives the young girl all the emotions of a 13-year-old. She is insecure, unsure but loves her tribe and best friend Zumi. Willing to take on the journey that could save them all from destruction, she embraces all the danger with a bravery she did not know she possessed. 

Serrano as the voice of Zumi may not have started out a queen but quickly let it be known she knows what to do for Ainbo and her people. Trying to understand the outlander, it becomes clear what he wants because they don’t see gold in the same way. Mujica as Atok has his own personal issues and they constantly get in the way of doing the right thing. 

Andrade as Dillo and Hernandez as Vaca are wonderful companions to Ainbo on their journey. They try to help the best they can but sometimes manage to get into more chaos but it all works out for the best. 

Other cast include Gerardo Prat as Conibo and Bernardo De Paula as Huarinka.

SHOUT! Factory has grown into a tremendous multi-platform media company. Releasing new animated features such as the exquisite Long Way North, and the epic fantasy Beauty and The Beast. Also, their own original horror film, Fender Bender gives fans a good scare. For more of what SHOUT Factor has to offer please visit www.shoutfactory.com.

DVD Bonus Features include special Featurette About the Making of AINBOW: SPIRIT OF THE AMAZON and the Music Video. 

Directors Zelada and Claus previously worked in the film THE LITTLE VAMPIRE with this film being the first animated film from the Tunche Films in Miraflores. The story itself was written by Jose Zelada. Bringing in Claus from the Amsterdam Cool Beans Studio created a collaboration between Peru and the Netherlands. The added history of AINBO is that the Zelada family lived near the Amazon Basin in the 80’s and they listened to local stories of the rain forest.

An official selection of the 2021 Annecy International Animation Film Festival and recently nominated for Best Feature, Best Sound Design and Best Original Music at the Ibero-American animation Quirino Awards in Madrid. AINBOW: Spirit of the Amazon smashed the box office in Spain and garnered international box office successes in France, Australia, New Zealand and Central America. 

AINBO: Spirit of the Amazon is a colorful, exciting and wonderful film that tells a story of what is truly important to this young girl. With no concern for her own safety, she tackles every obstacle in front of her to keep moving forward to find the answer. That answer is what will save her people and repair old wounds she didn’t even know surrounded her.

The friendship between Ainbo, Dillo and Vaca are just priceless and necessary, especially when the two girls find themselves at odds over what to believe about a stranger in their midst. New alliances are made because nothing has changed for Ainbo who will do anything to stop the chaos and the destruction headed towards her village.

In the end – it is a wild jungle adventure!

​CORALINE and PARANORMAN Are Classics on 4k UHD

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to 4K UHD from Laika and Shout! Factory are two classic films with CORALINE and PARANORMAN.

In 2009, writer/director Henry Selick took a story by Neil Gaiman and brought the most amazing dark stop-motion film with CORALINE. 

Coraline (voiced by Dakota Fanning) is a young girl who lives with parents Melanie (Teri Hatcher) and Charlie (John Hodgman) she is dealing with the new move a pink house in Ashland, Oregon. Almost instantly she makes friends with Wybie (Robert Bailey) and an interesting black cat. Living in another apartment of the house is the very limber and eccentric Sergei Alexander Bobinsky (Ian McShane), actress April Spink (Jennifer Saunders), and Miriam Forcible (Dawn French).

Wybie gives Coraline a doll that he thought looked a lot like her but the doll has a few things to teach the young girl. A door into a parallel universe opens and waiting for her is another Mother and Father who spend their time paying attention to her. Her parents are still busy with their workaholic lives that they don’t notice their daughters’ comings and goings.

The problem comes when Coraline is visiting her other parents and they want her to stay. The only caveat is that she has to exchange her eyes and she is stunned. When she tries to leave, other mother keeps her, well, hostage. The ghosts that are trapped as well finally tell Coraline everything she needs to know to stop the madness before her real parents become part of this nightmare!

Fanning gives life to the character of Coraline as a young girl dealing with a new home and parents who seem to be lost in their work. Finding her own place, she had no idea she would also be finding her own second world. Through everything she comes to understand how the world is and that she is loved.

CORALINE Special Features include Disc One New 4K Restoration and Dolby Atmos 7.1 Mix. Disc Two Inside Laika – Discovering the Characters of CORALINE Featuring Rare Test Footage, Inside Laika – Revisiting the Puppets with Laika’s Animation Team, Character, Concept Art and Behind-The-Scenes Photo Galleries, Audio Commentary with Director Henry Selick and Composer Bruno Coulais, The Making of CORALINE, Original Featurettes, Deleted Scenes and Feature Length Storyboards. 

In 2012, writer/directors Chris Butler and Sam Fell’s stop-motion film PARANORMAN came to the screen. 

Norman (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is a young boy who has the unique ability to speak with his grandmother who just happens to be dead. No one believes what he can do and it causes Norman to spend a lot of time alone. Neil (Tucker Albrizzi) is also a kid who sort of understands Norman. As a school play is rehearsing a play about witch-executions, Norman’s great-uncle Prenderghast (John Goodman) tells him he has to help protect the town of Blithe Hollow.

While the play is going on, Norman has a ghoulish site of what happened in the past. His father Perry (Jeff Garlin) and mother Sandra (Leslie Mann) know that there is something happening and are more than concerned. Learning that his great-uncle has passed, imagine Norman’s surprise when he sees him in the afterlife as he tells the boy to get a book that can help. 

Going with the local graveyard he thinks to read from the book but school bully Alvin (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) wants to have his own twisted fun. Trying to complete his reading, Norman, Neil, his sister Courtney (Anna Kendrick) and Mitch (Casey Affleck) are chased by what could only be called zombies! That slows everything down and when a witch causes mayhem, Norman is knocked out only to see Aggie Prenderghast (Jodelle Ferland) and what happened to her.

Mayhem is hitting Blithe as vengeful spirits go after the town and Norman is the only person that knows how to stop it all and become the hero he never thought he’d be! 

Smit-McPhee as Norman is a young boy also trying to find his place in this world even though he has a look inside the next. Loving his family, he also struggles with knowing that people he loves don’t truly understand him. When the other world reaches out to him, Norman does not hesitate to find out what is causing the problems and realizing that he is the key to helping!

SHOUT! Factory has grown into a tremendous multi-platform media company. Releasing new animated features such as the exquisite Long Way North, and the epic fantasy Beauty and The Beast. Also, their own original horror film, Fender Bender gives fans a good scare. For more of what SHOUT Factor has to offer please visit www.shoutfactory.com.

Laika is an American stop-motion animation studio specializing in feature films. The studios is best known for THE BOXTROLLS, KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS and MISSING LINK. To see more of what Laika has to offer please visit www.laika.com. 

PARANORMAN Special Features Include Disc One New 4K Restoration and New Dolby Atmos 7.1 Mix. Disc Two Inside Laika – Discovering the Characters and Effects of PARANORMAN Featuring Rare Test Footage, Inside Laika – Revisiting the Puppets with Laika’s Animation Team, Feature-Length Storyboards, Character, Concept Art and Behind-the-Scenes Photo Gallery and Audio Commentary with writer/director Chris Butler and Co-Director Sam Fell. 

CORALINE and PARANORMAN are such iconic characters and bringing them back gives everyone another chance to update their home entertainment library. The deep darkness feeling and colors are stunning and add depth of richness to the story being told. 

CORALINE started it all for my family and every film since is a joy for us. To be honest, we watch it several times a year and when it pops up on television, we know its time to pop some corn and watch again! The story is one of family, understanding and love mixed in with all the crazy stuff we love to experience.

PARANORMAN is charming and thrilling keeping in line with our favorite Laika films. Norman is a young boy also trying to find his place in two worlds. We love what he is able to do and watching this film, we constantly cheer as he tries and tries to help the people who have not shown him much understanding.

Laika always tells such amazing stories and uses stop-motion that allow families to embrace such fantastic characters. Now, both films return on 4K UHD (Limited SteelBook Edition) for the first time and that makes the holiday gift giving season even more special. Perennial favorites and critically acclaimed, CORALINE and PARANORMAN stop-motion and CG hybrid techniques were both nominated for Academy Awards for Best Animated Feature Films.

In the end – these are stories of unusual kids who we love to watch again and again!


Santa is Bring SILENT NIGHT on Bluray

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray, DVD and Digital from director Tommy Wirkola and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is a different look about the man from the North Pole with VIOLENT NIGHT.

The holidays are here and Santa Claus (David Harbour) is disillusioned, disgusted and dismayed at what has happened to Christmas. Not his usual ho-ho-ho self, he does the minimum to get the job done and not with an ounce of jolly.

Jason Lightstone (Alex Hassell) gets wife Linda (Alexis Louder) to agree to go to mom Gertrude’s (Beverly D’Angelo) house for Christmas. Taking daughter Trudy (Leah Brady), it becomes clear quickly that there are family issues. Waiting for them is Jason’s sister Alva (Edi Patterson), her bad actor husband Morgan (Cam Gigandet) and son Bert (Alexander Elliot).

There is the usual sibling bickering about the family company and money. That is until all Christmas breaks loose as Mr. Scrooge (John Leguizamo) enters their festivities. He brings his band of merry gun-toting mercenary elves with only one mission – get money and go!

The problem is, they didn’t expect Santa to be in the house who catches on real quick that this is not the house to be visiting. Finding a radio, Santa hears Trudy on her radio telling him not only what she wants for Christmas but what is happening in the house. Wanting to walk away, there is something about Trudy that makes Santa decide that he needs to remember who he is and that makes all the difference.

It’s skull cracking time!

Harbour as Santa Claus is hilarious, sweet, a little vicious but has a story to tell. Once the gang realizes there is a Santa in the house, the chase is on and Harbour gets down and dirty. That makes the film so much more fun in a twisted sort of way. It is next to impossible not to cheer for Harbour’s character and, to be honest, I was all for it. That is part of the fun of the film and trust when I say it is Harbour who makes it thrilling every frame of film.

Leguizamo as Mr. Scrooge is a guy who has serious issues of his own. Money starts out being the motive for the madness but I suspect that Leguizamo’s characters issues run holiday deep. Deciding to go all out to get what he wants, there is nothing or no one, not even Santa that is going to stop this well-designed plan. Then again, Scrooge vs. Santa is a whole other knock down drag out.

Hassell as Jason wants his family back but has to go through a lot this night to see if that can happen. Louder as Linda knows the Lightstone family are a lot but puts it all aside to do the right thing for her daughter, bet she wished she had made other plans! Patterson as Alva is just one hot mess who thinks she has what it takes to take her own brother down, yea, about that…..! Gigandet as Morgan is that family member that just can’t help but show why everyone else rolls their eyes.

Brady as Trudy is just a sweet young girl who wants her parents to be happy and spending Christmas together. When the chaos happens, she reaches out to Santa for help and does not seem surprised when he comes through. There is a bit of another film mixed into Brady’s characters bag of tricks and its pretty funny. Well done young lady, well done. Elliot as Bert portrays all the kids us older folk can’t stand to be around and he does it really well!

Let’s talk about D’Angelo as Gertrude. She is saucy, mouthy and can take a hit. She knows what her family thinks of her and it doesn’t change anything about her naughty attitude. I just love this character and D’Angelo did it all with nothing short of bad attitude sprinkled with Christmas glitter!

Other cast include Brendan Fletcher as Krampus, Mike Dopud as Commander Thorp, Stephanie Sy as Sugarplum, John Lowe as Pub Santa, Andre Eriksen as Bjorn, and Erik Athavale as Richard.

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has just added an amazing film to their library and making it available for us to all experience and re-experience in our own home theaters. There are films of every genre available from scary to drama to family films. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.uphe.com.

Exclusive Bonus Feature include Deleted and Extended Scenes – Family Arrives at the Mansion, Jason and Linda in Bedroom, Krampus Sees Trudy’s Radio, Santa on the Roof, Walk to the Manger, Family Resolution, Bad Dad, Cast Call Back and Extended Scenes. 

Also, Quarrelin’ Kringle – Cast and Crew Relay why David Harbour is the Perfect Brawler for this Combative Rendition of Santa. Santa’s Helpers: The Making of VIOLENT NIGHT – Tommy Wirkola and David Leitch has reunited for another madcap, violent fairytale with heart in VIOLENT NIGHT. This making-of will celebrate their spirited reunion as well as the other little helpers. Deck the Halls with Brawls – Go Behind the Action as we go Blow for Blow with the New Villains of Christmas. 

Finally, Feature Commentary with Directory Tommy Wirkola, Producer Guy Danella, Writer Pat Casey and Writer Josh Miller. 

VIOLENT NIGHT does not waste a moment and from beginning to end it is Harbour that is a mixture of comedy, drama and charming. Oh sure, Santa has a history and sure he seems like a crushing Ninja but that does not change the fact that he brings gifts to believers. Don’t get me wrong, the film is really violent, really bloody but it is also really hysterical.

Now that being said, it has been quite a while since I’ve seen a film that had me cheering, making faces and dropping my jaw. Okay, so tried to close my eyes and ended up looking through my fingers at one point but darn it was fun. The cast assembled bring a holiday film that I will predict right now will become a holiday tradition (at least in my house).

I think we found another twisted film to add to the family’s equally twisted Christmas binging tradition.

In the end – you better watch out!

THE MINUTE YOU WAKE UP DEAD

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray and Digital from director Michael Mailer and Lionsgate is the suspense thriller THE MINUTE YOU WAKE UP DEAD.

Russ Potter (Cole Hauser) is not very popular with the town’s folk at present. After talking them into investing in the market, it all goes belly up and people are furious. Russ tries to explain that he lost money as well but that does not resonate with the towns people at all so he is keeping his head down and staying out of the way.

Stopping at the local café for a cup of coffee, waitress Delaine Moore (Jaimie Alexander) tries to cheer him up. Being friends since they were in high school, she manages a smile out of him before she has to return home to take care of an ill father. That’s when something odd begins to happen. Russ starts receiving soft spoken but ominous calls.

Taking his concerns to Sheriff Thurmond Fowler (Morgan Freeman), he does not get much sympathy. The word is out and the Sheriff believes that whoever is doing it has a legitimate grudge against Russ. Days pass and the phone calls continue. Trying to help, Delaine invites Russ to her house to have dinner and since he only lives next door he is delighted.

The two get, well, close and that only makes things more difficult when Delaine’s father is murdered! Now things are about to get heated, confusing and complicated in the most shocking ways.

Freeman as Sheriff Fowler has such a laid-back attitude and knows his town very well. It is a bit of fun to my way of thinking that he took this role. By that I mean there is not a lot to it but Freeman makes sure you pay attention every time he is on screen and I loved it. 

Hauser as Russ is a man who has made a huge mistake in a small town. Now if it had been a big city, then maybe it would have been easier to smooth things over. Nope, and now he is paying for it with angry townspeople and nasty looks – except from Delanie. Don’t let that handsome face fool you, Hauser as Russ has a few tricks up his sleeve as well.

Alexander as Delaine is a waitress trying to make ends meet and keep up with debts. Adding a bit of fun with Russ is just a big tip so to speak. Taking care of her father, the truth starts percolating to the surface and Delaine has no choice but to face it and Alexander is one cool plate of lettuce!

Lionsgate is a global leader in motion picture production and distribution for theatres, television, home entertainment and more. Theatre franchises include THE HUNGER GAMES, and DIVERGENT along with JOHN WICK. Now, adding this film to its 16,000-motion picture and television titles you can see everything coming soon as well as available now at http://www.lionsgate.com.

THE MINUTE YOU WAKE UP is a thriller to be sure and the twists and turns will have you yelling ‘no way!’. It is a slow-moving piece but it is a sleepy town with lots of secrets and to move any faster would be a crime. Friendships are empty, relationships have a purpose and what it all boils down to is murder.

Keeping is within these three characters is what makes the story. I actually like a story that doesn’t go off into fifteen-million characters and doesn’t finish with a yell from me. Keep it short, keep is within a who-dun-it realm and I’m all in. 

THE MINUTE YOU WAKE UP DEAD is not a fast paced, action type thriller, it is wrapped in a small town where everybody knows everyone else’s business and that can get you killed. 

In the end – don’t trust a soul!

THE WOMAN KING

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to 4K Ultra HD, Bluray and DVD from director Gina Prince-Bythewood and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is the story of THE WOMAN KING.

It is 1823 in West Africa and General Nanisca (Viola Davis) lives in the kingdom of Dahomey. As the leader, she takes the group of women warriors known as the Agojie, to free Dahomean women who are taken by the Oyo Empire. Their motive is to sell the women to slavers.

King Ghezo (John Boyega) is outraged and knows it will be war against the Oyo. Preparing, Nanisca begins to train a new batch of women who want to be Agojie warriors. Among these is Nawi (Thuso Mbedu), a young girl who refuses anyone that her father wants her to marry. Fed up with her defiance, he drops her off at the gates of the Agojie training camp. Immediately, Nawi becomes friends with Izogi (Lashana Lynch) who is very close to Nanisca. 

The Oyo are not done with the Dahomean people as Santo Ferreira (Hero Fiennes), a Portuguese slaver, is working with General Oba Ade (Jimmy Odukoya). Nawi learns from her friendship with a young Malik (Jordan Bolger), that the Oyo plan to attack and she tells Nanisca. Nanisca has a few secrets of her own to tell Nawi about a time she was captured by Oba and the terror she endured.

Nanisca and the warriors attack the Oyo but Nawi and Izogie are captured and put on the market. Nanisca is told by King Ghezo to stand down but she makes it clear that she is not going to leave Nawi in the hands of those who will harm her. 

Now, the Agoji and General Nanisca are about to show what courage and determination look like!

Davis as Nanisca is dedicated to training and fighting for her King. Training the new women is important and makes it clear how they work together as a team and the importance their history. Davis gives us a strong character with moments of real emotion and strength but then again, that is exactly how we have come to see this amazing actress.

Mbedu as Nawi is equally as strong as a young girl who will not be tied to domestic life. Being dropped off with the Agojie becomes the focus she needs to starting a new life. Mbedu’s performance is full of defiance and it makes for such an appealing character to watch from start to finish.

Boyega as the King is basically a leader who wants to do right by his people. Realizing Nanisca is a strong female presence for his people, even if he forbids her to do things, he also knows she is going to do what’s right.

Bolger as Malik is a young man who understands the old kingdom and the new slavers. Knowing what is right and wrong, his friendship with Nawi allows him to do what’s right. Odukoya as General Oba Ade shows the attitude and oppression of slavers which is a rough role to take but important at the same time. 

Other cast includes Sheila Atim as Amenza, Masali Baduza as Fumbe, Jayme Lawson as Shante, Adrienne Warren as Ode, Siv Ngesi as Migan, Angelique Kidjo as Meunon, Zozibini Tunzi as Efe, Makgoso M as Iniya, Thando Dlomo as Kelu and Julian Tennon as Moru. 

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment encompasses motion picture production for television, digital content and theater releases. The studios include Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems, TriStar Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation, Stage 6 Films and Sony Picture Classics. To see what is coming to theaters and to home entertainment please visit www.sonypictures.com.

MOVIES ANYWHERE gives viewers the ability to download the Movies Anywhere App. With that you can view films by downloading or streaming to your favorite device using a Digital Code. For more information on Movies Anywhere please visit www.MoviesAnywhere.com.

Bonus Content includes A Caterpillar’s Destruction, Viola Davis on Set, Representation Matters, Woman/Warriors, Storytellers, Thuso Mbedu Auditions, Filmmaker and Commentary. 

The African-American Film Critics Association has given the film Best Picture as well as the National Board of Review Top Ten Film. The film is also a nominee with the DiscussionFilm Critics Award, Hollywood Critics Association Creative Arts Award, Hollywood Music in Media Awards, Satellite Awards, Sunset Film Circle Awards and The Female Movie Star of 2022 for Viola Davis. 

THE WOMAN KING is a thought-provoking look at a time in the history of African slavery. To see the amazing Agojie come together with a single goal of protecting a kingdom, its people and fighting against slavery on their own front.

Davis leads a cast that is strong and as fierce as the warriors they portray. It is a story of strong connections, family, love, and knowing that everything they believe in deserves to be protected and cherished. 

In the end – inspired by true events!




Friendship and THE BANSHEE OF INISHERIN

Jeri Jacquin

Today on Digital HD and coming to Bluray from writer/director Martin McDonagh and Searchlight Pictures is the story of a friendship that is going through its paces with THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN.

It is 1923 Ireland on the island of Inisherin and Colm Doherty (Brendan Gleeson) and best friend and drinking buddy Padraic (Colin Farrell) are having a problem. Well, it actually seems that Colm has a problem and Padraic is confused. Out of nowhere, Colm decides he does not want to be friends with Padraic any longer.

Padraic is not the only one confused as the news reaches everyone in the sleepy little town. The only answer Colm seems to give is that he wants more out of life and friendships and Padraic just doesn’t have what it takes. Colm wants music, conversation and to be remembered for something other than drinking with his pal.

That does not sit well with Padraic who wants more answers and seeks out his friend time and time again. Frustrated, Colm gives Padraic an ultimatum – stop bothering him or he will do something horrific to make it clear. Someone else who does not understand the treatment of her brother is Padraic’s sister Siobhan (Kerry Condon) who does try to help. Taking care of her brother has been a full-time job.

It is the eerie Mrs. McCormick (Sheila Flitton) who warns of death in the town. Padraic starts to hang out with Dominic (Barry Keoghan) to at least have someone to vent to. When Dominic tells Padraic what is being said in town, he goes to Colm once again for answers and is only met with something vile being thrown at his door. But when one of Padraic’s animal friends is hurt by Colm’s threats, a side of Padraic is released that no one could have expected.

Friendships can be brutal.

Gleeson as Colm is a man going through changes. Practically overnight he has decided that his life should mean more and leaving something musically behind could be that thing. The one person he feels could stop him from having this new outlook is Padraic so, the friendship abruptly ends. Gleeson gives us a character that is resolved, literally, in making sure that no one stop him from what he wants. I just love the back and forth between he and Farrell. It is superb, strong and award worthy.

Farrell as Padraic is a man who does not want the changes. He enjoys his friendship with Colm and it boggles his mind that he would abruptly end it. Even given the reasons for the ending, it is not enough for Padraic. Farrell gives his character such a sad but determined place in this story. Sad in that he is so confused by his friend’s behavior and determined when things start to take a strange turn and another side of Padraic emerges. He is also superb, strong and award worthy.

Condon as Siobhan has been taking care of her brother in a life that hasn’t made her happy either. Trying to help the situation, she realizes they are both stubborn and it is time for her to think about life away from them all. Condon is not a weak woman in a man’s world, she is actually a strong woman on an island with crazy people (and I mean that in an ‘I know the feeling’ small town feeling way).

Keoghan as Dominic is a young man in love, or just really and truly wanting love. Finding friendship where he can, it is a small island and a small town so his choices are, well, small. Keoghan portrays his character in that smallness and it is tragically lovely.

Other cast include Pat Shortt as Jonjo Devine, Jon Kenny as Gerry, Brid Ni Neachtain as Mrs. O’Riordan, Gary Lydon as Peadar Kearney, Aaron Monaghan as Declan and David Pearse as the Priest.

Searchlight Pictures is responsible for such films as SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, 12 YEARS A SLAVE, THE SHAPE OF WATER and THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING MISSOURI. They have an extensive film library as well as documentaries, scripted series, and limited series. For more information, please visit www.searchlightpictures.com.

The Bonus Features include Creating THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN – Go into the inimitable mind of director-writer Martin McDonagh as he delves into THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN, from story inception and reunion of its gifted actors, to searching the islands of Ireland for the perfect, evocative locations. Also, Deleted Scenes with Chasing Colm, Colm Can’t Compose, Parent’s Grave and Peadar, Siobhan Crying Too Loud and Stoic Equals Boring. 

Director McDonagh has been one of my favorite filmmakers for quite some time. His films such as IN BRUGES (2008), SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS (2012, which is still one of my favorites) and THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI (2017) are only part of his repertoire. This film is equally as beautiful as those named above. Reuniting Gleason and Farrell (they starred together in IN BRUGES) is pure magic. 

THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN is a dark story of a friendship that has gone sideways. Keeping certain things out of this review because it needs to be experienced, just know when I say that these two have serious issues. Neither are sure what they want as their reasons will have heads shaking. 

I did not know whether to laugh or cry at the behavior of two grown men living on a sheltered island. Instead, my jaw spent a lot of time on the floor with their antics. Friendships are difficult enough at times, McDonagh has added a whole new layer of craziness that is completely wild. There are also undertones of a woman knowing it is time to make changes of her own as Siobhan realizes she cannot be her brother’s keeper forever.

THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN is a story filled with emotions, but not exactly the kind that one would expect of a friendship. 

In the end – everything was fine yesterday!

AVATAR: The Way of Water


Jeri Jacquin

Opening in theatres today from director James Cameron and 20th Century Studios is the continuing adventure with AVATAR: The Way of Water.

Things have been quiet for the Na'vi since expelling the sky people with the help of Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) who is now chief. Now, he and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) have an ever expanding family they are raising. Sons Lo'ak (Britain Dalton) and Neteyam (Jamie Flatters) and daughters Kiri (Sigourney Weaver) and Tuk (Trinity Jo-Li Bliss). In addition to their family is a teenage human boy names Spider (Jack Champion) who is fluent in the ways of the Na'vi and spends all his time with the Sully family.

As the attacks against the forest people continue, the sky people are expanding their base and taking more resources than ever before. Knowing his family is being hunted, Jake decides it is time for them to go in order to save the Omaticaya people. Planning to get as far away as possible, they seek refuge with the Metkayina sea people. Chief Tonowari (Cliff Curtis) listens to the plea for help but it is his wife Ronal (Kate Winslet) who see's pain and heartache in their future. 

Trying to embrace this new culture, the boys finds themselves constantly in trouble, Tuk is enjoying the water and all the creatures and Kiri begins to understand that although different, she easily embraces the sea life. Lo'ak, trying to make friends with the chiefs son Aonung (Filip Geljo), finds himself once again in trouble but is helped by a Tulkun names Payakan. Looking on at the encounter is the chiefs lovely daughter Tsireya (Bailey Bass) who realizes there is something special happening.

Now, for the hard part, As Pandora becomes more and more colonized, the company RDA has found a way to create Na'vi people without needing a human host but yet transferring their essence. One of these is Quaritch (Stephen Lang) who has a score to settle with Sully. Having no conscience previously, he makes it clear that he has no qualms about killing the Sully family and anyone that gets in his way.

The battle is on once again for the world Jake has come to love and the people in it. The Na'vi may be different tribes but one thing is clear, when you attack one, you attack all! As Quaritch comes closer and closer, it is clear that he and those with him are out for destruction.

Worthington as Sully returns and now is a father of quite a brood. He has trained his sons to be warriors but they have his disregard for orders and rules. Trying to find saftey for his family, Sully packs up and tries to find the farthest place anyone would look for them. Like life, problems have radar and will always find you. Sully has become a respected member of the Omaticaya people and they look to him for guidance during their time of peace. When it becomes clear that peace is over, he knows what has to be done and does so with a broken heart. Worthington picks up right where he left off without a misstep in his character portrayal of the blue Na'vi Sully. Saldana is now a mother lioness who is not about to let anyone hurt her children (too bad she needs to worry more about what they are doing than others are doing). She is not happy to be joining the sea tribe but makes the best of it and remains supportive of Sully. Like other mother lioness', Saldana's Neytiri does a lot of hissing in this film and when her angry rears its very tall head, stand back because the rage is on.

Curtis as Chief Tonowari is unsure from the beginning about the Sully clan hanging around but knows that they are Na'vi and that means something. Curtis gives his character a quieter leadership than Sully but that changes when the sky people decide it's time to do their damage. Winslet as Ronal is also a mother lioness and pitted against Saldana's Neytiri get a little tense at times. She wants the best for her family which includes son Aonung and beautiful daughter Tsireya and once her belief system is on the verge of destruction, Winslet sets her vocal Ronal loose.

Dalton as son Lo'ak is trying to fit in as the youngest boy in the family. Ready to fight, he makes mistakes and does not listen to his father's orders and that continually gets him in trouble. Dalton gives us a fierce warrior kid who also has a softer side for whale-like creatures and feels a kinship with their plight. Flatters as Neyeuam is the older son who sees the wisdom of his father's orders but does make a mistake here and there. Once he is in fighting mode, it is easy to look at Flatters portrayal and think 'yep, he acts like the son of Jake Sully!'. Bliss as young Tuk is nothing short of adorable and loves adventure in any shape and form. She understands what is at stake with the family and comes very close a time or two of becoming a sad story in this tale but she is fiery and I love it. Weaver as daughter Kiri feels like the outsider of the Sully group (although I associate that with being a moody teenager) but discovers with the sea people that she has a gift. There is a story here that Weaver is trying to tell and I am sure there will be more answers in the next AVATAR installment.

Lang as Quaritch is back to his old tricks again. Trying to be a warrior for the sky people and the military, let's face it, the guy is just nuts. There are a few surprises in this film for him as well. Bass as Tsireya does not see a reason to be unsure about the Sully clan, in fact she embraces and teaches them quickly and with a smile. She fights with the Sully clan with heart, soul and wisdom and that's quite beautiful. Champion as Spider is a human boy who has lived with the Na'vi since he was born. Accepting their ways and being a part of the Sully clan is a bit confusing for him but he knows what's wrong and makes it clear he is not that person. Geljo as Aonung is a chiefs son and he behaves with all the problems that can come with that. Hey, Na'vi will be Na'vi! 

Cast also includes Joel David Moore as Norm, Jermaine Clement as Dr. Gavin, CCH Pounder as Mo'at, Brendan Cowell as Scoresby, Dileep Rao as Dr. Max Patel, Giovanni Ribisi as Parker Selfridge, and Edie Falco as General Ardmore.

AVATAR: The Way of Water comes flooding into theatres at almost three hours and thirteen years after the original AVATAR. That being said, you could easily cut out an hour and the film would be fine. There is a mish-mash of storytelling here and that began to lose my interest a bit. There are scenes that are just too darn long because personally, I don't need to watch 10-15 minutes of people torturing a sea animal, don't need to see 10 minutes of playing with sea creatures followed by a few minutes of soldiers making threats and then back to 10 more minutes of playing with sea creatures. I looked around at the audience and they were not comfortable sitting for that length of time in very uncomfortable seats AND it's not like you can stop the film to run to the facilities. Should have saved this long version for Bluray, just a suggestion. 

Cameron's reasoning behind the almost three hours is, "The goal is to tell an extremely compelling story on an emotional basis, I would say the emphasis in the new film is more on character, more on story, more on relationships, more on emotion. We didn't spend as much time on relationships and emotion in the first film as we do in the second film, and it's a longer film, because there's more characters to service. There is more story to service." 

All the scenes underwater are really pretty but the length is just unnecessary and I saw it in 3D. Not sure what Cameron is trying to prove with the time, other than spending an obscene amount of money totally around $400 million - that's M. Does he realize he could give 350 people a million dollars and still have 50 million left over to make a film? Just checking. The good news is that the characters returning to their original roles offered something comforting about seeing the film. I think Worthington, Saldana, Weaver and Lang are the films safety net although I do not think Weaver and Lang's story lines have a lot to offer other than a way to get butts in the seats at the next installment. 

It will do alright simply because there is not a lot in theatres right now so choices are limited and it's colorful. People are still wanting an escape and Cameron gives it to them while throwing in lessons about hurting sea creatures, bad guys do bad things and misunderstood teenagers who out of control (unfortunately that's my pet peeve in films, mouthy and whiny teenagers). This is a family film for sure but not for the small ones and only because of the time issue. It is a BIG tub of popcorn type of film that does not hold to many surprises but instead plants seeds for the next film. Hopefully not in 13 years.

In the end - they are a family!
Disney Brings a STRANGE WORLD

Jeri Jacquin

Currently streaming on Disney+ and coming to 4K, Bluray and DVD on February 14th from directors Don Hall, Qui Nguyen and Walt Disney Animated Studios comes a journey through a STRANGE WORLD. 

Jaeger Clade (Dennis Quaid) and son Searcher (Jake Gyllenhaal) are wilderness adventurers who want to get past a mountain that seems to elude them. On the way, Searcher makes his own discovery of a plant that is full of energy. When his father Jaeger wants to continue up the mountain, Searcher knows this is something important and he calls it Pando.

Upset at his son’s choice, Jaeger goes off on his own and is missing for twenty-five years. In that time, Searcher has a wife Meridian (Gabrielle Union) and son Ethan (Jaboukie Young-White) on their Pando farm. This gives energy to the town of Avalonia. Things are going well until one day Callisto Mal (Lucy Liu) arrives to let Searcher know that Pando is mysteriously losing its ability to produce power.

Gathering up an expedition of his own, Searcher discovers that Meridian, Ethan and their dog Legend has joined in the mission. Instead, they are attacked by creatures and end up in a world beneath their own but creatures aren’t the only thing lurking about. Searcher discovers his father Jaeger has been living in the strange world.

While grandfather gets to know grandson and father to son, the journey continues and what they discover at the end of the road is something that they could never have ever possibly imagined.  

Gyllenhaal voices Searcher, part of a father-son adventurer team who discovers something else of importance that leads to a split with his father. Raising his own family, he starts to feel his son pull away and it is distressing. Gyllenhaal gives much feeling to Searcher and when son meets grandfather, well, things get even more interesting.

Quaid as Jaeger fears nothing and when the family meets once again, he thinks it is a chance for more family adventures. Yet, there are issues that have to be resolved between father and son – even though there seems to be an instant connection between grandfather and grandson. It seems like Quaid has a good time voicing this character.

Young-White as Ethan fits well into the clan being a bit of an adventurer in his own right. Once the adventure begins, he has a chance to have his say in regards to their world and do everything possible to correct the imbalance. Union as Meridian is no stay-at-home Mom but an adventurer in her own right. She is also very strict and certainly takes a no-nonsense approach to it all. She will remind Moms everywhere that adventure is for everyone.

Liu as Callisto wants to find out what is happening in their world and is not going to let anything get in her way. She is a bit headstrong in a group of very head strong people but when the need arises, her skills are everything they need to get the job done. 

Other cast include Francesca Reale as Azimuth, Karan Soni as Caspian, Abraham Benrubi as Lonnie Redshirt, Jonathan Melo as Diazo, Nik Dodani as Kardez, Alan Tudyk as Duffle, and Adelina Anthony as Captain Pulk.

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment continues to bring quality programming to kids and kids at heart. Home of the most beloved animated features including SNOW WHITE, PINOCCHIO and SLEEPING BEAUTY to name a few is what keeps families coming back for more. To see what is currently available to add to your own family library please visit. www.movies.disney.com for their At Home titles!

Disney+ is the subscription home streaming entertainment with Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic and more. There are exclusive originals with new feature films, shows, short form content, documentaries, and actions series such as THE MANDALORIAN. For more information, please visit www.disneyplus.com.

Bonus Features include Anatomy of a Scene: Creating a Strange World, Strange Science, Creature Feature, The Hidden Secrets of STRANGE WORLD, Outtakes and Deleted Scenes. 

STRANGE WORLD takes on the issues of farming, energy sustainability, creatures great and small, family, love, adventure and forgiveness, acceptance and working together to make their world a better place. That is something I would expect from Disney in each of those forms melding into a story. The creatures are, as I would expect, very creative, funny, colorful and all things Disney. 

It is an enjoyable film and one that will lead to family conversations with the content of family, love and creating clean energy. Their world is stunning, of course, but also full of life lessons that are not far from our own and that is everything. 

In the end – journey to a place where nothing is as it appears!

It is the Return – Again, and Again of GROUNDHOG DAY

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to 4K Ultra HD and Limited Edition Steelbook from director Harold Ramis and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is the iconic film GROUNDHOG DAY.

Phil Connors (Bill Murray) is a television weatherman who has been sent to Punxsutawney to do a news spot on the Groundhog Day festivities. Before leaving he gives a weather report to viewers that a blizzard on the radar will miss Pennsylvania. Along with crew Rita Hanson (Andie MacDowell) and Larry (Chris Elliott) the cameraman, Connors makes it clear he is not happy with his assignment. 

Dripping with contempt for the town and its people, he makes it loud and clear that a new job is on his horizon. Staying at the Cherry Tree In, the alarm with I Got You Babe blaring, Phil begins his day reporting on Punxsutawney Phil. Happy to be leaving, the run straight into the blizzard that he reported would not happen. 

Forced to stay another night, Phil wakes up to the same song as the previous morning and quickly realizes he is suffering from some sort of déjà vu. Trying to leave town, he wakes up again, same time, same song and same place. Trying to discover what is happening, Phil goes through day after day trying something more destructive each time. 

Confiding in Rita, Phil discovers that he is beginning to care for her but with each day he has to find a creative way to re-introduce his feelings. After trying everything to get out of the town and doing everything destructively possible, Phil begins to change in ways even he didn’t think were possible.

Phil becomes the new talk of the town and Rita is shocked! Finding his niche in the quaint little town – will he ever make it to the real ‘next day’?

Murray as Connors is everything about this film that makes it so iconic. He is grumpy, mean spirited, narcissistic, self-centered, and it works beautifully in his hands. Molding it into this character of Phil Connors, Murray not only delivers lines with perfection but his facial features are hilarious to the point of tears. Beginning with his utter distain for humanity, to a groundhog stealing crazy man to a piano playing life saver, Murray gives us each moment of enjoyment. 

MacDowell as Rita has the ability to understand that nothing about Phil is going to change. He is who he is and she wants to wrap up the business in the cute town as quickly as Phil does but for seriously different reasons. As the days happen again and again, Rita starts to see a crazier side of Phil than one could have ever imagined and eventually see that something in him has changed. MacDowell is so sweet and charming from beginning to end. 

Elliot as Larry brings his own brand of comedy as a guy who just can not seem to catch a break in work or in the potential for love. Elliott is uncomfortable in his own skin and it permeates to anyone that stands within five feet of him. That being said, he is still very funny and a joy to watch. 

Shout out to Tobolowsky as Ned Ryerson, a character actor who, in this film, just shows up and never gets it. I know people like that!

Other cast include Stephen Tobolowsky as Ned Ryerson, Rick Ducommun as Gus, Robin Duke as Doris, Rick Overton as Ralph, Hynden Walch as Debbie, Michael Shannon as Fred, Les Podewell as homeless man, David Pasquesi as the psychiatrist, Willie Garson as Kenny, Richard Henzel as Rob Riley Radio host, Marita Geraghty as Nancy Taylor and real-life brother Brian Doyle-Murray as Buster Green. Let us not forget Scooter the groundhog playing Punxsutawney Phil.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment encompasses motion picture production for television, digital content and theater releases. The studios include Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems, TriStar Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation, Stage 6 Films and Sony Picture Classics. To see what is coming to theaters and to home entertainment please visit www.sonypictures.com.

Bonus Material include Feature Presented in 4K Resolution with Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos Audio and Channel Surround, Theatrical trailer. On Bluray the Features include Feature Presentation in High Definition, Dolby True Audio, Audio Commentary with Director Harold Ramis, Needle Nose Ned’s Picture-in-Picture Track, A Different Day: An Interview with Harold Ramis, The Weight of Time Documentary, The Study of Groundhogs: A Real-Life Look at Marmots and Deleted Scenes. 

This 1993 film has so many memorable scenes and repeatable lines that our household will make it generational. GROUNDHOG DAY is one of those films that if you happen to be channel surfing and it shows up – you stop and watch it till the very end. It does not matter if the film has just started or there is only 10 minutes left – you watch. It is that iconic and made such an impact on everyone who saw it that year and Ramis directed a classic.

In our family, the line is “don’t drive angry, DON’T DRIVE ANGRY” and it cracks us up every time (if you don’t know then you don’t know so watch and KNOW). The other important thing about the film is that it makes one think – what would I do if a day kept repeating itself. Seriously? You can only nap so much, watch tv so much, eat so much – all especially since it has no effect on the day because there is no next day.

Okay, I think I might have just put myself in overthink so instead I’m going to re-watch GROUNDHOG DAY, which I’ve probably seen more times than Phil Connors actually woke up stuck. 

In the end – what would you do if you were stuck in the same day… over and over?

The True Story of SHE SAID

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray from director Maria Schrader and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is the true story of women fighting for justice with SHE SAID.

It is 2017 and Jodi Kantor (Zoe Kazan) is a reporter for the New York Times who receives a message from actress Rose McGowan. She tells about a sexual assault by the very famous Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein Mike Houston). She also learns that more actresses, Ashley Judd and Gwyneth Paltrow talk to Jodi but don’t want to be named in the article. 

Constantly being told not to name names, Jodi becomes frustrated and reaches out to reporter Megan Twohey (Carey Mulligan) for help. Now Megan begins to track down women who might have worked with Weinstein and one women she finds is afraid to talk because of an NDA she signed. Meanwhile, Jodi is confronting Miramax about payouts to accusers.

Finally, three women, Rowena Chiu (Angela Yeoh), Zelda Perkins (Samantha Morton) and Laura Madden (Jennifer Ehle) begin to slowly tell their stories as they are able. When Weinstein learns about what is happening, the war between he, the women along with Jodi and Megan begins. The more they dig, the dirtier it all gets but Jodi and Megan are not going to stop until everything is exposed. 

Mulligan as Twohey is a woman who is trying to juggle her life as a reporter for the New York Times and becoming a new mother and all that emotionally entails. Meeting up with Kantor, she begins to come out of her depression finding purpose in her work once again. Discovering that the story needs both women, Mulligan gives her character the strength to hear the worst a woman could. Mulligan is amazing!

Kazan as Kantor is not about to let anything stand in the way of making sure Weinstein’s abhorrent behavior is brought to the forefront and he is held accountable. Kazan gives her character the determination one would expect from a journalist who discovers that it is all so much more horrifying than she could have imagined. Kazan is stunning in this role.

Shout out to Patricia Clarkson as Corbett giving her character the strength to say ‘we are going to do this!’ and giving an impeccable performance and Andre Braugher portraying a no-nonsense boss who, with Corbett, want to make sure that the story is done right.

Cast also includes Zach Grenier as Irwin Reiter, Peter Friedman as Lanny Davis, Emily Steel as Sarah Ann Masse as Emily Steel, Lola Petticrew as young Laura, Molly Windsor as young Zelda, Tom Pelphrey as Jim Rutman, Frank Wood as Matt Purdy, Anastasia Barzee as Lisa Bloom, Sean Cullen as Lance Maerov, Adam Shapiro as Ron Lieber, Patricia Clarkson as Rebecca Corbett and Andre Braugher as Dean Baquet. Also, Gwyneth Paltrow’s voice and Ashley Judd as herself. 

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has just added an amazing film to their library and making it available for us to all experience and re-experience in our own home theaters. There are films of every genre available from scary to drama to family films. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.uphe.com.

MOVIES ANYWHERE gives viewers the ability to download the Movies Anywhere App. With that you can view films by downloading or streaming to your favorite device using a Digital Code. For more information on Movies Anywhere please visit www.MoviesAnywhere.com.

Exclusive Bonus Features on Bluray, DVD and Digital include Breaking the Story – As exclusive behind the scenes featurette with Journalists Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor that recounts what it took for them to break this incredible true story and Theatrical Trailer. 

SHE SAID is a powerful film regarding the treatment of women by men in power. It reiterates what is happening in the world time and time again by men who, somehow, believe that they have the right to do whatever they want with no consequences. What they leave behind is a trail of women who had/have their lives destroyed for the rest of their lives.

Weinstein becomes trapped in his own criminal behaviors with rage, narcissism and the belief that his accusers are lying and that the journalists are trying to ruin him. Kantor and Twohey are not going to let lawyers or Weinstein or anyone else get in the way of finding justice for the women who’s lives he has ruined.

When the women start to discover their voices once again, it is clear that the power of those voices can push through any wall of deceit that their accuser continually tries to build. It is powerful as one by one the story is told and justice is finally being served so all the women can find healing.

In the end – it is the story behind the headlines!


Apple TV Brings Answers to the Final Season of SERVANT

Jeri Jacquin

Streaming on AppleTV+ tomorrow from M. Knight Shyamalan is the conclusion to the twisted and complicated series SERVANT.

Leanne (Nell Tiger Free) is decorating the house in anticipation of the return of Dorothy Turner (Lauren Ambrose). After her accident, it is time for Dorothy to return home to work on recovery and being home with son Jericho.

Husband Sean (Toby Kebbell) realizes there is a disconnect between he and Dorothy. He has his highly successful cooking show but it is on the back burner to the chaos in his home. Wanting to be there for his wife, she is distant and untrusting of him. Brother Julian (Rupert Grint) is wary of everything and even having problems in his relationship with Leanne.

There is something outside the brownstone that is determined to get Leanne back into the fold. Attack after attack, she manages to keep them at bay. When Dorothy returns, there is animosity between the two women that Leanne can not seem to grasp. Dorothy is determined to get well and calls on two women Bobbie (Barbara Kingsley) and Bev (Denny Dillon) to care for her.

Leanne is starting to unravel and everyone in the house sees it – especially Julian. As Bobbie and Bev make their mark on the Turner household, Leanne makes it clear that she is not happy with what is happening and it must be said, when Leanne isn’t happy bad things begin to happen.

As if they already haven’t been happening.

Ambrose as Dorothy is a woman who is clearly on the warpath. She may not be able to physically get to Leanne but she sure knows how to play the game. There are concessions to be made where Jericho is concerned but Dorothy is going to have her way. Ambrose has always given such complexity to the role of Dorothy and it has been mind boggling and delightful all at the same time. Keeping it together mentally was worth watching every moment of, now it’s time to see what Ambrose does physically with Dorothy and I’m all in. Well done!

Free as Leanne has gone from a sweet, loving, caring – oh wait, that was only in the first few episodes. Clearly this character begins to come into her own and discovers that she has something that other people want. Trying to stay away from those who would keep her captive, she makes a place for herself with the Turner family. The problem is that they are starting to question whether she truly does have a place. Free is absolutely stunning as Leanne and I have thoroughly enjoyed watching her embrace and take this role in places I didn’t see coming. 

Kebbell as Sean is dealing with his own personal guilt. Constantly being pulled from Dorothy to Leanne and back again, I’m surprised he doesn’t have whiplash from the first three seasons. Now, with Dorothy literally down in the dumps, he might find a way to get back to her with the help of two little old ladies and a bit of ‘chef’ing. Kebbell has shown his character to be a bit of a narcissist and self-centered, but in this season, Kebbell has to show contrition with Sean and I have no doubt in my mind that will lead to choosing between Leanne and Dorothy for the fight of their lives.

Grint as Julian has, through these seasons, been the reason I laugh, a lot of jaw dropping and wondering what part his character will play in this last season. Right now he is shagging the nanny as it were but there is a price to pay for playing with crazy. I have so enjoyed watching the subtle and not so subtle changes in Julian and Grint is the reason for it. Come hell or high insanity, Grint’s portrayal of Julian is there in the thick of it and even if he doesn’t understand anything or everything, he doesn’t hesitate to talk about it. 
Shout out to Kingsley and Dillon for being the new gals in town. They bring their own brand of crazy that I kind of like. Moving into the Turner home isn’t a cake walk (chef pun intended) but these two women aren’t about to let anyone in the house push them around or stop them from helping Dorothy get well. That is making Leanne crazy!

Other cast include Tony Revolori as Tobe, Molly Griggs as Isabelle, and Todd Waring as Frank Pearce. 

Apple+ is a video on demand web television that debuted in 2019. Viewable through Apple’s TV app, CEO Tim Cook wanted original content calling it “a great opportunity for us from a creation point of view”. From THE MORNING SHOW to TRYING and THE BANKER and Jason Momoa in SEE, there is plenty of choices for everyone. Plenty of genres? That is exactly what they are bringing to viewers and to see more of what they have to offer please visit www.apple.com/tv/.
SERVANT has been a series I could not stop watching, so much so that I have watched it twice to look for any clues as to where the story might be going. Honestly, I don’t think I wanted to know everything because it ruins the startling surprises and twists that are thrown into each thirty minute episode.

Yes, the thirty minutes never seems enough time but that’s the brilliance of SERVANT. Those thirty minutes are jam packed full of story telling and when the credits roll, I can guarantee you that those watching are practically throwing things at their television screens. To me, that is awesome!

This cast has brought four seasons of intensity, laughter, head smacks, and no denying a lot of ‘wtf’s along with way. Shyamalan, along with creator Tony Basgallop, have brought something unique and a bit mind blowing to Appletv+. But all good things must come to an end whether we like it or not right? It has been one heck of a unique wild ride!

Gawd what a great show.

It is all About Living

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from director Oliver Hermanus and Sony Picture Classics is the story of coming to life to learn about LIVING.

Mr. Williams (Bill Nighy) is a quiet man living in the 1950’s working in a bureaucratic role. Once a week he would take time to go see a film at the local cinema but life becomes awakened when it is discovered that Mr. Williams is ill. 

Also, in the office working with Mr. Williams is Miss Margaret Harris (Aimee Lou Wood), a young woman who sees that moving ahead is not going to work so she decides to move on. The only thing stopping her is needing a reference from her boss Mr. Williams who seems to be absent from work.

Mr. Williams discovers that there is a life outside the office and away from the son Michael who means well. There is song, drink and discovering that sharing feelings with someone else is never too late to experience. It is in this grand opportunity of opening up does Mr. Williams discover what he has been afraid of, what he has been missing and the chance to embrace the time left of his life.

Nighy as Mr. Williams is so charming, eloquent and poignant in this role. He is a man that has been stuck in one place to the point of not even realizing it until the word ‘terminal’ is put into his life. Confused about what to do and how to feel, life shows Mr. Williams a path he never expects to be on and it is subtly beautiful in the hands of Nighy. Honestly, I’d expect nothing less from this fine actor. 

Wood as Miss Harris is equally charming in that she gets to see a different Mr. Williams than everyone else gets to see. She wants to find her own place in the world and once she enters the into his new open world, she also sees the possibilities herself. Wood is the life breeze in a room full of stale air.

Other cast include Barney Fishwick as Michael Williams, Nichola McAuliffe as Mrs. Blake, Patsy Ferran as Fiona Williams, Jessica Flood as Mrs. Porter, Anant Varman as Mr. Singh, Lia Williams as Mrs. Smith, Zoe Boyle as Mrs. McMasters, Adrian Rawlins as Mr. Middleton, Oliver Chris as Mr. Hart, Michael Cochrane as Sir James, Hubert Burton as Mr. Rusbridger, and Alex Sharp as Mr. Peter Wakeling. 

Sony Pictures Classics brings television, digital content, new entertainment services, independent films and technologies to viewers. Such films as GREED, THE BURNT ORANGE HERESY, THE CLIMB, CHARM CITY KINGS, I CARRY YOU WITH ME and THE FATHER are just a few of the current and upcoming releases. For more information on what Sony Pictures Classics has to offer please visit www.sonyclassics.com.  

LIVING is actually a remake of IKIRU written by novelist and Nobel Laureate Akira Kurosawa. It is the story of postwar Japan and a family moving from Nagasaki to England and their struggle to rebuild their lives after war. 

The film has always been given nods from the Hollywood Music in Media Awards, British Independent Film Awards, National Board of Review, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, Chicago Film Critics Association, Dallas-Ford Worth Film Critics Association, Alliance of Women Film Journalists, National Society of Film Critics, San Francisco Bay Area Film Critics Circle, Critics’ Choice Movie Awards, London Film Critics’ Circle, Satellite Awards and Golden Globe Awards. 

LIVING moves slowly and deliberately in the life of Mr. Williams. He has one final chance to feel, live, remember and explore the possibilities of life. He sees the opportunities to be something more, anything more than he has been and Nighy lights up the screen with his blossoming portrayal of this man.

Director Hermanus keeps the story so simple and that keeps my eye on Mr. Williams’ exploration. It gives the viewer pause when Nighy speaks bringing a reaction of thoughtfulness and awakening to the reasons for having a purpose in this life. It is a marvel and beauty to see and experience this film. 

In the end – an ordinary man discovers the extraordinary key to life!


THE SON

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from writer/director Florian Zeiller and Sony Picture Classics is the story of struggle, pain and remembering THE SON.

Nicholas (Zen McGrath) is a seventeen-year-old kid who is struggling with his life. Living with Mom Kate (Laura Dern), he expresses that he can no longer live with her and she does not understand why. Turning to dad Peter (Hugh Jackman) and new wife Beth (Vanessa Kirby), he asks to live with them and his new baby brother.

Promising to attend school, go to therapy and do whatever his father asks, it seems that Nicholas is on the right path. Peter is thrilled to see his son doing so well, especially since his job keeps him away. But someone is noticing things aren’t quite right, Beth tries to speak with Peter about what she is sensing but Peter isn’t convinced.

Peter visits his father Anthony (Anthony Hopkins) and revisits old issues but Dad is not hearing it. Instead, he is making it clear that it is ridiculous that Peter lives in the past and holds resentments toward him. Returning home, Peter discovers that Nicholas has not been keeping his promises and a spiral sends the whole family into a place no family wants too ever be.

Jackman as Peter is a man torn between two families. Being consistently reminded of the breakup of his first family from both Nicholas and Kate, Peter is trying to do better the second time around. Jackman puts on a brave front for both families and believes that Nicholas will pull out of whatever is bothering him. Jackman’s performance is one of a man who can not bring him self to see the reality of what is happening around him.

Dern as Kate clearly does not know where to put her feelings. Still speaking of a life that no longer applies, it is a constant reminder to her son of what he feels he has lost. Dern is weepy and needy which makes the relationship with Peter awkwardly uncomfortable for anyone seeing it. That does not mean she doesn’t see what is happening with Nicholas but is equally confused about what to do as Peter. Dern turns on the needy and weepy full force.

McGrath as Nicholas is a young man who makes it clear that he does not feel like he fits in, has no friends and sees school as torture. Normally, if I saw this in a teen, I would make immediate calls and not stop until it was handled properly. Unfortunately, what I see in the character of Nicholas is a raging teen that seems more like he is throwing fits than crying for help. I do not believe that is what the director intended. 

Kirby as Beth seems to be the only one who understands what is happening between the two families. Trying to bring it to Peter’s attention, she is reminding him that he is repeating neglecting his second family. She also understands far better what Nicholas is doing.

Other cast include William Hope as Andrew, Joseph Mydell as Brian, Erick Hayden as Allan, Isaura Barbe-Brown as Sophia, Akie Kotabe as Mr. Yama, Shin-Fei Chen as Alexandra, Danielle Lewis as Jessica and George Cobell as young Nicholas. 

Sony Pictures Classics brings television, digital content, new entertainment services, independent films and technologies to viewers. Such films as GREED, THE BURNT ORANGE HERESY, THE CLIMB, CHARM CITY KINGS, I CARRY YOU WITH ME and THE FATHER are just a few of the current and upcoming releases. For more information on what Sony Pictures Classics has to offer please visit www.sonyclassics.com.  

The accolades include nominations from the Venice International Film Festival, Satellite Awards and the Golden Globe Awards nomination for Hugh Jackman for Best Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama. 

THE SON is a story of two families struggling with the issues of a teen who is living with his own whirlwind of insecurities and uncertainties. Those issues for a young person are serious, require immediate attention and ability to have available resources without a ‘waiting’ list. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.

The film also brings to the forefront the issue of parents who believe they can solve a problem that is not in their wheel house. As a parent I can say it is difficult when your child needs something that you can not provide, but then again, if there is someone who can you can believe I’d get my kid to them. 

I found the characters of Peter and Kate just so clearly in denial of everything. Their own lives, their unresolved issues, and their inability to admit to practically anything that has happened between them and the issues about Nicholas. They seemed more concerned about optics than solving the problem.

Then again, that’s just the opinion of someone who raised four kids.

In the end – family is complicated and love even more so.

ALICE, DARLING

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from director Mary Nighy and Lionsgate is the story of losing one’s self in love with ALICE, DARLING.

Alice (Anna Kendrick) is a very busy working woman who is in love with boyfriend Simon (Charlie Carrick). Planning a girl-getaway birthday are friends Tess (Kaniehtiio Horn) and Sophie (Wunmi Mosaku). Struggling to find a way to please both Simon and the girls, Alice makes an excuse to be away for a week.

Staying at a beautiful lake side cabin, Alice can not seem to find peace. Instead, she is struggling with her friendships and can not stay away from her phone for more than a few minutes. Tess and Sophie notice immediately that something is not right with their friend. Trying to talk with her about it only causes even more strain in their relationships.

Alice tries to lose herself by helping the townsfolk with a missing person. Spending her day wandering through the forest keeps her from dealing with the reality. Tess isn’t about to let it ride and Alice finally lets out what is trapping her true self – a possessive boyfriend and the fear that it has brought to her life.

Then Simon shows up.

Kendrick as Alice gives the right performance here. She has the unique ability to be sarcastic and all the same time be so vulnerable. The comfortability with her friends is angst palpable which hides her fears and anxiety of her life. When Alice does have a chance to let loose, Kendrick embraces that freedom but it is only brief. This is an interesting character for Kendrick, I do wish it had been explored more as it felt mere surface.

Mosaku as Sophie is trying to keep the girls from going off on each other while also having a wonderful mini- vacation. She also knows something is wrong with Alice but is not sure how to handle it. Once she realizes the depth of Alice’s pain, she also knows what needs to happen and is there for her friend. Mosaku is straight forward as much as Horn and that’s everything.

Horn as Tess seems to be the thorn in Alice’s side and she knows it. Trying to reach her friend is proving difficult but Tess is not a push over. Horn is strong and does not take any nonsense and equally shocked to hear the struggles Alice has been going through. Now her guard is up and her eyes are giving off Mama Bear vibes when Simon shows up. Horn is the friend we all want but are a little bit afraid of – always a good thing. 

Carrick as Simon is portrayed in a way that would make every person watching know that he has one goal – total possession of Alice in every way, shape and form. Carrick gives us the charming, smiling, attentive and ‘loving’ boyfriend but each move Simon makes deliberate and with purpose. Well done.

Lionsgate is a global leader in motion picture production and distribution for theatres, television, home entertainment and more. Theatre franchises include THE HUNGER GAMES, and DIVERGENT along with JOHN WICK. Now, adding this film to its 16,000-motion picture and television titles you can see everything coming soon as well as available now at http://www.lionsgate.com.

ALICE, DARLING has been nominated by the CMPA IndieScreen Awards and nominated with the Jordan Ressler First Feature Award for director Mary Nighy.

This film addresses the issue of one person doing a job controlling every aspect of another person’s life. That being said, I truly wish they would have delved deeper into that issue without the side story of a missing girl which really doesn’t play itself out and seems more a distraction. Watching Kendrick portray this struggling young woman is painful to watch at moments.

When Kendricks’ Alice finally talks about what she is going through, Mosaku and Horn are all in with their friend. Knowing something is wrong and finally discovering what it is, neither woman could have guessed it but know how to stop it even if Alice can’t. 

In the end – sometimes the hardest thing to see is the truth!

80 FOR BRADY 

is inspired by the true story of four best friends living life to the fullest when they take a wild trip to the 2017 Super Bowl LI to see their hero Tom Brady play. Starring Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Rita Moreno, and Sally Field, with 7-time Super Bowl Champion and producer Tom Brady.

Tuesday, January 31
7:00 PM
Edwards Mira Mesa
San Diego, CA 

Want to be the first to see it? Well, we can make that happen, go to https://gofobo.com/80ForMP and get your tickets!
Friendships are about to get even FURRIER on Sesame Street! Elmo adopted a puppy named Tango. Meet Elmo's music-loving, smart, and energetic puppy and even more of his paw-fect furry friends in the neighborhood.

Elmo & Tango 
Furry Friends Forever

Furry Friends Forever gives children a look at meeting a new animal, taking care of a pet and having fun with your new best friend through music, laughter and fun. The adorable friends are joined by special celebrity guests Keke Palmer, Kacey Musgraves and John Batiste.

We have a few copies to giveaway so get your Elmo on by emailing
hellomoviemaven@aol.com
with ELMO in the subject line along with your name and address.