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LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL Comes to Steelbook

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to a Limited Edition Steelbook from writer/director Luc Besson AND Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is the 1995 film LEON: The Professional.

Leon (Jean Reno) is a hitman living the quiet life in a New York City apartment building and occasionally called upon by a man named Old Tony (Danny Aiello). Down the hall is the Lando family who are about to have the DEA knocking down their door lead by Norman Stansfield (Gary Oldman). Coming back from the store is Mathilda (Natalie Portman), a 12-year-old girl who realizes what is happening in her family in the apartment and walks past.

Knocking on Leon’s door, she wants to be let in which he does. Mathilda is realizing what Leon does and begs him to teach her how to be a hitman. Her goal is to take revenge for the death of her family. A deal is struck that Leon teaches her the ‘hitman’ ropes and she takes care of the apartment. It seems the perfect solution and quickly the two form a strange bond.

That is until Leon is sent on an assignment by Old Tony and Mathilda takes it upon herself to grab a few weapons and look for Stansfield. It is not long before Stansfield is in her sites, but Leon has other plans for his men. Now He wants Leon and the only person that can give him that information is Tony.

Leon knows that he must do more to protect Mathilda, especially when he realizes that Stansfield isn’t about to let what happen go without repercussions. Telling the young girl to go to Tony as the explosions and gunfire break out in the apartment building, Leon has one more surprise in store for Stansfield. 

Mathilda now must try and start a new life which includes heading back to school giving up her dream of being a hitman!

Reno as Leon could not have been any more perfect for this role if he tried. Giving the air of a man who wants to be left to himself, Reno gives us that and a lot more. There is a sense of danger to him of course and his facial expressions are frozen but in those eyes are something completely different. The first time I saw Reno was in the 1990 film LE FEMME NIKITA as the cleaner Victor, so I suppose that was a practice run for Leon. 

Portland as the young Mathilda is a girl who has seen much in her young life. An abusive father starts her down the road of rage and a trip to the store keeps her from experiencing the same fate as her family. Destroyed but it, she sees a chance for revenge, especially when you have a hitman living practically right next door. She is smart and sassy and yet, like Leon, her eyes betray what is really going on inside her. A difficult performance for a young girl but Portland made is look easy.

Oldman as Stansfield has the opportunity to be as bad as he wants his character to be. That’s the thing about Oldman, one role he can be the sleaziest bad guy out there and the next he can be the best of a good guy. His career is filled with such a vast array of characters (okay, DRACULA is my favorite followed by THE FIFTH ELEMENT as I love seeing unusual roles) and I never would have imagined him as Commissioner Gordon in the BATMAN films but there he was on the screen, doing it to perfection. As Stansfield he is the worst of the bad guys and I loved every moment of it.

Aiello as Tony has a history with Leon since he was practically a boy and there definetly was schooling of a different kind for him. Aiello is another actor that has left an indelible impression on my movie going heart and seeing him once again as Tony reminded me of why that it.

Other cast include Peter Appel, Michael Badalucco, Ellen Greene, Joseph Malerba, Maiwenn, George Martin, Jean-Hugues Anglade and Keith A. Glascoe as Benny. 

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.

The Bluray Special Features include Cast and Crew Look Back, Jean Reno: The Road to Leon, Natalie Portman: Starting Young, Fact Track (Extended Version) and Theatrical Trailer. Both the 4K Ultra H and Bluray include both theatrical and extended version of the film. 

Having the Steelbook of LEON: The Profession is cooler than anything with fantastic artwork on the outside, especially the back with a very vulnerable looking young Portman. Inside are the two discs that are tucked nicely into the book making sure nothing happens to one of the most fantastic films made by writer/director Besson. 

Tis the season so ask Santa to stuff your stocking with a Steelbook to remember.

In the end – if you want the job done right hire a professional!



He is an HONEST THIEF

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray/DVD and Digital from director Mark Williams and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is the story of an HONEST THIEF.

Tom Dolan (Liam Neeson) is looking for a storage unit when he is taken with Annie Wilkins (Kate Walsh). A year later they are still going strong, but something is bothering Tom. He has a past that he’s trying to steer clear of, but Tom knows it is time to face it.

Calling Sam Baker (Robert Patrick) at the FBI, he confesses to a crime and makes certain requests when they come and get him. Waiting and waiting, he calls again and speaks to Baker’s partner Sean Meyers (Jeffrey Donovan) who passes the file down to John Nivens (Jai Courtney) and partner Ramon Hall (Anthony Ramos) to follow up on.

When they get to Tom’s hotel room, they hear his story and go to check it out. Finding that the story is true, Meyers and Hall hatch a plan of their own and their boss is caught in the crossfire. Tom realizes that instead of clearing his life, things just got more complicated and Annie could be in danger.

That is when Tom decides that no one is going to hurt the woman he loves or get away with taking his chance of a life.

He is determined.

Neeson as Dolan is a man who has done something illegal and knows that the time is coming to face it. When he does, it is because a woman has come into his life and he does not want to go one step further without clearing everything up. As an action star, Neeson has proven himself time and time again and with good films being hard to come by, HONEST THIEF is 99 minutes of a straight story with solid action and Neeson carries it well.

Walsh as Annie is a woman who embraces her relationship with Tom. Not knowing about his past is what is going to cause her to be in danger. Once she knows what is happening, she does not hesitate to stand by her man. Patrick as Baker is not thrilled with Tom’s continual phone calls wanting to confess and his first mistake is passing off the file. It is nice to see Patrick in the film.

Courtney as Nivens is a cop who is as bad as he wants to be. Not seeing an issue with the problems, he and partner Hall keep creating, he continues to take it one step further than it needs to go. Courtney has the ability to give bad all the badness it needs. Ramos as Hall is Nivens partner that has every opportunity to stop what is coming but instead falls is swayed by fear.

Donovan as Meyers is a cop who is furious about Baker and wants Dolan found, and found immediately. When he finally has a chance to meet Dolan, he realizes something is not right with everything that is happening. Donovan can do both a good and bad character and I like his ability to do both extremely well.
Other cast include and Beth Hall as Jasmine, Lewis Wheeler as ER Doc, Jose Alves as Jose, Patty O’Neil as Sharon and Tazzie as Tazzie.

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.

HONEST THIEF is a wild ride of a story that does not let up from start to finish. The plot is not complicated, but it is fun to watch unravel. Neeson continues his roles as a man looking for redemption but there is always someone in his way. That means he is going to make it clear that no one is going to get away without paying a price.

As I said, this is a 99-minute thrill ride that is a nice break from the world around us and a fun way to bring in the New Year. So, buckle up and remember Dolan isn’t about to sit around and let someone else dictate his past sins!

In the end – never steal a man’s second chance!


A Volcano Brings ASHFALL

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on Bluray from directors Lee Hae-jun, Kim Byung-seo, Capelight and MPI Media Group comes a disaster ticking away to ASHFALL.

On the border of China and North Korea is a volcano known as Mt. Paektu. When it begins to rumble, there are several destructive earthquakes that follow and felt all the way to the Korean peninsula. Professor Kang (Ma Dong-seok) has a plan that could stop any more destruction. 

Jo In-Chang (Ha Jung-woo) is told he would be going on a special mission and as an incentive, his pregnant wife Choi (Bae Suzy) would be allowed to leave with special permission. He would also be able to join her after the mission is complete. The mission is to free Lee Joon-pyeong (Lee Byung-hun), a double agent for the Korean People’s Army and in a North Korean prison.

After releasing Lee, In-Chang and his group are ordered to get uranium from a nuclear missile and take it to a mine closest to Mt. Paektu. Lee proves to be a problem when he makes it constantly difficult to get the job done. Lee has plans of his own which include finding his young daughter and make a deal with gangsters for the uranium. The Americans try and intervene as well, but In-Chang has one goal – to get to his wife.

In-chang manages to keep the gangsters as well as the Americans at bay and prepares to get to the mine but this time, Lee makes it clear he is going as well. The two men know that they may die in the process of saving millions of lives.

Jung-woo as In-Chang has been thrust into the leadership role once the accident of those in charge happens. Doing all of this so his pregnant wife will be safe, he takes his roll as seriously as he can. Not happy with the antics of Lee does not help but also does not stop him from his goal, saving lives. Jung-woo is a strong character who has minor moments where he is not sure how this is all suppose to play out. I actually thought his constant thought of his wife and child made him a hero in my eyes.  

Byung-hun as Lee is a man in jail who does not seem to have a conscience about any of it. Getting out of prison is only the beginning and helping his rescuers isn’t part of his bigger plan. Tracking him down once he escapes, the conflict between Lee and In-Chang gets even more tension filled. The obvious thing is that they both have a moment of the same goals; they just don’t know it until its too late. Lee is a smart ass and slippery but then again, he does it so darn well!

Suzy as Choi supports her husband doing the mission in exchange for their ability to be together and wait for their child to be born. As the clock ticks down, she must get to the air base where In-Chang planned to meet her. I give Choi serious props for her moment on the bridge because that was intense! Dong-seok as Professor Kang is keeping an eye on the volcano but as the plans begin to fall apart and the Americans move in, he takes it upon himself to pack up and go. That is until he meets someone on the bus and realizes that he is not finished yet. 
Other cast include Jeon Hye-jin as Jeon Yoo-kyung, Jeon Do-yeon as Sun-hwa, Ja-Yeon Ok as Sgt. Min, Kyeong-yeong Lee as General Choi, Jo Han-Chul as the Colonel, Kwang-il Choi as the President and Robert Curtis Brown as Ambassador Wilson. 

MPI Media Group is one of the largest independent entertainment companies with a compelling slate of the world’s most respected cinema, documentaries, performances and television programs. Films such as THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL and THE INKEEPERS and STAKE LAND brings original talent and projects to a vibrant slate. 

Capelight Pictures has brought THE MAN STANDING NEXT, SECRET ZOO and the Russian sci-fi movie ATRRACTION. Their first theatrical release in the US market is the Korean film ASHFALL.

ASHFALL is a big disaster film with a mixture of the good guys and the bad guys but who is really who? I am a big fan of disaster films so anything that blows up and keeps people on the move works for me. This fits the bill beautifully.

The tension is there absolutely as everything that could go wrong does go wrong but it does not stop the characters from doing what they need to. The total idea of saving millions instead of the one runs throughout the story and the special effects are pretty darn cool as well.

In the end – they will do what it takes to get the job done!

THE CLOSET Opens Up on Bluray

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Digital Platforms and DVD from writer/director Kwang-bin Kim, Cape Light Pictures and Dark Sky Films.  

Sang-Won (Jung-woo Ha) is dealing with the loss of his beloved wife and raising their young daughter Yi-Na (Yool Heo). Living in a secluded house in the woods, Sang-Won keeps himself busy with work and trying to keep his job. This leave Yi-Na to try and understand everything that has happened and with a father that seems to be pulling away. 

One gray day, Yi-Na realizes there is something in her closet, something that is reaching out to her. In seconds, she is gone! Sang-Won tries everything he can to understand where his daughter has gone and can get no one to listen.

That is until Kyeong Hoon (Nam-gil Kim) comes into the picture. He tells Sang Won what has happened and where his daughter has gone. At first, he does not believe the unusual and mysterious man – until he becomes wrapped up in the thing that has his daughter. This isn’t the first time evil has come calling and if they don’t stop it, Yi Na won’t be the last child taken!

Ha as Sang Won plays into the storyline brilliantly. Dealing with the death of his wife, he seems to forget that there is a little girl that is also suffering and grieving. It is not until she is missing does Ha realize that his life means nothing without the little girl in it. Ha plays a man who does not believe until, like most believers, he sees for himself. Well done and well played!

Heo as Yi Na is amazing considering she is such a young girl playing in a film that asks a lot emotionally from her. Of course, she is adorable as well! She has the remarkable ability to say so much with her expression and that is important when most of us know that kids are not always forthcoming with their frightening emotions. 

Kim as Kyeong is quite cool even though you get the feeling from the first that he is a little full of himself. Deep into the world of mythology and parapsychology, he has gadgets that are going to prove to Sang Won who has his daughter and what it is going to take to bring her back to the world of the living. I enjoyed Kim’s performance even to the last frame.

Other cast include Si-ah Kim as Myung Jin, Soo-jin Kim as Myung Jin’s Mother, Hyun Been Shin as Seung Hee and Park Sung-Woong as Myung Jinn’s Father. 

Capelight Pictures has brought THE MAN STANDING NEXT, SECRET ZOO and the Russian sci-fi movie ATRRACTION. Their first theatrical release in the US market is the Korean film ASHFALL.

MPI Media Group is one of the largest independent entertainment companies with a compelling slate of the world’s most respected cinema, documentaries, performances and television programs along with Dark Sky Films. Films such as THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL and THE INKEEPERS and STAKE LAND brings original talent and projects to a vibrant slate.

THE CLOSET is the perfect thriller with the lights out and the family gathered around to experience terror of another kind. I am a fan of films that do not use blood and guts to tell a good scary yarn. This one does it clean, straight forward and does not mess about. Instead, it has the perfect jumps and jaw drops to keep the suspense going until the FILM is darn good and ready to let us go. 

Thanks to director Kwang-bin Kim, THE CLOSET is beautifully presented, the cinematography and special effects give the film such authenticity for the creepy factor. The casting is excellent, and I honestly cannot wait to see the film again. 

In the end – it is calling you!

GREENLAND: A Talk with Director Ric Roman Waugh

Jeri Jacquin

Ric Roman Waugh has made a name for himself being as diverse as Hollywood itself. His resume reads from the ground up as a former stuntman, to writer, producer and film director. His first film IN THE SHADOWS (2001) was followed by FELON in 2008. Waugh wrote and directed ANGEL HAS FALLEN in 2019 and is not finished with the franchise. 

Now, pairing back with Gerard Butler, Waugh has taken disaster one step further by bringing a story that branches out to how it not only affects the Garrity family but those around then. I had the opportunity to talk to Waugh about what drew him to the film and his belief in the military and those who serve. 

Jeri: Hi Ric, how are you?

Ric: When I am doing anything with the military then I am good to go.

Jeri: That is so generous of you to say. 

Ric: Thank you.

Jeri: First, what drew you to this film in particular?

Ric: I wanted to do something in the disaster/sci-fi/horror space, but I did not want to do it just about the event. I wanted to do it from the inside out, I wanted a more personal version. If you think about WAR OF THE WORLDS or A QUIET PLACE or CHILDREN OF MEN, we wanted to do more of it. When I read GREENLAND, it was like a dream come true because it was exactly that, that it was really about humanity. There is this great metaphor of husband and wife that are miles apart and very divided and lost their footing with one another. Trying to save their marriage they think they have all the time in the world until this all hits them in the face. They realize this is a matter of life and death and something like this tends to knock the rust away. This also gives them the realization of rekindling their love, remembering why they fell in love in the first place and wanting to hold onto that. It is a great metaphor for what is going on in the world today and hopefully knowing instead of focusing on our differences, we focus on how we do this together in a unifying way.

Jeri: I am a huge fan of disaster films coming from the era of POSIDEN ADVENTURE and EARTHQUAKE. So, you put a good disaster movie in front of me and I am all in.

Ric: I hope GREENLAND did not let you down.

Jeri: Not at all, in fact I found myself cheering quite a bit. 

Ric: Oh, I love that. That is so great, thank you.

Jeri: I know you worked with Gerard Butler in ANGEL HAS FALLEN, was he in the first batch of actors you considered for the role of John Garrity? 

Ric: There was nobody else! We wanted to work together again after ANGEL HAS FALLEN, we were lucky enough to have good chemistry and like each other as well. It is almost like we are brothers at this point. We were looking for something different. We did not want to do another big summer action movie right off the bat, so we waited for something different. When I read GREENLAND, I called Basil Iwanyk [producer] and told him I’m on and I know just the person to play John Garrity. I told him Gerry Butler and he did not take any convincing, we both called him together and Gerry read it that weekend and that was it. We did not think anyone else because it was always Gerry for me. The one we got really lucky with; because I love the sense that it wasn’t just about a man winning over the love of this woman, but it was very much about a husband and wife trying to win their love equally and having both husband and wife having equal footing in the movie. So, we really needed a tremendously strong Allison but also someone that had a lot of human qualities that and had the vulnerabilities to go through what Allison did so we just struck gold with Morena Baccarin. The way that her and Gerry, from the very, very first time they met when we had a chemistry read with the both of them, we knew right off the bat before they even read that here is our husband-and-wife team. 

Jeri: The interesting part, and you did mention, and I noticed, is that in some films like this you do not have the strong female role where she is fighting just as hard as her male counterpart.

Ric: I totally agree with you. I attribute that to Basil that none of us wanted this to be about the cool wife who is just hanging off the storyline and just along for the ride. We wanted it to be an equal two-hander throughout and Gerry was very much about that at well. You do not see that with a lot of movie stars, man or woman. A lot just want that screen time to themselves to chew up the real estate. Gerry was very generous to the point that he really did want them to be on equal footing. I thought that was a beautiful way to have the movie from a dual point of view from a husband/father and wife/mother. 

Jeri: Your film also shows, if you will, human being’s inhumanity to human beings.

Ric: The irony is that we made this movie pre-Covid. We have it made, tested, we were picture locked and in the throws of finishing the sound, color and visual effects -then Covid hit. You wonder how it is going to play and I remember watching the movie playback and I got really emotional because it reminded me of what I was living through in this pandemic. There is this sense of hope, that it is not a ‘woe is me’, it is really about a study in humanity. That we come together, and I love the message of it. Also, it is a sense of love, a love story, as I said from the beginning of this movie that when we strip all the garbage away, all we want to do is love somebody and to be loved back. 

Jeri: And the military component?

Ric: The military aspect is a very big component for me. I am a very big supporter of the military community, veterans and making sure I do whatever I can to hire them in front of and behind the camera as well as bringing them into my business. When I read the script and there was a big component with the U.S. Airforce, I was really blessed to meet Lt. Col. Nathan Broshear and he made my life easier. The audience will see the military humanized and show their sacrifices because this is not a war time effort, it is a humanitarian effort, how they go about it with a sense of duty and self-sacrifice. My favorite thing about the movie is we were able to shoot on the Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins, Georgia and what was beautiful is that 90%, if not more, of the men and women in uniform in the movie are all active duty and had never been on camera before.

Jeri: That is amazing.

Ric: The guards at the gate and the civilians in those scenes and their family members along with civilian contractors that worked on the base are in the film. It was beautiful, I just loved it! They would ask ‘How am I supposed to be? How am I supposed to act?’ and told them ‘You be you, how would you deal with people? Don’t do the movie stuff, do it the way you would do it”. You see the beauty of our military men and women and the sacrifices they make. I love that, and I love that part of the movie. 

Jeri: The scene where Allison is pleading with the soldier ‘please, what if this was your child’ and she basically says, “I volunteered to be here” and for a moment it takes your breath because that didn’t not even occur, that someone would volunteer to be in that situation instead of ordered. 

Ric: I am proud to say I am the one that put that line into the movie.

Jeri: Excellent!

Ric: It was important to show the importance of our first responders and our military. We have first responders now who have actively put themselves in harm’s way to help us. I am so proud to be a part of that message to be conveyed in GREELAND. To have it come to real life and actually so quickly throughout it all, you are seeing it now with the vaccine and people complaining about when they are going to get it. Of course, you give it to the hospitals first, you give it to the first responders and people put in harm’s way and make sure that they are taken care of. 

Jeri: Absolutely.

Ric: I like that message in GREELAND and that they were going to do their job to the end, to the final hour. 

Jeri: My son in law is a prior Marine and now a firefighter and we have watched him do his job. You do not think about Covid and those things, you just go in and do your job. You put all that info in a bag and set it aside. You know it is there; you just do not open the bag but instead go out and do your job. You take care in the situation you are in.

Ric: It was one of my favorite part of GREELAND working with so many active military, we have stories to tell that are great entertainment but also have something to say as well.

Jeri: That is amazing. Like I said, I am a huge fan of disaster films and an even bigger fan when they are done exceptionally well. GREENLAND is done exceptionally well.

Ric: Thank you so much, I really appreciate that Jeri.

Jeri: You kept me going from start to finish and I have a short attention span.

Ric: <Laughing> I love it!

Jeri: I may be sixty, but I have the attention of a ten-year-old sometimes. I love the action and there is not anything about GREENLAND that I didn’t like. You did an amazing job keeping the story flowing and I always look at the ‘disaster element’ as a character in the film. It has to be a good character to fall into the story and it just was. And thank you for not leaving me hanging at the end.

Ric: We might come back to it you never know.

Jeri: I hate when the disaster happens and it’s like ‘okay, you’ve seen it, buh bye’. You show that the disaster is survivable. So basically, you got me Mister. 

Ric: I appreciate you saying that thank you so much. 

Jeri: Well, thank you for taking the time to talk with me today. I cannot wait to see it again.

Ric: Get all your family around on December 18th and it will be on your television somewhere.

Jeri: We have got the 75-inch flat screen and the sound bar ready.

Ric: I love it, let’s do it and happy holidays!


And that is how we left it, ready to spend more time on the way to GREENLAND with Gerard Butler, Morena Baccarin, Scott Glen and brought together by director Ric Roman Waugh.

GREENLAND brings action, thrills and suspense to a genre that always keeps fans on the edge of their seat. This Friday – it is time to fight for survival!

GREENLAND 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray, DVD and Digital from director Ric Roman Waugh and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is a disaster that is hard to escape from when getting to GREENLAND.

John Garrity (Gerard Butler) is an engineer that is in hot water with wife Allison (Morena Baccarin). Trying to make things right again, he comes home to help with a party that brings their friends over to watch the passing of comet Clarke.

Taking son Nathan (Roger Floyd) to the store to pick-up last minute items, a message comes over his phone that takes him by surprise. Rushing home to talk to Allison about it, it isn’t long before Clarke, who was supposed to pass them by – doesn’t. The shockwave is immediate, and the message appears once again to John and his family. 

With only moments to pack, John makes sure to get the medicine young Nathan needs and after confronting neighbors, he must speed past them. The message they received made it clear that without proper instructions, all will be turned away. Getting to the base, everything that can go wrong does go wrong and the family is separated.

Trying to get back together will take everything John and Allison have if they are to make it to Greenland and survive the extinction level event. 

Butler as Garrity is a man who knows he has messed up royally with his family and if there was ever a time to prove his worth, it is now. It is no surprise that Butler gets his hands completely dirty in this film at every turn. He has but one single focus, finding his family and getting them to safety. Butler gives it everything and I would expect nothing less.

Baccarin as Allison is not a shrinking violet in this film either. She gives her character the ability to be strong when she must and do whatever she can for her child. It is fantastic to have a female lead character that pulls her weight in the storyline and cares as much for the safety of her family as husband does.

Floyd as young Nathan does not have any easy time of it from start to finish. I will say that when the scariest thing that can happen to a child does, Floyd keeps his cool (as much as a kid can) knowing his parents are not going to sit idly by and do nothing. 

Shout out to Scott Glen as Dale, Allison’s father. Anytime this fine actor is on screen I know that not only will he do what he must, but he will do it in his own unique style. 

Other cast include: Randal Gonzalez as Bobby, Scott Poythress as Kenny, Claire Bronson as Debra, Madison Johnson as Ellie, Gary Weeks as Ed, Tracey Bonner as Peggy and Merrin Dungey as Major Breen.

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 Bonus Features include Deleted Scenes, “Humanity” Featurette and Filmmaker Commentary. 

GREENLAND is the perfect mixture of disaster, humanity and survival with just a few small chunky pieces of a comet thrown in. I am not about to give anything away but trust me, what I have written here is a snippet of what you will see. The film has so much in the way of how we treat one another and what happens when things go terribly wrong.

There is definetly a love of family and what we will do to protect those we love. I highly recommend tissue when you see Scott Glen. What I think I love about the film as well is there is no holding back, it is messy, it is sad and yet in the midst of it is the will to live and love – and some of us can totally understand that right now.

So gather the family, crank up the big screen, pop the corn and get ready for the survival ride of the year with GREENLAND. 

In the end – they will struggle together to survive!

Disney+ Brings SOUL

Jeri Jacquin

Currently streaming on Disney+ from directors Peter Docter, Kemp Powers is the musical life that reaches down to the SOUL.

Joe (voiced by Jamie Foxx) is a high school music teacher that is still trying to bring his love of jazz into a profession. When former student Dez (Donnell Rawlings) calls to let him know that sax player Dorothea Williams (Angela Bassett) is looking for a piano man, Joe is beyond thrilled. 

Making his way to the club, Joe plays his heart out and Dorothea tells him to come back in a suit to play with her quartet that very night. Believing his world is about to change forever, he has no idea how right he is. After a little accident, Joe opens his eyes to discover he is not quite sure where he is!

On a long ramp leading toward the light and the Great Beyond, Joe comes to understand that he is not part of the world any longer and he is not about to take that lightly. After another tumble, he finds himself surrounded but giggles and cuteness. Learning from the Counselor’s Jerry (Alice Braga), Jerry (Richard Ayoade), Jerry (Fortune Feimster), and Jerry (Zenobia Shroff) and Jerry (Wes Studi) that he has landed in the Great Before, they think Joe is there to train souls and given 22 (Tina Fey), a soul that has had no luck in learning anything from anyone. 

Joe’s job is to help 22 find her spark that will get Joe an Earth badge so he can return. After trying again and again, Joe is wondering if maybe there is a good reason 22 never made it to Earth. That is when Joe and 22 meet Moonwind (Graham Norton), who has the ability to be both on earth and in the Great Before to rescue lost souls. 

Agreeing to help, Joe and 22 make a jump back to Earth where 22 becomes Joe and Joe becomes a cat! About this time, the soul accountant Terry (Rachel House) realizes that the soul count is off, and he is not about to have that! Now the race is on for Terry to correct the count, Joe and 22 to find their way back to themselves and Joe to make it to the performance by nightfall.

This soul thing is pretty complicated!

Foxx as Joe plays an endearing man who has a unique love of jazz but can only find a job as a high school music teacher. When given the chance to do what he has always wanted, he takes it and finally sees his musical future. Foxx gives Joe lovability, humor, an outlook that transcends his Before and After and the something we can all relate to – dealing with a Mom we are afraid to say “this is what I want for my life” without chickening out. 

Fey as 22 is as hyper as a soul can get! This soul is not as different from Joe as she would like to think. There are fears here as well but covered up sass and pride in never having been sucked into the vortex to Earth. Fey is charming, funny and a stubbornness that keeps her from joining the human race. Once she has a chance to experience life on Earth, there is a change in both 22 and Joe that is so very sweet. 

Shout out to Phylicia Rashad as Mom Libba who wants the best for her son and believes the life her husband had was a hard one and does not want it for her son. Basset as Dorothea sees the potential in Joe, but she just does not have the time to deal with him in a hospital gown on the city streets. Norton as Moonwind just had me cracking up from start to finish but if I was a lost soul, I’d be thrilled to have his ship pull up and rescue me.

Shout out to all the Jerry’s for being compassionate, understanding and gentle spirits in the midst of Joe and 22’s madness. House as Terry is another character that I just love with the spirit to seek out the missing soul because one slot open on the abacas just won’t do! 

Other cast include Questlove as Curley, Cora Champommier as Connie, Margo Hall as Melba, Daveed Diggs as Paul, Rhodessa Jones as Lulu, Peggy Flood as Marge, June Squibb as Gerel, Cathy Cavadini as Dreamerwind, Dorian Lockett as Dorian, Esther Chae as Miho, Elisapie Isaac as Miali, and Marcus Shelby as Ray Gardner.

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.

SOUL is everything we have come to expect from Disney and so much more. During this time of anxiety, this film gives us all a chance to cuddle up with our family and be taken away into a story of love, life, family and how we all need to be true to ourselves.

The film is hilarious, heartwarming, lovely, and vivid in color. The story is complex but not in a way that is hard for children to follow. My granddaughter was riveted the moment SOUL came on the screen because she also has a love of music. She, along with the entire family, felt for Joe and just love 22 and the antics she manages to cause.

That is what a Disney film does, transports us all into another realm of possibilities with hope, love, and the continual belief that we need to try to do the things that bring us joy – and right now that is top on my family’s list. As we all look forward to this new year, it is my hope we all can do it with a little bit of SOUL.

In the end – everybody has a soul and Joe is about to find his!

SKYFIRE

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to On Demand from director Simon West and Screen Media comes a look at disaster coming from below shooting out into SKYFIRE.

As a young girl on the beautiful island of Tianhuo, Xiao Meng would see it all crumble before her eyes as the volcano wipes out everything. Now, years later, Xiao Meng (Hannah Quinlivan) is back on Tianhuo doing research and surveillance on the volcano that took her mother. 

What stands now is an island resort for people to come see a live volcano. Making plans to expand is Jack Harris (Jason Isaacs), up to his eyeballs in debt and needs the investors who have come to see the resort. Xiao Meng tries to have a conversation with Harris to let him know she has a bad feeling about the readings from the volcano.

Someone else who has a bad feeling is Wentao Li (Wang Xueqi), Xiao Meng’s father who she has a tenuous relationship with. She is even more irritated when fellow researcher Bo Teng (Lingchen Ji) lets her know that Wentao Li has arrived and almost immediately, both Xiao Meng and Wentao Li are being proven right.

What happened before is about to happen again!

Quinlivan as Xiao Meng is a young woman who has a history with the island, and it is not a pleasant one. Trying to make sure that the resort now on the island is safe, people see her as an alarmist instead of someone who not only knows what is possible but has created a model that ensures she is right. The only one who does not think she is overreacting is the person she does not want to talk to! Quinlivan gives her character strength, intelligence and daddy issues, but it does not stop her from doing what is right.  

Xueqi as Wentao Li is a father who has made many mistakes based on his own emotions about the island. When he sees his daughter has returned to the place of their nightmares, he just wants to get her away. That is hard to do when Xiao Meng has made up her mind and is just as stubborn as he is. Xueqi finally gets it and instead of questioning her actions, he makes sure that he is there every lava filled step of the way. 

Isaacs as Harris is the resort builder who thinks he knows better than science and brings more and more people to a dangerous place. He sees money instead of seeing the danger and lets everyone around him know that he is the final word. That is until mother nature decides he is just a little too arrogant for his own good. Nothing like a lesson from something you can’t buy!
Other cast include Bee Rogers as Young Xiao Meng, Shawn Dou as Zhengnan, An Bai as Jiahui Dong, Liang Shi as Professor Jiang, Tongjiang Hou as Grandpa, Yiqing Li as Shanshan and Alice Rietveld as Sue Miller. 

Screen Media is an international distributor of television series and films, licensing content through theatrical, home video, pay-per-view, free, cable and pay television, and subscription and advertising video-on-demand platforms. In 2017 Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, Inc. acquired Screen Media which is in its 23rd year as a leading global independent distribution company. With one of the largest independently-owned libraries of filmed entertainment in the world and license agreements across all forms of media, Screen Media’s distribution capability enables direct distribution of all rights in all countries, thus enhancing the profitability of Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment productions. The company is continually looking to add films and television series to its content library.

SKYFIRE is a disaster movie just like I like them. Fast paced, a little romance, family issues, research deniers, the arrogant rich, and mother nature saying ‘here, hold my beer’. From the first screen to the last there are jumps, turns, drones and a few smart people who figure out how to get around a few streams of lava. 

With a mixture of English and Mandarin, the flow is smooth, and the results are disaster with warm fuzzies for the surviving carbon-based units. The actions is very cool and the special effects are almost seamless which lets the viewer go on a thrill ride knowing one things said in the film by Isaacs character – that we love to go into places that are dangerous because part of us knows we are safe.

In the end – it can happen twice on the same island!

NO MAN’S LAND

Jeri Jacquin


Coming from director Conor Allyn, writer Jake Allyn and IFC Films comes the story of borders and mistakes when living in NO MAN’S LAND.

Bill (Frank Grillo) and Monica Greer (Andie MacDowell) live on a ranch right on the border between the United States and Mexico. Bill is constantly irritated by the immigrants illegally crossing the borders and messing up his fence and stealing livestock. Brothers Lucas (Alex MacNicoll) and Jackson (Jake Allyn) help their father protect the land. 

On the other side of the border is Gustavo (Jorge A. Jimenez), a father who is bringing his young son across the border in the night. Bill and the boys go after the immigrants and after a misunderstanding Jackson accidentally shoots Gustavo’s son and Lucas is hurt. Texas Ranger Ramirez (George Lopez) investigates what has happened but not before Jackson takes off.

Making his way to Mexico, he now becomes the illegal alien looking for Gustavo. Luis (Andres Delgado) wants to help Gustavo find revenge and makes it his mission to find Jackson and make him pay. Ramirez goes after Jackson as well. Along the way he finds people willing to help him, protect him and, the hope that he will be forgiven. 

He must try!

Allyn as Jackson is a young man overwrought with guilt and caught between fathers. Trusting in his own father and wanting to keep the ranch intact and seeing the destruction of a family in another family’s eyes. Deciding to break away and take his own journey, he leaves his family behind and now has a Texas Ranger giving chase. Allyn as Jackson is endearing and knows the only way he can move forward with his life and face it all is to find Gustavo.

Jimenez as Gustavo is a man dealing with death yet not dealing with the part he played in it. Instead, he allows his grief to overwhelm him to anger and it is felt by Luis leading him down a destructive path. In the scene between Jimenez and Allyn at the end are the most powerful I have seen in a film for long time. 

Grillo as Bill is hostage and angry at the destruction to his ranch and the illegal immigrants that make their way through his land. When he has finally had enough, that is when everything takes a horrible turn and the repercussions for the Greer family. MacDowell as Monica is caught up in her husband’s eagerness to clear out his lands but when it affects her sons, now you have made Mama Bear angry.

Lopez as the Ranger Ramirez seems to be nonchalant about his job until he is called to the Greer ranch. Trying to get answers from the family, it is clear that someone is lying and when Jackson makes a run for it, Ramirez knows he must go across the border to capture him. Delgado as Luis is an angry young man and he takes full advantage of that by abusing his own people so imagine what he wants to do to a young American accused of murder. 

Other cast include Esmeralda Pimentel as Victoria, Ofelia Medina as Lupe, Andres Delgado as Luis, Sandra Zellweger as Raquel, Julieta Ortiz as Rosa, Fernando Cuautie as Enrique, Juan Remolina as Hector, and Alessio Valentini as Fernando.

IFC Films is a leading distributor of quality talent-driven independent films. Some of the company’s successes include BOYHOOD, FRANCES HA, MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING, Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN, TOUCHING THE VOID, CHE, TINY FURNITURE and CARLOS. For more information on films from IFC please visit www.ifcfilms.com.

NO MAN’S LAND is a look at the immigrant story from a totally different point of view. The Greer family has their own set of beliefs about the land that they live off of and those who cross the border through it. Their frustration is left unchecked and the town Texas Ranger does not seem to have a feel for it one way or the other. 

The story that director Allyn is telling is that of a young man trying to find a way to forgive himself and only seeing Gustavo can make that possible. In the process he sees Gustavo’s way of life and the people he and his family have misunderstood all along. 

In the end – the only way back is to cross the line!


HERSELF

Jeri Jacquin

Now in theatres and coming to Prime Video from director Phyllida Lloyd and Amazon Studios is a story of finding a life for HERSELF.

Sandra (Clare Dunne) is a woman with two young daughters and in an abusive relationship. Trying to find housing, she is constantly dealing with the bureaucracy she wants to find another way to create a home for her daughters Molly (Molly McCann) and Emma (Ruby Rose O’Hara).

Working daily taking care of Peggy (Harriet Walter), an elderly woman is a job that keeps her busy while the girls are in school. That is when Sandra gets the idea to find a plot of land and build her home. She meets construction worker Aido (Conleth Hill) and asks him what she would need to make the house happen.

When she cannot get a loan, she confides in Peggy what her plans were going to be. That is when Peggy offers Sandra a plot of land behind her home that has not been used and just seems to collect weeds. Visiting Aido again, Sandra tells him she has the land and even after saying no so many times, he cannot resist helping Sandra. 

While the build begins, Sandra’s ex-husband Gary (Ian Anderson) decides to sue her for custody of the two girls. It seems that once again Sandra experiences loss in ways she never thought possible, she wonders if it is all worth fighting for.

Dunne as Sandra is stunning as a woman who has been beaten down literally and emotionally by a husband who clearly has anger issues. Deciding enough is enough, she takes her daughters and try to begin again but the system makes it difficult. Dunne gives us everything and more in portraying this character by way of such a realistic storyline. Well done and sending virtual applause for a wonderful performance.

Walter as Peggy is a woman who is seen as a bit straight forward, but Sandra actually likes that about her. Perhaps its because Sandra is trying to find that in herself and what a better teacher than Peggy. I have seen Walter in so many performances and that beings said she is just a treasure in films. From ATONEMENT to my all-time favorite series Downton Abbey along with my second favorite The Crown. 

Hill as Aido is a man who does not want to help Sandra, but something will not let him walk away. He is very frank with her about the money it will take to build a house and that to cut corners does not work with him. Sandra agrees and he is constantly surprised how she rolls up her sleeves because that is how determined she is to make it all happen. Hill may look familiar (it is the hair) than his character in the HBO series Game of Thrones playing Lord Varys. This is a nice change and a great role for Hill. 

McCann as Molly and O’Hara as Emma are to young actresses that are just so sweet. They see what their mother is trying to accomplish and get caught up in her dream as they should. Even when things seem to go wrong, right and then wrong again, the girls stand by their mother. These two young actresses are beautiful in their portrayal of girls who have seen more than they should. 

Other cast includes Cathy Belton as Jo, Art Kearns as John, Sarah Kinlen as Ms. Breen, Ericka Roe as Amy, Anita Petry as Rosa, Lorcan Cranitch as Michael, Tina Kellegher as Tina, Donking Rongavillas Lazlo, Sean Duggan as Ciaran, Rebecca O’Mara as Grainne, and Dmitry Vinokurov as Dariusz.

Amazon Prime offers television shows and original content included in its Amazon Prime subscription. Original programs such as CARNIVAL ROW, THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE, and THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL are hit shows. Coming soon is the next series with GOLIATH starring Billy Bob Thornton and it promises to another successful and intense series.

HERSELF is a film filled with believability about a woman trying to make a better life for two of the cutest young girls. Trying to break away from an abusive relationship, there is a moment where Sandra has second thoughts believing that perhaps they can be a family, but it only lasts a few seconds. This is realistic on so many levels and for so many people who has believed the very same rhetoric that Gary gives Sandra. 

Her focus on a home for her daughters is what moved me deeply because she was not looking for a mansion to live in, just a safe environment for her daughters to be able to play in a yard and sleep in a warm bed. There is certainly nothing wrong with that, especially when she begins to make things happen by talking people into helping. 

When she stops believing in herself, it is those friends who remind her that you have to accept the good with the bad, you have to remember that there are those who will do everything possible to crush a dream, but you have to stand up and remember who you are – not who others want you to be.

In the end – her life is under construction!

PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN

Jeri Jacquin

Coming from director Emerald Fennell and Focus Features is the story of a woman on a mission away from being a PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN.

Cassie (Carey Mulligan) works in a coffee shop with Gail (Laverne Cox) and is content with that. Living at home with her parents Susan (Jennifer Coolidge) and Stanley (Clancy Brown) can be a bit contentious at times. Dropping out of medical school does not help Cassie but after her friend Nina was raped, it became clear that the affect it has had on Cassie is extreme.

Her evening hours are spent at bars picking up strangers and then putting a notation down in a book. That is until meeting Ryan Cooper (Bo Burnham), a pediatric doctor who remembers Cassie from medical school. Not wanting to get serious with anyone, Cassie does not want to be distracted from her goal.

But, finding someone who makes her laugh and spend time with has made Cassie a bit softer but no less determined. One of her visits to talk about Nina is to Dean Elizabeth Walker (Connie Britton) and remind her of what happened to her friend. Dean Walker is given a dose of reality as Cassie makes it clear that she has not forgotten what happened.

When Cassie begins to put even more of the pieces of Nina night together and discovers that the horror is more than she could have possibly imagined. She knows there is only one thing left to do and they are never going to see it coming – none of them.

Mulligan as Cassie is completely and unequivocally stunning in this role. From the moment the story begins there is something about Cassie that you can not take your eyes off of. Clearly, she is a woman who has been through something tragic and it has had a lasting impact on her. There are moments she seems checked out of everything and then she becomes laser focused on the only thing she understands – making others pay for how she feels. Mulligan is just brilliant to the point where I watched the film a second time, that is how incredible she is.

Burnham as Ryan is the calm in the midst of Cassie’s emotional storm. He makes her laugh, does not judge what she has been through and tries to bring her some happiness in her life. Remembering Cassie from medical school, their friendship blossoms and Burnham gives us hope that good guys do exist. Britton as Dean Walker is someone Cassie is not going to forget or let get away with what she pretends not to know. 

Shout out to Coolidge as Mom Susan and Brown as Stanley who, as parents, just do not seem to understand their daughter and the choices she has made. Cox as Gail shows up on the screen with her beautiful self, brought sarcasm along for the ride and does it so damn well. 

Other cast include Chris Lowell as Al Monroe, Adam Brody as Jerry, Max Greenfield as Joe, Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Neil, Sam Richardson as Paul, Alfred Molina as Jordan, Angela Zhou as Todd and Molly Shannon as Mrs. Fisher.  

Focus Features’ mission is to make a lasting impact on global audiences by creating the home for artists to share diverse, distinctive stories that inspire human connection. Focus Features is part of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies that brings entertainment and news to a global audience. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.focusfeatures.com.

PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN is a film that deserves award after award for several reasons. First and foremost is Mulligan’s engrossing performance down to the last frame of the film. It has been a while since I invested so much into a film only to be shocked by the final ten minutes. 

Second, a screenplay that does not hold back in its feeling and that includes revenge, fear, love and a deep friendship. A character like Cassie has layer upon layer and the way the story is told brings an unpredictability that I thoroughly enjoyed. It brings about a rollercoaster with deeps valleys and high highs and anyone watching will be more than happy to take the ride.

Finally, this has been a year where good films are few and far between with a pandemic keeping theatres mainly closed. It is my hope that everyone has a chance to see PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN in whatever platform they can because this is definetly a film you do not want to miss.

Hear that Oscar?

In the end – revenge never looked so promising! 

Coming to Bluray, DVD and Digital from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment!
Based on True Events!

AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL, DVD AND BLU-RAY™
FEBRUARY 23
THE LAST SHIFT

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on Digital, Bluray and DVD from writer/director Andrew Cohn and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment are two men doing THE LAST SHIFT.

It has been thirty-eight years working at Oscar’s Chicken and Fish graveyard and time for Stanley (Richard Jenkins) to retire. His replacement is Jevon (Shane McGhie) has a problem with letting whatever he thinks slide out of his mouth. Spending the weekend training the recruit, Stanley does not understand Jevon’s lack of enthusiasm. 

Jevon tries to break it down to Stanley leaving the lifelong employee wondering if what he is saying could be true. Jevon has problems of his own with a girlfriend who is questioning his commitment to their relationship and their very young son. 

Preparing to go to Florida to take care of his Mother and having a verbal tumble with Jevon, Stanley does something that is completely out of character. The effects of that decision will come to define everything for both men.

Jenkins as Stanley is a man who has accepted his life as being the graveyard guy at Oscar’s and occasionally hanging out with buddy Dale (Ed O’Neill). Thinking this is all life has to offer him, it takes a young man named Jevon to give him not only a reality check but a voice that does not seem to suit him. Jenkins once again turns in a performance that shows how this actor has always been slightly under-appreciated as far as I am concerned. Big fan here!

McGhie as Jevon is a young man who has found himself on the other end of the law, relationships, fatherhood and what his future needs to be. Always having an opinion and happy to share it whether its asked for or not, McGhie’s character is strong in that area of his life but needs some help with his emotions. 

O’Neill as Dale is someone who has always been there for Stanley but does not really do a lot to support his decision to go to Florida. Also, a shout out to Allison Tolman as Evelyn, Jevon’s probation officer who realizes she knows this young man and wants to help if she can.

Other cast include Deron J. Powell as Perry, Julian Parker as Brandon, Tracey Bonner as Crystal, and Da’Vine Randolph as Shazz.

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.

Jenkins and McGhie’s performance of these two men starts out contentious, then moves on to charming, then gets tense and turns into something unexpected and sad. Yes, that’s all you are going to get out of me because I want it all to play out as director Cohn intended.

THE LAST SHIFT is an emotional ride through the lives of two people who are both disappointed by where they are and how they got there. They both also seem to be self-blinded by the possibilities of anything the future may hold. I think that is the saddest part of the film for me – that Stanley sees nothing else and Jevon only expects the worst in life.  

The story does seem to rush through which makes it a little difficult to embrace each of these characters but, that being said, it is easy to embrace them together. Jenkins and McGhie are wonderful together and I will always be grateful to them for teaching me how to use a frozen hamburger patty correctly!

In the end – it was always more than a job!


BORN A CHAMPION

Jeri Jacquin

On DVD from director Alex Ranarivelo and Lionsgate Home Entertainment is the story of redemption when you are BORN A CHAMPION.

The story is told by Taco (Maurice Compte) about his friend Mickey (Sean Patrick Flanery), a man who has found the one thing in his life that has meaning – jiu-jitsu. It is the 1990’s going to Dubai for a match as a guest of the Sheik (Ali Afshar), Mickey meets Layla (Katrina Bowden) who is being harassed by the wealthy Dimitris (Costas Mandylor). 

Up against fighter Blaine, Mickey does not anticipate that he would cheat leading to the worst injuries he could have imagined. Returning to the United States he finds Layla and starts a family while teaching privately here and there. His other two jobs include being a janitor at a jiu-jitsu business and a bouncer.

Mickey and Taco are more than friends, they are brothers and keep one another steady through their lives. Another friend of Mickey’s is Pittman (Reno Wilson) who brings Mickey into his business to teach which means he does not have to work three jobs any longer. 

The first person to be thrilled by this is Years go by and a video of the fight between Mickey and Blaine soon captures the internet by storm as the issue of Blaine cheating comes to the forefront. Someone else who sees the video is Mason (Dennis Quaid) who is interested in Mickey. When a rematch is set between Mickey and Blaine, Mason makes sure that it does not take place because of injuries from the previous match.

When tragedy hits Mickey’s family, it is Dimitris who makes the match happen again in Dubai. Now is his chance to prove that even at his age, he can make what was wrong then become right now. 

Flanery as Mickey is a man who has a history that he keeps to himself. Finding something he enjoys doing, meaning jiu-jitsu, he is willing to take whatever job keeps him going. Once Layla comes into his life, he is even more dedicated to taking care of his family and holding down as many jobs as he needs to. Flanery portrays Mickey as a humble man who does not have the same mindset as those around him. 

Compte as Taco is clearly Mickey’s best friend and has brought him into his family. That means helping him when he needs it and supporting him even if he does not agree with his fighting choices. The way Compte portrays his character is with nothing but care and love for a friend. Wilson as Pittman remembers Mickey from the first fight in Dubai and sees that he still has the skills. Offering him a teaching job was the best thing for him and Wilson’s portrayal is that of man who believes in supporting all those in the jiu-jitsu community. 

Bowden as Layla is a young woman that sees something special about Mickey and their life together is all about love and support. Even if she does not always agree, Layla is willing to bend for Mickey’s happiness. 

Quaid as Mason is a promoter of these fights and is very curious about Mickey. Watching the video fight between Mickey and Blaine, he sees danger for his fighter. It is only until later when meeting Mickey face to face does Mason see something totally different. 

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 Bluray/DVD and Digital Special Features include: Director’s Commentary, “The Final Fight” with Alternate Score Music and “The Jimmy Fight” with Alternate Score Music. 

Flanery has a deep love for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and continues to study the art today. It is very cool that not only did he write the story but has the opportunity to play Mickey, a character he wrote into existence. 

The film is very deliberate in its telling and definetly has the 1990’s feel to it. It is definetly a story about redemption but not something Mickey strives for from day to day. That is something I do not think the other characters understood about him. He wanted to be happy with his family and teach something he loves to others. 

That being said, given the chance, he takes it but on his own terms – and oh what terms they are!

In the end – once in a lifetime opportunity knocks twice! 


DON’T TELL A SOUL 

Jeri Jacquin

If you are ready for the unexpected then let writer/director Alex McAulay and Saban Films comes a story that brings twists in DON’T TELL A SOUL.

Young Joey (Jack Grazer) and older brother Matt (Fionn Whitehead) are living a bare existence while taking care of their seriously ill mother Carol (Mena Survari). Making it day by day, they watch her try and take care of them, but Matt feels more and more it is his responsibility.

One day Matt tells Joey that there is money to be had in a house that is being fumigated. Convincing Joey that he needs to be the one to go in while Matt stands vigil, they did not expect to see security guard Hamby (Rainn Wilson). After a chase through the woods, Hamby ends up in well.

Matt is thrilled about it, but Joey cannot seem to shake the fact that they are responsible for the security guard. Sneaking away without telling his mother or Matt, Joey learns about Hamby’s life but still do not call for help. 

Big brother finds out and the threat is made and to top it off, Joey and Carol discover something even more frightening than the threats!

Grazer as Joey is a young man dealing with a great deal. From a very ill mother to a bully brother and everything in between. Along comes Hamby, and Joey listens to everything he says because of the need to have someone, anyone hear him. Grazer’s character is complex and throughout the film finds his voice, but in a frightening way.

Whitehead as Matt is a young man who is lashing out about the loss of his father and the illness of his mother. Those pressures bring out the worst in him to the point of Joey being absolutely frightened by his brother. Whitehead does give us the fright making us wonder who is the monster?

Suvari as Carol is a woman dealing with the death of a husband and counting on her sons to help her as much as they can. Trying to keep the boys together is hard to do under normal circumstances but when the downward spiral of health is added, Suvari’s character just can not seem to get a handle on it all. 

Wilson as Hamby is absolutely fantastic and playing against Grazer’s Joey, it is a combination well worth diving into a well for. Trying to convince the boys to get help, it is only Joey that seems to have a conscious about it all. Hamby does his best to play on that fact if only to get out of the well, he turns on and off his character like a light switch and I loved it. 

Saban Films was launched in 2014 and has built an impressive slate of high-quality feature films distributed with partner Lionsgate. Focusing on talent-driven films, the company looks at projects in all stages of production to be released across multiple platforms. Films such as SISTER OF THE GROOM, FATMAN and BREACH are part of the wonderful Saban slate, and more information can be found at www.sabanfilms.com.

DON’T TELL A SOUL is a thriller that gives the viewer just about everything they would want. Twists and turns are swift and unexpected within a story that is truly enjoyable and thrilling from start to finish. 

It is a complex tale about brothers, suffering, a sick parent, trauma and how all of that leads to the easy influence of someone who seems truly interested but in who and what? Each of these issues gets its due and wrapped up in the complexities of human nature under stress. 

Writer McAulay makes his way through the issues keeping the cast small enough and the cinematography grey enough to keep the yarn going to its conclusion. Giving Wilson the chance to be as grungy as possible and Grazer caught in his own hell, DON’T TELL A SOUL is a story wrapped in a story wrapped in an ending you will not see coming.

In the end – some secrets should stay buried!

There is Terror with COME PLAY

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray, DVD and currently on Digital from writer/director Jacob Chase Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is the unbelievable way it asks them to COME PLAY.

Oliver (Azhy Robertson) just wants a friend and so he turns to electronic devises to keep him occupied. Unable to speak, he also uses the devises to communicate with his mother Sarah (Gillian Jacobs) and dad Marty (John Gallagher Jr.). One day he discovers a story about a monster named Larry that also wants a friend. 

The problem is that this particular story-book friend has evil intention. Using electricity, Larry can travel and wreak deadly havoc on their lives. Oliver begins to understand how Larry works and tries to share with his parents through drawing how it is all happening.

Believing that becoming device free would save them, Larry learns quickly what he must do to finally have the friend he is dying for.

Robertson as Oliver is a young man dealing with several issues. Recently losing a friend because of a misunderstanding, Oliver goes deeper inside himself. Using devices to communicate is necessary if his parents are going to help him. Once he discovers Larry, he begins to see the result of going further and further into the story. Robertson does not need words because he is absolutely able to convey every horror emotion with his face and that’s talent.

Jacobs as Sarah is trying to keep her family together and help her son. It is when she is brought into Larry’s web of terror that she finally understands what her son has been trying to tell her. Staying on step ahead of Larry, Jacobs is fast on her feet and gives her character the tiger protecting her cub.

Gallagher Jr. is trying to understand the stress his wife is under but the problems with Oliver seem to be driving them apart. It is when he takes the opportunity to spend time with Oliver, he learns about Larry and is not about to let the creature have his son. Gallagher Jr. is a strong father but at the same time has the frailties all fathers have. 

Other cast includes Winslow Fegley as Byron, Jayden Marine as Mateo, Gavin Wright as Zach, Dalmar Abuzeid as Mr. Calarco, Eboni Booth as Dr. Robyn and Rachel Wilson as Jennifer.

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.

COME PLAY is certainly a thriller/horror film with a creature that has come from Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. I personally think that is amazingly cool and just hearing the footsteps of Larry coming across the floor brings huge anticipation of seeing him on screen. 

I enjoyed the film and writer/director Chase’s use of electronics as a mode of transport for Larry. There are many people who see electronics as becoming a horror show and I do not disagree. For Chase to wrap that feeling into a film is stellar and hugely creative. I can honestly say if something like that happened on my cell phone or Ipad – I would find the nearest woodchipper! 

This is also a fun rainy evening film with the lights out and a huge tub of popcorn and I am very fond of evenings like this. COME PLAY fits everything that I want in a dark and creative horror film with intense thrills and an ending that is different yet amazing. Lights out and have fun!

In the end – he is good at taking friends! 

The Ultimate Disaster of 2012 

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on 4K Ultra HD, Bluray and Digital from writer/director Roland Emmerich and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is the disaster of 2012.

Jackson Curtis (John Cusack) is a frustrated writer who has found himself now a chauffer driver of rich Russian Yuri Karpov (Zlatko Buric). Spending the weekend with kids Noah (Liam James) and Lilly (Morgan Lily), ex-wife Kate (Amanda Peet) is not surprised that he is late picking them up.

That is not the biggest worry in the world, that would come from Adrian Helmsley (Chiwetel Ejiofor) who has been given bad news about the planet. Getting that bad news to Carl Anheuser (Oliver Platt) at the White House means telling the President Wilson (Danny Glover) as well. 

Jackson takes the kids camping and meets Charlie (Woody Harrelson) who tries to explain that the world is about to experience its end. Believing that Charlie is a one card short of a full deck, Jackson takes it in stride. That is until a phone call from Kate after a hard earthquake brings them all home. While taking Yuri’s kids to the airport, Jackson feels the ground shake under his feet – now he is a believer.

Grabbing Kate, the kids and her husband Gordon (Tom McCarthy) – they all hit the road just as everything around them is literally coming down. The one thing Jackson knows now is that getting back to Charlie to get more information is essential. Helmsely must break the news that everything he predicted is now speeding up rapidly and their plan for survival must start now.

Meeting up with Yuri in Las Vegas, Jackson and his crew and the Russian and his family jump on the plane to find the arks Charlie spoke of. What they never expected was what they will find and how much harder their journey will be to survive the destruction of their world.

Cusak as Curtis is trying to recover from writing a book that did not do so well and a family that has moved on without him. Once the planet become erratic, the character of Curtis goes into hyper-survival mode and Cusak does what he does best – gives us a character that you can believe even with all his flaws. Peet as Kate still cares about Curtis even though he makes her nuts. Convinced that Curtis is their only hope, she stands by him and protects her children.

Ejiofor as Helmsley is a man who must bring the news to the President. Then a plan is put in place but even as that is happening, Helmsley knows that something is not quite right with how it is playing out. When it becomes clear, Helmsley fights for saving as man human beings as they can – no matter who they are. Platt as Anhauser is just how everyone sees a politician – a little crooked and a lot concerned for himself more than anyone else. 

Buric as Yuri is a rich Russian who get the tickets for his family the usual way – lots of money paid. The strange thing is I find Yuri an amusing character. McCarthy as Gordon isn’t happy with having to be saved by his wife’s ex-husband but he does his part to get the family away from danger. 

Harrelson as Charlie is terrific, trippy, funny, a little left of center and I absolutely loved his time on the screen. 

Other cast include Thandie Newton as Laura Wilson, Beatrice Rosen as Tamara, Alexandre Haussmann as Alec, Philippe Haussmann as Oleg, and Johann Urb as Sasha.

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.

The Special Features include Discovery Channel’s 2012 Apocalypse, Theatrical Trailers, Picture-in-Picture Roland’s Vision, Commentary with Writer/director Roland Emmerich and Co-writer Harald Kloser, Alternate Ending, Interactive Mayan Calendar, Designing the End of the World, Roland Emmerich: The Master of the Modern Epic, Science Behind the Destruction, The End of the World: The Actor’s Perspective, Countdown to the Future, Deleted Scenes, “Time for Miracles” Music Video by Adam Lambert. 

It is no secret to anyone who knows me or knows my film habits that I love a disaster film. I mean I LOVE watching things fall apart around the human race because it also shows the best in people. Of course, you will have a few characters that you want to throw in the nearest hole in the earth but, in general, its about survival and helping those around them to survive. 

There is also this amazing creativity in that survival by the characters in these films and Roland Emmerich knows how to get that into all his films. Let’s face it, he has shown us some serious disasters with the films INDEPENDENCE DAY and DAY AFTER TOMORROW. The film 2012 takes that even further because there is not a moment to take a breath but instead feeling part of the group trying to survive.

That is what makes these films so great and 2012 is stunning in scope, special effects (that you forget are special effects) and the fight for humanity against mother nature.

In the end – the end is just the beginning!


It is Time for an Amazing Giveaway!

EVERYONE’S FAVORITE PREHISTORIC FAMILY IS BACK AND HERE TO STAY WITH A STAR-STUDDED CAST, TWO ALL-NEW EXCLUSIVE ANIMATED SHORTS, A HILARIOUS GAG REEL, DELETED SCENES, AND MORE!

ADD THE CROODS TO YOUR COLLECTION AND WATCH
SUBSCRIPTION-FREE ANYTIME, ANYWHERE

OWN IT ON DIGITAL FEBRUARY 9, 2021
4K ULTRA HD, BLU-RAYTM AND DVD FEBRUARY 23, 2021
FROM UNIVERSAL PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT

We have a Bluray up for grabs because, I mean, how can you miss THE CROODS! Email hellomoviemaven@aol.com with LOVE THEM CROODS in the subject line along with your name and address!
He Wants to Reach ELYSIUM

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to 4K Ultra HD, Bluray and Digital from writer/director Neill Blomkamp and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is the thriller to get to ELYSIUM.

Max Da Costa (Matt Damon) lives in the year 2154 Los Angeles in utter poverty. Above them is a spaceship called Elysium where the rich live. Elysium has a cure for almost anything that could be imagined but, only the powerful living on the ship get it.

Those barely surviving on Earth want what Elysium has and that includes Max who was hurt working for Armadyne, a factory that makes weaponry and robots policing Earth. CEO Carylyle (William Fichtner) refuses to help Max so he is taking matters into his own hands deciding to find Spider (Wagner Moura), a human smuggler that can get he and Julio (Diego Luna) to Elysium.

The Defense Secretary on Elysium, Delacourt (Jodie Foster) finds out about ships smuggling humans and shoots them down. President Patel (Faran Tahir) is furious but that does not stop Delacourt from making a deal with Carylyle for more weapons. Spider finds out about it and says he can get Max to Elysium if he stills the information Carylyle has. 

Max agrees and when he gets his hands on the program, Deacourt is furious and brings in Agent Kruger (Sharlto Copley) to retrieve it. Now the rush is on to stay alive and fight their way to Elysium first! 

Damon as Max is a man who has lived the best he can under the circumstances. When the CEO of the company he worked for treats him badly, Damon gives his character of Max a reason to go on – and that is to get to Elysium. He had not intended to help others, but Max is given the chance to do so and puts himself front and center when Kruger is on the hunt. I enjoyed Damon in this role because it is different and a dip into the sci-fi world.

Foster as Delacourt, well, what can I say but I actually adore Foster when she has the chance to play the bad gal. She does it so damn well that I find myself wickedly laughing when her character pulls stunts. As Delacourt, she has no use for the people living on Earth and her only concern is keeping the rich and powerful clean and healthy.

Copley as Kruger has some idea of how to go about playing this role because he was on the other end in the 2009 film DISTRICT 9 (another of my personal favs). Here he gets to be under the thumb of Delacourt but there is something about this character that does not seem to mind a good chase. Copley came on the film scene fast and has made his mark. Secretly I was hoping to see a District 10 and perhaps I still am hoping. 

Other cast include Alice Braga as Frey Santiago, Brandon Auret as Drake, Josh Blacker as Crowe, Emma Tremblay as Matila Santiago, Jose Cantillo as Sandro, Adrian Holmes as Manuel, and Jared Keeso as Rico. 

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.

The 4K Ultra HD gives this film an epic look and since my kids were nice enough to get me a 70” 4K television for Christmas, trust me when I saw seeing this film again is awesome in scope, color, cinematography and action. 

ELYSIUM is a thrill ride of a sci-fi film with the good guy who isn’t about to let a little the rich living in the sky stop him from doing what must be done for every guy (and gal). This is an futuristic underdog story that Damon takes on full force.

Also, in this film is those much less fortunate taking on those who believe they are above, literally, the rest of the world. That is where the story really gets interesting so buckle up for the Blomkamp ride because no one is holding back!

In the end – rebel against!

LET HIM GO

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray, DVD and Digital from writer/director Thomas Bezucha and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is the story of love when one couple demands they LET HIM GO.

Retired lawman George (Kevin Costner) and Margaret Blackledge (Diane Lane) are living a quiet life with their son James (Ryan Bruce) and daughter-in-law Lorna (Kayli Carter). With the arrival of their grandson Jimmy, George and Margaret are loving ever moment they spend with him. 

After a tragedy, Margaret cannot seem to find herself again but returns to life. That is until Lorna decides to marry Donnie Weboy (Will Brittain) and move into a town apartment. Feeling the empty nest, Margaret and George once again continue on. While shopping one day, Margaret sees how Donnie is treating both Lorna and Jimmy and is not sure what to do. 

Returning to their apartment the next day, she is shocked to learn that during they night they left taking everything with them. Running home to George, she tells him everything and that she is packing up the car to go find their grandson. Margaret makes it very clear that she is willing to take to the road with or without George.

Once on the road, George looks up friends he knew on the force to see if any of them can help find the couple. The more north they go the more the name Weboy seems to cause people to shut down. Parking for the evening they meet Peter Dragswolf (Booboo Stewart) who offers the couple food and a place to stay for the night. 

The next morning, they finally find Bill Weboy (Jeffrey Donovan) who knows exactly where Lorna and Jimmy are. Taking them to the furthest backroad, they come across a house where Blanche Weboy (Lesley Manville) waits for George and Margaret. The moment they enter the house there is tension and mystery behind this family who has their grandson. 

It becomes clear that the Weboy’s are a savage family who are not about to let Margaret or George walk away with what they think is rightfully theirs. When the couple go to Lorna to try and make a plan, the treachery of the Weboy’s comes out which means only one thing – someone is going to pay dearly. 

Costner as George Blackledge is a man of few words. It is clear he cares about what happens to his family but seems a bit lost when it comes to what happens to grandson Jimmy. Trying to keep things together, he finally realizes that the danger is to great walk away. Costner seems a gentle giant in this role and when he takes action, its best to stand back and let it be done. 

Lane as Margaret is a stubborn woman who loves her son and grandson. When life brings her unexpected and saddening changes, it also brings out the mother tiger inside toward her grandson. There is not anything she did that I would not do but that being said – there is a moment when she goes to far and the family pays for it dearly. Lane does not take garbage from anyone and when she and Blanche Weboy have a knock-down staring contest, it gave me chills!

Manville as Blanche is a woman no one wants to be left in a room alone with. She is powerful, fearless and does not mind spending a bullet or two on someone who gets in her way. Her reach is far, and no one will cross her. Manville is stunning and frightening at the same time. Nothing wrong with being a frightening character if you do it well and she most certainly does. 

Carter as Lorna is a woman who goes from one extreme to the other when it comes to family. The undercurrent of her newest marriage is one that rings of such fear it is palpable thanks to Carter. Brittain as Donnie is nothing short of a man who is used to doing whatever he wants to whoever he wants – except for Mama! 

Donovan as Bill is a Weboy that will smile while stabbing you in the back. His character made me so uncomfortable and in need of a shower. When Donovan has a chance to be bad, he takes it running and leaves the rest of us breathless with it all. Well played sir, well played. 

For the stunner of the film, Booboo Stewart plays Peter, the loner Native American who just wants to be left to live his life. Getting away from schools trying to change him, he clearly sees that George and Margaret are in over their heads yet when Margaret asks – he answers.

Other cast include Bram and Otto Hornung as Jimmy, Bradley Stryker as Sheriff Nevelson, Connor Mackay as Elton Weboy and Greg Lawson as the Glastone Sheriff. 

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 Bonus Features include The Blackledges: Kevin Costner & Diane Lane: Stars Diane Lane and Kevin Costner share personal insights into their characters and why finally having the chance to work together was an opportunity neither party could pass up, The Making of LET HIM GO: Take a deeper look at the emotional journey the Blackledges embark on, the period specific production design and director/Writer Thomas Bezucha’s inspiration in adapting the novel for screen.

Finally, Lighting the Way: Thomas Bezucha: Director/Writer Thomas Bezucha shares his process in developing the story while the cast and crew discuss what makes him the perfect person to bring this film to life.  

The film is actually based on Larry Watson’s novel as Bezucha wrote the screenplay from that source material. It is a film about love, family, sacrifice, vengeance, and all the ugly mess that goes on in families. It is clear the Blackledge family believes in one kind of family while the Weboy’s believe in something most of us would disagree with.

The story is skillfully told with the backdrop of the times and with the bonus of stunning cinematography. The entire film is masterfully simple yet tells a complicated tale of two families and what it takes to keep family.

In the end – fight for family!

There is Love in a SUPERNOVA

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres this week and soon to Digital from writer/director Harry MacQueen and Bleeker Street comes a story of love when knowing we are all part of a SUPERNOVA.

Pianist Sam (Colin Firth) and writer Tusker (Stanley Tucci) have decided to take a road trip and visit some of the people and places that they have shared. In an RV and driving on narrow roads on left side, they take loving jabs at one another until they reach one of their beautiful destinations.

Going from a beautiful lake to Sam’s sister Lilly’s (Pippa Haywood) home, they spend time with family and friends talking about what Tusker is writing and when Sam will play next. Later in the evening, Sam discovers something about his partner that he did not know before and isn’t sure how to deal with it.

Listening to Tusker and Charlotte (Nina Marlin) together in the evening air, it is clear that he is a loving person who sees the beauty in each and every star. On their way to the next destination, it is clear there is tension between the two. Once arriving, Sam must decide how to handle what he knows understanding that Tusker’s illness may make that difficult.

Firth as Sam is the music half of this relationship and is getting back into that world by preparing to play a small intimate concert. Taking the road trip with Tusker is an amazing way to revisit a few of the memorable places that mean something to them both. Firth is snappy in wit, lovely in affection and gives a beautiful performance mired in a deep sadness. This lovely actor has always had a soft spot in my heart and in SUPERNOVA, he proves why that is.

Tucci as Tusker is the writer half of the relationship and he has a lot to say. The problem is that he is having a difficult time saying it with pen to paper. Tucci matches wits with the character of Sam but then again, he has clearly made a career out of it and excelling consistently. Tucci in this role gives us a man dealing with knowing his life is slipping away and trying to accept that reality for both himself and Sam. Tucci is also an actor that I adore because he makes his roles look effortless whether it be a comedy or a drama.

Other cast include Peter MacQueen as Clive, Ian Drysdale as Paul, Sarah Woodward as Sue, James Dreyfus as Tim, Lori Campbell as Lola, Daneka Etchells as Rachel and Truffles as fur-baby as Ruby. 

Bleeker Street is a New York City film company that has brought outstanding films to the public. Their library includes TRUMBO, DENIAL, THE LOST CITY OF Z, BEIRUT, HOTEL MUMBAI, ORDINARY LOVE and THE ROADS NOT TAKEN. For more information on the titles from Bleeker Street please visit www.bleeckerstreetmedia.com.

SUPERNOVA is a film of love, relationships, secrets, and grief wrapped up in two men who have made a life for themselves. From the first scene it is clear that Firth and Tucci bring their characters in with such believability that it felt like being a third wheel in the RV. I wanted to hear their story and more about the life they have shared together.

That is what makes this film so totally stunning, the beauty of their trip, the reality that even love can not stop what is coming for them and the acceptance of what is to come. Firth and Tucci allows us to share in all of that in such a way that the final scene just brings tears.

Writer/director MacQueen gives us everything in its simplest form allowing us to not be distracted by anything else but the relationship between Sam and Tusker. Even their surroundings from the RV to the countryside is cinematic to be sure and reminds us the world can be so lovely, as lovely as Sam and Tusker.

In the end – in this life never forget who you love and why.

Delighting on Bluray is WILD MOUNTAIN THYME

Jeri Jacquin

Coming from director writer/director John Patrick Shanley and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment comes the story of life and land in WILD MOUNTAIN THYME.

Tony (Christopher Walken) has lived his life on a beautiful plot of land in Ireland with his son Anthony (Jamie Dornan). In the land next to them is Aoife (Dearbhla Molloy) and daughter Rosemary (Emily Blunt) who keeps her heart out for Anthony. 

When Anthony learns that his father might be selling the land to him, he is devastated. He also learns that nephew Adam (Jon Hamm) from America is coming for Tony’s birthday and that is who is considered front runner for the land. There is also a piece of land between Tony and Aoife that belongs to Rosemary! 

When tragedy hits Rosemary, Tony wonders if his idea of selling the farm is a very good one and Adam returns to New York. When Anthony’s life changes, he suggests to Rosemary that maybe she should go and see the world and leave the farm. She takes off for New York and meets up with Adam and finally sees a dream on stage. 

Anthony lets Rosemary know that he believes Adam is looking for a wife. This is where things get pickled as Anthony cares for Rosemary, Rosemary cares for Anthony and Adam will either make or break them or maybe the secrets they have will explain it all!

Blunt as Rosemary is just so dang cute its ridiculous. Of course, everything Blunt has done is amazing to watch so I did not expect this to be any different. As Rosemary, she is a dreamer and the most patient woman I think I have ever heard of. What I love about this character is that she knows there is something keeping them apart and pulls and pulls again believing that even in her dreams there is something to hold on to. 

Dornan as Anthony is a painfully shy man who just does not know his worth to himself and those around him. Dornan is so sweet in this role and even the awkwardness of Anthony only makes him more endearing. Practicing a way to reach the point where he can speak to Rosemary, he constantly is being pulled back by his own fears. Playing opposite Walken is the father-son realities that there is a history in every one’s life, even a father.

Hamm as Adam is not happy when Tony keeps him dangling on a string. Returning to New York, he is surprised to see Rosemary again and that is when he wonders if he has what it takes to be an Irish farmer.  

Walken as Anthony is crotchety, pushy and has a goal – to see his son alone no longer. Although his accent gets a little muddled at times, it changes nothing about his performance. There is a scene between father and son that is not only tissue worthy but thumps the heart because it was a moment of pure love between the two.

Other cast includes Jon Tenney as tommy, Danielle Ryan as Maeve, Lydia McGuinness as Eleanor, Abigail Coburn as young Rosemary and Darragh O’Kane as young Anthony. 

Bleeker Street is a New York City film company that has brought outstanding films to the public. Their library includes TRUMBO, DENIAL, THE LOST CITY OF Z, BEIRUT, HOTEL MUMBAI, ORDINARY LOVE and THE ROADS NOT TAKEN. For more information on the titles from Bleeker Street please visit www.bleeckerstreetmedia.com.

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.

WILD MOUNTAIN THYME is the kind of film that I adore during a stressful time. It is set in the glorious green of Ireland with vast open land, animals and streams. There is something wonderful just seeing that scenery mixed with something we do not see a lot of in Southern California – rainstorms!

This is a story of generational families and stories that are not told until time has its way. Watching Walken play Dornan’s father is full of emotion, bold, brassy and loud emotion. In case anyone is wondering if Irish families are like that, well, my grandmother’s side certainly was and is. Outspoken, vocal, and no nonsense were the order of the day in her household. That in itself made me laugh at the film watching Blunt be everything I saw in my own grandmother.

It is also a story of love and longing by two people who have such different dreams yet have known each other since childhood. Even then, a fence did not stop them from consistently being pulled toward one another because everything they did not say are the things that could have brought them together sooner. Isn’t that how we all are?

Grab your own love, cuddle up with a huge comfy blanket on a fluffy sofa and be whisked away to Ireland and cheer on the couple who wants what you have – minus the fence.

In the end – there is nothing more dangerous than an Irish woman in love!

Netflix Uncovers with THE DIG

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on Netflix from director Simon Stone is a story based on true events when two people believe in everything under THE DIG.

Edith Pretty (Carey Mulligan) is a widow with young son Robert (Archie Barnes) living on the large Sutton Hoo estate in 1938 right before the war. Edith has noticed mounds scattered in a far-off field on the property and calls in Basil Brown (Ralph Fiennes) to come and give his opinion as to what they might be. Brown is a man who has spent his life excavating being a self-taught archaeologist and receiving little notice for his work.

Immediately he begins work and Edith brings in her cousin Rory (Johnny Flynn) to help with the dig and take pictures of what is uncovered. The word gets out and Charles Phillips (Ken Stott) shows up with takes the work away from Brown. Phillips brings in John (Eamon Farren), Stuart Piggott (Ben Chaplin) and wife Peggy (Lily James) to work on the dig putting Brown on dirt detail.

Furious over his work being trampled on, Brown goes to Edith only to discover that she does not look well and not up to an argument. Deciding he can not longer be a part of what is happening, he packs up and goes home to wife May (Monica Dolan). It is young Robert who reminds Brown of a promise and May who remind him of why he has spent years digging for history.

Each day that they dig and uncover the biggest find as Edith makes sure the museum understand who it all belongs to. The war looms constantly until it can no longer be ignored. Now Brown must do what he can to save the site from being destroyed by the war to come.

Mulligan as Edith is a fragile woman, but she has an insight regarding the mounds on her property. Asking Brown to come investigate, Mulligan brings dignity and grace to her character as well as a belief that there is something wonderful waiting to be found and wants to be a part of it from start to finish. The on-screen chemistry between Mulligan and Fiennes is extraordinary.

Fiennes as Brown is a man of few words and a lot of action. From the moment the shovel hits the dirt, Fiennes knows he is looking for something special. Getting to know Edith and Robert makes his work more enjoyable because they shared this experience one shovel at a time. Fiennes’ character is a man of dedication but also someone who believes the past is meant to be found by a chosen few.

James as Peggy is a woman who is chosen to help with the excavation more because of her weight and being Piggott’s wife than anything else. Chaplin as Piggott has issues of his own that are affecting his marriage. Flynn as Rory is a wonderful family member who becomes just as excited about the dig as Edith and helps document it.

Barnes as young Robert is dealing with the death of a father, the illness of a mother and the responsibility he feels for it all. The excavation gives him an adventure of a lifetime. Dolan as May understands her husband and although he spends a lot of time away on digs, she supports everything he does and Dolan is so darn cute.

Other cast include Danny Webb as John Grateley, Robert Wilfort as Billy Lyons, James Dryden as George Spooner, Joe Hurst as John Jacobs, Paul Ready as James Moir, Peter McDonald as Guy Maynard, Ellie Piercy as Mrs. Lyons, Bronwyn James as Ellen McKenzie and Monica Dolan as May Brown. 

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 DIG is an amazing story of the historical excavation of Sutton Hoo in 1938 and based on the 2007 novel The Dig by John Preston. The mounds, once excavated, were dated from the 6th to 7th centuries. It is believed that King Raedwald of East Anglia was buried with the ship in the early Anglo-Saxon era of time which is present day Norfolk or Suffolk. 

Beautiful treasures were unearthed at Sutton Hoo with metalworks, gold, shield and sword. The area of Sutton Hoo has buried a rich history and with more mounds waiting to be unearthed. Bringing Edith Pretty and Basil Brown to the forefront of the story is not only about time but means there is more history to be shared and told.

Mulligan and Fiennes are amazing together in this film because of their characters mutual love of discovery. When they are on screen together, it is something to behold bringing Edith and Basil’s story full circle. Edith for her generosity and Brown’s contribution to discovering and protecting the discovery at Sutton Hoo.

The cinematography is striking and adds to the authenticity of the vision and tale director Stone is trying to convey. As a fan of all-things history, the scenes of the dig are wonderful and believable. This film takes the viewer on an amazing journey of discovery, not just of archeology but of the lives of those who believed in something great than themselves.

In the end – nothing stays lost forever!

AMMONITE

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray, DVD and Digital from writer/director Francis Lee and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is a story of two women in search of something more than AMMONITE.

Mary Anning (Kate Winslet) is a renown fossil hunter who spends her days on the shores of Lyme Regis in 1840 England. Day after day the self-taught paleontologist has an amazing eye for finding fossils that she sells to tourists. Taking care of her ailing mother Molly (Gemma Jones), Mary keeps to herself. 

One day, at her shop door is Roderick Murchison (James McArdle) looking to learn about how Mary finds fossils. Along with him on the visit is his wife Charlotte Murchison (Saoirse Ronan) who is quiet and meek. A few days pass when Murchison offers Mary a large amount of money to watch over the depressive Charlotte while he goes on his next adventure.

Knowing the money would help, she begrudgingly agrees. Almost right away Charlotte becomes seriously ill and as she starts to get well, she and Mary start to show signs of friendship toward each other. Both have pasts that are haunting their ability to be happy with thin veils of uncomfortableness that wakes up with them each and every day. 

What comes from that friendship is complicated, loving and forces life choices that are painful for them both but needed to break free.

Winslet as Mary is a woman set in her ways. Taking care of an ailing mother, Mary, in a way, hides behind her as I see it. Diving into her work finding fossils is another way to avoid people totally. Making sure they have enough money to survive is important, but the years have created a bubble around Mary’s life. I actually love when Winslet takes on roles that are a challenge to understand and grasp as the tale unfolds. 

Ronan as Charlotte has a depression she is fighting through and does not see any light in her life. Even with Mary, the first days she remains aloof and dangerously closed off. Ronan is always a light on the screen and following her career is a joy. With every role she chooses there is simplicity mixed with complexity that is all wrapped up on her face that does not give anything away until she is ready for us to know – and then only in doses.

Jones as mother Molly has become use to living the secluded life her daughter provides and sees Charlotte as an interloper. Shaw makes herself known as Elizabeth Philpot who has a connection to Mary that is endearing and telling. 

McArdle as Murchison is a husband who says openly that he wants his wife back but does not seem to be heart broken over leaving her with Mary. Do not think we didn’t notice that Murchison!

Other cast include Claire Rushbrook as Eleanor Butters, Alec Secareanu as Dr. Lieberson and Fiona Shaw as Elizabeth Philpot. 

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 Special Feature includes The Making of AMMONITE: Stars Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan join filmmakers to discuss how they were able to convey the extraordinary depth of the film’s two main characters, Mary Anning and Charlotte Murchison.  

Director Lee says, “I wanted to explore what this relationship might mean to someone who has not only been socially and geographically isolated but who has had to close off to any emotional life, where you replace affection and intimacy with work and duty. Where you have been overlooked and ignored your whole life because of your gender and social class. Given this world, would Mary be able to access how she feels for Charlotte? Would she be able to let her guard down to allow the possibility of something new and wonderful to enter her life?”

When asked about the importance to telling Mary’s story, Winslet says, “She is so important. Her strength, her courage – I admire those qualities very much, but also her vulnerability, which she had to keep hidden. Now more than ever we’re living in a time when women are absolutely obsessed with other women and when, more than what we look like or how we feel when we walk down the street, it’s about what women have to say. Women are greater together; the stronger female voices we have, the more togetherness we show.

When asked what she wanted audiences to take away from seeing AMMONITE, Saoirse Ronan says, “Everyone’s going to take away something different from it, which is always wonderful, when you have people coming up to you saying “I really got this bit” or “I felt like that was me…”. You’re watching two people really discover themselves as individuals and within a partnership, and I think that’s a really beautiful thing to watch and it doesn’t necessarily come easy.”

The film has a quiet character which is the shoreline itself with its secrets waiting for Mary to discover but also a gray and cold feel. You could say that both women can sit before the waves and feel a kinship with the waves showing outside what they feel inside. 

AMMONITE is a simple tale with a not-so-simple story that pushes hard to be told. Winslet and Ronan carry the entire film and bring out the characters fears, hopes and desires is so well done. This might be the story of two women but know it is also the story of two people who are learned to break through the closed off life they had come to know.

In the end – it is simply love. 

Netflix Warms the Heart with PENGUIN BLOOM

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on Netflix from director Glendyn Ivin is the story of when life changes and brings more than one could think possible with PENGUIN BLOOM.

The Bloom family is extremely active, especially Mom Sam Bloom (Naomi Watts). Loving the beach and water, Sam brings that love to her children Noah (Griffin Johnston), Rueben (Felix Cameron) and Oli (Abe Barr). Dad Cameron (Andrew Lincoln) is a photographer that captures all their adventures.

On a trip to Thailand, the Bloom family explores and in one fateful second, Sam is injured. Now the ordinary Bloom household is living a different life. Cameron is handling the boys, a wife who seems to have disconnected from the family and a photography business.. While walking the beach, Noah finds an abandoned Magpie bringing him home. Everyone except Sam has instantly fallen in love with the baby bird given the name ‘Penguin’.

Sam does everything possible to avoid Penguin but the chatty and attention seeking bird makes her presence known. It forces Sam to do things she had been avoiding since the injury. Once Penguin flies, Sam has realizations of her own that it is time to face that her life may be different but the love of her sons and husbands has not changed.

It is also time to know that what happened, happened to them all – until Penguin!

Other cast include Essie Johnston as young Noah, Leanna Walsman as Kylie, Gia Carides as Megan, Rachel House as Gaye and Jacki Weaver as Jan. 

Watts as Sam is a woman who is used to being extremely active in her life. As with serious injuries, there is an emotional component that can be so overwhelming that all else is put aside. Angry, frustrated and full of self-doubt, it takes a bird to bring to the forefront everything that she was avoiding. Watts, even when trying to be upset, is stuffing down what her character is really feeling, and she is so good at it. 

Lincoln as Cameron has made a reappearance which should make all the Rick fans of The Walking Dead. In this role he is struggling to be a supportive father and husband when he really has not had much of an opportunity to grasp the life change either. Constantly looking for ways for Sam to come out of her shell, a bird gives him moments of joy during his own struggle. Lincoln gives his character hope, even if Sam does not recognize it.

Johnston as Noah is handling the adjustment in his own way. Keeping his distance from Sam, there is something deeper going through this young boy that needs to come to the surface. Finding Penguin is Noah’s opportunity to feel something other than what he does. The story of the Bloom’s is told through his eyes and they are full of truth and pain.

And to all the Penguin’s – Gerry, Clipper, Eugene, Maggie May, Mavis, Pew, Pip, Windell, Swoop and Hollywood. I have always adored Magpie’s and each one of you reminded me why.

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.

PENGUIN BLOOM is a story of a family who never saw a change coming and when faced with it are confused, hiding their feelings and walking on eggshells. The arrival of Penguin the Magpie forces in a loving, if not loud chatty way, to remember what it is like to love unconditionally. This winged creature accepts the Bloom family as her family and does not differentiate.

It is clear that Penguin loves each of the Bloom’s equally and enjoys their company in so many ways. I think the best scene is the cuddling between Sam and Penguin because that is a sign of trust and something Watts character needed to relearn. 

This is a film that teaches the Bloom’s to reinvent themselves, find their happy place again and embrace one another with the love they have all been missing. It’s a great reminder of how important we all are to one another, no matter what our species. 

In the end – this is a family that needs to find its wings!

She in Now Part of the LAND

Jeri Jacquin

Coming from director Robin Wright and Focus Features is a story of sadness and living in a dark place hoping to be rescued by the LAND.

Edee Mathis (Robin Wright) has packed up her life, thrown away her cell phone and went to live high up in the mountains where no one could possibly find her. Filled with an anguish she can not seem to control, Edee has also left behind sister Emma (Kim Dickens).

The cabin she now calls home is in disarray, in badly need of repair and sparse in furniture but each day Edee gets up and finds something to do. Her goal is to become totally self sufficient and live off the land with no help from anyone nor want to see anyone. When the winter comes, she had no idea how ill prepared she truly is.

In the middle of a storm she meets Miguel (Demian Bichir) and Alawa (Sarah Dawn Pledge) who try to help her. Edee and Miguel start up a friendship based on need, Edee needs someone to teach her how to hunt and Miguel needs to be a teacher. The line is drawn when she makes it clear that she has no interest in the outside world.

Fishing, hunting and gardening become her life with occasional visits from Miguel. Just when she is becoming comfortable, he announces that he might not be back for a while. Edee accepts it until time passes and she realizes that something is wrong. Now she has to decide if leaving her cabin will give her answers.

Wright as Edee is absolutely magnificent or maybe I just wish I could almost do what her character has done without the reasons of course. This character is stuck in a pain that permeates every pour of her being and Edee has not found a way to make sense of it. Wright gives us stages of sadness, discovery, angst, growth and acceptance – not only of the past but of her life. It is a deep portrayal by an actress who takes an emotional chance.

Bichir as Miguel is a man who accepts Edee for who she is and does not try to press and keeps his word on the outside world. Teaching her what it takes to survive in the mountains that she does not intend to leave, Miguel wants to at least make sure she can feed herself. As their friendship grows, he shares his humor, laughter and even vocals surrounded by the beauty of a place they both love so much.

Pledge as Alawa is a friend of Miguels but sees what Edee is putting herself through. Dickens as sister Emma has no idea where Edee has gone and wants to be there for her but Edee has made other plans.

Other cast include Warren Christie as Adam, Finlay Hissong as Drew, and Brad Leland as Colt. 

Focus Features’ mission is to make a lasting impact on global audiences by creating the home for artists to share diverse, distinctive stories that inspire human connection. Focus Features is part of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies that brings entertainment and news to a global audience. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.focusfeatures.com.

LAND is a twenty-nine day shoot and directorial debut for Wright and every frame is sheer perfection. The story is one of grief and the will to continue, even survive, when it is impossible to grasp it all. Wrapped also in the film is finding that place in the world where Edee can deal with it in her own unique way.

Another aspect of the film is the story of friendship between Edee and Miguel because they are so much alike. Miguel does not ask questions and Edee does not offer answers. Their friendship is solely based on hunting, drinking coffee watching the sunset over the vastness of her land and a wave of ‘see you later’ when they part.

That may seem strange to some people but in this film it works brilliantly. Both Wright and Bichir are so very talented that together they fill every inch of the screen with their characters. The film is slow paced and does not drag one bit, then again if it did I certainly did not feel it. Between the beautiful cinematography, the storyline and the two actors, LAND is a feast on so many levels of a wonderful film that is an experience. 

In the end – a story of humanity in the face of uncertainty.