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Jeri Jacquin aka Movie Maven and Jenise Jacquin aka Film Brat
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His Search is for PIG

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from writer/director Michael Sarnoski and Neon is a story of a complex man who just wants his PIG.

Rob is a forager that has been living in the woods of Portland for over ten years. Along with his pig, they forage during the day for truffles and enjoy the solitude together. The only time he has a visitor is when young Amir (Alex Wolff) arrives to collect the truffles and delivery the hermit supplies. Not interested in conversation of any kind, Amir goes on his way.

Later in the evening, Pig wakes Rob grunting at the door and the unthinkable happens – Pig is taken! Making his way back into the world, he relies on Amir to take him where he wants to go in search of his bovine. Clue after clue, Rob is back in the place he once had a name for himself, and it is a name not forgotten.

Amir is stunned to watch Rob navigate his way back into a world he gave up on so long ago. Each person they meet has their own story to tell about him and it leads to who is responsible for taking Pig!

Cage as Rob is so moving as a man who has his reasons for living a secluded life. The two things that made his life continue are truffles and Pig. The occasional visit from Amir seem to make him more irritated than anything else. I have come to appreciate Cage taking roles where he is more action than talk because anything else I may need to know shows in every part of his face. He gives Rob a fragile humanity that seems to escape Amir until he sees interactions with others. 

Wolff as Amir is a young man who has made a business out of selling the truffles that Rob finds but also has a story of his own. Trying to make a life of his own away from a father who clearly has issues of his own, Wolff starts off Amir as a fast driving, narcissistic young man who weaves his way into a business with Rob that keeps him from needing anything from daddy dearest. Yet, there is a heartbreak he must come to terms with.

Other cast include Adam Arkin as Darius, Gretchen Corbett as Mac, Darius Pierce as Edgar, Julia Bray as Tweakette, Elijah Ungvary as Tweaker and Nina Belforte as Charlotte. 

Neon is a film production company that is best known for such films as I, TONYA and one of the most incredible Oscar winning film PARASITE. With a total of 12 Academy Award nominations, Neon appeals to audiences that are looking for in-your-face storytelling. For more information please visit www.neonrated.com.

Director Sarnoski says, “What began as a very personal project has transformed into a labor of love for so many talented people. I am thrilled for us all to be bringing this strange world to life.” 

PIG is such an amazing film that is a mixture of humanity, an unlikely friendship, food, and a pig. Cage and Wolff give us a mystery to be sure but as each of their story’s are told and we see Rob re-engage in the world (well, in the best way he emotionally knows how). His motivation comes in the form of a lovely pig who clearly enjoys his human’s company. Of course, those who know Rob is in the forest misunderstand their relationship.

Once Pig is taken, Rob snaps out of the forest haze and will do anything to track him down. That includes going places from his past and seeing people who are shocked to see him in one way or another. Mixed into the story are truffles and what is means to chefs looking to create something “exiting” in their industry which does not escape Rob in the slightest.

I can not say enough about Cage’s performance except he carries the story on Rob’s shoulders with the weight of an invisible anchor. As a die-hard Cage fan (and I love the film KNOWING so take THAT!), it is interesting to see the directions he takes in every movie he chooses. Fascinating and sometimes happily unexpected for me. Wolff gives his character attitude, but it is based on something much deeper, and this young actor expresses it so very well. Performing alongside Cage, this actor held his own and it was enjoyable from start to finish. 

PIG is a film that is mean to be enjoyed with a beautifully plated serving of love and a glass full of aerated soul. 

In the end – we do not get a lot of things to truly care about!



A Father and Son Journey with JOE BELL

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from director Reinaldo Marcus Green and Roadside Attractions is a walk to finding answers for JOE BELL.

Joe Bell (Mark Wahlberg) lives in Oregon and is husband to Lola (Connie Britton) and son’s teen Jadin (Reid Miller) and young Joseph (Maxwell Jenkins). Rough and rugged, one day Jadin pulls Dad aside and tells him that he is gay. Joe tries the rugged approach and makes it out to be an ‘okay, is that it?’ reaction much to Jadin’s dismay.

Especially since the teen is dealing with difficulties at school with kids bullying him mercilessly. Jadin confides in friend Marcie (Morgan Lily) who tries to help him keep up a positive attitude about who he is. Even finding an unexpected romance can not ease the daily pain Jadin is feeling.

After the Bell family experiences tragedy, the only way Joe can deal with it is when he decides to walk across the United States to talk to kids about bullying. Doing it with the wisdom of Jadin, what begins to happen is that Joe discovers more about himself than he ever thought possible. More importantly, he is not the only one dealing with it as Marcie and Joseph wait patiently for Joe to come home.

Each step brings him closer to Jadin.

Wahlberg as Joe Bell brings the rough and tumble father character to this story. As what is happening to son Jadin unfolds, Wahlberg’s character tries to justify with a ‘well I supported your cheerleading what else do you want’ as his support. Frustrated because he refuses to admit that he does not know how to deal with his feelings, Wahlberg takes his character on the road. On the wide-open pavement, it becomes a story of memories, cringe worthy realizations and a hope to be a better person. 

Miller as Jadin is such a heart-breaking character to watch. Trying to fit in, keep his sexuality down low and stay away from the young raging bulls, Miller shows us on screen the pain behind it all. When pain becomes the first thing you feel in the morning and the last thing you feel at night, someone has to give. Miller reminds us of those consequences and what it does to those left behind.

Britton as Lola is a woman who already has her hands full with a house of men. Trying to support a husband who is evasive, a son in pain and another son feeling left out, Britton’s character turns to the one thing that does not require anything of her and kills the pain. Jenkins as Joseph is a young man caught in the middle of everything and getting lose in the conflicts of the family. Clearly, he loves his parents, brother and wants a few moments of recognition of his own and it gets lost.

Shout out to Gary Sinise because he deserves every shout out that can be mustered. In JOE BELL he once again plays a character, even if its briefly, of a caring man who recognizes the pain of another human being. 

Other cast include Tara Buck as Mary Ivy, Ash Santos as Kim, Blaine Maye as Boyd Banks, Igby Rigney as Chance, Austin Grant as Blake, Scout Smith as Colleen, Juan Antonio as Roy Holmes, Charles Halford and Gary Sinise.

Roadside Attractions has, since 2003, grossed over $300M and garnered nineteen Academy Award nominations. They have had critical and commercial hits such as MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, BEN IS BACK, BEATRIZ AT DINNER, HELLO MY NAME IS DORIS, WINTER’S BONE and THE COVER as well as so many others. For more information of what Roadside Attractions has to offer please visit www.roadsideattractions.com.

JOE BELL is based on a true story, and it will tug at your heart. As a proud sister of a gay brother who lost his fight for this life, I recognized the pain that Jadin felt frame after frame. There were so many conversations that we had about how to make the family see that ‘gay’ was not about hurting them but instead loving him unconditionally – and that was in 1987. 

Watching the film also made me angry in the sense that if my brother David and I were dealing with this in 1987 and it is now 2021, how are we still having these discussions? Especially when the end results for some have been total and irreversible tragedy. 

JOE BELL is a film that I would hope could be a teachable moment and one to be shared in schools. That would be something that would move me beyond words as young adults in a group setting tend to listen more when they share an experience and talk about it openly.

The cast does an amazing job telling the story of this young man and his father. Wahlberg and Miller are everything and more with twists and turns that gave me jaw-drop. Tissue worthy absolutely!

In the end – redemption is a journey you cannot take alone!

They are Beached and OLD

Jeri Jacquin

 
Coming to theatres from writer/director M. Knight Shyamalan and Universal Pictures based on the graphic novel "Sandcastle" by Frederick Peeters is the tale of OLD.
 
On a family vacation in what looks like paradise, Guy (Gael Garcia Bernal), Prisca (Vicky Krieps) and their two children Trent (Nolan River) and Maddox (Alexa Swinton) check in to the island resort. The children make a friend with Idlib (Kailen Jude) as they all hit the beach for sun and waves.
 
The resort manager tells Guy and Prisca of a special place that they may want to visit and he would be happy to arrange it. Looking forward to it, they are driven to their destination along with fellow travelers Charles (Rufus Sewell), Chrystal (Abbey Lee) and their daughter Kara (Mikaya Fisher), and couple Patricia (Nikki Amuka-Bird) and Jarin (Ken Leung).
 
Each setting up their spot, the location is beautiful but Maddox notices someone who is already there, rapper Mid-Sized Sedan (Aaron Pierre) is off to himself. Almost immediately things begin to happen as they find someone who has drowned as Dr. Charles checks out what could have been the cause. Wanting to get help, everyone with a phone notices there is no cell reception.
 
Minutes go and again the group of people are jolted by noticing that the Trent (Alex Wolff), Maddox (Thomasin McKenzie) and Kara have grown to the point that their parents are shocked. Trying to understand what is happening, the group decides it is time to go but something is keeping them on that beach - and even more shocking, aging is not the only frightening thing happening on the shocking shores.
 
Bernal as Guy is a man of data who does not know what to do with his emotions. Trying to keep things light on the family vacation, arriving at the secret location almost immediately messes with his data sense of common sense! Jumping from unexplainable event to the next, Bernal's character cannot control his deer in the headlights look. Krieps as Prisca wanted the family to have one good family vacation before the adults have to come clean about their situation. Prisca only concern is her children and what the cove is doing to everyone around her.
 
Wolff as the aging Trent is trying to understand what is happening to him and at the same time begin to decipher how it is all possible. Dealing with understanding everything through the mind of a six-year-old, time is not on anyone's side. McKenzie as Maddox is continually protective of her brother and even as she ages, dealing with emotions and coming to terms with adulthood is difficult enough without the effects of the cove.
 
Sewell as Charles is a doctor who seems to be in control of every aspect of his life and when he feels threatened, taking action is swift. As people become more and more affected, making sense of it all has an odd effect on Charles. Lee as wife Chrystal is a very attractive woman who does not mind trying to get attention from more than just her husband but as with all things - beauty fades.
 
Amuka-Bird as Patricia is a psychologist, but this is not exactly covered in any schooling or training she ever had. Leung as Jarin tries to help as much as possible with what he knows being a nurse but has to make a decision on how best to escape their circumstances. Pierre as Sedan can only tell the group next to nothing about what happened prior to their arrival.
 
Other cast include Eliza Scanlen as Kara, Embeth Davidtz as Maddox, Emun Elliott as Trent, Gustaf Hammarsten as the Resort Manager, Kathleen Chalfant as Agnes, Francesca Eastwood as Madrid, Luca Rodriguez as Trent, Mathew Shear as Sidney, Daniel Ison as Greg, Jeffrey Holsman as Mr. Brody, and M. Knight Shyamalan as the Hotel Van Driver.

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.
 
OLD is an interesting mix of fantasy, a bit of horror, spotty acting and a story of losing control in a situation controlled by what is around them. The ensemble cast each brings their own story that comes in fast and furious as it all weaves in through the entire film. Keeping it strictly in one location allows for keeping tabs on each character and with the flip of the camera angle the change happens right before our eyes.
 
What makes Shyamalan's films work is that we cannot help but see what madness he will create film after film. Knowing his films are not for everyone, it certainly does not stop him from embracing some far-fetched, yet eerily simple plots based on the graphic novel. There are strokes of genius in the film and then it seems to revert back to a bit of predictability, yet I still watch every single second.
 
OLD is a good yarn to tell and if you are looking for a bit of fun and twists on a Friday night, then this film is right up the shoreline for you.
 
In the end - it is only a matter of time.

ANNETTE

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from director Leos Carax is an Amazon Original film about relationships, destruction and caught in the middle is ANNETTE.

Henry McKenry (Adam Driver) is a sarcastic performance comedian who has fallen in love with the beautiful opera singer Ann Defrasnoux (Marion Cotillard). This is a news sensation as the two enough the heights of their careers. Professing their love to one another, they welcome a baby daughter named Annette.

It seems Henry has a dark side, and it begins to become even darker when he cannot deal with Ann's fame and the life of a new father. Deciding to get away for time on their boat, their lives change so dramatically that Henry goes even further down the destructive rabbit hole. Giving Annette a gift, Henry discovers that his young daughter has a stunning talent.

Helping Henry and Annette is the Conductor (Simon Helberg) as the world soon discovers the music as well. As the young girls' father moves emotionally away, Annette (Devyn McDowell) finds herself speaking her truth and coming to terms with the fact that adults can be so destructive.

Driver as Henry has the opportunity to showcase his dark comedy and vocals as a character who is destructive from beginning to end. As Henry faces his emotions, the rift in his life becomes bigger and bigger until every move he makes is towards an endless pit. The continual sullenness is a character Drive is able to pull off and make it totally believable and with this role viewers have the benefit of music to tell his side of it all.

Cotillard as Ann is a soprano that captivates her audiences with the characters she plays. Finding love with Henry gives her a happiness that extends to the birth of their daughter Annette. The audience experiences her vocals filled with longing, sadness and, in a few performances, death. Cotillard's character experiences those same true emotions in life with her husband. There are lovely moments with Annette, but they are too few and far between in her young life.

Helberg as Conductor has his own part to play in the story of Henry and Ann and there comes a time when he shares it all causing unchangeable havoc.

McDowell as Annette is absolutely and extraordinarily stunning as the young daughter of two artists. What is true of her life is that both of her parents are selfish, narcissistic and are focused on what will make them happy. There finally comes a moment where she is able to share her feelings and I am riveted from the first moment she speaks until the last. Her voice is angelic, harsh, emotion filled and angry with each of these emotions totally justified and full of truth. Wonderfully done young lady!

Other cast include Angele, Kiko Mizuhara, Natalie Mendoza as Accusers Chorus, Rila Fukishima and Laura Jansen as Nurses, Nastaya Carax as Nastaya, Leos Carax as Leos Carax and Kanji Furutachi as Doctor.

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.

ANNETTE is a musical about two artists who loved one another but once the sparkle has worn off and real life sets in, neither seems to know what to do with it. Henry is a self-indulgent who is happy being unhappy and Ann seems to blithely allow his behaviors - even when Annette arrives.

I wanted to feel something for these characters, but I just could not, instead I was a mental advocate for Annette from the moment of conception. Driver's portrayal of a "comic" did not do much for me in the slightest. It was almost like watching Leia and Hans’s son try to be funny so we would all forget that he loves evil at heart.

Cotillard's portrayal seemed that of a woman who loved being in love because the characters she consistently performed as on stage did not seem to have much happiness in their life. What an awakening when she realizes art imitated life! Other than her stage performances, I also was not invested in her character. I give both actors props for doing their own vocals.

Annette starts out as an oddity in the life of these two so-called adults and watching the pain through her eyes, it becomes easy to see how she is portrayed. It is in the final scene with Driver that I am thrilled with how strong the young girl's character turned out to be in spite of the adults that surrounded her.

ANNETTE is an interesting bit of watching to say the least and, if one is so inclined to delve into the two hour and twenty-minute rock opera, I'd be curious to hear your thoughts dear readers.


LABYRINTH Celebrates its 35th Anniversary 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming in 4K Ultra HD and Bluray pack from director Jim Henson and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is a celebration of the 1986 musical film LABYRINTH.

Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) is sitting in the park with dog Merlin and the book The Labyrinth. Going home in the rain, stepmother Irene (Shelley Thompson) and father Robert (Christopher Malcolm) leave her with little baby brother Toby (Toby Froud). 

Not keeping a sharp eye, Sarah is enraged when she discovers that Toby has her bear Lancelot. Angry, the young girl wishes that goblins would take Toby away. What she does not know is that the goblins are waiting in anticipation for her to say the words. 

Jareth (David Bowie), the Goblin King, takes Toby and tries to make a deal with Sarah but she wants her brother back. She has thirteen hours to get through a labyrinth or else Toby belongs to the Goblin King. Along the way she meets Hoggle a grumpy dwarf and asks for help in getting through the labyrinth and also meets the beast Ludo. 

Being watched along the way by Jareth who does his best to keep Sarah from completing the Labyrinth. The guard of the swamp Sir Didymus and dog Ambrosius joins in the group that is helping Sarah. But Jareth is not done with his traps when he invades her dreams, but the young girl is stronger than she could have possibly imagined!

Connelly as the young Sarah is adorable, sweet and everything you would expect from teenager who is unhappy babysitting a crying toddler. She plays so convincingly to the Henson puppets that have been created for the film. 

Bowie as Jareth is absolutely stunning and adding his musical talent to the film is equally awesome. Personally, I have always adored this film before the loss of Bowie, but seeing the film again makes me nostalgic for his creative talent and ability to adapt his look and sound through the years we were fortunate to have him. 

Henson’s puppets are stunning, delightful and a tad scary at times. LABYRINTH was an amazing opportunity to go beyond Sesame Street and show the endless possibilities. The ‘hand’ puppets are so very cool, and Henson made that scene very memorable, especially for a kid!

Shout out to Toby Froud who got to be a baby in this musical fantasy!

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.

The Special Features of the 4K Ultra HD Disc includes The Feature Presentation in 4K resolution and Dolby Vision, Deleted & Alternate Scene Oubliette – Over twenty-five minutes of never-before-seen lost and alternate scenes, with all-new commentary from Brian Henson, and Sarah’s Screen Test – A collection of rare, original screen tests for the role of Sarah featuring Molly Ringwald, Trini Alvarado, Tracey Gold, Claudia Wells, Jill Schoelen, Maddie Corman and Danielle von Zernick.

The Bluray Disc includes Feature Presentation, “The Henson Legacy” Featurette, Labyrinth Anniversary Q&A, Remembering the Goblin King Featurette, The Storytellers, Commentary by Conceptual Design Brian Froud, Original Making-of Documentary “Inside the Labyrinth”, “Journey Through the Labyrinth: Kingdom of Characters” Documentary, “Journey Through the Labyrinth: The Quest for Goblin City” Documentary and Theatrical Trailers. 

LABYRINTH is still as brilliant today as it was thirty-five years ago when it was released. The fantasy, puppetry and musical film is a tad dark, but I was twenty-five when this film was released, and I loved every minute of it.

Re-watching it today on a big television with a sound bar reminded me easily of being in the theatre all those years ago. The film is the story of friendship, being a teenager, regret, learning, growing, understanding and being true to what is right in the face of adversity. Those are a lot of lessons wonderfully wrapped up in LABYRINTH.

The set designs and puppets have their own story to tell with their fantastical laughs, loving looks, comical attitudes, and ease in which we love them all. Henson brought his best and brightest to make this story come to life and I, for one, am grateful.

George Lucas was the executive producer; Terry Jones wrote the first script draft in the early 80’s and the concept design came from Brian Froud. Along with Henson, LABYRINTH has become a cult classic and that is a fine place to be.

In the end – it is where everything seems possible, and nothing is what it seems!

He Can Only Find Her With REMINISCENCE

Jeri Jacquin

Currently in theatres and on HBO/Max from writer/director Lisa Joy and Warner Bros. Pictures is the story of our world through REMINISCENCE.

Nick Bannister (Hugh Jackman) is living in a world now surrounded by water, rebellion and the have nots. During the day it seems quiet, and the nighttime is when everything comes alive. His business is investigating but also allowing people to revisit the past using a hologram program and the help of partner Watts (Thandie Newton).

At closing time, Nick is about to be thunderstruck when the beautiful Mae (Rebecca Ferguson) walks in with a request. She can not seem to find her keys and while in the program, Nick sees into her life. Starting a relationship that is filled with everything he never thought possible, devastation follows when Mae disappears. 

Devastated, he uses his own program to try and understand if there are clues to where she has gone. Watts, trying to snap him out of it, reminds him that they need to get to the local police station to help a case. In the tank is Cyrus Booth (Cliff Curtis), during questioning Nick sees Mae.

Now he must come to terms with the mystery of who Mae truly is, those that have been part of her life, the connection with the Sylvan family and following the trail of murder.

Jackman as Nick is a love-struck detective that uses the mind technology to trace where Mae would have gone. Instead, he finds the life of bad guys and bad choices realizing that the only truth lies in the end. Jackman does his usual stellar job giving us a hardy performance with intensity and a broken heart.

Ferguson as Mae is a femme fatale songstress who sends Nick on a chase of love and pain. Is she really who she seems to be? That is the question and Ferguson is not giving up any answers to the very end.

Newton as Watts has worked with Nick for years and sees the path of destruction he is going on. They butt heads over the investigation and the choices Nick is making, and Newton makes sure her character is strong and no-nonsense.

Curtis as Booth looks as dastardly as they come, and he knows more than he ever plans to share. Locked inside his mind are a good portion of what has been happening all along and he is not going to give it up easily. Curtis has the remarkable ability to play both a good guy and a bad guy in equal measure because he does it so dang well. 

Other cast include Natalie Martinez as Avery Castillo, Marina de Tavira as Swati Sylvan, Daniel Wu as Saint Joe, Mojean Aria as Sebastian Sylvan, Giovannie Cruz as Cindy, Brett Cullen as Walter Sylvan, Angela Saratyan as Elsa Carine, Javier Molina as Hank, Sam Medina as Falks, Norio Nishimura as Harris, Nico Parker as Zoe and Roxton Garcia as Freddie. 

Warner Brothers is home to one of the most successful collections of brands in the world and stands at the forefront of every aspect of the entertainment industry from feature film, television and home entertainments with worldwide distribution to DVD and Bluray, animation, comic books, videogames and broadcasting. For more please visit www.warnerbros.com.

Although enjoying the film, I could not help but think that the story is a mixture of other stories and genres (WATERWORLD, INCEPTION, ALTERED STATES, a tad MEMENTO and all black and white P.I. films I have ever watched etc.). The backstory of the new ‘water world’ seems to be a story all its own and gave me more questions than answers. 

Jackman, Newton and Ferguson carry their part of the film very well. I enjoyed their performances as Jackman takes us on the noir mystery thriller set in a future world. Director Joy was co-creator and executive producer of the HBO series Westworld. Also, she might have gotten a few pointers from brother-in-law Christopher Nolan but for her first project, it is all about the mystery indeed. 

So enjoy in a theatre or enjoy at home – just enjoy the mystery and discover REMINISCENCE.

In the end – don’t look back!


It is Another Adventure with PETER RABBIT 2

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray, DVD and Digital from director Will Gluck and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is the next big adventure with PETER RABBIT 2.

Peter Rabbit (James Corden) is a witness at the wedding of Bea (Rose Byrne) and Mr. McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson) and off they go to live in the cottage together next to the pond. The town is all excited since Bea’s book ‘Peter Rabbit’ is out for all to enjoy.

One day Bea receives a letter from Nigel Basil-Jones (David Oyelowo) asking to publish her book and take it worldwide. She signs a contract, but the animals are worried that Basil-Jones is not a nice guy. Bea makes it very clear that the story is very personal to her but that doesn’t stop the publisher from making suggestions to bring in the big money.

Peter, in the meantime, is not happy with the story and decides it is time to strike out on his own. He meets Barnabas (Lennie James) only to discover that he actually knows Peter. Captured by the local authorities, they are adopted out to a family who clearly does not know how to care for rabbits. Now Peter’s friends are worried that they haven’t seen Peter!

Barnabas shows Peter the ropes to living and surviving in the big town with the help of Whiskers (Rupert Degas), Tom Kitten (Damon Herriman), Mittens (Haylet Atwell) and Johnny Town-Mouse (David Wenham). That adventure was not to last as Bea and friends find Peter to take him home. 

But its not over as Peter finds himself between old friends and new friends and its time for him to remember who he is to all that love him!

Corden as Peter continues to give his animated character fun, lessons learned, an innocence mixed in with a big of being braggadocios, and a just a kid who wants to know his place in the world. Cordon offers a sense of childlike attitudes and a bit of an emotional tantrum now and then from a rabbit that we all can not help but love – just the way he is. 

Byrne as Rose never thought her stories would come to more than a small book in her shop. When she has a chance to take Peter into a larger world, she also learns lessons about the big world who would like nothing more than to change her beloved stories. Byrne always brings beauty to her roles and Rose is just delightful.

Gleeson as Mr. McGregor is the total opposite of Rose in that he is suspicious of everything, probably because of Peter more than anything else. He has his eye on those who would want to change everything he loves about his wife. In this adventure he has the opportunity to really get to know Peter and all his wonderful friends and that takes Gleeson from a grump to a hero.

Oyelowo as Nigel is the above ground user as James as Barnabas is to the lower ground user of the story. Both want what they want, and the cost means absolutely nothing. James has more than a few tricks up his sleeve, and they are all in his favor, poor Peter. 

Degas, Herriman, Atwell and Wenham get the chance to stretch their imaginary characters legs and be as naughty as they want to be with Barnabas’ help. 

Other cast include Colin Moody as Benjamin Bunny, Margot Robbie as Flopsy, Elizabeth Debicki as Mospy, Aimee Horne as Cotton-tail, Damon Herriman as Tom Kitten, Sia as Mrs. Tiggy Winkle, Sam Neill as Tommy Brock, Ewen Leslie as Pigling Bland, Matt Villa as Felix D’eer, Will Reichelt as JW Rooster and. 

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 effects are pretty cool as all the cottage animals meet the city animals. Getting into the film it is easy to get lose in the reality who they are and my family did not mind one single bit.

PETER RABBIT 2 is a delightful continuation of the adventures Peter. It is a very large cast of characters both human and creature but each of them, with the help of their human voices, brings such life to the story. I watched the film with my six-year-old granddaughter, and she was giggling or yelling for Peter and his friends to ‘watch out!’. 

That’s what is wanted in a family film. For families to gather together and giggle, eat popcorn, cheer for the underdog and boo the bad guys. That’s what PETER RABBIT 2 offers us all in the way of fun, entertainment, and a few lessons on what it truly means to be a blended family.

In the end – small hero and a big adventure!

DREAMBUILDERS

Jeri Jacquin

Coming from SHOUT! Factory Kids, directors Kim Hagen Jensen and Tonni Zinck is the story of a young girl dealing with life changes with DREAMBUILDERS.

Minna (Robyn Dempsey) is a young girl who is happy with dad John (Tom Hale) and pet hamster Viggo but is feeling the pressure when dad moves in girlfriend Helene (Karen Ardiff) and attention seeking daughter Jenny (Emma Jenkins) into their home. 

She finds an escape in sleep and discovers another world with dream-builder named Gaff (Luke Griffin) who explains to Minna how dreams happen. He also explains that interfering in someone else’s dream is a disaster. Under pressure from his dream-superiors, Gaff is working extra hard to make sure the dreams pass inspection.

During awake time, Jenny is threatening Viggo and Minna’s happy home life and that’s when she realizes there is one way to stop it all from happening. Enlisting the help of Gaff, Minna changes Jenny’s dreams so that she will be nicer.

The problem is, Jenny figures out what is happening and does things that hurt Minna deep. That’s when she goes overboard in dreamland and when it goes wrong, only Minna can make it right!

Dempsey as Minna is a young girl dealing with a missing mom and her dad’s new relationship. The changes are almost to much for her to take and adding a not-so-nice Jenny who turns her world upside down. Minna does things that are unlike her, and she cannot seem to stop herself.

Jenkins as Jenny is a girl who has a dad-issue and uses that as a reason to do act in a way that is selfish. Immediately taking over Minna’s home with her demands and fits puts her in a place to make it easy not to like her. When she realizes what Minna can do, she needs a friend to get back home.

Griffin as Gaff truly cares about Minna and wants to make her happy. Knowing that allowing her inside the dream building process could get him in trouble, he wants to help her. Hale as John is a dad who just wants his daughter to be happy and at the same time create the one thing he misses the most – a family. Ardiff as Helene has basically created a monster out of her own guilt and Jenny is the result.

Hamster Viggo Mortensen is just to cute for words, as is his namesake!

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

DREAMBUILDERS is a story of dreams, hopes, nightmares, family, issues and everything in between. I kind of which I knew who my “Gaff” was so I could make a few changes to dreams here and there. 

Mixed into the films themes is color, a bit of fun, delightful characters and animation. Going inside a world that we are not privy to, DREAMBUILDERS gives us all something to think about. 

A cast of characters inside the dreams are fun, quirky, inventive, creative, scary and in some cases, a stickler for the dream rules. When things go haywire in Minna’s waking world, they all come to the rescue to help their young dream-ward get through it.

DREAMBUILDERS is a fanciful and sweet film that calls for cuddle time on the sofa to watch together with the family. 

In the end – she gets inside the dreamworld!

They Are Going Through it TOGETHER

Jeri Jacquin

Coming from director Stephen Daldry and Bleeker Street comes a story of a couple just trying to keep it TOGETHER.

The city of London has just learned that it is about to be lockdown due to Covid-19. Bringing in their own stockpile of toilet paper and other sundries, he (James McAvoy) begins the conversation with her (Sharon Horgan) about it all. Son Arthur (Samuel Logan), or Artie depending on which parent is talking about him, is taking it all in.

Both are thinking of their jobs as she is a refugee coordinator and responsible for helping to take care of an aging mother. He has his own business that can be done from home even though he worries about his employees. Their time together slowly brings out issues that have gone unresolved in their relationship.

As the days wear on, so do the jabs, one-liners, truths, beards, man-buns and stories of when things started to take a turn in the marriage. But also, in the months that have worn on, like with so many others, quarantining is forcing decisions to be made and hardships to be endured.

It is a day-by-day effort to find the truth about themselves.

McAvoy as He is absolutely stunning in this role. He sets up his character with the back-and-forth witty repartee with his wife instead of addressing the real issues. Well, the pandemic had other plans forcing him to come to terms with feelings he long ignored for the sake of their son. McAvoy explains his character as “he can not help but be in love with her. His performance is flawless, his long talks with the audience are filled with everything you need to know about the couple and bring a mixture of sadness and a few chuckles. These two people are inextricably enmeshed. How they feel about each other is so tangible, so intense, funny, surprising, hateful, compassionate, caring and utterly transformative at times.”

Horgan as She lets the words fly out as easily as her husband. Filled with wit and, at times, dripping with distain, she gives as good as she gets. That does not mean their history has gone without damage and She is not about to let her voice be silenced. In the mix of that is the pain of loss on so many levels and Horgan lets us feel it along with her. Horgan says of her character, “It was not as hard as I feared to find the anguish. In a way, we were reliving parts of our own lives through those characters, and it was all there for the taking. There were not many moments where I was worried, I was not going to feel the emotion. When Dennis writes, he can break your heart.” 

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.

Dennis Kelly wrote the screenplay for TOGETHER and says, “The heart of the story is their relationship. Many people have had similar experiences during the pandemic, but this particular couple simply cannot stand each other. I doubt they’ve really spoken in about ten years. They can’t even agree on their son’s first name. They are just not the kind of people who should be together, and lockdown is the worst thing that could possibly happen to them.”

Director Daldry says of the reality of it all, “Inevitably you go through the process of questioning yourself, your relationships, your family and the world. As we continue to emerge out of this extraordinary period of history, it seems important to commemorate the eighteen months we’ve all been through. Doing a piece about a couple that struggles to endure was a cathartic experience for me and I hope for people watching it as well.”

The extraordinary thing about the film TOGETHER is that there was ten days of rehearsal and a ten-day shoot. Because the scenes are kept within the house of the couple, we all can relate to what four walls can do. Their home is an outward view of what has been going on prior to the quarantine and it becomes even more disorganized as the couple’s emotions and feelings do.

Speaking of four walls, McAvoy has the opportunity to break that fourth wall when he invites us into the problems. Speaking directly to us, the story has the opportunity to let us see both sides of their pain and even the biting humor that has kept the couple together for so long. Talking it out there are moments where they believe it will all be okay but in reality, they need to dive deeper because that’s where they have shoved it all for years.

TOGETHER is a film that you can not turn away from, every moment has something to say about staying together, trying to keep a family front, being totally different from one another in what they want and being forced together for an indetermined amount of time in a confined place.

Sound familiar? I love this movie.

In the end - no one said pandemics were easy!

Sending Him to College to be RUSHED

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from director Vibeke Muasya, writer Siobhan Fallon Hogan and Vertical Entertainment is the sadness of a son being RUSHED.

The O’Brien’s are an Irish Catholic family living in Upstate New York. Jim (Robert Patrick) is a hard-working husband and father leaving the chaotic homelife in the capable hands of wife Barbara (Siobhan Fallon Hogan). Older son Jimmy (Jay Jay Warren), daughters Kelly (Lily Rosenthal) and Ciara (Ellie Frankel) are always on the move. 

Jimmy and friend Vergil (Justin Linville) are getting ready to pledge to a fraternity and mom Barbara wants to make sure he puts his best foot forward. Promising to call later if he is accepted, she sleeps by her phone to the amusement of Jim who is secretly thrilled for his son.

At the fraternity, Jimmy and Vergil are subjected to different levels of humiliation by president Steven Croission (Jake Weary). Jimmy begins to become agitated with the whole process, but the alcohol is still being pushed. When it gets to him, Croission puts the pledge into a chair but Vergil notices something is wrong.

By the end of the evening, Jimmy is in the hospital and the O’Brien family are devastated. It is Barbara who is not about to let the fraternity get away with hurting her son. Even Jim sees that his wife needs to investigate the events further in her own way until it all comes to a frightening conclusion and a twist that is shocking.

Hogan as Barbara is a woman who lives a life of family and faith. Both of those are being tested at the same time and the anger of what the fraternity did to her son leads her on a journey of listening to other mothers carrying the same pain. Hogan takes on the pain by finding others who have dealt with similar circumstances and the walls put in front of them to get justice. 

Patrick as Jim is a hard-working dad who is proud of his family and son. When their world falls apart, he is the one to reach out to those who could help Barbara on her journey to help others. Strong for his family, he tries everything to help but knows that Barbara has to do things her own way to find peace.

Warren as Jimmy wanted so much to pledge a fraternity but realizes quickly that this is not what he signed up for. Pushed further and further to do more is what led him to the chair. Linville as friend Vergil also wanted to pledge and saw the same difficulties as Jimmy and he knows the truth.

Weary as Steven is a kid who has taken his role as president of a fraternity a bit too far. Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and the character of Steven proves that from the pledging and beyond.

Other cast include Rusty Schwimmer as Joan, Peter Hogan as Vinny, Sean Cullen as Mr. Donohue, Peri Gilpin as Mrs. Donohue, Sinead Hogan as Jessie, Jordan Lage as the Senator, Fat Nick as Chezno, Jared Sandler as DZL, Ben Rosenthal as Tucker and Austin Patrick as Alexis. 

Vertical Entertainment is a global independent distributor that offers a unique wealth of experience minus the studio costs. They have won a Film Independent Spirit Award for Best Actress for Molly Shannon’s role in OTHER PEOPLE and the film won a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Film Limited Release, Best International Film for Babak Anvari’s UNDER THE SHADOW, a BAFTA and three Independent British Independent Film Awards as well.

“I wrote the film because as a mother of three, I understand that Hell hath no fury like a mother scorned. After I completed the script, I sent it to Zentropa Films as I have worked as an actress with Lars Von Trier for over 25 years in his films, DANCER IN THE DARK, DOGVILLE and THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT. They immediately called me and agreed to co-produce the film which was fantastic. I am thrilled to have the film with Vertical Entertainment domestically and Octane Entertainment internationally,” said writer, producer and star Siobhan Fallon Hogan.

Hogan has taken on the challenge of telling the story that anyone can research on the internet and that is deaths due to hazing. Since 2000, there have been 50 deaths due to hazing with alcohol being one of the main factors. Of course, parents do not send their kids to college to die because of hazing which is where the pain exists.

The story is taken even further as Hogan decides that doing nothing is unacceptable. She cannot let her son rest without those who need to be accountable are held accountable. That is absolutely what I would expect from a mom like Barbara because I know it is absolutely what I would do. That being said, the ending is shocking!

RUSHED is a story of family, love, pain and the hopes that can turn so quickly are what fill every moment of the film. The pain that the O’Brien family endures is not just that of Barbara but Jim and the other children who are also trying to find their way through the heartache they never knew existed.  

In the end – she will fight for her family!



12 MIGHTY ORPHANS Plays onto Bluray

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray and DVD from director Ty Roberts and Sony Picture Classics comes the story of young boys about to become young men with 12 MIGHTY ORPHANS. 

Rusty Russell (Luke Wilson) is a football coach and teacher along with wife Juanita (Vinessa Shaw) and young daughters, they have come to a Fort Worth orphanage to teach and coach. Upon arrival they meet Frank (Wayne Knight) who introduces them a bit and takes them to their dilapidated new home. New arrival Hardy Brown (Jake Austin Walker) is brought in and taken to Doc E.P. Hall (Martin Sheen).

Russell was a former coach at Temple wanting to come to the orphanage to make a difference. Trying to get the boys to become interested in creating a team, he discovers that there are more roadblocks than there are rocks in his field. He also discovers that Frank mistreats the boys at every turn. 

Russell starts to make headway with the boys but at the same time tries to get through his own traumas of childhood and time of war. Being a fighter will come in handy as he is met with constant obstacles by those who do not want the orphan boys to play in Division A. In September of 1938, the boys start to prove what they are made of even with the bumps and bruises along the way. 

Coming together is not easy but when it happens, it is a sight to see!

Wilson as Rusty Russell is a coach and teacher with a past of his own. Relating to the orphans, he has the opportunity to speak and treat them the way the boys had never known. Then again that is the pattern of Wilson, playing roles that are understanding, insightful and reaches through thoughtfulness. 

Sheen as Doc is a father figure to most of the boys and sees exactly what Russell is trying to do for the boys. Doc also has his own demons he is fighting but when Russell influences him as well giving him a chance to be part of the team. 

Walker as Hardy Brown is a young man who is full of anger and resentment, but it slowly starts to fade when with Russell. He brings the team together and also turns out to be one of the strongest players the team has and the strongest advocates for the boys have.  

Shaw as Juanity is supportive of her husband on the field and off reminding him that football is only part of what he needs to be teaching these boys. She also works with the kids to teach them how it is possible to become something more than the word ‘orphan’. 

Other cast include Natasha Bassett as Opal, Jacob Lofland as Snoggs, Lane Garrison as Luther, Scott Haze as Rodney Kidd, Kelly Frye as Mary Jane, Sampley Barinaga as Chicken, Levi Dylan as Fairbanks, Slade Monroe as Wheatie, Lucy Faust as Wanda, Treat Williams as Amon Carter and Robert Duvall as Mason Hawk. 

12 MIGHTY ORPHANS includes Deleted Scenes. 

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.

The story is based on the book Twelve Mighty Orphans: The Inspiring True Story of the Mighty Mites Who Rules Texas Football by Jim Dent. 

12 MIGHTY ORPHANS is a lovely story at the time when there were no electronics, no television, barely a radio and orphanages were always full. These characters have all been through their own personal struggles and the pain is one that is not of their own making. 

During the depression, people were looking for anything to take them away from problems that the brought them such hardships. This team slowly became the focus of everyday people who wanted to root for the underdog. What they did not see was the turmoil these boys faces personally and the emotions that come from feeling abandoned. 

It was their coach Rusty Russell who came up with amazing changes in the way football was played bringing his boys the opportunity to win – but more than just football. Off the field there are outside obstacles but inside the orphanage there is just one – the heinously abusive Frank Wynn. 

When people begin writing from all over explaining how what the boys are going through brings them hope and courage, it means something to the coach and the boys. 

In the end – winning lies within the heart!



It is the return of CORALINE

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray, DVD, writer/director Henry Selick, Laika Studios and Shout! Factory is the return of the beloved story of a young girl named CORALINE.

Coraline Jones (voiced by Dakota Fanning) and her family mom Mel (Teri Hatcher) and dad Charlie (John Hodgman) have moved into an old mansion called the Pink Palace Apartments. Also in the mansion are Mister Bobinsky (Ian McShane) and Misses Spink (Jennifer Saunders) and Forcible (Dawn French). Her parents are attempting to write about gardening and sometimes they forget about Coraline. 

She meets Wybie (Robert Bailey Jr.) and as a token of friendship, he gives her a button-eyed doll from his grandmother Lovat (Carolyn Crawford) that resembles Coraline. One night she is woken up by a mouse who takes her through a secret door into another world. There she meets her mother and father, but they have buttons for eyes. Looking past that they are fun, loving, 
caring and pay attention to Coraline.

Called the Beldam’s, Coraline discovers that they have taken her real parents. Miss Spink helps her get back to the other world where she proposes to her ‘other’ parents a game, if she can find those missing, they get to go free. If not, Coraline accepts the button eyes and stays.

They do not expect young Coraline to be so smart and that is their first mistake!

Fanning as Coraline has given this beloved character a distinctive voice that will always be that of Coraline. I have been told so by my six-year-old granddaughter who has loved the film for years now. Bringing character and voice together is so amazing and having CORALINE return to the big screen and Bluray is a reminder of what Fanning has done for Coraline.

Hatcher as Mel is funny, quirky and when button-eyes a bit too good to be true. Hodgman as Charlie is equally as quirky and funny with or without his button-eyes. They are so delightful and creepy at the same time and these two actors using their voices and Laika giving them life is such a wonderful partnership.

Bailey Jr. as Wybie is everything we all want in a friend accepting Coraline for just who she is and I awe at their friendship. He also has Crawford as Grandma Lovat, which makes his family complete. I love McShane as the delightfully limber Mr. Bobinsky and Saunders and French are interesting neighbors to have.

Other cast include Aankha Neal as Sweet Ghost Girl, George Selick as Ghost Boy, Hannah Kaiser as Tall Ghost Girl, Emerson Tenney as Magic Dragonfly, and Jeremy Ryder as Toy. 

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

Laika is a stop-motion animation studio that is best known for such films as CORALINE, PARANORMAN, THE BOXTROLLS, KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS and MISSING LINK. Being nominated by BAFTA, Academy Awards and Golden Globe awards, and Annie Awards, Laika studios continues their amazing storytelling with the film MISSING LINK. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.laika.com. 

The Special Features include: New Inside Laika-Discovering the Characters of CORALINE Featuring Never-Before-Seen Test Footage, New Inside Laika – Revisiting the Puppets with Laika’s Animation Team, New Foreword by Peter Debruge, Chief Film Critic for Variety, New Character, Concept Art and Behind-the-Scenes Photo Galleries, Audio Commentary with Director Henry Selick and Composer Bruo Coulais. 

Also, The Making of CORALINE, Original Featurettes, Deleted Scenes and Feature Length Storyboards. 

CORALINE was the first Laika film I saw and have been captivated by every movie they have made since. True their films are stop-motion, but their stories are love, friendship, being accepted for differences, mystery, belief and even laughter and fun.

Those are the type of films that bring families together in the theatre and also brings them together on the sofa with a tub of popcorn and cuddles. The story may be full of life lessons but, director Selick also gives us entertainment, giggles and everything we crave about films that become classics.

Having CORALINE in our home entertainment library sit happily next to other Laika films on the shelf. See it for the first time or revisit it again and again with CORALINE on Bluray and DVD. 

In the end – she discovers who she truly is and who loves her!


We are edging closer to the Halloween season so celebrate with your chance to win a copy of 

THE AMITYVILLE MOON

What if a house of holiness turned out to be a haven of evil? As Alyssa and Karla try to escape from the church home that holds them captive, Karla is slaughtered by a vicious, semi-human creature. After Detective Kimball tracks down Alyssa at a rowdy biker bar, she tells Kimball that women inmates disappear every full moon, and shows him the silver bullets in her gun. Now the two must return to the halfway house to confront the priest and nuns—and the snarling, savage evil—that dwell within.

Email hellomoviemaven@aol.com with SPOOKY in the subject line along with your name and address!
SPIRIT UNTAMED is Filled with Family and Horses

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray, DVD and Digital from director Elaine Bogan, DreamWorks and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment comes the story of family, friendship and being SPIRIT UNTAMED.

Lucky Prescott (voiced by Isabela Merced) is a young girl raised with her grandfather and Aunt Cora (Julianne Moore) after an accident took the life of her mother. Father Jim (Jake Gyllenhaal) felt that sending Lucky to live with his family would keep her safe. The problem is Lucky seems to be just a little too much now for the Prescotts.

Aunt Cora packs Lucky a bag and off they go into the West to see Jim in the town of Miradero. Looking for a little excitement, she gets her first taste when a horse runs next to the train and Lucky is thrilled. Getting to Miradero, there is an odd reunion between Lucky and her father but she takes the opportunity to get to know the town.

She meets Abigail (Mckenna Grace) who is just a ball of song and Pru (Marsai Martin) the amazing horse rider whose father Al (Andre Braugher) owns the local coral. In the coral she is surprised to find the horse that was chasing the train! She wants so much to make a connection with him, but her father warns her to stay away!

Well, he does not know that Lucky is determined to bond with the horse she names Spirit and is appalled when she sees an underhanded wrangler (Walton Coggins) treating him so badly. A few apples later, Lucky has made a friend and wants to help Spirit. 

With the help of her friends and a long perilous journey, Lucky and Spirit will reunite and create a friendship that will last them both a lifetime. 

Merced voicing Lucky gives her animated character a unique personality. She is feisty, curious and a bit wild but that is what makes her amazingly wonderful. At a young age Lucky thinks she knows who she is until that all changes learning who her mother was to so many people. Fighting for the right thing is never wrong but can be a little dangerous for Lucky without the help of friends and a horse named Spirit.

Moore as Aunt Cora is actually quite hilarious to me. She seems to have the water on a ducks back mentality because nothing gets to her. It might grab her attention for a second, but she always adjusts. She sees a need for Lucky to be with her father and also to straighten out Jim’s household for Lucky’s sake. Gyllenhaal as Jim is a man that has not come to terms with his wife’s passing or how to handle a young daughter that is growing up quickly. Trying to be a father is not easy and Lucky does not exactly make it easy either!

Grace as Abigail is too lively, spirited and knows how to handle little brothers. Give her a horse and a rope and its all good and together. Seeing the relationship grow between Lucky and Spirit, she encourages it along with friend Pru. Martin as Pru is a young lady made for a horse and loves every moment of it with the support of her dad. She also sees how patient Lucky is with Spirit and helps her learn how to be a friend to the wild mustang.

Coggins as the wrangler is as evil as he wants to be but that is the best part of being in an animated film. He gives us the face of someone you would never want to meet in a dark alley and just as stubborn as Lucky – and they both want Spirit.

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.

DreamWorks Animation brings amazing, animated entertainment to films, television specials and series for the young and young at heart audiences around the world. For more of what they have to offer please visit http://www.dreamworksanimation.com.

The bonus Features on Bluray include Deleted/Extended Scenes, Finding Your Spirit: Meet the cast and filmmakers behind SPIRIT UNTAMED, Behind the Voices – The Cast: It’s always fun to see the people behind the voices, Cowgirls Rule: More details about the female-focused story, Drawing Spirit – SPIRIT UNTAMED: A unique look and chance to learn from one of the talented artists, and Create Your Own Indoor Campfire: Using crepe paper and LED Lights to build your own campfire at home, How to Ukelele: Discover how to create your very own ukulele at home. 

Also, Snack Time – S’Mores: This tasty ‘how to’ feature on making traditional S’more treats, Abigail’s Hand Shadow Secret: How to make shadow puppets, How to Zoetrope: How-to video to make your own zoetrope, Sing-Alongs: Sing-along around your own campfire and Feature Commentary with director Elaine Bogan, co-director Ennio Torresan and producer Karen Foster. 

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.

SPIRIT UNTAMED is the story of friendship, love, loyalty and justice all wrapped up in a young girl discovering her heritage and a horse that knows exactly who he is and where he belongs. Finding each other began a test of patience and trust for both Lucky and Spirit that grows into something extremely special.

Having friends like Abigail and Pru who also see the injustice caused by the wrangler, are just as determined to help Lucky and Spirit make things right again. Lucky is learning that you can know true friends from both the two legged and four legged creatures of the world. 

The film is also about family for both Lucky and Spirit. In Lucky’s case, she is learning about her mother and the heritage shared in Miradero. Meeting so many people who not only remember Lucky’s mother but see the same fire in the young girl. Spirit learns to trust the humans learning what they are about but also holds fierce to his herd as their leader.

Lucky and Spirit come to understand one another and that is everything. 

In the end – nothing will break their spirit!

YAKUZA PRINCESS

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres and VOD from director Vicente Amorim and Magnet is the story of fate and a sword being a YAKUZA PRINCESS.

Akemi (Masumi) is a woman whose life started out in a violent way. When her family is brutally attacked, and the toddler survives. Years go by and she is now in Sao Paulo, Brazil grieving for her grandfather, working at night and training with her sensei Chiba (Toshiji Takeshima). Her world is about to change.

Waking up in the hospital is Shiro (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) all banged up and does not remember who he is or why he is there. What he does seem to have a connect with is a sword that the doctor shows him. Now he wants to get away from the hospital and find answers and that leads him to Akemi.

Right behind him is a man named Takeshi (Tsuyoshi Ihara) who is on the hunt for her. Right behind him is Kojiro (Eijiro Ozaki) and there are guns blazing and fights happening. It does not tell Akemi anything more about why or the connection she has to the sword.

But the answers do start to come and with each one Akemi becomes angrier and more determined to stop being the victim and become the warrior to avenge her family!

Masumi as Akemi is a fighter but in the midst of grieving. Trying to decide what she wants to do with her life and where she wants to be, the fate of a sword is deciding for her. Masumi gives her character strength, determination and the ability to take a punch all while discovering the darker secrets of her life. I enjoyed her performance.

Meyers as Shiro is a bit of a complex character. Is he good? Is he bad? Where does he fit in all of this? With each question comes a piece of the answer but then it gets yanked back so we are never quite sure what piece of the puzzle he is. Meyers spends most of his time getting his body pummeled but I will give him props that he comes in when it matters. 

Ihara as Takeshi is another character where you are never quite sure where he falls in all of this. He keeps the viewer leery at all times which is an element of suspense that’s pretty cool for the film. Ozaki as Kojiro is just an out and out bad guy and he makes no bones about it. From the first scene he is in to the last, he is determined to take out as many people as possible.

Other cast include Nicolas Trevijano as Wallace, Charles Paraventi as Armond, Lucas Oranmian as Perito, Kenny Leu as the taxi driver and Mrs. Tsugahara as Mariko Takai.

Magnet is a part of Magnolia Pictures that specializes in films from the vanguard of horror, action, comedy and Asian cinema. It is also the home of classics like Tomas Alfredson’s LET THE RIGHT ON IN, Ti West’s THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL, Andre Ovredal’s TROLLHUNTER, Neil Marshall’s sword and sandals bloodbath CENTURION and Tony Jaa’s ONG BAK trilogy. Recent released include the terrifying anthologies V/H/S and V/H/S/2, Xan Cassavettes’ stylish vampire film KISS OF THE DAMNED, and the sci-fi thriller THE LAST DAYS ON MARS. Upcoming films include Ti West’s THE SACRAMENT and to find out more of what is to come please visit www.magnetreleasingfilms.com.

YAKUZA PRINCESS is a story of loss, secrets, distrust, violence and all to keep the character of Akemi away from her past. There is action from start to finish with no breaks in between. As each secret is unwrapped, it is only partial unwrapped depending on who is doing the telling. 

The addition of Meyers as Shiro brings a difficult dynamic between the characters of Akemi and Shiro. Trust becomes broken but at the same time there is the potential for an enemy to be useful in her fight for answers. 

The door is also open for the characters of Akemi and Shiro to expand the story and bring it full circle. I would not mind seeing how that storyline plays out as long as it is Masumi and Meyers doing the seeking on their return to Japan.  

In the end – every sword has a story!


TILL DEATH Survives on Bluray

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray and DVD from director S.K. Dale and Screen Media Film comes a story of love and the choices made that leads TILL DEATH.

Emma (Megan Fox) has made a difficult decision and ended a relationship with Tom (Ami Ameen). She did so because her anniversary to husband Mark (Eoin Macken) is a chance for her to make things right again. Gifted with memories, jewelry and a night together, it is all about to change again.

Waking up to a nightmare, Emma tries to survive a gruesome set up. Tom tries to help but it is fear from her past that comes knocking on the secluded lake front door. Bobby Ray (Callan Mulvey) and Jimmy (Jack Roth) want what is inside the house and no one is going to get in their way.

Emma could never have imagined this!

Fox as Emma plays a woman who has made choices based on fear and emotion, but survival tops all those in one fell swoop. This character is about to unravel everything she thought about her life and Fox does quite the job making it happen. She gets her hands dirty from start to finish and it looks good on her.

Mulvey as Bobby Ray is ruthless, unforgiving, challenging, evil and does not know when to stop. He is carrying a grudge, a gun and no conscience which makes this character goal oriented and ruthless. Mulvey gives it his all and it plays out beautifully.

Roth as Jimmy is Bobby Ray's cohort and partner in crime. The problem is that Jimmy hasn't been given all the details and that causes a problem with their venture. It is hard to be a criminal with a conscience.

Macken as Mark may have a small role, but it certainly sets up the story that is to follow. This actor proves you do not have to totally participate in a film to be all about the film. Ameen as Tom is another character that is an integral part of the story that also has to play out.

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.

TILL DEATH is a cat and mouse game that carries with it the twists and turns that kept me interested. I'll be honest in saying that Fox really puts her back into playing Emma and is not a woman who is going to give up easy. Carrying a film as the only female character is difficult enough but Fox chose wisely in this case.

There are twists, turns, surprises (for both the viewer and the characters) and enough 'wtf's to go around. Keeping the film in one location also gives a bit of uncomfortable claustrophobia which I am totally cool with. It allows us to absolutely dedicate our viewing taking away outside distractions.

Keeping this review vague means that this is a film that needs to be experienced and giving away too much of the plot would definetly spoil it. It’s the situation where you cannot talk about one plot point without giving away the chain of events and although that might be cool with some - it is not how I roll. Each plot point is worthy to have its moment with secrets and manipulations ruling frame after frame.

Fox deserves kudos for this role. Huge fan or not, she is all about the survival of Emma and you cannot turn away from that. Once panic subsides, Fox gives her character the right amount of anger to push her toward smart survival. What I found really cool about TILL DEATH is that I found myself yelling at the screen with questions and warnings. That made the film even more fun!

In the end - survival is the best revenge!


It is the Story of FAUCI

Jeri Jacquin

Coming from director/producer John Hoffman, Janet Tobias and National Geographic Films is the story of a man who is the most recognizable in the world with FAUCI.

Growing up in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, he was raised to not be intimidated by anything. As of 2020, he continues to hold that to be true. He believes being totally honest with the American public on the outbreak of COVID-19. He is not a scientist that has hidden in the shadows spending the last 30+ years as the director for the National Institute of Health.

His schooling included learning that doing for others is the way to a good life. A graduate of Cornell, Fauci would end up at the NIH during the Vietnam war. He learned that an impact to large groups of people is more important than private practice, so he chose the path that would help others.

Not time for much else, family and friends are surprised when he meets Christine Grady and later became his wife. In 1981, MMWR (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report) put out an article about a strange pneumonia. Fauci became aware that there was a new disease that needed someone to research it even though his colleagues thought he was chasing nothing. This disease would become known as AIDS. 

Talking about the epidemic today still affects Dr. Fauci remembering the human toll that came with the disease. Evening dealing with Ebola during the Obama administration, he pushed to get ahead of the outbreak and was listened to by the administration leading out country. When it hit the United States, it was Dr. Fauci that kept straight to the facts and not hysteria.

Now, it is 2020 and the Corona virus has landed in the United States and the alarm bells are ringing dangerously loud. Fauci sees pictures of New York as an empty place and knows what must be done. Vaccines kick into high gear and Fauci knows that ever step must be taken carefully, and New York had to be shut down. 

Quickly clinical trials start for a vaccine for COVID-19 and could be a real option for stopping the spread and stop the pandemic. The technology allows the NIH to be swift in working on the vaccine that could go into testing. Working with a task force in the White House, press conferences were muddled and the information that the public needed would be unheard.

Drugs being touted by people and the administration without testing became louder than the facts. Now it is Dr. Fauci vs. the administration, a scientist who is working night and day for an answer and a person who is clueless and believes just about anything. 

But with giving the information, Fauci comes under fire by those who refuse to listen to the science. There are those who turn him into a celebrity and there are those who would vilify him. 
Fauci finds it amusing and interesting but can not take it seriously even though he admits there could be some fun in it. 

Then there is a period of time where Fauci goes silent, and he is encouraged to start a Twitter account. He just remembers what happened when he saw the reaction of people both positive and negative during the AIDS crisis. Fauci learned from that struggle that fighting for everyone and understood the value of it. He does not see the same result with Covid-19 but does see that we will get through it despite the opposition.

Dr. Fauci speaks about his family and how they are supportive in the wake of what is very difficult for them all. As we all have separated from friends and family, he has done the same thing while staying levelheaded and remembering what is important. “Taking care of yourself and not taking care of the world is just folly” – Dr. Anthony Fauci. 

Others speaking is daughter Jenny Fauci, Global Health Reporter The New York Times Apoorva Mandavilli, Dr. Francis Collins, Former CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden, Former National Security Advisor Susan Rice, Bill Gates, Bono, Activist David Barr, Former President George W. Bush, Aids Activist Wakefield, and Aids Activist Robert Vazquez Pacheco.

National Geographic is an American pay television network and flagship channel owned by National Geographic Partners, a joint venture between The Walt Disney Company and the National Geographic Society. They support a diverse, international community of changemakers — National Geographic Explorers — who use the power of science, exploration, education, and storytelling to illuminate and protect the wonder of our world. For more information, please visit www.nationalgeographic.com.

First of all, I must say that there is something special about this man in more ways than just being Dr. Fauci. As a swearer myself, to hear that come out of his mouth makes me laugh with the thought ‘see, he is just like us!’. The second thing is the sadness seeing how he is trying to help the world, yet he sees the fear that his family must go through. His family now sees once again the threats but with an intensity that is heartbreaking. 

Hearing certain news outlets bash him had such a ridiculous level of ridiculousness that I can not even comprehend their minds (not that I would ever want to). Here is a man who has spent his entire life dedicated to eradicating diseases and Covid-19 is no exception. Dr. Fauci jumps into action and because there are those who want to make a name for themselves, he has to shout louder to save those who want to be saved.

FAUCI is a up front, and no holds barred look at the history of a man who has become the center of knowledge and a scientist to believe in. It is interesting that there is a person in the documentary who says that before Covid-19, the average person probably could not name a scientist – now, they can.

He does not take credit for everything; he tells the story as it happened and how what those who worked hard are helping us live through the nightmare that is today. This is not a one time shot for Fauci, it is a lifetime desire to be a public servant and help the world so we can get back to normal – yet he will continue on his path to tackle the emerging infections that are here and in the future. 

In the end – from the frontline of one pandemic to the frontline of another!


He is THE ALPINIST

Jeri Jacquin

Coming from directors Peter Mortimer, Nick Rosen and Roadside Attractions is the story of what it takes to be fearless, beautiful and see the world through the eyes of THE ALPINIST.

Alpinism is the discipline of climbing big and technical mountains. Large scale expeditions conquered the highest peaks in the world. Soon, it became how you got to the top that became the rage. That was the next step to go bigger and better but be a solo alpinist. 

That is where we meet Marc-Andre Leclerc, a young man who has made his way to becoming an alpinist but doing so in the most unusual way. Graduating high school, Marc goes to Squamish in Canada, and everyone begins to notice the young man who makes alpinism a thing of beauty.

Admitting to falling into the drug scene, he came to understand that climbing is what he needed more than the drugs. Girlfriend Brette Harrington, he found more to life through her love of climbing as well. Now, he is ice climbing and more people begin to notice that he seems to be unfazed by what he is doing and does so beautifully. 

The Stanley Headwall is a challenge but one that Marc-Andre seems to see as a wonder in his eyes. Clear about his goal, the wall is a mixture of snow and rock, but he does so using just picks and his ability to remain calm. 

He sees his climb as fun and memorable yet everyone else sees what he has done as a stunning accomplishment. Speaking about his life growing up in Chillawack, he speaks about life and adjusting to a life where he does not actually fit in. So, his mother introduced him to the forest, books about the big mountains and climbers. This is where the love of it all begins, and it continued as he climbed everything he could get his hands on.

Then he dropped out of sight and off the grid.

It was only through social media did everyone realize he was everywhere! Finally, they find him and girlfriend Brett, climbing rock faces having the time of their lives. Keeping his life to himself, they shock came when they discover that Marc-Andre was at the top of Mount Robson on the Emperor’s Face.

Finally, Marc-Andre explains that climbing alone is an experience being immersed in your environment and having a crew would make it a very different experience. Explaining his thought process, other climbers agree that it is a dance. 

Now, family, friends and other climbers are beginning to wonder if the young Marc-Andre is pushing the boundaries into danger. That is not stopping him from eyes the range of mountains in Patagonia. In El Chatain in Argentina, groups gather to go winter climbing. This time he is allowing one camera man but only to a certain point and then Marc-Andre would take over documenting by himself.

Documenting the climb, he speaks about the snow, rocks and the way he is taking and how bad the conditions are. As blizzard conditions set in, visibility is next to nothing, but the climb is still incredible. 

Thinking the film was over, the story is not finished. 

Other speakers include Austin Siadak, Will Stanhope, Alan Stevenson, Jon Walsh, Jason Kruk, Jim Elzinga, Ryan Johnson, Alpinist Terry Blanchard, Alpinist Historian Bernadette McDonald, Reinhold Messner, Alex Honnold, Ice Climber Will Gadd, Ice Climber Raphael Slawinski, Alpinist Jon Walsh, Hugo Acosta and Mom Michelle Kuipers. 

Roadside Attractions has, since 2003, grossed over $300M and garnered nineteen Academy Award nominations. They have had critical and commercial hits such as MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, BEN IS BACK, BEATRIZ AT DINNER, HELLO MY NAME IS DORIS, WINTER’S BONE and THE COVER as well as so many others. For more information of what Roadside Attractions has to offer please visit www.roadsideattractions.com.

THE ALPINIST is an interesting look at a young man’s journey doing what he loves. There is also the stark realization that climbing both ice and rock is a dangerous way of life. The danger of it all is documented by some of the worlds most celebrated climbers meeting a fate on the mountain.

This is one man’s story filmed for us all to see the majesty of the mountains, the love of doing something most of us can hardly imagine doing and those who return again and again. We are allowed into a moment in time to learn about the young man who will always have an impact on being an alpinist. 

It is not just a film about climbing, it is a film about the difference between those who talk about doing things and those who actually go out and challenge themselves to face it all. It is about taking a dream and making it a reality with simplicity, grace and beauty which is what Marc-Andre Leclerc did – just ask anyone who spent time with him. 

In the end – his passion for the mountains was everything and more!

BEST SELLERS

Jeri Jacquin

Coming from director Lina Roessler and Screen Media is the story of two people who turn out to need each other during the worst of times with BEST SELLERS.

Lucy Stanbridge (Aubrey Plaza) is running a publishing company inherited from her father that needs a boost of energy to get it back on track. Turning to assistant Rachel Spence (Ellen Wong), they go through their list of writers they could work with, and the name Harris Shaw (Michael Caine) comes up.

First, they have to get through the door to meet with him! Shaw is not a pleasant individual and he makes sure that everyone knows it. Reminding him of his contractual obligations, Lucy reminds him that the publishing company is owed another book. Realizing he is in financial trouble, he gives up the manuscript for The Future is X-Rated. 

Not happy that the book also has to be edited, he goes on a rant with not wanting his words “in incompetent hands”. That’s when Lucy makes him a deal, go on a book tour and the manuscript will not be edited. At his first public reading, he uses the word “bullshite” and takes off like hair on fire. 

Shaw does not understand the fuss but if it gets him what he wants, then “bullshite” it is! Yet, the underlying story of both Lucy and Shaw become clearer and their working relationship changes as truth spill out and history gets cleaned up. 

That’s the real story!

Caine as Shaw gets the opportunity to jump right in to being a grumpy, cantankerous, outspoken old man who wants to smoke his cigars and drink till he can not remember anything. Washing away his life memories, Caine gives his character no filter and no excuses in the beginning but all of that hides Shaw’s truths that cannot be hidden anymore.

Plaza as Lucy is a young woman who has a clear incentive to keeping her father’s publishing company up and running. Her character is clearly capable of doing the job, but her time with Shaw begins to change her perspective on life and as realities begin to change, Plaza gives us a young woman who begins to see things quite differently.

Also in the film is Scott Speedman as Jack Sinclair, Cary Elwes as Halpren Nolan, and Veronica Ferres as Drew Davis.

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.

Caine and Plaza are amazing together playing off one another’s fears and life stories. On screen together they give their characters such life in the midst of pain and frustration. The story is a simple one but filled with emotion that just gave me a heart pitty-pats. It is a very cool opportunity to watch these actors explore their lives from different angels.

BEST SELLERS is a heartwarming and heart wrenching film that is worth of a watch and a box of Kleenex. The film was also the Gala Presentation – 2021 Berlinale Film Festival. The relationship between these two characters begins with such anger and hostility but those emotions clearly mask what is really going on with both Shaw and Lucy. Watching these two actors bring out the best and worst is worth every frame.

In the end – the story is not always on the page!

BORIS KARLOFF: The Man Behind the Monster

Jeri Jacquin

Now available from director Thomas Hamilton, Abramorama and Shout! Studios comes the story of a man who embraced the monster in BORIS KARLOFF: The Man Behind the Monster.

William Henry Pratt was born To British father Edward and Indian mother Eliza after the family returned to England from Bombay, but the family is dysfunctional until his mother became unable to care for Billy. At 9 he finds an escape into the theatre, yet his family life does not improve.

Once his formal education was complete, Billy moves to Canada changing his name to Boris Karloff, and in Vancouver he finds a job with the railway. He marries Jessie and they work hard together but he could not stop the dream of the stage. He joins the Jeanne Russell Company and begins a career that is given good reviews.

In 1920, he became an extra in Hollywood and lands a role in THE DEADLIEST SEX. He plays such an expansive roles and characters to earn a living and perfects his craft. He met Lon Chaney who gives him advice to stay with acting. In 1926 he does the silent film THE BELLS playing a hypnotist.

For the next two years he did construction and field work, he marries Dorothy Stein. Then comes the film THE CRIMINAL CODE, starring as Galloway, this is where Karloff begins telling the story of being an actor. The Great Depression happens and pay cuts begin to happen in Hollywood. Boris joined a group of actors that wanted to stand up for actor’s rights that are carried on today with the Screen Actors Guild.

Working his way through roles, GRAFT in 1931 would bring about the story of Frankenstein. It was Bela Lugosi who began the rise of monsters in films with the 1931 hit DRACULA.

Now, James Whale would bring the story of Mary Shelly's FRANKENSTEIN and Universal eventually announces Karloff to play the heavily made-up role of the monster. Every day, Karloff would spend hours transforming the actor into the character we see today in the film. When Frankenstein enters through the door and turns around, we see what del Toro would call 'a religious experience'.

Makeup artist Jack Pierce created makeup that allowed Karloff to still be able to show emotion and invite us into his pain. While some might have been afraid, there are those (including myself the first time I saw the film) who believed Frankenstein to be so much more than we could have imagined.

Even when there is horror, Frankenstein breaks our heart with emotion and innocence. One scene in the film brought Whale and Karloff into a separation working state yet the film was an instant success. Yet, while the film made Karloff a star, he was treated no better than Frankenstein.

In 1932, Karloff again plays a frightening character in THE OLD DARK HOUSE. Also, that year, Karloff is in the film THE MASK OF FU MANCHU from MGM which he referred to as a "shambles of a film". Again, in the same year came the release of THE MUMMY and Karloff works perfectly well with make up again provided by Jack Pierce but also plays two characters in the film.

In 1934, Karloff would eventually be able to finally play on screen with Lugosi in THE BLACK CAT. He has the opportunity to frighten audiences in a different way and provides such an evil character. He has the opportunity in 1935 to play twin good vs. evil brothers in the film THE BLACK ROOM and, in the same year returns to THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN. Returning as the monster, Karloff is not happy that the monster tries to speak.

THE INVISIBLE RAY, CHARLIE CHAN AT THE OPERA and IT'LL LIGHT THE WAY came around at the time where religion tried to tell Hollywood how to behave with films. THE WEST OF SHANG HI is clever and successful, he almost loses his contract because he was not a monster. He agrees to do DEVIL'S ISLAND and BRITISH INTELLIGENCE for the paycheck.

Finally in 1939, SON OF FRANKENSTEIN came along and is considered one of the best performances of his career. He also continues to make what are considered B-films, but it is a Karloff film and fans even today remember them with fondness.

ARSENIC AND OLD LACE comes to Broadway and even though it had been ten years since he set foot on stage, the show was a success. A few years later, Hollywood comes calling and wants to do a film with everyone but Karloff. HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN is filmed in 1944, and Val Lewton's THE BODY SNATCHERS in 1945 reuniting Karloff with Lugosi with RKO Pictures.

ISLE OF THE DEAD brings Karloff to an eerie island, but the story is based on a painting and finally BEDLAM bringing the trio of Lewton and Karloff together. A few more films brings him to do live television. He finally is able to do ARSENIC AND OLD LACE for a wide audience. He also has the chance to play George Darling and Captain Hook in PETER PAN. He also has his performance in THE LARK brought to television in 1957 along with his life story with THIS IS YOUR LIFE.

The 1960 brings about a resurgence of the appreciation of monsters and thriller films but Karloff moves back to England. There he brings about the series THRILLER, and it becomes highly successful and, some say, ahead of its time. Roger Corman brings him to his film THE RAVEN, followed by THE TERROR. In 1966, he embraced story of HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS with more success with a voice that embraced the character.

THE SOCERERS in 1967 followed by TARGETS in 1968 going from horror by following a wife to horror of a real life rounds out amazing performances. There were only 8 more performances for Karloff, but the final would be on the Red Skelton Show performing with Vincent Price.

Because the show must always go on!

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

Abramorama is the preeminent global theatrical distributions and rights partner for many documentary and music films and is recognized for the consistent high quality of its work on award winning features. Over the course of 20 years, Abramorama has successfully distributed and marketed hundreds of films including Ron Howard’s Grammy Award Winning THE BEATLES: EIGHT DAYS A WEEK, Stanley Nelson’s MILES DAVIS: BIRTH OF THE COOL, as well as Academy Award Nominee and IDA Best Documentary Winner THE LOOK OF SILENCE. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.abramorama.com.

Cameos include Guillermo del Toro, Sir Christopher Frayling, Dick Miller, Jack Hill, Christopher Plummer, Orson Bean, David J. Skal, Sara Karloff, Leonard Maltin, Roger Corman, Cortlandt Hull, Ian Ogilvy, MJaymz Bee, Mark Voger, Gregory Mank, Ron Perlman, Kevin Brownlow, Bernie Coleman, Joe Dante, Peter Bogdonovich and narrator Paul Ryan.

BORIS KARLOFF: The Man Behind the Monster is an amazing documentary giving us the story of a man who shared so much in the way of entertainment. My favorite days of the week were Friday and Saturday nights because I was allowed to stay up late and watch 'scary movies' with my older brother.

Left alone while everyone else went to bed, we would find ourselves binging on the Creature Feature list of films. Screaming into our pillows or covering our eyes, you could be darn sure that Karloff was responsible for a great deal of that to be happening. FRANKENSTEIN was a favorite of mine (brother went for Lugosi which actually makes us laugh now that we know they were friends) and for all of the same reasons those in the documentary talk about.

I saw that character as so misunderstood, naïve and used by everyone around him. Trying to find his place in the world and being held accountable for the actions of others was something I understood coming from a dysfunctional family myself. The sadness swept over me like a repeating tidal wave yet, whenever the film was playing - I had to watch. It was not until I actually saw Karloff on the big silver screen, did I totally lose it in tears. How amazing!

The film explains so much to the generation that embraced his beginnings to the current generation because they too see something special in his performance. The only other Frankenstein I can even watch is Peter Doyle in YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN for obvious reasons. Karloff WAS Frankenstein in every way and not just because of the makeup but because of the true emotions that came through the makeup.

BORIS KARLOFF: The Man Behind the Monster is also a journey down the timetable of his accomplishments and films that I had totally forgotten about. As a fan of "old" movies, I would definetly be up to a Karloff marathon, someone get TCM on the telephone now and demand it in time for the spooky season!

The cameos also give us an insight to the man, his flaws, successes and remembering being told to never give up on his dream. He did not give up and what we are all left with is a stunning collection of characters that will be with us and available to future generations to come. 

It is actors such as Karloff that have me continually starring at screens to be swept away and whispering in the dark ‘gawd, I love movies!’. 

C.I.APE has Family Giggles on DVD

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to DVD from writer Stephen Johnston and Lionsgate is the family adventure to save the world with C.I.APE.

Sam is the first chimp to work with the CIA and they need him now more than ever. Working with Bondi James (Sophia Alongi), Sam is the retriever and Bondi help guide him to what ever it is they need.

That's when they discover that Alpha Dog (Skip Schwink) has plans to wreak havoc on the world. Working with Dr. Devious (Lucas Ross), their goal is to cause as much trouble as they possibly can! The one thing Alpha Dog does not have control over is daughter Rebecca (Madelyn Kientz) who just wants a normal life with her father.

Bondi is ordered to send Sam onto the island belonging to Alpha Dog and there he meets Rebecca. Being a sweetheart, Rebecca tells Sam that she will do whatever is necessary to stop her father and Dr. Devious. Bondi, who can see everything Sam sees, understands that she just wants a friend.

Before anything else can happen, Sam and Bondi kick into gear to make the world a safer place again!

Alongi as Bondi has a wonderful relationship with Sam and worries about her furry friend when there is a mission. Dealing with Alpha Dog is dangerous, but she makes sure to watch her friends front and back! Shout out to Gould as the voice of Sam for giving his character a sweet vocal disposition that translates into the CGI-chimpanzee.

Kientz as Rebecca just wants a normal life, not the island living bad guy life. Trying to get her father to understand that is a problem but making friends with Sam gives her the opportunity to make him see the light. Schwink as Alpha Dog is a big kid trying to be a bad guy. It is only when he is face to face with his daughter does a 'normal' side come out. He is entertaining to watch to say the least.

Ross as Dr. Devious is clearly not as devious as he would like to be but then again, being a devious scientist is a hard gig!

Other cast include Kenda Henthorn as Super Villain Henchwoman, Leah N.H. Philpott as Queen Evil, Angel Rosario Jr. as Chrome Dome, Christy Tate as Carol, Ginifer Ree as Evil Queen's Henchwoman, Garrett O'Brien as Forehead's Henchman, Christopher Watkins as Mustache, and Scott Gould as the voice of Sam.

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.

C.I.APE is a big cheesy on the laughs but I still laughed, so did my grandkids. There is something entertaining about evil bad guys who are not all the evil and good guys who are just that - really good guys. You add a chimpanzee into the mix, and you have a film that is just family entertainment for all.

We actually watched the film out in the back yard on a screen to give the family the feel of being at the drive in. Add popcorn and a huge air mattress and C.I.APE made a great closure to summer. Be prepared for giggles and adventure all in one film.

In the end - this is a job for C.I.Ape!

THE FOREVER PURGE

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray, DVD and Digital from director Everado Gout, Blumhouse and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is the dread that is about to happen with THE FOREVER PURGE.

It is 2048 and racial tensions are back with the New Founding Fathers of America and it is a day before the upcoming Purge. Juan (Tenoch Huerta) and Adela (Ana de la Reguera) crossed into the United States into Texas for a better way of life and Juan works at the Tucker ranch while Adela also finds work.

Ranch owner Caleb Tucker (Will Patton) wants Juan and his family to be safe and give them a little help. It is his son Dylan (Josh Lucas) prepares his family for it but there is tension between Dylan and Juan. That’s why the couple get aboard a bus that is supposed to take them to a safe place for the next twelve hours guarded by T.T. (Alejandro Edda).

Dylan is already experiencing intensity and scaring pregnant wife Cassidy (Cassidy Freeman) as the lights flicker and the guns need loading. As the night ends, everyone goes back to their ‘normal’ lives trying to be oblivious to the night’s bloodshed. Only…something has gone wrong, horribly wrong.

When Juan gets to the farm, he and T.T. (Alejandro Edda) discovers that the Tuckers have been taken hostage by a group that believe the Purge is now forever. This group led by Kirk (Will Brittain) is now going after the rich ranchers and the Tuckers are the first to feel their wrath. Getting Juan as close as they can to finding Adela, they are joined by Harper Tucker (Leven Rambin) who believes she owes a debt.

Waiting, Dylan and Cassidy are discovering what it is like out in the streets during a Purge. Believing there is no hope, Canada and Mexico open their borders for six hours to get people out of the Purge. Juan and Adela know that they have no choice but to advise the group to head to Mexico. Now, they are all being chased by gunman who do not care what side of the border they are on.  

When violence has gasoline poured on it – the purge spreads out of control!

Reguera as Adela is not one to sit back and not do everything to protect herself and those around her. It becomes clear that there is a reason she is so good at fighting and she’s not about to give up now. Huerta as Juan has one thing on his mind, finding his wife and getting out alive. Helping those who did not want to help them is a twist and it now becomes a struggle for all. His boss-beef gets put aside when survival for all becomes a group effort.

Lucas as Dylan is a man with his own issues, but two things are clear, one – he does not believe in the Purge and two, he is not a fan of Juan. One thing is for certain, opinions do not mean anything because trying to survive washes out petty differences. I enjoyed watching Lucas take on this role but then again, I enjoy Lucas period. 

Rambin as sister Harper is another strong character because she is not afraid of anything in front of her and clever as all get out. Edda as T.T. is using what he knows to get the group moving forward. He also sees the strength of the group working together and what Harper and Adela are capable of. Freeman as Cassidy is following the group with not just her own survival but that of her unborn child.

Other cast includes Zahn McClarnon as Chiago, Gary Nohealii as Joaquin, Keenan Henson as Stan, Carol Cantu as Lupita, and Gregory Zaragoza as Xavier.

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.

Blumhouse Productions is known for producing horror films such as PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, INSIDIOUS, SINISTER, THE PURGE, THE GIFT, GET OUT, HAPPY DEATH DAY and SPLIT. The films from Blumhouse have become instant classics and they continue to give us something to scream about! See more at www.blumhouse.com

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

Bonus Feature include Deleted Scene and an Alternate Storyboard Opening, Collapsing the System: Behind THE FOREVER PURGE and Creeptastic Wardrobe. 

This Purge film starts out with nothing but divide and ugliness, they come together not only out of survival but begin to understand one another. Surrounded by the worst of humanity, they refuse to give in to those who are so twisted by their own bloodlust. 

As a group they continue to trust who they can and do what ever it takes to survive. Interesting how differences are voided out when killing means no one is safe, no matter who you are and where you come from. Once the violence begins and there is no control, it spreads like a disease and nowhere is safe – they can only keep running!

The film is intense, edge-of-your-seat and disturbing in its imagery. Yet that is absolutely the point. Something as heinous as the ideal of a purge, brings out everything brutal that inhumanity has to offer. From start to finish, THE PURGE is not going to let the viewer rest so be prepared to take the last stand. 

In the end – one night is not enough!





F9: The Fast Saga Speeds Toward Bluray

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to 4K Ultra HD, Bluray, DVD and Digital Code from writer/director Justin Lin and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment comes the next installment of a franchise that rides in with FAST & FURIOUS 9.

The story of the Toretto's becomes even more clear as Dominic and Jakob are part of the pit crew to their father Jack's racing career. An accident, a fight lands Dom in prison and a realization to his father's death is what brings about the two brothers having a falling out.

Now, Dom (Vin Diesel) is raising little boy Brian with Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) in the quiet life away from everyone and everything. That is until Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Chris Bridges) and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) come knocking on their quiet life. It seems Cipher (Charlize Theron) is at it again and Mr. Nobody's (Kurt Russell) plan has been shot down.

What is worse, Dom suspects that brother Jakob (Jon Cena) is involved. Finding the plane wreckage, they are looking for a device called Ares that can hack into any system with ease. They also meet up with Dom's sister Mia (Jordana Brewster) and they discover they need to go to Tokyo.

Joined by Han Lue (Sung Kang), the team make their way to Edinburgh, and London to meet up with Sean (Lucas Black), Twinkie (Shad Moss) and Earl Hu (Jason Tobin). Han lets them know that his ward Elle (Anna Sawai) is the thing missing to make Ares work. Looking for the other half, the gang also learns that Jakob is full of tricks.

Dom is not able to stop Cipher and Otto from launching Ares, but he and the crew know how to stop it - it’s just going to take a little ground work and a big of space to get the job done.

Diesel as Dom is back and bad with more to his story. With each film, we are given bits and pieces as to why Dom is, well, Dom and as the family expands - so does the pains of the past. With Diesel's character, it is all about family, doing what's right and making sure the bad guys do not get to close to his family. Cena as Jakob is straight faced, tries to avoid the word 'family' but also realizes you cannot avoid the past.

Rodriguez as Letty is actually the one who jumps at the chance to straight things out. Her character is strong and very, very capable of handling whatever the guys want to throw her way. Emmanuel as Ramsey is another strong female character who is tech savvy and calm as a cucumber - even when things go crashing and speeding by. Brewster as Mia joins Dom when she realizes that Jakob needs to be dealt with.

Gibson and Bridges are roman and Tej who are trying to keep it together but sometimes you have to look up and boldly go, well, you get it. is taking care of someone special for more than the obvious reasons. Sawai as Elle can handle herself but there is a reason everyone seems to want her, and she has to keep her cool and does absolutely that.

Black and Moss along with Tobin give us three characters that add a spark that I enjoyed. Clearly, they live in a world all their own, but their world is about to become more infinite!

Other cast include Helen Mirren as Queenie Shaw, Thue Ersted Rasmussen as Otto, Cardi B as Leysa, Don Omar as Santos, Shea Whigham as Stasiak and Michael Rooker as Buddy.

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

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

Bonus Features include: Director’s Cut, Theatrical Version, Gag Reel, F9: All In, Practically Fast, Shifting Priorities, Justice for Han, A Day on Set with Justin Lin, John Cena: Supercar Superfan, and Feature Commentary with Producer/Co-Writer-Director Justin Lin. 

F9: The Fast Saga is everything the FAST AND FURIOUS franchise has come to be known for. There are fast cars that let the drivers have some fun behind the wheel, fantastic stunts that make driving like a maniac look thrilling and a villain that seems to always be just a car length away from being caught.

This time, the gang are jumping around the world to find answers, unexpected surprises, realizations, secrets that had to be kept and all of that does not stop them from doing what they do best. Leaving the end open is another trait of the FAST & FURIOUS franchise and with the sly escape of Cipher, Dom and the gang is not going to let it all go so easily. 

In the end – the fast family forever!

BLUE BAYOU is Heartbreaking

Jeri Jacquin

Currently in theatres from writer/director Justin Chon and Focus Features comes the story of a man trying to make his life work for those he loves on BLUE BAYOU.

Antonio LeBlanc (Justin Chon) was adopted from his home country of Korea and currently lives in the outskirts of New Orleans with wife Kathy (Alicia Vikander) and stepdaughter Jessie (Sydney Kowalske). Kathy is pregnant so Antonio is doing his best to find extra work besides his job at the tattoo shop.

He runs into problems because he has a criminal record, so Kathy decides to work a few hours here and there until things smooth over. Not happy about their relationship is Kathy's mother Dawn (Geraldine Singer) and Jessie's biological father police officer Ace (Mark O'Brien) who is not happy that Jessie will not see him.

Running into Antonio and Kathy at the store, Ace is with his partner Denny (Emory Cohen) and a scuffle breaks out all incited by Denny. Once at the police station, Kathy tries to bail him out only to be told that ICE was now involved. That's when the couple hires Barry Boucher (Vondie Curtis-Hall) to fight everything that has happened.

When Antonio hears what it will take to retain Boucher, he makes decisions he thinks are best for the family. He also meets Parker Nguyen (Linh Dan Pham), a woman who is also being pushed to her life limits yet still wants to help Antonio discover a little bit about who he is and where his life began.

When the court date comes up, Antonio is nowhere to be found and the judgement for Antonio is deportation. A mistake that happened years ago and mistakes that happened today are about to change the lives of everyone.

Truths will come out, but will they come in time before the plane takes off?

Chon as Antonio is a young man trying to do right by his family. He has a history that is now catching up to him and as much as he would like to avoid it, he will no longer be able to. Chon does a wonderful job with this character and the intense emotions with a young man who does not know who he truly is. When forced to come to terms with everything, the pain is present but so is the courage to do whatever it takes to protect his family.

Vikander as Kathy is a woman who is thrilled with her family. She is supportive of what Antonio is trying to do with finding a second job to make their life easier. This character clearly loves her family and the relationship between Antonio and Jessie even with the constant ugly faces given by her own mother. Vikander's Kathy is the center of Antonio's world until that world is spun out of control.

Kowalsky as Jessie is so dang talented that it just oozes from the film. She is a young girl that definetly has her own point of view and one of those views is that Antonio is her father, and she will accept no other. She and Antonio have a pact and even knowing what she wants, Jessie's character cannot escape the emotions of the child that she is when the adults do stupid things. Kowalsky is going to be a force to be reckoned with.

Pham as Parker has her own story to tell and sees something worthy in Antonio that he does not seem to see in himself. Allowing him to be a part of her family also gives him insight into who he is and where he has come from in a world of war. She was the delicate voice of reason in a film filled with rage.

O'Brien as Ace uses his badge and physical size to be as emotionally intimidating as he can be. He wants what he wants, and the consequences be damned, including the emotional stress Jessie is under. Coen as Denny is Ace's guard dog gone haywire as the cause of the chain of events that are slowly destroying everything around them. Denny definetly gives good bad guy!

Curtis-Hall as Boucher does his homework and knows that everything is based on other people doing the right things to help Antonio. He did not count on having someone hell-bent continuing on a destructive path that cannot be undone.

Toby Vitrano as Merk, Altonio Jackson as Quentin aka Q, Truong Quang Tran as Quoc, Ivy Vy Le as Nicole, Sage Kim Gray as Antonio's mother, Renell Gibbs as Reggie, Jacci Gresham as Ms. Jacci, Martin Bats Bradford as Lajon, Tyler Henry as Kamal and Susan McPhail as Susanne.

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 NBC Universal, 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.

BLUE BAYOU is the repercussions of a system that did not correct its errors regarding adoptees who live in the United States. Antonio is swept up in the anger of others, and the need to feel superior and once that ball got rolling - every mistake ever made fed into a emotional hurricane of a path.

Chon worked on the script by speaking with those who have lived through the very story he is trying to convey. He based BLUE BAYOU on those stories he heard from Korean adoptees and the Child Citizenship Act of 2000. The case of Adam Crasper is a prime example of what Chon tried to convey.

"A lot of people were adopted in the 70s and 80s. It just doesn't make sense to me. For the case of this movie, you have somebody who is a step further than that: you already have these questions of identity from being adopted. And then, not all adoptions end well, some parents give up on their adopted kids, or they abuse them. Psychologically, I am sure it is absolutely devastating and for a lot of people who get deported, there is a high suicide rate", said Chon in a GQ Magazine interview.

The cast brings that emotion to the forefront but also the cruelty of those around Antonio and Kathy. Acceptance does not seem to be the accepted norm among their family and friends until they meet Parker. It takes meeting someone who understanding Antonio for him to have a chance to tell his truths, no matter how painful.

The relationship between Antonio and Jessie is the one that kills me the most. I should think it would be the adults, but they clearly are out for their own best interests, so I focused on these two instead. How amazing these two actors are on the screen together and every time they have their moment to discuss how the world is treating them - it will be the last five minutes that kill me the most.

Bring tissue and heart because you will need it to get through BLUE BAYOU.

In the end - it is not where you are from but where you belong!

I'M YOUR MAN Gives Her the Dream

Jeri Jacquin

Coming from writer/director Maria Schrader and Bleecker Street comes the story of asking for the perfect man and then not knowing how to handle him with I'M YOUR MAN.

Alma (Maren Eggert) is a scientist who needs funds to continue her work and so she decides to volunteer to participate in an experiment with Tom (Dan Stevens). The catch is that Tom is very human looking robot who is designed to please Alma. From flowers to candlelight, Tom comes out guns blazing to try and make Alma happy.

The problem is Alma does not want to be that happy. Trying to avoid Tom at all costs, he tries to understand why she is behaving so coldly. After a few days, she begins to understand that she isn't being very nice, even if Tom is not human. Bringing him around the people she knows, Tom is charming, intelligent and is enjoying it all.

Alma runs into Julian (Hans Low) and it is clear there is a history there that she has no desire to discuss with anyone, especially Tom. She does introduce him to co-workers, and they discuss the three-year research which fascinates him. But in a single moment, Tom has to tell Alma what he has discovered about her work!

All of it sends Alma into a tailspin of decisions and spewing of words that would make a mere mortal run for the hills. Tom takes it on the humanoid chin until the next morning when it is clear that cruel is too nice a word for how she had been treating him.

Deciding to get away from it all, Alma takes Tom to meet her family and father Felser (Wolfgang Hubsch). Time together, Alma sees that Tom truly wants to understand the human condition, but she also knows that continuing this experiment is to much for her. It is at that moment that she must decide how to move forward without letting emotions get in the way of a person that is not, in her mind, real.

How do you say goodbye?

Eggert as Alma is a woman on a mission, to get her research published and when she needs funding, agrees to something she really does not want to. From the moment she meets Tom, Eggert’s character gives us nothing to work with because she is giving up nothing when it comes to emotion. That is the amazing part about this character, showing nothing would seem like a robot’s way of expressing things. It takes time for Alma’s story to come out and Eggert makes darn sure to keep that tension up until we get our answers – brava!

Stevens as Tom is delightful, funny, sweet, innocent, and the target of some serious verbal human abuse. My jaw hit the ground with the way this character was being referred, I felt so horrible for him. Now there is genius, making me feel so emotionally horrible for – wait for it – a robot! For the longest I was more concerned about Tom than I was Alma, how is that for a twist? Stevens did that with such finesse and made it all look so easy. I am a big Stevens fan from way back and to watch him in this role is just everything uber cool.

Shout out to Low as Julian for bringing in the right amount of tension in a situation that humans would see as awkward but to Tom, it is a ‘here have a coffee’ kind of thing. 

Other cast includes Falilou Sek as Dean Roger, Annika Meier as Cora, Henriette Richter-Rohl as Steffi, Inga Busch as Regina, Karolin Oesterling as Chloe, Marlene-Sophie Haagen as Jule and Gabriel Munoz as Mr. Barmann.

Bleecker 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.

The film is in German, but it is the acting that makes it a wonderful film, even with subtitles. Premiering at the 71st Berlin International Film Festival, it was also selected for Best International Feature Film at the 94th Academy Awards.

I’M YOUR MAN has so many levels to it, and I experienced all of them. First, it is ‘be careful what you ask for’ because Alma certainly got it. The problem was once she got it, she was not sure she wanted it or what to do with it. It was a trade off and me thinks we got the best of it with Tom! Another issue is trying to replace humanity to be happy. It is in Alma’s final assessment that she hits it straight on because I do not believe we, as humans, would know what to do with ourselves if happy 24/7 for the rest of our lives.

Tom teaches us a few lessons to in that the character is constantly being told that ‘it’ does not know how a human feels. Now emotionally that may be true but, when you take the emotions out of it and stare it straight in the face, Tom knows exactly why we constantly struggle. Alma just did not want to hear it.

The twist of it is that Alma acted more like a robot and Tom the ‘human’ with childlike wonderment and embracing what we take for granted. The switch is so interesting to watch play out because, as with any relationship, there are always twists whether we like it or not.

I’M YOUR MAN is such an enjoyable film and that is all because of writer/director Shrader, Eggert and Stevens without question. It is a different kind of romance, an unusual story of love, and coming to terms with why we allow our pasts to dictate the possibilities for happiness in the future. I could analyze the film all day!

In the end - what do you do when what you wanted stands right in from of you?

DEAR EVAN HANSEN

Jeri Jacquin

Coming from director Stephen Chbosky and Universal Pictures is the story of pain, sadness and hope with DEAR EVAN HANSEN.

High schooler Evan Hansen (Ben Platt) lives with single hard working Mom Heidi (Julianne Moore). Dealing with anxiety issues, Evan takes medications and follows with therapy. Trying to understand why he does not fit in; Evan tries to write supportive letters to himself.

On one particular day after a run in with Connor Murphy (Colton Ryan) and a signed cast, he takes a letter belonging to Evan never meant for anyone to see. After a day or two of high anxiety, Evan is called into the principal’s office.

Waiting for him is Cynthia (Amy Adams) and Larry (Danny Pino), Connor’s parents. He learns the awful truth about Connor and Cynthia sees the signature on Evan’s cast and believes that the two boys were friends. Not knowing how to handle it, he says nothing. Going to their house for dinner, Evan meets Zoe (Kaitlyn Dever) and sees the family dynamics of pain but wants to be there for her.

Enlisting the help of Jared (Nik Dodani), he creates a falsehood and finds himself dug in. Truly wanting things to be different, Evan comes face to face with what he has done and the consequences it will bring to all.

Platt as Evan is a young man who is trying to deal with every gambit of emotion. A chance meeting with Connor starts a chain reaction that he could never have seen coming. Platt has a beautiful voice and uses it to invite viewers into the world that plagues him. Mixed with sorrowful expressions, we are planted squarely into the trauma that is coming.

Dever as Zoe has her own pain to deal with left behind with parents who she can not reach. Evan offers her a respite to remember her brother in a different light. Dever begins as a young girl frozen in her own way but grows right before our eyes.

Adams as Cynthia is a mother who clearly wants to believe in the positive. Seeing something in Evan that offers her hope to hang on to a son she feared would disappear from memory. Adams has the cheery disposition but also the deep sadness of a mother conflicted by so much that there are no answers for.

Pino as Larry is a straightforward stepdad who is trying to keep it all together. When confronted with the reality of his expectations and memories – he comes to believe in Evan. Pino keeps that straight face and tight emotions and when he does allow emotion, he gives us a broken heart.

Ryan as Connor, although a short role, is the focus of the story. His musical with Platt is ingenious and so well done as both actors flow so well together. Dodani as Jared is a family member we can probably all relate to, he has his moments of wit but he is there for Evan come what may.

Other cast include: Amandla Stenberg as Alana, DeMarius Copes as Oliver, Liz Kate as Gemma, Zoey Luna as Leila, Isaac Powell as Rhys, Marvin Leon as Skye, Hadiya Eshe as Cherise, Julia Meyers as Naomi, Gerald Caesar as Josh, Avery Bederman as Isabella and Swift Rice as Mr. Howard.

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.

DEAR EVAN HANSEN is a film about those who feel like they are not seen in the world. There are different ways anxiety works and this story attempts to tackle quite a few scenarios. From Evan’s outward fear of having an anxiety attack to Alana’s busy tactics of avoiding her issues to how Connor dealt with his own.

The music is beautiful, and the voices provide so much emotion. The film is based on the 2015 musical Dear Evan Hansen allowing Ben Platt a chance to bring his stage performance to the big screen. Interscope Records will be releasing the soundtrack as well with artists such as Sam Smith, Dan + Shay and Carrie Underwood. Songs such as Waving Through a Window and You Will Be Found are lovely and have a lot to say for those who might need a little help finding the words. 

The storyline itself is a bit rough in that from start to finish, the audience is not given much time to take a breath. Starting out with pain, it continues and is a bit overpowering by the end of the film. That is not to say the film does not have something to say, I think perhaps it has so much to say in a short space. The cast does an amazing job in the roles absolutely!

In the end – it is a story for the outsider in us all.

Brilliance has come to THE ULTIMATE RICHARD PRYOR COLLECTION UNCENSORED

Jeri Jacquin

Coming from Time Life is the most amazing 13-disc collection from one of the greatest comics who left his mark on the world with THE ULTIMATE RICHARD PRYOR COLLECTION UNCENSORED. 

On December 1st, 1940, Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor was born in Peoria Illinois. Not a great start to life, young Richard learned about the real world growing up in a brothel with his mother and grandmother and a father who has his own issues in life. With a very difficult growing up, Pryor joined the Army but that too pushed him towards another run in with the law.

Arriving in New York in 1963, he began his club career and eventually made his way into television with appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. He also wrote for such shows as Sanford and Son and (my personal favorite) The Flip Wilson Show. 

Comedy albums helped to build his success for which he won several Grammy’s for Best Comedy Recordings. Pryor also co-wrote BLAZING SADDLES, was a guest host on Saturday Night Life until, in 1977 he would host his own The Richard Pryor Show. On the big screen, Pryor came to life with LADY SINGS THE BLUES, SILVER STREAK, GREASED LIGHTENING, SUPERMAN III, BREWSTER’S MILLIONS, THE TOY and HARLEM NIGHTS just to name a few. 

Pryor was no stranger to alcohol, smoking, hard living and drug use which brought him to the most talked about event of his life and became the laughs for some of his comedy. In the 1990’s, he would be diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and wife Jennifer Lee had no worries taking care of the man she truly loved.

In December of 2005, the world would lose one of the greatest comic geniuses who made us laugh, think, be a tad uncomfortable and then make us laugh all over again – he had a large name that would never be as large as his presence on the stage and screen. 

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

THE ULTIMATE RICHARD PRYOR COLLCTION UNCENSORED includes Volume 1-six discs Richard Pryor: Live & Smokin’, The Legend of Uncle Tom’s Fairy Tales and Interviews with Jennifer Lee Pryor Richard Pryor: Live in Concert, Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip, Richard Pryor: Here and Now, The Richard Pryor Special?, The Richard Pryor Show (Never Aired Original Series Opening), The Richard Pryor Show (Cold Open: Camel Love, Chimp Symphony, The Richard Pryor Show (TV Violence, Improv Segment Outtakes), The Richard Pryor Show (Mudbone Monologue, Audience Q&A).

Volume 2-six discs The Merv Griffin Show (four shows), The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (three shows), Pryor’s Place (five shows), JOJO DANCER YOUR LIFE IS CALLING, Last Stand-Up Sit Down, Richard Pryor: LOVED! On the Sunset Strip: An American Cinematheque Tribute, Richard Pryor: I Ain’t Dead Yet, #*%$#@!!, and The Dick Cavett Show, Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic. Also included are interviews with Mel Brooks, Whoopi Goldberg, Lily Tomlin, Jennifer Lee Pryor, Willie Nelson, Quincy Jones, David Banks and David Steinberg. 

Volume 3 includes I Am Richard Pryor. 

Always Pushing the boundaries, Pryor’s comedy was in your face and hard, just like the life he led. It would not be out of line to say that if life imitates art, he found a way to make fun of both and, at times, at his own expense. Nothing and no one were safe from the biting humor and telling us about his world. 

I actually remember hearing Pryor for the first time and my jaw dropping followed by howling laughter. In one fell swoop he added a new convert to his army of followers who knew that seeing Pryor meant that anything could possibly happen, and he never let us down.

Taking every step and then a step further, his comedy had truth wrapped up in the laughs and moments where the audience (or anyone listening for that matter) became privy to his train of thought. Starting out as chaos, he asked us to trust the verbal ride bringing it to a thought-provoking and hilarious conclusion. He was always the conductor of the train and when the ride was over – we all bought another ticket without hesitation!

His film career is equally extraordinary as my favorites of his films are GREASED LIGHTENING and HARLEM NIGHTS. The latter film brought Pryor on screen with Eddie Murphy, but the cast also included the additional stunning comedic performers of Arsenio Hall, Ray Murphy, and Redd Foxx. The film made me laugh and every time it is on television, I stop to watch these characters make it all look so easy.

As with everything that Time Life bring us, they have reached into every nook and cranny to find amazing pieces to share with true fans of Richard Pryor. Their unique ability to weave together this thoughtful collection is worth every moment of viewing. The holidays are right around the corner and this collection would make a truly wonderful present with 1,584 minutes (yes, that is correct!) of what we came to love Pryor for.

In the end – he said it best with ‘I love ya’ll and you can take that with you!”