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A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD


BRING A LITTLE KINDNESS HOME ON DIGITAL FEBRUARY 4
AND 4K ULTRA HD™, BLU-RAY™ AND DVD FEBRUARY 18
WITH OVER 15 MINUTES OF ADDITIONAL SCENES, BLOOPER REEL,
AN ALL-NEW DANIEL TIGER VIGNETTE AND MUCH MORE
Disney+ Rolls Out its First Hit with THE MANDALORIAN


Jeri Jacquin


Currently on the new streaming service Disney+ from characters based on George Lucas' STAR WARS and creator Jon Favreau is a continuing story in the galaxy far, far away with THE MANDALORIAN.

It has been five years since the Galactic Empire's defeat and life has gone on. For a Mandalorian bounty hunter (Pedro Pascal) it means working hard for very little. When the need for a hunter slows down, there is one job that needs doing and Greef Karga (Carl Weathers) offers it up with what seems a veil of mystery.

The job is to go to Arvala-7 and find the bounty who happens to be fifty years old. Dr. Pershing (Omid Abtahi) makes it very clear that the bounty be brought back alive. The Mandalorian doesn't seem to care in the slightest as long as he can change a bar of Beskar into armorer.

Crashing onto Arvala-7, the Mandalorian is attacked by large creatures called Blurgg's and is saved by Kuiil (Nick Nolte) who wants only one thing in return. Kuill wants those who have invaded his planet to be removed so peace will return, oh, and the Blurgg! Taking him to the place where bounty hunters have gone previously, a quick showdown ensues with the help of a IG-11 droid. Finding the bounty, The Mandalorian isn't going to let anyone get near him.

A fifty year old infant is now in his hands but there are other mercenaries who want the kid. Trying to get away quickly, The Mandalorian discovers his ship has been stripped down by Jawas. Kuiil knows how to get it all back and with his help, plus a trip to get an egg, provides the parts to get off the ground again.

Pascal as The Mandalorian has already thrilled audiences in only two episodes. There is a mystery behind the helmet that he (so far) hasn't made an attempt to remove. This character obviously has a story to tell about his people, the Beskar, how he became a bounty hunter and why he is keeping his bounty safer than expected. Pascal seemed to have a steep road ahead of him but I'm thinking it's leveled off a lot more since the first episode. I can't wait to see what comes next.

Weather as Greef is a business man and his business is bounties. It is clear he has no problem stiffing The Mandalorian for his work but I always say what goes around comes around so Greef better be prepared. Nice to see Weathers again! Abhati as Dr. Pershing has me creeped out in that he is going to be the guy who wants to do things that is going to upset everyone. Nothing wrong with playing a bad guy as long as you do it extremely well.

Nolte as Kuiil is a character that has a lot of emotions but keeps them in check. Then again if Nick Nolte says, "I have spoken" you tend to believe him. I am hoping that we see more of this character because he certainly has something to offer.

Other cast include Werner Herzog as The Client, Taika Waititi as IG-11, Gina Carano as Cara Dune, Giancarlo Esposito as Moff Gideon with Horatio Sanz as Mythrol, Ming-Na Wen as Fennec Shand, and Julia Jones as Omera.

It was announced in 2018 that Jon Favreau would serve as a writer and executive producer of the series. Adding to that list is Dave Filoni, Colin Wilson, and Kathleen Kennedy to complete the producers list. When it comes to directors the line includes Taika Waititi, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rick Famuyiwa and Deborah Chow.

With that line up and the success of Disney+ and only two episodes airing to a hungry Star Wars audience, it is no surprise that the green light has been given to the second season. To be honest I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about the film having been disappointed by a few films in the Star Wars franchise.

That being said, by the end of the first episode I was squealing with delight and thrilled that the second episode wasn't so far behind. Telling anyone who will listen to watch THE MANDALORIAN immediately is probably wearing my friends out. It's true though, this is going to be a series that has such potential and the main reason is that it feels like Star Wars, and that above all is what will keep me coming back each week. 

This is out of the park for Disney+ in that they have everything Star Wars on their streaming service so while I'm introducing my granddaughter to the Star Wars saga, I can enjoy the continuation of that world. Mainly because the kid in me is totally geeking out over THE MANDALORIAN!

Thanks Disney+!
VIKINGS Sets to Return in December


Jeri Jacquin

Coming to The History Channel on December 4th is the long awaited return of one of the channels most stunning and epic series to date is VIKINGS.

The last season ended with a battle between Ivar the Boneless (Alex Hogh Andersen) and brother Bjorn Ironside (Alexander Ludwig). Now Ivar has escaped with his life and Bjorn has taken the throne of Kattegat. Immediately the new king lets his people know that he wants to expand the city becoming an important route for trade. This will help all the people of Kattegat prosper.

On the road, Ivar travels on The Silk Road discovering things he didn't know existed. While on the road he is captured and taken to the Russian leader and proclaimed old Viking Kievan Rus Prince Oleg (Danila Kozlovsky). Discovering he has Ivar the Boneless, the Prince makes it clear from the onset that he is more merciless than Ivar ever thought he was. When the Prince asks what it is that Ivar wants, the name Kattegat is uttered and Ivar is assured that his vengeance will come but first, the royal has his own family problems to deal with.

In Kattegat, Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) tells Bjorn that she no longer wants to be a figurehead of his reign. Instead, she is tired and wants nothing more than to go back to where she had a life with Ragnar and farm in peace leaving the life of a shield-maiden in the past. The women of the village come to see the famous Lagertha and tells her that most of the men have been killed in wars and attacks. The attacks aren't over as a new, formidable and the recognizable leader wants nothing more than to hurt everyone in his path and he has Lagertha in his sights. 

In Kiev, Ivar is beginning to understand what it is that motivates Oleg and his viciousness. Proving with ease that the Prince will destroy anyone who gets in his way, he takes young nephew Igor to raise. Ivar makes slow moves in order to place himself in a position that allows him to outwardly seem afraid but behind those eyes is a game that the Prince might not be prepared to play.

In Kattegat, Bjorn receives a message of help from a prior enemy and feels the need to do the right thing. Before leaving, he asks about Floki and what has happened to him. Not getting the answer he wants, Bjorn makes it clear that he will discover the truth and if anything has happened to Floki, someone will be held accountable. Ubbe (Jordan Patrick Smith) and Torvi (Georgia Hirst) are sent to the place now called Iceland to find answers. 

The message of help turns out to be something totally different as Bjorn, Harald (Peter Franzen) and Olaf come to a meeting of the minds and the suggestion that a vote be taken to find a King of Norway. Olaf believes that the ruler should be Bjorn Ironside but there are others who might have a different opinion. 

What happens at that vote might change everything as the leaders know it.

Ludwig as Bjorn Ironside has taken the helm of Kattegat just as his father Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) did in the Vikings series. From the beginning, Ludwig has always been in the shadows as we have watched him grow into a storyline that is harsh but the reality of history in the Dark Ages. The character of Bjorn has grown slow and steady rising further into the storyline and Ludwig has given us every reason to remain curious as to how his story will end. The character of Bjorn tries everything possible to not be like the leaders that have gone before, including his father, mistakes are made but Ludwig's Bjorn leans quickly.

Winnick as Lagertha has been through the wringer and back again. Starting as a farmer with husband Ragnar, becoming Queen, not Queen and then Queen somewhere else and back to Kattegat taking out enemies along the way has just worn this lady out. Winnick has returned season after season giving her character strength, courage and eventually the ability to weed out those who are trying to destroy her. In all of this she has kept her sense of family, even children that are Ragnar's she has tried to embrace.  

Andersen as Ivar continues to intrigue audiences with the duality of his insane brutality and moments where we all think he might have a chance to be human after all. He believes himself to be a god but certainly discovers that shouting it from the rooftops brings about unsavory characters who don't care about his divinity. Andersen continues to surprise with his performance and with this final season I am truly interested where this character will be taken.

Franzen as Harald is another Viking who has ideas of his own about how things should be done and who should do them. Always with the slight of hand in his planning I am keeping an eye on him. Smith and Hirst are the couple who are trying to help find answers in Floki's Iceland. That is a part of the storyline that I am so interested in and partly because I think Floki has been through just as much as the Lothbrok line.

Shout out to Marco llso as Hvitserk for what he is about to put everyone through!

This historical drama created by Michael Hirst began with the story of Norse hero Ragnar Lothbrok. We have seen almost everything possible with love, family, deception, intrigue and battles that hold nothing back. This is the final season and Viking fans, like myself, know that all good things come to an end but we aren't happy about it at all. 

In just the first few episodes, the stage is set for changes that all of this has been leading up to. The cast is doing a wonderful job of taking us on this final leg of the journey. 

Hirst created another of my favorite shows from Showtime with The Tudors followed with Camelot for Starz. Back to Showtime for the series The Borgias and MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS with Saoirse Ronan, ELIZABETH and ELIZABETH: The Golden Age. Hirst has such an amazing ability to bring a richness to the stories he tells but some outstanding actors to bring it all to the screen.

The History Channel brings Vikings back on December 4th so get through turkey day safely because once you are back at Kattegat, the ride will have begun and there is no turning back. Everything that we have come to embrace about each character is going to keep us coming back until the very last scene.

As salve to our open wound, it has been announced that Hirst is creating a series called Vikings: Vahalla that will be seen on Netflix. Said to be set one hundred years later there will be a new group of famous Vikings and their fight for survival in an ever-changing world.

Even with that, we all can agree that our excitement about Vikings came from Ragnar Lothbrok and all the intrigue that followed. Prepare to see how it all plays out with the return of Vikings on the History Channel December 4th!

Netflix Releases THE IRISHMAN


Jeri Jacquin

Currently on Netflix from director Martin Scorsese is the highly anticipated film streaming with THE IRISHMAN.

Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) served in World War II and is now a truck driver trying to take care of his family in 1950's Philadelphia. When is truck breaks down, he meets Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci) who seems to know how to fix it. Wanting to show his appreciation, Frank offers but Russell turns him down and both go on their way.

Selling a few things to a local crime family, he is accused of theft and lawyer Bill Bufalino (Ray Romano) convinces a judge that he is innocent. Bufalino introduces Frank to his cousin - Russel Bufalino and immediately he begins to work for Russell. As the head of the Scranton crime family, Russell is privvy to almost everything going on and becomes close friends with Frank. Their friendship starts real money coming to Frank and his family.

Jimmy Hoffa is the president of the Teamsters and an acquaintance of Russells'. Sending Frank over to help Hoffa means dealing with Anthony "Pro" Provenzano (Stephen Graham) who is causing trouble. If that isn't hard enough, Hoffa is having problems with the government and blames the Kennedys for all his difficulties. Bringing Frank aboard, Hoffa starts to feel as if there is at least one person he can trust. 

When Robert Kennedy is named Attorney General, Hoffa can't control his anger knowing that the President's brother is going to do anything possible to bring him down. Eventually that is exactly what happens and while in prison, Frank goes back to work for Russell and the Teamsters is being run by Frank Fitzsimmons. 

While in prison, Hoffa gets into a scuffle with Provenzano when insults are exchanged. Not realizing that this is a bad idea, Frank consistently tries to smooth their beef over with no luck. In 1971, President Nixon pardon's Jimmy Hoffa but he can't get back in with the Teamsters for a while. 

He may not be able to jump back in the ring but certainly make plans to do it and that's exactly what Hoffa does. Being as loud as everyone remembers him to be, Russell starts getting heat from the others that Hoffa is becoming a problem. Turning to Frank's friendship with Hoffa, they ask him to convey that Hoffa needs to curtail the rhetoric. Well that couldn't have had the worse effect on the former leader of the Teamsters.

Instead of cutting back a bit, he informs Frank loudly that he knows things about the dons that make him untouchable and all but dares them to try anything. When Bufalino's daughter is to be married, Russell, Frank and their wives make a road trip to attend. Everything is fine until Russell tells Frank that he is going to make a side trip to meet Hoffa and bring Provenzano so they can finally put things to rest. 

Putting things to rest is what Frank does best.

De Niro as Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran is fantastic but then again I would expect nothing less. Scorsese knows that if he is going to do a Mafia film he can't exactly do it without De Niro. Having him start off as a younger man is a little unnerving and it is easy to spot the changes, but as the film goes along he just morphs into character and ages right along with him. What De Niro has the stunning ability to do is make you feel for a character that isn't exactly an saint. The effects of this are lost on Frank but not on the family as his daughters struggle with the knowledge of who their father is. 

Pacino as Hoffa is portrayed as an incredible character in that he has a mouth that I'm not sure how he got away with for so long. Well, absolute power does corrupt absolutely and Hoffa was definetly on the right side of that saying. He ran the Teamsters the way HE wanted to run it and whoa-be anybody that got in his way. Even prison didn't stop him - much. Pacino adds a dynamic that is such a struggle for Frank and Russell, they want to understand, they try to understand but the noose starts to get tight around their necks. Pacino is everything marvelous and then some. 

Pesci as Russell is such a treasure and what is interesting about this character is the eerie calmness. I'm used to seeing Pesci get loud, get crazy and make no excuses for any of it. In the role of Russell he gives a collected demeanor that never gets out of hand and plays everything close to the chest. There is nothing about the way that he behaves that gives anything away, no plans, no ideas…nothing. Instead, behind those eyes are plans upon plans and he makes no apologies for caring for those he loves first and foremost. 

Graham as Provenzano is the thorn in Hoffa's side, the thing that rubs him the wrong way and the very thing that sets his teeth to grinding. Feeling he owes Hoffa nothing, Provenzano has no problem hitting below the belt or in the eye - which ever. Graham gives his character a Superman complex of huge proportion and puffs his chest whenever his enemy is near. 

Other cast include Bobby Cannavale as Felix DiTullio, Anna Paquin as Peggy Sheeran, Stephanie Kurtzuba as Irene Sheeran, Kathrine Narducci as Carrie Bufalino, Welder White as Jo Hoffa, Jesse Plemons as Chuckie O'Brien, Jack Huston as Robert Kennedy, Domenick Lombardozzi as Anthony Salerno, Paul Herman as Whispers DiTullio, Louis Cancelmi as Salvatore Briguglio, Marin Ireland as Dolores Sheeran, Sebastian Maniscalco as Joseph Gallo, Jim Norton as Don Rickles, Al Linea as Sam Giancana, Joseph Riccobene as Jimmy Fratianno and Harvey Keitel as Angelo Bruno. 

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

The project came from De Niro after he read the 2004 book by Charles Brandt I Heard You Paint Houses. Bringing it to the attention of Martin Scorsese meant that it couldn't have been placed in better hands. Industrial Light & Magic (emphasis on 'magic') did the de-aging for the film. 

Scorsese said on The A24 Podcast that "there is a great deal of CGI because we're doing this youthification of De Niro, Pesci and Al Pacino. We're all concerned that we're so used to watching them as the older faces." I don't think he has anything to worry about as the storyline takes over any thoughts about the youthification. 

THE IRISHMAN is everything I want in a film like this and more. In fact the running time of 209 minutes means that every part of the story is explored. From Franks marriages to the relationships with his daughter, especially the strain with daughter Peggy and how people perceived Frank. The story of Russell is shrouded in a bit of mystery except for what Frank knows and shares with us in his narrations and I don't mind that. The story of Hoffa and what got him in trouble with everyone is intense and constantly in flux.

The film is breath taking in scope and not a moment of time is wasted. Every minute is important and that's something views are agreeing on. The last half hour as we are part of Frank's mob-afterlife, I am even more giddy with De Niro, Pacino and Pesci's performances. THE IRISHMAN is a film that reminds us of what an amazing world cinema creates for us all. 

In the end - his story changed history!
We Return Once Again to DOWNTON ABBEY on Bluray


Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray/DVD and Digital from director Michael Engler and Focus Features from the characters created by Julian Fellowes is the return to DOWNTON ABBEY.

The Crawley family continues normal life at Downton Abbey until Robert (Hugh Bonneville), the Earl of Grantham, receives word that the King George V (Simon Jones) and Queen Mary (Geraldine James) are about to make a visit. Cora (Elizabeth McGovern) is thrilled but Lady Mary (Michelle Dockery) goes into immediate panic especially with husband Henry (Matthew Goode) off on business. Barrows (Robert James-Collier) is now the head of the staff but Lady Mary feels as if things aren't getting done properly.

Bringing her concerns to Lord Grantham there is only one choice, ask a retired Mr. Carson (Jim Carter) to resume his duties as Downton Abbey until the visit is over and Barrows isn't happy. Mr. Carson gets the staff in order with Andy (Michael Fox) and the return of Mr. Molesley (Kevin Doyle). Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan) also has her hands full as every nook and cranny must be cleaned and there isn't a lot of time. Mrs. Patmore (Lesley Nicol) and Daisy (Sophie McShera) begin creating a menu fit for royalty.

Violet Crawley (Maggie Smith) doesn't seem as nervous about the King and Queen's visit but is concerned about seeing relative Maud Bagshaw (Imedla Staunton). The Dowager believes that Maud is trying to cut Robert out of any inheritance since being seen about with her companion Lucy (Tuppence Middleton). Isobel (Penelope Wilton) agrees to help Violet discover the true story behind Maud's decision as husband Lord Merton (Douglas Reith) stays out of it.

Tom Branson (Allen Leech) is happy to be back at Downton Abbey and with his car business. When he learns about the King and Queen's visit, some think that perhaps he wouldn't be pleased out it. So much so that Mary senses something is wrong and isn't sure what to do. Up for the festivities is Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael) and husband Bertie Hexham (Harry Hadden-Paton) as they make their way home.

With everything buzzing and plans being made, there is a damper on the happiness when the staff are told that they will not be handling the royal visit. Enter the very stuffy Kings manservant Mr. Wilson (David Haig), Queen's dresser Mrs. Webb (Richenda Carey) and royal chef Monsieur Courbet (Philippe Spall). Hardly ready to relinquishing their pride in Downton Abbey, Mrs. Bates (Joanne Froggatt) and Mr. Bates (Brendan Coyle) come up with a plan that is brilliant and wonderful. Barrows is also being watched by Captain Chetwode (Stephen Moore) as being upset with Mr. Carson leads him down a bad road.

When the King and Queen finally arrive, the household is in high gear as the royal family is treated to dinner with a party to follow the next evening. That is when secrets are revealed, loyalties are tested and everyone who lives and works at Downton Abbey once again remembers how they have all come together for so long and can't imagine anything else.

Bonneville as the Earl of Grantham returns to his role as the leader of a family who go their own way no matter what he might say about it. This character has grown to understand that things change and if he doesn't then the Downton Abbey could fall at his feet. I adore Bonneville in this role because he has the facial expressions that say everything even if he says nothing. He clearly loves his family and what's more is he respects those who keep his household running. McGovern as Cora is the American who has embraced the world she married into. When she is stern, it comes with a smile most often and when she is giddy her face lights up. Her character is the opposite of Robert which is why these two actors make such an awesome pairing.

Dockery as Lady Mary is such an unusual character because she gives off an air of superiority but when she lets her humanity and frailty show it is a sight for the heart to see. Carmichael as Lady Edith has finally found her niche in the world along with daughter Marigold. Now she needs to find the order of it all. Staunton as Bagshaw is a relative full of secrets and some in the family are going to make sure they know every little juicy detail. Middleton as Lucy has her own secrets but a certain Irishman only sees a lovely young girl.

Leech as Branson has become a character that was once on the outside looking in and now on the inside looking out. Finding the middle ground has always been such a difficult process for this character but now he seems to have found it. Happy with his business and equally happy at Downton Abbey, he carries himself with such grace and still finds humor in his adopted family. Goode as Henry just goes along to get along and is happy in his marriage to Lady Mary, I wish there would have been more of him but I'm thinking it will happen. Hadden-Patton as Hexam is being pulled away by a King who has taken a liking to him and Edith finds herself being meek about it once again. I kept thinking 'come on Edith, stand your ground!'. Reith as Lord Merton has found happiness in his life and plans to keep it that way by staying out of any family drama.

Jones and James as the King and Queen are lovely and bring their own personal baggage to Downton Abbey. They prove that even royals have family issues and through it all a sense of humor as well. Moore as Chetwode protects the royal family but has a few secrets of his own. Haig as Mr. Wilson is a man I'd throw out on his ear if it wouldn't get me put in the Tower! Carey as Mrs. Webb would be in the pig mud right night to Mr. Wilson and to complete the threesome would be Spall as the royal chef. Those three brought enough aggravation and did it extremely well - kudos!

The return of Carter as Mr. Carson brought joy to every moment he is on screen. His presence, even when he is a bit frazzled, lets you know that everything will be alright. Right by his side is Logan as Mrs. Hughes. Never let it be said that this very elegant lady doesn't know how to take care of her position and life with Mr. Carson. Nicol as Mrs. Patmore is a character I see as the fire that is always keeping everyone warm. Food is one thing but the obvious caring she has for those around her comes through the screen. McShera as Daisy once again puts her foot in it and manages to not be concerned with how some people love traditions and pageantry.

James-Collier as Barrows has been in Mr. Carson's shoes for some time and isn't all that thrilled when he returns. So instead of dealing with it, which he never does very well, he once again finds destructive ways of handling things. Nothing he does surprises me! Doyle as Mr. Molesley is over excited and willing to put his teaching position on hold just to be in the same room as the King and Queen. Of course with this excitement comes the usual missteps that had me responding with a slap to my forehead. Fox returns as Andy who is in love with Daisy and discovers he might have a bit of a jealous streak in him.

My favorite couple ever in the entire series is Froggartt as lovely Mrs. Bates and Coyle as Mr. Bates. If there was ever a couple that went through everything horribly imaginable and came out the other side the same honorable people it is the Bates'. Froggartt is beautiful, sweet, gentle yet has a sarcastic side I love. Being the dresser for Lady Mary for years, she still wants to be at Downton Abbey and in the film gets her chance to show a side that is epic. Coyle as Mr. Bates has gone through the gambit if I do say so myself. Through it all his life has changed dramatically and yet he never once looked for an excuse for anything. That being said, planning what is planned for the staff at Downton Abbey, this husband and wife duo show they will fight for what they believe in and do it as they always have done it - together.

Now let's talk Maggie Smith as Violet - can it be said that she is the cherry on top of a very large and very ostentatious Downton Abbey cake? Well, she is on the one in my mind. Smith is sharp, witty, and doesn't take anything lightly. One moment she is watching everything and the next jumping in the fray to mix it up. Of course she wouldn't be able to do some of it with her partner-in-sort-of-crime Isobel. Wilton in her supporting friendship with Violet is the yin to her yang. When these two ladies get together you can be sure it will be hilarious and the repartee a feast for the mind.

Other cast include Raquel Cassidy as Miss Baxter, Kate Phillips as Princess Mary, Max Brown as Richard Ellis, Mark Addy as Mr. Bakewell, Michael Fox as Andy Parker, Susan Lynch as Miss Lawton, James Cartwright as Tony Sellick, Fifi Hart as Sybbie, Oliver & Zac Barker as George, Alice McCarthy as Nanny Harewood, Marina Balbara as Baroness Valerenay, Andrew Havill as Henry Lascelles, Eva & Karina Samms as Marigold, Diane Halling as Countess of Harrowby, and Perry Fitzpatrick as Chris Webster.

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 film of every genre available from scary to drama to family films. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.uphe.com.

The Bluray Includes the Bonus Features of Deleted Scenes, Cast Conversations - Exclusive roundtable interviews with the Upstairs and Downstairs Cast, The Royal Visit - A look at how the royal visit proved to be an ambitious event both on and behind the camera, True to the Twenties - Fans of DOWNTON ABBEY are charmed by the sheer grandeur of the aristocracy in the early 20th century. Learn how DOWNTON ABBEY maintains a reputation of being true to the time period. Welcome to Downtown Abbey - a behind-the-scenes look at the grandeur of HIGHCLERE Castle and how it serves as a cornerstone in the Downton Abbey franchise. 

Also, The Brilliance of Julian Fellowes - Writer Julian Fellowes has created a story and beloved characters that resonate with people across the world. This piece celebrates Julian's brilliant creativity and reveals his approach to bringing Downton Abbey to the big screen. Downton Abbey Series Recap - Whether you're new or just need a refresher, this series recap will catch you up on the story so far and Feature Commentary with Director Michael Engler. 

I discovered the series DOWNTON ABBEY completely by accident as it was on KPBS the same night as my other favorite The Great British Baking Show. It didn't take long before I became completely engrossed in the story of the families both upstairs and downstairs. I hated when the seasons ended and I broke out the tea set when the next season came around. Little did I know that the series was exploding all over the United States.

Created by writer Julian Fellowes, it aired in 2011 telling the story of Downton Abbey in the mid-1900s of a Yorkshire estate and the Crawley family but it also told the story of the servants. There was everything imaginable happening and the cast made every bit of it magical to watch for those of us who watched week after week. Downton Abbey is actually Highclere Castle in north Hampshire and although there was filming in Ealing Studios, most of it is Highclere Castle both inside and out.

Fellowes himself has had an amazing career as an actor, to launching his own series on BBC and writing a miniseries about the Titanic. He won an Oscar for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen in 2002 for the script GOSFORD PARK and won Best Directorial Debut from the National Board of Review for SEPARATE LIES. His credit also include VANITY FAIR, THE TOURIST, FROM TIME TO TIME and one of my absolute favorite Emily Blunt films THE YOUNG VICTORIA.

DOWNTON ABBEY has become and I believe will continue to be an iconic series and now film for years to come. There is nothing that can hold a candle to it. In the four years since fans cried their eyes out at the television show finale, the film will not only make us forgive everything but thrill us once again. The story, the character, opulence, splendor, feistiness, heart, gumption, and so much more wrapped in a castle most of us know from a mere glance.

How does one thank Julian Fellowes for giving us just a little more of what we crave and an even bigger thank you to every original cast member that came back and made us feel like they didn't miss a beat. DOWNTON ABBEY is such a beautiful film in every way and I love period pieces of all kinds but this film has a special place in my heart because the characters.

This is not just a reunion of characters, but a reunion of us along with the characters we embraced back in 2011. We want to know they are all fine in the world of Downton Abbey and that it is possible (please let it be possible) that there might be another film to continue their story.

In the end - they've been expecting us!


       WALT DISNEY HOME ENTERTAINMENT Brings

The No. 1 Animated Feature Film of All Time

Disney’s “Frozen 2” 
Arrives Home on Digital Feb. 11 
and on Blu-ray™ Feb. 25


Bonus features include a sing-along version of the film plus exclusive content, 
including outtakes, deleted scenes and songs, and much more!  
ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD Twists and Turns


Jeri Jacquin

Coming to 4K Ultra HD, Bluray and DVD from visionary writer/director Quentin Tarantino and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is a film that can only be called ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD.

It is 1969 Los Angeles and Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) is having an identity crisis. Once the lead in his own television series, he also makes time to do roles in other television shows. Living in the Hollywood hills on the secluded Cielo Drive, he is driven around town by his stunt double and friend Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt).

Also living on Cielo Drive next door is actress Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) and husband director Roman Polanski (Rafal Zawierucha). She is living and loving life taking time to enjoy her career.

While working out life and where his career is going, Dalton has to take each phase like a scene with decisions that constantly plague him. Cliff is a little more free spirited and enjoys stunt work when he gets it and being a friend to Dalton. It is difficult for Cliff with a rumor that surrounds an incident in his life.

On several occasions he sees the young girl Pussycat (Margaret Qualley) hitchhiking through L.A. After dropping Dalton off on the set, he sees Pussycat again and offers her a ride. Strangely enough she is staying at the Spahn Movie Ranch where Cliff once shot scenes and she invites him to meet Charlie. Eager to see owner George Spahn (Bruce Dern), he is met with hostility by Squeaky (Dakota Fanning) and Tex (Austin Butler).

Dalton decides to go to Italy and do spaghetti westerns and returns home after six months with a wife and a need to simplify his life which includes having to let Cliff go as a driver. That doesn't stop these old friends from whooping it up one last time. That same night, Dalton's very pregnant neighbor Sharon and friends Jay (Emile Hirsch), Abigail (Samantha Robinson) and Voytek (Costa Ronin) are out celebrating as well.

What none of them could know was what would happen on Cielo Drive that hot night in 1969!

DiCaprio as Dalton is absolutely stunning in this role. He is a paranoid, dysfunctional, insecure chain smoking alcoholic who believes the worst about himself as an actor. That is what makes his performance brilliant in that he is not only able to pull all of that off, but kept me convinces for two hours and forty-five minutes. DiCaprio's acting within acting scenes is intense at times but so damn well done I forgot it was a scene within a scene of the movie itself. I will be thinking about this performance for a very long time.

Pitt as Cliff is laid back and happy with his life of being in the background of Dalton's career. This character that has a past that gets in his way yet not enough to bother him. His true love is pittie Brandy who is just as adorable as she wants to be and very protective of her human. Pitt gives the audience charm, rooftop abs (oh sorry, should I not have mentioned that?), that insanely memorable grin and a threshold of no-nonsense that is amazing up to the point where it isn't. I am crazy about every aspect of this character until the absolute…very…end and then I just fell head over heels once again for Pitt. There couldn't have been a better pairing than these two actors and honestly I never would have thought of it which is why I'm not a director.

Robbie as Tate gives a performance of a sweet and simple woman who loved music, friends, and sitting in a movie theatre watching herself not out of narcissm, but to experience the audience reaction. Her character portrayal of the actress was beautiful.

Olyphant as Stacey gets a chance to don western gear and I loved watching him dual it out, so to speak, with DiCaprio. Fanning as Squeaky portrayed someone I wouldn't want to meet in a dark alley…ever. Butler, Madison and Beatty as the terrifying Manson trio are as frightening as they need to be and I'm leaving it right there.

A shout out to young Julia Butters as Trudi is epic in her two scenes with DiCaprio. My reaction to her was immediate and filled with smiles. Her character is smart, witty, and perceptive all trapped inside the body of an 8 year old. I want to be her when I grow up!

Other cast include Sydney Sweeney as Snake, Timothy Olyphant as James Stacy, Harley Quinn Smith as Froggie, Damian Lewis as Steve McQueen, Mike Moh as Bruce Lee, Lorenza Izzo as Francesca Capucci, Rumer Willis as Joanna Pettet, Scoot McNairy as Bob Gilbert, Clifton Collins Jr. as Ernesto, Michael Madsen, and Kurt Russell as Randy.

Also, Rebecca Gayheart as Billie, Lena Dunham as Gypsy, Nicholas Hammond as Sam Wanamaker, Mikey Madison as Sadie, Madisen Beaty as Katie, Julia Butters as Trudi, Luke Perry as Wayne Maunder, and Al Pacino as Marvin Schwarzs.

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 9th film from Quentin Tarantino also includes over twenty minutes of additional scenes and an exclusive behind-the-scenes. The Bonus Material includes Quentin Tarantino's Love Letter to Hollywood, Bob Richardson - For the Love of Film, Shop Talk - The Cars of 1969, Restoring Hollywood - The Production Design of ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD, and The Fashion of 1969.

Also available in a limited 4K Ultra HD Collector's Edition with 7" vinyl record, collectible vintage poster and an exclusive new mini edition of Mad Magazine inspired by the film. 

This is as brief of a review as I could possible do for this film because I really don't want to spoil any of it for anyone. I can say that I think I've seen a strong contender for an Academy Award nomination and many actors that could easily fill all the slots for Best Actor and Best Supporting nods.

What I love best about this film, and perhaps it shows my age, is that I remember all of it. The clothing, magazines, music, cars, the scenery, the places and the events of the era turned a light back on inside my head. All of it provided an emotional rollercoaster of staying in the story and trying not to let the eye candy distract.

The story, and oh what a story it is, came from the mind of Tarantino absolutely. Every scene was a wonder of where it was going and what would happen when we (meaning everyone in the theatre with me) got there. Dalton and Booth took us on the ride and I didn't fight on second of it. We wanted to know more about their personal issues and the six degrees of separation between every character we were introduced to. Trust me when I say this was definitely an experience.

Were there a few giggles? Of course! Tarantino has a twisted sense of that and he lets us in on it. Of course I caught myself giggling a few times to myself but that's my own personal twisted sense of humor.

Yes the film is 161 minutes long yet it is one of the best times I've had at the movies in a long time. Being in the desert of wanting-thirst for something amazing on screen, Tarantino has just given me a huge whiskey sour and I certainly wouldn't mind another.

In the end – it is a story of Hollywood Tarantino style!

RICHARD JEWELL is a Lesson in Being a Hero


Jeri Jacquin

Coming soon to theatres from director Clint Eastwood and Warner Bros. is the story of a man who sees the world better than he is treated and his name is RICHARD JEWELL. 

Richard (Paul Walter Hauser) is a very polite southerner who meets lawyer Watson Bryant (Sam Rockwell) working for a firm delivering mail. Preparing to move on to a security job, Richard makes sure to say goodbye to Watson. As a university security, it doesn't go well and once again he has to move on to another job. The one person standing by him is mom Bobi (Kathy Bates) knowing her son believes in law enforcement.

The opportunity comes for Richard to work security at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia's Centennial Park. Taking his job serious, he is polite to everyone and even makes himself indispensable to on-sight law enforcement. His job also has its perks taking Mom to a concert in the park. Someone who isn't happy about the Olympics assignment is FBI Agent Tom Shaw (John Hamm) and partner Dan Bennet (Ian Gomez). 

Each day Richard is ready and stays alert to everything around him. One evening he has to stop a group of young kids from throwing bottles against a media tower and notices a backpack. Alerting authorities they at first don't seem worried, but after closer inspection everyone leaps into action to get people away - including Richard.

When the bomb explodes, the contents flies into the crowd and people fall everywhere. A stunned Richard tries to do what he can to help those who are hurt. The mayhem is emotional for everyone and when Richard returns home to a grateful Mom, he can't believe what has happened. Quickly the media hails him a hero and the attention makes Richard a tad uncomfortable but still very polite.

The FBI immediately jump on the case and start investigating everyone who was at Centennial Park and one name that pops up is Richard Jewell. Trying to get a scoop on the story if Kathy Scruggs (Olivia Wilde), a reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution who turns to Shaw for information and runs with it. Immediately Richard goes from being hailed as a hero to a villain. 

Richard calls Watson Bryant at first to look over a contract but quickly needs much more help. Watson's secretary Nadya (Nina Arianda) informs him that Richard is being looked at as a suspect in the bombing. Both Richard and mom Bobi are being emotionally torn apart with the things being said, the constant attack by the media and the life altering harassing by the FBI.

Yet Richard remains respectful until Watson reminds him that standing up for himself is just as respectful.

Hauser as Jewell is just that - a jewel! His portrayal of Richard is a combination of so many things from a very caring person who notices people to being a little over zealous wanting to be part of the law enforcement community to a son who will not tolerate anyone making his mother cry. From the moment of the bombing all he wants to do is help find the person responsible and in that lies Hauser's stunning performance. Raised to be respectful, he knows that he is not everyone's cup of tea but it doesn't change how he treats them and Hauser portrayal gives Richard a depth that just tore at my heart. 

Rockwell as Bryant is the loud to Richard's soft feelings about what is happening around them. Not understanding how Richard can continue to be loyal to law enforcement that are trying to sacrifice him is stunning to Rockwell's character. Keeping his client under control proves to be a challenge as well but one that has moments of smiles and even, dare I say, giggles. Knowing Richard to be an acquired taste, Rockwell's Bryant can't help but see what we as the audience sees. I am confessing here and now that I adore Rockwell and even more so in this film.

Bates as Mom Bobi is a simple woman who keeps her life tidy and believes one hundred percent in her son. So proud of him for saving lives after the bombing, she doesn't understand how and why the vilification of her son can possibly be happening. What I love about Bates in this role is that at no time does her portrayal of Bobi fail to believe in her son and she is everything believable. 

Wilde as Scruggs is just a reporter who from the moment she steps on screen is someone I wanted to just shake because of the tactics used to get her story. She is a very outward character in her mannerisms and behavior to the point that the audience in the theatre had, and I quote from the woman next to me, "just about enough of that woman!". I can't remember the last time I heard that from someone in the audience. Hamm as Shaw has issues of his own and the grumblings of being at the Olympics turns bad quickly. Seeing the result of the bombing puts him on an all-out idea that he will capture the bomber. The problem is his tactics along with those he works with at the FBI letting everything get out of hand. Hamm makes an awesome good guy and an equally awesome not so good guy.

Gomez as Bennet is just as guilty for the tactics against Richard as Shaw and what was so irritating is that neither of these men seen to have any guilt for it all. You know you've done a good job in your role when everyone wants to scream at you so well done. Arianda as Nadya is such a good person seeing exactly what Bobi, Bryant and the audience sees about Richard Jewell and she is a no nonsense character as well.

RICHARD JEWELL is absolutely one hundred percent a Clint Eastwood film. This actor/director takes stories of everyday people and put them on screen in such a way that we become a cheering squad by the end of the story. There is certainly nothing wrong with that to my way of thinking. What I truly enjoyed about this film is that Hauser's portrayal of Jewell is so uncanny and so endearing. It would be easy to just play up the stereotypical southern boy instead of a man who was raised to believe in the good of people and the respect of those who know might know more, including law enforcement. 

The film also forces us all to realize that, as Rockwell's character says, we are confronted by the two most powerful forces in the world - the U.S. government and the media. That was said in 1996 without even realizing that statement would predict the future in many ways. Ruining a life in 1996 with print is one thing, if the same thing happened to Jewell today it would have been incredible worse and more dangerous than even I want to think about. 

The last half hour of the film is one for a box of Kleenex as the story finally confronts all of what happened that evening in 1996 and how two men became even closer friends and a mom never stopped believing in her son. 

In the end - the world will know his name and the truth!

Nothing Prepared Them for the BOMBSHELL



Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from director Jay Roach and Lionsgate comes an explosive story about women and a power they fought against when preparing for the BOMBSHELL.

On the Fox News channel, women like Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) and Megan Kelly (Charlize Theron) are making a name for themselves. Seeing it for herself is incoming wanna-be Kayla Pospisil (Margot Robbie) who is one of the producers for Carlson's show and wants more. So much so that Kayla takes a position with Bill O'Reilly which infuriates Carlson.

Luring above all the newsrooms is Roger Ailes (John Lithgow) who made Fox News a sensation and runs a tight ship with the okay from Rupert Murdoch (Malcolm McDowell). No one dare challenge Ailes as he made is very clear that he could make or break a career. That is what Carlson faced when she begins to suspect that her news days on air are numbered. Seeing legal counsel before that happens, she is told that going directly for Ailes instead of the company would be her best option. 

At Kayla's new position she meets producer Jess Carr (Kate McKinnon) and the two quickly become friends. One day Kayla takes it upon herself to make her way up to Ailes office to introduce herself. Accepting the meeting, Ailes begins calming talking to her about what it is she wants. Once the politeness is done, Ailes claims he needs to get a closer look at Kayla since television is a "visual medium". She leaves his office knowing what transpired was frightening. 

Once out and the Carlson sexual harassment lawsuit filed, Kelly must come to terms with what she knows, but she isn't the only one. One woman after another comes forward while Kelly remains silent. Telling her husband what is happening doesn't help her decision on what to do next easier. Kayla also keeps her head down and avoids Ailes office as much as she can but Carr notices something is wrong. 

Trying to coax people to help, Ailes wife Beth (Connie Britton) wonders why Kelly isn't coming out in support of the man who gave her a career. Ailes vehemently denies the accusations against him and cannot fathom why the women would say such things. The bigger the story gets, people begin to take sides and finally Murdoch knows that a decision must be made to safe what is left of Fox News.

Standing together the women realize there is safety in numbers.

Theron as Kelly is ridiculously scary because after a minute of watching her on screen I forgot that I was watching Theron. Her movements and speech are spectacular to the point of being brought into the story with ease. Theron has always been a consummate actress in my book and I have never really found fault in anything she has done but let me say in this film just absolutely blew me away. From start to finish I was riveted by her performance and, although not a huge fan of Kelly herself, do have a healthy dose of respect for her. She can thank Theron for that anytime.

Kidman as Carlson is a woman who sees the writing on the wall knowing it comes directly from Ailes and his eyes ever watching his news kingdom. The smartest thing for me was her knowing it was coming and did whatever she could to make sure things were 'documented'. I mean really, did Ailes truly believe he was untouchable? I don't comprehend that thinking except to chalk it up to an old school mentality where it's all fun and games until someone gets hurt. Kidman gives Carlson stealth and determination in a world that Ailes seem to feel was a gift he gave her with a stipulation of silence.

Robbie as Kayla is a young woman on the move and doesn't think too much before changing lanes. It seemed that all this character wanted to do was get to the top fast and try not to leave to many high heel marks on the backs of others. Idolizing Carlson and even Kelly, the character of Kayla doesn't seem to have the maturity to handle what is about to happen to her. 

McKinnon as Carr is a woman who is hiding who she is because she wants to keep her job. Knowing the environment around her isn't kind to everyone, McKinnon brings her own hurting brevity to this character and it makes a hard point. Britton as Beth holds fast to her husband innocence even though I have a gut feeling she knows he's not so innocent trusting in the 'that's just who he is' line of defense.

Now let's talk about Lithgow as Ailes because his performance is just so disturbing. Thinking that he should get an award for his portrayal it set my mind ablaze thinking 'how do you give an award to someone for doing a stellar job without once again giving Ailes airtime'. I know, it's making a mountain out of a mole hill but - is it? Anyway, Lithgow is riveting, yucky and portraying a man who used his powers in the most unspeakable of ways. This performance is just…wow!

Shout out to Allison Janney as Susan Estrich because she deserves a shout out. McDowell as Murdoch waltz's into a room and shows Ailes how it's done. 

Other cast include Liv Hewson as Lily Balin, Brigette Lundy-Paine as Julia Clarke, Rob Delaney as Gil Norman, Stephen Root as Neil Mullen, Robin Weigert as Nancy Smith, Amy Landecker as Dianne Brandi and Mark Duplass as Doug Brunt.

BOMBSHELL is a film that gives a look inside the fall from Fox News grace of Roger Ailes definitely but more importantly, what it took for Carlson to take a stand. The film isn't shy about putting it right out there that Ailes had power of such magnitude that he managed to shut down these women for years and years while up in his tower.

I was impressed with Kidman, Theron and Robbie as the film addresses their story's individually and I think that's important. Ailes abuses started early and as he got bolder, so did his 'requests' of these women and he talk about them later. As what usually happens when a powerful man is confronted with his misdeeds (by almost everyone's standards), Ailes thinks he is above it all. That he barks and everyone cowers - well, Carlson decided to cower no more in 2016.

BOMBSHELL is definitely a film that needs to be seen and then discussed. Whether it all happened the way its portrayed on screen or not, it is a conversation that can stop even a hint of something like this from ever happening again. I don't care if these women were on Fox News and I'm not a fan of Fox News - no one and I mean no one deserves to live their lives with fear - in family or at a job. 

In the end - based on a scandal that shook a new empire!

THE GALLOWS ACT II Frights on Bluray


Jeri Jacquin

 
On Bluray/DVD and Digital from writer/directors Travis Cluff, Chris Lofing and Lionsgate is the return of evil with THE GALLOWS ACT II.

 
Auna Rue (Ema Horvath) is a young girl that has decided to go live with her sister Lisa (Brittany Falardeau) and start at a new school. Wanting to be an actress, Auna is looking to start with her YouTube channel that doesn't have very many viewers.

 
Starting out in the drama class, teacher Mr. Schlake (Dennis Hurley) calls on a student to do a piece on stage and Auna willing accepts. The problem is that when she stands up, the words just don't come. Frustrated, she looks for works that she can perform and finds The Gallows and reads it online.

 
Almost overnight people watch her channel and the views skyrocket and people want to become her friends. She meets Cade (Chris Milligan) and the two hit it off well. So much so that Cade introduces Auna to his parents who were once famous actors.

 
Just when Auna thinks life is finally going her way, strange things begin to happen. Day by day there is something evil coming through and The Gallows is responsible. Auna wants to find a way to make it stop and with the help of Cade they find someone who can give them answers.

 
Other cast include Jener Dasislva as Nick, Anthony Jensen as Scott Lamont, Pfeifer Brown as Pfeifer Ross, Erika Miranda as Lex, Deandre Pierre as Scott, Lupe Cobain as Marcus, Alan Crop as Craig, and Amy Cooke as Kate.

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

The Special Features of THE GALLOWS ACT II are Audio Commentary with Writers and Directors Travis Cluff and Chris Lofing, Summoning The Hangman: Staging THE GALLOWS ACT II and Deleted Scenes.

 
THE GALLOWS ACT II is about as creepy as you'd want a horror film to be. The Hangman and Charlie Challenge pretty much pushes the limits to what is real, what is illusion and what is driving everyone just a little crazy. This all began with a game that took the internet by storm and ends up with victims all around.

What is the most interesting about this film are the twists, turns and things I didn't see coming. As a fan of horror films from way back in the good old days of Freddy Kruger, I like films that shake things up. That is what brings the conversation up at the coffee machine when someone says 'did you see….?' and THE GALLOWS ACT II is such a film. 

The cast is small and that keeps it interesting as well staying laser focused on Auna and the things she wants most not realizing that everything comes with a price - especially wanting fame.

In the end - evil chooses you!


THE TWO POPES is a Hit for Netflix

Jeri Jacquin


Coming to Netflix from director Fernando Meirelles and writer Anthony McCarten comes the story needing to be told by these two actors about THE TWO POPES.

The story set in 2012 should be easy to tell but this one isn't. Pope Benedict (Anthony Hopkins) is an interesting man to say the very least but he is more interested in Jesuit Jorge Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce). On a visit to Pope Benedict's summer house, Bergoglio wants to present the Pope with his resignation.

With paper in hand and explaining himself, Pope Benedict doesn't seem to be the slightest bit interested. In fact, he begins conversing with Bergoglio about everything but the papers in his hand, including their differing views on the church.

Their conversations tell the story of these two men and the lives they have led and in that lies so much greatness. Juan Minujin portrays the Bergoglio as a young man telling the story of a time when decisions cost everyone everything. As Pryce tells his story, it is so heavy a tale he is telling remembering where he has come and what he feels he must do by resigning. He certainly doesn't shy away from telling his Holiness what he really thinks which had my jaw dropping.

Hopkins Pope Benedict listens intently but tends to coat the conversation with brevity every chance he gets. Here is a man who has his own past to deal with and lets Bergoglio know that in that fashion that they are only human no matter what clothes they are wearing. He is also confronted with the scandals that have been a part of the Church and Bergoglio wants to understand.

Throughout the film, it is Hopkins and Pryce that are stellar and with every conversation there are revelations about the two men who would become Popes. This film could easily have become a dry story with a peak behind Vatican curtain but instead it is a film that you can't take your eyes off of from first moment to last.

One might not expect humor from THE TWO POPES but between jokes, a little piano time, orange soda and pizza you'd be wrong. That is what Hopkins and Pryce bring to the film - an unpredictability that is informative, endearing, charming and worth every minute. The story being told is one of two men holding the highest religious place in the Catholic Church.

The cinematography is absolutely stunning and the costuming is equally beautiful. Those are important in this piece because this is no ordinary story about the church being told, it is also a look inside the walls of where both these men live in a way most of us cannot fathom.

Netflix has certainly found a winning streak this year with some of the most fantastic stories for viewers. THE TWO POPES ends their year on an even higher note as streaming channels truly cater to originality in their programming. Netflix's release of THE IRISHMAN in November is another example of showing viewers something new, interesting and thought provoking.

THE POPE is a film I want to see again because the performances by these two actors is so brilliant and stunning it has to be seen again. Hopkins and Pryce carry the film together with equal greatness of the Popes in both humor, strong character and acceptance of their pasts. We should all see those characteristics in ourselves.

In the end - two men with one goal!

Disney Continues the Story of MALEFICENT: Mistress of Evil On Bluray

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray/DVD and Digital from director Joachim Ronning and Walt Disney Pictures to continue the story of MALEFICENT: Mistress of Evil.

Aurora (Elle Fanning) is now Queen of the Moor, doing her daily duties and, on this day, being proposed to by Prince Phillip (Harris Dickinson). She and Phillip are thrilled until they both realize that they must tell their respective parents. Phillip rides off to talk with his mother Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer) and father King John (Robert Lindsey). 

Diaval (Sam Riley) overhears the proposal and flies off to forewarn Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) who doesn't take the news very well. Letting Aurora know how she feels, it is the young woman that pleads with the woman who has been her mother to go to the castle and meet Phillips parents. Wanting her happiness, Maleficent begrudgingly agrees.

The town is on high alert when Aurora, Maleficent and Diaval arrive at the castle gate. Being introduced to the King and Queen, they all sit down to dinner. Almost immediately there is a bit of shade being thrown by the Queen towards Maleficent bringing up the past. Aurora senses it and tries her best to keep the fae calm. Eventually a line is crossed and Maleficent stretches her wings. When the King falls to the ground, the Queen screams out that a curse has been placed on him.

Not willing to wait around for the guards, Maleficent commands Aurora to join her but when that doesn't happen, she swiftly flies away. Waiting on the roof is Gerda (Jenn Murray) who sends a buckshot into Maleficent. Falling into the sea she begins to sink and unexpectedly rescued by fae Conall (Chitwetel Ejiofor) who takes her to a place where other fae are in hiding. He tells her things she never knew and meets another hot headed fae Borra (Ed Skrein).

The Queen prepares for war with secrets beneath the castle and Maleficent realizes that her Moor is under attack. Trying to save what she can, it is Conall that is now wounded. Not wanting to wait any longer, the Queen decides it's time for a wedding, but Aurora feels as if she is being forced to change.

As the castle prepares, a secret is unleashed on the fae in a battle that can only be won by the total destruction of one side or the other. It is time for secrets to end and an understanding between human and fae to come forward before everything each side holds dear is destroyed.

Jolie as Maleficent returns to a role she has made truly her own. In this film she has a difficult time seeing her 'beastie' grow into a woman. Wanting her to stay in the Moor is everything and Prince Phillip is what stands in the way. In this film the character discovers more about her own roots than she ever knew before but still must make decisions that are painful. Jolie is entertaining, tries to be as good as she can but when push comes to Queen-shoving, Maleficent will do whatever it takes to save those she loves.

Fanning as Aurora has grown into a young woman who is ready, after five years, to finally wed the man she loves. Torn between the family she is going to marry into and the family she already has, the struggle is before her when Maleficent loses her temper. Being a smart young woman, Aurora knows that something isn't quite right and goes about finding the truth that is going to hurt those she loves. Fanning has given Aurora a very strong sense of herself and, like Maleficent, gives her character some bite when necessary.

Pfeiffer as Queen Ingrith is just about as wicked as they come who doesn't really have a reason other than she's been unhappy for far too long. There is a crazy here that makes Maleficent look like a saint because the Queen is being devious, manipulative and hurts those that don't deserve it in a very short period of time. Pfeiffer gives it everything she's got with every evil look she can muster but she looks fabulous in the tiaras!

Dickinson as Prince Phillip is a young man in love with a girl who runs barefoot on the Moor. He wants to bring both kingdoms together to live in peace but can't seem to get anyone to agree on how to make that happen. With Aurora he knows they can work together but what he doesn't know is that forces are against him. Riley as Diaval wants Aurora to be happy but also wants Maleficent to keep her cool and he is the one caught in between the ladies. 

Ejiofor as Conall is a fae who is a lot like Prince Phillip in that all he wants for his people is peace and the ability to not have to hide away in a cave. He doesn't want his people to fear humans and hopes Maleficent can be the conduit for that to happen. Skrein as Borra is a bit like Maleficent in that he is full of rage towards humans and can only see attacking them as an answer to what separates them. 

Other cast include Juno Temple as Thistlewit, Imelda Staunton as Knotgrass, Warwick Davis as Lickspittle, Lesley Manville as Flittle, Miyavi as Udo, Judith Shekoni as Shrike and Alex Martin as Tundra. 

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment began distributing under its own label in 1980 and continues to bring quality programming to kids and kids at heart. Home of the most beloved animated features including SNOW WHITE, PINOCCHIO and SLEEPING BEAUTY to name a few is what keeps families coming back for more. To see what is currently available to add to your own family library please visit. www.movies.disney.com for their At Home titles!

The Bluray includes the Bonus Extras of Extended Scenes, Behind the Scenes Look at the magic of MALEFICIENT: Mistress of Evil, outtakes, aurora’s Wedding and more!

MALEFICENT: Mistress of Evil is a bit of a stretch in the title. The story of Aurora and Phillip takes another step with Maleficent dragging her feet all the way. Funny thing is, she had every right to do it considering the underhandedness and shade thrown by Phillip's mother the Queen. Jab after jab I'm surprised that it took so long for the green mist and red eyes to appear! Immediately I was on Maleficent's side and cheered her on the entire film.

That being said, this is totally a Disney movie from start to finish. It has love, family, doing what's right no matter what the cost and it is all in a beautiful castle setting. Of course, the kid in me (and it's still there where Disney is concerned) loves the idea of the Moors filled with creatures of all kinds bringing the silly, cute and loyal to the surroundings.

Everyone in the theatres loved the film so you can imagine how this will easily become part of anyone’s Disney home library. That's important because even though there are parts that are intense, it is still about family, friendship, knowing who you are and being ready to defend those that might be defenseless. As I said, all Disney qualities!

In the end - go beyond the fairy tale!

1917 Brings the Realities of War

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from writer/director Sam Mendes and Universal Pictures comes the story of two young men who try and stop a fatal mistake of war in 1917.

In northern France, Lance Corporals Blake (Dean Charles Chapman) and Schofield (George MacKay) are given one of the most dangerous missions. Learning that the Germans have retreated, the British 2nd Battalion Devonshire Regiment is preparing to attack. When it is discovered to be a trap, a message needs to be delivered to call it off.

Among the 1,600 men preparing is Blake’s brother so he volunteers to take a message to commander of the Battalion to stop. Schofield isn’t very happy about being a part of the mission but goes with his friend Blake.

Through trenches, explosions, dogfights, rigged bunkers and snipers in a destroyed village, the mission becomes even more crucial with ever step to save the soldiers who don’t know what is coming.

Bravery has no limits.

Chapman as Corp. Blake knows only one thing – he needs to stop the attack. Yes, it could be said his volunteering seemed motivated by family, but Chapman’s portrayal made me believe he would have done it no matter what or who.

Mackay as Schofield doesn’t start off with the same quality. Feeling forced to take on the mission, we as the viewing audience experience his change. He is still afraid but determined to finish what was started.


These two actors carry the weight of the story squarely on their shoulders. A difficult task in a film set to a harsh time in history and yet these two actors swoop us up for the experience without any fight from us.

1917 is a time of young men going to war with the basics of everything. Yes, there were weapons and crude by todays technological standards, so it is stunning people survived at all. Mendes makes sure we are fully aware of it in every frame from start to finish.
In telling this story, Mendes enlists the like of Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth, Daniel Mays, Billy Postlewaite, Andy Apollo and Mark Strong to complete the road this film takes us down.

1917 is a start to the senses with a continual tension line to the very end. It works beautifully and the proof is in the two Golden Globe awards for Best Motion Picture – Drama and Best Director for Sam Mendes. That is all before the wide release this Friday. 1917 has won 48 awards with 154 nominations and all this before Oscar nominations have been announced.

Mendes edited the film to be one continual shot. “You don’t want an audience thinking how you shot the film, it’s a constant dance between character and landscape and you have to allow for constant movement and create a real experience.” The story is inspired by Mendez grandfather’s experience with “The Autobiography of Alfred H. Mendes: 1897-1991.”

1917 is heartfelt and heart stopping wrapped up in an intense story of sacrifice, bravery and the ugly reality that is war. It has everything that an epic war film should but add serious intensity and it will have viewers leaving the theatre talking about Oscars.

In the end – time is the enemy!

THE BIG TRIP

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to DVD from writer/director Vasili Rovenskiy and Lionsgate comes an animated adventure of an unlikely friendship and together taking THE BIG TRIP.
Mic-Mic (Pauly Shore) is a bear who wants to enjoy his leisurely uninterrupted life but that's all about to change. A stork making his deliveries doesn't do such a good job when misdelivering a baby Panda. Immediately irritated, it is decided to take him to family in China.

Going along for the big trip is rabbit Oscar (Drake Bell) because he seems to be the only animal capable of calming the crying panda. On the road they pick up a pelican, a tiger who likes to chat and a wolf with issues.

Their journey is one of learning to understand their differences but all toward the goal of one thing - returning the baby panda to his family!
Bell as Mic-Mic is not in the mood to be any other animals’ caretaker let alone nanny! Deciding to take the panda home is his only way out of the situation. Bell certainly uses his voice to project his character and gives it the right amount of grump.

Shore as Oscar is a rabbit who truly wants to be friends with all the animals they are traveling with. Mic-Mic isn't to keen on sharing the big trip and Oscar makes darn sure that he hops his way into their hearts. Shore is sassy and funny as always.

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

The DVD Special Features include Giving the Characters a Voice: At the Recording Studio with Drake Bell and Pauly Shore Featurette.
Here is how I feel about animated films - I want them to be fun and colorful of course but also have a point to the adventure and even a few lessons about how to work out difficult problems and have fun at the same time.

THE BIG TRIP is a story of differences and unlikely friendships and that is what I'm taking from it. My granddaughter loved the animal characters who made her laugh and even 'awwww' a few times. She loves pandas so watching the togetherness to protect this particular little panda captured her attention from start to finish.

The is most definetly a family film that is a good way to spend time together cuddled up on the sofa during these winter months with a soft blanket and a tub of popcorn. This is how you go on an adventure without leaving home.

In the end - big dreams, big travel and big trouble!

DOLITTLE Brings Charm to the Big Screen

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres this Friday from writer/director Stephen Gaghan and Universal Pictures is the story of animals who live with none other than DOLITTLE.
Dr. John Dolittle (Robert Downey, Jr.) began as a doctor who has the unique ability to speak with animals. Known far and wide, even the Queen called upon him to help with her animals. In gratitude Dolittle is given an estate to continue his work with animals and given them shelter.

When tragedy strikes the good doctor, he closes the gates to everyone and becomes secluded from the world. That is until meeting the young Tommy (Harry Collett) who discovers a squirrel that needs a doctor! It is the flying parrot Polly (voiced by Emma Thompson) who leads the lad to Dolittle's door.
At the same time, the young Lady Rose (Carmel Laniado) is sent to Dolittle on behest of Queen Victoria (Jessie Buckley) to come to the palace and help the monarch. Quickly is snapped back to his self by all the animals who know that he needs to do what's right. Visiting the Queen he is met by Lord Thomas Badgley (Jim Broadbent) and the nefarious Dr. Blair Mudfly.

It seems a plot is in the works against the Queen and only Dolittle knows how to stop it. The mysterious illness that has taken the Queen has a cure and Dolittle knows where it can be found.

Taking along Tommy, their journey begins with a ship full of animals and a mission - to save the Queen.
 

Downey, Jr. as Dolittle is perfect casting with his unique ability to be quirky and humorous in his own way. It could also be that I'm happy to see him on the big screen again taking on a role that is lighthearted and warm in character. Downey, Jr. has a flair to entertain an audience, so much so that I can easy overlook the mushiness of his accent.

Collett as Tommy is a young man unlike the rest of his hunting family. He sees the grace in loving animals and once meeting Dolittle, knows his path in life. The adventure is just a bonus! Collett is charming and fun to watch alongside Downey, Jr. and that makes for wonderful storytelling.
Sheen as Mudfly has become good at being bad. This time he is able to add a little slap stick comedy to his role but never go against Downey, Jr.! Broadbent as Badgley is supposed to be taking care of the Queen but is he?

Laniado as Lady Rose is sweet, elegant and wants to protect her Queen. A strong young woman who isn't afraid of much and that serves her well against both man and animal. The spark between herself and Tommy is very sweet as well.

The animal cast include: Rami Malek as Chee-Chee, John Cena as Yoshi, Kumail Nanjiani as Plimpton, Octavia Spencer as Dab-Dab, Tom Holland as Jip, Craig Robinson as Kevin, Ralph Fiennes as Barry, Selena Gomez as Betsy, Marion Cotillard as Tutu, Frances de la Tour as the Dragon and Jason Mantzoukas as James the Dragonfly.

Other cast include Kasia Smutniak as Lily Dolittle, Oliver Chris as Sir Gareth, Clive Francis, and Antonio Banderas as King Rassouli.

DOLITTLE is a charming fun adventure for the entire family. This is an introduction to Dolittle like we have not seen before and it does leave the door open in case Downey, Jr. wants to return. The audience was taken with the bounty of talking animals and all their own personalities and it did bring lots of laughs with side jokes.
The human cast is fun and ready to take on the journey which is unexpected and full of twists and turns. DOLITTLE is the reason families come to the movies together on a Saturday and escape into a magical world for a time and still talk about it after.

So, gather the entire family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins - everybody!) and enjoy time together with the animals.

In the end - he's not just a people person!

The Band is Back Together with ZOMBIELAND: Double Tap on Bluray

Jeri Jacquin

Start the new year with good laughs from director Ruben Fleischer and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and the continuation of rules to survival with ZOMBIELAND: Double Tap on Bluray and DVD.

So, a few years have gone by since we last checked in with the apocalypse survivors as Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) are taking a zombie break living in a big white house. Columbus and Wichita have settled into being a couple, Tallahassee is working on a new vehicle and Little Rock is getting itchy feet.

Thinking that Wichita might need something to look forward to, Columbus does his best to clear a path for their life. Spooked by his suggestion, both the girls pack up and hit the road. A month later, Columbus is heartbroken and Tallahassee is about to lose his mind with his whining so hitting up the local mall the two get more than they bargained for. Cute and fluffy Madison (Zoey Deutch) has survived in a mall and is happy to see others.

So happy that she latches onto Columbus which doesn't work out really well when Witchita resurfaces with the news that Little Rock has taken up with a non-gun-toting-pacifist named Berkeley (Avan Jogia). On their way to Graceland perks Tallahassee up and all four jump into a vehicle to make their way to see the King - oh yea, and to get Little Rock Back.

Finding a hotel, the gang (minus one and plus one) meet Nevada (Rosario Dawson), Albuquerque (Luke Wilson) and Flagstaff (Thomas Middleditch). In a scuffle to end all scuffles, the gang (minus one with no plus one) heads off for a place called Babylon where Little Rock is supposed to be.

Well, to make a long story short (I know, too late!), Babylon is a perfect place for Berkeley with their non-gun-pacifist-giving-post-apocalyptic-peace-a-chance. All that would be wonderful except for one thing, a new breed of zombies affectionately called T-800's are headed toward the drum circle and the only people that know how to stop them are going to do just that!

Eisenberg as Columbus is sticking to his rules (well, except for Madison) and knows that since they've been laying low for a bit their zombie skills might be a little rusty. Once Wichita comes back the tension is full of well-deserved shade. Eisenberg doesn't miss a Columbus step. Stone as Wichita is still a strong lady who doesn't know what she wants relationship wise and her protective sister instincts are strong. She is just fun all the way around.

Breslin as Little Rock has itchy feet because she's tired of hanging out with people not her age. It isn't easy and when she meets Berkeley, Little Rock sees a chance to do something different while paying homage to Cheech & Chong with a little road trip. Jogia as Berkeley reminds me of every cliché about guitar playing pacifists to the point that agreeing with Tallahassee is hilarious. 

Speaking of Harrelson as Tallahassee, he has become the father figure to the group whether he likes it or not. When Little Rock runs off you can see his 'dad' side come out with wanting to do only one thing - end Berkeley. I love that Harrelson finally got a chance to ham it up with some Elvis impersonating.

Shout out to Deutch as Madison because her character is just everything, we never thought we wanted for Zombieland. She is hilarious, speaks her mind even if it doesn't make sense, isn't judgmental towards the situation the world finds itself in, is just the happiest survivor I think I've ever seen. Plus, she looks absolutely fabulous through the entire film!

Dawson as Nevada is a nice addition to the storyline, Wilson as Albuquerque has a truck bigger than Tallahassee's and Middleditch as Flagstaff knows his Terminator movies and quotes. That's all I'm saying about that because you should have all the giggles, I did with the new additions to the Zombieland universe.

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

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

The Bluray Exclusives are Extended Blooper & Outtakes, Alternate & Extended Scenes, The Doppelgangers and A Day with Bill Murray. Also included are The Rides of Zombieland, Rules of Making a Zombie Film, Making Babylon, New Blood and Filmmaker Commentary. 

First, what I love best about ZOMBIELAND: Double Tap is that the storyline doesn't try to reinvent the wheel. Instead, it picks up a few years later without missing a sarcastic beat. The characters have become a little lazy behind the walls of their big ole house so adventures in zombie land are inevitable. What hasn't changed is their idiosyncrasies, their need to not admit that they are feeling anything out of the ordinary like commitment, or the fact that they treat each other exactly as they did in 2009.

Think about that for a minute, it's been 10 years since we were introduced to ZOMBIELAND and the only one that has aged is Abigail Breslin. Harrelson, Eisenberg and Stone look fantastic and I can't express enough how glad I am that they all came back to make this sequel. Let's be honest, sequels don't always work out well and it is mainly because the expectations are really high. In ZOMBIELAND: Double Tap, the only thing I expected is that the humor be at the same level as before and I wasn't disappointed in any way.

I had a fun time, enjoyed getting reacquainted with old friends and understanding that the rules that Columbus introduced us to in 2009 are what kept these characters alive. In their world all bets are off because the only thing they need to do is remember they are a family - oh and stay alive!

That's right folks, no spoilers here because there is oh so much more to see AND what makes the arrival of the Bluray so very cool is making it a double ZOMBIELAND night and watch both films back to back. Oh yes, that is exactly what is happening in my household this weekend.

In the end - it's their world and we just get to enjoy it. 


In this tense, riveting thriller starring Academy Award® winner Ben Kingsley (1982, Best Actor, Ghandi), an author plots the murder of his wife—but her body is never found, and he’s convinced that she’s still alive.

Want to find out if she is? Well, we have giveaways so email hellomoviemaven@aol.com with IS SHE? in the subject line along with your name and address (that's important!) and good luck!
The Final App with COUNTDOWN

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray/DVD and Digital from writer/director Justin Dec and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment comes an App running a COUNTDOWN.

A group of teenagers spend the evening doing usual teenage stuff when they discover an app that can tell you when you die. Playing along, the group download it and find they all are pretty much going to live to a ripe old age - accept one.

Fast forward to Quinn Harris (Elizabeth Lail), a young nurse that has a way with her patients. She takes care of them especially when they aren't feeling their emotional best. That's when she learns that one of her patients has downloaded the app and so does she. The results aren't what she thought and now the clock is ticking.

Trying to find a way to stop the whole mess, Quinn meets Matt (Jordan Calloway), a young man who has a life ticking away problem as well. Trying to be their for one another, they now want to find someone who can tell them how to stop it all, especially since Quinn is trying to save her sister Jordan (Talitha Bateman) who has downloaded the app.

They meet Father John (P.J. Byrne) who tells them a story about an evil spirit and the curse of time. Together they spend every moment trying to stop it all before the clocks run down to 0.

Lail as Quinn is a young woman trying to do the best she can with her family life. Her colleagues see her as a good nurse and one particular doctor wants to make trouble. When she downloads the app her entire world is turned upside down. Doing everything possible to make it stop, the app now has control of her life. Lail gives that fear a face but also a mission!

Calloway as Matt is a young man in the same predicament as Quinn and wants the same thing she does, to make it all stop. Even trying to get someone to hack the app, they do it together and a friendship based on fear happens.

Bateman as Jordan is a young girl doing what all young girls do - spend their entire existence using their phone. When Quinn tells her of the app, of course she is going to download it and become part of the game. Byrne as Father John is actually the comedic side of this horror film. Yes, he has some of the answers they are looking for but presents them in such a way that I'm actually laughing!

Other cast include Charlie McDermott as Scott, Jonny Berryman as Jeff, Louisa Abernathy as Mrs. Talbot, Valente Rodriguez as Father David, Dillon Lane as Evan and Peter Facinelli as Dr. Sullivan.

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 film of every genre available from scary to drama to family films. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.uphe.com.

COUNTDOWN is actually a look at how phones and apps have overtaken our lives. Hey, look, I'm just as guilty when I get busy and try to do everything on my phone - I mean "there's an app for that!" is the universal slogan right? This film shows us the painful side of apps.

Of course this is a bit of an exaggeration (unless you believe in stuff like this in which case get rid of your phone before its too late), but if you remove the 'demon' from the equation, you still have to deal with the evil that apps can perpetuate on our lives.

Personally, I don't download apps randomly at all and I certainly wouldn't download one that will tell me when I'm going to die. There are so few surprises left in life that I'd kind of like the final surprise to be that…a surprise.

But, in the meantime, put away your phones and instead grab popcorn, a few friends and some couch time for a Friday night thriller with COUNTDOWN.

In the end - Death? There's an app for that!

HARRIET Shares the Story of Freedom

Jeri Jacquin

On Bluray/DVD and Digital this week from director Kasi Lemmons and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is a story of the run for freedom with HARRIET.

Minty (Cynthia Erivo) is a young slave woman working on a plantation married to free man John Tubman (Zackary Momoh). Believing their time had come to be set free according to a prior agreement, Minty is upset to learn that the agreement won't be honored by plantation owner Edward Brodess (Mike Marunde). Angry that she even asked, Brodess orders her sold. Looking on is son Gideon (Joe Alwyn) who has known Minty since they were children.

When Minty asks God for answers, Gideon lets it be known that he also has no intention of honoring his grandfather's agreement. Knowing that she has no other choice if she is ever to have a life beyond the fields, Minty plans to make a run north. She also knows that leaving husband John behind will save his life.

She tells her mother and father goodbye and his final father order is to visit Reverend Green (Vondie Curtis-Hall) who gives Minty a mental map to freedom. Not far behind her is Gideon who is not about to let her go. When the two finally meet, it is on a bridge over a rushing river where she makes the ultimate decision.

Making her way north, she meets William Still (Leslie Odom Jr.) who takes notes of slaves who find freedom and asks Minty if she wants to give herself a new name for her new life. Choosing Harriet Tubman she meets Marie Buchanon (Janelle Monae) who helps her settle in safely and a job. For the first time, Harriet is free to come and go while making a wage without fear.

But Harriet can not forget her husband or family left on the plantation. She makes it clear to William that if she made it north, so could they. She proves all the nay-sayers wrong and so begins her effort to go back and forth from south to north taking as many as possible to freedom. Gideon's father passes and now he is more obsessed with finding the girl he knows as Minty but Harriet isn't about to stop what she is doing or be stopped by anyone.

Erivo as Harriet portrays a woman who trusts in her faith and doesn't let what others think of her get in the way of her goal. Thinking she is being led one way, it becomes quickly clear that her life would be dedicated to helping others. Her speech in the company of Frederick Douglas is what cements the belief that her path is laid out before her with the Underground Railroad.

Alwyn as Gideon is obsessed with keeping Minty on the plantation, so much so that he's willing to promise her anything to make that happen. When she refuses his offer, Gideon starts a mission to do whatever it takes to get her back. Marude as Brodess is a plantation owner who isn't about to let one single person leave and teaches that behavior to his son Gideon.

Odom Jr. as Still is a man who does everything he can to help slaves who manage to get to Philadelphia. Keeping records, he fears for what Harriet is doing but that's not stopping her! Momoh as Tubman is a free man who is married to Minty as a slave. Believing that one day the agreement would be honored, insists that running is the way to go. His life would change as well when Harriet returns to help family.
Monae as Marie is the first woman in Harriet's life who teaches her what freedom means and how to fool anyone stopping her in the south. She is elegant and graceful and, more importantly, an owner of a business. Curtis-Hall is the Harriet's preacher who also becomes important in helping slaves fleeing the south.

Other cast include Daphne Reid as Miz Lucy, Clarke Peters as Ben Ross, Vanessa Calloway as Rit Boss, Omar J. Dorsey as Bigger Long, Henry Hall as Walter, Tim Guinee as Thomas Garrett, Nick Basta as Foxx, Joseph Anderson as Robert Ross, Antonio Bell as Henry Ross, CJ McBath as Junyah Ross, Alexis Louder as Jane, Tory Kittles as Frederick Douglas, and Jennifer Nettles as Eliza Brodess.
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 film of every genre available from scary to drama to family films. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.uphe.com.

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

The Bonus Features include Deleted Scenes, Her Story, Becoming Harriet and Feature Commentary with Director and Co-Writer Kasi Lemmons.

HARRIET is a riveting story about a woman who defies the odds of slavery, survival and dangerous trips from south to north to free other slaves. Keeping it simple in the telling allows the viewer to become emotionally invested in understanding the life of Harriet.

This is the genre of film that can be an enormously beneficial teaching tool and hope that teachers will use it. It shows the human spirit and potential to change the wrongs of the society then and what can be accomplished now.

In the end - be free or die.

It is the Return of THE ADDAMS FAMILY on Vivid Bluray

Jeri Jacquin

Double snapping onto Bluray/DVD and Digital this week from directors Greg Tiernan, Conrad Vernon, Bron Studios and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is the return of our favorite differences with THE ADDAMS FAMILY.

After being chased out of their home, the Morticia (Charlize Theron) and Gomez (Oscar Isaac) Addams decide to start over and find a place where no one would bother them landing on a hill in New Jersey. As time goes by the couple have daughter Wednesday (Chloe Grace Moretz) and son Pugsley (Finn Wolfhard) along with Lurch and Thing.

Down below in the valley, television star and home renovator Margaux Needler (Allison Janney) has created the town of Assimilation. When she sees the house on the hill the plan for her show finale is born. Trying to get the Addams to allow her to make that happen falls on death ears as Morticia isn’t about to ruin her beautifully dark home. Agreeing with her is Gomez’ brother Fester (Nick Kroll) who is more than happy to say so.
Wednesday meets Parker (Elsie Fisher), an unhappy teen who is a different kind of unhappy that Wednesday’s usual unhappy unhappiness. A friendship blossoms and she wants to attend school to see the world. Morticia is a little hurt but she takes her mind off it with the special family event planned for Pugsley.

Margaux is also planning an event of her own and to make it happen, she begins a campaign of fear with the people of Assimilation. Using social media to get the job done, daughter Parker can’t believe she is doing it. Both Wednesday and Parker decide to make their teenage protests known loud and clear.

The Addams’ are under scrutiny from their own family and the town which means only one thing – family sticks together no matter what!

Theron as Morticia has the calming voice of a mother on the death side of life. She only wants her family to be terribly unhappy and that means letting go of things a bit. What she learns is that if she is patient, all her fears will be realized. Isaac as Gomez wants Pugsley initiated into the family with tradition but learns that we are all good at some things and not all and perhaps that’s okay too. Both of these are loving parents that only want the worst for their children and I love that about them.

Moretz as Wednesday is a young girl who just wants to see what’s beyond the metal toothed gates of the Addams home. Once she does, no one worries for her because this girl isn’t to suffer fools lightly. Wednesday knows who she is and it’s time for everyone else to know that too. Wolfhard as Pugsley is more like his Uncle Fester than Gomez realizes. He is good at creating destruction but not so light on his feet.
Kroll as Fester is just funny but then again I’d expect nothing less. Thing and Lurch aren’t about to be left out of this story nor should they because even though they don’t say much – action speaks louder than words or in Lurch’s case a good ole fashioned eye roll.

Janney as Margaux Needler is viciously hilarious with her crazy idea regarding the town she rebuilt and the pressures from the networks. If she wasn’t so normally insane I’d think she’d make a fantastic Addams! Fisher as daughter Parker just wants something different in her life – enter Wednesday! Each girl wants to walk in the other’s shoes and once given the chance they learn it’s only a step up to being even better friends.
Other cast include Snoop Dogg as It, Bette Midler as Grandma, Martin Short as Grandpa Frump, Catherine O’Hara as Grandma Frump, Tituss Burgess as Glenn, Jenifer Lewis as Great Auntie Sloom, Aimee Garcia as Denise and Conrad Vernon as Lurch.

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 film of every genre available from scary to drama to family films. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.uphe.com.

The Bluray Bonus Features include Deleted and Extended Scenes, Welcome to the Family, Charades with Thing, Life of a Scene, Addams Family Throwback and more!
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.

This version of THE ADDAMS FAMILY comes directly from the comic by Charles Addams that appeared in The New Yorker in 1938. Television would bring their own version of these characters in the 1960’s with Carolyn Jones and John Astin as the devoted Morticia and Gomez.

In 1991 and 1993, THE ADAMS family appeared on the big screen with Raul Julia and Anjelica Houston in the roles of Gomez and Morticia. They actually gave the characters a darker look but still kept the loving side of their relationship. Although I adore the original television series, I came to embrace the films because that was the Morticia and Gomez I wanted to see and didn’t even realize it.
Now animated and on Bluray/DVD, this isn’t the first time they have been ‘cartooned’. What is a little different with this film is taking the characters from their original 1938 visual form. What I can say is that my granddaughter had a great time laughing, snapping and wide eyed that I knew the words to the song.

There is something for everyone in this version of THE ADDAMS FAMILY and it will reach all age groups from the first of us to watch the television series to the next who experienced the 90’s films. Each iconic character brings what we’d expect wrapped up in animation that is fun. It’s about family, friendships, love on their own terms and seeing the world in a unique way makes THE ADDAMS FAMILY someone I’d love to live next door too!

In the end – think your family is weird, think again!

THE LAST FULL MEASURE is Stunning

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from director writer/director Todd Robinson and Roadside Attractions comes a film that answers the question of 'is it ever to late to do the right thing?' with the story that takes THE LAST FULL MEASURE.

Now, here is where I usually tell the story and the actors who portray them but this time I'm going to do something a little different. On April 11, 1966, a very young Air Force Pararescuer A1C William H. Pitsenbarger was sent to retrieve Army soldiers wounded in an ongoing ambush.

Needing help loading the wounded men on the ground, Pitsenbarger volunteered to go down to help the men who he did not even know. Under intense fire, the helicopter needed to leave and Pitsenbarger stayed. For almost two hours he tended to the wounded and even helped with munitions for the soldiers still in the fight.

There were men that day who survived the battle of Abilene witnessing all of what Pitsenbarger did to save as many as he could.

Now, here we are, in January of 2020, fifty-four years later hearing the story of Pitsenbarger because there were men that day who believed this young man deserved a Medal of Honor and was denied and why?

That is what the film THE LAST FULL MEASURE is about. Scott Huffman (Sebastian Stan) is a young politician who needs to find another position with a new administration coming in. Politician Whit Peters (Linus Roache) and handler Carlton Stanton (Bradley Whitford) present Huffman with letters about how A1C Pitsenbarger was supposed to get the Medal of Honor but instead only received a Air Force Cross.

Wanting answers is Tulley (William Hurt) a palliative care worker who knows the family including father Frank (Christopher Plummer) and mother Alice (Diane Ladd). Irritated that he has to be bothered with this when he's trying to find another White House position, Huffman begrudgingly starts looking for witnesses that include Ray Mott (Ed Harris), Jimmy Burr (Peter Fonda), Takoda (Samuel L. Jackson) and Kepper (John Savage).

Each of these men are suffering from different forms and severity of PTSD are suffering from different forms and severity of PT and bringing up what happened on April 11, 1966 is physically and mentally painful. These men had a story to tell but trusting all the information to Huffman proves to be his challenge.

Finally, the truth is uncovered and it becomes time to bring it all to the forefront so that A1C William H. Pitsenbarger is not only honored for what he did, but for those who fought for that recognition and the lives he touched from one act of valor.

Stan as Huffman couldn't have found a better role to play because it is nothing like I've ever seen him play. He gets a chance to show what he can do (without a suit) in bringing this character to fruition. Thinking only of his possibilities in the White House, it slowly becomes clear that his priorities might be a little skewed.

Hurt as Tulley is the first force to be reckoned with as it becomes clear that he feels a sense of something about that day. He wants to bring honor to Pitsenbarger for the sake of his lovely parents. Jackson as Takoda is a man of few useless words and he don't take kindly to outsiders invading his personal space but does explain that he had been trying for years to make the medal happen.

Fonda as Billy (and it is a loving moment to see him on the screen) is a man tortured beyond reason because of his Vietnam experience. His wife Donna played by stellar actress Amy Madigan, explains to Huffman that the night holds nothing but fear for her husband.

Harris as Mott is a man who carries his own guilt about what happened and the aftermath. Like his Army buddies, he is not happy to be talking to Huffman but if it gets Pitsenbarger what he deserves then perhaps it’s time.

Whitford as Stanton gets a chance to be back in the White House and douchey at the same time. The one thing you can say about Whitford, he is good at being good and seriously bad at being seriously bad. Hurt as Keppel is a man who lives in Vietnam and tries to help his fellow servicemen. When Huffman visits him there are so many moments of pain and joy it is a scene you have you experience for yourself.

Finally, to Jeremy Irvine who portrays Pitsenbarger - you sir gave a performance that choked me. Every time he was on screen, I just saw such a young man doing the extraordinary. Please don't get me wrong, I know all soldiers do the extraordinary because I know I couldn't. I'm giving Irvine a backslap for giving us the feel for this soldier at this era.

Other cast include Alison Sudol as Tara Huffman, Cody Walker as Young Kepper, Ser'Darius Blain as Young Takoda, James Jagger as Young Jimmy Burr, Travis Wade as Lt. Tom Allison.

Is this a vague description of the film? Absolutely. I wasn't sure what I would be seeing when presented with the opportunity to see THE LAST FULL MEASURE, but I can tell you this, my heart ached the entire film.

We live in a world that still doesn't seem to understand what war does to the men and women who fight in them. Vietnam was the first opportunity that family and friends experienced the effects when loved ones returned totally different. Psychological help wasn't a priority then so as the years passed, so did the concern for the soldiers.

Hollywood scratched at it a few times with such films as FULL MENTAL JACKET, DEERHUNTER, PLATOON, BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY, and FULL METAL JACKET but didn't seem to pierce the wall to those who could make change.

Here we are with Afghanistan and Iraq with soldiers returning to the same mess created by war. Sending perfectly capable individuals on to be returned people in physical and mental pain. So THE LAST FULL MEASURE doesn't hide the PTSD that these men continue to suffer and the character of Huffman can't run from it any longer either.

This is our history folks, one that is repeated time and time again with every war started. Am I saying we should protect ourselves, absolutely not - but we need to be sure that it is a last resort not a first stone cast.

Now, to Pitsenberger's story - it is the mixture of men agonizing over decisions made and people not being held accountable for their actions. The film doesn't let any of it slide away into oblivion but instead faces it, just as the soldier’s family and friends have faced it every day since. The soldiers that were there that day come face to face with it and this film gives us the chance to embrace them even if we can't' break through the screen and hug them.

The cast is absolutely amazing and there is no one that takes the screen away from another. They, well, meld together to support one another's character because they want to bring the message to us - never be afraid to do what's right just as Pitsenbarger did.

Please let that be the very thing everyone takes away from seeing THE LAST FULL MEASURE.

I truly believe it is important that each person that sees the film remembers exactly what the citation reads, so, it you will indulge me. The citation reads, "The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1963 has awarded in the name of the Congress the Medal of Honor posthumously to: A1C William H. Pitsenbarger, United States Air Force for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his own life above and beyond the call of duty near Cam My, April 11, 1966".


In the end - he gave the very last full measure.