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The second season of

The Handmaid’s Tale

comes to Blu-ray™ and DVD December 4th from MGM Television and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. The 4-disc set includes all 13 heart-stopping episodes, as well as two brand new featurettes that take the viewers beyond the pages of Margaret Atwood’s award-winning, best-selling novel.

MGM TELEVISION'S CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED SERIES "THE HANDMAID'S TALE" SEASON 2 COMING TO BLU-RAY & DVD DECEMBER 4 
Want a copy for your very own? Well, we can make that happen! Email hellomoviemaven@aol.com CHRISTMAS SPECIALS in the subject with your name and address in the body and good luck!! 
The HBO Limited Series

SHARP OBJECTS

Starring the stunning Amy Adams and we are thrilled to offer a copy 
up for giveaway. 

Click-->> hellomoviemaven@aol.com
with SHARP in the subject line along with your name and address and good luck!! 
Tis' the Season and we love making the holidays much more fun and giving! 

These are the best animated Christmas specials that any family can have. They are each filled with such amazing stories and are totally generational! 
TIME LIFE Has Stolen My Heart

Jeri Jacquin

From Time Life, the re-creator for generations who thought their favorite shows and music were gone, is the ultimate heart stealer for me with the DVD Collection ROBIN WILLIAMS: Comic Genius.

Born in Chicago (which should have early on given me some clue for my admiration – Go Cubs!), he would be transplanted in his teens to Marine County, California. Choosing acting over anything else, he received a full scholarship to Juilliard in New York City. 

Williams’s career began on the West Coast. Starting in San Francisco to Los Angeles, he hit the club circuit. Taking on twists and turns, in 1977 HBO would came calling to air one of his stand-up performances.

But, it is in 1978 that a character known as Mork would invade an episode of the Garry Marshall television hit Happy Days. From that performance, the series Mork & Mindy starring Robin Williams and Pam Dawber was born. Set in Boulder, Colorado, Mork from Ork lands on our planet in an egg and what follows is a hatching of pure genius. Williams had the chance to be what ever he wanted to be and his face graced the cover of Time Magazine followed by Rolling Stones magazine.

HBO once again came calling which led to five comedy specials starting with 1978’s Off the Wall, in 1983 An Evening with Robin Williams and finally in 1986 Robin Williams: Live at the Met, Live on Broadway in 2002 and finally Weapons of Self Destruction in 2009. All five of these specials are still played in my home because nothing changes a mood quicker than when HBO allowed Williams to just be – well – Robin Williams.

 His call to the screen was the next step and in 1982 he absolutely stunned me in the film THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP but it was in 1987 when GOOD MORNING, VIETNAM hit the screen that once again Williams sky rocketed. Using his wit and ability to create the voices of memorable characters, he cemented his career as a comedian.

But there was one character he excelled at with heart and soul and that is dramatic roles. Starting in 1997 with GOOD WILL HUNTING and 1990’s AWAKENINGS, it was the tragic and soul crushing role in the 1998 film WHAT DREAMS MAY COME that tore me apart. 

Off the big screen and small, Williams teamed up with friends Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal and brought Comic Relief USA to HBO raising $80 million dollars to help anyone in need. He also worked with the USO to bring laughs to over 100,000 troops and they, to this day, have not forgotten that.

Time Life is making sure that we don’t and in such a stunning and beautiful way! ROBIN WILLIAMS: Comic Genius is a 22-disc collection that brings us all through the years and reasons Williams is a beloved and iconic genius.

In the box set are all five HBO stand up specials, Never-before-seen released concert specials, including Robin’s full MGM Grand Garden stand-up from 2007 and the Montreal stop on his last tour, a conversation on stage between Williams and comedian David Steinberg, Memorable talk show and late night TV appearances on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson, The Tonight Show starring Jay Leno, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Graham Norton Show, Saturday Night Live and more. 

There are rare, never-before-seen clips including early stand-up, raw footage from HBO’s promo shoots, a hilarious toast to Richard Pryor by Robin as Mrs. Doubtfire, Brand new interviews with close friends and family including Billy Crystal, Steve Martin, Jay Leno, Eric Idle, David Steinberg, Lewis Black and son Zack Williams.

There are eleven hilarious episodes of Mork & Mindy including the two-part pilot, James Lipton’s Emmy Award-nominated 90-minute interview with Robin on Inside the Actors Studio including deleted scenes which are the best! A comprehensive collection of Robin’s USO shows around the world, original and newly created bonus features including a behind-the-scenes footage, local highlights from tour stops, promos and more.

Featurettes including The Early Years, San Francisco: Where It All Started, Comic Genius and TV’s Best Guest. Critically acclaimed 2018 HBO documentary Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind from Emmy-winning director Marina Zenovich and Oscar-winning producer Alex Gibney.

Finally, Robin Williams: Uncensored which is a collectible 24-page, full-color memory book featuring rare, archival photos from award-winning photographer Arthur Grace, reminiscences from friends and colleagues, Robin’s personal tour notes and so very much more.  

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

This collection brings every emotion possible and that isn’t an exaggeration. Calling this collection Comic Genius is perfection and well deserved by Robin Williams. On stage and screen he had the whole world laughing (and with Mork probably the whole universe!) His unique comedic timing was fueled by the laughter from the audience, the more outrageous the farther he would go.

Twenty-two discs and over fifty hours of Williams will light us all up once again and let us experience the laughs again and again. That is why we have home entertainment libraries, so we can, at any time, pull off the shelf a beloved comedian that continues to be a laughing light. This family happens to be a Williams fan from the very beginning and his comedy specials have never stopped bringing us laughs and even catching ourselves repeating his lines a time or two in our lives. 

That is what makes Williams iconic and beloved and those two words seem to be not enough. Passing in 2014, it did not bring his comedy to a stop but instead continues to allow us to remember who he was and all that he gave through stand-up, television, the big screen and all his personal endeavors to make the world a happier place.

Each DVD cover inside the very cool collector’s box shows us all Williams’ silly side as if to tease about what is inside and to join him in the ride. I, personally, would never turn down the request of a Comic Genius!

In the end – it’s all about the na-nu-na-nu!

THE FAVOURITE Stars Three Dazzling Women 

Jeri Jacquin

I absolutely love period pieces so I have been anxiously waiting for director Yorgos Lanthimos and Fox Searchlight Pictures offering of THE FAVOURITE.

Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) sits on the throne in 18th Century England and Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) is her constant companion. Their relationship is one of straight forwardness and longing. England is also at war with France and Lady Sarah is keeping an eye on it while taking care of the Queen’s frailties and occasional childlike temper tantrums.

Enter Abigail (Emma Stone) a fall aristocrat turned servant girl who isn’t well received in the kitchen of the Queen. Sarah sees how her cousin is treated and becomes a mentor to the young girl. Abigail wants nothing more than to return to the life she once knew and realizes this just might be the way for that to happen.

During one of the Queens outbursts, Abigail takes pity on her and starts a friendship over the royals “children” (rabbits). The Queen is delighted as they spend the afternoon sharing and laughing together. Sarah catches wind of what is happening with the Queen and lets it be known in her own way that trying to weasel in to the Queen’s favor might not be such a good idea.

Now that the gauntlet is thrown down – Abigail and Sarah go toe to toe for the Queen’s attentions and who truly cares for the monarch is at stake.

I must start with Colman as Queen Anne because she is absolutely stellar, absolutely. From her tantrums to her insecurities to her loyalties, Colman portrays the woman as most would never see a monarch – vulnerable. Knowing that parliament is consistently against her, she attempts to turn to those she should be able to trust. I love Colman’s performance with ever emotion lay plainly before us, I do so hope her performance is recognized and that accolades are given. She most definitely deserves them for this role.

Weisz as Lady Sarah is the smart, politically savvy and is the no-nonsense taking companion to the Queen. She works hard at keeping the crown on her royal head and makes it her business to know what everyone is doing at all times. Weisz can pull off sassy and sarcastic in the same breath better than other actress I know. Of course she does have her hands full with Ms. Stone.

Stone as Abigail is a fallen aristocrat who doesn’t want to stay that way. Getting into the Queen’s kitchen is the first step and getting into her heart may just get Abigail off her knees and high in the rankings. Stone begins as a fawn-eyed girl who is thrilled to have Lady Sarah show an interest in her, but of course we all know that Stone can pull off fawn-eyed girl with the best of them. I loved her antics from start to finish and kept thinking about Abigail, ‘just because you can play the game doesn’t mean you should!’

Other cast include Jennifer White as Mrs. Meg, LillyRose Stevens as Sally, James Smith as Godolphin, Mark Gatiss as Lord Marlborough, Edward Aczel as Earl of Stratford, Carolyn Saint-Pe as Madame Tournee, Joe Alwyn as Masham and Nicholas Hoult as Harley.

THE FAVOURITE is a gloriously fascinating film about three women who are filled with so much want that goes in so many different directions. That being said, Abigail and Sarah have much different relationships with Queen Anne although you’d have a tough time convincing Abigail of that.

Sarah and the Queen understand one another clearly and it is also clear that Sarah runs the part of the kingdom that the Queen is to busy being petulant to deal with. That’s the crux of their relationship – one is clearly and adult, the other is drowning from the weight of the crown. Yet in that is a relationship of hilarity and sadness mixed together.

Abigail being the new girl to all of this is a distraction for the Queen when Sarah is gone. The Queen believes she has a new and understanding friend when it is clear Abigail has decided to get what Sarah has and take a lot of short cuts to get there. She doesn’t have the understanding of the other two and that’s where she makes mistakes.

This is a film that spans every human emotion possible in that you don’t know at times whether to laugh, cry or be outright shocked. In an era of excess and political gain, this cast revels in that history with marvelous results. The surroundings only adds to the story telling with its opulence and grandeur along with stunning clothing and jewelry. 

THE FAVOURITE has already been recognized by the British Independent Film Awards, Camerimage, and Ghent International Film Festival Gotham Awards. The Hollywood Film Awards gave a win for Rachel Weisz and Costume Designer Sandy Powell. The Venice Film Festival win came for Director Yorgos Lanthimos and Best Actress for Olivia Colman (well done!).

This is one of my favorite films of the year so when deciding what regurgitation to see in theatres, chose something new and amazing with THE FAVOURITE!

In the end – some wounds do not close!


HBO Introduces Us to a Family All Wanting SUCCESSION: The Complete First Season

Jeri Jacquin

Now available on DVD from HBO is one of the most startling series created by Jesse Armstrong to hit our screens and a family in SUCCESSION: The Complete First Season.

The Roy Family, led by patriarch Logan Roy (Brian Cox) is one of the most powerful in the global media world. Adult kids starting with sons Kendall (Jeremy Strong), Roman (Kieran Culkin), Connor (Alan Ruck) and daughter Shiv (Sarah Snook) are still trying to find their place in the world.

Kendall believes he is about to become CEO of Waystar Royco the family business and sees this as a comeback from his previous life problems with addiction. Currently separated from wife Rava (Natalie Gold), he is ready to take the place of leadership. Of course he is in for a big surprised when Logan announces he’s staying on.

That doesn’t last long when Logan has an attack and it’s clear that Kendall is going to step in. With the consent of the board, he jumps into the position bringing along brother Roman. Upset by this move is Logan’s second wife Marcy (Hiam Abbass) who also refuses to let anyone see Logan.

That’s when daughter Shiv decides its time to step in and check on who Marcy really is. Shiv’s fiancé Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) supports her decision to try and see her father. The only good thing is that Shiv has her own life outside the family business in politics which doesn’t make her father happy either.

Son Connor is all over the place and sides with who ever has the most votes – on anything. His only interest seems to be on girlfriend Willa (Justine Lupe) who has a shady past that is often brought up by the others in the family. Watching the family dynamic unfold is Greg (Nicholas Braun), Logan’s great-nephew who is given a job to keep him occupied. 

As Logan is recuperating, Kendall is making moves when he discovers that his father is deeply in debt. Trying to make the company more stable, he makes a major decision that has his father furious. Tom, given a position in the Parks department, discovers there is such a serious problems that could come back to hurt him and uses Greg to make it go away.

Shiv and Tom are getting married and as that day approaches, she meets up with Nate (Ashley Zuckerman) trying to prove they can still be friends after a prior romance. Working together they want to help Gil Eavis (Eric Bogosian) become the next president of the United States and he doesn’t like Logan Roy.

Kendall decides the only way to keep control of Waystar Royco is by calling for a vote of no-confidence against his father. Getting the board members to side with him means pulling out all the stops and convincing them it is the right thing to do. When a disaster happens, Kendall and half the board members are escorted out of the building. That’s when he knows who he can truly depend on from this point forward.

Connor has found a place in the desert and invites the family to come down for a visit. Logan feels that it is the perfect opportunity for a little family therapy and a few photos. Everyone agrees to go except Kendall who hasn’t forgiven any of his family members for the fiasco in the board room.

Logan is furious when he learns that Shiv is helping Eavis with his presidential campaign, so much so that he decides not to attend her wedding. Shiv acts as if this is no problem but won’t stop working for Eavis either. 

He is approached once again by someone who wants to bring down Logan Roy and discovers that someone he thought a friend has been playing a dangerous game all along. Kendall also sees that there is an opportunity to get back in the game and after Tom’s bachelor party, begins to move once again against Logan Roy.

As everyone arrives at a castle in Wales for Shiv’s wedding, Tom begins to feel as if there isn’t something his bride isn’t telling him. It doesn’t help when Greg wants to clear his own conscious either. As the wedding approaches, they are all surprised when Logan shows up for his daughters wedding in grand style. 

Roman, who is still playing COO of the company, is pushing to have a satellite deal all worked out to prove to his father once and for all that he has what it takes. Conor decides that this is a good time for him to tell everyone that he wants to run for President of the United States which makes his siblings jaws drop.

After the ceremony and during the reception, Kendall learns that he has give Logan the papers that show he is once again out for the CEO position. He is then put up against his siblings to explain what he is doing but the conversation doesn’t go so well as Logan enters the room and lets him know that he is ‘nothing’. 

Shiv works out a deal between her father and Gil Eavis but the details are kept under wraps. Especially after now husband Tom lays out the disaster he knows about the family business. Roman’s satellite deal isn’t fairing any better and he has to keep that to himself for now.

Kendall isn’t getting any support from those who should be helping him through this latest battle with his father. So, he turns towards the one thing he knows works for him every time. When he can’t get his hands on the white powder, he turns to a waiter at the party who agrees to meet up with a connection.

What happens next is the stuff nightmares are made of and once again Kendall’s dreams are about to come under someone’s very heavy foot.

Cox as Logan Roy is absolutely, positively and without a doubt stunning in this role. There is nothing more frightening than a man who isn’t afraid of losing everything and Logan isn’t afraid of that at all. He has the uncanny way of always landing on his feet even when most mortals wouldn’t. I can’t take my eyes off the screen when he is about to set someone right or tell them off, either way he is riveting and powerful. If Logan Roy wasn’t so bad he’d be so good and it’s all due to Brian Cox!

Strong as Kendall is one hot mess of a man who is struggling to become CEO of a company that isn’t his. I mean truthfully it isn’t his but boy does he want it badly! So bad in fact he is willing to continually strike at his own father without thinking things through. I have to give him points for trying but damn boy, how many times are you going to go down? That’s what Strong does for this character, makes us root for him but when it doesn’t work you yell ‘stay down’ at the screen. With the shocking finale, once the blank stare has worn off, I have to wonder how long it will be before he is ready to go at it again.

Culkin as Roman is one step away from being considered for some kind of special room with a view. He is sharp, witted, snappy, sloppy and has a story to tell in the little bits and pieces of his sometimes out of sync trains of thought. You have to keep up with this one because you never know where he has been, where he is going and what the hell he is aiming for. Culkin is stellar and a force in this role absolutely.

Snook as Shiv is a woman who just wants to have her family without all the problems that go along with it. She finds safely in her soon-to-be husband Tom and gets to be a bit of a shark in her political career. Shiv is equally snappy with the one liners and doesn’t take smack from anyone – except her father. I am actually rooting for Shiv to end up on the iron throne of Waystar Royco. Snook knocks this role right out of the park!

Ruck as Connor is just completely out there and I don’t know that he’s ever going to be coming back. He is an agree-er with the rest of the family when it comes to decisions because he refuses to be confrontational at any point. He is okay with his girlfriend and seems oblivious to what anyone else thinks of it all but, the most recent jaw dropper is his announcement that he wants to become President. Ruck just takes this role and zig zags everyplace leaving the viewer unsure what will happen with him next.

Braun as Greg is a combination of so many of the men on this show. Presenting himself as a big simple, he seems to always need the help of his mother but slowly starts to rely on the Roy family. He allows himself to be somewhat abused by them all but has a moment of clarity that might just come in handy later. Braun keeps his eyes open and forgets to keep his mouth shut. Lets see if he learns his lesson on the latter.

Macfadyen as Tom is one of the most insecure characters I think I’ve ever seen on television. He loves Shiv but one moment he is drowning her with his insecurities and the next he is brow beating Greg like it is an Olympic sport. Once he realizes he has been exposed like fresh meat in a lion’s cage, Tom has to decide who to trust. Macfadyen is scary one moment, head shaking the next and jaw dropping to the end.

Abbass as Marcy is a woman I just plainly don’t like. I know there is a story mixed into this that hasn’t been explored so I’ll save my list of reasons I wouldn’t put up with her trash for season two! 

Two shout outs: Bogosian as Gil Eavis just because I’m thrilled to see him once again and his character has just signed a deal with the devil so I have to see how that’s going to turn out. 

Second, to James Cromwell as Logan’s brother Ewan. This isn’t a big role but it certainly has its moments where I know Ewan isn’t about to stand by and watch the mess without having a front row seat!

Other cast includes Parker Sawyers as Alessandro, Rob Yang as Lawrence Yee, J. Smith-Cameron as General Council Gerri, David Rasche as Karl, Arian Moayed as Stewy, Juliana Canfield as Jess, Dagmara Dominczyk as Karolina, Peggy Scott as Jeane, and Harriet Walter as Caroline Collingwood.

HBO Home Entertainment has an extensive array of critically-acclaimed and groundbreaking programs found on Bluray, DVD and Digital HD. They have provided viewers with some of the most amazing programs with huge fan bases that include the shows True Blood, Sex and the City, The Sopranos, True Detectives, The Wire, Entourage and Game of Thrones. Launched in 1984, HBO is world wide in viewed entertainment in more than 70 territories around the world! For more of what they have to offer please visit www.hbo.com. 

The DVD Bonus Features includes The Cast and Crew of SUCCESSION Break Down the Action of the First Season’s Heart-Stopping Finale and Anatomy of a Scene.

SUCCESSION has a strong bunch of Executive Producers including Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, Frank Rich, Kevin Messick and Ilene Landress as well as comedy television veteran and Oscar nominee Adam McKay. 

This series had me on the edge of my seat each of the ten episodes and I absolutely hated it when it was over. I didn’t want the madness to end. Let’s be honest, I feel like I did an amazing job raising my kids compared to Logan Roy and his band of out of control adult kids. That being said, I really wouldn’t have these characters any other way.

It is absolutely stunning how creator Armstrong could keep up with what these characters were doing while writing. I imagine a huge blank wall with a lot of post it notes and sharpie markings of all colors with arrows pointing every which way. Actually that sounds like a pretty cool way of keeping track of all the misfits.

Every time I thought I had them pegged, a big nopity-nope-nope would escape my lips. Even though I have a soft spot for Kendall, he had me shaking my head so much I think I actually have a case of whip lash. I mean seriously dude! Culkin brought me shocking laughs with his portrayal of a kid who just lets everything fly out of his mouth with absolutely no filter what so ever and I have to admit – I loved it. 

Snook is a woman after my own heart in that her character really is very strong and extremely smart but still wants the heart of her daddy on her side. Well lady, you don’t have that kind of dad. Ruck has the role of a lifetime in that he doesn’t have to fit into any of the Roy family molds, he just does him and he seems content with that.

They are bitchy, sarcastic, uncompromising, vicious, back stabbing, back biting, loving, secretive, under handed but they are family!

A family that needs serious therapy, although that didn’t work out so well in the desert, so I think the only way it would work is if they are locked in a concrete room with armed guards so none of them could escape and let them duke it out. In the meantime, you must, must, must put SUCCESSION: The Complete First Season on your Christmas list!

In the end – they give the term dysfunctional family a whole new meaning!

THE ORIGINAL CHRISTMAS COLLECTION is Iconic and Beloved

Jeri Jacquin

Now on DVD and Bluray in the Deluxe Edition from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment are five holiday favorites that let us all know the fun is here with THE ORIGINAL CHRISTMAS COLLECTION.

What is on the collection you ask? Only the best of Rankin & Bass with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town, The Little Drummer Boy and Cricket on the Hearth.

On December 6, 1964, the shape of holiday programming was about to change as Sam the Snowman tells the story of Santa and Mrs. Claus in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Rudolph is born to the lead reindeer on Santa’s team, Donner. The parents are quite surprised when they see that their young son’s nose glows a bright red. Santa sees it and Donner realizes that they will have to cover the glow so Rudolph can be seen as normal.

Going out for reindeer games a year later, Rudolph meets doe Clarice and one word from her makes him fly – literally. Unfortunately, the covered up nose comes off and he ends up being pushed away by the other reindeer. Deciding to run away, Rudolph meets Hermey, an elf who is having a similar identity crisis. He wants to be a dentist and not be just a toy maker. 

While on the snowy road, they meet Yukon Cornelius who wants nothing more than to find silver and gold. Following them is the Abominable Snow Monster and they manage to allude him to the Island of Misfit Toys and King Moonracer who asks Rudolph that if he ever go home to tell Santa about all the toys on his island looking for homes.

Taking off on his own to avoid troubling his friends, Rudolph becomes a young stag and returns home only to find from Santa that his parents and Clarice have also been gone a long time. Looking for him has put them in danger and now he must find them. With the help of Hermey and Yukon, Rudolph finally discovers who he is and where his place is among his family, friends and the community he loves.

Cricket on the Hearth tells the story of a cricket that seems to be the guardian angel of the Peerybingle family. The 50-minute production contains Animagic and songs that were composed by Maury Laws and Jules Bass.

On December 19, 1968 The Little Drummer Boy the story of Aaron, and orphan boy, plays drums for the animals. After a tragedy at home, Aaron joins a caravan that performs in Jerusalem but in his anger he lashes out at the townspeople. When the troupe comes across a Magi, Aaron discovers they are following a star to Bethlehem. When one of his friends his hurt, he wishes to play his drum to make him well but something even more special changes for the young boy.

Frosty the Snowman sang and danced its way into homes on December 7, 1969 as a group of kids build a snowman and name him Frosty. What they don’t realize is that once they place a hat on his a little holiday magic brings him to life. Young Karen notices that the temperature is starting to melt her friend and, along with rabbit Hocus Pocus, know they must get him to the North Pole as quickly as possible.

On December 14, 1970, Fred Astaire becomes a part of our holidays at S.D. Kluger, the special delivery mailman who knows the story of Santa Clause. The ruler of Sombertown is the grouchy ole Burgermeister Meisterburger. When a baby is left on his doorstep with the name Claus, he is suppose to be taken to an orphanage. Instead a wind takes him to the Mountain of the Whispering Winds and taken to Tanta Kringle who names him Kris. 

As Kris grows up, he wants to deliver toys to the kids in Sombertown only to discover that the Burgermeister has banned them. That doesn’t seem to stop Kris, especially when he meets the town’s school teacher Miss Jessica. The Burgermeister has taken all the toys that Kris delivered away but Kris promises to fix the problem even though he knows there is a trap set for him. Instead, he finds a safe place to make toys and one night a year makes us all believe in everything good.

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

The Enchanting Bonus Features in the include The Animagic World of Rankin/Bass – An all new documentary celebrating the legacy of the holiday specials created by Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass including interviews with the filmmakers and historians, Restoring the Puppets of Rudolph – Discover how the puppets from the beloved special were restored and Reimagining Rudolph in 4D – A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the new Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer attraction film.

Also, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Attraction Film A short stop-motion film originally created for a Rudolph 4D experience, T.E.A.M. Rudolph and the Reindeer Games – A video storybook including the untold story of the Reindeer Games, Frosty the Snowman Pencil Test and Commentaries on Frosty the Snowman and Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town.  

There hasn’t been a Christmas since I was four that I haven’t watched these classic holiday specials. It was quite easy to pass that tradition on to my own kids who are now sharing them with children of their own. What makes this such a magnificent set to own is that now we can watch them any time we like!

Also, as they only air once during the holiday season, the entire family can watch them again and again leading up to Christmas Day. For my family that’s pretty important because we can’t get enough of Rudolph, Santa, Frosty, the Drummer Boy or having a Cricket watching over us all.


Rankin/Bass brought so many animated specials to television and these five particularly stand out. The company was founded by Arthur Rankin, Jr. and Jules Bass with holiday specials that led to equally beloved specials. It must be said that in 1977, Rankin/Bass gave me such a gift when it animated J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and it still is one of my very favorites today.

The Animagic and animation of these specials are still as stunning and lovely today as they were beginning in 1964. It did not take long for each of these characters to become iconic and recognized in an instant by children and children at heart. Now having them all on DVD and the magnificent and stunning colors of Bluray, THE ORIGINAL CHRISTMAS SPECIALS COLLECTION needs to have a special place in everyone’s home entertainment library. 

Now, if you will excuse me, my granddaughter and I have a holiday date starting with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer!

In the end – the holiday season has arrived as old friends wait to celebrate with the entire family!

THE QUAKE 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from director John Andreas Andersen and Magnolia Pictures comes the story of a family trying to recover from one tragedy only to face THE QUAKE.

Kristian Elkjord (Kristoffer Joner) is still reeling from the wave that hit Geiranger three years past and it has caused him to stay away from wife Idun (Ane Dahl Torp), son Sondre (Jonas Hoff Oftebro) and daughter Julia (Edith Haagenrud-Sande). Idun has returned to work at a hotel in Oslo yet still wishes Kristian would return home.

Keeping his family at bay is easy when Julia visits her father and sees the wall of people her father feels he could have saved. Kristian becomes curious when a geologist colleague speaks out about what is happening under the city of Oslo. When he dies in the Oslofjord tunnel, Kristian can’t help but get involved in finding out why, especially when he suspects a natural disaster coming.

Gathering up the research, Marit Lindhblom (Kathrine Thorborg Johansen) sees Kristian’s reaction and begins to take him seriously. It isn’t long before he tries to get the attention of former colleague Johannes Loberg (Stig R. Amdam) to convince him that a quake is coming.

Everyone thinks that Kristian is reliving the fear of what happened before – they have no idea what’s to come!

Joner as Kristian is a man who is completely out of control with suspicion and sadness. He doesn’t want to believe that he is the flag waver of disaster but the evidence of the quake proves otherwise. I’m thrilled that Joner once again has taken up the role of Kristian because no one else could have made this story flow from one disaster to another. He may not say allot but when he does…pay attention!

Torp as Idun also returns as a woman who is trying to raise her children while Kristian figures out where he wants to be. It is easy to forget that she also is trying to keep the trauma of the wave in perspective but it’s there right below the surface. 

Oftebro as Sondre is grown up and in college and hasn’t given up on his father. Letting things flow as they are going to, he is happy to see his father when he does show up! As THE WAVE focused on Sondre, this time it is Haagenrud-Sande as Julia that takes up a bit of screen time. Wanting her father back home, Julia makes the effort to show that he is loved and missed. It is when the quake hits that she once again experiences the trauma of mother nature.

Johansen as Marit isn’t all that interested in the research about the ground below Oslo, but when Kristian shows up she gets interested pretty quick. Although, I’m sure dangling off a 30 story building wasn’t in her plans. Amdam as Johannes wants to believe his friend about the quake but he is a man of proof and he’s about to get an earth rattling ton of it.

It is no secret to anyone that I am a huge fan of disaster films and not just because of the disaster (although sometimes its pretty epic stuff). I like the films also for the human aspect of it all, watching characters develop into the choices they make. Is there anything new here? Not really, although I did hope the actual ‘quake’ would be more of a shake up instead of a few moments of rattle. When the actual quake does appear the earth isn’t taking any prisoners that’s for sure.

I also truly loved that the original cast family came back together to once again go through something traumatic. There is a moment (no spoilers here folks) that I was totally jaw dropped and am still not happy about but that’s to be expected. You can’t crack and roll the earth with an outcome that’s good for all.

Director Andersen gives us the human emotion of Kristian and his family and never lets us forget for a second that they survived something pretty horrific in THE WAVE. Bringing back the original cast brings the viewer in quickly to the story. Now with THE QUAKE he challenges the same family one more time with an ending that had to be. 

So if you are ready to join the family once again, may I suggest you prepare yourself for THE QUAKE.

In the end – the signs are there!



The 50th Anniversary Special of THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW Comes to DVD

Jeri Jacquin

Time Life knows how to throw a birthday party as the gang is brought to DVD for a Special One Night Event to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW.

On December 3, 2017, audiences to the number of 15.4 million took to their television screens on a Sunday evening to in a grand celebration. The Carol Burnett Show had taken to the airwaves to share a one-night event at CBS Television City in Los Angeles and the original soundstage where the show aired from.

This time, everybody is in on the fun as Vicki Lawrence, Lyle Waggoner and even costume designer Bob Mackie came to share the stories about their time on The Carol Burnett Show. The gathering also included special guests Jon Batiste, Beth Behrs, Jim Carrey, Kristin Chenoweth, Stephen Colbert, Harry Connick Jr., Kaley Cuoco, Bill Hader, Steve Lawrence, Jay Leno, Jane Lynch, Steve Martin, Bernadette Peters, Amy Poehler, Tracee Ellis Ross, Maya Rudolph, Martin Short and so many more.

There was plenty of reason to celebrate as Carol and her guests talked on some of the most hilarious clips that included Went With The Wind, The Dentist, Tudball & Wiggins and, of course, The Family. Carol also brings us once again her famous Q&A with the audience that include live questions from Pat Boone and Tom Selleck.

Bill Hader, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph and Tracee Ellis Ross, along with Steve Carell, give Carol’s famous Tarzan yell a try and it is absolutely hilarious. What I absolutely loved, especially being a total fan of Jim Carrey is when he re-enacts a reply that he received after sending her a fan letter. Of course Carrey does it in his own unique way and that is of his 10-year-old self.

There is a musical number with Stephen Colbert, Steve Lawrence, Bernadette Peters, and Kristin Chenoweth along with Carol Burnett that just made my heart explode with joy. For someone like me who was raised on Carol Burnett, seeing this group of so many share a song with Carol was very reminiscent for me.

The closing of the special was stunning and just perfection as Harry Connick, Jr. joins Carol in singing her ear tugging show ending song “I’m So Glad We Had This Time Together”. 

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

The DVD Special includes The Full 50th Anniversary Special as Broadcasted, Exclusive New Bonus Features Including Red-Carpet Footage, Back-Stage Interviews, and Anniversary Wishes from Carol’s Friends and Fans and A Tribute Booklet with Production Photos, Notes from Carol’s Guests, and a Special Message from Carol Herself!

Carol Burnett left her iconic mark on television and there is no one that can dispute that. Her comedy was graceful and she, as well as her crew, made it all look so easy. Once a week I knew that I could look forward to their special brand of comedy, music and all those amazing guests stars.

But it was Carol herself who I was excited to see because she seemed too reachable and authentic to the millions of people who watched her then. I believe that that was the reason millions of people tuned into her one-night-special when it aired last year. For one hour we could forget any problems and dive into the characters Carol, Vickie, Harvey and Tim created week after week to delight us all.

THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW 50th Anniversary Special is a pure celebration of everything we loved and continue to love about the show. It is a chance to hear how so many people and stars were and continue to be influenced by everything the show brought.

Time Life knows how much we love Carol Burnett and by putting the 50th celebration on DVD, it becomes an amazing addition to any home entertainment library that we can share again and again.

In the end – we continue to be glad to spend this time together! 

ERNIE KOVACS: The Centennial Edition Comes to DVD

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on DVD to celebrate the 100th birthday of a comic genius from SHOUT! Factory is an amazing collection with ERNIE KOVACS: The Centennial Edition.

Ernie Kovacs came from a family that immigrated to Hungary and although not a great student still managed to receive a scholarship to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Struggling to live in New York City, he managed to go to the movies that he would later say influences him.

Finding acting work in summer stock, it would be an almost fatal illness that would be a school of another kind. After spending time in several hospital, he returned home to take care of his mother after his parents separated. His first job in television was in 1950 and a show called Pick Your Ideal, then hosting Deadline For Dinner, Now You’re Cooking and Three to Get Ready.

In 1954, Kovacs began a late-night talk show called The Ernie Kovacs Show so now he could be seen almost everywhere on television. He even took a few nights a week for Steve Allen on The Tonight Show, part of the game show Gamble on Love, One Minute Please, Time Will Tell and Take a Good Look.

Kovacs also did television specials which were popular in the 50’s and 60’s as Silent Show contained no dialogue but instead only sound effects and music. Now Kovacs would be noticed receiving movie offers, the Sylvania Award and the cover of Life magazine. 

His theatrical films included OPERATION MAD BALL, IT HAPPENED TO JANE, STRANGERS WHEN WE MEET, NORTH TO ALASKA, FIVE GOLDEN HOURS and SAIL A CROOKED SHIP to name a few.

That’s not all Kovacs is known for as he was a music lover from the days of being in the hospital. He would often use classic music as part of his comedy as well. He also wrote the book Zoomar: A Sophisticated Novel about Love and TV, Silent Show, How to Talk at Gin as well as articles for Mad magazine. 

Kovacs was killed in a car accident in 1962 but he left behind some of the most iconic legacy of original comedy that we are not likely to ever see again.

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

The 9 DVD set includes 22 hours of landmark hilarity featuring Episodes from his Local and National Morning Shows, Episodes from his NBC Prime-Time Show, Kovacs on Music, Five ABC TV Specials, The Color Version of His Legendary Silent Show Eugene, His Award-Winning Commercials for Dutch Masters Cigars, Short Films, Tributes, and Rarities.

Eighteen Bonus Sketches Featuring Man of his Most Beloved Characters, Three Complete Episodes of his Offbeat Game Show Take a Good Look, “A Pony for Chris” – his Rare TV Pilot for Medicine Man Costarring Buster Keaton, The Lively Arts Featuring the Only Existing Filmed Solo Interview with Ernie Kovacs and the 2011 American Cinematheque Panel. 

Ernie Kovacs was one of the first funny men that I can remember watching on television with my mother. His sense of humor was hilarious to me and I knew his voice on television even if I was in another room. The comedy of Kovacs continues to be what I consider the gold standard and can see how comedy throughout the years has some similarities to his creativity. 

This man had so much talent that it isn’t surprising to me that he found so many outlets for it. From radio, music, television and films, as well as in book form, Kovacs found a way to reach his fans. 

ERNIE KOVACS: The Centennial Edition is not only a great way to remember everything he brought to us through the years but a stellar way to introduce a new generation to comedy that is enduring. There is so much in this collection to share and let me say, it is totally worth a marathon with everyone who enjoys laughing with characters that are original and so full of fun.

In the end – happy 100th birthday to an original genius!

OPERATION FINALE is a Story of Justice

Jeri Jacquin

On Bluray/DVD and Digital from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and director Chris Weitz based on a true story tells us about the historic OPERATION FINALE.

Peter Malkin (Oscar Isaac) is part of an Israeli secret agents who have one goal – to track down and arrest SS officer Adolf Eichmann (Ben Kingsley). They want him as he is known as the mastermind of what is known as the ‘Final Solution’ and the Jewish people in concentration camps during World War II. 

In Argentina, Sylvia Hermann (Haley Lu Richardson) is a young woman who begins dating a boy named Klaus Eichmann (Joe Alwyn). Klaus tells her family that he has been raised by his uncle Ricardo after his father died. It is Sylvia’s father who believes that he is onto something. When a photograph is relayed back to Israel of Uncle Ricardo, Malkin is brief on the operation to bring Eichmann back to Israel to stand trail for war crimes. 

Along with Hanna Elian (Melanie Laurent), Isser Harel (Lior Raz), Rafi Eitan (Nick Kroll) and others, the group come to Buenos Aires, Argentina searching. They set up and prepare the best way to capture Eichmann and get him to an airplane covertly. Malkin has a lot to prove as they thought they were capturing the same man in Austria and it went wrong.

Capturing Eichmann is one thing, having him at a safe house until he can be extracted is another. Son Klaus and wife Vera (Greta Scacchi) are doing everything possible to find Eichmann. That means the clock is ticking to get a confession from Eichmann about who he really is.

Malkin finds himself talking with Eichmann when it is his turn to watch the prisoner. Everyone else in the safe house finds taking care of the former SS officer distasteful so Malkin takes their shifts as he wants to know why and believes he can convince Eichmann to sign the document. 

Klaus has brought down every person to bear in order to find his father - even throwing both Sylvia and her father in jail. Torturing the young girl doesn’t seem to faze Klaus enough to stop it but what she tells him put them all on the hunt for the safe house. Every move is becoming ever more dangerous with lives at stake.

Time is running out and the race is on to get Eichmann to the plane and to stand trial for his war crimes. 

Golden Globe winner Isaac as Malkin is a man with memories that make it difficult at times to do what needs doing. When an earlier mission to capture Eichmann turned chaotic, it is clear that Malkin wants to make sure the mission goes according to a well laid plan. When Eichmann is their prisoner at the safe house, Isaac’s character takes it upon himself to get to ‘know’ the man with the goal of a confession. That means telling Eichmann very personal things in the hope that the former SS officer will trust in him. There comes a moment of cat and mouse that I thought was going to go horribly wrong. Isaac is proving time and time again to be such a stellar actor and the roles he chooses are smart and poignant, OPERATION FINALE is one such role.

Academy Award winner Kingsley as Eichmann is absolutely stunning and I say that because I have been an admirer of this actor long before he was Sir Ben Kingsley. He has the unique ability to be any character he chooses, meaning good characters and not-so-nice characters yet I am riveted to see where he takes the story. This film is no exception to that rule as Kingsley starts out in character defiance but inevitably realizes the situation he is in portraying it masterfully.

Laurent as Hanna agrees to be the medic for the mission but refuses to give Eichmann an ounce of compassion. This is the second film dealing with Nazi’s as she was the French cinema owner Shoshana in INGLORIOUS BASTERDS in 2009. Kroll as Eitan is goal oriented to get the mission done swiftly and needs the confession to make that happen.

Other cast include Michael Aronov as Zvi Aharoni, Ohad Knoller as Ephraim Ilani, Greg Hill as Moshe Tabor, Torben Liebrecht as Yaakov Gat, Michael Hernandez as Dani Shalom, Pepe Rapazote as Carlos Fuldner, Haley Lu Richardson as Sylvia Hermann and Peter Strauss as Lothar Hermann.

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

The Bonus Features on Bluray and DVD include Inside the Operations: Cast, filmmakers and crew discuss working together, filing in Buenos Aires, and their collective approach to telling such a historically significant story and Feature Commentary with Director Chris Weitz.

OPERATION FINALE is an intense thriller in a story that absolutely needed to be told. The film is stellar and what makes it so is the cast who take on their characters with depth and intensity. As the story unfolds it becomes clear that not only is there much to fear if they get caught but the fact that Eichmann wasn’t the only Nazi in Buenos Aires!

The scenes between Isaacs and Kingsley are pure brilliance in their exchanges and I couldn’t take my eyes of the screen. Both of these actors have brought so much to the screen through the years and OPERATION FINALE is going to be a film that sticks with me for a very long time.

In the end – after World War II the mission for justice began!

IT’S WITS VS. SMARTS BETWEEN KEVIN HART AND TIFFANY HADDISH

 
AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL DECEMBER 11, 2018 ON DEMAND DECEMBER 28, 2018 4K ULTRA HD, BLU-RAY™AND DVD JANUARY 1, 2019 FROM UNIVERSAL PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT

NIGHT SCHOOL
Successful salesman Teddy Walker’s (Kevin Hart,Jumanji,Ride Along 1 &2) life turns around after getting fired for accidentally destroying his workplace. Forced to attend night school so he can finally get his GED and find another job, Teddy soon finds himself amongst a group of misfit students, a teacher with no patience for grown up class clowns named Carrie (Tiffany Haddish, Girls Trip, Uncle Drew) and his high school nemesis-turned-principal Stewart (TaranKillam, Killing Gunther, Ted 2) who will strive to make sure he fails the course. With every rule in the book about to be broken, Teddy and his new friends find themselves in a battle of pranks and wit that you can’t simply learn in the classroom.

Bring NIGHT SCHOOL home because it's GIVEAWAY TIME!
Email hellomoviemaven@aol.com with NIGHT SCHOOL in the subject line along with your name and address and good luck!
WE, THE MARINES is a Lesson in Honor and Love of Country

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on 4K Ultra HD, Bluray and Digital from SHOUT! Factory, directed by Greg MacGillivray and narrated by Academy Award winner and former Marine Gene Hackman is WE, THE MARINES.

The documentary gives viewers an inside look to the strength and beliefs of the United States Marine Corps. Hackman begins with a brief history of when the Marines began. In 1775, the Marine Corps began because men were needed to defend the states militarily from enemies.

As the years passed, the Marine Corps served on the beaches of Iwo Jima and by raising the American flag, become a symbol of honor and sacrifice around the world. Serving in Vietnam, the Marines continued to serve and defend. 

In current times, the men and women of the United States Marine Corps are trained on the east and the west coast. From Parris Island to Camp Pendleton to training in Yuma Arizona, it all begins with boot camp. Hackman talks about the lessons each person who enlists comes to understand about the Corps. 

From the air, land and sea, MacGillivray gives us a glimpse of the training and dedication those in the Marine Corp endure to become the best. Waiting for them to complete missions and come home are the families who see each and every Marine as a hero. 

But it is not just war were the Marine Corps can be found, they are also on the front line of humanitarian efforts around the world. Hurricanes, floods and earthquakes, they can be found helping bringing supplies and aid to survivors.

That is why their creed of Semper Fidelis – Latin for ‘always faithful’ – is something that stays with each United States Marine for the rest of their lives. 

A MacGillivray Freeman film produced in association with the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation and presented by The Boeing Company, WE, THE MARINES was originally produced for permanent exhibition in the Giant-Screen Medal of Honor Theater at the National Museum of the Marine Corps. This striking film will not be available in living rooms across the country.

The Ultra HD Bluray release of WE, THE MARINES stands as SHOUT! Factory’s first foray into the new HDR10+ technology, which allows filmmakers to present their content not only in the best quality possible, but to showcase the creative intent behind it. HDR10+ provides for scene-by-scene, frame-by-frame adjustments through dynamic metadata, allowing an unparalleled level of detail. It also puts the control of content presentation directly back into the filmmakers’ hands.

WE, THE MARINES includes 4K SDR, 4K HRD, and 4K HDR10+ for the full UHD experience. Also in Ultra HD TV with HDR is needed to access 4K HDR and HDR10+.

SHOUT! Factory has grown into a tremendous multi-platform media company. Releasing an exciting catalog of 4K films that include the incredible critically acclaimed and award-winning odyssey JOURNEY TO SPACE, FLIGHT OF THE BUTTERFLIES, THE LAST REEF: CITIES BENEATH THE SEA and NATIONAL PARKS ADVENTURE. For more of what SHOUT Factor has to offer please visit www.shoutfactory.com.

Narrated by Gene Hackman, it is amazing that as a former Marine he takes the tasks of speaking on the Corps. He does so with intensity and feeling while allowing those in service now to share small pieces of their own experiences and feelings.

That is what makes WE, THE MARINES such an important piece of filmmaking. It is an opportunity for those who might not have family members in the Marine Corps to at least understand more about it. For those who do have family members in the Marine Corps, it gives a little more insight into perhaps some of the reason this branch of the military is chosen.

I have family members who are former Marines and some who are thinking of following in the family footsteps. It is a humbling thing to see their dedication and drive to succeed in their military endeavors. 

In the end – it is more than dedication and service!

MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS

Jeri Jacquin

Coming this Friday from director Josie Rourke and Focus Features is the story of a woman who would be more with MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS.

Mary (Saoirse Ronan) is returning to Scotland from France after the death of her husband King Francis. Taking up her crown as Queen of Scotland, she is met by her half-brother James (James McArdle) the Earl of Moray who doesn’t seem pleased to see her.

He isn’t the only one as John Knox (David Tennant) makes it very clear that he isn’t about to change faiths to accommodate her. Mary makes it very clear that he his council is no longer welcome at her court. James tries to tell Mary that she has started something that could hurt her along the way.

The one thing Mary wants is to seal any breach with her cousin Queen Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie). Elizabeth is being told repeatedly by her advisor William Cecil (Guy Pearce) that Mary is a danger and only wants to take the throne. Trying to find a middle ground, Elizabeth suggests that Mary marry an Englishman and offers up her own lover Robert Dudley (Joe Alwyn). Mary has other plans and marries Lord Darnley (Jack Lowden).

Realizing she may have made a mistake, the only way to solidify her position is by having a child before Elizabeth. When she has a son, it changes her feelings and she shares with Elizabeth asking her to be the child’s godmother. Elizabeth believes that this may just be the tie that binds the two women.

Mary is having a difficult time as well when Darnley has no problem showing his disregard for her position as Queen. When her own council tries to take the throne, Darnley is talked into being part of the conspiracy. Intrigue continues to plague Mary as the men around her lay claim, force marriages and don’t understand the fierceness of the Queen.

Seeing one last hope, Mary asks to meet with her sister-cousin Elizabeth in hopes to get support in fighting back those who would take the Scottish throne. Although Elizabeth feels for her cousin, it becomes clear to Mary that she may be at the end of her reign. 

Two queens who want the same thing in different ways.

Ronan as Mary is remarkable but then again she is a remarkable actress. The first movie I ever saw her in was the intense and emotionally draining film ATONEMENT followed by the equally intense film THE LOVELY BONES. Since then nothing has stopped her from honing her craft in every way possible and with characters that have obviously taught her more and more about choosing roles and defining who she is as an actress. MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS is another example of why I will see every piece of filmmaking she is in – always. This is a character driven by a woman up against men who see her as a trophy to be one and then disguarded because she is, after all, only a woman. Well done Ronan, well done!

Robbie as Elizabeth doesn’t hesitate to put every little bit of her Queen out there – from her lovers, illness and inability to be told who to marry and what children to have. Robbie presents a strong force of a woman that shows moments of private struggle but when push comes to shove Robbie helps Elizabeth straightens her spine and her crown. The scene between the two queens is one of the most poignant and double-edged I have seen in a while on film.

McArdle as James is clearly a man who has been led by the nose at the hands of the council and happily so until Mary comes back. Then his little hurt feelings are put out for all to see and he wants justice for it all. McArdle is an actor on a mission and playing the role of a spurned brother isn’t easy. Lowden as Lord Darnley is just another man in Mary’s life that believes he is owed something at the cost of everything else. Tennant as Knox is a religious zealot who barks a good game hoping others will do the fighting for him.

Pearce as Cecil is a part of the pack on the other side of the pond who wants what he wants and thinks whispering in Elizabeth’s ear means he will get it. Alwyn as Dudley is a man who love Elizabeth the woman but takes orders from Elizabeth the Queen. Not easy being told to go be your enemy’s husband and Dudley is only saved by Mary’s hot headedness.

Other cast include Gemma Chan as Elizabeth Hardwick, Brendan Coyle as Matthew Stewart, Ian Hart as Lord Maitland, Adrian Lester as Lord Randolph, Maria-Victoria Dragus as Mary Fleming, Alex Beckett as Walter Mildmay, Ismael Cordova as David Rizzio and Simon Russell as Robert Beale.

MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS is a film about two women in a man’s era fighting for their crowns. They should never have had to make that choice between the two of them but with so many men whispering in their ears, I don’t know how they lasted as long as they did with each other.

Mary clearly didn’t know what Elizabeth did and that is you practically have to give up being a woman to hold onto the throne. Clearly having more time to learn that lesson than Mary, Elizabeth wanted to embrace their sisterhood-of-crowns but hard headedness got in both of their ways.

The film is beautifully done and the costuming is breathtaking. I have a weakness for period piece films and when they are done as well as MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS, well I can’t help but find no fault in it. 

There have been other films that have touched on the relationship between Mary and Elizabeth, and even a television show called Reign that gave viewers a glimpse of her life in France. MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS is a look at what happened once she left France and before the infamous and shocking red dress. From a young woman married to a French king to becoming a widow and returning queen of her own country – there is nothing about her life that is easy or without intrigue and betrayal.

In the end – bow to no one!

SHARP OBJECTS Gives Twists and Turns a New Meaning

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray and Digital from HBO Home Entertainment, director Jean-Marc Vallee based on the book by Gillian Flynn is family dysfunction with SHARP OBJECTS.

Camille Preaker (Amy Adams) is a reporter with her own unique set of problems that she drowns in alcohol. When editor boss/friend Frank (Miguel Sandoval) asks her to cover the story of two girls who were killed in her hometown of Wind Gap, Camille goes but not without hesitation.

The first reason to be wary is the tension filled relationship Camille has with mother Adora (Patricia Clarkson) and strained step-father Alan (Henry Czerny). Going to stay in the family home, the only person who seems happy to see her is little sister Amma (Eliza Scanlen). All of this brings Camille to flashbacks of her own young life and the young death of a sister Marian years before. 

Jumping right in to the story she meets Det. Richard Willis (Chris Messina) and they both begin to wonder about the murder of the two young girls. Looking for a connection, the local chief of police Bill Vickery (Matt Craven) is keeping his eye on Det. Willis. 

At home Camille notices that Adora still keeps Marian’s room like a shrine and that starts a conversation between the two that is filled with hurt and venomous words. Amma is behaving like a teenager as she tries to break away from Adora’s control. Coming home drunk, Adora instantly blames Camille and the bad influence she brings to the family.

Back to the story, Camille speaks to father of the second girl murdered; Bob Nash (Will Chase) who believes teen John Keene (Taylor John Smith) is responsible. That sends her to visit the young man but also meets cheerleader girlfriend Ashley (Madison Davenport) who defends her boyfriend fiercely. 

More of Camille’s life comes to the forefront and she can’t seem to avoid it. Her time in a psychiatric hospital, death of friends and hurting herself as a way to deal with it all. Adora takes great pains in making sure that Camille knows of the ‘trouble’ she has always caused and continues to cause. Especially with the town celebration of Calhoun Day and Camille’s articles about the murders become the talk of the event. 

To pay her daughter back, Adora takes Richard on a guided tour of their home and when alone, lets the officer know that Camille is dangerous. At the same time cheerleader Ashley is upset with Camille that she wasn’t given enough attention in the article that came out. Amma performs for the crowd and when she sees that sister Camille isn’t giving her enough attention, she flees sending everyone into a frenzy.

Adora decides that she has had enough of Camille and wants her to leave but wants husband Alan to do the deed. While out, she runs into Amma and her friends agreeing to go off to a party where sisters end up high roller skating through Wind Gap. While the family drama takes a turn, Richard decides to investigate Camille and find out what everyone in the family is hiding and why Adora considers her own daughter dangerous. In that investigation he also finds out what killed sister Marian. Richard had no problem finding people who wanted to talk and the paper trail to back it up. 

When Keene is arrested for murder, Richard is shocked to discover that he is with Camille. Feeling defeated once again, she turns to long time family friend Jackie (Elizabeth Perkins) only to discover that what has been happening is now moving closer to home. Feeling as if she is losing control, she calls boss-friend Frank who is worried now more than ever that Camille is falling apart and may hurt herself.

She returns home and sits for a family dinner where everyone is calm but sister Amma looks ill. When Adora takes her to bed, Camille also begins to feel ill. Relying on mother Adora, mother finally gets the wish to take care of her daughter as she tells Camille how much it all means to her.

What happens when Richard knocks on the door starts a domino effect into a shocking conclusion that Camille can not even begin to grasp.

Adams as Camille is everything that is stunning about this series! She carries the film through so many twists and turns and it is her undisputed talent that made me want so much more. Of course the finale had me as shocked as the look on her character Camille’s face when the whole story comes to the surface. Adams is an actress who continues to surprise me in her role choices but in SHARPER OBJECTS I can’t imagine anyone who could have pulled off Camille better than she. 

Clarkson as Adora is another actress who I personally have come to adore. She is bold, brave and also surprises and delights me with the choices in roles she plays. I first saw Clarkson in the 1987 film THE UNTOUCHABLES, the 1999 film THE GREEN MILE, the 2010 film SHUTTER ISLAND and one of my favorite and deliciously guilty pleasures Netflix hit House Of Cards. As Adora she is sharp and there are moments where if looks could kill – Clarkson’s beautiful eyes would leave prints on the two daggers!

Scanlen as Amma has me cringing from the first scene to the last. Actually she drove me completely nuts with her teenage attitude and mean streak with everyone letting her get away with a lot. But isn’t that what teens do? Drive us all nuts with their cell phones, sense of entitlement and sneaking off to do gawd knows what. Yet there are moments where she just wants her family close and the love of both her sister and mother. Scanlen made it all look so easy and she definitely gets high fives from me.

Messina as Det. Willis jumps right into the case whether the town sheriff likes it or not. He is immediately drawn to Camille but can’t understand what it is about her that screams secrets and lies. Messina takes his character’s job seriously and isn’t about to let anyone stop him from finding out who is killing teenage girls. Craven as Vickery doesn’t want help with the case and seems to have a strange closeness to Adora that Camille doesn’t quite understand. Craven’s character may seem laid back but don’t let the daily habits fool you.

Smith as Keene has a story to tell but it’s hard to make people believe you when gossip is stronger than the truth. Smith is a quiet character letting the town make their own judgment calls. Davenport as Ashley is a cheerleader who craves attention and believes supporting her boyfriend will make that happen. It isn’t hard to believe that a young girl would act this way and Davenport makes sure we buy into it.

Sandoval as Frank is a boss who is more of a friend to Camille. Wanting the story on one hand and worrying that he made a mistake choosing his young reporter on the other. Czerny as Alan is a man who cares deeply for his wife but is the strangest husband I think I have ever laid eyes on. Putting his wife first above everything else, he attempts to put Camille in her place but is only met with a fingers reply.

Other cast include Jackson Hurst as Kirk Lacey, Lulu Wilson as Marian, Sophia Lillis as young Camille, Jennifer Aspen as Jeannie Keene, David Sullivan as Chris, Reagan Pasternak as Katie Lacey, Sydney Sweeney as Alice, Hilary Ward as Becca Barbara Eve Harris as Eileen and Emily Yancy as Gayla.

HBO Home Entertainment has an extensive array of critically-acclaimed and groundbreaking programs found on Bluray, DVD and Digital HD. They have provided viewers with some of the most amazing programs with huge fan bases that include the shows True Blood, Sex and the City, The Sopranos, True Detectives, The Wire, Entourage and Game of Thrones. Launched in 1984, HBO is world wide in viewed entertainment in more than 70 territories around the world! For more of what they have to offer please visit www.hbo.com. 

The Bluray contains the episodes Vanish, Dirt, Fix, Ripe, Closer, Cherry, Falling, and Milk. Bonus Features include Creating Wind Gap: The Cast and Crew discuss the creation of the fictional town of Wind Gap. 

SHARP OBJECTS is an intense story that isn’t easy to figure out (thank goodness!) leaving every episode with more questions than answers. This is totally worth binge watching because I would have gone crazy in my own way to have to wait each week for the next episode. 

The ensemble cast is absolutely spectacular as each character has their own story to tell in a mix that resembles water but is really deadly quicksand. There isn’t a character in this series that I don’t absolutely love because of their uniqueness to the show and the ease in which they all drew me in so quickly. 

The intensity only adds to the mystery surrounding Wind Gap and sets a deep tone. There is no doubt that HBO has taken the lead in what is quickly becoming daring story telling and SHARP OBJECTS adds grit and not an ounce of fear in being dark and powerful.

In the end – going home was never so dangerous!