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​There is more to THE PHANTOM

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from BAFTA-winning director Patrick Forbes, Greenwich Entertainment and premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival is the story of death, investigation, and injustice with THE PHANTOM.

In 1993, a young woman named Wanda Lopez was working a night shift at a Shamrock gas station in Texas when police dispatch receives a call. Ms. Lopez is worried about a young man outside the store who is scaring her. He enters the store and proceeds to rob and bring tragedy leaving behind a haunting recorded moment for investigators.

Arrested is 20-year-old Carlos DeLuna who is found lying underneath a car after a telephone call gives away his hiding. Taken into custody he is charged with the murder of Wanda Lopez. After questioning, Carlos tells police that the person responsible is also named Carlos Hernandez. During the investigation police did not find any other Carlos to link to the crime.

Prosecutors in the case told the jury that the “other” Carlos was a phantom, someone DeLuna wanted to blame for the heinous murder of an innocent woman. Even with no evidence linking DeLuna (no blood on his body or money from the robbery etc.) the jury found him guilty, and he was sentenced to death. Covering the trial was just a young reporter Karen Boudrie Greig who was swept up in the trial as the Lopez and DeLuna families were.

After the trial, it was Greig who kept in touch with DeLuna who continued to tell the story that it was the other Carlos responsible for the young woman’s death. In December of 1989, no one else could help DeLuna face the courts verdict. Professor James Liebman from Columbia University would speak with Greig letting her know the team was looking into it and discovered the phantom was real.

The answers would come, but not before the truth could set DeLuna free!

The Wrong Carlos: Anatomy of a Wrongful Execution is a book by James S. Liebman and the Columbia DeLuna Project as well as thewrongcarlos.net that lets readers see crime scene photos, court records, videotape interview and more. 

Director Forbes says of the film, “I’m thrilled to be working with Greenwich on THE PHANTOM. They completely got the movie from day one – the mystery at its heart, and the tragic importance of what happened. In this film, for the first time we prove without a shadow of a doubt that America executed an innocent man. It’s a shocking, moving, and enraging story, and I couldn’t wish for a better partner to tell it with”.

THE PHANTOM is a heartbreaking story of a young man who told the truth and instead of diving deeper to keep from doing the wrong thing, chose the easy way to convict and move on. The DeLuna family is horrified learning of the history of Hernandez and how the police refused to investigate or admit they were wrong from beginning to end.

The tape played in court of Ms. Lopez seemed to me to be the convicting factor for a jury looking to make someone responsible. Yet, when it came time for evidence, there just was not any so for a jury to not take that into consideration just hurts the soul. 

Listening to DeLuna’s brother tell his story of youth, family, difficulties and how it is possible that his brother became connected to Hernandez is so very important. DeLuna is not seen by the court as a person because they chose to believe and took the easiest route to “solving” a murder investigation. 

THE PHANTOM does what the justice system did not, bring together all the evidence and all the people who have brought this story so that it never happens again. 



THE FATHER Tells His Story on Bluray

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray from director Florian Zeller and Sony Picture Home Entertainment Classics with 6 Academy Award nominations comes a heart-breaking story of THE FATHER.

Anthony (Anthony Hopkins, winner of an Oscar for Best Actor) lives in London and enjoy music and his very beautiful apartment. Daughter Anne (Olivia Coleman) visits on the daily and is trying to find a care giver to help him. It is rather difficult as Anthony finds reasons to either not have a care giver or finding fault with them.

Taking him to a doctor’s appointment, the questions begin about his memory. He becomes agitated and even confronts Anne about the potential of her moving away. Trying to keep things easy for her dad, it does not help that Paul (Rufus Sewell) makes it clear he is not happy with Anthony living with them.

Anne is doing her best as Anthony continues to believe that changes are happening without his consent. The only things that are consistent in his life lately is music, Anne and the memory of a daughter he has lost. 

Waking up one morning, Anthony begins to question everything to Catherine (Olivia Williams). When he puts the pieces together, he begins to fade to the point of no return. Sometimes reality is the cruelest memory of all. 

Hopkins as Anthony is nothing short of completely brilliant in this role. Then again, from the moment we meet Anthony it is clear that we are on his journey – not ours. Each frame he is on screen breaks our heart a little more and a little more until it is almost unbearable. Hopkins may have aged as an actor, but it has not slowed him down from giving a performance that is not only memorable but will remain so. It is a look at the other side of a world that is terrifying to accept.

Coleman as Anne is a daughter that clearly wants to be there for her father. She is dutiful and even takes verbal stabs from her father on occasion. Reminding him about her life and where she is at present does not resonate with him. When the conversation comes up about love and Paris, it is immediately rejected by Anthony. Watching Coleman go through the stages of caring for her father and still caring for herself are moments of conflict that are believable to the core.

Sewell as Paul serves his purpose but his attitude regarding Anthony is cold, cruel and dangerous. There is a scene between he and Hopkins that had me practically gut punches with emotion. Trust me when I saw you will know it when it happens and will probably have the same visceral reaction. Sewell has had angry bad guys roles but I think this may be as close to home as I would ever want to see again. 

Other cast include Mark Gatiss as The Man, Imogen Poots as Laura, Scott Mullins as Father, Roman Zeller as the boy and Ayesha Dharker as Dr. Sarai. 


Sony Pictures encompasses motion picture production for television, digital content and theater releases. To see what is coming to theaters and to home entertainment please visit www.sonypictures.com.

Special Features include Deleted Scenes, Homecoming: Making THE FATHER, and Perception Check: Portrait of THE FATHER. 

THE FATHER is a stunning masterpiece of storytelling and it is help up Olympus style by Hopkins and his heart crushing performance. He gets a hand up from Coleman as a daughter struggling to care for an ailing father and still have a life of her own. What makes this film is that every single moment is steeped in the reality of an aging parent with issues.

What makes this film even more amazing is the telling from Hopkins characters point of view. The constant questioning, the anxiety, fear, confusion and, with Hopkins, the charm of a man who does not realize the life he once knew is no longer right in front of him. 

Of course, I am being a tad elusive to the depth of the story and that is intentional. I still to this day believe that there are films to be experienced, truly felt and THE FATHER is such a film. The believability the story and actors bring is steeped in a reality that many parents and adult children face every day. It is a situation that can tear both into shreds as one lets go and the other tries desperately to hold on.

In the end - this is a story of family memories and loss.

LIMBO

Jeri Jacquin

Coming from writer/director Ben Sharrock and Focus Features is the story of waiting to begin a new life far from home and all while you are in LIMBO.

Omar (Amir El-Masry) is a Syrian refugee musician recently arrived in Scotland. Sent to live in a house with fellow refugees Farhad (Vikash Bhai), Abedi (Kwabena Ansah) and Wasef (Ola Orebiyi) he is left to learn about each of his housemates. All have their own story and are waiting for permission to stay in the country legally.

Attending classes led by Helga (Sidse Babett Knudsen) and Boris (Kenneth Collard), they attempt to understand the cultural and acceptable ways of the world. Each day they stand by the mailbox in hopes that one of them will get their papers. In Omar’s case, each week he calls his mother to find out how they are after they escaped to Turkey and to learn the whereabouts of his brother Nabil (Kais Nashef) who stayed in Syria to fight.

Omar learns quickly that there are some not happy about refugees living in Scotland, but it is Farhad that consistently tries to give Omar hints to be happy in this unhappy situation. Learning that his friend had been waiting a very long time for his papers, Omar begins to struggle with leaving his parents behind, especially when he learns of their struggle as well.

When an incident with housemates Abedi and Wasef happens, it throws Omar into a dark place within himself. Feeling trapped, he calls his brother to try and reconcile what is happening to the family. Once again Farhad steps in to give Omar an opportunity to not only show the Scots who he truly is and make amends where he can in order to find peace.

El-Masry as Omar is absolutely amazing, and I could not take my eyes off of his performance. This young man gives us the opportunity to get only a tiny glimpse of what these refugees are running from and hoping to race toward. Omar is not a character of many words but lugging his musical instrument with him wherever he goes is a reminder of the luggage he carries of memories from home. That is what El-Masry gives us the opportunity to experience, and it is filled with sadness, a few giggles and very lovely all rolled into Omar. 

Bhai as Farhad is so delightful that I will never forget his performance. He is a man with a history and a long wait for the papers that will free him from the prison he holds himself in. Yet, with that is a heart that emotionally keeps giving to his friend Omar when he needs it the most. He sees something special in Omar and Farhad is not about to let his friend forget who he is or what he is capable of. Bhai made me laugh and he brought a tear, what a performance.

Ansah as Abedi and Orebiyi as Wasef are twin sons from different mothers. They came together from different places and found in each other the need to protect each other. Their stories are filled with fear and, in Wasef’s case there is a rage that shows itself in frustrating ways. Freedom feels farther to reach than with Omar but the distance to freedom hits everyone different and for these boys – it is heartbreaking. 

Other cast include Grace Chilton as Margaret, Silvie Furneaux as Cheryl, Jorge Gidi as Cunado, Lewis Gribben as Stevie, Ellie Haddington as Beatrice, Sanjeev Kohli as Vikram, Raymond Mearns as Mike, and Cameron Fulton as Plug. 

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

LIMBO is an amazing film that is filled frame by frame with equally amazing actors. Their stories are each unique but with that common thread of trying to get away from somewhere to get to a place better. Each learn that crossing a border is the easy part of searching for freedom and that it is the barriers each step of the way that could not have been anticipated. 

For the character of Omar, it is not just leaving his home and life of music and family in Syria, but also the guilt in learning that his new home is not going to give him papers right away. He learns from his housemates that the length of time to wait is arduous which adds a new level of guilt to the young man. How does he tell his parents the news? 

He also learns from his housemates their stories, quirks, beliefs and when that is not enough, Omar finds himself in an emotional place that just tears at the heart. The story that writer/director Sharrock gives us is so very deep with emotion, silly to break up the reality and enlightening when you walk through the fear door. 

In the end – waiting is a group effort!


NOBODY

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on Video On Demand from director Ilya Naishuller and Universal Pictures comes the story of a man who seems content with being NOBODY.

Hutch Mansell (Bob Odenkirk) is a man living a routine. Getting up, silent morning coffee with wife Becca (Connie Nielsen), going to work at his father-in-law Eddie’s factory, coming home, seeing his kids Blake (Gage Munroe) and Sammy (Paisley Cadorath). The routine also means that Hutch has lost the connection with everything around him.

Startled out of sleep one evening, Hutch makes his way downstairs to hear two robbers break into his home. What happened after that is waking a sleeping giant! Listening to his in-laws make fun and when Sammy can not find her bracelet, Hutch decides he wants to track down the two that upset his routine of life.

On the bus, a group of men decide they are going to make everyone’s life miserable, but Hutch is already walking a razor’s edge. Putting a few in the hospital, one of them happens to be the brother of the Russian mobster Yulian (Aleksei Serebryakov). All of this is explained to him by The Barber (Colin Salmon) who makes sure Hutch knows that what happened is not going to go away. 

Yulian makes it clear he is going after Hutch and anyone else in the family including Dad David Mansell (Christopher Lloyd). Now, Hutch is going to let his true colors come through and protect his family any way he knows how, but then again, they are going to find out he knows exactly how. 

Odenkirk as Hutch is the perfect person to play this role. Using his mild-mannered abilities to mold him into a guy with a mild mannered, however imperfect life, Odenkirk gives his character all of that and more. I love that he wants more, keeps his cool and tries to work things out before going to the next level because everything he ends up doing is exactly that – next level. 

Serebryakov as Yulian is not interested in working things out with Hutch. He has a reputation of violence to protect, and he is not about to let the man who hurt his brother off the hook with a slap on the wrist. Serebryakov gives us the bad guy Russian who happens to enjoy karaoke and taking fast car rides at night. 

Nielsen as Becca is a wife that is trying to understand where her marriage is at. When Hutch finally opens up, she begins to understand that this is their life together – good, bad and bullets. Munroe as Blake is the typical teenager who makes it clear he does not have much respect for his father. Personally, I’m tired of these bratty teen roles so let this be the last for a while. Cadorath as Sammy loves her daddy and makes it known more than anyone else.

Lloyd as Dad Mansell is terrific, and I am happy to see him take on a bad ass role. Just because he is an actor “of a certain age” does not mean he is out of the game. He actually made me laugh quite a few times. Ironside as father-in-law Eddie is a man who likes his son-in-law but is not really ready to sell him the business without a big price point. It has been a while since I have seen Ironside in a film so even though the role is small, its still Ironside.

Other cast include RZA as Harry Mansell, Billy MacLellan as Charlie, Araya Mengesha as Pavel, Aleksandr Pal as Teddy, J.P. Manoux as Darren, and Michael Ironside as Eddie.

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

NOBODY is a really fun and jaw-dropping film that probably has the same amount of bullet casing flying around as the 1984 film RED DAWN. Odenkirk gives the character of Hutch smarts, strength, the ability to be vulnerable, quick on the draw and takes as good as he gives! I really enjoy an action film where the “hero” takes his punches.

From the moment of the break-in, the film goes from 0-100 in break-neck speed in the telling. There are car chases, actions sequences, creative weaponry and a great story that brings exhaustion at the end of the 92 minutes. It is very cool to have fun watching a film again that is mean to totally entertain and NOBODY does not let us down.  

In the end – never underestimate a nobody! 


FOUR GOOD DAYS

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from writer/director Rodrigo Garcia and Vertical Entertainment comes a family tale that can seem all too familiar when looking for FOUR GOOD DAYS.

Molly (Mila Kunis) is a long-time heroine user who has once again reached rock bottom. Banging on the door of Mom Deb's (Glenn Close) door is like opening a twisted Pandoras Box. Deb makes it clear that Molly is not welcome in her home until she is clean but that does not stop Molly from banging on the door from dusk till dawn.

Husband Chris (Stephen Root) insists that Deb stay at bay for her own sanity’s sake and that of the emotional turmoil Molly brings. Having already lost husband Sean (Joshua Leonard) and custody of her children, she has no place else to go.

Deb insists that her daughter go to rehab once again as insurance will take care of three days. Once that is done, they are told by the doctor that there is a medication that Molly can take once a month to help her beat heroine and their ears perk up. The only difficulty is Molly cannot have used drugs for eight days and she is four days shy of that.

Deb agrees to take Molly in her home for those last four days as they wait it out for the one thing that could turn life around - for them both. During their time together, Molly gets a chance to vent her frustrations with Deb and a past she cannot seem to be forgiving about and Deb has the chance to vent her fears over all the years that Molly has been an addict.

But four days is a long time for two people who has serious issues with one another. Stress becomes anger and anger boils over until one of them walks away. Everything that the four days was pushing towards has the potential to vanish if they do not make it work.

Close as Deb is a woman that is torn, frustrated, mistrustful, dealing with a mother's love, angry and it is all wrapped up in a bundle of trying to save her child. Granted, Molly is a grown woman with children of her own but to a mother - your child is your child. Deb's problem is that she is trusting yet not trusting and those lines are constantly blurred where Molly is concerned. Dealing with guilt of her own regarding life decisions, that guilt is killing them both. Close is amazing but then again there is nothing surprising in that as she has honed her craft to the point where all one has to do it watch and enjoy.

Kunis as Molly is an angry, lying, stealing, manipulating conjurer of pain for everyone around her. Taking no responsibility and blaming everyone else is the highlight of her days and tries to pour every miserable detail of life onto anyone else but herself. So, basically her character is doing what all addicts do but yet Kunis manages through her character to give us hope as if we were attached to Deb at the hip feeling the hope of a mother. That is the magic trick Kunis pulls off and does so exceptionally well. I did not know whether to love her or slap her into next year! Well done.

Root as Chris is a man who is trying to protect his family from his family. As Molly's stepfather he has watched his wife being raked over the coals but her child. Seeing things from the outside it is easier for him to say "let her go" than for a mother to actually let her go. I get where Roots’ character is coming from and totally understand. With that I cheered when he stood up for himself!

Other cast include Rebecca Field as Coach Miller, Sam Hennings as Dale, Michael Hyatt as Lisa, Chad Lindberg as Daniel, Nicholas Oteri as Colton and Audrey Lynn as Chloe.

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

FOUR GOOD DAYS is a film for everyone who has struggled with addiction in the family and anyone who wants to know how it feels to be in the middle of it all. There are actually three sides to this story and they all play out equally well. There is the story of Molly and how she came to become an addict but also the lengths she went to on the destructive path through addiction.

There is the story of Deb, a mother who made mistakes in her life and tried to learn how to protect herself from her own daughter. That is horribly painful to think about for most mothers. Deb wants to save her daughter, but each time Molly comes knocking, there is the prospect of the world around them both falling apart. Deb tries to set boundaries but again, being a mom gets in the way more times than not. The mistrust is palpable, and you can easily find yourself yelling at the screen when decisions are being made.

Finally, there are those on the outside looking in at the situation. From the stepfather to Molly's father to kids in a classroom, they are listening but there is a disconnect between listening to someone tell you about addiction and the destruction and seeing it firsthand. It's the smiling when people mean well but are far from the situation.

FOUR GOOD DAYS is a well-done film that tackles a very sensitive issue and that is our country is still dealing with drug issues and ways to help those who need it most. Watching the conflict between Deb and Molly is extremely difficult at times because there is a sense of hopelessness associated with their story. These two actresses have taken a powerful stance with their characters that give only a tiny sliver of insight into a fraction of the issues families deal with.

The film is based on the 2016 Washington Post article "How's Amanda? A Story of Truth, Lies and an American Addiction".

In the end - they have work to do!

Willem Dafoe 
Stars in 

SIBERIA

We have a copy available for Giveaway! Email hellomoviemaven@aol.com with NOBODY in the subject line along with your name and address. 


They Are About to Experience the WRATH OF MAN

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from director Guy Ritchie and United Artist is a story of revenge and diversions when it comes to the WRATH OF MAN.

H (Jason Statham) has recently been hired for a security company that is dealing with constant robbery. Passing the test, he is paired up with Bullet (Holt McCallany) and Boy Sweat Dave (Josh Hartnett) to see how everything works. It is not long before H has to come to the rescue of his co-workers, and it makes everyone wonder who he really is, especially boss Terry (Eddie Marsan).

What they do not know is that H is looking for somebody, somebody in particular that he wants to make pay. Revenge is his motive and there is a good reason. Taking one step at a time, he calls in his own crew to start looking at every person possible.

Jackson (Jeffrey Donovan) has a crew of men with Jan (Scott Eastwood), Brad (Deobia Oparei), Carlos (Laz Alonso), Sam (Raul Castillo) and Tom (Chris Reilly) who served together. Unhappy with how they have been treated, they decide to make a point and that is when things start to come together in the worst way.

Follow the money!

Statham as H is as quiet and stealthy as ever. He does not talk much and keeps his focus on finding who is responsible for causing his family pain. Slowly and surely the character of H is not about to let any bad guys get away with anything. That’s typical Statham! This actor has also shown he can cover most genres with action, humor and even a megalodon (I can not wait for THE MEG 2 personally). 

Hartnett as Dave does not like H one bit and has no problem making it clear he finds him annoying. It is not until his armored car is hit that H is not as quick to get on H’s nerves. This is an interesting role as Hartnett is not exactly the hero type. McCallany as Bullet takes H under his wing and actually enjoys his standoffishness. Watching how he handles the crew actually amuses him a bit. McCallany gives us a laid-back armored car driver who is just trying to stay clear of robberies.  

Donovan as Jackson is equally as focused as H in the job he wants to get done. Calm and cook, the problem is that the same cannot be said for the rest of his crew. Eastwood as Jan has a hair trigger both on the gun and with his attitude. 

Other cast include Niamh Algar as Dana, Tadhg Murphy as Shirley, Alessandro Babalola as Stuart, Mark Arnold as Super, Gerald Tyler as Armourer, Alex Ferns as John, Eli Brown as Dougie and Andy Garcia as Agent King.

United Artists is an American production company founded in 1919 by DW Griffith, Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks (now THAT is a line up!). The premise was to allow actors to control their own on-screen destinies but was later acquired by MGM. 

WRATH OF MAN is just about everything you would expect from both director Ritchie and star Statham. There is action, chasing, weaponry, twists in the story, egos and not knowing who to trust. The film takes on every angle of revenge you can possibly imagine. Advanced warning, it can get pretty bloody at times.

Do not blink or you can easily become disoriented but then again, I think that is what was intended all along. To make sure we focus (in my case on Jason Statham) on what H is up to leading to the film examining and re-examining why all of it is happening. 

Coming in a smidgen under two hours, it is an assault on the senses and does not stop to give anyone a breather. Every time you think the story is wrapping up, think again! There is always more to the story and this film is going to make sure every bit of it is told.

In the end – he will never stop, ever!



She in Now Part of the LAND

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray, DVD and Digital from director Robin Wright, Focus Features and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is a story of sadness and living in a dark place hoping to be rescued by the LAND.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Bonus Features on Bluray include Crafting LAND – Filmmakers and cast discuss how shooting in such a beautiful but brutal location added unique challenges and a distinct authenticity and Robin Wright: Feature Film Directorial Debut – Director Robin Wright reveals why this project stoof out from the others she considered for her feature film directorial debut, and how directing the film gave her a unique perspective on what she needed to give as an actress. 

Also, After the Trauma – In this piece we examine the mental process Edee goes through in the aftermath of tragedy, how her pain is relatable, and why this was the perfect time to tell such an uplifting story. 

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

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

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

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


LAMBS OF GOD

Jeri Jacquin

On Topic from director Jeffrey Walker is an intense story of three women who believe in the LAMBS OF GOD.

Sisters Iphigenia (Essie Davis), Margarity (Ann Dowd) and Carla (Jessica Barden) are the last nuns of St. Agnes living on a remote island. Taking care of themselves by raising sheep, they believe they are surrounded by the sisters who came before them. Content with their way of life, no one comes on the island and they never leave. 

The unexpected and frightening visitor of Father Ignatius (Sam Reid) comes to try and destroy everything the women have been protecting. With an attitude of superiority, he soon learns who truly is in charge of the island. The women must make a choice on how to handle the situation and the choice is his.

On the mainland, Father Ignatius’ sister Frankie (Kate Mulvany) is confused as to where her brother is. Believing he was to visit, when he does not show up, she turns to Sgt. Barnaby (Daniel Henshall) investigate. Frankie also turns to the church and lets them know that the press might be interested in the story. 

At St. Agnes, Ignatius is continuing to be defiant and try to get word to the outside world that he is alive and under the control of the nuns. When the message gets to the church, they send Father Bob (Damon Herriman) to investigate using any method possible to keep the church from becoming the focus of any more stories.

Ignatius becomes close to Sister Carla and begins to embrace what is happening around him. When Sister Iphigenia is pushed to go back to the mainland, all hades breaks lose on the island with an ending that is astonishing.

Davis as Sister Iphigenia tries to balance how the women have been living with the danger that Father Ignatius brings with him. She is determined to discover what the church is up to and when they do, she must decide if her old life is something she wants to invite onto the island. Her past has family secrets that are destructive. Davis is truly amazing in this role brining the twists, torment and a life her character never truly reconciled with.  

Dowd as Sister Margarita has issues that have been living in her head and under her skin since she was a young lady. Her fears are kept in check most of the time as she projects and image of a stern and unfeeling nun, but it is far from the truth. I just love Ann Dowd and see her so much an unappreciated actress. Currently in the role of Aunt Lydia in the Hulu smash series The Handmaid’s Tale, she takes this role to the edge and then throws us over!

Barden as Sister Carla is an innocent who has had no exposure to the mainland or outside world. Curious about everything in their world, that curiosity expands to Father Ignatius and all the wizardry and gadgets he brings to St. Agnes. Barden mixes the innocents of Carla with the physical awakenings in a girl her age and not shy about it either. This is a character with the mix of the religious and secular world.

Reid as Father Ignatius goes through some serious stuff with these women. He starts out mouthy and spitting vileness feeling superior over these women he sees as insane and needing to get out of St. Agnes. Watching his character change, Reid’s character has issues of his own that have a chance to be accepted by the sisters and this actor gives a stellar performance in his transformation.

Mulvany as Frankie is not having any of the nonsense from the police or the church. They seem willing to write him off, but Frankie makes it clear she is not stopping until all searches are exhausted. Henshall as Sgt. Barnaby wants to help Frankie in any way possible knowing that she is a handful. Yet with each search, he is by her side feeling the need to protect her.

Herriman as Father Bob is sent to look for Ignatius by ingratiating himself to Frankie and waits for the go ahead from the church to visit the island. Herriman gives his character a creepy vibe that immediately had me yelling at the screen! If you are going to do creepy, this is the way to do it. 

Other cast include Emma Lancaster as Sister Theresa, Yvonne Rae as Sister Assumpta, Sarah Woods as Sister Cook, Heidi Young as Sister Paula, John Bell as Bishop Malone, Henry Hammersia as Constable Day. Sigrid Thornton as Rose Stanford nd Ezekiel Simat as Jeremiah.

The four episodes include The Devil Into Paradise, The Blood of Eden, The Beast Incarnate and Resurrection. 

LAMBS OF GOD is a four-part series that is filled with twists, turns, shocks, second takes, jaw drops and dogma. Each of the sisters has a story to tell and a past that has kept them secluded in the run-down convent. In the midst of madness with Father Ignatius, the reasons behind what they do begin to slowly emerge.

The story shocks and then it is as if the nuns reach through the screen to give you a nice cup of tea to relax for a moment, and then offer a plate of shock cookies! Each of the sisters on the surface is very happy with their cloistered life, but once the Father shows up – all bets are off. They are not the only ones with plans as the church is the whole reason everything happened in the first place.

David, Dowd and Barden ARE the short series and take us on a journey through their lives, their struggles and their journey into a life they are willing to sacrifice everything for. Their gift of story telling and where it leads is something completely mind blowing from start to finish. Adding Reid and Herriman into the mix just brings in a war between priests and nuns and it is so on.

There are details I have left out and for good reason, once again we have here a series that must be experienced and I will not spoil it. So, get some popcorn ready and prep the sofa for a nice little binge ride to St. Agnes. The nuns will be there to greet you!

In the end – welcome to St. Agnus!


RIDERS OF JUSTICE

Jeri Jacquin

Coming from Magnet Releasing, Zentropa entertainmentS3 and writer/director Anders Thomas Jensen is the story of a man who is taking on the RIDERS OF JUSTICE.

Markus (Mads Mikkelsen) is dealing with a tragedy while parenting daughter Mathilde (Andrea Heick Gadeberg). When a survivor Otto (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) from the train wreck comes forward believing that it was no accident, it brings out the soldier in Markus who wants to find out who is responsible for turning his family’s life upside down.

Otto convinces Markus that he can help enlisting friends Lennart (Lars Brygmann) and Emmenthaler (Nicolas Bro) to use their skills to find answers. When they are attacked, Markus brings them to his home where they can work on leads in relative safety. When the group of men go to the house of someone that can perhaps give them answers, Markus shows the depths of his anger.

Mathilde is being kept from all of this under the pretense that Markus is going through therapy and she is thrilled by it. She also finds herself getting close to everyone and even her boyfriend has a chance to spend time with the group. That is when things take a turn as social media might be the death of them all.

Mikkelson as Markus has the opportunity to play a rough, gruff, no nonsense character that can not but help bring people around him that are his exact opposite. The only reason he tolerates any of them is because they can help him do what he believes needs done – take out the person responsible for hurting his family. Let us be honest, Mikkelson does this type of role well in the first place but as Markus, we get to see him deal with the little bit of craziness his new house guests bring. I really enjoyed his role in this because he has to find a way to not only deal with his own issues but everyone else’s as well. 

Kaas as Otto truly believes he knows exactly who is responsible and it is his way of dealing with his own guilt about the accident. A tad twitchy, he tries to reach Markus on a level that will allow the two to work together. Even after irritating Markus beyond belief, Kaas jumps into the family dynamic that is sometimes very charming even if it irritates the parental unit.

Brygmann as Lennart is another emotional bag of hot mess, but he brings to the group more ways to get information to help Markus. It is Otto that tries to keep the situation together and Lennart needs Otto to keep him together. Bro as Emmenthaler is the computer whiz but again, he is someone who can go off the rails just by touching his precious computer parts. He makes it clear he will help but no one is to make his life crazier than it already is.

Gadeberg as Mathilde is a young woman dealing with the loss of the family she loved so much. Turning to her boyfriend for some stability, it irritates her father more than it would any other father because Markus responds quickly. Mathilde lets him know how she is feeling and shares her feelings with the new group that has taken up residence in her home.

Other cast include Roland Moller as Kurt, Albert Lindhardt as Sirius, Anne Lind as Emma, Jacob Lohmann as Kenneth, Henrik Olesen as Noah, Gustav Giese as Adrian and Gustav Lindh as Bodashka. 

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

RIDERS OF JUSTICE is such a mash up of emotion, action, reaction, family, loss, and revenge – and that’s just the role of Markus! Adding three other people to the mix who bring their own brand of insecurities and knowledge that it is no wonder our main character feels like he is more of a babysitter than a man on a mission.

That being said, this group of five does an amazing job of checking all the boxes through every human emotion imaginable and even humor from time to time seeps its way into the story. This is also a story of revenge that gets caught up in itself to the point where it is impossible to know how each character will stop before it’s too late.

In the end – someone is going to pay!


The LAST ACTION HERO Makes it to Steelbook

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to everyone’s home entertainment library in a very cool Steelbook 4K Ultra HD Bluray from director John McTiernan and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is the LAST ACTION HERO.

Danny (Austin O’Brien) is a young kid who lives in the part of New York City that is not exactly walking down the street friends. Living with mom Irene (Mercedes Ruehl) who is widowed, Danny spends his time watching movies. His favorites are about a cop named Jack Slater (Arnold Schwarzenegger) who is almost invincible. 

He hangs out at the local theatre helping the projectionist, Nick (Robert Prosky). As kind of a thanks, Danny gets a ticket to see the early Jack Slater IV film. The story behind the ticket is that it once belonged to Harry Houdini. While watching the film, Danny finds himself IN the film! As the boy recognizes characters like Whiskers the cat detective (voiced by Danny DeVito), he tries to tell Slater that there are people he cannot trust.

When Slater’s boss Lt. Dekker assigns Danny as his partner, they start investigating Tony Vivaldi (Anthony Quinn) and Mr. Benedict (Charles Dance). Curious how they knew where to find them, they follow Slater and Danny home where daughter Whitney (Bridgette Wilson) is waiting and also manages to get the golden ticket. He also learns what it can do!

Danny finally tells Slater the reality of the situation once they reach Danny’s side of it all where he meets Mom Irene. Benedict, also in Danny’s world makes plans to deal with Slater by taking out the actor Arnold Schwarzenegger. That is when it becomes time to terminate the bad guys!

O’Brien as Danny is such a strong kid and has no problem telling it like it is. He is a character we can all relate to finding escape in the movies. We have all done that and we have all found characters that we embrace so we absolutely are with this young man every step of the way. 

Schwarzenegger as Slater (and himself) gives us the characters he came to be known for. Strong of course but also stubborn, relentless, and even funny. Here he is once again a cop with an opinion about everything thinking he knows what is best. This is a character we 80’s fans ‘grew up’ with so to speak and anytime there was a Schwarzenegger film in theatres, the lines were packed to get in. 

Quinn as Vivaldi gets a chance to play a role that is filled with a great story and a bad guys, not that he has not done it in his previous roles – this one is just a tad twistedly different. Dance as Mr. Benedict is as amazing as ever and, like Schwarzenegger, can give a bad guy everything needed without really using a bit of muscle. He has sharpened his career with these roles and will always be ‘my dear brother Numsee’ (look up THAT reference kids). 

Other cast include Tom Noonan as the Ripper, Frank McRae as Lt. Dekker, Ryan Todd as Andrew Slater, and F. Murray Abraham as Salieri. Cameos by Sharon Stone, Tina Turner, Robert Patrick, Mike Muscat, Maria Shriver, Little Richard, Leeza Gibbons, Jim Belushi, Chevy Chase, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Ian McKellen. 

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.

4K Ultra HD Special Features include Newly remastered in 4K resolution from the original camera negative with HDR 10, All-new Dolby Atmos audio plus the original theatrical ADDS mix presented as 5.1+ original theatrical stereo audio, Audio Commentary with Director John McTiernan, Deleted & Alternate Scenes (presented in 4K with HDR10), Alternate Ending, “Big Gun” Music Video by AC/DC, Original Behind-The-Scene Featurette and Theatrical Teaser. 

Let us be honest with one another, the LAST ACTION HERO is on the list on any 90’s film fan because that time brought us some amazing and memorable films. It is a time when movies were actually put on the screen to entertain us in ways that had us leaving the theatres laughing and repeating our favorite lines – not so much anymore. Seems now all the films are full of lectures and telling us repeat stories from original films we refuse to emotionally let go of.

LAST ACTION HERO is fun, funny, entertaining, makes us cheer, jump, laugh and root for the underdog with every fiber of our being. It was a theatrical experience then and with the fantastically large flat screens and sound bars we have in our homes now – this is one film that can feel like it is the 90’s all over again and truthfully, that is not a bad thing.

Having LAST ACTION HERO in a very cool Steelbook is an absolute bonus and adds to its coolness from the 90’s to 2021.

In the end – the oddest pairing will save both our worlds!


​WILLY’S WONDERLAND

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on Bluray from director Kevin Lewis and Screen Media comes a riveting tale of campy and horror at WILLY'S WONDERLAND.

Driving down the road in Hayesville Nevada, a quiet man’s (Nicholas Cage) car hits a spike strip that causes him to have to call for a tow truck. Being told by Jed (Chris Warner) what the cost to replace his tires and having no funds, he is offered a one-night position that would take care of the bill. All he has to do is be the janitor at Willy’s Wonderland for owner Tex Macadoo (Ric Reitz) and clean up the place.

Liv Hawthorne (Emily Toasta) bucks against her Sheriff Lund (Beth Grant), she plans to take her friends to Willy’s Wonderland to burn it to the ground. Inside, the new Janitor takes his word seriously yet feels like something is odd about the animatronics in the place. There is Willy Weasel, Arty Alligator, Cammy Chameleon, Ozzie Ostrich, Tito Turtle, Knighty Knight, Gus Gorilla and Siren Sara and he is keeping an eye on them all.

Kicking up the music, drinking energy drinks and finding a pin ball machine, the Janitor passes the time by himself. That is until Ozzie Ostrich decides to be the very first of the animatronics to attack him. While this is happening, Sherriff Lund is telling Deputy Olson (David Sheftell) the story about the town and Willy’s Wonderland which includes who the animatronics really are.

That is when Liv arrives with her friends with the intention of burning the place but first, they want to rescue the Janitor who is still inside. None of her friends believes that the animatronics are moving until they are forced to believe, and the Janitor must repeatedly step in. 

They must somehow make it till morning!

Cage as the unsuspecting Janitor is cool from beginning to end without ever giving anything away. Loaded up on energy drinks, music and pinball, the animatronics do not stand a chance. He is calm, cool, collected and ready to kick some metal and plastic ass. I actually love Cage in this role because he is the only one in the film that is not losing his focus both in cleaning Willy’s Wonderland and dealing with taking out the trash. Fantastic!

Toasta as Liv is a young girl with a story of her own that is linked to Willy’s Wonderland and she has one goal – to see it turned into ashes. What she does not expect is a night filled with terror running from something that does not make any sense. Toasta is just as wild as the Janitor so they make an excellent pairing to survive.

Grant as the Sherriff tells the story of Willy’s Wonderland and it makes one’s jaw drop to think that knowing what she does, that going along to get along is okay. Let me tell you, if animatronics were freaking out my community, trust when I say it would be all hands-on deck for a fight like no other. 

Warner and Reitz are in it together from start to finish playing off one another in a bid to keep Willy’s Wonderland, well, operational. Sheftell as Deputy Olson does not have a clue about the town he is living in and even after he is told there does not seem to be much of a chance that he will help the over night janitor. 

Other cast include Kai Kadlec as Chris Muley, Caylee Cowan as Kathy Barnes, Terayle Hill as Bob McDaniel, Christian Del Grosso as Aaron Powers, Jonathan Mercedes as Dan Lorraine, and Grant Cramer as Jerry Willis.

Screen Media is an international distributor of television series and films, licensing content through theatrical, home video, pay-per-view, free, cable and pay television, and subscription and advertising video-on-demand platforms. With one of the largest independently owned libraries of filmed entertainment in the world and license agreements across all forms of media, the company is continually looking to add films and television series to its content library.

The special Features include Inside the Fun: The Making of WILLY’S WONDERLAND, Set Tour with Christian Del Grosso, Colorful Darkness and the Demon-Atrons: The Production Design of WILLY’S WONDERLAND, Fresh Meat: (The Cast) DVD Exclusive and Character and Production Design Artwork Galleries. WILLY’S WONDERLAND also has an excellent soundtrack that goes perfect with the film. 
WILLY’S WONDERLAND also has an excellent soundtrack that goes perfect with the film. 

Cage absolutely makes the film with his portrayal of the leather jacket turned Willy’s Wonderland t-shirt wearing one night janitor. Just everything he does has a purpose, and every situation gets the same ‘oh this?’ attitude. There is nothing that seems to surprise him which is pretty cool since everyone else around him keeps losing their minds.

I had such a fantastic time watching this film. It has a gitchiness to it as well as the feel of films from the 70’s. The story is campy, but the action is non-stop and spine tingling, literally. This is the new Friday night go to for fun times on the couch with popcorn and a group of like-minded twisted friends. 

In the end – let playtime begin!


DREAM HORSE

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres and then On Demand From writer/director John Gatins and Bleeker Street comes a story of surprise, a community together and a DREAM HORSE.

Jan Vokes (Toni Collette) lives in a small Welsh town where everybody knows everybody. Getting up and going to work at the market and then at the local pub, Jan is feeling the itch to do something more with her life. That's when she gets the idea to buy a mare and breed a race horse.

Husband Brian "Daisy" (Owen Teale) cannot believe what his wife could be thinking but finds himself building a stable in their back yard. Knowing it is going to take a flow of money to make this happen, Jan enlists the help of Howard Davies (Damian Lewis) who has some experience with horses.

Calling a town meeting, Jan explains her plan and soon discovers that there is excitement brewing and many want to be included. Now comes the hard part, finding a mare and finding the right horse to breed her with. As things begin to fall into place - a foal is born, and the town is abuzz. The group comes together and names their spirted young foal Dream Alliance.

Now it is time for the alliance to see what their faith and money have brought them. It is time to race until Dream finds himself and his alliance at the Welsh Grand Nationals.

Collette as Jan is perfect for this role in that she has the ability to make her role look easy. Pushed by life and a strong belief in something better for everyone, Collette gives her character the same feistiness as the foal she is truly fond of.

Lewis as Davies is a man who has a history, both good and not so good, with horse racing. Not so sure about Jan from the beginning, Lewis gives his character a second chance to make things right with the choices he has made in his life and making good on a past mistake with his family. Lewis also gets the opportunity to play a role that is not as intense as his HOMELAND and BILLIONS character and it is nice to see.

Vokes as Owen is a man who has been letting the television tell him about the world around him. Once Dream comes into their lives, he finds that passion for life can be found in a smelly stable - and he is happy about it. Trying to support his wife and do right by the townspeople is where his difficulties lie.

The townsfolk and family round out the rest of the cast and provide laughs, smiles and a sense of community so thank you goes to Nicholas Farrell as Phillip Hobbs, Sian Phillips as Maureen, Karl Johnson as Kerby, Peter Davison as Lord Avery, Steffan Rhodri as Gerwyn, Anthony O'Donnell as Maldwyn, Alex Jordan as Johnson White, Max Hutchinson as James Lingsford, Lynda Baron as Elsie, Asheq Akhtar as Peter, and Darren Evans as Goose.

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

DREAM HORSE has many facets to it for a wide-ranging audience. First, it is a story based on the life of Dream Alliance and the history of his races. There were many other races than the ones shown in the film and he did exceedingly well and retired in 2012 to a life of leisure.

The film is also the story of a Welsh community who came together for something that gave them all great joy and excitement. There is something to be said for that, especially in times where a community can feel apart and disconnected.

Finally, it is the story of a woman who did something unique and saw it through till the end. She didn't hesitate to make decisions and made it perfectly clear that her objective was to protect Dream at all costs. Standing up for herself brought others around her to do the very same and that is everything.

So gather the family to watch a story that is filled with determination, love, friendship and understanding for both the two legged and four legged creatures of the earth and enjoy DREAM HORSE.

In the end - hearts will race!

He Lives in the Midst of SIN

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to DVD from Oscar nominated director Konchalovsky and Corinth Films is the story of the life and struggles of Michelangelo in SIN.

Michelangelo Buonarroti (Alberto Testone) is living in Florence in the 16th century working himself almost to death. Struggling to paint and sculpt at the whim of those who have money, and the church are breaking him. The Sistine Chapel has stopped the coin to his account which also is being dipped into by his father Ludovico (Andriano Chiaramida) and brother Giovan (Roberto Serpi).

Pope Julius II adores Michelangelo referring to him as ‘divine’ even if he causes the elder pontiff headache after headache. Wanting Michelangelo to do the statues for his tomb, it all begins to fall apart when there is a change from the Della Rovere family to the Medici family. He puts everything into the work, including going to the town of Carrara and looking for only the finest, purest white marble to work with.

That is when he sees a piece that will be known as ‘the monster’ for its size, local and how to get it down off the mountain. Being called to hold to his contract with the Della Rovere family, he is called to the chamber of the new head of the church Pope Leo X (Simone Toffanin) who wants a contract with him as well. He wants a new façade to the San Lorenzo basilica. 

Caught in between these two powerful families, Michelangelo becomes torn, and his mental state is pushed to the limits as there is no one he can trust. All around him is deception, secrets, death and his own questioning of the work of Michelangelo. 

Testone as Michelangelo carries the film from the first frame to the last. Trying his best to stay alive while making two powerful families happy is what begins to destroy him. Pope Julius II gave him plenty of space (no matter how aggravated it made him to do so) to create some of the most powerful, moving and stunningly beautiful art that still moves the human spirit today. Looking to make only the best statues out of marble, he struggles again between contracts, but it is those around him that want every fiber of his being.

Following the story, it is when he finds ‘the monster’ that I am riveted by Testone and his insatiable need for that piece of marble. Yes, it is beautiful but at what cost will it be to get it where he wants it to go. His world continues to crumble around him because each person he lets into his life wants a pound of flesh and a bag of gold to be either closest to him or closest to killing him. 

Other cast include Orso Guerrini as Malaspina, Jakob Diehl as Peppe, Glen Blackhall as Raphael, Nicola De Paola as Cardinale De’Medici, Anita Pititto as Marchesa D’Este, Antonio Gargiula as Francesco della Rovere, and Federico Vanni as Jacopo Sansovino.

Corinth Films has been distributing foreign and independent arthouse cinema to audiences since 1977. Beginning with such classics as David Lynch’s EARASERHEAD and Deferico Fellini’s 8 ½, Corinth’s most recent releases have included films by up-and-coming international directors such as Nadav Lapid and Mika Kaurismaki as well as acclaimed auteurs such as Andrei Knchalovsky, Mohsen Makhmalbag and Edgar Reitz. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.corinthfilms.com.  

The Bonus Features including The Making of SIN and Q&A with Konchalovsky moderated by Alex Kaluzhsky.

SIN is a story that will not let the viewer take one moment of breath no matter what the scene because there is always something more behind it. Testone’s Michelangelo can be sitting on a piece of rock, walking for miles talking to himself or confronting those around him and underneath it all is an artist’s madness that is gaining ground.

This is a large cast for this one hundred- and thirty-four-minute story and each contribute in some way to how Michelangelo responds to the situations in his life. From the Pope to the stone masons, he gets respect but at the same time jealousy rears its ugly head from Raphael to those who are supposed to be helping him. 

Underneath the madness as well is the artists beauty that he finds in a young girl’s hand and in a piece of stone making him feel a sense that what he does has meaning. I do not believe that Michelangelo could ever have imaged that his work, life and beauty could be seen and experienced five centuries later. 

In the end – deceiver, scoundrel and genius!









AMERICAN TRAITOR: The Trial of Axis Sally

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres and OnDemand from director Michael Polish, Vertical and Redbox is the story of a woman who stands trial for being an AMERICAN TRAITOR: The Trial of Axis Sally.

It is World War II and American Mildred Gillars (Meadow Williams) is living in Germany with the love of her life Max Koischwitz (Carsten Norgaard). It is not long before she is brought to Joseph Goebbels (Thomas Kretschmann) who makes it clear that if she wants things to stay safe for her, she will do radio broadcasts exactly as the script says. The program consists of Mildred singing swing songs and propaganda written by Goebbels.

Soon after the war she is arrested and brought to stand trial in the United States for being the traitor known as Axis Sally. Representing her is James Laughlin (Al Pacino) who has an unusual way of doing things and brings Billy Owen (Swen Temmel) on board to help with Mildred. 

On the other side of the courtroom is John Kelly (Mitch Pileggi) who is making sure in his opening statement that everyone realizes why she is standing trial. Bringing out both verbal barrels, Kelly paints an ugly picture of a woman who turned on her country and the soldiers she used during her broadcasts.

While in her cell, Billy tries to get her to talk about what happened to her in Germany and when she finally does, it becomes clear that not everything has been told. Laughlin is going to have to work fast so that the truth will come out or else Mildred will be hanged for treason!

Pacino as Laughin gets a chance to put on his quirk in the form of a lawyer who does not do things exactly as expected. From the moment he meets Mildred until the end, he tries to see all that is possible and how to keep his client alive. Pacino does quirk well and gives fire when he wants your attention.

Williams as Gillars puts on a very stern face and is not exactly a warm person. She had a sharp and cutting wit knowing that there is no way the U.S. is going to listen to her story, not after being labeled ‘Axis Sally’ for so long. Trust is not easily given, and Williams puts up the toughest wall ever.

Temmel as Owen is a young lawyer who believes he has what it takes to work with Laughlin but does not exactly know what to expect. Working with Laughlin will be an experience and Temmel gives his character the reactions of a straightforward man of the law. Norgaard as Koischwitz is in the same boat as Mildred in that he has to find a way to keep them together and alive doing things and seeing things he can hardly bear. 

Kretschmann as Goebbels is vicious, evil and diabolical in the way he thinks and what he does to keep his radio program popular with both Germans and Americans. There is a heavy price to pay for trying to go against him. Pileggi as Kelly is not about to let this case get away and wants justice for everyone by making Mildred take the full brunt of it. 


Other cast include Lala Kent as Elva and Drew Taylor as Randy.

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

AMERICAN TRAITOR: The Trial of Axis Sally is based on the book Axis Sally Confidential by William E. Owen. Mildred Gillars traveled the world, married and widowed until landing in Germany and becoming part of the RRG and the show Home Sweet Home. Listened to in the United States as well as abroad, she has several other choice names that listeners called her. 

The film shows Mildred as a very guarded woman who is refusing to tell her side of the story, main, I’m assuming because no one will believe her. In this story, there is a darker side to her time in Germany at the hands of Goebbels that, knowing his history, seems very believable. In the middle, to my way of thinking, brings tons of questions about her life that I am very interested in.

In the end – who truly is Axis Sally?


SPIRIT UNTAMED is Filled with Family and Horses

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from director Elaine Bogan and DreamWorks comes the story of family, friendship and being SPIRIT UNTAMED.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the end – nothing will break their spirit!

Hulu Brings the Ruthlessness in SALEM

Jeri Jacquin

Currently playing on HULU from creators Brannon Braga and Adam Simon is the haunting series that has three exciting seasons when telling the story of terror in SALEM. 

It is the 17th Century, and the puritanical town of Salem is experiencing the punishment for going against the church. Leading the way to seek out more punishment is George Sibley (Michael Mulheren) who seems to enjoy his leadership role. Not afraid of what is happening is John Alden (Shane West) and makes his feelings plain stopped only by his friend Giles Corey (Kevin Tighe). Going off to war he says a final goodbye to his love Mary (Janet Montgomery) and does not know that she is left behind to face motherhood.

Helping her is Tituba (Ashley Madekwe) and into the woods they go to do what is clearly against the church. Upon hearing the news of Johns death, Mary once again must make a decision that will change her life believing John has died. Imagine the surprise when years later John returns alive, and war torn. Drowning his sorrows, John finds himself helping Reverend Lewis (Thomas Murphy) with a little problem of the young Mercy Lewis (Elise Eberle) possession, but he does not believe in it.

Magistrate John Hale (Xander Berkeley) is trying to learn how Reverend Lewis plans to weed out the witches he claims are still among the people of Salem. Isaac (Iddo Goldberg) who was branded before the war, seeks out John and tells him that the witches are real. They need to look no further than Mary herself when she is responsible for the condition her husband George is in as an act of vengeance. 

Hale’s daughter Anne (Tamzin Merchant) is fascinated by Captain John Alden and his experiences with the Indians. At a dinner hosted by Mary, she and John have a chance to be alone and talk about what has happened the past few years. Sad by it all, it is Tituba that reminds Mary of what she has gained and what she has to lose and, more importantly, what is to come during the night.

Reverend Lewis is working with a young girl tries to tell him who are the witches in Salem. Since she can not speak, Lewis chains her and takes her out among the townsfolk to point a finger at all those responsible with disastrous results. As John intends to leave Salem, Isaac shows him a hideousness in the night at the same time tat Tituba performs the Grand Rite with Mary. Now more lives are in danger!

When John learns that Giles is being punished by Lewis, he becomes enraged but what he does not know is that Mary has plans for Salem. Plotting to use a sad birth as a way to declare a religious war against the midwife and townspeople as everything that is deep and disturbing could very well be the end of the faithful of Salem. 

Montgomery as Mary is a woman who had been living with a broken heart until the return of John Alden. One night in the woods turns a sweet young woman into something that will bring terror and mayhem to the town of Salem. Montgomery gives her character strength and the will to do what Tituba thinks necessary to keep her power but there is also the part of her character that remembers a love that haunts her. This is a powerful series and Montgomery does her character justice.

West as Alden is a man in love but going off to war. When he returns there is nothing left of the Salem he remembers, instead there is chaos, fear and a woman who no longer resembles the young girl he left behind. West gives his character a no-nonsense attitude and a disbelief that is about to be changed in a major way. Admitting there is something happening, West’s character also knows when to call out wrong.

Berkeley as Hale follows Mary’s instructions, but it is clear he does not share in the way she wants things done. Trying to find a middle ground, he many of his family members suffer a fiery fate and is trying to keep the family he has left from. Berkeley always turns in a stellar performance. Goldberg as Isaac is the town man marked with the F and everyone stays away, everyone except Alden. Turning to him for help will not keep him safe but he is a strong character who is going to give the town a run for its coin. 

Murphy as Reverend Lewis gives us the duality of character that does not mind screaming from the pulpit and pointing at sinners when he partakes of the thing he preaches against. Murphy gives his character complexity and lots of confusion as to what he truly believes. Mulheren as Sibley started something that has turn against him. Not a liked man in the beginning, what goes around comes around and it is harsh.

Merchant as Anne is a young strong-minded red-headed woman who does not know her father has a bigger role in what is happening than she could ever imagine. Questioning everything puts her at odds with Mary and puts her life in jeopardy. Madekwe as Tituba knows how to deal with the forces of darkness and leads Mary through it all. She is smart and does not take kindly to being questioned, and actually I would not think it a good idea at all!

Other cast include Azure Parsons as Gloriana Embry, Stephen Lang as Increase Mather, Morgana Shaw as Mab, Christopher Berry as The Seer and Diane Salinger as Rose Browning.

Hulu is the leading premium streaming service offering live and on-demand television and movies. The platform gives viewers instant access to current shows, libraries of hit television series and film as well as Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning originals such as The Handmaid’s Tale and The Act. For more of what Hulu has to offer please visit www.hulu.com.

SALEM is an absolute binge-watching series. The story deals with an era of fear and finger pointing of witchcraft with results that became legendary. Each of the characters has a role that is equally important in the telling of the story created by Braga and Simon. The world they have created is harsh and a struggle to survive and when you add the story of witchcraft well, terror abounds.

There are very few characters that can be taken at face value and very few characters that are not in service of the darkness in one way or another. The shadows are around every corner and never have a drink with anyone else find out you have been given something that could put you on the pyre. 

The set design and costuming is perfection as again I am drawn to watching anything that has such an amazing unspoken character that blends in beautifully without saying a word. Instead, it shows itself to be an unstoppable visual treat from start to finish. 

So, if you are looking for an very cool three season binge-worthy series, might I suggest you become a fly on the wall to view what is happening in SALEM. 

In the end – everything in Salem has gone to hell!


THE COURIER Learns About Spying on Bluray

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray and Digital from director Dominic Cooke, Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate Home Entertainment comes the story of country, secrets and spying when you are THE COURIER.

Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a hard-working British engineer and businessman who travels extensively to keep wife Sheila (Jessie Buckley) and their son Andrew (Keir Hills) provided for. It is a struggle with the constant fear of the Cold War and Khrushchev (Vladimir Chuprikov) as agencies struggle to get information.

Emily Donovan (Rachel Brosnahan) from the FBI enlists the help of MI6 and Bertrand (Anton Lesser) to work together. Especially since Russian Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze) has reached out wanting to give them Russian secrets. Donovan and Bertrand reach out to Wynne with the proposition of being the courier.

At first Wynne is hesitant worrying about his wife and young son but are assured that if there is any danger, he would be immediately removed from the situation. Not being a part of the government offers him some cover. On his first trip to Moscow, he meets Oleg and a relationship begins. As the exchanges happen, a friendship also grows and at the same time things heat up between the United States and Russia.

When the friendship is put to the test, Wynne will do anything necessary to protect his family and his friend Oleg. Both decisions may cost him everything! 

Cumberbatch as Wynne who is an average British citizen enjoying his work and returning home to his family. Listening to the radio with a cup of tea is everything in his world. When asked to become a courier, Cumberbatch gives us the other side of a very nervous man who wants to do what is required to keep his country safe. Cumberbatch gives us the right amount of nervous mixed with the right amount of bravery that being a courier took. I loved this role!

Ninidze as Oleg is stunning from the moment he is on the screen to the very strong scene with Wynne when it all comes to a head. Becoming friends with Wynne was probably not something Oleg thought would happen but sharing his love of ballet and even moments with his family bring these two men in a dangerous situation, normal moments as it were. Ninidze gave intense on top of intense and I could not take my gaze off of every movement he made. This is a combination of character calculation and actor calculation, and they equal superb.

Brosnahan as Donovan is a woman who knows what it takes to get the information they need. She pushes hard to get everyone to cooperate, and her pushes bears more fruit than they could ever have imagined. Brosnahan is pure go-getter and each step she takes adds so much to the already intense film. Buckley as Sheila has issues with her husband being gone for long periods and so far away. Their marriage becomes shaky as a result of his secrecy and Buckley plays it strong. 

Other cast include James Schofield as Cox, Fred Haig as Lee, Emma Penzina as Nina, Mariya Mironova as Vera, Charles Walter as Illya, and Angus Wright as Dickie Franks. 

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.

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

The Special Features are On the Brink: The Making of THE COURIER. 

THE COURIER is based on the true story of Grenville Wynne who also write two books. In 1967 with The Man From Moscow and the 1981 book The Man From Odessa. The film takes its time progressing the relationship with the US and MI6 and once Penkovsky is introduced, it is easy to see how these two men put their lives on the line.

Cumberbatch and Ninidze are just sublime in these roles and give the viewer a reason for what each of them does and why. In that alone these two actors give their characters what is needed to keep us riveted in where the story goes and true concern when it all seems to come to a dangerous and inevitable outcome.

Obviously, I am being a little vague because, as with all films I find intriguing, I am a firm believer in seeing those details for yourself. THE COURIER is cinematically outstanding, and the costuming adds to the story being told by director Cooke. A fan of period pieces, films like THE COURIER will always get my undivided attention and high praise.

In the end – he is a businessman turned spy to save us all!


SESAME STREET: Cool Counting Collection 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to DVD and Digital from Shout! Kids and the Sesame Street Workshop is family fun and learning with SESAME STREET: Cool Counting Collection. 

Sesame Street brings the favorite character of counting with the Count. Starting out with learning about the number 0 with a superhero and celebrating the number of the day which is still a tune we sing in this family. Also being part of a lot of teaching moments is Elmo, the Grouch, Abby and enjoying the numbers with a little bit of dancing and singing.

Feist shares counting to four with many of the Sesame Street gang with penguins and chickens who visited the local shore. Continuing with the number four are adults who are a band of unique sounds that makes four fun! The group Train joins the Count in being excited about being a song group of five.

The Count now has us all stomping our feet because the number of the day is 6! But nothing can prepare use for the seven dancing chickens who are clucking to represent the number 7. Leave it to our favorite vampire to remind us that 8 is great followed by 9 dancing dinosaurs which is always cool. 

Count decides to hang out in space to count to the number 10 along with Elmo and Abby. It is an adventure to count ten unusual space creatures! He also brings good friend Dale to show us an interesting way to reach the number 11. Cookie Monster is more than willing to help with the counting of 12 because, of course, there are cookies involved.

The numbers are getting bigger and bigger as we see how many it takes to represent 13 with jumps, pears, silly muddy dogs, and lovely bees. Down on the farm the twin monsters learn about 14. On to the supermarket, the question of how many ingredients does it take to make a dinner comes to 15. The aliens are back to give us a look into the magical 16. 

The number of the day brings Snuffy and Big Bird to talk about 17. Nothing is better than visiting a garden and counting the garden to find that there are 18 lovely blooms to admire. Count decides he wants to give a popular 80’s song a face lift all the way to 19. Finally (and perhaps the best) is when the Count makes the emotional count to 20 with the help of actor Liam Neeson. 

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.

Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit media and educational organization behind Sesame Street and the amazing television show. Teaching children since 1969, Sesame Workshop is a force for change and a mission to help kids everywhere grow smarter, stronger and kinder. Reaching over 150 countries, Sesame Workshop tailors to the needs of the culture and communities they serve. For more information, please visit www.sesameworkshop.org. 

The Bonus Features include Street Story: Numeric-Con, Street Story: Elmo and Zoe’s Hat Contest, Abby’s Flying Fairy School: Sheepytime and Elmo’s World: Counting. 

There is never a need to tell anybody about the importance and fun of what Sesame Street has brought to families worldwide. Everyone knows Big Bird, Elmo, Cookie Monster, the Grouch, Abby and, of course, the Count.

My own granddaughter spent the first three years of her life living off of Sesame Street and singing along to the songs that, at the age of six, she remembers and still sings to. That is the impact that this program has brought to my own family, can you imagine the other children in this country and the other 149 countries? That is a stellar accomplishment of being a part of educating and reaching children through song, fun, humor and loveable characters.

There is always something new, informative, in the way they teach they basics of numbers. It is every changing to fit the needs of children because learning is constantly changing, and Sesame Street knows that. It is colorful and reaches a level that children understand and want to know more about. Let’s admit it adults, we still get a kick out of watching as well.

Sesame Street is currently celebrating its 51st season on television and is the country’s longest running children’s television program receiving more Emmy Awards than any other television show in history – and it is more than well deserved.

In the end – you can count on your friend and count with them too!

It all comes in a FLASHBACK on Bluray 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray from writer/director Christopher MacBride, Grindstone and Lionsgate comes a story of a world in FLASHBACK.

Fredrick Fitzell (Dylan O’Brien) is a hard-working husband to Karen (Hannah Gross). When his mother is taken ill, life begins to take a strange turn. Trying to deal with his emotions, Fred finds himself unable to sleep and returning to something he once loved – drawing. It is also when flashbacks of his childhood begin to happen.

The memory of Cindy (Maika Monroe), Andre (Keir Gilchrist) and Sebastian (Emor Cohen) during high school comes forward. There is something that blocks him, something that is disturbing, and he cannot seem to face. Reconnecting with Sebastian, Fred is not getting many answers, but they find Andre and the conversation turns to Cindy. 

Remembering the last time they were together brings bad memories to Andre and Sebastian and want nothing more to do with what ever it is Fred is looking for. That night, each took a drug called Mercury with consequences they could have never imagined. Fred finds himself in the past and the present jumping from a life he once had to the life he is living now.

His work is suffering under the watchful eye of Evelyn (Amanda Brugel) When he finally finds Cindy, his life changes again but this time there is a nagging feeling calling him but to where next? Putting the pieces together he joins Cindy in the memory jumps on Mercury and experiences yet another life but is it all truly enough?

O’Brien as Fred has the unique opportunity to play a character that must see his life from different remembrances and for a time that he thought he wanted. He can not seem to piece together what is happening, what has happened and what is going to happen without anxiety pushing its way into it all. Of course, who would not yet O’Brien follows the leads he feels he is getting. Going from THE MAZE RUNNER to FLASHBACK is definetly a serious change and well done.

Monroe as Cindy disappeared from the group after high school, and she cannot be found by Fred. She is living a life that has kept her secluded with people she trusts yet when Fred crosses her path again, so does their high school relationship. Cohen as Sebastian is somewhat happy to see Fred but not to happy about the topics he keeps bringing up. Gilchrist as Andre has the biggest fear about that last night. 

Gross as Karen is trying to keep her husband focused on his work and spending time with his mother, but Fred keeps slipping away. She sees the results of the memories that have come flooding with no idea what is causing them. Brugel as Evelyn has a distinctive look and if she looks familiar, think The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu because she is awesome!

Other cast include Liisa Repo-Martell as Mrs. Fitzell, Landon Norris as the Scarred Man, Jackie English as Violet, and Aaron Poole as Pierced Man. 

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 include Director’s Commentary, Deleted Scenes and Theatrical Trailer. 

FLASHBACK is a film that digs deep into a world that is darker and more twisted up than anything a matrix can throw out. It takes one memory to open up a vastness of confusion for Fred and even as he tries to put the pieces together, the roads are narrow and hard to navigate. Following what ever lead comes his way, I was invested and had the same quizzical look on my face as Fred.

When he begins to believe everything that is happening, watching Fred challenge all he has come to believe is something relatable because don’t we all do that? Piecing thing together in our lives to find out what life it is we want against a life we thought we have missed? There are so many ways to see the message that FLASHBACK is trying to bring from politics to reality to choices – endless possibilities. Prepare to be taken on a wild ride.

In the end – in the blink of an eye your life can turn upside down!


SERVANT Brings More Answers in Season Two

Jeri Jacquin

Returning to Apple TV+ for its second season from writer Tony Basgallop and executive produced with M. Night Shyamalan is SERVANT.

Dorothy (Lauren Ambrose) is devastated by the disappearance of her son Jericho and Leanne (Nell Free). Calling the police to report the kidnapping sends husband Sean (Toby Kebbell) running through the house to hide anything that that would suggest the infant was there. Instead, Sean and brother-in-law Julian (Rupert Grint) tell the police that Dorothy is suffering from the loss of their son and the fake baby was supposed to help.

Once alone, Sean decides he is going to do everything possible to find Jericho even if it means dealing with the cult Leanne has brought into their life and the woman known as May. Julian has other plans for the doll and decides he knows what is best for his sister and even hires Roscoe (Phillip Brannon) to help out. Dorothy begins to use her reporter skills and goes insane on the internet looking for new stories that can tell her more about the cult.

The story of what happened to Dorothy slowly makes its way to the surface, she keeps busy with her on-air reporting and announcing Leanne’s disappearance. When they believe her location is clear at the Marino house, Sean uses his cooking skills to find out for sure. Tobe (Tony Revolori) becomes a delivery driver and does not realize he is also being used to bring Leanne back. Dorothy has no intention of making life easy for Leanne and relies on tactics to get the information about Jericho.

What she does not count on is the arrival of Uncle George (Boris McGiver) who makes it clear that none of this should have ever happened. Convinced that Leanne has gone astray from their beliefs, he brings a mysterious case that is to remind her of why she should return to the fold. The Turners are not exactly sure what his plan is but are blinded with hope when Uncle George assures them that things will work out.

Dorothy is on a spree preparing for Jericho’s return and wants to have a family gathering. Bringing them all together is not exactly going to go as planned as Dorothy, Julian, and Sean deal with their own troubles that are hitting them hard. As if everything was not difficult enough, a knock comes at the door as a woman in a black veil introduces herself as Aunt Josephine (Barbara Sukowa).

Josephine makes it clear to Dorothy and Sean that Leanne has strayed and although the couple are in pain regarding Jericho, nothing more can be done. A showdown is about to happen with all involved and the shock is yet to come.

Ambrose as Dorothy has now been put to every ounce of stress dealing with something she has no control over. The only thing she seems to have control of is not having control. Ambrose give Dorothy moments of sanity where she seems to be on the right track and then she goes whack-a-doodle but in the best of ways that keep my attention because, and let us be honest, it is like a train wreck, and we have to see the outcome. 

Kebbell as Sean seems to be the one that truly understands the insanity of what he and Dorothy are dealing with. Yet, there is that part of him that can not help but be caught up in it all with the help of Julian’s own brand of craziness. He wants Jericho, he wants his wife happy, and he wants his world back so jumping in with both feet – he seems to be landing in quicksand!

Free as Leanne comes from a world that is twisted and altered in the perception of religion. It is her breakaway to Dorothy and Sean’s house that has caused all the issues until the issues start knocking on their door! Free is torn between two worlds and the consequences be damned – literally.

McGiver as Uncle George creeps me out to the highest level of creepiness. That is how you know this character is bringing in more story that is just bursting to be told. Sukowa as Aunt Josephine is another piece to the puzzle and covered in a veil just like the mystery that is still waiting to be uncovered. 

Now, lets talk about Grint as Julian because let’s put in an OMG right here. As Julian he is the go between in the chaos even if he brings a bit of unusualness to the way he thinks. Of course, dealing with his own demons, those demons sometimes cross the lines between what his sister wants, his own life and helping Sean. Then again, being an uncle to a doll is not always easy. Grint is stunning, entertaining and completely engrossing as Julian and this season he crosses a few more dangerous lines.

Other cast include Mason and Julius Belford as baby Jericho, Katie Hillas Kourtney, Alison Elliott as May Markhem, Todd Waring as Frank Pearce, Jerrika Hinton as Natalie Gorman, Molly Griggs as Isabelle Carrick and M. Night Shyamalan as a pizza delivery man. 

Apple TV+ is a streaming service featuring Apple Originals, award-winning series, compelling dramas, groundbreaking documentaries, kids’ entertainment, comedies, and more with new Apple Originals added every month. To see more of what they have to offer please visit www.appletvplus.com.

SERVANT is twisted, mysterious, chaotic, amusing, jaw dropping, and I almost wish it was an hour long instead of the half hour. Thinking about that more I realize that the series would not be as on-the-edge if the show became an hour per episode. Each ending is spectacular and pushes the brain to want more. 

This leads to the anticipated ‘ohhhhh maaaaaaaaaaaaan’ when the season is over for the next year. Let us hope that Apple TV+ can kick into high gear and keep the tension to a minimum, oh alright, I want to know more about the secrets that seem to always be eluding. Both season one and two are available now.

In the end – where is Jericho?


A TEACHER on FX and HULU

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on FX and HULU from writer/director Hannah Fidell is a limited series story of an educator and the line she crosses being A TEACHER.

Claire Wilson (Kate Mara) married to Matt (Ashley Zukerman) is starting a job at Westerbrook in Austin, Texas as an English teacher and meets new friend Kathryn (Marielle Scott). She seems happy to be starting something new and exciting as well as trying to start a family with Matt. Eric Walker (Nick Robinson) is a popular kid hanging out with friends Logan (Shane Harper) and Josh (Dylan Schmid) when they see Claire. Eric hangs back and they talk about what he wants from school.

Eric heads over to Logans and sees ex-girlfriend Alison (Camila Perez) but they do not have much of a chance to reconnect because the police are busting up the party. Giving a statement to Officer Nate (Adam Thompson), Eric confides that that he cannot call his Mom and asks that he call Claire to set things right. To help him refocus on school, Eric and Claire visit her alma mater and Logan’s older brother Cody entices them to party.

Dealing with the pressure of good grades and getting into college, Eric also helps single Mom Sandra (Rya Kihlstedt) with two young brothers. Needed at home, there comes a moment where he makes a decision about his family that puts his priorities in question. 

Enjoying each other’s company as student and teacher, Eric crosses the line and now Claire is conflicted about what to do. Focusing on her marriage, there is tension between the couple when they learn that to have a family, they would need to explore the option of an invitro pregnancy. Adding to the tension is Claire seeing Eric at the dance and confronting him about missing their tutoring meeting.

Now, the line is about to be crossed and both of them turn to lying, deception and it will tear their worlds apart.

Mara as Claire is a woman who believes that starting over at a new school is also a new beginning for she and husband Matt. Seeing the lines becoming blurred with her student, she tries to pull back but can not seem to control herself which means she cannot control anything around her. Pulling in every direction to justify her actions, Mara gives her character moments of likeability then the reality of what is happening screams out.

Robinson as Eric is a young man who thinks he knows what he wants. Trusting in the relationship, he does not see further down the road to the ramifications or the damage that is being done. Robinson gives us a wild young man who wants what he wants as young men his age think, its what comes later that he could have never imagined.

Scott as friend Kathryn is also a teacher at Westbrook and unwittingly becomes the person that Claire needs in her life. The problem with that is friendship should be a two-way street and not filled with deception. 

Hulu is the leading premium streaming service offering live and on-demand television and movies. The platform gives viewers instant access to current shows, libraries of hit television series and film as well as Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning originals such as The Handmaid’s Tale and The Act. For more of what Hulu has to offer please visit www.hulu.com.

A TEACHER is a story of betrayal most of all as Claire is in a position to know right from wrong and chooses a course of destructive action. Eric is a young man who trusts Claire and decides that his feelings are more important than the fact she happens to be married and his teacher. 

Claire is absolutely responsible for her behavior and the broken trust but let’s not give Eric a free pass in this all. Clearly, he is old enough to know what is wrong as shown by his response after kissing Claire and once the line is crossed – everything becomes blurred.

Once the word is out, that is when the destructive path becomes blurred again. Even the face-to-face meeting between them is agonizing and gruesome to watch. As with most affairs, the consequences are far reaching past Claire and Eric and seeing the pain it causes families, friendships and the education system. 

There has never been a story about a teacher and student affair that has not caused a stir and the biggest story of 1997 was teacher Mary Kay Letourneau. Having an affair and a child with her student, it opened the door to other stories of teachers breaking the trust of students and their families. 

FX takes a bold risk to make the story just as writer Hannah Fidell is equally bold in directing this cast. HULU brings each episode to streaming which is a wild ride for binge watchers looking for drama, tragedy and tension.

In the end – this is what happens when a line of trust is crossed!

There is Charm and Learning with STILLWATER

Jeri Jacquin

Currently streaming on Apple TV+ from directors Jun Falkenstein, Amber Hollinger, Roy Burdine and Gary Hartle is a friendship with STILLWATER.  

Karl (voiced by Judah Mackey), Abby (Eva Binder) and Michael (Tucker chandler) are sister and brothers who spend their days looking and creating adventures. Living next door is Stillwater, a panda (voiced by James Sie) who enjoys their children’s company. 

The youngest Karl wants to fly into space and begins building a rocket. Michael and Abby are not very supportive, and it hurts Karl’s feelings. Stillwater takes the time to listen to Karl and because of that, Abby and Michael are in for a big surprise.

Having a little brother can sometimes be a testing proposition as Abby finds out. Karl has taken charge of a game that she wants to play. Trying to be patient with him, Abby becomes frustrated and runs into Stillwater. Telling him the problem, it is Stillwater that offers support and perhaps another way to handle her sibling.

Apple TV+ is a streaming service featuring Apple Originals, award-winning series, compelling dramas, groundbreaking documentaries, kids’ entertainment, comedies, and more with new Apple Originals added every month. To see more of what they have to offer please visit www.appletvplus.com. 

Stillwater is based on Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth. His other art works include Moonshadow by J.M. DeMatteis and Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman: The Wake. Muth is a comic artist and children’s book illustrator and studied brush calligraphy called shodo in Japan. 

STILLWATER is such a charming series for children to watch with their families. The relationship between siblings is filled with believability for any family who has a household of children. There are disagreements and misunderstandings between the youngsters as they try to navigate growing up.

Their neighbor Stillwater has a beautiful garden that is, well, zen in its look and feel. It as well as Stillwater invite the children to take a moment to think about their situation and find a solution that is loving for everyone and that is worth every moment of watching. 

Each episode brings 30 minutes of wonder, beauty and a calm that, especially in the last year, is a welcome treat. Listening to Stillwater’s words and huge amount of patience is a reminder of what we need to do for children who have had their lives change as well through this pandemic.

So it is time for the family to get together and get cuddly on the sofa and enjoy the creativity and the adventures with the help of STILLWATER. 


Sony and Netflix Bring us the Story of Friendship with WISH DRAGON

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on Netflix from Sony Animation, writer/director Chris Appelhans and Jackie Chan comes the heartwarming story of friendship and understanding with WISH DRAGON.

Din (voiced by Jimmy Wong) and Lina (Natasha Liu Bordizzo) discover in elementary school that they have so much in common. From their love of mischief comes a friendship so deep that when Lina moves away with her father, it is a sad day for Din. As the city grows around him, Din still finds a bit of trouble missing school and keeping up with his delivery job.

Making a delivery, he is given a teapot for no reason at all but is told all the answers he needs is with the teapot. There is someone who is equally interested in the teapot and that’s the slightly villainous looking Mr. Wong (Will Yun Lee) who will stop at nothing to get his hands on it.  

After a chastising from Mom (Constance Wu) about his schoolwork, Din is more interested in who he is excited to see. The teapot has other plans when it opens up and he meets Long (John Cho), a dragon who let him know that he gets three wishes. After trying to get to know one another, Din lets Long the Dragon know he wants to see his friend Lina again.

That can be kind of difficult as Lina is now living a big life. Din crashes her birthday party only to discover that the change from childhood to adulthood can be painful. Trying to explain things to Long is difficult but the very colorful dragon has another take on how humans behave and there is a very good reason for it. It is time for each of their stories to be told and friendship to find them once again and not just the two-legged friendships! 

All that glitters is not gold. 

Wong as Din is a young man who has hung onto his childhood memory and the belief that one day he will see Nina again. When Long enters his life, things become more complicated than Din could ever have imagined. Wong gives his character a wonderful sense of life, love, friendship, loyalty and a bit of comedy thanks to his dragon friend. 

Bordizzo as Nina is as mischievous as Din when they are children. As the years go by, Nina’s father is part of the business world, and it affects her life in ways she could not have imagined. Bordizzo gives her character such a lovely and fun aspect but also a sense of responsibility that keeps her away from the people she truly wants to be with.

Wu as Mom only wants the best for her son and works hard to make sure he is taken care of. There is a sense of community and family that are there with her and it is something that Nina gets to experience. 

Other cast include Bobby Lee as Tall Goon, Jimmy O. Yang as Small Goon, Ian Chem as Young Din, Alyssa Abiera as Young Lina, and Gabriel Lee as Wen. 

Sony Pictures Animation produces a variety of animated entertainment for audiences around the world. The visually groundbreaking and critically acclaimed SPIDER-MAN: Into the Spider-Verse is the studio’s latest release, and the winner of the 2019 Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. Other amazing films include THE SMURFS, CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS and HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.sonypicturesanimation.com.

WISH DRAGON is a colorful, beautiful, loving story of friendships and loyalty surrounded by community. It is also the story of Din and Lina and, with a little push of faith, remembering what is important in life once you tear down the materialistic things that become traps.

There is also the story of Long and his journey of being a dragon which is equally important. Watching Long experience the modern world is entertaining to be sure, but it is also rediscovering his connection with people that is sweet, caring and sometimes very funny. 

The animation is stunning and brilliant which lends to the enjoyment of the film in so many ways. So gather the family and prepare to make a few wishes of your own when the WISH DRAGON comes into your home for a visit. 

In the end – three magical wishes and one life changing adventure!

Disney+ and Marvel Studios Deliver with LOKI

Jeri Jacquin

Currently streaming on Disney+, Marvel Studios and creator Michael Waldron is the series with one of my personal favorite characters because, well, he is LOKI.

After the Endgame and with the tesseract in the hands of Loki (Tom Hiddleston), he is picked up quickly by a mysterious military. Of course, Loki being the god of mischief is not thrilled at all by their pushiness, calling him a variant and learning about time variants. Quickly he discovers that he is to stand trial for some of his antics.

Standing in front of a judge, Loki tries to charm judge Ravonna Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) with “madam, a god doesn’t plead” which does not help his cause. Morbius (Owen Wilson) watches with a keen eye at Loki’s reaction to blaming the Avengers for his troubles. Getting Renslayer to agree to begrudgingly allow Loki to help the TVA (Time Variance Authority). 

Morbius spends time with Loki explaining the TVA and showing him things that he would rather not see. Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) is not at all happy with the decision, but it gives the god of mischief time to do what he has always done – get into more trouble. What he discovers is that he is now part of the TVA world.

Now, Loki is sent into the world to hunt one of the most ruthless variants of all!  

Hiddleston picks up the mantle of Loki with such ease or maybe it is just that I am thrilled to see both he and the character again. Personally, I think it is a lot of both and I am just a bag of giggles watching every moment. I truly believe that Hiddleston must be enjoying his time as Loki as it shows in every step he takes in the role and in every frame. From the moments where his emotions betray his usual narcissism to Loki expanding his own universe of narcissism, Hiddleston just makes us all love a character that we probably should not. 

Sitting in the front row when he attended San Diego Comic Con International in July 2013, his speech had all 7,000 Hall H attendees on their feet screaming with joy and chanting the name of Loki. Hiddleston was in full regalia with a mischievous smile and a playfulness that gave us all a moment of ‘glorious purpose’. Now, the series LOKI is going to give us what we need – and that is more of the god of mischief.

Wilson as Morbius sees something in Loki that most just want to evaporate from existence. Calling Loki out on his mischief and the trouble he has caused through time, Wilson turns on the psychology charm. When that does not work, shock does and now Morbius has a way to reach Loki while still allowing Loki to be, well Loki. Wilson gives his character a patience that might give him a medal for sainthood and a calmness that is the opposite of Loki. The two play off each other and Wilson is very, very cool.

Mbatha-Raw as Renslayer is not happy about Morbius’ request but for now she is willing to see where it goes. It is nice to see Mbatha-Raw in a strong role and I think we will see that story play out as well. I mean come on, it probably will not be the last time she sees Loki in her courtroom. Mosaku as Hunter B-15 has Loki’s number but would rather have his head on a platter. She is good at her job and Mosaku gives her character authority and a sense of duty. I am enjoying the give and take between she and Hiddleston and suspect I will see much more of it.

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

Marvel Studios has released sixteen films since 2008 in what is known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel is built on a library of over eight thousand characters featured in a variety of media content for over seventy years. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.marvel.com.

LOKI has started out the timeline-variant-gate catching my attention quickly. As much as I enjoyed WANDA VISION, I can not wait to see where Disney and Marvel take the usual unpredictably predictable Loki and what fun there is to be had. 

So far, the beginning cast is setting the groundwork for adventure and a reason to turn in weekly. Of course, I wish I could binge watch the whole season but there is something to be said for looking forward to the next chapter in the Loki saga. 

Disney+ and Marvel have partnered to do amazing things for the streaming service, and it is so much fun to watch television with the family again. Seeing everything they have to offer on the big screen in my home make for a reason to gather together. We gather for a bite to eat and then popcorn ready to cheer on all our heroes and even a mischievous bit of a villain like LOKI.  

In the end – the world Loki wanted to dominate has just changed up on him!



It Starts with AGNES

Jeri Jacquin

Having its World Premiere at Tribeca and coming to theatres from writer/director Mickey Reece and QWGmire comes the story of believing and disbelieving when it comes to AGNES.

Father Donaghue (Ben Hall) and soon-to-be priest Benjamin (Jake Horowitz) have been called up to take a case at a local convent. It seems that young sister Agnes (Hayley McFarland) is showing signs of possession and they need someone who has been trained in exorcism.

The two men enter the convent into the glaring eyes of Mother Superior (Mary Buss) who is not at all happy with the two men potentially disrupting their lives. Believing that it will only take one meeting to solve the problem, Father Donaghue convinces the nuns to do what he says and all will be well.

One nun who is not quite so sure is Sister Mary (Molly C. Quinn) who is a close friend of Agnes'. Trying to understand what is happening to her friend is not easy, and as Agnes lashes out at everyone who comes near her, Sister Mary is the only one who still sees her friend.

As everything starts to go haywire in the convent, Sister Mary decides to reenter the world and find a place for herself. Struggling from her underpaid job, a sleazy boss, rent due and discovering someone from Agnes' past - it starts to become clear that Mary has a secret of her own.

Quinn as Mary is a young woman caught up between two worlds and a friendship that is slowly being torn apart. She is hiding behind a habit and then hides behind her own emotions which brings so many twists to her character. Quinn gives us mixed messages from start to finish but it’s the finish you have to be careful of.

Horowitz is a young priest that is not quite yet a priest, waiting to take his vows he is sent to keep an eye on the good Father. His faith and belief in the church and what it stands for is something he is not willing to compromise. Horowitz is the quiet, strong with his character representing something deeper.

Hall as Father Donaghue is a priest that has been questioning his own faith and has a short fuse about it all. Knowing the church is just one stone’s throw away from kicking him to the curb, it adds a bit more bite to the story but there is more it’s just that I'm not going to tell you!

Thumbs up to Buss as Mother Superior - what a crazy, wide eyed disturbing woman who I thought was the one possessed! Standing strong for her convent, you get the feeling she'd prefer to never see a male face ever again in her life.

Other cast include Chris Browning as Father Black, Rachel True as Sister Ruth, Zandy Hartig as Sister Honey, Bruce Davis as Earl, Ginger Gilmartin as Wanda, Chris Freihofer as Father Cappa, Rita Scranton as Sister Gertrude, Jacob Snovel as Pete, Cait Brasel as Sister Margaret and Sean Gunn as Paul Satchimo.

AGNES is a suspense film from start to finish with a cast that each brings something unique and a tad frightening to their characters. I am not Catholic, but I certainly would not want Mother Superior pointing a boney finger at me or having access to a ruler! Father Donaghue’s attitude came at a high price and probably a huge change in his belief system.

MacFarland and Quinn, when they are in scenes together bring together a friendship in a place where outside freedoms and convent life are constantly clashing making life a little tougher for both. When Quinn takes to the outside world, the real world is not going to cut her one bit of slack so – she gets a little cranky.

The flow of the film is intriguing even if the ending throws up signs of wtf? Nothing wrong with keeping the spiritual door open for another chance to make the acquaintance of the creepy world beyond.

In the end – demons travel fast!

Disney+ and Pixar Brings Us the Charming LUCA

Jeri Jacquin

Currently streaming on Disney+ from writer/director Enrico Casarosa, Simon Stephenson, Jesse Andrews and Mike Jones comes the story of an unusual young boy named LUCA.

Luca Paguro (Jacob Tremblay) is a young man living with father Lorenzo (Jim Gaffigan), mother Daniela (Maya Rudolph) and grandma Paguro (Sandy Martin). Let us be clear, they actually live under the sea! Luca and his family are sea monsters living int the waters off the Italian Riviera.

The young sea monster looks up daily and wonders what is on the surface but has been raised to be afraid of humans. One day, while discovering more unusual objects on the sea floor, Luca meets Alberto Scorfano (Jack Dylan Grazer) who just happens to also be a sea monster. He also shares with Luca a secret that changes his life.

On dry land, Luca and Alberto become amazing friends with a goal, to get on a Vespa and see the world. When his parents discover what their son has been up to, they make arrangements for him to go stay the summer with an uncle and that makes Luca even more determined to find his own two feet.

Deciding they need to win the Portorosso race to buy their own Vespa, they meet Giulia (Emma Berman) who agrees to train the boys and discovers they need a lot of help. Massimo (Marco Barricelli) is the town bully that tries to stand in the way of three friends reaching their dreams. In a matter of seconds, a friendship is tested, and secrets do not stay secrets for long. 

It is a whirlwind above and below the sea!

Tremblay as Luca is a young boy who is finally discovering that the world is a much larger place than he could ever have imagined. He is so charming, endearing and full of wonderment. It is characters like Luca that make sitting together as a family and watching a story unfold so enjoyable. Tremblay vocals bring delight from start to finish.

Grazer as Alberto is a character filled with fun and a bit of mischief that Luca finds so enjoyable. Having a friend who wants the same things he does; Alberto is even more determined to expand his travels. Berman as Giulia is a young girl who has been part of the Portorosso race before but sees more of a chance to win with her new friends Luca and Alberto. She also opens up an educational world to Luca that she loves sharing with him. 

Rudolph as mom Daniela is not going to let her son become part of the dry land world. Rudolph gives us the worried mother with a sense of humor mixed in. Gaffigan as dad Lorenzo is so funny in the way he is perfectly imperfect as a dad who pays attention in short spurts and is silly. 

Barricelli as Massimo is the town bully that will stop anything or anyone from getting in the way of his winning a race or taking away his thunder. 

Other cast include Saverio Raimondo as Ercole Visconti, Peter Sohn as Ciccio, Lorenzo Crisci as Guido, Marina Massironi as Signora Marsignliese, Gino La Monica as Tommaso, Giacomo Gianniotti as Giacomo, Elisa Gabrielli as Concetta Aragosta and Mimi Maynard as Pinuccia Aragosta. 

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

Pixar is responsible for some of the most amazing, animated stories and films from the TOY STORY franchise, FINDING DORY, THE INCREDIBLES, MONSTERS INC., CARS, BRAVE and this year’s newest film SOUL. For more information, please visit www.pixar.com. 

Once again, the combination of Disney and Pixar have taken a story that is heartwarming, funny and full of life lessons and given it something even more special – heart. The animation is spectacular and colorful which is a like another character that adds such richness to every frame. 

The wonderful Italian songs, the celebration of Italian food and a wonderful sense of the Italian community is so lovely to see. By the end of the film there is an understanding by all once they push past the fear mongering and it is a lesson for us all.

There is an amazing friendship between Luca, Alberto and Guila that is filled with everything we would want for these three. Being brought together once they cemented their friendship – each of them would do anything for the other. Make sure you keep the tissue handy as with all Disney and Pixar films, a tear might happen to find its way out.

In the end – above or below it is all about friendship, understanding and love!