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QUO VADIS, AIDA?

Jeri Jacquin

Currently in selected theatres and virtual cinemas and coming to On Demand from writer/director Jasmila Zbanic and Super LTD is the intense and suspenseful QUO VADIS, AIDA?

It is July 1995 in Bosnia and UN translator Aida Selmanagic (Jasna Djuricic) is trying to help save the town of Srebrenica where she and her family live. Even though the Serbian army has been warned about attacking innocent civilians, General Ratko Mladic (Boris Isakovic) has other plans that include clearing the town in the name of rebels convincing people he is freeing them.

When the towns people run, it is to the UN warehouse but there is not enough room for everyone. Aida sees husband Nihad (Izudin Bajrovic) and sons Hamdija (Boris Ler) and Sejo (Dino Bajrovic) on the other side of the fence. Aida is trying to convince those in charge that her family should come with her, especially since they would not be able to talk with the Serbians without her. 

Turning to Col. Karremans (Johan Heldenbergh) and Major Franken (Raymond Thiry), the only way possible is for Nihad to go to General Mladic to represent the citizenry. What they do not know is that Joka (Emir Hadzihafizbegovic) and his men have pushed their way into the warehouse under the guise of looking for rebels.

Chaos is ramping up as the General makes it clear that he is going to take the townspeople to another location safely. Aida knows that something is terribly wrong and once again goes into survival mode trying to keep her family together. 

Djuricic as Aida is absolutely stunning in this role. Working for the UN as a translator is clearly something she is proud of since not being able to teacher her students. She has a repour with the UN military personnel, at least that what she believes. Once everything is turned upside down, Djuricic gives us every range of emotion filled in intensity, sadness, fear and kicking survival into high gear. It is this actress that had me fully invested in every frame of the film and every word of the story.

Bjrovic as Nihad is not really interested in working with the General who made them all flee from their home but knows it might be the only way to help keep the family together. Ler as Hamdija is the younger son who listens to everything that is happening and sees what his mother is doing to help them. The fear is even deeper when they realize his ‘friends’ are on the other side of all of this. Bajrovic as Serjo is trying hard to keep it together but does not see the hope.

Isakovic as Mladic is the driving force behind the invading army and the fear that is disguised by cameras and offerings. The constant mixed messages push the intensity and the reality that he is not going away quietly. Hadzihafizbegovic as Joka is another person driving fear into the hearts of the townspeople. Even when he tries to be ‘nice’, there is not one reason to trust him. Aida will be running into him again and again. 

Other cast include Reinout Bussemaker as Dr. Robben,, Teun Luijkx as Captain Mintjes, Juda Goslinga as Lt. Rutten, Jelena Kordic as Chamila, Alban Ukaj as Tarik, Edita Malovcic as Besna and Ermin Bravo as the Mayor.

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

Director Zbanic says, “This film is about a woman caught in a male game of war. It is about courage, love and resilience – and also about what happens if we fail to react on time to warning signs. I survived the war in Bosnia. One day you have everything and the other day most of the things you know no longer exist. Just because we deem certain things unimaginable, does not mean they can not happen.” 

Regarding the character of Aida, “Her character is between two worlds: she is Bosnian, her family is in the same situation as other residents of Srebrenica, yet she works for the UN making her position ambiguous. She believes in the UN, she believes in a UN base as a safe place for her family believing that she has certain privileges because of her job. This film is her journey when everything falls apart.” 

QUO VADIS, AIDA? is powerful, frightening and brings a story that is sad and brilliantly told all wrapped up in this film. Djuricic as Aida brings every frightening element to the film with not only the will to survive what is happening around her but using every bit of that to save her family. 

There is not a moment where watching the screen does not bring a wealth of anxiety because every idea Aida thinks of is something each of us would do to try and escape. This is what happened in 1995, think of that – trying to survive the terror inflicted on people only twenty-six years ago. That is a blink in time and still there are people living under death and tyranny somewhere in the world today.

QUO VADIS, AIDA? gives us an upfront and personal look at a woman who sees what is coming and tries to survive it in every way possible. Constantly battling walls put in front of her, Djuricic/Aida provide us with hope upon hope and in the end, a desire to come to terms with the past and try and find a life once again. 

In the end – her world is colliding!

THE COURIER Learns About Spying

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres this Friday from director Dominic Cooke and Roadside Attractions 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. 

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 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’m 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!


RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON

Jeri Jacquin


Coming to Bluray, DVD and Digital from directors Don Hall, Carlos Estrada, Paul Briggs, John Ripa and Walt Disney Animated Studios is the story of RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON.

Raya (Kelly Tran) is a young girl learning the culture, that of Sisu and traditions of her people being taught by her father Benja (Daniel Dae Kim). Showing her the lessons of getting along with the other tribes, he believes in peaceful means and shareable solutions. The problem is the other clans do not seem to share his beliefs.

Namaari (Gemma Chan) and Raya meet and show the adults how friendship is done. While sharing their stories, Namaari tells Raya that Sisu (Awkwafina) is still around. But not is all that it seems. Chief Virana’s (Sandra Oh) clan attempts to cause a rift but Benja tries to appeal to their humanity. One move causes everything to scatter, as well as the dragon gem the Heart clan has been protecting.

As Raya escapes, a new journey begins for the young girl who is left on her own. Following a map, she and her trusty animal friend Tuk Tuk are hoping to find the pieces of the dragon gem once again. Six years later, Raya finds the final place to try and bring Sisu back to set the world right.

What she does not expect is a beautiful blue dragon with a unique sense of humor and a story of her own to tell. They can not take to long for this because Raya is being hunted by Namaari who is vengeful and focused on one thing – getting what she wants. Thanks to young captain and chef Boun (Izaac Wang). Sisu and Raya escape to get to the next place and the next piece of the dragon gem. 

Now the gang is almost complete as Little Noi (Thalia Tran) and Ton (Benedict Wong) joins the group of those who only want their families back.

Tran gives her Raya a gentle heart with a warrior’s glare. Joining her father in the responsibility for the Heart clan, she is quick to learn, and the lessons are about to become harsh. Thinking she is alone in finding the Dragon gem, she not only finds Sisu but a whole group of different characters and people who believe in what she is doing. Tran lends her voice to give Raya strength and its lovely.

Awkwafina as Sisu is flighty (both literally and figuratively) and is the humor of the duo. The journey with Sisu and Raya is one of learning, trusting and love. Awkwafina is funny, charming and when the time comes, pulls on the heartstrings of trust to help her new-found friend. Her silliness reminds me a bit of Robin Williams in ALADDIN and there certainly is not anything wrong with that!

Kim as Benja wants his daughter to understand why they are protecting the Dragon gem and at the same time teach her how to do things differently, less battles and more understanding. Chan as Naamari is raised differently than Raya with the eyes on a prize that is not hers to have. Time and time again she proves to Raya that the trust between them is misguided. Oh as her mother Virana continues to guide her daughter on the wrong path. 

Wong as Ton has a huge heart and its hidden by a huge personage that gives people the wrong impression of him. He also believes in Raya and is about to put his weapon to the test on her behalf. What brings out his softer side is Little Noi voiced by Tran to give us the ‘awwwwwww’ factor until you realize this is not your normal little helpless tyke roaming around! 

Other cast include Lucille Soong as Dang Hu, Dichen Lachman as General Atitaya, Patti Harrison as Tail Chief, Jon Park as Chai, Sung Kang as Dang Hai, Ross Butler as Spine Chief, and Francois Chau as Wahn.

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

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

The Bluray Bonus Extras Include: Us Again – Theatrical Short Film, Outtakes, Deleted Scenes, Taste of RAYA – Tune into a virtual dinner roundtable with Kelly Marie Tran and the filmmakers, RAYA: Bringing it Home – See how the film was made from over 450 homes, Martial Artists – Learn about the film’s martial arts and more, We are Kumandra – Discover the cultural influences that inspired the film, Fun Facts & Easter Eggs and more! 

Raya is a young woman who believes in her family, culture and the stories that are shared. When it all is taken away, she still holds strong to everything. That is an amazing story to share with not only kids who are taken with Disney films, but to the adults. There is something to be said for the greed of those who want to possess something that either is not theirs or just because they do not want anyone else to have it.

The story being told through RAYA AND THE LAST DRAGON is not only believable but speaks on many levels. The ideal that sharing and working together in times of difficult adversity is something that has been sadly lacking, especially in the last year. Like many Disney films, Raya takes on bringing back those she loves through no fault of her own. 

She believes in the good of others and continues to trust those that perhaps she should not, but Raya also has the Anne Frank philosophy that “I still believe, in spite of everything, that people are truly good at heart”. But Raya also learns a valuable lesson in letting others help her when she realizes they want the very same thing – and oh what a group it is!

In the end – it is time to come together!  

KINGSGLAIVE: Final Fantasy XV Brings Action to Animation

Jeri Jacquin

Now on 4K Ultra HD and Bluray from director Takeshi Nozue and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment from a story by Kazushige Nojima and Saori Itamuro comes the animated saga of survival, war and the continuation of KINGSGLAIVE: Final Fantasy XV.

Noctis father Regis Lucis Caelum CXII (voiced by Sean Bean) has magical powers that are keeping the kingdom of Lucis from being taken by the Niflheim empire. This power has place protection called The Wall. The city of Insomnia has powerful soldiers known as the Kingsglaive. Trying to put an end to the fighting, Regis listens to a proposal of peace with the condition that Noctis marry Lady Lunafreya Nox Fleuret (voiced by Lena Headey) of Tenebrae. 

There are those who believe that the Niflheim can not be trusted whether there is a treat or not. One of them is Nyx Ulric (Aaron Paul) of the Kingsglaive and he will do anything to protect Regis and even Lunafreya from anything the Niflheim have planned. Regis sends soldier Crowe (Alexa Kahn) to the meeting of Lunafreya and Noctis but an event changes everything. 

Regis must adjust quickly, and Nyx’s mission turns many of the Kingsglaive against him. Using a power not his, life and death decisions are made and not all will survive what is coming!

Coming from a person who knows that the videogame of Final Fantasy exists, I did not know much about the story except my son and grandson have spent a lot of time playing the game. This is an opportunity to delve into the world they have come to know and see for myself the excitement and very intricate storyline that this film provides.

The vocal talent is absolutely on point and once I identified who each person was by voice (I have an ear for that kind of thing), I was delighted to see a Stark and Lannister getting along. Yes, I am having my fun with Bean and Headey but I also thoroughly enjoyed hearing them in these unique characters.

Other vocal talent also include David Grant as Iedolas Aldercapt, Darin Del Paul as Ardyn Izunia, Adrian Bouchet as Titus Drautos, Trevor Deval as Ravus Nox Fleuret, Liam Mulvey as Libertus Ostium, Todd Haberkorn as Luche Lazarus, John DeMita as Clarus Amicitia, Ben Diskin as Pelna Khara, and Max Mittelman as Tredd Furia.

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.

Bonus Material on Bluray include: A Way With Words: Epic and Intimate Vocals: Aaron Paul, Lena Headey, Sean Bean – along with the filmmakers – reveal the process of creating the vocals for this film, Fit for the Kingsglaive: Building the World: An in-depth exploration of imagining and designing the one-of-a-kind world, To Capture the Kingsglaive: The Process: Explore the intricate process of capturing the physical performances at the heart of this computer-generated film and Emotive Music: Scoring the Kingsglaive: Learn about the creation of the truly innovative and impactful score. 

KINGSGLAIVE: Final Fantasy XV is an exciting world to watch unfold in stunning computer-generated animation. I was immediately drawn into this world of characters, monsters and bad guys trying to get away with doing bad things. It is a powerful statement with rebels making sure that good triumphs over evil even if the cost is sometimes very high.

I suppose for those who are very serious about their Final Fantasy experience I understand there are some draw backs but, for someone like me who just wants an ideal of what its all about, I had a good time. Jumping right into it all and accepting the storyline, I have no doubt that my grandson will fill in any gaps.

That being said, this film is a visual feast for the eyes and do not blink because everything happens so fast and furious – just like the game!

In the end – after years of war, one warrior will lead the fight for the future of a kingdom!

LOOKING FOR A LADY WITH FANGS AND A MOUSTACHE

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from writer/director Khyentse Norbu and Abramorama comes a look at life through the eyes of death while LOOKING FOR A LADY WITH FANGS AND A MOUSTACHE. 

Tenzin (Tsering Tashi Gyalthang) lives in Nepal and wants to bring to the city the best coffee shop in Kathmandu. He is motivated, has a plan and spends time looking for the perfect space. While investigating one place, he sees a painting on the wall that he does not immediately recognize. Meeting up with friend Jachung (Tulku Kungzang) to practice their music, Tenzin has a vision of a girl and soon after that he finds himself having strange dreams and sees his sister who passed away long ago. 

He tries to tell his friend Jachung about it several times but Jachung seems distracted by his relationship with Kunsel (Tenzin Kunsel). Suggesting that Tenzin see the Monk Oracle (Ngawang Tenzin), Jachung brings him unexpectedly to a party. That is when Tenzin learns that his life force is running out and he is going to die. 

The Monk Oracle tells the young coffee entrepreneur that he needs to find a Dakini in hopes of changing his destiny. A Dakini is the embodiment of feminine energy and they are not easy to find. Instead of listening to the Monk, Tenzin goes to the doctor to see if there is anything else wrong that can be cured with medicine.

Tenzin agrees to meet with the Master of the Left-Hand Lineage (Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche) who gives him specific instruction on how to approach and gift a Dakini. Tenzin puts everything else in his life aside to do as instructed plus he is given a sacred hand signal for anyone he thinks is a Dakini but it comes with a warning. 

Time is running out and Tenzin is panicked to find the one thing that can save him!

Gyalthang as Tenzin is truly magnificent as a man trying to live in the modern world while surrounded by a city that is deeply rooted in the traditions of its people and culture. Watching is journey through the film is one that is more relatable than people might realize. Not to say we are all going to check out in seven days but that he starts out believing his life is completely one way but perhaps it was the reality of it that was the real illusion. Well done.

Kungzang as Jachung is a good friend to Tenzin but does have a bit of a problem on the lady front. He seems a bit of a pushover and, to be honest, is not an attractive quality to my way of thinking. Yet with his friend Tenzin, he wants only the best and taking him to see the Monk was him being a true friend and I thought it charming.

Tenzin as the Monk is completely hilarious without perhaps intending to be so much. He is an ipad using, sunglass wearing, hipster Monk who puts the fear of life into the coffee entrepreneur. When it started to get a little bit out of his league, the one thing I’ll give him credit for is moving him over to someone who truly knew the rules of the dakinis!

Rinpoche as the Master of Left-Hand Lineage is not someone to be trifled with in the slightest. He does not play games and does not pull any punches. The Master quickly realizes that the Monk Tenzin had been seeing before did not exactly have Tenzin on the path. Seeing that Tenzin can be difficult, the Master makes it clear he does not have time for someone who is not serious about what must be done. Rinpoche’s character is exactly who I would want to tell me what’s what if I was in Tenzin’s shoes!

Kunsel as Kunsel is a young girl interested in music and seems very comfortable mixing tradition with the modern world. She fits beautifully into both except when it comes to the interest of Jachung. Kunsel is quite ready to change her life and is happy the way things are. That is not to say that life has something different planned for her. Kunsel is delightful but can put someone in their place if needs be and, honestly, she did make me laugh a few times. 

Other cast include Divya Dev as Dev, Karma Shakya as Karma, Kelsang Tethong as Tenzin’s Mother, Parikshit B. Rana as Parikshit, and Rabindra Baniya as Rabindra.

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

Director Norbu says of his film, “In this modern, scientific world – a world on the verge of creating artificial intelligence, and a world that disparages anything not amenable to reason 0 I try in this film to explore some of the last genuine residues of Tibetan mysticism. Even among Tibetans themselves, their traditional beliefs, and ways of behaving and look at the world are increasingly rare and today carry little if any weight. Yet, I believe this ancient wisdom, which reflects the Buddhist view of reality, has something vital to offer our modern world.”

He continues, “I intend this film to express the deep respect for feminine energy embodies in that wisdom, and to portray in a contemporary setting both the transformative power of this energy and some of the ways it has traditionally been invoked.”

LOOKING FOR A LADY WITH FANGS AND A MOUSTACHE is just so beautifully done. Marrying both the characters desire to live in the modern world and Tenzin’s newfound respect for mysticism gives actor Gyalthang a heavy burden. Yet his portrayal is stunning, and I felt while watching him as if I were intruding on his journey. I cheered for him and with each rejection my heart sank – that is what a stunning performance does. He may have been caught between two worlds based on fear, but he came to understand the old and the new could coexist.

In the end – two worlds can coexist when you believe!

They are Young VOYAGERS

Jeri Jacquin

In theatres from writer/director Neil Burger and Lionsgate is the story of being raised in isolation and being sent into space being the next VOYAGERS.

It is time to look for other places to live in the universe and Richard (Colin Farrell) is part of a space program that is creating children in isolation for a journey across space. The idea is to raise the children into young men and women who will take the ship across the vastness of space to a specified distant planet.

Richard decides that he must go with them in order to monitor them. He has come to care for the young people being sent up and is given permission to go. Christopher (Tye Sheridan) and friend Zac (Fionn Whitehead) are curious about everything and spend their time getting into harmless mischief. That is until they uncover information that had only been known to Richard and they are not happy.

This is the time where the two young men make a decision to either follow the plan or rebel in a way that could be dangerous for them all. Christopher tells Sela (Lily-Rose Depp) what is happening and begins to see a change in Zac who is collecting others to his side. When an accident on the ship makes it clear that it is time to choose a leader, two that were once friends become rivals for good and evil.

If any of them are to survive, each person will have to decide for themselves how they want their confined world to be – working together or total destruction. 

Sheridan as Christopher has a grasp on what their mission is and even when he discovers that not everything is as he believed, even then he understood there were serious implications for the entire crew. He could have easily chosen the road of narcissism but instead, when the truth comes slowly forward, it gives him options of survival. Sheridan does a fantastic job playing Christopher and if there were ever such a voyage, I would hope there were many Christopher’s on the ship. Sheridan gives his character a sharpness that kept me silently cheering every move his character makes. 

Whitehead as Zac has a friendship with Christopher that one would expect since they were raised together. As their trip gets deeper into space, it is Zac that gets deeper into a place that is dangerous for everyone. There is a rage that just lies underneath the surface and Whitehead’s performance lets you know that every moment his character is on screen is scary because there is no place to run! Whitehead has the unique ability to give a frightening stare that can fill the viewer with anxiety beyond belief.

Depp as Sela of course has the look of her very famous father. In her role as Sela, she is a straightforward ‘we have a job to do’ ship mate. When Christopher fills her in on everything that has been happening and his suspicions, Sela wants to do everything possible to stop the chaos just waiting around every corner. Constantly feeling the very stalker-like behavior of Zac, she is not a young woman to be trifled with either. Depp gives us a look at a strong, intelligent and capable space traveler who knows what it is going to take to survive.

Farrell as Richard decides to take this one-way trip with the young crew to keep an eye on their progress and how they handle space. He is also there to dole out advice should his young wards need it. As Richard, Farrell gives his character a soft spoken but stern leader model yet there is one of the crew that does not take to kindly to anyone telling him what to do. Farrell has given us so many unique characters (one of my latest favorites is from the film THE GENTLEMEN) in films so I expect nothing less from any film he does.

Other cast include Chante Adams as Phoebe, Quintessa Swindell as Julie, Archie Madekwe as Kai, Isaac Wright as Edward, Viveik Kalra as Peter, Madison Hu as Anda, Archie Renaux as Alex, Wern Lee as Tayo, Veronica Falcon as Marianne and April Grace as the Mission Director.

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. 

Writer/director Burger says of his film about the 80-year voyage, “It’s about human nature in a vacuum – who we are at our core and about a group of extraordinary young people waking up to sensual desires, to freedom, to power, and the thrilling euphoria that goes with that experience.” He also explains that he wanted everything in the film based in reality, “VOYAGERS is not a fantasy. The spacecraft is purely utilitarian and functional based on actual proposals within NANA studying space travel outside our solar system.”

Because of that, the viewer will feel totally drawn into what is happening knowing full well there is no where to go. These individuals are confined to a place where they either work out their problems or fall but if they fall, they fall totally. The ship is very practical and is very much like those aboard – to frilled and very plain to look at. I believe that is what makes these characters stand out as there is nothing else to distract the viewer.

When there is division among the young voyagers, again, there is no place to hide the rage and emotional turmoil which is frightening in the sense that one wrong move…. Buckle up because this is going to be a bumpy ride into space! 

In the end – what does it feel like?


Global Action Hero Liam Neeson stars as the ultimate protector in the pulse-pounding action thriller

THE MARKSMAN

with never-before-seen bonus content with cast and crew that take you behind the scenes of the gripping story. Coming to Digital April 27th and Bluray and DVD May 11 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. 

We are giving away a few copies so you know what to do! Email hellomoviemaven@aol.com with MARKSMAN in the subject line along with your name and address. Enjoy!
There is Much to See from THE PENTHOUSE

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to DVD from Lionsgate Home Entertainment is a couple who have moved up and decided they want to try life in THE PENTHOUSE.

Peter Wright (David Schifter) and wife Amanda (Vanessa Ore) are both successful business owners who live in Carolina Beach. It is a beautiful town that serves Peter’s boat business and brings Amanda a constant flow of shoppers to her clothing store. The couple decides to look for another beautiful home and the real estate agent takes them to the penthouse of a building overlooking the marina.

Peter loves the view and Amanda loves the apartment and after a few words of whether they should do it – the couple decides its time to live the good life. Moving in and settling down is perfect and Peter even buys a telescope to take in the local sites and happenings. One thing they both notice is a couple on a sailboat in the water.

Charles (Michael Pare) and Tess (Krista Saxon) are an interesting couple with what seems to be a love/argue relationship. One morning Tess actually comes into Amanda’s store and they strike up a conversation. Amanda invites her to come and have a drink but there is something intense about her reply.

Amanda and Pete wonder what is happening, but wonder is not where he stops. Peter finds Charles only to discover that he is a little unpredictable. Surprised to get an invite to Charles’ boat, Peter tries to put the pieces together which turns into a disaster for both he and Amanda in a town that wraps itself in rumors instead of fact.

Now, Charles is about to show them both how neighborly he can be.

Schifter as Peter runs his business during the day and has a great client base. In the evening he takes his glass of wine and enjoys the view from the penthouse. Getting the idea for a telescope is what brings out the pain that he and Amanda will have to deal with. However, let it not be said that he is going to take the invasion without a fight.

Ore as Amanda runs a boutique and is friendly with everyone. Trying to reach out to Tess is another sore point for an already upset neighbor. Trying to get her husband to back off also does not mean that Amanda has stopped wondering about Tess. So, both Peter and Amanda have no idea that their good intentions have turned.

Pare as Charles is a man I do not think anyone ever wants to deal with in this life. He is controlling, manipulative and somehow believes he can make others pay when they get to close. Pare gets an opportunity to be swift with his own brand of justice and feel self-gratification when making others feel inadequate – and making it show with his own brand of steely-eyed looks. 

Other cast include Jeff Kidd as Steve, Irene Santiago as Detective Cruz, Jessica Farmer as Kate, Jennifer Andersen as Cathy, Robert Goodwin as Tony, Robert Fortunato as Officer Swinson, Jeannie West as Julie and Nicholas Turturro as Detective Martinez. 

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 PENTHOUSE is a film that gives us all pause to getting a telescope! I actually have seen them on many patios of not only high rises but homes on the beach. Writer David Schifter must have seen them as well to come up with the story of what can happen in the scariest way possible.

This is an extremely small cast but that allows us to get totally involved (kind of being a voyeur of a voyeur if you will) in the storyline. Watching Pare get into bad guy mode is engrossing and at the same time is a little uneasy to watch which makes for a very interesting character. 

Get the popcorn and make sure you are on the ground floor for this one.

In the end – sometimes its best to mind your own business!

NOMADLAND 

Jeri Jacquin

On Bluray and Digital from writer/director Chloe Zhao and Searchlight Pictures is the cinematic splendor of NOMADLAND.

Fern (Frances McDormand) has lost her job in Empire, Nevada when the US Gypsum plant shuts down and her husband has died. She makes the unusual decision to buy a van, get rid of belongings and find work. When a friend recommends the desert and a place where others who are living in their wheels, Fern initially says thanks but no thanks.

As the winter becomes stronger and the van becomes colder, Fern changes her mind and heads for Arizona. Each day she becomes more and more able to take care of problems that arise when she is alone. Taking a job at the RV park, she meets David (David Strathaim) who cares about what Fern is going through. When he has the chance to be with his family, David asks Fern to come and once again she says thanks but no thanks.

The worst happens when the van Fern lives in breaks down and the repairs are extensive. Turning to a family that wonders why she remains aloof, which makes her feet hit the pavement even faster back to the van. In the constant flow of people in and out of her life, Fern must make a decision about life and the road ahead.

McDormand as Fern is absolutely brilliant, stunning, epic and perhaps someone I relate to more than I thought I would. She offers up the life of a person who has never been as people wanted her to be and the decision to life a different life is normal. I think we have all had the moment where we wondered if we had the soul to pack it all up and learn to be totally alone. McDormand gives us a look at it and besides the bucket incident, its tempting for soul search reasons. She is a gentle soul but tormented at the same time.

Strathaim as David is a gentle soul and sees that Fern is as well but can not seem to let herself step into the next part of her life. Knowing friendship is all there is does not mean he will not take the moments to show Fern what is possible by hoping, wishing and accepting. Strathaim is the actor that always manages to be a stabilizing force in the roles he takes and I’m a fan.  

Other cast include Gay DeForest as Gay, Patriia Grier as Patty, Angela Reyes as Angela, Carl Hughes as Carl, Douglas Soul as Doug, Ryan Aquino as Ryan, Ryan Aquino as Ryan, Teresa Buchanan as Theresa, Karie Wilder as Karie, Brandy Wilber as Brandy, Makenzie Etcheverry as Makenzie, Annette Webb as Annette, Rachel Bannon as Rachel, Linda May as Linda, Swankie as Swankie, Bob Wells as Bob, and Derek Endres as Derek.

Searchlight Pictures is responsible for such films as SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, 12 YEARS A SLAVE, THE SHAPE OF WATER and THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING MISSOURI. They have an extensive film library as well as documentaries, scripted series, and limited series. For more information, please visit www.searchlightpictures.com.

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

Bonus Extras include The Forgotten America, Telluride Premier Q&A with Frances McDormand and Chloe Zhao and Deleted Scenes. 

NOMADLAND is a film that brings the effects of life from Ferns point of view. From jobs to death, friendship, long periods of solitude, avoidance, a silent life story and meeting people who do not judge her decisions.

McDormand says so much even when she is not saying a word in this character. She is actually playing off of everything and everyone around her. The scenery represents her emotions, and the rocks are the toughness to the breeze blowing as Fern tries to let go of so many things. Yes, it is absolutely clear that I am so moved by this film.

NOMADLAND is also a 2017 book by Jessica Bruder and it was McDormand who reached out to director Zhao about the project. She believed that “The groundwork had been laid. Most people love telling you their stories if you are willing to listen”. 

Zhao says of the work, “I’ve always been drawn to the road from a young person’s perspective, but to be able to step into the shoes of people who are rediscovering themselves on the road in the twilight of their years was a very interesting experience I wanted to have”.

And what an experience it is shooting in four months and basically becoming a nomadic cast and crew themselves to tell this heartfelt story. 

In the end – it is a chosen life!


IN THE EARTH

Jeri Jacquin

Coming from writer/director Ben Wheatley and Neon is the story of what is IN THE EARTH.

Martin (Joel Fry) in on his way to meet fellow scientist and researcher Dr. Olivia Wendle (Hayley Squires) deep in the forest. Arriving at his destination, he is given warnings about the goings on deep among the trees. Also making the journey is Alma (Ellra Torchia) who is investigating strange happenings in the forest as well. 

Looking about the cabin they meet up at, Alma tells him about the folklore of the area. As night falls and they camp in the woods, she is woken up by something moving about the site. In the daylight they find wooden statues and a large, smooth black rock where a large rock would not be expected.

They find Dr. Wendle who tells them of her work with sound and the reaction of the earth to it and believes the items they found in the forest are part of it. She also tells them about Zach (Reece Shearsmith) who she has not seen in weeks. Dr. Wendle also knows that something is wrong with him and promises that he does not mean any harm. That is when a strange fog comes towards the three of them and now it is time to survive. 

Fry as Martin is looking to help a friend and becomes caught up in something he has no control over. Joined by Torchia as Alma, the two characters, with each step get closer and closer to a mystery they could have never anticipated. Every moment brings them answers but even more questions that they look to the good doctor for.

Squires as Dr. Wendle tries to explain to Martin and Alma about her research. From the music to the lights, Wendle believes that she can reach into the earth and connect in a unique way. She also explains the strange behavior of Shearsmith who plays Zach. He seems possessed by whatever is in the woods and who ever is causing his mental reaction. 

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

IN THE EARTH is a film best watched in the dark for full effect (and it is uber cool in the dark) and with a huge tub of popcorn. The anticipation waiting for the answers, because I had a few, is almost forgotten because what takes over is the question “what is causing this?”. Thinking every answer under the sun, I realized that made the film even more enjoyable.

Wheatley says of his film, “It was kind of thinking of ideas about folk, horror and about the construction of myth. There is always a seed of truth in it somewhere but the trapping around it may be absolute nonsense. In this movie, there is a lot of different perspectives on this thing they cannot understand. That was the main idea; that there would be something almost alien that they are trying to come to an understanding with and they move towards that everybody making up lots of reasons and excuse for what it is.”

Having a small cast lets the viewer focus on the story and the characters which I truly enjoy. Their surroundings is another cast member with the deep forests and mysterious stone that keeps its mystery to itself.

In the end – nature is a force of evil!







They are Being HELD

Jeri Jacquin

Currently showing from directors Chris Lofing, Travis Cluff and Magnet Releasing is the story of a marriage that is being HELD.

Emma (Jill Awbrey who also wrote the script) is a writer who is also dealing with a marriage that needs attention. Going off to a fantastic house to themselves, Emma has the chance to take a breath. Dropped off by Uber driver Joe (Rez Kempton), he is nervous leaving her alone.

Letting him know husband Henry (Bart Johnson) would be joining her shortly, Emma is surprised when he shows up earlier than she thought. It does not take long before the couple realizes someone has been in the house and that someone takes control of the house. A voice (Travis Cluff) makes it clear that the couple is to do whatever it says to do.

Emma and Henry are not about to let a voice tell them what to do and just as quickly discover that there certainly are dangerous consequences for not listening. The voice wants them to behave lovingly towards one another and reconnect in a way that is respectful and caring. Emma and Henry begin to understand that they are trapped, and compliance is the only way they can buy time to break free.

Also in that time, the voice brings out secrets in their marriage and since they have nowhere to go, they must face it all, every ugly little detail. The most important question in the midst of it all is who is the voice and how does it know so much?

The answer is shocking.

Jill Awbrey as Emma is a woman who is dealing with a lot in her life. Trauma from her past and a disconnect in her marriage, she sees their weekend at the beautiful rental as a time to heal. Well, her way toward healing is not exactly what she signed up for and The Voice is going to make sure of that. Awbrey is not only an actress in her own right, HELD is her first feature film to be sure but she has written, directed, produced and starred in short films. She is an intense storyteller and HELD is proof of that.

Johnson as Henry wants the marriage to work and for them to be happy. He has been just as lost as Emma and believes the weekend together could be just the thing they need. As The Voice begins to make demands, Johnson’s character becomes the protector of his wife that brings them closer together. Fearing for them both he wants to find out what is happening and who is responsible.

Shout out to Kempton as Joe, the Uber driver with a heart. Of course, he does not deserve to be caught up in the middle of the marital drama, but things happen. From the beginning it is clear he is a caring person but Emma is already on the edge of her last nerve, so she does not really cut him any slack. That is until he comes back to explain himself but someone else greets him instead. 

Other cast include Zack Gold as Ryan Sullivan, Jener Dasilva as Graham, Jana Claire Price as Young Emma, Ian Jones as Sean, Ryan Shoos as Bobby, Liz Fenning as Jane, and Tessa Munro as Beth.

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

HELD is a film about marriage, trauma, secrets, deceptions, and the possibility of getting past it all. The film is 98% relying on stars Awbrey and Johnson to keep us in the middle of what the couple is going through but once The Voice comes into play – it gets creepier than anyone can imagine.

Awbrey takes this story in directions that are frightening and kind of makes me glad I am not married!

In the end – to survive they must obey!


VANQUISH

Jeri Jacquin

Currently in theatres and from director George Gallo and Lionsgate is the story of a mother doing what it takes for her child with VANQUISH.

Victoria (Ruby Rose) is a mom of young daughter Lily (Juju Brener) and spends time with friend Damon (Morgan Freeman). He notices one evening when they are over that there is something wrong with Lily and offers his help. Victoria is thankful to have such a friend but there is one catch and its as deadly as any catch can be.

Damon is an ex-police officer who became disabled in the line of duty but all around him is a home filled with luxury. He makes it clear that there is a reason for this, and Victoria is about to find out. Damon has taken her daughter and to get her back, Victoria must make five stops and pick up bags with insane amounts of money inside.

Knowing she does not have a choice; Victoria agrees but makes it clear that there will be a cost at the end. Damon keeps tabs on her as well as guiding her from location to location. What becomes clear is that with every stop, there seems to be a connection to her and each group she meets wants nothing more than to take her out.

That’s where they make their first mistake because before being a protective mother – Victoria was more oh so very much more!

Rose as Victoria is once again given the role of a woman with a certain set of motorcycle and gun skills. She has a past that is moment by moment trying to catch up with her. Being a mother means they can chase all they want but Victoria has something they do not – a ferocity that knows no bounds.

Freeman as Damon has broken their friendship by taking daughter Lily for his own gains. He is Victoria’s eyes for the sake of making sure she does not veer from the directions and, in a weird way, to keep others from getting their hands on her. This is not a huge stretch for Freeman because I love him both as a good guy or bad guy character mainly because one is never quite sure that is who the character truly is.  

Other cast includes Patrick Muldoon as Agent Monroe, Nick Vallelonga as Detective Stevens, Hannah Stocking as Galyna, Joel Michaely as Rayo, Miles Doleac as Erik, Paul Sampson as B.J., Ele Bardha as Max, Chris Mullinax as Detective Kehoe, Nate Adams as Rick, Reb Rob as Johnny, Bill Luckett as Father Thomas and Julie Lott as Governor Driscoll.

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 www.lionsgate.com.

VANQUISH is definetly an action film from start to finish filled with everything you would expect from a revenge film. The question is who is revenging whom? There is a lot to take in as the story starts to unfold about Victoria’s past and what Damon has been up to. Their worlds collide with hostility as Victoria believes that the relationship was based on true friendship.

Bullets, motorcycles, shotguns and bad water glasses are everything that this ninety-minute film bring. There are stories interwoven in stories so take a moment to unravel all of it until the film comes to its finale.

In the end – she has one night to save her daughter’s life!








AFTER ANTARTICA

Jeri Jacquin

In 1989, six explorers loaded up sleds, supplies and dogs heading out across Antarctica to be the first humans to do so. The purpose of the over 3,000-mile trek was to convince world leaders that there was rapid change there and to get leaders to renew the 50-year Antarctic Treaty to protect the area from those who would profit from drilling etc. 

The diary keeper of the journey was Will Steger and at the age of 75 and cancer survivor, he has decided to take on the Arctic completely on his own. Pulling his own supplies in a aluminum canoe and two smaller sleds. While on the trip he recalls the ’89 trip, those who took it with him, the perils and how it has affected him to this day.

His memory is completely clear about the 3,741-mile journey that lasted through months and months of cold, a 40-day storm that was merciless, trying to stay alive but also discovering what was happening to the ice they were riding on.

Steger has spent his life on journeys that have taken him to some absolutely stunning places that most of us will never see. Those journeys have brought him early to the realization that he wanted to help protect and preserve such places of brutal beauty. Spending time away and in a home that is secluded near a river, Steger understands who he is through the years and has embraced his calling.

Through photos and recordings, AFTER ANTARTICA is a riveting experience (without the cold) that allows the viewer even the smallest glimpse of what happened to these men. Deciding to take a journey like this is one thing, actually doing it from start to finish is exceptional. Even debating whether to walk the last few miles or get help with a truck is something none of these men would even consider.

What would bring such a film to viewers? It is director Tasha Van Zandt that tells the story of how that came to be. “My journey with Will Steger began at a very young age. Growing up in Minnesota, Will Steger was a hometown hero. It felt like everywhere I went people were sharing tales of his legendary conservation-focused expeditions. I remember being gifted a National Geographic magazine that featured his expeditions. I was immediately inspired by the otherworldly images and the way he had used expeditions as a tool for international cooperation and using his platform as a means of effective change.”

Steger received the National Geographic Adventure Lifetime Award, became the National Geographic Society’s Explorer-in-Residence, testified before the US Congress on environmental issues, has met world leaders and founded the Climate Generation nonprofit to search for climate change solutions. 

He has also authored the books Top of the World: Crossing Antarctica, North to the Pole and Saving the Earth. 

What makes this documentary to stunning is the world that Steger chooses to protect is one that has needed attention for quite some time. Every journey he has taken is to present to the world the effects of what we do on our world. Whether we can walk on these places or not, ridding our view from everything but the ice – there is nothing that can be argued. It is here and now, and Steger puts it right in front of us.

I could never imagine making such a journey as the men did in 1989, especially without the technology that we have today to keep track and help if needed. Those men were using a radio that would be useless today. When Steger makes his walk in Arctica, using a SAT phone once a day to stay in touch still had me jittery. 

That being said, watching him make the trek alone with vast miles and miles of nothing pulling a canoe behind him shows the dedication he has to the environment. At the same time, Steger knows that he can handle being alone for such a long period of time. Listening to his writings it is clear he had no problem expressing himself then and has absolutely no problem expressing his emotions now.

AFTER ANTARTICA spends its time expressing the dangers and without preaching at the audience, instead uses the footage and interviews to reach that place that makes us, as the viewer, want to know more and become informed ourselves – helping one voice at a time until the planet hears us all. 

In the end – he believes in the frozen world!


SECRETS OF THE WHALES Comes to Disney+ 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming this week to celebrate Earth Day from James Cameron, National Geographic and Disney+ is a stunning and intriguing look at the beauty of the sea and SECRETS OF THE WHALES.

Beginning this Thursday in a four-part documentary narrated by actress and conservationist Sigourney Weaver, is a look into the lives of Orcas around the planet. More and more is being discovered about this giants of the deep and the different pods. 

Capturing them on film, what these creatures are teaching us all is that they have a culture all their own. Each pod has a language and a set of skills that meet the needs of the group. That is what is most amazing about these beautiful whales, they work together as a group and they grow as a group doing what is best for all.

The second episode in the four parts series speaks about the very large-finned Humpback whales. As scientists watch them, it also becomes clear that they also have their own culture. From amazing treks in large numbers (up to 30,000) through the oceans to their own meaning behind breaching and slapping their fins, what we will all learn is even more delightful. 

The third episode is, and I will be honest here, speaks about the very smiley Beluga whale. Learning how groups stay close and babies learn from their mothers, scientists also believe that Beluga’s give each other names and that alone has me grinning from ear to ear. These every so lovely white whales’ flitter about as if constantly at play yet continue to be curious about their world. 

Finally, the four episode lets us learn more about the Sperm whale. The most incredible for scientists is capturing a whale calf actually feeding from its mother recorded for the first time ever. 

Filmmaker James Cameron joins Brian Skerry to immerse us all in the world of whales and, as he says, to “see life and love from their perspective”. It does not take much for viewers to be pulled into the world of whales, what makes this four-part series unique are the very different choices of sea life they follow. 

National Geographic Magazine has The Ocean Issue available online April 15th at www.natgeo.com/planetpossible. Planet Possible is a platform to inspire kicking off on Earth Day to celebrate the wonders of whale culture. 

Also, the book SECRETS OF THE WHALES published by National Geographic contains photographer Brian Skerry’s own insight to whales. His photographs help hold up the theory that whales have their own culture through identity, song, and everything else they can teach about our planet if we just look and listen. 

Filmed over three years in twenty-four locations, this journey we take with the whales is one of excellence and pure joy. If you do not believe me, watch any video of people watching for whales and the absolute excitement when they do see them. We have an interesting relationship with whales that only becomes more and more fascinating over time. 

SECRET OF THE WHALES is a documentary that you literally can not take your eyes off of. The splendor and absolute beauty of these sea creatures engrosses us like no other creature. From the sleek look of Orcas and an appreciation for their cleverness, to the fantastic breaching of Humpback whales, to the nurturing of Sperm whales and finally, to the toothy grin of a Beluga, this series is also packed with information.

As someone who lives very close to the ocean, it is a wonder every time I see whales, dolphins etc. swim along the ocean surface. Sometimes they even take a moment to stop and delight everyone who looks to the horizon for a sign of them. Even if we miss a sighting, we can look over the vastness of the ocean and know they are there.

The documentary offers us a look at what we ocean dwellers do not see all the time, it offers those landlocked a view of the glory of the ocean, the blue sky and the intelligence of creatures that glide along with their families. There is something gloriously wonderful about that actually. Knowing they too have families, they too have a way of life, and they too have language, song and love.

Knowing all that, how can you not be humbled this Earth Day. 

In the end – they welcome us to Earth Day!


THE FATHER

Jeri Jacquin

Currently available from director Florian Zeller and Sony Picture Classics comes a heart-breaking story of THE FATHER.

Anthony (Anthony Hopkins) 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.

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! 


It is the Return of our Favorite Ogre SHREK

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack from directors Andrew Adamson, Vicky Jenson and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is our, well, kinda loveable ogre SHREK.

Lord Farquaad (voiced by John Lithgow) has taken over the fairytale kingdom and ruining the lives of the creatures who live there. Shrek (voiced by Mike Meyers) is an ogre who loves his muddy swamp and needs nothing more except being left alone. Well, that starts to change when the displaced creatures start placing themselves in his home.

Done with the madness and irritated with a particular Donkey (Eddie Murphy) who has attached himself to Shrek, he decides to visit this Lord. Interrupting the games, Farquaad makes a deal with Shrek – bring him the lovely Princess Fiona who is trapped in a castle and Shrek can have his swamp back creature free. 

Shrek agrees and Donkey goes along for the adventure. They finally come to a castle that is being guarded by a dragon! Shrek goes in and finds the lovely Princess Fiona (Cameron Diaz) but she is not happy with how the rescue goes. Starting out these two are not exactly seeing eye to eye and Donkey thinks there is something more between them.

On the road back, Shrek and Fiona actually start talking to one another, but the Princess has a secret that she is trying to keep from everyone! Can she make it to the wedding day without being, well, herself?

Meyers as Shrek has made a place for himself in the ogre, swamp, jokes, loveable world of animation. DreamWorks found themselves a total winner in 2001 and that can be attributed to how Meyers made his Ogre amazing and hilarious. Using his ability to create voices, Shrek’s voice is unique and memorable even twenty years later. 

Murphy as Donkey is totally in his element. There is not much that gets to Donkey as he seems to always fly by the seat of his furry animal rear end, and it works for him. Murphy gives Donkey everything and more to include being loveable, understanding, sweet and takes a hit and keeps on going. I can not imagine any other voice coming out of a donkey’s mouth than Murphy’s.

Diaz as Princess Fiona is probably our first glimpse at a Princess being a total bad ass. From the moment Shrek ‘rescues’ her, she makes it plain that she is not one to be trifled with. She has skills of her own and Shrek is about to discover them. Diaz also gives her princess a soft side filled with everything a young girl goes through with insecurities, uncertainties and unaccepting of her circumstances yet, does not know how to change it – until she meets Shrek.

Lithgow as Lord Farquaad is HILARIOUS, his statue does not match his ego that is for sure. He is full of himself and has managed to make everyone else forget he is as big as a keg of ale. Farquaad has more insecurities than anyone else running around in the fairytale world. Thinking he is going to get everything in the world is his first mistake.

Other wonderful characters include Vincent Cassel as Monsieur Hood, Chris Miller as Gepetto, Cody Cameron as Pinocchio, Michael Galasso as Peter Pan and Christopher Knight and Simon Smith as the Blind Mice. I have to give a shout out to Conrad Vernon as the Gingerbread Man!  

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

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

The 4K Ultra HD and Bluray Bonus Features include The Animators Corner, Shrek’s Interactive Journey, Spotlight on Donkey, Secrets of SHREK, Deleted Scenes, Music Videos and Filmmakers’ Commentary. Plus, Bluray Bonus Disc with over 4 hours of fun Shrek In The Swam Karoke Party, Far Far Away Idol, Puss in Boots: The Three Diablos, The Ghost of Lord Farquaad, Scared Shrekless, Thriller Night, The Pig Who Cried Wolf, Shrek the Halls, Donkey’s Caroling Christmas-Tacular, Shrek’s Yule Log, and 5 Episodes from THE ADVENTURES OF PUSS IN BOOTS TV Series.

SHREK is a staple in our home video library because it is not just for kids but also for kids at heart who want to have fun. It is a mixture of fairy tales but with a kick as each of the characters begin to find their voice in a world that has kept them boxed up for so long.

Shrek, Fiona and Donkey are the three most impressive and silly characters we have ever seen but in that is also the flaws we all seem to have. Not just in personal appearance but in the way we see one another. SHREK has always pushed us past those differences and did so in a way that makes us smile as well as think more about the world we live in.

In the end – it’s the greatest fairytale never told!

THE MARKSMAN

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray, DVD and Digital from director Robert Lorenz and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is the tale of THE MARKSMAN.

Jim (Liam Neeson) is a rancher who lives on the Arizona/Mexico border raising cattle. The land has been rough, and he is still reeling from the death of his wife. Keeping an eye on Jim is Sarah (Katheryn Winnick) who sees how everything is affecting him. She also is a border agent and Jim calls when he sees immigrant cross the fence or finds someone in trouble.

In Mexico lives young man Miguel (Jacob Perez) who lives with Mom Rosa (Teresa Ruiz). They receive a telephone call from an uncle telling them to run as far away as possible. It seems the cartel is not happy and want to make an example of the family. Thinking they were going to make it; Miguel and Rosa are spotted by the cartel led by Mauricio (Juan Pablo Raba).

Managing to get across the border, that is not going to stop Mauricio and Jim finds himself involved in a shootout. Rosa convinces Jim to help them get to family in Chicago and after seeing what Mauricio is capable of, he agrees. The one who is the least happy about the situation is Sarah, especially after she discovers how vicious Mauricio is.

There is no time to think, and Jim knows he must stay one step ahead of the cartel if they are all going to make it out alive.

Neeson as Jim once again puts in the performance of a man who does not take anything from anybody. He makes it plain from the get-go that Mauricio does not scare him in the slightest. Knowing his way around weapons is what is keeping them alive. So, Neeson gives us his certain set of skills once again to protect a young angry boy. What I love about these roles is that he certainly takes his fair share of punches as one would expect which gives his characters realism in a sense. Calm, cool, collected and having a plan is the way Jim plays it.

Perez as Miguel is an angry young man that just wants to go home, except home is not where he left it. Not knowing how to trust Jim, I think the dog Jackson breaks the ice. Miguel seems a capable young man and proves it when his protector takes to drink. Perez is a young actor who plays his role with believability and smarts.

Raba as Mauricio is one cold hearted individual and that is what makes getting away imperative. This character has no problem it seems taking out one person after another, even if they give him what he wants. Creepy and scary at the same time and Raba gives us the look of a man on a mission who will never stop – ever.

Winnick as Sarah has a history with Jim and wants him to stay safe. Knowing that he tries to do the right thing, she wants him safe and the farther away he gets, the less she can keep him that way. Its good to see Winnick on screen again even though she will always be Lagatha to me!

Other cast include: Alfredo Quiroz as Carlos, Sean Rosales as Hernando, Jose Vasquez as Isidro, Antonio Leyba as Rigo, Dylan Kenin as Randall and Luce Rains as Everett.

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

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

The Bonus Features of THE MARKSMAN include The Making of THE MARKSMAN.

Let us be honest with one another, anything that has Liam Neeson in it I am going to watch and love. In recent years he has truly brought some memorable roles to the screen and shown Hollywood that stellar performances can come at any time in one’s life. 

His choice in roles has one thing that stands out, the person he is portraying is just trying to be a good person and live within the world of his own making. It is only when someone comes along and tries to mess with that does Neeson’s characters shrug and say, “okay…if you want to play, lets play”. 

It is weird to say but when that happens, I find myself shrugging my own shoulders saying out loud to the screen, ‘dude, you asked for it’. A line is drawn and, in THE MARKSMAN, that line was clear, especially when dealing with crazy.

In the end – justice comes down to him!

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

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Join the gang for some 

COOL COUNTING

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The Story Has One BIG FISH

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to 4K Ultra HD and Bluray from director Tim Burton and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment comes a tale that is one BIG FISH.

Will (Billy Crudup) has spent his life listening to his father Edward’s (Albert Finney) stories about his life. Finally letting Dad know how he felt about it, there happened a rift between the two. Years later, Will receives a telephone call from Mom Sandra (Jessica Lange) telling him that Edward is ill. Packing up young pregnant wife Josephine (Marion Cotillard), he finally goes home.

Once there, it is Josephine that gets to hear the story’s that Will has no interest in. Recounting the young days of Edward’s (Ewan McGregor) life, meeting the love of his life and having a family, Josephine thinks the stories are so charming. One afternoon Sandra takes Will into the garage where he discovers that perhaps the stories his Dad was telling him could possibly have truth to them.

Beginning with Jenny (Helena Bonham) the town Witch who had another story to tell Will.

Crudup as Will is a man who is at his end with the stories his father tells. As he gets older, so does the innocence he once held toward those stories. It is only when his father becomes ill does he take the time to learn to understand the man who became his father. Crudup’s character attempts to play along but in fact he is dealing with who his father truly is and Crudup does it amazingly well.

Finney as Edward who is the elder Dad is absolutely lovely in every way. When he tells his part of the story it is with such detail and excitement in his voice. Watching the relationship between the elder Edward and Will can be a bit of heartbreaking because of the rift that they are trying to pretend did not happen. 

McGregor as the younger Edward is optimistic, full of life, has amazing friendships and is laser focused on the one thing he loves in life – Sandra. Watching him go through everything just to be with her and making her life a good one is what Will seems to not be grasping. McGregor’s Edward just loves everything about life and even when there is a down time or two, he finds a way turn a frown upside down.

Lange as Sandra is gentle and loves the life they have created together. She lets him have his whimsical moments and actually cherishes them and I love that about her character. Bonham as Jenny also has a story to tell, and it certainly is just as charming as any story Edward has told. Cotillard as a pregnant Josephine delights in Edward’s stories even if Will keeps rolling his eyes. It is as if Edward has one more chance to make sure that the stories and memories are stored with someone who will tell them again and again.

Other cast include Alison Lohman as young Sandra, Robert Guillaume as Dr. Bennett, Missi Pyle as Mildred, Matthew McGrory as Karl the Giant, David Denman as Don Price, Loudon Wainwright as Beamen, Ada and Arlene Tai as Ping and Jing, Steve Buscemi as Norther Winslow, Danny DeVito as Amos Calloway, and Deep Roy as Mr. Soggybottom. 

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

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

Bonus Materials of BIG FISH include Newly Remastered in 4K Resolution from the Original Camera Negative with HDR10 and All New Dolby Atmos Audio and Original Theatrical 5.1 Ratio. On Bluray there is Feature presentation in HD Sourced From the New 4K Master, Tim Burton Audio Commentary Moderated by Mark Salisbury, The Character’s Journey: Edward Bloom At Large, Amos athe Circus & Fathers and Sons, The Filmmaker’s Path: Tim Burton: Storyteller, A Fairytale World, Creature Features and The Author’s Journey, Original Cast Interviews & Behind The Scenes, Easter Eggs and Theatrical Trailer.  

BIG FISH is an epic story with a cast that can never be duplicated ever again. Each character has a unique story to tell with Edward being the catalyst for them all. It is a film about the life we look back on, the adventures we love to remember, those who are part of those memories, what the truth is and what we chose to believe in the end.

All of those things are so glorious in their ways and it makes every moment of the film so lovely. There is humor, friendship, family, love and discovering the connection that was never really lost, only momentarily forgotten. Truth be told, I have watched this film again and again over the years and I am just as moved every time I see it.

BIG FISH if a film that only gets better with time and eighteen years later the truth of it all is that when you move away everything else – there is love.

In the end – it is the story of his life!


The Truth is Exposed by THE MAURITANIAN

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to 4K Ultra HD, Bluray and Digital from director Kevin Macdonald and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment comes the story of a man known as THE MAURITANIAN.

Mohamedou Slahi (Tahar Rahim) has been captured and sent to Guantanamo Bay after the 9/11 attacks on America. He is not told what the charges against him are and lives day to day in a small cell. Nancy Hollander (Jodie Foster) decides to take on his case bringing Teri Duncan (Shailene Woodley) aboard. They head to Guantanamo detention camp to meet Mohamedou.

Their first meeting is tense as he does not have reason to trust two women he does not know. He listens to what they have to say and weighs his options quickly before agreeing to be represented by Hollander. What they do not yet know is that the government has enlisted the help of Lt. Colonel Stuart Couch (Benedict Cumberbatch) to prosecute the case. Couch had lost a friend so he is motivated by emotion.

Hollander tells Mohamedou that he must write down his life and what has happened to him. While that is happening, she and Duncan have gone through everything to be allowed to read all the paperwork since his capture only to discover the government has redacted almost everything. Couch is finding himself in the same predicament as to what Mohamedou was actually being charged with. 

As both sides attempt to do their job, it is Mohamedou who relives his worst nightmares at Guantanamo Bay before being allowed to have his say in court.

Foster as Hollander believes in her client to a point. It is his word against the evidence that she has read so far but like most of Foster’s character roles, she keeps going until the answers are clear. This actress has always been at her best when taking on roles of injustice and gives it her own unique take and in this film, it is the same.

Slahi as Mohamedou is a man trying to come to terms with how he got to Guantanamo Bay and how close he came to those who were terrorists. That is how he ended up spending year after year in a place where the questions were the same and so were the answers. Slahi gives his character a bit of standoffishness but that makes perfect sense giving the life and death situation his character is in.

Cumberbatch as Lt. Col. Couch is a man of faith and when the case is brought to him, he thought of his friend who died on 9/11. As the case paperwork comes in, he sees things that are curious and questionable. He realizes that the government is using his friend’s death as a weapon in the conviction arsenal, but his faith would never allow that to happen.

Woodley as Duncan is a young lawyer who is thrilled to help with the case. She enjoys their visits and believes that the wrong done to their client should be made right. Doing everything she can to be part of the process, her beliefs are challenged, and she must make a decision that puts them all at odds.

Other cast includes David Fynn as Kent, Corey Johnson as Bill Seidel, Saamer Usmani as Arjun, Denis Menochet as Emmanuel and Zachary Levi as Neil Buckland.

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

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

The Bonus Features of THE MAURITANIAN are Alternate Opening, Deleted Scenes, Behind the Scenes of THE MAURITANIAN and more!

THE MAURITANIAN is a story of a man and the nightmare of Guantanamo Bay. The film dives into every aspect both legally and personally of his experience. At times his memories are disturbing and there are moments where he finds his own emotional and mental escape from everything around him.

At the suggestion of his lawyers, Slahi wrote a book in 2005 and Guantanamo Diary became an international best seller. It was his opportunity to share his experience and attempt to make people aware of what was happening.

In the end – he has a story that needed to be told!




A Thirty-Year Mystery Starts in the DARK WOODS

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Topic from director Sven Bohse and First Look Media is a mystery that has spanned the years about what happened in the DARK WOODS.

Thomas Bethge (Matthias Brandt) is moving up in his position to the Head of the Hamburg State Office of Criminal Investigations. Wife Marianne (Jenny Schily) is pleased and so is sister Barbara Neder (Silke Bodenbender). Sharing the day with Thomas, Barbara who lives in Wesenburg, also shares that things are tense with husband Robert (Nicholas Ofczarek). Everyone knows he is having an affair and it is even affecting daughter Theresa (Janina Fautz).

Wanting a divorce, Barbara is going to make sure that it is not an easy one Robert. Finally, the two come together to talk one evening. By the next morning Barbara is missing! There is no trace of her, and the suspicion is immediately directed at Robert. The police are busy as they are dealing with the death of two couples in the forest outside of town. 

Local Wesenburg police Anne Bach (Karoline Schuch) and Jan Gerke (August Wittgenstein) are investigating the deaths when they are notified about the disappearance of Barbara Neder. Their detective plates are literally running over as days turn into weeks with no sign of her all while piecing together what happened in the woods.

Becoming frustrated with the lack of care in his sisters’ case in Wesenburg, Bethge enlists the help of Anne Bach to keep him informed of what they find out and at the same time doing some digging of his own. He discovers that Barbara had met cemetery gardener Jurgen Becker (Hanno Koffler) at a party, and he had a record. They begin to ask the right questions but there are people standing in the way. 

Becker makes it clear he had nothing to do with the disappearance. His edgy friend Heiner Mertens (Micro Kreibich) and wife Andrea (Nadeshda Brennicke) are protective of Becker and will no cooperate with police at all.  

As the years pass, both Bethge and Bach are convinced that they know who is responsible and they still gather evidence. When year 30 rolls around, Bethge has retired, and Bach has moved on to becoming a negotiator. He asks her to join in the search once again and this time look even deeper into the original investigation and make it clear nothing and no one is going to get in their way.  

If it is proof the authorities want, then proof is exactly what they are going to get! 

Brandt as Bethge is a responsible and caring husband, son and brother. Working hard in his profession in law enforcement is something everyone in the family is proud of. He also cares very much for his family taking care of an aging mother, a busy family and a sister who is having martial problems. Being there for everyone is something Bethge has been relied on for. Once Barbara goes missing, Brandt gives us the intensity of a law enforcement officer whose hands are tied. He does not accept it (nor should he) and finds ways around to be a part of the search for his sister.  

Schuch as Bach is a policewoman who is trying to make her own way in law enforcement. Shrewd, smart and into details, from the moment of the killings in the woods to the disappearance of Barbara Neder, she is as fixated as Bethge is. Schuch gives us a strong character who knows her job well and is determined to get around those stopping her from doing that job. 

Wittgenstein as Gerke is her partner that does not have the same dedication to the job as Bach has and there are several reasons for it. Mainly, to my way of thinking, because being in law enforcement is the good ole’ boys club and she is not invited. There is also a connection between Gerke and Bach that he must fight through in order to do his job effectively. 

Ofczarek as Robert is a husband who does the stereotypical thing and has an affair with his secretary. Trying to buy his way out of his marriage to Barbara, it is their final meeting that puts his life on hold and making is nearly impossible to prove his innocence. Ofczarek becomes a victim himself while waiting for Barbara to come home.  

Fautz as daughter Theresa is not happy about the affair as she sees her mother struggling to come to terms with the end of the marriage. Making it clear that she supports her mother in all things, after Barbara is gone is when her own destruction takes ahold in her life.  

Schily as wife Marianne stands by her husband and the rip in the family. Trying to make things easier becomes a full-time job for her to the point where she feels she needs to draw the line for the sake of her marriage. I think thirty years is a pretty good line! Bodenbender as Barbara gives us a woman who is dealing with the pain of being cheated on and then dealing with the process of divorce. Feeling she needs to get out in the world once again after scaring her family that she was falling apart, Barbara began to feel good again. Bodenbender gives us time to see the destructive Barbara and only a momentary glimpse of what could have been a happy Barbara. 

Other cast include Hildegard Schmahl as Erika Bethge, Andreas Lust as Frank Behringer, Karsten Mielke as Lohse, Moritz Grove as Staatsanwalt Leest, Anne Werner as Lisa Kimmrich, Nikola Kastner as Rachel Hermes, Lisa Hagmeister as Untermieterin, Lara-Sophie Milagro as Thelma, Ruth Kroger as Vera Lingner, Michel Hoppe as Sohn Linger, Rudiger Klink as Luzt Arnold, Daniel Lommatzsch as Hans Lingner.

Topic features North American premieres and programming from around the world, complemented by a diverse slate of Originals including documentaries, scripted comedies and dramas, discussion shows, and more. With exclusive TV series and film that take you to more than 40 countries, Topic showcases an unparalleled diversity of creators, perspectives, and experiences. They prioritize bold storytelling, champion underrepresented voices, and believe that entertainment should expand your view of the world. For more about Topic please visit www.topic.com. 

The series DARK WOODS is based on the real events of the 1989 Gohrde-Morde when a people were murdered in the forest Die Gohrde. The case remained unsolved for over 30 years in the city of Luchow-Dannenberg, Lower Saxony. 

DARK WOODS is a six-part mini-series that include The Disappearing, The Dark Force, The Double Decker, The Promise, The Forbidden Room and Forever and Ever. The story is told in German with English sub-titles.

The story is very complex taking on twists and turns that any investigation might run into. There are extremely complex characters and as the story begins to unfold, their story is told. It is up to the viewer to put the pieces together and decide who is lying and who is telling the truth before the final episode where it all comes full circle – even if it took thirty years for that to happen.

The dedication of Bach and the determination of brother Bethge give us a reason to cheer that no matter who tried to get in their way, the truth is more important. The irresponsibility of their superiors is enough to drive everyone to curse but Bach and Bethge let those watching know that the answers are there, and they will find them.

DARK WOODS is a well thought out and extremely well done series that explores human nature and the woods are not the only thing that is dark.

In the end – they refuse to stop!


THE UNTHINKABLE

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres and OnDemand from writer/director Victor Danell, Crazy Pictures and Magnet Releasing is a story of invasion and survival with THE UNTHINKABLE.

Alex (Christoffer Nordenrot) is a young man living in Sweden with unstable father Bjorn (Jesper Barkselius) and mom Klara (Ulrika Backstrom). The only respite in his life is Anna (Lisa Henni), a young girl who has captured his heart and broke it when it was time for her to go away to school.

After a blow up with Bjorn, Alex packs up and leaves home to start a life on his own. In that life is music that has allowed him to travel and play the music he loves. Leaving one of his concerts, Alex hears on the radio that something is happening only to get out of his car and see explosions. He receives a telephone call to let him know that Klara has died. 

Returning home for the funeral, Alex does not tell Bjorn about the event. He does see Anna once again and feelings he has kept hidden return. Bjorn is busy freaking out because he believes that there is going to be an invasion of their country. Of course, no one else believes his rantings but that does not stop him from gearing up for a fight he believes is only hours away setting traps at the power plant where he works.

As explosions continue, strange soldiers get closer to home! When the town is attacked, Alex, Anna and other towns folks gather up to go to the power plant. Bjorn is shocked to see his son after years of silence between them. Listening to transmissions, they learn that there is something in the rain that will change them all.

But now is not the time for a family reunion, it is a time to survive!

Nordenrot as Alex does not understand the disturbing emotions his father is dealing with. Instead, he sees how it has twisted the family and ruin relationships. Finding solace in his friendship with Anna, even that twists in a way that he can not deal with. Nordenrot give his character a deep sense of being family-torn emotionally and physically, which in turn makes him shut out anything that is unpleasant. Because of that, he can give off an air of instability.

Barkselius as Bjorn is a man who has his own demons, and it does not take much for them to get out of their cage. Part of him wants nothing more than to love and do right by his family and the dangerous part can snap in a second and turn on the same person he claims to love. When the years go by and he is alone because of his behavior, Bjorn gives his character an inside track to what an invasion looks like and how to keep the strange soldiers at bay!

Henni as Anna gives us the young girl who goes away to school leaving a heart broken Alex behind. I will not be giving anything away here but let me just say this, young love remains in hearts for a long time. Henni is amazing as her character will do anything to protect her family, and no one or nothing is going to stop her.

Other cast include Pia Halvorsen as Eva, Magnus Sundberg as Konny, Krister Kern as Kim, Karin Bertling as Farmor, Alexej Manvelov as Tholen, Yngve Dahlberg as Emil, Niklas Jarneheim as Morbror and Arvin Kananian as Sharokh. 

Crazy Pictures is a film collective from Sweden, renowned for its acclaimed and spectacular short films on YouTube with millions of viewers and screened at film
festivals around the world. The group works closely together and stands for all major roles such as director, producer, scriptwriter, director of photography, production design,
costume design, sound design, visual effects and special effects.

 
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. Upcoming films include Ti West’s THE SACRAMENT and to find out more of what is to come please visit www.magnetreleasingfilms.com.

THE UNTHINKABLE is a story that pulls in all directions. First, it is a film about the dysfunction of a family because of the unresolved issues of a husband who clearly does not want to be as he is. The film is also about young love and how heart break brings on difficult decisions and some regret. 

It is also a story of survival, especially when it is never clear who it is that is trying to destroy them. Then again, when you are trying to survive does it really matter who it is? I absolutely did not try to figure out who they were, only that they kept coming and kept coming in such a way that the tension is huge.

There is so much emotion and history going on that once the roller coaster stops, it takes time to take it all in!

In the end – they never thought it could happen!

THE SONS OF SAM

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Netflix is another look at a particular summer in New York City in 1976 with THE SONS OF SAM.

Beginning with a Bronx girl who is tragically shot outside her home and in New York it seemed to be what was happening in the Big Apple. Then, it happened again, and again…and again. The mystery is that the shootings are not motivated by anything other than being a senseless explosion of violence. A sketch is circulated but young people are still out and about.

The shootings expand to Queens and has now earned the nickname the .44 Calibre Killer. The news speaks of lover’s lanes and victims being young women with short brown hair which brings a wave of fear. So far, the police have no pattern to what was happening, each incident is random and no one knew where he would strike next.

Striking again, this time he leaves a note calling himself the "Son of Sam" with disturbing lines and is the first and still mysterious lead to the crimes. Another letter to journalist Jimmy Breslin with The Daily News arrives filled with descriptors and odd nicknames he gives himself. Maury Terry is another writer who recounts the world around him, but editors would not allow his words to be put into print.

It has been a year since the first shooting and people are still in the killers’ sights. Everyone believes that the killer is going to strike again on the anniversary of the first person shot. Instead, days pass and then an attack in Brooklyn. New composites are distributed to the press based on eyewitnesses who believe they saw the killer.

That is when the name David Berkowitz comes to the attention of the police and now they have the Son of Sam from Yonkers, the killer they had been looking for. After the celebrating, the question is asked - why does Berkowitz not look like the artist sketches? It did not take long before other pieces of the puzzle call into question if the man they have arrested acted alone.

At Kings County Hospital, they are taking Berkowitzs' personality apart. Looking at his life history growing up and in the military, everyone has something to say about the man. Terry was pouring over everything that came out about the killer yet still believed there was more. No longer interested in writing about computers, Terry begins to share his thoughts on who he thinks might be responsible - and it is someone close Berkowitz. The name John Carr is referenced over and over.

Terry, now working at a paper, gets his chance to dig deeper into the entire investigation. He and Zuckerman go to the police when they believe they have proof that Berkowitz may not have acted alone but are turned away. That does not stop Terry from continuing to talk to others and investigate places that held more insight to Berkowitz and the Carr family.

But now publications and shocking events are under scrutiny and it makes Terry's case more difficult without being able to speak with the Son of Sam. Still, Terry refuses to stop looking for connections with Satanism, animal killings, involvement from other states and other rituals that the police refused to look at. To the police, the case was closed, and the murders solved.

Finally, articles in Today’s paper begin appearing with things Terry had discovered and people are taking notice. The case is reopened! Now Terry is put on the air as television shares his two-year suspicions about the Son of Sam killings and how many are responsible. This gives him more reason to keep following the Carr family, their history and the connections that are far reaching.

As bizarre as it seems, Terry uncovers Scientology, The Process, Mansion Family, The Children and still, when officers from other department tried to talk to Berkowitz, Terry was left to say, "see, I told you so". If that was not enough, everything was now stalled. Every time Terry found a path to more information, it would be a path that was abruptly and, sometimes, brutally stopped.

In June of 1987, Terry's book ULTIMATE EVIL brought about so much more information and people began to talk. The problem is what they are talking about has nothing to do with his findings regarding the Son of Sam. His personal life would suffer, and his professional life had people not only refusing to accept what he was saying but found ways to play it down.

In September of 1993, Terry would finally come face to face with the one man who could answer every question he would ever have. Thinking this would finally vindicate everything he had investigated, Terry would find out that the walls he thought had been put up before were made of the thinnest paper, this new wall is made of iron.

It was time to adjust his thinking and bring together a group of people that would be of like mind and see what Terry had been living with since the first killing in 1976. Even with the corroboration of even more people to Satanism and The Process, Terry knows that he needs to see Berkowitz one last time to then be able to walk away for good. When does an obsession become just as dangerous as a killer?

THE SONS OF SAM is a deep look into a history most are not aware of. The first episode and half of the second are the things that most of us learned about the .44 calibre killer. What comes from then on are twists, turns and bizarre puzzle pieces that fit with Terry continuing to look for things no one else dared.

Netflix has kicked it into high gear over the last year with their documentaries and THE SONS OF SAM is high on that list of must-see’s. Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with over 158 million paid memberships in over 190 countries. Enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films, Netflix is across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere and on any internet-connected screen. For more information, please visit www.netflix.com.

Set aside plenty of time because binge watching has become as much of a national pastime as crime documentaries. THE SONS OF SAM is interesting in scope and following the thought processes of some of the participants made me want to get out a notebook and keep it all straight. 

There are moments where jaws drop and other things that make you go ‘hmmmmmm’ moments. Decide for yourself what is true and who do you believe!

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!