Family Friendly Films and Events

She Finds Peace and THE SECRET GARDEN

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray, DVD and Digital from director Marc Munden, STX Films and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is the struggle for beauty until they find THE SECRET GARDEN.

Mary (Dixie Egerickx) is living in India during their revolutions. After losing her parents, she is found alone in her home and sent to Uncle Archibald Craven (Colin Firth) in England. Arriving, she is met by Mrs. Medlock (Julie Walters) and told that the life she once knew is not going to be the same. Given instructions about where she can and cannot go in the house, Mary is left alone in a very depressing room.

The next day she meets Martha (Isis Davis) and learns she has a younger brother Dickon (Amir Wilson) who roams the moors. Staying out of the way of everyone in the house, Mary finds solace in walking through the woods, especially when she meets Jemima - a stray who befriends the young girl. Meeting her uncle, Mary sees a very sad and angry man who hasn't gotten over the death of his beloved wife.

Following Jemima one day, Mary discovers a wall and behind it is a wonderful garden. She takes Dickon there and it becomes their special place. Roaming the house, Mary also discovers Cousin Colin (Edan Hayhurt) who is bedridden and believes he is ill. The one thing she has in common with her cousin is feeling unloved by their parents.

But Mary wants to help her cousin by taking him to the garden introducing him to the beauty and the history between their mothers. Mrs. Medlock is not happy about what Mary has been doing and sets it up to anger Mr. Craven enough to send Mary away to boarding school. It all turns into chaos when a fire changes everything.

But not the secret garden!

Egerickx as Mary goes through a traumatic experience with the passing of her parents. Building up her own personal wall, she is not moved by her new home and its curious rules. Egerickx gives us the curiosity with her exploring the grounds as we all would at that age. When she finds the garden, it becomes her refuge from all the trauma and gives this character a chance to bloom like the plants around her. It’s a beautiful portrayal.

Firth as Craven is a man living with the painful memories all around him yet he shuts them up in rooms and drowns them in drink. Not wanting contact with those under his own roof, he takes isolation to the extreme. Firth is amazing at portraying this sadness as with many of the roles he has done especially with period pieces such as this film.

Walters as Mrs. Medlock is straight forward and a stickler for the rules. Clearly, she isn't happy with having Mary around and makes every attempt to find a reason to send her away. Walters is just a wonderful actress who I have been following ever since seeing her in the 1983 film EDUCATING RITA. After that I have watched everything she has done and have experienced a career that is outstanding.

Wilson as Dickon is the most non-judgemental person in Mary's life. He sees her pain and instead of making it worse, he silently teachers her to enjoy the garden as she experiences what he can do as well. Hayhurt as Colin is wild in a different way than Mary but just as uninformed about the truth regarding his parents. Once called out on his behavior, he becomes more aware of life and its possibilities. Davis as Martha sees that Mary is different but knows more about what has gone on in the house than she lets on.

Other cast include David Verrey as Jeremy, Maeve Dermody as Alice, Anne Lacy as Mrs. Pitcher, Richard Hansell as George, Tommy Surridge as Billy, Rupert Young as Marcus, Jemma Powell as Grace and Sonia Goswami Ayah.

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.

STX Films and Entertainment is a global next-generation company who has taken on the mission to unlock the value of direct connection stars have with their fans through the development, production and distribution of film, television, VR, digital video, music and live entertainment content. It is the industry leader in transforming beyond traditional platform-driven content to creating talent-driven enterprises. To experience more please visit www.stxfilms.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 on Bluray, DVD and Digital are Characters - Learn more more about the beloved characters of THE SECRET GARDEN and how the actors who played them brought them to life in a new and imaginative way, Concepts to Reality - From the majestic design of Misselthwaite Manor, to the creation of the enchanting garden, see how the filmmakers created the most immersive telling of THE SECRET GARDEN yet, full of vivid and magical realism, Page to Screen - A look behind the scenes of THE SECRET GARDEN and how the timeless, best-selling novel was brought to life in a modern, vivid and magical way and The Official Trailer.

THE SECRET GARDEN is a story from the classic novel The Secret Garden by author Frances Hodgson Burnett. It has been made and remade several times, but the heart of the story doesn't change. The duality of the world being cold and gray and finding a world of beauty and tranquility transfer from page to screen.

The trauma of Mary is tragic, but she discovers that there are so many different kinds of tragedy and that others experience it in different ways. The one thing they all share is the heavy sadness of trying to go through each day without letting it rule them. Mary does this by becoming the explorer of the estate and the garden which allows her to help Colin as well.

The cinematography is another character of the film because the estate and its initial surroundings are grey, dull and feel lifeless. When the garden is introduced to us, it becomes a place of color, beauty and imagination that all feels like hope. That is important in telling this particular story and works extremely well.

Gather the family and join in the adventure of finding happiness with THE SECRET GARDEN.

In the end - unlock your imagination!

SEA LEVEL Brings Double Underwater Adventure

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to DVD from director Aun Hoe Goh, Grindstone and Lionsgate is the double feature adventures below SEA LEVEL and SEA LEVEL 2: Magic Arch.

SEA LEVEL tells the story of under the sea, Pup is a bamboo shark who finds eggs on the ocean floor. When he discovers that humans are taking the eggs from the reef, he wants to find a way to save them. His best friend Julius the shark is worried that he might do something outrageous but there are even more problems happening below the reef.

Trying to keep a secret from Pup is Myrtle the Turtle who only wants to stop him from making a decision that could hurt him. Octo is the inventing octopus that knows Pups secret and swears to Myrtle that he is not going to tell even if he is a little hesitant and grumpy about it. 

Still, Pup learns that he can breathe on land! Deciding to go onto land and find the others, Julius wants to go after Pup and bring him home. Turning back to Octo, there is a contraption that can help Julius do just that.

Pup takes the bold step and walks across the land searching and finds exactly who he is looking for. What he does not know is that Julius is in a contraption that lets him walk on land, but the land-dwelling animals have another plan.

When Pup explains what happened, his new land-dwelling friends want to make everything right. Hopefully they can do that before the ones from the deep led by and evil eel, try to take over below and ruin the reef home. Pup and Julius fight the two-legged problems while Octo and Myrtle fight the eight-legged problems.

Its time ocean life and land animals come together to make everything right again!

SEA LEVEL 2: Magic Arch, there is a young inventor dolphin named Delphi. He visits with Uncle Ray who makes the comment on that hurts his feelings about his ideas. Alpha the Dolphin gets a lot of attention that irritates him, but he only has eyes for the lovely dolphin Mia. Alpha eggs Delphi on about a secret punch but everyone loses interest.

Octavian is the mayor of the town and rules everything and wants Fishtown to get a new leader, meaning him. The angler fish have come to call out the mayor on how his promises have been broken and there is disorder all around.

Delphi also tries to deal with his father being gone so long. Deep under the water something has happened, the evil eels are back, and no one trust them. Even stranger is as Delphi finds an under the ocean city and goes through a magic arch, he comes out the other side as a turtle. They discover that whatever they say before going in, they come out as that on the other side.

Wanting to tell Octavian what they found, Delphi believes it will help Fishtown be more protected. When Alpha makes fun of him, Delphi decides that he is going to use the magic arch to show everyone. The eels have changed as well and plan to conqueror Fishtown with their huge size change. When Delphi tries to explain to Octavian about it all, he does not believe.

Mia goes after Delphi and sees the beauty of the underwater city and finds the magic arch that Delphi talked about. The problem is the eels are after Mia as he tries to rescue her and the chase is on! That is when Delphi discovers what really happened to his father and it has to do with another arch and time travel!

Someone has to stop the eels before they all change, find Mia and get Delphi's dad home and we know who that is!

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.

SEA LEVEL and SEA LEVEL 2: Magic Arch are beautiful family fun films that tell the story of life under the sea. The first film brings all the animals together against a couple of humans who need a good fin slap while the second film deals with time travel and bringing safety to Fishtown.

The animation is beautifully done and so very colorful! The characters are adorable and full of fun which is important for the whole family to enjoy. Each film has a unique story to tell but the underlying theme is friendship, family, community and doing what is right for all. These are wonderful themes to have swimming through both films.

It is wonderful to have both films on one DVD as well so that one film flows into the other and families can stay under the sea for as long as possible. There is so much fun and humor in both of these films so plan on giggling plenty. There is not anything like swimming with friends who only want the best for you and are pretty cool to be around as well.

In the end - dive twice as deep into these funny fish features!

ILLUMINATION Presents 10-Movie Collection on Bluray

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray from ILLUMINATION and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is an amazing 10-Movie Collection filled with some of the most creative films for family fun.

In 2010, Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Elsie Fisher) are three orphaned girls who introduce us to Gru (Steve Carell) in DESPICABLE ME. He has a plan that will bring about the biggest heist in history by stealing the moon. Getting in his way is his nemesis Vectro (Jason Segel) and with the help of the three orphans he takes in, his plan is on its way. One slight problem is this – he did not plan to have his head turned by the love of these three little girls who see only the good in him. Getting irritated by it all is Dr. Nefario (Russell Brand) who only wants one thing, to be an evil scientist with the help of the Minions. 

The saga of Gru and the family continued with DESPICABLE ME 2 in 2012. Gru is now working with Lucy (Kristen Wiig) and the Anti Villain League looking for El Macho (Benjamin Bratt). Margo, Agnes and Edith are happy with their family life and with dad Gru. Taking the assignment, Gru and Lucy open a shop in the mall to find out if that is where El Macho is hiding. That is where Margo has her first crush which drives Gru insane but more than that, the Minions have been taken which is adding insult to his migraine of it all. Together they find the bad guy(s) and add an addition to the family!

But that is not the only addition to the Gru household as explained in the 2017 DESPICABLE ME 3 as Gru discovers that he has a brother Dru. In the middle of that is finding 80s child star Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker) bringing even more problems to Lucy, Margo, Edith and Agnes (as well as the minions). Dru embraces his new family with a show of wealth that shocks even Gru but all he really wants is to be part of his brother’s life and help him find the bad guys. Maybe even be a little bad once again is something Gru might enjoy with Dru.

Illumination, in 2015, gave MINIONS their own film and after a series of historical screw ups, find themselves gathered in a cave getting a little depressed with their life of no action or no leader. When Kevin, Stuart and Bob leave the cave to find a new master, it is 1968 and they are headed to Villain-Con. Once their they meet Scarlet Overkill, a lady supervillain to takes them to England telling her new recruits that she wants to steal the crown from the Queen. Of course the supervillain turns on her trio and they now know they have to get away from her but not before restoring, in their own unique way, order to the true Queen. 

There is a new bunny in town and with the 2011 film HOP we learn that E.B. (Russell Brand), the Easter Bunny’s son living on Easter Island, wants to be a famous drummer. He certainly does not want to be part of the family business. This is good news to chick Carlos (Hank Azaria), the Easter Bunny’s assistant who wants the top spot on the Island. Getting away to Hollywood, E.B. meets out of work Fred O’Hare (James Marsden) hits the bunny on his way to house sit. Talking his way into staying with Fred, E.B. wants to audition for David Hasselhoff and get on his show. Dad sends out the Pink Berets bunnies to find E.B. and bring him home. So, who will become the Easter Bunny now?

Dr. Seuss is going to get a double dip from Illumination with the 2012 film DR. SEUSS’ THE LORAX. Young Ted (Zac Efron) lives in a walled city and after falling for a girl decides he needs a real tree to get her attention. Finding one, he meets the Once-ler Lorax (Danny DeVito) who lets the young boy know he speaks for the trees. He convinces him to not cut down any more trees, but it is when he is given the last Truffula seed, it is his hope that he can find a way to make everyone care about the trees. That is not what happens once he gets home and finds that O’Hare (Rob Riggle) is trying to get the town to turn against him. But Tim has once way of making everyone see the truth and see his friend the Lorax once again. 

Adding a musical animated film to their slate in 2016 with SING telling the story of Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey), a koala who is about to lose the theatre he loves. Deciding to host a singing competition, a poster is accidentally sent out on the wind with a $100,000 prize when all Moon has is $1,000. Going forward, he holds auditions as he chooses pig Rosita (Reese Witherspoon) and partners her with pig Gunter (Nick Kroll), rock porcupine Ash (Scarlett Johansson), gorilla Johnny (Taron Egerton), and mouse Mike (Seth MacFarlane). Elephant Meena (Tori Kelly) fails to audition but gets a chance to work with Moon. Still worried about the money, Moon asks friend Eddie (John C. Reilly) if grandma Nana (Jennifer Saunders) can help. When they have to come together it is music to everyone’s ears!

Also, in 2016 we all got a peek into THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS as Jack Russell Max (Louis C.K.) lives with his human Katie (Ellie Kemper) in Manhattan and is perfectly content. Hanging out during the day with friends Chloe the cat (Lake Bell), pug Mel (Bobby Moynihan), guinea pig Norman (Chris Renaud), budgerigar Sweet Pea (Tara Strong), Pomeranian Gidget (Jenny Slate) and dachshund Buddy (Hannibal Buress) is the good life. One day Katie comes home with an exceptionally large Newfoundland named Duke (Eric Stonestreet) and Max is shocked. Trying to find a way to get rid of him they end up in an alley with Snowball (Kevin Hart), a leader of pets that have been abandoned by their owners. Gidget sends out their friend Tiberius the hawk to find Max and Duke but Snowball has other plans. During all the chaos Max and Duke find a friendship that just might last.

THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2 arrived in 2019 and if having big brother Duke is not enough, more changes are on the way. Katie finds love with Chuck (Peter Holmes) and soon there have baby boy Liam (Henry Lynch). Max doesn’t want to care to much about Liam but the tyke wins him and he becomes uber worried about him which brings medical issues and a cone. Visiting Chuck’s uncle, Max and Duke meet Rooster (Harrison Ford), a straight-shooting dog who tries to teach Max how to stiffen up. Back at home Gidget was to be babysitting Max’s toy Busy Bee and when it becomes lost, he turns to Chloe, Mel Buddy and Sweet Pea to find it before Max gets back. Snowball has become domesticated but still dreams of being a superhero and tries to make that happen when rescuing a white tiger. Using what Rooster told him, Max is going to do everything to help his friends!

What would December be without DR. SEUSS’ THE GRINCH to bring in celebrating the holidays in 2018. In Whoville the Whos are about to celebrate Christmas, and like the rest of us it is a special time of year except for one person. Up on the mountain living alone with his dog Max is the Grinch. Cindy Lou Who meets the Grinch as he tells her that if talking to Santa means too much to her she should go talk to him in person. His grumpiness comes from memories of being alone in an orphanage and that is when he decides to steal Christmas from the Whovillians. Getting a sleigh together and making a suit, he takes Max along and puts his plan in action with stealing everything Christmas. Seeing Cindy Lou again they have a talk about her Mother working so hard. The Grinch does not stop his plan and the all in Whoville wake up Christmas morning with nothing. After seeing their reaction of still celebrating Christmas, Cindy invites him to celebrate Christmas with her family which makes all the difference in the world!

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 Feature of this collection include: Loaded with Mini-Movies, Music and Sing-Alongs, Interactive Content, Games and More!

Illumination has put together 10 of the most memorable, delightful and funny films with such different stories, characters and fun. Without saying a word all they would have to do is hold up a picture of one of the characters and it would bring huge smiles and shouts of what movie they are from. That is how successful these films have been in family’s lives.

Directors, Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda, Tim Hill, Garth Jennings, Scott Mosier and Yarrow Cheney should feel so proud of what they have accomplished with these films. Always giving us more to love about them and a perfect reason to spend family time together in a movie theatre. Now, with this 10-movie collection, you can spend quality family fun time whenever the mood strikes. In my house that would be all the time!

From the Minions, to Pets, to the Easter Bunny, Dr. Seuss’ characters and the song of SING, these films bring families together to share in the experience of fun. 

In the end – get ready to get your fun on!


DREAMWORKS Starts the Fall with Fun

Jeri Jacquin

Coming from DreamWorks and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is an amazing collection of beloved films that will have the family snuggling up on the sofa for the beginning of a fun fall with DREAMWORKS 10-MOVIE COLLECTION.

Beginning in 2001, audiences were introduced to SHREK, the swamp dwelling ogre who only wanted to be left alone. When the kingdom is turned upside down by a pint size ruler, Shrek (voiced by Mike Meyers) begrudgingly agrees to bring the king Princess Fiona (voiced by Cameron Diaz) along with Shrek’s irritatingly delightful sidekick Donkey (voiced by Eddie Murphy). 

SPIRIT: Stallion of Cimarron arrives in theates in 2002 with Matt Damon as the voice of Spirit, a wild stallion that begins an adventure learning about humans. Captured and experiencing the world, his one goal is to return home to the herd he loves. 

In 2005, the animated film MADAGASCAR introduces us to animals living the good life at the New York zoo. Star attraction Alex (voiced by Ben Stiller) is a lion enjoying his home and all the attention. Best friend Marty (voiced by Chris Rock) is a zebra who wants to see more of the world. Friends Melman (David Schwimmer) the hypochondriac giraffe and Gloria (Jada Pinkett Smith) is the luscious hippo who is not ashamed of who she is join them on the trip. Ending up in Madagascar, they must learn to adjust to a new life and King Julien (Sacha Baron Cohen)! 

The world has always had a soft spot for pandas, well, in 2008 we had more of a reason for that when DreamWorks brought KUNG FU PANDA. Po (Jack Black) is a panda being raised by Mr. Ping (James Hong) in the family noodle business, but he wants more. Obsessed with the group known as the Furious Five that included Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Viper (Lucy Liu) and Crane (David Cross), a twist of fate has Po crowned the Dragon Warrior. Much to the dismay of Shifu (Dustin Hoffman), the group has no choice but to train him in preparation for the arrival of the evil Tai Lung (Ian McShane). They can do it but only if they do it together!

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON enchanted audiences in 2010 with the story of a young Viking boy named Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) who can’t seem to find his place which is more difficult when your father is Stoick (Gerard Butler), leader of the Vikings. Known for taking down dragons, imagine how his life changed when he meets Toothless! Trying to explain the sudden switch to caring about dragons, Astrid (America Ferrera) must be shown why they are so great (although I could have told her THAT). Hiccup must find out what is happening to the dragons before his dad makes things more difficult!

If you think your family has it hard, trying being part of THE CROODS! Brought to us in 2013, this family led by very protective dad Grug (Nicolas Cage) also includes Mom Ugga (Catherine Keener), Gran (Cloris Leachman), son Thunk (Clark Duke) and teenager with a dream for more in the world Eep (Emma Stone). As their world literally starts falling down around them, they run into Guy (Ryan Reynolds) who is a tad different than they are but has great ideas for surviving. Trying to reach a safer place to live, Grug is not happy that Eep has taken to Guy and that Guy is taking away the trust the family has always turned to him for. It is survival mixed with creatures and intense humor but, most importantly, the love of family – especially this family.

Turning to outer space that takes over our space, the 2015 DreamWorks film introduced us to the Boov and Oh (Jim Parsons) in HOME. Removing humans from their homes, the young Tip (Rihanna) is separated from her Mom Lucy (Jennifer Lopez). After accidentally sending an invited to the universe for every Boov to join them on Earth, it also is received by the Boov enemy and Gorg. Now Tip and Boov must learn from one another about how to become friends and save the world!

The year 2016 became the year of the TROLLS as we meet Princess Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and Branch (Justin Timberlake) who spend their time trying to avoid the Bergens. Especially since there is a belief that the only way Bergens can be happy is by tasting a Troll! Escaping, the unhappy Chef (Chrstine Baranski) spends her life trying to find them. In the meantime, the kingdom is taken over by King Gristle (Christopher Mintz-Plasse) who waits for the day he can taste a troll and be happy. Watching his every move is Bridget (Zooey Deschanel) who basically is crushing on the King. When Bridget meets Poppy, Branch and the gang, she sees there is more to them than a tasty treat – its song and friendship. 

A year later, DreamWorks brings us an unexpected little package of fun with the 2017 film BOSS BABY. Tim (Miles Bakshi) is surprised when Dad (Jimmy Kimmel) and Mom (Lisa Kudrow) bring home a bundle of boy (Alec Baldwin). But there is something a little different about this particular bundle when Tim discovers his baby brother is a suit wearing talking (Alec Baldwin) affection robber! They must put that aside when they learn that the company their parents work for, Puppy Co., is about to unleash animals that are not as adorable as they look. The brothers are about to show how it is done!

The last film in the collection is the 2019 animated ABOMINABLE. It is the story of young Yi (Chloe Bennet) who spends her time finding ways to make a few dollars to someday make a trip to anywhere. On the rooftop of her building, she sneaks away to play the violin to remember her father. One night she discovers a hurt abominable and there is almost an immediate connection between the two. Wanting to get him home, Yi names her friend Everest and along with Peng (Albert Tsai) and Jin (Tenzing Trainor), they must get their big fluffy friend back home before Mr. Burnish (Eddie Izzard) and Dr. Zara (Sarah Paulson) capture him for their own purposes. On their travels, Yi begins to release the hurt she carries to see the beauty of the world and the amazing things her friend Everest can do!

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

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 Collection also includes Bonus Features of Animated Shorts + Music Videos + How-Tos + Trivia + Deleted Scenes + so much more!

DREAMWORKS 10-MOVIE COLLECTION is stunning, charming, endearing, fun, hilarious, life lessons, friendship, personal responsibility, protecting family and creating a new family and everything else wonderful. The colorful animation is something that DreamWorks started so many years ago and each film brings it better, sharper and more amazing. 

The storytelling for each of these films is based in creativity that is rich and deserving of applause for each of the directors: Andrew Adamson, Vicky Jenson, Eric Darnell, Tom McGrath, Tim Johnson, Kelly Asbury, Lorna Cook, Chris Sanders, Dean DeBlois, Kirk DeMicco, John Stevenson, Mark Osborne, Jill Culton and Mike Mitchell.

Time to break out the popcorn and make a floor bed enough for the entire family because once you get started with these films you may not want to stop. It is fantastic to have all 10 of these films in one place for easy access and, in my case with a big entertainment library, makes them easier to find to watch again and again. 

In this time of us all being together, what more could you ask for then sharing it with the films we have come to love. 

In the end – family night is going to be every night with DreamWorks!

RED SHOES and the SEVEN DWARFS is a Delightful Adventure

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray, DVD, Digital and On Demand from directors Sung-ho Hong, Moo-Hyun Jang and Lionsgate is the delightful adventure of a classic fairy tale with a twist with RED SHOES and the SEVEN DWARFS.

There is a place called Fairy Tale Island and living there are a group called the Fearless Seven including Merlin (Sam Claflin), Arthur (Simon Kassianides), Jack (Frederik Hamel), Hans (Nolan North) and Pino (Frank Tadaro), Noki and Kio – the triplets. Their job is to jump in when people need it and they did save a princess from a dragon. The problem is she had a green face, so they hollered “witch!”. Not happy with that, the woman changed them into green dwarfs and the only way to change it is, of course, with a kiss.

Thinking that no girl would ever kiss them, they go about their lives. Time passes and in the kingdom of King White, oddly the beautiful Regina (Gina Gershon) shows up and woo’s the king right off his feet. His daughter Snow White (Chloe Grace Moretz) wants to find her father who has disappear and get away from the apple tree create magical red shoes. Regina needs these to remain beautiful so imagine her seeing Snow White wearing the shoes!

Now Snow White is a kind and loving daughter who also happens to be a little chubby. Finding the shoes, they transform her into a thin, ‘beautiful’ princess. Escaping her wrath, Snow White finds a message from her father and begins her search for the Fearless 7 (we will call them F7 now). When the F7 see her they all fall madly in infatuation with her, but they do not realize they aren’t seeing the real her!

Agreeing to help the now named Red Shoes find her father, they all secretly hope they get the magical kiss that will bring them back to their former selves. Meantime, Regina hires a very selfish and self-absorbed Prince Average (Jim Rash) who agrees to find Snow White and the red shoes if he can have her for arm candy for his birthday party. 

Mayhem ensues and the F7 see Snow White and her true self and do not recognize her. That helps her get away from the wanted posters being passed around. Merlin finds himself having feelings for Snow White but cannot get past the others who are trying to charm the girl. After a run in with Prince Average, Snow White comes clean with the truth about who she is, her father and the evil Regina. 

Soon after Regina captures Snow White and Merlin must now gather the troops to save her. Trying to force Snow White to eat an apple, Regina uses a ruse to get her to agree. Now, more than ever before, the Fearless Seven must do things they never thought possible to save Snow White but are also in for the surprise of their lives.

Being a hero comes in all forms!

Moretz as Snow White is a different character than the story most of us grew up with. That means this version is a young woman is not how most of us have been brought up seeing her. Still beautiful, this version challenges what we have come to know and realize that she is still the same fierce, kind, loving and loyal Snow White. Moretz gives us that in every moment her character is on screen.

Claflin as Merlin is just so dang adorable. From a tall, lanky young man to a short, green dwarf trying to keep the F7 intact, he sees something in Snow White he thought was not possible. He has the same issues as Snow White, thinking his appearance is everything and that no girl would give him a second notice. Imagine his surprise in being wrong! Claflin gives Merlin charm and daring.

Kassianides as Arthur is quite the charmer although a bit too obvious. I give him points for jumping right in to get that elusive kiss and cracking me up at the same time. Hamel, North and Tadaro are a fantastic addition to the F7 with big personalities, talents of their own, not to mention their own brand of charm and just being delightful.

Gershon as the evil Regina has serious issues of her own which should make her more relatable to Snow White, instead, makes her angry and determined to destroy everyone around her. Rash as Prince Average – that’s Av-rrrr-aaaaage to you – is hilarious, spoiled, a little evil, self-centered and needing a time out. If you are looking for every character like this Prince, he’s right here embodied in Rash’s portrayal.

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 Bluray/DVD and Digital Special Features include The Making of RED SHOES AND THE SEVEN DWARFS Featurette, From Storyboard to Animation: Creating RED SHOES AND THE SEVEN DWARFS Featurette, Start of Something Right Music Video, and Something So Beautiful Music Video. 

RED SHOES AND THE SEVEN DWARFS is just what the family ordered during this period where we all have to spend a lot more time together. It’s fun, colorful, full of adventure, friendship, loyalty and all those crazy images we have about ourselves and how people see us. 

What makes this film equally important is that besides the awesome entertainment, this film is a great way to teach the lesson about how we all look says nothing about who we truly are. The fears each of these characters face, and yes, even Arthur has a moment or two of doubt, is an important lesson about the loss of time with those we love when overwhelmed with self-doubt.

Plan a movie night at home and make sure that RED SHOES AND THE SEVEN DWARFS are ready for your big screen!

In the end – your true self is the fairest of them all!


Delights Comes with THE SWAN PRINCESS: A Royal Wedding on DVD

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Digital and rental at Redbox from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and writer/director Richard Rich is the story of love, family and one person’s revenge with THE SWAN PRINCESS: A Royal Wedding. 

Princess Mei Li has fallen in love with her true love Chen. When the emperor’s sorceress Fang tells all, Chen is put under a spell. But love saves them and they run to their Swan Princess friend Odette and Prince Derek for help along with brother Prince Li. Agreeing to escort them home and talk to Mei Li’s father, the emperor has a change of heart and welcomes his daughter back happily.

Fang is more than ever determined to stop the wedding of Princess Mei Li and Chen. Please with the spell she puts on Mei Li, it makes the princess’ friends more determined to discover what is happening in the palace.

The intrigue becomes even more serious when Fang makes her final move and convinces everyone that she is Mei Li. But Princess Odette, Prince Derek and Prince Li have other ideas to put a stop to Fang’s plan of ruining the kingdom and their young friend’s happiness.

Love is the most powerful thing of all!

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

THE SWAN PRINCESS: A Royal Wedding is so delightful from start to finish. I watched this with my granddaughter, and we had an amazing time together watching the story unfold. Almost immediately she had her eye on Fang and all the mischief the character caused. We laughed together and cheered for Princess Odette, Prince Derek, Princess Mei Li and Chen, as well as all the delightful animal characters.

When Prince Derek’s mother comes along for the adventure, it is her lovely voice singing a tender song that really choked us up. It was lovely and put in the film at just the right time. There is adventure, fun, danger, lessons, history and it is all wrapped up in the most amazing colorful filmmaking.

That’s what is important right now as we are all together with our families, a film that we can all enjoy together and talk about when it is over. THE SWAN PRINCESS: A Royal Wedding is the reason for family nights at the movies. I will admit the animals were my favorite as they always tend to be with their antics and abilities to see humans in a way that we don’t see ourselves.

So gather and celebrate royalty!

In the end – they celebrate love and friendship together!

SAMSAM is a Family Delight

Jeri Jacquin

Samsam (voiced by Isaac Lobe-Lebel) is a young kid who happens to live on an unusual planet and his favorite thing is hanging out with his friends. Many of them have powers but Samsam has not come into his own yet. It causes Samsam even more distress when he hears his parents wondering if he is one of them.

Then there is Mega (Lior Chabbat) and she isn’t happy being trapped in by a safety zone. Learning what it means to be a friend, she discovers also that there are super beings in their universe. Her father is actually King Marchien (Jeremy Prevost) and mother opera singer Madame Chol (Leovanie Raud). They argue between sending Mega to opera school or dictator school and she uses her kid smarts to make them both happy.

Arriving at Cosmic Hero School, Mega introduces herself as Megalactic and Samsam is the first to greet her. The kids are impressed with her spaceship but question what her powers might be. Samsam and Megalactic hit it off immediately and a friend bargain is struck – Samsam will help Megalactic learn the school dance and Megalactic will help Samsam find his superpowers.

At home Mega learns that her father the King has a scientist creating monsters to keep the children as sad as stones. On a field trip the next day, the class learns how to use their powers against space creatures. Samsam tries and, with Mega’s help, he believes he has found his first power. 

The problem is, Samsam and the gang quickly discover that Mega is the daughter of King Marchien. Returning home, her father has known all along where she had been going and kidnaps Samsam and Samteddy introducing them to the Gloomyglob monster! His plan is to make them gray and gloomy with one tear.

But nothing beats the power of laughter!

SAMSAM brings an outstanding vocal cast to bring these delightful characters to life. From the young cast of Lobe-Lebel and Chabbat to the nutty royal King himself voiced by Prevost, their vocal talents bring us into the story and take us on a glorious and galactic ride!

Other vocal cast include Sebastien Desjours as Samnounours, Leopold Dorp as Petit Poa, Victore Pauwels as Superjulie, Damien Boisseau as Sampapa, Marie Marechal as Samaman, Philippe Spiteri as Crapouille, Simon Brunner as Sumomo, Francoise Pavy as Mamie Poa, Julien Crampon as Frapulo and Emmylou Homs as Frapula.

Blue Fox Entertainment is a global film distribution and sales company specializing in connecting filmmakers to audiences and buyers in the United States and around the world internationally. For more of what Blue Fox Entertainment has to offer please visit www.bluefoxentertainment.com.

SAMSAM is such a fun film for families to learn so many valuable lessons about friendship and the power of believing in oneself. There is such grace in a family film that helps teach the lessons that some adults seem to forget, like the King. Instead, it is about two friends who find one another not realizing that although they are different, their issues are not so far apart.

I love the color and vibrant storytelling and the children’s antics made my granddaughter giggle a lot. That’s a huge seal of approval for any film when a child watches from beginning to end and even dances when the credits role so who am I to say otherwise.

It is a perfect time for a film such as SAMSAM to come out as families are truly looking for quality entertainment that is fun, has great giggles, fantastic characters and a storyline that is relatable. Our family will be watching this film again and again.

In the end – make space for the next big hero!

TROLLS WORLD TOUR

Jeri Jacquin

Currently available On Demand from directors Walt Dohrn, David P. Smith and DreamWorks Animation comes the next journey of fun and adventure with TROLLS WORLD TOUR.

Now, Queen Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and Branch (Justin Timberlake) are keeping busy having fun in their little town of trolls. Poppy is still beloved by everyone, especially Branch who is having difficulty telling her so. But all that is going to have to wait because trouble is in the air and their world is about to get much bigger.

Poppy learns from her father that there are different musical troll lands. The reason this has come up is because Barb (Rachel Bloom) is a rocker who wants the strings of each musical troll world to take over them all. Barb promises her father King Thrash (Ozzy Osbourne) that it will happen, and she is going to capture Poppy to do it.

At first Poppy thinks that love, huge and glitter will change Barb’s mind. That is until she, Branch and Biggie (James Corden) along with Mr. Dinkles find other lands that have been damaged by Barb. While they are gone, Cooper (Ron Funches) decides to strike out on his own to find other trolls like himself. 

With a new map of the other troll lands, Poppy and the gang find the country music trolls led by Delta Dawn (Kelly Clarkson) and they aren’t rightly happy to see them. It is Hickory (Sam Rockwell) who takes a shine to the group and wants to help them. Riding down the river to their next destination, they are taken and are shocked to discover Cooper.

He has found his twin brother Prince D (Paak Anderson), mother Queen Essence (Mary J. Blige) and father King Quincy (George Clinton). But they must get back to stopping Barb and it’s going to take all trolls on deck to make it happen. They still have to save Techno, Funk Country and Classical if they are going to keep their Pop.

Music is their world and they aren’t about to give it all up because that just isn’t their way!

Kendrick as Poppy is back as her usual cheery self. Singing and dancing is the order of the day and hugging is mandatory even if it isn’t time. She loves being a good Queen and thinks the best way to make that happen is by going to Barb with glitter. Realizing that not everyone thinks like she does and when Biggie brings that to her attention, perhaps its time to re-think things.

Timberlake as Branch is having a difficult time saying the words to Poppy that he has been wanting to say. Every time the chance comes up, the words get stuck. Feeling like he is constantly being put in the friend zone, the time has come to brave up Branch because nobody deserves it more than you! Timberlake’s timing and attitude just make me love Branch all the more. 

Bloom as Barb has a serious attitude problem mixed in with a tad of anger. She is definetly the opposite of Poppy which makes their showdown one for the books. Having Ozzy Osbourne for a father is hilarious but its so cool that he gets a chance to be fun. Bloom keeps her sarcasm sharp and her make up even sharper. Getting those strings is what she is all about and strong arming everyone is where she makes her big mistake.

Corden as Biggie is back for a little pinky swearing time but has a moment where he feels that Poppy isn’t doing what’s best for their troll group. Funches as Cooper is clearly looking for something that has been missing in his life and it’s not music, it’s people that look like he does. 

Clarkson as Delta Dawn has the big country hair, the big country voice and the big country attitude. Her first meet song is lovely, and I have a feeling my granddaughter will catch on to it in a flash. Rockwell as Hickory is charming, sweet and has a glint in his eye that Branch doesn’t trust. 

Having Clinton and Blige in on the act is fun. Having Nayyar’s Guy Diamond bring in a small shiny diamond in Kenan Thompson had me laughing. 

Other cast include Caroline Hjelt as Chenille, Aino Jawo as Satin, J. Balvin as Tresillo, Kunal Nayyar as Guy Dimaond, Anthony Ramos as King Trollex, Soo-Young Park as Ari,Ye-rim Kim as Kim-Petit, Joo-Hyun Bae as Baby Bun, Seul-gi Kang as Gomdori, Son Seung-Wan as Wani, Karan Soni as Riff, Charlyne Yi as Pennywhistle, Kenan Thompson as Tiny Diamond and Walt Dohrn as Cloud Guy. 

TROLLS WORLD TOUR is seriously full of music in many genres which is the idea. That there is not just one kind of music one has to like but instead liking them all. The film is so full of life and color that my kids, their kids and friends’ kids have watched the film over and over and over again. 

There are some pretty funny tag lines meaning there is something for everyone. The songs are fun, catchy and the rewording is so much fun.

So, if you’re going to be inside with your family, why not be inside with your family having love, life, color and music join you! TROLLS WORLD TOUR has something for everyone but most of all it has laughs galore. It is fantastic that DreamWorks has brought the film straight into our home during a time when we need family fun the most.

In the end – this is going to be fun, pinky promise!

ONWARD is Brilliant, Heartwarming and Hilarious

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres this Friday from writer/director Dan Scanlon, Pixar and Disney comes the story of family and the fight to always move ONWARD.

Ian Lightfoot (Tom Holland) is turning 16 and older brother Barley (Chris Pratt) and Mom Laurel (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) aren’t about to let him forget it. Trying to find ways to make the day fun, what they don’t know is that all Ian really wants is his Dad, Wilden, who passed years earlier.

You see, Ian is more the quiet and shy of the two elf brothers whereas Barley is outgoing and loves to play a game that is based on the folklore of their unusual town. Trying to be more outgoing, Ian decides to ask some of his classmates over for cake to celebrate his birthday, but Barley has other ideas.

To cheer Ian up a little, Mom gives her sons a gift left to them by their father. It is a staff and instructions on how to bring Dad back for 24 hours. Barley tries and tries but can not seem to make it happen. When Ian is alone, he picks up the staff and it takes no time for magic to happen. Barley walks in and sees what is happening and realizes baby bro has the magic calling.

He explains that once all of the people of their town had abilities and magic of some kind, but they forgot it all after time. Ian tries again to bring their Dad back with only half of the result they expected when the crystal breaks. Barley explains that they must go on a quest to find another stone and gets Ian to jump inside the van he lovingly calls Guinevere.

There first stop is to find the Manticore (Octavia Spencer) who has a map they need. Not to far behind them is Laurel who believes her sons are in danger and asks boyfriend Officer Bronco (Mel Rodriguez) to join the search. But nothing is going to stop Barley from getting Ian to the gem that will help Ian get his birthday wish.

Holland as Ian is such a sweet young man who believes that a moment with the Dad he didn’t get a chance to know would mean everything to him. It would also be a chance to see what everyone else seemed to know, that his Dad was a good man. Lending his voice, Holland is endearing in his insecurity and has moments of boldness that make you want to cheer.

Pratt as Barley is the fun loving, not afraid of anything and smarter than he knows older brother. He adores Ian and always wants him to be happy and will do anything to make that happen. Seeing that Ian sometimes needs a boost, Barley is there and has answers that might not always seem right but turn out just the same. I love Pratt’s voice in Barley!

Louis-Dreyfus as Mom Laurel is keeping their family together and loves her boys. I’d like to think she secretly hoped to see her husband as much as the boys wanted to see their Dad. I give her points for moving on with her life in the form of Colt Bronco voiced by Mel Rodriguez.

Spencer as The Manticore is hilarious in the way her life has gone from a warrior to serving chicken wings. Given the chance to be useful once again in the warrior she was born to be, I like the change (minus the caffeine of course) and loads of moxy. Shout out to Grey Griffin as Dewdrop, the leader of the Pixie’s because she is tough, doesn’t take any guff and I’d fly with her anytime, if I could. Prepare to giggle a lot with the flying group of pixies!

Other cast include Ali Wong as Officer Gore, Tracey Ullman as Grecklin, Lena Waithe as Officer Spector, Wilmer Valderrama as Gaxton, George Psarras as Officer Avel, Kyle Bornheimer as Wilden Lightfoot and John Ratzenberger as the Construction Worker. 

ONWARD is a triumph for Pixar and Disney for its amazing story, fantastic animation and cast that lends itself to every heartwarming, fun and silly moment. Holland and Pratt embrace their characters as brothers’, and it shows through their voices. Yes it is animated but their voices just give their characters such life and emotion. 

Recently on Kimmel, Pratt says, “What is so moving to me is that director Dan Scanlon went through this same storyline with his own brother. This is a love letter to his older brother, and it chokes me up to think about it. Just like UP and any of the other Pixar movies, it is full of action, love and very emotional”. 

He is absolutely right as ONWARD is not just a journey of two elf brothers on a quest in a boss van called Guinevere, it is a story of what they learn about each other. Their bond as brothers is questioned, yelled about, misunderstood and a reason for celebration. It is the story of big brother versus little brother, about family memories, the sadness of losing a parent, the insecurities of just being a teenager and discovering that their world is bigger than they could ever have imagined.

There are silly moments, fun characters and a dog-dragon that I would love to have running around my house! Pixar has once again brought characters that are going to stay with us because, no matter how pointy their ears or blue their hair – they are us when it comes to family and the story’s we all share.

I’m keeping this as spoiler free as possible because this is going to be such a joy for family’s that I want everyone to experience it all. For me and my family…. you had us at ONWARD.

In the end – the quest is bigger than either of them can imagine!

STAR WARS: The Rise of Skywalker Brings an End to an Era on Bluray

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray and Digital from director J.J. Abrams, Lucasfilms and Walt Disney Pictures Home Entertainment is the conclusion of a saga that began over 40 years ago with STAR WARS: The Rise of Skywalker.

It was 1977 At the Valley Circle theatre in San Diego with my bff and life sister Ellen that STAR WARS came into my life. The first time I saw the film I was transported into a world that I have embraced through the years. My summer was filled with weekly visits to the theatre so I could watch the storyline again and again.

Thus, began my crush on Luke (Mark Hamill) that continues today in my much older and less cute form. The early scene of the original STAR WARS where Luke is on the hill lamenting as the two suns of Tatooine are setting and the rise of emotion from John Williams music begins moved me. It moved me because I knew that look, I understood wanting to know what was out in the world waiting for me. I also saw the suns radiating on his face with a look that was the handsomest I'd ever seen. Hey, I was 16!

Then, the buddy 'friendship' with Han (Harrison Ford) that always made me laugh with his antics or feeling protective anytime no one understood him. He was rough and tough yet I knew that he would never leave the two people that had become his friends by not judging to harshly the way he handled things. These two guys also showed me how pensive friendships can be brought together with the glue of a very tall and very hairy Wookie and to Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) I say a humble and grateful thank you.

My lesson to be a stronger person came from Princess Leia to whom I continue to be eternally grateful on a daily basis. She was my first female role model who showed me courage, loyalty and laid the foundation of fighting for what is right no matter what is thrown at you. Fisher may not have known what she was accomplishing early on taking the role of Leia but I hope through the years she came to know there were thousands of girls who learned the same lessons I did.

Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) became the voice of reason for those of us watching Star Wars again and again in 1977. He kept us all levelheaded when we wanted to jump into the battle with Luke, Han and Leia. The calm explainer of the force and how it works, he introduced us all to 'use the force' as it became an iconic phrase that you'd have to be locked in a cave somewhere to not know. Trust me, tears fell when he allowed Vadar to swing that saber helping Luke and the gang to escape, something I never got over.

So here we are, in 2019 and I couldn't sleep Monday night knowing that I was hours away from seeing how this would all end. Don't expect spoilers because I would be furious if anyone told me anything before seeing the film (Remember Han Solo?) so I'm keeping it light and reminiscent.

On a remote planet, Rey (Daisy Ridley) is working with General Organa (Carrie Fisher) on earning Luke Skywalkers light saber but there seems to be a feeling stopping her. Resistance friends Poe (Oscar Isaac. Finn (John Boyega) and Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) are struggling to get back to Rey after retrieving what are the next step plans for the First Order. Also, out in the galaxy is Supreme Leader of the First Order Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) who is knocking down anyone who gets in his way.

Now called the Final Order, it is Rey, Finn, Poe and all those who follow that must pull out all the stops to bring balance back to the force. Allegiant General Pryde (Richard E. Grant) knows how this is going to play out. There is one fiercely evil entity who is going to do his diabolical best to stop them all as secrets are revealed and choices are made!

There are others along the way who decide that it might be time to help and that includes Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) and Zorii Bliss (Keri Russell). There are those who have come before that let it be known they are with them all. 

Yes, that's all you are going to get in the plot department! So, let's move on to the characters who make their appearance in this final installment. 

Ridley as Rey is still dealing with the unknown of her past. It is hard to let the force flow through you when there are those mushed up memories and a Supreme Leader who is constantly cutting into your thought process. Ridley has done everything asked of her in the three installments of the Star Wars saga she has been in. At times I wasn't always sure where she was taking this character but clearly, now, it was on a path that I didn't even see coming.

Driver as Ben/Kylo Ren has been on quite a journey! He has pretty cool parents but chooses to follow the destructive path of grandpa Vadar. Even with that there is something that connects him to Rey as she tries to convince him to put down his very angry saber and be true to himself. That's hard to do when rage seems to be the only thing that motivates Ren. Driver has put every bit of that on the screen and when the moments where Ben shows through, this actor melts and takes everyone along with him. 

Boyega as Finn has always seemed to be Rey's protector whether that was his intention or not. Being a former storm trooper, he has truly embraced his role as being part of the Resistance and constantly surprised where it has led him. Although his relationship with Poe hasn't always been the best, it is reminiscent of another galaxy duo who didn't start out on the best of terms. 

Isaac as Poe continues to be reckless but there comes a moment where he has to decide what his place is in the Resistance. It turns out to be the most difficult decision he has ever made (and you will know when that hits him the hardest). Isaac's Poe is the comedy of the trio because of his casual nature and finding humor when he should be panicking.

Williams as Lando gets the chance to once again fly the Millennium Falcon with Chewy at his side. He knows that the new trio faces the same tribulations and he has one last chance to do right by Leia and help in any way he can. Lando was a wild card before and trust me when I say he doesn't disappoint now either. 

This is where I get a little choked up - when Carrie Fisher as Leia comes up on my television screen I am overcome with a wave of intense emotion. There couldn't have been a finale without her, and I am happy to take it in any form. It is even more difficult to watch Gen. Organa make a motherly choice which is something her character didn't have a chance to do before. Yes, more quiet tears dropped but Princess Leia will always be a part of this writer’s life.

Other cast include everyone who could get in the film with Philicia Saunders as Tabala Zo, Simon Day as General Engell, Amir El-Masry as Commander Trach, Denis Lawson as Wedge Antiles, Naomi Ackie as Jannah, Freddie Prinze Jr. as Kannan Jarus, Dominic Monaghan as Beaumont Kin, Billie Lourd as Lieutenant Connix and Domnhall Gleeson as General Hux. 

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 The Skywalker Legacy Documentary: The Story That Lives Forever in This Feature Length Look at the Making of the Movie, Pasaana Pursuit: Creating the Speeder Chases, D-O: Key to the Past and more! 

Also Jimmy Vee as R2-D2 who always had my heart as well as a humor of squeaks and blips that have always been totally understandable, and the amazing Anthony Daniels as C-3PO who always managed to be properly annoying but in such a way that I personally would never want to be without him.

Look, I'm just going to throw it out there. Not everyone will be happy with how Abrams brings this nine-film saga to its conclusion and personally - I don't care about the not-happy people and here's why. STAR WARS: The Rise of Skywalker is seen by me in a way that is part of my being. I don't think all the Star Wars films were successful and I don't hide my feelings about it, but I still embrace it as part of the storyline that began in 1977.

Not everything in life is going to be wrapped up neatly to please every person (I mean seriously, the Game of Thrones finale almost threw people into fits!) and that's okay. Not being neat means, we all have something to talk about and share after seeing the film. 

We get to reminisce about more than one film, about more than one theory and about more than one character. That's what Star Wars has done for us; it has kept the conversation going longer than any other films (maybe Harry Potter gets to be part of the club in its own way).

I hope that everyone who gets the Bluray remembers that the experiences are yours, each unique, each with its own memories and each with its own chance to say the words - goodbye friends! Yes, there are already stories like The Mandalorian (big fan by the way) giving us a new world but I'm speaking of the story that began with Luke, Leia, Chewy, C3PO, R2D2 and Obi-Wan. 

It is time to say good-bye to seeing them on the big screen, that being said I still can see them on the screen in my home thanks for Bluray. Oh, I won't be removing Yoda and Darth from my desk any time soon, but instead of giggling with anticipation for the next story installment in other ways. I will smile at the story for sharing the last forty-two years of my life in such an impactful way. I saw these characters through 16-year-old eyes from 1977 to 2019 and that is pretty cool to my way of thinking. 

So, prepare yourself and just enjoy the ride over and over again - there isn't a tub of popcorn big enough for what's to come because that's how I started and that's how it's going to finish. 

In the end - it started in a galaxy far, far away!

Take to New Heights with SWIFT on Bluray

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray and DVD from directors Andrea Block, Christian Haas and Shout Studios comes the story of a brave little SWIFT.

Manou (voiced by Josh Keaton) is a little bird who has lost his parents. Taken in by seagulls Blanche (Kate Winslet) and Yves (Willem Dafoe) they try to teach him what it means to be a seagull. Even brother Luc (Mike Kelly) adores Manou and can't imagine a day without him.

The problem is that the rest of the seagulls aren't too happy with Manou, especially when on guard duty over the eggs from the pesky rats that try to steal them. Trying to fight them off, one egg is stolen, and the rest of the gulls want Manou to leave - especially when Manou discovers he is adopted and not a gull - in fact he is a swift!

Meeting up with other swifts, Manou learns how to fly, find food he likes and make friends. He starts to have feelings for Kalifa (Cassandra Steen), a girl swift who is ready to teach Manou about swift life! He also has Percival (David Shaughnessy) who knows a thing or two about being a different kind of feathered friend along with Kalifa's brothers Poncho (Arif Kinchen) and Yusuf (Nolan North).

When Manou learns that he has the ability to foretell the weather, it is a storm like no other where he brings swift and seagull together and shatters a belief system that needs it!

Keating voicing Manou is so delightful. From the moment he hatches he just gets cuter and cuter and with the help of Keating, the little swift finds his voice and shares his feelings with us all. I have to say the animation for Manou couldn't be more stunning.

Dafoe as Yves is a father who wants to try to change Manou into forgetting who he truly is. Very protective and loving in his own way, he gives in to gull pressure and makes a decision that puts his family’s feelings and feathers in jeopardy. Winslet as Blanche is an accepting and loving mother who is heartbroken when Manou goes his own way. She gives the little swift love from the moment she sees him and believes in everything that he is, not what others want him to be.

Kelly as Luc is a beautiful, loving and supportive brother who would do anything for Manou. It literally comes through the screen when the family is torn. Steen as Kalifa is full of spirit and fun yet doesn't make fun of Manou's ways but instead is intrigued by them!

The comic relief also comes in the form of Shaughnessy, Kinchen and North with their antics and outlook on the world. Sometimes bird of a feather can flock together in ways that are extraordinary and full of life lessons for us non feathered folk!

Shout! Studios is the filmed entertainment production and distribution arm of Shout! Factory, specializing in all aspects of distribution, including theatrical, VOD, digital and broadcast. Reflecting Shout! Factory’s ongoing commitment to innovation and excellence, Shout! Studios champions and supports like-minded filmmakers and creators at the forefront of pop culture, driving creative expression and diversity in independent storytelling. Shout! Studios finances, produces, acquires and distributes an eclectic slate of movies, award-winning animated features, specialty films and series from rising and established talent, filmmakers and producers. 

The Bluray Special Features include A Look At The Making Of SWIFT, An Interview With Actor Willem Dafoe and Theatrical Trailer.

SWIFT is a delightful and though provoking film and mixed in that is comedy and stunning scenery. It made me want to be a bird of any kind to be able to live on the cliffs above a vast and beautiful ocean. The characters are so memorable in every way with their distinguishable personalities.

I have to throw in a shout out to the Sandpipers because they had me laughing so much from the very start. I adore them but also agree that how they are portrayed in the film is pretty much how I thought they would react to water, hilarious.

The animation is so colorful and full of life that is drew me in deeper to the story. I truly loved every moment of the story with an ending that gave me even more giggles. SWIFT is a story about acceptance, love, family (no matter who you include in the gang), lessons, fighting for what's right and, most of all, believing in yourself so you can soar!

In the end - find your place in the sky!

JUMANJI: The Next Level Brings Another Adventure on Bluray

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray, DVD and Digital from writer/director Jake Kasdan and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is the return for another adventure with JUMANJI: The Next Level.

It's the holidays and the gang make plans to return to Nora's Diner for a bit of catching up. Bethany (Madison Iseman), Martha (Morgan Turner), Fridge (Ser'Darius Blain) and Spencer (Alex Wolff). Actually, Spencer is finding any way to avoid getting together at home with Mom (Marin Hinkle) and Grandpa Eddie (Danny DeVito) who is recovering from hip surgery.

The reason for seclusion is that Spencer and Martha have taken a break from their relationship and he's having a hard time. So much so that he goes into the basement and finds a certain video game and does the unthinkable. Grandpa Eddie is dealing with his own grumpiness when friend Milo (Danny Glover) comes to visit but Eddie isn't exactly having it. 

When the gang can't reach Spencer, they head over to his house and meet Eddie and Milo and then hear a sound that stops them in their tracks. Running down to the basement, they realize that Spencer has jumped back into the game. The only thing to do is to go in after him, except this time there are a few changes they don't see coming. 

In the game the basic rules are the same but the game has changed! It is more challenging and the players are a tad different. Martha (Karen Gillan) keeps her character but Eddie (Dwayne Johnson) has a much bigger stature, Bethany (Jack Black) is back and Milo is Mouse Finbar (Kevin Hart). Confused yet? Well it gets better!

They begin searching for Spencer who is now Ming (Awkwafina) who is looking for a stone that will save the world but is being stopped by Jurgen the Brutal (Rory McCann). Getting it requires the help of Alex (Nick Jonas) who is happy to see everyone.

Now that all the players on in place, it's time to put Jurgen in his place and return the beloved and precious stone before dinner time!

Johnson as Eddie gets a chance to be even more comedic than before. It is even more hilarious when you realize he is doing his best Danny DeVito Eddie. His flexing, jumping and stare into the abyss is full on fun and we'd pretty much expect nothing less from him. DeVito as the grumpy Eddie isn't really into life and can't seem to find a moment to be happy about. Becoming the player Eddie is the most fun he's had in, well, forever.

Wolff as Spencer is having an early 20's crisis and the only thing he can think to do is go somewhere where he felt special. This is a young man who didn't think things through to well and when he shows up in the game as Ming, it’s a new character with new abilities. Awkwafina as Ming is hilarious as always and since her introduction to people in the film CRAZY RICH ASIANS, she has made a name for herself doing comedy but also can pull off true emotions when needed.

Hart as Milo doesn't understand what is happening except that he seems much more knowledgeable about language and animals. Hart doing Glover is probably the best I've seen and it just kept cracking me up. Glover as Milo wants to fix the friendship he has with Eddie and it's not as if the grumpy guy is going to make it easy. 

Black as Fridge isn't happy about his less than perfect body and doesn't understand why he can't be the same character he was before. Black jumps into his role and I can see him playing any of them with ease. There is a scene with Martha that is pretty funny in the pool of change. Blain as Fridge is happy to see his friends but not so much when they have no choice but to return to the game to find Spencer.

Gillan as Martha is back in her shorts and a tank top making sure that she gets a chance to jump off things and flip around tree branches with ease. The comedy for her comes when trying to explain to Eddie and Milo that they are in a game and what the rules are. Iseman as Bethany is the monkey in the works and she has to turn to Alex (Colin Hanks) for help in a very brave way. Hanks as Alex has a small role but I'm always happy to see him. 

Shout out to McCann as Jurgen the Brutal and I don't want to say that it’s a bit of type casting but let’s through it out there and see if it sticks. As the Hound in Game of Thrones he was loud, had no problem swinging a sword and was a tad frightening, hmmmm…sounds like Jurgen the Brutal. Who cares! It's good to see him. 

Other cast include Ashley Scott as Ashley, Rhys Darby as Nigel, Deobia Oparei as Gromm, Sarah Bennani as Andi Tow, Massi Furlan as Switchblade, Jared Hasmuk as Dagfin and Sal Longobardo as Tony.

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

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

The Bluray and Digital Bonus for JUMANJI: The Next Level include Gag Reel, Rhys Darby Wants to Jingle – How do you top Jack Black and Nick Jonas’s unforgettable theme song for the first one? Everyone’s favorite Non Player Character, Rhys Darby is ready to take it to the next, next level and Body Swapping: Snapping Into Character – In the latest Jumanji adventure, the avatar roles are turned on their heads with new characters and hilarious performances.

Also included Back Together: Reuniting the Cast – Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Jack Black are back and better than ever as they share their excitement to reunite, Level Up, Scene Breakdown: Ostrich Chase, Scene Breakdown: Mandrill Bridges, Awkwafina Cat Burglar, NPC Confessions: Jurgen the Brutal, Grow Up, Telenovela, VFX Pre-Vis: Zepplin Battle, VFX Pre-Vis: Ostrich Chase and AR Game. 

JUMANJI: The Next Level is family fun and especially for those who love the idea of these actors in a video game. There is fun, humor, adventure and it's all wrapped up in the story of family, friendship, loyalty, acceptance and fighting off bad guys with your best friends. Of course, I am a fan of the Robin Williams version of JUMANJI and will always see that as the standard but at the same time it is easy to see why this generation is having such fun with he franchise.

This version of the film has more characters than the 1995 JUMANJI and the comedy is sillier with Johnson and Hart at the helm. These two clearly share the same humor and their off-screen friendship and Twitter 'war' adds to the charm of their film. 

If you want to take a break from the crazy outside and be taken away on a fun adventure, then JUMANI: The Next Level is the right film to see with the whole family. Make sure there is popcorn for all!

In the end - it's the very next level!

SPIES IN DISGUISE is Family Fun


Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray, DVD and Digital bringing family fun from directors Nick Bruno, Troy Quane, Blue Sky Studios and 20th Century Home Entertainment is an unlikely team for SPIES IN DISGUISE.

Lance Sterling (voiced by Will Smith) is a well-dressed spy who is keeping the world safe. Well-liked by everyone at work, one person who wants to impress him is Walter Beckett (Tom Holland). He has so many inventions that he believes are an alternative to blowing things up and finding a peaceful solution, including his glitter cat bomb.

But there is evil afoot in the villain Killian (Ben Mendelsohn) who has created drones that are the worst seen in the agency. Joy Jenkins (Reba McEntire) informs Sterling that he is going to have to do whatever is necessary to find him before the agent data is stolen. In the process, Killian has set up Sterling to take the fall for everything that has happened.

Now hunting for Sterling is Marcy Kappel (Rashida Jones) who is tough as nails and just as focused as her target. The only person he can run to is Walter to get his invention that will make him disappear. Not paying attention he accidentally drinks Walter's disappearing potion but instead of becoming invisible, Sterling becomes a pigeon.

Angry, he doesn't understand that being a pigeon will help him do more than he could even have imagined. Along to help Sterling clear his name and get the agent data base, Walter not only shares his other inventions but must make a remedy to Sterling's feathered problem.

Smith as Sterling has no trouble playing the agent who likes himself a whole lot and isn't use to not being in control. Smith gets a chance to rap a little in a 'Fresh Prince' style but it's fun for the kids. This seems an easy voice role for him to play but it also seems as if he is having a bit of fun doing it.

Holland as Walter is a young man who was raised with a supportive mother and working with the agency, he gets the chance to perfect some inventions and create new ones. Especially the one that changes Agent Sterling into a flying agent! Holland is endearing but then again, this young actor has been one to watch for years. He gets a chance to be on the other side of Spiderman for sure.

Jones as Marcy is like a dog with a bone when it comes to finding Sterling believing him to be a traitor to the agency. Always one step behind, she begins to understand what is truly happening and isn't about to let evil win. McEntire as Jenkins knows that Sterling does things his own way but when it comes from being a traitor to the agency, she knows that is just not true.

Mendelsohn as Killian is a man on his own mission and believes he has every reason to be as evil as he wants to be. Keep his identity a secret, he also uses his high tech to put the blame on Sterling and keep anyone who might be interested looking for him. Mendelsohn give his character all the right moods to stay a step ahead of Smith's character.

Other cast includes Karen Gillan as Eyes, Rachel Brosnahan as Wendy Beckett, Masi Oka as Kimura, Carla Jiminez as Geraldine, DJ Khaled as Ears and Peter Kim as Joon.

Twentieth Century Home Entertainment brings award-winning global product and new entertainment to DVD, Bluray, and Digital HD. There amazing collection offers fans an opportunity to expand their own home libraries with the best films. To discover what other titles they have please visit www.fox.com.

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

The Bluray Special Features include Super Secret Spy Mode, Infiltrating Blue Sky Studios Top-Secret Guide to Gadgets, Music Videos, Gallery and so much more!

SPIES IN DISGUISE is a fun family film that is fast paced, colorful, inventive and funny. Seeing Smith try to fit in with his new pigeon friends is one laugh after another and there is a twist on that as well but no spoilers here. He isn't happy with being a pigeon, but it makes for one interesting premise of a spy story. 

The film has just the right mixture of action and fun to make it a popcorn fun film and if I needed a thumbs up from anyone it would be my four-year-old granddaughter. She gave me a thumbs up during the film without a word because she was too busy laughing and eating popcorn. Now that's how you know it’s a fun time so get your family together and have your own home fun together. 

In the end - super spy to super fly!

Disney Delights to Bring Home FROZEN 2 on Bluray

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray, DVD and Digital from director Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee and Walt Disney Home Entertainment is the return to Arendelle and FROZEN 2.

Anna (Kristen Bell), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), Olaf (Josh Gad), Sven and Queen Elsa (Indina Menzel) are enjoying life in their city. Since their adventure it is nice for them all to just enjoy each other's company and the people. That is until Elsa starts to hear this strange call that no one else seems to hear.

Putting it out of her mind, the city prepares for a gathering but is suddenly interrupted by strange winds driving the towns people to a safe cliff outside Arendelle. Confused by what is happening, Queen Elsa feels as if the problems are caused by the voice that is calling out to her. Deciding that she must go and find answers, Anna and Kristoff make it clear she isn't going alone.

Loading up into the sled on wheels, Sven takes them to a place that both Anna and Elsa believed was only a tale their father told. A wall of mist blocks them from going forward but when Elsa touches it, a door is opened wide revealing people living on the other side. That's when the girls discover that there is truth to the tale and that there are still more questions to be answered.

With each step they take, more and more of their parent’s life become clearer. But there comes a moment when Elsa realizes that she can no longer put Anna's life in danger and takes the final steps of the journey alone were all is revealed - but will it be too late for Arendelle!

Bell as Anna shows a lot more maturity in this film in that she feels even more protective over her sister Queen Elsa. Still googly eyed over love Kristoff, she is back in her happy place. When the wind changes in Arendelle and she sees that something is wrong with Elsa, Anna makes it very clear from the onset that whatever it is they will face it together. Bell brings her pipes back with song, love and a whole lot of fun.

Menzel as Queen Elsa is having a difficult time concentrating on Arendelle because of the mysterious voice. Still feeling a little out of place in life, she feels there is something in the wind that is calling to her. Fight as she may, the voice is too strong to ignore. Menzel brings her voice to belt out more than one song and it is with that voice that we are with Elsa every step of this next journey.

Groff as Kristoff is very happy with his life in Arendelle and even happier with Anna. Now ready to try something a little different, he seems to have great difficulty making it happen. Groff once again brings his charm that oozes through his voice to a character that is strong for those around him yet still has that goofiness I enjoy about this character. Oh, let us not forget Sven, he is back and just as hoppingly endearing as ever with his extended family.

Gad as Olaf is still the lovable snowman who loves everyone around him and yet still maintains that bit of innocence that makes him unforgettable. That's what Gad brings to this character, a memorable giggle, a heart that runs over with love for Elsa, Anna, Kristoff and his good buddy Sven. He is the snowman we all wanted growing up, at least I did all those times building a snowman in Chicago. Thank Gad for bringing life to such an sweet, gentle and loving character.

Shout out to Hinds for returning as the wise and round stone Pabbie. He gave out the first warning of what was to come for Arendelle and the royal family. Brown as Mattias has his own story to tell of what lies beyond the mist and it is a story worth hearing. 

Other cast include Sterling K. Brown as Mattias, Evan Rachel Wood as Iduna, Jason Ritter as Ryder, Alan Tudyk as Northuldra, Rachel Matthews as Honeymaren, Ciaran Hinds as Pabbie and Martha Plimpton as Yelana, Alfred Molina as Agnarr and Jeremy Sisto as King Runeard. 

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 and Bonus Extras include over an hour of bonuses including A Sing-Along Version of the Movie, Outtakes, Deleted Scenes, Deleted Songs, Do You Know ????, Music Videos and more! The soundtrack to FROZEN II have been in our car since the day of its release so now it will be fun to sing along with the film.

FROZEN II brings songs, fun, giggles, color and a re-connection with characters that have stayed with us all since 2013. The song "Let It Go" became an anthem for anyone who wanted to do just that even though my personal favorite was "In Summer" and who doesn't love a lovable dreaming snowman? In FROZEN II we are asked to go “Into the Unknown” and Olaf brings his delightful “When I am Older”. 

It is such a precarious thing to make a sequel to such a highly successful animated film. It doesn't always work and sometimes it works badly. Some of it might be because I always feel slightly cheated by sequels like the idea is a second thought thrown on a screen hoping it will stick with viewers.

This film is not that in the slightest. What FROZEN 2 brings is a delightful return to embraced characters that doesn't feel like six years has even passed. It is a visually stunning feast for the eyes with rich colors which are completely dazzling. The story may have a few hiccups but seriously, let it go (and I said that).

The entire cast returns (which always is a great thing) with 8 new songs that are as powerful as the original film. Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez returned to write the new songs for the film. Composer Christophe Beck also returned to bring his magic to the score.

I am hardly about to tell every detail of the film because it's FROZEN 2 and no one, and I mean no one has the right to ruin it. This is a film about family and community, wanting to understand where we come from, learning who we are and what we are made of, protecting those we love and, of course, loving each other unconditionally.

Disney has been on a very cool winning streak with their animated films and FROZEN 2 seals the 2019 deal for them. The launch of Disney+ this week means that you can enjoy Disney films all year long which I know my granddaughter intends to do. 

FROZEN 2 is a time for families to have a wonderful holiday beginning together. Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Sven and Olaf are part of our own families now and to spend 104 minutes together feels like home in many ways. Now, FROZEN can take a well-deserved Bluray break from the player and FROZEN 2 can step up to continue the joys of Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven as well as new friends!

At home we can embrace our children and grandchildren as the story unfolds because we share a connection with our friends in the film. We understand the struggles, the love, friendship and caring and that makes FROZEN 2 just about everything we need in family time.

In the end - they are going into the unknown!

Disney+ Rolls Out its First Hit with THE MANDALORIAN

Jeri Jacquin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks Disney+!

AWAY is Visually Stunning and Artfully Told


Jeri Jacquin

Wanting to experience something truly spectacular? Coming from animator Gints Zilbalodis and Subliminal Films is the upcoming film AWAY.

A young boy finds himself hanging from a tree in the desert still attached to his parachute when he sees a huge dark figure coming towards him. In moments he feels enveloped by something he doesn't understand and manages to break free of it. Running away towards the mountains he is followed slowly by the figure but when he crosses under a half round sculpture, the figure stops outside of it.

The boy decides to continue away from the figure into a beautiful green, lush and relaxing forest. Discovering fresh water he revives himself from the desert and even finds fruit. He also finds a small bird who is unable to fly and grateful for any morsels the boy cares to share. 

Exploring further he discovers a motorcycle and teaches himself to ride, a backpack that holds the key to where he needs to go and the figure still standing outside the half round sculpture. To his surprise he also finds something in the caves that motivates him to leave even more. Loading up and preparing, the boy knows that he has to be swift to get away from the figure.

Food, water and a feathered passenger flies past and begins to follow the other half round sculptures that are the visual road to where he needs to be. Along the way the boy finds challenges, nature and the ability to survive more than he ever thought possible. 

It is a journey of wonder to be sure!

Writer/director Zilbalodis is responsible for such short films as Aqua (2012), Priorities (2014), Followers (2014), Inaudible (2015) and Oasis (2017), the last of which was developed further into the feature version of AWAY. He worked on AWAY for over three years single handedly before it premiered in 2019 in such festivals as Annecy, Fantasia, Animafest, Shanghai, Anima Mundi, Strasbourg, Sitges and Tokyo. 

In the three years it took Zilbalodis to bring AWAY to the screen let me say that every single solitary moment of that time is breathtaking to behold. The most amazing part of it is that not a single word is spoken, not - a - single -word! It doesn't need any to understand everything that is happening. In fact, had I heard a word I honestly believe I would have been taken out of the spell I was completely under.

There are so many things to take away from this film (no pun intended) but for me it was a combination of the will to take life into your own hands, respect fear but don't let it rule you, look at the stunning beauty around you, explore everything even if you can only do it in your own back yard and, above all, embrace the little feathery things in this life because they won't be around forever.

I know that might seem too simplistic of a list but that's just my personal take. Let's talk about the animation because even though I am a huge animation film fan, this is so much more than that. I loved the foliage, the birds, lake, elephants, elements and the cats. I loved the colors, the imagery, the voids and everything in between.

To be honest I wasn't sure what I would be seeing with this film but something tremendous drew me to it and whatever that something was - I thank it from the bottom of my film loving heart. Sharing every emotion with the boy, catching my breath here and there, cheering him on and yet a little sad when it was over - that is what AWAY did to me and for me.

The music and sounds are everything to the imagery we are shown on the screen and it is nothing short of stellar and spectacular. A triumph of life with whimsy and hope, it is a powerful film that I will see again and again.

In the end - he is going home!