Tubs of Popcorn Rating!!
Film Reviews

      RAVE & RAGE
Jamie Foxx & Channing Tatum
Shane Acker "9"
Minor Childers & Leland Orser
Craig Robinson & Clark Duke
Kelsey Mann - Pixar
Channing Tatum
Andy Dickler
Marmaduke
Richard Hatch
Sam Bass
Peter Lord
Nicholas Sparks
Stan Lee
Jarrod Hess
Morgan Spurlock
Peter Briggs
Kevin Sorbo
Carrot Top
Scott Waugh
Jonny Weston
Martin McDonagh
Anna Hutchison
Ming-Na Wen
Paige O'Hara
Robert Carlyle
Martin Papazian
Martin Blunder
David Koechner
Spongebob!
Gabriel Iglesias
Scott Mantz
Ben Lyons
Gil Bellows
Kevin Pollack
David MacKenzie & 
Gil Birmingham
David Guggenheim
THE POWER RANGERS
Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, Ludi Lin
The Real Heroes of Bengazhi 
Mark "Oz" Geist, Kris "Tanto Paronto, John "Tig" Tiegen
Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlotos, Anthony Sadler for The 15:17 to Paris
MEMORIES OF MURDER

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres for a Limited Engagement from Oscar winning writer/director Bong Joon Ho and Neon is the true story of a serial killer with MEMORIES OF MURDER.

Detective Park Doo-man (Song Kang-ho) is called to a field where a young woman is found murdered. Upset that the forensic team does a horrible job, it will be hard to find the killer. Then another woman is found, and he decides to question the handicapped Baek Kwang-ho (Park No-shik). The only way to get an answer is to have his partner Cho (Kim Roi-ha) use his special horrible techniques to get the answers they want. 

Enter from Seoul is Detective Seo Tae-yoon (Kim Sang-kyung) who volunteers to come and help solve the crimes. Almost immediately he realizes that there is another victim out there. Telling Sgt. Koo Hee-bong (Hee-Bong Byun) his thoughts, they begin their search and find exactly what Seo expected. Looking for clues, Officer Kwon Kwi-ok (Go Seo-hee) tells them about a theory she has regarding a song played on the radio. Going from one suspect to another, nothing is adding up.

Until the next victim sends the crew over the edge in panic. They are led to Park Hyeon-gyu (Park Hae-il) who works at the local factory near the field. Getting no where with him, they have no choice but to let him go. Park and Seo talk out what they can do next until they realize that perhaps there is a witness they had not considered. As the night goes on, one more girl has been murdered and Seo blames himself deciding that maybe its time he take the law into his own hands. 

When all the leads take them nowhere, the crime remains unsolved as year later, Park returns to the scene. 

Kang-ho as Detective Park is a man who prides himself on being able to look in the eyes of a person and tell whether they are lying or not. The problem is in this case, he seems to be losing his touch which means he relies on other methods that are not law enforcement approved. His problem with Seo turns out to be based on hating an outsider coming in but must put that aside if they are going to catch a killer. 

Sang-kyung as Seo comes in and watches the detective around him while he digs deeper into the reports of what has been happening. Putting the pieces together, he becomes obsessed with one suspect to the point of losing that part of himself that set him apart from the others. Not getting along with Detective Park only lasts until they put their theories together and go forward.

Roi-ha as Cho is the kind of cop that everybody hates and gives good cops a bad name. His temper is ridiculously out of control, but he always relied on Park to keep him in check. With the arrival of Seo, a change takes place in the squad room. Byun as Sgt. Hee-bong has had almost enough with Park and Cho’s ridiculous tactics and turns to Seo who seems to take things more seriously.
Seo-hee as Officer Kwon Kwi-ok is a young woman who is taking in everything around her. Once she finds a clue on her own, she is hesitant to share until realizing she must help find the killer. No-shik as Baek is a mentally disabled young man who is treated poorly by the police to get what they wanted when all they really needed to do what just talk to him as a friend. 

Other cast include Song Jae-ho as Sgt. Shin Dong-chul, Jeon Mi-seon as Kwok Seol-yung and Yeom Hye-ran as So-hyeon’s mother, Tae-ho Ryu as Jo Byeong-soon, Woo Go-na as Kim So-hyeon, Ok-joo Lee as Oh Nam-joo, Jong-ryol Choi as Gwang-ho’s father.

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

Talking about the style of MEMORIES OF MURDER, the writer/director says “First of all, I thought of the victims’ families. I asked myself many times whether or not I had the right to make this movie. Writing the screenplay was so difficult that I even resorted to knocking back some stiff drinks sometimes.”

Continuing, “I struggled over how I could remain responsible to the victims’ families. In most thrillers, death is merely a game or a puzzle, but in MEMORIES OF MURDER, death is accompanied by sadness and anger. This movie will make you feel how profoundly terrible and tragic murders are. I am genuinely saddened by the deaths of these women. Not only do I feel rage toward the murderer, but I am also enraged about the circumstanced that allowed these women to be killed. I hope the audiences who watch the film will feel as I do.”

MEMORIES OF MURDER is the true story of a serial murder cast in South Korea during the 80’s. Compared to the Zodiac murders in California, this film takes us on a journey of how the police mishandled the case and by the time they managed to put the pieces together, the murders stopped – or did they.

The film takes its time in the telling but then again writer/director Bong Joon Ho is not in a hurry. Its almost as if he wants to make sure we understand every little bit of the evidence and not get distracted with the shenanigans going on around the case. As a mother and grandmother, let me tell you I absolutely looked past that and focused on what was being discovered minute by minute.

The cast is exceptional and brings MEMORIES OF MURDER to audiences that might not have known the history of this serial killer in South Korea. 

In the end – for two detectives everything is new!

It is the Story of 2 HEARTS

Jeri Jacquin

Currently in theatres from director Lance Hool and Freestyle Releasing is the story of love and what some will do for the gift of 2 HEARTS.

Leslie (Radha Mitchell) is a flight attendant preparing to board a plane when Jorge (Adan Canto) catches her eye. She cannot help but smile as him as he seems just as struck! Once aboard the plane, Jorge asks that she sit and hold his hand since flying makes him a little jittery. Charmed by him, Leslie has no choice but oblige him.

Jorge is a member of the Bolivar family business along with his brother Joaquin (David Perez) and Father Jose (Steve Bacic). Returning to his Miami home, he quietly tells his brother about Leslie and that he has met his future wife. Finding ways to meet up with her flying schedule, Leslie and Jorge find time to be together and fall in love and Jorge reveals his medical condition. She makes it very clear that it doesn't change how she feels!

With a perfect wedding on the beach, they know that this was meant to be. Hoping to have a family, their first difficulty is knowing that children are not in their future and as time goes by, Jorge's medical condition grows steadily worse.

Chris (Jacob Elordi) is a young man full of life and does not take things too seriously. Off to college enjoying that life, he accidentally runs into Sam (Tiera Skovbye), a serious student who believes in causes and studying. Knowing it is the only way he can be with her, Chris signs up to be a patrol buddy so they can spend time together.

Being with Sam gives Chris a jump-start to his life as his grades improve, and he decides what he wants to do with his life. Much to the surprise of his parents and siblings, they could not be happier that he has found someone to care for more than himself. Seeing a life of marriage and children, Chris has never been happier.

In an instant life is about to change for both of these men and that is what happens while we are out making plans!

Mitchell as Leslie is a beautiful lady and sees something special in Jorge. Wanting to make a life all about family, she sees that with him. Every moment they spend together is a gift and Leslie want to make sure to be grateful for that. Mitchell gives her character such light and a lightness even when things become dark.

Canto as Jorge is a man who has grown up knowing about his illness but does not let that stop him from succeeding. Loving being part of the family business and family, he is just as surprised at everyone else when Leslie hits him like a thunderbolt. He cannot imagine one moment without her and finds the most loving ways of proving that. Canto was one of my favorites in the series DESIGNATED SURVIVOR as Aaron Shore so I was equally thrilled to see him take on this role. Jorge is a strong man but does not mind showing a loving side in all things, especially Leslie.

Elordi as Chris is a young man living that young life. Always being goofy and not focusing as seriously as his older brother and parents might like, it is when he finds something greater than himself in Sam that he sees for the first time what everyone is talking about. Wanting her, a home, family and all that goes with it is his focus - starting with being a patrol buddy!

Skovbye as Sam is such a lovely young woman who seems destined to continually bump into Chris. Even though she has a boyfriend, she is enjoying her friendship with this outgoing and funny guy. She is serious about doing good for people which does eventually rub off on Chris (without other intention) as she laughs her way into his heart. Skovbye gives her character such warmth and humor.

Other cast include Kari Matchett as Grace, Tahmoh Penikett as Erik, Jordan Burtchett as Colin, Anthony Konechny as John, and Malcolm Stewart as Dr. Dean.

Freestyle Releasing specializes in releasing films theatrically and representing independent films. Releasing content through Freestyle Digital Media, their most successful film theatrically to date is the 2014 film GOD’S NOT DEAD. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.freestyledigitalmedia.tv

2 HEARTS is a film about learning from our life, how to help others and what it means to families when a person signs up for organ donation. This film is about giving, sharing, loving, family, community and remembering who we are as people - stewards of one another when we can be.

There are so many emotions in the 100-minute-long film, but it is important to tell both sides to truly understand the concepts of the storyline. In this exceptionally large and very populated planet, this is a story of how two people found one another and the impact it has had on others around them.

The film is based on the true story of the young man Christopher Gregory and Leslie and Jorge Bacardi. What is most amazing is learning at the end of the film what these three people have done for others who need organ donations the most. Learn more about it and The Gabriel House at https://gabrielhouseofcare.org/our-story. It is beautiful and moving!

In the end - discover the mystery that connects them all!

TWICE BORN at SDIFF


Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres and being shown at the San Diego International Film Festival from director Hiroshi Akabane, Nikkatsu and Happy Science comes the journey of one man being TWICEBORN.

It is 1991 and Satoru Ichijo is speaking to a mass crowd of people at the Tokyo Dome. As the press give him coverage and tell the audience listening that he is the Great Charisma. Trying to get in to see him are people from the past who know how this all came to be.

Satoru begins as a young boy with a hunger for learning. His parents and teachers are proud that he continues to thrive and want to know more of the world he lives in. Saturo is also well liked by those around him and a few especially close friends. He is at the top of his class and instead of being jealous, everyone around him know he worked hard and earned it every step of the way.

After high school, Satoru (Hiroaki Tanaka) enters law school and studies just as hard, but it is also where he meets the lovely Chiaki Minase (Nao Hashegawa). She is also a studious young woman following in her father's footsteps wanting to be a judge. While in school, Satoru's father becomes ill as he returns to help where he can. All the while he has been writing to Chiaki of his feelings and thoughts about her.

When he receives a letter from Chiaki, he is crushed when she explains that he doesn't know her true self. Month after month, Satoru studies for the mock bar exam and it is only when the essay questions come around is their a problem. His friends try to tell him that its because he is to opinionated and the professor doesn't approve. 

So Satoru makes a decision that shakes everyone. Instead of going into law, he starts work at a Trading House. It is right around this time that something amazing starts to happen. Satoru believes that the spiritual world is reaching out to him saying "your mission as the Buddha reborn is to save all people by spreading the Truth". He wants to know more and struggles between wanting to embrace and teach what that world is sharing with him and being good at his work to help family and friends.

In 1982, Satoru transfers to New York to continue to learn about finance. Attempting to help a woman in distress, he discovers it is Chiaki! Seeing that her life is going as it should, he returns to Tokyo a year later and he is happy to be home.

Spending time writing the spiritual messages in a book, Satoru's father tries to find a publisher. Moving up in the company once again, Satoru meets Miho (Fumika Shimizu) and strike up a friendship that becomes important to him. She shares her dreams of being a journalist and believes Satoru knows if it will come true. 

Finally getting his book published, Satoru's life changes again as love passes him for a second time. That is when he finally knows what it is he needs to do. Lead by the spiritual world, it is time for Satoru to become everything he was meant to be and spread the word to all that will listen.

Other cast include Shiro Namiki as Isobe, Shunsuke Kubozuka as Osamu Hinata, Miyoko Yoshimoto as Yumiko Nakamura, Yoshimi Ashikawa as Kimiyo Ichijo and Tamotsu Ishibashi as Nobutada.

HS Productions is a Los Angeles based movie and production house established in 2019. Our mission is to unite the world in Joy and Happiness through the power of films and music that carry a message of hope and lots of love.

Tanaka as Satoru gives us such a lovely performance of a man dedicated to learning and believing but also a tad socially awkward and unaware of the way he sometimes speaks to people. It is actually quite startling when he has moments because it seems so out of character for Satoru. Playing this character all through the phases of his life, Tanaka gives us an idea of the struggle between the material world and the spiritual world for Santoru. All that he has been through leads him to exactly where he should be, and those who know and loved him.

Hashegawa as Chiaki also comes from the same family and mindset to study hard and do well for a career and family. Trying to understand Satoru, she feels strongly but isn't quite sure how to react to the letters he sends. When they part, she seems to take it better than Satoru but he has left an impression on her - one that followed her to 1991.

Shimizu as Miho is a young woman who isn't sure why she is working at the Trading House. Befriending Santoru, she realizes there is something different about the way he speaks and acts. Leaving a lasting impression on her, Miho is surprised to learn that Satoru has been writing and keeping it away from his professional life. When she reads his books, she believes that he is something special and knows that they are on different paths.

TWICEBORN has received awards from the 2020 Madrid International Film Festival for Best foreign Language Feature Film, 2020 Raindance Film Festival for Off-Competition Special Screening, 2020 San Diego International Film Festival Official Selection and 2020 LA Femme International Film Festival Official Selection. 

This film is about believing in ones self, going against the norm and realizing that sometimes the journey must be taken alone. There is so much to take in with this film in the one hundred and thirty five minutes of story telling. The cast, especially Tanaka, takes it upon themselves to hold up that time and make sure everyone who knew Satoru has the opportunity to tell what they know.

In the end - the sun shall rise again!

Her Life is Told by THE GLORIAS
THE GLORIAS is available for purchase on Digital and Streaming exclusively on Prime Video starting September 30th.

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Digital and streaming exclusively on Prime Video from writer/director Julie Taymor and Roadside Attractions based on her book My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem is THE GLORIAS.

A young Gloria (Ryan Armstrong) is being raised by mother Ruth (Enid Graham) and father Leo (Timothy Hutton). Living from one money making plan to another, the family is constantly on the road. Eventually Gloria beings to understand what is happening with her parents as Ruth moves into a family home with her daughter.

Finding herself in India, Gloria (Alicia Vikander) begins to see the injustices that the women in the country endure. Returning home, she heads for New York trying to find work as a writer. Her writing jobs seem to focus more on the fashion and homemaker genre which is not something she is interested in.

Finally, a story of the working conditions of Playboy bunnies allows Gloria to do a serious piece that gets both good and bad reactions. The more articles she writes, the more she feels there are more important issues that need to be addressed and that women would welcome to read about.

Gloria (Julianne Moore) is till writing but finding herself going headfirst into the rights of women and finding other women that are like minded. Starting Ms. Magazine gets quite the reaction from the men and resounding applause from women. She knows there must be more as the ERA becomes her next focus with the help of Bella Abzug (Bette Midler), Flo Kennedy (Lorraine Toussaint) and so many more.

Friends like Wilma Mankiller (Kimberly Guerrero) of the Cherokee Nation, Gloria finds the sense of heading in the right direction with her goals of women's rights and the stereotypes and stigmas that makes the women today freer to make their own way.

But there is still so much more to do!

Moore as Gloria gives a stunning performance as a woman who is pushed on a mission to help those who need it the most - women. Moore has the perfect demeanor to play Gloria Steinem and every moment she is on the screen I want to see more and more. Gone is the brilliant red hair for the iconic middle-parted hair with equally iconic glasses. Moore brings Gloria completely to the screen and her scenes with Vikander are brilliant and I loved them.

Vikander as the younger Gloria sets the groundwork for her 'future' life and work. Through her writing and tenacity, she paved her own way in showing the discrepancies that the country turned a blind eye to. Vikander gives her time period of Gloria the discovery of how she is perceived personally and professionally and does not accept it in the slightest. The trick is discovering how to make the change that makes the loudest noise to attract those who can also be part of the change.

Hutton as Leo is a father Gloria loves but as she grows older, she experiences the effects of his inability to be a stable figure in her life. In a young girl’s life, that can all be an adventure, but as Gloria gets older there becomes a time when all of it brings a hard decision. Graham as wife Ruth was once a writer herself but became a wife and mother. After years of uncertainty and no roots, it affects Ruth to the point of being debilitated.

Midler as Abzug is funny in her own way but also right in the way she says it. Midler was actually a great choice for this role. Toussaint as Kennedy also has the lungs and belief in what Gloria and the others are trying to do. I love the way she brings swag to a role.

Guerrero as Mankiller has not only generations of issues plaguing her people of the Cherokee nation but knows it is time to make a patriarchal change for leadership. Her portrayal and friendship with the Gloria’s are something I deeply related to and enjoyed. Both Guerrero and Moore's scenes together are pure wonderful.

Other cast include Victor Slezak as Walter, Allie McCulloch as Brenda Feigen, Janelle Monae as Dorothy Hughes, Mo Plenty as Charlie Soap, Annika Pampel as Olga, charles Green as Ted White, Margo Moorer as Barbara Jordan, Bethany Geaber as Joanne Edgar, Monica Sanchez as Dolores Huerta, and Ariadne Joseph as Dr. Gloria Scott.

THE GLORIAS is a look at the life of Gloria Steinem from different ages in her life. What makes this film so unique are the conversations between the stages of her life filled with the uncertainties, questions, yet there is a comforting towards each of them with support and encouragement that I'm sure most of us wish we could do with our own era-selves.

Learning from an early age that fending for one’s self is difficult enough without the low expectations that men seem to have for the time, Steinem shares her journey. Daring to push further and further she gathered other likeminded women who saw the potential for change and did not stop until it reached the ears of the country. All of what these women did are being put to the test even today in our political climate. This is the perfect time for the film to be released.

The cast is amazing working together from the young Gloria of Ryan Armstrong, to Vikander, to Moore it is a smooth transition between them all. Even in flashbacks, director Taymor brings about a seamlessness so the story flows and hopefully right up to an Oscar.

In the end - she was part of a fight that needed winning!

What the Truth is Behind 
TOTALLY UNDER CONTROL

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Apple +/iTunes, Amazon, Fandango Now, Google Play/YouTube, Vudu and available town or rent from www.neonrated.com and available on HULU this Tuesday from writer/director Alex Gibney, Suzanne Hillinger, Ophelia Harutyunyan and NEON’s Indee TV comes the answers we have been asking about the US being TOTALLY UNDER CONTROL.

On January 20, 2020, Seattle, Washington became the center of attention as the first patient in the United States is confirmed to have a virus that has also been found in China. Known as Covid-19, China responded quickly to what was happening and the United States – did not. 200,000+ deaths later, the United States (or the world) is not the same. The U.S. has become a place of chaos and the question is put out ‘when did we lose control?’

That is where this documentary begins, bringing in people who were willing to talk about everything Covid-19 related and how deep down the rabbit hole we get to go. Gibney, Hillinger and Harutyunyan set up a ‘covid-camera’ as Scott Becker of Public Health is following the news about virus from the beginning. 

Trump is found on television spewing his usual rhetoric with ‘hoax’s’ and ‘shams’, but Michael Shear, White House Correspondent for The New York Times knows a thing or two about outbreaks of viruses. On January 3, 2020 more and more people are taking notice as Dr. Rich Bright, Director of BARDA tracks early signals of the virus. Knowing they have viruses and wet markets in China, what caught his attention was the hospitals being quickly built in record time. He knew then this virus was deadly!

Dr. Eva Lee, Research Director, Georgia Institute of Technology is famous for her models of predictions. She saw the pandemic coming in January. Nancy Messinger was the spokesperson initially for the virus at the CDC. On January 17, 2020 she spoke of travelers coming from the US from Wuhan and coming up with a test.

Did the US have a book on how to deal with what scientists thought was coming? Yes, called the ‘playbook’ it is the Crimson Contagion from ASPR and it was used in October 2019 in test runs conducted in 12 states. Calling into question the results falls into the lap of Dr. Robert Kadlec. Emails show Kadlec thought this virus of 2020 was not a worry. Alex Azar, Secretary of Health and Human Services told Trump that things were under control. 

Dr. Alex Groninger, Assistant Director of the University of Washington, Clinical Virology Lab worked on the first case that came to them. By this time, Wuhan had shut down completely. The virus rapidly spread in the US as Dr. Bright told Azar that the US needs a test and money – it did not go well. Yet, in South Korea they saw the need for diagnostic testing since the country had dealt with MERS in 2015. The KCDC knew that tests and medicines needed to be a priority. 

Azar in the US kept telling Trump “we got this” and Dr. Redfield from the CDC says there is no need for alarm. Trump does not like science in any form, so scientists decide to start a chain email to fight back. Called ‘Red Dawn’ after the 1984 film, they wrote of this virus going wrong and gave dire warnings. 

In 2009, President Obama believes that scientists should be listened to. Zeka, Ebola, MERS and H1N1are all viruses Dr. Tom Frieden, former Director of the CDC was well aware of. When Ebola struck four years later, Obama created a response team with Beth Cameron, National Security Council Senior director who took lessons learned and created a pandemic playbook that was mean for this type of emergency – it was not used.

Mitch McConnell went on cable news saying they were left with no playbook by the previous administration, but we all know now that is a lie. No one in the Trump administration wanted anything to do with anything the previous administration did. John Bolton is responsible for helping to erase the very things that could have helped us all now. 

Azar creates a Covid-19 task force at the end of January and here is where the world meets Dr. Anthony Fauci from the National Institute of Health. At this same meeting, entry into the US becomes difficult. In February, cruise ships are struck down with the virus as Dr. James Lawler, Infectious Disease Specialist from the University of Nebraska Medical Center sees how the virus was dealt with and the US passengers trying to get home. He new that tests, tracing and isolate was the call to arms.

In the meantime, the CDC is making a test but must apply to bypass lengthy laws. Kits go out on February 8 and by February 9th there is an immediate problem. Instead of helping, the FDA leaves the CDC flapping in the wind. Dr. Groninger decides that he is willing to jump through all the hoops to get the test going and Seattle’s numbers of infected is increasing. The White House could have made good things happen – but they chose not to.

South Korea is way ahead of the US as they have a contact tracing program and cell phone alerts ramping up test kits and Personal Protective Equipment, we now call PPE’s. Yet in the US it was business as usual as Trump gives inaccurate numbers (and I am being kind here). Finally, those around Trump tell him that the virus is getting serious. Nancy Messinger takes it a step further by coming forward with the truth in all its frightening forms.

Trump is outraged and puts VP Pence in charge of the Covid task force taking power out of Azar’s hands. This is where we all meet Dr. Deborah Birx. After a month of no testing, the FDA and CDC go back to the original test with a change, still, not everyone can get tested. Trump calls Covid a Hoax and that no one ‘has died from it’ and on February 29, 2020 – he would be proven wrong. Now outbreaks are happening in factories and nursing homes as the aged and race are rising in vast numbers.

By March, Trump is still touting that anyone can get a test, and everyone knows that is still a lie. The scientists like Dr. Fauci tell it like it really is while Trump and his followers tell lies. New York becomes the next hotspot as the reality of no PPE’s and ventilators become the next horrifying scare. Mike Bowen, VP of Prestige Ameritech tells anyone who will listen that mask makers are out of the country so no exporting of what the US needs. 

Hospital workers are reusing their masks and gowns and the public is told they do not need masks. In the meantime, Trump puts his son-in-law Jared Kushner in charge of getting supplies. He in turn uses volunteers to find supplies which turns out to be a massive joke. These 20-year-old volunteers were forced to sign NDA’s. The Governor of California Newsom basically has to play ‘hail to the king’ groveling to get supplies. The Governor of Maryland has a better idea and gets the supplies himself!

Trump gets on national television and pushes hydroxychloroquine as a cure for Covid turning to a YouTube doctor for his information as scientists are shocked. Doctors are frustrated trying to help their patients with accurate information while the White House spews nonsense. Dr. Bright had enough and went rogue. Testifying to Congress the facts, Trump and Azar have other plans for the doctor. 

By April after months of shutdowns, Trump begins to make demands for the US to reopen calling for people to protest. He begins censoring the CDC and tells US citizens a vaccine will be here by the fall (notice we are in October).

What have all these scientists come to grips with? That science is key, smile without eyes and a mask over our faces, care about citizens as much as building missiles and finally – politicians are the problem.

For me – there is one politician who we are supposed to trust with our lives, and he is going to get us all killed.

Writer/Director Gibney has quite a resume that includes a few other documentaries I enjoyed like CLIENT 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer, CASINO JACK AND THE UNITES STATES OF MONEY and CITIZEN K. What I love most about his work is that he just tells the truth of a situation and lets the viewer come to their own conclusion – no preaching, just “here it is, the stark truth of it all” and with TOTALLY UNDER CONTROL he doesn’t need to convince most of us of the truth, but I appreciate knowing more than I did. 

Speaking out in the documentary are Kathleen Sebelius, Francis Riedo, Scott Becker, Thomas Frieden, Michael Shear, Rick Bright, Taison Bell, Michael Bowen, Beth Cameron, Caroline Chen, Alex Groninger, Max Kennedy, Victoria Kim, James Lawler, Eva Lee, Kim Jon Young and Vladimir Zelendo. 

TOTALLY UNDER CONTROL is a frightening look how many people were sounding the alarm to a government that refused to listen. There are so many of us that have lost loved ones (three in my own family alone), friends, spouses, children and we only get their ‘condolences’ when most of us want them on trial for murder. 

Trump, Pence, Azar, and the rest are responsible for those death because they choose to believe they are invincible, THEY are invincible. They care nothing for the citizens they are suppose to be helping and have proved it time and time again with their endless press conferences to puff up their own egos while people watching are afraid every time they walk out the door.

These are heartless carbon-based units, they certainly do not qualify as people, who will do whatever they want with no consequences. It is almost as if they hope we die in larger numbers so they can continue without interruption trampling over the graves of the 200,000+ already gone. 

This is a documentary that had my jaw dropping! So many people who tried to help and were personally and professionally insulted and sent packing ruining lives and careers in shocking. It should not be because this administration thrives on destruction, but it is.

Please, please take the time to watch this documentary. Gibney gives you the undisputable facts that we should have been told all along. 

In the end - totally out of control is more like it!


DO NOT REPLY Brings Horror Close to Home

Jeri Jacquin

Coming from writers/directors Daniel Woltosz, Walter Woltosz and Gravitas Ventures is the nightmare of what can happen so DO NOT REPLY.

Chelsea (Amanda Arcuri) is a young girl who is constantly in the shadow of an older, more outgoing cheerleading sister. Trying to find her own friends, she 'meets' Brad (Jackson Rathbone) on the internet and he is interested in becoming friends which appeals to Chelsea.

Unfortunately, she uses the phone during class, and it is confiscated brining mom Mia (Ivon Milan) to school to deal with it. Getting her hands on another phone, she agreed to meet Brad at a Halloween party dressed in a cheerleader’s outfit.

Chelsea is not there long before she passed out and wakes up in a basement chained to the floor. Every young girls’ nightmare has come true, Brad is not what he poses to be and now she's trapped. Shocked to learn there are other girls in the house as well, Brad's story of Sadie (Nikki Leigh) unfolds and it is even more than Chelsea could have ever imagined.

She must stay calm and one step ahead of his plans!

Arcuri as Chelsea is a young girl looking for someone to care about her and goes about it in the most dangerous of ways. That is what the current technology has done, cause young women to become targets for predators. As Chelsea, Arcuri immediately starts to assess her situation and find a way out of it. It comes at a high price as well.

Rathbone as Brad has serious issues as his story slowly starts to unravel. Chelsea isn't Brad's first victim but she sure was going to make sure she was the last. Rathbone is charming until rules are broken, memories flood his characters twisted mind and Brad's trust is shattered. Rathbone gets a chance to use that boyish smile on the audience that quickly turns to not-so-charming when tested.

Heather (Kerri Medders) is someone else trapped in Brad's home but her story is a tad different and so are her reactions to what is happening. Medders plays a victim that trusts her surroundings and isn't pleased with Chelsea's arrival. Leigh as Sadie gets a chance to tell part of the tale, but it is one that makes Brad's behavior even more unpredictable.

Other cast include: Elise Luthman as Heather, Ashlee Fuss as Tina, Courtney Henggeler as Laura, Kaitlyn Black as Victoria, Curran Walters as Dylan, Savannah Kennick as Kristina and Thom Gossom Jr. as Dr. Hunts.

Gravitas Ventures is a worldwide film distribution company that connections the global audience of over a billion people. Celebrating 15 years, they have had the honor to collaborate with thousands of artists to share important films. Gravitas was one of the first companies to develop a global network of digital media platforms like Video on Demand with a simple mission to deliver ideas that could bridge filmmakers to audiences. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.gravitasventures.com.

DO NOT REPLY is a horror film but it is also a story that is heard time and time again about the young kids behind taken by people pretending to be their friends on the internet. The film gives us a horrifying look at Chelsea but equally horrifying is the fact that this is not far from reality.

That being said, on the film side of it, this is a game of cat and mouse, of who can outsmart who and what it takes to get out alive. There is plenty of suspense absolutely and a few moments of obviousness but that can be overlooked when the story does not stop its pace from beginning to the last frame - which will give the viewer some satisfaction.

Rathbone gives us a chilling and twisted character and Arcuri has a moment where her choice makes the jaw drop. The question then becomes - what will you do to survive?

In the end - DELETE YOUR PROFILE!

There is Trauma in THE SECRETS WE KEEP

Jeri Jacquin

This week from writer/director Yuval Adler, Ryan Covington and Bleeker Street is the story of pain and memories in THE SECRETS WE KEEP.

World War II is over and life in America for Romanian housewife Maja (Noomi Rapace) is busy one. Helping husband Lewis (Chris Messina) with his medical practice, they are a typical family raising young son Patrick (Jackson Vincent). While at the park, Maja hears something that brings about a unsettling memory.

A man whistling for his dog causes Maja to follow to see his face. Going home without answers, Maja starts to become nervous around Lewis and he notices. She becomes obsessed with discovering if the man is who she thinks he is and once its confirmed, another plan takes place.

Maja kidnaps Carl (Joel Kinnaman) and brings him to her basement. She finally comes clean with Lewis about her past, the war and who she believes is tied up in their basement. Questioning him and getting no answers, they decide to find out more about Carl and his past. Maja takes it as far as getting to know his wife Rachel (Amy Seimetz).

Declaring his innocence, Carl pleads for Lewis to listen and that Maja is mistaken. He tries his best, but Maja doesn't believe him and refuses to stop trying to get to the truth, no matter how painful for them all.

Rapace as Maja is a nervous chain-smoker who tries to a hide her past as deep inside her as possible. What happened in the war traumatized her so deeply that Lewis can always tell when something is wrong, he just does not know what it is. That is what makes Rapace so perfect for this role. She continues to show her strength in the roles she chooses, and this role is deep, intense and gut wrenching.

Messina as Lewis clearly loves his wife, son and his practice. He enjoys working with his wife and the community feeling he is contributing. He is shocked when Maja shares what is in their basement and why. He finds it all so difficult as his wife shares the secrets, she has been keeping from him for so long. Messina is understanding, suspicious and a husband trying to protect his wife.

Kinnaman as Carl has his own secrets that he is keeping from an unsuspecting wife. He pleads mainly with Lewis to understand that he is not the person Maja fears and that he is willing to walk away and forget the whole thing. Kinnaman is powerful for someone tied in a basement as everything Maja wants to know is in his eyes.

Seimetz as Rachel is a woman who is trying to understand why her husband would leave. Taking care of their two children now becomes her priority and she comes to appreciate Maja's visits. They talk about their husbands and lives, but Rachel does not know Maja is just getting information.

Other cast include Madison Jones as Annabelle, Jeff Pope as Jim White, David Maldonado as Officer Brouwer, Ed Amatrudo as Dr. Sonnderquist and Ritchie Montgomery as Mitchell.

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

THE SECRETS THEY KEEP is a story about survival and the trauma that follows years later. It's about remembering those loved and lost but never forgetting who caused the pain. Once Maja sees Carl, all the pain she has hidden from everyone in her life cannot be stuffed back down.

It is clear that Maja doesn't know exactly what she is doing or even what it is she truly wants. Revenge? Answers? She takes it one step at a time, one thought at a time and Lewis fears her as each episode passes. These three people are locked in madness created by the past and it will end - one way or another.

An excellent cast and a suspenseful story have been put together by Adler and Covington. The cast brings an intensity that leaves an ending that even I did not see coming. Fear is a terrible thing and makes people do things that would not ordinarily do and THE SECRETS THEY KEEP is an excellent example of that.

In the end - a quiet neighborhood with a secret past!

FROM THE VINE Celebrates Life

Jeri Jacquin


Coming from director Sean Cisterna and Samuel Goldwyn Films adapted from Ken Cancellara's novel Finding Marco, comes the story of a man who did not know how to start over until he began FROM THE VINE.

Marco Gentile (Joe Pantoliano) is not happy with life and in one sweeping moment walks away from his job in Toronto. He decides to go to his grandfather's house in Acerena, Italy to recapture memories and see if he can find his footing. What he finds instead is that Nono Gentile's house is taped off and someone else is keeping an eye on the run-down vines.

Spending a few days walking the streets he remembered as a kid, he gets a wild idea to revive the Gentile vineyard and awaken the town. Back at home, wife Marina (Wendy Crewson) and daughter Laura (Paula Brancti) are not happy with Marco's absence.

What is actually going on is that Marco decides to ask neighbor Marcello (Tony Nardi) to help him get the wine making business back up and running. In turn Marcello suggests that hiring the locals might just bring a little more life back into the town. In Toronto, Marina notices money missing, and Laura is about to have a fit feeling her father has abandoned the family.

Wasting no time, Marina and Laura hope a flight to Italy and discover what has been happening. At first, they are reluctant, then something begins to change in both of them. Has the wine or the beauty of Italy captured their hearts?

Anything is possible with a good glass of wine!

Pantoliano as Marco is a man just trying to find something to give his heart a jump start. Returning to Italy, he begins to remember what life was like this is grandpa Nono and what the vines meant to him. Taking a chance on his memories and with the help of a few unexpected friends, Marco is happier than he ever thought he could be. Pantoliano is delightful, funny and endearing and that I want in a good-hearted story.

Nardi as Marcello knows the land and loves the vines. Marco discovers that he has been tending a patch of the vine for years, so he knows what it needs. At first the idea isn't appealing, but Marcello also finds his heart full of what is growing once again. Nardi is very funny in his standoffishness and charming to the last.

Crewson as Marina cannot understand what is going on with her husband until she discovers what he has been doing. Once she goes to Italy, sees her husband light up talking about his grandfather's legacy, she settles in and takes it all in. Brancti as Laura is a hardheaded daughter who doesn't take things lightly and is very opinionated. Once in Italy, she too is taken in by what she sees around her and finds herself helping her father whether she intended to or not.

Shout out to Tony Nappo as Enzo, the crazy comic relief who does not seem to have a purpose at first but discovers perhaps people are not so bad after all.

Other cast include Marco Leonardi as Luca, Franco La Presti as Gio, Kevin Hanchard as John, Rita del Piano as Amelia, Sonia Tully as Barbara, and Frank Moore as Gordon.

Samuel Goldwyn Films is a major, independently owned motion picture company that develops, produces and distributes innovative feature films and documentaries. The company has dedicated itself to world-renowned and emerging writers/filmmakers with such stories as SUPER SIZE ME, SWEET COUNTRY, MAPLETHORP and THE PARTS YOU LOSE. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.samuelgoldwynfilms.com.

FROM THE VINE is a charming look at not so much starting life over but remember a time when you knew who you were and where you came from. Marco needed to know that and what a change it made in his life. It might seem a tad selfish at first, but the family soon comes to see that this particular chance-taking was meant to be.

The cast is wonderful, and the cinematography is stunning. Italy is one of those places I hope to someday see so I payed close attention to the houses, streets, shops and the people who keep these small towns alive with culture and history.

Director Cisterna says, "Some of my all-time favorite motion pictures begin with the iconic Samuel Goldwyn Films logo. Our cast and crew are beyond thrilled that FROM THE VINE can be a bottle of fine way amongst the collection of gourmet Goldwyn meals!"

So, FROM THE VINE is most definetly worth of a moment when looking for a relaxing Saturday or Sunday afternoon film that is just delightful. It is about family, friendship, love, dreams, expectations and a bit of the magic we have in us all called believing.

In the end - the grape never falls far from the vine!

You Can’t Change a BLACKBIRD

Jeri Jacquin

Coming from director Roger Michell, Millenium Media and Screen Media Films is one family's story of frustration, secrets, togetherness, love and the flight of the BLACKBIRD.

Lily (Susan Sarandon) and husband Paul (Sam Neill) love their house nestled away from the world. This day they are waiting for their family to arrive consisting of daughter Jennifer (Kate Winslet), husband Michael and their son Jonathan (Anson Boon). Also, the elusive daughter Anna (Mia Wasikowska) and friend Chris (Bex Taylor-Klaus). Rounding off the group is family friend Liz (Lindsay Duncan).

Having made the decision to end her life due to ALS, Lily wants to spend time with her family enjoying each other's company. Paul, Jennifer, Liz and Michael understand and have accepted that these are her wishes but when Anna arrives, she makes it clear that there is no agreement from her.

The family has their first dinner together and it is uneasy filled with sarcasm hidden in humor. It is up to Jennifer to set Anna straight on what the plan is, and Paul informs Jonathan of what is going to happen. Thinking everything is in place, it starts to unravel when Jennifer does not understand what she has seen, Anna is full of revelations, Jonathan thinks it’s about time he has a say and Michael has a moment.

This was never going to be simple.

Sarandon as Lily is funny, quick, makes no excuses for what she wants and certainly is not going to let anyone stand in her way - not even the family. This is not the first time she has had to go up against family with a terminal illness. In 1998, she portrayed Jackie Harrison, a mother who discovers she is ill and prepare her two young children for that fact. In BLACKBIRD, it is the older kids with mommy issues as well as sibling rivalry that Sarandon's character must deal with.

Neill as Paul is heartbroken as Lily's decision but also knows it is just that - her decision. As a doctor he knows how to make her plan work and only wants her final days with the family to be filled with love. When Jennifer forces family issues, it is Neill that feels the pinch. Duncan as Liz is Lily's longest friend and cannot imagine her life or death without her. They have a chance to reminisce about their crazy life and it brings them both joy.

Winslet as Jennifer is the daughter who wants to control everything and everyone one. Keeping her husband and son in line is just the beginning and from the moment of their arrival, she wants to take over Lily and sister Anna. For someone who wants control, she seems out of it herself. Wasikowska as Anna has plenty of secrets of her own and built up resentment is kicking in. Wasikowska continues to prove that she is a talented actress but then again, so is everyone in this cast.

Wilson as Michael is pretty much the 'yes' man and Trivial Pursuit person of the crowd and Taylor Klaus wants to help Anna the best way possible and that might mean going against her wishes. Boon as Jonathan learns what the weekend is really all about and takes moments to get to know his grandparents on different levels and shares a secret with Lily.

Screen Media is an international distributor and in 2017 Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, Inc. acquired Screen Media which is in its 23rd year as a leading global independent distribution company. With one of the largest independently-owned libraries of filmed entertainment in the world and license agreements across all forms of media, Screen Media’s distribution capability enables direct distribution of all rights in all countries, thus enhancing the profitability of Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment productions. The company is continually looking to add films and television series to its content library.

The film is a retelling of the 2014 Danish film STILLE HJERTE (Silent Heart) with director Bille August and writer Christian Torpe.

BLACKBIRD is such a stunning story of a family because it does not hold back any punches. Beginning with Lily's decision to call the shots and I whole heartedly believed in her right to choose. Having the backing of Paul and Jennifer made it seem like it was all taken care of. Of course, when you add more people to the mix, you add more emotions, resentments, conflicts and those who think they know better.

That is where the film takes off like a rocket. The mixture becomes the focus instead of Lily's wishes as everyone seems to want to avoid what is going to take place whether they like it or not. The cast is exceptional in their performances touching on personal issues of life and death as well as how kids perceive their parents. Here are three generations that have an opinion on that.

The film takes place in the house with a few outside exceptions and that in itself is like a tinderbox of emotions so buckle up, it’s going to get loud, accusational and a curves in a life that isn't a straight road by any stretch.

In the end - every family has its story!

You are Never Really ALONE

Jeri Jacquin

Coming from director John Hyams and Magnet Releasing is a film of not being able to get away from evil and never really left ALONE.

Jessica (Jules Willcox) is a young woman who wants to start her life over again when her marriage comes to an abrupt end. Packing everything she can fit into her car and a tow, she takes to the road. Driving through some of the most beautiful scenery, going up a mountain she encounters a car that is going excessively slow.

Trying to get around the black SUV brings a close call that has Jessica's heart racing. Pulling into a motel for the night she wakes up ready to get even farther away from her previous life. A knock at her window makes her jump as a man (Marc Menchaca) apologizes for the previous days event. He tries to engage Jessica in conversation, but she excuses herself quickly.

Back on the road, she finds herself on a golden leaf laden, tree lined two lane road. Her nerves are on edge and seeing the black SUV coming up behind her gets 911 on the line. Its one thing after another when the Man in the black SUV does catch up to her.

Waking up in a cellar, the Man makes it clear he is not someone to be trifled with. Jessica makes her move and ends up out in the middle of the forest fighting for her life. When she comes across Robert (Anthony Heald), she gives herself hope to be free.

The Man is not quite done yet!

Willcox as Jessica starts out an emotional wreck and knows she must start over somewhere. It is a bold move to take to the road alone but then again, she does not exactly plan to deal with the Man in the black SUV. What I enjoy about her character is that she would rather take dangerous risks than give the Man any satisfaction whatsoever. There is a scene in the woods during the rain that I was one tense second after another - I love when that happens.

Menchaca as the Man is eerie and deliberate, and I love that too! Watching him play Russ Langmore in one of my all-time favorite series OZARK, this character makes Russ seem like an evil lightweight. In ALONE, his demeanor does not change no matter his mood. That means he is laser focused on what he has planned for Jessica and perhaps the chase is more exciting than he lets on.

A small role for Heald but I was yelling at him the whole time, trust me you will be too!

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

ALONE is the kind of film I love in that it’s a mixture of nail biting, yelling at the screen, calling out things like "I wouldn't have done that!" with your brain yelling "yea, you would have". The fact that it is broken up into four points is like a tease as to what is coming without actually giving anything away. Its having a cliff hanger without actually hanging but yet you are - get it?

Having a minimal cast is always interesting to me because it is up to, in this case, two actors to bring the store meaning, keep our attention and engage us to keep watching. ALONE does all three surrounded by a third character - the forest. All around Jessica and the Man is this lush, green, swaying trees and life giving river full of hiding places and weapons - know that!

ALONE is an awesome way to end the summer and prepare for the Halloween season, whatever form that might take. There are twists, turns and our own frights of the mind to contend with in this film. The possibility of this actually happening is out there so take heed and a few lessons from our heroine!

In the end - what are you running from?
THE NEST

Jeri Jacquin

Coming from writer/director Sean Durkin, IFC Films and the Official Selection at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival is a look at life that is more want than reality when building THE NEST.

Rory (Jude Law) is a commodities broker living in the US with wife Allison (Carrie Coon) and kids Samantha (Oona Roche) and Benjamin (Charlie Shotwell). Feeling his options for making money have dried up, Rory is excited to tell Allison that he wants to move back to England and return to job he once had.

Allison is not happy about it since she runs an equestrian stable and is settled. She agrees to go leaving everything behind except her beloved horse. When they arrive, Rory is thrilled to take the family to their new home which is practically an old castle. He is also excited to show Allison the space where she can have her own stables built.

Getting the kids in school and off to work, Rory starts in immediately getting reacquainted with friend Steve (Adeel Akhtar) and CEO Arthur Davis (Michael Culkin). Throwing his ideas out he is hoping to bring in new clients, make big deals and get money in the bank. The slight problem about Rory is that he tends to want the biggest and the best - at any cost.

Allison is having a difficult time adjusting but finds a little solace in the arrival of her horse. Seeing the stables being built also helps her get into a routine. It does not take long before each member of the family begins to fall apart in their own way. Allison decides its time to be real and not always in the best of ways.

It is time for the façade to end!

Law as Rory was born to play this role. There is something about this actor that you can easily read his face no matter what lines come out of his mouth. He is a man who wants the best of everything and does not care how he gets it. He can spin a lie into the truth with ease and make one think they are crazy which brings us to Allison.

Coon as Allison is a woman who is happy in her marriage knowing that Rory takes care of everything. Once the move happens, she becomes nervous to the point of doing things she normally would not as a way to cope. Her change is brought on by many things to the point where I found myself getting jittery! Well done.

Roche as Samantha is a teen girl who is in a world all her own. She cares very much for Rory but knows that her parents are struggling in a house that is nothing short of depressing for everyone. Shotwell as Benjamin is a young boy who I felt the most for. Caught in the middle of a father who has put them all in their current situation, a mother who is falling apart and a sister who pretty much has checked out of the situation to be a teenager.

Other cast include Tattiawana Jones as Coach, Oona Roche as Samantha, Kaisa Hammarlund as Helena, Tommy Surridge as Paul, Gunnar Cauthery as Jon and Polly Allen as Stella.

IFC Films is a leading distributor of quality talent-driven independent films. Some of the company’s successes include BOYHOOD, FRANCES HA, MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING, Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN, TOUCHING THE VOID, CHE, TINY FURNITURE and CARLOS. For more information on films from IFC please visit www.ifcfilms.com

Writer and director Sean Durkin said of his film, "Growing up between American and England in the 80's and 90's, I experienced a stark difference in atmosphere between the two places that has long stayed with me. I always felt the contrast would provide a haunting tonal shift in a film and this backdrop sparked the conception of THE NEST. Within this setting I wanted to reflect on personal experiences to create an unsettling, naturalistic family drama that explores how a move across the Atlantic uproots the dormant truths that lie beneath this family's dynamic."

THE NEST is a dive into the relationship of this family based on a façade that Rory has created, and Allison has allowed. What happens is that, with all facades, the cracks begin to show, and these two characters do not know how to handle it and the children pay the price. Trust me that there is no way you cannot yell at the screen wanting to help.

The shift between the life they had in the United States and England, although geographically different, is caused by the life the couple created. Starting over does not mean leaving the problems behind, issues do not need a passport! Law and Coon are on it from start to finish until the final shot feels as if they are forced into reality.

In the end - having it all is never enough!

THE ARTIST’S WIFE Brings Sacrifice

Jeri Jacquin

Coming from director Tom Dolby and Strand Releasing is the story of love, creativity, sacrifice when you are THE ARTIST’S WIFE.

Claire (Lena Olin) is the loving wife of the famous artist Richard Smythson (Bruce Dern). She does everything so that he can be, well, him. Taking care of appointments, meetings and making sure the art still flows is an everyday occupation. Lately, Claire notices that Richard is behaving a little moodier and odd than usual and nervous as he has a show coming up. 

After a doctor’s appointment turns their life around, she must now figure out how to deal with the onset of his dementia. The one thing she wants to mend before he forgets is the relationship with his daughter Angela (Juliet Rylance) who he has not spoken to in years. Visiting Juliet, she meets Danny (Avan Jogia) who is grandson Gogo’s (Ravi Cabot-Conyers) Manny. 

The visit does not go well, and Claire returns to find that Richard has had his way with the house. Becoming unsure of herself now, she takes a step and rents a space so that she can return to being the artist she once was before Richards success. Claire even starts a friendship with Angela that is tense but there and she spends time with Gogo.

As much as she tries to avoid what is happening in her life, Claire realizes this is her life and refocuses on what is important – no matter what that entails.

Olin as Claire is practically a saint in this role. She is confused, angry, unsure, peacemaker, and trying to keep her life with Richard together. Stepping away to try and find herself is an intense and quick journey as there is no time for more. Olin gives us the whole gambit of emotion and knows that she must bring more to Richard’s life. I just love Olin so she could not do wrong playing this role.

Dern as Richard gets to be a grumpy, artistic, philandering, uncontrollable artist because Claire allows it. When he is not being any of the above, Dern gives us the deep sense of love for Claire and the years they have shared together. He is calm, thoughtful and loving. The constant flux of these two sides of Richard are quick and rapid fire and Dern does them both justice.

Rylance as Angela has deep daddy issues and is not about to make it easy for Richard, dementia or no. She is the younger version of Claire accept a little more defiant and for good reason. Yet, Claire and Angela find a center with each other and know that its time to put aside the past, even if Richard makes that difficult.

Jorgia as Danny is Gogo’s caretaker and has a dream of his own which gets Claire in trouble. Cabot-Conyers as Gogo has an opinion and shares it all at the right time. He is a patient young man knowing already that grown ups are nuts. 

Shout out to Stefanie Powers in her role as Ada Risi, a legendary artist who wants to see more from Richard with the pressure of a show clearly on Claire’s shoulders.

Other cast include Caryn West as Dr. Abrams, Alexandre Bagot as Mikey, Laura Chaneski as Jordana, Tonya Pinkins as Liza Caldwell, Catherine Curtin as Joyce and Ms. Stefanie Powers as Ada Risi.

Strand Releasing is one of the leading distributors of American independent, documentary films and foreign langue films in the United States. Bringing their offerings to DVD, Bluray and Video-On-Demand as well. Honored with a 10- and 20-year retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, honors have also included at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Seattle International Film Festival, Provincetown Film Festival and Eastman-Kodak House in Rochester, New York.

THE ARTIST’S WIFE has been the Official Selection at the Hamptons International Film Festival, Palm Springs International Film Festival, Mill Valley Film Festival, Whistler Film Festival and Sonoma International Film Festival with a Jury Prize for Best US Independent Feature. 

This is a film about love when you push past everything else. Claire and Richard are both artists that are clearly complicated, but those complications are just noise. Once time has made its own decision on Richard, Claire must get everything into perspective quickly. That is not easy when everyone has their own opinion and reasons for not wanting to be around Richard!

Yet, she pushes. Pushes herself to remember how she is still a creative person, pushes herself to accept what she does not want to about herself and the years of marriage and where they are now. That is a lot of pushing so there is bound to be an emotional explosion somewhere.

I so enjoyed watching the moments between Olin and Dern, they are absolutely magical in their complicated roles. Whether they are arguing or being loving, they are believable and with that comes the viewers round table of emotional experiences. This is a beautifully written, directed and acted story of life

In the end – the greatest art is learning how to love. 

It is the Song of a Generation with I AM WOMAN

Jeri Jacquin

Coming from director Unjoo Moon, Transmission Films, Quiver Distribution and Official Selection of the 2019 Toronto International Fil Festival comes the story of a woman who could have never believed she would become an icon believing that I AM WOMAN.

Helen Reddy (Tilda Cobham-Hervey) is a young, single mother getting off a plane from Australia believing she has a record contract. Immediately Helen discovers that what she had been told was not quite true. Getting a job at a local dive to pay for food and a low rent room, she debates whether it is time to go home.

With another option, Helen finds her cousin Lilian (Danielle Macdonald) for help navigating the new big city. Lilian is a writer and knows that Helen has the talent but it is going to take breaking through barriers. A few months later she meets Jeff Wald (Evan Peters) who believes in her talent and makes grand promises for their future.

Moving to Los Angeles, Jeff makes his way into the music industry helping other acts find places to play and get attention. The one person he seems to have forgotten to help is his wife Helen. Becoming a disgruntled housewife, Helen knows the only way she is going to get her chance is if she creates it and throws down with Jeff.

Finally, Jeff gets a record deal for Helen and she is off like a rocket with fame and performing. Helen has what she has always dreamed of - an audience. Fame has its downside and Jeff is the wax on the slide headed that way. While she is working, Jeff is becoming the stereotypical manager.

Knowing that once again she must do whatever it takes, Helen knows it is time to save her career and have the life where she relies on no one else. Little did she know the impact one song would have on women and the cause of equality!

Cobham-Hervey as Helen starts out as a very naïve and inward songstress never stepping out of place. Knowing there is something more in her life, she just does not know how to break past all the nay-sayers to show what she can do. Cobham-Hervey slides into the role with ease and makes believing we are looking at Helen Reddy easy.

Peters as Wald is a husband who is infatuated with a songstress wife and the potential that could mean. Once he gets what he wants, it is easy to forget who is responsible for that. Even worse, he becomes the stereotypical music manager doing everything in excess - including the treatment of his own wife. Peters made it look way to easy!

Macdonald as Lilian believed in Helen from the beginning and was her touchstone. Once Helen became larger than life, she did what Wald did - move on without her. There is a moment of hurt that needed to play out and Macdonald does it with grace.

Other cast include Matty Cardarople as Roy Meyer, Jordan Raskopoulos as George Sylvia, Gus Murray as Paul Rankine, Molly Broadstock as Traci, Rita Ahuja as Maree, Dusty Sorg as Dany and Michael Taylor as David Dinkins.

Quiver Distribution helps filmmakers distribute to worldwide audiences on platforms such as iTunes, Google Play and Netflix. Premier works with every major studio and 100’s of independent distributors providing solutions and servicing their content in 100’s of digital retailers and broadcasters across the globe. For more information on Quiver Distribution please visit www.quiverdigital.com.

I AM WOMAN is the story of Helen Reddy that perhaps many people do not know, certainly I did not. I grew up with her music from the 70s and 80s and it made an impression for reasons I did not understand until years later. It was a case of singing the words and not really paying attention to what they meant.

The story is the good and bad mixed in with the times of woman not being able to break through in the music industry. Finding every excuse in the book to send Helen on her way, it was persistence that finally brought her to the top. The ride was not easy and should have been once she got to the top but again, her own husband had other plans.

If you are a Reddy fan, then I AM WOMAN is a must-see. The music is there, and the costuming was a nice way to bring back memories of that time in music and of the times in general. Reddy did not realize what impact her song I Am Woman would have until she saw it for herself, what an experience that must have been.

In the end - her song inspired a revolution!

WORDS ON BATHROOM WALLS

Jeri Jacquin

Coming from director Thor Freudenthal based on the novel from Julia Walton and Roadside Attractions, comes a film about the power of the mind with WORDS ON BATHROOM WALLS.

Adam (Charlie Plummer) is a young teen who is having a little bit of difficulty. Knowing that there is something not quite right, he tries to make his world work. When he and Mom Beth (Molly Parker) are faced with changes, he discovers that he is a budding chef! The excitement is short lived when the boyfriend Paul (Walton Coggins) arrives.

If that is not enough, all in one moment of unexpected event, Adam is diagnosed with schizophrenia and leaves school. Mom is trying to help and with a baby on the way even Paul tries to show Adam that things can work out, but he is not having it. Fighting against it are the three voices in his head of the extremely sweet and supportive Rebecca (AnnaSophia Robb), the laid-back Joaquin (Drew Scheid) and the bat bad boy The Bodyguard (Lobo Sebastian).

With a chance to go to a new school, Adam must agree to take medications and work hard. A Catholic school and Head Mistress (Beth Grant) have agreed to work with Adam and he sees it as a new beginning. Not long after starting classes, he meets Maya (Taylor Russell), a strong, opinionated and unafraid valedictorian who does things her own unique way. Adam is intrigued and dedicates himself to taking his medication and taking stress off the family.

But something is happening with the medication that sets Adam on a fearful path as he even turns to Father Patrick (Andy Garcia) for guidance and banter. As things get more and more difficult, Adam cannot control the chaos in his head or in front of him as the life he dreamed of is slowly slipping away.

Plummer as Adam just made my jaw drop, what an absolute stunning performance. Listening to his tale of the illness and what his life was like as Adam is just the beginning of this remarkable role. This young actor shows Adam as a young man searching for a life that is meaningful and, in the process, gives us endearment of a character who is clearly self-aware, articulate and moving. I could not tear myself away from his performance.

Parker as Mom Beth is dealing with the breakup of the family and trying to find a happy medium between the life she is created with Adam and bringing in boyfriend Paul. Struggling with Adam's diagnosis, she does what any mother would do - look for answers and a chance for her son. Parker gives her character the all-in feel, and I'm sure in the real world the "all in" might be overwhelming.

Coggins as Paul is dedicated to a life with Beth and is seen as the outsider as far as Adam is concerned. That is difficult enough but adding Adams mental state into the mix and there is mounting tensions. Coggins is patient but also protective of Beth, as would be expected. I have always been a Coggins fan because he is so diverse in the roles he chooses, and this particular part is all him.

Russell as Maya is a smart and fearless young woman who knows what she wants for her life. Adam is immediately taken with her because of those qualities and he soon discovers that we all wear our armor differently. Russell gives her role spunk and vulnerability and it is well done.

Robb as Rebecca is the perfect hippie cheerleader who is dedicated to Adam, even if she is only in his mind. Scheid as Joaquin is every bit a teenager in his attitude and his attire and he cracked me up a lot. Now, Sebastian is the strong bat toting type and if looks could kill he would not need the bat! All three of these actors had their own part to play within the part and it is stellar to watch.

Can we talk about Andy Garcia as Father Patrick? Just a mixture of hilarity, wit and religious tolerance one would have to have at a Catholic school to my way of thinking. Garcia gives his character a funny bone that I enjoyed and when it all comes out, he is the first to rally to Adam's side. Not a big role but one that stood out for me.

Other cast include Drew Scheid as Ted, Evan Whitten as Ricky, Aaron Dominguez as Todd and Jared Bankens as Darkness.

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

This film rested on the shoulders of a very young Charlie Plummer. The subject matter of the film is very difficult so finding the right person to play the role was crucial. Producer Mickey Liddell said of casting Plummer, "I don't think I would have wanted to make this film if we didn't find the perfect Adam. There are so many levels and so many colors in these characters. I did not know what actor of that age could play him. We needed someone who could play the schizophrenia, the levity and the family dynamics as well as the romance and the banter."

Plummer wrapped up all of those qualities into the character of Adam which, and I'll keep saying it, had me from start to finish. He is stunning to watch as the story unfolds, becomes complicated as the dynamics shift and to see Adam's journey come full circle into a reality everyone could embrace.

THE WORDS ON BATHROOM WALLS dives right into the issue of teen mental illness and does not harshly sugar coat the story line with ridiculousness. Instead, it reaches out and invites the viewer into a world that does not get seen or talked about much. The film takes its time to explore it in conjunction with family dynamics, outside relationships and the stigma that follows.

Author Julia Walton wrote WORDS ON BATHROOM WALLS after graduating college. Her next novel JUST OUR LUCK is the story of a Greek American boy dealing with anxiety and masculine norms all while struggling with an old family curse.

This film is one of the finest I have seen so far this year with an ensemble cast that creates a story that is wonderfully told. Adding in cinematography and a wonderful score and this film is charming, endearing and an emotional learning experience like no other.

In the end - if you cannot trust your mind then trust your heart!


I MET A GIRL is an Emotional Rollercoaster

Jeri Jacquin

Coming from Gravitas Ventures and director Luke Eve is the story of love, reality and what can change a life in I MET A GIRL.

Devon (Brenton Thwaites) loves music and brother Nick (Joel Jackson) and trusts that he will be there always. That is sometimes difficult for Nick as Devon has schizophrenia and relies heavily on Nick to get through his days and remind him to take his medication. Nick marries the lovely Olivia (Zahra Newman) and they are soon expecting a baby.

When Devon has an episode, he meets Lucy (Lily Sullivan) and in one night finds himself completely in love. Thrilled to share with Nick the news, the arrange a dinner but Lucy doesn't arrive leaving his brother to wonder - is there really a Lucy?

Trying and trying to make Nick believe him turns into a disaster that Devon now knows has only one remedy. In hand is her note 'meet me in Sydney', that is exactly what he does. Take it upon himself to find any means necessary to find the woman who has shown him the healing power of love.

More importantly, Devon must discover for himself what it takes to be stronger in mind and heart.

Thwaites as Devon takes us on a roller coaster ride of emotions, feelings, fears, heart and a gentleness that serves him well. This is a difficult role to play as Thwaites takes on a combination of what is real and what lives in Devon's mind. With the good and the frightening fighting for his attention, waiting for Devon to find himself and accept life his own terms takes patience of our own.

Jackson as Nick is a brother who has found that a lot of his life is centered around Devon. From causing problems with his job and leaving little time for his new bride, the pressure becomes something of a guilt when there is no other choice than to place him in a facility. When Nick finally tells Devon what his life has been like, it is a moment that breaks the heart.

Sullivan as Lucy is the object of Devon's affection and he will stop at nothing to find her. She is sweet, funny and clever and it is easy to see why Devon cannot stop until he finds her once again. Newman as Olivia tries too hard to be understanding, and even when pregnant still tries to be but she also has to consider her own family that is coming together.

Other cast include: Anita Hegh as Patricia, Liam Graham as Fergus, the frightening Anni Finsterer as Miss Needles and Peter Rowsthorn as Mr. Rocket.

Gravitas Ventures searches for thought-provoking features and documentaries and stays in the forefront providing exceptional film product to audiences worldwide. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.gravitasventures.com.

I MET A GIRL is definetly a story of love but there are so many layers to this film you definetly cannot turn away for a moment. Thwaites do not give the viewer one moment of rest because Devon does not get one moment of rest. He is fighting the world he has come to know and the two most powerful visions that will not let him go.

The casting of Thwaites is well one done as he brings so much to the character of Devon. His performance brings us to care for the story, the journey and the hope that something will change in his life for the better. That is a powerful message to bring to audiences.

In the end - what if the woman of your dreams was all in your head?

Blessing Comes to FATIMA

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres and at home On-Demand from director Marco Pontecorvo and Picturehouse is the story of three children holding their belief in FATIMA.

Professor Nichols (Harvey Keitel) arrives at the convent to meet Sister Lucia dos Santos (Sonia Braga), a woman with a story to tell. It is an incident that happened, and Nichols is skeptical.

In a small town of Fatima in Portugal, it is 1917 and World War I is having an effect on the parents of soldiers. Mayor Artur (Goran Visnijic) spends some mornings reading off the names in the town square of those who will not be coming home.

The Santos family is also waiting to hear what has happened to their eldest son. Young shepherds Lucia (Stephanie Gil) and cousins Francisco (Jorge Lamelas) and Jacinta (Alejandra Howard) find comfort in the time they spend together in the mountains. One day while together, the three children see a lovely woman who speaks to them. Lucia and Jacinta are captivated but Francisco is unable to hear her but can see her.

Going home, it is not long before Lucia's parents are upset to learn from Francisco what happened on the mountain. Believing that they are making it up, Lucia tells them that the Blessed Virgin wants everyone to pray to bring peace to a suffering world. Mother is not the only one that is upset as the Mayor, secular government and the Catholic Church.

Again, and again the children are put in situations to scare them into recanting their story. Especially when people begin to show up in droves to the town of Fatima wanting to see the children and hope for a miracle. The children are told to return again and again as Lucia sees more and more of what the future holds.

Until the Miracle of the Sun!

Braga as Sister Lucia has a sense of humor but does not seem to suffer fools. She is very straight forward with the story of what happened as a child and Braga gives her character an endearing sense of peace. Keitel as Nichols comes in ready to tear Sister Lucia apart because of his own lack of believing what he cannot see. The thing about Keitel is that he does not back down with any role he plays and trust he isn't going to do it with this one either! Well done to both actors.

Gil as Lucia is a young girl who knows that what she has seen is not going to be believed yet holds fast to what the lady on the mountain tells her. She believes and nothing is going to change that, even the chance to have the chaos stop. Gil brings a young girls’ insecurities and sadness in this bold performance. Howard as Jacinta has a destiny but that doesn't deter her from holding onto the beauty she experiences with cousin Luisa.

Visnjic as Artur is a Mayor who wants to keep his job more than believing the three children of his town. He is not the first leader to care more about his title than the people he represents. Lamelas as Francisco is a young boy who trust cousins Lucia and Jacinta and even if he can't hear, he trusts and opens his heart to what is possible.

Almeida as Father Ferreira takes his time but slowly begins to understand what is actually happening in Fatima and does what he can for the children. Ribeiro as Mary gives the ethereal performance providing the children with knowledge that is powerful and sad at the same time.

Other cast includes Joaquim de Almeida as Father Ferreira, Joao Arrais as Manuel Santos, Lucia Moniz as Maria Rosa, Marco d'Almeida as Antonio and Joana Ribeiro as the Virgin Mary.

PICTUREHOUSE, founded in 2005, has released films including Nimrod Antal's METALLICA Through the Never, Adam Wingard's THE GUEST starring Dan Steven, Robert Altman's A PRAIRE HOME COMPANION and one of my personal favorites Guillermo del Toro's PAN'S LABYRINTH. FATIMA is their latest release and for more of what they have to offer please visit www.picturehouse.com.

Director Pontecorvo has worked on such films as THE HOUSE IN UMBRIA, THE LAST LEGION and LETTERS TO JULIET. Also works on some of my favorite shows including the 2005 series ROME and, of course GAME OF THRONES.

Growing up I was, and still am, a fan of black and white films. My first introduction was the 1943 film SONG OF BERNADETTE which I still watch to this day. Jennifer Jones is Bernadette, a lovely young girl who sees a woman with roses on her feet setting the town Lourdes town in 1858 on edge. She was constantly harassed as many attempted to make her out as a liar or crazy. She would prove them all wrong.

Here we are in 2020 and another such film as SONG OF BERNADETTE brings hope, love and the strength of believe in the 1917 story of FATIMA. Now, three young children are in the middle of war when they also see a beautiful lady who speaks to them and shares with Lucia what the future holds. Once again, they are pit up against those who would rather trod over the children rather than believe in something greater than themselves.

That is a marvelous thing in these times, a story that reminds us all of what brightness can shine out of the darkness. The story isn't a spectacle - yet it absolutely is because of the simplicity of the story Sister Lucia tells Professor Nichols. She does not waiver, she smiles when put to task and has a sense of humor that made me chuckle. That is a Sister I want to be around!

The children are so lovely in their portrayal as Lucia, Fernando and Jacinta because they gave their characters realism, an endearing child innocence and a strength that gave their performance believability. That is what makes FATIMA worth every moment of watching.

In the end - people need hope and they received a miracle!

DESERT ONE Gives a Sharp Look at History

Jeri Jacquin

Coming from two-time Academy Award winning director Barbara Kopple and Greenwich Entertainment comes a moment in history that we all can learn from with DESERT ONE.

It has been forty years since fifty-two American citizens were taken hostage in Iran during their revolution in Tehran. Then President Jimmy Carter wanted to find a way to get the Americans home without creating more hardships on the hostages.

The events happened because of the leader Ayatollah Khomeini gathered followers to have the Shah removed and a new government came into power in 1979. The Iranian people seemed joyful that he was gone. The crowds celebrating brought about verbal hostility towards America and then effigy's hostility. People at the embassy had the clear feeling that something bad was going to happen.

It did not take long before thousands of people were at the gates of the embassy as the gates were locked. That did not stop the protestors as they began tearing away doors and the building was put on shutdown. That did not stop them either as everyone inside was told to back away and stay cool. Everyone in the embassy was taken hostage not knowing what would happen to them. Split up between the embassy and Foreign Ministry building, every square inch was occupied.

As the days progressed, it became clear that President Carter needed plans draw up to rescue the hostages. Wanting diplomacy, it became clear that the military would have to find a way to extract the hostages. A plan is drawn up and the Pentagon begins to bring the best soldiers they have for the mission. Even the wives knew that the phone calls were a sign that something was happening.

Citizens were in an uproar feeling that the government was not doing enough to get the hostages back, but President Carter was making sure the hostages did not get hurt. That was his primary focus. In December 1979, President Carter makes it clear that he will do nothing that will cause any harm to the hostages, but many believed that ‘doing nothing’ made Americans look weak.

In Tehran, the hostage takers were treating the hostages in a certain way and the Ayatollah came to meet with the hostages. The meeting is covered, and both sides have their say in the situation. At the Pentagon, the rescue plans were being presented to President Carter. Using C130s and helicopters, they would land at a spot called Desert One and go to Tehran, get the hostages and fly out.

The Delta Force Commander Col. Charles Beckwith said, "it was a very difficult plan but not an impossible plan". With their operatives also inside the embassy, the information they needed came from the most unlikely of places. The Delta Force was watching every bit of footage they could get to get intel for their mission.

Another year came and in March of 1980, the hostages were handcuffed and blindfolded going through the unimaginable. All of this brought a hopelessness to the hostages not knowing yellow ribbons were on trees. A presidential election was underway, and Ronald Regan had a lot to say and the Ayatollah refused to deal with Carter and nothing was working. Finally, the President agreed to the mission.

The White House is in constant communication with the Delta Force, on April 24, 1980, as helicopters and men make their way off the USS Nimitz. Almost immediately one transport was out and there was total radio silence. Getting ready the one thing they did not expect is a bus load of people. The helicopters head towards their goal when a dust storm makes it impossible to fly.

A minimal use of force was ordered but a series of events make that hard to accomplish. Now the risks are getting harsh but still a go order to save the hostages but there are more problems with the choppers. The Operations Schedule had the orders of what to do in certain situations and they are getting close to aborting leaving the decision to President Carter.

Planes began to leave, and soldiers were disappointed that the mission was not going forward. The weather wasn't optimal, and it was getting light as one of the helicopters took off but the pilot made a grave error. Soldiers were trying to get away as the hopeful mission had turned. Informing President Carter, the soldiers had to get out before the sun came up and more trouble came.

Sadly, those missing could not be recovered were left behind, as those that could fly out, did. News spread quickly in Iran about the failed mission. At Desert One, people arrived at the site to the destruction. President Carter gave the grave news to the people of the United States about the operation. Public criticism came about, and candidate Regan had an opinion of his own.

Days later the hostage learns what has happened and the remains of those who passed were made public by the people of Iran. With the death of the Shah, it made things more tenuous and the American elections kept moving forward as Iraq and Iran start their own war. Once Carter lost to Regan, he still wanted to bring the hostages home.

In January of 1981, Carter finally secured the release of the hostages with money. Loading up to go home, and on inaugural day, the hostages were on their way home after 444 days in captivity. President Carter went to meet and speak with them and the parades began as they are welcomed home.

They were free, they were home, and this is that story.

DESERT ONE is a serious history lesson for anyone who thinks they know something about the Iranian hostage crisis. I remember (and I am in my 60s), the craziness of that time as each evening on the news was story after story of the hostages. Until that fateful night in 1980 and the news went full force with the accident and what it could possibly mean for the hostages.

I remember the election; I remember the yellow ribbons and I remember the sadness military families felt for the losses. What I did not know was the story behind the military action and what actually caused the mission to fail.

That is what makes this documentary so interesting. Director Koppel takes us through everything step by step and allows us to hear from the hostages, the hostage takers, those in government and the one man who held himself accountable - President Jimmy Carter.

Greenwich Entertainment specializes in distinctive, theatrical-quality narrative and documentary features. Greenwich had a record setting theatrical release with the Academy Award winning documentary FREE SOLO, ECHO IN THE CANYON, LINDA RONSTADT; The Sound of my Voice and THE BOOKSHOP. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.greenwichentertainment.com

Interviews include President Jimmy Carter, Vice President Walter Mondale, Ted Koppel, former hostages, journalists and even Iranian students who took part in capturing the American Embassy. There are interviews from those who were just passing by in a bus and telephone recordings of President Carter.

"This was a roller coaster ride of a story well worth telling," said filmmaker Barbara Kopple. "It is a film about U.S. leadership and gumption, our leaders taking responsibility - even when things go wrong - and courage in the face of adversity. And, of course to address our relations with Iran - and hearing their side of the story can make us reflect. This is a story that few remember or even know, and it might inspire us now."

DESERT ONE is an intense look at a time in our nation's history where the tensions with Iran came to a boiling point. The anger and hostility pointed in the U.S.'s direction brought about a chain of events that still reverberate today. American's do not forget easily when something this significant has been done to our own and DESERT ONE is a reminder of why that is.

This is a well-done piece of filmmaking and should be required viewing and a teaching tool of our history.

In the end – an intense moment in our history!

The Heartbreaking Story of REBUILDING PARADISE

Jeri Jacquin


Coming from National Geographic Documentary Films, Imagine Documentaries and director Ron Howard bring the documentary telling the devastating story of REBUILDING PARADISE.

It is November 8th, 2018 and another bustling day in the small town of Paradise, California. Red flag warnings are announced through the media of high winds and warm temperatures. Later, that very afternoon in the Feather River Canyon, a fire starts. Within hours people begin to notice something strange all around them.

The winds knock down power lines and the call goes out when a fire is sparked. It is fast, it is furious, and evacuations are being called for immediately. The town's response teams, fire fighters, police, the hospital - everyone evacuated as the skies became redder and redder filled with smoke.

Surrounding the small town of Paradise is an inferno the likes of which no one can remember ever seeing. In the morning, the skies were still as black as night. Families fleeing through streets in their cars with windows so hot they could not be touched. It is not until people see daylight and the sky can they believe that they have survived the nightmare.

After the fire is the reality that Paradise is no more.

Returning to survey the town, there is nothing but sadness, destruction and disbelief. Woody Culleton, the former mayor, drives down the streets to discover what is left and surprises as to what he finds. Smoke still rising from what is burned out and black. Officer Matt Gates loves this town and raised a family there. Telling the stories of what they experience the night before and the emotional toll.

Below the town, residents of Paradise must navigate finding a pace to sleep, eating and meeting with FEMA. The reality slowly sinks in that the life they have always known no longer exists. Having to leave everything behind, families are left with more questions than answers.

A month later, the residence of Paradise are allowed to go in and search through the rubble of their homes to find something - anything of their life. Visiting where the schools once were, the damage is extensive, and the memories are strong.

The Paradise Fire Department talk about how the ground has usually gotten some rain, but this November was different. The ground was dry, and the firemen agree that a fire such as this was going to happen. Lasting longer and being more extreme were part of the five-year drought and the belief they are on the front lines of climate change.

PG&E had an electrical transmission wire that was causing sparks and the fire followed. The citizens want the company to know what they have lost and how their lives have left them feeling shattered. Generations of families have lost their homes and there is a feeling that no one is listening.

James Gallagher, State Assemblyman feels that there will be people of Paradise who will not stay. Almost immediately the school district finds answers to get the kids into class. Mall space and other schools for classrooms they could use. For the kids it is sad that they cannot return to the rooms they loved but are rolling with the changes.

Officer Gates and his family try to bring Christmas to Paradise bringing the citizens together to share some holiday spirit. Three months later, FEMA delivers bad news and the citizens take on the town council. Bull dozers move in and the sound of chainsaws and log haulers move in. The red tape is extensive, and the meetings are a struggle and to add insult to injury - looters.

Enter the famous Erin Brokovich, and she tells the citizens it is time to hold PG&E responsible for the fire. Other attorneys are representing those who cannot fathom how the company does not take responsibility for the fire, the deaths and the after effect on the citizens.

Conservationists come in to help the town find answers regarding vegetation. The land management is responsible for what is in the forests instead of what was there before. Loggers did not replant and the forest structure changed. These changes explain how the fire sped through Paradise so quickly.

When PG&E comes to the town and faces the music, the townspeople want to know how they are going to be responsible and what financial assistance they are going to provide instead of worrying about their bottom line.

Now, drinking the water has an issue because of all the chemicals and going from the most drinkable water in the state to the most dangerous. The water contains Benzine which means showering or even having babies isn't recommended. It could be years before that become manageable.

Neighbors get together to talk because that is the only way to handle what is going on around them. Relying on one another for support is what keeps them pushing forward, no matter how tired they may be, they want to stand together.

Six months later, the destruction is still everywhere but a few people have found their way - home. One-person, Woody Culleton finally has a permit to rebuild, the school gets to have their celebration and it feels as if there are bits of 'normal' in this small town.

Nine months later, a controlled burn in Paradise has the neighbors nervous but those who know this needs to be done are aware of what needs to be done. So, life goes on, high school is back in session, houses are being built and family dynamics changing and not always the way they should.

One year later, PG&E has a settlement agreement with the wildfire victims but that does not mean their troubles will be over. People coming back is difficult, some cannot bring themselves to come back. But some know where their heart needs to be.

National Geographic Documentary Films are committed to bringing the world premium documentaries that cover timely, provocative and globally relevant stories from the very best documentary filmmakers in the world. Furthering knowledge and understanding of our world has been the core purpose of National Geographic for over 130 years, and today we are committed to going deeper, going further, and continuing to push boundaries through the beauty and power of documentary filmmaking. For more please visit www.films.nationalgeographic.com 

With an instinct for what stories matter, Ron Howard and Brian Glaser have created films, television shows and documentaries that go to the core material of lives and shaping storytelling to make a personal and emotional connection. For more please visit www.imagine-entertainment.com. 

Watch the firefighters, police and emergency responders through the clips taken by the citizens of Paradise escaping is absolutely stunning in the fact that to see it is one thing, and it made me jittery, but knowing people survived all of it is nothing short of a miracle. The documentary follows Paradise from that moment until a year later and it shows the grit of this town.

My son-in-law is a wildlands firefighter, and this is as close as I ever want to be to knowing what it is that he and his fellow fighters experience. Trying to save everything around them is compelling and thanking them doesn’t seem quite enough.

This documentary will shock, jaw drop, cause uncontrollable tears, frustration, aggravation, knowledge but most of all - hope that in the midst of what they experienced, they still believe that they'd rather live in Paradise.

In the end - just like that horrible day, they will all find the light!

A Must-See Documentary with #UNFIT: 
The Psychology of Donald Trump

Jeri Jacquin

Open on Limited Virtual Cinema release and coming to all digital TVOD and Cable TVOD Platforms from director Dan Partland is the documentary #UNFIT: The Psychology of Donald Trump.

This week began the Republican National Convention and I felt compelled to watch this documentary before diving down to see how far the rabbit hole goes. Understand that this is just my opinion, but the last few years have been like a bad dream I just cannot wake up from. Now, with the pandemic, it is just a slap in the face of a nightmare feeling like we are never going to wake up. 

To be out front, I am not a member of any political party. I support who I want to support based on who they are and their ability to help people for which they were elected to do. I have known since Trump was running for office that being elected would only bring disaster. I wish I had a dime for every time I said it because I would be richer than Trump was before becoming President. 

So, diving into the documentary imagine my surprise that there is not a sweet and lulling introduction but BAM-in-your-face-here-it-is-buckle-up-buttercup ride into madness created by Trump. Asking the question ‘is Donald Trump fit to hold the office of President of the United States?’, #UNFIT takes us into the psyche, condition and stability of Trump. 

Director/producer Partland says of the documentary, “There are those who will say that the film is partisan and preaching to the converted. It is not partisan. All of the partisans interviewed have sterling conservative credentials and have set aside their commitment to party and ideology to speak out for the ideals of democracy and the rule of law. But the firm is surely preaching. It’s preaching to anyone who will listen. Sadly, that may be the very few that aren’t already Trump critics, but regardless, the goal of the film is also to provide language and a framework for lay people to benefit from the decades of science and research that studied these behaviors.” 

From day one, Trump wanted to make sure the world knew how big and impressive he is no matter that evidence proves otherwise. Beginning with how many people were at his inauguration, Sean Spicer would be the first to spit out lies. Followed by Kelly Ann Conway, former campaign manager for Trump, who called it “alternative facts” and continues until recently. 

Her husband George Conway is a Republic and co-founder of the Lincoln Project. Hopeful that Trump would be the president he wanted; it quickly became clear that there was nothing to stop him from misusing his newly elected power. The question quickly comes to Conway that something could be wrong with Donald Trump and, in a sense, it became personal.

Dr. John Gartner, Princeton University, John Hopkins University, author of The Hypomanic Edge and Founder of Duty to Warn. Gartner believes that Donald Trump is unfit to hold office, but he is not the only one. Lance Dodes, M.D., Psychiatrist and Psychoanalyst, looking at compulsive and addictive behavior. Also, Justin Frank, Harvard University, former Professor at George Washington University and author of Trump on the Couch who also says no believing he is a psychopath among other titles. Of course, in saying so, Fox News had a field day going after what these doctors believe.

Using the Goldwater Rule, in 1964 Barry Goldwater went to court fighting what the psychiatrist said and won. Freudian techniques and a long list were not used well then and was more of speculations than fact. Trying to use it to suppress speech now from those who actually know, it quickly brings these doctors into focus because they have more facts now than they did in 1964.

Bringing all the lies Trump tells in this documentary is rightfully scary bringing the label of malignant narcissist. He personally attacks people when things do not go his way and has no guilt or anxiety about what he does. Dr. Gartner believes that he falls into the same category that George Conway believes and the four categories are narcissism, paranoia, anti-social personality disorder and sadism. 

Also, in this conversation are those who have allowed Donald Trump to continue on his path of destruction. I think they should be held just as accountable so its nice to hear through this piece that I am not alone. Trump takes the stage when ever possible to tout his own accomplishments but the problem with that is that there are facts that prove otherwise. 

The doctors begin to take apart piece by piece what Trump has been doing all his life and what he continues to do to our nation. Anthony Scaramucci speaks about his time as Communication Director and says Trump is a reflection of the anger of the country and uses that to his advantage. “He is a reflection of our politically correct society”. Meeting him in his younger days, it became clear that Trump was a womanizer in so many ways and never changed. 

In his early years on the Charlie Rose show, he openly admitted that he does not mind ‘wiping the floor’ with people and if they are not loyal you pay the price for that. Who would know that that very thing would come into play in the years up to James Comey. There are issues of cheating, lying, stealing and continues to happen but now in a more powerful position (most recently with the Hatch Act being decimated).

Malcolm Nance is retired US Navy and author of Defending ISIS who believes in the core values of honor, courage and commitment and service above self. He knows that these are important in leadership. Trump making attacks on social media does not show signs of a good leader, instead they show a man who throws fits and doesn’t know how the government should work. He does not put the country first but instead worries about himself.

An example was Charlottesville and standing up for “very fine people” who were upset about the removal of the statue of Robert E. Lee. Bring in Steve Bannon who thinks he knows the history of racism and was with Trump’s inner circle. An example the documentary uses is that of Mussolini and his attack of the press which seems oddly familiar. Cheryl Koos is a Professor of History and she shares Hitler’s rise to power and using another race for everyone’s problems. Trump does so with immigrants yet claims he is #1 with the Hispanic community. Twisting it to fit his own narrative and say it enough time to make it his reality.

Trumps ‘friendships’ with Bolsonaro of Brazil, Erdogan of Turkey, El Si-Si in Egypt, Haftar in Libya, Duterte of the Philippines, Putin of Russia, are considered the rise of charismatic leaders who spread false narratives to scare people. These leaders scream loud enough forcing people to listen to the attacks made toward who ever is in their way and they are believed. 

The ‘football’ that authenticates nuclear codes is always carried with Trump. Believing the military would have to follow the orders of the President, that is a strong fear. Threatening other countries is something he enjoys doing so the stakes are high that he has that ability and showing it by withdrawing from the INF treaty and three other nuclear disarmament treaties.

Boasting the American Dream is dead, Trump told people during the 2016 elections toting that he would ‘Make America Great Again’ brings in the psychological hook that helped him win the election. If that was not enough, he brought in non-existent problems to add more fear to the heap Americans were already subjected too. Doing so is the ‘us vs. them’ mentality. 

Now, the pandemic. COVID-19 shows even more that Trump refuses to rely on experts to tell him what could be done to help Americans. Instead, he hides behind the ‘we have this under control’ and Americans are dying. Telling the press that ‘we are doing great’ is another untruth when you see how many people are dying as he keeps saying ‘we need to go back to work and school’. As a grandmother I am horrified that the man calling himself a president would think sacrificing children is okay because Covid-19 eventually “it will just disappear”.

Conway says, “It’s about him, it’s not about the country. He is detached from reality, he is demented” and there is enough evidence to show that is true. He attacks the press on a daily basis because they call him out about what is really true versus what he wants us to believe. That is where we are now, waiting for November 3, 2020 to see if this will continue down a path of uncertainty and fear or will our country, our democracy and our faith in one another come through so we can heal.

I do not know about the rest of you, but I am tired, so very tired. Tired of making masks, tired of not being able to sleep, tired of watching my 5-year-old granddaughter become socially awkward, tired of not seeing my almost 2 year old grandson, tired of not seeing people face to face who truly need uplifting and tired of wondering what madness our government will inflict upon its citizens next. Yes, actually I’m exhausted.

I am not saying I do nothing because that would be giving into the disaster we are in. No, we must find a way to help as much as possible. I do not care if it is giving a homeless person a happy meal to get through the day, we all are responsible to help those who are affected and are falling fast and trust me when I say I know so many and it breaks my heart. We can not rely on a president who cares more for his speeding golf cart than he does the American people. 

Partland brings it full force with “mental health professionals speaking on the record in this film are doing so knowing that their comments are at odds with their professional association, but they are commenting nonetheless out of an equally important ethical rule of the APA of the mental health professional’s ‘duty to warn’ the public when they see imminent danger.

That is what we are in, each of us, imminent danger. That is why we do not sleep at night, that is why we are conflicted and find making the simplest life situations difficult. That is why watching this documentary and really digesting it will help. I feel like I have been supported in my own beliefs from total strangers. I also know that his documentary is going to outrage Trump (and in some ways that makes me smile, sorry) and his followers (not sorry). 

The recent Republican National Convention should have convinced the world that malignant narcissism is also contagious with the vile lies that covered the nation for four days. Again, I am of no party but I know filth when I hear it because my mama didn’t raise a fool.

Remember ‘evil thrives while good men do nothing’.

Thanks Mr. Partland for making me feel sane again!

The Chaos of A WHITE, WHITE DAY

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to DVD from writer/director Hlynur Palmason and Film Movement comes a story of sadness that turns on A WHITE, WHITE DAY.

Ingimundur (Ingvar Sigurdsson) is a policeman struggling with the years. After his wife dies in a car accident, he has become reclusive and has shut down his emotions. Seeing the psychiatrist Georg (Por Tulinius) feels like an effort in futility.

The one person he seems to connect with his granddaughter Salka (Ida Mekkin Hlysdottir) who seems to accept her grandfather as he is. She visits while Ingimundur works on his house doing repairs and rennovations. Having a bit of a housewarming, a box of his wife's belongings is left behind from a friend.

In a moment alone, Ingimundur opens the box and his life takes another turn. Finding a video of his wife, he also sees a man named Olgeir (Hilmir Snaer Guonason). His emotions already tangled, Ingimundur take a dangerous road to solving a mystery. He becomes so obsessed that he puts his job and loved ones in jeopardy, all to seek answers he thinks will tame whatever lives inside him.

His decisions will either give his life meaning or tear everyone apart!

Sigurdsson as Ingimundur is powerful as a man who keeps his emotions strongly out of reach of others. There is an intense barrier between himself and everybody else and although he has a relationship with Salka and it is close - there is still a small wall between them. The pain he carries has become another layer of skin and the video is a sharp knife slashing open any protection Ingimundur thought he had. That's what Sigurdsson has done with this character and it is remarkable.

Hlynsdottir as Salka is not only adorable but what an actress! She is clearly had a grasp of the character and the scene where grandpa kind of loses it is stunning, the look on that young girls face was not only believable but crushed me as a grandmother. She knows there is something her grandfather is hiding but isn't ready for the reality of the adults

Hilmir Snaer Guonason as Olgeir has a part to play in Ingimundur's life whether he likes it or not. You can not intrude on a person's life and not expect consequences. Alma Stefania Agustsdottir as Elin is the daughter who is trying to keep her own family together. Haraldur Stefansson as Stefan is the son-in-law who also sees the ravages of what is happening to him.

Sigurour Sifurjonsson as Bjossi, friend and officer who treads carefully around Ingimundur's and sees that his emotions are putting his job and life in jeopardy. Shout out to Arnmundur Ernst Bjornsson as Hrafn, a fellow officer who is like a sharp pebble in Ingimundur's shoe.

Film Movement, founded in 2002, is an award-winning independent and foreign film company that has released more than 250 feature films and shorts. Theatrical releases include American independent films, documentaries, and foreign arthouse titles catalog such directors as Hirokazu Kore-eda, Maren Ade, Jessica Hausner and Ciro Guerra and Melanie Laurent. Bluray and DVD films bring such directors as Eric Rohmer, Bolle August, King Hu, Sergio Corbucci and Luchino Visconti and many more. To discover what Film Movement is all about and find out more about what they have to offer please visit www.filmmovementplus.com.

The DVD includes the Bonus Short Film SEVEN BOATS directed by Hlynur Palmason is the story while in a desperate fight for his life, a man stranded alone on the sea surrounded by seven boats.

A WHITE, WHITE DAY is a powerful story of grief and how it can turn to something else when everything you believed about the one you love could be wrong? This amazing cast held together by Sigurdsson and Hlynsdottir allows writer/director Palmason to pain on a large canvass of emotion and beauty.

The film is 109 minutes and subtitled from Swedish and that bit of information is information only. What I mean is that it does not affect the emotion the film brings out nor does 'reading' the film stop from embracing the story.

In the gray dismal winter and fog of this Swedish town begs for happiness and it can only come for Ingimundur when he accepts, let’s go and embraces those who truly love him.

In the end - how far will grief take a person?


They Never Should Have Gone to THE RENTAL

Jeri Jacquin

Coming this Friday to select drive-ins, theatres and OnDemand from writer/director Dave Franco and IFC Films is a thriller of getting away to THE RENTAL.

Needing to get out of town, Charlie (Dan Stevens), wife Michelle (Alison Brie), Lyft driver brother Josh (Jeremy White) and girlfriend and Charlie’s co-worker Mina (Sheila Vand) take a drive up the lush and green highway of the Pacific Northwest to an amazing spot. Waiting to meet them is Taylor (Toby Huss) who explains the house rules and is not amused by Josh’s side comments or Mina’s attempt at confronting what she feels is racism.

After the awkward confrontation they are left to enjoy nature, the couples take a walk and enjoy each other’s company celebrating Charlie’s recent tech company success with Michelle. That evening during dinner it is suggested they partake of what is found in a little baggie brought by Josh and then head for the hot tub. That is a fraction of where the problems start, especially for Charlie and Mina.

The next morning during a shower, what they believe to be a camera is found. Now the vacation has taken a back seat to discovering what is really going on in this beautiful house and who is responsible. 

Stevens as Charlie tries to keep the peace between everyone. Bringing his brother on their trip is a cause for some of the tension and Charlie tries to keep everyone focused. Stevens has come to play so many different characters that this is an interesting choice for him to jump into a slow-moving thriller. Once the pace picks up, well, you will see.

Brie as Michelle is a very happy person which seems to annoy people. That does not mean she is not keenly aware of the situation that they find themselves in only hours before arriving. Brie is thrilled with the tech companies’ success but does not truly see what is happening until it is literally staring her in the shower. I enjoyed Brie’s portrayal, but she reminded me of a Star Trek ensign in the blue shirt who is oblivious to what happens next.

White as brother Josh is enjoying his life as a Lyft driver, of course that does not mean he is not a bit insecure since Mina is making more money than he thinks he will ever see. Yet, he finds time to break little rules (like bringing his dog) and cracking jokes. White is the relief until it is time for him to stop laughing and be something he never thought he could be. 

Vand as Mina works with Daniel and Michelle and has a lot to say about everything. Her first moment comes when she believes that the owner of the property discriminated against her. When the problems really begin, her beliefs go out the window and over the cliff because it is all downhill from there.

Huss as Taylor is absolutely amazing in the fact that he freaked me out from get-go. Renting the place for his brother he has no dog in the hunt and he certainly gives zero fraks who he offends or upsets. He makes it clear from the start that there are house rules but says everything with honey dripping off his distained lips. 

IFC Films is a leading distributor of quality talent-driven independent films. Some of the company’s successes include BOYHOOD, FRANCES HA, MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING, Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN, TOUCHING THE VOID, CHE, TINY FURNITURE and CARLOS. For more information on films from IFC please visit www.ifcfilms.com.

THE RENTAL is the directorial debut of Dave Franco and co-written with Joe Swanberg. Originally set to act in the film, Franco decided to direct full time. “When I did decide to direct it, I made a major choice to just focus on my responsibility behind the camera.” The idea came to Franco from his own feelings about B&B’s saying, “I was inspired by my own paranoia about the concept of home-sharing and no one trusts each other yet we live in the home of a stranger because of a review online”. I am 100% behind that statement!

The film also covers the relationship between brothers, the belief of discrimination, and that big fear that someone is always watching for their own personal gain. Mix into that the paranoia of all four adults and let the finger pointing and arguing begin.

I enjoyed that the film was just the four characters in a setting that is secluded because it forces us to pay close attention to their behaviors and their reaction to what is happening around them. Granted I’m not so sure I would have stuck around after hour one but, they did and the result gives us all a little bit of Friday night creepy that is fun, especially since we are locked up in creepy of our own right now.

In the end – secluded gateway with killer views!

The Story Unravels with AMULET

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from writer/director Romola Garai and Magnet Releasing is a thriller and chiller of a story that comes with an AMULET.

Tomaz (Alec Secareanu) is a homeless soldier living in the streets of London after running away from his home country. Burned out of there living space with the other immigrants, he is taken in by Sister Claire (Imelda Staunton) who finds his personal affects. She offers him a position in the house of young Magda (Carla Juri) and her ill Mother (Anah Ruddin). Sister Claire tells Tomaz that the family needs help with the house and he agrees.

The problem is that there is something very wrong in this house. Magda is a sweet young woman who cooks and takes care of her mother while Tomaz does repairs. At night he must tape his legs and hands together to not hurt himself suffering from PTSD. He tries to deal with the past and the woman named Miriam (Angeliki Papoulia) who he rescued during war and the evil war he now lives in once again.

Wanting to get as far away from the house as possible, he stays because he feels pity for Magda. When Sister Claire tells him the truth of what is happening in the house, he wants to find a way to free them all – can he?

Secareanu as Tomaz can not come to terms with what has happened in his past and the choices he made. Now, the choices are being taken away from him from the woman he trusted from the beginning. Secareanu gives us the look of a man torn between two worlds and thrown into a third one of evil headfirst. His character is filled with so much angst and it drives him in so many directions – insanity being one of them! Stellar performance.

Juri as Magda is a young woman that only knows she is responsible for Mother and their companionship is more than Tomaz understands. She wants a friendship with Tomaz but is also dealing with a duality of existence all her own. Ruddin as Mother certainly has her horrifying work cut out for her and does a marvelous job of making me jump more than a few times and a shocker at the end. Papoulia as Miriam gives us insight to Tomaz with her own story that does not come straight out with clear answers.

Now, lets get right to Staunton as Sister Claire with a ‘wow’. Trust me kiddies when I say that Dolores Umbridge has nothing on Sister Claire. She does not need a pink suit or tidy hair to scare us this time, this time it is a smile of pure evil to keep us on our toes. Staunton turns throughout the film and what you end up with is perfectly frightening.

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

AMULET is a thriller with twists and turns like none you have seen before. There are stories within stories that still do not give all the answers the way you might expect. Instead, there are scenes that have you trying to put the pieces together and finding that its impossible because writer/director Garai only throws scraps and what twisted scraps they are.

The CGI is another character within the film that is nothing short of a tad bit queasy. Not that I minded it, just didn’t think anyone had the brashness to put it on film so brava…seriously brava! This film brings about so much that you do have to pay attention and not let anything distract you from where Tomaz is going and how he gets there. THAT will leave you breathless!

AMULET is definitely a Friday night popcorn thriller in-the-dark piece and it will have viewers scratching their heads and having conversations over what it is they just experienced. I know I will.

In the end – have faith in fear!

RELIC

Jeri Jacquin

Coming from IFC Midnight on VOD and writer/director Natalie Erika James is the story of a family history that all begins with looking for a RELIC.

Kay (Emily Mortimer) is having to rush to her mother Edna’s (Robyn Nevin) home when it is discovered that she is missing. Along with daughter Sam (Bella Heathcote), they arrive at Edna’s home to find that there are things falling apart. Looking for clues it becomes clear that dementia might be playing a large part in the struggle to find her. 

Just as quick as she disappears, Edna returns but has nothing to say about where she has been. Kay can not seem to reach her on this point, but Edna does enjoy listening Sam. As the days go by, Kay and Sam both experience Edna’s violent outbursts yet Sam has decided that she wants to stay on with Sam once Kay leaves.

Not knowing what else to do, Kay begins to suspect that there is something in the house, something malevolent, something that wants to hurt them all. The women must come together to fight against what ever it is that has taken hold of the house.

Mortimer as Kay is a woman who clearly wants to find her mother and then go home. There is an obvious rift between them with hostility that they both only tap on. There is no way they could possibly know that the underlying issues are feeding into what ever it is that is taking over the family home. Mortimer also gives us the performance of a mother with a daughter who has the same strong will as her own mother.

Heathcote as Sam has issues with Kay and does just about anything she can to irritate her. Now this mother-daughter pair has problems that they also do not tap into. So now the circle of women not talking is complete. When Sam decides to continue to live with Edna, it feeds even more into the darkness of the house.

Nevin as Edna, and I have to say this, creeped me out totally. What a stunning ability to stare in a way that you know there isn’t any good that is going to come from her character. That being said, there is one scene between Nevin and Mortimer that is the most frightening thing but at the same time it is the most moving. Just well done all around.

IFC Films is a leading distributor of quality talent-driven independent films. Some of the company’s successes include BOYHOOD, FRANCES HA, MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING, Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN, TOUCHING THE VOID, CHE, TINY FURNITURE and CARLOS. For more information on films from IFC please visit www.ifcfilms.com. 

RELIC is a suspenseful and creepy film that has underlying tones of three generations of women who just can’t get past their own issues. The story is slow in its telling but oh what an uphill ride of eeriness and tragedy until it reaches a peak and just when you think it will be a swift ride down the haunted rails – the story continues to be slow until it’s done with the viewer. Leading up to a crescendo that brings a mixture of horror and reconciliation based on that very same horror. 

The story being told may start out as a horror film but looking deeper one has to wonder which is the horror – what lives in the house or the three women with their own secrets that are equally as frightening. This is a film that 2020 will be remembered for. 

The cinematography is the fourth “person” in the film bringing the home into focus as the gritty old house filled with both good and bad memories. What a beautiful way to bring RELIC all into focus in such a way that it is a cool place that I would never want to live.

RELIC is a great escape and I intend to see it again. This is a sofa-blanket-popcorn-lights-out film that will keep your heart thumping.

In the end – everything decays!

Based on a True Story Comes THE OUTPOST

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to limited release in theatres and On Demand from Screen Media is the story by author Jake Tapper and director Rod Lurie and the brave men guarding THE OUTPOST.

Staff Sgt. Clint Romesha (Scott Eastwood) and his men Specialist Ty Carter (Caleb Landry Jones), Staff Sgt. Justin Gallegos (Jacob Scipio), Sgt. Josh Kirk (Jack Kesy) helicopter ride into a deep valley in Afghanistan. Surrounded by mountains, they are attacked daily by the Taliban. First Lt. Benjamin Keating (Orlando Bloom) gives the men a tour of the camp letting them know that they must always be at the ready.

It does not take long before the new crew takes a few hits and sees what they are up against. When they get the call to take a very large vehicle to another camp, Keating takes Romesha on roads that aren’t meant to be traversed. When an accident happens, Sylvanius Broward (Kwame Patterson) is sent in telling the men that the camp is going to be shut down. What should be good news really is not. 

Their own Afghan interpreter tells the men that the Taliban are coming and although they listen, they go about their mission. Each attack gets a little bolder until the capture a young man who comes into the camp taking pictures of everything he sees. When caught, Romesha along with Broward go to the town elders to explain why the promise made by Lt. Keating of funds is being held up.

Romesha is frustrated because he does not see that Broward is listening to anything the people who live at the outpost are telling him. That is until the camp is hit again. One more time the men must gather together to protect the outpost even though there are more and more Taliban in the mountains above.

When one massive explosion follows another, every takes their places to battle the men coming towards them with more weapons than the outpost has seen. Now, Romesha and his men will do what they must to protect one another and stay alive until the call for help can bring what they need to stop the invasion.

Now they wait.

Eastwood comes on the scene strong with the attitude of a military man with concerns for his men, especially when he sees the camp by the light of day. He turns in a solid performance that isn’t over the top but instead storytelling with the entire cast. Jones as Carter is a young man who is dealing with the stress and anxiety about everything happening around them. When the men need him the most, he puts himself on the line time and time again. Carter gives us the human side of those feelings.

Bloom as Keating knows they are in a raw deal with where the camp is located but tries to make the best of it for everyone. Never sending a man to do something he wouldn’t do himself, he is respected by the men. Scipio as Gallegos and Kesy as Kirk aren’t thrilled with their situation and even less thrilled with those who claim to be in charge but they follow their leader. Both men are a definite benefit to the film. Shout out to Gibson for his second time in a film dealing with war and soldiers as he was in the 2016 film HACKSAW RIDGE directed by his father Mel Gibson. 

Other cast include Petar Petrov as Malak, Ahmad Sakhi as Commander Zahid, George Arvidson as Captain Cordova, Brandon Wengrzynek as Sgt. Breed, Jeremy Jones as PFC Jordan Wong, Scott Coffey as Michael Scusa, Jack DeVos as Sgt. Hardt, Ernest Cavazos as Sgt. Avalos, Jonathan Yunger as SFC Jonathan Hill, Alexandar Aleksiev as Sgt. Janis Lakis, Alfie Stewart as Sgt. Yunger, Marin Rangelov as Nasir, Cory Hardrict as Sgt. Vernon Martin, Taylor Smith as First Lt. Andrew Bundermann, Celina Sinden as Cpt. Katie Kopp, Will Attenborough as Ed Faulkner and Milo Gibson as Capt. Yllescas.  

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

THE OUTPOST is bases on The New York Times best seller The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor. Written by CNN journalist Jake Tapper, he tells the story of soldiers living in the remote mountains of Afghanistan and Combat Outpost Keating. It is a story about the battle to defend against a coordinated Taliban attack that later came to be known as The Battle of Kamdesh. 

Bravo Troop 3-62 would become the most decorated unit of the 2009 Afghan War. Staff Sgt. Cliff Romesha and Specialist Ty Carter were awarded the Medal of Honor. Rod Lurie, the director, is a graduate of West Point and former soldier. Adding to the realism of the film, he added veterans to play various military roles including Henry Hughes and Daniel Rodriguez.

“The gates of Heaven and the gates of hell are claimed to be in the same spot. During the firefight, COP Keating was like the gates of hell: violent, bloody and full of sorrow. However, watching men sacrificing themselves to protect each other, I could see the true form of brotherhood and love, making the firefight at COP Keating like the gates of heaven as well.” Ty M. Carter, Medal of Honor Recipient.

The cast brings the story to us all in a way that allows us to care about them because they each have a story. Adding to that the fact that most of us have family members who are active military, the scenes where the soldiers are calling home are moving and intense at the same time. There is also clearly camaraderie between the cast that transitions into the people they are portraying. 

In the end – the mission was survival!