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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
AMERICAN TRAITOR: The Trial of Axis Sally

Jeri Jacquin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

In the end – who truly is Axis Sally?


LAMBS OF GOD

Jeri Jacquin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the end – welcome to St. Agnus!


It Starts with AGNES

Jeri Jacquin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the end – demons travel fast!

They Are About to Experience the WRATH OF MAN

Jeri Jacquin

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

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

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

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

Follow the money!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the end – he will never stop, ever!



FOUR GOOD DAYS

Jeri Jacquin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the end - they have work to do!

LIMBO

Jeri Jacquin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the end – waiting is a group effort!


It all Starts with a PROFILE

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from writer/director Timur Bekmambetov and Focus Features is a story of danger from the keyboard and a PROFILE.

Amy (Valene Kane) is a British journalist looking for the next story and the next paycheck to cover the rent. She decides to use social media to discover how it is that so many women in Europe are becoming part of the Islamic State. Given the green light by editor Vick (Christine Adams), Amy begins the process of creating a persona online through Facebook.

Almost immediately she is contacted by Abu Bilel Al-Britani (Shazad Latif), a handsome Muslim who is quite taken with her. Lou (Amir Rahimzadeh) guides her through the beginning of their conversations with what is acceptable and what is not. Seeing Amy as a shy respectful woman is appealing to Bilel.

There are only three people that know what Amy is doing, Vick, Lou and friend Kathy (Emma Cater) as boyfriend Matt (Morgan Watkins) has been left in the dark. Each day Amy and Bilel speak more and more about her coming to where Bilel is and starting a life together. He seems slow in the information he gives which puts Amy in a tense situation with her editor.

But with each chat, the conversations become more and more intense that could put her in danger. How far will she push her investigation knowing the consequences?

Kane as Amy is brilliant in her deceptions and performance. Fast on the keyboard which means you can not take your eyes off the screen even for a blinking second, she manuevers her way through dangerous waters. Living this double life does take its toll and as the day comes closer to meet Bilel, Kane gives us a powerful adrenaline rush of fear and anxiety that is so well done.

Latif as Bilel, all I can say is wow, what an amazing performance that is frightening at the same time. What seems so handsome and wonderful is sugar coating on a poison apple. Turning on the charm and being ‘himself’ is a cautionary tale of the internet and people attempting to make connections. Latif gives it everything and that is the good and bad as his intentions begin to unravel. Well done sir, well done.

Adams as Vick is a pure journalist and is biting at the bit for the story. She knows the dangers and sees them coming yet also wants to get the story out before things get out of hand. Cater as Kathy is a good friend and also knows that Amy might be pushing things to far. Watkins as boyfriend Matt, wow, does he get the once over in all this. Relationships are difficult enough without thinking your girlfriend has been internet-cheating.

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

PROFILE is a fast-paced film not giving the viewer any moment to rest and that is what makes it extremely fascinating. The constant movement on the screen means you have to keep up or step aside. Hearing so many stories in the news about women who tried to get away from situations that the character Amy was getting into is seriously disturbing. 

This film wakes you up to the fact that this continues to happen and the result to these women is beyond belief. The biggest question for me is what is it in these women’s lives that bring them to make these decisions at such great risk to themselves and those they love. Every step they take has an effect to those around them and their families.

The last ten minutes of the film are the most powerful (as if the entire film isn’t powerful enough!) because the realization sets how easy the character of Bilel puts the pieces together. Honestly I would have been frozen with anxiety and run for the hills. At the same time I applaud what Amy was trying to do, even though she came close to losing herself in something that was not real.

In the end – the connection is virtual but the danger is real!

THE UNTHINKABLE

Jeri Jacquin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Magnet Releasing is a part of Magnolia Pictures that specializes in films from the vanguard of horror, action, comedy, and Asian cinema. It is also the home of classics like Tomas Alfredson’s LET THE RIGHT ON IN, Ti West’s THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL, Andre Ovredal’s TROLLHUNTER, Neil Marshall’s sword and sandals bloodbath CENTURION and Tony Jaa’s ONG BAK trilogy. Upcoming films include Ti West’s THE SACRAMENT and to find out more of what is to come please visit www.magnetreleasingfilms.com.

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

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

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

In the end – they never thought it could happen!

They are Young VOYAGERS

Jeri Jacquin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lionsgate is a global leader in motion picture production and distribution for theatres, television, home entertainment and more. Theatre franchises include THE HUNGER GAMES, and DIVERGENT along with JOHN WICK. 

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

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

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

In the end – what does it feel like?

AFTER ANTARTICA

Jeri Jacquin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the end – he believes in the frozen world!


IN THE EARTH

Jeri Jacquin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the end – nature is a force of evil!

VANQUISH

Jeri Jacquin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lionsgate is a global leader in motion picture production and distribution for theatres, television, home entertainment and more. Theatre franchises include THE HUNGER GAMES, and DIVERGENT along with JOHN WICK. Now, adding this film to its 16,000-motion picture and television titles you can see everything coming soon as well as available now at www.lionsgate.com.

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

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

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

They are Being HELD

Jeri Jacquin

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

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

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

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

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

The answer is shocking.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the end – to survive they must obey!


LOOKING FOR A LADY WITH FANGS AND A MOUSTACHE

Jeri Jacquin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE COURIER Learns About Spying

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres this Friday from director Dominic Cooke and Roadside Attractions comes the story of country, secrets and spying when you are THE COURIER.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

QUO VADIS, AIDA?

Jeri Jacquin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the end – her world is colliding!

ASSAULT on VA-33

Jeri Jacquin

Coming soon to theatres and On Demand from director Christopher Ray, Saban Films and Paramount is the story of a man doing the right thing by his family until there is an ASSAULT ON VA-33.

Jason Hill (Sean Patrick Flanery) is a veteran who suffers from PTSD. Seeing the struggle is wife Jennifer (Gina Holden) who works for Veteran's Affairs and decides for Jason to continue seeing a therapist. On this particular day, Jason has daughter Sara (Sarah Jensen) with him staying in the truck.

Almost immediately Jason knows something is wrong at the VA. Calling local law enforcement officer Chief Malone (Michael Jai White), he explains that something is not right. Malone pushes his concerns aside concentrating on another telephone call he received asking about criminal Andrian Rabikov (Weston Cage Coppola).

What he does not yet know is that Jason is on to something, especially when he sees General Welch (Gerald Webb) walking down the halls of the VA guarded. That is when everything breaks loose as Rabikov takes hostages including the General. He wants information and he will either get it or there will be consequences.

Jason begins his efforts to once again tell Chief Malone what is happening inside the VA knowing that he must save as many people as possible and protect his family at the same time. His training kicks in but so does his PTSD and the clock is ticking.

Flanery as Jason portrays a man who knows he has issues that need professional help. Having a supportive family helps a great deal and as much as he resists during session, he knows the importance of being there. Flanery has made himself an independent action star for quite some time now and uses in this film his skills of Jiu Jitsu and Gracey.

Holden and Jensen have wife Jennifer and daughter Sara support what Jason must do. Of course, you can guarantee as with all movies in the last five years, teen daughter Sara does not listen to her father putting them both in danger.

Coppola as Rabikov gives us a well-dressed charming ruthless criminal who wants just one thing (see for yourself) and if he does not get it, has no problem making the person responsible pay. White as Chief Malone lives in this small town where nothing happens and treats most telephone calls as such, but this time he might want to listen to what Jason Hill has to say.

Other cast includes Rob Van Dam as Zero, Rachel True as Sasha, Brittany Underwood as Vee, Richard Gabai as Eric, Max Adler as Reino, Tim McKiernan as Max, Matt Riker as Brian, Sean Huze as Jerry, Brian Stapf as Ivan, Brandon Amano as Andrei, Frank Rossi as Agent Richards, Sheila Ball as Dr. Gutterman, Mark Dacascos as Jackson, and Abigail Hawk as Mrs. Welch.

Saban Films was launched in 2014 and has built an impressive slate of high-quality feature films distributed with partner Lionsgate. Focusing on talent-driven films, the company looks at projects in all stages of production to be released across multiple platforms. Films such as SISTER OF THE GROOM, FATMAN and BREACH are part of the wonderful Saban slate, and more information can be found at www.sabanfilms.com.

Paramount Pictures is the longest operating and remaining major studio in Hollywood that has been on the ground floor of every major development in film. From the advent of motion pictures to the emergence of television, through the digital revolution, Paramount Pictures has been there. During our 100-year history, we have served as the production site for thousands of notable movies and television shows. For more please visit www.paramountstudios.com.

ASSAULT ON VA-33 is a fast-moving action film that keeps Sean Patrick Flanery on his toes. The film gives a complex story with a background of soldiering and PTSD as well as international criminals wanting revenge. Of course, innocents are in the way but that does not matter to criminals as much as it does for Jason Hill.

The fight is mainly inside a building which means every twist and peek around the corner is going to bring a few jumps. There are moments of predictability but not enough to pull focus away from the action and story.

In the end - the battlefield comes home!

She in Now Part of the LAND

Jeri Jacquin

Coming from director Robin Wright and Focus Features is a story of sadness and living in a dark place hoping to be rescued by the LAND.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


THE VAULT Brings Thrills and Suspense

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Select Theatres, Digital and On Demand from director Jaume Balaguero, Saban Films and Paramount Pictures is the thrill to the finish getting in THE VAULT.

Walter Moreland (Liam Cunningham) is after the treasure of a lifetime to find the buried fortune of Sir Frances Drake. Along with his crew Lorraine (Astrid Berges-Frisbey), James (Sam Riley), Simon (Luis Tosar) and Klaus (Alex Stein), they have searched the ocean bed for clues. Bringing up treasure, it is quickly taken away from them and put in the Bank of Spain.

Thom Laybrick (Freddie Highmore) is a brilliant engineer being haggled by his father for not choosing job offers from prestigious employers. Receiving a mysterious txt, he follows the clues and meets Lorraine who tells him he can either go back to his mundane life or follow her to something much more exciting.

Intrigues, Thom is introduced to Walter and he is told the story of the treasure taken and where it is. He is not clear just what is being asked of him until it is explained that the group who found the treasure want a piece of it back. Walter introduces Thom to the crew and gives him the gist of what they need – to get into a vault no one has ever seen before! 

They need Thom’s mind to help them piece together what could be seen as an impossible task. Their cover is Spain’s World Cup Final with thousands and thousands of fans flocking the streets keeping law enforcement focused on the center of town giving the group time to take their chances. 

What they are attempting is all based on planning and Thom’s ability to follow the clues to get what Walter is looking for.

Highmore as Thom is not thrilled with his options once he graduates from school, feeling those who want his skill - want it for the wrong reasons. Pressured by his father to make a choice, it is easy to see why Thom is drawn to do something so unexpected. Highmore gets a fantastic opportunity to show what he can do in a role that is different from everything he has done as a kid or television show The Good Doctor. As Thom, Highmore gets the opportunity to stretch and does a wonderful job in the process.

Cunningham as Walter is not happy that Spain has taken what he rightfully found. So, he does what any good treasure hunter would do – find a way to get the treasure again. Looking to his team to make that happen, he sees something in Thom that is the final piece of a mysterious puzzle. Trusting the young man has the chops for not only the job and what it would mean if they failed, Walter holds his breath several times. Cunningham is a strong leader of the group but that should not be a surprise. He is actually one of my favorite actors from the HBO series Game of Thrones as Davos Seaworth.

Riley as James is not at all happy that Walter has brought Thom into their plans. Seeing him as just a kid getting in the way, he slowly is surprised by what “the kid” brings to the table. As the days get closer to the heist. Riley gives us the brooding ex-military who feels a friendship with Walter. Riley is such an interesting actor because he gives nothing away and I like that. 

Frisbey as Lorraine recruits Thom but as their mission constantly changes, she finds herself very protective of him. Feeling like the young man really needs to walk away, Thom makes it clear that he is totally in it until the end. Frisbey does not give up her own secrets but is loyal to Walter absolutely.

Tosar and Klein each have a part to play as Simon and Klaus. They are deep into the plan and are thrilled with Thom’s ability to solve the smaller problems and even more impressed when he begins to solve the larger issues. They are just as loyal to Walter!

Other cast include Jose Coronado as Gustavo, Emilio Caba as the Chairman, Julius Cotter, Hunter Tremayne, Eric Goode, Craig Stevenson as the Executives and Famke Janssen as Margaret. 

Paramount Pictures is the longest operating and remaining major studio in Hollywood that has been on the ground floor of every major development in film. During our 100-year history, we have served as the production site for thousands of notable movies and television shows. For more please visit www.paramountstudios.com.

Saban Films was launched in 2014 and has built an impressive slate of high-quality feature films. Focusing on talent-driven films, the company looks at projects in all stages of production to be released across multiple platforms. Films such as SISTER OF THE GROOM, FATMAN and BREACH are part of the wonderful Saban slate, and more information can be found at www.sabanfilms.com.

THE VAULT is a thriller that is smart and fun to experience. The story sucks you in and then lets you breathe for a second before pulling the rug out. There is tension as problems become clear leaving it to Highmore’s character to help solve keeping the heist alive. 

Using a huge fan base that love soccer into the story is actually quite cool because it makes for a backdrop and important character in the film. Law enforcement from the bank or across the street try to solve little problems but a crowd watching the finals of a soccer game are not helping their suspicions of a heist.

So, sit back, have a little fun and enjoy the thrill of what is inside THE VAULT. 

In the end – it is the score of a lifetime!



There is Love in a SUPERNOVA

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres this week and soon to Digital from writer/director Harry MacQueen and Bleeker Street comes a story of love when knowing we are all part of a SUPERNOVA.

Pianist Sam (Colin Firth) and writer Tusker (Stanley Tucci) have decided to take a road trip and visit some of the people and places that they have shared. In an RV and driving on narrow roads on left side, they take loving jabs at one another until they reach one of their beautiful destinations.

Going from a beautiful lake to Sam’s sister Lilly’s (Pippa Haywood) home, they spend time with family and friends talking about what Tusker is writing and when Sam will play next. Later in the evening, Sam discovers something about his partner that he did not know before and isn’t sure how to deal with it.

Listening to Tusker and Charlotte (Nina Marlin) together in the evening air, it is clear that he is a loving person who sees the beauty in each and every star. On their way to the next destination, it is clear there is tension between the two. Once arriving, Sam must decide how to handle what he knows understanding that Tusker’s illness may make that difficult.

Firth as Sam is the music half of this relationship and is getting back into that world by preparing to play a small intimate concert. Taking the road trip with Tusker is an amazing way to revisit a few of the memorable places that mean something to them both. Firth is snappy in wit, lovely in affection and gives a beautiful performance mired in a deep sadness. This lovely actor has always had a soft spot in my heart and in SUPERNOVA, he proves why that is.

Tucci as Tusker is the writer half of the relationship and he has a lot to say. The problem is that he is having a difficult time saying it with pen to paper. Tucci matches wits with the character of Sam but then again, he has clearly made a career out of it and excelling consistently. Tucci in this role gives us a man dealing with knowing his life is slipping away and trying to accept that reality for both himself and Sam. Tucci is also an actor that I adore because he makes his roles look effortless whether it be a comedy or a drama.

Other cast include Peter MacQueen as Clive, Ian Drysdale as Paul, Sarah Woodward as Sue, James Dreyfus as Tim, Lori Campbell as Lola, Daneka Etchells as Rachel and Truffles as fur-baby as Ruby. 

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.

SUPERNOVA is a film of love, relationships, secrets, and grief wrapped up in two men who have made a life for themselves. From the first scene it is clear that Firth and Tucci bring their characters in with such believability that it felt like being a third wheel in the RV. I wanted to hear their story and more about the life they have shared together.

That is what makes this film so totally stunning, the beauty of their trip, the reality that even love can not stop what is coming for them and the acceptance of what is to come. Firth and Tucci allows us to share in all of that in such a way that the final scene just brings tears.

Writer/director MacQueen gives us everything in its simplest form allowing us to not be distracted by anything else but the relationship between Sam and Tusker. Even their surroundings from the RV to the countryside is cinematic to be sure and reminds us the world can be so lovely, as lovely as Sam and Tusker.

In the end – in this life never forget who you love and why.

HERSELF

Jeri Jacquin

Now in theatres and coming to Prime Video from director Phyllida Lloyd and Amazon Studios is a story of finding a life for HERSELF.

Sandra (Clare Dunne) is a woman with two young daughters and in an abusive relationship. Trying to find housing, she is constantly dealing with the bureaucracy she wants to find another way to create a home for her daughters Molly (Molly McCann) and Emma (Ruby Rose O’Hara).

Working daily taking care of Peggy (Harriet Walter), an elderly woman is a job that keeps her busy while the girls are in school. That is when Sandra gets the idea to find a plot of land and build her home. She meets construction worker Aido (Conleth Hill) and asks him what she would need to make the house happen.

When she cannot get a loan, she confides in Peggy what her plans were going to be. That is when Peggy offers Sandra a plot of land behind her home that has not been used and just seems to collect weeds. Visiting Aido again, Sandra tells him she has the land and even after saying no so many times, he cannot resist helping Sandra. 

While the build begins, Sandra’s ex-husband Gary (Ian Anderson) decides to sue her for custody of the two girls. It seems that once again Sandra experiences loss in ways she never thought possible, she wonders if it is all worth fighting for.

Dunne as Sandra is stunning as a woman who has been beaten down literally and emotionally by a husband who clearly has anger issues. Deciding enough is enough, she takes her daughters and try to begin again but the system makes it difficult. Dunne gives us everything and more in portraying this character by way of such a realistic storyline. Well done and sending virtual applause for a wonderful performance.

Walter as Peggy is a woman who is seen as a bit straight forward, but Sandra actually likes that about her. Perhaps its because Sandra is trying to find that in herself and what a better teacher than Peggy. I have seen Walter in so many performances and that beings said she is just a treasure in films. From ATONEMENT to my all-time favorite series Downton Abbey along with my second favorite The Crown. 

Hill as Aido is a man who does not want to help Sandra, but something will not let him walk away. He is very frank with her about the money it will take to build a house and that to cut corners does not work with him. Sandra agrees and he is constantly surprised how she rolls up her sleeves because that is how determined she is to make it all happen. Hill may look familiar (it is the hair) than his character in the HBO series Game of Thrones playing Lord Varys. This is a nice change and a great role for Hill. 

McCann as Molly and O’Hara as Emma are to young actresses that are just so sweet. They see what their mother is trying to accomplish and get caught up in her dream as they should. Even when things seem to go wrong, right and then wrong again, the girls stand by their mother. These two young actresses are beautiful in their portrayal of girls who have seen more than they should. 

Other cast includes Cathy Belton as Jo, Art Kearns as John, Sarah Kinlen as Ms. Breen, Ericka Roe as Amy, Anita Petry as Rosa, Lorcan Cranitch as Michael, Tina Kellegher as Tina, Donking Rongavillas Lazlo, Sean Duggan as Ciaran, Rebecca O’Mara as Grainne, and Dmitry Vinokurov as Dariusz.

Amazon Prime offers television shows and original content included in its Amazon Prime subscription. Original programs such as CARNIVAL ROW, THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE, and THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL are hit shows. Coming soon is the next series with GOLIATH starring Billy Bob Thornton and it promises to another successful and intense series.

HERSELF is a film filled with believability about a woman trying to make a better life for two of the cutest young girls. Trying to break away from an abusive relationship, there is a moment where Sandra has second thoughts believing that perhaps they can be a family, but it only lasts a few seconds. This is realistic on so many levels and for so many people who has believed the very same rhetoric that Gary gives Sandra. 

Her focus on a home for her daughters is what moved me deeply because she was not looking for a mansion to live in, just a safe environment for her daughters to be able to play in a yard and sleep in a warm bed. There is certainly nothing wrong with that, especially when she begins to make things happen by talking people into helping. 

When she stops believing in herself, it is those friends who remind her that you have to accept the good with the bad, you have to remember that there are those who will do everything possible to crush a dream, but you have to stand up and remember who you are – not who others want you to be.

In the end – her life is under construction!

WILD MOUNTAIN THYME

Jeri Jacquin

Coming soon from director writer/director John Patrick Shanley and Bleeker Street comes the story of life and land in WILD MOUNTAIN THYME.

Tony (Christopher Walken) has lived his life on a beautiful plot of land in Ireland with his son Anthony (Jamie Dornan). In the land next to them is Aoife (Dearbhla Molloy) and daughter Rosemary (Emily Blunt) who keeps her heart out for Anthony. 

When Anthony learns that his father might be selling the land to him, he is devastated. He also learns that nephew Adam (Jon Hamm) from America is coming for Tony’s birthday and that is who is considered front runner for the land. There is also a piece of land between Tony and Aoife that belongs to Rosemary! 

When tragedy hits Rosemary, Tony wonders if his idea of selling the farm is a very good one and Adam returns to New York. When Anthony’s life changes, he suggests to Rosemary that maybe she should go and see the world and leave the farm. She takes off for New York and meets up with Adam and finally sees a dream on stage. 

Anthony lets Rosemary know that he believes Adam is looking for a wife. This is where things get pickled as Anthony cares for Rosemary, Rosemary cares for Anthony and Adam will either make or break them or maybe the secrets they have will explain it all!

Blunt as Rosemary is just so dang cute its ridiculous. Of course, everything Blunt has done is amazing to watch so I did not expect this to be any different. As Rosemary, she is a dreamer and the most patient woman I think I have ever heard of. What I love about this character is that she knows there is something keeping them apart and pulls and pulls again believing that even in her dreams there is something to hold on to. 

Dornan as Anthony is a painfully shy man who just does not know his worth to himself and those around him. Dornan is so sweet in this role and even the awkwardness of Anthony only makes him more endearing. Practicing a way to reach the point where he can speak to Rosemary, he constantly is being pulled back by his own fears. Playing opposite Walken is the father-son realities that there is a history in every one’s life, even a father.

Hamm as Adam is not happy when Tony keeps him dangling on a string. Returning to New York, he is surprised to see Rosemary again and that is when he wonders if he has what it takes to be an Irish farmer.  

Walken as Anthony is crotchety, pushy and has a goal – to see his son alone no longer. Although his accent gets a little muddled at times, it changes nothing about his performance. There is a scene between father and son that is not only tissue worthy but thumps the heart because it was a moment of pure love between the two.

Other cast includes Jon Tenney as tommy, Danielle Ryan as Maeve, Lydia McGuinness as Eleanor, Abigail Coburn as young Rosemary and Darragh O’Kane as young Anthony. 

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.

WILD MOUNTAIN THYME is the kind of film that I adore during a stressful time. It is set in the glorious green of Ireland with vast open land, animals and streams. There is something wonderful just seeing that scenery mixed with something we do not see a lot of in Southern California – rainstorms!

This is a story of generational families and stories that are not told until time has its way. Watching Walken play Dornan’s father is full of emotion, bold, brassy and loud emotion. In case anyone is wondering if Irish families are like that, well, my grandmother’s side certainly was and is. Outspoken, vocal, and no nonsense were the order of the day in her household. That in itself made me laugh at the film watching Blunt be everything I saw in my own grandmother.

It is also a story of love and longing by two people who have such different dreams yet have known each other since childhood. Even then, a fence did not stop them from consistently being pulled toward one another because everything they did not say are the things that could have brought them together sooner. Isn’t that how we all are?

Grab your own love, cuddle up with a huge comfy blanket on a fluffy sofa and be whisked away to Ireland and cheer on the couple who wants what you have – minus the fence.

In the end – there is nothing more dangerous than an Irish woman in love!

NO MAN’S LAND

Jeri Jacquin


Coming from director Conor Allyn, writer Jake Allyn and IFC Films comes the story of borders and mistakes when living in NO MAN’S LAND.

Bill (Frank Grillo) and Monica Greer (Andie MacDowell) live on a ranch right on the border between the United States and Mexico. Bill is constantly irritated by the immigrants illegally crossing the borders and messing up his fence and stealing livestock. Brothers Lucas (Alex MacNicoll) and Jackson (Jake Allyn) help their father protect the land. 

On the other side of the border is Gustavo (Jorge A. Jimenez), a father who is bringing his young son across the border in the night. Bill and the boys go after the immigrants and after a misunderstanding Jackson accidentally shoots Gustavo’s son and Lucas is hurt. Texas Ranger Ramirez (George Lopez) investigates what has happened but not before Jackson takes off.

Making his way to Mexico, he now becomes the illegal alien looking for Gustavo. Luis (Andres Delgado) wants to help Gustavo find revenge and makes it his mission to find Jackson and make him pay. Ramirez goes after Jackson as well. Along the way he finds people willing to help him, protect him and, the hope that he will be forgiven. 

He must try!

Allyn as Jackson is a young man overwrought with guilt and caught between fathers. Trusting in his own father and wanting to keep the ranch intact and seeing the destruction of a family in another family’s eyes. Deciding to break away and take his own journey, he leaves his family behind and now has a Texas Ranger giving chase. Allyn as Jackson is endearing and knows the only way he can move forward with his life and face it all is to find Gustavo.

Jimenez as Gustavo is a man dealing with death yet not dealing with the part he played in it. Instead, he allows his grief to overwhelm him to anger and it is felt by Luis leading him down a destructive path. In the scene between Jimenez and Allyn at the end are the most powerful I have seen in a film for long time. 

Grillo as Bill is hostage and angry at the destruction to his ranch and the illegal immigrants that make their way through his land. When he has finally had enough, that is when everything takes a horrible turn and the repercussions for the Greer family. MacDowell as Monica is caught up in her husband’s eagerness to clear out his lands but when it affects her sons, now you have made Mama Bear angry.

Lopez as the Ranger Ramirez seems to be nonchalant about his job until he is called to the Greer ranch. Trying to get answers from the family, it is clear that someone is lying and when Jackson makes a run for it, Ramirez knows he must go across the border to capture him. Delgado as Luis is an angry young man and he takes full advantage of that by abusing his own people so imagine what he wants to do to a young American accused of murder. 

Other cast include Esmeralda Pimentel as Victoria, Ofelia Medina as Lupe, Andres Delgado as Luis, Sandra Zellweger as Raquel, Julieta Ortiz as Rosa, Fernando Cuautie as Enrique, Juan Remolina as Hector, and Alessio Valentini as Fernando.

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.

NO MAN’S LAND is a look at the immigrant story from a totally different point of view. The Greer family has their own set of beliefs about the land that they live off of and those who cross the border through it. Their frustration is left unchecked and the town Texas Ranger does not seem to have a feel for it one way or the other. 

The story that director Allyn is telling is that of a young man trying to find a way to forgive himself and only seeing Gustavo can make that possible. In the process he sees Gustavo’s way of life and the people he and his family have misunderstood all along. 

In the end – the only way back is to cross the line!


WANDER DARKLY

Jeri Jacquin

Coming from writer/director Tara Miele and Lionsgate comes a story of love, fracture and what we will all do to keep both in WANDER DARKLY.

Adrienne (Sienna Miller) and Matteo (Diego Luna) are a struggling new parents only made worse when he forgets their date night out. Pointing out that it was his idea, they try to make the best of the evening. In a fraction of a second that all changes when they are hit head on by another car.

That is when Adrienne’s journey into what is reality and what is fantasy begins. Believing she is dead; she jumps from memory to memory until Matteo stops her. Instead, he points out their memories together to prove that she is still alive. Refusing to believe it, she also points out to Matteo that he has not been honest with her about many things, including another woman.

That is when Adrienne and Matteo start from the beginning of their relationship and remembering what it was that drew them together. Memory after memory gives Adrienne moments of pure joy and then moments of terror when she sees the Hooded Figure. Mom Patty (Beth Grant) tries her best, but Adrienne overhears how she really feels making things more difficult.

Only Adrienne can pull herself out of the place she is in and with Matteo’s help she just may be able to live again.

Miller as Adrienne is epic in this role as a woman caught between feeling death and trying to feel alive. Matteo taking her down the road gives her a chance to see how they came to be as a couple and where things started to go wrong. In the meantime, she sees this figure that cements her belief in no longer being part of this world. Matteo is her only way out of the nightmare, and he does it through forgiveness and love. Miller is stunning. 

Luna as Matteo is a man trying his best but knowing that he truly has not given Adrienne all of himself. Unhappy with the way things are going in their marriage as well, he tends to run away, but now he must stay and face everything with Adrienne. Luna is beautiful and brilliant in this role. 

Other cast include Tory Kittles as Liam, Dan Gill as Dane, Ayden Mayeri as Summer, Aimee Carrero as Shea and James Landry Hebert as the Hooded Figure. 

Lionsgate is a global leader in motion picture production and distribution for theatres, television, home entertainment and more. Theatre franchises include THE HUNGER GAMES, and DIVERGENT along with JOHN WICK. Now, adding this film to its 16,000-motion picture and television titles you can see everything coming soon as well as available now at http://www.lionsgate.com.

WANDER DARKLY is a web of stories, memories and truths that need to be reckoned with. The casting of Miller and Luna together is absolutely stunning to watch. They move the story like weaving a delicate fabric, one misstep and it could ruin the cloth – but here they weave magic. 

There are moments of frustration, tears, anxiety and pure love from a couple who lost their way for a bit. It is not unusual for this to happen but watching Adrienne and Matteo take it step by step is ethereal and beautiful even in the sadness.

In the end – some stories end with the beginning!

AMMONITE

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres and On Demand from writer/director Francis Lee and Neon is a story of two women in search of something more than AMMONITE.

Mary Anning (Kate Winslet) is a renown fossil hunter who spends her days on the shores of Lyme Regis in 1840 England. Day after day the self-taught paleontologist has an amazing eye for finding fossils that she sells to tourists. Taking care of her ailing mother Molly (Gemma Jones), Mary keeps to herself. 

One day, at her shop door is Roderick Murchison (James McArdle) looking to learn about how Mary finds fossils. Along with him on the visit is his wife Charlotte Murchison (Saoirse Ronan) who is quiet and meek. A few days pass when Murchison offers Mary a large amount of money to watch over the depressive Charlotte while he goes on his next adventure.

Knowing the money would help, she begrudgingly agrees. Almost right away Charlotte becomes seriously ill and as she starts to get well, she and Mary start to show signs of friendship toward each other. Both have pasts that are haunting their ability to be happy with thin veils of uncomfortableness that wakes up with them each and every day. 

What comes from that friendship is complicated, loving and forces life choices that are painful for them both but needed to break free.

Winslet as Mary is a woman set in her ways. Taking care of an ailing mother, Mary, in a way, hides behind her as I see it. Diving into her work finding fossils is another way to avoid people totally. Making sure they have enough money to survive is important, but the years have created a bubble around Mary’s life. I actually love when Winslet takes on roles that are a challenge to understand and grasp as the tale unfolds. 

Ronan as Charlotte has a depression she is fighting through and does not see any light in her life. Even with Mary, the first days she remains aloof and dangerously closed off. Ronan is always a light on the screen and following her career is a joy. With every role she chooses there is simplicity mixed with complexity that is all wrapped up on her face that does not give anything away until she is ready for us to know – and then only in doses.

Jones as mother Molly has become use to living the secluded life her daughter provides and sees Charlotte as an interloper. Shaw makes herself known as Elizabeth Philpot who has a connection to Mary that is endearing and telling. 

McArdle as Murchison is a husband who says openly that he wants his wife back but does not seem to be heart broken over leaving her with Mary. Do not think we didn’t notice that Murchison!

Other cast include Claire Rushbrook as Eleanor Butters, Alec Secareanu as Dr. Lieberson and Fiona Shaw as Elizabeth Philpot. 

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

Director Lee says, “I wanted to explore what this relationship might mean to someone who has not only been socially and geographically isolated but who has had to close off to any emotional life, where you replace affection and intimacy with work and duty. Where you have been overlooked and ignored your whole life because of your gender and social class. Given this world, would Mary be able to access how she feels for Charlotte? Would she be able to let her guard down to allow the possibility of something new and wonderful to enter her life?”

When asked about the importance to telling Mary’s story, Winslet says, “She is so important. Her strength, her courage – I admire those qualities very much, but also her vulnerability, which she had to keep hidden. Now more than ever we’re living in a time when women are absolutely obsessed with other women and when, more than what we look like or how we feel when we walk down the street, it’s about what women have to say. Women are greater together; the stronger female voices we have, the more togetherness we show.

When asked what she wanted audiences to take away from seeing AMMONITE, Saoirse Ronan says, “Everyone’s going to take away something different from it, which is always wonderful, when you have people coming up to you saying “I really got this bit” or “I felt like that was me…”. You’re watching two people really discover themselves as individuals and within a partnership, and I think that’s a really beautiful thing to watch and it doesn’t necessarily come easy.”

The film has a quiet character which is the shoreline itself with its secrets waiting for Mary to discover but also a gray and cold feel. You could say that both women can sit before the waves and feel a kinship with the waves showing outside what they feel inside. 

AMMONITE is a simple tale with a not-so-simple story that pushes hard to be told. Winslet and Ronan carry the entire film and bring out the characters fears, hopes and desires is so well done. This might be the story of two women but know it is also the story of two people who are learned to break through the closed off life they had come to know.

In the end – it is simply love.



SYNCRONIC Tempts Time

Jeri Jacquin

Coming from directors Justin Benson, Aaron Moorehead, Patriot Pictures and Well Go USA is time and those who try to mess with SYNCHRONIC.

Dennis (Jamie Dornan) and Steve (Anthony Mackie) are best friends serving as Paramedics in New Orleans. Dennis is grumpily married to the very happy Tara (Katie Aselton) as they get ready to celebrate the birth of their child. Also joining them is the moody Brianna (Ally Ioannides).

Dennis and Steve have been friends for more years than they can count so working together is a bonus. Lately there have been a string of strange deaths brought on by a designer drug. Steve is so angry about it he tracks down the last batch. Just when these two think they have seen it all, they haven't.

Steve discovers something about himself and decides not to tell Dennis believing he has enough going on in his life, especially when his 18-year-old daughter Brianna mysteriously disappears. Feeling down, Steve decides to try the Synchronic and what happens to him is absolutely unbelievable.

But it may save someone he loves!

Mackie as Steve is a strong character to play in a film that has a story as twisted around as this one is. Examining his life and friendship causes him a bit of turbulence and brings up worries about some, as Dennis see it, bad habits. Mackie dives right into the story and knocks it out of the part keeping me curious the entire film. The inquisitive mind takes over and with the help of Stephen Hawkings (you will get this later), discovers the world has always been a much bigger place in time.

Dornan as Dennis is a man who just can't seem to find his happy. Grouchy about everything currently and pretty much everything for the last 20 years is irritating - yet his friendship with Steve takes it on the chin. When his daughter mysteriously disappears, it is time for Dennis to do some life examination of his own. Dornan plays the moments of shocks with the same reactions I would have - once you pick up your jaw from the floor it is time to do something about a situation.

Ioannides as Brianna starts the film having something to say but no time to say it and pulling away from her parents. By the end, she is pretty happy to see an adult! Aselton as Tara is devastated when her daughter is missing and the cracks in the marriage to Dennis begin to show.

Other cast include, Bill Oberst Jr. as The Looter, Martin Bradford as Bob, Devyn Tyler as Danika, Betsy Hold as Leah and Shane Brady as Travis.

Well Go USA Entertainment is a theatrical and home entertainment company specializing in bringing the best Action, Genre and Independent films from around the world to North American markets. As a leader in independent film distribution, Well Go USA Entertainment’s titles can be seen across a variety of platforms including theatrical, digital, subscription and cable VOD, packaged media and broadcast television. Well Go USA Entertainment currently releases three to five films per month. To see more please visit www.wellgousa.com.

SYCHRONIC messes with relationships, friendships, time, synthetics and understanding that all four of these do not go very well together. What I really like about the story is the story of facing life and accepting that sometimes friends are going to make you nuts. That part of the story is believable.

For the twists that SYNCRONIC brings about time, it is so fascinating to watch Steve work out the problems step by step. Where he goes and what he experiences is life altering for him in so many ways.

The final scenes of the film were enough to get me a little choked up because of the sacrifices people are willing to make for one another. The film does not rely on heavy CGI but instead focuses on the characters, be they main or a few moments on screen, and their place in the story.

All of this is wrapped up in a mystery that Steve finds frightening and yet satisfying in his life. He may know fear in what he finds but that does not stop him from continuing to search for Brianna, even knowing the consequences. The poster for the film is a perfect visual description of the film as well. 

In the end - one pill and seven minutes to see another look at time!


THE PLACE OF NO WORDS is a Stunning Place

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from writer/director Mark Webber and Gravitas Ventures is a touching tale when a boy asks a simple question to create THE PLACE OF NO WORDS.

Three-year-old Bodhi (Bodhi Palmer) deals with the question of 'where do we go when we die?' with parents Mark (Mark Webber) and Teresa (Teresa Palmer). In the real world there is something wrong with Dad and Mom tries to share her feelings, but she is not even sure what those are. Trying to find a way to explain to Bodhi about death becomes difficult for both parents.

That is where the creative story comes in as a young boy and his father are on a boat in the ocean looking for Freeka. Once on land they watch the sunset as their journey really beings. They climb higher and higher preparing to defend themselves from anything that comes across their path.

In the fantasy, a winged fairy takes father and son to The Forest where they listen to the story of the Grumblers with all the other fairies. When the times comes, each of the fairies wish the warriors well on their continued journey filled with unexpected finds. The boy soon discovers that he has a bit of magic within him and the witch of the forest knows it too. In reality, Mark is getting sicker and sicker with Bodhi not wanting to believe that his father is ill at all.

Trying to get home, they meet the vicious Grumblers who are not quite so vicious after all! All of this to allow Bodhi to find Freeka, which is something he always had from the very beginning.

Other cast include Anna Schafer, Phoebe Tonkin, Sarah Wright, Nicole Berger and Eric Olsen.

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.

THE PLACE OF NO WORDS is a journey of a boy and his father filled with questions, deep thought, beauty and the relationship between the two. In both worlds they are warriors and in both worlds, they love one another.

The reality is harsh as the parents try and find a way to explain death while not letting it overpower the time that they have together. It is clear that Bodhi's father is conflicted, and it is at time so emotional to watch (as I'm sure any parent would react) yet it is his young son that keeps him in the present moments.

The haunting beauty comes from the adventure that the 'Viking' father and son have on their epic journey to find Freeka. Along the way they meet fairies, Grumbles, see magic, colorful forests, a different kind of swamp and so much more. It is such an extraordinary story and told in a way that is unique, thought provoking, heart wrenching and yet stunningly beautiful.

The director has kept things simple with the cinematography which allowed me, at least, to focus on the story and not get mired down by anything else. You could almost say Webber went right for the heart strings and played us like Itzhak Perlman for ninety-five minutes. I did not mind in the slightest and neither will anyone else.

In the end - one world cannot exist without the other.

BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM: 
Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

Jeri Jacquin

He's back! Coming Exclusively to Amazon Prime Video from director Jason Woliner is another chapter in this journalist’s life with BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM.

Borat Sagdiyev (Sasha Baron Cohen) has been spending a little time in prison in Kazakhstan since his last trip to the United States. After losing his home, livestock and sons, all he has left is his non-male daughter Tutar (Maria Bakalova). Now, the leader is asking Borat to once again go to America and offer a monkey to bribe Donald Trump to gain favor.

Arriving, Borat waits for the arrival of the monkey only to find that daughter Tutar is in the crate. Realizing he'll be killed because of the failed mission; he offers up his daughter as an alternative gift.

Getting a phone and attempting to make over daughter Tutar to make her more appealing, his mission is to find Vice President Mike Pence and give him the gift. When the plan runs into a problem, they go through the rolodex of Trump men to find someone closer to him. Borat chooses someone very close to Trump - Rudy Giuliani.

With that choice comes more changes for Tutar but when Borat leaves her with a babysitter, she gets a lesson in what her father has taught her and what is true in the world. That is when Tutar decides she is going to go out into the world and become a journalist without her father and she starts by getting an interview with - Rudy Giuliani.

Feeling a bit of never-before-felt emotion, he now realizes that he does not want his daughter to follow the rules of Kazakstan and be happy. Now, Tutar is in a room with Giuliani and Borat breaks in to let her know that she does not need to be a gift to anyone.

They are definetly sheered from the same sheep!

Cohen as Borat puts on the suit once again and find the people who set our teeth on edge yet make us laugh at the same time. Pushing the limits as Cohen has always tended to do, he meets the most unusual people (and I am not sure that is a good thing but can’t be judgmental about it right? RIGHT?) who guide him on a path of chaos. Nice to see he has not lost his sense of twisted humor because gawd knows we all could use a bit of that right now. 

Bakalova as Tutar is the young woman who believes everything her father, and the book, says. Once she gets to meet Jeanise, well, Borat is in for rebellion like he is never seen before. Bakalova is funny, charming, sweet and does some things that are going to give me nightmares for a little while but nothing traumatic. If I can sit through slasher films, I cannot complain. I mean I could but…

Amazon Prime offers television shows and original content included in its Amazon Prime subscription. Original programs such as CARNIVAL ROW, THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE, and THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL are hit shows. Coming soon is the next series with GOLIATH starring Billy Bob Thornton and it promises to another successful and intense series.

BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan is going to send anyone who watches it into different types of tizzy. There are going to be those that are completely outraged (which is going to be kind of fun to read about), those that just can’t take that kind of humor (which is going to be kind of fun to read about) and those who take it all in whether they are outraged, grossed out, tripped up, and filled with uncomfortable laughter that turns into fall on the floor teary eyed laughs.

I tend to be the later since I am all for any kind of crazy right now as most people are. Cohen just lets Borat loose and the mayhem ensues quickly. Do we really expect anything less? Of course, I am very vague in my description of the film because I want each and every jaw drop, I had to be experienced freely. Why should I be the only one?

From creating songs for a Trump rally to going to a southern cotillion which, to be fair, I have always loved, Cohen checks in on anyone who will be offended by Borat. That being said, I think his time with the fax-man is hilarious. Seriously, who would send faxes like that and not stop to question it? Sweet guy though!

Now, there is a lot of talk about the scene where Tutar interviews Rudy Giuliani and, it must be said, it is so disturbing on the part of this supposed pillar of the political and legal community. From the moment Tutar sits down I am almost immediately creeped out. However, it is what happened after the interview that has my head spinning. Once more see it I think Giuliani has got some serious explaining to do and I’ll be listening.

BORAT SUBSEQUENT MOVIEFILM is not going to be for everyone and its going to definetly be zoom-meeting conversation. It would be even more hilarious if it weren’t so sadly apparent that this country needs to find itself again because the people in it have become so horribly lost. 

Okay, blubbering over our ‘oh poor is us’, the film has some fantastic moments and right now I’m pretty okay with having a few fantastic moments. 

In the end - a legend returns!


Life is Not Easy Unless You’re a KAJILLIONAIRE

Jeri Jacquin

Coming from writer/director Miranda July and Focus Features comes the extraordinary story of one woman’s journey to being a KAJILLIONAIRE.

Old Dolio (Evan Rachel Wood) lives with her mother Theresa (Debra Winger) and father Robert (Richard Jenkins) in a storefront building. During the day they spend their time finding ways to earn a few dollars and food while avoiding their landlord Stovik (Mark Ivanir). From a quick trip to New York to shady dealings, they have managed to carve a life out for themselves.

But Old Dolio is a little different staying a bit withdrawn, does not trust anyone and not too many helpful social skills. One day they meet Melanie (Gina Rodriguez) who seems to understand the family. Robert and Theresa take to Melanie quickly and enjoy her company, especially when she comes up with a plan to be a part of another – well, hustle.

At first Old Dolio is not thrilled with having Melanie around but slowly she becomes curious about the girl. She finally blows up at her parents letting them know she is tired of not being recognized with such things as birthdays etc. Going to Melanie’s house, Old Dolio is introduced to what goes on in the real world and is delighted. 

Giving her parents one more chance to make her feel as if she is important to them, both Old Dolio and Melanie believe everyone deserves a second chance, or third chance…or fourth chance.

Wood as Old Dolio is delightful, unknowingly funny, sweet, and yet full of curiosity and even righteous anger. Hiding behind her clothes and hair, Old Dolio cannot hide the fact that she is also quite intelligent in the world of hustling. Watching this character bloom is endearing, charming and you want to scoop her up and show her the world. That is how invested you can become following her journey. Well done Ms. Wood.

Rodriguez as Melanie is a hustler in her own way but not as much of an expert as her new friends. She has a conscience and also sees something in Old Dolio that melts her heart and brings out a protective feeling that Old Dolio has never known. Rodriguez is sweet, smart and gives her character a little soul.

Jenkins as Robert lives in his own little world that really does not include his wife and daughter. It is almost as if he sees them more as employees than family. Jenkins has the most amazing way of portraying his characters with a sense of innocence in the midst of being a huge hustler. Winger as Theresa lets her husband do as he will and throws in her opinion here and there. Once confronted by Old Dolio, Winger’s reaction is one I did not expect and yet I did which adds to the mixture of feelings about what it takes to be a hustling mom.

Shout out to Ivanir as Stovik cracks me up. He is constantly there to try and get the rent from his tenants, but it is his moments of emotion that come out of no where that are confusing and filled with bubbles (you will see!). It is hard to run a business and be a landlord but Stovik adds a little something more. 

Other cast include Patricia Belcher as Althea, Diana Riva as Farida, Da’Vine Randolph as Jenny and Rachel Redleaf as Kelli.

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

KAJILLIONAIRE is a film about the open dysfunction of this particular family but added in that is hustle - both physical and emotional. These characters bounce off one another and they are so unsure of it all that it is easy to see how they are taken in by their own mess. 

What this film does bring is the journey of Old Dolio, a young girl that is basically living in a bubble to seeing her discover what it is to trust someone and discovering that her presence in the universe has value – without the hustle. The relationship between Old Dolio and Melanie bring so much hope and delight so its essential to congratulate Wood and Rodriguez for their amazing work.

This film is filled with creativity, originality and everything in between. Writer/director July has brought a film that I will be hollering for people to see for quite a while. Well done Ms. July, well done.

In the end – know your worth!

Prepare for the Journey and the HAUNTING OF THE MARY CELESTE

Jeri Jacquin

Coming from director Shana Betz and Vertical Entertainment comes a story that leaves the passengers nowhere to go when investigating the HAUNTING OF THE MARY CELESTE.

Rachel (Emily Swallow) is on a research mission, to discover what happened to the passengers of the ship Mary Celeste. Haunted by her own beliefs because of a tragedy she still cannot come to grips with, Rachel hires a ship to take them to the last know coordinates of the ship.

The captain hired to take them leaves Rachel, assistants Grant (Dominic DeVore) and Cassandra (Alice Hunter) abandoned on the dock. Seeing another ship, Rachel asks Captain Tulls (Richard Roundtree) if he wants the job. Convincing him with a wad of cash, Tulls and his crewmate Aldo (Pierre Adele) take them all where they want to go.

As they get closer, strange things begin to happen that even the non-believer Captain Tulls cannot ignore, although he does quite well. Rachel believes there is a rift between this world and where the passengers of the Mary Celeste are.

Suddenly the boat ceases to function and Aldo investigates something he hears. Radioing for help, Rachel convinces Tulls that they only have a certain amount of time to prove her theory and that, along with more money keeps them in an ever-growing fog.

Finally, Rachel must come to terms with her past, what she believes and what is happening to everyone on the boat before it is too late for them all!

Swallow as Rachel is having a difficult time with mixing her own tragedy with that of the passengers aboard the Mary Celeste. Along with her equipment, proving the rift is the goal and nothing is going to stop her. Swallow gives us a character that is willing to do anything to finally get the answers to the one question she carries 'is there a connection between her and the Mary Celeste'?

Roundtree as Tulls is a straightforward, no bull kind of sea captain. Convincing him to take the job seemed difficult, but a wad of cash can make even a grumpy captain take notice. He does not believe in the rift or in what Rachel is doing but a job is a job - until it isn't. It is nice to see Roundtree on screen again and in a film that gives him both gruffness and shock carrying his role well.

DeVore as Grant believes in what Rachel is doing but I suspect there is more than a researcher’s mode in this. Following the trail along with Rachel, he does believe but there is a difference between believing a thing and seeing for one's self. Hunter as Cassandra is just a piece of work pure and simple. She does not seem to be along for the true research but more for class credit. Adele as Aldo is not happy about this job from the get-go, with plenty of reason to be.

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

In December 1872, the vessel Mary Celeste captained by Benjamin Briggs never arrived at its destination in Italy. Captain Morehouse of the Dei Gratia boarded the ship only to discover charts thrown around, the crew's quarters intact, a pump disassembled, one lifeboat missing and all cargo along with supplies still intact. Thus, began a mystery that still is with us today.

Which brings us to HAUNTING OF THE MARY CELESTE and the opportunity to suggest the rift theory. Director Betz takes us into a realm of fog, disbelief, strange happenings and what could happen between this world and the rift.

This is the kind of film that I love in this genre. It is not full of gore but instead spooks, twists, creaking, fog and sounds from the 'other side' as it were. The story being told is best seen in a dark room with a sound bar attached to your television to get the awesome creepy affect. Did I mention a tub of popcorn would be an added bonus? Well, it would because the yarn being woven for us is tub worthy.

In the end - fear lies beneath!

12-HOUR SHIFT is a Tale of Two Kidneys

Jeri Jacquin

Coming from writer/director Brea Grant and Magnet Releasing is one of the finest looks at dark humor and horror found on a 12-HOUR SHIFT.

It is around 1999 and Mandy (Angela Bettis) is a disgruntled and drug addicted nurse at a local hospital. Preparing for her 12-hour shift, even co-worker Karen (Nikea Gamby-Turner) sends Mandy off to pop a little lift in the back to get through it all. Also on shift that she can all but guarantee will annoy her is Dorothy (Tara Perry) and Janet (Brooke Sequin).

But Mandy has something else on the side when she meets Regina (Chloe Franworth) out on the back platform. When Regina opens her cooler, Mandy places in organs while listening to cousin-only-by-marriage babble away. Heading back inside, it is clear that there is some body part selling going on at this particular hospital and many people are involved. 

When Regina arrives at her destination, Nick (Mick Foley) opens the cooler to find two drinks and no kidneys. Making it clear that he would be happy to take hers, Regina promises to go find the kidney and return. Given a short amount of time to make that happen, she panics running back to the hospital to tell Mandy she needs another kidney.

Mandy is in no mood for her and the notorious murderer Jefferson (David Arquette) has been brought in and Mr. Kent (Tom DeTrinis) will not stop complaining. So, Regina decides to take it upon herself to grab a kidney on her own not knowing Mandy is trying to help. 

People are being knocked right and left, there is screaming, loads of blood everywhere, a murderer who doesn’t seem the slightest bit interested in returning to prison, cops charming nurses, Nick has sent Mikey (Dusty Warren) in with a gun, and a partner in crime who has had just about enough of all this nonsense.

Join Mandy to see how to survive your next 12-hour shift!

Bettis as Mandy is outrageous, stunning and brilliant and I actually would not mind having her as my next nurse. Perhaps it has something to do with her ability to juggle insanity…yes, but no. Maybe it has something to do with her ability to not take a kidney from Regina without anesthetic…yes, but no. It is that she portrays a character that I would hang out with any day of the week! There are moments where she says nothing but has that look and all I could think was, “I understand you girl, truly I do”. Bettis is just awesome and I loved every moment she is on screen.

Franworth as Regina had me wanting to take drugs! Oh-my-gawd what a nitwit but then again that is the point of the film. We let Bettis show us the medicinal side of insanity and Regina needs absolutely no drugs whatsoever, she is nuts on a whole other playing field. What does that translate to? Frakken good job girl, that’s what! Your portrayal brought me to Mandy’s level of wanting to knock Regina the frak out and take out her kidneys with an ice cream scoop. Oh, sorry, too dark?

Gamby-Turner as Karen is keeping it all together by the grace of God, who she readily calls upon when having a snack break. She does not react as one would expect, and I am okay with that. For me she is actually the stable one out of them all and does it with a smooth coolness. Perry as Dorothy is keeping everything ship shape which is hard to do when all the players keep changing. 

Warren as Mikey is sent to the hospital looking for Regina and the kidney. When she sucks him into her plan, poor guy, things go as everything does where Regina is concerned – cockeyed. Sequin as Janet wants to keep her space in the pecking order of nurses and when she thinks Regina is trying to overlap things get ugly. Shout out to DeTrinis as Mr. Kent, I think I have run into that guy in an ER once or twice – minus his soda machine findings. 

Now, lets get to Arquette! All pumped up and ready to take a few lives with ease, he does not have many lines but when he is on screen, he cracks me up when the screaming and running start. It is a small part, but I got a huge kick out of it cheering on Jefferson!

Other cast include Kit Williamson as Officer Myers, Dustin Warren as Mikey, Thomas Hobson as Derrick, Julianne Dowler as Cathy, Briana Lane as Cheryl, Taylor Aldsen as Shawna and Scott Dean as Efron. 

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.

12-HOUR SHIFT is just an outstanding piece of filmmaking for so many reasons so bear with me while my fangirl comes out and gets giggly. I am a horror fan, but I don’t need tons of body ripping and screaming – this film is the horror I love. I get to laugh, jump a few times and scream at the screen things like, “oh please kill her”, “are you serious?”, “holy sh@t I wasn’t expecting that!”.  

The cast is absolute perfection from Mandy’s intolerance of her fellow employees (minus Karen) to calmness in finding donors is flawless, Regina’s outright irritating reasonings for everything to Officer Meyers giving off his best charm – there isn’t one person out of place.

The fact that Grant came up with the amazing originality of this film gives me hope that we can all see more of her work in the future. This film is so much fun that I will be seeing it again and again and will add it to my Horror Halloween list of must-see’s – just because it is so brilliant. 

David Arquette is one of the producers of the film along with his wife making it a horror-family affair. The music in the film is from the band Glass as well. 

In the end – pull your shift together!

Senior Year is More Than a Bit SPONTANEOUS
Out now in select theaters and available on Premium Video on Demand and for Digital Purchase

Jeri Jacquin

Coming from writer/director Brian Duffield and Paramount Pictures is the story of the last year of high school, friendship, love and a weirdly a bit SPONTANEOUS.

The senior year is finally hear for Mara Carlyle (Katherine Langford) and bestie Tess (Hayley Law). Classes are in full swing and lessons are getting under way when suddenly - a classmate - well, literally explodes. The, um, leftovers have covered the room and the kids are sent screaming into the halls.

Trying to understand what has happened, each of the students is questioned and then released. Mara goes home and does what any good teenager would do - get on with life. Returning back to school and party life isn't going exactly as planned either as more kids are popping.

FBI Agent Rosetti (Yvonne Orji) talks with the kids to see if they know anything and seems to take a liking to Mara. In the meantime, Dylan (Charlie Plummer) decides to finally come clean about his long-time feelings for Mara. They have the same humor and fun side but also realize that "popping" adds a whole new level to their relationship.

Ending up in quarantine, the group tries to pass the time the best way they can as their families wait outside for news of a cure for their kids. Will they find a cure? Will love endure? Will life return to normal?

Do not pop until you find out!

Langford as Mara is witty, has great comedic timing and has the last laugh in a dig at Trump (of course I laughed myself silly). Filled with smarts and movie one liners, Langford gives her character everything crazy about being a teenager that is unsure of the future but with one more unexpected twist.

Plummer is having one heck of a year with SPONTANEOUS and the film WORDS ON BATHROOM WALLS. In both films he plays a very witty, intelligent and kindhearted teen but one is afraid of popping and the other has health issues but both are in love and that makes all the difference. There is a calming in Plummer's character choices and that says something about the roles we will see in the future. I would hate (and love) to see what he can do with a character that isn't so charming.

McNulty as Tess is the perfect yin to Mara's yang because when Mara needs it most, it is Tess that says exactly what needs to be said in exactly the way Tess dishes it out. Orji as Agent Rosetti wants to help but having kids explode for no reason does not exactly leave much room for finding evidence.

Other cast include Piper Perabo as Angela, Chelah Horsdal as Denise, Rob Huebel as Charlie, Kaitlyn Bernard as Sky, Laine MacNeil as Jenna, Doralynn Mui as Cranberry, and Mellany Barros as Katelyn.

Paramount Pictures is the longest operating and remaining major studio in Hollywood that has been on the ground floor of every major development in film. From the advent of motion pictures, to the emergence of television, through the digital revolution, Paramount Pictures has been there. During our 100-year history, we have served as the production site for thousands of notable movies and television shows. For more please visit www.paramountstudios.com.

SPONTANEOUS is a dark, light, funny, guilty laughing film about the problems of being a teen with the added fear of popping. There is humor that is quick and, in some cases, a double smack of quickness that stays one step ahead of the unfortunate events.

This takes teen angst movies to the next level and I had such fun watching it. The film never lets you settle on one emotion before it jerks you into the next which can be a tad unsettling but in a really good and original way.

In the midst of the world’s craziness right now, SPONTANEOUS gives us a reason to laugh, remember and accept that in a world where you think you've seen it all - you haven't.

In the end - who knew senior year could be so…well, spontaneous!

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!