Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres and HBO MAX from director Simon McQuoid and New Line Cinema is the story of two worlds locked in MORTAL KOMBAT.

Hanzo Hasashi (Hiroyuki Sanada) is enjoying the life with his wife and family until Bi-Han arrives with assassins with one goal - to destroy the Hasashi bloodline. After the fight, Bi-Han does not realize he did not destroy the bloodline as Lord Raiden (Tadanonu Asano) discovers Hasashi's infant daughter.

Now the Outworld is gearing up to win the tenth tournament of Mortal Kombat and with the final win they take the Earthrealm. Led by Shang Tsung (Chin Han), he sends his own fighters led by Bi-Han who now calls himself Sub-Zero (Joe Taslim), to destroy any chance the Earthrealm has of competing.

Cole Young (Lewis Tan) is an MMA fighter who is not doing so well but Is happy with wife Alison (Laura Brent) and daughter Emily (Matilda Kimber). When Major Jax Briggs (Mehcad Brooks) shows up to compare tattoos with Cole, Sub-Zero makes himself known. Making sure his family is safe, Cole goes to find Sonya Blade (Jessica McNamee) to understand what is happening to him and who is trying to kill him.

Sonya tries to explain things to Cole, but she has her own problems with a smart mouthed Kano (Josh Lawson). Sonya beieves they will find answers at Raiden's temple and Kano agrees to take them there. Liu Kang (Ludi Lin) and Kung Lao (Max Huang) are glad to see them all because there is really no time left to train and find their Arcana's before Shang Tsung attacks.

Now, the group must face Sub-Zero, Mileena (Sisi Stringer), Reiko (Nathan Jones), Nitara (Mel Jarnson), Goro (Angus Sampson), and Kabal (Damon Herriman) but it is Cole who will learn where his visions are coming from.

Tran as Cole is a man who once had a memorable fighting career but fallen on hard times. Taking fights as he got them, the arrival of Jax is about to change everything. Protecting his family, he goes as far away as possible to find answers. Tran gives us a character who does not believe in himself and cannot focus on anything but his family.

McNamee as Blade is a woman who wants answers and to be a part of Mortal Kombat. Friends with Jax, she knows what it will take to be a part of the elite and chosen group. Brooks as Jax knows that Cole needs to be a part of the fight and throws himself to Sub-Zero to protect him. Lawson as Kano, a loud foul-mouthed mercenary who cares for no one but himself and clearly cannot be trusted.

Lin as Kang greets the new arrivals to the temple but knows time is not on their side to train for Mortal Kombat. Huang as Lao is smooth and dangerously skilled and tries to help the new recruits find their Arcana.

Taslim as Bi-Han is ruthless and cold hearted literally as his nature changed from the time of Hasashi to the present time. Hang as Tsung is a soccerer who has only one thing in mind, duel world domination.

Shout out to Sanada as Hanzo Hasahi who is such an amazing actor to watch. I believe the first time I saw him was in the film THE LAST SAMURI and continue to follow his work. Here he once again shows his skills both verbally and physically.

New Line Cinema brings amazing films such as THE LORD OF THE RINGS, THE MASK, ELF and the disturbingly epic IT. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.warnerbros.com.

HBO Home Entertainment brings critically acclaimed and groundbreaking programming throughout the world. Releases include the global hit Game of Thrones, True Detective, Girls, The Sopranos, Sex and the City, True Blood, The Wire and Entourage. The company's catalog contains hundreds of titles including Big Little Lies and Band of Brothers. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.hbo.com.

MORTAL KOMBAT gives all the fans of the genre something to enjoy on a Friday night. For my grown sons, it is reminiscent of their time with friends on a Friday night playing the Mortal Kombat video game into the wee hours of the morning. To this day they still use terms and references from all of it. The only reason I know anything about Mortal Kombat is because of them!

The films story is extremely fast paced and violent to be sure. Anyone who has played the game will not be surprised at what they see but it is important to be aware of it. The costumes and special effects are very cool which adds a level to the telling.

Something tells me there is more to the story waiting to be told as Tsung threatens that he will return with an army!

COMING 2 AMERICAN Hits Prime Streaming

Jeri Jacquin

Currently streaming on Amazon’s service Prime from director Craig Brewer is the long-awaited sequel to the 1988 COMING TO AMERICA film with COMING 2 AMERICA.

Prince Akeem (Eddie Murphy) is about to become King of Zamunda all while celebrating his 30th anniversary to Lisa McDowell (Shari Headley). Visiting his father King Jafee Joffer (James Earl Jones) he learns that he has a son when he visited America to find his bride.

Semmi (Arsenio Hall) recalls to Akeem what happened the night they went clubbing together. This news has a double-edged sword as Akeem is thrilled to have a son because in Zamunda, only a male heir sits on the throne and on the other edge is telling wife Lisa and daughter Meeka (Kiki Layne) who wants to sit on the throne.

Running to American once again, Akeem and Semmi find Lavelle (Jermaine Fowler) and his mother Mary (Leslie Jones) along with Uncle Reem (Tracy Morgan). Explaining the situation, Lavelle and Mary return to Zamunda and are blown away by what they see.

Someone who is not happy about it all is General Izzi (Wesley Snipes) who decides the only way to get his foot in the palace door is by offering his daughter Bopoto (Teyana Taylor) to the new Prince Lavelle. That is when Lavelle finds out that he must past a few tests before given the title and as much as Meeka is upset, she helps her new-found brother. 

Lavelle finds a special friendship in Mirembe (Nomzamo Mbatha) and when he over hears Akeem and Izzi making plans, he grabs his friend, mother and uncle and heads home to America. The new king follows only to discover that plans for his son are about to change and comes to realize that the world has changed and perhaps its time for a King to change as well.

Murphy as Akeem seems to have lost a little but of his 1988 innocent swagger but definetly still love his wife and three daughters. When the time comes for him to be King, he seems to have forgotten his youthful beliefs and instead seems to be embracing tradition. Murphy has his amusing moments that will win fans over having not seen Murphy in a few years.

Fowler as Lavelle comes to Zamunda to see a life he could never have imagined for himself. Trying to bring a little “America” to the palace, he seems to annoy people more than endear them. One such person annoyed is Layne as Meeka who believes she should sit on the throne after her father and not a ‘brother’ who does not know one thing about the country or how to be a king. 

Hall as Semmi is still up to his old tricks but now he has a little bit of competition when Uncle Reem shows up to put him in his royal place. Hall also has his moments of humor and still a bit of a hound. Morgan as Uncle Reem gets a chance to stand up for his nephew and take on a royal family as only he can. I think the scenes between Morgan and Hall are the best of these two in the film. 
Snipes as Izzi gets a chance to flex his comedic muscles and even show his dance moves as the General who wants to be part of the royals by marriage either his son to the royal daughter or his daughter to a royal and future king. Jones as Mary is a Mom who is happy to embrace the life in Zamunda in her own unique way and seems to get on the nerves of Lisa (Shari Headley). Both women end up bringing some of the most hilarious scenes when they get past the realizations of Lavelle.

Mbatha as Nomzamo is charming, sweet, endearing and probably the only sane person in the film. She has no motive or desires to be part of royalty but instead, just wants to have a business of her own. 

Shout out to James Earl Jones as King Jafee Joffer because I could not imagine anyone else wearing the crown of Zamunda and still be able to chew Akeem out. Well done sir, well done!

Other cast include John Amos as Cleo McDowell, Vanessa Calloway as Imani Izzi, Paul Bates as Oha, Bella Murphy as Omma, Akiley Love as Tinashe, Louie Anderson as Maurice, Trevor Noah as Totasi Bibinyana, Luenell as Livia and Morgan Freeman as Morgan Freeman.  

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.

COMING 2 AMERICA has taken its time to come to the screen (even if it is smaller than we would have liked) and it is filled with flashbacks, familiar faces and stretched out comedy. I have to say that I do not think a real king would take someone’s word about the parentage of a child but then again it is Murphy’s way of storytelling I suppose.  

Happy to see the film take place in the backwards Zamunda, I mean seriously? No woman on the throne and no women owned businesses? What happened to you Akeem? You used to be so cool but I guess since you got Lisa that’s as far as your aspirations of royal went. Thank goodness for Meeka to be a constant reminder that a strong young woman can hold her ground.

Other than those few opinionated points, COMING 2 AMERICA did the smart thing by being released on Prime. It made it possible for a wider audience to see the film because we still live in a world where taking the whole family to the theatre is still kind of costly, streaming means the WHOLE family can enjoy in the comfort of home. 

So, gather up your own royal family and take a trip to Zamunda without ever leaving the couch and prepare to giggle because we all need that!

In the end – a sequel is in the heir!

Netflix Uncovers with THE DIG

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on Netflix from director Simon Stone is a story based on true events when two people believe in everything under THE DIG.

Edith Pretty (Carey Mulligan) is a widow with young son Robert (Archie Barnes) living on the large Sutton Hoo estate in 1938 right before the war. Edith has noticed mounds scattered in a far-off field on the property and calls in Basil Brown (Ralph Fiennes) to come and give his opinion as to what they might be. Brown is a man who has spent his life excavating being a self-taught archaeologist and receiving little notice for his work.

Immediately he begins work and Edith brings in her cousin Rory (Johnny Flynn) to help with the dig and take pictures of what is uncovered. The word gets out and Charles Phillips (Ken Stott) shows up with takes the work away from Brown. Phillips brings in John (Eamon Farren), Stuart Piggott (Ben Chaplin) and wife Peggy (Lily James) to work on the dig putting Brown on dirt detail.

Furious over his work being trampled on, Brown goes to Edith only to discover that she does not look well and not up to an argument. Deciding he can not longer be a part of what is happening, he packs up and goes home to wife May (Monica Dolan). It is young Robert who reminds Brown of a promise and May who remind him of why he has spent years digging for history.

Each day that they dig and uncover the biggest find as Edith makes sure the museum understand who it all belongs to. The war looms constantly until it can no longer be ignored. Now Brown must do what he can to save the site from being destroyed by the war to come.

Mulligan as Edith is a fragile woman, but she has an insight regarding the mounds on her property. Asking Brown to come investigate, Mulligan brings dignity and grace to her character as well as a belief that there is something wonderful waiting to be found and wants to be a part of it from start to finish. The on-screen chemistry between Mulligan and Fiennes is extraordinary.

Fiennes as Brown is a man of few words and a lot of action. From the moment the shovel hits the dirt, Fiennes knows he is looking for something special. Getting to know Edith and Robert makes his work more enjoyable because they shared this experience one shovel at a time. Fiennes’ character is a man of dedication but also someone who believes the past is meant to be found by a chosen few.

James as Peggy is a woman who is chosen to help with the excavation more because of her weight and being Piggott’s wife than anything else. Chaplin as Piggott has issues of his own that are affecting his marriage. Flynn as Rory is a wonderful family member who becomes just as excited about the dig as Edith and helps document it.

Barnes as young Robert is dealing with the death of a father, the illness of a mother and the responsibility he feels for it all. The excavation gives him an adventure of a lifetime. Dolan as May understands her husband and although he spends a lot of time away on digs, she supports everything he does and Dolan is so darn cute.

Other cast include Danny Webb as John Grateley, Robert Wilfort as Billy Lyons, James Dryden as George Spooner, Joe Hurst as John Jacobs, Paul Ready as James Moir, Peter McDonald as Guy Maynard, Ellie Piercy as Mrs. Lyons, Bronwyn James as Ellen McKenzie and Monica Dolan as May Brown. 

Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with over 158 million paid memberships in over 190 countries. Enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films, Netflix is across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere and on any internet-connected screen. For more information, please visit www.netflix.com.

THE DIG is an amazing story of the historical excavation of Sutton Hoo in 1938 and based on the 2007 novel The Dig by John Preston. The mounds, once excavated, were dated from the 6th to 7th centuries. It is believed that King Raedwald of East Anglia was buried with the ship in the early Anglo-Saxon era of time which is present day Norfolk or Suffolk. 

Beautiful treasures were unearthed at Sutton Hoo with metalworks, gold, shield and sword. The area of Sutton Hoo has buried a rich history and with more mounds waiting to be unearthed. Bringing Edith Pretty and Basil Brown to the forefront of the story is not only about time but means there is more history to be shared and told.

Mulligan and Fiennes are amazing together in this film because of their characters mutual love of discovery. When they are on screen together, it is something to behold bringing Edith and Basil’s story full circle. Edith for her generosity and Brown’s contribution to discovering and protecting the discovery at Sutton Hoo.

The cinematography is striking and adds to the authenticity of the vision and tale director Stone is trying to convey. As a fan of all-things history, the scenes of the dig are wonderful and believable. This film takes the viewer on an amazing journey of discovery, not just of archeology but of the lives of those who believed in something great than themselves.

In the end – nothing stays lost forever!

Netflix Warms the Heart with PENGUIN BLOOM

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on Netflix from director Glendyn Ivin is the story of when life changes and brings more than one could think possible with PENGUIN BLOOM.

The Bloom family is extremely active, especially Mom Sam Bloom (Naomi Watts). Loving the beach and water, Sam brings that love to her children Noah (Griffin Johnston), Rueben (Felix Cameron) and Oli (Abe Barr). Dad Cameron (Andrew Lincoln) is a photographer that captures all their adventures.

On a trip to Thailand, the Bloom family explores and in one fateful second, Sam is injured. Now the ordinary Bloom household is living a different life. Cameron is handling the boys, a wife who seems to have disconnected from the family and a photography business.. While walking the beach, Noah finds an abandoned Magpie bringing him home. Everyone except Sam has instantly fallen in love with the baby bird given the name ‘Penguin’.

Sam does everything possible to avoid Penguin but the chatty and attention seeking bird makes her presence known. It forces Sam to do things she had been avoiding since the injury. Once Penguin flies, Sam has realizations of her own that it is time to face that her life may be different but the love of her sons and husbands has not changed.

It is also time to know that what happened, happened to them all – until Penguin!

Other cast include Essie Johnston as young Noah, Leanna Walsman as Kylie, Gia Carides as Megan, Rachel House as Gaye and Jacki Weaver as Jan. 

Watts as Sam is a woman who is used to being extremely active in her life. As with serious injuries, there is an emotional component that can be so overwhelming that all else is put aside. Angry, frustrated and full of self-doubt, it takes a bird to bring to the forefront everything that she was avoiding. Watts, even when trying to be upset, is stuffing down what her character is really feeling, and she is so good at it. 

Lincoln as Cameron has made a reappearance which should make all the Rick fans of The Walking Dead. In this role he is struggling to be a supportive father and husband when he really has not had much of an opportunity to grasp the life change either. Constantly looking for ways for Sam to come out of her shell, a bird gives him moments of joy during his own struggle. Lincoln gives his character hope, even if Sam does not recognize it.

Johnston as Noah is handling the adjustment in his own way. Keeping his distance from Sam, there is something deeper going through this young boy that needs to come to the surface. Finding Penguin is Noah’s opportunity to feel something other than what he does. The story of the Bloom’s is told through his eyes and they are full of truth and pain.

And to all the Penguin’s – Gerry, Clipper, Eugene, Maggie May, Mavis, Pew, Pip, Windell, Swoop and Hollywood. I have always adored Magpie’s and each one of you reminded me why.

Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with over 158 million paid memberships in over 190 countries. Enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films, Netflix is across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere and on any internet-connected screen. For more information, please visit www.netflix.com.

PENGUIN BLOOM is a story of a family who never saw a change coming and when faced with it are confused, hiding their feelings and walking on eggshells. The arrival of Penguin the Magpie forces in a loving, if not loud chatty way, to remember what it is like to love unconditionally. This winged creature accepts the Bloom family as her family and does not differentiate.

It is clear that Penguin loves each of the Bloom’s equally and enjoys their company in so many ways. I think the best scene is the cuddling between Sam and Penguin because that is a sign of trust and something Watts character needed to relearn. 

This is a film that teaches the Bloom’s to reinvent themselves, find their happy place again and embrace one another with the love they have all been missing. It’s a great reminder of how important we all are to one another, no matter what our species. 

In the end – this is a family that needs to find its wings!


Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Amazon Prime Video from writer/director Julia Hart and Jordan Horowitz comes the story of when you discover life has been a lie with I’M YOUR WOMAN.

Jean (Rachel Brosnahan) is a housewife living in the 1970’s suburb trying to keep herself occupied. That is until husband Eddie (Bill Heck) brings home a bundle of joy named Harry and Jean finds someone to think of more than herself while Eddie keeps busy with business. That is until one day when a friend barges into the house and tells Jean she must pack a quick bag and leave.

Outside waiting is Cal (Arinze Kene) who quickly takes Jean and Harry away and, on their trip, she is told to contact no one and make friends with no one. She learns that Eddie has done something bad, but Cal will not tell her any more details. All she knows is that he is gone, and people want to hurt her and the baby. 

Settling in a safe house, Jean tries to settle in a little taking care of Harry and trying to cook eggs while waiting for Eddie or Cal. When she hears a knock at the door, it is an elderly woman named Evelyn (Marceline Hugot) who feels the need to help Jean. Feeling a bit more comfortable is short lived when Jean hears someone in the house. Making a call and running to Evelyn’s, she realizes that they have been found.

Cal takes them to a far-off cabin that no one would think to look for. No phones and no other contact, Jean tries again to settle into cabin life. She is shocked when Teri (Marsha Blake), Art (Frankie Faison) and young Paul (De’Mauri Parks) arrive. They too are on the run and became separated from Cal.

Jean begins to feel glad she has some company but both she and Teri are anxious when Cal does not show up. Sharing their stories, both women decide they are going back to find him. Teri turns to Mike (James McMenamin) for help and it soon turns out that everyone is in on finding Eddie. That means they are turning to everyone who knew him and if they do not talk – they die.

As Jean learns more about her husband, the stronger she becomes knowing that Harry needs his mother and not to live with the Eddie’s lies and all she believed to be true. 

Brosnahan as Jean is a young woman with lots of time on her hands and a husband who takes care of her. So much so that when Harry comes into her life, Jean begins to change her own thinking of what is important. Once she is on the run, not a minute goes by that she does not learn something new about the man she is married to. Brosnahan gives her character a believable naivete that makes one feel sorry for her but at the same time her strength of character grows frame by frame. 

Kene as Cal just shows up, says little but lets Jean know that this is no game. There are people who have no problem taking her and Harry’s life because of Eddie. Kene gives us a reserve that feels loaded with information and as it comes out in pieces, we know that he is going to do what ever it takes to take care of Jean and her son. Whether out of care or loyalty, it does not matter because Kene gives it his all and it pays off.

Blake as Teri is like Jean in many respects although a lot wiser in the ways of what is happening to them both. She knows how it works and tries to share with Jean what she can without giving to much away, just in case. Blake gives us the eyes of someone jaded in the life she keeps trying to run away from for the sake of her own young son. 

Heck as Eddie has a short role but the impact of it reverberates through the entire film. Hugot as Evelyn is a sweet neighbor who wants to help, stay home with your lasagna next time Evelyn! Faison as Art knows that Jean isn’t savvy in the ways of the real world and tries to give her a push or two toward what can help her even if it’s even more dangerous.

Shout out to McMenamin as Mike, I mean with enemies like this who needs…wait…what?

Other cast include: James as Justin Charles as Harry and Jarrod DiGiorgi as Jimmy.

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.

I’M YOUR WOMAN is actually a tale of twists, turns, action, emotion and I love it! This is not a fast-paced film which I am fine with because with every bomb that is dropped, I kind of need a minute to absorb the exquisite madness of it all. Having it set in the 70’s, the music, cars, costuming is all just a colorful illusion to the underworld that Jean had no idea about. 

Step by step she is brought in deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole and if her life was not in danger to begin with, it is almost worthless to those looking for Eddie now. The growth of Jean is stunning and fantastic at the same time. Brosnahan takes us on the ride of her life – literally!

In the end – she is going to stop running!

UNCLE FRANK Gives Award Winning Performances

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Amazon Prime from writer/director Alan Ball is a tender and heart-wrenching story of a girl and UNCLE FRANK.

Beth (Sophia Lillis) is a young girl living in the south and that means everything that goes with it. Knowing that she does not quite fit into the Bledsoe family, she is thrilled when her college professor Uncle Frank (Paul Bettany) comes to visit from New York. Spending tie with him, Beth gets a chance to talk about what her family expects of her and what she wants for her life.

During that visit, Uncle Frank makes Beth promise that she will do and be anything she wants to be, no matter what the family says. Taking his advice, she applies for college in New York with the chance to spend more time with Uncle Frank. After Mom Kitty (Judy Greer) and Dad Mike (Steve Zahn) have dinner with Frank in New York to drop off Beth. They feel better knowing that she has family close by.

Jumping into the scene of her new home, Beth’s first moment is crashing a part at her Uncle Frank’s apartment. Opening the door is Wally (Peter Macdissi) who is so happy to see Beth and explains that he is Frank’s roommate. Almost immediately Beth ties one on that leads to a revelation about her Uncle that she had not even considered. 

The next morning, Frank answers the phone to the news that his father Mac (Stephen Root) has passed. He must take the news in considering that there has been a distance between he and Mac through the years. Packing the car, Beth and Frank head back to southern waters. On the way he notices a car following them.

Well Wally is not about to be left out of the picture and joins the group home knowing that Frank has no intention of introducing him to the family. Accepting it, Wally is just happy to be going. On the way Beth notices that Uncle Frank is being sneaky about drinking and realizes that he has a problem. The closer they get to home the more he seems to be trying to numb himself.

Once home, Frank tries to comfort his mother Mammaw (Margo Martindale) along with other family members. As it sometimes is with families, there are secrets, lies, anger, turmoil and the need to come to terms with who they are in each other’s lives.

That is family.

Bettany as Frank Bledsoe is perfection! He takes us through the pain that keeps him away from his family and knowing that distance does not cure anything because it is only geography. The pain for Frank is so deep and he has carried it for so long that its starting to crack him once again. Bettany gives us every moment of that pain knowing that at some point his character is going to fall and never get back up again or rise with the help of those he loves to stand and face the past – we get both. What an amazing performance from a brilliant actor.

Lillis as Beth is equally stunning in her role. This is a young girl who knows that she does not fit into the southern thought or want to follow in the footsteps of the southern woman. Instead, she finds light in her path that Uncle Frank has put before her. Not realizing the pain that paved that road, she is thrilled to be set free. Once she learns the cost, there is nothing she would not do for Frank and Lillis gives us all the emotion that goes with it. Well done, so well done. 

Macdissi as Wally is a dear to me because he reminds me of my brother. The garish, outlandish, outspoken and beloved man who also is a straight shooter. Keeping an eye on Frank isn’t an easy task which has caused Wally pain, yet he isn’t easily swayed from his goal – to keep love right where it belongs, with him. He is funny and absolutely adorable, thanks for reminding me of what I have been missing Macdissi – my brother would have loved you.

Zahn as Mike has issues that are ingrained in his southern upbringing. Closer to his Dad than Frank, he has been battling his own demons that have left a mark on his own family. Zahn is always present in his characters portrayal and I love that about his performances. Greer as Kitty wants what is best for her daughter and is a little more open minded than Mike. Martindale as Mammaw is everything and in this performance, although small, is so very important.

Root as Mac is, to me, the typical southern father who is set in his ways and if you try to go against that you will pay the price. He is a hard man filled with such hostility that it is absolutely gut wrenching to see the scene between the younger Frank and Mac. Root gives every drip of distain in this performance and yet, again, consider the upbringing and the source of it.

Other cast include Lois Smith as Aunt Butch, Cole Doman as young Frank, Jane McNeil as Neva, Caity Brewer as Marsha and Michael Perez as Sam Lassiter. 

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.

UNCLE FRANK is such a stunning film that unwraps family issues that are swimming in truths. Not to punish the south for being the south because I love the south for being quirky and just a tad different in thought. This film is the south that I did not understand as a kid but, as with many of the characters in the film, went along with because it was considered tradition.

The women were modest and discreet, the men were strong and ‘manly’ - both of these things couldn’t have been further from the truth. Behind the coiffed hair and the creased trousers were secrets that most would protect until death – and not always their own. That is what makes this film so important. Yes, it also deals with the pain of being unable to be who you know you are but it is so much more than that. 

Bettany shows us the power of that pain and the life it creates hidden so perfectly that not only do people not notice, but if they do, they don’t - at least not openly. UNCLE FRANK is a story of everyone hiding, not just Frank, everyone lying, not just Frank and everyone being untrue to who they are – just like Frank.

Writer/director Alan Ball knows this all too well, “When I was thirteen years old, my beloved older sister was killed in a car accident; I was inside the car she was driving when it happened. In one horrible instant, my life was irrevocably separated into Before and After. I have spent a lot of time and energy trying to run away from that event – all of it wasted, as I can now see. There are some things that happen to us in life from where there is truly no escape”. 

In the end – no home comes without baggage!

RADIUM GIRLS Have a Story That Needed Telling

Jeri Jacquin

Coming from directors Lydia Dean Pilcher, Ginny Mohler and Juno Films is a story that has finally had an opportunity to be told about the RADIUM GIRLS.

Living in New Jersey in the 20's, Josephine (Abby Quinn) and Bessie (Joey King) are sisters who work at the American Radium factory painting faces on clocks. Bessie was hired when their older sister passed as the family needed the money to survive. Using radium on the clock faces, the technique used had the brushes going into the mouths of all the women working.

Day after day the girls would come in and do their job, but Bessie wants more in her life - like a little fun and excitement. Josephine, being the responsible one, did her best to keep the younger sister from trouble. Yet, slowly, Josephine has begun to feel tired and Bessie has noticed. Convincing her to see Dr. Flint (Neal Huff), Josephine is told that she is fine and then told she has syphilis.

Bessie decides she is going to try and find out for herself what is wrong with Josephine and to her horror is told that the radium used at the clock factory is the culprit. Not getting any help from the company, she starts to look elsewhere when Josephine is in dire condition. Finding Wiley (Cara Seymour), a lawsuit is filed giving those affected the chance to prove that the clock manufacturer is responsible for sickness and death.

It will take time and courage for the truth to be revealed!

Quinn as Josephine is a diligent sister who wants the family to stay together at all costs. With the death of their older sister, she feels even more responsible to keep the money coming in by getting Bessie a job at the same factory. Slowly feeling that something is wrong, she tries to cover it up until it cannot be covered any longer.

King as sister Bessie is a 'wild child' for her time wanting more than just spending time painting faces on a clock. Pushing the limits of what is acceptable for a young lady of the day, all of that comes to a halt when her anger turns toward the doctor who is not helping her sister. King has the ability to show anger in a unique and sometimes scary way. In this film she gets the chance to use that anger for something greater than herself.

Seymour as Wiley immediately knows what is wrong with Josephine and is dedicated to helping Bessie. It takes some thought and courage because women of the time did not question men, Seymour offers up a strong shoulder to make what needs to happen, actually happen.

Other cast include: Scott Shepherd as Mr. Leech, Susan Heyward as Etta, Neal Huff as Dr. Flint, Collin Sordelet as Walt, John Lloyd as Arthur Roeder, Joe Grifasi as Nonno, Brandon Gill as Thomas, Olivia Macklin as Paula, Colby Minifie as Doris, Greg Hildreth as Henry Berry and Veanne Cox as Dr. Katherine Drinker.

Juno Films is a boutique film distributor as founder Elizabeth Sheldon brings over 20 years of experience in documentary and feature films. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.junofilms.com 

RADIUM GIRLS is the story of hundreds of women who worked in factories during World War I. Using radium in the painted dials, this case would be one that change laws. The hideousness of girls lives, and reputations being ruined by company doctors using the excuse that the girls has syphilis to cover up their crime is maddening.

Marie Curie knew a thing or two about radium and what it can do to the body. It is unfortunate the women did not know about her but I am going to bet dollars to ducats that the men did. Even more frightening is realizing that people were told that radium was good for them finding it in water, cosmetics and toothpaste.

I was particularly moved by the film so much so that I started researching the subject myself and was horrified by what I found. That is what a film like RADIUM GIRLS does for the general public, make themselves aware of the history to make sure it never, ever happens again.

RADIUM GIRLS is a lesson and a story that deserves its place on the screen.

In the end - the fight was for them all!

THE MOTHMAN LEGACY Give Us a Deeper Look into the Mystery and the Legend

Jeri Jacquin

Coming from director Seth Breedlove and 1091 bring THE MOTHMAN LEGACY exclusively on Digital Streaming Platforms this week.

It has been over 50 years since the Silver Bridge collapse in Point Pleasant West Virginia as the town is rebuilding. In the town is a museum dedicated to - the Mothman. West Virginia is filled with rivers, bridges and rolling hills. It brings tourists and those looking to see the beauty this state has to offer.

The lands have a generational history, first with the Indians who believed the land was cursed, to the Scotch-Irish people who, being considered outsiders, moved to the base of the Appalachian Mountains. The cultures folklore began to become blended with ghost stories etc. leading to the 60's first speaking of the Mothman. In this documentary, many people remember their experience and share their story of the Mothman.

Thinking what happened at the bridge ended Mothman, nothing could have been further from the truth. The stories were still happening from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and still in West Virginia and Point Pleasant. Cray Barker and Mary Hyre kept the article of sightings coming. John Keel wrote "The Mothman Prophecy's" book. It ignites even more controversy. Screenwriter Richard Hatem took to Keel's book with interest.

Near the area of Point Pleasant is an area known as the T&T and in the 60's the Mothman was called 'The Bird'. The original title of Keel's book was "The Year of the Garuda" but it didn't get past the publishers. The Garuda can be found in many cultures and people believed it was a mutant bird because of the toxic waste in the T&T area.

The stories kept on coming and in the 1990's, the Mothman was still around. Eyewitnesses come to the documentary ready to their experiences. After Keel's book, theories began to emerge from an Indian curse and more thought perhaps it came from another plane of existence. With that more and more sightings are told. Each person truly believes in what they saw and do not hesitate in speaking.

In the 2000's, a website "Mothman Lives" arrives on the internet that talks about the town and the T&T area. Later, the film THE MOTHEMAN PROPHECIES, there is even more light brought to the sightings with intense descriptions and the admittance of fear. Keel was thrilled that the movies was being done. Jeff Wamsley from the website also wrote two books "THE MOTHMAN: The Facts Behind the Legend" and "THE MOTHMAN: Behind the Red Eyes" which led to the museum.

The question asks by many "is the Mothman the Harbinger of doom?" and they compare the like to the Welsh-Irish character "the Banshee" with red hair and red eyes. Is there an ancient secret here? It is not just sightings as some have had more intense experiences. The Mothman museum is doing well and Keel passes in 2009 but saw Point Pleasant one more time.

Screenwriter Hatem says, "I have never experienced anything. I have never seen a UFO or seen a ghost or a weird phone call, none of it. I used to look at people who have experienced this with envy…now I don't feel that way anymore at all" Wamsley's research keeps Point Pleasant front and center with the Mothman Festival that happens each year.

It is a new way to keep an old tradition alive with storytelling. Getting the stories and documenting them for the museum and leaving a legacy for the Mothman and helping the community of Point Pleasant. Now, it is a family affair - as it should be!

1091 Pictures is an American film studio and was founded as the film and television division subsidiary of The Orchard in 2015. The company is best known for the Oscar nominated films LIFE, ANIMATED and CARTEL LAND. Sony divested the company and its catalogue of over 4,000 in 2019, with the company adopting the name 1091 Media. For more please visit www.1091pictures.com

THE MOTHMAN LEGACY is truly an interesting look at what most people do not know about the Mothman itself. The history is presented making it clear that not only do people believe, but there is nothing you can say to them to undo that belief.

The hold fast to their culture of the legends surrounding the people and the places they live. That is what drew me to this documentary from the beginning. My family holds steadfast to the family stories and pictures believing that it is important for the generations to come to understand their roots.

Granted most do not have such legends as the Mothman as my own does about the Banshee, but one thing is for sure - the Mothman has made his mark on those of us who want to know more. Director Breedlove lets the documentary take us places the film did not have time to. I am a total fan of the film

In the end - the forests of the Appalachia hide an ancient secret!

Two Sisters Collide in NOCTURNE

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Prime Video is an Amazon Original from Welcome to Blumhouse and writer/director Zu Quirke is the tale of NOCTURNE.

Sisters Juliet (Sydney Sweeney) and Vivian (Madison Iseman) were once as close as two sisters could possibly be. Then music came into their lives, both playing the piano, outgoing Vivian pulls ahead in achievements as the not-so-outgoing Juliet suffers with it in silence.

Their last year of high school brings a final music performance which is especially difficult as one of their classmates has died. As auditions open up, Vivian plays a piece that wow's the judges and Juliet decides to play the same piece of music. Vivian is clearly upset but wants Juliet to know that it won't upset her for long.

One evening as Juliet is practicing, she is distracted by a light and finds a notebook that belonged to the student who died. Becoming more and more interested in what is in the notebook, Juliet also starts to change.

Almost overnight she takes on everything that she feels has slowed her down, beginning with teacher Roger (John Rothman) calling him out for his inadequacies and replacing him with teacher Mike (A.J. Tannen). She turns on her own sister to make it clear that Juliet no longer is willing to be second best. Juliet also decides it time to follow her heart and go after Max (Jacques Colimon).

Juliet's opportunity finally comes as she prepares to play for a big school audience. What she know is that the notebook has other plans for her.

Sweeney as Juliet is a young girl who just can't seem to find her place. Feeling like she is the failure of the family, her parents try to encourage her. Making things worse is when sister Vivian gets accepted into a prestigious school for music and Juliet does not. That sets things up for issues that are deep and scaring. Sweeney gives us a performance of a young girl in pain and looking for a way through it all. She thinks the notebook offers that!

Iseman as Vivian is the sister who is outgoing, friendly, has lots of people around her and a relationship. Winning achievements and then accepted in the school she wanted, she sees how it hurts Juliet but doesn't seem to care - until she does. The tug of war between Sweeney and Iseman is deep and these two actresses pull it off well.

Colimon as Max is living his high school life to the fullest but sees that something is happening to both the sisters. Caught up in something he doesn't understand is an understatement for sure. Colimon performance of Max is quick and filled with regret and that's all I'm going to say.

Tannen as Mike is a teacher who is watching the twist and turns of Juliet and Vivian's relationship. Discovering that Juliet can actually play, he encourages here in a way that left even my head tilted with question and jaw dropped with intent.

Other cast include Julie Benz as Cassie, Rodney To as Wilkins, JoNell Kennedy as Ms. Gordon, Brandon Keener as David, Miles McKenna as Alexis, Asia Jackson as Abigail, Phillip Wampler as Walter, Stephon Fuller as Joshua, and Ji Eun Hwang as Moira.

Amazon Prime offers television shows and original content included in its Amazon Prime subscription. Original programs such as CARNIVAL ROW, THE MAIN IN THE HIGH CASTLE, and THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL are some of their hit shows. Now, Welcome to Blumhouse is bring their scary offerings to keep us all in the Halloween spirit. 

NOCTURNE is a suspense thriller that isn't full of gore but mainly plans to totally mess with the viewers head. Centered around high school kids, music and the rivalry of sisters (as one would expect of exceptionally piano playing sisters), this scenario is ripe for a mysterious notebook to come into play and muck up the works.

The film is slow paced to tell the story of what is real and what lives in our imaginations just as much as Julie must decide what is real and what is in her imagination. So brush up on your classical music and prepare to be mind bent a little in the process.

In the end - the great reach their potential while the mad surpass it!

It is All About THE LIE

Jeri Jacquin

Coming from Amazon Prime, Welcome to Blumhouse and director Veena Sud is the story of what we tell ourselves and what we believe about THE LIE.

Rebecca (Mireille Enos) is raising daughter Kayla (Joey King) sharing awkward custody with ex-husband Jay (Peter Sarsgaard). That morning he is taking his daughter to dance camp and along the way Kayla sees her friend at the bus stop. Convincing Jay that they are both going to the same place, Brittany (Devery Jacobs) gets in the car.

Going down the road, Brittany wants to stop and use the restroom but all they have is the great outdoors. Waiting for the girls, Jay gets worried and goes looking for them only to hear a scream. Arriving at a bridge, Jay sees Kayla leaning as she tells her father Brittany is gone. In a panic he jumps to the river’s edge and only finds the girls wallet.

Trying to protect Kayla, Jay goes to Rebecca's work and gets her home. There, Kayla recounts to her mother what happened. Trying to keep their daughter safe, they are shocked with Brittany's father Sam (Cas Anvar) knocks on the door thinking that perhaps Kayla knows where his daughter is.

Rebecca and Jay realize that the only way to keep Kayla away from questions is to create questions of their own. Turning to law enforcement, everything begins to unravel and Kayla's attitude toward it all is a bit curious to say the least.

In a last-ditch effort to help their daughter, it is their worse fear come true!

Enos as Rebecca is a doing her best with a career and a teenage daughter that just does not seem to be happy about anything. Trying to have a new relationship plus dealing with an unreliable ex-husband, Enos delivers as we watch her character go from a well-manicured business woman to a falling apart mother.

Sarsgaard as Jay is an ex-husband who is fully aware, he failed, so much so that he allows the things his daughter says and does go without question. Making up for what he considers being a bad father, he is willing to chalk everything up to 'being a teenager' instead of what is really true about his daughter.

King as Kayla is a teen that needs discipline but is to busy playing games. That might be a bit of a personal opinion as I see the character of Kayla as annoying and a kid I would never want to hang around with - but that's just me. King puts in the work to make sure I feel this way for one shocking reason and no, I am not going to tell you what it is. King is growing as an actress and it's one leap after another.

Anvar as Sam is a neighbor who gets caught up in something that he doesn't understand. The constant confrontations with Rebecca, Jay and Kayla is nerve wrecking to watch. Anvar is an actor I enjoy watching because he consistently chooses unexpected roles with very cool results.

Other cast include Devery Jacobs as Brittany, Patti Kim as Detective Kenji Tagata, and Nicholas Lea as Detective Rodney Barnes.

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.

Blumhouse Productions is known for producing horror films such as PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, INSIDIOUS, SINISTER, THE PURGE, THE GIFT, GET OUT, HAPPY DEATH DAY and SPLIT. The films from Blumhouse have become instant classics and they continue to give us something to scream about! See more at www.blumhouse.com

THE LIE is a story of family dysfunction, a teen with serious issues, refusing to do the right thing over and over and having it all come crumbling right in front of the family's eyes. I have a sneaky suspicion that people will be talking to their screens about as much as I did! Not that we want to be involved in it all but that there is this feeling that someone, anyone has to.

Keeping the story simple there is not a lot of scene changes or cgi, instead, THE LIE slowly unravels dedicated to the story each character is trying to tell about themselves and who they really are. Confronting their mistakes towards one another comes only at the expense of a tragedy. The ending is a jaw dropper!

In the end - it was an accident!

Netflix Brings the Documentary AMERICAN MURDER: The Family Next Door

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Netflix from director Jenny Popplewell is a documentary about the tragic truth of one family with AMERICAN MURDER: The Family Next Door. 

In 2013, the world learned about the disappearance of a mother and her two small daughters living in Colorado. What starts out as a local matter within days becomes international but there is a story before it all happened.

Shanann and Chris Watts are a married couple living in Frederick, Colorado and likes to share her life and family on social media. Telling of meeting husband Chris and her battle with lupus. Nikki is her best friend and Shanann shares everything with her about marriage and good times together.

After a business meeting away for a few days, Shanann arrives home in the early morning hours. Nikki tries to call and txt her the next morning but does not get a response. As time goes on, Nikki decides to go to Shanann's house and finds nothing. Calling the police and Chris, everyone is worried, and they finally get inside the house to find - no one.

No Shanann and no children and no signs of break-in or struggle. The police begin to talk with neighbors and time is passing with still no word or clue as to where Shanann and the children have gone.

The days are filled with making flyers, passing them out and the dogs being brought in to the Watts' home and television interviews. Chris is interviewed as well and that's when questions about the relationship between he and Shanann come into play.

The FBI is called in and Nikki has more to say about the relationship between her friend and Chris. This documentary goes back weeks and unravels the Watts' story and where the home life became difficult. Agreeing to a polygraph, it only brings more problems as secrets are revealed.

After four days, the family is told the worst news, but the truth is still far from being told. Social media isn't far behind with their own opinions which aren't always so nice in regard to Shannan. With a confession in hand, the police and courts begin the process exposing lies, secrets and the story of a man who did the unthinkable.

When the truth is finally revealed, it is nothing short of pure horror and the family and friends left behind are shattered.

Director Jenny Popplewell takes the entire 122 minutes and dedicates it all to what makes this story riveting and horrifying. A married couple that seem perfectly happy on the outside to everyone with their lovely daughters and successful careers, is unmasked day by day to its tragic conclusion.

Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with over 158 million paid memberships in over 190 countries. Enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films, Netflix is across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere and on any internet-connected screen. For more information please visit www.netflix.com.

AMERICAN MURDER: The Family Next Door is a tragic look inside the life of a family and the friends who could have never imagined such evil was so close to them. It is a story of a man who kept secrets from his family about how he truly felt about marriage and a family. It is a story about Shanann, a woman who was strong willed, dealing with illness and loving her family.

This is a difficult documentary to watch because no one wants to believe that one human being could be so selfish and destructive. Even when the story is told leading up to the one horrible day, there is no excuse for what happened and no excuse acceptable. What is left are families who live day to day with what the rest of us can walk away from, pain, confusion and never seeing their loved ones again. 

As much as we find ourselves hollering for answers and then justice, director Popplewell manages to avoid judgement but instead focuses on the facts and presenting extraordinary details of led up to the tragic event and the continued tragedy after.

In the end - it is an American tragedy of evil!

Prepare for the Journey AWAY

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on Netflix from director Andrew Hinderaker comes a series that does more than deal with a journey through space but the lives of those who are going AWAY.

Commander Emma Green (Hilary Swank) is leading the crew of second-in-command Ram (Ray Panthaki), Lu (Vivian Wu), Misha (Mark Ivanir) and Kwesi (Ato Essandoh) on their international mission to Mars. Each of them has a story about how they got to be on a ship floating towards the red planet.

Emma leaves behind husband Matt (Josh Charles) who also works for NASA and 15-year-old daughter Alexis (Talitha Bateman). Matt is thrilled that his wife is going to Mars, even if there is a twinge that it is not him. Alexis does not know how to deal with the feelings of anger about the years that will separate them.

Once on the moon, the preparations are made for the larger part of the mission. That all comes into question when Matt suffers a stroke that requires surgery. Emma has to decide whether to continue with the mission and she's already dealing with the mistrust of Mischa and Wu. Trusting in the help of a NASA specialist, Melissa Ramirez (Monique Curnen) has her own daughter Cassie (Felicia Patti) but helps with Alexis while Emma is away.

While making the decision to go, the story of each of the astronauts unfolds in the midst of things going wrong. Lu is dealing with the emotions of leaving her friend behind and it conflicts with the honor of her husband and son. Ram comes down with a sickness that could infect the whole crew and tells Emma the story of his brother Rohit.

Matt is dealing with physical therapy and deciding how far he can go. When the doctor tells him what it to happen next, he must decide to either stay in the hospital or go home. Alexis, who has been at his side, goes back to school but feels out of place. When she does not do as well as her parents would like, it becomes a struggle especially when Emma is getting farther and farther away from instant communication.

Mischa is a royal pain to the entire crew and is the biggest mouth against Emma, but when the time comes for decisions to be made and the mission to continue, he realizes he might have been wrong. Having spent more time in space and anyone else on the crew, the price was high, and he is still paying.

As problems on the ship continue to happen, the crew discovers that perhaps its best to come together rather than falling apart. Relying on one another becomes the biggest key to the success of the mission and, at this point, they are not afraid to call each other out.

Kwesi is the gentlest of spirits aboard the ship. As the crew’s botanist, he takes care of their most precious cargo, the live plants that will be a part of the new garden of Mars. Not an astronaut, he reacts with slight fright on most things but also the most amazing sense of humor and loving spirit toward his family.

As each of the problems both emotionally and ship wise, the crew discovers they all have hurts and relationship issues but, at the heart of it all, they are not as different as they thought. Instead, what they thought were differences turn into a family that need one another not just for survival but to stand together on the surface of Mars.

They need to get the job done and go home!

Swank as Emma is a woman conflicted with being a wife, mother and a commander. Feeling as if she is being strangled by the choices she has made; it starts to show in the faces of the crew that need to trust her. Swank gives us the strength of a commander but also the truth of how she is expected to give up this mission because that is what a woman would do, yet her male counterparts would not think to do it. It is harped on a bit too much for my liking but don't let that minute detail distract you from the larger story.

I will admit here I think they gave her character too much with the family issues. It became a bit of a nuisance because if the show is reaching for believability, then having a commander melt down every episode is not very realistic. Yes, I realize this is a show but come one, let’s keep the "I shouldn't be here's down to a minimum of a split second every other episode.

Charles as Matt is a NASA engineer who was at first excited about Emma and the mission to Mars. Although a twinge of regret that he cannot go, that twinge turns into feeling useless once his condition puts him in the hospital. He finally sees the importance of Emma's work and does everything to make it a safe mission.

Bateman as Alexis is a fifteen-year-old girl who resents Emma for going, resents her father for staying behind and does pretty much everything a teen would to lie, sneak out and make excuses for her behavior. Irigoyen as Isaac Rodriguez becomes the distraction for Alexis and has a sad story of his own to tell but he is so supportive of the girl he cares about.

I totally enjoyed the stories of each of the astronauts beginning with Panthaki as Ram. His story is poignant, and his emotions run deeper than Emma has an idea about. He trusts his commander and takes care of the mental and physical health of the crew. Wu as Lu is a woman with a complex story that is hindered and made fearful by her own government. Giving the impression that she is made of steel, it is perhaps better to say she is made of strong ice that has the potential to melt.

Ivanir as Misha is the vodka swilling, opinionated, arrogant pot stirrer and will drive ever viewer crazy but, in that, is something more. His story gives the answers for who Misha really is and why he is in space. Now, Essandoh as Kwesi is the heart of the crew, and the biggest heart at that. He is a bit freaked out about being in space but when he is not thinking about that - he reminds the crew when they are acting like juveniles to remember who they are and why they are together. I adore Kwesi and Essandoh is the reason for that, kudos!

Other cast include Michael Thornton as Dr. Putney, Martin Cummins as Jack Willmore, Gabrielle Rose as Darlene Cole, Brian Markinson as George Lane, Alessandro Juliani as Dr. Madigan

Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with over 158 million paid memberships in over 190 countries. Enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films, Netflix is across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere and on any internet-connected screen. For more information please visit www.netflix.com.

The episodes include Go (Andrew Hineraker), Negative Return (Jessica Goldberg), Half the Sky (Andrew Hinderaker), Excellent Chariots (Bronwen Hughes), Space Dogs (Bronwen Hughes), A Little Faith (David Boyd), Goodnight Mars (David Boyd), Vital Signs (Chris Jones), Spektr (Jessica Goldberg), and Home (Andrew Hinderaker).

Netflix has struck out limit gold with AWAY. It is not just a story about a mission to Mars because, let’s face it, we have all seen films about that, but AWAY gives us the astronauts stories, the hardships and what they must endure to do what most think is the impossible. If anything can go wrong both on Earth and in space, it almost always happens to this crew.

The space shots are incredible but then again, I knew they would be, and they play second and even third to the drama and that is actually okay. I suspect that Season Two will be intense as well since now the surface of Mars is another added character. They are out of their suits (indoors anyway) and still do not know if Pegasus has anything that works inside of it (yep, you will know when you watch).

There is so much more going on in this series than I am speaking of here and that is because I'm not into spoiling what is an excellent binge session. It is ten episodes in the season, and each brings us closer and closer to landing and more understanding of those who make it happen and those setting foot on the red planet.

I'm a big MISSION TO MARS and THE MARTIAN fan so I did have a few things to say in the way of side comments like "Mark Watney…space pirate!" or "Mars next potato farm" (and if you haven't seen THE MARTIAN I have to ask myself why is that?). AWAY is a series about a crew and how that crew, coming from different countries and different beliefs become a family filled with flaws, mistrust, stories, and misconceptions.

So, AWAY is a series that must be watched and then sadly the waiting begins for the next season. That is the price we pay for binging, but it is a price well paid. Put on your space suits and get your freeze-dried ice cream ready for a long journey to Mars.

In the end - home can never leave you!


Jeri Jacquin

Coming from Amazon Studios and writer/director Richard Tanne based on the novel by Krystal Sutherland is the young romance induced by CHEMICAL HEARTS.

Henry (Austin Abrams) is a high schooler with a knack for the written word but not much for finding romance in the final years of high school. A hopeless romantic who has never been in love does not mean that he isn't holding out hope.

Called into the office of the journalism teacher, Henry is introduced to transfer student Grace (Lili Reinhart), and told that they will be co-editors of the school newspaper. Grace makes it clear to Henry that she really is not interested in writing but will play along taking care of other things for the paper.

Henry is intrigued by Grace and tries to learn more about her, but Grace has secrets and wants to keep them to herself. But something odd begins to happen between the two, Grace lets Henry drive himself home in her car and then walks away with her cane never telling Henry where she is going or why?

As the two become closer, Grace slowly shares with Henry why she is a transfer student and how one event in life can make every day an effort to find forgiveness, acceptance and where they each belong in the world waiting for them.

Then, as quickly as they find each other, it all comes crashing down and Henry learns that the love he has been waiting for brings its own share of pain.

Abrams as Henry is absolutely charming, delightful, funny, sincere and a bit naïve as all young men in their senior year can be. Yet, in all that, is a character that has the beauty of the written word to find solace in while traversing senior year. Abrams is so wonderful in this role that I kept hoping he would find what he was looking for - even if that took another shape.

Reinhart as Grace is not the easiest to get close to from the moment she steps onto the screen. With cane and secrets in hand, she is not about to let anyone inside her intense bubble. Hoping she can fly under the radar; she finds something in Henry that gives her mind peace and a person to explain things too. The problem with secrets is that there is always someone else who knows the truth and Grace knows that as well. Reinhart meshes strong and weak into a young woman who needs to separate the two if she is going to be able to move on.

The supporting cast include Sarah Jones as Suds, Kara Young as La, Coral Pena as Cora CJ Hoff as Muz, Shannon Walsh as Miranda, Bruce Altman as Toby, Meg gibson as gloria, Adhir Kalyan as Kem, Robert Clohessy as Martin, Catherine Curtin as Sarah, Anzi DeBenedetto as Elks and Jon Lemmon as Dominic.

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.

Krystal Sutherland is the author of the book Our Chemical Hearts which was released by Penguin in 2016 and Hot Key in Europe. She says of her book, "It involves the terribly tragic and awful experience of falling in love for the first time."

CHEMICAL HEARTS is absolutely the struggle of teen angst with those who are painfully shy, to those that are outwardly insecure and the reality that the love of your life might not be the love of this life. The latter being the most difficult the film gives us from start to finish.

Both of these actors, Abrams and Reinhart, tackle roles that are difficult because we all have been through them ourselves which makes the story so engrossing to watch. As teens I think we can all remember the secrets we held, the things we told ourselves to get by, first loves and the struggle to even understand the word 'love', friendships, parents worry - all of it.

They say love is the answer but never promised that the path toward it would be an easy one for any of us, young and young at heart.

In the end - fall in love and fall apart.
Her Story is Nothing Short of RADIOACTIVE

Jeri Jacquin

Coming exclusively to Amazon Prime Video from director Marjane Satrapi and Amazon Studios is the amazing biographical story of a woman who made the world RADIOACTIVE.

Maria Sklodowska (Rosamund Pike) is a young woman who has the greatest interest in science but gets no respect from her male counterparts. It is 1870s Paris, and Maria is an Polish immigrant, physicist and chemist woman who doesn't quite fit in with her male counterparts as the University of Paris.

On a walk with her nose in a book she meets Pierre Curie (Sam Riley) and makes quite the impression on him. Her concerns aren't to find romance, but to fight with other professors about losing her lab as they don't feel her work has merit. They meet again when Pierre Curie wants to share laboratory space with Maria because he knows about her work.

Along with friend Paul Langevin (Aneurin Barnard), the wood begins and so does a marriage between Pierre and Maria. Her work is the study of uranium rays and it is Pierre's invention of an electrometer that gives Marie the boost she needs to created a new theory about the study of the atom.

Her work, and then joined by husband Pierre, would bring about the elements of Polonium and Radium creating the word Radioactivity. In 1903, Marie along with Pierre and Henri Becquerel the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work. They couple used the money to fund more research and their life was about to change in ways she could never anticipated.

Marriage, children, life, death, rumors, treatment of women during the era, the unrecognized work of women not just in everyday life but women of science that contributed so much to the world - Madam Curie was one such woman.

Pike as Marie is a perfect choice to play this role. She has the amazing ability to bring about an intensity that isn't over the top but definitely in-your-face. I enjoyed her portrayal with a such loyalty to her work, her family and refused to change anything in order to satisfy the status quo. The only people that seem to understand that about her was Pierre, her sister and Langevin and the latter brought difficulties. Pike stands strong, tall and even when her character crashes, it is only temporary toward her goal - the search for scientific knowledge.

Riley as Currie is a man who saw something almost immediately about Maria. Discovering a kindred spirit in so many ways it is easy to see why Currie fell for Maria. Riley has a proven track record of diversity in his role choice from MALEFICENT, and the awesome Mr. Darcy in PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES, a son trying to find a deep connect with a father in SOMETIMES ALWAYS NEVER to the stunning role in RADIOACTIVE. This role gives Riley the chance to be the stable force for Maria and he does so with love and compassion - beautifully done.

Barnard as Langevin is the friend who sees the potential of Pierre and Maria. As their discovery takes on more and more time, Langevin never hesitates to support the lab and the work. Barnard then finds himself in a place that causes distress and that's when Maria must take control once again.

Other cast include Yvette Feuer as Carla, Simon Russell Beale as Professor Lippmann, Sian Brooke as Bronia Sklodowska, Drew Jacoby as Loie Fuller, and Katherine Parkinson as Jeanne Langevin.

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. For more of what Amazon Prime has to offer please visit www.amazon.com/Prime-Video. 

In Currie's search for scientific knowledge she had to bang up against men who didn't believe in her science and a society that could easily be judgmental and harsh. Yet she kept on as the film shows the good and the bad of her scientific discoveries. That is the downside of finding new things in our world, there is always someone that can find a poor use for it.

RADIOACTIVE is a period piece and that adds to much richness to the film. From the darkness of the labs and the flickering lights of the Currie home, this is the way you slowly bring a viewer into a story and director Satrapi does so brilliantly.

Amazon Studios has been bringing some amazing choices in entertainment and with so many of us hungry for an escape, experiencing the story of a woman who is part of our history is an excellent way to do that. RADIOACTIVE is a must-see in such a way that I can't wait to see it again. Pike and Riley brings us the best and brightest to a story that needed to be told.

In the end - she was a pioneer, a genius and a rebel!

The Pack Could Never Know the Tenacity of a GREYHOUND

Jeri Jacquin

Currently screening on AppleTV+ from director Aaron Schneider and writer Tom Hanks based on the 1955 novel The Good Shepherd by C.S. Forester is the story of men running like a GREYHOUND.

US Navy Commander Krause (Tom Hanks) has been assigned to the USS Keeling to be a part of an escort group that are to defend merchant ships crossing the Atlantic. This 37-country multi-national group is defending against German submarines at the beginning of World War II.

Given the codename Greyhound, along with the HMS James – Harry, Polish destroyer Viktor – Eagle and Canadian HMCS Doge – Dickie are about to enter a part of the sea known as the Black Pit and must go it alone without air support for three days. It does not take long before the German U-boats make themselves known. 

That is when Commander Krause begins his assault to protect the other ships and once the firing begins, it does not stop. The ‘wolfpack’ is waiting for the cover of night to begin their attacks again. Taunted by the German submarines, the crew keeps to their jobs and tries to help the ships that are hit by taking their share of submarines with depth charges. 

Getting closer to the reacquisition of air support, Commander Krause has a decision to make. The submarines are beginning an all-out attack while Commander and crew do everything it takes to stay alive and support the boats that are still afloat. It is a fight that only one can win!

Hanks as Commander Krause does what this actor has always done, put everything into a performance bringing tension and a bit of fear into this character. In GREYHOUND we also see a character that follows his beliefs and is a stern Commander but also a fair one. I would expect nothing less from Hanks. He has always brought such amazing stories to the screen and finds characters that are exceptional in their beliefs and extraordinary in what they accomplish with the support of a crew.

This is seen time and time again from SAVING PRIVATE RYAN to SULLY, Hanks plays opposite those who trust and believe in the lead character. There are also moments where the flaws of his character show, yet it doesn’t deter them from doing what is right for others in the more dire of circumstances. Those are the story I definetly want to see and experience.

Stephen Graham as Lt. Cole supports his Commander and might hesitate for a moment when given an order but sees it through and understandings why Krause is the Commander. Rob Morgan as Mess 2nd Class George Cleveland is absolutely lovely, and he deserves a shout out for it. 

Also, Elisabeth Shue as Evelyn, Commander Krause’s love who may have had a small role, but it is one that shows the worry of women watching men go off to do a dangerous job in a dangerous time.

Other cast include Manuel Garcia-Rulfo as Lopez, Karl Glusman as Eppstein, Tom Brittney as Lt. Watson, Matt Helm as Lt. Nystrom, Craig Tate as Pitts, Devin Druid as Wallace, Travis Quentin as Ipsen, Jeff Burkes as Shannon, Matthew Zuk as Flusser, Joseph Poliquin as Helmsman Lee, Michael Benz as Carling, Jake Ventimiglia as Flipper and Chet Hanks as Bushnell. 

AppleTV+ is a video on demand web television that debuted in 2019. Viewable through Apple’s TV app, CEO Tim Cook wanted original content calling it “a great opportunity for us from a creation point of view”. From THE MORNING SHOW to TRYING and THE BANKER and Jason Momoa in SEE, there is plenty of choices for everyone. Plenty of genres? That is exactly what they are bringing to viewers and to see more of what they have to offer please visit www.apple.com/tv/.

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

The novel The Good Shepherd written by C.S. Forester is a story that shares the struggles of the era with war at sea. More than that it shares the story of a battle group and what was required of them to fight a taunting enemy. This would not be his only story of war responsible for the series of Horatio Hornblower and the novel African Queen which was also made into a film in 1951 with Humphrey Bogart and many more.

GREYHOUND gives us a moment to prepare for all the action that comes after the opening scene with Hanks and Shue. The moment Commander Krause steps aboard his ship it is a whirlwind of strategic decisions and knowing each one of those decisions can cost lives. Even when Hanks’ character questions himself quietly (and you can see it on his face), when the moment calls for it – the answer is as swift as the U-boat chasing them.

Although unfortunate not to have seen it on the big screen, I would not have missed it on a smaller one for the world. This is just what the quarantine ordered for entertainment that brings suspense, drama, intrigue and heroism that takes us all away from the moment we are living in. That is what entertainment is supposed to do – sweep up away and experience something that is impactful, and GREYHOUND does just that. 

In the end – the only thing more dangerous than the front lines is the fight to get there!

Netflix Brings Immortality with THE OLD GUARD

Jeri Jacquin

Currently as a Netflix original film from director Gina Prince-Bythewood and Skydance is a story based on the graphic novel bring to life THE OLD GUARD.

Andy (Charlize Theron) is the leader of a group of mercenaries that go where they are needed to right wrongs in the world. Along with her crew Booker (Matthias Schoenaerts), Joe (Marwan Kenzari) and Nicky (Luca Marinelli), they are on a mission but finds it to be a set up. After a firefight, those doing the shooting realize that the Andy and crew are not as dead as they thought.

While recuperating, soldier Nile (Kiki Layne) is doing her duty and trying to find a wanted man in Afghanistan. Thinking they had their man; it quickly turns badly and Nile is grievously injured. When she wakes up, Nile knows that something is different, and it isn't until she is captured by Andy does she know what it is.

Andy quickly explains that she is now one of them, an immortal and not just any immortal. They are hundreds of years old and Nile is the newbie. When they are attacked again, Nicky and Joe are captures and taken to a man named Merrick (Harry Melling) with the help of Copley (Chiwetel Ejiofor).

They want the secret of the immortals, Copley for humanitarian reasons and Merrick for purely selfish reasons. Andy isn't about to let that happen and with the help of Nikki they are going to get Nicky and Joe back, whatever it takes. When push comes to shove, nothing stops an immortal!

Theron as Andy is as strong of a character as she has ever played. It is truly great to see this actress continue to take on roles that are strong, tough and kick-ass. I would expect nothing less after seeing her in the 2015 MAD MAX: Fury Road and 2017's ATOMIC BLONDE. In this film she once again proves that she may be down again…and again…and again, but always doing right is timeless.

Layne as Nile quickly becomes Andy's sidekick being equally as tough and strong even being new to the immortal game. Knowing that what she has become changes her life in more ways than she could possibly imagine, she discovers quickly that she easily fits into this new life that she had no control over. Well done Ms. Layne!

Schoenaerts as Booker has been with the group for more years than he can count, and he recalls what his life has been like so far. It is good to see Schoenaerts in an equally heavy character role and he makes it look so easy. Ejiofor as Copley has his own personal reason for wanting to find THE OLD GUARD, but he isn't going about it the right way. Ejiofor seems to choose roles based on duality of his characters in dilemma situations but if you're good at something, don't mess with the formula, right?

Marinelli as Nicky is just as tough, even if there is a relationship with Joe played by Marwan Kenzari. This duo put together are tough and strong in a situation that they have faced time and time again.

The surprise might be Melling as Merrick and it’s going to drive people nuts trying to figure out why he looks familiar. I'm not about to give it away either because I think it will be such a surprise when it comes to the viewer. Melling gets a chance to be a full grown greedy bad guy.

Other cast include Van Veronica Ngo as Quynh, Natacha Karam as Dizzy, Mette Towley as Jordan, Anamaria Marinca as Dr. Kozak, Micheal Ward a Lykon, Shala Nyx as Gita, Majid Essaidi as Sadeq and Joey Ansah as Keane.

Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with over 158 million paid memberships in over 190 countries. Enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films, Netflix is across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere and on any internet-connected screen. For more information please visit www.netflix.com.

THE OLD GUARD is a film that mixes the possibilities of being immortal with what is means to live as an immortal. Living through the ages, Andy and her crew have seen it all and they have even experienced loss, but on a level that most humans cannot even comprehend.

Director Prince-Bythewood has directed a story based on the graphic novel by Greg Rucka that leaves the door wide open for another film and more story to tell. There are two points to notice at the end (and no I'm not telling you) that will make it clear that it is possible, and I actually wouldn't mind seeing where the story goes.

Netflix is working its flix-off to give subscribers some real quality entertainment choices. THE OLD GUARD is exactly what the quarantine ordered with adventure, action and a solid storyline that is easy to follow even if you have not read the graphic novel. So, break out the popcorn and have a Friday or Saturday night at-the-movies right in your own home.

In the end - forever is as hard as it looks!

The Family is all about DEFENDING JACOB

Jeri Jacquin

Currently streaming on AppleTV+ from creator Mark Bomback and director Morten Tyldum is the story of a family that loses who they are all because they are DEFENDING JACOB.

In Massachusetts, Andy Barber (Chris Evans) is the towns prominent District Attorney and is well respected by the community. Laurie Barber (Michelle Dockery) is busy working with local school and their son Jacob (Jaeden Martell) attends the local high school. The family keeps a busy pace and Jacob can be found on his electronics.

What would seem normal to the Barber family is about to be shaken to its core. Jacob’s classmate Ben is found murdered on the path on the way to school. Andy and officer Pam Duffy (Betty Gabriel) go immediately to the murder scene as the school is placed on lockdown. Looking for suspects, Duffy brings up sexual predator Leonard Patz (Daniel Henshall) but holds off speaking to him until there is more to go on.

Baker and Duffy take the time to talk to classmates and it seems that Sarah (Jordan Davis) is more uncomfortable than the rest. Each tell the story of Ben being somewhat of a bully and friend Derek (Ben Taylor) recalls being harassed by Ben a time or two. Later that evening the online chat among the teens brings panic to Baker with fingers being pointed. 

Duffy questions Patz but has to let him go and back at the D.A.’s office, Baker finds out that there is one lone fingerprint found at the crime scene – Jacob’s. Baker is immediately removed from the case and the police swarm the house as Laurie watches items being taken out of their home. It is Jacob’s response that causes the most worry.

The Baker’s immediately hire Joanna Klein (Cherry Jones) to represent Jacob. Klein tells the family to not give interviews, no posting on social media and to lay low without trying to seem like they are laying low. What the family has not seen yet is the response from the town but that is coming, and it won’t stop until there are answers.

Klein has Jacob see behavior therapist Dr. Vogel (Poorna Jagannathan) and, along with Andy and Laurie, feelings begin to emerge and memories flood through Laurie about her son. Jacob tells his parents he is innocent but more and more comes out about the relationship with Ben that causes his own mother to question her thoughts. 

Barber also must come to terms with his past as his father Billy Barber (J.K Simmons) injects himself into the problems the family already has. Andy is staying out of the office and Laurie has to stay away from her work, Jacob turns to homeschooling and an unlikely friendship with Sarah begins and that is the new normal at the Barber home. Eight weeks may seem a long time before the trial is to begin but not when each day brings new and frightening revelations. 

Andy is not going down without a fight; Laurie does not know what to fight and Jacob acts like he has no fight in him. What is the truth of the Baker family and an even bigger question …

…who killed Ben Rifkin?

Evans as tough D.A. Andy Baker is known for his tenacity in prosecuting cases and is dedicated to his family. When Jacob is accused, it throws Baker on the other side of the table. Now, he sees everything from a new perspective and does not like it. Evans as Baker refuses to see what everyone else thinks is clear cut. Shedding his Captain America suit to sink himself into this dark role is well done. There are a few moments when I wanted to shake him (as if I could ever do that!) but that is a parent right? Refusing to see what is right in front of him and Evans takes it to an extremely dangerous edge.

Dockery as Laurie is caught up in a web of unspoken life events and a son that she cannot read so easily. The moment Jacob is accused, Laurie starts playing out their lives in her mind and it becomes a place she cannot seem to get out of. Dockery gives her character the motherly perspective mixed in muck with the reality of it all. There are moments I will say that are a bit melodramatic, but then again who is to say that is not how we would all react. 

Dockery says of her role as Laurie Baker, “There were moments where I really had to go into a zone because it required a lot of emotion. The moments that are more difficult are the quiet moments with no dialogue because those small moments I really have to go to a different place.”

Martell as Jacob is the sullen angst filled teenager who would rather stay in his room on social media or playing Xbox than hang out with his parents. There is a quiet disconnect that is easily relatable for anyone who had a teenager that is easily overlooked as ‘normal’. Martell quietly dives right into the role of Jacob and never gives away anything that would tell the viewer one way or the other if he is responsible for the death of his classmate. Well done young man and I loved you in KNIVES OUT!

Jones as attorney Klein is the stable force in this very unstable story being told. She knows exactly what to do and how to do it, of course she is dealing with a family that thinks they know better because of Andy. I am not sure I would have had the patience Jones gives us but damn its good to see her once again on screen. 

Davis as Sarah is a young girl that is not sure how to handle any of what is happening. She sees what Jacob is going through and tries to be a comfort, but everyone has their secrets. Taylor as Derek has his own part to play and is hiding until pushed onto the witness stand. Both of these young actors add the right amount of tension as teens are good at secrets.

Now, J.K. Simmons as Billy Barber, what can I say about this actor that has not been said already. He continues to be an actor that captivates on screen. In this role, he carries a look and attitude about him that is nothing short of terrifying. Even his sharp retorts are filled with a special kind of venom reserved for a man who knows he is going nowhere (nope, that is all I’m saying about his character). Impressive as always Mr. Simmons, impressive.

Shout out to Pablo Schreiber as Neal Loguidice who is assigned to prosecute Jacob Barber. There is a history with Andy that makes their relationship one based on jealousy and indifference. Which one is which is for the viewer to decide. 

Writer William Landay knows a thing or two about drama in the courtroom having served several years as the Assistant District Attorney in Massachusetts. He also found time to write the John Creasey Dagger award novel Mission Flats followed up by The Strangler. The novel Defending Jacob hit the shelves in 2012 and became an immediate best-seller. Winning several awards, it is not surprising that it would become a mini-series giving the audience time to get to know the characters.

Other cast include Myra Taylor as Judge Rivera, Carrie Quinn as Kathleen Daryl Edwards as Judge French, Cheryl McMahon as Mrs. Mandel, Devon Diep as Reiko, Shawn Fitzgibbon as Detective Peterson, Ted Arcidi as Kingston, Tamara Hickey as Toby, Patrick Fischler as Dan Rifkin, Megan Byrne as Joan Rifkin, Liam Kilbreth as Ben Rifkin and William Xifaras as Father O’Leary.

AppleTV+ is a video on demand web television that debuted in 2019. Viewable through Apple’s TV app, CEO Tim Cook wanted original content calling it “a great opportunity for us from a creation point of view”. From THE MORNING SHOW to TRYING and THE BANKER and Jason Momoa in SEE, there is plenty of choices for everyone. Plenty of genres? That is exactly what they are bringing to viewers and to see more of what they have to offer please visit www.apple.com/tv/.

DEFENDING JACOB is an eight-part series based on the novel and it does not disappoint. It is filled with twists and turns but more than that brings the viewer face to face with a family that thought they had it all and discovers all lived in an empty shell. Each character has their own story to tell and some of it is difficult to hear and some of it pushes each of them to fear.

Each episode throws another wrench into the mucked-up situation that does not only affect the Barber family but has a much longer arm into the community. This is a story of secrets, lies, mystery, fear, panic, unresolved family, breakdowns, truths, realities and how all of that brings this particular family to a place that is frightening.

The cast is absolutely stellar and watching each of them carry their roles to the end had me binging the series all in one sitting. The ending is jaw dropping and leaves the door open for us all to imagine what would come next – and I would binge watch that in a heartbeat!

In the end – family is unconditional.

EXTINCTION Twists and Turns to the End

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on Netflix from director Ben Young are dreams that predict nothing short of an EXTINCTION.

Peter (Michael Pena) is a hard-working engineer who takes care of wife Alice (Lizzy Caplan) and two daughters Hannah (Amelia Crouch) and Lucy (Erica Tremblay). Lately he has been having trouble sleeping and its all because of disjointed dreams. Trying to convince Alice that there has to be something to these dreams doesn't seem to be working.

Having a party to celebrate Alice's job, Peter gets into a conversation with a neighbor and that's when familiar lights shine from the sky. Coming from everywhere and in mass everyone must now run for their lives. Something has landed and it is not taking prisoners!

Peter and Alice do what they need to make their home safe, but the intruder has come. The family makes a run for it but must get down from their high-rise apartment to get away. What they do not realize is that the intruder is tracking them to finish what he has started. Peter manages to get his family to the building and captures the intruder where they are told this was to be expected.

What he learns from the intruder, himself and his family will shock them all to the core!

Pena as Peter stretches out in a sci-fi role that has so many twists and turns. His performance is stoic and frightening in believing there are something to his characters dreams. There has always been a believability about Pena's performances from comedy to drama and in this film his emotions are in check. That adds to his portrayal of a husband/father trying to save his family.

Caplan as Alice does not understand why her husband is having these disturbing dreams. Instead she wants him to see a therapist to stop them all together. Imagine her surprise when it turns out that he knows something she does not. Caplan is a strong actress and she plays to Pena's character so well. Even when it all breaks down, her goal is the fierce love for her children.

Couch as Hannah and Tremblay as Lucy are daughters who look to their parents to keep the family together. When the time comes when they must separate, they believe that being reunited is everything.

Other cast include Lex Shrapnel as Ray, Emma Booth as Samantha, Lilly Aspell as Megan, Mike Colter as David, Michael Absalom as Phil, Dan Cade as Hoyt, Mina Obradovic as Shelby, Nikola Kent as Luke and Israel Broussard as Miles.

Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with over 158 million paid memberships in over 190 countries. Enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films, Netflix is across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere and on any internet-connected screen. For more information please visit www.netflix.com.

The high point of the film is definetly the storyline because it never lets you become comfortable with what is happening. Instead it leaves huge question marks in each scene until the story feels it is time for you to know everything. That is what I enjoyed best about the film. The low point for me is another film with kids that are annoying in so many ways. Yes, I am a tad done with films where kids are just plain disrespectful, annoying or don't understand the meaning of consequences.

That being said, I think the storyline is amazing because I was pretty convinced about a few things only to have it turn out I couldn't be more wrong. That is what made EXTINCTION fun on a Friday evening with the family. There is something to be said for rolling the dice on a film and being pleasantly surprised. Pena and Caplan together make it work!

In the end - we were not here first!

​Amazon Studios Brings the Emergency Code 7500 to Prime

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Amazon’s own channel Amazon Prime this Thursday from writer/director Patrick Vollrath is a dilemma that one man must face when calling 7500.

Captain Lutzmann (Carlo Kitzlinger) and co-pilot Tobias Ellis (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) are flying an Airbus A319 from Berlin to Paris. Sharing the ride is stewardess Gokce (Aylin Tezel) who is mother of Ellis’ young son. Keeping work and home life separate, a very few know they are a couple. The take off goes smoothly and they are quickly in the air.

Within minutes of the flight, a disturbance happens outside as terrorist Kalkan (Passar Hariky), Kenan (Murathan Muslu) and young Vedat (Omid Memar) attempt to gain entry to the cockpit. The pilot is wounded as Ellis manages to keep two out and knowing out the third. Trying to help the pilot, it becomes clear that Ellis is going to have to fly the plane.

Kalkan and Vedat continue to pound on the door making it clear they are going to do whatever it takes to gain entry. Kalkan goes as far as to threaten the lives of passenger’s if the door isn’t opened. Vedat translates to Ellis but one thing is clear – Ellis can not open the door. 

Knowing that it is Kalkan who is in control, Ellis tries reason, but it only agitates the situation. Now Ellis must rely on his composure when everything seems out of control and do everything possible until they are able to land. Each moment brings the flight closer to being able to land – but will it?

Gordon-Levitt as Ellis brings a powerful performance to a frightening story. Making plans for his young son’s education seemed to be the only care he had. When the hijacking starts, Gordon-Levitt is uber-focused, and it shows every frame of the film. The power in each thing that happens is intense, yet this actor adds a drop more for good measure until you realize you have blinked in a while. Excellent performance with an topic that is difficult to address. 

Hariky as Kalkan is determined and nothing or no one will get in the way of his ultimate goal. Even when it seems everything is falling apart, Hariky’s character stares into the camera outside the cockpit with a glare that exudes fear and says, “try me!”. 

Memar as Vedat is a young man that is absolutely troubled by what is happening but also feels a sense of hopelessness when he realizes this is not what he expected. Wanting to do what’s right as a person and what he’s been told is right as a hijacker, I think Vedat becomes more and more dangerous because of the fear he feels. There is a moment when the phone rings and Vedat falls apart that is nothing short of heartbreaking.

Other cast include: Hicham Sebiai as Hopper, Paul Wollin as Daniel, Cornel Nussbaum as Peter, Max Schimmelpfennig as the student and Nathalie (Aurelie Thepaut).

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.

7500 brings every bead of intensity and it is palpable from start to finish. It twists, turns and does not go the way that is expected but, then again, that would make for a movie of the week instead of a well-done film by Amazon Studios. 

Shot in real time and an amazing set that feels and looks like the cockpit of an airplane only lends believably to the story. Even the sounds of the aircraft and the lights lend itself to a character that the story is trying to tell. 

What starts as a five man show whittles its way down to a one on one and who can keep it together until the situation is resolved. That is when the minutes drag by so slowly and it is Gordon-Levitt as Ellis who the viewer counts on to do what is right and make the hard choices– no matter the cost. When they refer to the people as “souls on board”, this films situation brings that more into focus. 

Watch on a big screen, watch with the lights down and watch performances that will stay with you long after the story ends.

In the end – the distress code is only the beginning!
Voices Ring Out from MILITARY WIVES 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Hulu, Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video and other VOD platforms for Memorial Day weekend from director Peter Cattaneo and Bleecker Street comes the story of friendship and song with the MILITARY WIVES.

It is not easy as British military wives watch their husbands from Flitcroft base pack up for their assignment to Afghanistan in 2009. Kate (Kristin Scott Thomas) and Lisa (Sharon Horgan) make it a point to find something constructive for the wives to do in their Social Committee. After many suggestions, a choir seemed to be the ideal choice since knitting doesn’t go over very well.

Kate is a strong presence and very opinionated about how things should go, and Lisa tries to find a way around it. Having some musical ability, Lisa attempts to guide the women into singing songs that they can have fun with as Kate is more serious in her choices.

Both women have their own family issues as Lisa tries to maintain a strained relationship with daughter Frankie (India Amarteifio) and Kate continues to hide the mourning of her son from everyone.

But the women learn to work together and have a few missteps until they learn that they have been invited to sing at The Royal British Legion’s Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall. Tensions rise and so do tempers as the performance day nears and the women must come together, or it will all fall apart.

Thomas as Kate is a woman trying to keep up an emotional front and not let anyone see her pain. Seeing her husband off almost seems a relief so that she can be alone. Thomas puts up a hard front until it begins to crack brought on by the choir and her constant head butting with Lisa.

Horgan as Lisa is a woman who is also keeping up an emotional front of being unphased by her husband’s recent deployment. Her detachment affects the relationship with daughter Frankie and instead of dealing with that, she throws herself music first into the choir.

Thomas and Horgan carry the film and give the viewer a glimpse inside the lives of this group of women as they sing their way into a better place in their lives. The women of the choir cast gave me many reasons to smile and a few moments of laughter. Seeing their two leaders have a go at one another doesn’t sway them from their purpose of song.

Other cast include: Robert Whitelock as Malc, Stephen Thompson as Stuart, Robbie Gee as Red, Roxy Faridany as Dawn, Greg Wise as Richard, Laura Checkley as Maz, Laura Elphinstone as Helen, Amy Kelly as Sarah, Emma Lowndes as Annie, Lara Rossi as Ruby and Gaby French as Jess.

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.

MILITARY WIVES is the story of more than just one group of women as the Military Wives Choirs have over 75 groups on military bases across the UK. They have performed in such places as the Royal Albert Hall and for Queen Elizabeth. Their performances have brought about donations to the Royal British Legion and the SSAFA Forces charity.

What is truly enjoyable about the film is that for a moment in time, these women come together to find a way to deal with their struggles. Of course, it is about their husbands going so far from home and in a dangerous situation but, it is also about their feelings, at home raising kids, and finding something greater than themselves.

There are intense emotions to be sure, but there is also a bit of fun and lots of music. The film has a cast that effortlessly portray people we all could know, are related to and love. That is important when reaching an audience who already live in a world full of uncertainty.

In the end – united they sing!

The Story of the Actress Known as SEBERG

Jeri Jacquin

Coming soon from Amazon Original to Prime Video from director Benedict Andrews is the story of an actress who did not go with the grain named SEBERG.

It is the 1960s and hot off her success in director Otto Preminger’s film Saint Joan actress Jean Seberg (Kristen Stewart) finds equal success in the Jean-Luc Godard’s film Breathless. Returning to Hollywood preparing for an audition for the next film from her home in France, she says goodbye to a young son Diego (Gabriel Sky) and husband Romain Gary (Yvan Attal). On the plane she sees a vocal skirmish between the flight attendant and Hakim Jamal (Anthony Mackie). Getting off her plane she notices the group of civil rights leaders speaking to the press. She takes a moment to join the group raising her fist to symbolize black power and the press is there to take photos of it all.

Instantly taking notice of Jean at the airport are two FBI investigators, Jack Solomon (Jack O’Connell) and Carl Kowalski (Vince Vaughn) with photos of their own that start an investigation into her activities. Jack can’t discuss what he is doing with medical student wife Linette (Margaret Qualley) who doesn’t fit in with the FBI wives.
Jack and Carl begin surveillance on Jean sneaking into her home and bugging it. It doesn’t take long before they see and hear that Seberg starts an affair with the married Jamal. Wanting to find a way to make it work to their advantage, Jean refuses to stop associating or giving financial support to those working in the civil rights movement.
Jack realizes that as the investigation goes deeper, that Jean begins to show signs of stress fearing that she is being watched and listened in on in every aspect of her life. It continues for years as the COINTELPRO agents continue to create untrue stories about her to the point of despair.

This is a story of a time where only one rumor needs to be believed to ruin someone’s life.

Stewart as Seberg does an excellent job of portraying a woman who was living the life of a star without realizing that it only takes one thing to set her world on fire. A once vibrant woman is put through a ringer that takes away the light Hollywood once saw in her. Stewart portrays that from the very beginning to the very end. Her performance is one that I won’t soon forget, well done.

O’Connell as Jack is a man dedicated to his job but also sees that after time what they are doing to Seberg becomes brutal and unnecessary. O’Connell’s character brings moments of sanity to an FBI doing insane things, especially by some of the others in the group. It is a solid performance and I cheered him at one point and so will you.
Vaughn as Kowalski is pretty much a vicious human being who has no problem being vocal about what everyone else in America is doing wrong. He feels it is his job to destroy anything that gets in the way of being a good American. He treatment of his own family is a perfect example of the unhinged attitude. Mackie as Jamal is taken with Seberg and does not think about the repercussions of his actions in the moment, but it becomes clear that he is surrounded by others who are not about to take what he is doing lightly. The relationship goes against what his group believes in every way.

Attal as Gary is a husband who isn’t about to make a scene learning that Jean is putting herself in danger. Trying to support her fears of surveillance, a decision must be made and it is not an easy one. Qualley as Linette is a wife who doesn’t fit into the stereotype of what an FBI wife should be. Learning that Seberg is the person her husband is investigating brings her own questions about his work. I was happy with Qualley’s moxy!

Other cast include Colm Meaney as Frank Ellroy, Zazie Beetz as Dorothy Jamal, Jade Pettyjohn as Jenny Kowalski, Ser’Darius Blain as Louis Lewis, James Jordan as Roy Maddow, Stephen Root as Walt Breckman, Celeste Pechous as Betsy Ellroy and Laura Campell as Mary Kowalski.

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. 

SEBERG is a sad story of a life that is plagued in a time where nothing was off the table in the ways of the FBI. If a behavior was found un-American then the group found ways to destroy a person through surveillance, rumor, inuendo and using the press to do their dirty work. It was a time of intolerance in secret.
Jean Seberg may have looked like she had everything together on the outside (which is the goal of being a Hollywood starlet), but her personal life became a shamble. Filled with failed affairs, relationships, and marriages, it is not surprise that her death would be as mysterious as she was.

The cast of SEBERG truly bring her story together in 102-minute time and done so extremely well. The cinematography, sets and costuming lend itself to luring the viewer into the 1960s. Stewart’s performance tie it all together beautifully.

In the end – actress, activist and adversary!

THE VAST OF NIGHT is a Fantastic Era Sci-Fi Thriller

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on Amazon Prime from writer/director Andrew Patterson is a fantastic look at one night looking up into the sky with THE VAST OF NIGHT.

It is a warm night in New Mexico in 1950 when Fay (Sierra McCormick) takes over the switchboard for her mother. What Fay genuinely wants to do is use her new tape recorder to interview people. Guiding her along is Everett (Jake Horowitz), a radio DJ at WOTW that everyone in town listens to on the local station.

While a sporting event is going on at the high school, strange things are happening that Fay and Everett are taking notice of. Fay is experiencing strange telephone calls from townsfolk about noises they are hearing and then the calls drop. Fay calls Everett to ask if any of his callers are noticing strange happenings as well.

That's when Everett receives a telephone call from a man named Billy (Bruce Davis) who claims to know what has been going on in the world. He tells them a story that leaves Fay and Everett stunned but even more shocking is the proof the caller offers that leads them straight to a forgotten tape in the local library.

Both Fay and Everett know that it is time to do everything possible to discover what is happening to their small town before word spreads as fast as the panic!

McCormick as Fay is a character ahead of her time. Gifted with a recorder, she wants to learn to interview people about their stories. She sees a career for herself outside the small dusty little town in New Mexico. She is clearly smart, clever and on the hunt for answers. McCormick gives her character everything she needs to succeed, even a bit of healthy fear. Her performance is stunning.

Horowitz as Everett is the town big guy because, after all, he is the DJ of the radio station! There was a time when radio stations were the gods of bringing music to the masses. They could walk down the street and have people be in awe. Horowitz pulls that off marvelously and when the time comes to jump in with Fay, he becomes as serious about every move they make. This is a dynamic duo and I was all in every step of the way.

Other cast include Cheyenne Barton as Bertsie, Mark Banik as Gerald, Gregory Peyton as Benny, Rodkey Oliver as Adam, Mallorie Rodak as Susan, Mollie Milligan as Marjorie, Ingred Fease as Gretchen, Brandon Stewart as Sam, Krik Griffith as Lon and Gail Cronauer as Mabel Blanche.

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. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.amazonprime.com.

THE VAST OF NIGHT is actually quite brilliantly done. Not only is it set in a time where it was a new thing to hear and see the stories of UFO's and such, but everything about the film harks back to the 1950's.

The cast bring it all together reeling me into their journey but along with the costuming, cars, music and gathering of a town at the local gymnasium on a Friday night is reminiscent to me. I am the type that has to be drawn in hook, line and sinker and THE VAST OF NIGHT does just that.

It is not an 'in your face' story or an explosion of aliens but instead the sleuthing of Fay and Everett who are not about to sit around and be taken over by something they do not understand. These two are on the case, as it were, to discover what is true and how they can stop it if that is even something they can do.

Writers Patterson and Craig W. Sanger have made every effort to make the audience believe they are in New Mexico in the 1950's but they have also added homages to other films and filmmakers. The radio station WOTW where Everett is a DJ stands for 'War of the Worlds' from the H.G. Wells classic, the character of Renny is Michael Rennie who was Klaatu in the 1951 THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL. Even the town of Cayuga gives homage to Rod Serling's Cayuga Productions.

The relationship between Fay and Everett was a straight joy to watch. This is a film that I would highly recommend for those who want to sit back and have a good yarn be told with the lights off and a bowl of popcorn.

In the end - the answers are in what they hear!


Jeri Jacquin

Currently on Bluray and 4K Ultra HD from director Chris Sanders and 20th Century Home Entertainment is the story of a dog’s adventure in THE CALL OF THE WILD.

Buck is a St. Bernard dog who is living his best California life in the 1800’s with Judge Miller (Bradley Whitford). In a loving home that is constantly being tested by his antics, he has the face only everyone can love. Until one night he is kidnapped by unsavory characters and there is no way for Buck to get home.

Once out of the shipping crate, Buck finds himself in a new and strange land. He has been unloaded in the Yukon during its gold rush. He begins his new life as a sled dog for the postal service. He almost instantly becomes beloved by the towns people and the sled owner Perrault (Omar Sy) and wife Francoise (Cara Gee). Buck proves constantly that he is trustworthy and smart.

His life is about to change again when the postal service no longer needs the run. That is when he is purchased by the arrogant Hal (Dan Stevens) who believes he has the map to the biggest gold rush. After purchasing the dogs and openly treating them badly, John Thornton (Harrison Ford) steps in telling Hal he is going into danger.

Hal isn’t listening and loner Thornton decides to protect Buck even though he isn’t sure why and tragedy strikes. Thus, begins the most amazing friendship between man and dog. Thornton decides he is going to take a journey and asks Buck if he wants to go as well. The two find the most stunning place to stay and Buck finds new friends.

What they both don’t see coming is revenge!

Ford as Thornton portrays a loner of a man who is dealing with a heartache that has changed his life. He doesn’t want anyone’s help with anything yet feels drawn toward Buck. They don’t become instant friends because of Thornton’s grumpiness but Buck won’t be swayed. It isn’t easy to act with a dog in real life and even more difficult to make that relationship with a CGI dog but Ford manages well with his history in that area.

Stevens as Hal gets the chance to once again show that he makes playing a bad guy pretty easy. Filled with anger at Buck and Thornton, he feels something has been taken from him but instead of taking responsibility, he picks up a gun. Sy as Perrault loves the dogs and hates the end result and wife Gee as Francoise is keen to the amazing team they have.

Whitford as Judge Miller knows he has a big dog with a big personality on his hands. Can’t stay mad at that face for long though. 

Other cast include Jean Louisa Kelly as Katie Miller, Michael Horse as Edenshaw, Colin Woodell as Charles, Micah Fitzgerald as Red Sweater, Adam Fergus as James and Karen Gillan as Mercedes.

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

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

THE CALL OF THE WILD Special Features include A Man and His Dog, Origins, The On-Set Experience, State of the Art and The World of the Wild. 

THE CALL OF THE WILD is adapted from the novel by Jack London. Selling his story to The Saturday Evening Post in 1903, he also wrote similar work with White Fang.

The film is a mixture of fun, the harshness of the 1900’s and true friendship. The CGI Buck is sometimes more human than his human counterparts. The story is beautifully told, and the cinematography is well done. 

It’s a film that requires a big tub of popcorn, a big sofa and fluffy blankets with the family. There is nothing better than watching a family film this way and THE CALL OF THE WILD is exactly that in every way.

In the end – this is based on a legendary novel! 

A THREAD OF DECEIT: The Hart Family Tragedy

Jeri Jacquin

From producers Chris Kobin, Rachel Morgan and 1091 Media comes the story of secrets, deceptions and horror with A THREAD OF DECEIT: The Hart Family Tragedy.

In March of 2018, a story broke about an accident that claimed the lives of an entire family. Jen and Sarah Hart were an educated married couple both majoring in special education. In their years together, they adopted six children. Abigail, Hannah Jean and Markis were adopted in 2006 from Texas and in 2008 the Hart’s adopted Devonte, Ciera, Jeremiah after their biological mother couldn’t take care of the children. 

It would be Devonte Hart, at the age of 12, who would capture national attention with the infamous photograph of the young boy giving a policeman ‘the hug felt around the world’ during a Ferguson protest. The family photographs taken by Jen and put on social media gave the idea that this was a loving family who did everything together in the name of family.

Friends came to know the Hart family and saw them also as a fun family but was that the truth? Photos show everyone what could be not necessarily what is. It is only through following Jen and Sarah’s life was it found that there were allegations of child abuse beginning in Minnesota in 2008 and again in 2010. When a pattern emerged, Jen took it upon herself to homeschool the children.

Moving to Oregon in 2013, another investigation was taking place. Jen tries to convince the authorities that the allegations were put against them by people who didn’t believe a lesbian couple should raise African-American children. Moving again to Washington in 2017, neighbors of the couple were surprised one night when Hannah ran to their door out of fear and again when Devonte asked them for food.

The neighbors contacted Children Protective Services and what happened next would be the most shocking ending to an already shocking story. 

A THREAD OF DECEIT: The Hart Family Tragedy is an all too familiar story of what goes on behind closed doors. Although Jen and Sarah put on an outward façade of their life with six children, that almost perfect façade prevented the truth from being seen. 

As a mother and grandmother, it is heartbreaking to hear this story. No one wants to ever believe that it is possible even though we all know, deep down, that it is absolutely possible. All one has to do is turn on the evening news and there is a story of children being exploited by those are purported to love them.

In Devonte’s case it is even more of a heart pain knowing that he was such a loving young man. While this documentary is going through its paces, I recognized the photograph they were speaking about and was once again jaw dropped to know it was Devonte Hart. To also know that this young man did what he could to protect his siblings (adopted or biological) is a testament to what could have been for him. 

My only big question mark that still lingers over my head is that it seems that everything was being pointed straight as Jen. Where was Sarah in all of this? Grandma taught me that it takes two to tango, yet she seems to have gotten away scott-free from this documentary. Just something I noticed. 

Other interviews include Sharyn Babbitt, Scott Barber, Nusheen Bakhtiar, Octavio Choi, Don Corey, Adolfo Cuellar, Dontay Davis, Nathaniel Davis, Dana Dekalb, Krista Herring, Shonda Jones, Zipporah Lomax, Brittini New, Amanda Price, Jennifer Price, Tammy Scheurich, Riannah Weaver and Christopher Worth. 

A THREAD OF DECEIT: The Hart Family Tragedy is so difficult to watch at times. It is a deep sadness that runs through ever frame of the film because all of it was something that could have been prevented. Of course, fingers can be pointed all over the place (and they are and should be), but what eventually happened falls straight into the laps of Jen and Sarah Hart.

One very important lesson this documentary teaches us is that we are all responsible for one another. If we shout the alarm and nothing is done, we shout louder and if that doesn’t work – social media always seems to do the trick. Not the social media of what we want the world to look like, but the social media that calls to arms everyone who believes in saving those who cannot save themselves.

If we are truly all in this together, then something like this should never, ever happen again. We have no excuses.

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Amazon Prime from writer/directors Bridget Savage Cole, Danielle Krudy and Amazon Studios comes a story of twists and a town singing BLOW THE MAN DOWN.

Priscilla (Sophie Lowe) and Mary Beth Connolly (Morgan Saylor) are mourning the death of their mother, Mary Margaret. Living in a small fishing village, everyone comes to try and support the girls including their mother’s friends Gail (Annette O’Toole), Doreen (Marceline Hugot) and Susie (June Squibb). 

Hearing people talk, Mary Beth finds out that they might lose the house and gets upset with Priscilla. To get away she heads to the local bar and meets Gorski (Ebon Moss-Bachrach). Going back to his place, things don’t go very well, and chaos breaks out. Going home to get help from Priscilla, they try to cover up the mess.

The next morning at the store owned by their mother, Priscilla discovers she is missing something that could get themselves in trouble. Opening their front door, she sees Enid (Margo Martindale), also a friend of their mother’s but not welcomed by the other three in the group. 

Officer Coletti (Skipp Sudduth) also knocks wanting to borrow their boat since they’ve found a body. Pricilla goes along but doesn’t recognize who the girl is but Alexis (Gayle Rankin) knows exactly who the victim is. Now, there are more secrets than that of Pricilla and Mary Beth, secrets that go further than they could ever have imagined.

The shock has ripples that show no mercy. 

Lowe as Priscilla is the calm and collected sister who thinks things through and realizes that their mother’s death brings a new set of realities. As mad as she gets at Mary Beth, there isn’t anything she wouldn’t do for her – anything. Lowe is such a presence in the film and I just couldn’t take my eyes off her.

Saylor as Mary Beth is outrageous and has anger towards what she feels is a year of her life wasted. Making a crazy decision is what gets the sisters into a mess that doesn’t seem to have a way out – even if she thinks she’s found a way out. Saylor goes with the flow of craziness in a way I never could.

Moss-Bachrach as Gorski isn’t happy with the life in this small town and how he makes his living. There is a streak about him that is disconcerting and he’s so good at it. Sudduth as Coletti is an officer who is trying to discover who murdered the girl, but he isn’t getting help from anybody in town. They have their secrets and aren’t about to share them with the law.

O’Toole as Gail, Hugot as Doreen and Squibb as Susie are the three ladies I’d love to hang out with. They keep their eye on everything that happens in their little town and don’t take any nonsense. That seems to be the difference between them and Martindale as Enid. Enid is trouble waiting to explode and the three ladies aren’t happy with the nonsense she is causing in their town. When they see Alexis played by Rankin, it is time to put their foot down, but Enid isn’t the type to take anything from anyone – even her ‘so-called’ friends. Martindale has the unique ability to play the most amazing characters, from a loving character to a down right bitch, she excels and in this film she doesn’t disappoint.

Shout out to the Singing Fisherman, I absolutely loved their singing and thought where they were placed in the film was absolutely stellar.

Other cast include Will Brittain as Officer Justin Brennan, Owen Burke as Paulie, Thomas Kee as Declan Crawley, David Coffin, David Pridemore, Adam Mayerson and Mark S. Cartier as the Singing Fisherman.

BLOW THE MAN DOWN is a story of sisters, friendships and the secrets a little town can have that are almost impossible to penetrate. The characters are completely memorable, and I don’t think I will forget any of them for a very long time. 

I absolutely love the originality of the film and the way writers/directors Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy left my jaw dropping constantly. This isn’t just one storyline – it is several and they all mesh in an amazing way and wrap up beautifully.

If you are looking for something twisted, unusual and stunning to watch then you need to see BLOW THE MAN DOWN because discussions will be had after.

In the end – it is a small town with big secrets!

THE TWO POPES is a Hit for Netflix

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Netflix from director Fernando Meirelles and writer Anthony McCarten comes the story needing to be told by these two actors about THE TWO POPES.

The story set in 2012 should be easy to tell but this one isn't. Pope Benedict (Anthony Hopkins) is an interesting man to say the very least but he is more interested in Jesuit Jorge Bergoglio (Jonathan Pryce). On a visit to Pope Benedict's summer house, Bergoglio wants to present the Pope with his resignation.

With paper in hand and explaining himself, Pope Benedict doesn't seem to be the slightest bit interested. In fact, he begins conversing with Bergoglio about everything but the papers in his hand, including their differing views on the church.

Their conversations tell the story of these two men and the lives they have led and in that lies so much greatness. Juan Minujin portrays the Bergoglio as a young man telling the story of a time when decisions cost everyone everything. As Pryce tells his story, it is so heavy a tale he is telling remembering where he has come and what he feels he must do by resigning. He certainly doesn't shy away from telling his Holiness what he really thinks which had my jaw dropping.

Hopkins Pope Benedict listens intently but tends to coat the conversation with brevity every chance he gets. Here is a man who has his own past to deal with and lets Bergoglio know that in that fashion that they are only human no matter what clothes they are wearing. He is also confronted with the scandals that have been a part of the Church and Bergoglio wants to understand.

Throughout the film, it is Hopkins and Pryce that are stellar and with every conversation there are revelations about the two men who would become Popes. This film could easily have become a dry story with a peak behind Vatican curtain but instead it is a film that you can't take your eyes off of from first moment to last.

One might not expect humor from THE TWO POPES but between jokes, a little piano time, orange soda and pizza you'd be wrong. That is what Hopkins and Pryce bring to the film - an unpredictability that is informative, endearing, charming and worth every minute. The story being told is one of two men holding the highest religious place in the Catholic Church.

The cinematography is absolutely stunning and the costuming is equally beautiful. Those are important in this piece because this is no ordinary story about the church being told, it is also a look inside the walls of where both these men live in a way most of us cannot fathom.

Netflix has certainly found a winning streak this year with some of the most fantastic stories for viewers. THE TWO POPES ends their year on an even higher note as streaming channels truly cater to originality in their programming. Netflix's release of THE IRISHMAN in November is another example of showing viewers something new, interesting and thought provoking.

THE POPE is a film I want to see again because the performances by these two actors is so brilliant and stunning it has to be seen again. Hopkins and Pryce carry the film together with equal greatness of the Popes in both humor, strong character and acceptance of their pasts. We should all see those characteristics in ourselves.

In the end - two men with one goal!

Netflix Releases THE IRISHMAN

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on Netflix from director Martin Scorsese is the highly anticipated film streaming with THE IRISHMAN.

Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) served in World War II and is now a truck driver trying to take care of his family in 1950's Philadelphia. When is truck breaks down, he meets Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci) who seems to know how to fix it. Wanting to show his appreciation, Frank offers but Russell turns him down and both go on their way.

Selling a few things to a local crime family, he is accused of theft and lawyer Bill Bufalino (Ray Romano) convinces a judge that he is innocent. Bufalino introduces Frank to his cousin - Russel Bufalino and immediately he begins to work for Russell. As the head of the Scranton crime family, Russell is privvy to almost everything going on and becomes close friends with Frank. Their friendship starts real money coming to Frank and his family.

Jimmy Hoffa is the president of the Teamsters and an acquaintance of Russells'. Sending Frank over to help Hoffa means dealing with Anthony "Pro" Provenzano (Stephen Graham) who is causing trouble. If that isn't hard enough, Hoffa is having problems with the government and blames the Kennedys for all his difficulties. Bringing Frank aboard, Hoffa starts to feel as if there is at least one person he can trust. 

When Robert Kennedy is named Attorney General, Hoffa can't control his anger knowing that the President's brother is going to do anything possible to bring him down. Eventually that is exactly what happens and while in prison, Frank goes back to work for Russell and the Teamsters is being run by Frank Fitzsimmons. 

While in prison, Hoffa gets into a scuffle with Provenzano when insults are exchanged. Not realizing that this is a bad idea, Frank consistently tries to smooth their beef over with no luck. In 1971, President Nixon pardon's Jimmy Hoffa but he can't get back in with the Teamsters for a while. 

He may not be able to jump back in the ring but certainly make plans to do it and that's exactly what Hoffa does. Being as loud as everyone remembers him to be, Russell starts getting heat from the others that Hoffa is becoming a problem. Turning to Frank's friendship with Hoffa, they ask him to convey that Hoffa needs to curtail the rhetoric. Well that couldn't have had the worse effect on the former leader of the Teamsters.

Instead of cutting back a bit, he informs Frank loudly that he knows things about the dons that make him untouchable and all but dares them to try anything. When Bufalino's daughter is to be married, Russell, Frank and their wives make a road trip to attend. Everything is fine until Russell tells Frank that he is going to make a side trip to meet Hoffa and bring Provenzano so they can finally put things to rest. 

Putting things to rest is what Frank does best.

De Niro as Frank "The Irishman" Sheeran is fantastic but then again I would expect nothing less. Scorsese knows that if he is going to do a Mafia film he can't exactly do it without De Niro. Having him start off as a younger man is a little unnerving and it is easy to spot the changes, but as the film goes along he just morphs into character and ages right along with him. What De Niro has the stunning ability to do is make you feel for a character that isn't exactly an saint. The effects of this are lost on Frank but not on the family as his daughters struggle with the knowledge of who their father is. 

Pacino as Hoffa is portrayed as an incredible character in that he has a mouth that I'm not sure how he got away with for so long. Well, absolute power does corrupt absolutely and Hoffa was definetly on the right side of that saying. He ran the Teamsters the way HE wanted to run it and whoa-be anybody that got in his way. Even prison didn't stop him - much. Pacino adds a dynamic that is such a struggle for Frank and Russell, they want to understand, they try to understand but the noose starts to get tight around their necks. Pacino is everything marvelous and then some. 

Pesci as Russell is such a treasure and what is interesting about this character is the eerie calmness. I'm used to seeing Pesci get loud, get crazy and make no excuses for any of it. In the role of Russell he gives a collected demeanor that never gets out of hand and plays everything close to the chest. There is nothing about the way that he behaves that gives anything away, no plans, no ideas…nothing. Instead, behind those eyes are plans upon plans and he makes no apologies for caring for those he loves first and foremost. 

Graham as Provenzano is the thorn in Hoffa's side, the thing that rubs him the wrong way and the very thing that sets his teeth to grinding. Feeling he owes Hoffa nothing, Provenzano has no problem hitting below the belt or in the eye - which ever. Graham gives his character a Superman complex of huge proportion and puffs his chest whenever his enemy is near. 

Other cast include Bobby Cannavale as Felix DiTullio, Anna Paquin as Peggy Sheeran, Stephanie Kurtzuba as Irene Sheeran, Kathrine Narducci as Carrie Bufalino, Welder White as Jo Hoffa, Jesse Plemons as Chuckie O'Brien, Jack Huston as Robert Kennedy, Domenick Lombardozzi as Anthony Salerno, Paul Herman as Whispers DiTullio, Louis Cancelmi as Salvatore Briguglio, Marin Ireland as Dolores Sheeran, Sebastian Maniscalco as Joseph Gallo, Jim Norton as Don Rickles, Al Linea as Sam Giancana, Joseph Riccobene as Jimmy Fratianno and Harvey Keitel as Angelo Bruno. 

Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with over 158 million paid memberships in over 190 countries. Enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films, Netflix is across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere and on any internet-connected screen. For more information please visit www.netflix.com. 

The project came from De Niro after he read the 2004 book by Charles Brandt I Heard You Paint Houses. Bringing it to the attention of Martin Scorsese meant that it couldn't have been placed in better hands. Industrial Light & Magic (emphasis on 'magic') did the de-aging for the film. 

Scorsese said on The A24 Podcast that "there is a great deal of CGI because we're doing this youthification of De Niro, Pesci and Al Pacino. We're all concerned that we're so used to watching them as the older faces." I don't think he has anything to worry about as the storyline takes over any thoughts about the youthification. 

THE IRISHMAN is everything I want in a film like this and more. In fact the running time of 209 minutes means that every part of the story is explored. From Franks marriages to the relationships with his daughter, especially the strain with daughter Peggy and how people perceived Frank. The story of Russell is shrouded in a bit of mystery except for what Frank knows and shares with us in his narrations and I don't mind that. The story of Hoffa and what got him in trouble with everyone is intense and constantly in flux.

The film is breath taking in scope and not a moment of time is wasted. Every minute is important and that's something views are agreeing on. The last half hour as we are part of Frank's mob-afterlife, I am even more giddy with De Niro, Pacino and Pesci's performances. THE IRISHMAN is a film that reminds us of what an amazing world cinema creates for us all. 

In the end - his story changed history!
MARRIAGE STORY Hits Viewers Hard with Life, Love and Relationships

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on Netflix from writer/director Noah Baumback is the story of a marriage that becomes a bit of a battle with MARRIAGE STORY.

Charlie Barber (Adam Driver) and wife Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) are a young married couple living in New York City and both are in the ‘business’. Charlie is a theater director and Nicole has been in film and on stage. 

Things have been difficult for them both when Nicole is offered a television pilot in Los Angeles. Charlie watches her go to L.A. living with her mother Sandra (Julie Hagerty) and taking their son Henry (Azhy Robertson) with her. Its difficult to get away for Charlie with a play coming to Broadway as it takes up much more of his time than ever.

The more time the couple spends away from each other, issue begin to arise as Nicole feels neglected by Charlie. To his surprise Nicole is talking to attorney Nora Fanshaw (Laura Dern) who tells Charlie to get a lawyer of his own for the separation. Thinking it will all blow over, Charlie takes his time finding a lawyer. When it turns out everything isn’t going to blow over, he turns to Bert Spitz (Alan Alda).

The first order of business is to get an apartment in Los Angeles since everything now will be done according to the laws of California. This drives Charlie nuts because he believes they are New Yorkers! This isn’t going to be the only line in the sand to be drawn by Nicole’s attorney. Once the case hits court, Charlie is about to find out how much more his life is about to change. 

The lawyers start with the smallest of accusations making them huge and worthy of fodder for the judge to deal with. Watching his own lawyer Bert accept what is happening, Charlie hires Jay Marotta (Ray Liotta) to try and salvage what is left of their shredded lives.

This is the story of love, relationships and what happens when those two things break down completely.

Johansson as Nicole is a woman who decides that she wants something more in her life. Letting her husband pursue his dreams, she decides that its time for her to do the same. I have to say that Johansson character was a tad bit shady in her dealings and I’m not the only one who thinks so. I mean really? I get that using the laws to her advantage is one thing but wow, I was head shaking a time or two. Of course, Johansson gives a stellar performance but I expect nothing less.

Driver as Charlie is a man who is sort of a bit of a narcissist in that he thinks what he does is more important that what’s going on in the real world. Don’t get me wrong, I think he was done under a time or two but at the same time he was seriously oblivious to his wife and young child. This is the year of Driver with saying adios to Kylo Ren in STAR WARS: The Rise of Skywalker, THE REPORT and now MARRIAGE STORY. 

Dern as Fanshaw came in with legal guns blazing but then that’s what California divorce lawyers do with a good case that has the potential to be a money maker. Did that sound biting? Oh well. Alda as Spitz gives that California-laid-back lets-not-work-ourselves-up-lawyer-vibe that works well with Charlie – in the beginning anyway. Liotta as Marotta is the kind of lawyer Charlie needed from the beginning but there is a price to be paid for that kind of game play.

It was great to see Julie Hagerty on the screen again as Sandra who seemed to be more on Charlie’s side than her daughters.
Other cast include – Martha Kelly as The Evaluator, Rich Fulcher as the Judge, Mark O’Brien as Carter, Kyle Bornheimer as Ted, Matthew Shear as Terry, Brooke Bloom as Mary Ann, and Merritt Wever as Cassie.

MARRIAGE STORY is a harsh film to take in on many levels because there isn’t a speck of it that isn’t true in most divorces I’ve ever heard about. It is about the break down of communication between two people who are used to having words written to say by someone else so getting their own out takes a bit. They are a creative couple who have created a marriage that isn’t working without special effects.

That’s what makes their separation so difficult to watch, mainly because all I could think was how easy it all could have gone if they JUST TALKED it out. No secrets, no surprises and no other childish nonsense that seems to go hand in hand with divorces these days.

So, I think MARRIAGE STORY should be required before anyone gets married, especially the scene when the Evaluator visits both Charlie and Nicole because wow! Add THE WAR OF THE ROSES into that viewing list as well for good measure. 

There will be awards and nominations for both Johannson and Driver to be sure because their performances are very good. Currently the awards up for grabs as the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild so watch for those coming soon.

In the end – just a look inside one marriage.


Jeri Jacquin

Currently on Amazon Prime Video from writer/director Scott Z. Burns, Unbranded Pictures and Amazon Studios is a story of what happened to detainees after 9-11 because of THE REPORT.

Daniel Jones (Adam Driver) is a staffer for California Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein (Annette Benning). Chairing the senate Select Committee on Intelligence, she asks Jones to investigate the CIA. Specifically she wants to know about the terror suspects being detained after 9-11. 

Putting a team together in a high security location that is practically a vault, Jones is joined by April (Sarah Goldberg) and Julian (Lucas Dixon) pouring through thousands of documents. From the beginning Jones is appalled by what they are finding. The room walls begin to fill up with photos of detainees and their connection to Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden and the 9-11 attacks.

What they also discover is the beginnings of the program of torturing also called EITs (Enhanced Interrogation Techniques), like water boarding, in order to get what they feel is vital information about on-going plans or future plans for attacks. It becomes clear to Jones and Feinstein that no one is willing to take responsibility although there is evidence. In particular is evidence of a Panetta Review that Jones is keeping to himself.

During a confirmation hearing of Caroline Krass, Senator Mark Udall (Scott Shephard) let it be known that the Panetta Review believed in the accuracy of the study. That opens pandora's box as Feinstein is under the gun and Jones is being accused of hacking. Feeling as if the walls are closing in, Jones is forced to make a choice about whether it is time to be a whistleblower or allow the process to have its day.

Believing in everything they have been working on for over six years, Jones and Feinstein put it on the line knowing that once the information is out, they have done their job. The frustration lay in those who would do anything to cover up what has happened and from the Panetta Report from coming out.

Driver as Jones is about as intense as a person could be given his profession. Being asked to head the investigation into the timeline of events and who knew what, when and is responsible for approving the EITs. Like a dog with a bone, Driver gives his character the fortitude to question everyone who is trying to double talk their way out of responsibility. Told not to make anything about his investigation personal, it is clear that personal is the way it needed to be taken in order to get accountability. It is clear Driver can give intensity (hellooooo…Kylo Ren!) and it is that characteristic that gets the viewer into the game asking questions of their own.

Benning as Feinstein wants answers to the questions that seem to be consistently deflected by her colleagues. With Jones at the helm she finds an ally who isn't going stop until they get to the root of it all. With ever meeting, ever hearing and every telephone call to the White House, she gets closer to calling the wide net bluff of the misrepresentation of what actually happened. 

Shout out to Jon Hamm who plays Denis McDonough. First introduced in the beginning of the film meeting Jones for a job, I'm sure the McConough wished he had taken more of an interested in his job applicant! Trying to stay one step ahead of everything Jones finds, it is Hamm's character that always seems to be dodging bullets. 

This film has a huge, and I mean huge cast and I want to make sure they all get a mention: Corey Stoll as Cyrus Clifford, Linda Powell as Marcy Morris, John Rothman as Senator Whitehouse, Victor Slezak as Senator Rockefeller, Guy Boyd as Senator Chambliss, Alexander Chaplin as Sean Murphy, Joanne Tucker as Gretchen, Maura Tierney as Bernadette, Michael C. Hall as Thomas Eastman, Ian Blackman as Cofer Black, Dominic Fumusa as George Tenet, Fajer Al-Kaisi as Ali Soufan, Douglas Hodge as James Mitchell, T. Ryder Smith as Bruce Jessen, Carlos Gomez as Jose Rodriguez, Tim Nelson as Raymond Nathan, Ted Levine as John Brennan, and Noah Bean as Senator Heinrich.

Also included in archival footage are Dick Cheney, John Kerry, Rachel Maddow, Donald Rumsfeld, John McCain and former President Barack Obama. 

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. 

THE REPORT is an in-depth look at what it takes for truth to surface. Driver's portrayal of Daniel Jones helps us understand the connections and how the departments of the government don't work together very well. What is actually a stand out statement is when Jones sees a lawyer Cyrus Clifford and is told he doesn't have a legal problem, he has a sunlight problem - meaning transparency. 

That is a stunning way to put it and that statement caused me to listen even more to the story and especially pay attention to the details. So much so that I fell for every minute hook, line and actor. Each of them does an outstanding job with such a difficult subject matter. Keeping the intensity going (as if Driver wasn't enough!) throughout the film just adds layer upon layer of depth and, I loved it!

In the end - truth matters! 

Put on your Running Shoes for BRITTANY RUNS A MARATHON 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Amazon Prime from writer/director Paul Downs Colaizzo is the story we listen to and the one we create for ourselves with BRITTANY RUNS A MARATHON. 

Brittany (Jillian Bell) is a 20-something New Yorker who is a greeter at a way-off Broadway theatre. Living with social media grabber Gretchen (Alice Lee), the two party till the break of dawn with drinking and a few other substances. When the supply runs low, Brittany heads to the nearest doctor but instead the only prescription she gets is to lose weight and get healthy.

Thinking maybe it's time and realizing paying for a gym is to hysterical to contemplate, she decides to be her own gym. Stepping out for her first run she sees Catherine (Michaela Watkins), a neighbor Brittany believes lives the perfect live which is annoying. Instead, Catherine invites her to join a running group meeting another new friend Seth (Micah Stock).

Seeing that Gretchen is just not going to support anything other than Brittany being the overweight, third wheel, partying friend, she looks for work that will get her away. Becoming a house and pet sitter she meets Jern (Utkarsh Ambudkar), who has found a way to work the system which annoys Brittany as well. 

But the running starts to show results and Brittany can't believe it, pound after pound she begins to find a little bit of self-respect and decides to run a marathon. Catherine and Seth are so excited that the three of them are going accomplish it together! That is until Brittany hurts her ankles and is forced to put her dream on hold. 

Hurt by it all she returns to some of her old habits such as eating and being a little more than nasty to anyone around her. Ignoring Catherine and Seth the downward spiral continues until brother-in-law Demetrius (Lil Rel Howery) who has always been there for her sets Brittany sternly straight.

Brittany has her own personal epiphany about her friendships, what she wants for her life and who is important but does she have the nerve to change everything?

Bell as Brittany reminds me of someone, oh yes, me (the funny part that is)! She is sharp, funny, and self-deprecating and not quite sure how she fits in the world. Barely squeaking by has worked for her through the years but at 28-years-old, squeaking by is no longer working. That's what makes this character so engaging, most of us have been through those emotions or actions sometime in our lives. Bell gives us all the excuses and all the attitude and I feel hook, like and sneaker!

Watkins as Catherine is a woman who clearly has been misunderstood by every person she has come into contact with. A private person who is dealing with her own issues, that becomes clear to Brittany who has to adjust her long time bogus thinking about people in general. Lee as Gretchen is another person who is on the opposite end of Catherine as she is out there putting her business in the street. As with most social media addicts it's all about her world and everyone else is just living in it. Stock as Seth is such a heartwarming friend who sticks with Brittany when most would turn tail and run!

Ambudkar as Jern is funny, irreverent and is the opposite of Brittany in the sense that she takes everything like a direct hit to the heart and Jern is more the slow-down-and-smoke-a-bowl type. It doesn't mean he doesn't care, he just cares differently than Brittany which she can't grasp. Howrey as Demetrius is the guy we all wish we had in our lives in that he has been there through everything and still sees the best but don't think he won't check a body if they are being just plain wrong.

Other cast include Patch Darragh as Doctor Falloway, Erica Hernandez as Molly, Dan Bittner as Terrence, Mikey Day as Dev, Kate Arrington as Cici, Beth Malone as Tesla, and Esteban Benito as Peter

Amazon Prime Video is a Video on Demand service that is developed, owned and operated by Amazon. They provide such shows such as JACK RYAN, THE BOYS, BOSCH and THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL. To find out more of what they have to offer please visit www.amazon.com.

BRITTANY RUNS A MARATHON is a film that on the surface is witty, funny, sarcastic and a bit shallow. That's how it starts but as the film gets deeper it is still witty, funny and throws of sarcasms but the "bit shallow" part starts to melt away slowly. Instead of a woman who seems to be just Adderall-floating by in life, a person who has come to believe everything she's ever been told about herself emerges. 

Having never really made the important choices, her bell has been rung and it's time to come out fighting. That doesn't mean there aren't set back and life disappointments (welcome to adulthood Brittany!), but it is in how she handles those same setbacks that are what show her growth from the beginning of the film to the end.

Oh I realize we've all done this in one form or another but seeing it all in one film certainly brings any unanswered life questions right to the face. It's nice when a movie can make one laugh at it all but still walk away thinking 'am I doing all I want to do?'.

In the end - you can't rush progress!

Amazon Studios CARNIVAL ROW brings Mystery and Fantasy

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on Amazon Prime is the first season of an original mystery and fantasy of along CARNIVAL ROW.

Vignette Stonemoss (Cara Delevingne) is a fae who has escaped from an attack on her homeland from the Pact. Finding her way to a ship, a storm then sinks it and she is the sole survivor. The ship belongs to Ezra Spurnrose (Andrew Gower) and seeing Vignette as an indentured servant on the ship expects her to now work in his home as a maid. Knowing she must survive in this new place, Vignette visits Carnival Row and finds Tourmaline (Karla Crome). They have so much to catch up on but the biggest surprise is discovering that the man she loves, Philo (Orlando Bloom) is actually alive. Living the past seven years believing he was dead, Vignette is shocked and angry. 

Philo is investigating the recent attacks on what are known as fae-folk as a police inspector. Aisling is one of the fae that is murdered and Philo continues to follow the clues. Taking it step by step he talks to everyone involved with the victims only to come up against a man warning him that a creature he calls the "dark-god" is responsible. If that isn't freaky enough, Vignette makes herself known to Philo and she does so with a vengence. She doesn't understand how he could have gone all this time letting her suffer thinking she had lost him and Philo has no answers for her.

Spurnrose lives in the richer part of town with his sister Imogen (Tamzin Merchant) and both are horrified to learn that their new neighbor Agreus (David Gyasi) is a faun which is unacceptable to them. It is considered ridiculous that a creature would try to make his way into society. When Spurnrose finally confides in Imogen that their finances aren't what they should be, a deal is struck with Agreus - his backing for a new ship for introduction into high society. Imogen agrees to make that happen. 

The Chancellor Absalom Breakspear (Jared Harris) is trying to keep the peace in the city along with his wife Piety (Indira Varma) and son Jonah (Arty Froushan). He knows something is going on and advises them to steer clear of Carnival Row. That doesn't stop Jonah from being kidnapped but they don't know who is responsible. 

It is finally revealed how Burguish soldier Philo met Vignette. Her village becomes a station for the soldiers are looking for the best location for keeping an eye out for the Pact while fixing the telegraph line. While out, Philo, Vignette and his friend Darius are attacked by wolves. When the Pact attack the village in a brutal way, Vignette is taken away but told that Philo has been killed. 

Now, more people are being killed and it is becoming clear that what they have in common is knowing Philo. Vignette is trying to separate herself from him as her anger toward what has happened to her people outweighs any feelings she might have for him. To that effort Philo takes his landlady out for dinner and tries to begin something but he is still in a dark place. 

The Chancellor believes that Longerbane (Ronan Vibert) is responsible for the kidnapping but after he meets with disaster, his daughter Sophie (Caroline Ford) steps in and Jonah is actually found. The young man believes he knows who is actually responsible for his capture but doesn't want to call it out in case he is wrong. Seeing Sophie in chambers for the first time, he is captivated by her but mom Petrie isn't as happy about it.

As more secrets are brought out in the open, Philo and Vignette realize that they must work together to find out what is killing those in Carnival Row. The landlady isn't as happy and tells Philo's officers a secret that she knows about him leading to his arrest for murder. 

The relationship between Agreus and Imogen has her brother aggravated and wants it to stop. He understands that they may need his money but as others in town start offering to socialize with Agreus, he sees no need to keep up appearances for his sister. Chancellor Breakspear wants to help Philo and Vignette but doesn't realize that he is about to have his life altered by a Puck, the last group that would ever be suspected. 

The dominos are starting to fall and it is leading a showdown on Carnival Row that no one could have ever imagined!

Bloom as Philo has the look of a man tortured by his orphaned past, losing his love and seeing the worst of mankind in his role as an officer of the law. When Philo sees Vignette, he is reminded of so much of the past that it could interfere with what is happening right in front of him. Bloom has taken on such a dark character but it wouldn't be the first time. In CARNIVAL ROW he has the added bonus of so many dark characters all around him and a story that is filled with twists that he fits right in. 

Delevingne as Vignette is a fierce fae who isn't about to put her people or their culture ahead of anything else, except for maybe love. Not a fan of Philo in the beginning, she begins to realize that he doesn't mean her or the fae any harm. When she thinks him gone, it breaks her heart but not her spirit. She can easily take care of herself but once on Carnival Row, Vignette realizes that her anger at Philo is far down the list of what it takes to survive. Delevinge is quite perfect for this role in that she has the fae look and makes the role her very own and I love that about this character.

Gower as Spurnrose is absolutely yucky from top to bottom of his character and this actor plays it dripping with distain. That's what makes it such a fantastic role! I can't stand Spurnrose yet I also can't wait to see how he's going to make me dislike him even more and Gower doesn't disappoint. Merchant as Imogen is as stuck up as one would expect from a woman of her time and station. She doesn't care about anything or anyone but herself and her finery and yet it takes a Puck to make her see past all of that.

Gyasi as Agreus is a Puck to isn't about to let anyone, human or otherwise, tell him how to live his life. Enjoying the fine home he purchased for himself and man-servant Jim, he also has the uncanny knack of knowing what humans are thinking. His relationship with Imogen is not one either is happy about but it does have its clever perks. Crome as Tourmaline sees what her friend Vignette is going through and it hurts her heart but for more reason that either wants to openly admit.

Varma as Piety is a woman who understands the politics that her husband is part of but also enjoys the lifestyle it provides. She also knows that something is changing on Carnival Row and wants her son to stay away. When he is kidnapped, she suspects everyone. Froushan as Jonah is a young man who is use to a certain lifestyle and doesn't have much expected of him. Smothered by his mother and feeling like he is disappointing his father, he finds a strange solace at Carnival Row. Ford as Sophie begins to provide Jonah with another kind of distraction and no one is pleased about it. She is a strong character who doesn't mind breaking the rules in order to get higher up in the ranks.

Harris as the Chancellor continues to be on an amazing streak of roles in the last few years. I absolutely love everything he does including the recent HBO mini-series CHERNOBYL, the AMC series THE TERROR, and the series THE CROWN. There is a presence about this actor that I'm drawn to see what role he will take next and in CARNIVAL ROW he once again is full of human frailty hidden under the robes of politics - even if it is the politics of the different.

Shout out to Alice Krige as Aoife who also is an actress that I follow because she is so multi-dimensional and in CARNIVAL ROW she is creepy yet honestly a character I was never afraid of. Of course Aoife could probably turn me into a toad if she wanted but there is something straight forward in this role that I appreciated and was fascinated by.

Other cast include Ariyon Bakare as Darius, Maeve Dermody as Portia Fyfe, Jamie Harris as Sgt. Dombey, Waj Ali as Constable Berwick, James Beaumont as Constable Cuppins, Jim High as Fergus, Erika Starkova as 
Aisling and Simon McBurney as Runyon Millworthy.

This year CARNIVAL ROW made a showing at San Diego Comic Con International 2019 and the crowd couldn't have been happier. Of course what made it even more special was that Bloom and Delevingne hid underneath costumes so that the big reveal brought the crowd to their feet with cheers. The audience was then treated to a special screening of the series and some even lucky enough to walk away with a pair of very luminescent wings. I knew then that the show was something special and am please to say that there will a second season.

I absolutely love the darkness of the show and I don't mean the less than colorful costuming but the story and the characters that are wrapped up in every fiber of it all. Just when you think its all figured out - nope! Lets be honest, the show starts out in a million knots and we are left, episode by episode, to unravel it like a fine chain necklace. Those who have ever tried to get knots out of a fine chain necklace know exactly what I'm talking about.

Vague in this review? Absolutely. There is no way I want to dive to deeply into the story because that is what makes CARNIVAL ROW such a draw. There is a lot going on so instead of giving it all away, I brought out some of the characters that I appreciated because something tells me we haven't heard the last from any of them (well, maybe a few of them).

The story is based in a fantastical mythology of fae, pucks, spells, history, culture and a tale that is all to familiar in that what is different people are afraid of. By the end of the series you will understand why a second season is not only needed but necessary. I personally want to see where Philo and Vignette are going to take this journey of theirs and for reasons you will see when you binge watch the first season of CARNIVAL ROW on Amazon Prime.

In the end - there is so much more to their story!

Revisits the Iron Throne on Bluray

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray from HBO Home Entertainment comes the final season of a series that has captured the heart of the world as we all became part of GAME OF THRONES.

Our time in Westeros came to an end and that saddened me in a dual way. I came to enjoy my Sunday evenings all cured up with my yarn crocheting while watching (yes I can crochet without looking) the antics of heroes and villains I either openly cheered and jeered or even secretly cheered.

The cast of GAME OF THRONES is one fans have felt they have watched grow into their characters. From the first season even I wasn't sure what this was all about having not read the books but was immediately curious with each episode. I'm not sure if it was because I wanted to see if Sean Bean lived (as he tended not to do with his characters) or my love of period pieces but week after week I stayed.

The journey of the Stark clan with Ned (Bean), Catelyn (Michelle Fairley), Robb (Richard Madden), Sansa (Sophie turner), Arya (Maisie Williams), Bran (Isaac Wright) and the bastard Jon Snow (Kit Harington) didn't take long to be put under the thumb of the Lannisters'.

Speaking of a dysfunctional family led by Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance), daughter Cersei Lannister-Baratheon (Lena Headey), along with sons Jamie (Niolaj Coster-Waldau) and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) made sure fans appreciated their own families more. Of course dangling on that family tree was also the kid most likely to be strangled by the masses Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson) amongst the rest of the kids.

Then there was this little blonde Targaryen girl named Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) who was traded to a very tall Dothraki leader in the form of Jason Momoa. Of course there is a history of craziness in her own family that she needs to come to terms with. That little marriage brought out the Mother of Dragons who flew her way into creating an army as we all cheered her on.

Of course behind the two families were such characters as Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen), Samwell Tarly (John Bradley, Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen), Lord Varys (Conleth Hill), Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham), Aidan Gillen as Lord Baelish, Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie), The Hound (Rory McCann), Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel), Bronn (Jerome Flynn), Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson), Melisandre (Carice van Houten), and the beloved Hodor (Kristian Nairn).

There are so many characters to name that I just don't have enough room or time to write this all out so let's move on and know that I am giving credit to every character as they are due with our humble thanks.

Onward, each season the story line grew bigger and bigger, so much so that I couldn't wait to go to Comic Con and sit in on the panel AND happily receive a goodie that included an awesome bag and inside a book so that I could read what I was missing, Seeing the casts on panels, it was fun to hear them talk about their time on the show as well as trying so very hard not to give anything away.

As the story unfolded season after season there was plans, survival, death, secrets, destruction, betrayal, power struggles (with family and with distant family) and all in the name of the Iron Throne and who will end up sitting on it. We began with Robert Baratheon and his friendship with Ned Stark and ended up with Joffrey being the next king (and I use a small 'k' because it fits him). Joffrey was the kind of king who would burn the wings of flies with a magnifying glass while his mother Cersei stands behind egging him on.

That's when Sansa gets put into play between the Starks and Lannisters but there is oh so much more to that story. As the houses begin to shift and loyalties become apparent, the one person who isn't loyal to anyone is Tyrion and that's when I started cheering for him. Yes, I understand that he has a problem with prostitutes and he likes to spout that 'That's what I do, I drink and I know things!' becoming his (and our) mantra.

We watched weddings, funerals, battles, enemies from far away and enemies close up fighting for supremacy, lack of love, a few crushes, women being passed on and men being passed over, magic, dragons, friendships (both faked and deserved), honesty wrapped in lies, and oh so much more in Westeros. Our loyalties, like the characters in Westeros, were solid - until they weren't.

The break between season 7 and 8 was the longest break in the show and fans believed, as I did, that it was because the last season would be epic. We bit our collective tongues when it was announced that there would only be six episodes, and we bit even harder when we learned collectively that it would be almost two years before the end would happen. Okay, we are die-hards, we can take it…right….RIGHT?

And so we all did, rumors would drop here and there and speculation about what would happen in the final season kept fans going until the first trailer dropped. I think the world might have stopped spinning for a second or two when that happened. It didn't give us much but it was something and we were raised to believe that it was better than nothing.

Then that first Sunday brought us all back, and sometimes in groups, to see who would finally sit on the Iron Throne. Bets were placed, surveys taken, and polls done with different opinions varying with Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister, Daenerys, Arya and Sansa being the top picks. 

As the finale drew near, I put my favorite Westeros shirt on and filled up my Tyrion "that's what I do is drink and I know things' cup and prepared to see who would finally sit on the Iron Throne.

In Season 8 Winterfell brings Jon and Daenerys against the White Walkers and the Night King. There are still secrets that are about to be dropped and Arya has a plan of her own. Theon decides he must return, as does Jaime Lannister to help in the fight for Winterfell and Sam reveals a startling truth to Jon. Euron is back in King's Landing making sure that Cersei understands what it is he wants and that's to share the Iron Throne.

Jaime doesn't hesitate to share what he knows about Cersei and Brienne is happy to see him. Bran sees Jaime and the time has finally come to talk about what started all of the madness. Bran decides that he should be the one to bring the Night King out knowing what he truly wants. Sansa isn't giving an inch where her distrust in Dani is concerned.

The battle against the White Walkers bring the soldiers, Unsullied, and Dothraki to put together their plan. Melisandre brings her own brand of help as well as well as Jon and Dani riding the two remaining dragons against Viserion. All those fighting see people they love fall and rise again in this battle that can only have one outcome.

Decisions have to be made about King's Landing as Dani makes Gendry a Baratheon. With his new title he hopes there is one person in the Stark family who will be a part of his new kingdom. Jaime and Brienne have a moment of their own but it isn't to last an a particular loyalty can't be forgotten. Jon tells his Stark 'siblings' what he knows about his lineage but it doesn't stop the army from moving towards King's Landing.

Tyrion continues to stand with Dani as they all set sail when Missandei is taken by Cersei, there will be no surrender when her friend is taken. He also learns that Jaime has been captured and he will do what a brother must for a brother. Varys has plans of his own as well not trusting that Dani has what it takes to sit on the Iron Throne and that causes his betrayal.

All of this leads to Dani doing the unthinkable, Tyrion telling Jon that what was done was unconscionable and the Iron Throne still for the taking. It is time to finally see who will take power and what that future looks like for them all.

HBO Home Entertainment brings critically-acclaimed and groundbreaking programming throughout the world. Releases include the global hit Game of Thrones, True Detective, Girls, The Sopranos, Sex and the City, True Blood, The Wire and Entourage. The company's catalog contains hundreds of titles including Big Little Lies and Band of Brothers. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.hbo.com. 

GAME OF THRONES: The Complete Collection and GAME OF THRONES: The Complete Series on Bluray have the Bonus Features: GAME OF THRONES: Reunion Special - A reunion show shot live in Belfast with the cast, both past and present, hosted by Conan O'Brien and available exclusively on these complete series collections. The reunion special is assembled in segments focused on Houses Lannister, Stark and Targaryen and concludes with the key players all onstage for their final reflections on the years they shared in Westeros and Essos.

Also, Bonus Content and exclusive videos from previously released individual season box sets, totaling more than 15 hours of extra materials for fans to explore when they've finished watching the series.

The Complete Series and Season 8 formats also exclusively feature GAME OF THRONES: The Last Watch: A documentary featured on DVD in two parts by filmmaker Jeanie Finlay chronicling the making of the final season, WHEN WINTER FALLS: Exclusive 30-minute featurette with showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, along with major stars and behind-the-scenes players, breaking down all that went into the colossal filming of the 'Battle of Winterfell' in Season 8, Episode 3. 

Also, DUTY IS THE DEATH OF LOVE: A compelling look at how the team behind GAME OF THRONES and its major stars, including Kit Harington, Peter Dinklage and Emilia Clarke, brought the show to its conclusion in the series finale, 'The Iron Throne'. Audio Commentaries, Deleted and Extended Scenes, and Histories and Lore.

Yes, that's all I'm going to say because I think it's very important that those who have not seen the final season have their own chance to jaw drop. So, what did we learn on our journey? We learned that absolute power corrupts absolutely so sometimes melting a throne is best and love doesn't conqueror all, in fact in Westeros love could get you killed and usually did. We understood many things about the trials of some characters and we embraced others who seemed un-embraceable. Twisted life lessons but lessons all the same.

From the very beginning we all knew this was a game, a game among men and women for a throne, something that didn't care about any of them was easily taken away. A game of life and death and there was plenty of that to go around from all the seven kingdoms.

We also learned that loyalty exists, friendships can come from the most unlikely places, that family (even dysfunctional ones) will beat each other up but let no one else do it and that magic is in the eyes of the beholder. All of these things are what makes us love GAME OF THRONES even when we are disgruntled by it.

We will all settle in time, we will watch and re-watch until a comfortability sets in. We will wait to see if the prequels that are rumored will give us back our Sunday's evenings of being whisked away to another time, another place and another story and restore our suspension of disbelief.

In Westeros, after everything, they are beginning again. In our own imaginations let us hope that the choices made in the finale send them all on their way to a peace not known in Westeros for eight season.

After holding our collective breaths the final season returns to re-visit old friends and enemies. It should keep us busy until we see the first trailer to the prequel to GAME OF THRONES.

In the words of Tyrion and the truth is in it, even after everything that has happened in the years we've all invested in GAME OF THRONES, "even knowing what I know now, I'd do it again" - and we will.