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Netflix Brings the Original Story of SWEET TOOTH

Jeri Jacquin

Currently streaming on Netflix from writer/director Jim Mickle is the story of a world that is wracked with a virus that brought about SWEET TOOTH.

The world is experiencing a deadly virus called H5G9 causing the Great Crumble and children being born are something to behold. Called hybrid-children, they are half human and half animal. One father knows it is time to get away as human beings become unpredictable to raise Gus (Christian Convery) who is a hybrid child being half boy and half deer. Gus and Pubba (Will Forte), which he calls his father, raise their own vegetables and survive wonderfully in the woods.

Ten years later, the problem is that Gus is starting to be curious about the outside world. Pubba reminds him all the time that it outside world is dangerous, but Gus is longing for his mother. As Gus grows so does his curiosity about the fence that has been protecting them and his world is about to change. In an attempt to be caught by poachers, Tommy Jeppard (Nonso Anozie) saves him and Gus calls him "Big Man" and lays out his plans to go to Colorado to find his mother.

In the world, Dr. Aditya Singh (Adeel Akhtar), not only learns the signs of the Sick but deals with his wife Rani Singh (Aliza Vellani) having gone through it and now he is trying to save her. Trying to hide it from everyone, they gone on with their lives the best way they can. As Gus and Big Man travel together, they meet Bear (Stefania LaVie Owen) and through a series of events begins to travel with them.

Aimee Eden (Dania Ramirez) makes a home for herself in the local zoo and raises daughter Wendy (Naledi Murray) who is also a hybrid-child. Trying to create a safe space for hybrids is making it easier for General Abbot (Neil Sandilands) to find any hybrid-children. As he looks for anyone who knows about a potential cure for the Sick, he takes Dr. Singh and his wife and his wife to a place where he can work.

They are all intertwined in a world that is unsettling and dangerous.

Convery as Gus is absolutely stunning, charming and a delight to watch. It is a challenge for any actor to play something different but in Convery's case it is different in so many ways. Playing a deer (who loves sweets hence the name Sweet Tooth), he gives Gus all the characteristics of a deer and not just the look about him. He is curious, has a look when he hears or smells something, and these are all to the characters advantage. I love the fire of Gus and Convery is responsible for that. Well done young man.

Anozie as Big Man is the perfect person to look after Gus even though that was never in his original plans. He has his own story to tell that is just as shocking as what has happened to Gus. As the two travel together, they learn from one another and Anozie becomes more and more protective of Gus. At first it is merely to point him in the direction of Colorado and send the little bother on his way - but it changes with each stop they make. Anozie allows his character to be who he is and then remember what it is like to care for someone. He is strong, grumpy and quietly caring and I like it very much.

Akhtar as Dr. Singh is completely taken by surprise at the Sick and feels guilty when his wife comes down with it. He makes it his mission to keep her alive and also keep the neighbors at bay with their questions about how he can help the masses. From the first moment we meet his character there is so much about him that can be intense one moment and flighty the next, especially when he discovers the truth about the lab and the hybrid-children. I expect the second season to tell more about his story.

Owen as Bear is a strong girl who has brought a group of likeminded kids and teens together to fight for the hybrid-children. She sees something special in Gus and when her group has other plans, Bear is going to do whatever possible to save her little friend. Owen gives her character the wisdom of someone much older but then again this is not a world where being naïve helps anything - ask Gus!

Ramirez as Eden finds herself taking over the zoo and making it self-sustainable for herself and daughter Wendy. She is just as curious as Gus and learns everything that her mother has to teach about surviving and staying away from those who would hurt her. In those lessons however are questions about the world that Eden is cautious to answer until she absolutely has to. Murray as Wendy is so dang cute it is ridiculous as she is a hybrid half pig half little girl and terrible smart. Her world revolves around her mother and joins in the desire to help those just like her.

Sandilands as General Abbott is the worst kind of villain in that he can be nice, but you know by the way he talks that there is nothing nice about him. He has a mission that takes him to find Dr. Bell (Sarah Peirse) and it only leads to Dr. Singh's door. Trust me this is not a house call I'd want to have happen. Cannot wait to see his story!

Shout out to Forte as Pubba, his story is slowly told and it is one of love, protection and trying to create a safe world for Gus. He shares the backstory with Birdie (Amy Seimetz) who Gus believes is his mother. They both lay the groundwork for the story of Gus to give us many seasons of enjoyment.

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.

Based on a DC Comic, this is an amazing cast narrated by James Brolin that has been brought together to bring a beloved story to the screen. SWEET TOOTH is executive produced by Robert Downey, Jr. (yes, Ironman has a soft spot), wife Susan Downey, Amanda Burrell and Linda Moran with Team Downey. 

SWEET TOOTH is such a wonderful series that takes us into a world that, for the past 18 months, makes the series seem a bit believable. Starting with Gus and his story, the young actor gives us so much to be emotional about as his begins to navigate a world he has been protected from. Gus is a very fiery young man who is also a boy who has all the fears of a kid his age. I admit that I cannot wait to see where the story goes next.

This is a story that is like ivy that has entwined itself in each of the characters’ lives. It is not just that everyone is dealing with the Sick or that there are hybrid-children to understand (or misunderstand depending on who is asking or looking), this is a story about humanity and how it handles having the world turned upside down.

It could be any disaster meaning that you can strip down the hybrid situation and the Crumble and just look at how people treat each other with something like a virus - sound familiar? Even the character of General Abbott or "Doug" can be seen as a narcissistic leader being followed by people who cannot even think for themselves and trust every word he says or follow out of fear. Sound familiar?

Netflix has once again brought an amazing series and once again we will have to wait to see where the story goes next. Just do me a favor Netflix, do not leave me hanging to long please. SWEET TOOTH has captured my attention, imagination and emotions for a world created for understanding, friendship and a loyalty that is found in a young boy.

In the end - the end of our world is just the beginning of his.

Freeform Show Us a CRUEL SUMMER

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on FreeForm and streaming on Hulu created by Bert V. Royal is the story of perspective, truth and lies that bring out a CRUEL SUMMER.

In Skylin Texas, Jeanette Turner (Chiara Aurelia) is a young girl who feels like she is invisible in her awkwardness. Hanging out with friends Mallory (Harley Quinn Smith) and Vince (Allius Barnes) gives her friendships that hold them all together. She even has a great relationship with older brother Derek (Barrett Carnahan). Kate Wallis (Olivia Holt) is the popular blonde girl who is loved by everyone and has a great life. Sharing her days with friends and love Jamie (Froy Gutierrez), mom Joy (Andrea Anders) share in keeping up their lifestyle.

Jeanette, Mallory and Vince love making challenging lists of things to do. Jeanette’s father Greg (Michael Landes) is a local real estate broker which made it easier for her to grab keys to an empty house so the gang can play hide and seek. The problem is the house is not empty as she meets Martin Harris (Blake Lee) and discover he is the new Vice-Principal as Skylin High School where they all attend.

One evening Kate Wallis disappears sending the town into an uproar. Parent Joy and Rod (Ben Cain) try everything to find her and are devastated as the days pass. As times does, an interesting change happens, Jeanette Turner blooms and becomes the popular girl and finds love with Jamie, Kate’s boyfriend.

The change does not go unnoticed by friends Vince and Mallory and Jeanette does nothing to include them in her ‘new life’. When Kate Wallis reappears, the questions surface about where she has been and during a television interview, Kate faces the camera and names Jeanette Turner as someone who knew she was being held captive and did nothing.

Discovering that boyfriend Jamie has moved on and her friends being totally unsympathetic to what happened during her time away, Kate finds herself befriended by Mallory. It seems as if Mallory totally understands Kate and offers her ways to handle the stress that plagues her every day. 

Now, the story rewinds and is told from the years 1993, 1994, 1995 as Kate continues to point the finger at Jeanette and Jeanette defends herself to the point of seeing her life crumble day by day. It is in those years that secrets are revealed, and the truth is told – but what is the truth?
That depends on who you ask.

Aurelia as Jeanette is a young girl who sees and envy’s the fantastic life of Kate Wallis. At home she has Mom, Dad and brother Derek who is heading off to college, but they are together as a family when all of the problems begin. The show gives us a change from gangly young teen to flowered young teen to dark teen. Watching Aurelia navigate this complex story is so impressive that I found myself just jaw dropped when there was a twist exposed and Aurelia plays it so smoothly.

Holt as Kate gives everyone around her the image of a fresh faced young popular girl who has friends and a wonderful home life. When she goes missing and then returns, there is more to having that life than anyone could have imagined. Holt also navigates her character through a complex tale of choices and the result of those choices. Aurelia and Holt take the show neck and neck with the portrayal of their characters. Holt gives a stunning performance as her story takes us deeper into the mystery.

Smith as Mallory is a larger-than-life person who pretty much gets Jeanette and Vince to go whatever she wants. From the beginning I though her such a push individual who did not mind sacrificing friendship to feel justified for her behaviors. Smith gives Mallory free reign and at the same time learns from her friendship with Kate. Barnes as Vince is a young man living during a time where making his sexuality known could be dangerous for him. 

Landes as Greg is a father who believes in his daughter, he believes in her so much that he sacrifices his happiness, life and marriage to make sure his daughter is safe. Even as the story begins to unfold, Landes makes sure that no one tries to sway his decision to protect what he can of his family. Gutierrez as Jamie is confused by the relationship he once had with Kate to the relationship he now has with Jeanette. At the same time, he must come to terms with his own behaviors and reactions to what has happened and realize who it is he trusts.  

Andes as Mom Joy is a woman who is concerned with optics about her life, business and marriage. Even when Kate becomes aware that everything is not as it seems, Joy has a way of talking anyone out of whatever it is they think they see. Andes does a bang-up job of making the viewer love and hate her in the same scene. 

Lee as Harris becomes the casualty in all of this. That is not to say he is not guilty of everything because as the story unfolds, it becomes clear that trying to be the good guy of the high school is going to backfire in his face. Lee gives his character a bit of naivete and at the same time a feeling that there is a part of Martin Harris that is caught up in something he can not get out of. 
Other cast include Nathaniel Ashton as Ben Hallowell, Brooklyn Sudano as Angela Prescott, Sarah Drew as Cindy Turner, and Nicole Bilderback as Denise.

Freeform is part of the ABC Family Worldwide and a subsidiary of Walt Disney Television. Freeform’s platform is geared toward a younger audience and brings about original series and feature films. Freeform can be found in over 92 million households and includes such shows as Motherland Fort Salem, The Bold Type, Good Trouble and Love in the Time of Corona. For more information of original shows and all other content please visit www.freeform.com.

Hulu is the leading premium streaming service offering live and on-demand television and movies. The platform gives viewers instant access to current shows, libraries of hit television series and film as well as Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning originals such as The Handmaid’s Tale and The Act. For more of what Hulu has to offer please visit www.hulu.com.
CRUEL SUMMER is an amazing series that had my whole family captivated from start to finish. The flash between years takes an episode or two to get acclimated but once that happens, it is a ride through years and tears. 

As one of the executive producers, Jessica Biel says of CRUEL SUMMER, “This project was such an exciting and creative thing for Michelle Purple and I. To sit in a space with the younger generation and really give them this platform to really talk about some intense, hard things that these young people [especially for women and for girls] are going through is really exciting for me.” 

She continues with, “It really shines a light on the complex part of being a teenager and trying to figure out who you are and the midst of a million things that are going on.” The best part of that statement is that as the viewer we follow along what all the teens are trying to figure out about their lives. The adults are there yes, but they are mainly adding to the complexity of being a teen.

I guarantee that once the season starts, it is a binger from then on to the shocking conclusions. Once the season is done it absolutely becomes a conversation about so many topics. Parental relationships, teen relationships, inappropriate relationships, lies, deceit, friendships, loyalty – the list is endless. 

Start your season with a CRUEL SUMMER!

THE TOMORROW WAR

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to help ring in the fourth of July weekend from Amazon Originals and director Chris McKay comes the story of the future who want help fighting THE TOMORROW WAR.

Dan Forester (Chris Pratt) has fought in a war and taken his G.I. Bill bringing him to teaching science at the local high school. During daughter Muri’s (Ryan Armstrong) birthday party and watching a soccer game with wife Emmy (Betty Gilpin), a shock happens right before a goal with a lightening blast landing mid-field. 

Out of the light comes Lt. Hart (Jasmine Matthews) telling everyone listening that they are from the future of 2051. The planet is systematically being destroyed by a creature that wants nothing more than to exterminate human life and they need help. Soon after, a draft is begun to bring people from this time to the future aiding in the battle.

Teaching his science class, Dan does not know if or when he could be called, and that question is quickly answered. Emmy wants the family to run, and Muri just wants her Dad. Dan decides he must do what is asked of him if Muri is to have a future of any kind. With a quick fitting and relatively no training, Dan finds himself in the middle of a hellish situation.

He meets fellow soldier Charlie (Sam Richardson), Dorian (Edwin Hodge) and Romeo Commander (Yvonne Strahovski) but there is no time for fellowship! The creatures instantly fixate on the new arrivals, and it is the Commander who gets them to a place looking for scientists. What is important is to find the work that can stop the creatures in 2051 and save the time Dan is from.

The future can save the present!

Pratt as Dan gives us the facial expressions of a warrior that we all have come to expect and with THE TOMORROW WAR he once again delivers. As a man who wants a future for his child, there is nothing he would not do but guarantee he does not expect it to be like this. The thing with Pratt is that he can be as bad ass as he wants but you can bet there are going to be one liner that are memorable in every role he takes – and Dan is no exception. His wit is mixed in with his brawn and it makes the film from start to finish. 

Richardson as Charlie is a character I am never likely to forget. His nervousness brings a reaction that might be hard to keep up with but once you think about it – he makes sense. He is also a brain that when put together with Dan makes a team that is awesome. Hodge as Dorian is a man with issues of his own and he is not going to be talked out of how he handles his life. Dorian might be a little cold, but he has his reasons.

Matthews as Hart is a very strong soldier and even though what is happening in 2051 is truly horrendous, she knows her job and has to keep that strength and Matthews gives her the backbone to make it all happen. 

Armstrong as young Muri is a girl who has a great relationship with her Dad. She quickly becomes a young girl that has to see adult scary things but stands by him. Gilpin as Emmy does not want him to go to war (and who would), trying to find a way out of it. When Dan decides to go, Gilpin puts on her support face and does so the rest of the film.

Shout out goes to J.K. Simmons and I mean that seriously! Who ever decided to pair Pratt with Simmons needs to do it again because dang these two guys have mean stares, sharp wit and no fear of spikey creatures. Simmons has always been a favorite of mine so to see him buff up and gun up was pretty dang cool and I will not mind seeing that again.

Other cast include Mary Lynn Rajskub as Norah, Keith Powers as Major Greenwood, Mike Mitchell as Cowan, Jared Shaw as Tank, Alex Louder as Diablo, Seychelle Gabriel as Sgt. Diaz, Chibuikem Uche as Lt. Ikemba, Rose Bianco as Rose, Alan Trong as Lt. Tran, David Maldonado as Dodd and J.K. Simmons as James. 

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.

There is something spectacular about a big action film that opens during the Fourth of July holiday, and I have always looked forward to them. THE TOMORROW WAR is one such film that lends itself to the resilience of the human spirit and, in this case, the future of the human spirit with the addition of creatures that think we are so easily wiped out.

Pratt and crew make a story full, and action packed which is, lets face it, why we love them. But this film gives us something so much more. Part of good action films is that sometimes the ending just leaves us wanting more and with a few more questions. THE TOMORROW WAR takes it all a step further.

Instead of just beating the aliens, director McKay makes darn sure that in the films two hours and twenty minutes, we get to experience everything. Not just the fact that the creatures want us all as a snack but the how, why and what are these characters going to do about it.

There are reminiscences of films I have seen before, and I see them more as a kudo to the alien-action genre like INDEPENDENCE DAY and even a bit of THE X-FILES, but I am thrilled with every moment of it. 

Honestly, I had a good time. I yelled, I hollered, had my own one-liners that probably are not fit for print, applauded and laughed so much. That is the sign of a good film in getting to just have a fantastic experience AND plan to see it again on my Christmas gift 70-inch TV with surround sound (you have been warned neighbors unless you care to join in…bring popcorn).

See it for what it is, THE TOMORROW WAR is why we love our movies loud, action packed and actors that make it just about the best way to spend time with family and friends.

In the end – to save the present they must fight the future!

Hulu Brings the Ruthlessness in SALEM

Jeri Jacquin

Currently playing on HULU from creators Brannon Braga and Adam Simon is the haunting series that has three exciting seasons when telling the story of terror in SALEM. 

It is the 17th Century, and the puritanical town of Salem is experiencing the punishment for going against the church. Leading the way to seek out more punishment is George Sibley (Michael Mulheren) who seems to enjoy his leadership role. Not afraid of what is happening is John Alden (Shane West) and makes his feelings plain stopped only by his friend Giles Corey (Kevin Tighe). Going off to war he says a final goodbye to his love Mary (Janet Montgomery) and does not know that she is left behind to face motherhood.

Helping her is Tituba (Ashley Madekwe) and into the woods they go to do what is clearly against the church. Upon hearing the news of Johns death, Mary once again must make a decision that will change her life believing John has died. Imagine the surprise when years later John returns alive, and war torn. Drowning his sorrows, John finds himself helping Reverend Lewis (Thomas Murphy) with a little problem of the young Mercy Lewis (Elise Eberle) possession, but he does not believe in it.

Magistrate John Hale (Xander Berkeley) is trying to learn how Reverend Lewis plans to weed out the witches he claims are still among the people of Salem. Isaac (Iddo Goldberg) who was branded before the war, seeks out John and tells him that the witches are real. They need to look no further than Mary herself when she is responsible for the condition her husband George is in as an act of vengeance. 

Hale’s daughter Anne (Tamzin Merchant) is fascinated by Captain John Alden and his experiences with the Indians. At a dinner hosted by Mary, she and John have a chance to be alone and talk about what has happened the past few years. Sad by it all, it is Tituba that reminds Mary of what she has gained and what she has to lose and, more importantly, what is to come during the night.

Reverend Lewis is working with a young girl tries to tell him who are the witches in Salem. Since she can not speak, Lewis chains her and takes her out among the townsfolk to point a finger at all those responsible with disastrous results. As John intends to leave Salem, Isaac shows him a hideousness in the night at the same time tat Tituba performs the Grand Rite with Mary. Now more lives are in danger!

When John learns that Giles is being punished by Lewis, he becomes enraged but what he does not know is that Mary has plans for Salem. Plotting to use a sad birth as a way to declare a religious war against the midwife and townspeople as everything that is deep and disturbing could very well be the end of the faithful of Salem. 

Montgomery as Mary is a woman who had been living with a broken heart until the return of John Alden. One night in the woods turns a sweet young woman into something that will bring terror and mayhem to the town of Salem. Montgomery gives her character strength and the will to do what Tituba thinks necessary to keep her power but there is also the part of her character that remembers a love that haunts her. This is a powerful series and Montgomery does her character justice.

West as Alden is a man in love but going off to war. When he returns there is nothing left of the Salem he remembers, instead there is chaos, fear and a woman who no longer resembles the young girl he left behind. West gives his character a no-nonsense attitude and a disbelief that is about to be changed in a major way. Admitting there is something happening, West’s character also knows when to call out wrong.

Berkeley as Hale follows Mary’s instructions, but it is clear he does not share in the way she wants things done. Trying to find a middle ground, he many of his family members suffer a fiery fate and is trying to keep the family he has left from. Berkeley always turns in a stellar performance. Goldberg as Isaac is the town man marked with the F and everyone stays away, everyone except Alden. Turning to him for help will not keep him safe but he is a strong character who is going to give the town a run for its coin. 

Murphy as Reverend Lewis gives us the duality of character that does not mind screaming from the pulpit and pointing at sinners when he partakes of the thing he preaches against. Murphy gives his character complexity and lots of confusion as to what he truly believes. Mulheren as Sibley started something that has turn against him. Not a liked man in the beginning, what goes around comes around and it is harsh.

Merchant as Anne is a young strong-minded red-headed woman who does not know her father has a bigger role in what is happening than she could ever imagine. Questioning everything puts her at odds with Mary and puts her life in jeopardy. Madekwe as Tituba knows how to deal with the forces of darkness and leads Mary through it all. She is smart and does not take kindly to being questioned, and actually I would not think it a good idea at all!

Other cast include Azure Parsons as Gloriana Embry, Stephen Lang as Increase Mather, Morgana Shaw as Mab, Christopher Berry as The Seer and Diane Salinger as Rose Browning.

Hulu is the leading premium streaming service offering live and on-demand television and movies. The platform gives viewers instant access to current shows, libraries of hit television series and film as well as Emmy and Golden Globe Award-winning originals such as The Handmaid’s Tale and The Act. For more of what Hulu has to offer please visit www.hulu.com.

SALEM is an absolute binge-watching series. The story deals with an era of fear and finger pointing of witchcraft with results that became legendary. Each of the characters has a role that is equally important in the telling of the story created by Braga and Simon. The world they have created is harsh and a struggle to survive and when you add the story of witchcraft well, terror abounds.

There are very few characters that can be taken at face value and very few characters that are not in service of the darkness in one way or another. The shadows are around every corner and never have a drink with anyone else find out you have been given something that could put you on the pyre. 

The set design and costuming is perfection as again I am drawn to watching anything that has such an amazing unspoken character that blends in beautifully without saying a word. Instead, it shows itself to be an unstoppable visual treat from start to finish. 

So, if you are looking for an very cool three season binge-worthy series, might I suggest you become a fly on the wall to view what is happening in SALEM. 

In the end – everything in Salem has gone to hell!


Disney+ and Marvel Studios Deliver with LOKI

Jeri Jacquin

Currently streaming on Disney+, Marvel Studios and creator Michael Waldron is the series with one of my personal favorite characters because, well, he is LOKI.

After the Endgame and with the tesseract in the hands of Loki (Tom Hiddleston), he is picked up quickly by a mysterious military. Of course, Loki being the god of mischief is not thrilled at all by their pushiness, calling him a variant and learning about time variants. Quickly he discovers that he is to stand trial for some of his antics.

Standing in front of a judge, Loki tries to charm judge Ravonna Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) with “madam, a god doesn’t plead” which does not help his cause. Morbius (Owen Wilson) watches with a keen eye at Loki’s reaction to blaming the Avengers for his troubles. Getting Renslayer to agree to begrudgingly allow Loki to help the TVA (Time Variance Authority). 

Morbius spends time with Loki explaining the TVA and showing him things that he would rather not see. Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku) is not at all happy with the decision, but it gives the god of mischief time to do what he has always done – get into more trouble. What he discovers is that he is now part of the TVA world.

Now, Loki is sent into the world to hunt one of the most ruthless variants of all!  

Hiddleston picks up the mantle of Loki with such ease or maybe it is just that I am thrilled to see both he and the character again. Personally, I think it is a lot of both and I am just a bag of giggles watching every moment. I truly believe that Hiddleston must be enjoying his time as Loki as it shows in every step he takes in the role and in every frame. From the moments where his emotions betray his usual narcissism to Loki expanding his own universe of narcissism, Hiddleston just makes us all love a character that we probably should not. 

Sitting in the front row when he attended San Diego Comic Con International in July 2013, his speech had all 7,000 Hall H attendees on their feet screaming with joy and chanting the name of Loki. Hiddleston was in full regalia with a mischievous smile and a playfulness that gave us all a moment of ‘glorious purpose’. Now, the series LOKI is going to give us what we need – and that is more of the god of mischief.

Wilson as Morbius sees something in Loki that most just want to evaporate from existence. Calling Loki out on his mischief and the trouble he has caused through time, Wilson turns on the psychology charm. When that does not work, shock does and now Morbius has a way to reach Loki while still allowing Loki to be, well Loki. Wilson gives his character a patience that might give him a medal for sainthood and a calmness that is the opposite of Loki. The two play off each other and Wilson is very, very cool.

Mbatha-Raw as Renslayer is not happy about Morbius’ request but for now she is willing to see where it goes. It is nice to see Mbatha-Raw in a strong role and I think we will see that story play out as well. I mean come on, it probably will not be the last time she sees Loki in her courtroom. Mosaku as Hunter B-15 has Loki’s number but would rather have his head on a platter. She is good at her job and Mosaku gives her character authority and a sense of duty. I am enjoying the give and take between she and Hiddleston and suspect I will see much more of it.

Disney+ is the subscription home streaming entertainment with Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic and more. There are exclusive originals with new feature films, shows, short form content, documentaries, and actions series such as THE MANDALORIAN. For more information, please visit www.disneyplus.com.

Marvel Studios has released sixteen films since 2008 in what is known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel is built on a library of over eight thousand characters featured in a variety of media content for over seventy years. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.marvel.com.

LOKI has started out the timeline-variant-gate catching my attention quickly. As much as I enjoyed WANDA VISION, I can not wait to see where Disney and Marvel take the usual unpredictably predictable Loki and what fun there is to be had. 

So far, the beginning cast is setting the groundwork for adventure and a reason to turn in weekly. Of course, I wish I could binge watch the whole season but there is something to be said for looking forward to the next chapter in the Loki saga. 

Disney+ and Marvel have partnered to do amazing things for the streaming service, and it is so much fun to watch television with the family again. Seeing everything they have to offer on the big screen in my home make for a reason to gather together. We gather for a bite to eat and then popcorn ready to cheer on all our heroes and even a mischievous bit of a villain like LOKI.  

In the end – the world Loki wanted to dominate has just changed up on him!


SERVANT Brings More Answers in Season Two

Jeri Jacquin

Returning to Apple TV+ for its second season from writer Tony Basgallop and executive produced with M. Night Shyamalan is SERVANT.

Dorothy (Lauren Ambrose) is devastated by the disappearance of her son Jericho and Leanne (Nell Free). Calling the police to report the kidnapping sends husband Sean (Toby Kebbell) running through the house to hide anything that that would suggest the infant was there. Instead, Sean and brother-in-law Julian (Rupert Grint) tell the police that Dorothy is suffering from the loss of their son and the fake baby was supposed to help.

Once alone, Sean decides he is going to do everything possible to find Jericho even if it means dealing with the cult Leanne has brought into their life and the woman known as May. Julian has other plans for the doll and decides he knows what is best for his sister and even hires Roscoe (Phillip Brannon) to help out. Dorothy begins to use her reporter skills and goes insane on the internet looking for new stories that can tell her more about the cult.

The story of what happened to Dorothy slowly makes its way to the surface, she keeps busy with her on-air reporting and announcing Leanne’s disappearance. When they believe her location is clear at the Marino house, Sean uses his cooking skills to find out for sure. Tobe (Tony Revolori) becomes a delivery driver and does not realize he is also being used to bring Leanne back. Dorothy has no intention of making life easy for Leanne and relies on tactics to get the information about Jericho.

What she does not count on is the arrival of Uncle George (Boris McGiver) who makes it clear that none of this should have ever happened. Convinced that Leanne has gone astray from their beliefs, he brings a mysterious case that is to remind her of why she should return to the fold. The Turners are not exactly sure what his plan is but are blinded with hope when Uncle George assures them that things will work out.

Dorothy is on a spree preparing for Jericho’s return and wants to have a family gathering. Bringing them all together is not exactly going to go as planned as Dorothy, Julian, and Sean deal with their own troubles that are hitting them hard. As if everything was not difficult enough, a knock comes at the door as a woman in a black veil introduces herself as Aunt Josephine (Barbara Sukowa).

Josephine makes it clear to Dorothy and Sean that Leanne has strayed and although the couple are in pain regarding Jericho, nothing more can be done. A showdown is about to happen with all involved and the shock is yet to come.

Ambrose as Dorothy has now been put to every ounce of stress dealing with something she has no control over. The only thing she seems to have control of is not having control. Ambrose give Dorothy moments of sanity where she seems to be on the right track and then she goes whack-a-doodle but in the best of ways that keep my attention because, and let us be honest, it is like a train wreck, and we have to see the outcome. 

Kebbell as Sean seems to be the one that truly understands the insanity of what he and Dorothy are dealing with. Yet, there is that part of him that can not help but be caught up in it all with the help of Julian’s own brand of craziness. He wants Jericho, he wants his wife happy, and he wants his world back so jumping in with both feet – he seems to be landing in quicksand!

Free as Leanne comes from a world that is twisted and altered in the perception of religion. It is her breakaway to Dorothy and Sean’s house that has caused all the issues until the issues start knocking on their door! Free is torn between two worlds and the consequences be damned – literally.

McGiver as Uncle George creeps me out to the highest level of creepiness. That is how you know this character is bringing in more story that is just bursting to be told. Sukowa as Aunt Josephine is another piece to the puzzle and covered in a veil just like the mystery that is still waiting to be uncovered. 

Now, lets talk about Grint as Julian because let’s put in an OMG right here. As Julian he is the go between in the chaos even if he brings a bit of unusualness to the way he thinks. Of course, dealing with his own demons, those demons sometimes cross the lines between what his sister wants, his own life and helping Sean. Then again, being an uncle to a doll is not always easy. Grint is stunning, entertaining and completely engrossing as Julian and this season he crosses a few more dangerous lines.

Other cast include Mason and Julius Belford as baby Jericho, Katie Hillas Kourtney, Alison Elliott as May Markhem, Todd Waring as Frank Pearce, Jerrika Hinton as Natalie Gorman, Molly Griggs as Isabelle Carrick and M. Night Shyamalan as a pizza delivery man. 

Apple TV+ is a streaming service featuring Apple Originals, award-winning series, compelling dramas, groundbreaking documentaries, kids’ entertainment, comedies, and more with new Apple Originals added every month. To see more of what they have to offer please visit www.appletvplus.com.

SERVANT is twisted, mysterious, chaotic, amusing, jaw dropping, and I almost wish it was an hour long instead of the half hour. Thinking about that more I realize that the series would not be as on-the-edge if the show became an hour per episode. Each ending is spectacular and pushes the brain to want more. 

This leads to the anticipated ‘ohhhhh maaaaaaaaaaaaan’ when the season is over for the next year. Let us hope that Apple TV+ can kick into high gear and keep the tension to a minimum, oh alright, I want to know more about the secrets that seem to always be eluding. Both season one and two are available now.

In the end – where is Jericho?



There is more to THE PHANTOM

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from BAFTA-winning director Patrick Forbes, Greenwich Entertainment and premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival is the story of death, investigation, and injustice with THE PHANTOM.

In 1993, a young woman named Wanda Lopez was working a night shift at a Shamrock gas station in Texas when police dispatch receives a call. Ms. Lopez is worried about a young man outside the store who is scaring her. He enters the store and proceeds to rob and bring tragedy leaving behind a haunting recorded moment for investigators.

Arrested is 20-year-old Carlos DeLuna who is found lying underneath a car after a telephone call gives away his hiding. Taken into custody he is charged with the murder of Wanda Lopez. After questioning, Carlos tells police that the person responsible is also named Carlos Hernandez. During the investigation police did not find any other Carlos to link to the crime.

Prosecutors in the case told the jury that the “other” Carlos was a phantom, someone DeLuna wanted to blame for the heinous murder of an innocent woman. Even with no evidence linking DeLuna (no blood on his body or money from the robbery etc.) the jury found him guilty, and he was sentenced to death. Covering the trial was just a young reporter Karen Boudrie Greig who was swept up in the trial as the Lopez and DeLuna families were.

After the trial, it was Greig who kept in touch with DeLuna who continued to tell the story that it was the other Carlos responsible for the young woman’s death. In December of 1989, no one else could help DeLuna face the courts verdict. Professor James Liebman from Columbia University would speak with Greig letting her know the team was looking into it and discovered the phantom was real.

The answers would come, but not before the truth could set DeLuna free!

The Wrong Carlos: Anatomy of a Wrongful Execution is a book by James S. Liebman and the Columbia DeLuna Project as well as thewrongcarlos.net that lets readers see crime scene photos, court records, videotape interview and more. 

Director Forbes says of the film, “I’m thrilled to be working with Greenwich on THE PHANTOM. They completely got the movie from day one – the mystery at its heart, and the tragic importance of what happened. In this film, for the first time we prove without a shadow of a doubt that America executed an innocent man. It’s a shocking, moving, and enraging story, and I couldn’t wish for a better partner to tell it with”.

THE PHANTOM is a heartbreaking story of a young man who told the truth and instead of diving deeper to keep from doing the wrong thing, chose the easy way to convict and move on. The DeLuna family is horrified learning of the history of Hernandez and how the police refused to investigate or admit they were wrong from beginning to end.

The tape played in court of Ms. Lopez seemed to me to be the convicting factor for a jury looking to make someone responsible. Yet, when it came time for evidence, there just was not any so for a jury to not take that into consideration just hurts the soul. 

Listening to DeLuna’s brother tell his story of youth, family, difficulties and how it is possible that his brother became connected to Hernandez is so very important. DeLuna is not seen by the court as a person because they chose to believe and took the easiest route to “solving” a murder investigation. 

THE PHANTOM does what the justice system did not, bring together all the evidence and all the people who have brought this story so that it never happens again. 



A Thirty-Year Mystery Starts in the DARK WOODS

Jeri Jacquin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the end – they refuse to stop!


THE SONS OF SAM

Jeri Jacquin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SECRETS OF THE WHALES Comes to Disney+ 

Jeri Jacquin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In the end – they welcome us to Earth Day!


MORTAL KOMBAT

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!