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Movie Maven and Film Brat Join CineMunn for a Podcast of film talk and other Mayhem!
with Movie Maven and Film Brat
The second season of

The Handmaid’s Tale

comes to Blu-ray™ and DVD December 4th from MGM Television and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. The 4-disc set includes all 13 heart-stopping episodes, as well as two brand new featurettes that take the viewers beyond the pages of Margaret Atwood’s award-winning, best-selling novel.

INCREDIBLES 2: Speaking with Story Artists Andrew Jimenez and Bobby Rubio

Coming to Digital and Bluray Multi Screen Edition on November 6th from director Brad Bird and Walt Disney Home Entertainment is the release of INCREDIBLES 2.

This fantastic family film has so much to offer everyone in the way of superheroes, family fun, laughs and everything we have come to love about the Parr family. I had the great opportunity to speak to Andrew Jimenez and Bobby Rubio about their experience working on INCREDIBLES 2. 

Andrew Jimenez is a Story Artist/Motion Graphics Lead and graduate of San Diego State University and Bobby Rubio is a Story Artist who graduated from CalArts. It could easily be said that both of these hometown boys made good being part of Pixar and they share with us the process of becoming part of this iconic family and what it takes to bring Brad Bird’s vision to life.

Jeri Jacquin: Hello Andrew, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us today about your work on INCREDIBLES 2

Andrew Jimenez: Of course.

JJ: We are going to jump right in, tell me a little bit about how you got involved in the project.

AJ: After film school in San Diego and I was interviewing for positions. I think everyone knows how difficult it is to get into this work in Los Angeles but I got work on a piece called THE IRON GIANT. Brad Bird was working on the film and they wanted to try something new at that time called animatics with storyboarding. That's how I met Brad and that process of storyboarding and animatics worked out really well on that 
project and when he came to PIXAR to do THE INCREDIBLES he brought a few people with him to use that process. The storyboarding process is pretty much the same for both 2D and 3D. I ended up in the Bay area working with Brad on THE INCREDIBLES.

JJ: First of all a shout out to San Diego, second, THE IRON GIANT is a family favorite. I've been to Pixar and it is like turning into an excited five year old because it’s such an amazing and fascinating place. How was it for you walking onto that campus knowing you were working on pieces that have become so iconic?

AJ: It was a bit overwhelming in the right way. There is a long walkway that leads to this beautiful lawn pathway and I thought it would be great to have a steam train along that pathway. It's also good to know that I wasn't the only one who thought that. What added to my excitement on the first day of employment in 2000 is that it was the first day that this particular campus was open for everyone to start working in. It was a great equalizer because whether it was your first day like it was for me or a new day on the new campus we all had the same questions. It was nice to figure it out together.

JJ: What I noticed at PIXAR is the free environment of thought and ideas. It seems like it is set up for you all to be free flowing.

AJ: Just this morning that happened as I was getting my coffee in the atrium. We were having nerdy talk about Star Wars and work stuff for the day. The best part of it was that it fed into everything we are doing, this place encourages these kinds of conversations and that is an amazing part of being here. A conversation about puppetry versus CG and the authenticity of drawing versus computer animation - it is all applicable and essential to what we do here.

JJ: Getting into the INCREDIBLES 2, I have to say that the flow into the first INCREDIBLES film into the second is seamless. It just doesn't feel like there has been a gap in time at all. You pick up right where the last left off. How did you manage to do that?

AJ: You are right in that there are so many years between the two but our level of interest in wanting to know these characters hasn't changed. So if you go in with the honest you can tell that story. Instead of just coming in with the super hero elements, we look at how Bob, Helen and the kids are adjusting. We can relate that to our own lives so coming back to them is like meeting up with old friends and you feel as if time hasn't been lost at all because you know that person so well. I think it's like that with these characters in the film because when we see them again it actually is like time hasn't passed. We have been honest with reintroducing these characters to the audience.

JJ: At the end of the first INCREDIBLES, we all did have that thought wondering what was going to happen to the Parr family. It is like you got inside our heads and in INCREDIBLES 2 you put that right on the screen and now on Bluray. We are thrilled so thank you for that.

AJ: Of course.

JJ: We have to talk about Jack-Jack.

AJ: Yes, we do.

JJ: I was amazing at what you all have done with Jack-Jack.

AJ: Brad does so with weaving character based story into all of it, there are scenes with Jack-Jack The vocalization of Jack-Jack in the scene where Bob is going crazy and Frozone is trying to help with it all but Jack-Jack sees on television an old interview with Helen and he gives the most priceless 'mama' but the little seed planted is what triggers him to turn into these crazy characters. He wants his mom! Brad puts these magical gems in the film that are pretty cool to catch.

JJ: It actually reminded me of a toddler going through the terrible twos! I think I have seen all of that in a toddler a bit but the visual is hilarious.

AJ: If you can turn into jelly-laser-shooting-fire-monsters this would be exactly it. 

JJ: With your work in this, what was the process like for you? I know it has to be labor intensive so how do you go about taking Brad's thoughts that are on paper and turn it into the magic we see on the screen?

AJ: I think what is amazing about Brad's storyboarding process and what I love about the story boarding process is that it is the blue print for the foundation of everything we do as we make the film. It's not just little drawings, no, with Brad he wants to figure out everything very early. The great thing about that is we can change things later when we've tried other options and know what will work perfectly. Because we have figured it out early on we know what works and that's kind of where I come in. If you can imagine that there is six drawings to a shot with screen direction, when we are watching it the film is in a critical stage. Story boarding gives us a chance to make all the critical decisions before a scene goes into production before all the time, money and effort takes place. To learn these things early is very beneficial and the film is in its most vulnerable stage so the story boarding is important. I take those story boards and make animatics which is a visualization taking the actual drawing and moving a camera over the art work. This allows us to make crucial decisions and actually see the movie flow shot to shot as the closest approximation to it being later. We are making better and informed decisions. 

JJ: Also you aren't working with real actors

AJ: Yes, and sometimes when we are watching it play out we are doing the voices ourselves. I know when I hear my voice I giggle. The danger in that is what if we find things humorous but the outside audience doesn't? To closely approximate what the film will be early on we use our scratch voices, temporary stuff to build the foundation of what the film will eventually become. One of the biggest compliments after screening the story reels is that the audience thought it was the finished film. 

JJ: Thank you so much for talking to me today Andy!

Now it the opportunity to speak with Bobby Rubio who brings a bit of both professional and a life long dream of not only working with director Bird but being a part of Pixar!

Jeri Jacquin: Hi Bobby, thanks for taking time today to talk with us as well about the INCREDIBLES 2.

Bobby Rubio: No problem at all.

JJ: I asked Andy this same question now I will ask it to you, how did you get involved with this project?

BR: I casted into the role of the story board artist and we all get picked to do certain projects. I have a background in comic books and love super heroes. I go to San Diego Comic Con every year and have ever since I was a little kid. I think they knew that I could fit into this world. 

JJ: With the INCREDIBLES 2 and your love of superheroes, what was it like to find out you were chosen to work on it?

BR: It was a dream come true. The funny thing is when the first movie came out I was at Walt Disney Feature Animation and I remember my buddy telling me 'oh my gosh we are working on a movie and you would love it', when I finally saw it I was so jealous because I wanted to be a part of it. Now here it is fourteen years later and I get a shot with it.

JJ: Tell me your part in INCREDIBLES 2.

BR: I'm a story board artist and I would get the script from the director Brad Bird and he would give me certain sequences that I would story board. I did certain sequences that I'm pretty happy about.

JJ: Working on the whole process, did you think was going to turn out as it did?

BR: In certain aspects yes and in other aspects no. Seeing the first film directed by Brad Bird, I idolized him because I loved his work on The Simpsons, RATATOUILLE and the IRON GIANT. I guess I was a little star struck working with him and he is a great director and I've learned so much from him. The other side was that I also saw that he was human and there was things to figure out. INCREDIBLES 2 was crafted several times before it worked and although it all was hard, it was absolutely fun.

JJ: I'm sure a lot of people think this all looks so easy for you to do. I was saying to Andy that it just flows so seamlessly that it does look easy. Of course I know there are nuances and hardships in making something like this as well yes?

BR: Definitely, I tell people and my friends that it isn't always sunshine and lollipops and it takes a skill to be here. There is such amazing talent here at Pixar and you want to bring your talents to the table as well. You want to keep the ship moving forward and 
the momentum going and yes, sometimes it's not easy. With a team like we had and the talent we had working on INCREDIBLES 2, we worked together so well and it was also a lot of fun.

JJ: The collaboration I have seen for myself when I visited and maybe I was having a little geek out moment myself like your experience with Brad but I still saw the ebb and flow between everyone there. I saw everyone sitting and talking with the back and forth and I think that makes where you are so amazing. It shows in what you create and do.

BR: I agree, it’s definitely a team effort. I enjoy collaborating with everybody on the team and Andy was great. The funny thing is that there were three of us from San Diego on the team with Derek Thompson as well. We talked about our home town and what our years there were like. 

JJ: In all the work that you've done and you see it now on the screen, two things, what does that mean to you personally and what do you hope audiences get from seeing the film.

BR: Seeing my name in the credits, it’s very gratifying and I know it makes my Mom and Dad proud and my family. I've been told by friends from San Diego 'wow, you made it' and I appreciate it and am grateful to be here. I know when I go to SDCC with my comics and I talk to kids who want advice about what I do. I remember when I was a kid and I wanted to get here, I tried to get as much information as I could. Now I try to be as 
inspirational as I can. I try to represent San Diego the best I can, I will always love San Diego as I was born and raised there so I do my best for where I'm from.

JJ: What do you hope audiences take away was the second question.

BR: I hope that audiences know its family first and that even though you are going 
through the bad times you can rely on your family that will always be there. Everyone in their family chips in to rise to the occasion and we are all superheroes in our own way.

JJ: Thank you so much Bobby, it means a lot coming from a San Diego-Comic-Con-Pixar fan. Speaking with you brings back my visit to your campus that I hope to do again one day. Congratulations on such an amazing film.

BR: Thank you so much!

I truly enjoyed speaking with both Andy and Bobby about their work on INCREDIBLES 2. The first film as well as the second are so brilliantly done and bring us all the family fun we are happy to say works for all ages. The creation of this family gives us a glimpse of their superhero life as well as the life where they try to be as normal as they can be – a feeling which we can all relate to.

That’s what makes INCREDIBLES 2 work! Picking up where the story left off in 2004 giving us the feeling that no times has passed. Another fantastic part of this is now having both films as part of our Disney Pixar entertainment library so we can visit the Parr family again and again. 

Once again thanks to Andy and Bobby for sharing their work on INCREDIBLES 2 with us and they should be proud of their work and bringing us such a flawless film.

In the end – it’s time to suit up again!

Andrew Jimenez
Bobby Rubio
Director Donovan Marsh Gives Us the Inside of HUNTER KILLER

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres this Friday from director Donovan Marsh and Summit Entertainment is the intense military thriller HUNTER KILLER.

Gerard Butler is first-time-out submarine Captain Joe Glass and this isn’t a run of the mill outing he is about to go on. There is something happening in Russia that has sunk two submarines and Washington wants answers. 

There are four parts to the film that come together as Captain Glass looks for the subs, Navy Seals put boots on the ground, the Russians are playing their own game and Washington looks at the political ramifications if one more thing pushes everyone over the brink.

That’s were good directing comes in and Donovan Marsh was given that task being part of the film industry since 1992. Marsh has put himself on the map with his award winning film SPUD which won at the South African Film and Television Awards. That was followed by the sequel SPUD 2: The Madness Continues. He is also in pre-production for the film VALHALLA and I can’t wait to see it. Writing, editing and producing, along with directing, means Marsh is someone who doesn’t shy away from good film and television making.

I had the chance to speak with Donovan Marsh about HUNTER KILLER. He speaks of keeping the film authentic while enjoying a ride aboard the USS Houston for a bit of research.

Jeri Jacquin: Hello Donovan, thanks for speaking with me today.

Donovan Marsh: Oh no worries at all.

JJ: Congratulations on the film. I’m going to jump right in and ask what was it like to direct four different stories in one film?

DM: Oh you are correct about that and its very difficult to not get distracted with different points of view. It’s a matter of taking these four points of view and finding out if there is a way to cut them while ratcheting up the action. That was a real job during the editing. It was a matter of choosing and knowing where I wanted the audience to be looking without distracting them too much. I think the editor did a fantastic job of that.

JJ: Was it difficult for you to do each of those things? I mean one minute your dealing with the Russians, then off to the politics of Washing etc.?

DM: We divided it into subsections and were very methodical about it. I was able to focus on each of them exclusively for a couple of weeks at a time. We did two weeks in the submarine and a week in “Russia” which actually was Bulgaria and it is carefully scripted. If you have a plan and know what you are doing it becomes all about where do you want the audiences attention to go and who’s point of view has the most tension at the time you are watching.

JJ: You made it look seamless.

DM: Thank you!

JJ: You have such a stellar cast in each section of the story you are telling. Gary Oldman and Common together, what an interesting choice.

DM: Yes, you couldn’t get two more different actors. Gary is an Oscar Winning actor for THE DARKEST HOUR and Common is a musician who brings a warmth, energy and naturalism to his performance. It is interesting to watch their contrast in the war room scenes. It was quite a magical thing and I am happy with the outcome.

JJ: Your Seal team, what a group of amazing guys.

DM: Oh thank you, yes, well we put the four of them through hell. Every day it was running, diving, crashing and jumping. I wanted it to feel like the real deal so we put them through a lot of training and go them really fit. They got the culture of the Special Forces and we wanted to make sure to get that right. I’ve had Special Forces guys look at the film and they’ve said ‘that’s exactly how we are with each other’ with the joking and the time to be focused and serious. I was happy to get that accurate.

JJ: The Russian part of the film, I mean its not that hard to believe it could happen.

DM: Look, what would it take to set off a war between America and Russia? What’s it going to mean to both countries? It’s not going to take much. It could be a submarine under the ice. You look at the press of late and how the Russians are posturing with MIG’s or destroyers, you are not sure what could happen next. So playing the what-if game is the delicious part of the film. I mean what if these kinds of events occurred and what would be the outcome is what makes this film.

JJ: The actors are so good.

DM: I wanted to use Russian actors, except for Michael Nyqvist of course who is Swedish, I wanted them to speak Russian. There is an authenticity to them being Russia and knowing the Russian life that I thought important enough to cast them for the film.

JJ: In the submarine, when I heard Gerard Butler was the commander I thought it was an interesting choice.

DM: I know people are use to him kicking ass on land and this is a totally different environment.

JJ: I heard that you and Gerard spent some time on the USS Houston?

DM: That’s right, we went on board from Pearl Harbor and we actually ran through all the scenes of the film. I asked the captain what actually would happen with this or with that. Show me exactly how you would react if this were to really happen. The Captain was game and the crew was game and it was amazing to see it really play out on a US submarine. It was the most expensive prop I think I will ever use again but it was great to see it play out. We wanted to make sure that we depicted it as accurately as possible.

JJ: What did Gerard think of it?

DM: It was amazing, he dressed up as the captain and the crew referred to him as Command Glass which is the name of his character for the film. They treated him like a real captain and he got to do some commanding. It was great for him to feel like he was in character in some respects for the film. 

JJ: When you finally starting filming the submarine scenes, you are in pretty tight quarters and there are a lot of people in those quarters. How did you manage that?

DM: Yes, it is encapsulated definitely. I wanted the set that way, I wanted the actors to feel what it was like so there were four walls, floor and ceiling. I built the set on a hydraulic set called a gimbal and was able to tilt it 15 degrees at any given moment. The set was tilting as it would in a real submarine and it felt like you were in it. I never wanted to film the same scene in the same way twice so I took out sections of the wall, brought a crane in and always tried to find other ways of filming it for drama. That was a real challenge but I’m so glad I did it that way because it gives the true feeling of being in a submarine. 

JJ: There is a scene where the sub is diving and the crew leans to keep themselves upright.

DM: Yes, that really happened when I was underway on the Houston. If you don’t lean you’ll fall out. I wanted to depict it in the film and it adds so much to that scene.

JJ: What initially drew you to the project?

DM: I get scripts and I’ve seen scripts in this genre and I find it difficult to get a good script in this genre. There have been submarine dramas and such and I wasn’t sure there would be a plot to tell. I read the script and I thought it was fantastic with the twists and turns and not knowing what was going to happen next. I was drawn to the realism of it and thought it was a really good script. I also couldn’t predict the end! There are a lot of action films were half way through you know how its going to end and this one did something different.

JJ: What do you want audiences to take away from seeing HUNTER KILLER?

DM: That’s an interesting question because I think there are many layers to the film. I think you could walk into a theatre and think it a popcorn film and just enjoy it for the thrills and spills. Also, there is a deeper geo-political commentary about war and how collaboration with the enemy is way more important than fighting the enemy. It’s another part of the reason I took the film was the collaboration between America and Russia. I feel it’s important for geo-politics. Movies talk about collaboration and ‘we are all in this together’ and I hope that comes through in the film. I hope that some people will take that away and not just see it as a thrill ride. I also hope people come away with a greater appreciation for the unsung hero’s of the US Navy submariners. We don’t know a lot about them, it’s not the most glamorous job in the world. I wanted to show what they go through and what it’s like to go to war in this encapsulated steel cylinder where you can’t see what’s happening. Instead, all you have is trusting your instrumentation. I want everyone to appreciate the men and women serving. We played this movie on a Naval Base for 1,300 people and they went bananas for it. After the film was the question and answer portion and wives would say ‘thank you for shedding light on what my husband does’ and a child got up to say ‘thank you for showing me what my mother does because I now have a bigger appreciation for what she does’. That was really moving.

Indeed it is, when a film comes along that gives us all an insight into what it takes to do a job then it becomes even more successful. HUNTER KILLER not only does just that but puts us all in the intensity and action in a what-if scenario. The twist and turns bring another layer of the film into focus making us think that in the midst of crisis – anything is possible.

Marsh has taken this genre of film and given it something for us all to think about. From the storytelling to the intricate set design, it all lends itself to bringing us all in on the ride. 

HUNTER KILLER opens in theatres this Friday so prepare to dive!

Director Donovan Marsh
HUNTER KILLER: Speaking with Authors Ret. Commander George Wallace USN and 
Don Keith Authors of Firing Point

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres this Friday from director Donovan Marsh and Summit Entertainment comes a story based on the book Firing Point of cat and mouse when you are a HUNTER KILLER.

This film tells the story of American submarine USS Omaha and Commander Joe Glass (Gerard Butler) who is given orders when an American ship goes down to go into Russian waters. Getting his crew ready, the top brass in Washington led by Admiral Charles Donnegan (Gary Oldman), want answers. So does Rear Admiral John Fisk (Common) and ears for the White House Jayne Norquist (Linda Cardellini).

While the sub is readied, Fisk sends in an elite team of Navy Seals to have boots on the ground. Led by Lt. Bill Bearman (Toby Stephens), his men are ready for the mission’s objective. Especially when it is discovered that Russian President Zakarin (Alexander Diachenko) has been overthrown by Defense Minister (Vladimir Sutrev) and what he proposes is all out war. 

Commander Glass arrives to discover that the American submarine has indeed been sunk, but so has a Russian submarine and people are still alive. They rescue Captain Sergei Andropov (Michael Nyqvist) and the level of mistrust is extremely high.

Now would be the time for everyone to take a deep breathe and work together because this isn’t going to be easy – not by a long shot.

HUNTER KILLER is based on the novel by George Wallace and Don Keith. Wallace is a retired Commander in the United States Navy after serving twenty-two years as an officer on nuclear submarines. Keith is the co-author who covers the military and submarines in the work he does.

I had the honor of speaking two them both and this is what they had to say about the book Firing Point and watching their vision come to the big screen.

Jeri Jacquin: Good morning gentlemen, thank you for joining me this morning.  

George Wallace: Thanks for talking with us Jeri.

Don Keith: Yes, it is so appreciated.

JJ: I am really curious after seeing the film, what drew you to this story?

GW: There was a number of dynamics that went into writing it. One is that we wanted to write about what the submarine lifestyle is like and at the same time make it exciting because frankly sometimes submarining could be considered boring most of the time. We drew on events that were happening during the time we were writing and projected them into the future. It’s a good story and talks about what submarining is like, especially under the ice, and at the same time it is fun with lots of adventure. We think it will do well in explaining what that life is like.

DK: For me I’m a story teller so I wanted to take an average person and put him in a situation where he does remarkable things. There are 125 people on the submarine and four Seal Team men doing remarkable things in the book and in the movie.

JJ: I like the dual story telling of being on the sub as well as being on the ground to deal with the issues the film is about. 

GW: That was the idea frankly, to mix it up with the action for the Seal team and the submarine. The Seals deal with a lot of gunfire where as the submarine is a little more intense.

DK: And contained! Remember you also have the third element going on back in Washington making decisions based on a lot of factors that didn’t necessarily affect the submarine or the Seals. It affected them yes, but they had to take other things in account that were more political than what the people in the sub and on the ground were dealing with.

JJ: What was the researching like for the book?

GW: Well, researching wasn’t a lot actually because I am a retired submarine Captain and I commanded the USS Houston several years ago. I spent a lot of time working with the Seals so I drew on that experience. I did have to talk to Seal friends a little bit for things like the Halo jump and make sure it was right. I mean Don and I have never done a Halo jump.

DK: Nor do I want to. I think the biggest researching was that of Russian names! [laughing] There are so many Russian names in the book.

GW: Yes, we did have a little bit of a struggle with that because we were trying to hard to get them correct and we wanted to make sure we could pronounce them.

DK: I had a spread sheet of all the Russian names in the book.

JJ: Did you use your own code like G for good guy and B for bad guy?

DK: That’s a good idea; I’ll have to do that for my next book. 

JJ: How do you feel now after writing the book to know that it would fit in the climate today? 

GW: [laughs] We wrote this book in 2004-2005 and back then the Russian economy was in the tank, there were bread lines and real concern if Russia was going to be a viable country anymore because it was falling apart. Obviously it has changed considerably since then and what we were looking at is that the Russians are a very proud people, proud of their country and so what would happen if a Russian in some form of power wanted to restore the Motherland? How would he go about doing that? That is the general gist of what we started with.

JJ: A good ole’ fashion coup.

GW: Yes, that how he felt he had to deal with things with that response. He felt others around him were weak.

JJ: The scene where they go through the mine field, where did you come up with that?

GW: That whole scene came up when I was presented with that problem during Commanding Officer school. This is in the attack center where I had to penetrate a mine field to get to mission success which was a boat on the other side of the mine field. Off the top of my head I had to come up with a tactic to do that. I had to do it on my own. That’s where the idea came from.

JJ: From story idea to book, how long was that.

GW: This book was quick, it sort of flowed.

DK: That happens sometimes.

GW: Yes, everything just fell into place which made it easy to write. Other of our books, those weren’t so easy to write.

DK: We painted ourselves into a corner a lot.

JJ: You two seem to be a good team!

GW: We were very happy with it.

JJ: When you were told this was going to be a film, watching your book go to script, how was that for you to see that happen?

GW: Changing a 690 page book into a 160 page screenplay, that process was not easy. It was painful on several different levels not to mention psychologically. They whacked at a big chunk of our story.

JJ: Messing with your baby.

GW: Exactly!

DK: There are things in the book that obviously didn’t make it in to the film but like George said it’s like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. They kept the strongest storyline to make the best film. 

GW: They took what might be a 16 to 18 hour read down to a two hour film.

DK: The other big concern was that they would take the story and muck it up or get it all wrong doing things with technology that doesn’t exist. Thank goodness they did not do that with help from the Navy. 

GW: The level they spent to get the authenticity right was amazing. My wife and I went over to see the set that they were filming on in London a couple of years ago. When I walked on the set I thought I was in the control room of a submarine. It was so very realistic.

JJ: So they got the dimensions and everything about a submarine right?

GW: Yes, they got the dimensions right, everything was in the right place and they even got the wiring color right. Some of the signs on the bulk head were actually correct. They even had the sub up on gimbals so that could make the sub rock and roll and dive and rise. It felt like you were on a submarine. 

DK: One think you might not notice because the film is so intense and full of action is the scenes were the sailors are doing things they really do on a submarine. Things hanging on the wall or guys on the exercise bikes, you can really see what life on a submarine is like. 

GW: It was pretty realistic.

DK: I think the Navy will see it as a two our recruiting film because people are going to look at this and say ‘that’s pretty cool!’ 

JJ: How do you deal with the intense proximity inside the sub?

GW: Being a submariner it just feels natural to me, it feels comfortable. Mr. Butler and Donovan Marsh went to see on the USS Houston for a few days so they got to see what it was really like. The rest of the actors spent time on the set that felt like they were on a real sub. The USS Houston Commander Scott McGinnis said that Mr. Butler was a true gentleman during their visit and when one of the sailors asked him to do a Mother Day’s greeting for his Mom and he did it. Of course the others wanted to do one as well and Gerard did them all.

JJ: So once you went to book to script to screen, what did you think of the final product? 

GW: I think the final product is great and tells the story we wanted to tell. We understand it’s a bit different from the book but its also a different audience. I thought it was very, very good.

DK: I’m a story teller by trade being I tell lies for money writing fiction but I consider the perfect story taking average people and putting them in situations were they can do remarkable things and that’s exactly what the book did and I’m proud to say it’s also what the movie does as well.

JJ: It is intense to watch that’s for sure. Watching it I’m holding my breath and leaning toward the screen waiting for the next thing to happen. 

GW: Yes, that what will happen.

JJ: When people see the film, what do you want viewers to come away with?

DK: For me, I’d like the viewers to have enjoyed a very exciting motion picture but also have a deep appreciation for what these service members do. The submarine service, or the silent service as it is so aptly named, gives people a look at what they do. I mean the ultimate way to deal with the enemy is not having them know where you are but knowing you can do a lot of damage if attacked. I hope people have appreciation for them knowing they are on the front line.

GW: What can I add to that? Our goal going into this was to tell the story of submarining and I think the movie does that and I think the book does that. To have the average submariners come away saying ‘this is us…this is our story’ and that means everything to me. 

JJ: Thank you for your time and congratulations on Firing Point and the film HUNTER KILLER.

This film brings action, adventure and appreciation for what our military go through both the Navy Seals and submariners. HUNTER KILLER is definitely a thriller in the sense that the story telling is filled with unexpected twists and turns. So grab that huge buck of popcorn and hold on to your seats because this is a ride from start to finish.

In the end – courage runs deep!

Ret. Commander George Wallace, USN
Don Keith, Author
Want a copy for your very own? Well, we can make that happen! Email CHRISTMAS SPECIALS in the subject with your name and address in the body and good luck!! 
The HBO Limited Series


Starring the stunning Amy Adams and we are thrilled to offer a copy 
up for giveaway. 

with SHARP in the subject line along with your name and address and good luck!! 
​HBO's New and Exciting Series 

Taking place in New York City, this "witty drama" follows the Roy family - headed by the aging patriarch Logan Roy (Brian Cox) and his four children - who together control one of the biggest media communications and entertainment conglomerates in the world. The Roy's story is compelling and often comedic, as they out-maneuver each other through cut-throat family and business dynamics, while contemplating what's in store once their father passes. 

Want to join the family? Well, its giveaway time! Email with SUCCESSION in the email line & name/address .... good luck!
It's the Return of The Dude in THE BIG LEBOWSKI 20th Anniversary Limited Edition

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to 4K HD and Bluray from writers/directors/producers Joel and Ethan Coen along with Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is the film that has become an iconic classic with THE BIG LEBOWSKI 20th Anniversary Limited Edition.

The Dude (Jeff Bridges) is a laid back Los Angelino who remains in a chilled state of mind, that is until one night when two thugs breaks into his home and rough him up. Looking for a Jeff Lebowski, The Dude lays out the reasoning that there is another Jeff Lebowski who happens to be very rich and obviously they have made a mistake. Realizing their mistake, the one thing the two thugs can't take back is a pee'd on carpet.

Upset with what happened, The Dude explains to bowling buddies Walter (John Goodman) and Donny (Steve Buscemi) and how he really liked that rug. Walter has an idea, go see the rich Jeff Lebowski and get some kind of restitution! That's exactly what he does and meets the very cranky Jeffrey Lebowski (David Huddleston) who says that it's not his problem.

The Dude isn't about to walk away empty handed when he tells Lebowski's assistant Brandt (Philip Seymour Hoffman) that he has permission to take any carpet in the house. On the way out, The Dude meets Lebowski's wife Bunny (Tara Reid) who is responsible for the attack because she owes loan sharks. Her greeting to The Dude is nothing short of money based and a proposition for which he walks away amused.

Happy with his new carpet, The Dude is surprised a few days later to receive a telephone call from Brandt with a financial offer. Bunny has been kidnapped with a demand for a million dollars and rich Lebowski wants to use poor Lebowski to drop off the ransom and get a bit of money for his trouble. Given a case and a cell phone, he is to wait for a call telling him where to drop off the money but Walter feels the need to be with his friend when it happens. 

On the drive, Walter also comes up with his own plan. He believes Bunny has concocted this whole thing for the money so why don't they just keep the money for themselves. Throwing a case off a local bridge, the two men see the kidnappers take the ransom and run. Later talking it over at the bowling alley, they discover that The Dude's car is gone and so are their riches.

The Dude is contacted by Lebowski's daughter Maude (Julianne Moore) who explains that her father's wife is a porn star and that she also thinks Bunny is faking all of it. Upset that the ransom came out of the family's foundation, she asks The Dude to get it all back. If that isn't wacky enough, now Lebowski is mad that The Dude screwed up the drop and men with German accents invade his bath saying they are the real kidnappers.

The cops find The Dude's car but the cash is gone and the pee thugs take him to see porn maker Jackie Treehorn (Ben Gazzara) who wants the money to cover money Bunny owes him! After a drugging, cops and being thrown out of a car - who should drive by in a red sports car? Bunny. So what gives? Well, that's what you will have to discover for yourself because, truth be told, you have to see it to believe it.

Yet, The Dude will abide!

Bridges as The Dude is absolutely and without a doubt pure perfection. He is a laid back human being who just lives in the moment and doesn't want anything that will mess with his calm. Bridges just embraces every second of this and makes it look completely easy and smooth. I suppose it doesn't hurt that he gets to be very comfortable in every stitch of clothing and appearance which might make being The Dude more of a joy than a job. This character is completely endearing and just wants his carpet and that basically leads to the chaos that follows. The moral of the story might be that bare floors are less of a hassle.

Goodman as Walter is the complete opposite of The Dude. He isn't about to let anyone or anything challenge his way of dealing with things yet he sees nothing wrong with his solutions. The Dude truly cares about his friend but there are moments where his calm-rage is absolutely frightening. This is such an amazing role for Goodman because he gets to be as out there as he wants to be and it fits him well. Buscemi as Donny is such a loveable character who just wants to be in on everything but doesn't have the ability to really keep up. This is probably the most endearing role I've seen Buscemi perform and he just proves he has always had the wide range ability but has gotten himself stuck in toughened roles. I'd like to have seen more of this type from him.

Moore as Maude is just as creepy as she can possibly be. She is clearly a control freak and will do anything to keep things moving the way she wants them to move. The way she handles The Dude is emotional strong arming to my way of thinking and her seduction manner leaves allot to be desired - but hilarious. Huddleston as the elder and richer Lebowski believes he is better than his poorer counterpart and believes he is justified in using the loser. He has The Dude jumping through hoops and doesn't exactly count on him to figure anything.

Hoffman as Brandt is, what I called, the Lebowski-bitch in that he is perfectly happy serving his boss and putting The Dude in one hell of a mess. Hoffman has always managed to stun me with every role he does and it is fantastic to revisit a film that gave us all a glimpse into what he became capable of on screen. Reid as Bunny plays the role of a trophy wife who wants more and more of the almighty dollar and doesn't seem ashamed to make that known to, well, anyone. 

Other cast include David Thewlis as Know Harrington, John Turturro as Jesus Quintana, Jon Polito as Da Fino, Peter Stormare as Uli, Torsten Voges as Franz and Flea as Kieffer, Jimmie Gilmore as Smokey, Jack Kehler as Marty and Sam Elliott as The Stranger.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has just added an amazing film to their library and making it available for us all to experience and re-experience in our own home theatres. There are films of every genre available from scary to drama to family films. For more of what they have to offer please visit

The Ultra HD Combo Pack of THE BIG LEBOWSKI 20th Anniversary Limited Edition includes The Dude’s Life - , The Dude Abides: The Big Lebowski Ten Years Later, Making of THE BIG LEBOWSKI, The Lebowski Fest: An Achiever’s Story, Flying Carpets and Bowling Pin Dreams: The Dream Sequences of The Dude, Interactive Map, Jeff Bridges Photo Book, Photo Gallery and so much more! 

On 4K Ultra HD included in the combo pack of Bluray, Digital and Movies Anywhere brings a sharper pictures delivering a multi dimensional experience, Bluray that has exclusive extras and theatre quality surround sound, Digital allowing viewing just about anywhere and Movies Anywhere with the app that keeps your films stored for viewing anytime!

THE BIG LEBOWSKI has become such an iconic film that has brought some of the coolest lines to ever be uttered. Of course The Dude also has made its way into costumes for parties and Halloween with a simple robe and slippers being totally recognizable.

The film is hilarious, crafty, absurd, twisted, rich vs. poor, dysfunctional family and unusual friendships all rolled into a story that is so far fetched it might even be believable. 

Now, THE BIG LEBOWSKI is back to entertain us once again but this time in our own homes. The most amazing thing about this film is that it is just as hilarious today as it was 20 years ago and open to a new generation that can appreciate its comedy, originality and fantastic ensemble cast.

In the end - he'd rather be bowling!


Tis' the Season and we love making the holidays much more fun and giving! 

These are the best animated Christmas specials that any family can have. They are each filled with such amazing stories and are totally generational! 
FANTASTIC BEASTS: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Jeri Jacquin

First of all, is there really ANYTHING in the world I could say, good or bad, that is going to stop people from seeing this film – absolutely not but I’m going to give my review a shot here without giving away anything gooooooood!

So, from director David Yates and Warner Bros. Pictures comes the witches, wizards and creatures we have come to love from author J.K. Rowlings with FANTASTIC BEASTS: The Crimes of Grindelwald.

It seems that Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) has been kept under lock, spell and key waiting to be picked up by the Ministry of Magic. With the help of Abernathy (Kevin Guthrie) and Seraphina Picquery (Carmen Ejogo), Grindelwald gets to continue the plans he made clear before capture.

Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) however is facing a panel at the Ministry of Magic. He wants them to lift the travel ban places on him but they will only do so if he works at the Ministry with his brother Theseus (Callum Turner). Happy for his brother’s betrothal to Leta Lestrange (Zoe Kravitz), he also learns to Grindelwald.

He meets up with Dumbledore (Jude Law) who explains that he trust no one else to handle the problem with Grindelwald. Newt makes it clear that he wants to find Tina (Katherine Waterston) and return to his creatures. Imagine his surprise when Jacob (Dan Fogler) and Queenie (Alison Sudol) arrive suddenly.

After a misunderstanding, Jacob helps Newt find Tina and discovers a circus where Nagini (Claudia Kim) and Credence Barebone (Ezra Miller) were held. He now is part of another mystery without realizing it.

Credence wants to find his mother and love Nagini wants to help. What he doesn’t know is that Gindelwald knows a few things and is willing to share, but for a price. Someone else is looking for Credence, Yusuf Kama (William Nadylam) and his search holds a purpose.

The chases, magic, creatures, mysteries, friendships, enemies and secrets are back in the wizarding world!

Redmayne reprises his role as Newt Scamander, the awkward young man with a penchant for creatures and a stumbling heart for love. It doesn’t take long before he is pulled away once again from his friends place right in the middle of more wizarding mysteries.

Depp as Grindelwald does exactly what Depp can do – create a character and make it his own. Now that he calmly gathered an army, there is no one else who can be Grindelwald – ever. I enjoyed his performance and I can’t wait to see what he does with it next.

Law as Dumbledore absolutely surprised me because I wasn’t sure how I felt about him taking the role. I needn’t have worried at all because he slides right in like he has always been part of the story. Thrilled at his portrayal, I know as the story unfolds even more, he is going to have to make decisions that are as painful as the ones he makes when Harry comes along.

Waterston as Tina giving Newt a hard time continually but also doing her duty as an agent for the American Ministry of Magic. Fogler as Jacob doesn’t miss a beat partnering with Newt to do whatever needs doing. It amazes me how he just goes with the magical flow and although he rolls his eyes occasionally, he’s in it all. Sudol as Queenie is cute and just wants to be able to be with Jacob without fear, she is going to have to figure that out.

Miller as Credence Barebone is fantastic and I can see where his character will be going but there are tons of questions that I’m going to have to be patient in getting the answers for. Kim as Nagini just set my brain ablaze and I have so many thoughts about that! Nadylam as Yusuf Kama is a strong character that doesn’t realize that what he’s always believed might not be true!

Kravitz as Leta has a past that is difficult and jaw dropping and that’s all I will say about that. Turner as Theseus is a brother who wants what’s best but at the same time sees how easy it is for Newt to get himself into trouble. 

Other cast include Jamie Bower as Young Grindelwald, Toby Regbo as Young Dumbledore, Victoria Yeates as Bunty, Wolf Roth as Spielman, Derek Riddell as Torquil Travers, Ingvar Sigurosson as Grimmson, Poppy Tuech as Rosier, Andrew Turner as MacDuff, Maja Bloom as Carrow, Simon Meacock as Krafft and Fiona Glascott as Minerva McGonagall.

Law says of playing Dumbledore, “I was clearly thrilled and excited because my children grew up with the books and films. I was a huge fan of the FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM film. There getting to be part of the film there was so much reference material and J.K. was so gracious with her time. David told me that we weren’t trying to recreate an older Dumbledore but instead look back at who he was and how he was sorting out his demons as a younger man. I felt free in that way and excited to be this character.”

Redmayne says, “Working with Jude as Dumbledore, from our very first scene he manages to capture the qualities of Dumbledore, the gravitas and the playfulness was there. I thought ‘oh my gosh he’s good’. It was amazing!” 

FANTASTIC BEASTS: The Crimes of Grindelwald will disappoint no one! The story if intense, complex, a little dark and full of special effects but then again what did you expect? From the moment the screen flickers and the iconic music begins it is a 134 magical thrill ride with everything that I personally want from the return to the wizarding world.

Okay, so I was giggling pretty good seeing people and places that I have missed for the last few years. I can’t even tell you how many times I held my breath looking wide eyed at the screen wanting more and more. Of course I’m a woman of a certain age and probably shouldn’t be this giddy but nothing or no one is going to stop it from happening.

The special effects are awesome (as I expected them to be) and brings so much to this darker chapter. I can not even begin to say enough about the cast for not only the returning characters but the new as well. For me, there wasn’t one thing out of place! Trust that I will be watching it again and again because that’s what’s needed to keep up with what’s to come. There is so much I didn’t expect.

Gather up all of your houses whether they be Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin, get your wands at the ready and have an amazing time as FANTASTIC BEASTS: The Crimes of Grindelwald is finally here!

In the end – the fate of one will change the future for all!

TIME LIFE Has Stolen My Heart

Jeri Jacquin

From Time Life, the re-creator for generations who thought their favorite shows and music were gone, is the ultimate heart stealer for me with the DVD Collection ROBIN WILLIAMS: Comic Genius.

Born in Chicago (which should have early on given me some clue for my admiration – Go Cubs!), he would be transplanted in his teens to Marine County, California. Choosing acting over anything else, he received a full scholarship to Juilliard in New York City. 

Williams’s career began on the West Coast. Starting in San Francisco to Los Angeles, he hit the club circuit. Taking on twists and turns, in 1977 HBO would came calling to air one of his stand-up performances.

But, it is in 1978 that a character known as Mork would invade an episode of the Garry Marshall television hit Happy Days. From that performance, the series Mork & Mindy starring Robin Williams and Pam Dawber was born. Set in Boulder, Colorado, Mork from Ork lands on our planet in an egg and what follows is a hatching of pure genius. Williams had the chance to be what ever he wanted to be and his face graced the cover of Time Magazine followed by Rolling Stones magazine.

HBO once again came calling which led to five comedy specials starting with 1978’s Off the Wall, in 1983 An Evening with Robin Williams and finally in 1986 Robin Williams: Live at the Met, Live on Broadway in 2002 and finally Weapons of Self Destruction in 2009. All five of these specials are still played in my home because nothing changes a mood quicker than when HBO allowed Williams to just be – well – Robin Williams.

 His call to the screen was the next step and in 1982 he absolutely stunned me in the film THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP but it was in 1987 when GOOD MORNING, VIETNAM hit the screen that once again Williams sky rocketed. Using his wit and ability to create the voices of memorable characters, he cemented his career as a comedian.

But there was one character he excelled at with heart and soul and that is dramatic roles. Starting in 1997 with GOOD WILL HUNTING and 1990’s AWAKENINGS, it was the tragic and soul crushing role in the 1998 film WHAT DREAMS MAY COME that tore me apart. 

Off the big screen and small, Williams teamed up with friends Whoopi Goldberg and Billy Crystal and brought Comic Relief USA to HBO raising $80 million dollars to help anyone in need. He also worked with the USO to bring laughs to over 100,000 troops and they, to this day, have not forgotten that.

Time Life is making sure that we don’t and in such a stunning and beautiful way! ROBIN WILLIAMS: Comic Genius is a 22-disc collection that brings us all through the years and reasons Williams is a beloved and iconic genius.

In the box set are all five HBO stand up specials, Never-before-seen released concert specials, including Robin’s full MGM Grand Garden stand-up from 2007 and the Montreal stop on his last tour, a conversation on stage between Williams and comedian David Steinberg, Memorable talk show and late night TV appearances on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson, The Tonight Show starring Jay Leno, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Graham Norton Show, Saturday Night Live and more. 

There are rare, never-before-seen clips including early stand-up, raw footage from HBO’s promo shoots, a hilarious toast to Richard Pryor by Robin as Mrs. Doubtfire, Brand new interviews with close friends and family including Billy Crystal, Steve Martin, Jay Leno, Eric Idle, David Steinberg, Lewis Black and son Zack Williams.

There are eleven hilarious episodes of Mork & Mindy including the two-part pilot, James Lipton’s Emmy Award-nominated 90-minute interview with Robin on Inside the Actors Studio including deleted scenes which are the best! A comprehensive collection of Robin’s USO shows around the world, original and newly created bonus features including a behind-the-scenes footage, local highlights from tour stops, promos and more.

Featurettes including The Early Years, San Francisco: Where It All Started, Comic Genius and TV’s Best Guest. Critically acclaimed 2018 HBO documentary Robin Williams: Come Inside My Mind from Emmy-winning director Marina Zenovich and Oscar-winning producer Alex Gibney.

Finally, Robin Williams: Uncensored which is a collectible 24-page, full-color memory book featuring rare, archival photos from award-winning photographer Arthur Grace, reminiscences from friends and colleagues, Robin’s personal tour notes and so very much more.  

Time Life continues to bring never before released anywhere classic collections of television shows for fans to revisit and remember what has made television so special. Time Life has released Mama’s Family, CPO Sharkey and The Tonight Show and they now reminds of us of a time when sex and politics were up for grabs with ROWAN & MARTIN’S LAUGH-IN. For more of what Time Life has to offer fans of classic television visit 

This collection brings every emotion possible and that isn’t an exaggeration. Calling this collection Comic Genius is perfection and well deserved by Robin Williams. On stage and screen he had the whole world laughing (and with Mork probably the whole universe!) His unique comedic timing was fueled by the laughter from the audience, the more outrageous the farther he would go.

Twenty-two discs and over fifty hours of Williams will light us all up once again and let us experience the laughs again and again. That is why we have home entertainment libraries, so we can, at any time, pull off the shelf a beloved comedian that continues to be a laughing light. This family happens to be a Williams fan from the very beginning and his comedy specials have never stopped bringing us laughs and even catching ourselves repeating his lines a time or two in our lives. 

That is what makes Williams iconic and beloved and those two words seem to be not enough. Passing in 2014, it did not bring his comedy to a stop but instead continues to allow us to remember who he was and all that he gave through stand-up, television, the big screen and all his personal endeavors to make the world a happier place.

Each DVD cover inside the very cool collector’s box shows us all Williams’ silly side as if to tease about what is inside and to join him in the ride. I, personally, would never turn down the request of a Comic Genius!

In the end – it’s all about the na-nu-na-nu!

THE FAVOURITE Stars Three Dazzling Women 

Jeri Jacquin

I absolutely love period pieces so I have been anxiously waiting for director Yorgos Lanthimos and Fox Searchlight Pictures offering of THE FAVOURITE.

Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) sits on the throne in 18th Century England and Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) is her constant companion. Their relationship is one of straight forwardness and longing. England is also at war with France and Lady Sarah is keeping an eye on it while taking care of the Queen’s frailties and occasional childlike temper tantrums.

Enter Abigail (Emma Stone) a fall aristocrat turned servant girl who isn’t well received in the kitchen of the Queen. Sarah sees how her cousin is treated and becomes a mentor to the young girl. Abigail wants nothing more than to return to the life she once knew and realizes this just might be the way for that to happen.

During one of the Queens outbursts, Abigail takes pity on her and starts a friendship over the royals “children” (rabbits). The Queen is delighted as they spend the afternoon sharing and laughing together. Sarah catches wind of what is happening with the Queen and lets it be known in her own way that trying to weasel in to the Queen’s favor might not be such a good idea.

Now that the gauntlet is thrown down – Abigail and Sarah go toe to toe for the Queen’s attentions and who truly cares for the monarch is at stake.

I must start with Colman as Queen Anne because she is absolutely stellar, absolutely. From her tantrums to her insecurities to her loyalties, Colman portrays the woman as most would never see a monarch – vulnerable. Knowing that parliament is consistently against her, she attempts to turn to those she should be able to trust. I love Colman’s performance with ever emotion lay plainly before us, I do so hope her performance is recognized and that accolades are given. She most definitely deserves them for this role.

Weisz as Lady Sarah is the smart, politically savvy and is the no-nonsense taking companion to the Queen. She works hard at keeping the crown on her royal head and makes it her business to know what everyone is doing at all times. Weisz can pull off sassy and sarcastic in the same breath better than other actress I know. Of course she does have her hands full with Ms. Stone.

Stone as Abigail is a fallen aristocrat who doesn’t want to stay that way. Getting into the Queen’s kitchen is the first step and getting into her heart may just get Abigail off her knees and high in the rankings. Stone begins as a fawn-eyed girl who is thrilled to have Lady Sarah show an interest in her, but of course we all know that Stone can pull off fawn-eyed girl with the best of them. I loved her antics from start to finish and kept thinking about Abigail, ‘just because you can play the game doesn’t mean you should!’

Other cast include Jennifer White as Mrs. Meg, LillyRose Stevens as Sally, James Smith as Godolphin, Mark Gatiss as Lord Marlborough, Edward Aczel as Earl of Stratford, Carolyn Saint-Pe as Madame Tournee, Joe Alwyn as Masham and Nicholas Hoult as Harley.

THE FAVOURITE is a gloriously fascinating film about three women who are filled with so much want that goes in so many different directions. That being said, Abigail and Sarah have much different relationships with Queen Anne although you’d have a tough time convincing Abigail of that.

Sarah and the Queen understand one another clearly and it is also clear that Sarah runs the part of the kingdom that the Queen is to busy being petulant to deal with. That’s the crux of their relationship – one is clearly and adult, the other is drowning from the weight of the crown. Yet in that is a relationship of hilarity and sadness mixed together.

Abigail being the new girl to all of this is a distraction for the Queen when Sarah is gone. The Queen believes she has a new and understanding friend when it is clear Abigail has decided to get what Sarah has and take a lot of short cuts to get there. She doesn’t have the understanding of the other two and that’s where she makes mistakes.

This is a film that spans every human emotion possible in that you don’t know at times whether to laugh, cry or be outright shocked. In an era of excess and political gain, this cast revels in that history with marvelous results. The surroundings only adds to the story telling with its opulence and grandeur along with stunning clothing and jewelry. 

THE FAVOURITE has already been recognized by the British Independent Film Awards, Camerimage, and Ghent International Film Festival Gotham Awards. The Hollywood Film Awards gave a win for Rachel Weisz and Costume Designer Sandy Powell. The Venice Film Festival win came for Director Yorgos Lanthimos and Best Actress for Olivia Colman (well done!).

This is one of my favorite films of the year so when deciding what regurgitation to see in theatres, chose something new and amazing with THE FAVOURITE!

In the end – some wounds do not close!