Rocks HULU!
HBO Brings an Amazing Series with THE YOUNG POPE to Bluray

Jeri Jacquin

Coming in June on Bluray and Digital HD from HBO Home Entertainment is a mind blowing limited series from creator/director Paolo Sorrentino and THE YOUNG POPE.

Lenny Belardo (Jude Law) is now the first American Pope choosing the name Pius XIII. Immediately he begins making changes the likes of which the Vatican and its priests have never seen. Upset that he was not chosen as Pope is Archbishop Spencer (James Cromwell), his angers extends to Lenny by cutting him off.

Bringing in the big guns, Lenny chooses Sister Mary (Diane Keaton), the nun who took care of him when his parents left him at the orphanage. Knowing no one would get to him without dealing with Sister Mary, Cardinal Secretary of State Vioello (Silvio Orlando) immediately knows choosing Lenny Belardo as Pope could cost them all.

From his first speech however, everyone within ear shot knows that this is a Pope who isn’t going to be controlled by anyone. Immediately Lenny wants to know who is with him and more importantly, who is against him. That’s when Vioello tries to call in those who would want to control Lenny. 

Of course when it all is brought to Lenny’s attention, he calmly tells Vioello that excommunication is a card he has no problem playing. But the games are not over as a woman named Esther (Ludivine Sagnier) is brought in to work closely with the Pope as they all watch to see if a sex scandal can be created to rock the Vatican. 

It is clear quickly that Vioello is out of ideas as Lenny also makes it clear that he knows what everyone is up to and every dirty little secret they each have. Playing another dangerous game, Lenny makes demands of the Italian Prime Minister that could bring problems for the politician.

But closer to Lenny is his friend Cardinal Dussollier (Scott Shepherd) and in one fell swoop, the new Pope asks in a demanding way that he point out all those incoming priests who do not follow the rules both in celibacy and homosexuality. In those rules come shocks that will cause a surprising agreement between two enemies. 

A trip to Africa the Pope wants to see the works of a Sister Antonia only to discover secrets and a confession that goes haywire. In New York, Archbishop Kurtwell (Guy Boyd) has agreed to provide letters written by Lenny that end up only helping the new Pope’s cause sending the blackmailer to a colder place than he could have imagined.

In San Marco as the Basilica, after spending his time staying out of the limelight, Pope Pius XIII makes a grand gesture showing his face to followers. Believing his sees the face of the parents he has longed to find in the crowd, it leads to a finale that is spectacular!

Law as Pope Pius XIII is jaw dropping in every scene and in every frame. I have to say that I was completely riveted by everything about his performance. Seriously, this series just sends one wtf moment after another and I couldn’t be more pleased about that. It is difficult to find a storyline that is completely original and mind blowing AND get an actor to carry it but with Law as Lenny – epicness complete! This character is intense and doesn’t apologize for any of it, how can you not love that?

Keaton as Sister Mary is just a blast to watch as well. She is a no-nonsense and ‘don’t let this habit fool you’ kind of nun who I would hang out with in a heart beat. Keaton continues to surprise me in her role choices and as Sister Mary I cheered every time someone came up against her.

Orlando as Vioello puts the slap on trying to get Lenny removed and being totally creative about it. Keeping calm to his face, it is when those robes are swaying down the halls of the Vatican that you can see the wheels turning. Always appearing humble, Orlando is always on his toes and looking for any way to crack the Pope.

Cromwell as Archbishop Spencer stands tall and defiant against Lenny being chosen as the Pope. Trying to keep his divine composure, he makes it clear that a mistake has been made and he isn’t about to help make Lenny’s new post easier. I love this role for Cromwell but then again I pretty much love every role he has played. This is a role filled with bitterness and even rage of the highest kind.

Other cast include Cecile de France as Sofia, Toni Bertorelli as Cardinal Caltanissetta, Andre Gregory as Elmore Coen, Rayna Tharani as Maribeth, Tony Plana as Carlos Garcia, Gianluca Guidi as Father Federico Amatucci, Ignazio Oliva as Father Valente, Biagio Forestieri as Peter, Ramon Garcia as Cardinal Aguirre and Monica Cetti as Contessa Meraviglia.

HBO Home Entertainment has an extensive array of critically-acclaimed and groundbreaking programs found on Bluray, DVD and Digital HD. They have provided viewers with some of the most amazing programs with huge fan bases that include the shows True Blood, Sex and the City, The Sopranos, True Detectives, The Wire, Entourage and Game of Thrones. Launched in 1984, HBO is world wide in viewed entertainment in more than 70 territories around the world! For more of what they have to offer please visit www.hbo.com. 

THE YOUNG POPE is one of the most original series I have seen in a long time. What is even more amazing is that originality is only the tip of what this series brings. The storyline is fused with twists and turns that only Lenny sees coming which means all eyes are on him. 

Another fascination I had with the series is the stunning visuals that are mixed with an ethereal feeling and moments where I could not imagine where it all would lead. Between the visuals and Law, Keaton, Orlando and Cromwell not missing a beat it is clear that THE POPE is heavenly perfection. 

The Bluray includes the Special Features of The Making of THE YOUNG POPE, An Invitation to the Set and Inside the Episodes. The three disc set includes six hundred minutes of what I am calling total epicness of a series that brings shock and awe to another level.

In the end – his religion is revolution!

GENIUS: The Last Chapter from National Geographic

Jeri Jacquin

In a special two-hour presentation from National Geographic on June 20th at 9/8c is the finale of an amazing story developed by Noah Pink and Kenneth Biller with GENIUS: The Last Chapter.

Albert Einstein (Geoffrey Rush) and wife Elsa (Emily Watson) are settling in America but they constantly are thinking of those they left behind in Europe. Unsettling for Einstein is that scientists in Nazi Germany continue to study the splitting of the atom. He himself continues to work through quantum physics.

That all must be put aside when Elsa becomes ill and Einstein’s life becomes even more complicated. Being rushed by all sides to help with the formula needed for the atomic bomb, Einstein continues to avoid them all. He also becomes emotionally close to Marija Ruzic-Maric (Catherine McCormack) and doesn’t realize that there are two sides to her.

J. Edgar Hoover (T.R. Knight) is one man who wants to see Einstein sent back to Germany. Feeling the scientist humiliated him, it becomes Hoover’s goal to ruin the man. In 1947, scientists come together to try and contain the use of atomic bombs. Einstein doesn’t believe their use can be contained but sees it all as a threat to humanity. 

With his lifetime of work, Einstein is brought face to face with an outburst from his son Hans that every member of the family knows he sees them as a burden. To make matters worse, Einstein is outraged when one of their scientists is forced before a committee for communism. 

Eleanor Roosevelt brings Einstein before a television audience so that he may give his view on what bombs can do and Hoover becomes outraged. Personal secretary Helene (Emily Laing) is worried about Einstein as his heath begins to wane but his voice to reach out against man’s destruction is what he has left.

When a letter to a judge falls into the hands of Congress, the papers begin to denounce Einstein much to Hoover’s delight. All of the bad press sends the scientist into a sort of quiet seclusions. That is until a young girl named Alice knocks on his door to remind him of how exciting mathematics is and it’s like an awakening for him taking on the unified theory. 

Learning of his illness, Helen encourages Einstein to reach out to his son and say the things that needs to be said between the two. It isn’t easy for him but it is a moment shared by father and son never to be forgotten. Albert Einstein would pass away in 1955.

To Einstein, every question must have an answer – and he wanted to find them!

Rush as Einstein is absolutely amazing. He might be one of the smartest men on the planet but he is equally flawed and Rush doesn’t hide that in his performance. From his frustration with his work, to the love of his wife, the constant pressure from the government and believing there was no hope for reuniting with his son – this is a performance that can only be called stunning. 

Watson as Elsa is a woman who understands the complexities of her husband. That doesn’t mean she agrees with his behaviors but she forgives him in her own way for it all. McCormack as Marija offers Einstein a chance to love again but his heart gets in the way of the realities.

Laing as Helene is the one constant and steady thing in Einstein’s life and Elsa knew that before she died. She is the backbone of his life and I personally can’t imagine Einstein being able to keep his life going without her. Well done Laing in playing a role that isn’t front and center but is one of the most important in the series.

National Geographic has brought a series that is a must-see for everyone. It is a story about the history of one man yes, but it is also the story of those around him. Knowing that it isn’t easy to being partly responsible for creating the road to destruction but Einstein tries to undue what he can.

GENIUS. The Last Chapter is from Academy Award-Winners Brian Grazer and Ron Howard which is thrilling in itself but adding Academy Award winner Geoffrey Rush is nothing short of brilliant. Based on the book Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson, there is so much that I never knew about this man. This finale doesn’t leave any stone unturned in telling the life of this complex man. 

In the end – he wanted to answer the secrets of the universe!

Talking with Aramis Knight

Jeri Jacquin

AMC has quickly become the cable channel to watch with the amazing shows it has brought to viewers. One of these series is INTO THE BADLANDS that broke out onto the scene with its first season in 2016.

Based in a strange world of a feudal system where seven barons are fighting for position and power. Baron Quinn is one such individual and since there are no guns the Baron uses his army of lethal fighters led by Sunny and he rules with an iron fist.

During a battle, Quinn discovers a boy named M.K. who seems to have powers that not only intrigue Quinn. He directs Sunny to train the boy but that doesn’t stop the word from getting out about M.K. and another Baron wants the boy as well.

Aramis Knight plays the young Colt M.K. and from the moment he is seen on screen it was clear to me that he was perfect in this role. Knight has spent years of his young life acting in television in series such as Girl Meets World, Parenthood, Single with Parents, Dexter, and even Boston Legal. His film career includes RENDITION and ENDER’S GAME in the role of Bean and can be seen in the next GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY film.

I had the opportunity to speak with Knight about his role as M.K. in the AMC series INTO THE BADLANDS. 

Jeri Jacquin: Thanks for taking the time to talk to me today Aramis.

Aramis Knight: Of course Jeri, my pleasure.

JJ: Let’s dive right into it then, tell me how you came to get the role of the mysterious M.K. for AMC's INTO THE BADLANDS?

AK: It was actually a very interesting audition process for M.K. I say there are a few projects that I read that I also completely see myself in that role. That was very much what I saw with INTO THE BADLANDS. I read the scripts and really got a feel for the story and totally saw me in the character and that's something I strive for. Let me say that I'm really proud to be a part of it. The audition process was that I was the first guy to go in for the role of M.K. It was all in the very early stages and I would say it was September of 2013. They liked me and I really liked them but nothing was set between us for four or five months. I even told my rep that I wanted to really go for INTO THE BADLANDS and they auditioned 500 boys before calling me back in. They asked me to test and I got it! I mean it felt right the whole time.

JJ: I have to say now knowing there were that many people auditioning for the role that I can not imagine them not choosing you! You are so perfect for this role.

AK: I was really the first person who went in and I guess they had to turn every stone to see that it was a good fit. I think it is such an interesting process. Plus there if the fact that such a big studio like AMC behind you means you have to really find the right people. I think they wanted to be thorough in their search. I sort of get bragging rights a little, not that I'm a bragger {laughing}, I mean you know how it goes.

JJ: It's okay young man to take a bow once in a while just so you know.

AK: Oh good. 

{Did I mention this young man has a great sense of humor? Well he does!}

JJ: I was going to ask about reading the script for the first time. I can't even imagine what you thought because this series has such a different feel. What did you think?

AK: I just think it is amazing how many themes are in this series. There is allot of western, Asian, and southern influences all in one. You are going to see a lot more of influences in Season Two. They are loosely throwing around the steam punk vibe which I think is pretty awesome. It is such a mixture of so many different genres and that makes it a completely different show all together. Then you throw in the martial arts, which hasn't been done since the 1980's in television. To do it at the level we are doing it is pretty incredible. Throughout it all with the fight scenes which are arguably harder if not actually harder than the drama, I would say it is really something that is new. I would also say that it’s something that has to be experienced. I definitely understand why this hasn't been done before because it can be a difficult process to incorporate all of what is in the show.

JJ: Speaking of all the martial arts, I happen to be a fan of the genre and more recently because of the expanse in storytelling and film making, knowing that, working with Daniel Wu that has to be fantastic to watch him.

AK: Definitely! It is a completely new beast and the way these martial arts scenes are film is completely different than the filming of the martial arts scenes. The show has brought on martial arts legends to make these characters come to life. Each of them brings so much to the table teaching the moves to make the scenes such perfection. Really we have such a cohesive team and it is how it has to be to pull this off.

JJ: How is the physical part of your role for you?

AK: M.K. is a very physical role, not only in the fighting but also in the drama. There is such high intensity throughout the role, especially in season two. Season one was definitely physically taxing with learning all the moves and the grit and grim of the show along with the sweat and the blood. The muggy weather of New Orleans is also an addition to all of that and something we all had to get through. I would say that it all really helped us get to that same grit and grim of the show. 

JJ: Having lived in Alabama, I get that muggy weather.

AK: It wasn't so bad but the fight scenes kicking five guys at one time really made for some challenges.

JJ: Yes, if you are not use to it, it can be difficult with all the physicality that INTO THE BADLANDS has in it.

AK: I would say I liked it though, I'd rather be hot than cold.

JJ: You're role takes on so many twists, turns and changes, as a young actor how is that for you to have to change it up so much. How did you prepare?

AK: I think it's how many times you read the script. I love reading the script multiple times going into an episode because you really need to have an understanding of the plot, of the arc of the story because we film two episodes at a time and in the beginning we filmed three at a time. You really need to know where you are in the script and have a very clear understanding of the timeline of those episodes. I would say script analysis is really everything.

JJ: You're character; you are the one character that you never know. You and Sunny are on the same path but at different ends if that makes sense.

AK: That is so true. I think that's why Sunny and M.K. get close in that sense. They share that bond of the greater goal which is to get back home.

JJ: You are also working with this amazing huge cast. I think I'd be a little star struck. The setting is all these different barons, groups, and inner circles and they are all out for one thing - that's M.K.! 

AK: It's really amazing and I'm thrilled to be working with so many great people. I went into this process wanting to develop this specific character and I think all of us wanted that. I have mad respect for everyone else on the show and was so glad that they had respect for me. 

JJ: Working with Ally Ioannides as Tilda, she is the closest to you age wise in the whole cast.

AK: Ally and I are great friends on and off the series. We have a great relationship off the set and that comes together on the set. We have learned allot from each other and I think we have a special bond not only from the character point of view but from a personal point of view.

JJ: I would imagine you two would stick together through all of this.

AK: For sure! We have all come together as a cast.

JJ: I know you can't tell us allot about the next season but what can you share about where M.K. is going?

AK: I think that emotionally he has matured allot and he is learning to how to survive this world he lives in. The first season he didn't have much control and in season two he learns how to have that control. In season one he hasn't learned how to control his powers, his destiny - nothing about his life. It is really something he strives for. You obviously have the M.K. angst that is kind of funny and so lovable so I'm excited for everyone to see M.K. grow.

JJ: I know I'm excited to see where your character goes. In season one you are lead where everyone wants you to go so I see a breaking out coming. 

AK: Yes, a new character is introduced named Eva who M.K. develops a special relationship with and they have a great story line. I think everybody will really enjoy that.

JJ: I tried last night to explain to someone who hadn't seen the show what it is about, so if you were in the same situation, how would you describe INTO THE BADLANDS?

AK: I would call it a post apocalyptic utopian martial arts drama. I would also say that it has some of the most vivid coloring and best cinematography in television. You wouldn't expect anything less from AMC knowing THE WALKING DEAD and BREAKING BAD and MAD MEN that also have this rich cinematography and deep story telling. If you are looking for quality bad-ass television then this is the show to be watching.

JJ: Well then we agree on the badass because I have used that word quite a few times. 

AK: It's the truth!

JJ: Congratulations young man on an amazing job playing the part of M.K. Your character is so interesting and as I said I can not wait to see what Season Two has in store for us all. Thanks for spending time with us today.

AK: Thank you so much. I'm excited for everyone to see Season Two!

The first season of INTO THE BADLANDS is coming to Bluray and Digital HD and prepare for the second season with Aramis Knight as M.K. to bring even more intrigue, mystery and survival!

In the end – in a world without guns, fighting is everything!

THE MIST is here!!
keeps audiences coming back for more!
The Boys are Back with PRISON BREAK Event Series on Bluray!

Jeri Jacquin

This week from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is the return of a mega-hit series on Fox as the boys are back with PRISON BREAK Event Series. 

Seven years has passed and Lincoln Burrows (Dominic Purcell) is back to his old tricks owing money to a local dealer. He is more than surprised when T-Bag (Robert Knepper) knocks on his door with news that is shocking. In an envelope is a paper photograph that looks like Linc’s brother Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller).

Refusing to believe it, Linc throws T-Bag out the door but keeps the paper. Letting it set in that it might be true, he begins to figure out the clue that takes him to sister-in-law Sara (Sarah Wayne Callies). He shows her the photograph and it sets off hope for them both that it might be true. The problem is that Sara is now married to Jacob Ness (Mark Feuerstein) who is helping to raise her son Mike (Christian Cooper). 

In a prison in Yemen, inmate Kaniel Outis is forming a plan to escape with fellow cell mates Whip (Augustus Prew), Ja (Rick Yune) and Mustapha (Bobby Naderi). Every night they go to the roof waiting for a sign that it’s time to run. Linc has tried to make contact with Michael by going to Yemen with C-Note who has converted to Islam and can help.

At home, T-Bag receives a new hand thanks to a donor who specifically requested to help him. Sara waits for word when Van Gogh (Steve Mouzakis) and A&W (Marina Benedict), two armed intruders shoot Jacob and try to get her and Mike. Swift thinking brings the police and send Jacob to the hospital. Recovering, Sara and Jacob talk about the possibility that Michael might still be alive.

Getting closer to escape, things go differently when ISIL comes closer to the town and the prison. When Michael rescues a terrorist leader Abu Ramal, Linc wonders if his brother is in deeper than he could have imagined. Being helped by Sheba (Inbar Lavi), the war intrudes on the escape and a decision is made that she must escape with C-Note and others before they are captures.

That puts Michael, Linc, Whip, Ja and Mustapha on the run with Abu Ramal. In a situation where no one can trust no one, it is in a split second that plans years in the making crumble. Frustrated, Linc demands to know the truth about why Michael faked his death and more importantly where has he been?

Michael finally tells his brother everything and that a man named Poseidon came to him threatening Sara and Michael. He also threaten to put everyone back in prison and disappearing to work for Poseidon was the only way to keep them safe. But Michael was betrayed and now it is time to set things straight.

But first they have to get back to the United States and Michael knows exactly what he needs to do to make things right. With the help of friends and a brother who is dedicated to family, there isn’t anything or anyone that will stand in their way.

Prepare for shock and awe of a brotherly kind!

Miller as Michael Scofield still has the intense gaze of a man who is always thinking, planning and doing what ever it takes to make things happen. There is a stand-offishness about this character but then again there has to be, especially when trust is something hard to come by after seven years dead. 

Purcell as Linc has the same intense gaze and has no problem flattening anyone that gets in his way. The funny thing is that in scenes with Miller, they could easily be mistaken for brothers because of that serious “I’ll kick your ass” gaze. Purcell has a chance to show a softer side of the character he has made iconic.

Callies as Sara is once again married to a man who is a little obsessive about his wife and family. A strong pull back to Michael means she will do anything to help him, even if it means going against what her new husband wants.

Knepper as T-Bag has such a way about him. Working his prose into his mood is something that can either make you laugh or wonder what evil lurks. Having been the bad dude for so long, it’s hard to see the character turn a new leaf. Dunbar as C-Note has changed his life up but not so much that he doesn’t remember how to throw down.

Feuerstein as Jacob loves his life with wife Sarah and boy Michael. He doesn’t want anything to interfere with that, including a supposed dead husband rising up to mess with his home life. Feuerstein has the ability to give off the caring guy characteristics yet when he isn’t happy, there is a glassy eyed look that might as well have a flashing sign above his head that says ‘psycho here!’

Prew as Whip is a man who is taken in by Michael and has a short fuse. He wants things done quickly and gawd forbid if there is an encounter with a weapon – he kinds of loses his mind a bit. Feeling like he has a brother in Michael, even when feeling a bit left out of things at times, he always come around to help. 

Benedict as Blake is seriously disturbed – the ‘shoot first and don’t bother with questions later’ kind of assassin. Mouzakis as Van Gogh is the conscious of the two even if Blake doesn’t want to hear about it. These two are settling a score for Poseidon but have a personal beef of their own.

Other cast include Paul Adelstein as Paul Kellerman, Amaury Nolasco as Fernando Sucre, Amin El Gamal as Cyclops, Kunal Sharma as Sid, Curtis Lum as Agent Kishida, Crystal Balint as Heather, TJ Ramini as Cross and Akin Gazi as Omar.

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

The Bluray includes the 309 minutes total episodes Ogygia, Kaniel Outis, The Liar, The Prisoner’s Dilemma, Contingency, Phaecia, Wine Dark Sea, Progeny and Behind the Eyes. The 3 disc set also includes the Special Features of A Return Home: The Making of Prison Break Event Series.

PRISON BREAK Event Series on Bluray is a fantastic revisiting of characters that took over Fox once a week. Leaving fans feeling empty when the series came to a close on television, This storyline is a chance to bring closure in a very cool way and giving both Michael and Linc a chance at a normal existence…for a while at least.

This is a seriously fun, awesome, intense and twisted storyline for the boys who made PRISON BREAK memorable. The characters of Michael and Linc took brotherhood to a whole new level and I have to say that these two made breaking out of anything a little nerve wrackingly exciting so thanks for that!

In the end – first it was a prison and now it’s a nation!