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DVD Reviews

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Happy 30th Anniversary as
DIE HARD is Back on Bluray and Digital This Week!

Jeri Jacquin

Celebrating its 30 Year Anniversary this week on Bluray and Digital from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and director John McTiernan is the iconic and absolutely beloved classic action hero who is just one big DIE HARD.

John McClane (Bruce Willis) is visiting his family who have moved to the California Coast. Estranged wife Holly Gennaro (Bonnie Bedelia) is working for the Nakatomi Corporation and Mr. Takagi (James Shigeta) this sets John's ever loving badge on edge. Yes, he is a New York City cop and darn proud of it too. It is the Christmas season so he's being as gracious as he can at his wife's party.

What he doesn’t yet know is that a group of terrorists led by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) are about to make John's visit a whole lot more interesting. Along with Hans is Karl (Alexander Godunov), Marco (Lorenzo Caccialanza) Franco (Bruno Doyon), and computer wizard Theo (Clarence Gilyard Jr.) all of who are not going to let anyone get in their way. 

Their will might be strong but John McClane's is much stronger! He realizes that the party has been raided and hides from the gang hoping limo driver Argyle (De'voreaux White) might have heard the commotion. John comes face to face with one of Hans' gang and when he can't get any help from the outside - he creates it getting the attention of off-duty cop Sgt. Al Powell (Reginald VelJohnson).Now it's a party!

The LAPD is on full alert with Al keeping communication open with John, who he now refers to as 'Roy', but it doesn't stop DP Chief Dwayne T. Robinson (Paul Gleason) from trying to muck up the works. All of the action gets the attention of hungry journalist Richard Thornburg (William Atherton) who immediately takes a crew to Nakatomi Plaza and begins recording everything that happens.

What's happening is that John McClane isn't sitting idly by while waiting for the LAPD to figure out its next move. Instead, he goes floor by floor drawing out who these guys are and taking them down one by one if he has to. This isn't all sitting to well with Hans, especially when he realizes that John has a bag of goods he needs. 

While all of this is happening, Holly is keeping the hostages calm - and a secret! A final showdown means John and Hans are going to finish what was started!

Willis as McClane is smart, funny, witty and in 1988 brought a brand of action hero that turned this role iconic in every way. Of course many of us were already in love with Willis but man did this character seal the deal. I think what made everyone falls for McClane was the average-Joe persona that was relatable. Here is a cop having martial problems with a bit of an ego who just happens to still love his wife and know how to do his job. Both of those things were necessary to draw us all into a building of chaos. Now, what makes this even cooler is that John McClane, whether intentional or not, became a Christmas staple in many households (including mine). There was no turkey without McClane in Nakatomi Plaza and here it is all these years later and still happening. 

Rickman as Hans is absolutely breathtaking to watch. He is the ultimate criminal but damn is he cool as a cucumber (even when he's not) and looks good in a suit. The scene between Hans and McClane on the rooftop is perfection for both of these actors but I give Rickman one up for whipping out his 'American' accent with no struggle at all. This was probably my first introduction to Rickman and I enjoyed his performance so much that I went looking for other things he had done and followed him ever since. Rickman went toe to toe with Willis and wasn't going to fall without a fight.

Bedelia as Holly knows her husband can be difficult but when she needed him to be 'himself' the most McClane comes through with flying colors. Her amusement on her face when realizing that John was upsetting the terrorists is classic! VelJohnson as Sgt. Powell is McClane's link to the outside world and that isn't always a good thing. VelJohnson adds his humor, honesty and concern on his sleeve for a man he doesn't know yet feels a connection too. It's the beginning of an awesome buddy situation that will come to play again later.

The a-hole group is as follows beginning with Atherton as Thornburg. I mean lets just say it out right now - this guy is becomes the poster dude for the reason people don't like reporters. We all get satisfaction at the hands of Bedelia so there's that! Gleason as Robinson is just a douche, let's get that right! There is always one and Gleason's character is absolutely it. Bochner as Ellis is another douche but his pearly whites and narcissism doesn't help him in the slightest. 

Terrorist shout out to Godunov as Karl the tall psycho who clearly has anger issues. Then again it doesn't help with your pulling a heist and your brother gets capped in the first 10 minutes. He has a grudge and revenge is his new mission and Goduov gives it everything. On a side note - this role shows a crazy side and only two years earlier shows his comedic side in the 1986 film THE MONEY PIT which is one of my all time favorites. Leong as Uli makes a heist and a candy bar worthy of a giggle.

Davi as Special Agent Johnson is a psycho of another kind looking for any reason to go rogue and Bush as the other Special Agent Johnson loves saying 'no relation' when introducing himself and his partner. White as Argyle has his own little show going on in the basement and reminds us all from time to time that he's there!

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 Special Features include Commentary by Director John McTiernan and Production Designer Jackson DeGovia, Scene-Specific Commentary by Special Effects Supervisor Richard Edlund, Subtitle Commentary by Various Cast and Crew, The News Casts Featurette, Interactive Still Gallery, Interactive Articles from Cinefex and American Cinematographer, Full-Length Screenplay, Trailers and Television Spots.

Other cast include Andreas Wisniewski as Tony, Joey Plewa as Alexander, Hans Buhringer as Fritz, Matt Landers as Capt. Mitchell, Carmine Zozzora as Rivers, Dustyn Taylor as Ginny, David Ursin as Harvey Johnson, and Mary Ellen Trainor as Gail Wallens.

DIE HARD is just a fantastic piece of filmmaking that has brought us all iconic lines "Yipee-ki-yay mf", "oh, these are very bad for you", "come out to the coast, we'll get together, have a few laughs" and I will admit to using them all from time to time. The film doesn't waste any time or any frame which makes every minute of this film just loads of excitement, laughs and cheers for the good guys!

Here is some trivia about the nominations and awards won by DIE HARD. Nominated for Best Effects, Visual Effects, Best Sound, Best Editing by the Academy Awards, also nominated for awards from the DVD Exclusive Awards, and Edgar Allan Poe Awards. There were many awards won from the Awards of the Japanese Academy, Blue Ribbon Awards, BMI Film & TV Awards, Hochi Film Awards, Kinema Junpo Awards, National Film Preservation Board and Motion Picture Sound Editors Award.

It has been 30 years since John McClane came into our lives and he hasn't been out of our hearts. In 1990 John and Holly are back with another encounter in tight spaces with DIE HARD 2, in 1995 Die Hard with a Vengeance hit theatres, in 2007 we were told to LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD and in 2013 it all came together with A GOOD DAY TO DIE HARD. In each of these films there is a bad guy but one thing doesn't change - John McClane. We all have Bruce Willis to thank for bringing us all in for the ride of our lives.

Now, DIE HARD is on Bluray which means that the action is brighter, the chaos is crisper and its just frakken fabulous all the way around. Make sure to get your Bluray of DIE HARD and celebrate other holidays with it as well.

In the end - the thrill is back and his name is McClane!

SPINNING MAN Brings Unexpected Twists

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray/DVD and Digital from director Simon Kaijser and Lionsgate comes the story of what happens when what you believe and what is real can cause one to become a SPINNING MAN.

Evan Birch (Guy Pearce) is a philosophy college professor living with wife Ellen (Minnie Driver) and daughter Zelda (Eliza Pryor) and son Adam (Noah Salsbury Lipson). Life is idyllic until a young high school cheerleader goes missing bringing Det. Robert Malloy (Pierce Brosnan) on the case.

Evan goes about his business until there is a knock on his door asking to search his car. Both he and Ellen aren’t sure what is happening or what Evan is being accused of. Reaching out to their family lawyer friend Paul (Clark Gregg), he is asked straight out if there is any chance of involvement.

Upset that anyone would think so, it becomes even more difficult when evidence is found in the car and stories don’t match up. Det. Mallory isn’t making it easy either by planting suspicions in Ellen’s mind. She immediately makes it clear to Evan that she isn’t going to cover for him.

The only light to his days is that of student Anna (Alexandra Shipp) who doesn’t ask much of him other than coffee and talk about his book. As Evan waits for the police to find the missing cheerleader, his mind begins to chase between what is real and the truth.

Both are a matter of life and death.

Pearce as Evan is a man who absolutely has command of the classroom and the subject he is teaching. Living the stereotype of an attractive man professor and yet he is jittery that no one believes in his innocence in all things. Trying to balance his life, his secrets and his persona is what could be his undoing. There is something about Pearce on the screen from PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT to L.A. CONFIDENTIAL to ALIEN: COVENANT that I know his role is going to be unique and memorable.

Brosnan as Det. Malloy isn’t ruffled in the slightest by anything that Evan says or does. He is one slick policeman when he plants little hints around the wife to get help in solving the case. There are even moments where it is easy to forget he is a cop when in the car with Evan which is, after all, what makes a good cop. Brosnan is still fun to watch and this role gives him grit.

Driver as Ellen is the dutiful wife and stands by her man, even if she’s done it more times that she would like. She also isn’t helping the police much in their investigation but that doesn’t mean she isn’t doing a little home detective work of her own. Driver gives character Evan a little public ‘what for’ shaming and I actually applauded her. It’s good to bend but Driver doesn’t break.

Shipp as Anna is a nice diversion to Evan’s problems and this is certainly the type of student a professor should run from – and run fast! Pryor as Zelda is at that age where parents can be embarrassing and this is just a few steps past the norm. Gregg as lawyer Paul is trying to get his client to stop talking and I suggest superglue to the lips!

Other cast include Jamie Kennedy as Ross, Sean Blakemore as Killian, Jeannie Austin as Barbara, Natasha Bassett as Carrie, Sterling Beaumon as Matt, Patrika Darbo as Kelly, Jennie Fahn as Irene and Odeya Rush as Joyce Bonner.

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

The Bluray and Digital include the Special Features of Deleted Scenes, Inside SPINNING MAN Director’s Commentary and Trailer Gallery. SPINNING MAN is based on the book The Spinning Man by George Harrar.

SPINNING MAN is a cat and mouse game and most of it is being played by Pearce’s character. All of his antics begin to meld together and that causes him to have problems knowing what the facts are and what is the mind just playing stress tricks. The addition of Brosnan’s character is that of a cop who will let a person hang themselves because he’s got all the time in the world to wait.

Pearce is definitely juggling this character and where it all falls is anybody’s guess – right up until the very last second. That’s what makes a good psychological thriller and this qualifies.

In the end – what you believe and what you know is all in how you spin it!

ALTERED PERCEPTION

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to DVD from SKD, a Synkronized Company, and director Kate Rees Davies is a story of what happens when you have an ALTERED PERCEPTION.

A pharmaceutical company is dealing with a drug called DPTD that is meant to help people with PTSD and potentially end hostilities across the globe. They tested three couples who are in the middle of relationship problems and recorded them.

Andrew (Jon Huertas) and Lorie (Jennifer Blac-Biehn) seem to spend their relationship being hostile with one another. Beth (Nichola Fynn) and Emily (Hallie Jordan) are a couple with insecurities and one of them is Beth’s brother Justin (Matthew Ziff). Steve (Emrhys Cooper) and wife Kristina (Jade Tailor) are a couple that are to the point of not knowing what else they can do to save their relationship.

Preparing them for the trial is Rebecca (Christine Kapetan) and Claudia (Aileen Burdock) who answer their questions. Now the drug maker Darpa is under scrutiny for the reactions of the couples when their memories become impaired and emotional reactions lash out strongly.

Hiding behind what they think are successes, the company continues to present the video of the couples changes in behavior.

That’s what can happen when you are a human guinea pig!

Huertas as Andrew is a lawyer who uses his jargon to annoy Blac-Biehn as Lorie. This couple pokes at each other’s weaknesses verbally but with the drug the outbursts become more and more frightening. 

Fynn as Beth and Jordan as Emily are dealing with not trusting one another and past mistakes in the relationship. Once the drug takes effect, it seems that there is an honesty streak happening and questions are put out on the table.

Cooper as Steve and Tailor as Kristina seem to be the couple that are waiting for the drug to take effect. They have moments that flair up but it doesn’t seem as if they are responding as the other couples – until they do. 

Other cast include Larry Wade Carrell as Lewis, Danielle Artigo as Margo, Jenise Blanc as Janice and John Fallon as John.

SKD has distributed the work some of the world’s major directors and box office worthy movies. Synkronized is one of the only labels outside the major studios to be exclusively distributed by WalMart, Target, Best Buy and Sam’s Club. They also lead in supplying works to iTunes, Netflix and the VOD Market. To learn more about SKD please visit www.synkronized.us. 

The thriller comes from the mind of Travis Romero, the creator of the USA Network’s “White Collar” and executive producer Michael Biehn. 

ALTERED PERCEPTION tackles the question of clinical trials on human beings and those responsible for it. There are hundreds of sites that look for people to volunteer for clinical trials and offer financial incentives to participate. I have read them myself and often wonder how that works or if it really does work and who regulates it.

The film quotes Vanity Fair with, “Prescription drugs kill some 200,000 Americans every year. Will that number go up, now that most clinical trials are conducted overseas … in places where regulation is virtually nonexistent, the F.D.A. doesn’t reach, and “mistakes” can end up in pauper’s graves? The authors investigate the globalization of the pharmaceutical industry, and the U.S. Government’s failure to rein in a lethal profit machine.”

In the end – the implications can be deadly!

BLACK PANTHER Brings the Marvel Super Hero to Bluray

Jeri Jacquin

The story is coming home soon and ready to be told again and again on Bluray-DVD and Digital as director Ryan Coogler, Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Pictures bring the tale of BLACK PANTHER.

The death of now King T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returns to his kingdom of Wakanda in Africa but not before making a pit stop with General Okoye (Danai Gurira) to pick up ex-love Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o). 

Standing before the other factions, Zuri (Forest Whitaker) asks if there is anyone who would challenge for the throne. After a brief altercation with M’Baku (Winstone Duke) it becomes clear that T’Challa would rule Wakanda. His mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett) and technology wiz kid-sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) join in the ceremony as they watch T’Challa’s victory.

But there is something that needs his immediate attention when friend W’Kabi (Daniel Kaluuya) wants the capture of Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) who has stolen some of Wakanda’s source of technology. Klaue however is not alone as Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) has a score to settle with Wakanda.

Looking for Klaue as well is CIA Agent Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman) and isn’t happy when he sees T’Challa, Nakia and Okoye at a sting operation in an underground casino in Asia. Trying to strike a deal on who gets Klaue, chaos breaks out and the chase is on.

It soon becomes clear who Killmonger is when he makes his way to Wakanda with one goal in mind – to get backing which he finds in W’Kabi and to take the throne. When the challenge goes horribly wrong, Nakia, Shuri and Ramonda are on the run and find an ally in the most unlikely place. Now the tribes begin to see the destruction of their world!

T’Challa learns that all families have secrets but that secrets don’t always stay hidden and sometimes it is the sons that pay the price!

Boseman as T’Challa aka Black Panther carries himself with the elegance that makes it totally believable that he is royalty. Trying to keep the traditional and secretive ways of Wakanda, especially about the unearthly vibranium, he becomes conflicted when it is suggested by ex-love Nakia that they could do so much more for the world. Unfortunately that falls far down his royal agenda as conflicts and bad guys need to be taken care of to stabilize the country and tribal factions. Boseman wears the suit and the position well.

Gurira as General Okoye is the only lady that could pull of a fight scene while wearing a stunning and flowing red gown. What I’m saying is that if I ever get into a fight in an underground dressy casino – I want Gurira on my side. Okoye is loyal but certainly conflicted. Nyong’o as Nakia wants to do as much as she can for the world outside of Wakanda much to the dismay of T’Challa. Don’t let the fact that Nyong’o’s character is quiet in nature because when she needs to talking isn’t necessary – action does!

Jordan as Killmonger is the man with the attitude and it’s not a good thing. Dealing with the death of his own father, he becomes a highly trained killer with only one goal – make everyone pay for what has made him hostile. Jordan gives every ounce of a bad guy in his performance. Kaluuya as W’Kabi is the friend you don’t ever want to deal with. It seems there is a strong bond between he and T’Challa yet when things don’t go in his favor he flips the script and Kalyyua makes it stick. 

Gollum and Bilbo are reunited for another round of good vs. evil! Freeman as the CIA Agent wants to help the people of Wakanda and definitely gets his chance. He might be a mild mannered agent but stands up for his new friends. Serkis as Klaue gets to be as evil as he wants to be and nothing seems to bother him and I have to admit to chuckling once or twice.

Whitaker as Zuri has a story to tell and I’m going to let him be the one to tell it so no spoilers from me. Bassett as Ramonda is the Queen who sees the kingdom in turmoil but would throw it all away for the safety of her family and people. Duke as M’Baku is big, bad and knows that things are changing and he must choose.

Special shout out goes to Letitia Wright as Shuri! She is her own brand of bad ass being smart, beautiful and very funny. She is the technology of Wakanda and Wright gives this character everything and then some. I just enjoyed what she brought to the story and embracing her characters dedication to family, country and science. There is more to her story as well but you didn’t hear it from me.

Other cast include Florence Kasumba as Ayo, John Kani as T’Chaka, David S. Lee as Limbani, Nabiyah Be as Linda, and Sterling K. Brown as N’Jobu.

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  

The Bluray and Digital Code come with this Multi-Screen Edition with Movies Anywhere.

The BLACK PANTHER Bonus Extras are stunning with From Page to Screen: A Roundtable Discussion – Delving into the film’s making, Deleted Scenes and Gag Reel, Crowning Of A New King – Explore Black Panther’s world in all its color and complexity, The Warriors Within – Get to know Wakanda’s women, and the actors who portray them, The Hidden Kingdom Revealed – Wakanda’s diverse people, Wakanda Revealed: Exploring the Technology, Exclusive Sneak Peek at Ant-Man and the Wasp, Marvel Studios: The First Ten Years – Connecting the Universe and so much more!

BLACK PANTHER is the reason fans flocked to the theatre to experience an adventure, good story and characters that have jumped from page to screen. Now they can revisit Wakanda over and over with this stunning Bluray. I have no doubt that Marvel fans are biting at the bit to get their hands on a copy and I am secure in saying they will get their money’s worth.

BLACK PANTHER falls absolutely into the Marvel universe. The formula of conflict, family, bad guys and loyalty is found in every Marvel story and BLACK PANTHER follows it to the letter. Popcorn, friends and fun – now at home BLACK PANTHER will deliver consistently. Get a sound bar and make sure the screen is huge!

It just means I see exactly what I thought I would see and other than the ethereal Lion King moment I continue to go for the ride. It has action, adventure, tekkie stuff, special effects, music and eye candy for all so take that and run. The cast bring the story everything it needs to crowd please.

So couch up the gang and make it a great Marvel/Disney night at home!

In the end – long live the king!

BALLERS Tackles Bluray with Season Three

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray this week from HBO Home Entertainment and executive producers Mark Wahlberg and Stephen Levinson is a series that takes on sports with both hands as Dwayne Johnson stops at nothing to expand his base dealing with BALLERS.

Spencer Strasmore (Dwayne Johnson) is back with another season as a financial manager dealing with players! Along with partner Joe Krutel (Rob Corddry), its all about to become even more stressful than life usually is. First, Ricky (John David Washington) questions his relationship with Amber (Brittany Hall) but TDD (Carl McDowell) notices that something isn't quite right about him lately. Charles (Omar Miller) is dealing with a very calculating boss in Siefert (Dule Hill) and learns he needs to stand up for himself.

A meeting between Spencer and Wayne Hastings Jr. (Steve Guttenberg) finally takes place and the idea of a Vegas team is put on the table. Joe needs to remember to look in his office before he speaks when Kisan (Kris Lofton) lets him know it's time for a new agent. He also discovers that Reggie and Vernon are promoting their business called High Powered with a symbol that just puts the NFL on the edge. Now Joe and Charles have to come together to find a way to convince Vernon that his days in the NFL are numbered if they keep up their shenanigans.

In Vegas, Spencer runs into Chloe (Serinda Swan) and sparks fly but acting on it has to cool in the desert sun for a money because he has to work his charm and magic on the Mayor of Vegas and Council people to get a thumbs up on the football team idea. Joe is still dealing with Reggie about his Colorado business venture and gets a little caught up in the well lit moment. New agent Jason (Troy Garity) discovers that Kisan hasn't been totally forthcoming with his past. 

The stress is starting to get to Spencer and Joe (even if Spencer gets some down time with Chloe) and they continue to talk with Anderson about the potential for raising money. Anderson (Richard Schiff) isn't thrilled when a plane trip to speak with investors turns into a stop orchestrated by his snarky brother Julian (Steven Weber) There are serious family issues between the two that put Spencer and Joe in a weird place.

Ricky goes to see Charles wife Julie (Jazmyn Simo) for a doctor referral and it makes Charles nervous when he sees a telephone call to his wife. She informs him that she can't talk about it and suggests he focus on what is going on with the team. Siefert is still making things difficult so after an unsuccessful dinner between Siefert and head coach Berg (Peter Berg), Charles decides its time to take his life into his own hands.

Deciding what he wants for his life, Ricky tries to fix the things that are wrong and live his life honestly - and Jason is about to pass out when he learns his clients secret. Things with Spencer and Chloe heat up and it gets him to thinking about what he wants for his life but Chloe sets him straight immediately.

As the deal for a team in Vegas begins to take shape, Anderson, Spencer and Joe need to have a meeting with the NFL, who isn't really happy that all of this even began without their approval, only to discover there is another offer on the table and that the balance of power is shifting. While in San Francisco, Spencer meets someone who makes him rethink how things have been handled with the business and his idea for a Vegas team.  

The players aren't the only ones that can be head strong ballers!

Johnson as Spencer once again turns on the charm and the intensity this season trying to break into a world of the NFL by bringing a team to Las Vegas. Cutting corners he immediately has a target on his back and no one is going to make it easy for him, in fact every time he thinks it is all going in the right direction, he's thrown a curve ball. What I enjoy about this character is that even when things are in panic mode, Spencer takes a deep breath and reaches up to pluck the next big move out of nowhere. In the midst of the chaos, there are moments of comedy and even a bit of drool for the ladies as there is no question that Johnson is ripped and endearing. Yes, its just fun to love the guy!

Corddry as Joe is equally as fast on his feet when chaos shows up but Joe handles things in such a unique and crazy way that when he has moments of brilliance it is actually quite stunning. The scene after Spencer and Joe had to literally run to a meeting with Hastings; it is Joe who gives a quick save that made my jaw drop thinking ‘wow where did that come from?' I do enjoy Corddry because I never know what character he is going to play next and yet never surprised by his performances. 

Washington as Ricky takes on several issues this season with a strong willed woman, reexamining his life and dealing with family. McDowell as TDD is keeping his eye on Ricky and questioning whether he realizes the extent of what is going on in his life and ice cream is very important to him. Lofton as Kisan is introduced to his new agent but has trouble keeping secrets that could affect any deal going forward. Garity as agent Jason starts out being taken advantage of and moves on to dealing with the screwed up personal lives of players.

Miller as Charles is finding his place in the NFL. Not realizing what it takes to be part of the head office, he also never realized that the game isn't only on the field. This season he finds his voice and discovers what it is he wants from his post NFL career. Simo as wife Julie wants her husband to succeed and is a serious cheerleader for her husband. Simo is strong, sweet and lets it be known that what ever her husband wants is something she supports feeling that he does the same for her. Dule as Siefert has no problem grabbing the limelight for decisions that help teams and equally grabbing credit for things he didn't do which is what causes the rift between he and Charles. 

Schiff as Anderson wants to do what ever it takes to make the Las Vegas team idea a reality, well almost anything it takes. When brother Julian, played by Weber, comes into the mix it becomes more personal than business. Getting the issues out of the way is the only way any plans will be successful. Schiff and Weber as brothers is something to see to the very last scene together. Swan as Chloe works with Hastings Jr. and has a relationship with Spencer and that proves to be a little strange for them both. Swan is lovely in a character that doesn't change her life for Spencer and makes it clear that she knows exactly who he is and what he's about yet still likes hanging with him. 

A serious shout out to Steve Guttenberg for showing that he can play a douchebag rich guy. I swear every time he was on screen he cracked me up with his attempt at being suave and then becoming steely eyed when facing Spencer. What a great character! Another shout goes to Steven Weber for being a brother who doesn’t mind making his older brother absolutely uncomfortable and why? – well because it’s a brother thing! Yet when it comes down to it they are family.

BALLERS has cameo appearances by Larry Csonka, Travis Scott, Steve Guttenberg, Cheryl Ladd, Peter Berg, Dule Hill, Anabella Acosta, LeToya Luckett, Ella Thomas, Antoine Harris, Taylour Paige, Sanai Johnson, Richard Schiff, Clifton Collins Jr., Angelina Assereto, Christine Allocca, Carl McDowell, Terrell Suggs, Jay Glazer, Serinda Swan, Andy Garcia and Steve Guttenberg and Peter Berg.

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 Bluray includes the episodes Seeds of Expansion, Bull Rush, In the Teeth, Make Believe, I Hate New York, Ricky-Leaks, Alley-Oops, Crackback, and Yay Area. Also included is the Digital Copy that makes it great to watch anywhere on not only a television but also a computer, Tablet and Smartphone.

I always love watching BALLERS because it has so much crazy to offer and it is fast paced. Watching Johnson in this series is different than films because most of the movies show a character that is larger than life in larger than life situations like the remake JUMANJI and RAMPAGE. In BALLERS, the character of Spencer is totally believable in a Jerry McGuire sort of way but on a much cooler scale. I love how he interacts with the other characters and with Corddry as his sidekick - it totally works.

This series can easily be seen as a 'guys' series but those who think that would be totally wrong. Although I enjoy an occasional football game or any sport for that matter, I'm not an avid sports fan yet BALLERS is enjoyable to watch and I do look forward to each episode. The character interaction and stories along with the show's running time of thirty minutes invites the viewers into the mad world of Spencer and Joe and never leaves us unsatisfied.

I'm letting you know now that the finale let me cheering because the good guys can win on their own terms! 

In the end - if you build it they will come!


THE GREATEST SHOWMAN is Even Greater on Bluray!

Jeri Jacquin

This week on Bluray/DVD and Digital from writers Jenny Bicks and Bill Condon along with director Michael Gracey and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment comes THE GREATEST SHOWMAN.

P.T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman) has promised the lovely Charity (Michelle Williams) that he will give her a wonderful life. Spending the first few years together struggling, Barnum has two more lovely reasons to succeed in daughters Caroline (Austyn Johnson) and Helen (Cameron Seely). 

That’s when he decides to start his own circus business and invites the bearded woman Lettie (Keala Settle), Tom Thumb (Sam Humphrey), Anne Wheeler (Zendaya) and W.D. Wheeler (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) among others to join in his vision of the unusual in entertainment. He also brings Phillip Carlyle (Zac Efron) to learn and help manage the business and immediately he is taken with Anne.

While on a trip to Europe, Barnum and the troop meets the famous Jenny Lind (Rebecca Ferguson). He knows that this is a pure act that will show the nay-sayers like journalist James Bennett (Paul Sparks). Taking Jenny on the road means being away from his family and leaving the show in the care of Phillip.

When Jenny abruptly stops the show, Barnum returns to see what a vengeful crowd can do to his dream. The dream begins to unravel when he discovers that those who helped bring the circus to life are the same people who will see it rise from the ashes.

Never forget who you really are!

Jackman as Barnum does what he does best – embrace a character, make it larger than life and do it while singing and dancing. There are complexities in being a big dreamer who embraces things that are different. That also means dealing with people who clearly are afraid of those differences and getting a little lost along the way to the top. 

Williams as Charity always believed that her husband would succeed and at the same time was never unhappy with their life. She is absolutely lovely in this role and patient with a man who sees everything larger than life. Ferguson as Jenny is a woman who is swept up in the romance of becoming world renowned at the hands of Barnum. Being beautiful with a voice doesn’t stop pain from dropping a curtain.

Efron as Carlyle gets wrapped up in everything that Barnum wants in entertainment. He is also working against people who have nothing better to do than ruin a good time for all. It doesn’t stop him from making it work and finding love with the lovely Anne. Zendaya as Anne finds a family in the circus and even when confronted for being different, she knows who truly loves her.

Settle as Lettie is a powerful presence and her voice just rocks this film to its core. Her character also focuses on keeping the family together and never letting anyone say they are not amazing human beings. Humphrey as Tom Thumb is sweet and hilarious at the same time. 

Other amazing cast includes Eric Anderson as Mr. O’Malley, Ellis Rubin as the young Barnum, Skylar Dunn as the young Charity, Daniel Everidge as Lord of Leeds, Radu Spinghel as O’Clancy, Will Swenson as Philo Barnum, Timothy Hughes as the Strong Man, Linda Larson as Mrs. Stratton, Byron Jennings as Mr. Carlyle, Betsy Aidem as Mrs. Carlyle and Gayle Rankin as Queen Victoria. 

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/DVD and Digital experience includes over two hours of Special Features with a Sing Along, The Family Behind THE GREATEST SHOWMAN, The Songs, The Spectacle, Music Machine with Sing Along and so much more!

THE GREATEST SHOWMAN was nominated for an Academy Award this past season and won a Golden Globe for Best Original Song “This is Me”, winner of the Heartland Film Truly Moving Picture Award, winner of Favorite Movie Actress for Zendaya from the Kids’ Choice Awards and eighteen other nominations ranging from Best Performances and Best Song to Best Music and Best Costuming. 

This is the reason why musicals will never die! A combination of great story telling, spectacular eye candy, songs that stick and a cast that melts together in such a way that the tale embraces the heart. 

It must be said that the films costuming, cinematography and set designs are absolutely stunning to see. Colorful, beautiful and dramatic the film in striking adding depth that engrains itself in the tale being told. I absolutely loved the dresses with the detail and flow that would make any woman feel regal and gorgeous. 

If you are fond of Friday night movies at home then THE GREATEST SHOWMAN needs to happen!

In the end – this is where the impossible comes true!

BENT Brings Mystery to Bluray

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray and Digital from writer/director Bobby Moresco and Lionsgate is a tale of deceit, corruption and a set up that give meaning to crime-thriller when everyone around you is BENT.

Danny Gallagher (Karl Urban) is a hard working cop who wanted to help his buddy in a drug bust when it goes horribly wrong. So wrong, in fact, that Gallagher ends up in prison and when released is seen as a cop killer. Knowing that he can't get his life back the way it was, he tracks down everything he remembers from that night including the car-bomb murder of an official’s wife.

Right away he knows there are people out to end him and at the same time people who want to help. Jimmy Murtha (Andy Garcia) is telling Gallagher to run as far away from everything as he can and buddy Eddie (Pat Asanti) is keeping the bugs off and the cars working. He also is being told by mystery woman Rebecca (Sofia Vergara) that there is more to this than he could possibly imagine but won't say more.

Gallagher knows that he is going to have to dig deeper into every aspect of what happened before going to prison, the trial and what ever else he might be missing. Rebecca is becoming scared when people who are part of everything start dying believing she and Gallagher are absolutely next.

That doesn't stop the ex-cop from pushing harder in every direction to bring who ever is responsible for everything that is happening out in the open. Could it be other cops, a drug lord with revenge in mind, a government agency or someone he never saw coming.

Urban as Gallagher comes on strong and always has that look like he knows when you are pulling his chain. This is a character that was happy pining for a singer and working cases and now spends his post-prison time just trying to stay alive. Urban gives a hard performance of a man who isn't untouchable and doesn't trust anyone - no matter how beautiful.

Vergara as Rebecca is a woman who knows more than she's saying but also realizes that what is happening around her is coming close to home. Knowing the players, she isn't always as candid with Gallagher and he knows it - and pillow talk doesn't make those answers come any quicker. She's in the same position as he is in that you don't know who to trust or what can be said without getting to those who want to kill you.

Garcia as Murtha greets Gallagher when is released from jail. Obviously wanting to make sure his friend is taken care of, he also sees that nothing he says will stop Gallagher from doing what ever he wants how ever he wants.

Other cast includes Grace Byers as Kate Trai Byers as Chuck, John Finn as Driscoll, Tonya Cornelisse as Helen, Patrick Brennan as Casey, Joe Pacheco as Bill Pierce, Andrea Bruschi as Tom Loach and Vincent Spano as Charlie. 

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

The Bluray/DVD Special Features include Behind the Scenes of BENT Featurette along with Cast and Crew Interviews.

BENT is a thriller that will keep you guessing as to why all of this is happening, how did it get this far and ending with 'you have got to be kidding me!' in a good way. That's why the crime-thriller genre is still alive and well. It's fun to follow the clues and hope we get to the end faster than the film's ending.

It is the twists, turns and not wanting the facts to change our minds about the people we have invested in while watching the story unfold. When a crime-thriller is finally explained in its entirety, we are forced to decide who is right and who is justified in walking the fragile line of the law.

That's what BENT does, sends us on a journey to find out why anyone would do this to a good cop and jump on his every move to discover who is responsible. When that happens we all become part of the dilemma that Gallagher faces in the end. I think that's what 
I enjoy most about this genre and I'm not the only one.

BENT is currently On Demand and arrives on Bluray, Digital and DVD May 15th. 

In the end - follow your instincts!

Spielberg Brings History of THE POST to Bluray

Jeri Jacquin

On Bluray/DVD and Digital this week from director Steven Spielberg, DreamWorks and 20th Century Fox is a story of dedication to the truth in print from THE POST.

It is the 1970's and Kay Graham (Meryl Streep) is the woman who owns and runs The Washington Post with Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) as her editor. Knowing that there are those who don't support or trust her running of the paper, Kay takes in what is happening around her to find her voice. 

When it comes to their attention that there is someone who has documents that expose the governments plans in Vietnam, The Post wants them. There is a problem, the man who photocopied the papers, Daniel Ellsberg (Matthew Rhys) has gone into hiding and slivers of the information have also been shared with The New York Times. 

What is in the papers? That the United States government was not being truthful to the American public about involvement in the Vietnam War. The papers also show the level of involvement went through Robert McNamara (Bruce Greenwood) all the way up to the president.

The New York Times looks for advice about publishing the Pentagon Papers and the government wants an injunction against any further papers be published. In the meantime, reporter Ben Bagdikian (Bob Odenkirk) from the Post finds Ellsberg and is given boxes of papers and Kay must decide whether to go forward before they are also stopped by the courts. 

Bradlee gathers his writers and the clock is set to beat anything or anyone that wants to get in their way. Kay begins to feel the weight of what she is up against and realizes that she knows people that are involved and now must decide what the right thing is. Pressed by the papers all-male board, she realizes that the paper her father build is now 
Kay digs in deep and knows that Bradlee will follow her lead.

The truth is worth fighting for!

Streep as Kay Graham once again turns in a performance of a woman who is seen as a lovely decoration to the Post with men telling her what is important and what isn't for the paper. Of course her insecurities are clear and Streep portrays the era with perfection. Gaining strength throughout the film, I cheer the hardest when she realizes that if the board of the paper wants to play tough - then she must learn to as well. Nothing wrong with telling the good ole' boys club that it is 'her' paper and that's how she is going to run it. Streep always gives everything to these roles and makes them not only believable but exceptional.

Hanks as Ben Bradlee is perfection and yes I'm being hugely Hanks-struck. I adore this actor and find him to be the absolute best of Hollywood and that includes the much misunderstood film TURNER AND HOOCH! Of course I wondered how he was going to portray this character since I do have Jason Robards' version of Bradlee from the 1976 film ALL THE PRESIDENTS MEN stuck in my head. I had no reason to worry! THE POST is a perfect film to watch first and then take on the 1976 film because it is a history lesson about the government's shenanigans from The Washington Post's articles portrayed by two amazing actors.

Odenkirk as Bagdikian is on it to find the man with the papers. Knowing that this is the most important thing he will work toward, there is a moment where all of it might fall apart and Odenkirk keeps it straight. Rhys as Ellsberg has the worst case of paranoia I've ever seen and with good reason. He has what the government is looking for so he's not about to let go if the information isn't made public.

Greenwood as McNamara is a man trying to keep his head above water yet Greenwood makes it look smooth and controlled. That's what I love about Greenwood, whether he portrays a good, bad or indifferent character, he makes it look ridiculously smooth. The scene between Greenwood and Streep is hard to watch and strong for both of them in the scheme of the storyline.

Other cast include: Sarah Paulson as Tony Bradlee, Tracy Letts as Fritz Beebe, David Cross as Howard Simons, Zach Woods as Anthony Essaye, Bradley Whitford as Arthur Parsons, Alison Brie as Lally Graham, Carrie Coon as Meg Greenfield, and Jesse Plemons as Roger Clark.

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 and DVD Special Features include LAYOUT: Katharine Graham, Ben Bradlee & The Washington Post, EDITORIAL: The Cast and Characters of THE POST, THE STYLE SECTION: Recreating an Era, STOP THE PRESSES: Filming THE POST, ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT: Music for THE POST. THE POST received an Academy Award Nomination for Best Picture. 

This is a story that needed to be told for so many reasons especially with what is going on in government now. I am an avid watcher of films based on history and THE POST 
not only falls into that category but totally served me up a history lesson. 

The caliber of actors and actresses in this film make it extraordinary bringing it to a level that can't be touched. That is what makes this film for me - a cast that seems to dive right in and take no prisoners mixed in with totally absorbing the time period of the 1970's. 

Watching each character take on their own beliefs about why they do what they do comes into play and it can't be hidden in the film. Spielberg takes his own risk bringing the real news story to the attention of a fake-news world. He keeps the storyline crisp and doesn't sugar coast anything about what it takes to hold the government accountable when caught lying to its own people.

What this should do for the press is remind them that people do want to know the truth about their government and that not only is that government accountable but so is the press that reports it. I can't imagine that anyone who reports the news of the world not finding an amazing place in their hearts for the papers/editors and reporters who came before.

In the end – truth be told!

Get Ready to Bolt with MAZE RUNNER: The Death Cure Coming to Bluray

Jeri Jacquin

On Bluray and DVD, as well as 4K Ultra HD, this week from director Wes Ball and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is the race for life with MAZE RUNNER: The Death Cure.

Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) is already back in the game becoming stronger as a leader to save their friends from WCKD. When they learn that Minho (Ki Hong Lee) is among the kids that have been taken by Janson (Aidan Gillen) to WCKD, Thomas doesn’t hesitate to want to jump in.

Vince (Larry Pepper) refuses to put more people on the line to save Minho even when Jorge (Giancarlo Esposito) knows where he is. Even worse, they group knows that the enemy is getting closer and have to abandon their base.

Thomas decides he can’t go with the group and attempts to leave camp, but not without Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and Frypan (Dexter Darden). Not about to let them go alone, they are joined by Jorge and Brenda (Rosa Salazar) who are equally wanting to get their friend back.

Minho is shocked when he wakes up to find himself back inside the maze with the help of Ava Paige (Patricia Clarkson) – but it is a new maze. Her creation has created a potential antibody to the virus that has taken so many but she must convince the leaders to continue the trials. Help comes in the words of Teresa (Kaya Scodelario) who is working with Ava.

Trying to get into the city to find Minho, Thomas and the group are taken by a group and a familiar face. Gally (Will Poulter) sets them all on edge until he explains how it is that he survived. Explaining that he wants to help Thomas get inside the city, Gally takes them to see Lawrence (Walton Goggins) who might be able to help.

Making their way to WCKD one step at a time, Thomas and Newt have their first look at the big city. In the lab Ava and Teresa test more subjects but not before Janson is told that he needs to find Thomas while keeping another secret from Teresa. The virus is now inside the city and Teresa has been taken. Ava and Janson now realize that time is not on their side.

The fight is now inside the lab as Thomas and Newt get closer to Minho and Teresa has something that could be a game changer. Now, those on the outside that have been running are turning to fight strong.

Now, they have a chance!

O’Brien as Thomas returns to the role of a young man clearly on a mission that will save some and not others. Loyal to the people he met in the maze, he is not about to let Minho and the others stay inside the city of WCKD. O’Brien plays out his role in the trilogy as he began, intense and strong.

Scodelario as Teresa is the character everyone loves to hate. With the upset from the second film it is easy to want to give her character redemption but it might be to late. Poulter as Gally is the surprise as he also ends his time in the maze with a twist.

Clarkson as Ava tries to find a way to create an antibody to the virus that is now inside the city. What hope she has depends on Minho and Clarkson always stands out in every performance she gives. Gillen as Janson is clearly irritated with the fact that he can’t seem to always get what he wants out of life in WCKD. He has the amazing ability to be the perfect bad guy without getting to much flack on him.

Goggins as Lawrence is one jacked up human being yet he still attempts to help the gang get inside the city. Lee as Minho gets the worst end of the deal as the labs want more and more from him. Sangster as Newt truly believes in the friendships that have kept him alive. We have literally watched Sangster grow up in this series of films.

Salazar as Brenda continues to be a strong presence even if she is in the middle of wanting to be on her own and not helping others to being an amazing leader in her own right. Along with Esposito as Jorge, these two characters are trying to be better people while maintaining a rough exterior. 

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 and DVD Special Features includes Audio Commentary by Director Wes Ball, Screenwriter T.S. Nowlin and Producer Joe Hartwick, Jr., Unlocking the Cure: The Final Run, Dystopia: The Completed World; Allies Reunited, A Look Back: The Director’s Journey, Deleted & Extended Scenes with Optimal Commentary, Going Out on Top, Gag Reel, Visual Effects Breakdowns and Visual Effects Reel with Optional Commentary and Gallery. 

Also included is Movies Anywhere which is just that, the ability to watch anywhere with the App as well as a Digital Movie included.

There is an epic and exclusive 24-page prequel origins comic book written by screenwriter T.S. Nowlin. The trilogy box set is also available that includes an exclusive MAZE RUNNER bandana chosen by fans.

MAZE RUNNER: The Death Cure brings about the finishing touches to a story that has been filled with twists, turns, intensity, trust issues, friendships, world colliding and a virus that can turn friends into foes and vice versa. 

Wrapping everything up means preparing to take on the emotions of characters saying goodbye and smiling knowing that there future is deserved. Grab the popcorn and prepare for a marathon run of the MAZE RUNNER trilogy!

In the end – the time for lies is over! 


​School is in Session with HBO’s VICE PRINCIPLES: The Complete Series

Jeri Jacquin

HBO brings class into session this week with the DVD and Digital Download pack of comedy that will test your take on laughter with VICE PRINCIPLES: The Complete Series.

When the Principal (Bill Murray) resigns from North Jackson High School, the position of principal is being carefully watched by two very different teachers. Neil Gamby (Danny McBride) is a no-nonsense teacher and counselor who isn’t about to change his tight ship ways and Lee Russell (Walton Coggins) who has a frightening side all wrapped up in a well dressed charming teacher. The outgoing principle knows neither of these men is fit to lead any high school.

That’s when the Superintendent of schools decides to go outside and finds Dr. Belinda Brown (Kimberly Herbert Gregory). Both Gamby and Russell are beside themselves and normally against the other knowing that the only way to win is to work, reluctantly together. Dr. Brown hasn’t even unpacked yet when she begins making changes at the school including having both teachers evaluated. Gamby makes it outwardly clear that his grumpiness isn’t going to change any time soon but Russell takes another tactic of being the coffee-getting brown nose to win Dr. Brown’s heart.

Gamby has a minor distraction having a huge crush on fellow teacher Amanda Snodgrass (Georgia King) who doesn’t really feel the same. In fact, Amanda shares the feelings of most of the North Jackson High School staff which is that Gamby is wound too tight and has no social skills to speak of. Trying to change that image, he volunteers to go on a class field trip and proves them right. That is until he is needed to straighten out students who are out for trouble and that’s when Amanda and the other teachers need his toughness.

While Gamby is distracted, Russell is making plans to sabotage another one of Dr. Brown’s ideas when it comes to the hometown football game. Sharing his idea with his partner-in-crime, Russell sense that Gamby’s heart may not be all in. That isn’t going to matter as the plan takes a very mind blowing turn. Soon after, the two have a blow up and walk away. That is actually a good idea as Dr. Brown has decided that Gamby needs to reevaluate his discipline tactics exchanging harsh words for bean bag chairs. He talks with Amanda about it all to discover that she might be able to help re-direct more of his anger so that the relationship with daughter Janelle (Maya G. Love) can be better.

Imagine how that works for Gamby! Their buddy-breakup is a good thing for Russell too with the wife Christine (Susan Park) and mother-in-law Mi-Cha (June Kyoto Lu) driving him crazy and now a new neighbor who is pushing him to limits that could be deadly, or at least really, really stupid. When Dr. Brown suspects him of being absolutely nothing like she initially believed, it is time to bring him down a peg ordering him to keep an eye on her two mischievous sons.

At this point Dr. Brown offers Gamby more responsibility with a title. Just when he thought life was going so well, a jealous Ms. Abbott (Edi Patterson) shares a little secret about Amanda. The stress on Gamby and Russell begins to show as they come together one final time to put a plan into motion that should seal Dr. Brown’s fate.

But not before Gamby ends up in a dark place and only Russell, now a Principle, knows how to bring him back to North Jackson High School. The dynamic and terrifying duo brings in Vice Principal Nash (Dale Dickey) who rams into lockers with the best of them. Gamby walks around the school to reacquaint himself with the insane changes Russell has been up to.

Gamby wants more than a look around the school as his goal is to find Dr. Brown. There are answers to be had and he isn’t going to like what he hears. Russell is having a crisis of his own when he discovers, and not by accident, that the teachers aren’t thrilled with him on many levels. Trying to be cool, he gets a wake up call in the most vicious way possible.

To feel better about themselves, Gamby and Russell get back to what they know best – breaking absolutely ever rule possible. Amanda is now in his sites and the man she seems to be spending time with as the green eyed monster sets in. Russell can’t seem to get a break as the teachers continue to find a way to work under his skin. Of course it leads to insanity!

Adding fuel to the crazy train, Russell’s father passes and now he has to deal with two vengeful sisters who have no problem ruining his life. Gamby has taken the load of temporary Principle and it isn’t getting off to a great start either when Superintendent Hoss wants to why the Sweat Dogs are torturing teachers with exercise.

At Russell’s party he is given the biggest shock when college friend Kevin shows up and Amanda’s man-friend Brian (Fisher Stevens) works on Gamby’s last nerve. Wife Christine (Susan Park) goes on a rampage with effects that are witnessed by all! That leads to some changes in both men and Gamby starts with a new wardrobe with the help of Jen Abbott.

After a night out, Russell ends the night with a shock at home but is glad he has the teachers’ friendship once again. The students take their state exams but the teachers have done something to make sure the school principal pays dearly. That is until Amanda and Gamby decide that hurting the students isn’t worth it.

Spring Break is here and don’t think for one minute that the Principle and staff aren’t going to do it there way. Gamby and Russell end up at the beach and Amanda learns that her so-called boyfriend Brian is an attention hog. It is during spring break that things become a little clearer and the gauntlet is thrown down between Russell and Gamby.

The first shot (pun intended) is fired and Jen is the catalyst for a showdown that’s coming. After a knock down drag out between teachers, Gamby realizes he can’t change things alone and reaches out to the most unexpected people.

Finally, a friendship goes through its worse, the pieces of a weird puzzle start to fit, love conquerors all – well sort of, and it’s a grand end to a strange year at North Jackson High School.

It isn’t easy going from Vice to Principle!

Lets jump right in, Danny McBride as Neil Gamby is perfection! He puts up a rough exterior that makes you think he enjoys being an ass but it’s plain to see he is protecting himself from just about everybody. His ex definitely did a number on him, the new husband is so nice it drives him nuts, he hates that his daughter might like him more, can’t figure out a way to not be weird around Amanda, would rather see Russell roasting on a spit and hates the idea of his dream job going to Dr. Brown. Is there anything else? 

Oh yes, the only person who speaks to him regularly is Dayshawn (Sheaun McKinney) who works in the cafeteria. Although the last part isn’t so bad, I mean you want to be friends with the guy making your food right? Finally, he isn’t about to let the person responsible for a life changing event and everyone is suspect. McBride cracks me up, scares me and then makes me want to give him a huge and then back again to scaring and cracking me up. This character might have just made me question my own sanity.

Now, Coggins, my dear, lovely Walton Coggins – this actor has come so far so fast I don’t know where to begin. Yes, I loved him in the series The Shield, hated/loved him in the FX series Justified along with films MIRACLE AT ST. ANNA, DJANGO UNCHAINED and THE HATEFUL EIGHT. But, it has to be said, his role as Venus Van Damme in the FX series Sons of Anarchy will always hold a special place in my heart because that character brought a richness to the already successful series. It became clear almost immediately that SOA fans fell hard for the lovely Venus! 

Now, in VICE PRINCIPLES Coggins brings a little of Venus back to me at least but with a whole new psychotic attitude and penchant for destruction the likes of which will have me fearing well-dressed-bow-tie-wearing-charming teachers for the rest of my life. I love everything about this character and he takes Season Two into an even darker place.

King as Amanda is a welcome surprise to the series for me. I saw her in COCKNEYS VS. ZOMBIES and, as anyone who knows me can testify to, anything zombie will get high praise from me. As Amanda she is just as unsure and she shares many of same insecurities as Gamby. That is what makes watching their interactions fascinating. There is an early scene between King and McBride that sets the stage for the confusion between the two of them, or maybe they just confused me. Oh amore! 

Gregory as Dr. Brown comes in with the sweetest of intentions but when it’s time to get serious let the attitude commence. Knowing away from a bad marriage, she is dealing with two sons that aren’t happy to be in the new town and have no problems expressing it. Hanging around Gamby and Russell wasn’t a good idea from the very beginning because she isn’t dealing with two faces – but four and none of them have good intentions. Gregory takes her character dark and deep once she realizes that something fishy is going on in her life and not just as principal. There are a few jaw dropping moments, okay more than a few for her character so be prepared!

Love as Janelle is Gamby’s daughter who loves her father but can’t stomach his controlling ways. Wanting to please him she also wants to find a relationship with her motor-crossing step-father. That’s when the tugging between the two Dad’s begins putting this young girl between a horse and a motorbike. Patterson as Ms. Abbott is pure hilarity but in an eye-widening-oh-no-she-didn’t way. There are adult crushes and then there are reasons to check the door locks – Ms. Abbott falls into the latter category.

Dickey as Nash totally gets into Gamby’s psychosis and I love that she’s in it to win it. Just goes to prove that crazy is as crazy does and two is even a biggest disaster. It seems the kids have the upper hand even though she thinks she’s as tough as nails.

Other cast includes: Ashley Spillers as Janice Swift, Busy Philipps as Gale Liptrapp, Jennifer Gatti as Mrs. Deets, Shea Whigham as Ray Liptrapp, Dale Dickey as Nash, Christopher Thornton as Mr. Milner, Brian Howe as Superintendent Haas, Marcius Harris as Officer Willows and Mike O’Gorman as Bill Hayden.

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. 

Season One includes the episodes The Principal, A Trusty Steed, The Field Trip, Run for the Money, Circles, The Foundation of Learning, The Good Book, Gin and End of the Line. Season Two episodes are Tiger Town, Slaughter, The King, Think Change, A Compassionate Man, The Most Popular Boy, Spring Break, Venetian Nights and The Union of the Wizard & The Warrior. The Bonus Features include Deleted Scenes (a must watch!), Blooper Reel (an even more must-watch!) and Audio Commentaries with Cast and Crew.

 VICE PRINCIPLES: The Complete Series is a must-see for everyone with a twisted sense of humor. McBride and Coggins together are a duo that not only bring the best of dark comedy but man they can be disturbing in an awesome way. I love the show and nothing is going to change my mind. It is testing, irreverent, kind of gross, hilarious, jaw-dropping, insane and pretty much a good time.

I want conflict resolution, okay no I don’t, I want to see Gamby and Russell take another shot at their dream job and here it is done in a complete series to watch again and again. It is a twisted friendship that has seen the best and worst of each other and I don’t think Gamby or Russell would have had it any other way – well maybe not the tiger!

In the end – we all need someone to look up to!

ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME: In Concert Delivers the Best Music from Iconic Musicians

Jeri Jacquin

Time Life has put together another amazing and brilliant Bluray reminding me why I live for music with ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME: In Concert.

This collection begins with the 29th Annual Induction Ceremony in 2014 with one of my favorite musicians Peter Gabriel who has given audiences some beautiful music through different genres. Starting with a speech by Chris Martin from Coldplay with a very funny biblical speech, it is Gabriel who reminds us that music moves us in ways that are unexplainable. He encourages musicians to be different and doesn't forget to thank those who have allowed him to live his musical life. His performance with Chris Martin is stirring, heartfelt and personally brought a smile to my face. His finish of 'In Your Eyes' gave me a moment to remember my wedding day when the song played as I readied to walk down the aisle to marry my own Lloyd Dobler. Perfection!

Simon Garfunkle shows up to tell the story of Cat Stevens and how he has affected lives welcoming the seeker into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Stevens comes to the stage and is forthcoming about his music and his life to the point of reminding us all what his music truly brought to the world. His rendition of 'Father and Sons' is just as moving today as it was the very first time I heard it. 'Baby It's a Wild World' and 'Peace Train' is so emotional and the audience is completely mesmorized by this once in a lifetime performance.

Glenn Fry inducts Linda Rondstadt into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with Carrie Underwood, Bonnie Raitt and Emmy Lou Harris giving a performance of 'Blue Bayou'. Cheryl Crow is added to the musical mix for the beloved song 'You're No Good' with the final addition of Stevie Nicks to add her vocals to 'It's So Easy' and 'When Will I Be Loved?' 

There are so many more on the first disc alone! Bruce Springsteen and his E Street gang as well as Michael Stipes inducting Nirvana to the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame. Joan Jett comes to the stage with Dave Grohl to rock and smash on the song 'Smells Like Teen Spirit', Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth to grunge 'Aneurysm' and Lorde finishes with 'All Apologies'. I have to say I was thrilled to see Dave Grohl back on the drums for Nirvana. 

The 30th Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame happened on April 18th, 2015 and Joan Jett & The Blackhearts are now taking the stage themselves to bring us 'Bad Reputation', one of my favorite songs 'Crimson and Clover' as Joan is joined by Miley Cyrus, Gary Ryan, Dave Grohl and the one and only Tommy James. The Paul Butterfield Blues Band brought out Zac Brown, Tom Morello, Jason Ricci and Paul Shaffer for 'Born in Chicago'.

Stevie Wonder inducts Bill Withers as the two also share the stage for 'Ain't No Sunshine' and 'Lean on Me' along with John Legend. Green Day is inducted by Fall Out Boy as fans once again get to hear such songs as 'American Idiot', 'When I Come Around' and a song many of us could relate to with 'Basket Case'. 

Stevie Ray Vaughn and Double Trouble are inducted by John Mayer and I couldn't wait to hear the song 'Texas Flood' once again! Patti Smith inducts Lou Reed as Laurie Anderson accepts on his behalf. Beck leads the song 'Satellite of Love' which is a song that has endured. 

Receiving the Award for Musical Excellence is Ringo Starr and who better to give him the award than his brother in music Sir Paul McCartney. Green Day joins Ringo Starr for 'Boys' and Joe Walsh joins him for 'It Don't Come Easy'. Of course the finale wouldn't be a finale without Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney joined by Joe Walsh for 'I Wanna Be Your Man'. 

The 31st Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony held on April 6, 2016 brings Lars Ulrich to tell the story of how the group Deep Purple into his life and they have an impact bringing the audience 'Highway Star' and 'Smoke on the Water' (Ulrich causes the beginning rift of that song the first thing guitar players learn and the rift that has been banned from music stores). Ulrich isn't lying because it is the first thing I learned on my guitar because I too wanted to be cool even if for a moment.

Bert Berns is inducted by Steven Van Zandt with the Ahmet Ertegun Award for Lifetime Achievement with a very touching acceptance speech by Cassandra and Brett Berns. Kendrick Lamar inducts N.W.A. as Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, DJ Yella and MC Ren take the stage with their own acceptance speeches.

Rob Thomas inducts the group Chicago as the group takes the stage for 'Saturday in the Park', 'Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is?', and '25 or 6 to 4'. These are amazing songs that had me toe tapping and Rob Thomas said it best, 'these songs are the sound of a city, they are the sound of a melting pot, they are the sounds of unity and they are the sounds of Chicago' and I couldn't agree more. These are songs of my teen years and every time I hear them I remember the sites and sounds of my life. Nothing wrong with that!

Kid Rock is the perfect person to induct Cheap Trick into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with a speech that might have some parents either cheering him on (the younger version of ourselves at least) or jaw drop but mentally doing the right on hand gesture. He says, 
"You can't not watch them. Their front man is a matinee idol that can croon with swagger and their guitarist looks like a Bowery Boy on acid. No studio could do them justice, they were so big, so loud and so fast that no one could capture their fury." Cheap Trick rocks on the stage with 'I Want You To Want Me', 'Dream Police', 'Surrender' and the finale 'Ain't That A Shame'.

Finally, The 32nd Annual Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony starts with the induction of ELO (Electric Light Orchestra for those hatched from an egg yesterday) as Jeff Lynne brings to the stage 'Roll Over Beethoven', 'Evil Woman' and 'Mr. Blue Sky'. They are inducted by Dhani Harrison (who looks beautifully like his father) which is an awesome way to start the ceremony!

Jackson Browne has the honor of inducting Joan Baez as she brings her recognizeable voice to 'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot', then joined by Mary Chapin Carpenter, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers for 'Deportee (Plane Wreck at Los Gatos) and finally 'The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down'. Baez' voice still carries the glory of faith, hope and the hope for a better tomorrow. 

Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson from the group Rush induct the band Yes as Geddy Lee joins in with 'Roundabout' and Yes performs one of my favorite songs 'Owner of a Lonely Heart'. Lifeson says that his first experience with Yes was as a teenager letting the music wash over him and that this was his gateway band at the age of 17. It is as if he is speaking for all of us who first came across the band in our teen years.

Snoop Dogg inducts Tupac Shakur into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to the cheer of the crowd. It has been 21 years since the death of Shakur and Snoop Dogg tells the brief story of his life. He says, "To be human is to be many things at once, strong and vulnerable, hard headed and intellectual, revolutionary and gangster so while we are here to celebrate a prolific artist - I am here to make sure Pac is remembered the way he wanted to be - a strong black man".  

Setting my brain on fire is Pat Monahan from Train who inducts my beloved band Journey into the Hall of Fame. I could hardly contain myself to see the band Jonathan Cain, Aynsley Dunbar, Gregg Rolie, Neal Schon, Steve Smith and Ross Valory on stage. Feeling as if I was once again in a concert hall (as I did so many times when they were on tour), I had the chance to once again hear 'Separate Ways (Worlds Apart), 'Lights' and 'Don't Stop Believin' and my heart just swelled up knowing that these guys were on my record player so many times I warped the album (yes kids, albums, round discs that when you put a needle on it played glorious sounds with the occasional popping sound that I love to this very day). 

Monahan said it best, "There music has transcended all things that separate us as humans". My Journey collection remains in my safe keeping and anytime I need to go to an deep music place, the needle hits the vinyl and I hear the one and only voice of Steve Perry.

Finally, David Letterman inducts Pearl Jam into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. The music of Pearl Jam includes 'Alive', 'Given to Fly' and 'Better Man'. Letterman calls them cultural icons as well as friends and lists songs that bring the fans to screams. Telling their story along with the list, there doesn't seem to be a song that doesn't cause a reaction. Having the chance to experience Pearl Jam playing together again is just a ridiculous joy! Eddie Vedder still has the voice that stands out with its storytelling righteous anger as his band makes it all sound easy.

This not enough for you? Then awesome news because Time Life will also be releasing the ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME IN CONCERT Digital Album Collection. Comprised of five digital releases respectively spanning the ceremonies from 2010-11, 2012-13, 2014, 2015 and 2016-17 contain the same groundbreaking live performances from the home entertainment sets. There are also bonus performances by Rush, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Alice Cooper, Donovan, Dr. John, Heart, The Hollies, Darlene Love, Leon Russell, Small Faces/Faces, The Stooges, Tom Waits and others. The digital release will be available on iTunes, Amazon and all other leading digital retailers.

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 www.timelife.com. 

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's mission is to engage, teach and inspire through the power of rock and roll. The institution carries out its mission by giving voice to the stories of the people, artifacts and events that shaped rock and roll. For more information on the Museum please visit www.rockhall.com.

These four ceremonies to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame are absolutely beyond description. I've tried my best here but let me tell you that revisiting each of these ceremonies just reiterates David Letterman's sentiments of 'what a gift live music truly is and never take it for granted'. These are words to live by!

This is an opportunity for those who have missed the performances to see how beautiful each ceremony is captured on Bluray and gives us every bit of the action. From heart felt speeches to spot on performances, there is nothing but beauty, music and emotion from some of the best that music has to offer. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame never disappoints with its inductees and the performances bringing the audience to their feet and had me toe tapping and head rockin.

In the end - Long Live Rock!

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI is on Bluray!

Jeri Jacquin

This week on Bluray/DVD and Digital from writer/director Martin McDonagh and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is the story of a mother who isn’t giving up using THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI.

Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) is a woman dealing with a lot in her life. The painful loss of a murdered daughter, ex-husband Charlie (John Hawkes) who has anger issues and chief of police William Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) who she believes doesn’t care about catching her daughter’s killer. 

Driving home on a small stretch of road are three dilapidated billboards and Mildred gets an idea. Responsible for the billboards is Red (Caleb Jones) who takes her down payment on all three billboards with a message to the chief of police. The first to see them is deputy Dixon (Sam Rockwell) who immediately tells Willoughby.  

Everyone soon learns of the billboards and son Robbie (Lucas Hedges) is feeling the impact of what his mother is doing. Worried how this will all affect her chief of police husband, Anne (Abbie Cornish) is assured that it will all pass. Wanting to protect Mildred is James (Peter Dinklage) who Charlie takes a pot-shots at. Instead of it passing, things get out of hand as the insanity of Dixon and Mildred’s anger start a town war.

Small town living just got a little dicey!

McDormand as Mildred is spectacular, amazing, brilliant, moving, shocking and every bit of a woman tired of the b.s.! Feeling unheard by the police and thrown away by an abusive husband, one idea gives this character the remarkable strength to say, without a word, ‘I will be heard or else!’ Every moment McDormand is performing I am completely riveted and engrossed with anticipation as to what she would do next. The Oscars are this Sunday and with McDormand up for Best Actress I will be cheering for her every step of the way.

Harrelson as Willoughby is an understanding and tolerant man. He knows that Mildred is still riddled with grief and now feels the pressure even more that he hasn’t found the killer. He is also dealing with Dixon who is making matters worse with his antics. Spending time with his wife and kids is becoming more important as his secret hasn’t been a secret for quite some time. Harrelson is endearing and is impeccable with his character humor. This is the second time in the last few months that Harrelson has impressed me as his film LBJ should also be seen!

Rockwell as Dixon gets to bring out the inner complete douche bag of this character. Feeling he has the right to do what ever he wants to who ever he wants because he has a badge is an embarrassment to pretty much everyone in town. Deciding he isn’t going to stop being a jerk, Dixon once again takes matters into his own hands and it’s nothing but disaster. It sure doesn’t help that Momma Dixon (Sandy Martin) is stoking the fires.  

Hedges as Robbie is a young man who understands what his mother has been through but doesn’t agree with how she handles things. Living the same pain about his sister every day as well, he watches her actions and can’t seem to make Mildred understand that nothing good can come of it all. Jones as Red is a laid back kid who sees everything the town is about and when it comes to his door a choice has to be made.

Dinklage as James is a good hearted guy who seems to have a soft spot for Mildred. He wants nothing more than to protect her – oh and date her. Hawkes as Charlie thinks that he can be as abusive as possible towards Mildred and the ex in ex-husband isn’t going to stop him and is certainly is a different role for Hawkes.

Other cast include Zeljko Ivanek as the Desk Sergeant, Amanda Warren as Denise, Kerry Condon as Pamela, Riya Atwood as Polly, Selah Atwood as Jane, Christopher Berry as Tony, Jerry Winsett as Geoffrey, Kathryn Newton as Angela, Samara Weaving as Penelope, Clarke Peters as Abercrombie, Malaya Drew as Gabriella, and Darrell Britt-Gibson as Jerome. 

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.

TUBS OF POPCORN: THREE BILLBOARDS IN EBBING, MISSOURI deserves without a doubt five tubs of popcorn out of five. This film has every range of human emotion possible and isn’t shy about making you feel it. A combination of the darkest of comedy mixed with jaw dropping twists and drama that is engrossing is what makes this film from start to finish. 

There isn’t anything apologetic in this film and each character has a life of its own. McDormand is powerful and doesn’t skip a beat in leading the film to its chuckling conclusion. Harrelson and Rockwell are polar opposites, which is what makes their characters work and there is no surprise in what these two actors accomplish in this film.

The film does a dance with the viewer’s emotions and even sets of a shock or two but after seeing director McDonagh’s previous work such as IN BRUGES and a personal favorite SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS could anyone not expect this film from him? I met McDonagh during his press junket for SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS and I knew after speaking with him that I’d love anything he did. His sense of humor and way with characters comes out in every second of the film. 

Writing the screenplay with McDormand in mind for the lead role, I am equally thrilled that he did so because she rules the screen as Mildred. This is a powerful film with exceptional performances that can not and should not be missed. THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI has been nominated for seven Academy Award Nominations including Best Picture. 

The Bluray/DVD include the Special Features Deleted Scenes, Crucify ‘Em: Making Of, Six Shooter – The Academy Award Winning original short film by Martin McDonagh as well as a Gallery. 

This film is the reason I go to the theatre and even more so the reason I believe in having it as part of any home entertainment library.

In the end – welcome to Ebbing, Missouri!

THE DEUCE: The Complete First Season Brings the 1970’s New York to Bluray

Jeri Jacquin

HBO has brought a stellar look at the raw and grit of New York in the 1970’s story of THE DEUCE: The Complete First Season coming to Bluray.

Vinnie Martino (James Franco) is a bartender who is about to change his life. Working several bartending jobs and trying to keep the family together, the cost is his marriage. Wife Andrea (Zoe Kazan) isn’t exactly making things easier with her own wanton ways and bored homemakers life. If that isn’t enough, he constantly is mistaken for his twin brother Frankie (also James Franco) who has wracked up large gambling debts all over town. 

Frequent visitors to Vinnie’s bar are pimp C.C. (Gary Carr) and his girls Ashley (Jamie Neumann) and new girl Lori (Emily Meade). A few more pimps include Larry (Gbenga Akinnagbe) who has the very sweet is Darlene (Dominque Fishback) and Ruby (Pernell Walker), Rodney (Method Man) and Reggie Love (Tariq Trotter).  

One prostitute who doesn’t have a ‘man’ is Eileen (Maggie Gyllenhaal) or Candy as she is known on the street. Making her money without any interference, she sends what she can for the care of her young son. The police also know what is going down on the streets as Officer Alston (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.) keeps his eyes open and knowledge to himself. Even when Abby (Margarita Levieva) is brought to the station, Officer Alston knows she is a college student who has just done something stupid.

Brother-in-law Bobby (Chris Bauer) works construction and when an opportunity arises to make a few extra dollars, he and Vinnie find themselves working with Rudy Pipilo (Michael Rispoli) who is part of the Gambino family. Rudy is impressed with Vinnie and decides to bring him in on the way he wants to change the streets. He starts by starting a bar called the Top Hat and gives Vinnie full control of how it is run. Everyone follows Vinnie to the new place and it is a hit.

Eileen is also trying to make changes in her life as standing on the street corner is getting to be more and more dangerous. Learning that a man named Harvey Wasserman (David Krumholtz) makes porno films, she seeks him out to learn more if it will get her off the streets and making more money. She is quick to learn and isn’t about to let anything stop what is to come.

Seeing that the Top Hat is doing well, Rudy decides he wants to expand his business into the Massage Parlor trade which is nothing more than getting the girls inside. That means less police harassment but the pimps aren’t happy about it. 

All of this comes under the watchful eye of reporter Sandra Washington (Natalie Paul) who wants to do an expose of what goes on. Seeing how the girls are treated and the police basically hauling them in and letting them out along with payoffs from corrupt cops, she seeks out Officer Alston’s knowledge.

Each has a story to tell, each has a path and each live in a time of excess, corruption and using the oldest profession as their path to more money than they could have imagined. What they haven’t learned is money can bring out the worst in people and those who have it – rule.

Welcome to New York of the 1970’s!

Franco as Vinnie and Frankie and although they may look a like, clearly want different things. Vinnie wants a successful business that he can be proud of and Frankie wants everything and doesn’t care how he gets it. In that lies the problem for Vinnie who is constantly trying to protect a brother he obviously cares about. Playing both the roles is stellar for Franco as the duality is not being twins. Vinnie is the emotional one and Frankie is the ‘let the chips fall where they may’ brother. So well done!

Gyllenhaal as Eileen/Candy is a woman who makes her own way even if it is prostitution. The other girls know she doesn’t have a man and, in their way, respect her for it. The pimps however aren’t as happy about it as they don’t want their girls to get any funny ideas. Once Eileen/Candy realizes there might be a less dangerous way to earn money off the street she knows it’s just geography yet see the potential for so much more. Gyllenhaal is completely free with her portrayal of this character in every aspect and so much so that I believe her performance completely.

Levieva as Abby is a young woman who comes from an affluent family but is breaking away and still not knowing where she wants to be. Vinnie catches her eye but seeing The Deuce world affects her in ways she doesn’t expect. Levieva doesn’t say a lot and observes everything while clearly learning the New York ropes. Bauer as Bobby is a hard working brother-in-law that wants to work less hard and make more money. He talks Vinnie into helping that happen and the double life begins. It’s interesting to watch his morals change when money is no longer the issue in his life. 

Carr as C.C. the pimp is no one to be trifled with and the girls know it. Once he brings Lori into the group, previous favorite Ashley is on the back burner. Carr may seem caring but underneath that pimp like exterior of flash, he will cut you. Akinnagbe as Brown is the middle ground of the pimp-group meaning not as scary as some but scarier than Gentle Richie. 

Meade as Lori catches onto everything quickly; she caught on to C.C. and what she came to New York for. Rising quickly, she sees the world for exactly what it is and plans to make sure she gets her share of it all. Paul as Sandra wants to report the bigger picture and finds tension at her paper. Getting involved with Officer Alston irritated me a little because, well, come on – using people never works out well.

Speaking of Officer Alston, Gilliard Jr. is the eyes and ears of the street both inside and outside the precinct. He knows so much that I’m actually scared for his character! To much information isn’t always a good thing, especially when you don’t know who to trust. I do love his smooth tactic and non-judgmental attitude towards the ladies.

Rispoli as Rudy Pipilo is another character that presents himself so calmly yet, anyone with an understanding of the times, place and name knows not to underestimate him. There is a scene between Rudy and Vinnie where he tells him off and my jaw dropped yet the character of Rudy just stands there calmly with no anger what so ever. I loved that scene! Rispoli gives his character strength of knowing who he is and how fast he can squash someone with a word. 

My two shout outs go to Fishback as Darlene who pulled at my heart constantly! She is so endearing and knows that life has so many possibilities but I feel is stuck out of fearing those possibilities. Fishback is stunning, beautiful and amazing. Walker as Ruby is the gem of street walkers with her wit, twisted wisdom and understanding that this is her life. There is surrender about Ruby in that she knows this isn’t the life she wanted but it is the life she has and in that is a sadness that is even more heartbreaking than Darlene’s situation. These two women have given their characters a deepness that I bow to. Well done to you both!

Other cast include Don Harvey as Danny Flanagan, Michael Kostroff as Rizzi, Mustafa Shakir as Big Mike, Anwan Glover as Leon, Garry Pastore as Matthew Ianniello, Caroly Mignini as Joan Merrell, Finn Robbins as Adam, Kim Director as Shay, Olivia Luccardi as Melissa, Matthew Ballinger as Gentle Richie, Kayla Foster as Barbara, Gino Vento as Carlos, Aaron Eisenberg as Todd Lang and Chris Coy as Paul Hendrickson. 

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 Bluray includes a Digital Copy to what anywhere on your television, computer, Tablet and Smartphone. The Bonus Features include The Deuce In Focus, The Wild West: New York in the Early ‘70s, Inside the Episodes, and Exclusive Audio Commentaries with James Franco, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Michelle MacLaren, Nina Kostoff Noble, George Pelecanos and David Simon.

The 3-disc set includes the episodes Pilot, Show and Prove, The Principle is All, I See Money, What Kind of Bad?, Why Me?, Au Reservoir and My Name is Ruby.

THE DEUCE is an amazing series created and written by David Simon who was himself a police officer. Joining in is George Pelecanos who worked with Simon on a little series you may know as THE WIRE. THE DEUCE is the nickname for 42nd Street that is between 7th and 8th Avenue in New York. 

This series is the absolute grit and grim during the time New York became a boom for the porn industry. What THE DEUCE doesn’t do is sugar coat anything and that, I believe, is what surprised me the most. Lets actually be honest and said there are several things that surprised me and this is just the first.

There is a rawness to the way these characters are introduced to us because there isn’t a great way to say ‘hey, I’m a cheating spouse’ or ‘hey, I’m a prostitute’ or ‘hey, I’m a spoiled kid who wants to slum it to find myself’. Each of these characters has a history that has only been hinted at this first season. I am counting on Franco, Gyllenhaal, Pelecanos, Simon, Clark, MacLaren and the rest to let that history come forward.

The performances are so extreme and I marathoned completely the entire first season. There was no way I was going out, going to sleep or opening the front door until I saw what happened to each of these characters. They are fascinating and as each of their story’s unfold I become invested, heartbroken, majorly p.o.’d and yet still can not take my eyes off the screen.

It must be said that the finale just killed me, absolutely wrung me and hung me out to dry! I can not wait to see where Franco, Gyllenhaal and the rest of the cast take these characters next because this first season is filled with baby steps. Knowing there is so much more story to tell is what will bring me willingly back for the second season of THE DEUCE.

In the end – once upon a time in America pleasure because business!

Not Missing a Beat is HBO'S CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM: The Complete Ninth Season on DVD

Jeri Jacquin

This week on DVD and Digital is the return of cable's favorite enthusiast with HBO's hit series CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM: The Complete Ninth Season.

The gang is back and Larry (played by Larry David) starts out of the gate running when he shows Jeff his idea of making Salman Rushdie's life a musical. Of course it isn't just any musical but a comedy musical. When Larry takes a seat on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and does an impression of the Ayatollah, he learns what a fatwa really is. As if his day isn't bad enough, empathy and a dead bird don't help his cause with Richard Lewis.

The fatwa has caused Larry to go underground so to speak and become Buck Dancer, a hotel dweller who isn't starting out very well in his new digs and all over cookies! Marty’s nephew Kenny isn’t happy that a pickle jar injury is interfering with his nocturnal emissions game. That’s when Larry steps in does a little pimping. 

After trying to reach someone at the Consul of Iran, Larry now has to reach out to Salman Rushdie to find out what to do about the fatwa. Rushdie’s first suggestion is to can Buck Dancer and get back to real life. Basically that means sitting down with Dr. Templeton (Bryan Cranston) and trying to work out how to deal with the fatwa but gets sidetracked about a chair. 

Attending the funeral of Kenny who dies by bull, Larry wigs out when he thinks there is an assassin in the crowd. But that doesn’t compare to Larry having difficulty keeping thoughts to himself. He starts out by offending people at the club, continues on at a dinner party with a war veteran and wraps it all up with a Revolutionary War reenactment
Fiasco. 

But Larry is hardly done getting removed from a yoga class for not namaste’ing, hits a car, offends a mechanic and an Uber driver. But somehow and some way he manages to turn it all to his advantage. It’s all in a few days in the life of Larry.

While at a buffet line, Larry meets a man who could possible help him with the dangling fatwa. Morsi actually takes his time and finds out about Larry and lets a group of Muftis put him through questioning. Going through it all, he might have finally found a way to get the fatwa off his back.

Working on the musical, Larry is adamant that Lin-Manuel Miranda will be part of the cast. It is Lin who has a list of things that Larry has to agree to before there is one day of rehearsals. Of course where Larry’s life is concerned there is always room for more! When a woman named Mrs. Shapiro steals a plant from his house, they both end up on an episode of Judge Judy.

The rehearsals have begun and F. Murray Abraham, the Ayatollah, is already working Larry’s nerves. Lin is out of control as well but when Larry agrees to let Lin’s cousin spend time at the house, he is freaked out at what happens to his home. Of course the season ends when Larry and Lin have it out in a paintball challenge which puts the musical in jeopardy.

Of course there is always someone out there who still knows about the fatwa!

The exceptional cast of course includes Jeff Garlin as Jeff, Cheryl Hines as Cheryl and Susie Essman as Susie. Episodes also include cameos from the talented Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen, Richard Lewis, Elizabeth Banks, Lauren Graham, Carrie Brownstein, Rich Fulcher, Katie Aselton, Elizabeth Perkins, Steven Weber, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Salman Rushdie and so many more..

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 DVD includes the episodes Foisted!, The Pickle Gambit, A Disturbance in the Kitchen, Running with the Bulls, Thank You for Your Service, The Accidental Text on Purpose, Namaste, Never Wait for Seconds!, The Shucker, and Fatwa! The Bonus Features include Cast Memorable Moments and Deleted Scenes.

The series began on HBO in 1999 with an hour long special that would be followed by it’s first season the next year. Larry David created this show featuring his fictional self about a semi-retired television writer and his life in Los Angeles. 

CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM has the most stellar humor that I enjoy and situations that, although highly unlikely to ever be true, are still so well done by Larry David. The cast has put so much into this show and it shows in every minute. Of course I don’t mention every detail because I want everyone who gets their copy of the show to laugh just as much and just as hard as I did.

The way in which David incorporates celebrities into the stories is absolutely brilliant. His choices of F. Murray Abraham and Lin-Manuel Miranda are so perfect and they trippy directions he takes just cracked me up. I think one of my favorites is the Judge Judy and probably because of the verdict at the end – which made me rethink how I take care of my plants!

Celebrate the return of Larry David and the rest of the cast and the stories we have all waited for. Prepare to CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM with the Complete Ninth Season from HBO Home Entertainment!

In the end – the good news is he’s back!

THOR: Ragnarok Puts the Hammer Down on Bluray!

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray/DVD and Digital from director Taika Waititi, Marvel Entertainment and Walt Disney Pictures Home Entertainment is the next adventure from THOR: Ragnarok.

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is once again in a predicament but once the hammer is back in hands there is one place to go – Asgard. Knowing that brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has been hiding behind the image of their father Odin, they both go looking for him. Not where Loki left him, they get a little unexpected help.

Thor and Loki speak with Odin and discover that they have sister named Hela (Cate Blanchett) and she is an angry individual and extremely powerful. He tells them about Ragnarok which is the destruction of Asgard by the hand of Hela. When she arrives unexpectedly, Loki panics bringing the gateway and Hela hitches a ride.

Pushing both Loki and Thor out into another world, Thor lands in a pile of junk on a planet that has piles of junk. Captured by Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), he is taken to the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) who has a little fighting arena to keep the masses entertained. Surprised to discover who he will be fighting, the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) bring entertainment to the masses.

Back on Asgard, Hela has found a new lackey in Skurge (Karl Urban) who is guarding the door of their world. Heimdall (Idris Elba) is now considered a traitor and no one knows where he is. The destruction of the beautiful civilization of Asgard has begun and the people are all looking for safety.

As Thor, Valkyrie, Loki and David Banner escape from the Grandmaster, their eye is on Asgard and nothing is going to stop them from saving what is left of their world! 

Oh yea Hela, it’s on now!

Hemsworth as Thor is physically still ripped (didn’t think I’d miss that did you?), expands his humor and keeps Loki in check and all while still calling him brother, and twists the Hulk/Banner to do what is right for Asgard. Is it me or does he smile a heck of a lot more in this film and join in on the jokes? I think cutting his hair made Thor much more at ease with being the God of Thunder. All of that just gives Hemsworth everything he needs to be the one and only Thor. 

Hiddleston as Loki is hilarious, saucy, charming, unpredictable, edgy and although still full of mischief, finds that helping can also be self serving to his way of thinking. I adore Hiddleston, there, I said it. He is so fun as Loki because lets be honest, it is fun watching him have fun being Loki. There are moments where the expressions on his face are just pure magic. That’s what Hiddleston brings to this character a sense of everything a good bad guy needs to have his own beloved army – meaning everyone who loves Loki even with his faults. I keep thinking ‘when will Loki get his own gig?’ but maybe just having him mischievous in the right amounts works just as well.

Blanchett as Hela is the opposite of Lady Galadriel from LORD OF THE RINGS. Hela is angry, sarcastic and certainly doesn’t walk away from a fight. Knowing her brothers aren’t about to embrace her takeover, she spends her time looking for Heimdall and using Skurge to get what she wants. Blanchett turns on her badass and has no intention of letting anyone find the off switch. It must be said – she is stunning!

Ruffalo as Hulk/Bruce Banner has been stuck being the big green guy for quite a while. He doesn’t want to get involved in any other skirmish but knows what the right thing to do is. Ruffalo also gets to be part of the humor that this film brings out and the audience loved it. 

Thompson as Valkyrie is a disillusioned Asgardian who just needs a little push to remember her honor. Goldblum as the Grandmaster is perfection with his zany outlook on things and I’d hire him to be a DJ at my party any day. Hopkins as Odin deserves to be Odin and every time I see this actor on screen it is such a joy. 

Urban as Skurge wants a position of importance in Asgard but serving a scary goddess means doing what he’s told and keeping his distance when she’s a bit upset. Elba as Heimdall isn’t about to let anyone get the sword, especially Hela since her plan is universal destruction and domination. 

I’m throwing a shout out to director Taika Waititi as the voice of Korg who I think is my newest funny creature. He is laid back yet tells it like it is and when things go wrong, well, he is the last to get all upset about it. Just know that we all could use a good Rock-guy on our side! I think he needs his own Funko actually. 

More cast include Rachel House as Topaz, Clancy Brown as the voice of Surtur, Tadanobu Asano as Hogun, Ray Stevenson as Volstagg, and Zachary Levi as Fandral.
Cameos include Luke Hemsworth, Sam Neill, Charlotte Nicdao, Benedict Cumberbatch and Matt Damon.

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.  

The Bluray includes the stunning Bonus Extras Deleted Scenes, Gag Reel, Getting in Touch with Your Inner Thor, Unstoppable Women: Hela & Valkyrie, Finding Korg, Exclusive Short – Team Darryl: With Thor Gone, Darryl Runs an Ad for a New Roommate, Director’s Commentary and so much more! Also, THOR: Ragnarok can instantly be streamed or downloaded on Digital through iTunes!

THOR: Ragnarok is a wild ride from beginning to past the credits end! The story is strong, the special effects are pretty frakken cool and I don’t mind since it is part of this universe. The characters are absolutely amazing and the cross over in the film brought the audience to its comic book knees.

There is serious laughter, cheering and fun bringing the adventure on Bluray to us excitement like to kids in a candy store. I will say it here and now, I had so much fun watching THOR: Ragnarok again, and alright I’ll admit it – again! There is non-stop action with a cast that brought their adventurous A-game. This film is the reason people have Bluray collections so microwave a huge bag of popcorn and revisit that theatre feeling once again – and again.

In the end – No hammer? No problem!

A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS is an After Holiday Hilarious Gift on Bluray

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray/DVD and Digital HD along with STX Films and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is the return of our favorite ladies to show us how to be part of 
A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS.

The holidays have arrived and Amy (Mila Kunis) is hoping to have a quiet and comfy holiday with daughter Jane (Oona Laurence), son Dylan (Emjay Anthony) and boyfriend Jessie (Jay Hernandez) and his daughter Lori (Ariana Greenblatt). Carla (Kathryn Hahn) and Kiki (Kristen Bell) are also trying to hold down the home front.

Of course plans don’t apply to their Moms! Amy is distressed when Mom Ruth (Christine Baranski) shows up with Dad Hank (Peter Gallagher) in tow. Carla is happily surprised when Mom Isis (Susan Sarandon) arrives and Kiki breaks out in a sweat when Mom Sandy (Cheryl Hines) arrives wearing her face on a sweater.

Knowing this is going to be a holiday for the books, Amy, Kiki and Carla decide there is only one thing to do – have drink and do a little tearing up for themselves. Making sure they vent to each other before the madness gets out of hand, they make sure to do one last thing before leaving the mall because, well, Amy needs a tree!

Amy and mom don’t waste any time annoying each other as Ruth continually tells her daughter that she obviously doesn’t care about giving her kids an amazing Christmas. Kiki can not handle the smothering mom Sandy is doing to the point of visiting a therapist! Carla is thrilled to have her rebel mom around but Isis has her own agenda for the holiday visit.

All three women are pushed daily to their limits and it comes to a freeze when each must decide how to handle their respective mothers with boundaries and maybe a bit of alcohol as well.

Okay, a lot of alcohol!

Kunis as Amy is doing pretty well with her life and obviously happy with the continued relationship with Jessie. All seems to be going great with a quiet Christmas but that changes when Mom in the form of Christine Baranski, shows up. I love the combination of these two ladies as mother and daughter. Baranski is perfectly annoyingly adorable as Ruth and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Hahn as Carla is, and it I have to admit this, is my favorite character of the three ladies. Probably because she doesn’t hold back much in the way of sarcasm and the joy of just loving life. Also, can I be any happier that she finds something special in the way of the very talented Ty played by Justin Hartley of This is Us television drama fame. Sarandon as Isis is also the perfect Mom to Carla and I also loved her calling b.s. when she heard it.

Bell as Kiki found herself in the first BAD MOMS and it shows in this film. Having a little more control over her life, that gets a little setback when Mom Sandy shows up. What is even more frightening is that Bell and Hines are perfection together! Hines uses that mom-guilt to its highest level and I’m thrilled when Kiki remembers who she is and sets her life straight again!

It’s nice to see Hernandez return as Jessie and put up with all the nonsense that Amy’s mother brings to the holidays. Gallagher as Amy’s Dad spends the film just letting things go along until he finally has a say about it all – and it’s pretty sweet. Lawrence returns as Jane who knows how to push Amy’s buttons, Anthony as Dylan loves the gifts and Cade Cooksey returns as Carla’s son Jaxon. 

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 www.uphe.com.

The Bluray/DVD Features include an awesome Gag Reel, Additional Scenes, Crew Music Video and Trailers. Digital HD allows us all to watch anywhere we like on our televisions, computers, Tablets and even Smartphones.

Being busy over the holidays I didn’t have the opportunity to see this film in theatres so having the opportunity to see the Bluray was so much fun. I laughed so hard and couldn’t believe some of the topics these ladies decided to cover – including the apparently un-awkward talk between Carla, Ty and some hot wax. Yes, look for that because it’s worth ever jaw-dropping moment!

We have all had those moments during the holidays where the pressure makes us crazy, the gift buying is overwhelming, the gatherings mean baking as if we all don’t have enough to do and the star on the tree top is trying to remember that we love our crazy families no matter what.

These three ladies give us a few lessons on how to handle it all as A BAD MOM’S CHRISTMAS gives us 11 months to prepare!

In the end – celebrate the next holiday like a mother! 

THE JACKIE GLEASON SHOW In Color Brings Back an Icon of Comedy on DVD from Time Life

Jeri Jacquin

Time Life is bringing some of the best in comedy for the next generation as THE JACKIE GLEASON SHOW In Color comes in February.

John Herbert Gleason who came to be known as Jackie brought his unusual comedy styling’s through the character of Ralph Kramden the bus driver in the television series The Honeymooners. His life didn’t start out quite as funny being raised by a single mother after his father walked out with hat in hand and didn’t come back.

When his mother Mae passed away when Jackie was 19, he was taken in by a friend who introduced him to his first comedy job. A few years later he would be signed by Jack Warner and appeared in such films as the 1941 NAVY BLUES and in a film with Humphrey Bogart in 1941 with ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT.

Television came to call in 1949 and after several shows, he would host The Jackie Gleason Show in 1954-55 that brought audiences iconic characters such as Joe the Bartender, The Poor Soul, Charlie Bratton and Fenwick Babbit with so many more.

In 1966, Jackie Gleeson returns with a new season and color episodes of The Honeymooners. His guests would include Milton Berle, Red Buttons, George Carlin, Nipsey Russell, Phil Silvers in color. 

This DVD gives viewers a look at four never-before-seen released episodes that have been beautifully remastered. There are also three Honeymooners sketches that haven’t been seen since originally aired.

The show was recorded in Miami Beach and happily had bragging rights as the place of sun and fun. Taped there until the final 1970 season, the master tapes stayed in the vault until now. 

Staring off with Jackie spending a little time with Red Buttons is comedy and timing that is nothing short of delightful. Seeing the very handsome and young Frankie Avalon singing once again is such a treat for me as he was one of my mother’s favorite singers. 

Not to be outdone, Jackie spends time with Phil Silvers are they dance and annoy one another over the word ‘aluminum’. On stage with a cigarette in one hand and an comedic insult in the other, Jackie lets everything fly. Instead, Phil gives us a bit of his own version of a mix of romantic song with an operatic flare.

The most amazing part of the DVD is the revisit of The Honeymooners as Jackie returns as Ralph Kramden, Art Carney as Ed Norton, along with Sheila MacRae as Alice Kramden and Jane Kean as Trixie Norton. When a dog’s doctor report comes into Ralphs hands, comedy is inevitable.

Sammy Spear as Jackie’s orchestra leader, he musically announces guests such as song-bird Florence Henderson and the very funny Morey Amsterdam who also provides a little cello entertainment. There is also more from those amazing Honeymooners.

Nipsey Russell brings song, dance and clever poetry with his comedy and Jackie knows a talent when he sees it. The comedy of Jan Murray decides to teach Jackie how to golf just a little better. 

Milton Berle stops by to exchange humor with Jackie and the show also includes Edie Adams singing about the famous cabaret and sharing some famous impressions. A suit wearing young man you may know as funny man George Carlin has short hair and no bear but still hilarious.

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 www.timelife.com. 

That’s what makes this collection so amazing; revisiting the weekly entertainment that kept families laughing can now be experiences once again. The comedy is superb and even racy at times (especially for the time period), the music is very nostalgic yet the ladies are lovely and the fun was clearly had by all.

Jackie Gleason came to be known as The Great One and for good reason. He gave us all laughs and from stage, television and the big screen, Gleason made an impact in every genre he undertook. Even in his later years nothing stopped him from making us all laugh from his character in SMOKEY AND THE BANDIT to his final film role in that is beautiful with NOTHING IN COMMON along side Tom Hanks. 

In the end – he reminds us all of ‘how sweet it is!’

VICTORIA & ABDUL is Perfection on Stunning Bluray!

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray/DVD and Digital from director Stephen Frears, Focus Features and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is the story of an unlikely friendship between VICTORIA & ABDUL.

Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal) is a clerk in a prison in India and his life is about to change. Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) is to be given a tribute coin and Abdul is the tall man for the job. Along with a shorter Mohammed (Adeel Akhtar), they sale toward England and Abdul is very excited.

There is no time for looking around much as Abdul and Mohammed are given a crash course on how to present to the Queen. Sir Henry Ponsonby (Tim Pigott-Smith) lets the two men know that everything is to be precise and quickly. 

During the dinner, Abdul and Mohammed make their way toward Queen Victoria and after a quick nap the presentation is made. Walking backwards, Abdul does the unthinkable and makes eye contact and gives a smile to the Queen and what turns into one moment becomes an unlikely friendship.

Much to the horror of Sir Ponsonby and Lord Salisbury (Michael Gambon) as well as her ladies Lady Churchill (Olivia Williams) and Miss Phipps (Fenella Woolgar), the Queen begins to prefer the company of Abdul. They inform the Queen’s son Bertie (Eddie Izzard) and a plan is formed.

Queen Victoria asks Abdul about his land, language and his story as they share walks and private times. It is clear that Abdul cares very much for the Queen and she for him, especially discovering he is married and demanding he get his family and return. That doesn’t stop the Queen’s staff, along with Dr. Reid (Paul Higgins), from looking into Abdul’s past. Believing they can stop him with what they know, it only manages to infuriate the Queen in Abdul’s favor.

Including a knighthood which sends the entire palace into a tizzy and a decision that will not only put their loyalty in question but show how Queen Victoria wasn’t napping any longer. 

This is a friendship that is filled with understanding, forgiveness and even unspoken love.

Dench as Victoria once again proves why she is a queen in her own right. She is smart, strong, delicate, wistful and a woman who sees so little to move forward for. Once the Queen’s inner light is ignited, Dench shines every moment of the film. I quite honestly could not take my eyes off her performance and the ending brought me to tears.

Fazal as Abdul is a man who doesn’t see the world in such an aggressive way as those around him. A simple jail clerk who happens to know how to write is sent across the world to do one simple thing and it turns into a friendship. Fazal delivers his lines with the innocence I see in Abdul in that how one sees the world is clearly different than the Queen. There are moments where he is clearly confused, moments of profound joy and deep sadness and Fazal gets every drop of emotion out of the audience who is just as enraptured as the Queen.

Izzard as Bertie is just the worst that a son could possible be. Instead of being happy for the emotional reviving of his mother, he sees Abdul as an interloper and acts like a spoiled child instead of a future ruler. Izzard just pours it on and gets the reaction he wants!

Akhtar as Mohammed just wants to go home, and when he sees that the Prince and others want to use that against his friend Abdul – his response is epic! Pigott-Smith as Ponsonby is confused by the relationship between the Queen and Abdul but at the same time has a faithfulness to the way things ought to be done. Higgins as Dr. Reid is just another lackey who isn’t happy about Abdul’s presence and finds himself faced with the wrath of the Queen. Gambon as Salisbury wants one thing only – for Abdul to be gone and the crown to go back to normal.

Williams as Lady Churchill isn’t happy to have the Queen’s ear and convinces Miss Phipps to do the extortion deed. Woolgar as Phipps has a moment in front of the Queen that is nerve wracking to watch but awesome to experience. 

Other cast include Julian Wadham as Alick Yorke, Robin Soans as Arthur Bigge, Ruth McCabe as Mrs. Tuck, Sukh Ojla as Mrs. Karim, Kemaal Deen-Ellis as Ahmed and Simon Callow as Puccini.

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 www.uphe.com.

The Bluray includes the Bonus Features of Judi & Ali and The Look of Victoria & Abdul. Included in the pack, DVD and Digital HD along with theatre quality sound. The Digital means you can enjoy VICTORIA & ABDUL on television, computer, Tablet and Smartphone!

VICTORIA & ABDUL is absolutely Oscar worthy in every sense. There is nothing about this film that goes wrong with me. The story between Queen Victoria and Abdul is delightful, funny, testing, sad, misunderstood and heartbreaking. 

Mixed in with that is the ugliness of those around the Queen with their jabbing, back biting, underhanded, and horrible treatment of Abdul and Mohammed. Instead of embracing the cultural differences of these two men, they found ways to cut them to the quick – and right to their face in some cases. 

The cinematography is amazing and it is a period piece which is going to grab me from the word go. I absolutely adore the costuming which is always an important part of a period piece because it adds such a richness to the storytelling. 

I’m warning anyone who sees this film on Bluray to keep a Kleenex handy because for the ending you are going to need it. The chemistry between Dench and Fazal is everything I wanted for this story to be told – thank you both for making me laugh, smile and shed a tear.

In the end – an extraordinary true story of a queen and her new best friend!

Relive the Shocking Moments with GAME OF THRONES: The Complete Seventh Season on Bluray

Jeri Jacquin

Winter is here! HBO brings GAME OF THRONES: The Complete Seventh Season to Bluray and DVD with every shocking episode that keeps fans coming back for more.

The chess pieces are all set to play at Arya (Maisie Williams) deals with House Frey and learns Jon Snow (Kit Harington) is now King of Winterfell and her feet head in the direction of home. That isn’t stopping the White Walkers who continue their march toward the wall. Gathering together at Winterfell, Jon Snow makes every effort to forge alliances and Sansa (Sophie Turner) lets him know she is not happy. Knowing they need House Umber and House Karstark, Jon understands the need to grow their army.

Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbaek) shows up on the doorsteps of King’s Landing trying to woo Cersei (Lena Headey) into a great alliance which she quickly, and with a smirk, declines. Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) tries to forget the exchange but informing Cersei that they need allies. 

The mother of Dragons visits her next home at Dragonstone and she isn’t alone as Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) is still by her side as well as the dragons. Plans are being made to send soldiers to Sunspear while the Unsullies make their way to Casterly Rock. To her surprise, Melisandre (Carice van Houten) arrives telling her of the potential of partnering with Jon Snow. Not convinced that he should go, a letter from Samwell convinces him even more that he must meet with Daenerys (Emilia Clarke).

Samwell (John Bradley) is also busy discovering a way to heal Jorah (Iain Glen) of the illness that took him away from the Queen he loves. When Jon and Daenerys finally meet, he is taken aback at her demand that he subserve himself before her. He lets her know that isn’t going to happen and that the reason he has even come is for the dragonglass that can only be found on the island. 

Sansa continues on at Winterfell and Bran (Isaac Wright) tries to explain to his sister of his change. Another sibling reunion happens as Arya returns and shows a side of herself that Sansa has never seen. Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) sees that Arya has become skilled with her sword. As this happens, Littlefinger (Aidan Gillen) gives Bran a weapon that he might well remember and begins a scheme that pits sister against sister. 

Jaime is now in Highgarden as Cersei must convince her allies that a delivery of gold is not far away. It is what Jaime and Bronn (Jerome Flynn) find at Highgarden sends them back with news for Cersei that sets up her next move.

When Jon and Daenerys go into the cave that has the dragonglass, they find ancient cave drawings that tell them a story she must now accept. What Daenerys learns sets her on a path to help Jon fight the White Walkers at the Wall. She also takes matters into her own hands by the treason of two soldiers loyal to Cersei against the advice of Tyrion. 

Jon knows that the only way to convince more of the Houses to help is to capture a White Walker for proof they exist. As the Night King moves forward, Daenerys arrives to help and several events bring Jon to pledge himself to her. 

Finally, Jon, Daenerys, Tyrion, Jamie and Cersei are brought together as they all try and explain what is happening with the White Walkers. Cersei patiently listens and agrees to help but what she says and what she does are both questionable. It is Samwell returning to Winterfell where he speaks with Bran about Jon’s true place in the Seven Kingdoms.

Of course, the Army of the Dead is still on the march!

Clarke as Daenerys moves closer to the Iron Throne but has more than enough obstacles in her way. I love how in the midst of madness, Clarke portrays her character with slow deliberateness and gets a little irritated now and then and all I can think of is ‘she’s keeping it together better than I would!’. Of course as this season unfolds, she is forced to learn a history she didn’t know and accept what she always thought was a story told in childhood. 

Harington as John Snow is meshing everything he has become over the seven seasons. He still believes in the Stark family (even if treated like an unwelcomed guests at times), the brotherhood of the Nights Watch and all while being drawn to defeat the White Walkers at all cost. Basically he’s a busy guy! Harington is amazing and I am so with every bit of his characters twists and turns. The ending of this season is going to be interesting in Season 8.

Dinklage as Tyrion is still at the side of Daenerys and believes in her being Queen. Where Tyrion has come is a far cry from the drinking and womanizing Lannister that so irritated his father and still does Cersei. I see his character growing even more as the pieces move around the Seven Kingdoms chessboard. 

Heady as Cersei finally has what she has always wanted, to sit defiantly on a throne and do what ever she must to defend it. She doesn’t hesitate to take out anything in front of her and that includes family of any kind. Trusting no one has always been part of her problem and I suspect (since I haven’t read the books) it will continue to be a problem. Coster-Waldau as Jamie wants to support his demented sister but there is clearly a part of him that may not be all in but that doesn’t stop him from fighting for Kings Landing. Jamie is another character that has gone through so many changes that what happens next may have me cheering for another Lannister!

Turner as Sansa is finally discovering what it takes to be a leader. All grown up and filled with life lessons no one should have to learn, she thinks more clearly than ever and is ready to defend Winterfell. Working along side Jon Snow, it is a chance to be a Stark family once again. Williams as Arya once again joins the fold and boy it is a wild ride when these two women let everyone at Winterfell know that they are no longer just Stark children. Arya is strong, tough and every bit a badass that Sansa needs to never again let anyone take advantage of a Stark.

Bradley as Samwell is Jon Snow’s secret weapon! Dedicated to finding answers, he pours through books and even some he shouldn’t to make things happen. I love the simpleness of this character and Bradley still gives him a strength that is quite unexpected at times. Glen as Jorah is the recipient of Samwell’s knowledge and no one needs more allies than the Mother of Dragons.

Christie as Brienne is wielding her sword once again for House Stark. She is watching every move that is made around the new ruling family and isn’t about to let anything, even seeing Jamie Lannister again get in her way of loyalty. Van Houten as Melisandre returns and this time wants to help Daenerys accomplish her goal. I love her smoothness in delivering news…good, bad or indifferent she delivers. 

Asbaek as Euron is just a throw around don’t-give-a-damn Greyjoy! He would even marry Cersei to get his butt on the Iron Throne and when she doesn’t swoon so easy, he goes out and brings back a kill to impress her. Flynn as Bronn still has Jamie’s back but is equally surprised when the battle at Highgarden begins.

Gillen as Littlefinger is still up to his old manipulating tricks. It must be said that Gillen is absolutely had his hand in everything that has gone on in GAME OF THRONES. Whether it is a big manipulation or small, Gillen has performed brilliantly and I have to give his character props for fooling so many for so long by just being Littlefinger. Wright as Bran has a part yet to play I suspect but I have to admit that Wright’s portrayal is a little bit freaky to witness – awesome!

Other cast include: Liam Cunningham as Davos Seaworth, Nathalie Emmanuel as Missandei, Indira Varma as Ellaria Sand, Conleth Hill as Varys, Hannah Murray as Gilly, Kristopher Hivju as Tormund Giantsbane, Rory McCann as The Hound, Joe Dempsie as Gendry, Joseph Mawle as Benjen Stark, Ben Hawkey as Hot Pie, Vladimir Furdik as the Night King, and Megan Parkinson as Alys Karstark.

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 Bluray and DVD contain Exclusive New Bonus Content that includes a bonus disc containing Conquest & Rebellion: An Animated History of the Seven Kingdoms, a 45-Minute Never-Before-Seen Extension of the Clio Award-Winning History & Lore, From Imagination to Reality: Inside the Art Department, Fire & Steel: Creating the Invasion of Westeros and Audio Commentary from David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, Lena Headey, Kit Harington, Iain Glen, Pilou Asbaek, Gwendoline Christie, Liam Cunningham and more.

The episodes include Dragonstone, Stormborn, The Queen’s Justice, The Spoils of War, Eastwatch, Beyond the Wall, and The Dragon and the Wolf.

GAME OF THRONES: The Complete Seventh Season on Bluray is so stunning to see. It is even more vivid that the series airing on HBO. I mean I have an excellent television but the Bluray just absolutely blew me away. There are only seven episodes which bummed many GOT fans but none of us can say the season was any less epic. 

The stories continue to be complex with no simple answers (which I love) and clearly the Iron Throne is up for grabs. George R.R. Martin is responsible for creating this amazing kingdom and cast of characters that has enraptured so many of us. Writing A Song of Ice and Fire, it became the jumping off point and in 2011 and in it’s first season alone, GAME OF THRONES garnered 13 Emmy nominations and Peter Dinklage winning Best Supporting Actor.

This is what excellent storytelling and television can do when we all look for epic reasons to stay home on a Sunday night. It is what brings conversations at the office, on a road trip or waiting at San Diego Comic Con International for the panel to begin. GAME OF THRONES has brought conversation and fans of all ages into a world that is truly a wonder to behold.

So, expanding your home entertainment library to include GAME OF THRONES: The Complete Seventh Season is a must. Trust me, it looks very cool on the shelf next to seasons one through six. As Season Eight is still in the works, there is nothing better than marathoning every season until we hear the epic opening music and map of the Seven Kingdoms!

In the end – who will take the Iron Throne?


THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US

Jeri Jacquin

Now on Bluray/DVD and Digital from director Hany Abu-Assad and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment comes a film of survival with THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US.

Alex Martin (Kate Winslet) is a photographer trying to get to her own wedding! Bad weather is keeping her away when noticing that doctor Ben Bass (Idris Elba) is also trying to desperately get to his destination. 

She offers to help get him there by sharing a ride on a smaller two-seater with pilot Walter (Beau Bridges) and his dog. After brief introductions, they both look out at the beautiful scenery of mountains and snow. Noticing that the storm is shifting course, Walter attempts to make adjustments when the unthinkable happens.

The plane goes down deep in the high mountains as Ben checks on Walter and Alex for wounds. Immediately he goes into survival mode trying to keep the unconscious Alex warm and taking care of Walter – and the dog. Time goes by and Alex wakes up with a badly hurt leg and realizes they need to leave right away.

Walter wants to stay behind and wait for a rescue but is reminded by Alex that no one would know how to find them. After an encounter with a wild animal, it becomes clear to her that going down is the only way to survive. Along with the dog, they bundle up and begin a trek that is dangerous and soul crushing at times.

The two must come to rely on one another and being equally as stubborn come head to head on how they are to survive. 

Winslet as Alex is head strong and makes rash decisions but in all of it knows they have to get off the mountain. She doesn’t understand Ben’s resistance to the idea and takes it upon herself as if to say ‘stay then…I’m outta here!’ I have to give her props for that because there are moments I’m wondering why Ben is so obstinate – then I remember he’s a guy! (Just kidding guys!) Winslet is no stranger to playing strong and slightly stubborn characters so this fits her perfectly.

Elba as Ben has a ton of issues and the plane crash just seems to enhance them. As he gets to know Alex he starts to understand that whatever is keeping him so balled up could possibly be the reason they will die. There is something about Elba’s presence that is just smooth and endearing which helps since the movie is fairly predictable but enjoyable with him in it. He’s smooth with eyes that will melt anyone staring to long into them.

The winner here is – Walter’s dog! I love this dog! He is smart, he is brave and puts up with the two humans who, at times, don’t have a clue what it is they are doing. If I was lost or stranded anywhere I want this dog with me…of course I’d give him a better name than ‘Walter’s Dog’. He deserves better!

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 and DVD includes the Special Features of Love and Survival: Creating Chemistry, Mountain Between Then: Shooting in Isolation, The Wilds: Survival Stunts, Deleted Scenes and Director’s Commentary by Hany Abu-Assad.

Also included is the Digital copy that allows viewing from television, Computer, Tablet and Smartphone for anytime instant streaming and download.

THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US is beautifully done in the way of cinematography. The mountains are stunning and every scene brings more beauty in the midst of human tragedy. I have to admit that if I found a cabin in the woods I might be tempted to stay just to take it all in.

The relationship between Alex and Ben is inevitable as fear and survival bring about human frailties. Being together kept them focused in the sense that when ever one of them felt it was over; the other would push to continue. Winslet and Elba are strong and difficult in character and it seemed almost a challenge to each other to survive. It is a beautiful story with an ending that the audience wants to happen.

In the end – what if your life depended on a stranger would you survive?