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DVD Reviews

There are the reviews of recently released DVD's so check it out before spending your hard earned cash! Also the shiny faces of DVD winners!
THE BIRTHDAY CAKE is Served Up on Bluray

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on Bluray from director Jimmy Giannopoulous and Screen Media is the story of a young man dealing with family, friends and THE BIRTHDAY CAKE.

Gio (Shiloh Fernandez) has been dealing with a lot for years and being watched by Father Kelly (Ewan McGregor). Since the death of his father, mom Sofia (Lorraine Bracco) makes a birthday cake in remembrance. On the night the family gets together at Uncle Angelo’s (Val Kilmer), Gio is trying to get out of the house to get to Cousin Leo (Emory Cohen). Every step he takes becomes a problem.

All he wants to do is get to the family gathering but he meets up with the police in the form of Agent Pete (Jake Weary) and Eagle (Aldis Hodge), guns, drugs and people who out to get their own. Making it to his uncle’s house, he is greeted by family with Vito (Vincent Pastore), Uncle Carmine (James Gandolfini), Uncle Tony (Nick Vallelonga), and cop Uncle Ricardo (William Fichtner).

His family pushes for Gio to tell them where Leo is because things have gotten worse by the minute. It is what comes next that sets in motion 

Fernandez as Gio is a young man who is living a dangerous life without ever having lifted a finger. Surrounded by people who want revenge for any number of things, his night is spent running from event to event. Fernandez starts out as a young man trying to find his place in the midst of madness only to discover that he not either controls the madness or succumbs to it.

Bracco as Sofia has her own idea of how to deal with the grief of her husband’s death and it is good to see her again. Kilmer as Uncle Angelo is a bright spot on the screen of darkness. Fichtner as Uncle Ricardo is a cop who has an idea of his own about how things should be run and the consequences if you get in his way, well done.

McGregor as Father Kelly is in the beginning of the film and narrates in his own way, Gio’s harrowing journey. 

 Screen Media is an international distributor of television series and films, licensing content through theatrical, home video, pay-per-view, free, cable and pay television, and subscription and advertising video-on-demand platforms. In 2017 Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, Inc. acquired Screen Media which is in its 23rd year as a leading global independent distribution company. With one of the largest independently owned libraries of filmed entertainment in the world and license agreements across all forms of media, Screen Media’s distribution capability enables direct distribution of all rights in all countries, thus enhancing the profitability of Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment productions. The company is continually looking to add films and television series to its content library.

THE BIRTHDAY CAKE is a film about the end of some traditions and the take over of a way of life for a family. Seeing it all come apart is Gio and Fernandez gives his character a combination of fear, the shakes, wanting to be away from ‘family’ and the waning traditions. 

Kilmer is amazing as Uncle Angelo and even if his voice is not what we have come to expect, it is the look on his face as the story unfolds that is everything. It is also a chance to see James Gandolfini once again and Lorraine Brocco but it is Fernandez that carries the film from start to finish.

In the end – revenge never tasted so sweet!

WOMEN COMPOSERS

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on DVD is WOMEN COMPOSERS: A Cinematic Search for Their Lives in Music by Kyra Steckeweh, Tim Van Beveren with Film Movement. 

The documentary begins with “…thus I consider it to be the educator’s duty to suppress the girl’s rising genius and to prevent her in every way from noticing the greatness of her own talents”. Here is the story of how music pushed past that useless belief. Pianist Steckeweh, a classical pianist, wants to discover music written by three women. Mel Bonis, Lili Boulanger and Fanny Hensel.

Hensel grew up in Hamburgh born in 1805 and fled back to Berlin years later. In 1820, Fanny’s father made his feelings clear about her study of music and seemed to back only her younger brother Felix. A professional career in music was considered inappropriate for her. Fanny then met artist husband Hensel and they married. Hensel supported his wife’s music and Sunday concerts began happening. She also travels to Rome and writes of her travels in a book that Steckeweh follows on her own. 

At the end of the 19th Century, Paris was finding its own culture and a world exhibition was coming up. Lili Boulanger was born of a Russian mother and French father and in 1893 she was born. Lili showed from an early age that she was musically inclined. Playing the violin, organ, cello and harp, it would be her health that caused problems. Moving to Paris and into a musical building, at age 16 Lili would start making a name for herself. Due to her illness, she would never marry but at 19 she becomes financially independent due to her works. 

In 1958, Melanie Bonis was born to a watchmaker father and textile worker mother. When she was 12, showing an interest in music, by the time she was 18 she was recognized by musicians such as Debussy. She eventually changed her name to Mel-Bonis so as to not be known as a woman composer. In 1883, she marries an older man, but Mel is now in a safer position financially which allowed her to return to composing. She begins to write piano and chamber music and from that comes the work, Salome.

Other contributors include Musicologist Prof. Beatrix Borchard, and Tobias Niederschlag

Film Movement, founded in 2002, is an award-winning independent and foreign film company that has released more than 250 feature films and shorts. Theatrical releases include American independent films, documentaries, and foreign arthouse titles catalog such directors as Hirokazu Kore-eda, Maren Ade, Jessica Hausner and Ciro Guerra and Melanie Laurent. Bluray and DVD films bring such directors as Eric Rohmer, Bolle August, King Hu, Sergio Corbucci and Luchino Visconti and many more. To discover what Film Movement is all about and find out more about what they have to offer please visit www.filmmovementplus.com.

Bonus Features of WOMEN COMPOSERS include Q&A with Filmmakers Kyra Steckeweh and Tim van Beveren and Kyra Steckeweh Performs Ophelie by Mel Bonis. 

WOMEN COMPOSERS is a wonderful, insightful and informative documentary on three women that even I did not know about. Each of these women came from a time where there works were not celebrated. It did not stop each of them from creating some of the most stirring pieces which is a credit to them all.

War breaks out in the world and the music that is composed is heart wrenching and a glimpse into the world. In the case of Boulanger, it is illness that continually plagues her ability to compose as she would wish too. Yet, through everything these women experienced, the music kept flowing in one form or another.

WOMEN COMPOSERS is a documentary I would hope that all music teachers would inspire to show their students. It is time for the question of ‘why aren’t more women composers played in concert halls’ to be answered. I personally would be thrilled to attend a concert that brings the work of women composers, played by women and conducted by a woman – now that would be a concert!

In the end – three brilliant women and three untold stories!

It is all the Result of a TAILGATE

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on DVD from writer/director Lodewijk Crijns and Film Movement comes the nightmare of what can happen when you TAILGATE.

Hans (Jeroen Spitzenberger), wife Diana (Anniek Pheifer) and daughters Milou (Roosmarijn van der Hoek) and Robine (Liz Vergeer) are on the road to go visit the grandparents. The traffic on the road is moving at a normal pace until Hans comes up behind a white van that refuses to keep up the pace.

As the line of cars stacks up behind Hans in his lane and trucks taking up the other lane, he flashes lights and honks the horn. Instead of speeding up, the white van slows down until finally Hans manages to go around and speed away. The family’s nerves are on edge from that whole incident, but nothing can prepare them for what is coming.

Thinking it is over, Ed notices the white van following their car. Behind the wheel is Ed (Willem de Wolf) and he has only one thing in mind. Now the family is on the run from a mad man who has no qualms about teaching adults’ lessons on how to apologize. 

Spitzenberger as Hans is the typical husband behind the wheel just trying to get from point A to point B as quick as possible. When challenged by the man in the white van, Hans resorts to the usual signs of driver irritation setting in motion every event from that moment on. Pheifer as Diana is the typical wife in the car with the typical husband trying to get from point A to point B without pulling her hair out. 

Hoek and Vergeer as Milou and Robine are horrified by what is happening to their family. Once getting to the grandparent’s house, they feel a moment of relief only to discover that crazy can follow a family anywhere. Shout out to Truus te Selle as Trudy and Hubert Fermin as Joop as the grandparents. 

Film Movement, founded in 2002, is an award-winning independent and foreign film company that has released more than 250 feature films and shorts. Theatrical releases include American independent films, documentaries, and foreign arthouse titles catalog such directors as Hirokazu Kore-eda, Maren Ade, Jessica Hausner and Ciro Guerra and Melanie Laurent. Bluray and DVD films bring such directors as Eric Rohmer, Bolle August, King Hu, Sergio Corbucci and Luchino Visconti and many more. To discover what Film Movement is all about and find out more about what they have to offer please visit www.filmmovementplus.com.

TAILGATE is a film that is a start to finish race to see who will survive. If anything, the film is a reminder of what can happen on the road when a person is impatient. You never know who is in the car in front of you or what their intentions are. Not that we haven’t seen in the news what road rage can do.

The pace keeps the heart pumping, and it is unnerving how calm Ed the crazy is while everyone else is screaming and panicking. Just goes to show you how focused a person can be when you’ve crossed into their line of insanity! Keep your eyes on the road but make sure you watch your rear. 

TAILGATE is the Official Selection of FrightFest and the Sitges Film Festival and will be available exclusively at Walmart. 

In the end – road rage has its consequences!

SNATCH Returns to 4k Ultra HD

Jeri Jacquin

Returning to 4K Ultra HD and Bluray this week from writer/director Guy Ritchie and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment comes the plan to SNATCH.

Franky "Four-Fingers" (Benicio del Toro) is told by Cousin Avi (Dennis Farina) to go see Doug "the Head" (Mike Reid) about an 86-carat diamond that has been conveniently stolen. Franky goes to see Boris "The Blade" (Rade Serbedzija) to pack some heat but an interesting phone calls brings up another twist and a big favor.

Turkish (Jason Statham) smooth talks Brick Top (Alan Ford) into putting his boxer "Gorgeous George" (Adam Fogerty) up for a fight. Tommy (Stephen Graham) and George take on a favor for Turkish that leads to a knuckle boxing in the streets with Mickey O'Neil (Brad Pitt) which adds to twist in favors. When that favor goes wrong, Furious and Brick Top decide they are going to take matters into their own hands.

Boris looks for Franky, Brick Top looks for Sol (Lennie James), Vinny (Robbie Gee), Tyrone (Ade) and Yardie "Bad Boy" (Goldie)! Avi hires "Bullet-Tooth" (Vinnie Jones) to find Franky but they take Boris who is being followed by Sol, Vinny, and Tyrone. The only way to fix things is for Mickey to fight again and that twists up things but the next morning brings a dog walk and a discovery of more than anyone can imagine.

Confused yet?

The cast has to be kept together because there is no way I can describe the amazing performances one by one. Del Toro starts the film and as each cast member comes in, they put their stamp on HARD to the film. Of course, I adore Pitt in the film as O'Neil throwing Stratham into the mixer along with James makes a strong Irish drink with shakes of Serbedzija, Fogerty, Graham, Gee, Ade, Goldie and Jones.

The cinematography also makes these gentlemen look amazing in everything that they do giving SNATCH its look and feel. Trust me when I say that all of this makes the story important. Yes, I just love this film in all its form and function.

Other cast include Velibor Topic as The Russian, Sam Douglas as Rosebud, Ewen Bremner as Mullet, Andy Beckwith as Errol, Dave Legeno as John, William Beck as Neil, Sorcha Cusack as Mrs. O'Neill, Jason Flemyng as Darren, Jason Buckham as Gary, Mickey Cantwell as Liam, Teena Collins as Susi, Nicola Collins as Alex, Andy Beckwith as Errol and William Beck as Neil.

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

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

The Bonus Material includes: Newly Remastered in 4K Resolution from the Original Camera Negative, All New Dolby Tracks, Theatrical Trailer, Director and Producer Commentary, Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary, “Making Snatch” Featurette, Storyboard Comparisons, Video Photo Gallery and more! 

SNATCH is ridiculously smart and very funny with a story that keeps the action going and a cast that makes it all look so seamless. I happen to like films with this kind of humor, and it might be considered dark humor, but it still makes me laugh no matter what category it falls under.

This is a cast that puts their all into it with Ritchie at the helm guiding the mayhem. It is like my messy desk, and someone comes along and tries to clean it up and I scream, "don't tough that, I know where everything is" - that's Ritchie. Yes, I'm using a lot of analogies here because, dang it, this is a treasure chest of fights, sparklies, gangsters, getaways and a dog. Seriously, who could ask for more!

SNATCH has become a fan favorite and found cult status among those who enjoy a film that never lets its secrets out which is why this review is kind of vague. Released in 2000, This film has held up and is just as fresh to watch today as the day it found its way into theatres.

In the end - they are stealin' stones and breakin' bones!

It all Starts with a PROFILE

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray and Digital from writer/director Timur Bekmambetov and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is a story of danger from the keyboard and a PROFILE.

Amy (Valene Kane) is a British journalist looking for the next story and the next paycheck to cover the rent. She decides to use social media to discover how it is that so many women in Europe are becoming part of the Islamic State. Given the green light by editor Vick (Christine Adams), Amy begins the process of creating a persona online through Facebook.

Almost immediately she is contacted by Abu Bilel Al-Britani (Shazad Latif), a handsome Muslim who is quite taken with her. Lou (Amir Rahimzadeh) guides her through the beginning of their conversations with what is acceptable and what is not. Seeing Amy as a shy respectful woman is appealing to Bilel.

There are only three people that know what Amy is doing, Vick, Lou and friend Kathy (Emma Cater) as boyfriend Matt (Morgan Watkins) has been left in the dark. Each day Amy and Bilel speak more and more about her coming to where Bilel is and starting a life together. He seems slow in the information he gives which puts Amy in a tense situation with her editor.

But with each chat, the conversations become more and more intense that could put her in danger. How far will she push her investigation knowing the consequences?

Kane as Amy is brilliant in her deceptions and performance. Fast on the keyboard which means you cannot take your eyes off the screen even for a blinking second, she maneuvers her way through dangerous waters. Living this double life does take its toll and as the day comes closer to meet Bilel, Kane gives us a powerful adrenaline rush of fear and anxiety that is so well done.

Latif as Bilel, all I can say is wow, what an amazing performance that is frightening at the same time. What seems so handsome and wonderful is sugar coating on a poison apple. Turning on the charm and being ‘himself’ is a cautionary tale of the internet and people attempting to make connections. Latif gives it everything and that is the good and bad as his intentions begin to unravel. Well done sir, well done.

Adams as Vick is a pure journalist and is biting at the bit for the story. She knows the dangers and sees them coming yet also wants to get the story out before things get out of hand. Cater as Kathy is a good friend and also knows that Amy might be pushing things to far. Watkins as boyfriend Matt, wow, does he get the once over in all this. Relationships are difficult enough without thinking your girlfriend has been internet-cheating.

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has just added an amazing film to their library and making it available for us to all experience and re-experience in our own home theaters. 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.

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

PROFILE is a fast-paced film not giving the viewer any moment to rest and that is what makes it extremely fascinating. The constant movement on the screen means you have to keep up or step aside. Hearing so many stories in the news about women who tried to get away from situations that the character Amy was getting into is seriously disturbing. 

This film wakes you up to the fact that this continues to happen and the result to these women is beyond belief. The biggest question for me is what is it in these women’s lives that bring them to make these decisions at such great risk to themselves and those they love. Every step they take has an effect to those around them and their families.

The last ten minutes of the film are the most powerful (as if the entire film isn’t powerful enough!) because the realization sets how easy the character of Bilel puts the pieces together. Honestly, I would have been frozen with anxiety and run for the hills. At the same time, I applaud what Amy was trying to do, even though she came close to losing herself in something that was not real.

In the end – the connection is virtual, but the danger is real!

Arriving on Bluray is the Surprise of NOBODY

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on Bluray from director Ilya Naishuller and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment comes the story of a man who seems content with being NOBODY.

Hutch Mansell (Bob Odenkirk) is a man living a routine. Getting up, silent morning coffee with wife Becca (Connie Nielsen), going to work at his father-in-law Eddie’s factory, coming home, seeing his kids Blake (Gage Munroe) and Sammy (Paisley Cadorath). The routine also means that Hutch has lost the connection with everything around him.

Startled out of sleep one evening, Hutch makes his way downstairs to hear two robbers break into his home. What happened after that is waking a sleeping giant! Listening to his in-laws make fun and when Sammy cannot find her bracelet, Hutch decides he wants to track down the two that upset his routine of life.

On the bus, a group of men decide they are going to make everyone’s life miserable, but Hutch is already walking a razor’s edge. Putting a few in the hospital, one of them happens to be the brother of the Russian mobster Yulian (Aleksei Serebryakov). All of this is explained to him by The Barber (Colin Salmon) who makes sure Hutch knows that what happened is not going to go away. 

Yulian makes it clear he is going after Hutch and anyone else in the family including Dad David Mansell (Christopher Lloyd). Now, Hutch is going to let his true colors come through and protect his family any way he knows how, but then again, they are going to find out he knows exactly how. 

Odenkirk as Hutch is the perfect person to play this role. Using his mild-mannered abilities to mold him into a guy with a mild mannered, however imperfect life, Odenkirk gives his character all of that and more. I love that he wants more, keeps his cool and tries to work things out before going to the next level because everything he ends up doing is exactly that – next level. 

Serebryakov as Yulian is not interested in working things out with Hutch. He has a reputation of violence to protect, and he is not about to let the man who hurt his brother off the hook with a slap on the wrist. Serebryakov gives us the bad guy Russian who happens to enjoy karaoke and taking fast car rides at night. 

Nielsen as Becca is a wife that is trying to understand where her marriage is at. When Hutch finally opens up, she begins to understand that this is their life together – good, bad and bullets. Munroe as Blake is the typical teenager who makes it clear he does not have much respect for his father. Personally, I’m tired of these bratty teen roles so let this be the last for a while. Cadorath as Sammy loves her daddy and makes it known more than anyone else.

Lloyd as Dad Mansell is terrific, and I am happy to see him take on a bad ass role. Just because he is an actor “of a certain age” does not mean he is out of the game. He actually made me laugh quite a few times. Ironside as father-in-law Eddie is a man who likes his son-in-law but is not really ready to sell him the business without a big price point. It has been a while since I have seen Ironside in a film so even though the role is small, it’s still Ironside.

Other cast include RZA as Harry Mansell, Billy MacLellan as Charlie, Araya Mengesha as Pavel, Aleksandr Pal as Teddy, J.P. Manoux as Darren, and Michael Ironside as Eddie.

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has just added an amazing film to their library and making it available for us to all experience and re-experience in our own home theaters. 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.universalpictures.com.

Bonus Features on 4K UHD, Bluray, DVD and Digital include Deleted Scenes, Hutch Hits Hard – Discover how Bob Odenkirk Trained to bring his character “Hutch Mansell” to life, Breaking Down the Action, Just a NOBODY, Feature Commentary with Actor/producer Bob Odenkirk and Director Ilya Naishuller and Feature commentary with Director Ilya Naishuller. 

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

NOBODY is a really fun and jaw-dropping film that probably has the same amount of bullet casing flying around as the 1984 film RED DAWN. Odenkirk gives the character of Hutch smarts, strength, the ability to be vulnerable, quick on the draw and takes as good as he gives! I really enjoy an action film where the “hero” takes his punches.

From the moment of the break-in, the film goes from 0-100 in break-neck speed in the telling. There are car chases, actions sequences, creative weaponry and a great story that brings exhaustion at the end of the 92 minutes. It is very cool to have fun watching a film again that is mean to totally entertain, and NOBODY does not let us down.  

In the end – never underestimate a nobody! 

Prepare for THE UNHOLY

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on Bluray, DVD and On Demand from writer/director Evan Spiliotopoulos and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment comes unsuspecting faith in THE UNHOLY.

Gerry Fenn (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is a reporter who is on the outs because of something he did years ago. Trying to find a good story to cover, he arrives in the town of Banfield, Massachusetts to hear about strange activity in a field next to the local church taken care of by Father Hagan (William Sadler). While in the field, Fenn finds a doll and after he is told what it is, decides to step on it.

Preparing to leave town at night thinking there is nothing worth covering, he almost hits young Alice (Cricket Brown) on the road. Following her, he witnesses her speaking to a tree in the middle of the field. Taking her to the church, he learns Father Hagan is Alice’s uncle and that the girl is deaf. 

That is the first miracle that starts to bring people to see Alice and also catches the attention of those who need to witness it all to be able to call is a true miracle. Bishop Byles (Cary Elwes) and Delgarde (Diogo Morgado) become involved when Alice says that Mary is a beautiful woman in white robes who want the people to come and believe in her, but Alice also performs healings that become newsworthy.  

But Fenn begins to see something is not quite as it should be and does what a good reporter would do, dig into the history of the town and discovers it is dark and filled with stories that have brought something evil out – and who is responsible!
Fenn and Alice must stop the unholy!

Morgan as Fenn is a man who has all but ruined his career by a bad choice. Finding himself in cow-pattied Banfield, he does not expect the story to pan out. It is when he meets Alice and becomes part of the story himself in a way does he get excited to revive his career. Morgan gives us the charming smile we have come to know but no Neegan bat to forcing us want to follow the story. Instead, Fenn does what we would do – follow the story to its conclusion no matter what it takes.

Brown as Alice is a young woman who gets the chance to see life differently because of her seeing Mary and helping the sick. She honestly believes in everything she is doing and becomes friends with Fenn trusting that he sees the good that can be done by bringing the people to Mary. Brown gives her character an air of innocence and wonder and yet when it comes to protecting those she has brought together, Brown sticks to her characters faith.

Sadler as Hagan has his life invested in his young niece and gets the feeling that what is happening is not exactly heavenly sent. No matter how much Alice tries to convince him, he takes it up on himself seek answers. Morgado as Delgarde may not believe in the beginning but that is his job, and his job is about to get tougher. Elwes as Byles is a bishop that has only one thing on his mind, the flock that can give him cred with the church and is kind of creepy himself.
Shout out to Katie Aselton as Natalie Gates, a character that should have had a more specific story for her character but is a friend to Alice and cares about the community of Banfield.

Other cast include Bates Wilder as Geary, Christine Adamas as Monica Slade, Dustin Tucker as Dan Walsh, Gisela Chipe as Sophia Walsh and Marina Mazepa as Mary of Elnor.

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

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

THE UNHOLY is a combination of creepy and pretty cool visual effects. This is the type of film where you turn off all the lights, make sure the home screen is huge and dive right into a Friday night creep show. These are the best types of movies for that and THE UNHOLY gets to take top spot on the horror film binge party pile.

Everything I love about horror films is in THE UNHOLY. I am a fan of slow story presenting, spooky things happening that are not directly in-your-face and characters taking a chance on getting in evil’s face, so this film had me wide eyed and popcorn eating from beginning to end. 

In the end – be careful who you pray to!

Be Ready to Make a FRENCH EXIT

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to DVD from director Azazel Jacobs and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment comes the story of family and truth when making a FRENCH EXIT.

Frances Price (Michelle Pfeiffer) is an heiress with financial difficulties. When her husband passes, Frances lives as if the money will last forever and, well, it does not. When the bank seizes her Manhattan home, a friend offers a rarely used Paris apartment for Frances and her son Malcolm (Lucas Hedges).

Malcolm does not know how to feel about moving since he is in a relationship with girlfriend Susan (Imogen Poots) and Frances has no idea. But staying loyal to his mother, they pack up along with feline Small Frank and head to Paris. 

Frances settles in quickly as a change in location does not mean you can not be impeccably dressed or make sure the accessory martini glass is always full. Malcolm is not sure what he is supposed to do with his life now, but he is kept in the loop with Joan (Susan Coyne) entering into their life along with neighbor Ms. Reynard (Valerie Mahaffey).

If having the new two women in their life, and a lot of times in the apartment, is not interesting enough, when they call Madeleine the medium (Danielle Macdonald) it becomes serious. Joined by Small Frank, the medium gives a shocking affirmation to who has been with them for years. 

They might be experiencing a change of address but more importantly they are experiencing a change in life.

Pfeiffer as Frances knows that her life is slowly and irreversibly changing but yet you would never know it by her attitude or her attire. She takes the attitude of not having to explain anything because nothing can be done anyway. Her sarcasm and one-liners remind me of a younger version of the Dowager from Downton Abbey. Of course, I love characters like that, so Frances kept me totally amused and enthralled.

Hedges as Malcolm does not understand how his mother has let them get into their current predicament. Not getting any real reason other than ‘the money is gone’, he accepts that they have to move and even goes along with it because, after all, it is what needs to be done for his mother. Yet, there is almost a freedom in this new life and Malcolm starts to give me hope that he will see it (I am always the hopeful for the underdog).

Mahaffey as Ms. Reynard is the stable person although her delivery is a tad different. That difference is misunderstood when Reynard and Frances meet but they are more alike than Frances would like to admit. Mahaffey is just so lovely! Coyne as Susan is an unexpected friend to both Frances and Malcolm. Coyne gives her character a no non-sense attitude but at the same time, clearly fits into the Frances-Reynard love fest.

Shout out to Macdonald for being the one to make it clear that this group belongs together with the addition of one more to complete the circle of their life change in Paris.

Other cast include Matt Holland as Headmaster, Robert Higden as Mr, Baker, Larry Day as Ralph Rudy, Isaach De Bankole as Julius, Daniel di Tomasso as Tom, Christine Lan as Sylvia, Eddie Holland as young Malcolm and Tracy Lets as Small Frank.

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

The Bluray, DVD and Digital Bonus Material include Deleted and Extended Scenes.

FRENCH EXIT is a uniquely different film that has the sense of family, loyalty, and friendship – its just that they do not know it yet. These characters are so removed from what we would know as reality, but it works for them in a hilarious way. Pfeiffer takes the lead as the person who accepts the world she has created and even when it comes crumbling around her, she raises a glass to the next life adventure or death, whichever comes first.

The cast together is sublime as they find ways to fit into each other’s lives because they do not seem to belong anywhere else. There is a connection between them that is undeniable although Frances would sarcastically say otherwise. They each have something to bring to the new posse they have created and its worth watching how it all fits.

In the end - it is about a mother, her son and a cat that start again in Paris.


He is Surviving SIBERIA

Jeri Jacquin

Coming this week to DVD from writer/director Abel Ferrara, Christ Zois and Lionsgate Home Entertainment comes a man’s journey in SIBERIA.

Clint (Willem Dafoe) is a man struggling with his life in a place that very few people would find themselves in. Running a sort of tavern store, Clint comes into contact with the locals who he does not quite understand in language but sort of does in the harshness of the wilderness around them. 

Telling the story himself, Clint gives an overview of his life up until that point being a boy moving to Canada with his father and learning about the Inuit's who frequent the establishment. The arrival of two Russian women is where the break between fantasy and reality cause him to break. Dealing with his demons is someone he recognizes and that would be himself and it is harsh.

The massive depression leads him to load up his sled and dogs to go out into the unknown. Knowing things are getting gravely heavy, Clint discovers a cave where he must come to terms with everything about his life – the good, the bad and the tragic. His father and ex-wife are not going to let him get away without having their say.

What is real and what is a wish is for us to decide.

Dafoe as Clint carries this film from start to finish. There are scenes that are so intense, yet Dafoe carries that emotion as far as he can to just before the tension snaps and eases off to give us a moment to take in the next emotion. It is clear within the first 10 minutes that SIBERIA is going to take us someplace we have never been before, and Dafoe is our guide, and we cannot stop ourselves from following. Well done sir!

Other cast include Dounia Sichov as his wife, Simon McBurney as the magician, Daniel Gimenez Cacho as the doctor, Fabio Pagano as the monk, Phil Neilson as the Woodsman, Cristina Chiriac as the Russian woman, Anna Ferrara as Clint’s son and Laurent Arnatsiaq as the Eskimo. 

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.

Dafoe literally carries the film from start to finish as each of the cast brings him into a deeper and deeper realization that he can no longer hide from his life. As much as we might not truly be allowed into the meaning of his journey, it is not difficult to understand that the tragedy and life traumas that would bring the character of Clint to this point.

The amazing choice of locations adds to the uncertainty of what Clint is going through. In the wilderness you can only hide emotions and realities for so long before the past arrives howling on the wind and knocking down the door. 

Each hallucination brings the question of ‘is this real?’ then you realize that Dafoe’s character is asking the same question. After some time, it is easy to jump onto the sled because I had to see where Clint was going, and would he survive this obvious pain he was going through. That’s what Dafoe brings to this character.

It is clear that director Ferrara is asking a lot of the viewer because he does not stop for any explanation but instead gives us the ‘wait, there’s more’. It actually becomes quite difficult to break the story down while the story is still happening but let me tell you, once the film is over there will be plenty to discuss. 

In the end – this is a journey with an emotional destination!


It all comes in a FLASHBACK on Bluray 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray from writer/director Christopher MacBride, Grindstone and Lionsgate comes a story of a world in FLASHBACK.

Fredrick Fitzell (Dylan O’Brien) is a hard-working husband to Karen (Hannah Gross). When his mother is taken ill, life begins to take a strange turn. Trying to deal with his emotions, Fred finds himself unable to sleep and returning to something he once loved – drawing. It is also when flashbacks of his childhood begin to happen.

The memory of Cindy (Maika Monroe), Andre (Keir Gilchrist) and Sebastian (Emor Cohen) during high school comes forward. There is something that blocks him, something that is disturbing, and he cannot seem to face. Reconnecting with Sebastian, Fred is not getting many answers, but they find Andre and the conversation turns to Cindy. 

Remembering the last time they were together brings bad memories to Andre and Sebastian and want nothing more to do with what ever it is Fred is looking for. That night, each took a drug called Mercury with consequences they could have never imagined. Fred finds himself in the past and the present jumping from a life he once had to the life he is living now.

His work is suffering under the watchful eye of Evelyn (Amanda Brugel) When he finally finds Cindy, his life changes again but this time there is a nagging feeling calling him but to where next? Putting the pieces together he joins Cindy in the memory jumps on Mercury and experiences yet another life but is it all truly enough?

O’Brien as Fred has the unique opportunity to play a character that must see his life from different remembrances and for a time that he thought he wanted. He can not seem to piece together what is happening, what has happened and what is going to happen without anxiety pushing its way into it all. Of course, who would not yet O’Brien follows the leads he feels he is getting. Going from THE MAZE RUNNER to FLASHBACK is definetly a serious change and well done.

Monroe as Cindy disappeared from the group after high school, and she cannot be found by Fred. She is living a life that has kept her secluded with people she trusts yet when Fred crosses her path again, so does their high school relationship. Cohen as Sebastian is somewhat happy to see Fred but not to happy about the topics he keeps bringing up. Gilchrist as Andre has the biggest fear about that last night. 

Gross as Karen is trying to keep her husband focused on his work and spending time with his mother, but Fred keeps slipping away. She sees the results of the memories that have come flooding with no idea what is causing them. Brugel as Evelyn has a distinctive look and if she looks familiar, think The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu because she is awesome!

Other cast include Liisa Repo-Martell as Mrs. Fitzell, Landon Norris as the Scarred Man, Jackie English as Violet, and Aaron Poole as Pierced Man. 

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 Special Features include Director’s Commentary, Deleted Scenes and Theatrical Trailer. 

FLASHBACK is a film that digs deep into a world that is darker and more twisted up than anything a matrix can throw out. It takes one memory to open up a vastness of confusion for Fred and even as he tries to put the pieces together, the roads are narrow and hard to navigate. Following what ever lead comes his way, I was invested and had the same quizzical look on my face as Fred.

When he begins to believe everything that is happening, watching Fred challenge all he has come to believe is something relatable because don’t we all do that? Piecing thing together in our lives to find out what life it is we want against a life we thought we have missed? There are so many ways to see the message that FLASHBACK is trying to bring from politics to reality to choices – endless possibilities. Prepare to be taken on a wild ride.

In the end – in the blink of an eye your life can turn upside down!


He Lives in the Midst of SIN

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to DVD from Oscar nominated director Konchalovsky and Corinth Films is the story of the life and struggles of Michelangelo in SIN.

Michelangelo Buonarroti (Alberto Testone) is living in Florence in the 16th century working himself almost to death. Struggling to paint and sculpt at the whim of those who have money, and the church are breaking him. The Sistine Chapel has stopped the coin to his account which also is being dipped into by his father Ludovico (Andriano Chiaramida) and brother Giovan (Roberto Serpi).

Pope Julius II adores Michelangelo referring to him as ‘divine’ even if he causes the elder pontiff headache after headache. Wanting Michelangelo to do the statues for his tomb, it all begins to fall apart when there is a change from the Della Rovere family to the Medici family. He puts everything into the work, including going to the town of Carrara and looking for only the finest, purest white marble to work with.

That is when he sees a piece that will be known as ‘the monster’ for its size, local and how to get it down off the mountain. Being called to hold to his contract with the Della Rovere family, he is called to the chamber of the new head of the church Pope Leo X (Simone Toffanin) who wants a contract with him as well. He wants a new façade to the San Lorenzo basilica. 

Caught in between these two powerful families, Michelangelo becomes torn, and his mental state is pushed to the limits as there is no one he can trust. All around him is deception, secrets, death and his own questioning of the work of Michelangelo. 

Testone as Michelangelo carries the film from the first frame to the last. Trying his best to stay alive while making two powerful families happy is what begins to destroy him. Pope Julius II gave him plenty of space (no matter how aggravated it made him to do so) to create some of the most powerful, moving and stunningly beautiful art that still moves the human spirit today. Looking to make only the best statues out of marble, he struggles again between contracts, but it is those around him that want every fiber of his being.

Following the story, it is when he finds ‘the monster’ that I am riveted by Testone and his insatiable need for that piece of marble. Yes, it is beautiful but at what cost will it be to get it where he wants it to go. His world continues to crumble around him because each person he lets into his life wants a pound of flesh and a bag of gold to be either closest to him or closest to killing him. 

Other cast include Orso Guerrini as Malaspina, Jakob Diehl as Peppe, Glen Blackhall as Raphael, Nicola De Paola as Cardinale De’Medici, Anita Pititto as Marchesa D’Este, Antonio Gargiula as Francesco della Rovere, and Federico Vanni as Jacopo Sansovino.

Corinth Films has been distributing foreign and independent arthouse cinema to audiences since 1977. Beginning with such classics as David Lynch’s EARASERHEAD and Deferico Fellini’s 8 ½, Corinth’s most recent releases have included films by up-and-coming international directors such as Nadav Lapid and Mika Kaurismaki as well as acclaimed auteurs such as Andrei Knchalovsky, Mohsen Makhmalbag and Edgar Reitz. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.corinthfilms.com.  

The Bonus Features including The Making of SIN and Q&A with Konchalovsky moderated by Alex Kaluzhsky.

SIN is a story that will not let the viewer take one moment of breath no matter what the scene because there is always something more behind it. Testone’s Michelangelo can be sitting on a piece of rock, walking for miles talking to himself or confronting those around him and underneath it all is an artist’s madness that is gaining ground.

This is a large cast for this one hundred- and thirty-four-minute story and each contribute in some way to how Michelangelo responds to the situations in his life. From the Pope to the stone masons, he gets respect but at the same time jealousy rears its ugly head from Raphael to those who are supposed to be helping him. 

Underneath the madness as well is the artists beauty that he finds in a young girl’s hand and in a piece of stone making him feel a sense that what he does has meaning. I do not believe that Michelangelo could ever have imaged that his work, life and beauty could be seen and experienced five centuries later. 

In the end – deceiver, scoundrel and genius!


THE COURIER Learns About Spying on Bluray

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray and Digital from director Dominic Cooke, Roadside Attractions and Lionsgate Home Entertainment comes the story of country, secrets and spying when you are THE COURIER.

Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a hard-working British engineer and businessman who travels extensively to keep wife Sheila (Jessie Buckley) and their son Andrew (Keir Hills) provided for. It is a struggle with the constant fear of the Cold War and Khrushchev (Vladimir Chuprikov) as agencies struggle to get information.

Emily Donovan (Rachel Brosnahan) from the FBI enlists the help of MI6 and Bertrand (Anton Lesser) to work together. Especially since Russian Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze) has reached out wanting to give them Russian secrets. Donovan and Bertrand reach out to Wynne with the proposition of being the courier.

At first Wynne is hesitant worrying about his wife and young son but are assured that if there is any danger, he would be immediately removed from the situation. Not being a part of the government offers him some cover. On his first trip to Moscow, he meets Oleg and a relationship begins. As the exchanges happen, a friendship also grows and at the same time things heat up between the United States and Russia.

When the friendship is put to the test, Wynne will do anything necessary to protect his family and his friend Oleg. Both decisions may cost him everything! 

Cumberbatch as Wynne who is an average British citizen enjoying his work and returning home to his family. Listening to the radio with a cup of tea is everything in his world. When asked to become a courier, Cumberbatch gives us the other side of a very nervous man who wants to do what is required to keep his country safe. Cumberbatch gives us the right amount of nervous mixed with the right amount of bravery that being a courier took. I loved this role!

Ninidze as Oleg is stunning from the moment he is on the screen to the very strong scene with Wynne when it all comes to a head. Becoming friends with Wynne was probably not something Oleg thought would happen but sharing his love of ballet and even moments with his family bring these two men in a dangerous situation, normal moments as it were. Ninidze gave intense on top of intense and I could not take my gaze off of every movement he made. This is a combination of character calculation and actor calculation, and they equal superb.

Brosnahan as Donovan is a woman who knows what it takes to get the information they need. She pushes hard to get everyone to cooperate, and her pushes bears more fruit than they could ever have imagined. Brosnahan is pure go-getter and each step she takes adds so much to the already intense film. Buckley as Sheila has issues with her husband being gone for long periods and so far away. Their marriage becomes shaky as a result of his secrecy and Buckley plays it strong. 

Other cast include James Schofield as Cox, Fred Haig as Lee, Emma Penzina as Nina, Mariya Mironova as Vera, Charles Walter as Illya, and Angus Wright as Dickie Franks. 

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.

Roadside Attractions has, since it is found in 2003, grossed over $300M and garnered nineteen Academy Award nominations. They have had critical and commercial hits such as MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, BEN IS BACK, BEATRIZ AT DINNER, HELLO MY NAME IS DORIS, WINTER’S BONE and THE COVER as well as so many others. For more information of what Roadside Attractions has to offer please visit www.roadsideattractions.com.

The Special Features are On the Brink: The Making of THE COURIER. 

THE COURIER is based on the true story of Grenville Wynne who also write two books. In 1967 with The Man From Moscow and the 1981 book The Man From Odessa. The film takes its time progressing the relationship with the US and MI6 and once Penkovsky is introduced, it is easy to see how these two men put their lives on the line.

Cumberbatch and Ninidze are just sublime in these roles and give the viewer a reason for what each of them does and why. In that alone these two actors give their characters what is needed to keep us riveted in where the story goes and true concern when it all seems to come to a dangerous and inevitable outcome.

Obviously, I am being a little vague because, as with all films I find intriguing, I am a firm believer in seeing those details for yourself. THE COURIER is cinematically outstanding, and the costuming adds to the story being told by director Cooke. A fan of period pieces, films like THE COURIER will always get my undivided attention and high praise.

In the end – he is a businessman turned spy to save us all!


THE FATHER Tells His Story on Bluray

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray from director Florian Zeller and Sony Picture Home Entertainment Classics with 6 Academy Award nominations comes a heart-breaking story of THE FATHER.

Anthony (Anthony Hopkins, winner of an Oscar for Best Actor) lives in London and enjoy music and his very beautiful apartment. Daughter Anne (Olivia Coleman) visits on the daily and is trying to find a care giver to help him. It is rather difficult as Anthony finds reasons to either not have a care giver or finding fault with them.

Taking him to a doctor’s appointment, the questions begin about his memory. He becomes agitated and even confronts Anne about the potential of her moving away. Trying to keep things easy for her dad, it does not help that Paul (Rufus Sewell) makes it clear he is not happy with Anthony living with them.

Anne is doing her best as Anthony continues to believe that changes are happening without his consent. The only things that are consistent in his life lately is music, Anne and the memory of a daughter he has lost. 

Waking up one morning, Anthony begins to question everything to Catherine (Olivia Williams). When he puts the pieces together, he begins to fade to the point of no return. Sometimes reality is the cruelest memory of all. 

Hopkins as Anthony is nothing short of completely brilliant in this role. Then again, from the moment we meet Anthony it is clear that we are on his journey – not ours. Each frame he is on screen breaks our heart a little more and a little more until it is almost unbearable. Hopkins may have aged as an actor, but it has not slowed him down from giving a performance that is not only memorable but will remain so. It is a look at the other side of a world that is terrifying to accept.

Coleman as Anne is a daughter that clearly wants to be there for her father. She is dutiful and even takes verbal stabs from her father on occasion. Reminding him about her life and where she is at present does not resonate with him. When the conversation comes up about love and Paris, it is immediately rejected by Anthony. Watching Coleman go through the stages of caring for her father and still caring for herself are moments of conflict that are believable to the core.

Sewell as Paul serves his purpose but his attitude regarding Anthony is cold, cruel and dangerous. There is a scene between he and Hopkins that had me practically gut punches with emotion. Trust me when I saw you will know it when it happens and will probably have the same visceral reaction. Sewell has had angry bad guys roles but I think this may be as close to home as I would ever want to see again. 

Other cast include Mark Gatiss as The Man, Imogen Poots as Laura, Scott Mullins as Father, Roman Zeller as the boy and Ayesha Dharker as Dr. Sarai. 


Sony Pictures encompasses motion picture production for television, digital content and theater releases. To see what is coming to theaters and to home entertainment please visit www.sonypictures.com.

Special Features include Deleted Scenes, Homecoming: Making THE FATHER, and Perception Check: Portrait of THE FATHER. 

THE FATHER is a stunning masterpiece of storytelling and it is help up Olympus style by Hopkins and his heart crushing performance. He gets a hand up from Coleman as a daughter struggling to care for an ailing father and still have a life of her own. What makes this film is that every single moment is steeped in the reality of an aging parent with issues.

What makes this film even more amazing is the telling from Hopkins characters point of view. The constant questioning, the anxiety, fear, confusion and, with Hopkins, the charm of a man who does not realize the life he once knew is no longer right in front of him. 

Of course, I am being a tad elusive to the depth of the story and that is intentional. I still to this day believe that there are films to be experienced, truly felt and THE FATHER is such a film. The believability the story and actors bring is steeped in a reality that many parents and adult children face every day. It is a situation that can tear both into shreds as one lets go and the other tries desperately to hold on.

In the end - this is a story of family memories and loss.

She in Now Part of the LAND

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray, DVD and Digital from director Robin Wright, Focus Features and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is a story of sadness and living in a dark place hoping to be rescued by the LAND.

Edee Mathis (Robin Wright) has packed up her life, thrown away her cell phone and went to live high up in the mountains where no one could possibly find her. Filled with an anguish she can not seem to control, Edee has also left behind sister Emma (Kim Dickens).

The cabin she now calls home is in disarray, in badly need of repair and sparse in furniture but each day Edee gets up and finds something to do. Her goal is to become totally self sufficient and live off the land with no help from anyone nor want to see anyone. When the winter comes, she had no idea how ill prepared she truly is.

In the middle of a storm she meets Miguel (Demian Bichir) and Alawa (Sarah Dawn Pledge) who try to help her. Edee and Miguel start up a friendship based on need, Edee needs someone to teach her how to hunt and Miguel needs to be a teacher. The line is drawn when she makes it clear that she has no interest in the outside world.

Fishing, hunting and gardening become her life with occasional visits from Miguel. Just when she is becoming comfortable, he announces that he might not be back for a while. Edee accepts it until time passes and she realizes that something is wrong. Now she has to decide if leaving her cabin will give her answers.

Wright as Edee is absolutely magnificent or maybe I just wish I could almost do what her character has done without the reasons of course. This character is stuck in a pain that permeates every pour of her being and Edee has not found a way to make sense of it. Wright gives us stages of sadness, discovery, angst, growth and acceptance – not only of the past but of her life. It is a deep portrayal by an actress who takes an emotional chance.

Bichir as Miguel is a man who accepts Edee for who she is and does not try to press and keeps his word on the outside world. Teaching her what it takes to survive in the mountains that she does not intend to leave, Miguel wants to at least make sure she can feed herself. As their friendship grows, he shares his humor, laughter and even vocals surrounded by the beauty of a place they both love so much.

Pledge as Alawa is a friend of Miguels but sees what Edee is putting herself through. Dickens as sister Emma has no idea where Edee has gone and wants to be there for her but Edee has made other plans.

Other cast include Warren Christie as Adam, Finlay Hissong as Drew, and Brad Leland as Colt. 

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has just added an amazing film to their library and making it available for us to all experience and re-experience in our own home theaters. 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 Bonus Features on Bluray include Crafting LAND – Filmmakers and cast discuss how shooting in such a beautiful but brutal location added unique challenges and a distinct authenticity and Robin Wright: Feature Film Directorial Debut – Director Robin Wright reveals why this project stoof out from the others she considered for her feature film directorial debut, and how directing the film gave her a unique perspective on what she needed to give as an actress. 

Also, After the Trauma – In this piece we examine the mental process Edee goes through in the aftermath of tragedy, how her pain is relatable, and why this was the perfect time to tell such an uplifting story. 

LAND is a twenty-nine-day shoot and directorial debut for Wright and every frame is sheer perfection. The story is one of grief and the will to continue, even survive, when it is impossible to grasp it all. Wrapped also in the film is finding that place in the world where Edee can deal with it in her own unique way.

Another aspect of the film is the story of friendship between Edee and Miguel because they are so much alike. Miguel does not ask questions and Edee does not offer answers. Their friendship is solely based on hunting, drinking coffee watching the sunset over the vastness of her land and a wave of ‘see you later’ when they part.

That may seem strange to some people but in this film it works brilliantly. Both Wright and Bichir are so very talented that together they fill every inch of the screen with their characters. The film is slow paced and does not drag one bit, then again if it did I certainly did not feel it. Between the beautiful cinematography, the storyline and the two actors, LAND is a feast on so many levels of a wonderful film that is an experience. 

In the end – a story of humanity in the face of uncertainty.


​WILLY’S WONDERLAND

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on Bluray from director Kevin Lewis and Screen Media comes a riveting tale of campy and horror at WILLY'S WONDERLAND.

Driving down the road in Hayesville Nevada, a quiet man’s (Nicholas Cage) car hits a spike strip that causes him to have to call for a tow truck. Being told by Jed (Chris Warner) what the cost to replace his tires and having no funds, he is offered a one-night position that would take care of the bill. All he has to do is be the janitor at Willy’s Wonderland for owner Tex Macadoo (Ric Reitz) and clean up the place.

Liv Hawthorne (Emily Toasta) bucks against her Sheriff Lund (Beth Grant), she plans to take her friends to Willy’s Wonderland to burn it to the ground. Inside, the new Janitor takes his word seriously yet feels like something is odd about the animatronics in the place. There is Willy Weasel, Arty Alligator, Cammy Chameleon, Ozzie Ostrich, Tito Turtle, Knighty Knight, Gus Gorilla and Siren Sara and he is keeping an eye on them all.

Kicking up the music, drinking energy drinks and finding a pin ball machine, the Janitor passes the time by himself. That is until Ozzie Ostrich decides to be the very first of the animatronics to attack him. While this is happening, Sherriff Lund is telling Deputy Olson (David Sheftell) the story about the town and Willy’s Wonderland which includes who the animatronics really are.

That is when Liv arrives with her friends with the intention of burning the place but first, they want to rescue the Janitor who is still inside. None of her friends believes that the animatronics are moving until they are forced to believe, and the Janitor must repeatedly step in. 

They must somehow make it till morning!

Cage as the unsuspecting Janitor is cool from beginning to end without ever giving anything away. Loaded up on energy drinks, music and pinball, the animatronics do not stand a chance. He is calm, cool, collected and ready to kick some metal and plastic ass. I actually love Cage in this role because he is the only one in the film that is not losing his focus both in cleaning Willy’s Wonderland and dealing with taking out the trash. Fantastic!

Toasta as Liv is a young girl with a story of her own that is linked to Willy’s Wonderland and she has one goal – to see it turned into ashes. What she does not expect is a night filled with terror running from something that does not make any sense. Toasta is just as wild as the Janitor so they make an excellent pairing to survive.

Grant as the Sherriff tells the story of Willy’s Wonderland and it makes one’s jaw drop to think that knowing what she does, that going along to get along is okay. Let me tell you, if animatronics were freaking out my community, trust when I say it would be all hands-on deck for a fight like no other. 

Warner and Reitz are in it together from start to finish playing off one another in a bid to keep Willy’s Wonderland, well, operational. Sheftell as Deputy Olson does not have a clue about the town he is living in and even after he is told there does not seem to be much of a chance that he will help the over night janitor. 

Other cast include Kai Kadlec as Chris Muley, Caylee Cowan as Kathy Barnes, Terayle Hill as Bob McDaniel, Christian Del Grosso as Aaron Powers, Jonathan Mercedes as Dan Lorraine, and Grant Cramer as Jerry Willis.

Screen Media is an international distributor of television series and films, licensing content through theatrical, home video, pay-per-view, free, cable and pay television, and subscription and advertising video-on-demand platforms. With one of the largest independently owned libraries of filmed entertainment in the world and license agreements across all forms of media, the company is continually looking to add films and television series to its content library.

The special Features include Inside the Fun: The Making of WILLY’S WONDERLAND, Set Tour with Christian Del Grosso, Colorful Darkness and the Demon-Atrons: The Production Design of WILLY’S WONDERLAND, Fresh Meat: (The Cast) DVD Exclusive and Character and Production Design Artwork Galleries. WILLY’S WONDERLAND also has an excellent soundtrack that goes perfect with the film. 
WILLY’S WONDERLAND also has an excellent soundtrack that goes perfect with the film. 

Cage absolutely makes the film with his portrayal of the leather jacket turned Willy’s Wonderland t-shirt wearing one night janitor. Just everything he does has a purpose, and every situation gets the same ‘oh this?’ attitude. There is nothing that seems to surprise him which is pretty cool since everyone else around him keeps losing their minds.

I had such a fantastic time watching this film. It has a gitchiness to it as well as the feel of films from the 70’s. The story is campy, but the action is non-stop and spine tingling, literally. This is the new Friday night go to for fun times on the couch with popcorn and a group of like-minded twisted friends. 

In the end – let playtime begin!


The LAST ACTION HERO Makes it to Steelbook

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to everyone’s home entertainment library in a very cool Steelbook 4K Ultra HD Bluray from director John McTiernan and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is the LAST ACTION HERO.

Danny (Austin O’Brien) is a young kid who lives in the part of New York City that is not exactly walking down the street friends. Living with mom Irene (Mercedes Ruehl) who is widowed, Danny spends his time watching movies. His favorites are about a cop named Jack Slater (Arnold Schwarzenegger) who is almost invincible. 

He hangs out at the local theatre helping the projectionist, Nick (Robert Prosky). As kind of a thanks, Danny gets a ticket to see the early Jack Slater IV film. The story behind the ticket is that it once belonged to Harry Houdini. While watching the film, Danny finds himself IN the film! As the boy recognizes characters like Whiskers the cat detective (voiced by Danny DeVito), he tries to tell Slater that there are people he cannot trust.

When Slater’s boss Lt. Dekker assigns Danny as his partner, they start investigating Tony Vivaldi (Anthony Quinn) and Mr. Benedict (Charles Dance). Curious how they knew where to find them, they follow Slater and Danny home where daughter Whitney (Bridgette Wilson) is waiting and also manages to get the golden ticket. He also learns what it can do!

Danny finally tells Slater the reality of the situation once they reach Danny’s side of it all where he meets Mom Irene. Benedict, also in Danny’s world makes plans to deal with Slater by taking out the actor Arnold Schwarzenegger. That is when it becomes time to terminate the bad guys!

O’Brien as Danny is such a strong kid and has no problem telling it like it is. He is a character we can all relate to finding escape in the movies. We have all done that and we have all found characters that we embrace so we absolutely are with this young man every step of the way. 

Schwarzenegger as Slater (and himself) gives us the characters he came to be known for. Strong of course but also stubborn, relentless, and even funny. Here he is once again a cop with an opinion about everything thinking he knows what is best. This is a character we 80’s fans ‘grew up’ with so to speak and anytime there was a Schwarzenegger film in theatres, the lines were packed to get in. 

Quinn as Vivaldi gets a chance to play a role that is filled with a great story and a bad guys, not that he has not done it in his previous roles – this one is just a tad twistedly different. Dance as Mr. Benedict is as amazing as ever and, like Schwarzenegger, can give a bad guy everything needed without really using a bit of muscle. He has sharpened his career with these roles and will always be ‘my dear brother Numsee’ (look up THAT reference kids). 

Other cast include Tom Noonan as the Ripper, Frank McRae as Lt. Dekker, Ryan Todd as Andrew Slater, and F. Murray Abraham as Salieri. Cameos by Sharon Stone, Tina Turner, Robert Patrick, Mike Muscat, Maria Shriver, Little Richard, Leeza Gibbons, Jim Belushi, Chevy Chase, Jean-Claude Van Damme and Ian McKellen. 

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

4K Ultra HD Special Features include Newly remastered in 4K resolution from the original camera negative with HDR 10, All-new Dolby Atmos audio plus the original theatrical ADDS mix presented as 5.1+ original theatrical stereo audio, Audio Commentary with Director John McTiernan, Deleted & Alternate Scenes (presented in 4K with HDR10), Alternate Ending, “Big Gun” Music Video by AC/DC, Original Behind-The-Scene Featurette and Theatrical Teaser. 

Let us be honest with one another, the LAST ACTION HERO is on the list on any 90’s film fan because that time brought us some amazing and memorable films. It is a time when movies were actually put on the screen to entertain us in ways that had us leaving the theatres laughing and repeating our favorite lines – not so much anymore. Seems now all the films are full of lectures and telling us repeat stories from original films we refuse to emotionally let go of.

LAST ACTION HERO is fun, funny, entertaining, makes us cheer, jump, laugh and root for the underdog with every fiber of our being. It was a theatrical experience then and with the fantastically large flat screens and sound bars we have in our homes now – this is one film that can feel like it is the 90’s all over again and truthfully, that is not a bad thing.

Having LAST ACTION HERO in a very cool Steelbook is an absolute bonus and adds to its coolness from the 90’s to 2021.

In the end – the oddest pairing will save both our worlds!


THE MARKSMAN

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray, DVD and Digital from director Robert Lorenz and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is the tale of THE MARKSMAN.

Jim (Liam Neeson) is a rancher who lives on the Arizona/Mexico border raising cattle. The land has been rough, and he is still reeling from the death of his wife. Keeping an eye on Jim is Sarah (Katheryn Winnick) who sees how everything is affecting him. She also is a border agent and Jim calls when he sees immigrant cross the fence or finds someone in trouble.

In Mexico lives young man Miguel (Jacob Perez) who lives with Mom Rosa (Teresa Ruiz). They receive a telephone call from an uncle telling them to run as far away as possible. It seems the cartel is not happy and want to make an example of the family. Thinking they were going to make it; Miguel and Rosa are spotted by the cartel led by Mauricio (Juan Pablo Raba).

Managing to get across the border, that is not going to stop Mauricio and Jim finds himself involved in a shootout. Rosa convinces Jim to help them get to family in Chicago and after seeing what Mauricio is capable of, he agrees. The one who is the least happy about the situation is Sarah, especially after she discovers how vicious Mauricio is.

There is no time to think, and Jim knows he must stay one step ahead of the cartel if they are all going to make it out alive.

Neeson as Jim once again puts in the performance of a man who does not take anything from anybody. He makes it plain from the get-go that Mauricio does not scare him in the slightest. Knowing his way around weapons is what is keeping them alive. So, Neeson gives us his certain set of skills once again to protect a young angry boy. What I love about these roles is that he certainly takes his fair share of punches as one would expect which gives his characters realism in a sense. Calm, cool, collected and having a plan is the way Jim plays it.

Perez as Miguel is an angry young man that just wants to go home, except home is not where he left it. Not knowing how to trust Jim, I think the dog Jackson breaks the ice. Miguel seems a capable young man and proves it when his protector takes to drink. Perez is a young actor who plays his role with believability and smarts.

Raba as Mauricio is one cold hearted individual and that is what makes getting away imperative. This character has no problem it seems taking out one person after another, even if they give him what he wants. Creepy and scary at the same time and Raba gives us the look of a man on a mission who will never stop – ever.

Winnick as Sarah has a history with Jim and wants him to stay safe. Knowing that he tries to do the right thing, she wants him safe and the farther away he gets, the less she can keep him that way. Its good to see Winnick on screen again even though she will always be Lagatha to me!

Other cast include: Alfredo Quiroz as Carlos, Sean Rosales as Hernando, Jose Vasquez as Isidro, Antonio Leyba as Rigo, Dylan Kenin as Randall and Luce Rains as Everett.

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has just added an amazing film to their library and making it available for us to all experience and re-experience in our own home theaters. 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.

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

The Bonus Features of THE MARKSMAN include The Making of THE MARKSMAN.

Let us be honest with one another, anything that has Liam Neeson in it I am going to watch and love. In recent years he has truly brought some memorable roles to the screen and shown Hollywood that stellar performances can come at any time in one’s life. 

His choice in roles has one thing that stands out, the person he is portraying is just trying to be a good person and live within the world of his own making. It is only when someone comes along and tries to mess with that does Neeson’s characters shrug and say, “okay…if you want to play, lets play”. 

It is weird to say but when that happens, I find myself shrugging my own shoulders saying out loud to the screen, ‘dude, you asked for it’. A line is drawn and, in THE MARKSMAN, that line was clear, especially when dealing with crazy.

In the end – justice comes down to him!

Never Underestimate THE COLUMNIST 

Jeri Jacquin

Now on DVD from director Ivo van Aart and Film Movement is a story of the emotional truths about social media now attacking THE COLUMNIST.

Femke Boot (Katja Herbers) is a Dutch columnist and author struggling to finish her book. Taking a stance on how people can be cruel to one another on social media, she begins to become harassed on social media and even a few death threats. Concerned for daughter Anna (Claire Porro), all of it begins to drill itself into her brain.

Then she discovers that her neighbor is actually one of the people who has been harassing her on social media. It starts to become an obsession and the obsession turns to murder with a trophy. Oddly enough, her writing seems to have found itself after constant pressure from the publicist had slowed her down.

Femke also finds herself ready to start a very unexpected relationship with fellow author Steven Dood (Bram van der Kelen). As much as love is great and all, she can not help but continue to scroll social media and find those who would bring her anxiety level to a sleepless pitch. 

Anna is a high school student who protests happenings at her school and is pleased when Femke wants to help her in any way possible. She even likes having Steven around. That changes when she unexpectedly discovers a secret in the garage that has her second guessing everything.

In the meantime, be careful what you post on social media!

Herbers as Femke is amazing in this role giving it everything and more. Starting out just wanting to finish her book and have a break from the pushing of social media, Herbers’ portrayal of Femke is together on the outside and raging on the inside. As a woman who becomes obsessed with each post, journalists and columnists alike get to live out their own anger and hostility towards it all – minus the odd freezer collection.

Kelen as Dood seems to be able to whip out a book in no time which really unnerves Femke. Through their relationship she gets to see another side of him but it doesn’t change her obsession. Porro as Anna is a young woman coming into her own and using her voice. Encouraged by her mother to do so, she is also upset that there seems to be a lack of understanding and she wants to know why. I love that Porro is the rebel teen!

Other cast include Genio de Groot as Arend, Rein Hofman as Arjen Tol, Achraf Koutet as Tarik Bos, and Harry van Rijthoven as Head Master. 

Film Movement, founded in 2002, is an award-winning independent and foreign film company that has released more than 250 feature films and shorts. Theatrical releases include American independent films, documentaries, and foreign arthouse titles catalog such directors as Hirokazu Kore-eda, Maren Ade, Jessica Hausner and Ciro Guerra and Melanie Laurent. Bluray and DVD films bring such directors as Eric Rohmer, Bolle August, King Hu, Sergio Corbucci and Luchino Visconti and many more. To discover what Film Movement is all about and find out more about what they have to offer please visit www.filmmovementplus.com.

THE COLUMNIST is the story that has many levels to it. First, obviously, is that of a writer trying to make everyone happy without much success. Gee, that is totally relatable to fellow writers on every level. Then there is the aspect of social media that plays and plagues everyone’s life in some for or another. Femke wraps herself in the insanity with a prickly blanket of hate.

The main character is correct is wondering why we can not all agree to disagree without the war of disgusting words. Many, not necessarily writers, wonder the same thing. As a writer I find it wise to stay away from social media because of the ugliness it brings and the emotional detriment it can bring.

Yes, THE COLUMNIST is just a film, but it is a film showing how human beings do not give one flying frog about what Femke is going through. Their right so say whatever they want supersedes the humanity we should be showing to one another. Agreeing to disagree should be a given not an exception to the rule. 

That being said, the film is also brilliantly done, filled with dark humor, raw emotion and has a bit that I found my self feeling evil grins escaping from my face. Based on a short story by Windhorst, it plays amazingly as a full film with an ending that had my jaw drop. 

In the end – keyboards can be dangerous!


The Story Has One BIG FISH

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to 4K Ultra HD and Bluray from director Tim Burton and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment comes a tale that is one BIG FISH.

Will (Billy Crudup) has spent his life listening to his father Edward’s (Albert Finney) stories about his life. Finally letting Dad know how he felt about it, there happened a rift between the two. Years later, Will receives a telephone call from Mom Sandra (Jessica Lange) telling him that Edward is ill. Packing up young pregnant wife Josephine (Marion Cotillard), he finally goes home.

Once there, it is Josephine that gets to hear the story’s that Will has no interest in. Recounting the young days of Edward’s (Ewan McGregor) life, meeting the love of his life and having a family, Josephine thinks the stories are so charming. One afternoon Sandra takes Will into the garage where he discovers that perhaps the stories his Dad was telling him could possibly have truth to them.

Beginning with Jenny (Helena Bonham) the town Witch who had another story to tell Will.

Crudup as Will is a man who is at his end with the stories his father tells. As he gets older, so does the innocence he once held toward those stories. It is only when his father becomes ill does he take the time to learn to understand the man who became his father. Crudup’s character attempts to play along but in fact he is dealing with who his father truly is and Crudup does it amazingly well.

Finney as Edward who is the elder Dad is absolutely lovely in every way. When he tells his part of the story it is with such detail and excitement in his voice. Watching the relationship between the elder Edward and Will can be a bit of heartbreaking because of the rift that they are trying to pretend did not happen. 

McGregor as the younger Edward is optimistic, full of life, has amazing friendships and is laser focused on the one thing he loves in life – Sandra. Watching him go through everything just to be with her and making her life a good one is what Will seems to not be grasping. McGregor’s Edward just loves everything about life and even when there is a down time or two, he finds a way turn a frown upside down.

Lange as Sandra is gentle and loves the life they have created together. She lets him have his whimsical moments and actually cherishes them and I love that about her character. Bonham as Jenny also has a story to tell, and it certainly is just as charming as any story Edward has told. Cotillard as a pregnant Josephine delights in Edward’s stories even if Will keeps rolling his eyes. It is as if Edward has one more chance to make sure that the stories and memories are stored with someone who will tell them again and again.

Other cast include Alison Lohman as young Sandra, Robert Guillaume as Dr. Bennett, Missi Pyle as Mildred, Matthew McGrory as Karl the Giant, David Denman as Don Price, Loudon Wainwright as Beamen, Ada and Arlene Tai as Ping and Jing, Steve Buscemi as Norther Winslow, Danny DeVito as Amos Calloway, and Deep Roy as Mr. Soggybottom. 

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

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

Bonus Materials of BIG FISH include Newly Remastered in 4K Resolution from the Original Camera Negative with HDR10 and All New Dolby Atmos Audio and Original Theatrical 5.1 Ratio. On Bluray there is Feature presentation in HD Sourced From the New 4K Master, Tim Burton Audio Commentary Moderated by Mark Salisbury, The Character’s Journey: Edward Bloom At Large, Amos athe Circus & Fathers and Sons, The Filmmaker’s Path: Tim Burton: Storyteller, A Fairytale World, Creature Features and The Author’s Journey, Original Cast Interviews & Behind The Scenes, Easter Eggs and Theatrical Trailer.  

BIG FISH is an epic story with a cast that can never be duplicated ever again. Each character has a unique story to tell with Edward being the catalyst for them all. It is a film about the life we look back on, the adventures we love to remember, those who are part of those memories, what the truth is and what we chose to believe in the end.

All of those things are so glorious in their ways and it makes every moment of the film so lovely. There is humor, friendship, family, love and discovering the connection that was never really lost, only momentarily forgotten. Truth be told, I have watched this film again and again over the years and I am just as moved every time I see it.

BIG FISH if a film that only gets better with time and eighteen years later the truth of it all is that when you move away everything else – there is love.

In the end – it is the story of his life!
AMERICAN FIGHTER

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to DVD from director Shaun Paul Piccinino and Lionsgate comes the story of a young man trying to save his family by being an AMERICAN FIGHTER.

Ali Jahani (George Kosturos) is a young man living in the United States going to college in 1981. His parents are in Iran when he gets word that they will be coming to visit. Meeting them at the airport, he learns that tragedy has struck his family and they are still in Iran. Learning it will take a lot of money to get them out, Ali’s friend Ryan (Bryan Craig) has an idea.

Taking him to his Uncle McClellen’s (Tommy Flanagan) place, Ali is given a chance to make a large sum of money being in the ring. Showing what he has by accident, his fighting gets everyone’s attention. After his first fight, he meets Duke (Sean Patrick Flannery) who use to be a fighter but seems to have given it up just to hang around with McClellen.

When not fighting, Ali hangs out with the lovely Heidi (Allison Paige) and the two become close. He is running out of time as the war in Iran moves closer to his mother and the lawyer gives him only a few days to come up with the rest of the money. Duke knows there is something wrong and McClellen is the cause of it. So, there is only one thing to do, show Ali what he knows and set up the fight for his family’s life.

Kosturos as Ali is a young man who wants his parents with him in the United States as the problems in Iran intensify. When tragedy strikes, it reverberates into a large sum of money needed to bring his family together again. Kosturos gives us a son that will do anything for his family, even at a time when Iranians are not treated well.

Craig as Ryan is a friend to Ali and when he realizes that he needs money fast, knows there is only one way for that to happen. As both boys also are in college wrestling, they have to keep their fighting separate or risk getting caught. Paige as Heidi is an outgoing and lively young college woman who has taken a shine to Ali. There comes a moment when she does not understand everything about Ali, and it makes all the difference to them both.

Flanagan as McClellen is a man who has only one goal – to make as much money off the skin of others that he can. Seeing that Ali is a money maker, he does what he always does, uses the young man up. Flanagan has no problem playing the ‘bad guy’ because he does it so damn well!

Flannery as Duke has his own story to tell but it is hard to get it out of him when he’s neck deep in the nearest bottle of alcohol. Duke has the chance to teach a young man what he knows about fighting and the techniques that could possibly save his life in the night fight. Flannery’s character also knows what lengths McClellen will go to and does not want it for Ali.

Other cast include Parviz Sayyad as Mr. V, Salome Azizi as Mrs. Goli Jahani, Vince Bedford as Chet, Kevin Porter as Coach Jenkins, Anna Zielinski as Fiona, Christina Moore as Joy and John Ducey as Captain Martin.

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.

AMERICAN FIGHTER is the story of a young man dealing with the prejudices of 1981 and being Iranian in his college setting. Knowing that his family will not survive the destruction of his country, Ali knows he will do everything to get them to the United States. Motivated by love, Ali throws every punch with the intensity his emotions can muster.

Flannery has been extremely busy as this is his third film release this year. Most of his films are centered around the human condition mixed with the fighting style of jiu jitsu. Working with the character of Ali, Flannery as Duke offers these teachings to the young man as a way to not only bring him focus but save the ones he loves.

In the end – his battle never ends!

About Having a SENIOR MOMENT

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to DVD from director Giorgio Serafini and Screen Media is love, life and having a SENIOR MOMENT.

Victor Martin (William Shatner) is a man about his Palm Springs town, especially driving his beautiful car hanging with buddy Sal (Christopher Lloyd). Discussing how their friends are losing their fun, it changes when the lovely Kristen (Katrina Bowden) joins them for the evening. 

Keeping themselves entertainment with car local Pablo (Carlos Miranda) makes for a fun Friday night. That puts Victor in court to defend himself against D.A. Tess Woodson (Beth Littleford) and it does not go so well as the one thing he loves is taken away. He has thirty days to clear everything up and until then, he is grounded.

Fed up with being so limited, Victor meets up with Rock Kendall (Don McManus) who not only lets him know the wrangling going on but promises him, for a fee, that he will get his license back. Rock tries many different ways to get Victor to stop getting distracted and once again show skills!

At the local café where homemade sweets abound is Caroline Summer (Jean Smart) who loves the art created by Diego (Esai Morales) and has great help with Sonia (Maya Stojan). By happenstance, Victor runs into Caroline on a bus and now her in café impressed by what he sees and fixated by a clock on the wall. A friendship comes about between Victor and Caroline much to the dismay of Diego.

That is not stopping a great friendship from being the best part of their days!

Shatner as Victor is in the role of a man who can not get enough of his fast car and young women. Hanging out with his friends from time to time keeps him moving and getting a mental workout from Rock is filling his days. The best part is the wonderful chemistry on screen with his co-star who balances out his life. Shatner is hilarious and heart warming at the same time. 

Smart as Caroline is a self-proclaimed bohemian organic baker who enjoys the life, she has carved out for herself. Meeting Victor brings a little silliness and joy into her life, even when he does things that are not exactly what she is used to. Smart is charming and her character is not afraid to be wildly bohemian and strong in her convictions.

Lloyd as friend Sal wants his buddy to be happy and sees that with Caroline. Lloyd has really made roles for himself playing these cool characters. Miranda as Pablo is cool and feels an obligation to Victor. He really is sweet and, to my way of thinking, the younger version of Victor. McManus as Rock gives Victor the tools he needs to beat the wrap!

Other cast include Maya Stojan as Sonia, Melissa Greenspan as Officer Nancy, Joe Estevez, Jack Wallace as Ted, Kim Estes as Billy, Ron Gilbert as Mike, and Valarie Pettiford as Judge Miller. 

Screen Media is an international distributor of television series and films, licensing content through theatrical, home video, pay-per-view, free, cable and pay television, and subscription and advertising video-on-demand platforms. In 2017 Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, Inc. acquired Screen Media which is in its 23rd year as a leading global independent distribution company. 

With one of the largest independently owned libraries of filmed entertainment in the world and license agreements across all forms of media, Screen Media’s distribution capability enables direct distribution of all rights in all countries, thus enhancing the profitability of Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment productions. The company is continually looking to add films and television series to its content library.

The Bonus Features for SENIOR MOMENT WITH Director/Producer Commentary, Behind the Scenes with the Cast and Crew of Senior Moment and Bad Boy Rocker Music Video. 

SENIOR MOMENT is fun, charming, sweet, and filled with emotion and a caring many hope to find later in life. There is such a wide range of characters and each of them has a story to tell. There are old friendships that are solid and dependable, there are new friendships based on only moments of time, and there are friendships that turn into something quite beautiful.

This is a cast that brings years of experience to the screen for sure, but it is also a case that they never miss a beat working together. The story is unexpected and brought out a lot of giggles and a look at the conservation of a desert animal that needs a little attention as well. 

In the end – it is never too late to fall in love again!

NOMADLAND 

Jeri Jacquin

On Bluray and Digital from writer/director Chloe Zhao and Searchlight Pictures is the cinematic splendor of NOMADLAND.

Fern (Frances McDormand) has lost her job in Empire, Nevada when the US Gypsum plant shuts down and her husband has died. She makes the unusual decision to buy a van, get rid of belongings and find work. When a friend recommends the desert and a place where others who are living in their wheels, Fern initially says thanks but no thanks.

As the winter becomes stronger and the van becomes colder, Fern changes her mind and heads for Arizona. Each day she becomes more and more able to take care of problems that arise when she is alone. Taking a job at the RV park, she meets David (David Strathaim) who cares about what Fern is going through. When he has the chance to be with his family, David asks Fern to come and once again she says thanks but no thanks.

The worst happens when the van Fern lives in breaks down and the repairs are extensive. Turning to a family that wonders why she remains aloof, which makes her feet hit the pavement even faster back to the van. In the constant flow of people in and out of her life, Fern must make a decision about life and the road ahead.

McDormand as Fern is absolutely brilliant, stunning, epic and perhaps someone I relate to more than I thought I would. She offers up the life of a person who has never been as people wanted her to be and the decision to life a different life is normal. I think we have all had the moment where we wondered if we had the soul to pack it all up and learn to be totally alone. McDormand gives us a look at it and besides the bucket incident, its tempting for soul search reasons. She is a gentle soul but tormented at the same time.

Strathaim as David is a gentle soul and sees that Fern is as well but can not seem to let herself step into the next part of her life. Knowing friendship is all there is does not mean he will not take the moments to show Fern what is possible by hoping, wishing and accepting. Strathaim is the actor that always manages to be a stabilizing force in the roles he takes and I’m a fan.  

Other cast include Gay DeForest as Gay, Patriia Grier as Patty, Angela Reyes as Angela, Carl Hughes as Carl, Douglas Soul as Doug, Ryan Aquino as Ryan, Ryan Aquino as Ryan, Teresa Buchanan as Theresa, Karie Wilder as Karie, Brandy Wilber as Brandy, Makenzie Etcheverry as Makenzie, Annette Webb as Annette, Rachel Bannon as Rachel, Linda May as Linda, Swankie as Swankie, Bob Wells as Bob, and Derek Endres as Derek.

Searchlight Pictures is responsible for such films as SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, 12 YEARS A SLAVE, THE SHAPE OF WATER and THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING MISSOURI. They have an extensive film library as well as documentaries, scripted series, and limited series. For more information, please visit www.searchlightpictures.com.

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

Bonus Extras include The Forgotten America, Telluride Premier Q&A with Frances McDormand and Chloe Zhao and Deleted Scenes. 

NOMADLAND is a film that brings the effects of life from Ferns point of view. From jobs to death, friendship, long periods of solitude, avoidance, a silent life story and meeting people who do not judge her decisions.

McDormand says so much even when she is not saying a word in this character. She is actually playing off of everything and everyone around her. The scenery represents her emotions, and the rocks are the toughness to the breeze blowing as Fern tries to let go of so many things. Yes, it is absolutely clear that I am so moved by this film.

NOMADLAND is also a 2017 book by Jessica Bruder and it was McDormand who reached out to director Zhao about the project. She believed that “The groundwork had been laid. Most people love telling you their stories if you are willing to listen”. 

Zhao says of the work, “I’ve always been drawn to the road from a young person’s perspective, but to be able to step into the shoes of people who are rediscovering themselves on the road in the twilight of their years was a very interesting experience I wanted to have”.

And what an experience it is shooting in four months and basically becoming a nomadic cast and crew themselves to tell this heartfelt story. 

In the end – it is a chosen life!

The Truth is Exposed by THE MAURITANIAN

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to 4K Ultra HD, Bluray and Digital from director Kevin Macdonald and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment comes the story of a man known as THE MAURITANIAN.

Mohamedou Slahi (Tahar Rahim) has been captured and sent to Guantanamo Bay after the 9/11 attacks on America. He is not told what the charges against him are and lives day to day in a small cell. Nancy Hollander (Jodie Foster) decides to take on his case bringing Teri Duncan (Shailene Woodley) aboard. They head to Guantanamo detention camp to meet Mohamedou.

Their first meeting is tense as he does not have reason to trust two women he does not know. He listens to what they have to say and weighs his options quickly before agreeing to be represented by Hollander. What they do not yet know is that the government has enlisted the help of Lt. Colonel Stuart Couch (Benedict Cumberbatch) to prosecute the case. Couch had lost a friend so he is motivated by emotion.

Hollander tells Mohamedou that he must write down his life and what has happened to him. While that is happening, she and Duncan have gone through everything to be allowed to read all the paperwork since his capture only to discover the government has redacted almost everything. Couch is finding himself in the same predicament as to what Mohamedou was actually being charged with. 

As both sides attempt to do their job, it is Mohamedou who relives his worst nightmares at Guantanamo Bay before being allowed to have his say in court.

Foster as Hollander believes in her client to a point. It is his word against the evidence that she has read so far but like most of Foster’s character roles, she keeps going until the answers are clear. This actress has always been at her best when taking on roles of injustice and gives it her own unique take and in this film, it is the same.

Slahi as Mohamedou is a man trying to come to terms with how he got to Guantanamo Bay and how close he came to those who were terrorists. That is how he ended up spending year after year in a place where the questions were the same and so were the answers. Slahi gives his character a bit of standoffishness but that makes perfect sense giving the life and death situation his character is in.

Cumberbatch as Lt. Col. Couch is a man of faith and when the case is brought to him, he thought of his friend who died on 9/11. As the case paperwork comes in, he sees things that are curious and questionable. He realizes that the government is using his friend’s death as a weapon in the conviction arsenal, but his faith would never allow that to happen.

Woodley as Duncan is a young lawyer who is thrilled to help with the case. She enjoys their visits and believes that the wrong done to their client should be made right. Doing everything she can to be part of the process, her beliefs are challenged, and she must make a decision that puts them all at odds.

Other cast includes David Fynn as Kent, Corey Johnson as Bill Seidel, Saamer Usmani as Arjun, Denis Menochet as Emmanuel and Zachary Levi as Neil Buckland.

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has just added an amazing film to their library and making it available for us to all experience and re-experience in our own home theaters. 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.

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

The Bonus Features of THE MAURITANIAN are Alternate Opening, Deleted Scenes, Behind the Scenes of THE MAURITANIAN and more!

THE MAURITANIAN is a story of a man and the nightmare of Guantanamo Bay. The film dives into every aspect both legally and personally of his experience. At times his memories are disturbing and there are moments where he finds his own emotional and mental escape from everything around him.

At the suggestion of his lawyers, Slahi wrote a book in 2005 and Guantanamo Diary became an international best seller. It was his opportunity to share his experience and attempt to make people aware of what was happening.

In the end – he has a story that needed to be told!

They are Young VOYAGERS

Jeri Jacquin

In theatres from writer/director Neil Burger and Lionsgate is the story of being raised in isolation and being sent into space being the next VOYAGERS.

It is time to look for other places to live in the universe and Richard (Colin Farrell) is part of a space program that is creating children in isolation for a journey across space. The idea is to raise the children into young men and women who will take the ship across the vastness of space to a specified distant planet.

Richard decides that he must go with them in order to monitor them. He has come to care for the young people being sent up and is given permission to go. Christopher (Tye Sheridan) and friend Zac (Fionn Whitehead) are curious about everything and spend their time getting into harmless mischief. That is until they uncover information that had only been known to Richard and they are not happy.

This is the time where the two young men make a decision to either follow the plan or rebel in a way that could be dangerous for them all. Christopher tells Sela (Lily-Rose Depp) what is happening and begins to see a change in Zac who is collecting others to his side. When an accident on the ship makes it clear that it is time to choose a leader, two that were once friends become rivals for good and evil.

If any of them are to survive, each person will have to decide for themselves how they want their confined world to be – working together or total destruction. 

Sheridan as Christopher has a grasp on what their mission is and even when he discovers that not everything is as he believed, even then he understood there were serious implications for the entire crew. He could have easily chosen the road of narcissism but instead, when the truth comes slowly forward, it gives him options of survival. Sheridan does a fantastic job playing Christopher and if there were ever such a voyage, I would hope there were many Christopher’s on the ship. Sheridan gives his character a sharpness that kept me silently cheering every move his character makes. 

Whitehead as Zac has a friendship with Christopher that one would expect since they were raised together. As their trip gets deeper into space, it is Zac that gets deeper into a place that is dangerous for everyone. There is a rage that just lies underneath the surface and Whitehead’s performance lets you know that every moment his character is on screen is scary because there is no place to run! Whitehead has the unique ability to give a frightening stare that can fill the viewer with anxiety beyond belief.

Depp as Sela of course has the look of her very famous father. In her role as Sela, she is a straightforward ‘we have a job to do’ ship mate. When Christopher fills her in on everything that has been happening and his suspicions, Sela wants to do everything possible to stop the chaos just waiting around every corner. Constantly feeling the very stalker-like behavior of Zac, she is not a young woman to be trifled with either. Depp gives us a look at a strong, intelligent and capable space traveler who knows what it is going to take to survive.

Farrell as Richard decides to take this one-way trip with the young crew to keep an eye on their progress and how they handle space. He is also there to dole out advice should his young wards need it. As Richard, Farrell gives his character a soft spoken but stern leader model yet there is one of the crew that does not take to kindly to anyone telling him what to do. Farrell has given us so many unique characters (one of my latest favorites is from the film THE GENTLEMEN) in films so I expect nothing less from any film he does.

Other cast include Chante Adams as Phoebe, Quintessa Swindell as Julie, Archie Madekwe as Kai, Isaac Wright as Edward, Viveik Kalra as Peter, Madison Hu as Anda, Archie Renaux as Alex, Wern Lee as Tayo, Veronica Falcon as Marianne and April Grace as the Mission Director.

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. 

Writer/director Burger says of his film about the 80-year voyage, “It’s about human nature in a vacuum – who we are at our core and about a group of extraordinary young people waking up to sensual desires, to freedom, to power, and the thrilling euphoria that goes with that experience.” He also explains that he wanted everything in the film based in reality, “VOYAGERS is not a fantasy. The spacecraft is purely utilitarian and functional based on actual proposals within NANA studying space travel outside our solar system.”

Because of that, the viewer will feel totally drawn into what is happening knowing full well there is no where to go. These individuals are confined to a place where they either work out their problems or fall but if they fall, they fall totally. The ship is very practical and is very much like those aboard – to frilled and very plain to look at. I believe that is what makes these characters stand out as there is nothing else to distract the viewer.

When there is division among the young voyagers, again, there is no place to hide the rage and emotional turmoil which is frightening in the sense that one wrong move…. Buckle up because this is going to be a bumpy ride into space! 

In the end – what does it feel like?

AFTER ANTARTICA

Jeri Jacquin

In 1989, six explorers loaded up sleds, supplies and dogs heading out across Antarctica to be the first humans to do so. The purpose of the over 3,000-mile trek was to convince world leaders that there was rapid change there and to get leaders to renew the 50-year Antarctic Treaty to protect the area from those who would profit from drilling etc. 

The diary keeper of the journey was Will Steger and at the age of 75 and cancer survivor, he has decided to take on the Arctic completely on his own. Pulling his own supplies in a aluminum canoe and two smaller sleds. While on the trip he recalls the ’89 trip, those who took it with him, the perils and how it has affected him to this day.

His memory is completely clear about the 3,741-mile journey that lasted through months and months of cold, a 40-day storm that was merciless, trying to stay alive but also discovering what was happening to the ice they were riding on.

Steger has spent his life on journeys that have taken him to some absolutely stunning places that most of us will never see. Those journeys have brought him early to the realization that he wanted to help protect and preserve such places of brutal beauty. Spending time away and in a home that is secluded near a river, Steger understands who he is through the years and has embraced his calling.

Through photos and recordings, AFTER ANTARTICA is a riveting experience (without the cold) that allows the viewer even the smallest glimpse of what happened to these men. Deciding to take a journey like this is one thing, actually doing it from start to finish is exceptional. Even debating whether to walk the last few miles or get help with a truck is something none of these men would even consider.

What would bring such a film to viewers? It is director Tasha Van Zandt that tells the story of how that came to be. “My journey with Will Steger began at a very young age. Growing up in Minnesota, Will Steger was a hometown hero. It felt like everywhere I went people were sharing tales of his legendary conservation-focused expeditions. I remember being gifted a National Geographic magazine that featured his expeditions. I was immediately inspired by the otherworldly images and the way he had used expeditions as a tool for international cooperation and using his platform as a means of effective change.”

Steger received the National Geographic Adventure Lifetime Award, became the National Geographic Society’s Explorer-in-Residence, testified before the US Congress on environmental issues, has met world leaders and founded the Climate Generation nonprofit to search for climate change solutions. 

He has also authored the books Top of the World: Crossing Antarctica, North to the Pole and Saving the Earth. 

What makes this documentary to stunning is the world that Steger chooses to protect is one that has needed attention for quite some time. Every journey he has taken is to present to the world the effects of what we do on our world. Whether we can walk on these places or not, ridding our view from everything but the ice – there is nothing that can be argued. It is here and now, and Steger puts it right in front of us.

I could never imagine making such a journey as the men did in 1989, especially without the technology that we have today to keep track and help if needed. Those men were using a radio that would be useless today. When Steger makes his walk in Arctica, using a SAT phone once a day to stay in touch still had me jittery. 

That being said, watching him make the trek alone with vast miles and miles of nothing pulling a canoe behind him shows the dedication he has to the environment. At the same time, Steger knows that he can handle being alone for such a long period of time. Listening to his writings it is clear he had no problem expressing himself then and has absolutely no problem expressing his emotions now.

AFTER ANTARTICA spends its time expressing the dangers and without preaching at the audience, instead uses the footage and interviews to reach that place that makes us, as the viewer, want to know more and become informed ourselves – helping one voice at a time until the planet hears us all. 

In the end – he believes in the frozen world!


IN THE EARTH

Jeri Jacquin

Coming from writer/director Ben Wheatley and Neon is the story of what is IN THE EARTH.

Martin (Joel Fry) in on his way to meet fellow scientist and researcher Dr. Olivia Wendle (Hayley Squires) deep in the forest. Arriving at his destination, he is given warnings about the goings on deep among the trees. Also making the journey is Alma (Ellra Torchia) who is investigating strange happenings in the forest as well. 

Looking about the cabin they meet up at, Alma tells him about the folklore of the area. As night falls and they camp in the woods, she is woken up by something moving about the site. In the daylight they find wooden statues and a large, smooth black rock where a large rock would not be expected.

They find Dr. Wendle who tells them of her work with sound and the reaction of the earth to it and believes the items they found in the forest are part of it. She also tells them about Zach (Reece Shearsmith) who she has not seen in weeks. Dr. Wendle also knows that something is wrong with him and promises that he does not mean any harm. That is when a strange fog comes towards the three of them and now it is time to survive. 

Fry as Martin is looking to help a friend and becomes caught up in something he has no control over. Joined by Torchia as Alma, the two characters, with each step get closer and closer to a mystery they could have never anticipated. Every moment brings them answers but even more questions that they look to the good doctor for.

Squires as Dr. Wendle tries to explain to Martin and Alma about her research. From the music to the lights, Wendle believes that she can reach into the earth and connect in a unique way. She also explains the strange behavior of Shearsmith who plays Zach. He seems possessed by whatever is in the woods and who ever is causing his mental reaction. 

Neon is a film production company that is best known for such films as I, TONYA and one of the most incredible Oscar winning film PARASITE. With a total of 12 Academy Award nominations, Neon appeals to audiences that are looking for in-your-face storytelling. For more information, please visit www.neonrated.com.

IN THE EARTH is a film best watched in the dark for full effect (and it is uber cool in the dark) and with a huge tub of popcorn. The anticipation waiting for the answers, because I had a few, is almost forgotten because what takes over is the question “what is causing this?”. Thinking every answer under the sun, I realized that made the film even more enjoyable.

Wheatley says of his film, “It was kind of thinking of ideas about folk, horror and about the construction of myth. There is always a seed of truth in it somewhere but the trapping around it may be absolute nonsense. In this movie, there is a lot of different perspectives on this thing they cannot understand. That was the main idea; that there would be something almost alien that they are trying to come to an understanding with and they move towards that everybody making up lots of reasons and excuse for what it is.”

Having a small cast lets the viewer focus on the story and the characters which I truly enjoy. Their surroundings is another cast member with the deep forests and mysterious stone that keeps its mystery to itself.

In the end – nature is a force of evil!

VANQUISH

Jeri Jacquin

Currently in theatres and from director George Gallo and Lionsgate is the story of a mother doing what it takes for her child with VANQUISH.

Victoria (Ruby Rose) is a mom of young daughter Lily (Juju Brener) and spends time with friend Damon (Morgan Freeman). He notices one evening when they are over that there is something wrong with Lily and offers his help. Victoria is thankful to have such a friend but there is one catch and its as deadly as any catch can be.

Damon is an ex-police officer who became disabled in the line of duty but all around him is a home filled with luxury. He makes it clear that there is a reason for this, and Victoria is about to find out. Damon has taken her daughter and to get her back, Victoria must make five stops and pick up bags with insane amounts of money inside.

Knowing she does not have a choice; Victoria agrees but makes it clear that there will be a cost at the end. Damon keeps tabs on her as well as guiding her from location to location. What becomes clear is that with every stop, there seems to be a connection to her and each group she meets wants nothing more than to take her out.

That’s where they make their first mistake because before being a protective mother – Victoria was more oh so very much more!

Rose as Victoria is once again given the role of a woman with a certain set of motorcycle and gun skills. She has a past that is moment by moment trying to catch up with her. Being a mother means they can chase all they want but Victoria has something they do not – a ferocity that knows no bounds.

Freeman as Damon has broken their friendship by taking daughter Lily for his own gains. He is Victoria’s eyes for the sake of making sure she does not veer from the directions and, in a weird way, to keep others from getting their hands on her. This is not a huge stretch for Freeman because I love him both as a good guy or bad guy character mainly because one is never quite sure that is who the character truly is.  

Other cast includes Patrick Muldoon as Agent Monroe, Nick Vallelonga as Detective Stevens, Hannah Stocking as Galyna, Joel Michaely as Rayo, Miles Doleac as Erik, Paul Sampson as B.J., Ele Bardha as Max, Chris Mullinax as Detective Kehoe, Nate Adams as Rick, Reb Rob as Johnny, Bill Luckett as Father Thomas and Julie Lott as Governor Driscoll.

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 www.lionsgate.com.

VANQUISH is definetly an action film from start to finish filled with everything you would expect from a revenge film. The question is who is revenging whom? There is a lot to take in as the story starts to unfold about Victoria’s past and what Damon has been up to. Their worlds collide with hostility as Victoria believes that the relationship was based on true friendship.

Bullets, motorcycles, shotguns and bad water glasses are everything that this ninety-minute film bring. There are stories interwoven in stories so take a moment to unravel all of it until the film comes to its finale.

In the end – she has one night to save her daughter’s life!

They are Being HELD

Jeri Jacquin

Currently showing from directors Chris Lofing, Travis Cluff and Magnet Releasing is the story of a marriage that is being HELD.

Emma (Jill Awbrey who also wrote the script) is a writer who is also dealing with a marriage that needs attention. Going off to a fantastic house to themselves, Emma has the chance to take a breath. Dropped off by Uber driver Joe (Rez Kempton), he is nervous leaving her alone.

Letting him know husband Henry (Bart Johnson) would be joining her shortly, Emma is surprised when he shows up earlier than she thought. It does not take long before the couple realizes someone has been in the house and that someone takes control of the house. A voice (Travis Cluff) makes it clear that the couple is to do whatever it says to do.

Emma and Henry are not about to let a voice tell them what to do and just as quickly discover that there certainly are dangerous consequences for not listening. The voice wants them to behave lovingly towards one another and reconnect in a way that is respectful and caring. Emma and Henry begin to understand that they are trapped, and compliance is the only way they can buy time to break free.

Also in that time, the voice brings out secrets in their marriage and since they have nowhere to go, they must face it all, every ugly little detail. The most important question in the midst of it all is who is the voice and how does it know so much?

The answer is shocking.

Jill Awbrey as Emma is a woman who is dealing with a lot in her life. Trauma from her past and a disconnect in her marriage, she sees their weekend at the beautiful rental as a time to heal. Well, her way toward healing is not exactly what she signed up for and The Voice is going to make sure of that. Awbrey is not only an actress in her own right, HELD is her first feature film to be sure but she has written, directed, produced and starred in short films. She is an intense storyteller and HELD is proof of that.

Johnson as Henry wants the marriage to work and for them to be happy. He has been just as lost as Emma and believes the weekend together could be just the thing they need. As The Voice begins to make demands, Johnson’s character becomes the protector of his wife that brings them closer together. Fearing for them both he wants to find out what is happening and who is responsible.

Shout out to Kempton as Joe, the Uber driver with a heart. Of course, he does not deserve to be caught up in the middle of the marital drama, but things happen. From the beginning it is clear he is a caring person but Emma is already on the edge of her last nerve, so she does not really cut him any slack. That is until he comes back to explain himself but someone else greets him instead. 

Other cast include Zack Gold as Ryan Sullivan, Jener Dasilva as Graham, Jana Claire Price as Young Emma, Ian Jones as Sean, Ryan Shoos as Bobby, Liz Fenning as Jane, and Tessa Munro as Beth.

Magnet Releasing is the home of classics like Tomas Alfredson’s LET THE RIGHT ON IN, Ti West’s THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL, Andre Ovredal’s TROLLHUNTER, Neil Marshall’s sword and sandals bloodbath CENTURION and Tony Jaa’s ONG BAK trilogy. Recent released include the terrifying anthologies V/H/S and V/H/S/2, Xan Cassavettes’ stylish vampire film KISS OF THE DAMNED, and the sci-fi thriller THE LAST DAYS ON MARS. Upcoming films include Ti West’s THE SACRAMENT and to find out more of what is to come please visit www.magnetreleasingfilms.com.

HELD is a film about marriage, trauma, secrets, deceptions, and the possibility of getting past it all. The film is 98% relying on stars Awbrey and Johnson to keep us in the middle of what the couple is going through but once The Voice comes into play – it gets creepier than anyone can imagine.

Awbrey takes this story in directions that are frightening and kind of makes me glad I am not married!

In the end – to survive they must obey!


LOOKING FOR A LADY WITH FANGS AND A MOUSTACHE

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from writer/director Khyentse Norbu and Abramorama comes a look at life through the eyes of death while LOOKING FOR A LADY WITH FANGS AND A MOUSTACHE. 

Tenzin (Tsering Tashi Gyalthang) lives in Nepal and wants to bring to the city the best coffee shop in Kathmandu. He is motivated, has a plan and spends time looking for the perfect space. While investigating one place, he sees a painting on the wall that he does not immediately recognize. Meeting up with friend Jachung (Tulku Kungzang) to practice their music, Tenzin has a vision of a girl and soon after that he finds himself having strange dreams and sees his sister who passed away long ago. 

He tries to tell his friend Jachung about it several times but Jachung seems distracted by his relationship with Kunsel (Tenzin Kunsel). Suggesting that Tenzin see the Monk Oracle (Ngawang Tenzin), Jachung brings him unexpectedly to a party. That is when Tenzin learns that his life force is running out and he is going to die. 

The Monk Oracle tells the young coffee entrepreneur that he needs to find a Dakini in hopes of changing his destiny. A Dakini is the embodiment of feminine energy and they are not easy to find. Instead of listening to the Monk, Tenzin goes to the doctor to see if there is anything else wrong that can be cured with medicine.

Tenzin agrees to meet with the Master of the Left-Hand Lineage (Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche) who gives him specific instruction on how to approach and gift a Dakini. Tenzin puts everything else in his life aside to do as instructed plus he is given a sacred hand signal for anyone he thinks is a Dakini but it comes with a warning. 

Time is running out and Tenzin is panicked to find the one thing that can save him!

Gyalthang as Tenzin is truly magnificent as a man trying to live in the modern world while surrounded by a city that is deeply rooted in the traditions of its people and culture. Watching is journey through the film is one that is more relatable than people might realize. Not to say we are all going to check out in seven days but that he starts out believing his life is completely one way but perhaps it was the reality of it that was the real illusion. Well done.

Kungzang as Jachung is a good friend to Tenzin but does have a bit of a problem on the lady front. He seems a bit of a pushover and, to be honest, is not an attractive quality to my way of thinking. Yet with his friend Tenzin, he wants only the best and taking him to see the Monk was him being a true friend and I thought it charming.

Tenzin as the Monk is completely hilarious without perhaps intending to be so much. He is an ipad using, sunglass wearing, hipster Monk who puts the fear of life into the coffee entrepreneur. When it started to get a little bit out of his league, the one thing I’ll give him credit for is moving him over to someone who truly knew the rules of the dakinis!

Rinpoche as the Master of Left-Hand Lineage is not someone to be trifled with in the slightest. He does not play games and does not pull any punches. The Master quickly realizes that the Monk Tenzin had been seeing before did not exactly have Tenzin on the path. Seeing that Tenzin can be difficult, the Master makes it clear he does not have time for someone who is not serious about what must be done. Rinpoche’s character is exactly who I would want to tell me what’s what if I was in Tenzin’s shoes!

Kunsel as Kunsel is a young girl interested in music and seems very comfortable mixing tradition with the modern world. She fits beautifully into both except when it comes to the interest of Jachung. Kunsel is quite ready to change her life and is happy the way things are. That is not to say that life has something different planned for her. Kunsel is delightful but can put someone in their place if needs be and, honestly, she did make me laugh a few times. 

Other cast include Divya Dev as Dev, Karma Shakya as Karma, Kelsang Tethong as Tenzin’s Mother, Parikshit B. Rana as Parikshit, and Rabindra Baniya as Rabindra.

Abramorama is the preeminent global theatrical distributions and rights partner for many documentary and music films and is recognized for the consistent high quality of its work on award winning features. Over the course of 20 years, Abramorama has successfully distributed and marketed hundreds of films including Ron Howard’s Grammy Award Winning THE BEATLES: EIGHT DAYS A WEEK, Stanley Nelson’s MILES DAVIS: BIRTH OF THE COOL, as well as Academy Award Nominee and IDA Best Documentary Winner THE LOOK OF SILENCE. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.abramorama.com.

Director Norbu says of his film, “In this modern, scientific world – a world on the verge of creating artificial intelligence, and a world that disparages anything not amenable to reason 0 I try in this film to explore some of the last genuine residues of Tibetan mysticism. Even among Tibetans themselves, their traditional beliefs, and ways of behaving and look at the world are increasingly rare and today carry little if any weight. Yet, I believe this ancient wisdom, which reflects the Buddhist view of reality, has something vital to offer our modern world.”

He continues, “I intend this film to express the deep respect for feminine energy embodies in that wisdom, and to portray in a contemporary setting both the transformative power of this energy and some of the ways it has traditionally been invoked.”

LOOKING FOR A LADY WITH FANGS AND A MOUSTACHE is just so beautifully done. Marrying both the characters desire to live in the modern world and Tenzin’s newfound respect for mysticism gives actor Gyalthang a heavy burden. Yet his portrayal is stunning, and I felt while watching him as if I were intruding on his journey. I cheered for him and with each rejection my heart sank – that is what a stunning performance does. He may have been caught between two worlds based on fear, but he came to understand the old and the new could coexist.

In the end – two worlds can coexist when you believe!

THE COURIER Learns About Spying

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres this Friday from director Dominic Cooke and Roadside Attractions comes the story of country, secrets and spying when you are THE COURIER.

Greville Wynne (Benedict Cumberbatch) is a hard-working British engineer and businessman who travels extensively to keep wife Sheila (Jessie Buckley) and their son Andrew (Keir Hills) provided for. It is a struggle with the constant fear of the Cold War and Khrushchev (Vladimir Chuprikov) as agencies struggle to get information.

Emily Donovan (Rachel Brosnahan) from the FBI enlists the help of MI6 and Bertrand (Anton Lesser) to work together. Especially since Russian Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze) has reached out wanting to give them Russian secrets. Donovan and Bertrand reach out to Wynne with the proposition of being the courier.

At first Wynne is hesitant worrying about his wife and young son but are assured that if there is any danger, he would be immediately removed from the situation. Not being a part of the government offers him some cover. On his first trip to Moscow, he meets Oleg and a relationship begins. As the exchanges happen, a friendship also grows and at the same time things heat up between the United States and Russia.

When the friendship is put to the test, Wynne will do anything necessary to protect his family and his friend Oleg. Both decisions may cost him everything! 

Cumberbatch as Wynne who is an average British citizen enjoying his work and returning home to his family. Listening to the radio with a cup of tea is everything in his world. When asked to become a courier, Cumberbatch gives us the other side of a very nervous man who wants to do what is required to keep his country safe. Cumberbatch gives us the right amount of nervous mixed with the right amount of bravery that being a courier took. I loved this role!

Ninidze as Oleg is stunning from the moment he is on the screen to the very strong scene with Wynne when it all comes to a head. Becoming friends with Wynne was probably not something Oleg thought would happen but sharing his love of ballet and even moments with his family bring these two men in a dangerous situation, normal moments as it were. Ninidze gave intense on top of intense and I could not take my gaze off of every movement he made. This is a combination of character calculation and actor calculation and they equal superb.

Brosnahan as Donovan is a woman who knows what it takes to get the information they need. She pushes hard to get everyone to cooperate, and her pushes bears more fruit than they could ever have imagined. Brosnahan is pure go-getter and each step she takes adds so much to the already intense film. Buckley as Sheila has issues with her husband being gone for long periods and so far away. Their marriage becomes shaky as a result of his secrecy and Buckley plays it strong. 

Other cast include James Schofield as Cox, Fred Haig as Lee, Emma Penzina as Nina, Mariya Mironova as Vera, Charles Walter as Illya, and Angus Wright as Dickie Franks. 

Roadside Attractions has, since it is found in 2003, grossed over $300M and garnered nineteen Academy Award nominations. They have had critical and commercial hits such as MANCHESTER BY THE SEA, BEN IS BACK, BEATRIZ AT DINNER, HELLO MY NAME IS DORIS, WINTER’S BONE and THE COVER as well as so many others. For more information of what Roadside Attractions has to offer please visit www.roadsideattractions.com.

THE COURIER is based on the true story of Grenville Wynne who also write two books. In 1967 with The Man From Moscow and the 1981 book The Man From Odessa. The film takes its time progressing the relationship with the US and MI6 and once Penkovsky is introduced, it is easy to see how these two men put their lives on the line.

Cumberbatch and Ninidze are just sublime in these roles and give the viewer a reason for what each of them does and why. In that alone these two actors give their characters what is needed to keep us riveted in where the story goes and true concern when it all seems to come to a dangerous and inevitable outcome.

Obviously, I’m being a little vague because, as with all films I find intriguing, I am a firm believer in seeing those details for yourself. THE COURIER is cinematically outstanding and the costuming adds to the story being told by director Cooke. A fan of period pieces, films like THE COURIER will always get my undivided attention and high praise.

In the end – he is a businessman turned spy to save us all!



She in Now Part of the LAND

Jeri Jacquin

Coming from director Robin Wright and Focus Features is a story of sadness and living in a dark place hoping to be rescued by the LAND.

Edee Mathis (Robin Wright) has packed up her life, thrown away her cell phone and went to live high up in the mountains where no one could possibly find her. Filled with an anguish she can not seem to control, Edee has also left behind sister Emma (Kim Dickens).

The cabin she now calls home is in disarray, in badly need of repair and sparse in furniture but each day Edee gets up and finds something to do. Her goal is to become totally self sufficient and live off the land with no help from anyone nor want to see anyone. When the winter comes, she had no idea how ill prepared she truly is.

In the middle of a storm she meets Miguel (Demian Bichir) and Alawa (Sarah Dawn Pledge) who try to help her. Edee and Miguel start up a friendship based on need, Edee needs someone to teach her how to hunt and Miguel needs to be a teacher. The line is drawn when she makes it clear that she has no interest in the outside world.

Fishing, hunting and gardening become her life with occasional visits from Miguel. Just when she is becoming comfortable, he announces that he might not be back for a while. Edee accepts it until time passes and she realizes that something is wrong. Now she has to decide if leaving her cabin will give her answers.

Wright as Edee is absolutely magnificent or maybe I just wish I could almost do what her character has done without the reasons of course. This character is stuck in a pain that permeates every pour of her being and Edee has not found a way to make sense of it. Wright gives us stages of sadness, discovery, angst, growth and acceptance – not only of the past but of her life. It is a deep portrayal by an actress who takes an emotional chance.

Bichir as Miguel is a man who accepts Edee for who she is and does not try to press and keeps his word on the outside world. Teaching her what it takes to survive in the mountains that she does not intend to leave, Miguel wants to at least make sure she can feed herself. As their friendship grows, he shares his humor, laughter and even vocals surrounded by the beauty of a place they both love so much.

Pledge as Alawa is a friend of Miguels but sees what Edee is putting herself through. Dickens as sister Emma has no idea where Edee has gone and wants to be there for her but Edee has made other plans.

Other cast include Warren Christie as Adam, Finlay Hissong as Drew, and Brad Leland as Colt. 

Focus Features’ mission is to make a lasting impact on global audiences by creating the home for artists to share diverse, distinctive stories that inspire human connection. Focus Features is part of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies that brings entertainment and news to a global audience. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.focusfeatures.com.

LAND is a twenty-nine day shoot and directorial debut for Wright and every frame is sheer perfection. The story is one of grief and the will to continue, even survive, when it is impossible to grasp it all. Wrapped also in the film is finding that place in the world where Edee can deal with it in her own unique way.

Another aspect of the film is the story of friendship between Edee and Miguel because they are so much alike. Miguel does not ask questions and Edee does not offer answers. Their friendship is solely based on hunting, drinking coffee watching the sunset over the vastness of her land and a wave of ‘see you later’ when they part.

That may seem strange to some people but in this film it works brilliantly. Both Wright and Bichir are so very talented that together they fill every inch of the screen with their characters. The film is slow paced and does not drag one bit, then again if it did I certainly did not feel it. Between the beautiful cinematography, the storyline and the two actors, LAND is a feast on so many levels of a wonderful film that is an experience. 

In the end – a story of humanity in the face of uncertainty.


THE VAULT Brings Thrills and Suspense

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Select Theatres, Digital and On Demand from director Jaume Balaguero, Saban Films and Paramount Pictures is the thrill to the finish getting in THE VAULT.

Walter Moreland (Liam Cunningham) is after the treasure of a lifetime to find the buried fortune of Sir Frances Drake. Along with his crew Lorraine (Astrid Berges-Frisbey), James (Sam Riley), Simon (Luis Tosar) and Klaus (Alex Stein), they have searched the ocean bed for clues. Bringing up treasure, it is quickly taken away from them and put in the Bank of Spain.

Thom Laybrick (Freddie Highmore) is a brilliant engineer being haggled by his father for not choosing job offers from prestigious employers. Receiving a mysterious txt, he follows the clues and meets Lorraine who tells him he can either go back to his mundane life or follow her to something much more exciting.

Intrigues, Thom is introduced to Walter and he is told the story of the treasure taken and where it is. He is not clear just what is being asked of him until it is explained that the group who found the treasure want a piece of it back. Walter introduces Thom to the crew and gives him the gist of what they need – to get into a vault no one has ever seen before! 

They need Thom’s mind to help them piece together what could be seen as an impossible task. Their cover is Spain’s World Cup Final with thousands and thousands of fans flocking the streets keeping law enforcement focused on the center of town giving the group time to take their chances. 

What they are attempting is all based on planning and Thom’s ability to follow the clues to get what Walter is looking for.

Highmore as Thom is not thrilled with his options once he graduates from school, feeling those who want his skill - want it for the wrong reasons. Pressured by his father to make a choice, it is easy to see why Thom is drawn to do something so unexpected. Highmore gets a fantastic opportunity to show what he can do in a role that is different from everything he has done as a kid or television show The Good Doctor. As Thom, Highmore gets the opportunity to stretch and does a wonderful job in the process.

Cunningham as Walter is not happy that Spain has taken what he rightfully found. So, he does what any good treasure hunter would do – find a way to get the treasure again. Looking to his team to make that happen, he sees something in Thom that is the final piece of a mysterious puzzle. Trusting the young man has the chops for not only the job and what it would mean if they failed, Walter holds his breath several times. Cunningham is a strong leader of the group but that should not be a surprise. He is actually one of my favorite actors from the HBO series Game of Thrones as Davos Seaworth.

Riley as James is not at all happy that Walter has brought Thom into their plans. Seeing him as just a kid getting in the way, he slowly is surprised by what “the kid” brings to the table. As the days get closer to the heist. Riley gives us the brooding ex-military who feels a friendship with Walter. Riley is such an interesting actor because he gives nothing away and I like that. 

Frisbey as Lorraine recruits Thom but as their mission constantly changes, she finds herself very protective of him. Feeling like the young man really needs to walk away, Thom makes it clear that he is totally in it until the end. Frisbey does not give up her own secrets but is loyal to Walter absolutely.

Tosar and Klein each have a part to play as Simon and Klaus. They are deep into the plan and are thrilled with Thom’s ability to solve the smaller problems and even more impressed when he begins to solve the larger issues. They are just as loyal to Walter!

Other cast include Jose Coronado as Gustavo, Emilio Caba as the Chairman, Julius Cotter, Hunter Tremayne, Eric Goode, Craig Stevenson as the Executives and Famke Janssen as Margaret. 

Paramount Pictures is the longest operating and remaining major studio in Hollywood that has been on the ground floor of every major development in film. During our 100-year history, we have served as the production site for thousands of notable movies and television shows. For more please visit www.paramountstudios.com.

Saban Films was launched in 2014 and has built an impressive slate of high-quality feature films. Focusing on talent-driven films, the company looks at projects in all stages of production to be released across multiple platforms. Films such as SISTER OF THE GROOM, FATMAN and BREACH are part of the wonderful Saban slate, and more information can be found at www.sabanfilms.com.

THE VAULT is a thriller that is smart and fun to experience. The story sucks you in and then lets you breathe for a second before pulling the rug out. There is tension as problems become clear leaving it to Highmore’s character to help solve keeping the heist alive. 

Using a huge fan base that love soccer into the story is actually quite cool because it makes for a backdrop and important character in the film. Law enforcement from the bank or across the street try to solve little problems but a crowd watching the finals of a soccer game are not helping their suspicions of a heist.

So, sit back, have a little fun and enjoy the thrill of what is inside THE VAULT. 

In the end – it is the score of a lifetime!





NO MAN’S LAND

Jeri Jacquin


Coming from director Conor Allyn, writer Jake Allyn and IFC Films comes the story of borders and mistakes when living in NO MAN’S LAND.

Bill (Frank Grillo) and Monica Greer (Andie MacDowell) live on a ranch right on the border between the United States and Mexico. Bill is constantly irritated by the immigrants illegally crossing the borders and messing up his fence and stealing livestock. Brothers Lucas (Alex MacNicoll) and Jackson (Jake Allyn) help their father protect the land. 

On the other side of the border is Gustavo (Jorge A. Jimenez), a father who is bringing his young son across the border in the night. Bill and the boys go after the immigrants and after a misunderstanding Jackson accidentally shoots Gustavo’s son and Lucas is hurt. Texas Ranger Ramirez (George Lopez) investigates what has happened but not before Jackson takes off.

Making his way to Mexico, he now becomes the illegal alien looking for Gustavo. Luis (Andres Delgado) wants to help Gustavo find revenge and makes it his mission to find Jackson and make him pay. Ramirez goes after Jackson as well. Along the way he finds people willing to help him, protect him and, the hope that he will be forgiven. 

He must try!

Allyn as Jackson is a young man overwrought with guilt and caught between fathers. Trusting in his own father and wanting to keep the ranch intact and seeing the destruction of a family in another family’s eyes. Deciding to break away and take his own journey, he leaves his family behind and now has a Texas Ranger giving chase. Allyn as Jackson is endearing and knows the only way he can move forward with his life and face it all is to find Gustavo.

Jimenez as Gustavo is a man dealing with death yet not dealing with the part he played in it. Instead, he allows his grief to overwhelm him to anger and it is felt by Luis leading him down a destructive path. In the scene between Jimenez and Allyn at the end are the most powerful I have seen in a film for long time. 

Grillo as Bill is hostage and angry at the destruction to his ranch and the illegal immigrants that make their way through his land. When he has finally had enough, that is when everything takes a horrible turn and the repercussions for the Greer family. MacDowell as Monica is caught up in her husband’s eagerness to clear out his lands but when it affects her sons, now you have made Mama Bear angry.

Lopez as the Ranger Ramirez seems to be nonchalant about his job until he is called to the Greer ranch. Trying to get answers from the family, it is clear that someone is lying and when Jackson makes a run for it, Ramirez knows he must go across the border to capture him. Delgado as Luis is an angry young man and he takes full advantage of that by abusing his own people so imagine what he wants to do to a young American accused of murder. 

Other cast include Esmeralda Pimentel as Victoria, Ofelia Medina as Lupe, Andres Delgado as Luis, Sandra Zellweger as Raquel, Julieta Ortiz as Rosa, Fernando Cuautie as Enrique, Juan Remolina as Hector, and Alessio Valentini as Fernando.

IFC Films is a leading distributor of quality talent-driven independent films. Some of the company’s successes include BOYHOOD, FRANCES HA, MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING, Y TU MAMA TAMBIEN, TOUCHING THE VOID, CHE, TINY FURNITURE and CARLOS. For more information on films from IFC please visit www.ifcfilms.com.

NO MAN’S LAND is a look at the immigrant story from a totally different point of view. The Greer family has their own set of beliefs about the land that they live off of and those who cross the border through it. Their frustration is left unchecked and the town Texas Ranger does not seem to have a feel for it one way or the other. 

The story that director Allyn is telling is that of a young man trying to find a way to forgive himself and only seeing Gustavo can make that possible. In the process he sees Gustavo’s way of life and the people he and his family have misunderstood all along. 

In the end – the only way back is to cross the line!