It's a dirty job but someone has to view 'em!


January 2016

THE ASSASSIN Brings a Silent Beauty to Bluray

the assassin dvd


Jeri Jacquin

This week from director Hou Nsiao Hsien and Well Go USA Entertainment comes a brilliant piece of storytelling with the fate of THE ASSASSIN.

It is China in the 9th Century as a young girl is taken away from her father who is a general and trained in martial arts. Trained to be swift, the young girl grows into one of the lands greatest assassins.

Until she is given a task that she can not carry out. Returning to the Nun Chiang Nu (Shao-Huai Chang) who has trained her, the course takes a new turn. Now she must take out a Tian Ji’an (Chang Chen) whom she was betrothed to and is now in charge of the largest military in North China. Married to another, Yinniang watches from the shadows as he tells his wife what is happening.

Home for less than a day she has made herself known to Tian Ji’an but this is no ordinary homecoming. He knows more about what happened to Yinniang and she is holding him accountable for it all.

Yinniang (Shu Qi) must now come to terms with the story of her parents, memories of events that she never understood before and face the man she is ordered to kill.

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Qi as Yinniyang gives such an amazing performance. She doesn’t speak much but instead lets others do the talking digging themselves in deeper. Observing and witnessing what has happened to the lives of those she is meant to hate – it truly is a matter of time before they destroy themselves. Wanting to carry out her family’s revenge, Qi’s character is perfectly capable of making it happen but shows such restraint and, at the same time, thrilling skill.

Chen as Tian Ji’an is a man who wants to control everything and everyone around him. That begins to unravel, just like his nerves, when Yinniang makes her presence known. He doesn’t need an explanation as to why she is there or what her intentions are. Instead, he tries to manipulate the situation. He underestimates his opponent greatly!

Other cast include: Satoshi Tsumabuki as The Mirror Polisher, Nikki Hsin-Ying Hsieh as Huji, Ethan Juan as Xia Jing, Zhen Yu Lei as Tien Xing, Fang Mei as Yinniang’s Grandmother, Dahong Ni as Nie Feng, Jacques Picoux as Lady Tian’s Teacher, Fang-yi Sheu as Princess Jiacheng, Mei Yong as Yinniang’s Mother and Yu Zhou as Lady Tian.

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give THE ASSASSIN four tubs of popcorn out of five. This truly is such a different film in the way in which the story is presented with cinematic beauty. There isn’t a large amount of dialogue but instead the tale is told visually and with non-verbal performances.

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I adore the costuming because it adds so much. There is such elegance in the costuming that adds so much in the movement of not only the fight scenes, but the movement of the other female characters.

THE ASSASSIN has won for Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival and Official Selections of the Toronto International Film Festival and the New York Film Festival.

The Bluray includes bonus features with Behind the Scenes, Trailer, and English-French subtitles.

In the end – she will unravel their secrets!


Speaking with Director Craig Gillespie and Producer Jim Whitaker

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Jeri Jacquin

This week from director Craig Gillespie and Walt Disney Pictures comes the true and inspirational story of men who comes together during THE FINEST HOURS.

In 1952, young Boatswains Mate First Class Bernie Webber (Chris Pine) is stationed off of Cape Cod. Keeping much to himself because of a prior rescue, Bernie is a stickler for the rules. Meeting a feisty and forward Miriam (Holliday Grainer), Webber is proposed to and now feels he needs the permission of his superior Daniel Cluff (Eric Bana). Wanting to ask, he is interrupted when a storm slams the seas.

On the SS Pendleton, Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck) is trying to keep his ship together. As one wave hits the boat, it becomes clear that if they are to survive, the screw must come together to keep the ship afloat until help arrives. When the calls comes in, Webber along with Seaman Richard Livesey (Ben Foster), Engineman Third Class Andrew Fitzgerald (Kyle Gallner) and Seaman Wallace Quirey (John Ortiz) get in their small twelve-man boat and head out – but first they must get through the monster waves at the mouth of the port.

Back on the drifting Pendleton, Sybert is dealing with a crew that wants to leave the ship. It is with the help of Frank Fauteux (Graham McTavish) that they begin to rig the boat to head to short where rescuers might have a better chance to reach them. The waves show no mercy as the snow is blinding as Webber keeps his resolve to move forward and find the men of the Pendleton.

It is the three men on a surfboat and the crew of the Pendleton that show us the meaning of bravery!


Pine as Webber has taken on a role I didn’t expect. Instead of his flashy Captain Kirk smile and witticisms, Pine gives us a character that is introspective, unsure at times but knows that without someone going into the angry ocean, the lives of the men on the Pendleton would be lost. I enjoyed his portrayal of Webber and trusted in what he was doing. I can’t imagine doing any of that in the first place, let alone in 1952 when boats didn’t have the same safety measures or equipment they do today.

Affleck as Sybert is equally as introspective in this role. He knows what he knows but won’t force anyone to take his word. Sybert is very McGyver in a situation I’m sure was unlike none that had been seen before. I have to say I was pretty impressed with this characters concern when clearly there were those who didn’t have everyone’s best interests at heart. Affleck is a cool customer!

Foster as Livesey has a bone to pick with Pine’s character over an accident. Never truly resolving the issue, it makes the rescue boat a little more tense. The struggle to survive is made more difficult by Livesey’s anger. Gallner as Fitzgerald is a frightened kid to say the very least yet he keeps it together following the lead of Webber. Ortiz as Quirey jumped into the fray without a second thought which dropped my jaw a bit but well done!

Bana as Cluff begins his time at the Cape constantly being questioned, second guessed and has Miriam to deal with. McTavish as Fauteux definitely is a guy I’d want on my side when things go as bad as they did for the Pendleton.

Grainier as Miriam is feisty, flashy and a temper that won’t be tamed when it comes to learning of the danger Webber is facing. The only question I had is why did she run out of the Cape station without her coat? I was happy to learn that I wasn’t the only person in the screening who had that question.

Other cast include: Josh Stewart as Tchuda Southerland, Rachel Brosnahan as Bea Hansen, Michael Raymond-James as Seaman Brown, John Magaro as Seaman Ervin Maske, Matthew Maher as Carl Nickerson, Benjamin Koldyke as Sam, Beau Knapp as Mel Gouthro and Abraham Benrubi as Tiny Meyers.

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TUBS OF POPCORN: I give THE FINEST HOURS three and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. THE FINEST HOURS is based on the book by Michael J. Tougias and Casey Sherman The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Most Daring Sea Rescue.

I had the opportunity to speak with Director Craig Gillespie as well as Producer Jim Whitaker about THE FINEST HOURS, casting, special effects and the message they want to bring to audiences.

Hello gentlemen! I saw the film and I am a sucker for anything ocean but if you throw in disaster it’s even better along with it being a true story. What made you decide to take on this epic story?

Jim: My wife read the book and thought it would make an amazing film. It’s an incredible story and the more you read it the more you think ‘how did this happen?’ and it rolled right out. We were trying to find stories that would make a great movie and this was definitely one. It happened very quickly because we loved it so we brought it right to Disney. They said it would be a great film for them as well. It is exciting and very castable and intense. There are two parts to it really and you are right that it’s an epic film and Craig made it epic. It became more and more epic.

Craig: I was waiting for someone to tell me to stop!

Jim: There is this incredible humanity underneath it as well. You get the epic moments but also moments of humility and grace and emotions. It’s that balance is what makes for a great movie experience.

It is interesting to me that you chose Chris Pine because I didn’t see him as a quiet character. He doesn’t say much in the film but instead he knows the right thing to do so he does it.

Craig: It’s the classic casting against type.

But you also did it with Casey Affleck, again an introspective character and with alarms going off all around him he takes a deep breath and does what needs to be done so they can survive. They are both the calm in the middle of this storm.

Craig: They have similar acts but in different places. Scott Silva created such depths in these characters and such restrain in them also add to the epic scale of it all. I grew up in Sydney so I understand those big waves and the drama of it.

Why these two actors and how do you see them in these roles?

Craig: Chris was already attached to the film and I loved the idea and the opportunity of working with him and Casey. When you go to the classic underdog hero films and the common thread between these two characters not believing in themselves are that they go through this journey and find the courage within themselves to stand up. This affects change in everyone else. There is a sincerity about these characters with strong moral compasses but they just have a hard time believing in themselves. There were these traits and how to build these moments between these two actors.

I love old movies and in this film you brought out that sense of nostalgia with the authenticity of their clothing, the look all the way down to the boat.

Craig: There is this classic restraint but with that era of people who just knew how to get the job done. Even in the way we shot it everything was done in this classic way.

The ocean waves were huge! How did you do that? These poor guys are never dry.

Jim: Yes, there were thousands and thousands of gallons of water. They were constantly soaked.

Craig: There was no way around that. This shoot was really tough. We had this massive Navy shipping yard with a huge hanger that they use to build ships in with the end facing the ocean. They built five massive sets and the engine room that you see Casey at in the opening scene is a set and it’s on a gimbals of steel and it has to rock. This is the most weight they had to do for a set because of the flooding that happens. The top three floors of the tanker are also on a gimbals and it’s about twenty feet long. The side of the tanker they climb down is built and they actually climb down a ladder into water. They were dealing with very technical and hazardous conditions. It was a 110 foot pool with wave machines while they were being pelted with rain!

Miriam is quite a little spicy character. Grainier is a little firecracker.

Jim: That’s who Miriam was. She was a very modern woman of that time. All the details of that night are actually true. She did ask Webber to marry her and that was unheard of at the time. We thought that that was great about her character. We were looking for a fit with Chris and we needed someone to challenge him.

Chris’ accent was so well done.

Jim: The thing about his accent was that there was an interview that Bernie did many, many years ago where he talked about the event. He is speaking about what happened very quietly and some what matter-of-factly. Chris listened to Bernie and listened to it for hours upon days. When you hear Chris you are literally hearing Bernie speak. In that same gentle and quiet restrain type of way.

Through it all you forget it was ‘actor’ Chris Pine because of the different characteristics we might be use to. He became Bernie.

Craig: Chris did an amazing job dedicating himself to playing Bernie with the accent and the mannerisms. I think that rippled through the cast and upped everybody’s game. They wanted to remain true to their characters and portraying them honorably.

When Chris asks for others to go with him on the rescue, the people who go are a surprise, especially Ben Foster’s character because he is holding some rage against Bernie.

Craig: Yes, absolutely. Ben’s performance were these looks and moments and methodically done. His body language shows so much as the tension builds between them.

I think the military and Coast Guard families are going to really enjoy this film, especially in the recreating of the era in this true story of courage.

Craig: Yes, this is an American spirit film back in an era of a can-do kind of attitude. That is what makes this film even more amazing.

What would you like our readers to take away from seeing THE FINEST HOURS?

Craig: For me, hopefully honoring that spirit and those in the service. This highlights the innate goodness of those in service.

Jim: I love that the movie is about quiet humility and selflessness and ultimately the desire to serve no matter what the circumstances. This is about real heroes who go into places that others run from purely to help save people. We are grateful to make a film that honors that part of the military that serves our country.

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We are grateful as well to those who serve in the different branches of our military. This truly is a film about overcoming fears and adversity but it is also about being brave in such a way that it inspires us all.

THE FINEST HOURS is a stunning story in the epic genre of filmmaking. The cast brings it all together in this story of courage in the middle of an angry ocean and the bravery to do what is necessary.

In the end – there are thirty-two survivors and only room for twelve!

KUNG FU PANDA 3 Brings Fun for the Entire Family!

kung fu


Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres this Friday from directors Alessandro Carloni, Jennifer Yuh and DreamWorks Animation comes the colorful return of everyone’s Panda with KUNG FU PANDA 3.

Po (Jack Black) is still the every lively Dragon Warrior at the Jade Palace. Along with Shifu (Dustin Hoffman), Tigress (Angelina Jolie), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Viper (Lucy Liu) and Crane (David Cross) they keep the Valley of Peace, well, peaceful!

Having his moment of wonder, Po begins to ask questions about who he is and how to find the peace everyone talks about. While visiting his Dad Mr. Ping (James Hong), Po comes face to face with his biological father Li (Bryan Cranston). Excited beyond belief, Po also learns that there is a whole village of family waiting to meet him.

But Mr. Ping isn’t about to let his panda baby-boy go without him! When Po, Mr. Ping and Li arrive at the village, they welcome is more than the young Panda could ever have expected. He begins to learn the ways of the panda with fun, eating and rolling; the later might take some getting use to.

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While Po is visiting his family roots, the Valley of Peace comes under attack. Shifu learns that Oogway’s (Randall Duk Kim) one-time friend Kai (J.K. Simmons) wants to squeeze everything from both the spiritual and real world. The only way Kai can do that is to collect the souls of all the kung fu masters and of the Dragon Warrior.

Tigress manages to escape finding Po in the panda village. Telling him everything there is only one way to stop Kai from destroying the family he has just come to understand and love. His plan is a simple one, train every person in the village in what they do best in order to save the village and return those that Kai has taken. Even Mr. Ping and Li have a moment of realization that coming together for the good of Po’s plan is what makes them both amazing fathers.

It is now time to become more of the Dragon Warrior than anyone, including Po would ever thought possible – but that’s the power of love, loyalty and family!

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Black as Po returns to lend his unique style to the character of Po. In fact, I think it can be said without argument that no one could or should attempt to play the voice role of Po – ever. I love the comedy, the timing and just the love that comes through of Black voicing this character. Po has so many sweet qualities in that he loves being part of the Furious Five, he loves having Shifu for support, he wants to protect those that need protecting and even when he’s afraid he doesn’t let it stop him from protecting all those he has loved and the new family.

Cranston as panda-Dad Li is the carbon copy of Po in every way with a little more fun that Po embraces with such admiration and thrill. The scene inside the Jade Palace is hilarious! Hong as duck-Dad Mr. Ping has always been so protective of Po and no birth Dad is going to change that! Afraid he is going to lose that place in Po’s heart, every emotion is in his voice to the point where I wanted to reach through the screen and give him a hug.

Simmons as Kai is absolutely hilarious, even when he’s trying to be a tough guy I can’t help but laugh. When Kai thinks he can just take Po and become absolute in power my first thought was, “yea, he’s never met a Dragon Warrior like Po”. Yes, that pretty much makes me a fan. Simmons has such timing in his line delivery for comedy and at the same time a little scary when he yells – I mean yikes!

Jolie as Tigress stands behind Po and has come to a good place with her friendship with the Dragon Warrior and I couldn’t be happier, is that weird? I love Rogen as Mantis with his snappy lines, Chan as Monkey is fun, Cross as Crane is as steadfast as ever and Liu as Viper is still the fastest snake ever!

I have to give a shout out to Kim as Oogway. Never have I loved turtles more than the first time I heard Oogway give his pearls of wisdom to Po. I was equally thrilled to see him again in KUNG FU PANDA 3 if only because when he talks with Po, it is such a tender relationship filled with no judgment. We should all be so blessed to find an Oogway in our lives.

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Other cast include: Kate Hudson as Mei Mei, Steele Gagnon as Bao, Liam Knight as Lei Lei, and Wayne Knight as Hom-Lee.

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give KUNG FU PANDA 3 four and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. I am an absolute fan of the first two KUNG FU PANDA films and can honestly say I am thrilled for this film. There is everything amazing starting with the animation which is color, vibrant, beautiful and magically done. There is such fluidity in the movement of the characters and not just with the fight scenes but even as the pandas roll down the hill. It is a feast for the eyes and a delight for the child at heart in us all.

The storyline gives us answers as to Po’s life before being found by Mr. Ping and the family that has long believed he would return. We get to experience seeing Po become that part of himself he didn’t understand which made him a better panda, son, friend and Dragon Warrior. Po is already quite endearing but KUNG FU PANDA 3 takes that endearment to a whole new level of awesomeness.

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This truly is a family film in ever way filled with fun, laughter, adventure and it is all wrapped up in a big rice ball of love. Every person in the audience was delighted and moved and isn’t that what a family film should be all about? Getting together to see a film that not only has something for everyone but allows every person experience it together.

In the end – grab destiny by the rice dumpling!

BURNT is Deliciously Served on Blu-ray with Your Chance to Feast on a Copy!

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Anchor Bay is releasing Burnt on Blu-ray & DVD this week and we would like to serve up a tad more deliciousness!

Reach out to with TASTY in the subject line to enter into the BURNT giveaway.

Having the Bluray also dishes up 3 free meals from Hello Fresh! What more could anyone ask for – Cooper, Bluray and an awesome meal. I’m pretty thrilled myself.

BURNT tells the story of Chef Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper) who had it all – and lost it. The former enfant terrible of the Paris restaurant scene had earned two Michelin stars and only ever cared about the thrill of creating explosions of taste. To land his own kitchen and that third elusive star though, Jones will need to leave his bad habits behind and get the best of the best on his side, including the beautiful Helene (Sienna Miller). BURNT is a remarkably funny and emotional story about the love of food, the love between two people, and the power of second chances.

Other cast include: Omar Sy, Daniel Brühl, Alicia Vikander, Matthew Rhys, Lily James with Uma Thurman, and Emma Thompson.

Special Features:
DVD and BD:

* Feature Commentary with Director John Wells and Executive Chef Consultant Marcus Wareing
* Deleted Scenes

* Breakfast of Champs
* Drugging the Food Critic
* Thanks for Dining at the Langham
* Helene’s Ex
* Cooking at Helene’s

* Burnt: In the Kitchen with Bradley Cooper


Anchor Bay Entertainment is a leading independent home entertainment company celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2015. Anchor Bay acquires and releases a wide array of filmed entertainment in the theatrical and home entertainment markets, including STARZ Original series, children’s entertainment, fitness (Anchor Bay Fitness), sports and specialty films on Blu-ray™ and DVD formats. The company has long-term distribution agreements in place for select programming with The Weinstein Company, AMC Networks and RADiUS, among others. For more please


The Weinstein Company (TWC) is a multimedia production and distribution company launched in October 2005 by Bob and Harvey Weinstein, the brothers who founded Miramax Films in 1979. TWC also encompasses Dimension Films, the genre label founded in 1993 by Bob Weinstein. During Harvey and Bob’s tenure at Miramax and TWC, they have received 341 Oscar nominations and won 81 Academy Awards.


DVD & Bluray
101 Min.
Rated R
English and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital
English Subtitles For The Deaf & Hearing Impaired
Spanish Subtitles
Anamorphic Widescreen Presentation

EVEREST Peaks on DVD, Bluray and 3D!



Jeri Jacquin

On Bluray 3D, Bluray, DVD and Digital HD from director Baltasar Kormakur and Universal Studios Home Entertainment comes the challenge of a lifetime when climbing to EVEREST.

This film tells the story of two climbing expeditions headed to the top of Mt. Everest. It is May 10, 1996 when these two expeditions attempt to summit the highest point on Earth. On the climb is Rob Hall (Jason Clarke), Michael Groom (Thomas M. Wright), Doug Hansen (John Hawkes), Simon Harrison (Tim Madsen), John Taske (Tim Dantay), Yasuko Namba (Naoko Mori), Beck Weathers (Josh Brolin), Guy Cotter (Sam Worthington) and Scott Fisher (Jake Gyllenhaal).

Down below in base camp is Helen Wilton (Emily Watson) trying to stay in communication as a storm rages up the mountain towards the climbers. Each group takes turns making their way to the summit before the message goes out that they need to come down and fast. The storm isn’t going to wait and it isn’t going to be kind when it hits.

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There is no one actor that stands out in this film which makes it so difficult. Each character has their strength and when it comes to life and death the story jumps from climbers to climber. Clarke as Hall is the man who wants to make sure each person who wants to reach the summit does so. All is going according to plan until Doug Hansen begs to go to the summit knowing it is his last shot.

Worthington as Cotter knows that retrieving the climbers is near impossible with the storm continuing to barrel down on the mountain. Gyllenhaal as Fischer is the second leader who is the charming but is also realistic about what will happen if they don’t get down.

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This is an amazing cast that gives the viewers a small look inside the life of these unique individuals.

Other cast include: Keera Knightly as Jan Hall, Michael Kelly as Jon Creakier, Todd Boyce as Frank Fastback, Mark Darwin as Lou Kasich, Justin Salinger as Ian Woodall, Vanessa Kirby as Sandy Hill Pittman, Mia Goth as Meg Weathers, Robin Wright as Peach Weathers, Chris Reilly as Kleve Scheming, Amy Swindler as Charlotte Fox, Pemba Sherpa as Lop sang, Charlotte Boding as Line Gammelgaard, Martin Henderson as Andy Harris, Thomas M. Wright as Michael Groom, Ang Phula Sherpa as Ang Dorjee and Tom Goodman-Hill as Neal Beidleman.

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

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TUBS OF POPCORN: I give EVEREST four tubs of popcorn out of five. I have to say that I am a huge fan of this genre of film. Yes, it is a disaster film of sorts but it is also about climbing mountains that only those who have a special something who can do it. Perhaps it is vicarious living on my part but can you imagine standing on the highest place on Earth? The view has to be something that no words could describe but instead it can only be felt.

What these climbers put their bodies through is nothing short of insane and yet they talk to one another in such a way that it is impossible not to root for every step they take. It is not only each individuals fight to survive but the sheer determination to save those around them. Each scene is compelling and don’t think I wasn’t holding my breath a time or two!

The effects are stunning bringing the drama closer and closer to the climbers. The cinematography is absolutely stunning and made my jaw drop more than once with fear for the climbers. As the clouds roll in and the lightening hits the mountain it is clear that what depth and talent it took to bring this to the screen is spectacular.

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EVEREST has an amazing bonus feature section with Race to the Summit: The Making of Everest, and Aspiring to Authenticity: The Real Story, Feature Commentary with Director Baltasar Kormakur. The Bluray Exclusives include Learning to Climb: The Actors’ Journey and A Mountain of Work: Recreating Everest. The Digital HD with Ultraviolet allows the film to be watched from television, computers, tablets and even a Smartphone.

In the end – never let go!

MEET THE PATELS Brings a Family and Matrimony to DVD: Speaking with Ravi Patel!


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Jeri Jacquin

Coming to DVD from directors Geeta V. Patel and Ravi V. Patel along with Alchemy is a peek at family, love and did I mention family with MEET THE PATELS.

Ravi is an almost-30-year-old Indian-American who has been hiding a little secret from parents Champa and Vasant Patel. Not even knowing their son had ever been in a relationship, Ravi broke up with long time girlfriend Audrey.

A tad distraught and very confused, Ravi heads to India on a family trip as sister Geeta turns on the camera. Thus begins the documenting as Mom and Dad want to know why their son isn’t married yet. Offering suggestions and ways to meet a nice girl are all well and good; it’s when Ravi hands over the reigns of his love life that things get interesting.

Mom and Dad create a bio-data sheet that goes out into the universe as Ravi travels to meet potential could-be-perhaps-maybe-I-don’t-know-what-do-you-think candidates for his affections.

The journey brings out truths, opens hearts and minds and it’s all wrapped up in the history and hilarity of a family known as the Patel’s.

It’s hard to know what you’re looking for if you don’t know what you want but don’t worry because it all comes out in the lighter side of a loving family!

I had the opportunity to speak with Ravi about the film, his family and how the film has been embraced by everyone who embraces the search for love – even when it’s the love of family.

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Hello Ravi, thanks for spending time with me today.

Thank you Jeri.

First of all, I must admit to you that I adore your parents.

They are incredible and I fall for them every time I see the movie. Editing that gave me a new found appreciation of how lucky I really am.

Tell me, what made you decide to go ahead and put this all on film?

The whole thing started by accident. I had just broken up with Audrey and I was on a plane to India with my family. My sister purchased a new camera because she wanted to learn how to use one but, as you can see in the movie she never did. She finished her previous documentary which is also for PBS in which she was a director. So, she thought she’d try her hand with the camera and document our family trip. Inevitably we are on an 18 hour flight and of course she turns the camera on the family and our talking and how my parents are pressuring me to get married not knowing I had just gotten out of a relationship. I mean they think I’ve never had a relationship. Geeta and I are having these conversations on camera and we thought we had something special so we sent it off to PBS and they loved it. We pitched them a comedic film but I don’t think we realized the extent to which it would be autobiographical. Over time it evolved and it became these very real conversations with her holding the camera and documenting our lives.

What made you decide to use the black and white animation at the beginning of the film? I really love it by the way.

Thank you, that was probably the fifth thing we tried. We knew we wanted to make a movie that was first and foremost fun and funny. We wanted it to be entertaining in a way that most way people might not regard documentaries. We wanted a romantic comedy with the kind of storytelling that was dynamic. We wanted to do fun storytelling and music that is nostalgic of the romantic comedy genre like WHEN HARRY MET SALLY. Specifically for the storytelling part we wanted to do something that wasn’t boring. Things we tried didn’t fit. We tried it with a big white background where it looked like I was doing a talk show and places in my mind in the white space. It was over the top and amazing but didn’t fit the style of the movie. We had the idea of the animation because both my sister and I are fans of radio and I had found an animated version of a Miss America Life interview and it was the same story told by an old couple. Each of the couple had a different perspective of the same memory and as the husband said the wife was wearing a red dress, the wife would say she was wearing a long green dress. The animation would shift depending on what they said. We say an opportunity for the animation to add a layer to our story.

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I thought it was a beautiful way to start it. It gets you in the mood for it to be funny but at the same time its so endearing to listen to you and your sister find a way to start the whole thing off. I think it engages the viewer.

Thank you, I appreciate that. The response has been more than I could ever even think of. I’m blown away by how many people and how many non-Indians love the film. I don’t think any of us would have ever foreseen that. I think we knew Indians would love it but I think people are related to it in different ways. I think we all know what it’s like to search for love though and the conflict that it sometimes brings to a family. This isn’t just about my search for love but how the family evolves as well.

The relationship with your family is hilarious; you feed off of one another in such a great way that it could make people jealous! You care about what your parents think and let them take the reigns of your love life. Your parents are so endearing because they wanted your happiness. There is that twist between what you saw as your happiness and what they saw as your happiness.

I appreciate you saying that. This was so important to make sure that people who were kind enough to be in the film that we treated their opinion with respect. Audrey and my parents, people we could have easily antagonized but the truth is we respect their intention. While we may disagree on how the future will be it is still being treated with respect.

Your Dad is hilarious.

Yes, he is. You know they have both become pretty famous now.

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I was going to ask about that, how are they taking all of this success?

They are probably the most natural people and they get a lot of attention. We go in public and they get recognized. It’s really cool! I can’t imagine two better people to be famous. They are so unaffected by it. They are always just so happy, generous, grateful and having fun with this. They are never too good for it. I don’t think they ever stop to think it’s a pain. They are the most likeable people in the world. It’s awesome to see and we got to travel around with them with appearances and talk shows etc. You saw on screen how we came closer as a family and it improved our relationship. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for us all.

I have to say if I ever met your parents I’d want to hug them too!

And they’d hug you back!

For you, how was this personally for you. Yes I watched but you were the reserved of the bunch.

It was the most introspective journey of my life. What you see on screen is what really happened. You didn’t just see a guy dealing with his family but for me the point of the relationship for me was going from a kid to an adult. I think we’ve all been changed as a result of it. Making this with my sister for over six years has made us a million times closer probably because we couldn’t fire each other. Also, seeing myself as the character in this film gave me a cool perspective, a third person perspective. I think I was able to see my flaws with a little less bias than most people get a chance too. It truly was the most important time in my life and the most important thing I’ll ever do work wise.

What can you tell our readers about the experience of looking for love?

I’d say the most important think in looking for love is to create transparency with people you love whose opinion actually matter to you. Here in America we look at love in terms of romance and I think people forget that love is actually a by product of the commitment you give to the person you choose to be with. The way you make it easier to commit is by creating a sense of compatibility, not necessarily like the bio-data but wanting the same things in life, similar family values because these are important. The harder you work the better its going to be.

That’s so great! Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me. Congratulations on the success of the film.

Thank you Jeri.

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Want to know more about Ravi and his adventures in love? Then head over to Twitter and Instagram and check out @showmetheravi. He encourages stalking as all great comedic geniuses do so meet me over there and we’ll stalk as a mass of Ravi fans.

This film is endearing, charming, hilarious, heart warming, emotional and pretty much every emotion one would expect when the love of family wants only the best for their own.

Alchemy brings some of the world’s finest filmmakers including Werner Herzog, John Turturro, Richard Linklater, Werner Herzog and James Cameron among others. Releases such as WHAT MAISIE KNEW, RAMPART and BERNIE can currently be found in their media library as well as Ravi and Geeta Patel’s MEET THE PATELS. For more about Alchemy please visit

In the end – this is one family you definitely have to meet!

13 HOURS: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi


13 hours poster

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres this week from director Michael Bay, writers Chuck Hogan and author Mitchell Zuckoff with Paramount Pictures is 13 HOURS: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.

Jack Silva (John Krasinski) arrives in Benghazi, Libya meeting up with contact Tyrone ‘Rone’ Woods (James Badge Dale). Together the two men return to the Annex where other security members live. Jack is introduced to Kris ‘Tanto’ Paronto (Pablo Schreiber), Dave ‘Boon’ Benton (David Denman), John ‘Tig’ Tiegen and Mark ‘Oz’ Geist.

Jack also meets Bob (David Costabile), the Team Leader who is in charge of the Annex and the employees and seems to have a problem with the security staff. Rone eventually takes Jack to the Diplomatic Compound to become acquainted with its workings. There they meet DS Scott Wickland (David Giuntoli) who informs them that Ambassador Christopher Stevens (Matt Letscher) is coming.

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The men stay ready and prepared as the Ambassador meets with his dignitaries. On the anniversary of September 11th however, both the Annex and the Compound are on alert. As the sun goes down and the day comes to a close and quiet settles on both areas. The Ambassador makes notes of the day and the security detail relax.

That is until armed militants viciously storm the Diplomatic Compound. DS Wickland grabs the Ambassador and tech Sean Smith (Christopher Dingli) taking them to a secure area in the building. The call goes out for help and is heard by the men at the Annex.

Jack, Tanto, Tig, Oz, D.B. and Rone gear up and prepare to go to the Compound. After a time of frustration, the men get in their cars and race toward the who need them. On his way is Glen ‘Bub’ Doherty (Toby Stephens) with more men hoping to reach the fight before it leaves the Compound and reaches the Annex.

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What they find is a raging fire, angry militants and a long night with weapons that want to do one thing – end their lives. This is only the beginning of their 13 hours experience!

Krasinski as Jack Silva portrays a serious family man who knows the seriousness of his job. There is such a sincere feel as Krasinski takes this true character and embraces the portrayal of love of family and a brotherhood that would see him home again.

Dale as Rone gives such strength to this role. Tyrone Woods led his men into doing the most courageous thing for so many. Dale drew me in entirely and, for a moment, I forgot the ultimate sacrifice that was to come.

Schreiber as Tanto is straight forward, no censor and sharp witted – exactly as the man his himself. During our interview, Kris ‘Tanto” Paronto had mentioned that the actor portraying him picked up some of his idiosyncrasies and, after seeing the film, I’d agree with the straight forwardness. Schreiber gives the portrayal of Tanto the sharp edges with moments of quick humor.

Fumusa as John ‘Tig’ Tiegen seems the quieter of the bunch. Once the call goes out for help however, Fumusa facial expressions are not only serious but intense. In the scene where he goes inside the fire ravaged house looking for survivors, I discovered that I was holding my breath right along with him.

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Martini as Mark ‘Oz’ Geist is equally a no-nonsense man who springs into action along side his brothers. From the fire fight at the Compound to being on the rooftop of the Annex protecting civilians under his feet, Martini gives his portrayal of Oz heart.

Stephens as Glen ‘Bub’ Doherty is a man who knows that help isn’t coming fast enough. With every scene Stephens is in his face grows darker with intensity and the feeling in the audience waiting for his arrival was palatable.

Letscher as Ambassador Stevens has a small role but important in the telling of the story. Jillani as Barlier is an irritating woman who has control issues but that changes with each passing moment during those thirteen hours. Grosse as DS Ubben gives his all when it would have been easier to stay secluded.

Costabile as Bob has the worst role of all – the man everyone will end up hating. I thought I was fairly prepared since reading the book but no, Costabile managed to make me just a flood more disgusted in Bob. Well done Costabile, I didn’t think it was possible!

A shout out to Peyman Moaadi as Amahl. I have seen this actor in the films A SEPARATION and CAMP X-RAY and he is amazing. In this film Moaadi portrays a man of Libya put in a situation where he also decided to do what was right.

Other cast include: Peyman Moaadi as Amahl, Mike Moriarty as DS Vincent, David Furr as DS Alec, Kevin Kent as DS Wesley, and Stephen Oliver as DCM Gregory Hicks.

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TUBS OF POPCORN: I give 13 HOURS: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi five tubs of popcorn out of five. Having the opportunity to read the book first I was truly looking forward to seeing the film. In between the book and film I had the opportunity to speak to men who lived both.

I can not begin to express how amazing these men are and this is one of those times when the words ‘thank you’ seem hardly fitting, it’s just not enough. In reading the book I can tell you I was in awe of every person who fought so bravely to save so many. In meeting Tanto, Tig and Oz I was humbled to listen to them speak and witness their friendship that moved my heart.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the film. Of course the usual Michael Bay jokes are heard round and about but I never paid any mind to them before so why start now. The three men told me they were happy with what Bay had done with their story and how it was portrayed on film and I must agree.

Bay took the story of those 13 hours and played it straight. I didn’t feel cheated or tricked into emotions that were not sincere. Yes there is shock in both the level of violence and death but also awe in the bravery and sacrifice I witnessed from book to screen.

This could have been a film wrapped up in the political mud slinging and finger pointing sometimes associated with true stories but this film isn’t. This is a film brought about by the men themselves who wanted everyone to know exactly what happened that night and in doing so honor those who did not come home.

That ladies and gentlemen is why 13 HOURS: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi is a film that must be witnessed, experienced and shared.

In the end – when everything went wrong, six men had the courage to do what was right!





For your chance to win a movie poster signed by Tanto, Tig and Oz please email with HEROES in the subject line and good luck!

13 HOURS from Book to Screen: Speaking with Kris “Tanto” Paronto, John “Tig” Tiegen and Mark “Oz” Geist

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Jeri Jacquin

The date of September 11, 2001 is a polarizing day in American history. In a matter of moments our country stopped breathing and moving. Our perceptions changed and what we knew to be true had to be reexamined. The world became a place many no longer recognized and the way we lived our lives would never be the same.

As each year passed, the new normal took over. We accepted taking our shoes off to go through detectors at the airport, having our bags checked before going into big events and keeping an eye out for one another. Americans embraced it as best we could even if nostalgic for the days when the world’s evils were not so close to us.

On September 11, 2012, Americans would once again experience a moment where our country stopped breathing and moving – but this time because of what was happening half a world away. In the US State Department Special Mission Compound and a CIA Base in Benghazi, Libya – America would once again come under attack.

Without warning, the compound was taken over through a hail of gunfire that would start 13 hours of hell.

Author Mitchell Zuckoff wrote the book 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi recounting events on that September 11th  in 2012.  In doing so Zuckoff, along with the Annex Security Team inside the CIA Base, bring the truth straight from those who lived and died to tell this story.

This week, director Michael Bay will bring the book 13 Hours to the big screen in a film of the same name starring John Krasinski, Pablo Schreiber, Max Martini, Dominic Fumusa, Toby Stevens, James Dale, David Denman David Giuntoli, Demetrius Grosse and Christopher Dingli.

I had the humble opportunity to speak with three men from the Annex Security Team, Mark “Oz” Geist, Kris “Tanto” Paronto and John “Tig” Tiegen who were not only in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 but have put there heart and soul into both the book and film 13 HOURS.

I walked in the door of the interview with my book filled with slips of post-it notes bulking out of the top. Having a set of questions ready to go it would only takes moments before realizing these three men were going to speak openly and answer my questions without me having to ask.

Hello gentleman, how are you doing today?

Paronto: We are doing good, thanks.

[At this point Kris sees my book 13 Hours and the tabs of post-it notes sticking out, takes it and smiles]

I just write notes when I get involved in a book.

Paronto: Hey, but that’s good! [He opens the book and actually signs it for me, its official, I’m fan struck!] Hi, I’m Kris “Tanto” Paronto, nice to meet you.

It’s nice to meet you all as well.

[John “Tig” Tiegen and Mark “Oz” Geist are tapping away on their phones as Paronto informs me that they are all social media junkies now]

 Paronto: Okay, first question!

Alright, how did the decision to come about to make the film 13 HOURS?

Tiegen: It call actually came about from us doing the book. We were tired of the politics of it all and wanted to make sure the truth was told and the honor was given where it needed to be given. Richard, he heard the story from these guys and knew this was going to be a movie.

Paronto: We really didn’t have to do anything and honest it was meant to be a movie.

It seemed like a fast process from book to screen.

Tiegen: Anyone we’ve ever talked to about this process says exactly that that this is the fastest they’ve seen a book go to film to theater. Mitch (Zuckoff, writer of the book 13 HOURS) said they were already working on a screenplay before the book was even done.

Paronto: It was almost a one stop shop with 3Arts (Entertainment) who already had Mitch and Chuck Hogan who is a screenwriter. They also had Erwin Stoff who produced UNBROKEN, he Executive Produced the MATRIX and THE BLIND SIDE so they already had everything lined up. All we did was say ‘yes’. We did the movie pitch with Jack.

Tiegen: Yes, it was with Jack because I was still working. Once the pitch was done, Paramount was the only one with cojones to stand by us saying this is a great story.

When the idea of the book came up what was your initial reaction?

Paronto: We were all working and Mark was injured severely. We continued to deploy for almost eight months. There wasn’t any idea to do a book when we came back. That wasn’t our intention at all. But when the story of what took place on the ground continued to be misconstrued and then utilized by politicians for agendas it kept pushing us. We’d hear things that were incorrect or people writing books about that night and they weren’t even there it just got to the point where our integrity was being tested. Also, the fact that people were not being honored that died that night, we just came together as a team and decided as a team to do the story and the book. We chose that medium because we figured it was a good way to keep it from being political. You try to go to a new organization and it’s either right or left so that was that. I knew a lady that had written a book before and contacted her in Afghanistan and asked how we could do this. She send us to 3Arts.

Getting this put down into words in the book before screen, to recount the experience, how was that for each of you?

Geist: We were forced to by Mitchell Zuckoff [all three men break out laughing]. What I would do is go drive the dirt roads to a pasture and tape it. Using a digital recorder I would drive around and talk.

Paronto: He gave us a questionnaire and we would talk into the recorder and send them back to Mitch. It was all separate; we never did it together until we had the first draft down. He wanted to get us all separately to tell our story. When he found that separately we were saying the same thing, he knew that we were on the level. I think that reinforced for him that he wanted to do a good job and honor us because I think he realized that we were going through hell with the misrepresentations.

Was there a time you couldn’t speak about what happened in Benghazi as the aftermath was going on?

Tiegen: Yes and it’s because of who we worked for. The only other people I could talk to was my wife and these guys. We wanted to still work and didn’t want to talk and tell anyone. I talked to our Team Leader a couple of times about the frustration of what was happening on television and there really wasn’t anything we could do about it.

How long between the times you were still working and started on the questionnaires?

Paronto: I would say about eight or nine months.

Really? This really was written that fast.

Paronto: Yes, it was incredibly fast. Mitch is so talented and is a work horse and was the right guy for the job.

Tiegen: So is Bay, Bay is the same way (referring to director Michael Bay).

Geist: I think that’s when the film writing started with Bay – in May.

Paronto: Chuck Hogan, the script writer, wrote it so fast. They are all rock stars. We really had an all star team working on this and made it even more meant to be. The right guys were chosen and it was incredible.

When putting the script together, how much input were they relying on you for? I mean I would imagine quite a bit.

Paronto: When Mark and I were doing the pitches, Chuck was there doing the pitches as well and we were there to put our two cents in. When the script was written and we got the first draft we sat with Michael and Erwin at Bays’ studio to go over everything. There were things like a scene with one of the guys in a spot and we knew that wouldn’t work. We voiced our concerns about it because if you had a guy in the wrong spot the story wouldn’t work. Bay would say it might look better cinematically but we’d say ‘no’, this guy needs to be in the right spot.

Did he change it?

Paronto: Yes, yes he did.

I imagine that it would be important.

Paronto: It is important, it is to us. He would say it flows with the story better and I’d say I don’t give a shit – this guy did this act and he needs to be seen doing this act!

When you learned that Michael Bay was going to be a part of this project, what was each of your reaction?

Tiegen: I thought it was great. I love his movies and he can shoot movies really well.

Geist: There were always reservations about giving up your life rights because it means you have no control. So it was one of the things we had to be concerned with. We told him from the get-go that this was our issue. Because you can take this and do whatever with it and if you do that then…

Paronto: …we will not promote it <the men break out laughing again>.

Tiegen: I mean we wouldn’t want to give up any more time with our families than we already have so it was important to us to do it right.

The final product in the casting – are you pleased?

Geist: Absolutely, they put together a really great cast. I mean to me, because in the end when we watch the movie I can see Tanto’s and Tig’s mannerisms. All of them brought to it a level of professionalism and I can’t judge having not been at this level before but you couldn’t have asked for better or more. The same with Michael Bay, he just approached this from a different.

Tiegen: It’s like he wanted the movie to be about what really happened. It’s about what happened not losing it with an A-list actor being more important than the story. There were those actors that were interested is what we had been told and people who thought that’s how it should be.

Geist: Bay said no, it has to be about the story. Hey, not that any of these actors are small time it’s just that they aren’t so big that, well…

…so big that the name takes away from the story of the film.

Geist: Yes!

Do you feel like the film honors the book-to-screen because that is hard to do sometimes?

Geist: Yes, they did. That was our biggest concern. For me personally I felt like if they kept the spirit of what was between the covers then I’d be happy. If they didn’t then we’d go after Michael Bay <joking of course>. He knocked it out of the park I think at least from our point of view and, our opinion is the only one that matters.

Paronto: Always, that’s what I tell everybody. The other thing is that there were no prima donnas on the set either. I think many of these actors will be propelled even higher and they so deserve it.

Geist: They absolutely deserve it. It’s the whole ‘pay it forward’ thing. What happened to us happened to us and we were blessed being able to have a New York Times #1 Bestseller and a movie made by Michael Bay. If people involved can utilize it to help others then that’s a win-win.

Paronto: I think having Mitch involved with the script and on the set and having him there having that perspective worked. His name is on the book too. It helped everything keeping the book as close as you can to the movie by keeping it factual and they did.

That’s the thing I was waiting for in reading the book – the politically but it never appeared in the pages.

Paronto: There isn’t any.

Mitchell kept it factual.

Paronto: We don’t know what went on in Washington, D.C. and that’s why we said ‘don’t talk about that’. They didn’t speculate in the book or in the movie either. The information came for us.

Tiegen: It didn’t come from one source either, it came from several. Michael was saying there was a couple of issues about the location of other assets that could possibly have been available. It’s more of an illustration of it because they throw down a map and circle different places where assets could be and where they were drawn too. That information didn’t come from us; Michael got that information from other sources. It doesn’t say they were sent or that someone told them to stand-down. In the movie it’s depicted as this is what could be there.

Paronto: It was correct as well. The Department of Defense had assets getting spun up to come. It doesn’t get to the flights and how they were diverted because that speculative and if it’s speculative then we didn’t want it in the book and we didn’t want it in the movie and adding that stuff delegitimizes the story.

That’s why I didn’t have you read all those little notes I have stuck to the book. I had so many questions but by the end of the book I realized those questions didn’t matter. What mattered was your response and that you each are here to tell the truth about what happened. You gentlemen went above and beyond as far as I’m concerned to do the right thing.

Paronto: It’s good that it raises questions because it is suppose to raise questions too.

Finally gentlemen, what are you doing now?

Tiegen: This is what we are doing, pushing the story to get it out there as much as we can. We want everyone to know what happened. We had the loss of an Ambassador of over thirty years. That’s another reason we wanted to make sure it was written down correctly. The book is a history book.

Thank you gentlemen very much for your service and spending time with me today!


Wrapping up the interview, Geist told me that he knew the area from his days at Camp Pendleton. We spoke about Tyrone “Rone” Woods and the bar The Salty Frog when he suggested to Tiegen and Paronto that they go have a beer for their fallen friend. That solidified what I already knew the moment I walked into the room – these are extraordinary men.

These are the men that helped each and every one of us sleep easier at night because they had the strength and courage to do what was necessary, and are doing so again with 13 HOURS. These men are humble, determined, playful, straight-forward, familial, direct and hilarious. Their friendship turned into a tight and protective family –bonded brothers sharing in an unthinkable experience and asking us all to listen, learn and most of all remember.

Their 13 hour experience is not about politics or finger pointing – it is about the plain truth.


ana poster


Jeri Jacquin

In theatres this Friday from writer/director Tim Blake Nelson and IFC Films comes the moments in our lives when we all become intertwined with a little ANETHESIA.

Prof. Walter Zarrow (Sam Waterston) is found at the entrance to an apartment building bleeding. Found by Sam (Corey Stoll) the shock rolls back the clock one week in the lives of all those intertwined in the event.

It begins as Professor Zarrow tells his wife Marcia that he is ready to retire and spend time doing what ever it is retired professors do. Sophie is a young student of Professor Zarrow who can not seem to find her place and must finally tell her professor that help scares her.

Joe (K. Todd Freeman) is a man in pain and losing his way with drugs controlling every aspect of his being. Trying to be a good friend is Jeffrey (Michael K. Williams), a high powered lawyer, helping but at the same time puts secure distance between them.

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Sam (Corey Stoll) is having an affair while wife Sarah (Gretchen Mol) finds solace in alcohol or honking her horn at the irritating drive up the school line. Her daughters have noticed the change and lash out with no end in site.

Another family in the midst of madness when Mom Marta (Natasha Wagner) discovers she is ill and Dad Adam (Tim Nelson) tries to keep everyone calm. Daughter Ella (Hanna Marks) is determined to remaining unfeeling if she can help it and son Hal (Ben Konigsberg) can’t decide between a joint or his virginity.

It is a collision course of lives surrounded by every possible human emotion.

FINAL WORD: Waterston as Professor Zarrow is so lovely. He is a man seemingly happy with his life, career and wife. During the scene where he is speaking with drug-addicted Joe, it is a touching moment when he explains what gives him the greatest joy. I will gladly admit to always having been a fan of Waterston and this film absolutely cements my continuing enjoyment of his career and this performance.

Stewart as Sophie gives a powerful performance of a woman who knows the world has become electronic and can not find her place in it. Feeling lonely and in need of interaction, Stewart has a moment in front of her professor that is telling and the confusion that gets deep inside us all from time to time. In her case, pain can be found at the end of a curling iron.

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Freeman as Joe is a man who is angry at everyone. Determined to end his own life through a life of drugs, his friend Jeffrey played by Williams puts him in detox but doing a good thing doesn’t always end well. Williams wants to help but, as happens sometimes, wants to live his own life without the worry or responsibility of his friend.

Marks as Ella is a young woman angry about life and does a good job being angry. Wagner as Marta wants to bring her family closer but that’s hard to do when your afraid for your own life. Nelson as Adam is trying to bring the family close in the midst of what could be devastating news for the family Konigsberg as Hal is a typical teenage boy who thinks he can fly by hiding his emotions with cynicism and disrespect.

Mol as Sarah is a woman who isn’t happy with her life and when daughter Baum as Allie points it out to her, then change is drastic and sudden. Stall as Sam is a husband who is drifting away from his family rather than doing his best to bring it together. His idea of finding happiness comes in having an affair.

Other case include: Lee Wilkoff as Ray Eisenberg, Yul Vazquez as Dr. Barnes, Gloria Reuben as Meredith, G. Michelle Robinson as Gracie, David Baker as Delvin, J. Bernard Calloway as Lemons, Katie Chang as Amy, Scott Cohen as Dr. Laffer, Philip Ettinger as Roger and Glen Close as Marcia Zarrow.

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give ANESTHESIA three and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. This is such a heartfelt film about the lives of so many diverse individuals about pain, fear, realization, life and the thought that there might be a second of hope in the heart of us all.

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The film is beautifully done and it doesn’t crowd itself with music, loudness, or extraneous nonsense. Instead, it lets each one of these characters show you there story with thoughtfulness, feeling and, at times, a sense of sadness that is deep.

Each actor in the film brings something to the story in the way of their performances. It is so interesting to see intensity on so many level expressed in so may different ways. From the teens to the adults, the confusion and unhappiness of these characters lives all comes to a standstill in one instant.

In the end – who we don’t know can save us.

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