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September 2016

DEMON is Pure Possession!

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Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from director Marcin Wrona and The Orchard comes a modern day terror that could only be because of a DEMON.

Piotr (Itay Tiran) is a young man in love with Zaneta (Agnieszka Zulewska). They prepare to redo the old farmhouse belonging to her family in time for their wedding. As he begins removing trees away from the house he turns up human remains beneath a tree.

Telling no one of the find, Piotr covers up the remains. That evening a rainstorm comes down and walking through the mud he disappears. Waking up the next morning, his groomsmen clean him up for his wedding day!

After a ceremony the reception takes place inside their barn with music and dancing. During the ceremony, Piotr becomes upset when a hole that he covered up earlier shows up. His father-in-law tells him that there are dogs buried on the property but Piotr isn’t convinced.

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Best friend and brother-in-law Jansy (Tomasz Schuchardt) and Ronaldo (Tomasz Sietek) become worried about Piotr and asks father to tell them about what grandfather might have buried on the property. Not feeling well Piotr doesn’t understand what is happening to him seeing someone who can’t possibly be there.

The wedding it pushed into chaos as Piotr becomes something else. Through his own voice he tells everyone he is Hana, a woman who disappeared a very long time ago. Rumors are now flying through the wedding that Piotry is possessed by a dybbuk.

What’s a wedding without a dybbuk?

Piotr as Tiran is amazing with his portrayal of a spirit seeking revenge. From the moment he accidentally knocks over the tree in the yard I knew it wasn’t going to end well. The transformation is slow and steady but damn if it doesn’t play well when it all comes to an unbelievable ending.

Zulewska as Zaneta clearly is having the worst but most interest wedding ever. I felt so bad for her the entire film! I mean seriously, a wedding day is stressful enough without a fiancé/husband losing his mind in the weirdest way. Zulewska hung in there the entire film when I would have said ‘see ya!’

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Grabowski as the Father clearly knows more than he is telling and has a mouth that goes from zero to 110 in no time flat. Keeping secrets from his daughter and her new husband, he consistently tries to cover things up because he has an agenda bigger than anyone knows.

Schuchardt as Jansy brought the couple together but it seems he did it more for his father than sister.  Zietek as Ronaldo is as creepy a character as I have seen and it is all in the way he glares at people.

Cast also includes Katarzyna Herman as Gabryjelska, Adam Woronowicz as the Doctor, Wlodzimierz Press as the Teacher, Cezary Kosinski as the Priest and Maria Debska as Hana.

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give DEMON four tubs of popcorn out of five because of the sheer mixture of genres in this film. It is about love (kind of), a crazy family (sort of), a misunderstood dybbuk (to say the least), and secrets (loads of those).  From the moment trouble shows up, it is easy to see how the viewer might guess the path the film takes.

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Well, you’d be wrong and I’m happy to say so. As the story unfolds, it is this excellent cast that keeps the story twisting and turning with their performances. The cinematography and the old house are perfect to bring this story to the screen. I love the old style feel because I don’t need blood and gore to scare me – I’d rather be thrilled out of my sense and DEMON does just that!

DEMON is based on the play Adherence by Piotr Rowicki and won Best Horror Feature at the Austin Fantastic Fest. Director Marcin Wrona passed away just as his final feature film DEMON was to premier in Poland.

In the end – always check the wedding guest list for a dybbuk!

 

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SAN DIEGO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2016 Begins!

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Jeri Jacquin

San Diego International Film Festival 2016 has come once again to our fair city and this year there will be more amazing films to be shared.

Beginning Wednesday, September 28th, the Opening Night Premiere begins with the film LION as a young Indian man who was adopted by an Australian couple is determined to fine the family he barely remembers. The film stars Dev Patel from SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, Rooney Mara and Nicole Kidman. After the film is the Opening Night Party held at The Westgate Hotel.

That isn’t the only highly anticipated film that will be showing at the SDIFF. Other films include TRESSPASS AGAINST US with Michael Fassbender and Brendan Gleeson, DENIAL with Rachel Weisz and Andrew Scott, JULIETA with Emma Suarez and Adriana Ugarte, NO PAY NUDITY with Gabriel Byrne and Nathan Lane and finally AND PUNCHING THE CLOWN with Henry Phillips and Oscar Winner J.K. Simmons.

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More features include AMERICAN FABLE, BLOOD STRIPE, CHRONICALLY METROPOLITAN, DEAD RAW, FEAR, INC., JOHNNY FRANK GARRET’S LAST WORDS, LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED?, NEITHER WOLD NOR DOG, OPENING NIGHT, PO and so many more.

From around the world, films have been submitted from the UK with CHASING ROBERT BARKER, from Ghana CHILDREN OF THE MOUNTAIN, and from Hungary DEMIMONDE. Also, from Norway HOUSE OF NORWAY, from Spain MA MA and THE CLIFF.

The documentaries are filled with amazing storytelling that are filled with complex human and global issues. They include After Spring, Bodyguards: Secrets Lives from the Watchtower, Citizen Soldier, Crossing Bhutan, Epiphany, In Utero, Inn Saei: The Power of Intuition, Maya Angelou and Still I Rise, The Incomparable Rose Hartman and Underfire: The Untold Story of PFC. Tony Vaccaro.

The Shorts Showcase is an opportunity for up and coming filmmakers to present their work. There are categories ranging from Independent Animation with Alike, Borrowed Time, Illegal Move, Linden Tar, Moom and Los Gatos. The category of Crossroads including A Forest, Red, Turnings, and Youth. Curious Voyage looks at Love is a Sting, Loveology, Tiny’s New Home and Wannabe.

 Global Consciousness looks at Bon Voyage, Madaran, Mine, Out of the Village and Zaar. Illusion brings Alien Hunter, Everything Will Be Okay, Perchance, The Voice in the Head and You Can Go. Unexpected Endings offers Black Swell, Breakfast with Tiffany, One Good Pitch, Search History, Snake Bite and So Good to See You.

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 When Worlds Collide gives Cupid, Hush, Partners, Prisoners and The Firefly Girls. Twisted Humor is one of my favorite categories with An Arms Length, Barry, Mine, The Bathtub and Wifey Redux.

There is also a Military category Heart of a Soldier that offers a look into the stories of those affected by their military experience. Shorts include American Girl, Places Like This, The Flying Greek and The Sand Box.

 The Social Justice Film Track and Social Impact Panel bring a big spotlight to issues that filmmakers have the opportunity to bring to viewers. Partnering with Academy Award winner Susan Sarandon, filmmaker Thomas Morgan and Kweku Mandela, these panels bring insight from the filmmakers with in depth conversation. Also the Industry Panels include Actors Panel moderated by Ben Lyons, Meet the Critics hosted by Film Critics Jeffrey Lyons and Access Hollywood’s Scott Mantz.

Director Ted Melfi returns to the San Diego Film Festival to talk about his upcoming film HIDDEN FIGURES with a panel discussion of how the film came to life. HIDDEN FIGURES is the untold story of Katherine G. Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monae) – three African-American women working at NASA as the brains behind the launching of astronauts into space.

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More of the Special Events include theHub that will have live music, art, entertainment, food trucks, complimentary beverages and games in the beer garden. It is a fun night of festivities and the Festival’s cultural addition at Horton Plaza Park.

The NIGHT OF STARS is Thursday at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego that honors those who imagination, passion and vision that influence cinematic excellence. This year Annette Bening is receiving the Gregory Peck Centennial Award, Kate Beckinsale will receive the Cinema Vanguard Award and Simon Helberg receives the Auteur Award.  Jason Mitchell will receive the Rising Star Award and the Chris Brinker Award Honoree is announced the night of the Tribute.

On Saturday, October 1st, at The Westin Gaslamp Quarter, filmmakers will come together to discover who will receive the Jury Awards for the competition films with the Filmmaker Awards.

Also, at ArcLight La Jolla on Sunday, October 2, Culinary Cinema Film & Fork brings food and film together. Esteemed San Diego Chef create food and wine tastings inspired by the film being shown. ANTS ON A SHRIMP is one of the films to be tasted along with the culinary film CHEFS.

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It is important to know as well that the SDIFF brings education through storytelling with FOCUS. This is a year-round education initiative working to enhance academic engagement with dynamic film screenings, collaborative workshops, in-school artist residencies and teacher training. FOCUS takes a holistic approach to learning emphasizing creativity, critical thinking and social interaction in the four core programs of Career, Creation, Artistry and Teaching. FOCUS brings the power of storytelling through film to San Diego Students!

It is amazing that the San Diego International Film Festival brings so much in the way of film and with so many categories. That means there is something for everyone! Between Downtown San Diego and ArcLight La Jolla, film lovers will have so many choices and can’t go wrong with any of them.

To see a complete list of films, features, documentaries, shorts and panels please visit www.sdfilmfest.com. While there, check out the schedule and ticket availability for each show. The site also gives you the opportunity to purchase and print your tickets!

Come join me as I moderate panels and the amazing filmmakers for what will be a thrilling and informative five day film adventure at the San Diego International Film Festival in Downtown San Diego!

 

MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES Celebrates on Bluray

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Jeri Jacquin

Today on Bluray from director Jake Szymanski and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment a comedy of brothers as MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES.

Dave (Zac Efron) and Mike (Adam Devine) are as close as two brothers can be. The problem is that from one family gathering to the next, these brothers are a hot mess at creating trouble.

That’s when it’s time for a family intervention! Dad Burt (Stephen Root) and Mom Rosie (Stephanie Faracy) are worried that with the upcoming nuptials of sister Jeanie (Sugar Lyn Beard) to Eric (Sam Richardson). Showing the boys their screw ups, Jeanie begs her brothers to find nice girls as wedding dates and behave themselves.

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Not wanting to disappoint their sister, the boys reach out and become media sensations to find good girls to take to the wedding in Hawaii. Alice (Anna Kendrick) and Tatiana (Aubrey Plaza) see their plea and decide that the only way to get this free Hawaiian vacation is – to play the role of good girls.

After setting up a meeting in the most unusual way, the guys decide these are definitely girls everyone will love! Arriving in Hawaii, the girls are thrilled but quickly plot on how they can get away for party time. Heading to the family gathering, the girls are accepted quickly by Mike and Dave’s family.

Dave and Alice seem to hit it off right away but Mike and Tatiana are playing a game of cat and mouse. Not making things easy is Cousin Terry (Alice Wetterlund) who also has eyes for Tatiana.

Of course once Mike discovers what Tatiana and Alice are up to, he freaks out and that’s when disaster begins. The two brothers’ clash, the girls aren’t helping, sister gets a little happy, secrets are spilled, Mom and Dad are done and the wedding is off!

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Efron as Dave is devoted to his brother but there are moments when he wants more for his future. Feeling he owes a lot to a brother that has been standing up for him since childhood, it isn’t until he meets Alice that what Dave wants has importance. Efron is, of course, cute and fun to watch.

Devine as Mike is absolutely bonkers! From the way he screams to the way he cries, I’m sure I had a confused look on my face and translated meant ‘how does he do that?’ followed by laughter. Mixed in with that a high pitched squeal that sent my cat flying out of the room I could only laugh harder.

Kendrick as Alice starts out trying to get over a broken heart by drowning everything in alcohol. Getting away to Hawaii was her only chance of coming back from it (as Tatiana would say) and liking Dave actually wasn’t in the plan. I loved the hilarious scenes with sister Jeanie! Plaza as Tatiana tries to be the tough one of the two gals keeping Mike on an emotional leash. Having a great time she doesn’t want the party to end bringing on a lot of chaos!

Beard as sister Jeanie might have the best scene in comedy ever when it comes to a different kind of message – it will be memorable for some time to come. Wetterlund as Cousin Terry is seriously, I think, a little more messed up than her cousins. Richardson as Eric watches all the family chaos and when push comes to shove has his moment to shine.

Root as Dad Burt spends most of the movie shaking his head at the boys – and why wouldn’t he? Those two are a walking disaster! Mom Rosie loves her sons but has no problem using colorful descriptors about their behavior.

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Other cast include: Lavell Crawford as Keith, Mary Holland as Becky, Kumail Nanjiani as Keanu, Jake Johnson as Ronnie and Marc Maron as Randy.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is the industry leading worldwide entertainment. Each year TCFHE expands its award-winning global product portfolio with the introduction of new entertainment content through established and emerging formats including DVD, Bluray and Digital HD. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is a subsidiary of 21st Century Fox. For more please visit www.foxconnect.com.

MIKE AND DAVE NEED WEDDING DATES is certainly a comedy that even pays homage to WEDDING CRASHERS taking it a few steps further. Efron and Devine bounce off of each other in ways that I can’t even imagine how many times they cracked up during filming. Kendrick and Plaza are equally entertaining and the scene where they have a realization is so hilariously confusing!

This is comedy from start to finish and definitely doesn’t give a lot of time to catch your breath. If your going to laugh, why not laugh for and hour and a half with another 90 minutes of funny with extras.

The Bluray and DVD includes the Special Features 14 Deleted Scenes, 16 Extended Scenes, Alternate Storyline Pig Sequence, Bits on Bits on Bits, Lin-O-Rama, Gag Reel, Funny Or Die Shorts, Director Commentary, Gallery, Red Band Trailer and Theatrical Trailer.

 In the end – they needed hot dates but got hot messes!

THE NEON DEMON Lights Up on Bluray

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Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray from writer/director Nicolas Winding Refn and Broad Green Pictures is a film that is jaw dropping when it comes to dealing with THE NEON DEMON.

Jesse (Elle Fanning) is a young girl looking to become famous in the modeling world. Living in a beat down hotel room run by creepy Hank (Keanu Reeves), she meets Dean (Karl Glusman) who also aspires to be a famous photographer. Taking pictures for a portfolio the two become friends.

Taking her photos to a Roberta Hoffmann (Christina Hendricks) she is sent on her first job with the famous Jack (Desmond Harrington). There she meets makeup artist Ruby (Jena Malone) who is thrilled to make a new beautiful friend and keeps her eye out for young Jesse. Ruby also introduces Jesse to her friends Gigi (Bella Heathcote) and Sarah (Abbey Lee).

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Almost over night Jesse becomes a successful model and loves the attention it brings. Now that the industry recognizes her beauty and gives her fame, jealousy begins within the new group of friends.

A misunderstanding between Ruby and Jesse bring about the ultimate confrontation between love and beauty.

Fanning as Jesse is perfection for this role. She is wide-eyed innocent yet stunningly beautiful which is the draw for the industry casting agents, photographers and designers. Attempting to find the way on her own, it is inevitable that she would deal with people like Hank, Jack and even Ruby. Her character is flowingly sweet one moment, hard and intense in couture the next. Fanning made it look crazy easy!

Malone as makeup artist Ruby takes to Jesse right away and feels the need to protect her. When Jesse has problems with her living situation, it is Ruby that comes to the rescue. Malone is sweetly presented and as a makeup artist has the ability to create the masks the industry wants from their models.

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Heathcote as Gigi and Lee as Sarah are two girls struggling to get to the status that Jesse seems to get with ease. Feeling as if they had worked harder to achieve success, jealousy begins to rear its ugly designer wearing heads. These two young ladies are cold and cool.

Reeves as Hank is mean spirited and a little disturbing but then again that’s what I’d expect from a guy who had a seedy hotel. It’s just when Reeves plays this kind of role it’s a tad unnerving! Glusman as Dean falls for Jesse but has a surprise coming that might change his feelings.

Other cast include: Jamie Clayton and Stacey Danger as Casting Assistants, Rebecca Dayan as Dresser, Taylor Hill as the Flirty Model and Charles Baker as Mikey.

Broad Green Pictures began in 2014 with founders Gabriel and Daniel Hammond. Dedicated to providing filmmakers infrastructure and marketing, it gives script to screen the support. That is necessary to bring incredible stories to the largest audience. For more of what they have slated for the future and available now please visit www.broadgreen.com.

THE NEON DEMON is definitely a film for the audience that looks for the unusual. This has the feel of David Lynch’s iconic BLUE VELVET and that film also took some time to be accepted. Of course there are parts of this film that could be considered shocking or even bizarre.

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The problem with that is I have that same feeling about most wasteful and gruesome horror films that are put in theatres. Those films don’t even come close to the unpredictable story line that Refn provides with this piece. I had been given a ‘warning’ about THE NEON DEMON previously (but anyone who knows me is laughing at that) yet I was all in from the beginning.

You can not put a cast like this together and not expect something unique to happen. That’s what THE NEON DEMON is as far as I’m concerned. If anything it is a smack in the face about the definition of beauty and what people will do to get it, keep it and become famous for it. The ending is the topping on the cake and I actually have a quote that I’d give you about it but see it first and ask me for it later – trust me!

In the end – beauty is vicious!

Director Peter Berg Talks About Film DEEPWATER HORIZON

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Jeri Jacquin

This week in theatres Summit Entertainment brings director Peter Berg’s film about the PB oil disaster and the courage of those aboard DEEPWATER HORIZON.

In April of 2010, a drilling rig known as DEEPWATER HORIZON owned by BP oil was a floating rig that could travel to any spot for drilling. Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg) boarding the rig along with Jimmy Harrell (Kurt Russell), and Andrea Fleytas (Gina Rodriguez).

With questions already looming about the readiness of the rig, Harrell has questions for the execs already on board. Already in conference are Vidrine (John Malkovich) and Jimmy calls them out on the inspection that seems to have been bypassed. Mike isn’t happy asking Caleb Holloway (Dylan O’Brien) who is working the pipes if the inspection has been done.

Agreeing to a pressure test, everyone on the rig waits as the first test fails. It is Vidrine who consistently tries to out-talk the crew on what BP is expecting from the rig and there is nothing wrong. Nothing could be further from the truth when later in the evening the earth decides to revolt against the rig.

The explosion brings out courage of the many to save lives!

Director Peter Berg has taken the story of Deepwater Horizon and made it into a film that tells the story bringing Mike Williams to the forefront as a hero. This isn’t the first film Berg has brought to the screen with an intense story about courageous individuals. In 2013 he directed the film LONE SURVIVOR about Marcus Luttrell (played by Mark Wahlberg) and his team on a mission to capture a Taliban leader. In 2017 has the film PATRIOTS DAY will be released about the Boston Marathon bombing and the city-wide manhunt for the terrorists.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Peter Berg about DEEPWATER HORIZON and what pushes him to tell stories of extraordinary people and events.

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JJ: Thanks for talking with me today Peter.

PB: Of course Jeri, it’s my pleasure.

JJ: Tell me what interested you in wanting to take on this project?

PB: There was a 60 Minutes piece about Mike Williams and it really just got to me. I thought it was a great story and it spoke to me.

JJ: Did you realize the monumental scope of the making this film when you decided to go ahead and make the film?

PB: I did, I knew it was going to be a challenging movie and I felt absolutely ready for it. I was actually really excited to get involved and get it going.

JJ: Did you already have a cast in mind?

PB: Mark [Wahlberg] was already to go and we knew each other which was obviously part of the reason I was excited about the film.

JJ: He and Kurt Russell together are so fantastic and amazing in the film. Was Kurt some one else you knew right away needed to be in the film?

PB: Not right away but pretty quickly I thought of Kurt. I am a really big fan of his.

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JJ: John Malkovich as well? I know I’m a huge fan.

PB: Absolutely, same here, I am a big fan of his work as well.

JJ: He is so amazing, his accent is pretty good.

PB: Perfect right?

JJ: Building the set, it must have caused a little bit of a shock to put together something so spectacular?

PB: It was fun!

JJ: Really?

PB: Yes, because we got to big a real big set. We got to be kids with Lincoln Logs but bigger!

JJ: That’s a pretty massive Lincoln Log Peter.

PB: Yes it was. It was a massive Lincoln Log and fun to do at the same time.

JJ: I was surprised to see you in it as well, which is a nice bonus.

PB: Thank you, it was actually fun to do it.

JJ: You took on the film and started putting it all together, did you see it was going so big. I mean you have your human characters but now you have this big other character (the rig) to control. How did you manage the double duty?

PB: It was fun too. Making movies is always super challenging and for me it is getting myself fired up and getting excited for those challenges. The set was a big challenge and executing it in New Orleans with the heat and the water and you have to be up for it. As long as you are I find it all works out pretty well.

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JJ: The storyline is so intense and you didn’t sugar coat anything?

PB: My grandmother Ruth said ‘shoot straight and don’t sugar coat’.

JJ: I was wondering how you were going to get around the BP situation and thank you for being straight with the story telling.

PB: BP messed up big time and you have got to be accurate with the facts if you are going to point the finger at some of BP’s behavior.

JJ: The scene with Russell and Malkovich when they are doing the pressure test, I have to say their interaction felt so brutally honest.

PB: I appreciate that. My grandmother also said honest is the best policy so I went with that.

JJ: I think that is what makes this film bigger than just the action, that you were telling the story honesty. Now, dealing with all that mud and oil, how did you make that happen?

PB: We had this guy name Burt Dalton who is a physical production designer for films and he brought in all these gallons of mud and oil and this incredible pumping system. He was able to get heavy pressure and throw that mud around. I had my son and his friends from high school on summer break and made them clean it all up.

JJ: Excellent!

PB: It’s true!

JJ: It looks like the cast took a beating. You’ve got fire, mud, falling metal, water – that’s pretty intense. How long did it take you to shoot the film?

PB: It was done in sixty days or around that. It didn’t take as long as you might think, we moved pretty quickly.

JJ: Working with such Malkovich, Russell and Wahlberg who you have worked with before. How is that for you as a director to look at that cast and think ‘wow’.

PB: I look at everything and say wow! I like my cast, crew, getting to meet Mike Williams and the men and women who were on that rig. It is all a process that I like very much and I’m very grateful to have participated in all of it.

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JJ: I’ve seen interviews with Mike Williams, what an amazing person.

PB: I’ll say.

JJ: You seem to really enjoy doing films working with amazing people.

PB: I like non-fiction and I’m at a point in my life where I meet people who have gone through extraordinary experiences like Mike Williams and Marcus Luttrell (from the film LONE SURVIVOR) or some of the FBI agents, police and citizens of Boston (coming soon PATRIOTS DAY) who were involved in the hunting down of those who hurt people in the Boston Marathon, those are the stories that excite me.

JJ: It gives you an opportunity tell those truths.

PB: It gives me so much inspiration. You spend time with the people who went through it and obviously it’s a more authentic experience and gives me access to that part of the process that inspires me. Every director is different and some like science fiction, I like non-fiction.

JJ: Finally Peter, what do you want the audience to walk out of the theatre understanding about DEEPWATER HORIZON?

PB: There is never any one thing. I think certainly one of the things that resonates with me is that there were eleven people who died on that rig because of corporate bullying. They could have all run and jumped into life boats and they all would have been back with their kids. They did their jobs when a lot of other people like the executives who got off that rig. These working class men stayed on that rig and they died, it cost them their lives. To me that is worth knowing.

JJ: That means everything, thank you Peter.  In DEEPWATER HORIZON Peter, it is nothing like I expected yet everything I want in good and true storytelling well done sir!

PB: Thank you Jeri, thank you so much.

 

Once again Director Peter Berg brings a true story to the screen and does it in a big way. From set design to casting, everything about the film is big. That being said, that is only a fraction of a moment thought compared to the truly amazing story that is told shooting straight from the hip.

Not only did Berg tell the story of DEEPWATER HORIZON, but he took the time to explain it all. The performances of Wahlberg, Russell and the rest of the cast is so well done that it kept myself, as well as the screening audience totally engrossed from start to finish. This is an epic movie going experience!

In the end – inspired by the true story of real life heroes!

 

MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR UNUSUAL CHILDREN

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Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres this Friday from director Tim Burton and 20th Century Fox comes a tale from the novel by Ransom Riggs that tells about MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR UNUSUAL CHILDREN.

Jacob (Asa Butterfield) is a young man that knows he is a little off the beaten path. The one person that he is close to is Grandfather Abraham (Terence Stamp). From the time he was young boy, Grandfather would tell him stories of his travels and photos of the people in his life.

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When Jacob receives a strange call from Grandfather Abraham, he runs over to discover a house that is ransacked. He notices a light outside and follows it into the woods where Grandpa has been attacked. Trying to tell Jacob to “find the bird” it becomes clear that they are not alone in the forest.

Days go by and Jacob is having a difficult time dealing with his Grandfather being gone. Mom (Kim Dickens) is worried and Dad Franklin (Chris O’Dowd) doesn’t seem moved by much having his own ‘daddy’ issues. Sending Jacob to see therapist Dr. Golan (Allison Janney), it is brought up that perhaps a trip to Wales were Grandfather came from will give the young boy closure he needs.

Off they go as Dad and Jacob find the little town of Cairnholm and the tavern where they will be staying. Franklin wants to go bird watching and Jacob wants to find the home his Grandfather lived in. It doesn’t take long before he meets Emma (Ella Purnell) looking exactly like the photograph – not aging one bit.

Emma takes Jacob through a portal to meet Miss Alma LeFay Peregrine (Eva Green) and she begins to explain everything. They all live in a home during World War II and Miss Peregrine has the ability to create loops that keep a day frozen in time. Keep their day safe from bombs that later drop during war is all Miss Peregrine wants to do to keep her children safe.

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He also meets the other children with peculiars – Enoch (Finlay MacMillan), Olive (Lauren McCrostie), Horace (Hayden Stone), Fiona (Georgia Pemberton), Hugh – well sort of (Milo Parker), and Claire (Raffiella Chapman), Bronwyn (Pixie Davies), Millard (Cameron King), Victor (Louis Davison) and the Masked Twins (Joseph & Thomas Odwell).

There biggest fear now is Barron (Samuel L. Jackson) who is looking to destroy all the Peculiars. Jacob jumps between time keeping his father clueless and back to the home when Miss Peregrine and the children are in danger. The young man also feels strongly for Emma knowing he has to say goodbye when the time comes.

All of this is only a matter of time!

Butterfield as Jake has the right amount of empathy in his facial expressions to carry this film for the entire two hours plus. Perhaps it’s his wide-eyed wonder or his questioning eyebrows but either makes for a young man thrown between two worlds. Butterfield continues to win over audiences since HUGO, ENDER’S GAME and a truly stunning performance in 10,000 SAINTS.

Purnell as Emma is full of sad wide eyed wonder floating when she needs to wearing lead shoes when she doesn’t. Stamp as Grandpa Abraham pops in and out through the story as much as Jacob goes in between time.

Green as Miss Peregrine brings her growly low voice once again to this character. I really enjoy her as an actress but I have to say that typecasting is becoming closer than I care to think about. Growly has followed her through DARK SHADOWS, 300: Rise of an Empire, SIN CITY: A Dame to Kill For, and the television series PENNY DREADFUL. Miss Peregrine feels a lot like the character Serafina Pekkala from THE GOLDEN COMPASS as a watchful eye over children in both cases.

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Jackson as Barron is a mildly amusing character but to be honest his talking was slurred but what I can only think is really bad fitting denture prosthetics. O’Dowd as Dad Franklin provides a bland performance and I hate that because I love O’Dowd!

MacMillan, McCrostie, Stone, Pemberton, Chapman, Davies, King and Davison have each a specific peculiarity and are delightful to watch. Of course I have my favorites which are Parker as the very unseeable Hugh and the Odwell twins as the Masked Twins. I love how Hugh uses his special gifts to make me laugh and the Masked Twins keep my curiosity peaked!

Other cast include: O-Lan Jones as Shelley, Helen Day as Miss Edwards, Jennifer Jarackas as Aunt Susie, Rupert Everett as the Ornithologist and Dame Judi Dench as Miss Avocet.

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TUBS OF POPCORN: I give MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR UNUSUAL CHILDREN three and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. Each Peculiar that the children have is cool & interesting. There are some nice storylines here but there is a lot of story to tell. That explains the over two hours which started to wane on my eyes a little.

Burton is a favorite filmmaker in our household filled with CORALINE or FRANKENWEENIE or, obviously, NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS. This is just a good film but is it a memorable one? That will be for Burton fans to decide as this story seems right up his alley.

The film has all the trademark dark eyes, dark creatures (although they look a little like grown up versions of the Del Toro critters from DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK from 2010), a little spookiness and a little yucky in the eye department. With Halloween right around the corner this might be the creepiness families will go for.

In the end – stay peculiar!

Prepare for a Furry Battle to Find Out WHO GETS THE DOG?

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Coming to DVD from director Huck Botko and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is a fluffy comedy that asks the question WHO GETS THE DOG?

Olive (Alicia Silverstone) is a top doctor with high hopes of starting a family, but her out-of-work husband Clay (Ryan Kwanten) is too busy concentrating on his dream of becoming a big league hockey star. On the brink of divorce, the couple can’t agree on who will take custody of their beloved dog Wesley.

Things go from back to worse as they battle it out in court. Resorting to cheap tactics and dirty tricks. Olive and Clay pull out all the stops to win back Wesley, with hilarious disastrous consequences!

WHO GETS THE DOG? walks onto DVD September 27th from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment!

THE WAILING Gives New Definition to Suspense!

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(Gonksung)

 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray from acclaimed director Na Hong-Jin and Well Go USA Entertainment is a tale that will leave you guessing about THE WAILING.

In a little South Korean mountain village called Goksung, Officer Jong-goo (Do Won Kwak) lives with family and his daughter Hyo-jin (Kim Hwan-hee). Always under scrutiny from his superiors, things are about to take a turn he could never have imagined.

Arriving at a house in the village, Officer Jong-goo finds a family has been murdered by a family member. After running tests it is discovered that the suspect was suffering from a skin rash and poisoned mushrooms.

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That would have sufficed the officer except a woman in white, Moo-myeong (Woo-Hee Chun) approaches telling him that she knows who is responsible. Living deep in the woods further into the mountains is a Japanese stranger (Jun Kunimura) who a hunter saw almost naked eating an animal and had glowing red eyes.

Jong-goo decides to go, along with another officer and a priest, to speak to the stranger but he is not there. What they do find is a tiny room inside the hut filled with the photographs of people who have the rash and have been killed. The stranger arrives and the group leaves quickly.

It is on the ride home that Jong-goo discovers that his daughter Hyo-jin has met the stranger. When he confronts his daughter, he is met with outrageous behavior and a foul mouth. Later in the night he discovers that it’s not just his daughter’s behavior that is bizarre but she has the rash!

As her condition gets worse, Jong-goo’s mother-in-law demands that the family seek out the Shaman (Jung-min Hwang) to stop the madness.  He agrees but not before seeking out the stranger one more time and demanding that he leave within three days. Later, as the exorcism begins, Jong-goo is distraught over the pain the ritual seems to be causing his daughter.

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Jong-goo has reached his limits and tells his friends what has been happening. Agreeing to help him they gather up weapons and head to the mountains. What they find will send them fleeing back down the mountain.

The priest needs to know the truth and is back into the mountains to find the stranger and confront who he is and what he wants. Going back to his home, Jong-goo is met by Moo-myeong who tells him he must stay away from his house as a trap has been set for a demon. He begins to wonder who he can trust and if he makes the wrong move – who will die.

A father’s love may not be enough to save them all!

Do Won Kwak as Officer Jong-goo is a man who seems to be floating through life. Not really happy with his life, the only thing that does give him comfort is daughter Hyo-jin. It is when he sees the first family destroyed that it sets in motion events that he can neither control nor fully understand. Stellar performance!

Hwan-hee as Hyo-jin is a young girl who is put through the ringer. This isn’t an easy role for a kid to play but man oh man does she play it. It is her physicality that gives this character the right amount of scariness wrapped up in a tiny little package.

Kunimura as the Japanese stranger is another character that is more physical than anything else. I have to give Kunimura credit because his portrayal had me waiting, and waiting AND WAITING! Talking about keeping your eye on someone, Jong-goo wasn’t the only one.

Chun as Moo-myeong is a woman who shows bizarre behavior and a keen knowledge as to what is actually happening. How and why she knows is irrelevant to the fact that she has details that everyone should pay attention too. Chun’s conversation with Jong-goo’s character at the end was nail biting.

Hwang as the Shaman wastes no time in charging the parents to perform rituals. He was doing a pretty good job until Jong-goo stepped in. Yet he knows more than he is saying and he also has secrets.

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Well Go USA Entertainment brings the best action, genre and independent films to release from all around the world. To theatres, digital, television and Video on Demand, Well Go has an amazing selection available to fans of every genre. Check out what’s new and what’s coming up at www.wellgousa.com.

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give THE WAILING five tubs of popcorn out of five. What an amazing, intense, and twisted tale told so very well. There isn’t a moment where I wasn’t wondering what was going to happen next – and to who! The cinematography truly captured the isolation of this village and the un-dead looked very undead!

It has been some time since I sat through a film that would be considered ‘horror’ and found it to be more engrossing than most horror films. I personally didn’t mind the length of the film because it actually felt like I was watching a series, which by the way I wouldn’t have minded either.

This is not a quick thriller but a 157 minute ghost story that isn’t going to give anything away if it can help it. The Bluray includes the Bonus Features of The Beginning of The Wailing, The Making of The Wailing and Trailers. The film is in the Korean language with English subtitles.

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South Korean writer and director Na Hong-jin is also known for his 2008 film THE CHASER which won him Best Director at the Korean Film Awards. In 2010 his next film THE YELLOW SEA was screened at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. THE WAILING has received critical acclaim as it well should.

Add THE WAILING to your must-see list along with TRAIN TO BUSCAN because both of these films are an unexpected surprise to zombie and horror genre lovers.

In the end – who to trust can be more deadly than a demon!

The Animated Film LONG WAY NORTH is Striking

long-way-north

 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres on September 30th from SHOUT! Factory Films is the beautiful story and stunning animation by director Remi Chaye taking the trip LONG WAY NORTH.

Sacha (Chloe Dunn) is a young girl living in 19th century St. Petersburg, Russia. Her Grandfather Olukine (Geoffrey Greenhill) is a sea explorer who is in search of the North Pole on the ship, the Davai. When both he and the ship go missing, the Czar offers a million ruble reward for the discovery of its whereabouts.

Her parents want Sacha to marry and have arranged for her to meet Prince Tomsky at her debut ball. Instead, she has discovered a map and directions to where Sacha believes her grandfather may be. Attempting to discuss it with the prince turns disastrous and the parents are devastated.

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Knowing that no one believes her, Sacha takes it upon herself to head into the Great North. Taking the train as far as it will her, the only way to get further is by ship. She meets Larson (Anthony Hickling) who says he is the captain of the Norge and can take her further north. After a major setback, it is Larson’s brother Lund (Peter Hudson) who is the captain that believes in this young girl’s story.

Now, Sacha has a chance to find the grandfather she loves and solve the mystery of the Davai!

Sacha’s adventure are nothing short of courageous. Although her parents do not understand with her obsession with looking for grandfather and the Davai, it is when she doesn’t fall for the Prince that family honor is at stake.

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Going out into the world brought this character the courage she needed but also life lessons about responsibility and accountability. That’s what I enjoyed most about LONG WAY NORTH, watching this character of Sacha bloom.

I would encourage all families to make this film a family night together because finding films that can be enjoyed together is hard sometimes. LONG WAY HOME brings love, family, faith and friendship and loyalty together in a beautiful way.

The voice cast also includes Tom Perkins as Katch, Vivienne Vermes as Olga, Claire Harrison-Bullett as Nadya, Kester Lovelace as Loujine, Bibi Jacobs as Sacha’s Mother, Tom Morton as Prince Tomsky, and Martin Lewis as Sacha’s Father.

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SHOUT! Factory has grown into a tremendous multi-platform media company. Releasing new animated features such as the exquisite Long Way North, and the epic fantasy Beauty And The Beast. Also their own original horror film, Fender Bender gives fans a good scare. For more of what SHOUT Factor has to offer please visit www.shoutfactory.com.

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give LONG WAY NORTH five tubs of popcorn out of five. This is such a collection of words such as stunning, heart warming, delightful and even charming in its humor.

LONG WAY NORTH is directed by celebrated animator Remi Chaye and has won the coveted Audience Award at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival and the winner of the Grand Prize and the Governor of Tokyo Award at the Tokyo Animation Festival this year.

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When asked what made Chaye want to take on this project, he said, “In 2005 I met Claire Paoletti who was teaching courses in screenwriting at La Poudriere. She had a project for a feature-length film. At that point, it all fit on one page; a young girl of the Russian aristocracy leaving to find her grandfather who is lost on the ice. Not long before that I had read the logbook of Ernest Shackelton and about his extraordinary odyssey. The expedition was to cross the Antarctic from sea to sea and an early winter caught them in the ice.”

He continues, “When Claire told me about a ship caught in the ice, I got excited. I also really liked the idea of making a film that takes place in the 19th century…a period film like Jules Verne novels, Gustave Doree’s etching or Daumier’s lithographs. Her project had all the elements that interested me.”

All of that comes into focus with the animated film that tells the story of a young girl’s journey to find her grandfather and the ship. But that isn’t all, it’s a story of explorers and the heart it takes to go into a part of the world that others wouldn’t.

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The animation is so well done and to say it’s beautiful would be an understatement. The music was created by Jonathan Morali and songwriter Syd Matters. The lyrics are so expressive when is comes to Sacha’s scenes. Also, director Chaye kept the Russian ambiance for this animated adventure film.

From SHOUT! Factory films is adventure beyond the edge of the world and a young girl shares her faith, hope and love on a voyage like no other.

In the end – it is a matter of family honor!

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