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October 2016

PEPPA PIG: Sun Sea & Snow Seasonally Delights on DVD

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Jeri Jacquin

This week from Entertainment One and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is one of the most beloved animated families led by PEPPA PIG: Sun Sea & Snow!

Peppa Pig’s family, Daddy, Mommy and brother George, are going on vacation but they wake up the first morning with snow on the ground. That doesn’t stop the family from going on a sea side holiday singing the whole way. Even the beach is covered in snow and instead of sand castles Daddy Pig suggests they make snow castles!

Peppa Pig and family are now in the mountains and taking up skiing. Madame Gazelle is the ski teacher teaching the youngsters the joys of the smaller slopes. Mommy Pig decides to try skiing again but when the slopes take control, the gang goes after her and Madame Gazelle is impressed.

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The sun is out and the Pig family is going to the playground together but on their way a fog sets in. Daddy Pig says he knows the way home but the fog seems to have him discombobulated! But a chance encounter with a ladder gives everyone a new perspective.

Spending time at home, Peppa Pig and her brother George are dancing in the living room. Daddy Pig is vacuuming the hallway and Mommy Pig is working on her computer. Suddenly the electricity goes out in the house which means the family will have to find creative ways to entertain one another.

Other adventures include Peppa Pig at a sleep over at the Zebra’s house, entertaining her baby brother George with a story of her own and spending time with learning about the night with Grandpa Pig. Mummy Pig makes Peppa Pig a colorful box and it becomes filled with her secrets things.

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Peppa Pig and George learn how mirrors are funny but shiny things are even funnier! In school, Pedro has a cough and Dr. Brown Bear explains that sometimes coughs can be catchy. Peppa Pig and Suzy Sheep create a secret club doing secret things in secret. A rainy day brings out of the fun in the Pig family with a game of hide the duck

This is a family that knows how to have fun!

The character voices include Cecily Bloom as Peppa Pig, Richard Ridings as Daddy Pig, Morwenna Banks as Mommy Pig, Oliver & Alice May as George, David Graham as Grandpa Pig, Frances White as Granny Pig, Meg Hall as Suzy Sheep, Bethan Lindsay as Rebecca Rabbit and narrated by John Sparkes.

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

Entertainment One continues to bring amazing home entertainment to fans with their own library of over 40,000 films and television titles and 45,000 music tracks. I mention those numbers because that is so impressive bringing something for everyone. For more of what they have to offer please visit http://entertainmentone.com/home.

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The DVD includes 12 fun-packed Peppasodes – Sun, Sea and Snow, Snowy Mountain, Foggy Day, The Powercut, The Sleepover, Bedtime Story, Night Animals, Secrets, Pedro’s Cough, The Secret Club, The Rainy Day Game and Mirrors.

It must be said that Peppa Pig and her family are entertaining, funny, and lovely with each other. The catchy introduction song is so simple yet memorable. The reason I know all of this to be true is because my two year old granddaughter can hum the tune as well as make the little pig snorts which is actually kind of cute.

The stories are very well narrated with the character voices that are so endearing. Cecily Bloom’s giggle as Peppa Pig is quite contagious! What I find fascinating is that they are short in duration which makes it very easy for children to follow and absorb. PEPPA PIG: Sun Sea & Snow is a Parent Tested Parent Approved” winner and deservedly so.

The themes that run through this cutely animated series are friendship, family, love, respect for grandparents (and elders in general), responsibility, and caring – I mean the list is really long and wonderful.

In the end – it is Peppa Pig and family on an adventure through life!

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DESIERTO: Speaking with Director Jonás Cuarón

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Jeri Jacquin

In theatres this week from writer/director Jonás Cuarón along with Mateo Garcia and STX Entertainment is a film that opens a bigger dialogue regarding those who put their lives at risk in the DESIERTO.

The film tells the story of a group of people trying to cross into the United States led by their coyote. When the truck that is their transportation breaks down, the group has no choice but to begin the long walk to the United States/Mexican border. Warned to stay together, they will face the toughest terrain.

What they don’t count on is Sam (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), an angry man with a rifle and gun who doesn’t like immigrants crossing his land. When he sees a group crossing, Sam doesn’t hesitate to open fire on them.

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Not realizing that Moises (Gael García Bernal) and Adela (Alondra Hidalgo) with others have fallen behind, they witness everything. They might have escaped Sam’s wrath if not for his dog who alerts the gunman to their presence.

Now survival takes on a whole new meaning!

I had the opportunity to speak with director and if that name seems a bit familiar well it should. He is the son of GRAVITY director Alfonso Cuarón, the 2014 Oscar Winner for Best Director and wrote the screenplay with his father.

What most don’t know is that was working on the script for DESIERTO at the same time! Here is the interview discussing the reason behind the film and the choices he made in every aspect of the film.

Jeri Jacquin: Thank you for talking with me today Jonás.

Jonás Cuarón: Oh you are very welcome Jeri, thank you as well.

JJ: What drove you to put this movie together?

JC: It started around 10 years ago when I had already been living in the United States quite some time. I was traveling through Arizona and there were a lot of anti-immigration laws being promoted then. There was this really strong rhetoric going on with hatred toward migrants and foreigners. As a Mexican growing up in the United States, what I truly admired about living here is the cultural diversity. I felt it was something I wanted to talk about and it wasn’t until a few years later that I had the chance to finally write about it for the film. I wanted to do it in this genre with horror because it would connect with audiences in a way they are not use to, connecting in a more visceral way.

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JJ: Working with Mateo Garcia and writing this together, where the ideas in the way to tell the story about the same?

JC: What happened was that I wrote a first draft and showed it to my father [Alfonso Cuarón] and he would make notes for me. When my Dad read it, instead of giving me criticism he said, “I want to make something like this!” He became very intrigued with the idea of an action movie that had very little dialogue and characters but ended up telling a bigger story. When we started putting that concept towards space we started working on GRAVITY. At the time I was invested in GRAVITY but also wanted to work on DESIERTO and I approached Mateo, my cousin, and I admire him as a writer. From then on while I was half of the day working with my Dad on GRAVITY, the other half of the day I was working with Mateo. In that sense it was an interesting back and forth.

JJ: I was going to say that had to be a challenge for you working on the vastness space with GRAVITY while working on the vastness of the desert for DESIERTO.

JC: I always find it very interesting that they both sprang from the same concept and have that as far as similarities but at the same time because the context are so different the stories became completely different. I thought GRAVITY was more of an allegory for the existential issues and DESIERTO is down to earth. Being in the desert specifically between the United States and Mexico it had geo-political undertones.

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JJ: I have been out in that section going to Yuma, Arizona and there is that very long section of nothingness. That can be very frightening to look at let alone be out in the middle of.

JC: Definitely, the desert is one of the hottest landscapes I’ve ever been in and even during the shoot and we were lucky to have water and shade. I thought to myself that people really get lost in this landscape. Now that you mention Yuma, ten years ago when I was in Arizona, one of the things that really touched me was a book I found called The Devil’s Highway. It narrates the story of the Yuma 14 which is a case of a group of Mexican that the human traffickers abandoned. I think there was only one survivor of that group who reached Yuma, Arizona. That is the horrifying thing. Obviously I have never read of a Minuteman doing the things like you see in the film, it is just more a metaphor of what hatred can do to a person. Humans die every day in that desert which is why I called the film DESIERTO.

JJ: Tell me about the casting of Gael García Bernal and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. What was it about these two actors that you knew you were seeing Moises and Sam?

JC: As I was writing the script I knew I wanted to work with Gael. I grew up watching his career and admired what he was doing and wanted to work with him. When I did my research and started studying the issue of migration, I noticed that Gael had done a lot of documentaries either as a director, producer or actor in the pieces. He took a journey with a group of migrants all the way from Central American through Mexico to the United States. I knew Gael had a closeness with the subject matter that I knew was going to be very helpful for the film. With Jeffrey, when I started looking for the guy to play the villain I was immediately intrigued by him. He is a big scary guy but on the other side of him he is very charming! Now there is this contradiction that I found interesting. I didn’t wanted Jeffrey’s character to be human, not just a two dimensional bad guy. I was already intrigued but when he came to the meeting I saw he drove a pick up truck and he has tattoos. I mean the ones you see in the film are really his own. During our first meeting he talked to me about his dogs so in that sense he was ready to play that character.

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JJ: Also, Alondra Hidalgo as Adela, she carries fear on her face that is so believable.

JC: Adela’s is one of my favorites in the film because I was able to touch on a lot of issues with the character. I really wanted to find a new face, a face that would show the hardship women go through. There is this violence that they live through when they go through the journey, it’s horrific. I saw a casting of Alondra and I knew immediately it was her.

JJ: You brought the right people into a film that does provide a touchy subject matter especially during an election year. Instead you managed to humanize the film.

JC: Thank you, when I started this project ten years ago with Mateo it was to just create a story. I didn’t think back then that one of the criticisms it would face when it came out was that people would say it was a far fetched situation. Now, after ten years and everything that’s happened, I have to wonder how far fetched the scenario truly is.

JJ: Congratulations sir on a job well done, the casting is well done and the cinematography takes the viewer along. The scene where Gael is standing on the hill looking down at cactus and sand to the nothing that went for as far as the eye can see – it was relatable to anyone who has been in the desert themselves.

JC: Thank you Jeri, that means a lot to me and I’m glad you enjoyed the film.

 

It is not hard to become wrapped up in the storyline when Gael García Bernal and Jeffrey Dean Morgan both deal with their characters demons to a conclusion that will leave everyone talking. DESIERTO won the International Critics’ Award at the Toronto Film Festival and was nominated for Best Film by the London Film Festival.

DESIERTO is gripping, horrifying, and raw bringing out the primal instinct to survive!

BEING CANADIAN Educates with Humor on DVD

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Jeri Jacquin

On DVD from Candy Factory Film and writer/director Robert Cohen is one of the most amazing documentaries that educated me on BEING CANADIAN.

Robert Cohen is – well, Canadian! An Emmy Award winning writer and producer of such series like The Simpsons, American Dad and The Big Bang Theory, he moved from Calgary to Los Angeles becoming a comedy writer.

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It was when his friends and colleagues discover he is Canadian, that the stereotypes come out in a barrage of ‘Canada eh?’ or comments on the snow. That’s when Cohen gets the idea to go home and question being Canadian.

Jumping in a mini-van along with a few friends documenting the trip, he travels from one end of his homeland to the other. He wants to find out “What does it mean to be Canadian?” besides maple syrup and Mounties.

Now is Cohen’s chance to explore and explain the history of Canada as well as the questions “What is our national identity”, “What about Canada creates so many funny people? and “What the hell is poutine?”

Helping him to answer these questions are fellow Canadians Dan Aykroyd, Martin Short, Catherin O’Hara, Eugene Levy, Seth Rogen, Mike Meyers, Dave Foley, Cobie Smulders, Will Arnett, Howie Mandel, the band Rush, Alanis Morissette, Michael J. Fox, Paul Shaffer, Alex Trebek, Jason Priestly, David Steinberg and William Shatner.

If you didn’t know many of these beloved actors/actresses, comedians and rockers are Canadian well now you do. It is also wonderful to hear their own ideals and beliefs about where they are from and how it shaped who they are now.

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This is a charming, funny, unexpected and wonderful documentary!

Candy Factory Films is a forward-thinking, filmmaker-friendly company dedicated to producing unique and compelling films. Candy Factory is at the forefront of a new vanguard reaching distinct audiences. With award-winning and acclaimed films across every genre, Candy Factory is committed to creating and fostering communities around independent and progressive cinema. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.candyfactoryfilms.com.

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TUBS OF POPCORN: I give BEING CANADIAN five tubs of popcorn out of five. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this piece but with every question Cohen asks I found myself becoming more and more fascinated by what he had to say.

He is correct in that most Americans don’t give a second thought to Canada and by the end of this documentary I felt guilty about that. I quite honestly would love to take the same trip he did to experience a country that really does have so much to offer.

Whether it is the long winding roads, changing weather, rocky shores or charming display of Canadian affection with a parade, I was enamored. The explanation of apology and the history Cohen shares – all of this is done with humor and self-deprecation that makes me want to give every corner of Canada a huge hug and then cook everyone dinner insisting they have seconds.

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Thank you Robert Cohen for have the heart to share your quest filled with kindness of strangers at a gas station, living hostility vicariously through hockey, inferiority complex, explaining the Partition of Quebec (I didn’t understand it prior to this) and how it’s possible for someone to steal thousands of gallons of Canada’s prized maple syrup!

This is the most fun I’ve had watching a documentary in the longest time. BEING CANADIAN was the Official Selection for HotDocs, Nantucket Film Festival, Traverse City Film Festival and nominated Best Documentary Screenplay for Robert Cohen from the Writers Guild of America.

With Canada’s Sesquicentennial Anniversary coming in 2017, BEING CANADIAN is the best way to be informed and gives us all plenty of time to buy a gift!

TEEN WOLF: Season Five Part Two Shapes Shifts onto DVD

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Jeri Jacquin

This week from MTV and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is a DVD showing the pack is back for the second part of Season Five with TEEN WOLF.

Leaving off with part one of season five, Scott (Tyler Posey) is in a dilemma with Hayden (Victoria Moroles) and the pack turns to Melissa (Melissa Ponzio) for help. Sheriff Stilinski (Linden Ashby) is in trouble as Theo (Cody Christian) goes on a rampage hurting Malia (Shelley Henning) while going after Scott in the cruelest of ways. Melissa comes to Scott’s rescue but not before Theo creates a new pack of his own.

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Now, Parrish (Ryan Kelley) is moved to find Lydia (Holland Roden) but not exactly in good shape. The Chimera share a history with Stiles (Dylan O’Brien) that has been kept a secret. They aren’t the only problem as the Dread Doctors are out to find Noah and he needs Chris’ help. What is shocking is that Noah has poisonous bone spikes and where they come from plays second fiddle to getting them removed from Sheriff Stilinski’s body!

When the last Chimera is discovered by Scott, he knows that they need to find out what this creature is and asks Stiles for help. Knowing it is an supernatural creature, they need to know who created it and why. Theo is keeping busy with his new pack. At Eichen House there is another matter as Meredith knows she must teach Lydia about the banshee powers that she has.

The supernatural creature they now call the Beast has taken victims. Remembering the painting they found earlier, Chris and Gerard now know it’s a picture of the Beast and a Hellhound at war with each other. When Beast wreaks havoc through Beacon Hills, no one can stop it.

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Dr. Valack (Steven Brand) at Eichen House is planning something horrific for Lydia when Deaton tells him that what can happen is a death scream that will kill everyone. Working on a plan it takes Scott, Stiles Malia and Kira (Arden Cho) to make it work but it all goes wrong and Eichen House traps everyone inside!

When Lydia is taken by Valack, comes around and the scream what they were all warned about comes to pass but Parrish knows how to stop it. What he doesn’t know how to stop is the Beast who seems to be a quick study. That last place they would have thought it would show up is at the lacrosse game and unleashes its fury throughout the high school.

When Lydia discovers that she might be able to kill the beast, she also learns that she needs Parrish who has left. That leaves Braeden (Meagan Tandy), Liam (Dylan Sprayberry), Malia and Stiles to get the Beast out of the school. After finding something suspicious near their friend Mason’s car, Mason (Khylin Rhambo) is scooped up by Corey (Michael Johnston)!

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If dealing with the Beast isn’t enough, Braeden and Malia are also dealing with the Desert Wolf leaving Kira to ask the Skinwalkers for help. When it’s discovered that the Beast can take on human form it adds another dimension to the pain they are all going through.

Finally, the Beast needs to be stopped as everyone looks for a way to make that happen. But there are more endings than any of them could have imagined!

Other cast include: Seth Gilliam as Dr. Deaton, Susan Walters as Natalie Martin, Tom T. Choi as Ken Yukimura, Tamlyn Tomita as Noshiko Yukimura, J.R. Bourne as Chris Argent, Max Carver as Aiden, Marti Matulis as The Surgeon, Douglas Tait as The Pathologist, Elisabeth Carpenter as The Geneticist, Cody Saintgnue as Brett Talbot, Kelsey Chow as Tracy Stewart, Gideon Emergy as Deucalion, Marison Nichols as The Desert Wolf Corinne, Gilles Marini as Sebastien Valet and Crystal Reed as Marie-Jeanne Valet.

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

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The DVD includes the Special Features: Ultimate Dread – The Creatures of Season 5, Special Edition Illustrated Poster and Exclusive Featurette. There is over 431 minutes of amazing storytelling provided by MTV with a series that continues to keep fans coming back for more and more.

TEEN WOLF continues season after season with complex story telling, fantastic special effects and a cast that has a huge following. I have to say I think this season has some of the most in depth storytelling with seriously scary stuff going on that watching season five twice might be something I have to do. Okay, that’s because I had my hands over my face on a few scenes!

That’s what makes this series so very special with the mixture of mythology and a history created for the storytelling of TEEN WOLF. So get the gang together and make it a marathon watching!

In the end – their journey takes them to hell and back!

THE ACCOUNTANT Puts Out All the Right Numbers!

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Jeri Jacquin

This week is going to be a thrill because director Gavin O’Connor and Warner Bros. is dishing out the suspense with THE ACCOUNTANT.

Christian Wolff (Ben Affleck) has a way with number, not just any way but a wizards’ way. In a little shopping mall is ZZZ Accounting where he helps his clients in ways that leave them surprised.

But Wolff also does other jobs, special jobs, as when he meets Rita Blackburn (Jean Smart). She wants the numbers wiz to look into the finances of a robotics company owned by Lamar Black (John Lithgow). It seems that one of their own, Dana Cummings (Anna Kendrick) has found inconsistencies in the flow of company money.

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Across the country Ray King (J.K. Simmons) a Treasure Agent looking for a man who works with dangerous and very rich individuals called ‘the accountant’. He has reasons of his own to find him and to do that he enlists the help of Marybeth Medina (Cynthia Addai-Robbinson), a young woman who has a few secrets of her own but dives in to search for the mysterious man.

Back in a conference room, Wolff has taken over completely going over tons of material provided by Dana who wants to be of more help. But that isn’t Wolff’s style and he puts her off straight away. That is until he discovers what is happening with Lamar Black’s money!

That’s when his staff starts to turn up dead at the hands of a man named Brax (Jon Bernthal). Fearful of any more reprisals for what Wolff may find, Black hands him a checks and wants nothing more to do with what is happening.

Wolff is stunned by his attitude and even more freaked out that he can not complete the job. Hardly the worst of it when he discovers that Dana’s life is now in danger and nothing is going to stop him from tracking down those who are responsible.

There is much more to this accountant than his pocket protector!

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Affleck as Wolff is absolutely brilliant! First of all, his is a person of great mental strength put there by a not-to-normal childhood. A man of routine, taking on this case is anything but which brings all his senses to a heightened mode. Affleck has this amazing ability to have a calm and coolness to his features when everyone else is loosing their frakken minds. I know there were a few times I had my jaw dropped at the mixture of an almost innocence to his character and then in a millisecond he is in badass mode.

Simmons as King gives another piece of stellar acting. Personally I can not get enough of this guy and it is because he has the remarkable ability to portray any character he is given. From joking-loving father to a music teacher with unorthodox methods of screwing up a student’s brain to this role as King, I’m on this guys cheer squad for life!

Bernthal as Brax gets to go into crazy mode but with almost the same calmness as Wolff. He walks his way through this film doing his job and seeing it as just that – a job. Bernthal has come a long way fast since his zombie days and I couldn’t be happier for him.

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Kendrick as Dana is a young woman who just wants to do her job and move along in life. Not expecting someone like Wolff to shake things up, there is a part of her that is intrigued by him. I absolutely love the ending of her part of the story. Addai-Robinson as Medina was the character that kind of irked me the most. Coming off as a woman with a past is one thing and by the end I’m thinking this character has a false face.

Lithgow as Black has a short role in the film but learns the hard way not to mess with a man who knows his numbers. Smart as Blackburn also has a shortened role but it is always good to see her.

Other cast include: Andy Umberger as Ed Chilton and Alison Wright as Justine.

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give THE ACCOUNTANT four and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. Now, let me explain why. This is the first film I’ve watched in a while where I was absolutely surprised by every aspect of the film. It was funny in a twisted way that I can appreciate, it was suspenseful at every turn, the film makes no apologies just as the character Wolff doesn’t, it is in-your-face from start to finish and the reaction of some of the characters is priceless.

The odd connection between Affleck and Kendrick is almost like a secret between the two of them. They understand the awkwardness of their own lives yet they have this mathematical connection that brings them both serious happiness. Having never been a math person I don’t relate but yet do. Like I said, it’s a secret between these two characters that works!

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Now, that is a teaser of course but mainly because there are many, many things I’m not telling you and for good reason. This film is best experienced for yourself! It is filled with so much that I want in a film. Coming in at 128 minutes I swear there isn’t a moment where the story drags, not ONE!

Warner Bros. should be thrilled and peacock-puffed-up-proud of THE ACCOUNTANT. The casting is fantastic and keeping the surroundings simple lets the characters really shine in a story that is complex and even had me guessing to the very end. Look, it is films like this that I go to the theatre for – I want the clock to tick away without me ever thinking of looking at it.

Now, what I thought immediately at the end of the film….I want Christian Wolff and John Wick to get together! I mean seriously – these two would take fear for the bad guys to another level!

In the end – calculate your choices!

THE NIGHT OF is Pure Tension and Grit on Bluray from HBO

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Jeri Jacquin

HBO has done it again and in a big, exciting way as THE NIGHT OF comes to Bluray and Digital HD this week.

Nasir Khan (Riz Ahmed) is a young man living at home with his parents Salim (Peyman Moaadi), Safar (Poorna Jagannathan) and brother Hasan (Syam Lafi). His father is in the taxi business and Nasir, who likes being called Naz, is in college earning his degree in business.

He is invited to a party with some friends on the basketball team and can’t wait to go. Making arrangements for a ride, it falls apart and Naz takes his father’s cab. Heading toward the party he becomes lost as two guys jump in his cab thinking he is the driver. He asks them to leave and when a police officer shows up, Naz explains his light is out and he can not take fares.

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Some time later Andrea Cornish (Sofia D’Elia) jumps into his cab. Not sure what to do since she seemed distraught, Naz decides to take her where she wants to go. Back to her brownstone, he is surprised when Andrea invites him in. There they drink, indulge and spend the evening together.

Later in the evening, Naz wakes up to discover he’s on the floor of the kitchen. He goes upstairs to get his clothes and to say goodbye to Andrea. What he finds instead is horror and after a series of bizarre events, he is later arrested for murder.

At the precinct Naz is met by Detective Bill Camp (Dennis Box) who attempts to get the truth of what happened. The problem is that Naz can not remember what happened and Camp isn’t sure what to believe. Lawyer John Stone (John Turturro) appears and warns Naz not to say another word and that he would help him.

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After Naz is arraigned and pleads not guilty, he is sent to prison to await his fate. There he meets Freddy Knight (Michael Williams), a man who sees all, knows all and wants to take Naz under his protection. This is a turning point in Naz’s life as he decides how he is going to handle other wanting him dead.

As Stone begins to investigate the case he it is poached by big time lawyer Alison Crowe (Glenne Headly) and her assistant Chandra Kapoor (Amara Karan). Crowe convinces Naz’s parents that she will take on the case pro bono. That is what his parents want to hear since they taxi cab that brings in their income is impounded by the police as evidence.

When Naz enters the courtroom once again after being indicted, Crowe is thrown a curve ball when he refuses to plea-bargain and admit guilt for something he believes he did not do. Crowe turns the case over to Chandra who in turn enlists the help of Stone.

Now, Chandra and Stone work together to uncover what the police missed, look for witnesses the police didn’t and put a case together that Naz was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It is a trial that either convicts an innocent man or keeps a guilty one where he belongs.

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Ahmed as Naz begins as such a character of innocents. Watching this character go through the chain of the law is edgy and hard. He may not always be forth coming about his past but he stands strong in saying he is innocent. Once in prison this wide-eyed young man is about to find out that being safe and staying alive means doing things he never thought possible. From beginning to end Ahmed is in this – well done!

Turturro as Stone is a character that just broke my heart to watch. Not only is his character considered nothing but an ambulance-chasing-deal-making lawyer but no one sees his suffering with eczema. I swear it just killed me to watch Stone feel as if he is not only a person ridiculed for his profession, but personally for something that isn’t his fault. Watching him try to make connections was so difficult proving once again to never judge a book by its cover. Stone is a smart man and Turturro portrays him smartly!

Camp as Box plays his role to the hilt as a cop coming to the end of his career; he can either go out fighting or go down sulking. Moaadi as Dad Salim believes in his son and isn’t going to let anyone stand in his way of doing whatever he can. Jagannathan as Mom Safar can’t keep her brain from stopping the thought that her son could be a monster.

Williams as Knight is a man who has the system working in his favor. From a television in his room to delivered food, this is a guy you would think everyone would want to know. The problem with knowing him is the price of his friendship can be very, very high.

Other cast includes Don Taylor as Paul Sparks, Afton Williamson as Wiggins, Joshua Bitton as Maldonado, Aaron Moten as Petey, Paulo Costanzo as Ray Halle, Nabil Elouahabi as Yusuf, Mustafa Shakir as Victor, Lord Jamar as Tino, Michael Buscemi as Steve, Lennie Loftin as Det. Lieberman, J.D. Williams as Trevor, Glenn Fleshler as Judge Roth and Jeannie Berlin as Helen Weiss.

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

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TUBS OF POPCORN: I give THE NIGHT OF five tubs of popcorn out of five. Trust me when I say that you need to put aside an evening and plan to be up late because once you’ve started down this story you won’t want to stop until the very last. The story is filled with twists, turns, people, places, situations and tension to each and everything that happens.

The casting is nothing short of perfection with my absolute big nods going to Ahmed and Turturro. These are two of the most flawed characters in the story and yet they manage to understand one another in the midst of chaos which is exceptional.

I have to say that watching each of these characters transform with ever episode made my heart sink a little each time. There is a solemn grittiness in this HBO Limited Series piece and it shouldn’t go unnoticed by the viewer. Once the story gets past the lines of nationality, it goes deep into assimilation for sake of just living.

There isn’t a moment where the sun rises and you hear a choir of angels singing as an ‘ah-ha’ moments happens. Nope, that’s not going to happen here. Instead, the story gets darker and deeper into those in control, those who think they are in control and what the reality is for everyone involved. Just a truly solid piece of storytelling that will remain with me for quite a while.

In the end – one night changes many lives forever!

Win an Copy of DOCTOR THORNE Autographed by Julian Fellowes!

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Coming to Digital HD and DVD this October from Anchor Bay Entertainment and The Weinstein Company is the absolutely stunning return of an era we have come to love with Julian Fellowes Presents DOCTOR THORNE.

DOCTOR THORNE is actually an adaptation of Anthony Trollope’s novel by the same name. Fellowes would take this opportunity to bring the word to television with a story that is filled with human twists and turns but the basis of everything is love.

If you miss Downtown Abbey as I do, then you will be thrilled to own this amazing story of love, friendship, loyalty, revenge and redemption as Julian Fellowes Presents DOCTOR THRONE.

Here is your chance to win an autographed copy by Julian Fellowes! Please email hellomoviemaven@aol.com with DOCTOR THRONE in the subject line along with your mailing address and we will chose winners at random. This is going to be good!

DELUXE EDITION OF ICE AGE: COLLISION COURSE IS HERE!

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Jeri Jacquin

This week on Bluray directors Mike Thurmeier, Galen T. Chu, Blue Sky Studios and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is the next installment of ICE AGE: Collision Course.

The story begins as Scrat is once again on the hunt for the elusive spot to hide his acorn. After he falls through a crack in the ice, a space ship sends him skyrocketing out into space. Not knowing how to control the situation, he sets off a bouncing of the planets causing a meteor to head towards earth.

On Earth, Manny (Ray Romano) and Ellie (Queen Latifah) are going through a bit of empty nesting as daughter Peaches (KeKe Palmer) is in love with Julian (Adam Devine). Not happy at all that his little girl is getting married, he isn’t paying attention to the fact that Ellie is making every effort to bring spice back into their life.

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Diego (Denis Leary) tries to tell Manny and even Shira (Jennifer Lopez) wants the mammoths to be happy. Sid (John Leguizamo) is having issues of his own still trying to find someone to love – besides Granny (Wanda Sykes).

All that changes when a meteor shower stops a party and sends Buck (Simon Pegg) back to the surface. Crash (Seann William Scott) and Eddie (Josh Peck) are thrilled to have their pal back but discovering why tempers there excitement.

Buck explains that something is drawing the meteors to earth and according to his calculations they only have days to come up with a solution. Their decision to stop the meteor also brings Sid something he’s longed for, well sort of. That’s when the mayhem in their animal village brings about the best in friendship.

Oh, and the craziness!

Romano as Manny falls right into character as the mammoth with family issues. This time it’s worrying about losing his daughter now that she’s ready to share her life with Julian. Latifah as Ellie is trying her best to not only get her mates attention once again but find ways to keep her little girl at home. I think Moms can relate to that!

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Palmer as Peaches is just as stubborn as her mother which means the parents have to out think their daughter if she is to stay with them. Devine as Julian is different and that’s what worries Manny.

Leguizamo as Sid is iconic and as loveable as ever. Scott and Peck as Crash and Eddie are still silly and hyper. Leary as Diego is a good friend and wants everyone to be happy. Lopez as Shira doesn’t have many lines but she’s there.

Pegg as Buck is still smarter than the average weasel but this time he might have been a bit smart than the average human watching him. Getting inside his head in this film proves one thing; I don’t want to go there again no matter how much it made me laugh.

Other cast include: Nick Offerman as Gavin, Max Greenfield as Roger, Robert Cardone as Freaky Bobby, Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Shangri Lama, Max Greenfield as Roger, Carlos Ponce as Mariachi Beaver, Melissa Rauch as Francine, Lilly Singh as Misty, Michael Strahan as Teddy, Jessie J as Brooke and Neil deGasse Tyson as Neil deBuck Weasel.

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

ICE AGE: Collision Course has everything that families want to extend their home entertainment library. The story is a hilariously outlandish which is everything we’ve come to expect from ICE AGE and all its very animated characters.

Scrat gets a more universal role to say the least and I’m a huge fan of Sid and Buck so it’s fun to see where they go in this film. Glad to see the mammoth family work out their differences and remember that being a family is compromise by everyone in the name of love.

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The Bluray includes the Special Features of Scrat: Spaced Out Mini-Movie, Ice Age: The Story So Far, Scratasia: Scrat’s Solo Adventures, Mysteries of the Scratazons, The Science of It All: deGrasse Tyson deBunks, Star Signs of the Animal Kingdom, “Figaro” Sing-a-Long and Gallery. This Deluxe Edition includes Digital HD that can be streamed on television, computer, tablet and Smartphone.

The comedy is cute and there isn’t a kid I know that doesn’t love all of the ICE AGE films. The ‘family’ has expanded but that’s exactly what a family should do – embrace everyone for their differences, love them for all the silliness and be the best family they can be. It’s what we try to teach our children and ICE AGE COLLISION COURSE gives us the humor to go with it.

In the end – kiss your ice goodbye!

 

Cranston Brings a Riveting Performance with THE INFILTRATOR on Bluray

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Jeri Jacquin

This week on Bluray/DVD/VOD and Digital HD from director Brad Furman and Broad Green Pictures is the true story of what it takes to be THE INFILTRATOR.

Robert Mazur (Bryan Cranston) is a Federal Agent during the 1980’s when drugs were becoming more and more prevalent in the United States. Determined to stop those responsible, Bob goes deep undercover with the help of Agent Emir Abrue (John Leguizamo). Watching him go is wife Evelyn (Juliet Aubrey) who knows not to ask too much.

Creating another life and identity, they go after the Escobar cartel and meet top lieutenant Roberto Alcaino (Benjamin Bratt) and wife Gloria (Elena Anaya). Veering suspicion away from his own family, Bob is assigned first time assignment Agent Kathy Ertz (Diane Kruger) to be his fiancé.

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Trying to win over Alcaino, he invites him to New York and even introduces him to his Aunt Vicky (Olympia Dukakis) who helps her nephew seal the deal. Posing as a man who can move and make money for his clients, Bob’s connections are becoming international as he builds a case.

Building a case against 85 drug lords and corrupt bankers who are part of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International has potential for going wrong. For everyone involved it means the slightest wrong move and it all comes crashing down with dire consequences.

Cranston as done it again in this role as Robert Mazur. Not only does he jump right into going undercover, but the believability factor is huge here! I was hooked into the story immediately and it was seriously due to his portrayal. From the intensity of living this double life to the very end, Cranston gave Mazur everything! His clothing was an added bonus to the effect but I couldn’t be more impressed. I thought his work in All The Way this year as President Johnson was amazing as well.

Kruger as Kathy is a first assignment agent who is learning as she goes. I have to tell you that her character made me totally nervous! With Mazur being clever enough to use his own wife’s story to keep things straight, Kruger’s character had to learn it all and keep is straight. Well done Kruger!

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Leguizamo as Abrue has the frightening task of getting down and dirty to get the information Mazur needs. There are moments where Leguizamo’s character is just as obsessed with cracking open this case as Mazur is. It’s an obsession that brings them both close to the edge.

Bratt as Alcaino is suave, sophisticated and unapologetic for how he makes his money. It is a duality of being hard and driven on one hand and family oriented on the other. That would be excellent if for the fact that he was a dangerous drug dealer! Anaya as Gloria is the loving wife who accepts Mazur and his ‘wife’ seeing a wonderful friendship with them.

I have to mention Olympia Dukakis because she was hilarious as Aunt Vicky. It was as if she was born to work with her nephew on a case like this. This character is charming, smart and extremely funny. Her role isn’t a big one but it’s certainly memorable.

Other cast include: Tim Dutton as Ian Howard, Said Taghmaoui as Amjad Awan, Art Malik as Akbar Bilgrami, Joseph Gilgun as Dominic, Daniel Mays as Frankie, Amy Ryan as Bonni Tischler, Jason Isaacs as Mark Jackowski and a cameo with my favorite cruzer Michael Pare as Barry Seal.

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Broad Green Pictures is a fully-integrated movie studio that provides filmmakers with unparalleled development support, production and brings that vision from script to screen. Through collaborative partnerships, Broad Green shares incredible stories with the widest possible audience. For more information about film s and what they have to offer please visit www.broadgreen.com.

THE INFILTRATOR is an intense movie from start to finish! This is definitely a history lesson for those who are unaware of how bad the drug scene was in the 1980’s. It is the cast that brings performances front and center keeping me not only interested but with that kind of intensity I want to know more.

I also love that it is a period piece because I am huge fan of era driven stories. It’s an opportunity for a filmmaker to use everything from clothing to cars and even down to a sofa; all of it truly lends itself to being part of the story being told.

The Bluray includes the Special Features Audio Commentary with Director Brad Furman and Bryan Cranston, Deleted Scenes, The Three Bobs and How to Infiltrate.

In the end – it is the true story of one man against the biggest drug cartel in history!

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