Search

moviemavenspeaks

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

Month

November 2016

ALLIED

allied

 

Jeri Jacquin

In theatres to start the holiday weekend from director Robert Zemeckis, writer Steven Knight and Paramount Pictures is a tale of trust in wartime that is ALLIED.

It is 1942 in Morocco when military man Max Vatan (Brad Pitt) is sent undercover to assassinate a high German official. This assignment includes a cover of being married to Marianne Beausejour (Marion Cotillard) who welcomes him quite easily into her fold of friends.

Getting to know each other, Marianne explains how they must interact to get an invitation to a party where the official is the guest of honor. Not in the town a day the mission is in jeopardy when a German officer recognizes Vatan. Handling the situation, there next stop is to meet with Hobar (August Diehl) and pass inspection to get an invitation.

allied-2

Unexpectedly, Vatan and Marianne fall in love and he convinces her to return to London where they are married. Happy and welcoming a daughter to their lives, it seemed an idyllic life in the middle of a war.

That is until his superior Frank Heslop (Jared Harris) informs him that V-section believes that Marianne not who she claims to be. Fearing that his life is about to be shattered, Vatan begins his own inquiries to discover if the woman that is his world seeks to destroy everything he has come to believe.

In war, who can you trust?

Pitt as Vatan is everything this period piece could bring to a character. He is sharply dressed, carries himself like a confident military man and I swear there are moments where he pulls a Clark Cable on me. The long looks, furrowed brow and deep drags on a cigarette give an air to his character. That and he looks pretty darn awesome if you really want to know.

Cotillard as Marianne is a forward, interesting, flamboyant and beautiful character. Marianne wastes no time in seeing what pretty much every female member of the audience sees, a dashing and handsome man in uniform who secretly wants to be happy. Cotillard takes this opportunity to remind us of the classic beauty with a French accent who can take a role and become it while making it look easy!

allied-1

Harris as Heslop understands the complexities of Vatan and gives him certain leeway. Knowing that when the V-section of the military pits the soldier against his family, the end could be disastrous.

Other cast include Daniel Bettes as George Kavanagh, Zavier De Guillebon as Claude, Camille Cottin as Monique, Vincent Latorre as Vincent, Charlotte Hope as Louise, Celeste Dodwell as Scarlet, Sally Messham as Margaret, and Lizzy Caplan as Bridget Vatan.

ALLIED is a film that brings together love, trust, family, war, and the choices that are made in the most difficult of circumstances. The story revolves around Vatan and Marianne but let me tell you that fashion made its way into the film as well. ALLIED has amazing costuming with snappy sharpness, beautiful dresses, and hairstyles that lend to the story.

With all that I have to also say that the films storyline happens so very fast that there is a depth that is missing. The element of what brought these characters together fades quickly and it is replaced by a mystery that doesn’t feel so mysterious. That being said ALLIED is a good film that I did enjoy.

allied-3

The score also brings 1942 into focus and once again I love the music of that era. Writer Knight has brought several pieces to the screen with EASTERN PROMISES in 2007 and LOCKE in 2013. Director Zemeckis has also brought a stunning resume with FLIGHT in 2012 and CAST AWAY in 2004 which still is one of my favorite films (as seen by the Wilson that sits on my desk!)

In the end – deception is an art and truth is a test!

KUBO and the TWO STRINGS is a Must-See for Everyone on Bluray

kubo

 

Jeri Jacquin

On Bluray this week and perfect for families to enjoy for the Thanksgiving holiday from director Travis Knight, Laika Entertainment and Focus Features is the stellar KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS.

Kubo (Art Parkinson) is a young man who has seen much in his young life. Hiding in a mountain with his mother, Kubo comes to learn how he lost his eye. Telling him to not go out at night, the young boy doesn’t understand until a black mist attacks. Inside the mist are two witches (Rooney Mara) who turn out to be Kubo’s Aunts.

The witches want to destroy Kubo but it isn’t going to be easy. Sacrificing herself to save her son, a magic appears and takes the boy safely away. When he wakes up, his charm has come to life with Monkey (Charlize Theron) standing before him.

kubo-2

Knowing that the Moon King (Ralph Fiennes) is coming for him, Kubo must piece together a suit of armor that could save him. Monkey tells him the story of his parents which he didn’t know before. On their journey Kubo and Monkey meet Beetle (Matthew McConaughey) who is so pleased to meet them both. Wanting to help with the quest to find the armor, he will do everything possible with the skill of his arrow.

Eventually, Kubo comes face to face with the Moon King but it is the boy’s bravery and courage that bring him strength and courage.

Parkinson as the voice of Kubo is so endearing and delightful. When the character is sad, Parkinson’s voice just breaks my heart and when Kubo is strong and righteously defiant, this young actor’s voice portrays that as well.

Theron as Monkey brings care and concern for Kubo. What I loved the most is Theron’s ability to reflect with her voice wit and sarcasm that actually made me giggle a lot. McConaughey as Beetle is hilarious! His questions, responses and sense of fun is the comic relief of the film without this character losing his genuine concern for his new friends.

kubo-3

Mara has double duty playing the evil sisters who want nothing more than to destroy Kubo and his friends are just an added bonus. Fiennes as the Moon King once again gets the opportunity to voice a bit of evil and although not quite Voldemort-ish its still pretty cool.

Other voice talent includes Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa as Hashi, Brenda Vaccaro as Kameyo, Meyrick Murphy as Mari, Minae Norji as Minae, Alpha Takahashi as Aiko, Laura Miro as Miho and George Takei as Hosato.

Focus Features brings a wide range of diverse films to audiences everywhere. Distinctive films such as THE PLACE BEYOND THE PINES, DALLAS BUYERS CLUB and THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING have audiences riveted. Focus Features also brings live action animation with CORRALINE, 9 and KUBO and the TWO STRINGS with the upcoming A MONSTER CALLS.

Laika Entertainment has broken amazing boundaries in the 120-year-old technique of stop-motion animation. Bringing emotional, innovative and exhilarating stories to audiences, Laika is responsible for the 2009 Oscar nominated CORALINE, as well as PARANORMAN. My personal favorite is the 2014 release of the absolutely amazing story of THE BOXTROLLS.

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give KUBO and the TWO STRINGS four and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. This is a brilliantly done animated film that endearing, adventurous, funny and beautiful. My family loves CORRALINE and THE BOXTROLLS so it is no surprise to me that KUBO and the TWO STRINGS won us all over immediately.

KUBO and the TWO STRINGS is an absolutely amazing piece of stop-motion animation and it is sure to win award after award and it should. What Laika Entertainment brings to this genre of film is nothing short of spectacular. This story has every aspect of emotion and it was a joy to feel each of them.

kubo-1

The characters are wonderfully portrayed and with the voice of Theron and McConaughey, it is topped off by the heart felt vocal talents of Art Parkinson. The world of Kubo created through music and dancing paper is the reason this genre reaches into the heart of so many people.

The Bluray includes a DVD and Digital HD copy of the film with the bonus features of Kubo’s Journey, Corners of the Earth, Feature Commentary with Director Travis Knight and much more.

The colors are vibrant and crisp and so vivid down to the hair on Kubo head as well as Monkey’s fur. Lets just say there isn’t a thing about this film that isn’t on point and fantastic. KUBO and the TWO STRINGS is a journey filled with beauty, magic and love – and that makes this film one of the best of 2016.

In the end – be bold, be brave and be epic!

LOOKING: The Complete Series and Movie is Splendid Storytelling!

looking

 

 

Jeri Jacquin

On DVD from HBO Home Entertainment comes not only a spectacular series but the follow up film as well with LOOKING.

In the bustling town of San Francisco, Patrick Murray (Jonathan Groff) is a young man from Denver looking to make his way in video game design. Helping to find his way are best friends Agustin (Frankie Alvarez) and Dom (Murray Bartlett). In their group also is Doris (Lauren Weedman), Dom’s bestie and the two grew up together in Modesto.

After watching his ex get married, Patrick meets Richie (Raul Castillo) and is immediately drawn in. Unfortunately he was given some awkward direction by his friends that turned their date into chaos. At work during a video launch party Patrick meets Kevin (Russell Tovey), a handsome young man with an alluring British accent.

Dom tells Doris that his big dream is to open his own chicken restaurant. He doesn’t want to work under anyone and has his own ideas. Meeting Lynn (Scott Bakula), he and Dom go in together on a pop up to find investors. Patrick decides he wants to see Richie again and they begin seeing each other.

But, one afternoon Patrick and Kevin have a chance to get to know more about one another and it’s obvious there is a chemistry between them. Ignoring the day, Patrick invites Richie to his sisters wedding and actually becomes a little unglued believing his mother will ruin the day.

looking-1

Agustin is having his own difficulties as an artist but they are creeping into his personal life as well. When things begin to fall apart right and left, Agustin makes the decision to get away from art and find something else for his life.

Dom and Lynn start to feel tension at the pop up but Dom thinks it’s because there might be feelings between the two. Imagine the shock when Lynn brings a guest to their opening night and it confuses him.

With all the drama, Dom invites Patrick, Agustin and Doris to the Russian River where Lynn owns a cabin. With things not working out with Richie, Patrick calls Kevin to meet him for time together at the cabin. After a night of crazy fun, they all return back to their lives.

Dom and Lynn agree to work on their relationship and Patrick is giving in to having a secret relationship with Kevin even though he is still with his partner John. The tension makes Patrick crazy because he is not sure where this all will lead – if anywhere.

looking-4

Agustin goes on a drunk/drug fueled night and Richie finds him on a doorstep. Returning him home, Patrick and Richie try to talk about what has happened. Agustin meets Eddie (Daniel Franzese) who works at a shelter for kids and suggests that he do something for someone other than himself. Taking Eddie’s advice he applies for a job working with kids and gets it!

Tired of being secret lovers, Patrick decides it is time to end things with Kevin. Wanting to talk about it he turns to Richie feeling that maybe they could talk things over even more. When Eddie doesn’t show up for work, Agustin bangs on his door with an offering of food only to find out he’s just taking the day off and the two get together.

Doris’ father passes away and she is not about to return home without Dom. The two have memories of people and places and with their strong bond they get through the grieving together. Their mistake might have been taking Patrick who takes the opportunity to grieve loudly. When Doris finds out that her father left money, she offers it to Dom to help open his chicken restaurant.

Returning home Patrick once again takes up with Kevin and the next time he sees Richie learns that he is with a new partner named Brady (Chris Perfetti). Both Patrick and Richie try to be happy for the other but its clear there is hurt feelings still. The bigger shock for them all is that Agustin is in a serious relationship with Eddie and although still a handful, is actually happy.

looking-3

When Kevin leaves Jon (Joseph Williamson) and moves into a new apartment, Patrick couldn’t be happier. That is short lived when he discovers Kevin has a Grindr account on his phone. Trying to talk with Patrick about an open relationship – it is one relationship step to far. Once again Patrick goes to Richie but this time only for a haircut.

LOOKING: The Movie returns to San Francisco one year later as Patrick fly’s in from Denver to attend with wedding of Agustin and Eddie. Excited to see Dom and Doris and catch up on their lives they all immediately party it up. At the celebration Patrick sees Richie and Brady who are still together.

It is Agustin who tells Patrick that he needs to get closure on relationships that didn’t end well or else he won’t be able to move on. Taking that advice, Patrick calls Kevin and they meet on the street one final time. Kevin makes it clear that he returned to John and that he still loves Patrick. Knowing that isn’t enough, Kevin offers him a good job without strings attached if Patrick wants to return to San Francisco.

The wedding is as chaotic as Agustin and Eddie’s relationship but it is also filled with love and hope for all of their futures. At the reception party, Richie’s partner Brady just can’t seem to lay off of Patrick as a verbal game begins. Pulling them apart, Richie leaves making it clear this is not what he wants.

Life, friendship, loyalty, laughter and love is what their lives are about!

Groff as Patrick is absolutely adorable and so naïve about so many things. That’s what makes this series even more endearing because the viewers have the opportunity to watch him grow. Learning from his mistakes is difficult this character and Groff portrays Patrick in such a way that I’m sure everyone wants to protect him. I know I absolutely wanted too! Watching the relationships between Richie and Kevin, it was easy to see how this character wanted the best of both and trips over his own emotional uncertainty to screw it up.

looking-2

Alvarez as Agustin is a total crack up. Yes, he is self absorbed, indifferent, narcissistic, emotionally unavailable long term and a hot mess when he listens to other hot messes. As much as Agustin thinks he is different, I think the fact that he is more like his friends is what kills him. As if being like them means he isn’t quite special enough, which is hardly the case. Franzese as Eddie is sweet and caring which is something Agustin isn’t use to!

Bartlett as Dom knows what he wants but confuses it with the work it takes to get it. When he focuses on one thing this character shuts everything else out and forgets that not everyone understands him the way Doris does. Speaking of Doris, Weedman is just brilliant and hilarious – and reminds me of me!

Castillo as Richie comes from a prideful family and is mostly his downfall. He can shut down at a moment’s notice which freaks Patrick out as he’s use to dealing with his family that is verbally open whether he likes it or not. When it comes down to it, Richie is as unsure as Patrick is about, well, everything.

Tovey as Kevin is smart, cute, clever and Patrick’s boss! All of that is a deadly combination that Patrick can’t seem to resist. I knew from the get go that Kevin was wishy-washy with relationships and it was based on fear. Bakula as Lynn is an older man who wants to be of help to Dom. Dealing with Dom’s emotional outbursts and attitudes turn out to be something Lynn doesn’t need. At this stage in his life he is looking for calm, good friends and no drama.

Other cast include O.T. Fagbenie as Frank, Andrew Law as Owen, Ptolemy Slocum as Hugo and Bashir Salahuddin as Malik.

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.

looking-5

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give LOOKING: The Complete Series and Movie four tubs of popcorn out of five. These characters are complex, silly, deep, funny, confused, complicated and every other human emotion that can be portrayed on film. The fast introduction of the characters makes way for the story to unfold at a pace I enjoyed.

I have to say the most enjoyable part of the series is that every character and I mean every character could easily be based on a friend of mine. That’s what brought me quickly into the series and thrilled to have the film included so I could watch everyone’s ending.

Every part of this series is so amazingly well done and it is a shame that HBO didn’t let the series go on a little longer. That’s just the part of me that wanted more but at the same time I loved the way it was wrapped up – damn that double edged series loving sword! Once again HBO brings a series that is memorable and worthy of seeing over and over.

The four-disc DVD set includes every episode from seasons One and Two along with LOOKING: The Movie. Also included is 16 audio commentaries as well as the Digital HD code.

In the end – the complexities of life and love is easier with your friends!

LEGEND OF BRUCE LEE: Volume One Punches Onto DVD

dvd-2d-thelegendofbrucelee

Jeri Jacquin

From Well Go USA Entertainment and director Lee Moon-ki comes the 3-disc 10-episode series about the life and LEGEND OF BRUCE LEE!

In a school with mainly British students, Bruce Lee (Danny Chan) is dealing with bullying. Trying to make his family proud, Bruce performs in a dance competition and wins. This doesn’t sit well with Blair Lewis, a classmate who goes out of his way to make Bruce’s life miserable.

The fighting becomes intense and when his parents are called into the administrator’s office, harsh words are spoken about Bruce. His father becomes angry with the problems Bruce is causing. Trying to put his pent up frustrations in a better place, Bruce joins the boxing team which irritates rival Blair even more.

legend-1

Knowing he needs more training, Bruce asks his Uncle Shao to help him with techniques. Needing more training, Bruce is sent to Master Ye Yong Chun Chuan (Spring Shadowboxing). Everything finally comes together as a friendship happens between Bruce and Blair with a win against fighter David Koffer.

When Wang Li Chao comes into the neighborhood, he wants Bruce to fight for him. Instead Bruce wants to protect those that the gangs are hurting and an angry Chao orders a hit on Bruce that almost kills him. Needing to get away from being hurt again, Uncle Shao takes Bruce to America.

In Seattle, Washington, Uncle Shao and within a few weeks he strikes out on his own and after a time enrolls at the Edison Technical School. While there Bruce calls out the karate team which doesn’t make them happy at all. They decide it’s time to have a battle to put an end to Bruce’s talk.

legend-3

Bruce wants to take up the challenge but wants press to cover the event. Now it is Bruce against Master Kimura and history is about to be made. What starts out as a battle ends in a friendship and a sharing of styles, techniques and a style that is uniquely Bruce Lee’s.

Later Bruce enrolls at the University of Washington where after some time he decides to study philosophy. Believing that he can apply what he learns to martial arts he takes up the belief of the Yin Yang and actually begins teaching students for free.

At the urging and help of Kimura, Bruce opens his own school. He also meets Linda Emery, a young woman who listens to Lee’s philosophy and wants to know more. This is also when a karate master names Yamamoto challenges Bruce because he believes the young man has disrespected karate.

It is time to bring the truth of his martial arts to the world!

legend-2

Chan as Bruce Lee has the benefit of eerily looking like a very young Lee. Playing the role from a young man to his time of opening a school of his own, Chan has his moments of charm matched only by his moments of intensity. Interesting side trivia is that Chan reprised his role of Bruce Lee in the film Ip Man 3 which is pretty awesome.

Taking on issues of bullying, family loyalty and racism not only from other cultures but of other martial art forms. It seemed everyone wanted to prove that their form of fighting was the best

Other cast include Michelle Lang as Linda Lee, Barry Daniels as Elliott, Tim Storms as Wally Jay, Michael Jai White as Ali, Traci Ann Wolfe as Julianna and Ray Park as Chuck Norris.

The 3-disc LEGEND OF BRUCE LEE DVD includes 10 episodes with a total of 451 minutes of storytelling. Well Go USA Entertainment is an amazing company that brings the best of Action and Independent films from around the world. There format includes theatres, digital, cable and VOD along with Bluray. For more of what they have to offer go to www.wellgousa.com.

legend-4

LEGEND OF BRUCE LEE is an in-depth look at the life of Bruce Lee taking it’s time to let the story unravel on its own. There is actually quite a bit in these first 10 episodes that I didn’t know about Bruce Lee, an example is his ball room dancing! His life in Hong Kong I have read about but also never knew he experienced bullying in school.

Bruce Lee experienced so much in his short life and much of it was so challenging physically for him. From his paralysis after an accident in Hong Kong to being wheel chair bound in the United States, Bruce Lee’s resilience is really inspiring.

Lee’s daughter Shannon is actually given credit as executive producer of THE LEGEND OF BRUCE LEE. She also had a cameo in DRAGON: The Bruce Lee Story that is a 1993 biopic of her father.

In the end – it is a life of an iconic martial artist!

 

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM Unleashes in Theatres

fantastic

 

Jeri Jacquin

It’s finally here! This week from returning director David Yates, Warner Bros. and the world renowned writer and creator of the wizarding world J.K. Rowling is the next amazing adventure with FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM.

Researcher Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) arrives in New York with a suitcase of magical creatures. On the streets Scamander comes into contact with Jacob Kowalski (Dan Folger) who is a No-Maj, which is the Americanize version of a Muggle, and they accidentally exchange cases. This doesn’t escape the attention of Statute of Secrecy agent Tina Goldstein (Katherine Waterston) but that’s not the biggest threat.

There is something dark looming over the city that has the potential to alert everyone to the wizarding world as well as being on guard for the dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald who has mysteriously disappeared!

fan-2

When Jacob opens the suitcase, many of the magical creatures escape sending Newt, Jacob and Tina out into the streets to find them. Jacob meets Tina’s sister Queenie (Alison Sudol) and is taken with her as well as the magic floating all around him. Newt introduces them all to what is in the case with its treasure trove of creatures in his care.

But Percival Graves (Colin Ferrell) is the Director of Magical Security and is following his own case with the help of Credence (Ezra Miller) to find something even darker than Grindelwald. Now Newt, Jacob, Tina and Queenie must go up against the Magical Congress of the USA and dark forces that have come from two unexpected places!

Welcome to the magical world of America!

Redmayne as Newt Scamander has the attitude of a researcher with his propensity for solitude. Of course there is the problem with understanding some of what he says but I’m sure I’ll catch it on the second go round. Beginning a new J.K. Rowling’s series is a daunting task in itself and carrying the lead role would definitely make me a tad jittery. Newt may be a tad closed off but when he is among his magical creatures it is a whole different side of this character that is heartwarming and protective.

fan-4

Waterston as Tina is obsessive about the wizarding laws and because of a mistake has been demoted to basically a paper pusher. That doesn’t stop her when she suspects that Newt might be the reason for the shake up of the city. Her rigid beliefs become less so once she sees her world from another’s perspective. Waterston does a fine job.

Folger as Jacob is endearing, funny, cute, curious and even though shows a bit of fear it doesn’t really stop him from accepting what is around him. I love the fact that he is all in even if he is unsure about what is happening. Folger has classic facial expressions and doesn’t hesitate to use every one of them! The chemistry between Jacob and Queenie is so cute that it sent shockwaves of ‘awwwwwwww’ through the theatre. Sudol as Queenie is lovely, sweet, squeaky adorable and perfect for Jacob. Being the total opposite of her very tense sister, Sudol gives Queenie a free spiritedness that is totally refreshing in the film.

Ferrell as Graves may have an important position in the Magical Congress but he is totally working outside of his position. The darkness oozes off this character and Ferrell gives it the right amount of intensity for his big reveal! Miller as Credence definitely has this role down to perfection. As a young man being abused both mentally and physically, it does not surprise me that Miller shines in the portrayal of this character.

The cast also includes Samantha Morton as Mary Lou Barebone, Jon Voight as Henry Shaw, Carmen Ejogo as Seraphina Picquery, Jenn Murray as Chastity, Faith Blagrove as Modesty, and Ron Perlman as Gnarlak. Look out for a special appearance by Johnny Depp!

fan-1

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM four tubs of popcorn out of five. I mean come one, did you really think I would give it any less? This is a great introduction of new characters and it doesn’t take a Headmaster to pick out familiar items, names and spells that brought the screening audience to giggles.

There are magical animals that are brilliantly done, the storyline moves smoothly along with action and adventure that bring a new set of secrets to be explored. J.K Rowling’s takes us back to 1926 New York which is decades before Harry Potter is even born so it will be interesting to see how she brings the story along and up to our 2001 introduction to The Boy Who Lived.

It can easily be said that this film will be hugely successful and mainly because those who love the Harry Potter books and films were seriously sad when it all came to an end in 2011 with HARRY POTTER and the DEATHLY HALLOWS. If the excitement of the screening audience is any indication of its success, I hope they’ve already begun shooting the next installment!

fan-4

Everything about the film is well done and with the return of director David Yates who is an expert of the magic world is probably seemed a homecoming for him. He directed the final four films HARRY POTTER and the ORDER OF THE PHOENIX in 2007, HARRY POTTER and the HALF-BLOOD PRINCE in 2009, HARRY POTTER and the DEATHLY HALLOWS Pt. 1 in 2010 and HARRY POTTER and the DEATHLY HALLOWS Pt. 2 in 2011 so Yates gave us everything we missed.

In the end – J.K. Rowling invites you to a new era of the wizarding world!

 

BLEED FOR THIS Punches onto the Big Screen

bleed

 

Jeri Jacquin

In theatres this Friday from director Ben Younger and Open Road Films is a story based on true events when it comes to the ring he is ready to BLEED FOR THIS.

Vinny Pazienza (Miles Teller) is a cocky boxer who keeps the world running on his time. Dad Angelo (Ciaran Hinds) is always in his son’s corner and encourages him to succeed whereas Mom Louise (Katey Sagal) can only avert her eyes and pray. But he isn’t punching like he needs to for winning.

That’s when promoters send Vinny to Kevin Rooney (Aaron Eckhart), and the two make serious changes not only to the way the young boxer fights but moving up weight classes. Angelo isn’t happy but he watches are Vinny works hard for the next fight. When he wins the entire family celebrates!

bleed-1

Taking a car ride with a friend, the celebration is shattered in an instant. In the hospital the family is told Vinny’s neck is broken and that his boxing days are over. When Vinny wakes up he sets the doctor straight on how things are going to play out. Putting his head in a halo it will take time to heal and life goes on.

Not about to let anything stop him, Vinny secretly enlists the help of trainer Rooney to get him ready box again. Being constantly told ‘no’ puts the two men in a fighting mind and when it’s time to fight Roberto Durant it is the mental halo that still rests in Vinny’s mind.

It’s time to show who you are!

Teller as Vinny begins with the attitude and swagger of a young man who doesn’t know his own mortality. His character fights more with his mouth than fists because it worked for Vinny – until he meets Rooney. Teller goes through a transformation from start to finish yet, and it has to be said, never quite loses that sauciness and that became endearing.

bleed-3

Eckhart as Rooney is a coach who has settled into a life that is almost seen as a joke. In trouble and running his own gym, Eckhart changes his appearance to truly dip into this character. Taking on Vinny, the “life” bulb goes off and now Rooney has a serious purpose to the sport he loves. Eckhart’s performance is very cool from start to finish.

Hinds as Angelo is a father who sees Vinny’s success as a reason to get up in the morning! After the accident, he begins to rethink everything about his son and isn’t sure how to feel about the life they had all been living.

Sagal as Louise is a dedicated to her family and truly supports everything they do. Even if Vinny’s fighting literally sends her to candle lighting and praying, it doesn’t stop her from wanting him to succeed. I loved that about this character and Sagal is an absolute character genius.

Other cast include: Christine Evangelista as Ashley, Ted Levine as Lou Duva, Tina Casciani as Heather, Liz Carey as Charity and Amanda Clayton as Doreen Pazienza.

BLEED FOR THIS is a story based on the life of World Champion Vinny Pazienza and Miles Teller has big shoes to fill. He did just that giving Pazienza a lot of sass, a lot of swagger, family pride and humbling in a way that only a serious car accident can.

bleed-2

The film doesn’t just jump right in but instead gives the audience a chance to embrace the very arrogant Vinny and watch this character change. When the accident occurs Vinny becomes not only less arrogant and the wheels are spinning about what to do next.

The cast pulls it all together nicely as each actor plays a role I hadn’t seen each do before and that’s important. There are plenty of boxing films but what makes certain ones stand out is the surprise performances and BLEED FOR THIS falls into the surprise performance category.

Teller and Eckhart are really awesome together. They are both screwed up characters who could easily have just continued to fail but instead wake something in each other. These two actors bring a straight forward fighting attitude along with a bit of silliness until its time to look each other in the eye to show what they are made of.

In the end – this is what the world’s greatest comeback looks like!

MOANA Adds to Disney’s Vivid Storytelling

moana-poster

 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from director Ron Clements and John Musker along with Don Hall, Chris Williams and Walt Disney Animation Studios comes MOANA.

This film tells the story of Moana (Auli’I Cravalho), daughter of Chief Tui (Temuera Morrison) and drawn to the ocean. Growing up with village expectations continually keeps her away from the waves that she loves. Listening to her father about taking her responsibilities seriously she stays away from the water.

But one person knows of Moana’s love of the sea and desire to see what is beyond the waves is Gramma Tala (Rachel House) who shares the secret of the people. Deep within the island are boats once used by Moana’s people who were explorers.

moana-2

When the island harvest isn’t producing what it normally does and the fish are disappearing from the cove, Moana knows she must do something to help. Along with rooster Heihei (Alan Tudyk), Moana takes a boat and hits the seas searching for demi-god Maui (Dwayne Johnson).

They work together to reunite the heart of Tehiti and save the people of Motunui Island.

Cravalho as Moana is strong willed, filled with ocean-guilt, loved by her people and carries a lovely tune. Knowing that the responsibilities come with the job of being the Chief’s daughter, Moana tries to fill the shoes. Cravalho has a lovely voice giving Disney another winning soundtrack and every time she announced that she was “Moana!” Cravalho gave us a determined and strong cry!

moana-3

Johnson as Maui is absolutely everything one would want in a demi-god! He’s big, he’s hilarious, he has wavy black hair and a tattoo that literally is his conscience. Adding his vocals that are brilliant to this character, there is absolutely no one else that could have pulled this off.

I have to take this moment to talk about Heihei the chicken and yes Alan Tudyk is the sounds of this bird but you need to be prepared because I love this chicken. Yes the pigs are cute and the fishes of the sea are awesome but Heihei is the most unusually funny animal I have seen in Disney films.

MOANA is Disney at it’s best with the themes that family’s have come to expect from this amazing company. There is love, family, humor, friendship, suspense, adventure, a serious level of cuteness with characters that kept me laughing.

Of course you can’t have The Rock in a film where his character not only is a little narcissistic but has tattoos that remind him of that fact, a cockeyed chicken, an ocean with attitude and a young girl with determination bigger than the demi-gods pecks and not have fun.

moana-4

The animation is absolutely stunning and I have to admit that I truly loved everything ocean with its life and beauty. The songs are filled with story telling and carried mainly by Moana’s character.

It’s time to gather the tribe as the holidays start to see an animated film that embraces everything family!

In the end – the ocean is calling!

ARRIVAL Sets Down in Theatres

arrival

 

Jeri Jacquin

This Friday from director Denis Villeneuve and Paramount Pictures is the mystery surrounding their ARRIVAL.

Strangely shaped crafts have landed in several spots around the planet Earth. One such craft sets down in a vast field and the military are sent in right away. People are on edge and Linguistics Professor Louise Banks (Amy Adams) keeps a close eye on the news from her office.

She is surprised when Colonel Weber (Forest Whitaker) comes to her with a recording from the aliens looking for translation. Louise makes it very clear that she needs more information before offering up her opinion. As quickly as he came in, Col. Weber leaves and she returns home as everyone is doing.

arrival-1

Later a helicopter lands in her yard as Col. Weber returns telling her to pack and come along. Arriving she becomes the leader of the communications section of a camp that is set up close to the craft. She also meets scientist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) and the two are told they will be suited up and entering the craft.

Their first encounter with the aliens is nothing they could have imagined and once over the initial shock, Louise realizes she must find a way to communicate with them. Enlisting the help of Donnelly, she quickly and creatively begins teaching the aliens and at the same time learns their language.

But the world is shaky as General Shang (Tzi Ma) takes the lead in believing military action is the only way to deal with the unknown. Louise and Ian must work quickly if they are to divert catastrophe from both outer space and inner space.

arrival-2

Adams as Dr. Louise Banks is a character that is deliberate yet hugely flawed in a believable way. She shows frustration but with restrain, fear yet doesn’t hesitate to move forward, finds answers using the simplest terms and all while in the middle of an internal crisis of her own. Adams has always been an actress I keep my eye on particularly because she is so diverse in the roles she chooses. This year she has been busy with the earlier year release of BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN and the December release of NOCTURNAL ANIMALS with Jake Gyllenhaal.

Renner as Donnelly is very laid back for a guy for a scientist. He is actually the humor of the story line while jumping into this mystery full force. Renner has all the characteristics that make this role so believable and that means once again he keeps his talent in the forefront without use of a bow and arrow.

Whitaker as Col. Weber is a straight faced soldier who wants answers. Not understanding why the answers don’t come easier, he relies on Louise and Donnelly to make it all come together before General Shang has his way. Ma as Shang is the leader promoting war based off of a fear of the unknown.

arrival-4

The cast also includes Michael Stuhlbarg as Agent Halpern, Mark O’Brien as Captain Marks, and Abigail Pniowsky as Hannah.

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give ARRIVAL four tubs of popcorn out of five. This is a story that is a mixture of issues that will leave the audiences thinking about it all long after leaving the theatre. It is definitely Adams and Renner that give the film humanity and heart which one wouldn’t expect from a linguist and scientist dealing with aliens!

The cinematography is visually stunning with its ethereal moments brought to a crescendo by an amazing soundtrack. Tackling the ever contemplative issue of time, ARRIVAL bends, shifts and twists time reminding me a bit of INTERSTELLAR (which is an awesome film as well). Mixed in as well is the frailness of humanity and the quickness to embrace fear first instead of understanding the unknown first and pointing a weapon – say – never!

arrival-3

The issue of these aliens or Heptapods is also an interesting take as they seem to want to communicate. Interactions between human and Heptapod is actually charming especially when Louise and Donnelly name the two they are taken with Abbott and Costello.

ARRIVAL is a combination of so many genres and it actually brings each of them to a conclusion that can be taken two ways which means I’ll be looking forward to hearing the readers take on it. The film is sad, humorous, dangerous, and larger than life in feeling.

In the end – why are they here?

GAME OF THRONES: The Complete Sixth Season Takes the Iron Throne to Bluray!

game-of-thrones-dvd-cover

 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray with 23 Emmy Awards including Outstanding Drama Series is a series from HBO that has a following bigger than Westeros with GAME OF THRONES: The Complete Sixth Season.

With one of the most shocking endings of the fifth season of GAME OF THRONES, Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) is found dead but that doesn’t stop Ser Davos and Edd from bringing in their spiritual big guns. Melisandre (Carice van Houten) brings her Red Witch powers into play at the Night’s Watch.

Sansa and Theron are once again joined by Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) and Pod when Winterfell becomes a house of slaughter. It is in King’s Landing that Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is returning after the death of Cersei’s daughter Myrcella, and it seems Cersei (Lena Headey) has plans of her very own that do not include Jamie.

emilia-clarke-peter-dinklage-photo-helen-sloan-courtesy-of-hbo

Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead) begins having visions of Winterfell when his trusted companion Hodor (Sam Coleman) was a child. Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) is still in Mereene dealing with the slave masters in the absence of The Mother of Dragons Daenery’s Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) that leads to the anger of slaves she has freed! This is happening at the same time that Danaery’s deals with the Khals in a way that leaves no question as to who rules the Dothraki people.

Sansa (Sophie Turner) joins Jon Snow in planning to take back Winterfell for the Stark family. Needing support from the other Northern houses which include Baelish. Leaving the Night’s Watch, Samwell takes Gilly (Hannah Murray) and their child to be a Maester at Horn Hill and expecting his own family to embrace the situation, Samwell is met with distain and insults.

Arya (Maisie Williams) is still in Braavos and on the streets watching for the faces of those she is meant to stop by suggestion of H’ghar (Tom Wlaschiha). She meets a street show performer who makes her see things differently declaring she is Arya Stark of Winterfell and not a puppet of the House.

Margaery (Natalie Dormer) is devoting herself to the ways of the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce) and tells her grandmother Olenna (Diana Rigg) that it’s time for her to return to Highgarden. That isn’t the only enemy to be watched as the Three-Eyed Raven (Max von Sydow) and the White Walkers are not finished with their march towards the Wall.

As the trial of Cersei Lannister draws closer brought on by the High Sparrow, she takes matters into her own hands as the Sept of Baelor is destroyed. Inconsolable by the death of his wife Margaery, Cersei will lose another child to her evil plots.

In the final episode, John Snow becomes more powerful than he could ever have imagined and Sansa is pleased with the results. But a story comes to pass about Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar that will surprise them all, Jaime returns to the crowing of Cersei on the Iron Throne and The Mother of Dragons is headed toward Westeros with an army and a few flying friends.

aidan-gillen-sophie-turner-photo-courtesy-of-hbo

What can be said that hasn’t already been said about this amazing HBO series except that we want more and faster! It is getting closer to the battle of the Iron Throne and personally no one I’ve spoke to cares that Ms. Cersei thinks she’s got it all in the bag. There are way too many badass leaders coming her way and that’s what makes this series uber-exciting.

Everything that one could imagine or want in a show is what makes GAME OF THRONES a thrill and joy to watch. Sure there is action, adventure, sword fighting, dragons, magic, backstabbing, family issues, inter-mixed family issues, lust, power, greed, religion, secrets, and lies all in the name of wearing the crown to the biggest prize of all – the Iron Throne!

The cast that brings us this series is absolutely unbeatable and if you don’t believe me you should attend a San Diego Comic Con International some year and be a part of the Hall H experience when these fine actors and actresses make their way to the stage. The cheering is absolutely deafening and no one wants the panel to ever end.

That’s how you know a series is a cut above the word winner. When fans dress, cosplay, cheer and chant for characters in every aspect of the show, it becomes more than a series, it becomes iconic in television. There have been may shows that have tried to come close to the complexity of GAME OF THRONES and not succeeded by any stretch.

I love the delicious evilness of Cersei, the complete turnaround of Sansa, Jaime and Tyrion, the stunning return of Jon Snow, and of course – the dragons, I love them! The costuming is impeccable from the suits of armor to the gowns, it is all stunning.

The special effects bring a richness that I love and don’t think for a moment I am not sharp on cheesy effects, not for GOT’s – no, that would never do. The cinematography is spectacular and the battle scenes are jaw dropping. Finally, the music score from the opening notes that are unmistakable and throughout the season is perfection.

The Bluray includes the Digital HD Download of Bran’s Journey – A nine-minute Featurette delving into the shocking and revelatory journey of Bran Stark, The Dothraki World – Behind-the-Scenes Featurette bringing viewers up to speed on the Dothraki culture, Inside Game of Thrones: Prosthetics – Behind-the-Scene Featurette detailing what goes into the show’s prosthetics creation, The Game Revealed – Five-part series covering the creation of Season 6’s most epic set pieces and scenes.

lena-headey-photo-courtesy-of-hbo-2

The Bluray features included with the Digital Copy and DVD are the In-Episodes Guide – Dig deeper into the show with this in-feature resource that provides background information about on-screen characters, locations and relevant histories, Histories and Lore that include The Old Way, The Kingsmoot, The Sunset Sea, War of the Ninepenny Kings, The Great Tourney at Harrenhal, Robert’s Rebellion, Vaes Dothrak, The Dothraki, Northern Allegiances to House Stark, Children of the Forest vs. the First Men, Brotherhood Without Banners, Oldtown, House Dayne, The Little Birds, Knights of the Vale, House Tarly, Riverrun and Great Sept of Baelor.

Also The Battle of the Bastards: An In-Depth Look, Recreating the Dothraki World, 18 Hours at the Paint Hall, Audio Commentaries on Episodes and Deleted Scenes. This four disc set contains over 558 minutes of amazing storytelling, fantastic visuals and characters that have become beloved icons for fans everywhere.

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, and The Wire, Entourage. 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.

I never thought I would be a fan of having a complete library of a television show but GAME OF THRONES is an absolute must have and let me tell you why. I can watch the show several times and find something different and new each time. Never knowing who is going to live another season and who has seen their last moments in this brutal world keeps us all coming back for more – and doing so willingly!

Quite honestly there is also something to be said for marathoning when winter is coming (pun intended) and a reason for friends to once again enjoy this season in preparation for season seven that is going to blow us all away.

In the end – the balance of power is being challenged from north, south, east and west!

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑