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February 2017

SIX is Inspired by Real Missions

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Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray from creators William and Dave Broyles, the History Channel and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is the riveting and startling look at those who put their lives on the line and are only known as SIX.

Richard ‘Rip’ Taggart (Walton Coggins) is a former Navy Seal who now works as a security contractor in Nigeria. Sent to help protect an all girl’s school, he, a school teacher Na’omi (Nondumiso Tembe), Esther (Tyla Harris) and other girls are swiftly kidnapped by the terrorist Boko Haram. The terrorist learn quickly that they have a former Navy SEAL among their captives and are going to use Taggart to get what they want.

When his former SEAL Team Six members become aware that Taggart has been taken, it brings up an incident that happened in Afghanistan and they know that someone else besides Boko Haram want their former SEAL.

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Each of the former SEAL’s have family issues they are contending with, Joe ‘Bear’ Graves (Barry Sloane) is trying to start a family, Ricky ‘Buddha’ Ortiz (Juan Pablo Raba) comes home to a family that seems to be holding a grudge toward the absentee husband-dad and Alex Caulder (Kyle Schmid) is on his way to trouble. Armin “Fishbait” Khan (Jaylen Moore) is a new comer to the group who fits right in.

Trying to put family’s right and working a plan to get Taggart back is taking a strain on all the men. Especially since they have a secret that is going to be a problem when a man named Michael (Dominic Adams) who plots with leader Al-Muttaqi (Jarreth J. Merz) wants Taggart and will do anything to get him.

Putting their plan of rescue into action, the team takes on the compound of Boko Haram only to find Taggart and the girl are gone. Making use of the Muttaqi media connections, Taggart is forced to admit what happened in 1984. The team is in a tailspin and turn their attention toward Michael discovering a jihad training camp in Chad. Believing he finally has revenge against Taggart, it seems to backfire for Michael in a way he could not have imagined.

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Coggins as Taggart is certainly playing a role I have not seen from him before. Gone is the swagger, the southern drawl and the costuming giving the character of Taggart a stripped down man who can no longer hide from himself or the secret a whole team is holding on to. Beginning as a hardened soldier, episode by episode it is all stripped away and I was riveted to watch it all happen.

Sloane as Bear is a torn man who knows what the job he signed up for entails yet wants to make his wife happy by starting a family. Going after Taggart brings back unresolved issues that stop him from making decisions that require a quickness to save lives. Raba as Buddha has been leaving home so often his wife has taken on a life of her own and the kids are in hello/goodbye mode. Realizing his family life is passing him by, he wants to take care of his family but at what cost?

Schmidt as Caulder seems to be the wild card of the bunch. Living a bohemian life he is surprised when his daughter Dharma (Lindsley Register) shows up on his doorstep calling out his past behaviors and future for their father/daughter relationship. Moore as Fishbait wants to help find Taggart and knows that he is going to have to call upon unlikely sources to plan a rescue.

Adams as Michael clearly has an issue with Taggart and will go against anyone that tries to stop him. Making a deal with Boko Haram also puts the girls and their teacher in more jeopardy with recruitment tactics. Merz as Muttaqi is equally as devious as Michael but also knows that Taggart has become a distraction.

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Tembe as Na’omi is a teacher who will do anything to save her girls from the torturous treatment that happens to young girls by the Boko Haram. I loved her performance and she should be applauded for her amazing role. Harris as Esther is so beautiful in this role as a young girl who is willing to trust a man who most think untrustworthy. She believes when most probably wouldn’t and it doesn’t go unnoticed by Taggart.

Other cast include Rus Blackwell as Commander Atkins, Donny Boaz as Buckley, Niyi Oni as Quayum, Lee Spencer as Terry, Matt Burke as Nick, Angela Relucio as Lt. Fung, Tyler Chase as Kashif, Arnold Chanakira as Hakeem, Brianne Davis as Lena Graves, Tyla Harris as Esther, Zeeko Zaki as Akmal Barayev, and Nadine Velazquez as Jackie Ortiz.

Lionsgate is a global leader in motion picture production and distribution for theatres, television, home entertainment and more. Theatre franchises include THE HUNGER GAMES, and DIVERGENT along with JOHN WICK. Now, adding this film to it’s 16,000 motion picture and television titles you can see everything coming soon as well as available now at http://www.lionsgate.com.

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SIX is an intense, realistic, and scary look at what it takes to protect those who need it the most, be part of a group that jump at a moments notice when needed for special operations and attempt to maintain a home life. Creators William and David Broyles have brought an authenticity to these characters because it doesn’t hide behind anything but instead bring all possibilities front and center in full view.

From the Boko Haram to terrorist recruiting, the creators use what most Americans know about and delve deeper into how these issues threaten lives. There is a real sense of fear from both of these groups and what they are capable of is an important message for us all.

This ensemble cast is absolutely amazing bringing every aspect to the story telling that kept me watching more and more. The best part of owning the Bluray is not having to wait till the next week to find out what happens next. I absolutely marathon-watched SIX and will do it again with no problem.

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There is so much that I’m not speaking about because this is an experience and I’m not about to give anything away and trust me – there is plenty! The Bluray includes all 8 episodes on two discs with almost six hours of story telling. The set also includes Digital HD that can be instantly streamed and downloaded to your television, computer, tablet and smartphone.

Inspired by real missions, the creators bring an authenticity to the world of America’s SEAL elite special operations unit! This is a look at what they do, their personal lives, what happens in combat with the life and death situations they face so they can come home to their families again.

In the end – never leave a brother behind!

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Life When RULES DON’T APPLY Comes to Bluray

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Jeri Jacquin

This week on Bluray and DVD from writer/director Warren Beatty and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment comes a story of a man who tries to show the world that in his universe RULES DON’T APPLY.

It is 1958 Hollywood, California as billionaire Howard Hughes (Warren Beatty) has his hands in a little bit of everything. Running a business founded by his father, keeping his employees hopping and finding the next beautiful actress is a full time job.

Discovering one such actress, Marla Mabrey (Lily Collins) is a young woman who is beautiful, sings and is watched over by the discerning eye of mother Lucy (Annette Bening). Now under contract with Hughes, Marla is excited to finally be exactly where she’s always dreamed she’d be.

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Driving the young woman and her mother around Hollywood is limo driver Frank Forbes (Alden Ehrenreich) who is secretly and equally thrilled to be meeting Mr. Hughes. Coming into contact daily with Marla, they forge a friendship that borders on romantic. What keeps the seriousness at bay is Frank’s 7th grade sweetheart who pretty much believes the two are practically married.

Hughes is struggling as well but with practically everyone in his life. Believing that long time friend Noah Dietrich (Martin Sheen) is trying to have him committed, Hughes pushes back leaving Nadine Henly (Candice Bergen) and Levar Mathis (Matthew Broderick) left to keep an eye on Hughes. Eventually, the billionaire turns to Frank as a trusted employee to guard Hughes interests.

Their friendship blooms as Marla waits for Mr. Hughes to finally make arrangements to meet her. It puts a strain on both young people as Hughes has strict rule that none of his employees is to come near his contract actresses. When it becomes clear that the two need to back away, Lily has an encounter with Hughes that changes the course of their lives forever.

When you have billions of dollars you have billions of problems but love isn’t one of them!

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Beatty as Hughes gives the persona of a man who knows what he wants and doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer, in fact he really doesn’t take anything for an answer. His train of thought is so all over the place that it’s hard to get a question in edgewise, then again I don’t think I’d know how to ask him a question. Sound like I’m confused? Beatty gives Hughes a struggling nature that clearly affected every corner of his life. Mixed in with the sadness of this character I must admit to have the giggles a few times as his odd choices and Beatty makes most of it feel charming.

Collins as Lily is a young girl who just wanted to come to Hollywood and be a star. She has the look of the era and brings everything along with that in terms of attitude and beliefs. From a protective Mother to the guilt of passion, Collins is delightful and watching her character face the harsh realities is a cautionary tale to be sure.

Ehrenreich as Frank is a man on his own rise to glory. Finding the job with Hughes fascinating and challenging, he also sees potential for Hughes’ help in real estate development. Staying when most people surely would have left, Ehrenreich’s character comes to have a twisted understanding of his employer making it even more difficult to walk away.

Sheen as Dietrich certainly took his fair share of grief from Hughes and anytime Sheen is on the screen I’m all in. Bergen as Nadine is a woman who sees all but says very, very little. Broderick as Mathis is basically a Hughes ‘yes’ man or perhaps more of ‘it’s his life’ man.

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Other cast includes: Paul Sorvino as Vernon Scott, Peter Mackenzie as Gene Handsaker, Dan Desmond as Gladwin Hill, Hart Bochner as Col. Willis, Madisyn Ritland as Bella and Louise Linton as Betty with appearances by Steve Coogan, Alec Baldwin and Ed Harris.

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.

RULES DON’T APPLY is a quirky tale of Hollywood love, Hollywood loss and a nutty billionaire in the middle of it all. It is such an interesting telling in that the love story between Frank and Lily is forefront and that is difficult enough for these two young people in 1958 Hollywood but to have Howard Hughes as your boss is nothing short of a huge fly in the champagne glass of love.

Seriously, Beatty steals the film with his portrayal of Hughes as one minute he is whimsical moved by a young girl singing to arrogance at finding no reason to meet with people face to face to literally flying by the seat of his pants lifestyle. I felt sorry for these two young kids dealing with a man who quickly shows that nothing else matters except banana bread ice cream (and I’ve never heard of it but would love to try it!)

The clothing, cars, home furnishings and settings of the era truly lend itself to quickly falling into the story with ease. Of course I may be a tad partial as a fan of most period pieces. The film didn’t over do it yet didn’t leave out the smallest detail, including granny panties – you’ll see.

RULES DON’T APPLY Bluray and DVD include the Special Features This is Rules Don’t Apply, Music Video “The Rules Don’t Apply” performed by Lily Collins and a Gallery.

If your ready for a little romance, a little twisted adventure, a couple of young people in love and a billionaire who is in the middle of it all then discover why the RULES DON’T APPLY.

In the end – sometimes you have to learn the hard way when rules don’t apply!

LOGAN Slashes into Theaters

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Jeri Jacquin

In theatres this Friday from writer/director James Mangold, Marvel Entertainment and 20th Century Fox is the anticipated film in the saga of Wolverine with LOGAN.

The story picks up as Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is a washed out limo driver living well beyond 2016. In fact far into the future and his dream is to buy a big boat and sale away from humanity. That was the plan until a man named Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) showed up in his limousine.

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Pierce makes it plain that he is looking for someone believing that Logan may have answers. Logan assures the intruder that who ever he’s looking for is of no interest to him. That’s when the name Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) is mentioned angering Logan.

Taking off for a hideout, Logan is trying to keep things safe which is about to change when a little girl named Laura (Dafne Keen) comes into his life. Pierce and Dr. Rice (Richard E. Grant) are looking for the girl and stopping at nothing to make sure it happens.

Laura and Charles connect to one another and it becomes clear that there are more young mutants in hiding from Dr. Rice and Pierce. Logan isn’t happy about any of this and knows the only way to stop it is to get Laura to safety.

The danger along the way is hard, fast and out for only one thing – to destroy the young mutants by any means possible. There is a new mutant on the horizon who will challenge them all!

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It’s always nice to see Jackman but in LOGAN it is cringe worthy watching him continually try to convince me he is old and decrepit. Why do I want to see that? The bad attitude from a younger Wolverine is back but now seems more like Grumpy Old X-Men which might make an awesome film for the next X-Men installment.

Holbrook as Pierce is just another psycho who has a young guy chip on his shoulder. With the air of invincibility he goes after Logan, Charles and Laura. Stewart as Charles was just a hard thing to watch. Grant as Dr. Rice is just the next generation psychopath who doesn’t mind killing a kid or two.

Keen had the best part in the film I should think. There isn’t much dialogue and she has the angry eyebrow of Jean Grey with a few moves of her own. It took a hot second to realize there are new X-men in town.

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Other cast include Stephen Merchant as Caliban, Elizabeth Rodriguez as Gabriela, Eriq La Salle as Will Munson, Elise Neal as Kathryn Munson, Quincy Fouse as Nate Munson, and Reynaldo Gallegos as Rey.

LOGAN is a sad film from start to finish and not in a ‘you-got-a-tissue?’ way as far as I’m concerned. There is nothing worse than beating a comic book anti-hero to death and then dragging him through 137 minutes of MY life that I’ll never get back. Don’t misunderstand me, I wanted to cheer for the film but instead jeers snuck out now and then.

The story did absolutely nothing for me and I’m sure I’ll get a yelling from a lot of people for saying that. Do I have to read the comic to understand what the hell is going on? It’s like an X-Men sludge mixed up to give Wolverine another adventure at what I’m sure I don’t know.

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Did Wolverine really need another movie? I can honestly say that I have a sore neck from the amount of head shakes I did. What goes on with Charles isn’t much better to my way of thinking. I mean seriously? If the anti-hero Wolverine is to get a beat down, there is no respect for Charles at all!

Of course I’m trying not to give too much away which isn’t all that difficult in the case of LOGAN. I’m sure that comic fans will be happy and feel a sense of closure. My sense of closure came from finally feeling free to walk out of the theatre!

So prepare for a slashing and bashing that comes with hanging out in mutant territory.

In the end – don’t mess with the limo driver!

VICE PRINCIPLES Comes to Bluray from HBO: Speaking with star Kimberly Hebert Gregory

 

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Jeri Jacquin

 

HBO brings class into session with the soon to be released Bluray, DVD and Digital Download pack of comedy that will test your take on laughter with VICE PRINCIPLES: The Complete First Season.

As two teachers plot and plan for control of the principle job at North Jackson High School, Neil Gamby (Danny McBride) and Lee Russell (Walton Coggins) are in for a big surprise.

Deciding to hire someone not from the school, the two teachers are introduced to Dr. Belinda Brown played by Kimberly Hebert Gregory. Coming into the school with high expectations, she had no idea that what was about to happen to her.

From dealing with two adults acting like teenagers, an ex-husband who hasn’t grown up either and sons who test her every move – Dr. Brown is pushed to a breaking point that is nothing short of mind boggling.

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I had the grand opportunity to speak with Kimberly about her role as the principal of North Jackson High School and shares with us an in-depth look at her character.

Jeri Jacquin: Thanks for talking with me today Kimberly, how are you?

KHG: I’m doing great Jeri, thank you.

JJ: I have to tell you that I just fell for the series VICE PRINCIPLES and your character. Please tell me how you got involved with the project?

KHG: It really was an audition where they made a decision about the character early on in the pilot and I was doing another pilot at the time. Somehow it worked out that I got to go in and auditioned with Danny McBride sitting there. I was trying not to freak out; I mean it was a test with the leads! I did walk out feeling ‘wow, this is a great moment, pat on the back Kimberly!’ I made people who I truly respect in comedy laugh and thought it was a good day. They called back fortunately.

JJ: When you read the script did your jaw drop as much as mine did watching the series?

KHG: It did but for several different reasons. I’m actually reading everyone’s part even though I’m Dr. Brown and reading it for the development of my character. I had to think about what was this world like that Belinda was going to be in. Just reading that this was taking place in a school and this was adults behaving this way in a school, I was blown away at how absurd it all seemed. The adults had really become the children.

JJ: It’s almost too as if they had their own adult “high school’ cliques with the rift between Gamby and Russell.

KHG: Absolutely and I think that may have been part of their desire to write something that mirrors our adults lives whether we can see it or not. We have created and do create these cliques with people who are cool and people who are not, people who deserve our wrath <we are both laughing at this point> and people who do not.

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JJ: Your character is also the odd one out of the clique circle because everyone else knows what’s going in at the school except Dr. Brown.

KHG: I think that’s the sinister nature of it all between these three characters. You have two people who are actively working to take someone out to get a job! That’s the nature of the comedy and the story. I believe that if Belinda even suspected what they were doing, both would have been gone day one. Its worse that Gamby and Russell are both actively and jointly trying to get rid of her. The beautiful flaw in her character is that she is so overwhelmed and consumed with her personal life that even when there are clues that should pull her in get past her because she needs the job for her own sanity. Then she tries to play Gandhi in many situations.

JJ: She has such a trusting nature in ways because lets be honest, you don’t expect this behavior from staff. You go in with a great nature that takes such a dark turn.

KHG: She goes in ready to clean house within the first few episodes. You discover that these guys are horrible human beings and somehow perform their jobs leaving her to think they are good people. She has no idea of the personal crisis coming her way when they do what they do to her house. They have put things together in such a way that it’s hard for her to know who is doing what. I don’t know that Belinda is well meaning all the time, in fact that’s why I think I love this character. She had to meet them where they were at some point.

JJ: I have to ask how much fun or not fun filming the last dark scene; I think you know which one I’m talking about.

KHG: I have to be completely honest and say it was my least comfortable, least favorable and least enjoyment. That moment I can not watch. I remember how I felt as Kimberly and I didn’t want the world to see me doing that. It took a lot out of me. I remember a day or two before shooting that scene Danny and I were talking and we were waiting to do a scene and he said, ‘how is it going?’ I mean he is such an amazing guy and such care taken for me as an actor and a person who is new to their world. So when he asked how it was going I said, ‘could you just take back that scene?’ He said, ‘no we can’t cut that!’

JJ: If it helps, what it did for me as a viewer is that you finally see this deep vulnerability. I mean when you are a principal you have to be the strong one, you have to show you can lead and solve problems. In that moment there is a scared vulnerability that is totally relatable as I thought man, I’ve been there before.

KHG: I knew that too when I read it. I read that scene and thought yep, that’s the one. When we had our meeting and they asked if I had any questions I said ‘yep, I have a question’. I wanted to know how the scene was going to be done and it tested my personal insecurities. It was around then that I started to grow right along with Belinda; I mean she had to have that ending. It had to be that, it had to bad. I think part of me not wanting to do it was because I was so protective of my character. I wanted her to be in the world in such a way that we could all look at her and say ‘yes, I know how that feels’. I felt like that for her to give up on so much that was going on in her life, drinking again.

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JJ: I’m surprised your character didn’t start drinking way before that!

KHG: Her whole experience was a difficult one to deal with that’s for sure.

JJ: I know it’s hard to talk about a series or give anything away for those who haven’t seen the series yet, but what would you want viewers to know about your character that maybe only you know about her?

KHG: She is such a scared woman. I think that’s the biggest thing. She is afraid about everything that is going on in her life, her job and inside she’s afraid. That can manifest in so many different ways so for Belinda I think as a woman who works in a male driven position, you are your most vulnerable during all of those insecurities. I think that was the secret to her for me. I knew her and I know we all know her. No matter who you are we all know that place when a part of us says ‘what are we doing?’

JJ: Exactly. Thank you so much for talking to me today. You are an amazing woman to have taken on this role and do it to the point of giving your character so many facets that we can all relate to. I appreciate you so much.

KHG: I really appreciate that Jeri; I hope that I answered your questions.

JJ: You did, and it makes it more fun when we can laugh about some of it.

KHG: Absolutely!

 

VICE PRINCIPLES: The First Season is a show you don’t see coming which makes it all the more worth a marathon watch. The series on Bluray, DVD and Digital Download pack this week from HBO Home Entertainment so might I suggest on this blustery weekend indoors that laughing be back in session.

 

In the end – we all need someone to look up to!

JOHN WICK: Chapter 2 Raises the Body Count!

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Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres this Friday from director Chad Stahelski and Lionsgate is the return of the quiet man on a mission known as JOHN WICK: Chapter 2.

Still on the hunt for his beloved car, John Wick (Keanu Reeves) brings those events to a close and heads home. Not home 24-hours, there is a knock at the door and standing on the other side is Santino D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio). Reminding that there is a debt owed, Wick turns him away with consequences.

Arriving at the Continental, manager Winston (Ian McShane) reminds Wick of the hard and fast rules to their line of work. Agreeing to fulfill his obligation to D’Antonio, Wick knows it’s the only way to get free of the life he no longer wants.

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Going to Rome to handle D’Antonio’s request, he runs into colleague Cassian (Common) and that sets off a chase back to New York. Also following Wick is bodyguard and assassin Ares (Ruby Rose), who must report back to D’Antonio that she missed taking him out.

This causes a contract to be put out on Wick and everyone is being fearless trying to cash in. Wick turns to the Bowery King (Laurence Fishburne) trying to stop what could turn into a war on the streets of New York.

Every move he makes has a price that Wick is willing to pay!

Reeves as Wick is nothing short of frakken awesome! This is a character that clearly doesn’t need to say a lot because everyone knows what he is capable of. Nothing wrong with a man knowing what he will and will not accept from anybody. Reeves has the very cool ability to wrap a dark well-dressed bad guy and make him look like the good guy. Continuing to play the role of Wick solidifies Reeves as a huge action star and yes, the ladies still love him.

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Scamarcio as D’Antonio is a man who thinks he knows what it takes to grab the world – at least in his mind. Feeling untouchable was his first mistake and thinking Wick would go away quietly makes him an idiot. Rose as Ares is equally as quiet as Wick but in a different way. She is smooth and seems to have no fear taking on the legend.

Fishburne as the Bowery King gets to enjoy mixing it up once again with his old pal Neo. His suave memory of the encounter with Wick puts these two on a level playing field. Common as Cassian is out to take down Wick as a matter of professional courtesy.

McShane as Winston is as smooth as you can get for the manager of a hotel that caters to a unique clientele. A stickler for the rules, he makes it very clear that he is the only one that can bend them. Trying to talk sense to Wick, he never raises his voice or hand – he has other people to do that.

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There are some fantastic characters in this film including Peter Serafinowicz as the Sommelier, Luca Mosca as the Italian Tailor, Elli Meyer as the Pawnbroker, Chukwidi Iwuji as Akoni, Peter Stormare as Abram, and Franco Nero as Julius.

Other cast include Claudia Gerini as Gianna, Tobias Segal as Earl, Bridget Moynahan as Helen, Thomas Sadoski as Jimmy, John Leguizamo as Aurelio and Lance Reddick as Charon.

JOHN WICK: Chapter 2 is a film that doesn’t need my tubs of popcorn ratings. Reeves captured pretty much everybody becoming the character of JOHN WICK in 2014 and we’ve been waiting for his return.

At the screening the guys were pumped up and ready while the gals didn’t waste a second whistling when Reeves characters comes into the light in his nice black suit. It’s a nice mixture for a film that doesn’t need a second of introduction.

From the moment the film begins until the last frame, everyone was cheering, gasping, shouting ‘whoa!’ and cringing in their seats only to break out again cheering. It’s a physical and emotional workout of the best kind all wrapped up in car and people chases, fire fights, martial arts, twists, and turns all directed by the one man Wick army.

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JOHN WICK: Chapter 2 just took us all away for one hundred and twenty-two minutes and there isn’t anything wrong with that in the slightest. It’s nice to be at the movies with a tub of popcorn and a room full of like minded excited people who just want to have an awesome time. Wick doesn’t want nor seek our approval which takes a load off making it easy to give it the big thumbs up – I mean it’s not like we’d cross him or anything right? RIGHT?

In the end – never stab the devil in the back!

 

THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE is Fun and Full of Surprises!

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Jeri Jacquin

Batman is back from director Chris McKay, DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Pictures is a block look into snap-life of THE LEGO BATMAN.

Bruce Wayne (Will Arnett) is a man living in the cowl of Batman. Living an isolated life, even Alfred (Ralph Fiennes) can’t get him to understand it’s time to engage in the world. Constantly saving Gotham from villains, one particular bad guy is working Batman’s last lego.

The Joker (Zach Galifianakis) has teamed up with Harley Quinn (Jenny Slate) to once again try and capture Gotham! When Batman lets the Joker know that there is no connection between them, the green haired bad boy needs to find another way to get Batman’s attention.

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Also, a young Dick Grayson (Michael Cera) wants nothing more than to be part of Bruce Wayne’s orphans club. At Commissioner Gordon retirement party, daughter Barbara (Rosario Dawson) taking the job, she makes it clear that Batman needs to take a step back. All too quickly the party is interrupted by the Joker who makes an astonishing announcement.

Batman knows that the Joker is pulling something and decides to send him someplace not only far away, but in another dimension. Taking Dick, now Robin, on a mission of sorts, Batman seeks out the one thorn in his side – Superman (Channing Tatum). The plan is to get the weapon that will put Joker in the Phantom Zone.

What he didn’t expect is that the Joker had a bigger plan and now Batman needs to come to the realization that he can’t do this solo. To take back Gotham, the caped crusader turns to the most unlikely gang to save the city.

Arnett as Bruce Wayne/Batman is nothing but absolutely spectacular. Lets be serious here, this is a Lego character with very little facial expressions to speak of so the win is all in the voice of Arnett. From the moment the theatre lights dimmed, Arnett takes us into the Lego-psyche of the man in black. I knew from the 2014 THE LEGO MOVIE that Batman needed to have a film of his own, here it is and it’s awesome!

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Galifianakis as The Joker is funny, emotional and down right stubborn. Wanting more from the Batman to validate him as a villain, he takes another tact that keeps Batman and Barbara uber suspicious. Galifianakis always makes his character vulnerable with an evil grin, as this particular Joker he is perfect.

Dawson as Barbara Gordon finally says out loud what most people think about Batman which makes him nuts. She’s tough, strong and has no problem kickin’ Lego and taking names.

Fiennes as Alfred Pennyworth is a butler/friend/father-figure to Bruce Wayne with the soft and supportive voice of Fiennes. Don’t let the soft voice fool you! Cera as Grayson/Robin is just looking for a family again. Of course being part of Bruce Wayne’s family is one thing but being part of Batman’s team is a whole other reason to put on a sparkly cape and goggles.

More of the amazing vocal cast include Jonah Hill, Jermaine Clement, Zoe Kravitz, Ellie Kemper, Kate Micucci, Adam Devine, Seth Green, Mariah Carey, Billy Dee Williams, Jason Mantzoukas, Riki Lindhome, Eddie Izzard, Doug Benson and Siri!

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TUBS OF POPCORN: I give THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE five Lego’s out of five! From the moment the movie starts, the laughs begin and continue on past the credits. There is nothing better than forgetting you are watching an animated film because the laughter comes first.

There are plenty of fantastic lines beginning with the DC logo appearing and Batman announcing “DC – the house that Batman built”. Did you think this particular Batman wasn’t going to take the opportunities to say his piece? It doesn’t stop there as the film tackles prior Batman’s going back to the 1960’s, personal conflict with Superman, family issues and every imaginable thing in-between.

This is a truly great opportunity for families to get together. There are so many characters in the film its going to be fun to point them out to each other. Equally, there are so many cool references and one-liners I can guarantee that the laughs will never stop. I am refraining from mentioning too much because this is one of those times where it’s more important that everyone have fun with all the surprises coming.

So pack up the family and head out to the theatre because this is the best way to start out 2017 in animation with THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE!

In the end – always be yourself…unless you can be Batman!

The Highly Anticipated FIFTY SHADES DARKER Comes to Theatres

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Jeri Jacquin

This Friday from director James Foley and Universal Pictures is the next chapter in the story of lovers who are becoming FIFTY SHADES DARKER.

Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) is still reeling after the break-up with Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan). Getting a job at a publishing company working for Jack Hyde (Eric Johnson), she keeps herself busy but it doesn’t stop Christian from reaching out. During a night out, Christian shows up asking Anastasia to please speak with him and she agrees.

While at dinner they talk about where their relationship needs to be before Anastasia would even consider reconnecting. That is when Christian begins to understand that he can no longer hide if he is to have her and explains parts of his past. Feeling that love between them might be possible, Anastasia is thrilled.

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So is Christian’s mother Grace (Marcia Gay Harden) when the couple arrives at party being thrown at the Grey estate. Anastasia sees Elena Lincoln (Kim Basinger) who promptly lets her know that her happiness isn’t going to last. Upset by her words, the couple leaves the party only to deal with another disturbing event caused by a young woman named Leila (Bella Heathcote).

Trying to keep Anastasia protected, it seems as if their problems are coming from all around as Christian tries to maintain control.

Because in their world it is all about control.

Johnson as Anastasia wastes no time wanting to work things out with Christian. Jumping right back into a crazy life, this time she has more to say about their situation. That is perhaps the most I can say about the growth of Johnson’s character. I would say more but the rest of the time is spent doing, well, wardrobe changes.

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Dornan as Grey does the most personal evaluating when he finally starts to come clean about his past. There is still more to discover I’m sure but at least there are some answers to make fans happy. Dornan isn’t as angry looking in this film giving Christian smiles and a sense of humor previously lacking.

Basinger as Elena is definitely a problem child who is clearly not happy that Christian has won Anastasia back. She gives us a little 9 ½ WEEKS smoldering and not in a good way. Taking on the Grey’s wasn’t the smartest thing she could have done. Heathcote as Leila is a woman in pain and she wants everyone else to suffer, especially Anastasia.

Speaking of the Grey’s, Harden as Grace is elegant, beautiful and thrilled Anastasia is back. Ora as Mia is flighty and Grimes as brother Elliot is still hot and heavy for Anastasia’s roommate Eloise played by Kavanagh.

Other cast include Kate Kavanagh as Eloise, Rita Ora as Mia Grey, Luke Grimes as Elliot Grey, Victor Rasuk as Jose, Andrew Airlie as Carrick Grey, Robinne Lee as Ros Bailey and Max Martini as Taylor.

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give FIFTY SHADES DARKER three tubs of popcorn out of five. Although the storyline in this installment is fairly straight forward, it would have been better had it gone uninterrupted. What I mean by that is every fifteen minutes clothes were flying off and there isn’t much of the raciness of the first film.

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Actually, to be honest, Anastasia’s joke of their new vanilla life is an understatement. The first film enticed viewers with an alternate sexual lifestyle only to have it squashed in this film under the guise of Christian ‘changing’. By the films end there have been answered questions and new enemies setting up what is sure to come in the third installment.

Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey remain the hot couple that bring people into the theatres for a shared experience. That’s exactly what audiences will get with FIFTY SHADES DARKER, twists, turns, answers and plenty of tension and wardrobe changes.

In the end – every fairy tale has a dark side!

 

QUARRY: The Complete First Season is an Absolute Must-See from Cinemax!

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Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray from Cinemax and HBO Home Entertainment is a stunning series that will leave you on the edge with QUARRY: The Complete First Season.

It is 1972 and the world is dealing with the Vietnam War. Mac Conway (Logan Marshall-Green) has returned home to the town of Memphis with buddy Arthur (Jamie Hector). Both trying to get back into their lives, finding jobs to help financially with their families has become difficult because of an incident that happened while in Vietnam.

Mac returns to wife Joni (Jodi Balfour) and tries to find a job as a coach but it doesn’t work out. Arthur returns to wife Ruth (Nikki Amuka-Bird) and works on being a father to his sons, including Marcus (Joshua J. Williams).

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After a dip in his pool, Mac meets The Broker (Peter Mullan) and Karl (Edoardo Ballerini), two men who are about to make him an offer. He shows Mac $30,000 in cash saying it is all his to become a contract killer. Mac can not see this as an answer to his problem and The Broker packs up the money walking away.

The Broker also approaches Arthur who takes the money but needs Mac’s help. Only asking his friend to be a lookout Mac agrees. What started out as an easy way to make money goes horribly wrong and Mac is now responsible for the return of the $30,000 which gets away.

Knowing he doesn’t want his buddy’s wife to know what really happened, Mac now must carry out hits until The Broker says the debt it paid now. If that isn’t hard enough to deal with, Mac learns that Jodi hasn’t been exactly upright herself with a man named Cliff. Imagine who Mac takes out first in his new job.

The police are getting involved as Det. Tommy Olsen (Josh Randall) wants to solve this case quickly. He begins to work the case discovering that he knows the victims sister Sandy (Kaley Ronayne). Mac is still trying to figure out how to handle what is happening and visits his friend Buddy (Damon Herriman) looking for more answers.

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Mac also visits his father hoping Dad can give him the money to pay back The Broker. Ruth is about to meet Moses (Mustafa Shakir), a man who also knows The Broker and he wants to find out how much Ruth knows about the missing money.

In the meantime Mac and Buddy are off to do a gun deal that, of course, also goes wrong but the extra clean up means more money is taken off the $30,000. Suggs (Kurt Yaeger) is watching what Mac is doing and gives him a message kidnapping by kidnapping Joni. Now Mac is in anger mode and will not stop until he has Joni back. Needing the help of The Broker he has to hide with her in an old motel.

In hyper vigilant mode, Mac looks at everyone coming and going out of the place. Suggs isn’t letting go easily doing some investigating of his own to find Mac and Joni. During a confrontation in their room that leads to a mess, Mac must now tell Joni everything. Detective Olsen digs deeper and still believes that Mac has something to do with Cliff’s death.

Not in town to help his buddy’s son Marcus, he comes close to being hurt when a bus of African-American students is under attack. Home safely, Marcus and Ruth watch as the man responsible is finally arrested.

Mac and The Broker are talking because there are questions as to how much Joni knows. Convincing his boss that Joni knows nothing, he returns home to find money from his father but nothing even close to what Mac needs. Knowing who the next hit is, Mac does what is necessary to reduce his debt while Moses searches Ruth’s house for the original $30,000.

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While all of this is happening, Mac doesn’t know that Joni has been talking to his father about selling the house. During a showing, The Broker visits pretending to be a buyer getting information from Joni about what they are up to. The missing money is discovered by Marcus who doesn’t tell anyone what he has found.

What happens next with Mac is out of control as a carnival becomes the meeting point and a showdown that has everyone turning on each other. Finally, the whole story of what happened in Quan Thang bring to clarity as who is responsible. Once all the bloodshed is over, Mac deals with a man from his past and pays The Broker the rest of his buddy’s debt.

But nothing is ever that easy to walk away from.

Logan Marshall-Green as Mac is absolutely amazing and I think I’m a little bit in love. He plays this character hard core and even with moments of emotion with his wife, it is difficult for Mac to find any solace or peace. Of course that seems a tad strange considering what this character is willing to do but after two tours and horrible final experience in Vietnam, what I consider strange and what Mac considers strange depend on perception. Marshall-Green seems so engrossed in this character that I’m almost afraid to see him smile.

Jodi Balfour as Joni is a woman who has watched her husband slowly turn into someone she almost doesn’t recognize. She is also a woman trying to keep their home, work and take care of everything while Mac is away. Once Balfour understands what is at stake, she almost has to figure out how to fix it and live through it at the same time. Wonderful performance by Balfour.

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Nikki Amuka-Bird as Ruth and Joshua J. Williams as Marcus are dealing with the death of Arthur. Ruth works hard not knowing what killed her husband or why and Marcus makes a find of his own and it could cost him.

Damon Herriman as Buddy works well with Mac and has an interesting relationship with his mother and although he wants to walk away, I don’t see it happening. Josh Randall as Det. Olsen has an itch to solve this case. He feels as if he’s following all leads but becomes clear that Mac has something to do with it all. Kurt Yaeger as Suggs is definitely someone to be seriously afraid of.

Mustafa Shakir as Moses definitely has a duality problem here. Looking for the original $30,000 and discovering if Ruth knows anything about it makes him the sneakiest criminal. That being said, he also seems to be developing feelings for Ruth which means when the time comes a decision will have to be made.

Other cast include Aoibhinn McGinnity as Mary, Skipp Sudduth as Lloyd, Happy Anderson as Det. Vern Ratliff, Olafur Olafsson as Credence Mason, Tom Noonan as Oldcastle and Ann Dowd as Naomi.

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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.

The Bluray and Digital HD includes Deleted Scenes-a fascinating selection of more than two dozen deleted scenes from Season 1, Inside Quarry-get an inside look at each episode of QUARRY with the cast and crew, Quan Thang Inquiry Scenes-Check out declassified interview footage in which Mac and other soldiers testify to the events of the Quan Thang Tragedy, About Quarry-delve inside the setting, characters and storylines of QUARRY with the cast and crew.

Also found on the Bluray is Music of Memphis-join the cast and crew for an inside look at the classic R&B soundtrack and live music seen in the show, Recreating 1972-the cast and crew of QUARRY reveal how they turned back the clock to recreate the sets and styles of Memphis in 1972, Love Letters-hear the recorded correspondence between Mac and Joni while he served in Vietnam, Car Chase Picture in Picture-join QUARRY star Logan Marshall-Green for this action-packed look at the staging of a rough-and-tumble car chase from the series and Music Videos-watch a collection of music videos featuring some of the blistering tracks from the series.

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TUBS OF POPCORN: I give QUARRY: The Complete First Season four and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. This is a fantastic series filled with twists, turns, stories within stories, hallucinations, memories, flashbacks, cold-heartedness and so much more. Every time I thought I knew what was coming, I was pleasantly (or unpleasantly) kept guessing. Nothing is worse than figuring everything out before it happens.

Yes I am intentionally once again being vague because this is another amazing series from Cinemax that is worthy of experiencing for yourself. The cast should be so proud of themselves for making a series that has us all waiting for Season Two!

QUARRY came to television creator Graham Gordy, Michael D. Fuller and director Greg Yaitanes via novels from Max A. Collins.

In the end – every man has something worth killing for!

TRANSFORMERS RESCUE BOTS on DVD to Protect and Explore!

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Jeri Jacquin

Coming to DVD on February 21st to add to your family home entertainment library from SHOUT! Kids Factory and Hasbro Studios are TRANSFORMERS RESCUE BOTS: Protect and Explore.

The Rescue Bots are back as an iceberg brings unusual danger to the town of Griffin Rock. The Burns family along with the Rescue Bots are surprised when the S.S. Isolde has cargo wanted by Dr. Morocco. There is an ever greater mystery when the family realizes it is the same ship Great-Grandpa Zachary was a part of.

Griffin Rock is overtaken when snakes on their way to the zoo get away. Not realizing the danger, Chief Burns and the Lad Pioneers are hiking in the same area. With no way to return to Griffin Rock, they all must use leg power to get to the EMP Zone while the Rescue Bots do what they do best – rescue!

When serious weather threatens Griffin Rock, Doc Greene works on a way to protect the town. Making a dome to protect from the storm, the good doctor trusts someone he shouldn’t and the Rescue Bots are put into action.

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A serious storm isn’t the only weather related problem in Griffin Rock as spring brings mudslides, masses of kelp and jellyfish. Bot Appreciation day that is suppose to celebrate everything the Rescue Bots have done is turned when Doc Greene creates action figures gone wrong.

When an earthquake happens on Wayward Island, Graham, Cody and Frankie are shocked to discover a ship belonging to Cybertron. Inside are Blurr and Salvage who are taken to see Optimus Prime. The Rescue Bots aren’t sure what the two bots will do and make sure someone is always watching.

Hasbro Studios is an iconic brand with some of the best in animation and family programming with MY LITTLE PONY, and LITTLEST PET SHOP. Since its formation in 2009, Hasbro Studios has received seven Daytime Emmy’s!

SHOUT! Factory brings the best to fans offering up feature films, classic television series, animation and specials. For more of what they have to offer go to www.shoutfactory.com.

TRANSFORMERS RESCUE BOTS: Protect and Explore DVD includes the episodes Tip of the Iceberg, Buddy System, No Place Like Dome, Thieves Like Us and The New Recruits.

 As a fan of all things Transformers, this animated series is filled with adventure, family, loyalty and togetherness. The storylines are exciting and bring attention to so many lesson about life and friendship.

That’s what I love about the series, the combination of amazing color and animation that captivates the audience with iconic characters that we love. The Rescue Bots and the people of Griffin Rock remind us all how to treat one and care for one another – be us human or human-like robots in disguise!

In the end – get ready for adventures and rescues in the great outdoors!

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