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October 2017

Miles Teller Stars as a Troubled Soldier Returning Home in THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE

thank you poster

 

Jeri Jacquin

This week in theaters is the film THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE based on the award winning book Thank You For Your Service written by David Finkel. Telling the story of soldiers returning home and their difficulty in readjusting to civilian life and family, this film centers on the life of one such soldier, Adam Schumann.

Schumann returns home to discover that fitting back into a life he once knew isn’t happening. Trying to do what’s best, he keeps what happened in Iraq to himself only discussing it with other soldiers in his infantry. It becomes clear that they too are having a difficult time finding their place in life.

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When one of their friends chooses a different way to handle it all, it becomes clear to his wife that Schumann needs help. They turn to the VA and learn that getting that help is frustrating and a system that is overloaded with bureaucracy. Schumann tries to come to terms with an event that happened in Iraq while also continuing to help his men also find help.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE is a startling look at the soldiers who return home to a broken system and showing how PTSD is shows itself in different ways and can not be labeled quite so easily.

Actor Miles Teller portrays Adam Schumann in THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE. This is the second week that Teller is portraying a person who serves our country. Last week he took the role of Brendan McDonough, the only survivor of the Granite Mountain Hotshots in the film ONLY THE BRAVE.

I had the opportunity to speak with Miles about his role as Adam Schumann and portraying this real life soldier on the issues of PTSD and bringing light to such an important issues for all U.S. military.

Jeri Jacquin: Thank you for talking with me today Miles, I appreciate it and I know you must be busy.

Miles Teller: I am busy but I have to say I’m enjoying it.

JJ: That’s good to hear. What drew you to THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE?

MT: I have always had a lot of respect for the military and I felt like Adam’s story was extremely powerful so I wanted to help tell it. I felt a responsibility actually.

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JJ: I spoke with Adam, what an amazing young man.

MT: Adam is an incredible person.

JJ: When you read the script, is there anything that jumped out at you the most?

MT: I think just the struggle is what I find actually incredible. We don’t have any integration programs for our soldiers who are in war one day and the next week are home making pancakes for their family as in the case of Adam. It is something that he’s not able to talk to his wife about and that’s extremely difficult.

JJ: It’s a story of the struggle to go from one extreme to the other so quickly.

MT: Yes, it is incomprehensible to us as civilians but I felt by doing this film I was able to empathize and appreciate in such a way that I am grateful for. It helps you understand the struggle these soldiers are going through. Millions of soldiers are dealing with PTSD and it’s tough.

JJ: It’s a big issues and a difficult one as well. How did you prepare to play that role?

MT: I read some books and I watched a lot of interviews and documentaries. I was able to spend some time with Adam and other veterans as well. They put us through a boot camp as well and through all of these resources I was able to come up with this portrayal.

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JJ: When you first began filming, was it hard to find your step when it comes to the scenes dealing with PTSD?

MT: Absolutely, every day on this film I was nervous about messing it up. I know how heavily this film and this performance was going to be scrutinized because I am representing our military. I was representing a staff Sgt. in the Army and I am aware of how much they sacrifice to have that job title. I was extremely nervous. Everyday on set I was telling myself ‘I hope I don’t mess this up’.

JJ: You probably had a lot of military eyes watching what you were doing.

MT: Our cast was really strong in this and the fact that we all went through a boot camp helped us with the sense of responsibility we all felt. This is a real life responsibility to the men and women we were portraying and I think everyone wanted to get it right. We had a lot of people steering us in that direction.

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JJ: Speaking of boot camp how did you like that?

MT: It was tough and a kick in the guts but I think we were all grateful for it to be honest with you. When we were doing it, it sucked and it was really uncomfortable and tough to do but once we got done it was good. It was team work oriented and if you are making a film like this it is a feeling that we are all in it together and it’s not about just one person. We got to experience that in the boot camp and we all benefited from it.

JJ: They must have put you all through the ringer.

MT: It was a very intensive boot camp for sure.

JJ: During that time did you feel like there was a sense of coming together?

MT: Absolutely, I don’t think anything bonds people like collective suffering.

JJ: The film bounces between what happens in Iraq to what happens at home. The scenes in Iraq are very intense, how was that for you to deal with?

MT: I think we were actually excited at that point because we had been trained tactically and trained to move as a unit. We learned to shoot M-4’s and wear the gear that came along with an objective and a mission. When you are a kid you play cops n’ robbers or soldiers, you know, make believe, but this is that at its highest level. Of course I’m not glorifying that because the difference is that what the soldiers did was very real and in filming the scenes we got to go home at the end of the day.

JJ: I understand what you are saying. You are all portraying an event that is very intense and you have to use that build up of the training in boot camp in order to do the scene justice.

MT: Yes, exactly. What was specific about this is that it’s not a lot of taking shots at the enemy, it was a 360 warfare. It wasn’t just about waiting to be shot at but driving around in humvees not knowing what could be on the road. They are going out multiple times a day every day and still not knowing what could be on that road.

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JJ: I was talking to Adam about the phrase ‘thank you for your service’, what does that mean for you?

MT: It’s just something that has become part of the national lexicon when meeting somebody who is in the armed services. I’m interested in it and it’s something that people say who don’t have the full understanding of the soldier’s experience. These guys don’t want to be thanked. Adam didn’t do what he did to be thanked or congratulated by civilians. He was doing his job. It’s also the end of a conversation where civilians distance themselves from soldiers. It’s thanking them without actually getting into a deep conversation with a soldier. I think that’s unfortunate. I think the divide between soldier and civilian is wider than it has ever been. I’m hoping this film shortens the divide and brings the us all together making us all part of it under the flag.

JJ: Instead of ‘thank you for your service’ we can change it to ‘how are you doing?’ to really bring out a conversation.

MT: Yes, that’s great. I guy shook Adam’s hand and said ‘welcome home’ which turned out to be the most powerful thing anyone had said to him. He said he broke down in tears after that.

JJ: This is such an intense film in the sense that it’s about both physical and emotional pain of reaching out for help, when viewers leave the theatre, what do you hope they take with them Miles?

MT: I hope that the film creates some empathy and I hope it creates a discussion. I think in our country these soldiers are the biggest group that need help. These soldiers are suffering and it’s so much more than PTSD. It’s not like previous soldiers who came home and just didn’t talk about it. I hope this film can be informative, enlightening and humanizes what our soldiers are dealing with. I hope there are a whole range of emotions that bring about discussion of what they are going through. We need to close that gap between civilian and veteran most definitely.

JJ: I want you to know I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me Miles. This is a tough subject to bring to film and thank you for taking on the role.

MT: Thank you Jeri, these are the kind of stories I want to tell and I’m glad that it’s getting to see the light of day.

 

Miles Teller has taken the role of Adam Schumann and given is every range of emotion possible. Some are subtle and most are heart breaking and it is for the viewer to come away realizing that our military need us just as much as we need them.

Embracing this story is just the beginning as more films about our military and their struggles come to the forefront. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE is one such telling of a young man who wanted to stay strong for his platoon and the men he felt responsible for while also finding the life he left behind.

Coming to theatres is THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE and DreamWorks along with Universal Pictures and AMC are making tickets available for service members. For more information on how the tickets will be made available, please visit www.ThankYouForYourService.com.

 

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THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE: Speaking with Adam Schumann

thank you poster

 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from director Jason Hall, DreamWorks and Universal Pictures is a story based on the book by David Finkel that reminds us to sincerely say THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE.

Adam Schumann (Miles Teller) is a soldier returning from Iraq with wife Saskia (Haley Bennett) waiting. The transition is made more difficult when Adam struggles to fit in at home once again. Memories on the battlefield not only follow him home, but his buddies Solo (Beulah Koale), Dante (Omar J. Dorsey) and Doster (Brad Beyer) as well.

When buddy Mike (Scott Haze) shows up, Adam understands what he is going through and offers him a spot on the couch. Each of these men need so much more and feel that no one is listening. As Adam becomes more and more disconnected from everything around him, Saskia knows it’s time to find help where ever they can.

That’s when dealing with the VA begins and the complications of helping returning vets. Hearing of a place that might have a space opening up soon, at the last minute Adam gives it to one of the others believing it’s his obligation to help the guys in his unit. But what he carries inside him about an event in Iraq finally comes to the surface and Adam knows its time to speak openly.

He is one of thousands and it’s time we hear them all!

I had the opportunity to speak with Adam Schumann himself about his experiences in watching his story come to the screen and how he is doing now.

Jeri Jacquin: Hello Adam, I truly appreciate you taking the time to talk with me today.

AS: Hi Jeri, I have to thank you too for hanging out with me today.

JJ: My apologies in advance because I’m sure you have been asked this question before but can you tell me your thoughts on hearing your story was being made into a film?

AS: I actually thought ‘great if it happens!’ and I didn’t give it much thought after that really. I wasn’t sure how they were going to put my life into a movie at first actually; it seemed a task in itself.

JJ: What was the experience like for you?

AS: It has been a long process working on the film and helping this thing come to fruition. It has been a spectacular journey and I’m so glad they let me be a part of it all.

JJ: What was your role in THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE?

AS: I was kind of a technical adviser making sure all the uniforms were right and if something was off I would let them know. Jason [director] says my fingerprints are all over the film! Oh, the radio in the humvee that you hear is my voice as well. I wrote all the dialogue and talk on the radio for the background. I had a cameo where I get to welcome ‘myself’ home too. I also sing the final credit song with Bruce Springsteen.

JJ: Oh no way, seriously?

AS: Yes! That is an old Army cadence I was singing in the shower one day and it turns out that Bruce Springsteen liked it. He sang it and had me sing the back up and the chorus with him. It was amazing that we worked on it together.

JJ: So that’s a little bit of a mind blower!

AS: Right? I mean…yea! I also got to work with the actors and do some weapons training too. I did everything I could and help in any way I could and I would even carry things around the set because I wanted to be of help in all ways. I was so happy to be working on this.

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JJ: These are hard questions sometimes for me to ask sometimes because as a mom of a three-tour veteran there is a line I don’t want to cross which conflicts with the writer in me who knows I need to ask the questions.

AS: What branch and did your son do?

JJ: He was in the Army and drove humvee’s and tanks.

AS: Well, please ask what ever questions you like and don’t worry.

JJ: Thank you, so lets go for the big question then, when you were participating and watching THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE being made, how was it for you to see it all come back in a way.

AS: It was very therapeutic actually, it’s not often you get to take a trip down memory lane and I mean really take that trip down memory lane. It’s a chance to dig into it and I mean really dig into it and relive each experience and then have everyone around you sharing it and working on that very same memory in a movie. There were tough days where we would shoot certain scenes and it was difficult but overall it was just very therapeutic. I actually think it was the best therapy I’ve had in the past ten years.

JJ: I wasn’t expecting that answer.

AS: Well, you get to see your progress. You look back at how bad it was and I look at myself in the mirror today and I’m still here, I’m still kicking and I’m not stopping so – it’s good.

JJ: I’m sure it was strange to watch Miles Teller portray you because you are watching you.

AS: He’s great. I guess when I see Miles I see anyone who was in that position in Iraq at that time. He is an Infantry Squad Leader trying to take care of his guys while at the same time he has a wife and child at home. I guess I look at it like he represents hundreds of thousands of people in that situation, not just me.

JJ: With what you went through, digging into your life, how has what you experienced changed you?

AS: Wow, I would like to think it has changed me for the better. I think I have a better understanding of sensitivity toward humanity and maybe more empathy. I don’t know, I just think that now I’m here and can look back at it all it’s made me a stronger and better person – that’s it.

JJ: The film deals a lot with PTSD and once the film is over there are so many questions on how to deal with this issue. The barriers are heartbreaking so for you, how did you deal with those barriers?

AS: I really just wanted to get better and I really wanted to be myself again. Every time I would run into a door or barrier I would just figure out a way around it. It was probably the hardest fight of my life to just get back to who I was and the biggest revelation of that is that you are not going to get back to who you were before. You are not going to be that person again after an experience like that. It was just fighting every step of the way because I wanted to be better for my kid and for my wife. I wanted to be happy again.

JJ: I know there are so many soldiers out there going through the same situation and no one can understand that fight but soldiers.

AS: I had my days where I wanted to give up and you see that in the film. When some small little nuisance in your life trips you up you want to throw your hands up in the air. I don’t know what kept bringing me back, I really don’t. It’s crazy thinking about it now going through all of that.

JJ: When I was watching the film knowing that there is more than one person going through this but actually thousands of people its astounding.

AS: There are hundreds of thousands because there were 2.5 million soldiers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan over the last sixteen years. They say one in five has TDI or PTSD so you are looking at five hundred thousand people at least – at least! That’s a big number.

JJ: That’s a staggering number and as a parent you look at your child and see them struggling and you wonder ‘how do other parents do this?’ It’s not like when they were teenagers and you do the ‘straighten up and fly right’ parental attitude. How has this been for your family?

AS: Saskia and I divorced a bit after David Finkel wrote the book Thank You For Your Service but now it’s actually been good. We live in the same town and we split the kids week on and week off. The kids are extremely happy and thriving and Saskia is remarried and happy. I’m just doing my thing and I’m happy. Everybody is actually doing really well.

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JJ: So what is your thing now?

AS: I hunt and fish a lot. That’s my thing! When I’m not doing the full time dad gig, I do a little bit of work and then I try to go hunting or fishing everyday.

JJ: What are you fishing for? I saw a photo of you with a fish and it was huge!

AS: It doesn’t matter to me, if there is water I’m going to fish in it. It does not matter. I usually go out and catch dinner, get some veggies and that’s my day.

JJ: It’s not a bad day.

AS: I’m just trying to keep it simple and keep it light. I’m trying to go back to the things I missed when I was in really bad places. You have to keep it simple. The simpler it is the better it is and that’s what I’m finding out.

JJ: The title THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE, I have had some military say it has different meaning for them whether good, bad or indifferent. What does it mean for you?

AS: I use to get embarrassed when people said it and I would think ‘why are you thanking me?’ You really don’t know what to say because it’s the beginning and an end to a conversation, it’s a statement and that’s it. It’s not a ‘hi, how are you doing?’ kind of thing – that’s it. I don’t know many military soldiers that signed up to be in the military for people to say ‘thank you for your service’. It’s not about free meals on Veterans Days and stuff like that, it can make it awkward. I think the movie title is how ever you want to take it as a person. What does ‘thank you for your service’ mean to you and what are we thanking them for? I think the title works well but as far as saying it to a veteran there are other things you could say like ‘how are you doing?’ or ‘welcome home’ which is a great one.

JJ: When people say ‘how are you doing now?’ how it is for you?

AS: I get asked that one but I never thought of it being an odd or difficult question. That one doesn’t bother me at all ever. It shows a genuine interest and it’s a conversation and it opens the door. At the end of this story you genuinely want to know how that guy is doing.

JJ: Sort of feels like a ‘mom’ question right? You want your child to be happy and well and you want that part of their life to not be their life.

AS: Absolutely, you want to take that pain away and absorb it but you can’t. I can’t imagine my own children going through what I did. My Mom, sometimes she will walk in on a conversation I’m having with my little brother and I’m telling him some gnarly stuff and she has to turn and walk out of the room. She has always been there for me in that nurturing way and she is my best friend. We have dinner once a week together and we hang out having a good time. I wouldn’t be who I am without her. We have talked about how hard it all was and being gone so much. As a parent you sit and watch the news and wonder how your child is doing 5,000 miles away.

JJ: From you, when people walk out of the theatre after watching THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE, what do you hope they take away with them?

AS: I hope a few things, I hope it gets people thinking, I hope it gets people talking about this issue. It’s not just a military issue, it’s everybody’s issue. None of us get through life without experiencing some pretty severe trauma and if you do you are fortunate. Trauma is universal and it’s not biased and doesn’t care who you are. I think this will help people accept that and start talking about it and if they know someone who has experienced something bad that they will lend an ear and help relieve some of that weight. I hope people help each other and have hope. I wish for a little more love and happiness and help each other out. We are all in this together and when you are in a position to help do so and if you need help – ask for it.

JJ: You are amazing Adam and I want to thank you so much for spending time with me today. I know you have heard it a million times but this is from me – a Mom – thank you.

AS: My pleasure Jeri, I wouldn’t change it for the world and I would go back and do it again if I had to.

JJ: Take care of yourself Adam and my best to your family.

AS: Yours as well Jeri.

Speaking with Adam today brought double emotions for me. Listening to him speak on the story of his life from the film’s perspective is thought provoking and a call to action. There are soldiers who are struggling in ways we can not understand and hit some of us very close to home. It is a complex issue but one that needs our military to step up and help the soldiers who have done everything asked of them.

The other side of the emotional sword is that of any parent who has a child (yes, adult but still our children) that comes home wanting to be helped. The struggle for that help should be first and foremost in our country and parents of these soldiers are becoming loudly vocal in calling for better access for returning soldiers.

That is what THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE brings about. It is a story of not just one soldier but many who come home with stories they feel can not be shared and emotions that are stifled to make everyone else feel better. Adam’s story speaks volumes and we need to listen to every one of them.

This week, THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE comes to theatres. DreamWorks and Universal Pictures along with AMC are making tickets available for free to service members. For participating theaters and how tickets will be distributed please visit www.ThankYouForYourService.com

In the end – this is one man’s story that speaks for thousands!

KIDNAP Thrills on Bluray

kidnapped 

AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL OCTOBER 17, 2017

AND ON BLU-RAY AND DVD OCTOBER 31, 2017

FROM UNIVERSAL PICTURES HOME ENTERTAINMENT

 

From the producers of Salt and Transformers, follow the intense journey as one mother shows how far she will go to save her child in the non-stop thrill ride, Kidnap, coming to Digital on October 17, 2017 and on Blu-rayTM, DVD and On Demand October 31, 2017 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. Produced by and starring Academy Award® winning actress Halle Berry, Kidnap is the story of a mother who must confront a parent’s biggest fear and the relentless pursuit that ensues as she grows increasingly empowered to rescue her child. Bring home the “intense, suspenseful and thrilling” (Dave Morales, Fox-TV) adventure on Blu-rayTM, DVD and Digital and discover a special behind-the-scenes featurette that takes viewers inside the film’s powerful story.

A typical afternoon in the park turns into a nightmare for single mom Karla Dyson (Academy Award® winner Halle Berry) when her son suddenly disappears.  Without a cell phone and knowing she has no time to wait for police help, Karla jumps in her own car and sets off in pursuit of the kidnappers.  A relentless, edge-of-your seat chase ensues, where Karla must risk everything to not lose sight of her own son.  In this tense, action-fueled thriller, from the producers of Salt and Transformers, one mother’s heroic attempt to take back her son leads her to ask herself how far she will go to save her child.

 

To win a copy for your own home entertainment library please visit http://moviemaven.homestead.com

 

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HALO: The Complete Video Collection Stuns on Bluray

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Jeri Jacquin

Get ready for awesomeness as SHOUT! Factory, Kew Media Group and 343 Industry brings a franchise that has captured the world with HALO: The Complete Video Collection.

Let’s dive right in with HALO 4: Forward Unto Dawn that is directed by Stewart Hendler begins as the United Nations Space Command. Students of this military academy go through intense training for the war on the outer colonial planets expanding worlds under the UNSC.

A long lasting peace is about to come to an end as a war that will span the galaxy is about to break out. Tom Lasky becomes an unwitting leader when the academy falls under alien attack. Fighting to protect the students, Lasky also finds help from super-soldier Master Chief John-117.

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In HALO: Nightfall is directed by Sergio Mimica-Gezzan and executive produced by Ridley Scott and David Zucker. The story is of Jameson Locke, a man hunter who finds himself caught up in an attack on the colony of Sedra. When agents of the ONI (Office of Naval Intelligence) come to the planet, Locke isn’t about to trust any of them. They do find a frightening artifact that forces them all to come together to survive and trust one another.

HALO: The Fall of Reach is directed by Ian Kirby and produced by Sequence telling the story of the origins of Master Chief and a Spartan program. Designed to train the children kidnapped for military training as most ultimate weapons to fight against invaders, they will be tested when The Covenant makes it clear they intend to wipe out humanity.

The next saga, HALO LEGENDS is an anthology that brings seven stories with Master Chief, what the Spartans are capable of and the in-depth look at a rivalry with the Orbital Drop Shock Troopers.

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

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The Kew Media Group provides premium content to over more than 150 countries worldwide. Currently the Kew Media Group contains over 275 theatrical feature titles along with television content that includes drama series, non-fiction, special event programming, kids’ series and mini-series. To see more of what they have to offer please visit www.kewmedia.com.

Get prepared Halo fans because this 6-disc Bluray and DVD set has over nine hours of galaxy-spanning action. The Special Features of each disc includes a commentary from The Halo Team, Remaking the Legend: Halo 2 Anniversary, Halo 4: A Hero Awakens, Halo 4: Forerunner ViDoc, Halo 5: A Hero Reborn, Halo Waypoint: Heroes Never Die and so much more bonus content!

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This is an absolute must-have not only for Halo video game fans but those who are into the mythology of the Halo universe. I have to say I remember my sons talking about Halo and that drew me into wanting to see this amazing collection. There is something very cool about now understanding what is going on around me when Halo is in the house.

Each piece is intense and done with amazing animation. The episodes are seamless in the telling and kept me completely riveted moment to moment. HALO absolutely stretches out into this universe that explains why fans keep coming back for more.

Created with the world’s leading animators from Japan, HALO LEGENDS brings the viewer to battle between humans and the Covenant. The animation is cutting-edge and masterfully brings breathtaking visuals with gripping adventure.

This is a collection for loyal fans and pop-culture enthusiasts and SHOUT! Factory is making it available October 31st and pre-orders are available now.

In the end – here is your chance to go beyond the game!

MY LITTLE PONY Friendship is Magic with Holiday Hearts on DVD

My little

 

Jeri Jacquin

On DVD from SHOUT! Kids Factory and Hasbro Studios comes stories to begin the holiday season with MY LITTLE PONY Friendship is Magic – Holiday Hearts.

Staring with Applebuck Season it is apple harvest time and Applejack’s big brother McIntosh is hurt. Refusing the help of her friends, Applejack believes she can do it on her own. It doesn’t take long before she realizes that maybe she was wrong. All of her friends know that it is all too much and don’t hesitate to let her know they are there for the farm.

Winter Wrap Up has Twilight Sparkle wanting to be a part of the Ponyville fun when everyone prepares for spring and by not using magic. Struggling to be a part of the no-magic event, she worries about being able to truly help. Hearing the other leaders are having trouble keeping things straight, Twilight might have just found what she is non-magically good at.

In Castle Sweet Castle Twilight Sparkle doesn’t want to tell the others that she doesn’t feel at home at the castle. Wanting to help their friend, the others plan to redecorate but keep running into wanting to do it in their own style. Knowing Twilight misses the Golden Oak Library, the group comes on a plan to truly make the castle her home.

Hearthwarming

During Hearth’s Warming in Hearthbreakers, Pinkie Pie wants to invite her friend Applejack to spend time with her family at Pie rock farm. Both families discover that the way we spend holidays and have traditions is different in every family. With the two families differences, the Apples leave but Applejack wants to make things right for the holidays.

A Hearth’s Warming Tail has Twilight reading to her friend Starlight the story of A Hearth’s Warming Tail as Snowfall Frost is a unicorn that doesn’t like anything good, including Hearth’s Warming. Coming up with a brew to get rid of the holiday she instead has to deal with three spirits to help her understand what the holidays truly means.

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Finally, in Not Asking for Trouble, Pinkie Pie is asked to be a part of the holiday in Yikslurbertfest. In this yak holiday, Pinkie and the yaks do the customary stomping ritual and it causes a disaster when snow covers the village! Trying to get Prince Rutherford to get help, he’d rather wait until the snow melts. Well, Pinkie Pie isn’t about to let that happen asking her friends to help get rid of the snow which garners the thanks of a Prince becoming an official honorary yak.

It’s just another holiday season for the Pony’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.

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!

MY LITTLE PONY Friendship is Magic – Holiday Hearts includes the episodes Applebuck Season, Winter Wrap Up, Castle Sweet Castle, Heartbreakers, A Hearth’s Warming Tail, Not Asking for Trouble along with the bonus feature of a Sing-Along for even more fun. Also included are Christmas present tags!

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I have to say that Applejack is one of my favorite pony’s but my granddaughter will tell you her favorite is Twilight Sparkle. That is what makes this series so amazing; everyone in the family can have their favorite and enjoy the series together.

The best part of this DVD is that each episode one again brings the most beautiful animation along with stories that are filled with holiday fun and friendship. MY LITTLE PONY Friendship is Magic – Holiday Hearts is a fantastic edition to anyone’s home entertainment library. It has to be there if you want fun, friendship and magic!

In the end – gather around for pony holiday tales!

Time Life Brings Back a Reason to Exercise with RICHARD SIMMONS SWEATIN’ TO THE OLDIES

sweatin

Jeri Jacquin

On DVD celebrating its 30th Anniversary Edition is exercise done with lots of fun as Time Life brings Richard Simmons back our homes with SWEATIN’ TO THE OLDIES.

Richard Simmons worked his way into the hearts of those trying to lose weight with his first gym in Beverly Hills, California. Promoting exercise before exercise became such a big industry, Simmons did not hesitate to share the story of his early childhood obesity weighing over 260 pounds at his heaviest.

In the early 70s after his own weight loss, Simmons became interested in fitness and wanted to reach out those who were really unfit and needed help. Opening The Anatomy Asylum, he helped his clientele learn to eat right and be supportive of their goals.

Slowly Simmons became a media darling and even had a spot on the daytime soap opera General Hospital (yes, my mother and I saw every episode he was on!). He also became a regular on such game shows as Win, Lose or Draw and Match Game.

His career would continue with over twelve books as well as audio and almost thirty visual media including Sweatin’ to the Oldies and thirty-six other video cassettes. That is a health empire that is just staggering.

Time Life continues to bring never before released anywhere classic collections of television shows for fans to revisit and remember what has made television so special. Time Life has released Mama’s Family, CPO Sharkey and The Tonight Show and they now reminds of us of a time when sex and politics were up for grabs with ROWAN & MARTIN’S LAUGH-IN. For more of what Time Life has to offer fans of classic television visit www.timelife.com.

The 30th Anniversary Edition of SWEATIN’ TO THE OLDIES includes the Uncut Original Releases of Sweatin’ to the Oldies Volume 1-5, Love Yourself and Win – Six Steps to Self-Esteem & Permanent Weight Loss and over 100 Minutes of Bonus Material that includes: Exclusive interview with Richard Simmons, Testimonials and Success Stories from Richard’s Students, Twenty Page Album of Rare Personal Photos and Memories Personally Selected by Richard and More!

This is a six-disc collection can exclusively be found at Amazon.com and has so much to offer that Richard Simmons believes is everything you will need to succeed. Using the lively music hits from the 1950’s and 1960’s as well as low impact routines is mixed in with Simmons humor that makes working out fun. Songs such as It’s My Party, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Gimme Some Lovin’ and Oh Pretty Woman are just some of the songs you will remember.

Simmons says, “I can’t believe it has been thirty years since the beginning! For the first time ever, I have compiled the complete Sweatin’ to the Oldies COLLECTION. It’s the original and still the best way to get your heart racing and your blood pumping!”

The best part of this Time Life collection is that everything that is found in this collection is still everything needed to exercise with fun. There is no time line for taking care of ourselves and Simmons still believes that today.

It is amazing to have the opportunity to once again gather up a few friends that remember when exercise was fun and Richard Simmons made it so. I am actually using this collection now because it is fun and has some of the best songs that have always made me dance around. Why not incorporate that into remembering that it’s never too late to start taking care of ourselves!

In the end – Richard says ‘so many sparkly tank tops so many memories’ and I agree!

ONLY THE BRAVE Brings Bravery and Heartbreak to Theatres

only the brave poster 2

Jeri Jacquin

In theatres from director Joseph Kosinski and Columbia Pictures is a story of bravery, camaraderie and heartbreak that comes with ONLY TO THE BRAVE.

In Prescott, Arizona, Brendan McDonough (Miles Teller) is a young man has no direction except drugs and can’t seem to handle his life. Discovering that he is going to be a father and being kicked out of mom’s house, he finally makes a decision.

Marsh (Josh Brolin) aka Supe runs a Wildland Firefighting team and his goal is to be certified as a Hotshot crew. Venting to Duane Steinbrink (Jeff Bridges) who can help make that goal happen, Marsh wants what is best for his crew.

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These two come together when Brendan applies with Station 7 and comes face to face with Marsh and his questions. Not so happy to have Brendan aboard if Chris MacKenzie (Taylor Kitsch) believing the new guy has nothing to offer the team.

That team includes Travis (Geoff Stults), Andrew (Alex Russell), Scott (Thad Luckinbill), Wade (Ben Hardy), Clayton (Scott Haze), Anthony (Jake Picking), Travis (Scott Foxx), Dylan (Robert Caldwell), Sean (Kenneth Miller), William (Ryan Cook), Garret (Brandon Bunch), Joe (Matthew Van Wettering), Kevin (Michael McNulty), John (Nicholas Jenks), Grant (Sam Quinn), and Brian (Howard Ferguson).

Immediately the team must come together on a fire that is also finally being observed in order to finally certify Station 7 as an elite Hotshot Crew. Finally, the Granite Mountain Hotshots come together and the they all celebrate with family and friends.

Brendan finally finds a connection with his baby daughter that brings him to wondering if he can continue with the crew. Now roommates, Chris has also taken an uncle role to Brendan’s daughter. Marsh is also dealing with family matters when wife Amanda (Jennifer Connelly) decides she wants to have a family.

It is their final fire together that brings the bravery and heartbreak to families and the only survivor.

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Brolin as Marsh is a tough Supe who wants more than anything to have his crew become an elite Hotshot crew. His own past issues give him an understanding when hiring Brendan. Brolin is masterful at taking this role to the audience to show what it takes to be responsible for 19 other men and a keen knowledge on firefighting. His presence is strong and I am all in with this role. Brolin was actually a volunteer firefighter in Arizona, trained and fought some wild-land fires in Mescal in his earlier years.

Teller as Brendan is a man clearly out of control with his life and on a path of self destruction. Choosing to change for the little life that comes into his own motivates him to reach for a goal. Even walking in to meet Supe, Teller’s portrayal of Brendan is a broken man that is reaching out to become something bigger than himself. Watching this character grow, Teller doesn’t hesitate to show the difficulties that Brendan faced and the emotion of confusion and loss. Kitsch as Chris starts out as a guy who is going to make Brendan’s life difficult, that is until the brotherhood kicks in and a deep friendship happens that brings a lightness to the film– so much so that he’s practically an uncle to Brendan’s daughter.

Connelly as Amanda has her horses while husband Marsh is gone on long stretches. Having the deal of no children starts to become an issue for the couple causing a strain that adds to an already stressful job. Bridges as Steinbrink clearly cares about Station 7 and Marsh and is always there when anyone needs him. The cowboy hat and southern drawl seems to be Bridges new type role and I say hey, if it works.

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Other cast includes Natalie Hall as Natalie Johnson, Forrest Fyre as Mayor Worthington, Jenny Gabrielle as Desiree Steed, Nicholas King as Caden Steed, Barbie Robertson as Marsena Thurston, Jade Kammerman as Stephanie Turbyfill, Pell James as Claire Caldwell and Andie MacDowell as Marvel Steinbrink.

ONLY THE BRAVE is a film that is challenging, humorous, heart thumping and heart breaking all rolled into 133 minutes. It is told with a mixture of the harshness of being a firefighter in all categories from structural to Wildland to Hotshots to the gentleness of their homelives. Not a job for everyone, these men and women do what ever is necessary to save life and property asking for nothing in return.

In that lies the bravery of what these men and women do. Far be it from to tell anyone how to say thanks but I personally make it a point to do so because I respect anyone who can do what most of us can not for whatever reason. The story is based on true events and the article in GQ by Sean Flynn called No Exit.

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Watching ONLY THE BRAVE I felt such intensity of emotion and what makes that so is knowing that there is no changing the outcome of the film. There is also no way to leave this film without choking back the tears or waves of emotion. The iconic photograph of the team in front of the town’s beloved juniper tree is not just a photo, it’s a glimpse into a brotherhood of men who not only did what they loved but did so with bravery.

In the end – it’s not what stands in front of you but who stands behind you!

GI FILM FESTIVAL Comes to San Diego!

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Jeri Jacquin

Yes, the GI FILM FESTIVAL is once again here and it is bringing the best films about the military world. Here is some of what you will see from October 18th till October 22nd from filmmakers with a story to be told.

On October 18th, the Opening Night Screening of THE 2 SIDES PROJECT tells the story of six U.S. sons and daughters who meet with sons and daughters of Vietnamese soldiers. What they have in common is the death of their fathers on opposite sides of the war. Visiting the sites where their fathers died, they are profoundly moved by their journey.

WORLD WAR II REMEMBERED – Part 1 begins the festival on October 19th with a block of shorts that include All American and a look at D-Day 72 years later from hero Les Cruise, The Rifleman’s Violin that follows the 90-year-old virtuoso violinist Stuart Canin and his time as a 19-year-old GI in Germany, WE CAN DO IT: Stories of Rosie the Riveter tells of the courageous laborers who came to be known by that name and changed the world, and finally HAPPY that tells the story of Larry ‘Happy’ Powell who flew 68 missions over Europe in World War II.

The final film of the night is THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE that tells the story of Adam Schumann, a young soldier who returns home only to find that home isn’t how it use to be. Dealing with trying to return to his life, Adam discovers that needing help is harder to get than he realized.

Family Movie Night is the Warner Bros. Pictures and DC Comics blockbuster WONDER WOMAN on October 20th. Presented on the flight deck of the USS Midway Museum, all attendees will get a bag of popcorn and see an exclusive preview of the upcoming animated film SGT. STUBBY: An American Hero. The best part is that costumes are absolutely encouraged!

On Saturday October 21, WORLD WAR II REMEMBERED – Part 2 continues with Pearl Harbor Survivors Relive the Infamous Day and filmmakers speak to survivors about their experiences December 1941, Aircraft Warning Service Volunteer is the story of Betty Tenney of Carlsbad who volunteered with the Aircraft Warning Service, and Buddy’s Odyssey as B-17 Pilot Robert “Bud” Kingsbury and a sole survivor when he is shot down and his road to healing.

Also, USS Pearl Harbor gives us insight by Commander Ted Essenfeld through his thoughts and artifacts, Remembering Pearl Harbor: Mary Lou Mawhiney is a 94-year-old woman who shares her memories of surviving Pearl Harbor and finally The Last Ring Home with the story of World War II Lt. Minter Dial and a ring he wanted returned to his wife after being a prisoner of the Japanese for 2 ½ years.

AMERICAN VETERAN is the film about Army Sgt. Nick Mendes who became paralyzed serving in Afghanistan in 2011. The film talks about his life and where it has taken him. Julie Cohen is the filmmaker’s director and the founder of BetterThanFiction Productions. AFTER THE FIRE, set on a San Antonio outpost speaks to the challenges facing women veterans. Telling of their personal experiences and adjusting to military life, the film talks of combat injuries, bureaucratic dysfunction and sexual trauma.

Bill Cooper has just been discharged from the army and isn’t home long before disappearing. When his brother Joe comes to bring him home, there is a family that needs to come back together in HIGH LOW FORTY.

The Local Film Showcase are films Made By or Starring Veterans with Once Guilty, Now Innocent, Still Dead brings a 19th century legendary assassin to clash with a cattle baron, Fletcher & Jenks as a detective and rookie are on the case of a serial murderer, Forgotten Hero is a thriller of downed Soviet fighters who support North Korea in 1952, Black Christmas is the story of a man accused of a crime by just going out to the store, Child’s Play takes a jab at the Naval Academy, Refuge is 2049 and women are enslaved to bring back the male population, Call Me Ma’am is the true story of being a Navy officer from a woman’s point of view and USO San Diego 75 Anniversary tells the story of the volunteers who help bring home away from home to military personnel.

 The Local Film Showcase: Deported Veterans begins with the story of Daniel Torres who was recruited into the Marines by lying that he was an American in Deported Veterans of American: Daniel Torres and Exiled tells of two green card hold immigrants who join the military and now find themselves deported.

The evening ends with the awards celebration to honor the filmmakers featured in the Local Film Showcase.

On the final day, Sunday October 22nd brings REMEMBERING THE VIETNAM WAR with Distinguished Wings Over Vietnam recounting the personal lives of four combat pilots who flew in the Vietnam war, risking their lives and how it changed their lives. The Vietnam War is the documentary series by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick that tells the story of the consequences, divisive and controversial events that are now part of our history.

TOUR THE FESTIVAL brings a collection of shorts beginning with The Colonel and Marine Colonel Hap Tasker being told heart problems could stop him from military service, Charlie & Sam shows us the World War II veterans that are still alive in 2016 and Charlie Edwards and Sam Takis reunite, finally Gary Sinise: Always Do a Little More tells the story of Gary Sinise and the origins of his commitment to the US military, veterans and first responders as well as their families and his dedication to them all.

Finally, the GI Film Festival closes with HOW WE HEAL and the unique ways our veterans become whole again in their way. Places Like This is a group of veterans who take a six-day winter trip into the Colorado wilderness through the Outward Bound program, and Comedy Bootcamp: The Documentary follows veteran comedians who use humor to share their stories through the Comedy Bootcamp program.

There is so much more to the GI Film Festival in San Diego so please visit http://gifilmfestivalsd.org/2017/ to see more of the schedule and purchase tickets. This is an amazing festival of talented filmmakers and the stories they share with us all.

 

ESCAPE ROOM Brings Survival to DVD

escape room

Jeri Jacquin

This week on DVD, Digital HD and On Demand from director Will Wernick and Lionsgate is a thrill in tight spaces and what it takes to survive from the ESCAPE ROOM.

Christen (Elisabeth Hower) wants to do something unique for her boyfriend Tyler’s (Evan Williams) big thirtieth birthday. Boarding a chauffer bus, they all turn over their cell phones and purses being told they are participating in mysterious escape room game.

Toasting with champagne, they drive around the city with blacked out windows waiting to arrive at their destination. Walking in the building it is dark and has an eerie look about it but that doesn’t stop their excitement of the game. Along with Natasha (Annabelle Stephenson), Anderson (Dan J. Johnson), Conrad (John Ierardi) and Tabby (Kelly Delson), they begin to explore their surroundings.

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Coupled in separate room, they each are set a task of getting out of what ever restraints they have been put in. The only one alone is Tyler who isn’t sure what his task is going to be and Christen isn’t with him. Discovering Anderson and Natasha in the next room, now the three of them work on the next clues to get out of their rooms.

That leads them to lovebirds Tabby and Conrad who make quick work of their puzzle. In each room they also find a mysterious card. Still looking for Christen they are weirded out when they see her in a cage and realize they have 45 minutes to get her out.

Room by room they look for clues but things begin to go horribly wrong and panic sets in. Tyler, Natasha and Anderson are now fighting for the life of Christen as the clock shows them no mercy and escape seems hopeless.

It’s not a game any longer.

Williams as Tyler is sharp and leads the group in solving the puzzles. With the exception of a momentary breakdown, he knows it’s time to focus and get them all out alive. To be honest I think I’d follow him before the others who seem to be losing it. Stephenson as Natasha begins with other things on her mind, or perhaps I should say some other person. She doesn’t let go of it and it becomes her crazy trigger.

Johnson as Anderson seems to get plenty of grief from girlfriend Natasha and I’m fairly sure I’d be setting her up if I were him. Ierardi as Conrad is just a guy that is pretty crazy about girlfriend Tabby (they are cute if not a little saccharin laden) who happens to be celebrating a friends’ birthday. I might rethink ever going to a friend’s birthday ever again.

Hower as Christen has the crazy role of sitting in a cage and watching everything that happens to her friends. The good news is that at least her friends thought enough of her to try and figure out how to rescue her.

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I have to give a serious shout out to the blue eyed sexy Billy Flynn who opens the film. Yes, I knew right away that Chad from the soap Days of Our Lives was going to be cool to watch. My only downside is the big question – why couldn’t he have been in it more?

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.

ESCAPE ROOM has the Special Features of a Director’s Commentary, Deleted Scenes, Bloopers and a Trailer Gallery. I had to watch the bloopers and they totally cracked me up which is a little twisted for a thriller/horror film right?

ESCAPE ROOM is a thriller that has some real cool bite to it. The clues are crafty and clever and if I was ever in that situation you might as well take me out early. I never would have thought of (without giving anything away) the intricacies of the clues – well played!

This is also the perfect film if, like me, you happen to love spending the entire month of October watching one thriller-horror a night! I mean isn’t that what everyone does? It’s a way to bring together the love of being scared out of our wits and ESCAPE ROOM certainly qualified!

In the end – will you survive?

 

 

 

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