Search

moviemavenspeaks

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

Month

December 2017

TOP TEN FILMS OF 2017

top ten gold

 

Jeri Jacquin

The year is drawing to a quick close and so are the films that are being offered up by studios. Having spent a large amount of time in theatres in 2017 I have seen the good, bad and more ugly offering up my opinion on what is worthy of your hard earned dollars.

It has been another rough movie year to be sure with films that gave us promises and then didn’t quite deliver, quiet films that made their way into theatres and surprised us all and head scratchers that were far more confusing than they needed to be.

My top ten are from all genres with stories that made the biggest impression on me. There will be a few jaw droppers as films you might expect to see won’t be there and films you might not have heard of are worthy of a second chance look.

So here are my Top Ten of 2017!

 

  1. STAR WARS: The Last Jedi – The wait to see where the story of Luke Skywalker is finally here. The rebellion is attempting to escape the First Order while Rey tries to enlist the help of Skywalker. My 1977 self loves the opening music and yellow scroll preparing for another epic adventure. That being said, it will be interesting to see where the story goes and I am looking forward to the Han Solo film. (PG-13 from Lucasfilm and Walt Disney Studios)

 

  1. THOR: Ragnarok – This was an unexpected pleasure for me this year because the tone changed to make it a really good time filled with action and laughs. Thor and Loki aren’t about to take any cosmic nonsense from Hela and it all works beautifully. (PG-13 from Marvel Entertainment and Walt Disney Pictures)

 

  1. LAST FLAG FLYING – Starring Steve Carell, Laurence Fishburne and Bryan Cranston, the story is three men who served in Vietnam and coming to terms with where they have been and helping their friend deal with the death of his son. Have tissue for both the laughter and the tears. (Rated R from Amazon Studios)

 

  1. THE POST – It is the story of The Post owner Kay Graham and editor Ben Bradlee when dealing with a war cover-up and the four U.S. Presidents that kept it going. When the White House discovers missing papers, they attempt to do everything to stop the American people from reading about it in the papers. Steven Spielberg brings his spin on history in an epic way. (PG-13 from Twentieth Century Fox)

 

  1. BABY DRIVER – Perhaps it was a frakken fantastic soundtrack that pushed this film to amazing heights and even if so I’m okay with that! This film is fast paced and filled with twists and turns and I’m not just talking about from behind the steering wheel. Ansel Elgort takes the film from beginning to end – well done young man. (Rated R from TriStar Pictures)

 

  1. THE HERO – Dear Sam Elliott, thank you for reminding me why you are such a treasure, not that I really needed reminding. This is the story of a man clearly stuck and when life comes seriously knocking, he must find the joy in life that he has been hiding from. Elliott brings his southern drawl, sparkling eyes and no-apology wit to this role that is absolutely stunning. (Rated R from The Orchard)

 

  1. THE SHAPE OF WATER – Director del Torro has brought a haunting beauty to a story that has moments of brilliant silence and moments of pure love followed by seconds of insanity. All of this wrapped up in the stellar performance of Sally Hawkins and fish man Doug Jones being watched over by Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer and the deliciously evil Michael Shannon. (Rated R from Fox Searchlight Pictures)

 

  1. VICTORIA & ABDUL – I am clearly a fan of period pieces but this film is just beyond amazing. Judy Dench once again portrays Queen Victoria who is clearly in her later years and can’t find anything to be excited about. When Abdul comes to court, she begins a friendship that isn’t to the courts liking or her un-princely like son. The onscreen chemistry between Dench and Ali Fazal is every bit worth each frame of film. (PG-13 from Focus Features)

 

  1. THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI – Frances McDormand gives the performance that will stay with me playing Mildred, a mother who is coming to terms with her daughters death. When she doesn’t feel local law enforcement are doing enough, Mildred finds a way to motivate them. Also staring Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell, this is a film that screams must-see! I am cheering for McDormand come Oscar time! (Rated R from Fox Searchlight Pictures)

This is where you should be hearing a drum roll as my number one for 2017 is:

 

  1. DUNKIRK – Christopher Nolan has brought a film that is not just a story about a moment in history but a film that is an experience. On the beaches of Dunkirk, Allied soldiers are surrounded by the Germans from land, sea and air in 1940. Nolan gives the audience the perspective from all three angles without much useless dialogue. Instead, he invites viewers into this world of war and all of the emotions that brings. There isn’t a character in this film that doesn’t bring every ounce of themselves to the story. (PG-13 from Warner Bros.)

 

My yearly bonus of number 11 is ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD – Director Ridley Scott takes us to 1973 Rome as J. Paul Getty’s grandson Paul is kidnapped and held for ransom. Mother Gail must go up against kidnappers who don’t believe she isn’t rich and Getty’s refusal to pay anyone any dime of his. Mark Wahlberg is hired to help to find the boy before there is no turning back. Christopher Plummer is eerily creepy and I loved it. (Rated R from TriStar Pictures)

I also had a few guilty pleasure films this year that stand out including JOHN WICK 2 but then again anything with Keanu Reeves busting heads works. There is the very funny TABLE 19 as Anna Kendrick leads a group of wedding attendees who are stuck in the back of the room with a table of issues. KINGSMAN: The Golden Circle is a return of the well dressed agents who know you can fight evil and look good doing it. Every list should have a shark film and  47 METERS DOWN is going to be my pick that has bite, head slaps and yet I still love it. Finally, THE HITMAN’S BODYGUARD – Ryan Reynolds and Samuel L. Jackson…need I say more?

Are there disappointments? Absolutely and the list feels endless! KING ARTHUR: Legend of the Sword gives us a Charlie Hunnam and that’s absolutely it. ALIEN: Covenant is the next installment yet feels like bloody confusion, literally. Of course there are the ridiculous that don’t need any explanation with BAYWATCH, TRANSFORMERS: The Last Knight and VALERIAN and the City of a Thousand Planets. Idris Elba has a busy year in 2017 but THE DARK TOWER isn’t high on my list so I’ll just keep happy thoughts on his other works. Finally, JUSTICE LEAGUE – I know I’m going to get grief for it but there wasn’t anything about the film that makes me want more.

There you go, my best and worst of 2017! This has been a year of either hit or miss and not much room for anything else in between. Theatre goers aren’t being fickle in what they are looking for when they spend their hard earn bucks and they shouldn’t be.

In 2018 there are remakes, return of the wizarding world, more frights with what has become our favorite insidiousness, a group of maze runners finish off their adventures, the final chapter of those shades in the fifties, more from the comic book world, family and animated films and finally SOLO, SUPER TROOPERS 2 and DEADPOOL 2 might make it all bearable!

Thanks for being a part of our 2017 at the theatres and we look forward to joining you in the theatre seats with a bucket of popcorn in 2018! Happy holidays to you and yours and a safe Happy New Year from all of us at Movie Maven.

Advertisements

ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD

money poster

 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres for Christmas from director Ridley Scott and TriStar Pictures is the true story of greed and kidnapping when you have ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD.

John Getty II (Andrew Buchan) and wife Gail (Michelle Williams) are raising their children under the shadow of being related to the richest man in the world, J. Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer). When their finances become difficult, Gail suggests that John write a letter to his father and mend their relationship.

To their surprise, Getty sends a telegram asking them to come to Rome and for John to work with him. The older Getty takes a liking to his grandson Paul and encourages him to be a part of the family business and spending time learning about their history.

money 1

As the years pass, John falls hard into drugs and Paul (Charlie Plummer) is brought back home to Gail. The relationship with the elder Getty is back to where it was before and they all have little contact with him. Paul has a wild side and he tends to come and go as he pleases and Gail doesn’t know how to deal with it.

One night, as Paul walks the streets of Rome, in an instant he is kidnapped. Gail receives a telephone call informing her of it and that she is to pay a hefty ransom. Reaching out to Getty, she does not get the response of a grandfather concerned about his grandson but instead, the response of a penny pinching old man.

Getty does one thing however, brings in Fletcher Chase (Mark Wahlberg) to work with Gail in trying to locate who might have Paul. Working with the Italian police, Chase isn’t sure he is getting the whole story about the kidnapping or the family.

Paul deals with the kidnappers, especially Cinquanta (Romain Duris) who believe that the ransom will be paid. Phone call after phone call begins to anger them as Gail tries to explain that it is not she who has the money.

This is what happens when greed meets a man with an iron will because one way or another – everyone is going to pay!

money 2

Williams as Gail is a mother who knows the dynamics of the family but isn’t about to let her son die. It would be easy to see that she might be considered a tad cold but I also understand her more than I thought I would. As each phone calls comes in and each new threat is given, Williams thought process is quite clear.

Wahlberg as Chase is a man who clearly has worked with Getty on other issues but this one is different. Trying to understand why Getty just plain refuses to participate in what is clearly a serious matter stuns Chase. Wahlberg’s character begins to invest more of himself in what is happening and doesn’t care what his employer thinks. He puts on his usual badass and makes it known that what is right is right – no matter how much money you have.

Duris as Cinquanta is a kidnapper with a weird conscience. Between a rock and a hard place, it is clear he knows the difference between right and wrong. I’m not defending the guy in the slightest but Duris gives the character his moments.

There are two winners in this film and both of them have the last name of Plummers. First, Charlie Plummer as Paul is a young man who was going through life with a strange chip on his shoulder. There is a disconnect with his parents that just has him feeling as if nothing can touch his free spirit. He is also smarter than his kidnappers give him credit for. Plummer’s performance is everything I’d expect and still pleasantly surprised.

money 3

Christopher Plummer as J. Paul Getty is absolute and stunning perfection! From the moment he is on screen, Plummer portrays the richest man in the world with such a range of non-emotion emotion. What I mean to say is when he is angry you know he is although he’s not screaming, when he doesn’t care about something it is clear that it’s not on his to-do list and when it comes to money he clearly can talk about it with such believeability that it’s jaw dropping. Plummer has always been on my list of performers to watch but in ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD he deserves an Oscar!

Other cast include: Timothy Hutton as Oswald Hinge, Marco Leonardi as Mammoliti, Giuseppe Bonifati as Giovanni Iacovoni, Nicolas Vaporidis as Il Tamia, Andrea Bodini as Corvo, and Guglielmo Favilla as Piccolino.

ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD is a journey through this family’s story in the middle of a kidnapping heard round the world. I knew about the young boy being taken but there is so much more than I didn’t know. That’s what makes this film even more interesting is that it kept my attention with one jaw drop after another.

It is an interesting look inside a family that proves money doesn’t buy happiness. The performances are brilliant but, as I said, it is the two Plummer’s that steal the entire film. Director Ridley Scott delivers with solid storytelling and gives us a thriller, drama and suspenseful look deeper inside a true story.

In the end – J. Paul Getty had a fortune and everyone else paid the price!

My Christmas Has Arrives with STAR WARS:  The Last Jedi

star wars poster

Jeri Jacquin

What can be said about STAR WARS: The Last Jedi other than Christmas came early for me. From writer/director Rian Johnson based on characters created by George Lucas and Walt Disney Studios comes the next installment on this epic adventure.

Rey (Daisy Ridley) and Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) has found Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill) on a remote island and is trying to convince him to help the Rebellion once again. General Leia (Carrie Fisher) is being followed after their attack on General Hux (Domhnall Gleeson) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) with one goal, to destroy what is left of the rebel fighters on orders from Supreme Leader Snoke (Andy Serkis).

Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac) and Finn (John Boyega) must find a way to save the last of the fighters. Learning they are being tracked, Poe and Finn must find someone who can help them. Rey isn’t having much luck either with Luke as he has makes it clear that he is staying right where he is. As the two get to know one another, Rey feels a mysterious connection to Kylo Ren and Luke sees it as well.

star 5

Finn meets Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) who sees him as a hero for the cause. Wanting to help she discovers that there is much more to being a fighter than she realized. Up against Kylo Ren, General Hux and Captain Phasma (Gwendoline Christie), the minutes are ticking away to save what is left of the rebel fleet.

Once again a brother and sister face their fate, friends rely on one another and the force is there for them all!

If you were looking for spoilers than you came to the wrong writer. There is no way in hades that I am or even thought of giving anything away. Of course the above description of the film is generic but with the disaster of last years leaks I will not be responsible for any of it.

star 4

That being said, this is the STAR WARS fans have always loved. For me, well, I was giddy the moment the music cued and the scrolling of the yellow words upward into space began. From that moment on I was riveted and thrilled to once again to be in the galaxy far, far away.

Ridley as Rey takes on her next challenge which is to learn from Jedi Master Luke Skywalker. Discovering that the process is the balance of mental and physical, she gets to add the grumblings of an island hermit. It has taken me some getting use to the character of Rey but with this film she is definitely cementing her place in the Star Wars franchise.

Driver as Kylo Ren is going through serious intensity in this chapter of the saga. Driver has the ability to show nothing and yet everything about what his character is going through. Still dealing with the death of his father, his confusion about Rey is apparent.

Boyega as Finn still feels the sense of responsibility for Rey and isn’t about to let anyone stop him. Now he has the chance to once again pair up with Poe as they put their plan for the rag tag left over fleet into action. Isaac as Poe is hard headed and strong willed. He wants to jump in first and not think through the consequences. The good news is that General Leia sort of has a soft spot for him.

star 2

Tran as Rose is the newest fighter for the rebellion and although not trained she fits right into the gang. Christie as Captain Phasma seems to have one goal – to get her hands on Finn. I just love Christie in this role because it feels like the bad side of Brianne of Tarth.

Gleeson as General Hux just wants to destroy everything in the name of Supreme Leader Snoke and don’t think for one second he and Kylo Ren are going to be bffs! Speaking of the Supreme Leader, Serkis once again lends his voice to a twisted character with facial problems.

Now, onto my two beloved characters of Luke Skywalker and General Leia. Mark Hamill has a scene in this film that reminds me of why I fell so hard for this franchise and the character of Luke Skywalker. Everyone will know it when they see it because it is stunningly beautiful and moving bringing back every emotion felt in 1977. Hamill’s return is such a joy for me and seeing him just as aged as myself is fun and nostalgic at the same time.

Fisher as Princess/General Leia is wonderful and still a wound in my heart. As Leia she has always been a strong and, pardon the pun, a force to be reckoned with. Making decisions to save what is left of the rebellion means sacrifice and courage which is everything Leia has stood for. Fisher has given us an iconic character that will last forever and anyone who wants to challenge me on this need just bring your light saber and we’ll duel it out in her honor.

star 3

Other cast include Laura Dern as Vice Admiral Holdo, Benicio Del Toro as DJ, Justin Theroux as Slicer, Lupita Nyong’o as Maz Kanata, Anthony Daniels as C-3PO, Jimmy Vee as R2-D2, Tim Rose as Admiral Ackbar, and Billie Lourd as Lt. Connix.

That is all anyone is getting from me for now. In a few weeks after everyone has had the chance to see the film then I’d be more than willing to discuss more about how I feel. There is so much to experience with this film and it doesn’t disappoint in the slightest.

Of course there was concern by fans that the world re-created by J.J. Abrams might be a problem for director Rian Johnson. There isn’t a moment’s concern for me as the cinematograph captures the world we have all come to know. The recognizable music never lets the audience forget where they are – as if it could.

star 6

The next installment is too far away for fans yet there are other stories that will be told about the world created by George Lucas. Keeping with the theme of Star Wars, the characters are jumping to light speed with their destinies and we are all just willingly along for the ride.

In case you are at all wondering, I will be seeing STAR WARS: The Last Jedi more than a few times! Get the popcorn ready because there will always be a seat with my name on it in any theatre I walk into. Gather up a crowd and join in the experience that has captured generations.

In the end – the force is with them all!

It’s a Night that Changed Everything as DETROIT comes to Bluray

detroit bluray

 

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on Bluray/DVD from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, Annapurna Pictures and writer/director Kathryn Bigelow is the stunning DETROIT.

It all begins on the night of July 23, 1967 when Detroit police raid an unlicensed party for returning Vietnam vet. As people are being arrested, others throw rocks at police and loot stores. That is when Governor Romney orders the Michigan National Guard and the Army to restore order.

The R&B group The Dramatics has arrived in the city with big dreams of getting a recording contract. Just seconds before they are to perform, police bust in and order everyone to leave immediately. When the mayhem starts, Larry Reed (Algee Smith) and Fred Temple can’t find their friends and end up at the Algiers Motel. While there they meet Julie Ann (Hannah Murray) and Karen (Kaitlyn Dever), two white girls and they spend a little time togetherdetroit 3

Also at the hotel are Carl Cooper (Jason Mitchell) and Aubrey Pollard (Gbenga Akinnagbe) who are hearing the police outside. Julie and Karen aren’t impressed and meet up with the Vietnam vet Greene (Anthony Mackie). As a joke, Carl uses a racing pistol to pretend to shoot out into the street and the Algiers is fired on by every law enforcement available.

Melvin Dismukes (John Boyega) is a grocery store security guard who wants to help the police with what is going on at the Algiers. Police Officer Krauss (Will Poulter), who already has a chip on his shoulder, along with Melvin and other soldiers get inside the Algiers where they find Julie, Karen, Carl, Aubrey (Nathan Davis Jr.), Larry, Fred (Jacob Latimore) and Greene. Krauss takes it upon himself to take lead on the situation sending everyone else on to handle other situations on the streets of Detroit.

What happens at the Algiers is disturbing, relentless and shocking bringing about one of history’s biggest secret of madness.

Poulter as Krauss is absolutely fantastic in this role which is kind of weird considering what is role is – that of a man who has no business being a police officer. He is cruel, deceptive and full of himself in all the wrong ways. What this person allows to happen is unimaginable yet it is true. Poulter takes on this role and doesn’t hesitate to let it play as it should.

detroit 2

Boyega as John is a man who wants to help keep the peace and shows it from the moment his character is on screen. Even to go as far as making law enforcement and the military comfortable, it becomes clear that not everyone is wanting a peaceful end to an already struggling night. Once part of Krauss’ madness, he continues to try and keep things calm until it becomes clear that it is all crumbling.

Smith as Reed is a man caught in something that can never be imagined, along with Latimore as Fred these two men can only keep themselves alive minute by minute and do so in stunning performances. Mackie as Greene understands the insanity he is involved in and coming home alive, he is once again fighting for his own life.

Other cast includes Ben O’Toole as Flynn, Jack Reynor as Demens, Dennis Staroselsky as Detective Jones, Darren Goldstein as Detective Tanchuck, Zurin Villanueva as Martha, Joseph Jones as Morris, Leon Thomas III as Darryl, Ephraim Sykes as Jimmy, and Samira Wiley as Vanessa.

detroit 1

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.

Annapurna Pictures focuses on creating sophisticated content that appeals to a conscious and diverse audience. Their vision is to put filmmakers and artists first to give an authentic voice no matter the genre or medium. Films such as THE GRANDMASTER, JOY and PROFESSOR MARSTON AND THE WONDER WOMAN and brought by this studio. For more of what they have to offer visit http://www.annapurna.pictures.com.

The Bluray includes the Bonus Features of The Truth of Detroit, The Cast of Detroit, The Invasion of Detroit, The Hope of Detroit, Detroit – Then and Now, and Algee Smith and Larry Reed: “Grow”. DETROIT can be viewed also with the Digital copy that can be seen on television, computer, Tablet and Smartphone.

detroit 4

Kathryn Bigelow is an award-winning director with films such as THE HURT LOCKER and ZERO DARK THIRTY. Bringing her vision of one night in history, she tells the story without sugar coating it in any way, which causes such an intense viewer reaction.

DETROIT is a film that absolutely refuses to hold back anything that might make the viewer uncomfortable. By doing so it asks us all to know the truth about what really happened the night at the Algiers Motel and be informed about who and what is responsible.

The performances in DETROIT are stellar and should be recognized for taking on the subject matter and being a part of telling an important story.

In the end – it’s time we all knew!

The Battle to Bring Back Humanity Begins with THE STRAIN: The Complete Fourth Season on DVD

the strain

Jeri Jacquin

On DVD from creators Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan, Carlton Cuse and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment comes the epic final season with THE STRAIN: The Complete Fourth Season.

Since Eph’s (Corey Stoll) son Zach (Max Charles) detonated a bomb that has brought a nuclear winter, nine months have passed. Strigoi have created “The Partnership” trying to show everyone a togetherness with humans. Fet (Kevin Durand) and Quinlan (Rupert Penry-Jones) are looking for another nuclear weapon to use on the Master (Robin Downes) and learn about a missile silo that may have one.

Eph is in Philadelphia trying to survive when the Strigoi find him but with the help of Jason, they manage to get away. The Master is still favoring Zach and Eichhorst (Richard Sammel) isn’t exactly happy about it. But that isn’t all Eichhorst isn’t happy about as Sanjay’s (Sanjay Desai) project is moving too slow and Dutch (Ruta Gedmintas) is one of their captives.

strain 2

Gus (Miguel Gomez) and Alonso (Jamie Hector) have spent the last months building back up their black market business and that will come in handy for Eph and the group. Fet and Quinlan are having problems once they get their hands on the nuclear bomb and Eph discovers a poison that might just slow down a large population of the strigoi.

Zach meets a young maid who works for the Master but there comes a moment when he must decide where is loyalties actually lie. Sanjay’s project must now speed up, as Eichhorst wants the women who are captive to produce children. Dutch has another plan and comes face to face with Desai and a processing facility for humans but Eichhorst is onto Dutch and she learns that he has Setrakian (David Bradley). They escape to get the Lumen and Setrakian discovers what he didn’t see before.

Now, the story of Quinlan is told beginning in the 19th Century with Louisa along with daughter Lydia. Enjoying having a family in his own way, it all turns when the Master causes nothing but pain.

strain 5

The gang comes back together for an attack of a different kind and one no one saw coming. A plan is put together that brings about attacks from all sides bringing them all into the most danger they have ever faced. Eph comes to terms with the fate of his relationship with Zach when it becomes clear that the Master is using every trick in the book.

The Master forgot one thing – humanity always finds a way to survive against evil!

Stoll as Ephraim Goodweather began the series as a man broken with the arrival of the Master and the Strigoi. What makes his character to unique to the story if that I could never tell which way the wind was going to blow his behavior. His anger ruled his drinking and his drinking actually brought out some amazing ideas. Not that I suggest drinking as an answer to problems but where blood sucking big tongued vampires are concerned, I can see the need.

Bradley as Setrakian is just superb! As his story and history with the Master unfolds, it is told so strongly and shows what motivates Setrakians need to wipe every bit of this evil off the planet. Bradley is amazing and through is gruffness is a sense of strength that requires no nonsense and secrets.

strain 1

Durand as Fet is the different character of the bunch. He has a story to tell as well about where he comes from and what motivates him – and it isn’t just rats. He never gives up and isn’t about to let anything stop him from accomplishing his goal – stopping the new rats from taking the people and place he loves.

Sammel as Eichhorst is as evil as he wants to be. From the moment this character comes on screen it isn’t going to end well for anyone who comes into contact with him. His story also unfolds and it is clear why Setrakian gets under his skin – so to speak. The Master may rule the strigoi but it is Eichhorst who is the face of evil.

Gedmintas as Dutch has a lot in common with Fet in that she is tough, strong and very, very smart. She takes to Setrakian and Fet as they share a lot in common with a fighting spirit. Charles as Zach is a kid who is taken early enough to be influenced – so much so that Zach is willing to fry the world to prove he doesn’t need anyone but the Master. That kid drove me insane!

strain 3

Penry-Jones as Quinlan has to be the most angrily charismatic intelligent straight villain I’ve ever seen. He knows what needs to be done but also realizes he can’t accomplish it without the help of humans. His history with the Master is intense and filled with personal pain that he doesn’t share with anyone. There are even moments where I think this character is amused with the silliness of humanity at times.

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.

The DVD contains the final ten episodes including The Worm Turns, The Blood Tax, One Shot, New Horizons, Belly of the Beast, Tainted Love, Ouroboros, Extraction, The Traitor, and The Last Stand. Also, the Special Features include Deleted Scenes, Gag Reel, Coping with THE STRAIN: A Therapy Session and so much more!

strain 6

The Strain written by del Toro was first published in 2012 in two volumes followed by The Strain: The Fall in volumes 3 & 4. The Strain: The Night Eternal Volume 5 & 6 were released in 2016.

THE STRAIN is another of the fantastic series that landed on the FX channel! From the first episode to the last, fans were absolutely involved in the characters and storyline of these different vampires and their plans for humanity. Of course the mind of del Toro brought us every minute of horror and cheering for humanity – oh the duality of suspense. The ensemble cast brought about a story worthy of being followed until the very satisfying end.

It’s time to revisit the fight as 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment brings THE STRAIN: The Complete Fourth Season to DVD.

In the end – they will do anything to save humanity!

The Twists Come and All is Shattered on DVD!

shattered dvd

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to DVD from director Natasha Kermani, VMI Worldwide and Cinedigm comes secrets and lies that lead to being SHATTERED.

Kate (Molly Burnett) is a young woman who is introduced to Mayor Forest Burnett (Ray Wise). He instantly thinks she would be a good match for his son Ken (Tom Malloy) and the Mayor is right. Kate also notices that the Mayor’s wife Maureen (Arianne Zucker) doesn’t seem too happy with her life no matter how much she smiles.

Married and starting their life together, Kate and Ken make the announcement that they are going to adopt a baby boy. Finding a nice house and raising son Logan (Tate Birchmore) and adding young daughter Emma (Kayleigh Finnegan), their life seemed wonderful.

shattered 3

But young Logan begins to show signs of not being well, outbursts and seeing things, Kate knows they need help. Forest doesn’t believe there is anything wrong with his grandson and Ken lets his father take the lead. When Dr. Panfil (Eileen Dietz) suggests that they discover more about Logan’s birthparents, the elder Burnett isn’t happy.

After an accident, Kate takes it upon herself to go to Maureen to ask for help. Believing there is more here than Forest or Ken are saying, it is time for her to find out for herself what everyone seems to know but her.

What Kate finds is not only disturbing and changes her life completely but it leaves her shattered!

Burnett as Kate tries to do what’s right for everyone but herself. Listening to the elder Burnett as the political and forceful leader of the family, she knows that it’s up to her to find the truth. Knowing that being under someone’s thumb isn’t a way to live, Burnett gives the character strength to stand up. It is nice to see Burnett again since her stint on the daytime television soap opera Days of Our Lives.

shattered 1

Wise as Mayor Burnett is a piece of work but then again I knew he could be. His performance in the iconic series TWIN PEAKS as Laura Palmer’s father, I knew he could be devious and terrifying with the calmness that is equally frightening. Wise is an amazing actor who has had a career I’ve enjoyed.

Zucker as Maureen is a woman who is in pain by the life she is living. Keeping it all together by dressing smartly, smiling and having more drinks than she should, it is clear that this character is trapped in her own making. Zucker is also a Days of Our Lives cast member who is playing opposite of Burnett once again.

Malloy as Ken is a man who is caught up in a life planned by his father. There are clearly issues of who he is and his place in the political dynasty his father is trying to create. The problem is that the deception he is responsible for goes deeper than Kate could have imagined.

Other cast include Jonathan Camp as Jax, LaRita Shelby as Pam, Shivonne Michelle as Emily, Adam Huss as Rocco, and Alfonso Freeman as Dr. Minton.

Cinedigm is a leading distributor of amazing content in storefronts, digital platforms, Internet and Demand platforms for cable television. With an extensive library of over 52,000 films and television shows, Docurama films, next-gen Indies and Independent films. At its inception, Cinedigm has played a pioneering role in transitioning movie theatres from traditional film prints to digital distribution to advance worldwide cinema modernization. For more on what Cinedigm has to offer please visit http://www.cinedigm.com.

shattered 2

SHATTERED is a film that is based on true events from T.T. Johnson’s bestseller The Shattered Faberge Egg. The story has just about everything including greed, secrets, mystery, and power politics mixing it all together with the Deep South sprinkled in. Interesting considering the political landscape going on now that includes everything listed above!

The twists and turns will keep you guessing because even I didn’t think it could get any more complex until it did.

In the end – this is a ripped-from-the-headlines thriller!

HOME AGAIN Arrives on Your Doorstep on Bluray for the Holidays: Talking with Pico Alexander

 

 

Home Again

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and writer/director Hallie Meyers-Shyer is a film that reminds us it’s good to be HOME AGAIN.

Alice (Reese Witherspoon) finds herself back in Los Angeles separating from husband Austen (Michael Sheen) who is in New York. Getting in a routine with daughters Isabel (Lola Flanery) and Rosie (Eden Grace Redfield), she has a little help from Mom Lillian (Candice Bergen). Trying to start a new business and find her footing isn’t being helped with her 40th birthday arriving.

Out with friends for a night of relaxing and a few drinks, she meets Harry (Pico Alexander) who, after a few flirty moments, ends up at the girls table. He brings brother Teddy (Nat Wolff) and George (Jon Rudnitsky) to join the party. These three are in Los Angeles to pitch their short film into a feature.

Waking up the next morning, Alice is uncomfortable to find everyone passed out in her house. Of course that’s right around the time Mom shows up with the girls yet something calming happens, everyone seems to hit it off nicely. When George realizes who Alice’s father is and meeting Lillian, he is thrilled.

Home 1

That leads to Lillian and the three guys spending the day chatting while Alice gets on with life. Trying to land her first design job with Zoey (Lake Bell), Alice doesn’t have time to nonsense – or does she?

Lillian talks Alice into letting three young would-be artists stay in her guest house while pitching their film. One person who isn’t happy is Austen who learns from his daughters what is going on. Yet, it all seems to work as even Alice and Harry get closer.

As everyone begins to find their way, Alice must decide how her life plays out without the complications of manipulative husbands, mothers or house guests. It’s time to discover how to be comfortable and home again!

Witherspoon is delightful, as she always is, in the role of Alice caught up in just the jumble of life. Trying to find her place without a husband she can’t count on and girls who really need her, the character of Alice is learning to stop trying to control and let loose now and again. That is the diversity of Witherspoon in that she can play roles such as Alice with her frailties and bit of comedy and at the same time nail characters like Madeline in the series Big Little Lies (of which I’m a huge fan).

Alexander as Harry is as cute as he wants to be and knows it as he two companions know all to well. Yet he is also endearing and protective of Alice and the girls which sort of makes up for it all. He wants to succeed but on his own terms and fragile when it comes to believing that things work out the way they are suppose to. Putting on a good front from time to time keeps him focused.

home 4

Wolff as actor and brother Teddy is just wonderful in his protection of his new found family and the scene between he and Sheen is hilarious. Being quiet most of the film, this scene is his moment to express every emotion he’d been holding in. Rudnitsky as George is the writer of the group who brings out the confidence in young Isabel. He also wants to protect Alice from making a mistake while also herding in Harry!

Bergen as Lillian is just too wonderful for words but I will try. She is endearing, lovely, funny and just out there which is how Alice wishes she could be. Lillian has a history and Bergen embraces it with a comedic timing all her own.

I had the opportunity to speak with Pico Alexander who plays Harry to talk about making a movie about making a movie, his friendship with cast mates and what we all can learn about unconventionally conventional families.

Jeri Jacquin: Hi Pico, how are you today?

Pico Alexander: Very well, thanks for asking.

JJ: I saw your film.

PA:  Lovely, and what did you think?

JJ: I thought it was funny, endearing, moving and it’s a little bit of everything actually.

PA: Not to much tragedy, we stayed away from it.

JJ: Tell me about how you came to get the role of Harry?

PA: I did a self tape for it. I was in Europe and I did a casual tape with my friend and didn’t think there was really a chance that I would get the role.

JJ: You didn’t think you were going to get the role and I’m taken back hearing that. Why didn’t you think you would get the role of Harry?

PA: I just didn’t think I would be the guy to star opposite of Reese, I didn’t think I would be here love interest. It was just too crazy of an idea for me to wrap my head around. It just seemed like a total unreal concept that I would be a romantic love interest. Then it happened so I guess it wasn’t so surreal although I thought so at the time.

JJ: It wasn’t so crazy after all because I think you and Reese reacted to each other perfectly.

PA: So do I and thought it was such a joy and honor to act with her. It was a gift I was given.

home 3

JJ: You are with some pretty heavy hitters in the film with Candice Bergen and Michael Sheen as well.

PA:  The cast is unreal! I am so lucky to have gone from acting for three years to have the opportunity to share the screen with the likes of Candice Bergen, Michael Sheen, Reese Witherspoon, Jon Rudnitsky and Nat Wolff. Everybody else as well and everyone who even came in to play for day were so tremendous. I think that Nancy and Hallie did a great job casting the film.

JJ: I was going to say I don’t think there was a hair out of place with this film. It looked effortless.

PA: I can tell you it wasn’t effortless (laughing) and a lot of effort goes into making them look so graceful. There are a lot of takes and there is a vision and it’s our job to fulfill that vision to a tee.

JJ: You did it so well that in watching HOME AGAIN you feel like a fly on the wall watching the lives of everyone unfold. When you can do that you know it’s done by a really good cast.

PA: That is so cool to hear and the credit goes to Hallie, the casting and the editing. The way the film was put together with the material they had putting together our performances is a huge testament to them.

JJ: The relationship between you, Jon and Nat – you meshed so well together. You guys were hilarious in this film.

PA: That’s awesome and luckily it happened on screen and off screen.

JJ: I was wondering if a friendship came about.

PA: We went into best friend mode within like three days. I was to be staying at a hotel during the shoot being from New York and Nat and I started talking. Nat was staying at his parents place and he’s convinced it’s haunted so he asked if I wanted to move in with him. It was crazy but I liked it. We did the whole brother thing and then Jon would be there every night without fail. One of the first times we hung out, you know the scene where we meet with the producer who wants to fiancé our film? Then we are on the beach and Harry jumps in the water followed by Nat’s character Teddy. We had gone to the beach our first weekend off and we literally did the scene without even realizing it. We were trying to convince Jon to jump in the water because he had never been in the Pacific and we all jumped in while John was on the beach. We really leaned into that relationship because we felt it should be strong and a chemistry with a number of inside jokes. Hopefully that reads in the movie and I think that’s why we got along.

JJ: It absolutely does. Your relationship with Lola and Eden, you guys are just so sweet together.

PA: Those were the best days when they were on set. They were so awesome. Lola and Eden are two of the most charming and fantastic girls I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. Eden is a genius and probably win a number of Oscars years from now – that is if she keeps on acting. She might decide to go and find a cure for cancer. Eden is so good and a natural talent. We would all joke that Eden was the most talented person on set. Lola is just so awesome and she was listening and learning her place on the set and see her pick up on acting tips and cues on how to function on a set. She is very savvy. They both have secure futures in acting and their parents are great as well. Their parents are so lovely.

JJ: When the three of you are dealing with Austen, Sheen’s character, it is hilarious when the three of you deal with it. It’s almost as if you three are the adults and Austen is the child.

PA:  Well, that is an interesting take away (laughing)

home 22

JJ: His character gets away with things like a kid and the three of you are guarded and protective.

PA: Yes, we know he is a significant threat to the family we have created. We want to make sure that Alice is in a fragile state. He does act childish but that’s what I appreciate about the film. It explores every characters childishness. Everyone has that little six year old in him or her even if we grow up, there are parts of us that don’t grow up. We have those tricks that the six year old in us has kept to get what we want. It’s important for generations to check you by saying you can’t do this anymore.

JJ: The funny thing is you are young men and you get that!

PA: I feel like Teddy gets it and he’s the baby in the group but the most emotionally mature. I don’t want to vilify Austen’s character because I get where he is coming from and he feels a little neglected. Harry acts a little irresponsible as well and kicks the door in to Alice’s life so there is a bit.

JJ: So would you say that Harry and Austen were probably closer than they even realized?

PA: Yes, Harry could easily grow up and be an Austen if he didn’t meet Austen. It’s a gift to see the result of impulses to always think you can get what you want and not really thinking things through and being self centered. There are long term consequences in that and seeing Austen he realizes he needs to spend more time being in someone else’s shoes. At the end of the day, what ever you take away from it.

JJ: How is it for you making a movie about three guys trying to get a movie made?

PA: It’s great because I didn’t really have to draw on imagination circumstances but instead draw on it from a personal level. I liked that about the movie and I like that these guys travel out from the east coast to get a movie made. I traveled the same way going to LA and they are given a great opportunity like I was given. It’s autobiographical in a weird way. I like movies about making movies.

JJ: Being that you are the younger man and playing opposite the character of Alice, I know its weird because it’s Reese Witherspoon, but the chemistry you two have is so amazing.

PA: That’s awesome, I’m so glad you feel that way. It was very nerve wracking and I haven’t spent too much time around many high profile people. I had a number of expectations wondering what it would be like to work with someone so famous. I was a little intimidated at the time and nervous to be close to someone like that. But ultimately it comes down to trust and a passion for the work. We just needed some time to get to know each other and have conversations talking about it all to make the best movie we could. We wanted to do the characters justice and after a week we were more comfortable around Reese and I can’t be grateful enough for her. I have so much gratitude for Reese’s ability to make me feel at ease, she has more experience than I do when it comes to these kind of things. She did a tremendous job in leading and guiding me without making it obvious that she was doing it. She made me feel like it was my own doing and she is just a tremendous actor and it was really all about the work. It was about this relationship and she thought it was an important story to tell. It was high time we reevaluate the May-December romances and she convinced me that it was important. I could keep raving about her.

JJ: The same with you guys and Candice Bergen on screen.

PA: I have never met anyone from the royal family but I can imagine they don’t come close to carrying themselves with the same grace and dignity at Candice Bergen. She is the classiest person I have ever met and a totally fantastic actress to top it all off.

JJ: Her sense of humor and timing is endearingly graceful.

PA: Graceful, class and doing it with such a straight face. I thought I was intimidated working with Reese? Forget it! The moment I met Candice I hoped she would like me. I think when I introduced myself to her, it was the first day and I was giddy and excited. I went over to her to introduce myself and she just looked at me and then cracked up. I still to this day I don’t know what that meant and that intimidated me.

JJ: I bet she thought it was charming that you came over to say hello.

PA: That’s it, of course, that’s what it was and I’m sticking with that (laughing).

JJ: The film is coming out on Bluray and DVD and I’d like to know what you’d like viewers to take away from the film.

PA: I would hope that when they finish their Bluray that they make a phone call to someone they care about. The movie has a strong sense of family for me and second chances. Relationships are difficult as we get older and I think it’s important to apologize for things and make them right. Take away a gratitude for people that are in their lives as unconventional families are formed every day.

JJ: I understand, this is a family that is unconventional where families are now are unconventional and this is another take on that. It can work if you all put your differences aside.

PA: Put differences aside and realize the love you have for each other is stronger than all the things that have gone wrong in the past. Pick up the phone and make that call to someone telling them how much they mean. It’s a heartwarming film and everyone needs a second chance.

JJ: I thank you so much for talking with me Pico.

The Ultimate Gift to Give and then Give the Ultimate Gift of Spider-Man!

spiderAvailable only at Walmart, is an all new Spider-Man Limited Edition Gift Box Set. The gift box set includes an exclusive Funko Pop! vinyl bobblehead, Spider-Man Comic Covers Book called “Through The Years, athletic socks, enamel pin, and the Spider-Man Homecoming Blu-ray, DVD and digital combo pack. 

In addition to the gift box and for the first time ever, an official Spider-Man: Homecoming suit worn by Tom Holland in the film will be offered as a fan giveaway hosted on the official Spider-Man Homecoming Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter! And just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, I also have the pleasure of letting you know there is another suit being auctioned via ScreenBid to benefit the Toys for Tots Foundation – fans can register and bid at https://spiderman.screenbid.com.

KING DUCKLING Says Seize the Day on Family DVD!

duckling cover

 

Jeri Jacquin

On DVD from SHOUT! Factory Kids is the amazing animated series that will have you believing in friendship with P. KING DUCKLING Seize the Day.

P. King is a duck who loves being with his friends Chumpkins the pig and Wombat. Together they have wild adventures that begin with friendship, loyalty and silliness that comes with being diverse friends.

It is Wombat’s birthday! P. King and Chumpkins are doing everything possible to try and help her celebrate but want it to be a surprise. It’s becoming a challenge keeping each errand a secret, especially when Wombat begins to think that her two best friends want nothing to do with her.

pk 2

On a special trip, P. King and Wombat head up a large hill to see the awesome view of Fishy Falls, Cow Canyon and the beautiful sunset. P. King gets the idea what he wants to move his house on the very spot they are standing. Calling on a crane, his house is moved but atop the hill all alone, P. King misses his friends but comes up with an idea that will solve everything.

Chumpkins shows P. King and Wombat how he can make the Hilly-copter do doggie tricks. P. King is equally thrilled to share with his friends a race car he built from cardboard. Greg the Goose shows off his flashy car and suggests that P. King enter the town race and even offers to help fix P. Kings car. That’s what P. King learns that sometimes someone who claims to be a friend is anything but.

Hilly Hole has become a heat wave that has P. King, Wombat and Chumpkins melting. Looking for a way to cool off, they get the idea to create an ice castle that would help the entire town escape the heat. They didn’t think it through as the ice castle begins to melt but what starts out as a good idea turns into something much more fun!

King decides he needs a pet and wants Chumpkins to help him find a Dog Fish. Wombat reminds P. King that a pet is a huge responsibility but P. King is sure he can handle it. When Barky arrives, Chumpkins gives P. King instructions on how to care for the new pet. When P. King forgets to read the care instructions, Chumpkins and Wombat come to the rescue as good friends do.

PK 1

King loves to jog but is bored with his surroundings. When he sees a picture in Wombats book of the Great Wall of China, P. King decides that it is exactly where he needs to go jogging from one end to the other.

When fashion designer Armadillo comes to Hilly Hole, the gang wants to be more fashionable. P. King wants to expand his wardrobe and when he realizes clothes are expensive, he decides to make his own. Using recyclables, P. King catches the attention of Armadillo who wants to do a fashion show with the gang as models.

When P. King decides he wants a new friend, he sees a video of Lee the Panda. Sending an email asking to be friends, Lee the Panda responds that he is coming to Hilly Hole for a visit. Lee shows everyone his culture through kite flying, dancing and dumpling making. P. King is upset because Lee is spending more time with everyone else but Wombat and Chumpkins shows him true friendship.

King is also looking for a mentor but everyone is busy in Hilly Hole. On his journey he finds a gorilla doing Tai Chi on a mountain top. Looking to find his better self, P. King follows his training but questions how it helps him. Then he meets a Dung Beetle who seems to put everything into perspective.

Chumpkins is unhappy thinking about his life. P. King and Wombat want to show their friend that Hilly Hole would not be the same place without Chumpkins and all he has done. Programming one of his own inventions, the Zeus goggles, gives Chumpkins insight as to how important he is to the town of Hilly Hole.

Wombat gets tickets to Australia taking P. King and Chumpkins with her. Starting in Darwin, they journey to the End of the Road where other back packers are going to join in. Angus the guide takes them to see Wombats in the wild but gets side tracked. Wombat refuses to leave until she sees a wombat in the wild. Finding family is the highlight of her life.

pk 3

King creates his super hero alter go Inflato-Man. Creating costumes for Wombat and Chumpkins, they all three go through Hilly Hole looking for good deeds to go. Just as P. King is about to give up trying to help, a town flood makes their services really important.

King is worried that he will never be good at a sport. When the gang discovers that he excels in tetherball, they go to the tetherball championship. P. King wins but Wombat and Chumpkins start to see a change in their friend and it isn’t very nice. When Tim the tree frog challenges P. King, Wombat sees it as a chance to bring the braggy duck down to Earth. Another lesson P. King learns is that an apology to friends goes a long way.

Finally, a farmers market in Hilly Hole teaches P. King about organic food. Inspired, P. King decides he wants to be an organic farmer and create a crop that will wow people. Greg the goose is up to his old tricks and tells P. King that he has a special seed. Convincing P. King that cookie seeds would grow cookie bushes, Wombat and Chumpkins helps expose the joke. Unhappy that he couldn’t be a good farmer, P. King learns that an unexpected crop is now in his field making things alright again.

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.

KING DUCKLING is created by the award-winning Josh Selig (who is known for Sesame Street and Wonder Pets!) in collaboration with James Chen Gu, General Manager of UYoung Animation.

The DVD includes the episodes Wombat’s Big Surprise, A Hill With A View, Speed King Duckling, P. King’s Cool Castle, The Dog Fish, P. King’s Great Jog, Fowl Fashion, A Day with a Panda, Will You be my Mentor?, It’s a Wonderful Chumpkins, Wombats in the Wild, Hi-Ho Inflato-Man!, The Tetherball King and P. King’s Cookie Farm.

This series is filled with bright and engaging animation with storytelling about friendship, loyalty and understanding. It is quite easy to forget that they are different animals because the stories are about working together and being understanding of differences instead of pointing them out.

Each character gives us a look at our own silliness and fears that may stop us from being the best human beings we can be. That is what I enjoyed most about P. KING DUCKLING, the ability to see ourselves in these characters.

I also have to say that my granddaughter who is two thought these characters were hilarious, engaging and she couldn’t stop watching. That means that P. KING DUCKLING gets the Jaycie-Lee seal of approval as well. This is important in wanting her to enjoy her television viewing time while grandma is happy she learns life lessons as well.

In the end – adventure takes flight with P. King and friends!

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑