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February 2018

HOSTILES Comes to 4K Ultra HD

hostiles

The Gritty Western Action Treks to 4K Ultra HD™ Combo Pack,Blu-ray™ Combo Pack, and DVD on April 24 from Lionsgate

A star-studded cast leads the powerful and critically acclaimed western, Hostiles, arriving on Digital April 10 and on 4K Ultra HD™ (plus Blu-ray and Digital), Blu-ray™ Combo Pack (plus DVD and Digital), DVD, and On Demand April 24 from Lionsgate. The highly successful independent director, Scott Cooper (Crazy HeartBlack Mass) reunites with his Out of the Furnace star and Oscar® winner Christian Bale (Best Supporting Actor, The Fighter, 2010) in what is being hailed by Entertainment Weekly as “the first great western since 1992’s Unforgiven.” Hostiles also stars Oscar® nominee Rosamund Pike (Best Actress, Gone Girl, 2014), Wes Studi (AvatarThe Last of the Mohicans), Primetime Emmy® nominee Jesse Plemons (Best Actor, “Fargo,” 2014), Golden Globe® nominee Adam Beach (Best Actor, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, 2007), and Ben Foster (Hell or High WaterLone Survivor).

Set in 1892, Hostiles tells the story of a legendary Army captain (Bale) who, after stern resistance, reluctantly agrees to escort a dying Cheyenne war chief (Studi) and his family back to tribal lands. Making the harrowing and perilous journey from Fort Berringer, an isolated Army outpost in New Mexico, to the grasslands of Montana, the former rivals encounter a young widow (Pike), whose family was murdered on the plains. Together, they must join forces to overcome the punishing landscape, hostile Comanche, and ruthless outliers that they encounter along the way.

 The Hostiles 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, and DVD copies include an in-depth 3-part “making of” documentary, and will be available for the suggested retail price of $42.99, $39.99, and $29.95, respectively.

 

4K UHD / BLU-RAY / DVD / DIGITAL SPECIAL FEATURES

·       “A Journey to the Soul: The Making of Hostiles” 3-Part Documentary

o   “Provenance” Featurette

o   “Removing the Binds” Featurette

o   “Don’t Look Back” Featurette

hostiles

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THE VANISHING OF SIDNEY HALL is Stunning Storytelling!

the vanishing

 

Jeri Jacquin

In theatres this week from writer/director Shawn Christensen and A24 is a film that allows us a look inside of a life of secrets with THE VANISHING OF SIDNEY HALL.

Sidney (Logan Lerman) is a young man who sees the world differently than his classmates. He finds solace in writing and is encouraged by his teacher who sees something special in him. Sidney also has a little mystery in his life when a girl who lives across the street lets a bit of her feelings show.

He introduces himself to Melody (Elle Fanning) and they begin a deep relationship that Sidney knows is life changing. What becomes life-altering is when school jock Brett Newport (Blake Jenner) asks Sidney to hold something for him and to tell no one. Happy to oblige, he is also curious about what had Brett so nervous.

What happened between the two young men becomes the subject of Sidney’s book that sky-rockets him to literary stardom. The fame becomes a whirlwind that begins to affect his relationship with Melody and when it all begins to fall apart – Sidney disappears without a trace.

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That’s when a detective (Kyle Chandler) begins searching for Sidney who is wanted for a series of fires set in places where there are books. Trying to follow the clues, the detective hopes it will lead to Sidney and answers as to what happened to push this young man toward a path filled with pain.

Lerman as Sidney carries this story and film brilliantly in a way that kept me wondering how much more one life can take. I literally couldn’t take my eyes off his performance because his character is so dedicated to everything he pursued that the pitfalls just crushed my heart. All of that emotion is because of Lerman’s portrayal which is a thing of true beauty.

Fanning as Melody clearly enjoys life, sees the beauty past the pain and loves Sidney. Her character sees the best in Sidney and supports when it all becomes too much for him. Trying to be his support comes at a price that Melody seemed more than willing to pay until it was no longer just she that would pay.

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Chandler as the Detective is absolutely amazing in this role. Watching him take each crime scene apart piece by piece to ‘get his man’, it also gives the viewer the same opportunity to go back into Sidney’s life and see what might have gone unnoticed because, like our own lives, it is all in the eye of the beholder. I loved this performance by Chandler but then again if you’ve seen the series Bloodline, you know this actor was certainly up to the challenge in this role.

The must-see breakout performance is Jenner as Brett Newport. This BMOC senior jock walks the hallways of high school in his letterman’s jacket without a care in the world. Sometimes what we think is so true of someone can turn at a moments notice. Jenner’s character brings harshness mixed with a sadness that feels so real for this young man.

Another shout out to Nathan Lane as Harold! Although his role isn’t large, Lane has the unique ability to make every second he is on screen count and playing Harold is no exception. As Harold, Lane is brash, bold and I loved it.

Other cast include Michelle Monaghan as Mrs. Hall, Janina Gavankar as Gina, Margaret Qualley as Alexandra, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Duane, Tim Nelson as Johan, Michael Drayer as Max, Christina Brucato as Jeanine, Alex Karpovsky as Bauer, Darren Pettie as Gerald Hall and David Basche as Senator Dale.

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TUBS OF POPCORN: I give THE VANISHING OF SIDNEY HALL four tubs of popcorn out of five. I know it is early in the year yet I feel like I’ve seen something stellar, heart felt wrapped in an honestly original story. Filled with a weaving of time periods that is done with such ease and yet so compelling to watch.

This is a cast that envelopes every moment of screen time stretching my emotional core and just when I thought I could take a deep breath – twist! Isn’t that what we want from good storytelling and good filmmaking? That’s what this film is all about, testing us all to our emotional limits and rooting for each to release the memories that hold them down.

Trust me when I say there is so much more to the film that I will not put in this review. I truly want everyone who sees this film to experience each moment for themselves and jaw drop at the twists that are nothing short of brilliantly done. The cinematography is equally well done and if you thinks places in the world are just geography – think again.

In the end – it’s all about beginnings.

 

 

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI is a Full on Oscar Winner on Bluray!

Three

 

Jeri Jacquin

This week on Bluray/DVD and Digital from writer/director Martin McDonagh and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is the story of a mother who isn’t giving up using THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI.

Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) is a woman dealing with a lot in her life. The painful loss of a murdered daughter, ex-husband Charlie (John Hawkes) who has anger issues and chief of police William Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) who she believes doesn’t care about catching her daughter’s killer.

Driving home on a small stretch of road are three dilapidated billboards and Mildred gets an idea. Responsible for the billboards is Red (Caleb Jones) who takes her down payment on all three billboards with a message to the chief of police. The first to see them is deputy Dixon (Sam Rockwell) who immediately tells Willoughby.

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Everyone soon learns of the billboards and son Robbie (Lucas Hedges) is feeling the impact of what his mother is doing. Worried how this will all affect her chief of police husband, Anne (Abbie Cornish) is assured that it will all pass. Wanting to protect Mildred is James (Peter Dinklage) who Charlie takes a pot-shots at. Instead of it passing, things get out of hand as the insanity of Dixon and Mildred’s anger start a town war.

Small town living just got a little dicey!

McDormand as Mildred is spectacular, amazing, brilliant, moving, shocking and every bit of a woman tired of the b.s.! Feeling unheard by the police and thrown away by an abusive husband, one idea gives this character the remarkable strength to say, without a word, ‘I will be heard or else!’ Every moment McDormand is performing I am completely riveted and engrossed with anticipation as to what she would do next. The Oscars are this Sunday and with McDormand up for Best Actress I will be cheering for her every step of the way.

Harrelson as Willoughby is an understanding and tolerant man. He knows that Mildred is still riddled with grief and now feels the pressure even more that he hasn’t found the killer. He is also dealing with Dixon who is making matters worse with his antics. Spending time with his wife and kids is becoming more important as his secret hasn’t been a secret for quite some time. Harrelson is endearing and is impeccable with his character humor. This is the second time in the last few months that Harrelson has impressed me as his film LBJ should also be seen!

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Rockwell as Dixon gets to bring out the inner complete douche bag of this character. Feeling he has the right to do what ever he wants to who ever he wants because he has a badge is an embarrassment to pretty much everyone in town. Deciding he isn’t going to stop being a jerk, Dixon once again takes matters into his own hands and it’s nothing but disaster. It sure doesn’t help that Momma Dixon (Sandy Martin) is stoking the fires.

Hedges as Robbie is a young man who understands what his mother has been through but doesn’t agree with how she handles things. Living the same pain about his sister every day as well, he watches her actions and can’t seem to make Mildred understand that nothing good can come of it all. Jones as Red is a laid back kid who sees everything the town is about and when it comes to his door a choice has to be made.

Dinklage as James is a good hearted guy who seems to have a soft spot for Mildred. He wants nothing more than to protect her – oh and date her. Hawkes as Charlie thinks that he can be as abusive as possible towards Mildred and the ex in ex-husband isn’t going to stop him and is certainly is a different role for Hawkes.

Other cast include Zeljko Ivanek as the Desk Sergeant, Amanda Warren as Denise, Kerry Condon as Pamela, Riya Atwood as Polly, Selah Atwood as Jane, Christopher Berry as Tony, Jerry Winsett as Geoffrey, Kathryn Newton as Angela, Samara Weaving as Penelope, Clarke Peters as Abercrombie, Malaya Drew as Gabriella, and Darrell Britt-Gibson as Jerome.

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

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TUBS OF POPCORN: THREE BILLBOARDS IN EBBING, MISSOURI deserves without a doubt five tubs of popcorn out of five. This film has every range of human emotion possible and isn’t shy about making you feel it. A combination of the darkest of comedy mixed with jaw dropping twists and drama that is engrossing is what makes this film from start to finish.

There isn’t anything apologetic in this film and each character has a life of its own. McDormand is powerful and doesn’t skip a beat in leading the film to its chuckling conclusion. Harrelson and Rockwell are polar opposites, which is what makes their characters work and there is no surprise in what these two actors accomplish in this film.

The film does a dance with the viewer’s emotions and even sets of a shock or two but after seeing director McDonagh’s previous work such as IN BRUGES and a personal favorite SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS could anyone not expect this film from him? I met McDonagh during his press junket for SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS and I knew after speaking with him that I’d love anything he did. His sense of humor and way with characters comes out in every second of the film.

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Writing the screenplay with McDormand in mind for the lead role, I am equally thrilled that he did so because she rules the screen as Mildred. This is a powerful film with exceptional performances that can not and should not be missed. THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI has been nominated for seven Academy Award Nominations including Best Picture.

The Bluray/DVD include the Special Features Deleted Scenes, Crucify ‘Em: Making Of, Six Shooter – The Academy Award Winning original short film by Martin McDonagh as well as a Gallery.

This film is the reason I go to the theatre and even more so the reason I believe in having it as part of any home entertainment library.

In the end – welcome to Ebbing, Missouri!

A Golden Globe Winner is Ready to Perform on Bluray with COCO

coco cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming next week (and perfect for a rainy day) on Bluray/DVD and Digital from Disney, Pixar and directors Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina is the animated hit COCO.

Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) is a young man who is loved by his extended family. As everyone works together in life there seems to be only one thing not accepted – music! That is difficult for Miguel since he absolutely loves music and has to secretly find a way to have it in his life.

His favorite musician is Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt) who Miguel sees as his musical hero. Keeping him away from music is Mama (Sofia Espinosa), Mama Imelda (Alanna Ubach), and Abuelita (Renee Victor) but Mama Coco (Ana Ofelia Murguia) tries to tell Miguel a family secret.

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After a confrontation with family, Miguel says the one thing that sends him to the realm of his ancestors. There he finds Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal) who says he knows Ernesto and will take Miguel to see him. The problem with the realm of his ancestors is that they aren’t to happy when a living person roams in their land!

On the run with Hector, Miguel finally gets to Ernesto and has the chance to ask the questions his family won’t answer. He also discovers that family secrets can change how a little boy sees his world.

When the story of Hector and Ernesto comes out, Miguel does what he must to help those in his family not be forgotten and bring music back to someone very special!

Gonzalez as the voice of Miguel brings such lovely inflections when he talks. His character is a young man who just doesn’t understand the musical feelings of his family yet has a yearning in his bones. Yet the character of Miguel finds amazing strength in the truth.

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Bernal as Hector wants nothing more than to not be forgotten – but there is also truths that he wants told. Befriending Miguel is the only way he can make that happen. Bernal brings humor to a character that just needs to be remembered.

Bratt as Cruz is definitely full of himself with no remorse over causing his family to turn their backs on music. Miguel learns that family secrets might start out to protect one another but the truth always comes out in the end.

I love the cast of Mama’s with their protective natures and ease of using a shoe to smack off anyone who would hurt Miguel. It’s nice to know that happens in so many cultures as my Grandmother had a thing for shoe-whacking too! The Papa’s have worked hard and embraced their families with a fierce protection and while the Mama’s are whacking with shoes, the Papa’s are making shoes.

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Two more characters that stand out are Natalia Cordova-Buckley as Frida Kahlo and Edward James Olmos as Chicharron. This is truly a big voice cast but each character brings something endearing to the story.

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment began distributing under its own label in 1980 and continues to bring quality programming to kids and kids at heart. Home of the most beloved animated features including SNOW WHITE, PINOCCHIO and SLEEPING BEAUTY to name a few is what keeps families coming back for more. To see what is currently available to add to your own family library please visit. www.movies.disney.com for their At Home titles!

There is over two hours of Bonus Features including a Commentary, Deleted Scenes, Paths to Pixar: COCO, The Music of Coco and so much more! You can also instantly stream or download on Digital on iTunes.

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Disney Pixar’s COCO is stunning eye candy for everyone who loves animation with an emotional family storyline. That is what Pixar does with ease with its use of such color and vibrancy to enhance everything about a story. The music absolutely stands out and adds even more depth to the film.

The story of Miguel learning the stories of his family is one everyone can relate to no matter what culture you are from. We all want to know where our traditions and yearnings come from and COCO gives us a look at one such story giving us all hope and remembering to embrace our families now and forever.

Gather the family together to sing, dance and embrace everything that is love, loyalty, family and traditions. Next Tuesday is the release of Disney Pixar’s fabulous tale that includes it all with COCO.

In the end – it’s a celebration of a lifetime!

NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC Celebrates the Amazing Documentary about JANE

 

Jane

Jeri Jacquin

On March 12th to coincide with Women’s History Month, National Geographic Documentary Films along with director Brett Morgen have chosen the most amazing women to tell the story of her life in the documentary with heart about JANE.

A very lovely 26-year-old British woman decides at a young age that she wants to be with animals in the wild and this documentary gives us all a glimpse of how it all began. Jane Goodall, with no formal education or training, was chosen by archaeologist and paleontologist Louis Leakey in 1960 to go to Gombe, Tanzania to study chimpanzees.

Spending days traversing the jungles trying to get close to the chimpanzees, there were moments of frustration but not enough to stop her. Her patience would begin to pay off as she is slowly accepted by a group (called Kasakela chimpanzee community) that allows Jane to move freely among them. As she begins to document their behaviors in an unobtrusive way, she learns that their behaviors towards their babies and the way they use tools is something the world never knew before.

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Giving the chimpanzees names, and my favorite is David Greybeard, made it all them all the more personal for Jane. Along with Greybeard was the dominant and very large male Goliath, Mr. McGregor who was considered the grumpy old man of the group, Flo who would have so many babies of her own including Fifi and Flint.

Their personable and affectionate side was clearly evident but their aggressive side took Jane by surprise and the effects of that were sometimes heartbreaking. Jane came to understand that this was the darker side of their nature which she said proved that their were social similarities between the chimpanzees and human beings.

That is when National Geographic sends Dutch filmmaker Hugo van Lawick to document all of Jane’s discoveries. What is captured is the purest example of what Jane has accomplished and the world is taken by her. The world isn’t the only one taken by her as a relationship between she and Hugo becomes serious. So much so that they eventually marry and Jane has a life outside of Gombe as the chimpanzees are continually studied by students and grants.

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Martin is sent to the Serengeti in Africa and Jane joins him along with their young son Hugo who would grow up among the animals. The Gombe always called to Jane even though she knew her place was now with her family. When a horrible outbreak hit the chimpanzee community, Jane was devastated as changes in her own personal life would lead her back to where it all began.

Director Brett Morgen has created groundbreaking and acclaimed documentaries that include the 1999 work ON THE ROPES, the 2002 THE KID STAYS IN THE PICTURE and the 2015 work KURT COBAIN: Montage of Heck. His work JANE premiered at the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival and released nationally by National Geographic in 2017.

National Geographic Documentary Films brings the world premium feature documentaries that take on timely and globally relevant stories from the best documentary makers in the world. Bringing knowledge and understanding of our work for over 130 years, they are pushing the boundaries of storytelling reaching 730 million people in 172 countries and 43 languages. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.natgeotv.com.

JANE has been nominated by BAFTA, Alliance of Women Film Journalists, Amsterdam International Documentary Film Festival, Austin Film Critics Association along with so many more. It has won recognition from the Chicago Film Critics Association, Cinema Eye Honors Awards, Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards, PGA Awards and the National Board of Review along with so many others.

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What makes this documentary stunning is that there is so much about Jane Goodall’s life that I didn’t know. I actually love chimpanzees myself so followed her work over these many years. Most of what I knew was about her work which is what makes JANE a must-see because there is so much more about her to know. Trying to learn as much as she can about the chimpanzees, she also learns how to have a marriage and a child while continuing a career that isn’t just a career – but a life dream.

Her activism for these amazing creatures is well documented but seeing footage that has been rediscovered, Jane says, “Seeing the film for the first time was incredibly nostalgic; there was something very immediate and real and unconstrained. JANE shows things as they were, bringing to light people’s characters, especially mine and Hugo’s, in such an intimate way. It took me back to the best days of my life in a way that none of the other documentaries have.”

Morgen says, “The narrative I was interested in first and foremost was this story of female empowerment, particularly in the era that Jane was working in. The film is very much a love story, except the love is not between a man and woman, it’s between a woman and her work.”

Today, Dr. Jane Goodall travels around the world speaking about the threats facing chimpanzees as well as the environmental crisis happening and her reasons for hope. She is currently the U.N. Messenger of Peace and to learn more about this amazing woman please visit http://www.janegoodall.org.

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I am absolutely moved by JANE because she truly was a woman before her time. Unafraid to take on such a task without training or education, she jumped in and refused to give up until the chimpanzees accepted her as one of their own. Learning from her mistakes and understanding that these creatures are something very special (as all creatures truly are), she embraced and continues to embrace every aspect of what she has learned and continues to learn.

National Geographic and director Morgen should be so proud of themselves in bringing a very personal look at Jane Goodall’s life. Having seen many of the pieces on her work, JANE brought in an intimate look at her life and made her even more endearing if that is at all possible.

On March 12th, National Geographic Documentary Films brings the story of a woman and her many loves in the story of JANE.

THOR: Ragnarok Puts the Hammer Down on Bluray!

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Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray/DVD and Digital from director Taika Waititi, Marvel Entertainment and Walt Disney Pictures Home Entertainment is the next adventure from THOR: Ragnarok.

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is once again in a predicament but once the hammer is back in hands there is one place to go – Asgard. Knowing that brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has been hiding behind the image of their father Odin, they both go looking for him. Not where Loki left him, they get a little unexpected help.

Thor and Loki speak with Odin and discover that they have sister named Hela (Cate Blanchett) and she is an angry individual and extremely powerful. He tells them about Ragnarok which is the destruction of Asgard by the hand of Hela. When she arrives unexpectedly, Loki panics bringing the gateway and Hela hitches a ride.

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Pushing both Loki and Thor out into another world, Thor lands in a pile of junk on a planet that has piles of junk. Captured by Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), he is taken to the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) who has a little fighting arena to keep the masses entertained. Surprised to discover who he will be fighting, the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) bring entertainment to the masses.

Back on Asgard, Hela has found a new lackey in Skurge (Karl Urban) who is guarding the door of their world. Heimdall (Idris Elba) is now considered a traitor and no one knows where he is. The destruction of the beautiful civilization of Asgard has begun and the people are all looking for safety.

As Thor, Valkyrie, Loki and David Banner escape from the Grandmaster, their eye is on Asgard and nothing is going to stop them from saving what is left of their world!

Oh yea Hela, it’s on now!

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Hemsworth as Thor is physically still ripped (didn’t think I’d miss that did you?), expands his humor and keeps Loki in check and all while still calling him brother, and twists the Hulk/Banner to do what is right for Asgard. Is it me or does he smile a heck of a lot more in this film and join in on the jokes? I think cutting his hair made Thor much more at ease with being the God of Thunder. All of that just gives Hemsworth everything he needs to be the one and only Thor.

Hiddleston as Loki is hilarious, saucy, charming, unpredictable, edgy and although still full of mischief, finds that helping can also be self serving to his way of thinking. I adore Hiddleston, there, I said it. He is so fun as Loki because lets be honest, it is fun watching him have fun being Loki. There are moments where the expressions on his face are just pure magic. That’s what Hiddleston brings to this character a sense of everything a good bad guy needs to have his own beloved army – meaning everyone who loves Loki even with his faults. I keep thinking ‘when will Loki get his own gig?’ but maybe just having him mischievous in the right amounts works just as well.

Blanchett as Hela is the opposite of Lady Galadriel from LORD OF THE RINGS. Hela is angry, sarcastic and certainly doesn’t walk away from a fight. Knowing her brothers aren’t about to embrace her takeover, she spends her time looking for Heimdall and using Skurge to get what she wants. Blanchett turns on her badass and has no intention of letting anyone find the off switch. It must be said – she is stunning!

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Ruffalo as Hulk/Bruce Banner has been stuck being the big green guy for quite a while. He doesn’t want to get involved in any other skirmish but knows what the right thing to do is. Ruffalo also gets to be part of the humor that this film brings out and the audience loved it.

Thompson as Valkyrie is a disillusioned Asgardian who just needs a little push to remember her honor. Goldblum as the Grandmaster is perfection with his zany outlook on things and I’d hire him to be a DJ at my party any day. Hopkins as Odin deserves to be Odin and every time I see this actor on screen it is such a joy.

Urban as Skurge wants a position of importance in Asgard but serving a scary goddess means doing what he’s told and keeping his distance when she’s a bit upset. Elba as Heimdall isn’t about to let anyone get the sword, especially Hela since her plan is universal destruction and domination.

I’m throwing a shout out to director Taika Waititi as the voice of Korg who I think is my newest funny creature. He is laid back yet tells it like it is and when things go wrong, well, he is the last to get all upset about it. Just know that we all could use a good Rock-guy on our side! I think he needs his own Funko actually.

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More cast include Rachel House as Topaz, Clancy Brown as the voice of Surtur, Tadanobu Asano as Hogun, Ray Stevenson as Volstagg, and Zachary Levi as Fandral. Cameos include Luke Hemsworth, Sam Neill, Charlotte Nicdao, Benedict Cumberbatch and Matt Damon.

Marvel Studios has released sixteen films since 2008 in what is known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel is built on a library of over eight thousand characters featured in a variety of media content for over seventy years. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.marvel.com.

The Bluray includes the stunning Bonus Extras Deleted Scenes, Gag Reel, Getting in Touch with Your Inner Thor, Unstoppable Women: Hela & Valkyrie, Finding Korg, Exclusive Short – Team Darryl: With Thor Gone, Darryl Runs an Ad for a New Roommate, Director’s Commentary and so much more! Also, THOR: Ragnarok can instantly be streamed or downloaded on Digital through iTunes!

THOR: Ragnarok is a wild ride from beginning to past the credits end! The story is strong, the special effects are pretty frakken cool and I don’t mind since it is part of this universe. The characters are absolutely amazing and the cross over in the film brought the audience to its comic book knees.

There is serious laughter, cheering and fun bringing the adventure on Bluray to us excitement like to kids in a candy store. I will say it here and now, I had so much fun watching THOR: Ragnarok again, and alright I’ll admit it – again! There is non-stop action with a cast that brought their adventurous A-game. This film is the reason people have Bluray collections so microwave a huge bag of popcorn and revisit that theatre feeling once again – and again.

In the end – No hammer? No problem!

Disney’s LADY AND THE TRAMP is Coming to the Signature Collection!

 

lady cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray/DVD and Digital on a Multi-Screen Edition from directors Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson and Hamilton Luske comes The Signature Walt Disney Collection release of LADY AND THE TRAMP.

This film tells the story of Tramp (voiced by Larry Roberts), a mongrel dog from the other side of the tracks – the not so good side! He loves his life of being free, that is until he meets Lady (voiced by Barbara Luddy).

Lady is a beautiful cocker spaniel that lives with the Jim Dear and Darling family. Treated like a princess, things change when the couple discovers there will be another addition to their family. Feeling as if she is losing everything, Lady decides to take off with Tramp and see the world.

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But their adventure is filled with treacherous chaos and missteps that could tear them apart!

This Disney classic was first released in 1955 and has been a beloved classic ever since. The most memorable and iconic scene is Lady and Tramp having their spaghetti meal together by candlelight being serenaded. How loveable and romantic is that I ask!

The characters from the trouble making Siamese cats who sing ‘We Are Siamese’ is sung by the beautiful Miss Peggy Lee to Trusty voiced by Bill Baucom bring back childhood memories for many and instantly loved by a new generation.

There are several things in the film prompted by Disney himself. The films setting are reminiscent of his hometown of Marceline, Missouri. Also, when Darling receives a puppy for Christmas this was based on Disney missing a dinner date with his wife and he presented her with a puppy – he was promptly forgiven!

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At the end of the film, Tramps son Scamp is featured. Scamp became the subject for a comic strip, children’s books and comic books. He would be seen again in the 2001 animated film LADY AND THE TRAMP II: Scamps Adventure.

Other cast include: Bill Thompson as Jock, Stan Freberg as Beaver, Verna Felton as Aunt Sarah, Alan Reed as Boris, George Givot as Tony, Dal McKennon as Toughy, Peggy Lee as Darling and Lee Miller as Jim Dear.

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment began distributing under its own label in 1980 and continues to bring quality programming to kids and kids at heart. Home of the most beloved animated features including SNOW WHITE, PINOCCHIO and SLEEPING BEAUTY to name a few is what keeps families coming back for more. To see what is currently available to add to your own family library please visit. www.movies.disney.com for their At Home titles!

The Bluray/DVD and Digital Multi-Screen Edition include the Bonus Extras of New Sing-Along Version, Inside Walt’s Story Meetings, Original Theatrical Version, Stories from Walt’s Office – Learn About Walt Through His Trinkets and Treasures, Walt and His Dogs – Meet the Canine Characters Walt Loved, How to Make a Meatball and Other Fun Facts About LADY AND THE TRAMP – with Oh My Disney stars Alexys Gabrielle and Teen Chef Amber Kelly and so much more!

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There isn’t anything about this classic animated film that doesn’t resonate with fun. The story is timeless and the lessons of friendship and love are wonderful. Children and adults can share the story of these two adventuresome canines!

The animation is crisper in such amazing Bluray with characters that leap from the our home screens into our laps for a cuddle. Of course the endearing story of Tramp the no-care-in-the-world pup of the streets meeting the ever lovely and sweet Lady takes no prisoners of the heart in its telling.

Each character brings such a lovely uniqueness to the tale of dogs and cats and also has had generations laughing at their antics. If it’s time to introduce your family’s next generation to the wonderful world of Disney, then pick up The Walt Disney Signature Collection release of LADY AND THE TRAMP and share the iconic memory!

In the end – this is one of the greatest love stories ever told!

BLACK PANTHER Follows the Marvel Super Hero Formula

 

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Jeri Jacquin

The story is ready to be told as director Ryan Coogler, Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Pictures brings the tale of BLACK PANTHER.

The death of now King T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) returns to his kingdom of Wakanda in Africa but not before making a pit stop with General Okoye (Danai Gurira) to pick up ex-love Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o).

Standing before the other factions, Zuri (Forest Whitaker) asks if there is anyone who would challenge for the throne. After a brief altercation with M’Baku (Winstone Duke) it becomes clear that T’Challa would rule Wakanda. His mother Ramonda (Angela Bassett) and technology wiz kid-sister Shuri (Letitia Wright) join in the ceremony as they watch T’Challa’s victory.

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But there is something that needs his immediate attention when friend W’Kabi (Daniel Kaluuya) wants the capture of Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) who has stolen some of Wakanda’s source of technology. Klaue however is not alone as Erik Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) has a score to settle with Wakanda.

Looking for Klaue as well is CIA Agent Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman) and isn’t happy when he sees T’Challa, Nakia and Okoye at a sting operation in an underground casino in Asia. Trying to strike a deal on who gets Klaue, chaos breaks out and the chase is on.

It soon becomes clear who Killmonger is when he makes his way to Wakanda with one goal in mind – to get backing which he finds in W’Kabi and to take the throne. When the challenge goes horribly wrong, Nakia, Shuri and Ramonda are on the run and find an ally in the most unlikely place. Now the tribes begin to see the destruction of their world!

T’Challa learns that all families have secrets but that secrets don’t always stay hidden and sometimes it is the sons that pay the price!

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Boseman as T’Challa aka Black Panther carries himself with the elegance that makes it totally believable that he is royalty. Trying to keep the traditional and secretive ways of Wakanda, especially about the unearthly vibranium, he becomes conflicted when it is suggested by ex-love Nakia that they could do so much more for the world. Unfortunately that falls far down his royal agenda as conflicts and bad guys need to be taken care of to stabilize the country and tribal factions. Boseman wears the suit and the position well.

Gurira as General Okoye is the only lady that could pull of a fight scene while wearing a stunning and flowing red gown. What I’m saying is that if I ever get into a fight in an underground dressy casino – I want Gurira on my side. Okoye is loyal but certainly conflicted. Nyong’o as Nakia wants to do as much as she can for the world outside of Wakanda much to the dismay of T’Challa. Don’t let the fact that Nyong’o’s character is quiet in nature because when she needs to talking isn’t necessary – action does!

Jordan as Killmonger is the man with the attitude and it’s not a good thing. Dealing with the death of his own father, he becomes a highly trained killer with only one goal – make everyone pay for what has made him hostile. Jordan gives every ounce of a bad guy in his performance. Kaluuya as W’Kabi is the friend you don’t ever want to deal with. It seems there is a strong bond between he and T’Challa yet when things don’t go in his favor he flips the script and Kalyyua makes it stick.

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Gollum and Bilbo are reunited for another round of good vs. evil! Freeman as the CIA Agent wants to help the people of Wakanda and definitely gets his chance. He might be a mild mannered agent but stands up for his new friends. Serkis as Klaue gets to be as evil as he wants to be and nothing seems to bother him and I have to admit to chuckling once or twice.

Whitaker as Zuri has a story to tell and I’m going to let him be the one to tell it so no spoilers from me. Bassett as Ramonda is the Queen who sees the kingdom in turmoil but would throw it all away for the safety of her family and people. Duke as M’Baku is big, bad and knows that things are changing and he must choose.

Special shout out goes to Letitia Wright as Shuri! She is her own brand of bad ass being smart, beautiful and very funny. She is the technology of Wakanda and Wright gives this character everything and then some. I just enjoyed what she brought to the story and embracing her characters dedication to family, country and science. There is more to her story as well but you didn’t hear it from me.

Other cast include Florence Kasumba as Ayo, John Kani as T’Chaka, David S. Lee as Limbani, Nabiyah Be as Linda, and Sterling K. Brown as N’Jobu.

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BLACK PANTHER is the reason fans flock to the theatre to experience an adventure, good story and characters that have jumped from page to screen. I have no doubt that Marvel fans are biting at the bit to be the first in the theatres and I am secure in saying they will get their money’s worth.

That being said (here comes the screams), BLACK PANTHER falls absolutely into the Marvel universe. The formula of conflict, family, bad guys and loyalty is found in every Marvel story and BLACK PANTHER follows it to the letter. That isn’t to say I didn’t enjoy the film; on the contrary, it was what we all go to the movies for right? Popcorn, friends and fun – well on that note BLACK PANTHER delivers.

Is there anything that absolutely blows me away about the film? Not really but let me say that isn’t necessarily bad. It just means I saw exactly what I thought I would see and other than the ethereal Lion King moment I went for the ride. It has action, adventure, tekkie stuff, special effects, music and eye candy for all so take that and run. The cast bring the story everything it needs to crowd please.

So pack up the gang and make it a great Marvel/Disney night at the movies!

In the end – long live the king!

THE 15:17 TO PARIS Brings the Real Heroes onto the Silver Screen

 

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Speaking with Spencer Stone, Anthony Sadler and Alek Skarlatos – Heroes all!

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from legendary director Clint Eastwood and Warner Bros. is a film about adversity, courage and being on THE 15:17 TO PARIS.

It made the news around the world when, on August 21, 2015, a terrorist attacked a train heading for Paris with 500 passengers aboard. The event could have had life shattering consequences but for three men – Airman Spencer Stone, Specialist Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler.

These three men took it upon themselves to rush in while others were rushing out. What makes these three even more outstanding is that they have been friends since childhood. That’s where the story begins, Spencer and Alek are having problems at school as teachers and administrators see them as needing medication to keep them in line.

Not about to have it are their mothers Joyce (Judy Greer) and Heidi (Jenna Fischer) who are not about to be told how to parent – especially out of a medicine bottle. It is in school that they meet Anthony and a bond is formed out of mutual acceptance. Although they each have to go their separate ways, that bond becomes stronger as they grow up.

Spencer decides he wants to join the military but soon discovers that the job he wants is not where the military sends him. Struggling with studies and keeping up, he becomes frustrated which makes things even harder. Alek is over seas when, along with Spencer and Anthony, plans are made to see the sights of Europe.

Reunited once again, Spencer, Anthony and Alek become tourists going from place to place enjoying their freedom. After visiting Italy and Amsterdam, they board the Thalys train #9364 for Paris where the lives of everyone aboard will change.

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I had the amazing opportunity to speak with Spencer, Anthony and Alek who director Clint Eastwood decided would portray themselves in the film. Let me say first off that I found these three young men to be exactly how I expected them to be. They are very welcoming, funny and with a laid back ease I so enjoyed.

Jeri Jacquin:  Hello gentlemen, it’s such a pleasure to meet you.

Spencer Stone: Oh, I think we are missing one. Alek will be back in a sec.

Anthony Sadler: If we let him back in the room.

(they immediately start laughing and I sense a plot forming)

JJ: Well, lets hit the ground running before he gets back then.

Spencer: Yes!

JJ: First of all, it’s so weird; I mean you look exactly like yourselves.

Anthony: (laughing) I know right, I get that a lot.

JJ: I saw the film and I have to ask you, is it very strange when you watch it? Because it is like you are watching yourself doing something you have already done.

Anthony: It’s weird on so many levels. It’s our story on camera with music with Clint Eastwoods name on it and it’s also weird watching how accurate it is because we lived it. It isn’t all Hollywood’ up so seeing us doing what we did two years ago is strange for us as well.

JJ: I felt like I was intruding almost while watching in a way.

Spencer: Yes, that’s exactly what it feels like putting it out there.

Anthony: We hope that people like it and it spread like wildfire. We want the audience to feel like they are there and see exactly how it happened and who it happened to. It’s not documentary and I know it gets tagged that because we are not actors but it’s not that. It’s like you are literally there.

JJ: Even more so for you.

Anthony: Exactly!

(we are rejoined by Alek Skarlatos and immediately Spencer and Anthony give him a good natured hard time with lots of brotherly joking)

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 JJ: Hello Alek, I’m Jeri.

Alek: Awwww man, you started without me?

JJ: It’s not that we don’t love you or anything but the clock is ticking.

Anthony: Yea dude, we have things to do. (again they start laughing at each other)

Spencer: Back to the question Alek (chastising as only a brother can do), you have to be okay with everyone knowing everything about your life. Not everything in detail but a majority of it out on a big stage with Clint Eastwood. It’s a scary decision but an exciting one.

Anthony: We are a week away from release and we have shot the movie, promoted it, wrote a book about it and have talked about it all over. At this point it is so weird to be in this place because millions of people are about to see it. It’s just an interesting time and pretty surreal and we are excited for everyone to see it. I just really want to know what everyone thinks of it actually. I want to know how it touches them and makes them feel.

JJ: When you were first approached, did you think the film was going to go as far back into your life as it does? Because you are dealing with a 94 minute film but going back to when you were kids.

Anthony: When Clint picked it up the book I knew there was a strong possibility and I was wondering how much of our childhood he was going to show because I didn’t know how relevant it was. We were all three discussing it amongst ourselves wondering what was relevant to the story and what’s not. It’s weird because when I read the script I wondered why some scenes where there but when I watched the finished product I thought – he’s such a genius. Every scene in there had a theme in it that set up the bigger picture.

JJ: Oh absolutely.

Anthony: No matter how trivial it looked, like going to the principal’s office because that speaks to a bond that we shared even as children. Ever scene mattered and only Clint Eastwood would have a vision like that.

JJ: Did he tell each of you why he decided to use you instead of actors?

Spencer: Not directly, the information we had was of interviews he has done talking about it.

Alek: I’m so glad he did though because the first time we watched the film with our families and having our relationships on camera – the way we talk to each other – even they could tell that’s really how we act. We weren’t being different people so the film really shows that that is who we really are and it’s very accurate.

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JJ:  Earlier you said that some people were hinting the film was like a documentary and I can see why they might say it even though they are pretty much wrong (the laughing commences again). When you are speaking to each other on the screen there aren’t ‘characters’ acting like you – it’s you three being –well, you three! Again, there is that eavesdropping feeling.

Anthony: Clint didn’t want us to act either. He didn’t want us to…

Alek: …do too much.

Anthony: Yes, do too much. We were trying to be ourselves and not overplay it. He took the weight of a motion picture out of the situation. He said be friends and forget what the script says. He said, ‘you were here and you know how it was, do that and I’ll capture it’. The trust goes both ways because we trusted him to tell the story and he trusted us to just be ourselves. His trust was huge and we didn’t want to disappoint him. We wouldn’t have trusted anyone else to be so personal with our story and when we saw the picture we just wanted to be happy with it and we are. We are thrilled that he did the film justice.

Spencer: I don’t think we would have been happy with the film if it was anyone other than Clint Eastwood.

Anthony: He gave us the confidence to try. We thought if Clint sees something, I don’t know what it was but if he sees something then we will do it.

JJ: Clint always does stories that share something of a character, but here it is the three of you so it is much wider of a story being told.

Anthony: We are all so very different as well.

JJ: Yes, you certainly are.

Anthony: The movie will show that we are three very different individuals. Typically you wouldn’t think we would be friends and not only friends but life long friends. We risk our lives for each other and that’s a huge theme of the film.

JJ: I think you literally proved that.

Spencer: I guess we did.

JJ: One scene that touched me was your troubles Spencer growing up and struggles with the military. I recognize that in you, I can’t exactly say ‘your character’ because it’s you! Did you ever in a million years think all those struggles would be called upon in a fraction of a second?

Spencer: Absolutely not, I felt like even all the way up to the train attack I was feeling very unfulfilled and kind of angry because I felt like that’s all I ever wanted. I felt like joining the military was the first time I ever truly applied myself just to have it stripped from me. It was devastating for me. Then to be put in another career that I wasn’t too excited about and to fail out of that just felt like a huge waste of time. It’s just funny how I would be pushed away from the things I wanted and guided towards the things I needed in my life. I think that wasn’t something I was able to fully comprehend until I went through this experience. Now having that perspective in my life it has much improved how I see things in a hundred different ways. It is something I can carry throughout my life in any situation and just feel calm and at ease and pretty much know that I am here for a reason, I don’t know what that is but I need to trust.paris 1JJ: Life is busy chugging along while you are busy making plans?

Spencer: Absolutely.

Anthony: That’s perfect!

JJ: So Alek, I heard people refer to you as ‘the quiet one’, is that true?

Alek: I mean…depends on the context.

Spencer: It depends on who is around.

Alek: Yea, it does depend on who is around. If it’s these guys then I’m not but other people I might be quiet.

Spencer: If there was a cute girl he would be all chatty.

Alek: Yep, that’s right.

JJ: I kind of got that feeling with the scene in Rome.

Spencer: Oh look at the pretzels!

(a joke that took these boys almost to the floor laughing)

JJ: So Alek, seeing yourself on screen did you see anything about yourself that you didn’t notice before?

Spencer: Oh, good question.

Alek: I think how ridiculous I look sometimes. If you add up between the pretzel scene and me drinking the baby soda it’s like wow, I’m kind of stupid. That’s very accurate to who I am but you don’t notice those idiosyncrasies in an objective manner until you see them on screen.

(Spencer and Anthony are cracking up at Alek’s answer so the Mom in me steps in)

JJ: Stop teasing your brother!

Spencer: (explaining the laughter) Every time we hear a good word we bank it so that we can use it next time. Now we have to look it all up.

Alek: Google it!

JJ: You guys are too much. Okay onto a serious note because we have to go there. Watching the attack scene the train begs the question for you Spencer of how do you manage to do that again? Your face is so focused.

Anthony: You put anything in slow motion and add music to it; it’s going to look good.

(They have fallen out cracking themselves up again)

JJ: Now you will go through the rest of your life putting music and slo-mo in your head to everything you do.

Alek: (still laughing) Right?

Spencer: We have to give the entire credit to Clint and his whole crew. They went into such detail and as far as having the same exact clothes we were wearing that day, the same luggage, being on the exact same train going to Paris – it’s insane. We had Mark and his wife and everyone else there.

Anthony: People think it’s traumatic for us.

JJ: I think that is how most people would see it.

Spencer: Clint knew that we didn’t have much experience and that he was going to do this in a positive way. Being back in the moment for us, Clint made it easy to get back to that moment.

Anthony: The first 24 hours after the attack we went back to the hotel while Spencer went to the hospital. All we wanted to do was to see Spencer, that’s all we wanted. Finally the next day we laughed for like twenty minutes in the car saying ‘can you believe that happened?’ This is the day after!

Alek: I mean we are drinking champagne as the Ambassador’s house talking about a terrorist attack.

Anthony: We are just a bunch of young guys living the dream. Clint Eastwood came along and put the stamp of ‘badass’ on it all for us.

Spencer: I mean if Clint Eastwood says something is badass, then its badass.

JJ: When the attack scene was made, did the adrenaline flow? You can not walk away from that and now feel something about it.

Alek: I would say that while we were shooting the scene the adrenaline absolutely did because those feelings came rushing back. It was very realistic like Spencer said but after it was over we were chilling with the gang again.

Anthony: People expect so much, it’s not that deep, it’s pretty simple. We are pretty simple guys.

Spencer: Not going through something this crazy before and I’m sure there are people who have gone through crazier things in their life before, I feel like we have been able to cope with it very well. It’s not that we aren’t affected by it; it’s just that we have been able to deal with it well.

Anthony: We’ve had the luxury of talking about it on such a large scale whether it’s the initial media frenzy or the book or the movie process. We have talked about it so much.

Alek: We’ve dissected it.

JJ: You have been each other’s therapist.

Spencer: Exactly, that’s why talking about it has been so helpful and therapeutic.

Anthony: We’ve been able to share and it’s out there.

Spencer: Even now we’ve done about 200 interviews and we get to talk with other people and each other in a way that means something to us.

Anthony Alek Spencer

JJ: So being together has made all the difference.

Spencer: Absolutely it has.

Anthony: Yes.

Alek: Always together. Whenever one is uncomfortable we have the other to make it easier and joke around like we do. We have three brains. If it had been just one of us on that train we would have been all alone in it.

JJ: Nobody else would understand it.

Alek: Yes, no one would be able to understand it and couldn’t make jokes about it.

Spencer: They would look at you like you were crazy.

Alek: Exactly. Going through it with these two has been fantastic.

JJ: Here is the final question.

Alek: Ut oh!

(Spencer and Anthony laugh with Alek)

JJ: You have said that about a lot of my questions Alek.

Spencer: Getting all serious on you now Alek.

Anthony: Just when we were having so much fun.

JJ: Oh it’s not that tough of a question. Okay, here it is, what would you like the audience to talk about after they see THE 15:17 TO PARIS.

Alek: I would just like them to remember that if they ever are in a situation where they can help – then help. You really don’t have to just stop a terrorist attack to contribute positively to society. If you see a car accident and you don’t know first aid you can call 911 and find someone who does. You can always help by doing something positive. It’s rare because people seem to want to just whip out their cell phones and watch instead of doing something. Also, remembering the importance of friendship.

Spencer: It is important to show how God has played a factor in our life and this is a good way of showing that on such a big stage. Terrorist attacks and things like that we have been asked ‘what advice would you give me to stop an attack’ and I can’t really give you advice because nothing is the same. You are probably more than likely not to be on a train where a terrorist who has a gun that doesn’t go off on you. Nothing is the same but the only thing we can offer as advice without putting someone in a bad position because I’m not telling anyone to run toward a loaded gun. I would never tell anyone to run toward a man with a loaded gun so just ask yourself what you would do and have an answer. That’s all you can do. We have talked about it so many times before it actually happened so something engrained in our minds.

Anthony: I just hope it inspires people. People think there is something special about the three of us and say ‘what do you three have that’s so special’ and I think the movie shows that we are just three guys. Maybe someone will see something of us in themselves and be inspired to know they are capable of being extraordinary themselves and overcome adversity as well. It doesn’t have to be a terrorist on a train, just any obstacle and they need to know that they are on a journey and capable of being extraordinary. It’s not just us.

 

And that ladies and gentlemen is why I love what I do. These three men shared a moment of time with me and will forever be in the hearts of those they saved. I thought it extremely important to share their playfulness because it is a bond created by their friendship that endured the difficulties of childhood up to the most important moment of their lives.

Yet, it didn’t change their friendship; in fact I see how it made them even closer than can be imagined. Their belief in one another and the ability to not to take life so seriously is the lesson created in childhood and the lesson they take with them from their experience.

That is not to say what happened hasn’t had an effect on their life at all, of course it has, but as they all agree that having their friendship and the ability to lean on each other has made all the difference. We should all be so blessed to have friends like that in our lives.

Experience the journey as director Clint Eastwood brings THE 15:17 TO PARIS to theatres this Friday.

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