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April 2018

Butterfield, Burstyn and Offerman Epically Shine in the THE HOUSE OF TOMORROW

House of Tomorrow

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from writer/director Peter Livolsi based on the novel by Peter Bognanni and Shout! Studios is the ideals of the past, frozen in the present with eyes toward the THE HOUSE OF TOMORROW.

Living in a dome house in the woods is Sebastian Prendergast (Asa Butterfield), a young teenager living with his grandmother Josephine (Ellen Burstyn) studying the philosophies of R. Buckminster Fuller. Josephine has kept Sebastian sequestered from the rest of the world and it will soon become obvious to the young man.

Alan Whitcomb (Nick Offerman) arrives at the House of Tomorrow with a church group to hear all about the history of Buckminster along with son Jared (Alex Wolff) and Meredith (Maude Apatow). While speaking with the kids, Josephine ends up in the hospital and that’s when Alan and Jared notice that Sebastian isn’t an ordinary teenager.

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Sebastian may be different but then again so is Jared. When Alan makes an attempt to help along a friendship, Jared isn’t the warm and fuzzy type. Yet Sebastian takes the initiative to visit the Whitcomb home and learns that Jared is different in his own way. Meredith sees Sebastian’s innocence as sweet and notices that her brother has truly taken an interest in life.

Learning about one another is awkward yet school is in session as their friendship turns to music and all the things Sebastian has been missing outside of his dome-cocoon. Josephine spends her time coming up with ideas to get more people into the dome for visits but also notices that something is changing about her grandson. Feeling him pulling away causes an emotional showdown.

When Alex and Sebastian decide to start a band and perform – they are up against a grandmother who refuses to budge from the past, an over protective father who is afraid of the present and a future that can only shine for the House of Tomorrow.

House of Tomorrow (screen grab) CR: Shout! Studios

Butterfield as Sebastian has once again embraced a role that is deep, endearing and innocent. Smarter than the average teen and a vocabulary even an adult would shy away from, it is when he crosses to the outer-side that the two worlds mesh and he makes it his own. Butterfield not only has the ability to show every fiber of innocence but when he lets loose, he also has the ability to make us all cheer for him!

Wolff as Jared is a young man dealing with an over protective father and a mother with problems of her own. Finding an unusual friendship with Sebastian turns out to be just what the doctor ordered. Trying to find his own place in the world, Jared finds it in music, taking chances by breaking away bringing Sebastian with him. I truly enjoyed Wolff in this role and I admit he also made me laugh – a lot, and because just as Sebastian has a way of talking, so does Jared.

Offerman as Dad Alan is raising two teen kids who are clearly strong willed and, once in a while, cause him to cringe with things they say and do. I have to say that Offerman has the calmness of a saint with all the shenanigans happening in his home as well as finding he has another teen in his home. When Alex needs him the most, Alan kicks into over drive and starts to see his son differently. Apatow as Meredith is the girl who is irritated with Dad, insulting with brother and leery of Mom – in other words a typical teenager. She sees something in Sebastian that gives her a little more hope that life still can be surprising.

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Burstyn as Josephine has lived her life attacked to that of R. Buckminster Fuller. Believing in the philosophies that the world can be a better place, she has raised her grandson to make a difference in the world. Of course when he becomes aware of the outside world, and a Pepsi, she becomes distraught thinking he will be lost to it all. I absolutely adore Burstyn, always have, and her role in THE HOUSE OF TOMORROW reminds me (as if I need it) of the astronomical level of her talent.

Writer Peter Bognanni teaches creative writing in Minnesota and won the Los Angeles Time Book Prize and the ALA Alex Award for the novel The House of Tomorrow. His second book is Things I’m Seeing Without You is a story of love, loss and loving again.

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THE HOUSE OF TOMORROW is a beautiful film that wraps the past, present and future all around the heart. As someone who is well aware of R. Buckminster Fuller, I truly loved that his presence is mixed in the story and was surprised to learn the piece of footage with Burstyn and Fuller is actually real. Just that moment in the film brings the viewer into it all on an even deeper level.

Keeping the cast to a minimum is also something that I truly enjoyed about the story. Focusing on the relationship between Josephine, Sebastian and the Whitcomb’s lets our hearts open to endearment, coming of age, change and even a bit of laughter. This story is about five very different people discovering that grandmothers can be sticklers, fathers know more than they say and that kids reach a point where breaking away sometimes means breaking the rules.

In the end – make your own future!

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Get Ready to Bolt with MAZE RUNNER: The Death Cure Coming to Bluray

death cure

Jeri Jacquin

On Bluray and DVD, as well as 4K Ultra HD, this week from director Wes Ball and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is the race for life with MAZE RUNNER: The Death Cure.

Thomas (Dylan O’Brien) is already back in the game becoming stronger as a leader to save their friends from WCKD. When they learn that Minho (Ki Hong Lee) is among the kids that have been taken by Janson (Aidan Gillen) to WCKD, Thomas doesn’t hesitate to want to jump in.

Vince (Larry Pepper) refuses to put more people on the line to save Minho even when Jorge (Giancarlo Esposito) knows where he is. Even worse, they group knows that the enemy is getting closer and have to abandon their base.

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Thomas decides he can’t go with the group and attempts to leave camp, but not without Newt (Thomas Brodie-Sangster) and Frypan (Dexter Darden). Not about to let them go alone, they are joined by Jorge and Brenda (Rosa Salazar) who are equally wanting to get their friend back.

Minho is shocked when he wakes up to find himself back inside the maze with the help of Ava Paige (Patricia Clarkson) – but it is a new maze. Her creation has created a potential antibody to the virus that has taken so many but she must convince the leaders to continue the trials. Help comes in the words of Teresa (Kaya Scodelario) who is working with Ava.

Trying to get into the city to find Minho, Thomas and the group are taken by a group and a familiar face. Gally (Will Poulter) sets them all on edge until he explains how it is that he survived. Explaining that he wants to help Thomas get inside the city, Gally takes them to see Lawrence (Walton Goggins) who might be able to help.

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Making their way to WCKD one step at a time, Thomas and Newt have their first look at the big city. In the lab Ava and Teresa test more subjects but not before Janson is told that he needs to find Thomas while keeping another secret from Teresa. The virus is now inside the city and Teresa has been taken. Ava and Janson now realize that time is not on their side.

The fight is now inside the lab as Thomas and Newt get closer to Minho and Teresa has something that could be a game changer. Now, those on the outside that have been running are turning to fight strong.

Now, they have a chance!

O’Brien as Thomas returns to the role of a young man clearly on a mission that will save some and not others. Loyal to the people he met in the maze, he is not about to let Minho and the others stay inside the city of WCKD. O’Brien plays out his role in the trilogy as he began, intense and strong.

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Scodelario as Teresa is the character everyone loves to hate. With the upset from the second film it is easy to want to give her character redemption but it might be to late. Poulter as Gally is the surprise as he also ends his time in the maze with a twist.

Clarkson as Ava tries to find a way to create an antibody to the virus that is now inside the city. What hope she has depends on Minho and Clarkson always stands out in every performance she gives. Gillen as Janson is clearly irritated with the fact that he can’t seem to always get what he wants out of life in WCKD. He has the amazing ability to be the perfect bad guy without getting to much flack on him.

Goggins as Lawrence is one jacked up human being yet he still attempts to help the gang get inside the city. Lee as Minho gets the worst end of the deal as the labs want more and more from him. Sangster as Newt truly believes in the friendships that have kept him alive. We have literally watched Sangster grow up in this series of films.

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Salazar as Brenda continues to be a strong presence even if she is in the middle of wanting to be on her own and not helping others to being an amazing leader in her own right. Along with Esposito as Jorge, these two characters are trying to be better people while maintaining a rough exterior.

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 Bluray and DVD Special Features includes Audio Commentary by Director Wes Ball, Screenwriter T.S. Nowlin and Producer Joe Hartwick, Jr., Unlocking the Cure: The Final Run, Dystopia: The Completed World; Allies Reunited, A Look Back: The Director’s Journey, Deleted & Extended Scenes with Optimal Commentary, Going Out on Top, Gag Reel, Visual Effects Breakdowns and Visual Effects Reel with Optional Commentary and Gallery.

Also included is Movies Anywhere which is just that, the ability to watch anywhere with the App as well as a Digital Movie included.

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There is an epic and exclusive 24-page prequel origins comic book written by screenwriter T.S. Nowlin. The trilogy box set is also available that includes an exclusive MAZE RUNNER bandana chosen by fans.

MAZE RUNNER: The Death Cure brings about the finishing touches to a story that has been filled with twists, turns, intensity, trust issues, friendships, world colliding and a virus that can turn friends into foes and vice versa.

Wrapping everything up means preparing to take on the emotions of characters saying goodbye and smiling knowing that there future is deserved. Grab the popcorn and prepare for a marathon run of the MAZE RUNNER trilogy!

In the end – the time for lies is over!

DEN OF THIEVES is Breaking in to Bluray Talking with writer & director Christian Gudegast

den of thieves bluray cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray/DVD from writer/director Christian Gudegast, STX Entertainment and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is truly a DEN OF THIEVES.

In the Los Angeles County Sheriffs Department there is a team of wild cops led by Big Nick O’Brien (Gerard Butler). You see Nick isn’t the kind to just sit by and let crime just run rampant in the city. He may be a sharp cop but not to smart when it comes to his own home life which is falling apart. When strange heists hit the city, they grab Donnie (O’Shea Jackson, Jr.) to find out who is responsible.

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Getting him to talk takes a little persuasion but Donnie tells them about Merrimen and his gang that includes Enson Levoux (Curtis Jackson) and any detail he can think of. That leads them to a quietly disturbing mastermind in Merrimen (Pablo Schreiber), he also isn’t the kind to sit by and not be a part of planning a massive crime.

The game of cat and mouse begins when the two leaders come face to face to test the waters as each flexes in his own way. As Nick and the boys meticulously go over plans to catch Merrimen and his boys at their next heist, Merrimen and his boys are meticulously going over plans for a heist that even the L.A. County Sheriffs couldn’t have seen coming.

When they finally come face to face, backing down doesn’t seem to be in their vocabulary!

I had the amazing opportunity to speak with writer/director Christian Gudegast about what inspired him to write the script, the amazing cast and making it all go from page to screen. Gudegast is responsible for films such as LONDON HAS FALLEN, A MAN APART and is the executive producer for the documentary SEQUESTRO.

at the Eric Braeden's 30th Anniversary on The Young & The Restless Cocktail Reception

Jeri Jacquin:  Hello Christian thanks for spending time with me today.

Christian Gudegast: Absolutely, thank you as well.

JJ: Let’s jump right in. My big question is where did you come up with this story line?

CG: Wow, it was a combination of a lot of things. It was going back to wanting to make crime films and there are so many stories I want to tell about that world. Also, there are people that the characters are based upon and a series of bank robberies in a book my friend wrote about the most successful crew in Los Angeles called the Hole-in-the-Ground gang. Merrimen and his crew are based on them and the heist you see in the film are based on the actual heist that went down. They were never caught and got away with hundreds of millions of dollars. They have a legendary status within the law enforcement community in Los Angeles. Gerard Butler’s character, Big Nick, is also based on a friend of mine. So all of it is the basis for the story I’m telling in the film under one roof.

JJ: It was interesting to me how you had these two brotherhoods going on at the same time, for you was that difficult to take from your brain to the page to the screen?

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CG: Yes in a sense that film production is extremely difficult and no because it’s always what I wanted to do. The cast and crew who read the script bought into the concept so it was about not judging any one character and treating everyone like a human being and understanding motivations. It is seeing how they are all affected by that life from both sides. The reality of crime is that it’s one business with different players; it’s a world unto itself. Both sides know each other and went to high school, have the same clothes, grew up on the streets, sometimes dated the same girl; so there is a mutual understanding and respect to the two sides and to me that is fascinating. It is amazing to explore that.

JJ: You are right, the interaction between the two group’s dances on a delicate line and one miniscule step can change so much.

CG: That’s exactly right. Every step of the way, even the individual characters, I had technical advisors. I had real gangsters, real cops and ex-military with boot camps and the actors were there two months before training very hard and drilled down. We took into consideration what they wore, how they walked and talked and it was all very specific. Everyone bought into it and the result is on the Bluray.

JJ: The casting, as you wrote this did you specifically have these actors in mind?

CG: Aside from Gerard Butler and then Curtis Jackson, no. It was all part of the process. Everyone in the film I was aware of before hand but it was really about myself and casting director John Papsidera who is a genius, we both wanted the cast to be authentic. I didn’t want to recognize every person in the story. I know there was to be some but the cast had to be real. There is actually a lot of real people in the film and we mixed that with the actors. We did a lot of rehearsal until it felt natural. In the casting we made sure it was who we wanted and sometimes had 100 to 150 audition for a role, we were obsessive about it. We wanted the perfect person, even if they didn’t have a line; we were obsessed with finding the right person.

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JJ: I have to say that Pablo basically scared me crazy; he has that look about him and doesn’t have to say a word. It’s like you want to slink away to get out of his line of sight.

CG: (laughing) Yes, Pablo is a spectacular dude and he is one of the most disciplined, prepared and talented actors I’ve ever come across. The guy is an animal! He is extremely intelligent and he does his work. He really got into character by getting his body trained a very specific way, he spent a ton of time on the range shooting and just got into the mode of playing Merrimen. He is a genius.

JJ: His character is a beast. I was fascinated, maybe even more so than Gerard Butlers character. I was drawn to his though process.

CG: I will be working with Pablo quite a bit so you will have ample opportunity to get to know him more.

JJ: That’s extremely cool and I’m okay with that. Lets talk about Curtis ‘Fifty Cent’ Jackson. His role is that of a guy who knows what he’s going to do and is connected to Merrimen totally.

CG: Also his character is based on a real person. When I met Curtis I knew he was one of those guys that is immediately intimidating. He doesn’t have to do or say anything and doesn’t need to be the leader. Merrimen never moved on from the military mindset and doesn’t have a family whereas Levoux has a family and he starts showing some cracks because he has something to live for.

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JJ: By the way the daughter going to the prom scene was very good!

CG: Yes it was.

JJ: Of course there is Gerard Butler and could you have made his arms any bigger?

CG: Yes, he was pretty determined and played a lot of characters where he had to be fit. He put a lot into being Big Nick and I think this is the biggest he’s been in his life. He really worked on getting his look and it paid off for his character.

JJ: His character, it’s like at any second he could snap.

CG: Yes, correct, that’s the whole point, he has this intensity and he had to look jacked.

JJ: Big Nick is also the kind of leader where his crew might not always agree but they certainly have his back.

CG: Yes, you wouldn’t believe what these guys have to do to tell the story. The stuff they do is pretty wild and to do that you have to be a certain kind of person. That’s real and the law enforcement community thought this was the most realistic portrayal they have seen. The public doesn’t always look at what the police do favorably because of things that have happened but the reality is that cops come up against some very, very bad people.

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JJ: It just shows what cops have to do to stop this kind of bad. I have to give you a shout out for having Cooper Andrews in the film. When I saw all I could think of was ‘oh my gosh Jerry!’

CG: I have to say, Cooper is the man. He is such a gentle giant. He is a big strong boy and he is a wonderful actor. When we saw him we knew he was the character of Mac.

JJ: It was nice to see him outside the horrors of The Walking Dead.

CG: Exactly, he is amazing and is going to do a lot.

JJ: When people watch DEN OF THIEVES on Bluray, what do you want them to take from it – besides the fact that it’s a great story?

CG: If they listen to the Director Commentary that will be fun. Actually the care we put into making the film, from the cast to crew, it became a labor of love for everybody. We had a phenomenal time making the film and it was an incredible experience. We went to great lengths to keep it authentic, as real as possible, emotion and honest. That was really the goal in everything that we did. We hope that people enjoy it again when they see it on Bluray.

JJ: All I can say is well played sir! I enjoyed it immensely.

CG: Thank you Jeri, thank you very much.

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My sincere thanks to Christian Gudegast for giving us the insight to DEN OF THIEVES which is more of an ‘us’ versus ‘them’ leaving the audience to decide the rest. The intensity is definitely there and leaves little time to catch your breath. Butler leads the way as Big Nick making damn sure that it all stops with his crew just as much as Schreiber’s character of Pablo feels the same way on the other side of the law.

Other cast include Meadow Williams as Holly, Maurice Compte as Borracho, Brian Van Holt as Murph Connors, Evan Jones as Bosco, Mo McRae as Gus Henderson, Kaiwi Lynam as Tony Z, Dawn Olivieri as Debbie, Eric Braeden as Ziggy, Jordan Bridges as Lobbin Bob and Cooper Andrews as Mack.

Universal Studios Home Entertainment has just added an amazing film to their library and making it available for us all to experience and re-experience in our own home theatres. There are films of every genre available from scary to drama to family films. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.uphe.com.

STXFilms and Entertainment is a global next-generation company who has taken on the mission to unlock the value of direct connection stars have with their fans through the development, production and distribution of film, television, VR, digital video, music and live entertainment content. It is the industry leader in transforming beyond traditional platform-driven content to creating talent-driven enterprises. To experience more please visit www.stxfilms.com.

DEN OF THIEVES Bluray and DVD Bonus Features include an Alternate Ending, Alpha Males – The cast describes how the tough characters in the film blur the lines between the good guys and the bad guys, Into the Den – Director Christian Gudegast and the cast describe the two brotherhoods within the film, the renegades and the outlaws and their unique set of skills, Alameda Corridor – The cast and director discuss filming the intense scene that takes place on the streets of L.A. and the extensive weapons training it took to film it, Outtakes and Deleted Scenes, Commentary with Director Christian Gudegast and Producer Tucker Tooley, DEN OF THIEVES Theatrical Cut with an All-New Unrated Version with Never-Before-Seen Footage.

The story is one filled with twists, turns and action that doesn’t stop to let you think to much. Instead it is two hours and twenty minutes of intensity that dares you to come along for the ride pulling us all from one side to the other. Find a comfy seat and turn on the sound bar for some serious action and characters that you have to see to believe.

In the end – giving up is not an option for either!

 

GHOST STORIES Brings Jumps and Twists Just the Way We Love Our Scares!

Ghost Stories coverJeri Jacquin

Coming to select theatres and currently available on VOD from writer/directors Jeremy Dyson, Andy Nyman and IFC Films are stories that will tingle spines with GHOST STORIES.

Professor Phillip Goodman (Andy Nyman) has made a life out of uncovering psychics who are frauds on his television show Psychic Cheats. He receives a package from Charles Cameron (Leonard Byrne), a man Goodman saw as an example of how to find phonies and frauds, and he wants to meet with him.

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Thrilled to meet someone he thought long dead, Goodman is shocked to discover that things haven’t been easy for him. He only wants one thing from Goodman, to investigate three cases for which he has no answer for.

The first person affected is a night watchman Tony Matthews (Paul Whitehouse) who is the security guard in an asylum long since abandoned. Lights blinking and doors slamming have him investigating every nook and in the dark things have a way of catching up with you, as it does him.

The second person affected is Simon Rifkind (Alex Lawther), a young boy who finds himself on a deserted road in the woods and distracted by his father screaming at him on the phone. Hitting an object, what he sees is horrifying and has put his life into a world of absolute fear.

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The third person he speaks with is Mike Priddle (Martin Freeman) who doesn’t seem at all moved by the story he has to tell. A wealthy man, he has a beautiful home and recently he and wife Maria (Emily Carding) have created a beautiful nursery for their unborn child. While Marie is in the hospital, something happens in the home nursery that is beyond reason.

What do these three men have in common is what Professor Goodman is about to find out.

Nyman as Professor Goodman is a man with a past that brings him to calling out those who fraud the public about being psychic. What he doesn’t expect is that the man who he considers the reason for his line of work would pop up out of no where to solve these cases. Nyman’s character is a skeptic yet there are moments where he begins to question his own non-beliefs.

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Matthews as Whitehouse is the first man affected and he absolutely starts the creepy trail rolling.  I give him points for keeping his fear in check because I would have lost it completely. Lawther as Simon is a young man locked inside his own fears and with absolutely every reason to be. Lawther has the unique ability to ooze fear out of every pour of his being and he does so with ease.

Freeman as Priddle calmly walks into the story and steals it from Nyman briefly. He is cold, intense, affected, a judge and nothing expected. Of course I am thrilled to see Freeman because he is such an amazing actor who seems to chose roles that he manipulates into absolute stunning works of art. This is such an interesting role because of the twists and turns but Freeman walks away with a giggle.

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Other cast include Kobna Holdbrook-Smith as Father Emery, Deborah Wastell as Mrs. Goodman, Daniel Hill as Mr. Goodman, Christine Dalby as Beth Hooper, Maggie McCarthy as Jean Hooper, Joe Osborne as Mr. Rifkind, and Maria Major as Mrs. Rifkind.

GHOST STORIES is what I absolutely adore about this genre – absolute twists, turns, not covered in gore and out of control cgi. Instead, we are given a thriller that embodies that word – it thrills from beginning to end. This isn’t a story that is easy to figure out or even easy to digest but in fact a story that is going to keep people talking.

This film is cleverly written, beautifully put on film with a cast that give stellar performances that had me from go. Filled with eerie creaks, flashing lights, and things that go bump in the night, GHOST STORIES is everything and a bag of spooky that I watched in the dark and would do so again.

In the end – the brain sees what it wants to see!

 

 

FOLLOWERS Brings Fright to DVD

Followers DVD 3D

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to DVD May 1st from director Ryan Justice and a Synkronized Company is a fright with social media when you have FOLLOWERS.

Brook (Amanda Delaney) and boyfriend Caleb (Justin Maina) have put their lives out on the internet for all to see. Marking their one year anniversary, Caleb has decided on a nice trip for a little alone time camping in the woods.

Their first night is met with a crackling fire and some champagne to celebrate. In the middle of the night Brook wakes to the sound of footsteps pleading for Caleb to investigate. Finding nothing they go back to sleep.

Shaking off the nights scare, Brook starts out her morning doing a video and is unaware that someone is to change everything. Taking her back to camp, they also come upon Caleb as the video goes black.

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Nick (Nishant Gogna) and Jake (Sean Michael Gloria) decide to make video demonstrating how easy it is to track people from online and how dangerous it can be. They decide to choose Brook and Caleb as the people to prove their point. Using their cameras and drone technology, they follow the couple and find themselves deep in the woods.

Jake decides that perhaps the documentary might not reach enough people and feels that they might have to go one step further. People pay attention when you take it one step further right? The tables turn on them all when another group enters the picture sending Brook and Nick running for their lives.

Then the tables turn again…for the last time.

Delaney as Brook is a girl with a few secrets of her own. Spending time being a social media star, she plays it up well. Maina as Caleb is a man on a mission and trying to bring a big of special to their relationship. Next time Caleb, try dinner and a walk on a public beach.

Gogna as Nick sees their idea for a documentary as ground breaking; to bad he didn’t do his woodsy research. Gloria as Jake has a few issues of his own and doesn’t let his film making partner in on it all.

All four of them have ideas of their own that clash of course but it isn’t going to make a different when what lives in the woods makes itself known.

Other cast include Emily Steward as Stephanie, Bianca Taylor as Cassie, and Jason Henne as Creepy Pete. Also, Eric Justice, Bret Burt, Jay Burt, Marina Kaminsky, Casey Hempel, Jade Rivera, Heather Jean as Cult Followers and David McMahon as the Cult Leader.

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SDK has a catalog of over 250 film titles and over 100 television shows. They are responsible for distributing the work of some of the world’s major directors and box office worthy movies. For more of what they have to offer please visit http://www.skddvd.com.

FOLLOWERS is the Official Selection from the Upstate NY Horror Film Festival, the Orlando Film Festival, Alexandria Film Festival and the Miami Independent Film Festival.

Although this is a found-footage thriller, pay attention! They story line basically gives you a play by play of how easy social media has made it for people to get into your life. Whether you want them their or not it has become part of the norm as everyone has Facebook, SnapChat, Twitter or any of the hundreds of apps that are available.

I love the found footage look to it and that it is shot out in the middle of nowhere. Of course we are all afraid of the woods whether we admit it out loud or not. Think about it, a crackling sound in the middle of the night with no cell reception and nothing between you and fear but a flimsy tent? Yea, we are all know our limits.

There are twists to be sure and it all comes to a huge conclusion that once again reminds us of how fragile the line is between having a life and living it on social media.

In the end – beware what you share!

The Fun has Just Begun for Laughs as ROWAN AND MARTIN’S LAUGH-IN: The Complete Fourth Season Arrives on DVD

 

laughin cober

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to DVD this May from Time Life is the next amazing season of comedic timing, fun and characters galore with ROWAN AND MARTIN’S LAUGH-IN: The Complete Fourth Season.

It is the fourth season of a show that America has come to embrace filled with characters that have made their mark in television history. Comedians Dan Rowan and Dick Martin would come to be the iconic dynamic-humor duo beginning in 1967 as LAUGH-IN hit the airwaves with what was suppose to be a one-time special. What actually happened was that a comedy series like no other would make its way onto television sets and become one of TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time!

Gary Owens would introduce the program with his infamous hand over the ear and slap stick voice letting us know it was basically time to prepare our funny bones for what was to come. Rowan and Martin would give both the ‘live’ studio audience and those of us at home a well choreographed humor dance that was perfection.

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In this season Don Rickles brings his own brand of sarcastic and enjoys getting laughs as Arlene Francis or at least his version of the actress. Goldie Hawn makes her triumphant return to her cute and comedy roots after winning an Academy Award for CACTUS FLOWER.

As always I am thrilled when Lily Tomlin brings her two best characters to LAUGH-IN. Ernestine and Edith Ann are total opposite in character and both have an amazing look on life and no problem sharing it with us. Tomlin is still one of my all time favorite ladies and these two loveable and smart characters are exactly why.

Most people don’t know who Zero Mostel is and that would be a shame except that this season of LAUGH-IN on DVD invites everyone to see the most amazing four minutes of pantomime ever to be seen. This is the thrill that Time Life has brought back with this collection, a chance for everyone to see how comedy has progressed and who made that happen.

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

The 7-disc set contains 26 episodes of comedy that is worth every moment. The Bonus Features include Classic long-running features and characters including Cocktail Party, Ruth Buzzi’s Hollywood Report, Joke Wall, Edith Ann, Tasteful Lady, Ernestine, Wolfgang, Rosmenko, the Swizzles, the Farkle Family, Gladys and Tyrone and Interviews with Lily Tomlin and Arte Johnson.

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 Mod, Mod World takes on women, undertakers, alcohol, the news media, education, comics, prisons, big cities, aviation, psychiatry, religion, working girls and friendly ladies.

Once again Time Life has brought an amazing DVD package to those of us who grew up on LAUGH-IN and remember fondly the characters and laughs that the cast brought. It is a chance to go back a little in time and enjoy the comedy that reigned supreme in its day and can wear the crown of fun once again.

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Each show ended with Rowan telling his counterpart ‘Say goodnight Dick’ and the reply was ever faithful with ‘Goodnight Dick!’ So if you can recall how much fun ROWAN and MARTIN’S LAUGH-IN was, I am willing to bet that the opportunity to experience it all once again on DVD, all 1,384 minutes, will bring a huge grin and we have Time Life to thank for that!

In the end – political correctness? Forget about it!

 

Grab Your Liter of Farva Because the Badges are Back with SUPER TROOPERS 2

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Jeri Jacquin

Yes, it’s true – the boys with badges are back with writer/director Jay Chandrasekhar, Kevin Heffernan, Steve Lemme, Paul Soter and Erik Stolhanske (aka the Broken Lizard gang) along with Fox Searchlight Pictures in SUPER TROOPERS 2.

It has been a while since we last saw our favorite Vermont State Troopers as they have moved on since the Fred Savage incident. A telephone call from Captain O’Hagan (Brian Cox) is about to change their down trodden lives. Telling Mac (Steve Lemme), Rabbit (Erik Stolhanske), Foster (Paul Soter) and Thorny (Jay Chandrasekhar) to meet him in Canada for a fishing trip, it turns out the boys are the catch of the day. Oh yes, and Farva (Kevin Heffernan).

The Captain along with Governor Jessman (Lynda Carter) has a proposal for them, discovering that the lines between the United States and Canada are all messed up, it seems that a piece of Canada is about to become a piece of the United States…follow? Good, keep up because this is where it gets good.

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The Governor puts the gang back in uniform and introduces them to Mountie Podien (Hayes MacArthur), Bellefuille (Tyler Labine) and Archambault (Will Sasso) who aren’t thrilled at all about the changes coming. They are introduced to the town hockey hero Guy LeFranc (Rob Lowe) who owns the town bar & bordello and Genevieve Aubois (Emmanuelle Chriqui) who seems to be the only welcoming person.

As the changes begin to happen, like changing road way signs and listening to Canadians make it clear that the boys aren’t wanted – they discover crates of illegal guns, phones and weapons. Not sure exactly what is happening, they start searching for who is responsible while, at the same time, deal with the barrage of shenanigans from their Mounties counterparts!

They may not be average law enforcement but they never quit!

Cox as O’Hagan is happy to brings his boys back together and this time completely understands that they aren’t about to change their antics. Believing in second chances he’s fully on board. Chandrasekhar as Thorny brings his mustache back into play and doesn’t hesitate to take on Mounties or a bag of female hormone therapy. I just love his laid back attitude and straight faced one liners.

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Lemme as Mac is thrilled to be back and when the mystery of the crates comes about, he is on the case. Stolhanske as Rabbit is on his game and not just solving the crate case as a certain French woman has his full attention. Soter as Foster is definetly one of the boys and follows them and I secretly think hoping it will lead to even more trouble.

Heffernan as Farva doesn’t need a gun fired to get him off and running. I believe the best part of Farva being in Canada is – yes, his happiness in discovering there is somewhere in the world where you can get a liter of liquid. Heffernan is hilarious without question.

MacArthur as Podien, Labine as Bellefuille and Sasso as Archambault (Will) are proud of being Mounties and even prouder that their town has a bar and bordello. I have to say I loved their way of handling the Vermont crew.

Lowe as LeFranc has a horribly funny Canadian accent but then again he does play a former hero hockey player AND has a bar/bordello so actually I find myself nodding, ‘cool’. Chriqui as Genevieve wants to make the guys welcome, especially one warm and fuzzy guy.

Cameos and other cast include Seann William Scott as Trooper Callaghan, Clifton Collins Jr. as the Bus Driver, Damon Wayans Jr. as Trooper Wagner, Bruce McCulloch as Officer Lloyds, Paul Hauser as Lonnie Laloush, Jim Gaffigan as Larry Johnson, Marisa Coughlan as Ursula along with Lynda Carter and Fred Savage.

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SUPER TROOPERS came out in 2001 and here it is seventeen years later and these gents don’t miss a beat. The comedy is on point, the gags are awesome, the band is back together and the crowd in the theatre was thrilled. Simply stated, the anticipation for the film to start was thick in the air.

That’s what makes a film like SUPER TROOPERS so iconic, the fact that every person I spoke to at the screening could immediately repeat lines and were looking forward to new ones. SUPER TROOPERS 2 gives us ample reasons to laugh, groan, laugh some more and cheer our favorite Vermont state troopers once again! Happy to see them behind the wheel and treating each other with the same torture filled affection is a thrill.

I actually couldn’t eat much popcorn because the laughter would probably have caused me to choke. There isn’t one single thing about SUPER TROOPERS 2 that I didn’t embrace and laugh about.

What really made it all worth the wait is that the Broken Lizard gang didn’t try to reinvent the comedy wheel. Instead, they brought in subtle remembrances from 2001, kept the story close to what each character is known for and I am absolutely okay with both of those things.

Once the film starts it feels like comedy home and it’s hilariously comfortable. Do you have to see the first film? Not really. Should you see the first film? Absolutely! Anyone with a comedy genre collection better have the 2001 film in their cache or else I wouldn’t be friends with them.

SUPER TROOPERS 2 means a night of serious laughs!

In the end – the time is right meow!

Spielberg Brings History of THE POST to Bluray

PostBlurayCover

Jeri Jacquin

On Bluray/DVD and Digital this week from director Steven Spielberg, DreamWorks and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is a story of dedication to the truth in print from THE POST.

It is the 1970’s and Kay Graham (Meryl Streep) is the woman who owns and runs The Washington Post with Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) as her editor. Knowing that there are those who don’t support or trust her running of the paper, Kay takes in what is happening around her to find her voice.

When it comes to their attention that there is someone who has documents that expose the governments plans in Vietnam, The Post wants them. There is a problem, the man who photocopied the papers, Daniel Ellsberg (Matthew Rhys) has gone into hiding and slivers of the information have also been shared with The New York Times.

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What is in the papers? That the United States government was not being truthful to the American public about involvement in the Vietnam War. The papers also show the level of involvement went through Robert McNamara (Bruce Greenwood) all the way up to the president.

The New York Times looks for advice about publishing the Pentagon Papers and the government wants an injunction against any further papers be published. In the meantime, reporter Ben Bagdikian (Bob Odenkirk) from the Post finds Ellsberg and is given boxes of papers and Kay must decide whether to go forward before they are also stopped by the courts.

Bradlee gathers his writers and the clock is set to beat anything or anyone that wants to get in their way. Kay begins to feel the weight of what she is up against and realizes that she knows people that are involved and now must decide what the right thing is. Pressed by the papers all-male board, she realizes that the paper her father build is now
Kay digs in deep and knows that Bradlee will follow her lead.

The truth is worth fighting for!

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Streep as Kay Graham once again turns in a performance of a woman who is seen as a lovely decoration to the Post with men telling her what is important and what isn’t for the paper. Of course her insecurities are clear and Streep portrays the era with perfection. Gaining strength throughout the film, I cheer the hardest when she realizes that if the board of the paper wants to play tough – then she must learn to as well. Nothing wrong with telling the good ole’ boys club that it is ‘her’ paper and that’s how she is going to run it. Streep always gives everything to these roles and makes them not only believable but exceptional.

Hanks as Ben Bradlee is perfection and yes I’m being hugely Hanks-struck. I adore this actor and find him to be the absolute best of Hollywood and that includes the much misunderstood film TURNER AND HOOCH! Of course I wondered how he was going to portray this character since I do have Jason Robards’ version of Bradlee from the 1976 film ALL THE PRESIDENTS MEN stuck in my head. I had no reason to worry! THE POST is a perfect film to watch first and then take on the 1976 film because it is a history lesson about the government’s shenanigans from The Washington Post’s articles portrayed by two amazing actors.

Odenkirk as Bagdikian is on it to find the man with the papers. Knowing that this is the most important thing he will work toward, there is a moment where all of it might fall apart and Odenkirk keeps it straight. Rhys as Ellsberg has the worst case of paranoia I’ve ever seen and with good reason. He has what the government is looking for so he’s not about to let go if the information isn’t made public.

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Greenwood as McNamara is a man trying to keep his head above water yet Greenwood makes it look smooth and controlled. That’s what I love about Greenwood, whether he portrays a good, bad or indifferent character, he makes it look ridiculously smooth. The scene between Greenwood and Streep is hard to watch and strong for both of them in the scheme of the storyline.

Other cast include: Sarah Paulson as Tony Bradlee, Tracy Letts as Fritz Beebe, David Cross as Howard Simons, Zach Woods as Anthony Essaye, Bradley Whitford as Arthur Parsons, Alison Brie as Lally Graham, Carrie Coon as Meg Greenfield, and Jesse Plemons as Roger Clark.

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 Bluray and DVD Special Features include LAYOUT: Katharine Graham, Ben Bradlee & The Washington Post, EDITORIAL: The Cast and Characters of THE POST, THE STYLE SECTION: Recreating an Era, STOP THE PRESSES: Filming THE POST, ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT: Music for THE POST. THE POST received an Academy Award Nomination for Best Picture.

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This is a story that needed to be told for so many reasons especially with what is going on in government now. I am an avid watcher of films based on history and THE POST
not only falls into that category but totally served me up a history lesson.

The caliber of actors and actresses in this film make it extraordinary bringing it to a level that can’t be touched. That is what makes this film for me – a cast that seems to dive right in and take no prisoners mixed in with totally absorbing the time period of the 1970’s.

Watching each character take on their own beliefs about why they do what they do comes into play and it can’t be hidden in the film. Spielberg takes his own risk bringing the real news story to the attention of a fake-news world. He keeps the storyline crisp and doesn’t sugar coast anything about what it takes to hold the government accountable when caught lying to its own people.

What this should do for the press is remind them that people do want to know the truth about their government and that not only is that government accountable but so is the press that reports it. I can’t imagine that anyone who reports the news of the world not finding an amazing place in their hearts for the papers/editors and reporters who came before.

In the end – truth be told!

 

RAMPAGE Lets Loose!

Rampage

Jeri Jacquin

In theatres this Friday from director Brad Peyton and New Line Cinema is a story about a man, his friend and saving a city from RAMPAGE.

Up in space, an explosion of an experimental station sends debris falling from the sky including canisters that the Chicago based Energyn company wants back. Claire (Malin Akerman) and Brett Wyden (Jake Lacy) are siblings who want to make sure no one else gets their hands on it.

Primatologist Davis Okoye (Dwayne Johnson) works with animals at a sanctuary and his best friend is an albino gorilla named George. Speaking to one another through sign language, they have a connection of friendship and humor.

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Later that night George finds the canister as it opens shooting a mist into his face. The next morning Davis and his team discover that George is not only acting peculiar but has grown in size. Wanting to know what has happened to his friend, Davis meets Dr. Kate Caldwell (Naomie Harris), a geneticist who tells him what has happened.

Showing up to take George is OGA-man Harvey Russell (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) who knows everything about Davis and Kate. Russell shares with them that George isn’t the only creature on the loose – there is another! The one thing the OGA doesn’t know is that the Wyden siblings have set off a signal calling to both creatures.

Now Davis, Kate and Russell are racing against time to save George before the military makes there move. Plus – there is one other large thing they need to take care of as well.

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Johnson as Davis comes on strong and keeps it going from beginning to end. Of course he is charming, funny and has one-liners that absolutely work giving his character a fun edge. That could be considered odd since he is fighting big creatures but hey, you have to enjoy it a little bit or why else save the world with your friend George.

Harris as Kate has her own bone to pick with the Wyden siblings and at the same time wants to help Davis understand what is happening. Knowing things are out of control means jumping right in or perhaps more like jumping right out of things falling all around them.

Morgan as Russell grabs his swagger and quickly learns to believe what he is told by Davis. During the screening, the moment Morgan came on the screen the audience went buck wild. Of course the word ‘oh wow, it’s Negan’ was heard loud and clear but this character is the opposite of the bat-toting psycho. Instead, Russell is in it to help Davis and Kate because missiles aren’t friendly and downtown Chicago doesn’t need anymore renovating than necessary.

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Akerman as Claire owns a company that obviously doesn’t care one wit about the human race. She also doesn’t care about ‘liquidating’ anyone that gets in her way. Cold and calculated doesn’t even begin to cover it and brother Brett played by Lacey is just along for the ride leaving sister Claire to do all the dirty work.

Other cast include Joe Manganiello as Burke, Marley Shelton as Dr. Atkins, P.J. Byrne as Nelson, Demetrius Grosse as Col. Blake, Jack Quaid as Connor, Breanne Hill as Amy and Will Yun Lee as Agent Park.

RAMPAGE is pretty much everything you’d think – it’s predictable, a bit hokey, unbelievable with the usual destruction of a major city (this time Chicago) and yet I didn’t care not one little bit. Instead I absolutely had a good time reveling in all those points because hey, it’s Dwayne Johnson and that’s all anyone needs to know.

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George is cute and very funny and actually makes a pretty awesome partner for Johnson. I mean if you are going to play opposite The Rock, you better bring some muscle of your own. If you are looking for the bigger picture of the film it’s that George and Davis know the true meaning of friendship and don’t mind kicking a little creature butt to prove it.

This is a big-tub-of-popcorn-share-with-the-family-no-brainer-fun-adventure-action film that the whole family can see. It’s nice to just let a movie be exactly what it is, a movie that gives us all a chance to forget where we are, cheer on the big guy (either one works) and walk away feeling like a good time was had by all.

In the end – big meets bigger!

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