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December 2018

NIGHT SCHOOL Rings in the New Year Laughs on Bluray

Nightschool bluray

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray/DVD and Digital in time to ring in the New Year from director Malcolm D. Lee and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is a life lesson for us all while attending NIGHT SCHOOL.

Teddy (Kevin Hart) is a man who wants to show his love Lisa (Megalyn Echikunwoke) that he can take care of her and provide the finer things in life. The problem is that Teddy has champagne tastes on a beer budget. Selling bbq equipment, and doing it quite well, he sees a future of promise for them both.

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So much so that he finally asks Lisa to marry him with a large ring and an even larger explosion – literally. Now out of a job he has to find a quick way to get into another business so she doesn’t find out the emotional and financial fine line he’s been riding. The problem is that Teddy never graduated high school which means he is limited in the jobs he can get.

That’s when he decides to go to night school and get his GED and, of course, he runs into his first problem in the principal. Stewart (Taran Killam) is someone that Teddy bullied in high school and he has daggers for him big time. That means Stewart doesn’t want him any where near his school – even if night school teacher Carrie (Tiffany Haddish) doesn’t agree.

From night on Teddy is getting on everyone’s nerves including classmates Mackenzie (Rob Riggle), Jaylen (Romany Malco), Luis (Al Madrigal), Theresa (Mary Lynn Rajskub), Mila (Anne Winters) and the man behind prison Facetime Gerald (Keith David). He also learns that instructor Carrie isn’t taking any excuses or charming behavior for anyone who doesn’t want to learn.

The band of GED’ers also share with one another that they never were the best of students and are afraid they aren’t going to cut it. Even when they try their hardest it seems that the only solution to graduating is to take a few well places short cuts. When they are all confronted, it boils down to Teddy as the culprit and instigator.

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Given one final chance after a lot of chaos and knowing that his love for Lisa is on the line, the group comes together in friendship that no one, not even Principal Stewart can mess with. That and a few well place knocks on the mat as Carrie continues to believe in her students!

Hart as Teddy once again plays the role of a man who is out of place in life and spazzy at the way he deals with things. The humor is there and Hart is also credited with the script for NIGHT SCHOOL. Bringing together what he knows in the way of comedy with a cast of characters that have equally made their own mark in comedy makes this a silly film filled with chuckles, plus he does look good in a chicken costume.

Haddish as Carrie puts her verbal foot down from the moment she sees Teddy on the street to realizing he is the student that drives teacher’s crazy. Of course that doesn’t mean that Haddish doesn’t bring her own brand of comedy to the character. She had made a name for herself and continues to jump into comedies that make her look good.

Riggle as Mackenzie the coach takes a fall or two that had me cringing but still laughing. Malco as Jaylen has a whole speech on not being ‘woke’ yet and I went with it. Madrigal as Luis is hilarious with his speech about the pube cheese cake!

Rajskub as Theresa is a Mom who loves being a Mom but is a little psycho about it. Once you meet her husband you begin to understand why her screws are slightly loose. Winters as Mila is a girl who doesn’t see the benefit of schooling without social media. David as Gerald cracks me up trying to get an education while keeping an eye on who might be creeping up on the webcam.

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Echikunwoke as Lisa is a woman who doesn’t need anything more than Teddy although he doesn’t quite get that. She begins to suspect he is cheating on her with his long nights and weird work days. Killam as Stewart loves to carry a bat and speak in a way that worries even me. Trying to make sure Teddy is kept as down as he has always felt, he keeps his eye on everything that goes on in the classroom.

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.

The Bluray/DVD comes with an Extended Cut that also includes the Theatrical Version. Bonus Features are Alternate Opening, and Deleted Scenes, Gag Reel – prepare to laugh (or cry) yourself silly through this hilarious montage of behind-the-scenes antics performed by the cast of NIGHT SCHOOL.

 And Night School’s in Session – ring the bell as we introduce you to NIGHT SCHOOL’S band of misfits, Who’s the Student? Who’s the Teacher? – fans were thrilled to see friends Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish star in their first film together, Prom Night Revisited, Cap ‘n Gown ‘n Giggles, Making of the Dance Battle, Christian Chicken, Game Over, Extended Performance “El Sueno” and so much more!

Also, Movies Anywhere is part of the package that allows you to watch anywhere with the Movies Anywhere App!

Other cast include Fat Joe as Bobby, Ben Schwartz as Marvin, Yuvonne Orji as Maya, Bresha Webb as Denise, Jeff Rose as Isaac and Zach Osterman as Little Mac.

NIGHT SCHOOL is a story about where we have been, where we are and where we could go and teaches that lesson with hilarious laughs. It is such a large cast of funny people which makes the story so much fun to watch.

In the end – bring an apple for the teacher because NIGHT SCHOOL has begun!

THE ORVILLE: The Complete First Season is Out Of This World on DVD

Orville Season One

Jeri Jacquin

On DVD from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment comes a ship and its crew filled with adventure and awkwardness on the deck of THE ORVILLE: The Complete First Season.

Ed Mercer (Seth MacFarlane) is living in the 25th century with 21st century problems. After finding his wife Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki) cheating on him with something blue between the sheet, it is a year before he can even talk about it. When a captain’s chair becomes available on the USS Orville, Mercer jumps at the chance bringing Lt. Gordon Malloy (Scott Grimes) as his helmsman.

Arriving on the ship looking spiffy, his happiness is immediately taken down a peg when he is told that Kelly has been assigned as his first officer. After a time acceleration deal with a Krill Captain, Mercer and Kelly find themselves trapped in a Calivon zoo! Alara (Halston Sage) is commanding the Orville because Bortus (Peter Macon) had laid an egg and needs to be a good parent with mate Klyden (Chad Coleman). Claire wants to help Alara but it is Admiral Tucker (Ron Canada) who orders that the ship return home without Mercer.

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Bortus and Klyden are upset that their hatchling is a girl and turn to Doctor Finn (Penny Johnson Jerald) to make it ‘right’. The Doc refuses as does everyone else the two talk with about it. Upset they can’t get help, they turn to a Mocian vessel to have it done. Mercer even goes as far as to find one of their kind that has lived happily as a female and the choice between the two must be made.

Mercer and the crew of the Orville come across a 2000 year old ship drifting in space. They are shocked to discover that there are people called the Dorahl who don’t know they are on a ship! Their leader Hamelac refuses to let anyone tell the Dorahl about the outside world. The truth comes out when Captain Jahavus Dorahl (Liam Neeson) explains the truth.

Captain Pria Lavesque (Charlize Theron) and her ship are saved by The Orville and immediately Mercer is taken with her. There is a nagging feeling that something isn’t quite right yet she saves the Orville from a weird storm. Of course she did it for a reason as Pria turns out to be a time-traveling artifact dealer and puts Mercer’s head in just as much of a wormhole as she does the Orville!

On Sargas 4, Grayson is sent to find two missing anthropologists along with Alara and Claire. Mercer is keeping himself busy bringing Lysella onto the Orville to explain about a dancing feed that will teach her the difference between opinion and knowledge. Taking a little break, Isaac, Finn, Marcus (BJ Tanner) and Ty (Kai Wener) crash on a planet light years away from where they should be. It’s not a pretty planet either as the local cannibals are hungry and the dinner bell has been rung.

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The Orville is sent to mediate between the Navarians and the Bruidians. Mercer isn’t happy to learn that Darulio (Rob Lowe) is also at the meeting. Darulio has a pheromone problem and it has a major effect on the crew – most especially Grayson as well as Mercer, Finn and Yaphit (Norm Macdonald). Having such a big effect a battle between the Navarians and Bruidians breaks out and a they need something to bring out a cease fire. Grayson might also get the answer to the question that’s been following her for the last year – maybe.

After feeling guilty about the death of a ship mate, Alara wants to resign her post but Mercer refuses. The Orville is about to be hit by several interesting phenomena including scary clowns, giant spiders and murdering ship mates. Alara and Mercer have a confrontation that bring captain and crew to an understanding.

Mercer has to find a new chief engineer for the Orville and Grayson tries to convince him to give the post to LaMarr. Keeping that decision on hold, the crew comes in contact with someone who has plasma rifles that belong to the Krill. To get out of a potential problem with the Krill, Mercer discovers that his hesitation about LeMarr turn out to be unnecessary.

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Grayson and her team crash land on a Bronze Age planet and they quickly realize they only have 11 days to get home or else 700 years will pass. Grayson becomes a deity of sorts and a theocracy happens very quickly. Mercer is in hot water with Admiral Ozawa Kelly Hu) and is told to stay away from the planet. Mercer and Grayson don’t listen (what a surprise right?) and see how much the planets history continues to shift. Isaac Mark Jackson) stays for a planet rotation only to come back to the Orville to explain that they are now on the right path and far ahead time wise!

MacFarlane as Mercer is unsure, depressed and neurotic as anyone would be when finding a blue alien in a wife’s bed! Getting sympathy orders to be the captain of the Orville seems like the lowest blow he could deal with but instead, Mercer takes it in stride and gets comfortable in the captains chair. Of course that moment of happiness is fleeting but he accepts the challenge that the Orville brings and it can only be done by MacFarlane. The guy still makes me laugh after all these years!

Palicki as Grayson is dealing with her own issues of guilt and bedding a blue guy can do it to a gal. Trying to make things right by joining the crew of the Orville certainly puts the ex’s relationship to the test on several occasions but I enjoy the banter. Grimes as Malloy is the character I can’t wait to see what he says next. He is cocky and doesn’t seem to have a problem voicing his opinion on just about anything. I kinda like the guy!

Sage as Alara is smart and sweet which can be a bad combination. As the season goes on don’t let the interesting face fool you. Macon as Bortus is an alien with some serious issues from egg laying to egg raising. Along with Coleman as mate Klyden, this is a family that needs to figure things out quick as space waits for no one. Jerald as Finn is always one step back watching the craziness the crew comes up with and tries to guide when she can and stays out of the mayhem when necessary.

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Other cast include J. Lee as Lt. John LaMarr, Gavin Lee as Nurse Park, Mike Henry as Dann, Brian George as Doctor Aronov, Victor Garber as Admiral Halsey, Jeffrey Tambor as Ben Mercer, Holland Taylor as Jeannie Mercer, Rena Owen as Heveena, James Horan as Sazeron, Steven Culp as Wilks, and Brian Thompson as Drogen.

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

The DVD episodes include Old Wounds, Command Performance, About a Girl, If the Stars Should Appear, Pria, Krill, Majority Rule, Into the Fold, Cupid’s Dagger, Firestorm, New Dimensions and Mad Idolatry.

The Special Features include Q&A with Cast and Creative Team from PaleyFest 2018, Inside Look, Directed By, The First Six Missions, Designing the Future, The Orville Takes Flight, The Science of The Orville: Quantum Drive and Alien Life, Crafting Aliens and A Better Tomorrow.

THE ORVILLE is such a good time and I want more. The cast of characters and the actors that portray them are spot on and actually look like they are enjoying it more than they probably should be allowed to. Having so many guests on the show also means that the street-cred of the crew is universal.

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In the midst of the comedy there are subtle issue tackling bits of space housecleaning that are sure to catch anyone’s attention. Prime example is Bortus and Klyden raising a female in what clearly is a male dominated alien species but its also not without its secrets and its idea of acceptance.

So this is the perfect cold weather marathoning series to watch in prep for a second season that is certainly sure to have even more outrageous aliens and Captain Mercer at the helm. I mean really, would we have it any other way? I’m all in!

THE ORVILLE Season Two is docking to your television set in the new year!

In the end – they are our future gawd help us!

THE PREDATOR Stalks on 4K and Bluray

predator 4K

 

Jeri Jacquin

On 4K Ultra HD, Bluray and Digital from writer/director Shane Black and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment comes a new generation of terror with THE PREDATOR.

Quinn McKenna (Boyd Holbrook) is part of a Ranger team that is sent on a mission to find out about a ship that has crashed on Earth. After a very close range fire fight, McKenna gets part of a Predator’s armor because he wants to prove they exist. Sending what he needs for proof to ex-wife Emily (Yvonne Strahovski) and son Rory (Jacob Tremblay), the government holds him.

Also at the crash site is agent Will Traeger (Sterling K. Brown) who takes the Predator to a lab where Casey Bracket (Olivia Munn) is assigned to study it. Thinking they have everything under control was their first mistake when the Predator wakes up and begins to wreak havoc in the lab. Bracket hides and is surprised when the creator walks away from her.

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McKenna has been put on a bus with other government prisoners that include Nebraska Williams (Trevante Rhodes), Coyle (Keegan-Michael Key), Baxley (Thomas Jane), Lynch (Alfie Allen) and Nettles (Augusto Aguilera). It doesn’t take long before after shareable moments between fellow military men, turns into a mission to save McKenna’s son.

Taking charge of the bus, they group finds Bracket on the road and she tells them what has happened. Especially the part where she informs them that they found human DNA in the Predator believing they are becoming hybrids.

McKenna’s son Rory has gone trick-or-treating and after finding the armor his father sent, it becomes clear it is a beacon for the Predator to find him. The group comes under fire from the creature and Traeger knows that it is the boy that can tell him exactly what he needs to know. Taking Rory to the ship only brings more trouble because McKenna isn’t about to let Traeger or the Predator hurt his son.

Arriving at the ship, it doesn’t take long before they all begin to understand what it is the Predator wants. None of them could have predicted who the creature wants but the Predator isn’t going to get it without a fight.

Holbrook as McKenna is a man on a mission with the biggest problem being no one believes what is actually happening. It’s hard to do the job when the government is keeping its own secrets about what is really happening. Holbrook is tough and isn’t about to let his character be seen as anything other than a bad ass.

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Munn as Bracket is brought in to studying the Predator and discovers what the creatures DNA contains and what they’ve been doing on our planet. Munn is fast, smart and is up for a good fight, especially when she has alien-dogs on her side.

Tremblay as Rory is a young boy who is interested in the gadget his father has sent. He knows there is something more to it all and discovers quickly that it isn’t a video game! Strahovski as Emily knows McKenna is a good man and an even better soldier and makes it clear to the group to not mess with him.

Brown as Traeger is part of the “Stargazer Project” and wants to keep anyone who has any knowledge about it under wraps – and that includes especially McKenna. The problem is once the Predator escapes, the one guy he has put away is the one guy he needs. Jane as Baxley is a character and a half and suffers from post-traumatic stress after his time in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Allen as Lynch, Aguilera as Nettles, and Key as Coyle are the rest of the group who have no problem joining in with McKenna. They are eager to strap on some weaponry and help not only find the Predator but show it who’s planet it really is!

Other cast include Jake Buey as Sean Keyes, Niall Matter as Sapir and Brian Prince as The Predator.

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 Special Features include Deleted Scenes, a Touch of Black, Predator Evolution, The Takedown Team, Predator Catch-Up and Gallery. There is over an hour of Bonus Content with Inside the Evolution of The Predator. The 4K Ultra HD is the Ultimate Movie-Watching Experience and you can have it at home. Also there is Movies Anywhere and to watch anywhere all you have to do is download the app!

Taking a different perspective from the original 1987 film PREDATOR, director Black expands the alien’s world with a few new plot twists. Of course it wouldn’t be a Predator film without lots of action and because this creature isn’t going out without a fire fight of some kind.

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The group of fighters quickly understand what they are up against and this is definitely a film that needs a sound bar attached to an absolutely stunning 4K television. It’s the kind of film you gather up a group of friends with some popcorn and pick a side till the end.

In the end – the hunt has evolved!

MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS

Mary Queen cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming this Friday from director Josie Rourke and Focus Features is the story of a woman who would be more with MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS.

Mary (Saoirse Ronan) is returning to Scotland from France after the death of her husband King Francis. Taking up her crown as Queen of Scotland, she is met by her half-brother James (James McArdle) the Earl of Moray who doesn’t seem pleased to see her.

He isn’t the only one as John Knox (David Tennant) makes it very clear that he isn’t about to change faiths to accommodate her. Mary makes it very clear that he his council is no longer welcome at her court. James tries to tell Mary that she has started something that could hurt her along the way.

The one thing Mary wants is to seal any breach with her cousin Queen Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie). Elizabeth is being told repeatedly by her advisor William Cecil (Guy Pearce) that Mary is a danger and only wants to take the throne. Trying to find a middle ground, Elizabeth suggests that Mary marry an Englishman and offers up her own lover Robert Dudley (Joe Alwyn). Mary has other plans and marries Lord Darnley (Jack Lowden).

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Realizing she may have made a mistake, the only way to solidify her position is by having a child before Elizabeth. When she has a son, it changes her feelings and she shares with Elizabeth asking her to be the child’s godmother. Elizabeth believes that this may just be the tie that binds the two women.

Mary is having a difficult time as well when Darnley has no problem showing his disregard for her position as Queen. When her own council tries to take the throne, Darnley is talked into being part of the conspiracy. Intrigue continues to plague Mary as the men around her lay claim, force marriages and don’t understand the fierceness of the Queen.

Seeing one last hope, Mary asks to meet with her sister-cousin Elizabeth in hopes to get support in fighting back those who would take the Scottish throne. Although Elizabeth feels for her cousin, it becomes clear to Mary that she may be at the end of her reign.

Two queens who want the same thing in different ways.

Ronan as Mary is remarkable but then again she is a remarkable actress. The first movie I ever saw her in was the intense and emotionally draining film ATONEMENT followed by the equally intense film THE LOVELY BONES. Since then nothing has stopped her from honing her craft in every way possible and with characters that have obviously taught her more and more about choosing roles and defining who she is as an actress. MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS is another example of why I will see every piece of filmmaking she is in – always. This is a character driven by a woman up against men who see her as a trophy to be one and then disguarded because she is, after all, only a woman. Well done Ronan, well done!

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Robbie as Elizabeth doesn’t hesitate to put every little bit of her Queen out there – from her lovers, illness and inability to be told who to marry and what children to have. Robbie presents a strong force of a woman that shows moments of private struggle but when push comes to shove Robbie helps Elizabeth straightens her spine and her crown. The scene between the two queens is one of the most poignant and double-edged I have seen in a while on film.

McArdle as James is clearly a man who has been led by the nose at the hands of the council and happily so until Mary comes back. Then his little hurt feelings are put out for all to see and he wants justice for it all. McArdle is an actor on a mission and playing the role of a spurned brother isn’t easy. Lowden as Lord Darnley is just another man in Mary’s life that believes he is owed something at the cost of everything else. Tennant as Knox is a religious zealot who barks a good game hoping others will do the fighting for him.

Pearce as Cecil is a part of the pack on the other side of the pond who wants what he wants and thinks whispering in Elizabeth’s ear means he will get it. Alwyn as Dudley is a man who love Elizabeth the woman but takes orders from Elizabeth the Queen. Not easy being told to go be your enemy’s husband and Dudley is only saved by Mary’s hot headedness.

Other cast include Gemma Chan as Elizabeth Hardwick, Brendan Coyle as Matthew Stewart, Ian Hart as Lord Maitland, Adrian Lester as Lord Randolph, Maria-Victoria Dragus as Mary Fleming, Alex Beckett as Walter Mildmay, Ismael Cordova as David Rizzio and Simon Russell as Robert Beale.

MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS is a film about two women in a man’s era fighting for their crowns. They should never have had to make that choice between the two of them but with so many men whispering in their ears, I don’t know how they lasted as long as they did with each other.

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Mary clearly didn’t know what Elizabeth did and that is you practically have to give up being a woman to hold onto the throne. Clearly having more time to learn that lesson than Mary, Elizabeth wanted to embrace their sisterhood-of-crowns but hard headedness got in both of their ways.

The film is beautifully done and the costuming is breathtaking. I have a weakness for period piece films and when they are done as well as MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS, well I can’t help but find no fault in it.

There have been other films that have touched on the relationship between Mary and Elizabeth, and even a television show called Reign that gave viewers a glimpse of her life in France. MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS is a look at what happened once she left France and before the infamous and shocking red dress. From a young woman married to a French king to becoming a widow and returning queen of her own country – there is nothing about her life that is easy or without intrigue and betrayal.

In the end – bow to no one!

SHARP OBJECTS Gives Twists and Turns a New Meaning

sharp objects cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray and Digital from HBO Home Entertainment, director Jean-Marc Vallee based on the book by Gillian Flynn is family dysfunction with SHARP OBJECTS.

Camille Preaker (Amy Adams) is a reporter with her own unique set of problems that she drowns in alcohol. When editor boss/friend Frank (Miguel Sandoval) asks her to cover the story of two girls who were killed in her hometown of Wind Gap, Camille goes but not without hesitation.

The first reason to be wary is the tension filled relationship Camille has with mother Adora (Patricia Clarkson) and strained step-father Alan (Henry Czerny). Going to stay in the family home, the only person who seems happy to see her is little sister Amma (Eliza Scanlen). All of this brings Camille to flashbacks of her own young life and the young death of a sister Marian years before.

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Jumping right in to the story she meets Det. Richard Willis (Chris Messina) and they both begin to wonder about the murder of the two young girls. Looking for a connection, the local chief of police Bill Vickery (Matt Craven) is keeping his eye on Det. Willis.

At home Camille notices that Adora still keeps Marian’s room like a shrine and that starts a conversation between the two that is filled with hurt and venomous words. Amma is behaving like a teenager as she tries to break away from Adora’s control. Coming home drunk, Adora instantly blames Camille and the bad influence she brings to the family.

Back to the story, Camille speaks to father of the second girl murdered; Bob Nash (Will Chase) who believes teen John Keene (Taylor John Smith) is responsible. That sends her to visit the young man but also meets cheerleader girlfriend Ashley (Madison Davenport) who defends her boyfriend fiercely.

More of Camille’s life comes to the forefront and she can’t seem to avoid it. Her time in a psychiatric hospital, death of friends and hurting herself as a way to deal with it all. Adora takes great pains in making sure that Camille knows of the ‘trouble’ she has always caused and continues to cause. Especially with the town celebration of Calhoun Day and Camille’s articles about the murders become the talk of the event.

To pay her daughter back, Adora takes Richard on a guided tour of their home and when alone, lets the officer know that Camille is dangerous. At the same time cheerleader Ashley is upset with Camille that she wasn’t given enough attention in the article that came out. Amma performs for the crowd and when she sees that sister Camille isn’t giving her enough attention, she flees sending everyone into a frenzy.

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Adora decides that she has had enough of Camille and wants her to leave but wants husband Alan to do the deed. While out, she runs into Amma and her friends agreeing to go off to a party where sisters end up high roller skating through Wind Gap. While the family drama takes a turn, Richard decides to investigate Camille and find out what everyone in the family is hiding and why Adora considers her own daughter dangerous. In that investigation he also finds out what killed sister Marian. Richard had no problem finding people who wanted to talk and the paper trail to back it up.

When Keene is arrested for murder, Richard is shocked to discover that he is with Camille. Feeling defeated once again, she turns to long time family friend Jackie (Elizabeth Perkins) only to discover that what has been happening is now moving closer to home. Feeling as if she is losing control, she calls boss-friend Frank who is worried now more than ever that Camille is falling apart and may hurt herself.

She returns home and sits for a family dinner where everyone is calm but sister Amma looks ill. When Adora takes her to bed, Camille also begins to feel ill. Relying on mother Adora, mother finally gets the wish to take care of her daughter as she tells Camille how much it all means to her.

What happens when Richard knocks on the door starts a domino effect into a shocking conclusion that Camille can not even begin to grasp.

Adams as Camille is everything that is stunning about this series! She carries the film through so many twists and turns and it is her undisputed talent that made me want so much more. Of course the finale had me as shocked as the look on her character Camille’s face when the whole story comes to the surface. Adams is an actress who continues to surprise me in her role choices but in SHARPER OBJECTS I can’t imagine anyone who could have pulled off Camille better than she.

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Clarkson as Adora is another actress who I personally have come to adore. She is bold, brave and also surprises and delights me with the choices in roles she plays. I first saw Clarkson in the 1987 film THE UNTOUCHABLES, the 1999 film THE GREEN MILE, the 2010 film SHUTTER ISLAND and one of my favorite and deliciously guilty pleasures Netflix hit House Of Cards. As Adora she is sharp and there are moments where if looks could kill – Clarkson’s beautiful eyes would leave prints on the two daggers!

Scanlen as Amma has me cringing from the first scene to the last. Actually she drove me completely nuts with her teenage attitude and mean streak with everyone letting her get away with a lot. But isn’t that what teens do? Drive us all nuts with their cell phones, sense of entitlement and sneaking off to do gawd knows what. Yet there are moments where she just wants her family close and the love of both her sister and mother. Scanlen made it all look so easy and she definitely gets high fives from me.

Messina as Det. Willis jumps right into the case whether the town sheriff likes it or not. He is immediately drawn to Camille but can’t understand what it is about her that screams secrets and lies. Messina takes his character’s job seriously and isn’t about to let anyone stop him from finding out who is killing teenage girls. Craven as Vickery doesn’t want help with the case and seems to have a strange closeness to Adora that Camille doesn’t quite understand. Craven’s character may seem laid back but don’t let the daily habits fool you.

Smith as Keene has a story to tell but it’s hard to make people believe you when gossip is stronger than the truth. Smith is a quiet character letting the town make their own judgment calls. Davenport as Ashley is a cheerleader who craves attention and believes supporting her boyfriend will make that happen. It isn’t hard to believe that a young girl would act this way and Davenport makes sure we buy into it.

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Sandoval as Frank is a boss who is more of a friend to Camille. Wanting the story on one hand and worrying that he made a mistake choosing his young reporter on the other. Czerny as Alan is a man who cares deeply for his wife but is the strangest husband I think I have ever laid eyes on. Putting his wife first above everything else, he attempts to put Camille in her place but is only met with a fingers reply.

Other cast include Jackson Hurst as Kirk Lacey, Lulu Wilson as Marian, Sophia Lillis as young Camille, Jennifer Aspen as Jeannie Keene, David Sullivan as Chris, Reagan Pasternak as Katie Lacey, Sydney Sweeney as Alice, Hilary Ward as Becca Barbara Eve Harris as Eileen and Emily Yancy as Gayla.

HBO Home Entertainment has an extensive array of critically-acclaimed and groundbreaking programs found on Bluray, DVD and Digital HD. They have provided viewers with some of the most amazing programs with huge fan bases that include the shows True Blood, Sex and the City, The Sopranos, True Detectives, The Wire, Entourage and Game of Thrones. Launched in 1984, HBO is world wide in viewed entertainment in more than 70 territories around the world! For more of what they have to offer please visit www.hbo.com.

The Bluray contains the episodes Vanish, Dirt, Fix, Ripe, Closer, Cherry, Falling, and Milk. Bonus Features include Creating Wind Gap: The Cast and Crew discuss the creation of the fictional town of Wind Gap.

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SHARP OBJECTS is an intense story that isn’t easy to figure out (thank goodness!) leaving every episode with more questions than answers. This is totally worth binge watching because I would have gone crazy in my own way to have to wait each week for the next episode.

The ensemble cast is absolutely spectacular as each character has their own story to tell in a mix that resembles water but is really deadly quicksand. There isn’t a character in this series that I don’t absolutely love because of their uniqueness to the show and the ease in which they all drew me in so quickly.

The intensity only adds to the mystery surrounding Wind Gap and sets a deep tone. There is no doubt that HBO has taken the lead in what is quickly becoming daring story telling and SHARP OBJECTS adds grit and not an ounce of fear in being dark and powerful.

In the end – going home was never so dangerous!

ONCE UPON A DEADPOOL Brings Christmas Cheer – Sort Of!

 

once upon cover

Jeri Jacquin

In theatres this weekend from director David Leitch, Marvel Entertainment and 20th Century Fox comes a man who needs no introduction other than the words ONCE UPON A DEADPOOL (aka DEADPOOL 2).

Deadpool has decided that he wants to tell a merry story and only one person deserves his attention. Fred Savage wakes to find himself duct taped to a bed in a room that seems all too familiar. Wanting to read Fred the story of Deadpool, it might take an awkward turn a time or two.

So the story begins as Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) is back as Deadpool and he’s happier than ever with gal-pal Vanessa (Morena Baccarin). On their anniversary Wade has a little something planned except his mercenary work decides to follow him home and bring mayhem along with them.

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Sending his life in a tailspin and ready to do his worst, it isn’t until Colossus (Stefan Kapicic) brings Wade back to the Xavier Mansion that he sees a use for life. Agreeing to be an X-Men trainee along with Negasonic Teenage Warhead (Brianna Hildebrand), they meet Russell Collins (Julian Dennison). Calling himself Firefist, he refuses to be abused any further at the orphanage.

A few bad fighting choices puts both Deadpool and Firefist in a place called the ‘Icebox’ that stores mutants. That actually makes it easier for future arrival Cable (Josh Brolin) to find his target – which isn’t Deadpool much to his disappointment – but the young Russell.

Deciding that he must help the young boy, Deadpool puts together a group he calls X-Force and begins accepting applications with buddy Weasel (T.J. Miller). Their goal is to find the prison truck transport and get Russell back. What they don’t know is that Russell finds a friend in Juggernaut, who has his own issues with super heroes.

Cable finally tells Deadpool why he wants the boy and that he must be stopped before reaching the orphanage or there is no turning back with a future fate sealed. Now Deadpool, Cable and his new recruit lucky Domino (Zazie Beetz) face off with Russell and Juggernaut but he is too strong. Thankfully Colossus and Warhead decide that Deadpool needs their help and the battle for good and evil begins.

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It’s all being done the Deadpool way!

Reynolds as Wade Wilson/Deadpool has made damn sure that no one else, ever, will be able to remake-reimagine-rethink-rediscover or “re” anything else someone might want to do in ten years. He has made this character completely iconic and absolute in the minds of everyone who loves this character. It is no big secret to anyone that I’m not a huge super hero person, I mean I see the films but then it’s like ‘next!’ to me. Not DEADPOOL – this is the number one character I looked forward to seeing the first time and it was like Christmas morning as a kid for DEADPOOL 2. There is nothing, and I mean NOTHING to complain about in this film and its Reynolds fault completely. I’m sure he won’t mind taking the blame for this one. He gives this ole lady plenty to laugh about and that’s everything.

High five to Savage for taking on Deadpool in any way shape or form and giving him something to think about. They actually are very sweet together in a brother from another mother sort of way.

Brolin as Cable has me a little perplexed. Jumping between two comic book characters just isn’t something I’m thrilled about. I’m still not over Chris Evans going from his blaze days to Captain America and it’s been more than a hot minute. Between the two I would prefer he stay in the Cable lane but a paycheck is a paycheck right? Okay, so as cable I love the ying and yang between he and Deadpool. They both have issues and yet play off of them providing each other with a conscience.

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Dennison as Russell is a kid on a mission and although he has every reason to be pretty p.o.’d, ending up with Deadpool in an icebox might be a tad worse. He is going through his terrible teens and just happens to have fist that can destroy anything in its path.

Beetz as Domino doesn’t take Wade or Deadpool seriously because she’s all about proving that lucky favors her own brand of coolness. Hildebrand returns as Negasonic Teenage Warhead with a few surprises for her favorite DP dude. Miller as Weasel gets a moment or two to shine with his favorite stool warmer.

Kapicic returns as the understanding and patient Colossus and I think he is the only one that true gets Wade/Deadpool. Baccarin as Vanessa is back to bring positive reinforcement and a good lap dance to her favorite super hero.

A serious shout out to Leslie Uggams as Blind Al, the one person who knows that Wade is a miserable human being sometimes yet accepts him the same. She might not be able to see but I’d let her defend me anytime, provided I can point the gun.

Also, Karan Soni as Dopinder who finally gets the opportunity to show what he’s made of – taxi and all. Shioli Kutsuna makes an appearance as Yukio who has the cutest exchanges with Deadpool and Eddie Marsan as the butt-head-master of Essex Orphanage.

Lets give a round of applause to Terry Crews as Bedlam, Lewis Tan as Shatterstar, Bill Skarsgard as Zeitgeist, Rob Delaney as Peter and Brad Pitt as Vanisher. Also, who can forget the amazing Jack Kesy as Black Tom Cassidy.

I think I’ve made if fairly clear that I am a huge Deadpool fan and if you thought I’d be giving any spoilers out well then I’m happy to disappoint you. From the moment the film begins to its very, very, VERY end (this is my way of saying stay after the credits), Reynolds and his band of merry misfits provide such a good time this a second viewing still had me laughing.

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What had me floored the most was the exchanges between Deadpool and Savage and as much as I loved it, I was also disappointed that there wasn’t more. Seriously, these two together are absolutely hilarious. Savage clearly has a total understanding of the comic universe and explained the nuances of plot points and character placement.

Yes, Reynolds has snappy and seriously stellar comebacks and although I enjoyed watching the film on the big screen again, I felt a little emotionally used. Oh well, no one said being a fan doesn’t have its crotch-punches now and again. Have an extraordinary experience and remember he’s only here to show you a good time, again, for a limited run.

In the end – prepare for the ultimate second coming or third!

RIVER RUNS RED Seeks Revenge on Bluray

river runs red cover

Jeri Jacquin

On 4K UHD, Bluray and DVD from Cinedigm Entertainment Group and writer/director Wes Miller comes a story of justice and revenge with RIVER RUNS RED.

Charles Coleman (Taye Diggs) is a man who has worked hard for a career in law and becoming a judge. Married to medic Eve (Jennifer Tao) and raising son CJ (Joseph Belk), he is seeing all of his life dreams come true.

When Coleman and CJ have a friendly bet, it is CJ who drives away in his fathers expensive car! On his way to school, he is pulled over by Officer Rory (Gianni Capaldi) and Officer Von (Luke Hemsworth) and while reaching for his wallet the officers open fire.

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Coleman and Eve are devastated and can not understand how such a thing can happen. They are angry and even more so when they are told that CJ had a gun leading to the officers shooting him. They know this isn’t true but the pain of their loss has them trying to cope the best they know how. Coleman enlists the help of Detective Horace (John Cusack) to find out more about the officers who shot his son.

Javier (George Lopez) is a mechanic who with his wife Marilyn (Briana Evigan) have spent the last two years avoiding the thoughts of their sons death. Coleman goes to see him when he realizes that there is a connection between them. Javier wants nothing to do with speaking about the death of his son; that is until Coleman shows him something that changes his mind.

Motivated by anger, rage and sadness, the two fathers make a plan to take matters into their own hands.

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Diggs as Coleman is a husband and father who has worked hard to become a judge and to provide for his family. Enjoying his life it all changes in the flash of gunfire. Diggs portrays a father mired down in the hurt and rage at the unfairness by the same system that he has spent years being a part of. Turning to all those that should be helping him, he finds that they don’t seem to take the situation seriously. This is a tough role but Diggs gives it all the twists and turns up to the shocking ending.

Lopez as Javier is another father who can’t seem to get past the death of his son. Pushing down his feelings he thinks he finally has his life bearable. That is until he gets a visit from Coleman with his suspicions about the officers who killed CJ and shows father Javier a reason to join him in a plan to get justice for both of their sons. Lopez gets a chance to show serious acting chops.

Hemsworth as Von knows almost immediately that what has happened with the judges’ son isn’t something that is going to go away. Trying to move forward, he immerses into his own home life and that of his young son. Capaldi as Rory is a hot headed cop who seemed to be looking for any reason that day to shoot someone. Keeping an eye on his partner Von and believing they are in the clear is his first mistake. Both of these actors played off of each other’s character in a chilling way.

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Tao as Eve lashes out at her husband when ever she thinks about the death of their son. She also wants justice and feels that Coleman isn’t doing enough to make that happen. Evigan as Marilyn watches her husband become withdrawn but when Coleman shows up she fears what he will do.

Cusack as Horace is a detective that realizes what Coleman is up against. Wanting to help his friend discover what the two officers are hiding, he begins to see a change in the judge and fears for him.

Other cast include: RJ Mitte as Officer Thomas, Steve Berrebi as Brass One, Jaqueline Fleming as Professor Lawless, Tshombi Basemore as Diego, Michael Clofine as Officer Mike, John D. Hickman as Officer Tom and Spencer Kingsley as Carter.

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

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RIVER RUNS RED is a film that speaks about the times we live in and the way the justice system handles cases of officer involved shootings. Even when the young man killed has a father who is a judge, there seems to be a thin veil that no one wants to push through.

Writer/director Wes Miller jumps in without any hesitation in pointing out the inequalities both Coleman and Javier face. There isn’t any mincing of words or emotions bringing it all straight out into the open. The ending is staggering, shocking and emotional showing that everything doesn’t wrap up as neatly.

The cast led by Diggs and Lopez brings a strong intensity to the story and once the film begins, there aren’t to many moments to catch your breath.

In the end – vengeance is the only justice!

WE, THE MARINES is a Lesson in Honor and Love of Country

We the Marines Bluray

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on 4K Ultra HD, Bluray and Digital from SHOUT! Factory, directed by Greg MacGillivray and narrated by Academy Award winner and former Marine Gene Hackman is WE, THE MARINES.

The documentary gives viewers an inside look to the strength and beliefs of the United States Marine Corps. Hackman begins with a brief history of when the Marines began. In 1775, the Marine Corps began because men were needed to defend the states militarily from enemies.

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As the years passed, the Marine Corps served on the beaches of Iwo Jima and by raising the American flag, become a symbol of honor and sacrifice around the world. Serving in Vietnam, the Marines continued to serve and defend.

In current times, the men and women of the United States Marine Corps are trained on the east and the west coast. From Parris Island to Camp Pendleton to training in Yuma Arizona, it all begins with boot camp. Hackman talks about the lessons each person who enlists comes to understand about the Corps.

From the air, land and sea, MacGillivray gives us a glimpse of the training and dedication those in the Marine Corp endure to become the best. Waiting for them to complete missions and come home are the families who see each and every Marine as a hero.

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But it is not just war were the Marine Corps can be found, they are also on the front line of humanitarian efforts around the world. Hurricanes, floods and earthquakes, they can be found helping bringing supplies and aid to survivors.

That is why their creed of Semper Fidelis – Latin for ‘always faithful’ – is something that stays with each United States Marine for the rest of their lives.

A MacGillivray Freeman film produced in association with the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation and presented by The Boeing Company, WE, THE MARINES was originally produced for permanent exhibition in the Giant-Screen Medal of Honor Theater at the National Museum of the Marine Corps. This striking film will not be available in living rooms across the country.

The Ultra HD Bluray release of WE, THE MARINES stands as SHOUT! Factory’s first foray into the new HDR10+ technology, which allows filmmakers to present their content not only in the best quality possible, but to showcase the creative intent behind it. HDR10+ provides for scene-by-scene, frame-by-frame adjustments through dynamic metadata, allowing an unparalleled level of detail. It also puts the control of content presentation directly back into the filmmakers’ hands.

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WE, THE MARINES includes 4K SDR, 4K HRD, and 4K HDR10+ for the full UHD experience. Also in Ultra HD TV with HDR is needed to access 4K HDR and HDR10+.

SHOUT! Factory has grown into a tremendous multi-platform media company. Releasing an exciting catalog of 4K films that include the incredible critically acclaimed and award-winning odyssey JOURNEY TO SPACE, FLIGHT OF THE BUTTERFLIES, THE LAST REEF: CITIES BENEATH THE SEA and NATIONAL PARKS ADVENTURE. For more of what SHOUT Factor has to offer please visit www.shoutfactory.com.

Narrated by Gene Hackman, it is amazing that as a former Marine he takes the tasks of speaking on the Corps. He does so with intensity and feeling while allowing those in service now to share small pieces of their own experiences and feelings.

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That is what makes WE, THE MARINES such an important piece of filmmaking. It is an opportunity for those who might not have family members in the Marine Corps to at least understand more about it. For those who do have family members in the Marine Corps, it gives a little more insight into perhaps some of the reason this branch of the military is chosen.

I have family members who are former Marines and some who are thinking of following in the family footsteps. It is a humbling thing to see their dedication and drive to succeed in their military endeavors.

In the end – it is more than dedication and service!

OPERATION FINALE is a Story of Justice

Operation Finale cover

Jeri Jacquin

On Bluray/DVD and Digital from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and director Chris Weitz based on a true story tells us about the historic OPERATION FINALE.

Peter Malkin (Oscar Isaac) is part of an Israeli secret agents who have one goal – to track down and arrest SS officer Adolf Eichmann (Ben Kingsley). They want him as he is known as the mastermind of what is known as the ‘Final Solution’ and the Jewish people in concentration camps during World War II.

In Argentina, Sylvia Hermann (Haley Lu Richardson) is a young woman who begins dating a boy named Klaus Eichmann (Joe Alwyn). Klaus tells her family that he has been raised by his uncle Ricardo after his father died. It is Sylvia’s father who believes that he is onto something. When a photograph is relayed back to Israel of Uncle Ricardo, Malkin is brief on the operation to bring Eichmann back to Israel to stand trail for war crimes.

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Along with Hanna Elian (Melanie Laurent), Isser Harel (Lior Raz), Rafi Eitan (Nick Kroll) and others, the group come to Buenos Aires, Argentina searching. They set up and prepare the best way to capture Eichmann and get him to an airplane covertly. Malkin has a lot to prove as they thought they were capturing the same man in Austria and it went wrong.

Capturing Eichmann is one thing, having him at a safe house until he can be extracted is another. Son Klaus and wife Vera (Greta Scacchi) are doing everything possible to find Eichmann. That means the clock is ticking to get a confession from Eichmann about who he really is.

Malkin finds himself talking with Eichmann when it is his turn to watch the prisoner. Everyone else in the safe house finds taking care of the former SS officer distasteful so Malkin takes their shifts as he wants to know why and believes he can convince Eichmann to sign the document.

Klaus has brought down every person to bear in order to find his father – even throwing both Sylvia and her father in jail. Torturing the young girl doesn’t seem to faze Klaus enough to stop it but what she tells him put them all on the hunt for the safe house. Every move is becoming ever more dangerous with lives at stake.

Time is running out and the race is on to get Eichmann to the plane and to stand trial for his war crimes.

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Golden Globe winner Isaac as Malkin is a man with memories that make it difficult at times to do what needs doing. When an earlier mission to capture Eichmann turned chaotic, it is clear that Malkin wants to make sure the mission goes according to a well laid plan. When Eichmann is their prisoner at the safe house, Isaac’s character takes it upon himself to get to ‘know’ the man with the goal of a confession. That means telling Eichmann very personal things in the hope that the former SS officer will trust in him. There comes a moment of cat and mouse that I thought was going to go horribly wrong. Isaac is proving time and time again to be such a stellar actor and the roles he chooses are smart and poignant, OPERATION FINALE is one such role.

Academy Award winner Kingsley as Eichmann is absolutely stunning and I say that because I have been an admirer of this actor long before he was Sir Ben Kingsley. He has the unique ability to be any character he chooses, meaning good characters and not-so-nice characters yet I am riveted to see where he takes the story. This film is no exception to that rule as Kingsley starts out in character defiance but inevitably realizes the situation he is in portraying it masterfully.

Laurent as Hanna agrees to be the medic for the mission but refuses to give Eichmann an ounce of compassion. This is the second film dealing with Nazi’s as she was the French cinema owner Shoshana in INGLORIOUS BASTERDS in 2009. Kroll as Eitan is goal oriented to get the mission done swiftly and needs the confession to make that happen.

Other cast include Michael Aronov as Zvi Aharoni, Ohad Knoller as Ephraim Ilani, Greg Hill as Moshe Tabor, Torben Liebrecht as Yaakov Gat, Michael Hernandez as Dani Shalom, Pepe Rapazote as Carlos Fuldner, Haley Lu Richardson as Sylvia Hermann and Peter Strauss as Lothar Hermann.

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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.

The Bonus Features on Bluray and DVD include Inside the Operations: Cast, filmmakers and crew discuss working together, filing in Buenos Aires, and their collective approach to telling such a historically significant story and Feature Commentary with Director Chris Weitz.

 OPERATION FINALE is an intense thriller in a story that absolutely needed to be told. The film is stellar and what makes it so is the cast who take on their characters with depth and intensity. As the story unfolds it becomes clear that not only is there much to fear if they get caught but the fact that Eichmann wasn’t the only Nazi in Buenos Aires!

The scenes between Isaacs and Kingsley are pure brilliance in their exchanges and I couldn’t take my eyes of the screen. Both of these actors have brought so much to the screen through the years and OPERATION FINALE is going to be a film that sticks with me for a very long time.

In the end – after World War II the mission for justice began!

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