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February 2020

The Terror is Unseen with THE INVISIBLE MAN

invisible man 3 cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres this Friday from writer/director Leigh Whannell and Universal Pictures comes the story of fear and disbelief and it all starts with THE INVISIBLE MAN.

Cecelia Kass (Elisabeth Moss) is in a dangerous marriage to husband Marc (Benedict Hardie) and in one night manages to escape with sister Alice (Harriet Dyer). Making it clear she has to hide; Alice sends her to James (Aldis Hodge) a police officer who lives with young daughter Sydney (Storm Reid).

Days go by and Cecelia can not manage to walk out the door constantly watching for Marc out the big house window. It isn’t until Alice arrives to tell her that Marc is no longer a worry, does she start to feel free to go outside and finally have a life that is not controlled by her husband.

Marc’s brother Tom (Michael Dorman) sees Cecelia to let her know that there is an inheritance to be signed for. Believing that Tom finally understands the hell she was living in does Cecelia feel even more free from that life.

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She decides its time to find a job and yet something wakes her up at night and begins to have her on guard again. There are strange happenings that leads her to believe that Marc is not dead but getting everyone else to believe what she is saying proves difficult.

Cecelia’s life becomes dangerous as each unexplained event is more and more life threatening. People begin to turn away from her which is a feeling she is all to familiar with. This time, she knows every move she makes – Cecelia is on her own.

How do you prove what no one else sees?

Moss as Cecelia is a woman coming from a seriously dreaded marriage. Finding the strength to leave brings a new set of anxieties and fears. Feeling comfortable only means that the fears she thought were gone, were actually only lying in wait. I knew Moss could pull this off because I’ve seen what she can do in the Hulu series The Handmaid’s Tale as June/Offred. That role is as intense as one can be so playing Cecelia is a walk in the park.

Hodge as James is a solid guy that wants to help Cecelia get through what ever has been happening to her. As a cop he knows how to be aware but then again that’s when you can see the bad guy! Hardie as Marc is one twisted character and with the help of Dorman as brother Tom, the two seem to have their own history together.

Dryer as sister Alice comes to the rescue but there comes a point where the craziness begins to affect even their relationship. Dryer is smart as a whip and doesn’t hold back. Reid as Sydney is a young woman with serious ambitions and who truly likes Cecelia, but danger has a way of testing any friendship.

Other cast include Amali Golden as Annie and Sam Smith as Detective Reckley.

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THE INVISIBLE MAN has the plot that is recognizable from other films such as 1991’s SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY with Julia Roberts and 2002’s ENOUGH with Jennifer Lopez. The story of an abusive and life controlling husband is what Roberts ran away from and a husband who will never let his wife go is what Lopez fought back against.

That being said, Moss gets a chance to mix in a little sci-fi into this story line so there’s that. Look, is this reinventing the wheel? Of course not but, in the films defense, it does have some cool and spooky scenes that force you to never take your eye off the screen. There might be one or two scenes where I briefly thought “yea, that’s not believable at all” but was okay with it.

The effects are pretty cool but I would expect nothing less. The days of crappy effects are long gone so there is no excuse to go “oooooooohhhh no” when you see something out of the corner of your eye.

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THE INVISIBLE MAN is just pure fun and a reason to hold tight to your bucket of popcorn or the arm of the person sitting next to you. I still love to go to the movies to see films that don’t require anything other than your full attention, your willingness to jump and see the end coming from a mile away but go along for the ride for the pure satisfaction.

In the end – what you can’t see can hurt you!

Nothing Prepared Them for the BOMBSHELL Returning on Bluray

 

bombshell bluray cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray, DVD and Digital from director Jay Roach and Lionsgate comes an explosive story about women and a power they fought against when preparing for the BOMBSHELL.

On the Fox News channel, women like Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) and Megan Kelly (Charlize Theron) are making a name for themselves. Seeing it for herself is incoming wanna-be Kayla Pospisil (Margot Robbie) who is one of the producers for Carlson’s show and wants more. So much so that Kayla takes a position with Bill O’Reilly which infuriates Carlson.

Luring above all the newsrooms is Roger Ailes (John Lithgow) who made Fox News a sensation and runs a tight ship with the okay from Rupert Murdoch (Malcolm McDowell). No one dare challenge Ailes as he made is very clear that he could make or break a career. That is what

Carlson faced when she begins to suspect that her news days on air are numbered. Seeing legal counsel before that happens, she is told that going directly for Ailes instead of the company would be her best option.

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At Kayla’s new position she meets producer Jess Carr (Kate McKinnon) and the two quickly become friends. One day Kayla takes it upon herself to make her way up to Ailes office to introduce herself. Accepting the meeting, Ailes begins calming talking to her about what it is she wants. Once the politeness is done, Ailes claims he needs to get a closer look at Kayla since television is a “visual medium”. She leaves his office knowing what transpired was frightening.

Once out and the Carlson sexual harassment lawsuit filed, Kelly must come to terms with what she knows, but she isn’t the only one. One woman after another comes forward while Kelly remains silent. Telling her husband what is happening doesn’t help her decision on what to do next easier. Kayla also keeps her head down and avoids Ailes office as much as she can but Carr notices something is wrong.

Trying to coax people to help, Ailes wife Beth (Connie Britton) wonders why Kelly isn’t coming out in support of the man who gave her a career. Ailes vehemently denies the accusations against him and cannot fathom why the women would say such things. The bigger the story gets, people begin to take sides and finally Murdoch knows that a decision must be made to safe what is left of Fox News.

Standing together the women realize there is safety in numbers.

Theron as Kelly is ridiculously scary because after a minute of watching her on screen I forgot that I was watching Theron. Her movements and speech are spectacular to the point of being brought into the story with ease. Theron has always been a consummate actress in my book and I have never really found fault in anything she has done but let me say in this film just absolutely blew me away. From start to finish I was riveted by her performance and, although not a huge fan of Kelly herself, do have a healthy dose of respect for her. She can thank Theron for that anytime.

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Kidman as Carlson is a woman who sees the writing on the wall knowing it comes directly from Ailes and his eyes ever watching his news kingdom. The smartest thing for me was her knowing it was coming and did whatever she could to make sure things were ‘documented’. I mean really, did Ailes truly believe he was untouchable? I don’t comprehend that thinking except to chalk it up to an old school mentality where it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. Kidman gives Carlson stealth and determination in a world that Ailes seem to feel was a gift he gave her with a stipulation of silence.

Robbie as Kayla is a young woman on the move and doesn’t think too much before changing lanes. It seemed that all this character wanted to do was get to the top fast and try not to leave to many high heel marks on the backs of others. Idolizing Carlson and even Kelly, the character of Kayla doesn’t seem to have the maturity to handle what is about to happen to her.

McKinnon as Carr is a woman who is hiding who she is because she wants to keep her job. Knowing the environment around her isn’t kind to everyone, McKinnon brings her own hurting brevity to this character and it makes a hard point. Britton as Beth holds fast to her husband innocence even though I have a gut feeling she knows he’s not so innocent trusting in the ‘that’s just who he is’ line of defense.

Now let’s talk about Lithgow as Ailes because his performance is just so disturbing. Thinking that he should get an award for his portrayal it set my mind ablaze thinking ‘how do you give an award to someone for doing a stellar job without once again giving Ailes airtime’. I know, it’s making a mountain out of a mole hill but – is it? Anyway, Lithgow is riveting, yucky and portraying a man who used his powers in the most unspeakable of ways. This performance is just…wow!

Shout out to Allison Janney as Susan Estrich because she deserves a shout out. McDowell as Murdoch waltzes into a room and shows Ailes how it’s done.

Other cast include Liv Hewson as Lily Balin, Brigette Lundy-Paine as Julia Clarke, Rob Delaney as Gil Norman, Stephen Root as Neil Mullen, Robin Weigert as Nancy Smith, Amy Landecker as Dianne Brandi and Mark Duplass as Doug Brunt.

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Lionsgate is a global leader in motion picture production and distribution for theatres, television, home entertainment and more. Theatre franchises include THE HUNGER GAMES, and DIVERGENT along with JOHN WICK. Now, adding this film to its 16,000 motion picture and television titles you can see everything coming soon as well as available now at http://www.lionsgate.com.

The Bluray and DVD Special Features include No Easy Truths: The Making of Bombshell (7-Part Documentary), Convergence: Genesis of the Film, Quid Pro Quo: Charlize, Nicole, Margot, John, Human Dynamics: The Ensemble Cast, Breaking the Fourth Wall: Visual Design, Layer by Layer: Makeup, Hair & Clothing, A Unique Skill Set: Jay Roach and Catalyst for Change: Parting Thoughts.

BOMBSHELL is a film that gives a look inside the fall from Fox News grace of Roger Ailes but more importantly, what it took for Carlson to take a stand. The film isn’t shy about putting it right out there that Ailes had power of such magnitude that he managed to shut down these women for years and years while up in his tower.

I was impressed with Kidman, Theron and Robbie as the film addresses their story’s individually and I think that’s important. Ailes abuses started early and as he got bolder, so did his ‘requests’ of these women and he talk about them later. As what usually happens when a powerful man is confronted with his misdeeds (by almost everyone’s standards), Ailes thinks he is above it all. That he barks and everyone cowers – well, Carlson decided to cower no more in 2016.

BOMBSHELL is a film that needs to be seen and then discussed. Whether it all happened the way its portrayed on-screen or not, it is a conversation that can stop even a hint of something like this from ever happening again. I don’t care if these women were on Fox News and I’m not a fan of Fox News – no one and I mean no one deserves to live their lives with fear – in family or at a job.

BOMBSHELL also received three Academy Award Nominations including Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress.

In the end – based on a scandal that shook a new empire!

On Bluray Comes the Story of What Lies Beneath DARK WATERS

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Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray, DVD and currently on Digital from director Todd Haynes and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is the story of a man who will stop at nothing to expose one of America’s most known company’s about DARK WATERS.

While working at his law firm in Cincinnati, Ohio, lawyer Robert Bilott (Mark Ruffalo) is visited by Wilbur Tennant (Bill Camp). A farmer who knows Bilott’s grandmother, he wants help with stopping DuPont from hurting people. Trying to explain that he is a corporate lawyer that works for chemical companies, he would recommend someone. Tennant becomes loud telling him that people are dying and gives him a box of videotapes.

Bilott goes to Parkersburg to visit his grandmother and find out about Tennant. Realizing whose farm it is, he drives over to see for himself as Tennant shows his the large amount of cows that have died on his farm from serious and strange illnesses. He also sees for himself what has happened to one of Tennant’s cows.

Running into Phil Donnelly (Victor Garber) who is a DuPont attorney, Bilott asks if he knows anything about what is happening in Parkersburgh and is told no. He then decides to film a claim to get information about the chemicals dumped on a site in the town. Getting the papers he has to slowly begin to understand the workings of the chemicals and what is regulated by the EPA.

He returns to Donnelly asking for all the information and in an angered move sends Bilott hundreds of boxes. This infuriates Bilott’s boss Tom Terp (Tim Robbins) but Terp also knows there is something going on. Now the case becomes personal with wife Sarah (Anne Hathaway) at home expecting their child. When he tears through their home, he has to explain to her why and Sarah begins to understand what her husband is up against.

Tennant is not in such great shape either as the town begins to turn against him for going after DuPont who they work for. No one in town understands the struggle the Tennant family is going through but instead make their lives frightening.

Entering the courtroom, Bilott has only one goal, getting justice, not money, for Tennant and those effected by the chemicals in Parkersburgh. This isn’t as simple as it sounds as a study is required before DuPont will agree to anything with testing of the locals. That will take seven years and Bilott facing troubles at the firm, strain at home and his health taking a beating.

Fighting for what is right against a giant meaning standing your ground for however long it takes!

Ruffalo as Bilott once again proves he has the stamina to take on a role like this. Then again, I already knew was excellent in roles as person who will not let go. Check out his role as journalist investigator Mark Rezendes in the 2015 film SPOTLIGHT to understand what I’m saying. Here he takes on DuPont – the giants of chemicals and the ever “life-changing” Teflon that most of us grew up with Mom’s using in the kitchen. He actually has a commanding voice without getting loud and the film draws you in by his horror in what he finds.

Camp as Tennant is a man who doesn’t take nonsense lightly. Instead, he is a man who is angry about what is happening to his farm, family and community – even if they don’t see it. He wants Bilott to jump in the dark water and do what is right, not what gets money. That’s what makes Camp’s portrayal so important because he is a man who is strong but deeply afraid.

Hathaway as wife Sarah doesn’t at first understand what it is her husband is trying to accomplish and once she does, is very supportive. But as the years pass, Sarah’s support comes with high tension and frustration. Robbins as Terp falls into that category as well as he wants to do what is right as a person, but his law firm isn’t just Terp and Bilott, there are others not so happy at what is happening.

Garber as Donnelly seems a nice enough person to Bilott but that changes when it is time to come clean with the truth. Shout out to Winningham as Darlene, a woman who doesn’t yet understand the lies she has been told and the repercussions of it all.

Other cast include Mare Winningham as Darlene Kiger, Bill Pullman as Harry Deitzler, William Harper as James Ross, Louisa Krause as Karla, Kevin Crowley as Larry Winter, Bruce Cromer as Kim Burke, Richard Hagerman as Joe Kiger, Abi Van Andel as Kathleen Welch, John Newberg as Dr. Gillespie and Denise Dal Vera as Sandra Tennant.

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

MOVIES ANYWHERE gives viewers the ability to download the Movies Anywhere App. With that you can view films by downloading or streaming to your favorite device using a Digital Code. For more information on Movies Anywhere please visit www.MoviesAnywhere.com.

Bonus Features of the Bluray include The Cost of Being a Hero – This piece examines real life Rob Bilott’s sacrifices to take down a powerful corporation and how a single individual can impact the entire community. Cast and filmmakers discuss the importance of telling this story and empowering whistle-blowers, Uncovering DARK WATERS – Get an inside look into the storytelling behind the gritty, real life story of DARK WATERS from Mark Ruffalo, Anne Hathaway, filmmakers and crew, and The Real People – Meet the real people from Parkersburg who were impacted first-hand by the contaminated water as they share these experiences being on set and taking part in the film.

The film is based on the 2016 New York Times Magazine article “The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare” by Nathaniel Rich. Also, the 2015 article “Welcome to Beautiful Parkersburg, West Virginia”. Sharon Lerner also wrote an article in The Intercept called “Bad Chemistry” and Robert Bilott wrote a book Exposure on the battle with DuPont.

I am a fan of the 2000 film ERIN BROKOVICH and DARK WATERS falls into that category as well. This time it is DuPont covering up and lying about what it known, when it knew it and the potential of everything having long term effects not only of the people in Parkersburg but of you and I as well.

Ruffalo takes the character of Bilott into places that most of us would have never suspected. There is no way to avoid the horrors of the effects and the film doesn’t hide any of it. So much so that when he shows the baby picture of Bucky Bailey, it is heart breaking but also smacks of the reality that none of us thought about 10 years ago let alone 30 years ago.

The film is though provoking because it brings back memories of home and how my own mother cooked so I’m very sure everyone who sees DARK WATERS will also recall their own. The film also shows how one man who was on the other side of the fence, questions his own life and the risks he is willing to take for the sake of pretty much everyone proving one man can make a difference.

In the end – the truth has a man on the inside!

THE ADVENTURES OF A.R.I. MY ROBOT FRIEND Brings Technology Adventure to DVD

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Jeri Jacquin

Coming to DVD, Digital and On Demand from director Stephen Shimek, Grindstone and Lionsgate Home Entertainment comes a story of friendship with THE ADVENTURES OF A.R.I. MY ROBOT FRIEND.

Noah (Jude Manley) is a teen spending his time in school and with good friend Bethany (Sophia Alongi). Dad Peter (J.R. Brown) is pretty busy with his tech job but tries to very hard to have time with Noah. A movie night is interrupted with Peter has to go to the lab for an emergency and asks Noah to join him.

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Once at the lab while Dad is busy, Noah notices workers taking an odd table through the lab. Curiosity gets the best of him and he discovers a small robot that seems to be discarded. While testing is being doing throughout the lab, Noah decides to take the small robot in his backpack. Well, this is when life gets interesting.

The robot comes to life and is equally curious about Noah. What they both don’t know is that back in the lab, people are looking for their robot and want it back! Dr. Simon (Cait Brasel) along with Director Raddock (Greg Lutz) will stop at nothing to find A.R.I. and bring him back.

While A.R.I. learns from Noah, their friendship grows and as much as the scientists want their robot back, Noah and Bethany discover that there is more to this than a missing robot. Finding Professor Eggy (Bill Jenkins) is the key to saving their A.I. little friend from disaster!

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Manley as Noah is a young man who is growing up in the technology world. He understandings A.R.I. and is constantly amazed at what he can do, no more so than A.R.I. himself. Alongi as Bethany is the total teen having a social media following and uses that to help their new friend keep the bad guys away.

Lutz as Raddock is singularly focused on finding A.R.I. but if not – there is always plan B. Brasel as Dr. Simon tried to make A.R.I. work but doesn’t understand why everyone wants him so badly but does do her techno part to find him. Brown as Dad Peter gets a chance to help his son do something amazing. Jenkins as the Professor has his own story to tell about A.R.I. and is thrilled to tell it to Noah and Bethany.

Other cast includes: Kyle Henry as Titan, Jeremy Miller as Todd, Christy Tate as Rita Haley, and Craig Cole as Mr. Stanny.

Lionsgate is a global leader in motion picture production and distribution for theatres, television, home entertainment and more. Theatre franchises include THE HUNGER GAMES, and DIVERGENT along with JOHN WICK. Now, adding this film to its 16,000 motion picture and television titles you can see everything coming soon as well as available now at http://www.lionsgate.com.

THE ADVENTURE OF A.R.I. MY ROBOT FRIEND is a fun family film that also talks about technology and what it is capable of. It also shows the good and bad people who are involved with A.R.I. and what each of their goals really are. That’s important for families to discuss in the sense that technology can be amazing for teaching and entertaining, but kids need to understand the perils that can sometimes happen when not used properly.

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That’s where A.R.I. comes in with his friendship with Noah and Bethany. He learns about friendship and what it means to care for someone to the point of doing everything possible to protect them. In turn Noah and Bethany begin to see A.R.I. as so much more than metal and motherboards and it is delightful to see.

So gather the family together and make it a movie night to watch friendship and technology become the best of friends with THE ADVENTURE OF A.R.I. MY ROBOT FRIEND.

In the end – the extraordinary story can begin!

This is not a Simple ORDINARY LOVE

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Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from directors Lisa Barros D’Sa, Glenn Leyburn and Bleeker Street is the story of the unexpected bumps in a couple’s life of ORDINARY LOVE.

Joan (Lesley Manville) and Tom (Liam Neeson) have settled into a life that is comfortable for them both. Their routine includes a brisk walk, shopping, television time and humor that is easy for this couple. The comfortable life is interrupted when Joan discovers a lump in her breast.

Keeping everything easy in conversation until they know something more, Joan and Tom continue with their life. When the results are not what they were hoping, the life they had been sharing becomes a test on everything they had been holding on to.

Early into her treatment, Joan meets Peter (David Wilmot) who is a teacher. Now Joan feels a kinship to someone who understands what having cancer brings out in emotions. Spending time in the cafeteria during Joan’s treatments, Tom meets Peter’s partner Steve (Amit Shah) and finds the same kinship of having someone you love living in fear.

As the treatment progresses so does the tension between two people who truly love one another because spending years together with a history.

Manville as Joan is a woman who will forever have a place in my heart. This film brings a very realistic look at the fear, anxiety and frustration that comes with the word ‘cancer’. Even more so for a woman when it is breast cancer. Every thought that came across her face I understood as will most women who have ever had to deal with this disease. From the moment Joan finds the lump to the very end of the film, I remembered that feeling of having no control of anything. Manville is stunning – period.

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Neeson as Tom is a man who takes life one day at a time. He wit with Joan is something I couldn’t help but laugh at. Come on, who doesn’t want a partner who can match wits and bring out the best sarcasm. Coming to terms with Joan’s prognosis, he deals with the same feelings of fear, anxiety and frustration except his tact is to keep it inside to be the strong part of the partnership. Even superman can’t keep that up before emotions come to a head. The conversation with his daughter is nothing short of heartbreaking. Well, just when I couldn’t adore Neeson more he gives me reason too.

Wilmot as Peter shares his feelings with Joan, and it is only natural that the two strike up a friendship. Being brutally honest about their feelings is something each can’t do with their partner. Shah as Steve is lost, and Tom sees it from across the room which makes their friendship a bit of a life raft.

ORDINARY LOVE is almost an indescribably film because it is based in a subject matter that most people find uncomfortable. Yes, there are films that deal with cancer, but this is a raw and in-your-face look at what it looks like skin to skin. Cancer takes, and takes, and takes and takes until the lid of safety we all create in our lives is weakened to the point of explosion.

Tom and Joan have a comfortable life but that doesn’t mean there aren’t issues in the life history they share that have never been truly resolved or spoken of. This is also a time where Joan realizes things about herself that are eye opening (if cancer isn’t enough) and Tom also stretches his emotions to what seems like a dangerous place for this character.

Manville and Neeson carry this film from start to finish and they don’t slack at any point. What they give is a fantastic performance that I easily forgot was a performance. Perhaps it is because I have been in Joan’s shoes myself or perhaps, I felt she had a love with Tom that many of us didn’t have going through a difficult time.

So, what ORDINARY LOVE does for those who have experienced cancer, a reminder of what it means to survive and for those that have not experienced it, this is a film to experience how close this film truly is.

I adored Joan and Tom’s relationship in its simplicity and humor and as more of their story is revealed, you feel for this couple even more and become the outside cheerleader to push them toward healing.

In the end – love doesn’t give up.

Disney Delights to Bring Home FROZEN 2 on Bluray

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Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray, DVD and Digital from director Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee and Walt Disney Home Entertainment is the return to Arendelle and FROZEN 2.

Anna (Kristen Bell), Kristoff (Jonathan Groff), Olaf (Josh Gad), Sven and Queen Elsa (Indina Menzel) are enjoying life in their city. Since their adventure it is nice for them all to just enjoy each other’s company and the people. That is until Elsa starts to hear this strange call that no one else seems to hear.

Putting it out of her mind, the city prepares for a gathering but is suddenly interrupted by strange winds driving the towns people to a safe cliff outside Arendelle. Confused by what is happening, Queen Elsa feels as if the problems are caused by the voice that is calling out to her. Deciding that she must go and find answers, Anna and Kristoff make it clear she isn’t going alone.

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Loading up into the sled on wheels, Sven takes them to a place that both Anna and Elsa believed was only a tale their father told. A wall of mist blocks them from going forward but when Elsa touches it, a door is opened wide revealing people living on the other side. That’s when the girls discover that there is truth to the tale and that there are still more questions to be answered.

With each step they take, more and more of their parent’s life become clearer. But there comes a moment when Elsa realizes that she can no longer put Anna’s life in danger and takes the final steps of the journey alone were all is revealed – but will it be too late for Arendelle!

Bell as Anna shows a lot more maturity in this film in that she feels even more protective over her sister Queen Elsa. Still googly eyed over love Kristoff, she is back in her happy place. When the wind changes in Arendelle and she sees that something is wrong with Elsa, Anna makes it very clear from the onset that whatever it is they will face it together. Bell brings her pipes back with song, love and a whole lot of fun.

Menzel as Queen Elsa is having a difficult time concentrating on Arendelle because of the mysterious voice. Still feeling a little out of place in life, she feels there is something in the wind that is calling to her. Fight as she may, the voice is too strong to ignore. Menzel brings her voice to belt out more than one song and it is with that voice that we are with Elsa every step of this next journey.

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Groff as Kristoff is very happy with his life in Arendelle and even happier with Anna. Now ready to try something a little different, he seems to have great difficulty making it happen. Groff once again brings his charm that oozes through his voice to a character that is strong for those around him yet still has that goofiness I enjoy about this character. Oh, let us not forget Sven, he is back and just as hoppingly endearing as ever with his extended family.

Gad as Olaf is still the lovable snowman who loves everyone around him and yet still maintains that bit of innocence that makes him unforgettable. That’s what Gad brings to this character, a memorable giggle, a heart that runs over with love for Elsa, Anna, Kristoff and his good buddy Sven. He is the snowman we all wanted growing up, at least I did all those times building a snowman in Chicago. Thank Gad for bringing life to such an sweet, gentle and loving character.

Shout out to Hinds for returning as the wise and round stone Pabbie. He gave out the first warning of what was to come for Arendelle and the royal family. Brown as Mattias has his own story to tell of what lies beyond the mist and it is a story worth hearing.

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Other cast include Sterling K. Brown as Mattias, Evan Rachel Wood as Iduna, Jason Ritter as Ryder, Alan Tudyk as Northuldra, Rachel Matthews as Honeymaren, Ciaran Hinds as Pabbie and Martha Plimpton as Yelana, Alfred Molina as Agnarr and Jeremy Sisto as King Runeard.

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

MOVIES ANYWHERE gives viewers the ability to download the Movies Anywhere App. With that you can view films by downloading or streaming to your favorite device using a Digital Code. For more information on Movies Anywhere please visit www.MoviesAnywhere.com.

The Bluray and Bonus Extras include over an hour of bonuses including A Sing-Along Version of the Movie, Outtakes, Deleted Scenes, Deleted Songs, Do You Know ????, Music Videos and more! The soundtrack to FROZEN 2 have been in our car since the day of its release so now it will be fun to sing along with the film.

FROZEN 2 brings songs, fun, giggles, color and a re-connection with characters that have stayed with us all since 2013. The song “Let It Go” became an anthem for anyone who wanted to do just that even though my personal favorite was “In Summer” and who doesn’t love a lovable dreaming snowman? In FROZEN 2 we are asked to go “Into the Unknown” and Olaf brings his delightful “When I am Older”.

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It is such a precarious thing to make a sequel to such a highly successful animated film. It doesn’t always work and sometimes it works badly. Some of it might be because I always feel slightly cheated by sequels like the idea is a second thought thrown on a screen hoping it will stick with viewers.

This film is not that in the slightest. What FROZEN 2 brings is a delightful return to embraced characters that doesn’t feel like six years has even passed. It is a visually stunning feast for the eyes with rich colors which are completely dazzling. The story may have a few hiccups but seriously, let it go (and I said that).

The entire cast returns (which always is a great thing) with 8 new songs that are as powerful as the original film. Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez returned to write the new songs for the film. Composer Christophe Beck also returned to bring his magic to the score.

I am hardly about to tell every detail of the film because it’s FROZEN 2 and no one, and I mean no one has the right to ruin it. This is a film about family and community, wanting to understand where we come from, learning who we are and what we are made of, protecting those we love and, of course, loving each other unconditionally.

Disney has been on a very cool winning streak with their animated films and FROZEN 2 seals the 2019 deal for them. The launch of Disney+ this week means that you can enjoy Disney films all year long which I know my granddaughter intends to do.

FROZEN 2 is a time for families to have a wonderful holiday beginning together. Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Sven and Olaf are part of our own families now and to spend 104 minutes together feels like home in many ways. Now, FROZEN can take a well-deserved Bluray break from the player and FROZEN 2 can step up to continue the joys of Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven as well as new friends!

At home we can embrace our children and grandchildren as the story unfolds because we share a connection with our friends in the film. We understand the struggles, the love, friendship and caring and that makes FROZEN 2 just about everything we need in family time.

In the end – they are going into the unknown!

MIDWAY Launches Again on Bluray

Midway cover

 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray, DVD and Digital from director Roland Emmerich and Lionsgate Home Entertainment comes the story of one of the biggest battles against Japan on MIDWAY.

On December 7, 1942, Japan surprise attacked Pearl Harbor and the one person not surprised is Lt. Commander Edwin Layton (Patrick Wilson) who had been trying to tell anyone who would listen of an impending attack. Lt. Dick Best (Ed Skrein) returns home to learn of the death of his friends with wife Anne (Mandy Moore) helping him to grieve.

On ship is Vice Admiral Bull Halsey (Dennis Quaid) waiting for orders to stop the Japanese. His aviation crew include Lt. Commander Wade McClusky (Luke Evans). Put in charge of a plan along with Lt. Cmdr. Layton is Admiral Chester Nimitz (Woody Harrelson) who looks to a group of code breakers led by Commander Rochefort (Brennan Brown).

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The first strike is for Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle (Aaron Eckhart) and his men to fly to Tokyo and carpet bomb the city. The Japanese are caught by surprise not ever believing it was possible for the United States military to strike back so quickly.

Leading the Japanese fleet is Rear Admiral Tamon Yamaguchi (Tadanobu Asano), Vice Admiral Chuichi Nagumo (Jun Kunimura) and Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto (Etsushi Toyokawa). Pearl Harbor isn’t their only target as the plan now includes Midway. Gathering all their forces, they are confident that no one sees them coming and victory is sure.

With so much ship loss at Pearl Harbor, the ships that are left have to come together as well as planes and pilots to make the plan work. Lt. Best and Lt. Cmdr. McClusky go to their men with confidence to let them know that they must give it their all and remember their fallen friends. As the battle for Midway approaches, Nimitz and Layton trust the information given to them by the code breakers to stay ahead of the plan, Best and McClusky fly for their lives as everyone does their part.

It is the history of taking one step at a time to win.

Skrein as Best is a man who is a little dangerous in the sky, but he wants to be prepared for any eventuality. With each battle, he only wants to go home to his wife and daughter. Using every bit of his flying experience and a little bit of his grit, Skrein gives his character bravery and the will to fight. Moore as wife Anne is a lady, I’d call a spitfire. She knows that what her husband does is dangerous and holds her breath with each bit of news that all the wives can know.

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Harrelson as Nimitz is brought into the fight at the time of Pearl Harbor. He has to trust those around him for the information knowing that more American soldiers will die and that’s a hard job to have. Wilson as Layton tried to warn his superiors about what Japan was capable of and they didn’t listen. When given the opportunity to show what he knows and how he knows it, Wilson gives his character strength and determination to stand by Rochefort.

Quaid as Halsey shows his character as a gritty leader who, like everyone else, wants to stop the Japanese fleet from destroying anything else or getting to the west coast of the United States. He may be gruff, but he knows what is necessary to win. Evans as McClusky thinks Best is a reckless pilot but since Pearl Harbor realizes that perhaps reckless, in this case, is a brave thing that is needed in the fight.

Kunimura, Toyokawa and Asano have the difficult roles of the Admirals (Rear and Vice) who feel strong that they can win. Pearl Harbor gives these characters a feeling of invincibility and feel Midway is the next reasonable step in their plan. What they do not expect is that the United States military forces have banned together with a plan of their own and they will stop at nothing to punish the Japanese fleet.

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Other cast include Alexander Ludwig as Lt. Roy Pearce, Keean Johnson as Chief Aviation Radioman James Murray, Luke Kleintank as Lt. Clarence Earle Dickinson, Brandon Sklenar as Ensign George Gay, Jake Manley as Ensign Willie West, Darren Criss as Lt. Commander Eugene Lindsey, Jake Weber as Rear Admiral Raymond Spruance, James Carpinello as Captain Brockman, Geoffrey Blake as John Ford, Greg Hovanessian as Lieutenant Arizona, David Hewlett as Admiral Kimmel, Mark Rolston as Admiral King and Nick Jonas as Aviation Machinist Mate Bruno Gaido.

Lionsgate is a global leader in motion picture production and distribution for theatres, television, home entertainment and more. Theatre franchises include THE HUNGER GAMES, and DIVERGENT along with JOHN WICK. Now, adding this film to its 16,000 motion picture and television titles you can see everything coming soon as well as available now at http://www.lionsgate.com.

The Bonus Materials of MIDWAY are Audio Commentary by Roland Emmerich, “Getting It Right: The Making of Midway, The Men of Midway, Roland Emmerich: Man on a Mission, Turning Point: The Legacy of Midway, Joe Rochefort: Breaking the Japanese Code, We Met at Midway: Two Survivors Remember, Optional English SDH and Spanish Subtitles for the Main Feature and Theatrical Trailer.

MIDWAY is exactly, first, what you’d expect from director Roland Emmerich coming in at 127 minutes long.  A Master of Special Effect and the big bangs, the battle scenes on the screen are epic (as I suspect they were in real life). Beginning with the Pearl Harbor attack until the final battle for Midway, the film gives the feeling of all the films Hollywood put out in the 50’s and 60’s that I watched growing up. My father was a Gunner’s Mate on many of Navy ships from aircraft carriers to destroyers like the Hornet, Boxer, Constellation and Kitty Hawk.

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So, I watched many, many films IN HARMS WAY (1965), THE LONGEST DAY (1962), SANDS OF IWO JIMA (1949), FROM HERE TO ETERNITY (1953), TORA! TORA! TORA! (1973) and the list is endless. I am well versed in war films, so I expect a lot. Emmerich spends very little time depicting the attack on Pearl Harbor because it has been done so many times before. He gets in, makes it clear and moves on because the goal in the storytelling is what happened next and next and next.

The actors themselves did well with what they were given. There were a few moments where I felt nostalgic with lines being delivered in such a way that I felt I was watching a 50’s/60’s war film instead of 2019. The characters were righteously angry because, let’s face it, no one who saw, was part of and survived Pearl Harbor could ever be the same again.

Skrein, Evans and the rest of the actors portraying the pilots were amazing to my way of thinking. The pilots job back then was to focus on a target and get the job done, that’s how Skrein and Evans made it look and feel which is totally successful in my eyes. Harrelson and Wilson together made a dynamic duo doing something totally different than their predecessors in the job. Harrelson gave his Nimitz portrayal an opportunity to trust when there was really nothing else left and Wilson’s portrayal of Layton jumps in as if to say, ‘we can’t do it the old ways anymore’.

What the film lacks in dialogue it makes up for in Emmerich battles and constant action. He proves over and over again with such films as INDEPENDENCE DAY, STARGATE (both personal favorites of mine), THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW, and INDEPENDENCE DAY: Resurgence, and the best disaster film that is a guilty pleasure with the film 2012. He knows what is epic and MIDWAY falls into that category with ease.

Prepare to revisit MIDWAY!

In the end – they awoke a sleeping giant!

QUEEN & SLIM Running on Bluray

Queen and Slim cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming this week to Bluray, DVD and Digital from director Melina Matsoukas and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is QUEEN & SLIM.

On their first date, Queen (Jodie Turner-Smith) and Slim (Daniel Kaluuya) are out for the evening. Driving Queen home, Slim is stopped by a police officer who runs the plates and then proceeds to get Slim out of the car. After searching just about every inch of the car, Queen has had about enough and gets out of the car to ask why they are behind detained.

Tensions become high as Queen pulls out her phone and the officer shoots at her. Slim is wrestled to the ground fighting with the officer. Slim finds the gun and shoots the officer. Immediately Queen pulls him up and takes over the situation leaving the cop and driving away. Slim wants to turn himself in but Queen, a lawyer, makes it clear that if he does, he will never see his family again.

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Turning to people they can trust; Queen goes to Uncle Earl (Bokeem Woodbine) who puts him in contact with a friend in Florida to help them fly away. Along their journey, people are protesting and there is more violence and killing while Sherriff Edgar (Benito Martinez) tries to track them down.

They are on the run!

Kaluuya as Slim is a young man who loves his family and is fairly easy going. When the incident with the cop happens, he wants to do the right thing and tell the truth. He doesn’t want to hurt anyone and doesn’t want anyone to get hurt. This is a strong performance from Kaluuya and I held my breath when he was on the screen when danger was near.

Turner-Smith as Queen is a saucy young woman who consistently puts them in difficult situations with her tenacity. Her past gives her struggles to trust anyone, but she does put herself through law school. Woodbine as Uncle Earl isn’t keen at first on helping but understands that he must do what he can.

Although the film has cameos, it is mainly carried by Kaluuya and Turner-Smith. From first frame to last it is their story to tell and their relationship expands along with it.

Other cast includes Chloe Sevigny as Mrs. Shepherd, Flea as Mr. Shepherd, Sturgill Simpson as Officer Reeves, Indya Moore as Goddess, Benito Martinez as Sheriff Edgar, Melanie Halfkenny as Naomi, Jahi Winston as Junior.

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

MOVIES ANYWHERE gives viewers the ability to download the Movies Anywhere App. With that you can view films by downloading or streaming to your favorite device using a Digital Code. For more information on Movies Anywhere please visit www.MoviesAnywhere.com.

Bonus Features of QUEEN & SLIM are A Deeper Meaning, Melina & Lena, Off the Script, On the Run with QUEEN & SLIM and Feature Commentary with Director/Producer Melina Matsoukas and Writer/Producer Lena Waithe.

The film is the winner of the African-American Film Critic Association for the AAFCA Award and Impact Award, Black Film Critics Circle Awards, Black Reel Awards, Florida Film Critics Circle and the National Board of Review Award.

If this isn’t enough there were 27 nominations from the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, Austin Film Critics Association, Hawaii Film Critics Society, Greater Western New York Critics, Hollywood Critics Association and Directors Guild of America and so many more.

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QUEEN & SLIM is a film about the tragedy of what happened, the inability to turn to the authorities, more tragedy from those wanting to help and an end result that circles back to tragedy.

The soundtrack for the film is absolutely amazing with Raphael Saadiz, 6lack, EarthGang, Choker, BJ the Chicago Kid, Burna Boy, Ian Isiah and so many more.

In the end – they are in this together.

STANDING UP, FALLING DOWN Brings the Comedy of Life

Standing cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from SHOUT! Studios and director Matt Ratner is the story of life changes, unexpected friendships and knowing about STANDING UP, FALLING DOWN.

Scott (Ben Schwartz) has been in Los Angeles for years doing stand up comedy. When things become a little stagnant in his life, he returns home to live with supportive Mom Jeanie (Debra Monk), not so supportive Dad Gary (Kevin Dunn) and hilarious sister Megan (Grace Gummer). Trying to decide what to do Scott spends an evening out with best bud Murph (Leonard Ouzts) who has some things to say.

He lets Scott know that life is different for those that didn’t take off to California. Bringing up his fast scoot out of town when things got to serious with ex-girlfriend Becky (Eloise Mumford) hit close to home for Scott. Heading off to the men’s room he meets Marty (Billy Crystal) who has a few weird habits.

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Going to the dermatologist, Scott is amazed to discover it is Marty and a strange and unusual friendship begins to happen. Learning about one another is part of that friendship including the good, bad and the chance to make up for some of the mistakes they have both made in their life.

When Scott decides to go back to the stage, he might have finally broken the wall with his family…maybe. Marty decides to take a lesson from Scott’s playbook and reach out to the family he believes is lost to him.

Both wondering if its possible to drop the bag of bricks on their backs!

Schwartz as Scott is a man who thought going to Los Angeles for his comedy career was a great idea, and a good way to avoid a relationship. Coming home was the last thing he wanted to do knowing what wait for him walking through the front door. Finding Marty, although in an unusual way, became a friendship he counted on to avoid his own life because Marty didn’t judge. Schwartz gives his character the ability to verbally wrangle with his sister, avoidance with his Dad and avoid friends that ask to many questions.

Crystal as Marty gets a chance to do what he does best, be funny, have the best one-liners and a flow about him that gives his character ease. That’s all great but when its time to come to terms with Marty’s past, Crystal shows a side that is devastated, and I felt every bit of it. An amazing performance but not unexpected.

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Gummer as sister Megan is absolutely hilarious and quick witted. I loved every scene she was in and wouldn’t have minded more. Shout out to Castaneda as boyfriend Ruiz for holding his own in a dysfunctional family. Monk as Mom Jeanie just wants her son to find some peace in his life, Dunn as Dad Gary is, well a dad without humor. Ouzt as Murph is a friend who doesn’t hesitate to let Scott know that there is more to life than the one he has created in his comedy bubble.

Other cast include Nate Corddry as Adam, Jill Hennessy as Vanessa, Caitlin McGee as Taylor, David Castaneda as Ruis, John Behlmann as Owen, Wade Allain-Marcus as Bray, Kate Arrington as Tonya and Mike Carlsen as Tony.

STANDING UP, FALLING DOWN is a film that just smacks of reality and you don’t have to be in comedy to see it. There are so many moments where I found myself saying out loud, “you got that right” because the situations are so relatable.

The cast played off each other so well that the story just flowed. There are moments where I laughed, moments I kind of fell quiet (I know right?) and most of all, times I saw what great lessons there are for us all in the film.

Director Ratner says about the story, “Scott and Marty are two people who are at very different points in their life with similar shortcomings. Scott is a dreamer who wants desperately to believe he is in a love story. Marty is a man who wears a mask – and wears it so well he often succeeds at fooling himself. The life he lives now – that of a suburban dermatologist – is an attempt at stability after a life lived in the fast lane. Marty and Scott are both perpetually teetering on the brink of self-destruction”.

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The film was the Official Selection of the Tribeca Film Festival in 2019, Napa Valley Film Festival in 2019 and the Palm Springs International Film Festival. It won the Humor and Humanity Award from the Heartland International Film Festival.

STANDING UP, FALLING DOWN can also be found On-Demand, Apple TVm Amazon Instant, Vudu, GooglePlay, FandangoNow, Direct TV, Comcast, Dish Networks, Spectrum, Cox, Charter, AT&T U-verse. For more information please visit www.StandUpFallingDownMovie.com.

In the end – it’s a comedy about second chances!

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