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I am a film critic and write how I feel about a film. Whether it is good, bad or indifferent, I have no problem saying so!

UNCLE FRANK Gives Award Winning Performances

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Amazon Prime from writer/director Alan Ball is a tender and heart-wrenching story of a girl and UNCLE FRANK.

Beth (Sophia Lillis) is a young girl living in the south and that means everything that goes with it. Knowing that she does not quite fit into the Bledsoe family, she is thrilled when her college professor Uncle Frank (Paul Bettany) comes to visit from New York. Spending tie with him, Beth gets a chance to talk about what her family expects of her and what she wants for her life.

During that visit, Uncle Frank makes Beth promise that she will do and be anything she wants to be, no matter what the family says. Taking his advice, she applies for college in New York with the chance to spend more time with Uncle Frank. After Mom Kitty (Judy Greer) and Dad Mike (Steve Zahn) have dinner with Frank in New York to drop off Beth. They feel better knowing that she has family close by.

Jumping into the scene of her new home, Beth’s first moment is crashing a part at her Uncle Frank’s apartment. Opening the door is Wally (Peter Macdissi) who is so happy to see Beth and explains that he is Frank’s roommate. Almost immediately Beth ties one on that leads to a revelation about her Uncle that she had not even considered.

The next morning, Frank answers the phone to the news that his father Mac (Stephen Root) has passed. He must take the news in considering that there has been a distance between he and Mac through the years. Packing the car, Beth and Frank head back to southern waters. On the way he notices a car following them.

Well Wally is not about to be left out of the picture and joins the group home knowing that Frank has no intention of introducing him to the family. Accepting it, Wally is just happy to be going. On the way Beth notices that Uncle Frank is being sneaky about drinking and realizes that he has a problem. The closer they get to home the more he seems to be trying to numb himself.

Once home, Frank tries to comfort his mother Mammaw (Margo Martindale) along with other family members. As it sometimes is with families, there are secrets, lies, anger, turmoil and the need to come to terms with who they are in each other’s lives.

That is family.

Bettany as Frank Bledsoe is perfection! He takes us through the pain that keeps him away from his family and knowing that distance does not cure anything because it is only geography. The pain for Frank is so deep and he has carried it for so long that its starting to crack him once again. Bettany gives us every moment of that pain knowing that at some point his character is going to fall and never get back up again or rise with the help of those he loves to stand and face the past – we get both. What an amazing performance from a brilliant actor.

Lillis as Beth is equally stunning in her role. This is a young girl who knows that she does not fit into the southern thought or want to follow in the footsteps of the southern woman. Instead, she finds light in her path that Uncle Frank has put before her. Not realizing the pain that paved that road, she is thrilled to be set free. Once she learns the cost, there is nothing she would not do for Frank and Lillis gives us all the emotion that goes with it. Well done, so well done.

Macdissi as Wally is a dear to me because he reminds me of my brother. The garish, outlandish, outspoken and beloved man who also is a straight shooter. Keeping an eye on Frank isn’t an easy task which has caused Wally pain, yet he isn’t easily swayed from his goal – to keep love right where it belongs, with him. He is funny and absolutely adorable, thanks for reminding me of what I have been missing Macdissi – my brother would have loved you.

Zahn as Mike has issues that are ingrained in his southern upbringing. Closer to his Dad than Frank, he has been battling his own demons that have left a mark on his own family. Zahn is always present in his characters portrayal and I love that about his performances. Greer as Kitty wants what is best for her daughter and is a little more open minded than Mike. Martindale as Mammaw is everything and in this performance, although small, is so very important.

Root as Mac is, to me, the typical southern father who is set in his ways and if you try to go against that you will pay the price. He is a hard man filled with such hostility that it is absolutely gut wrenching to see the scene between the younger Frank and Mac. Root gives every drip of distain in this performance and yet, again, consider the upbringing and the source of it.

Other cast include Lois Smith as Aunt Butch, Cole Doman as young Frank, Jane McNeil as Neva, Caity Brewer as Marsha and Michael Perez as Sam Lassiter.

Amazon Prime offers television shows and original content included in its Amazon Prime subscription. Original programs such as CARNIVAL ROW, THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE, and THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL are hit shows. Coming soon is the next series with GOLIATH starring Billy Bob Thornton and it promises to another successful and intense series.

UNCLE FRANK is such a stunning film that unwraps family issues that are swimming in truths. Not to punish the south for being the south because I love the south for being quirky and just a tad different in thought. This film is the south that I did not understand as a kid but, as with many of the characters in the film, went along with because it was considered tradition.

The women were modest and discreet, the men were strong and ‘manly’ – both of these things couldn’t have been further from the truth. Behind the coiffed hair and the creased trousers were secrets that most would protect until death – and not always their own. That is what makes this film so important. Yes, it also deals with the pain of being unable to be who you know you are but it is so much more than that.

Bettany shows us the power of that pain and the life it creates hidden so perfectly that not only do people not notice, but if they do, they don’t – at least not openly. UNCLE FRANK is a story of everyone hiding, not just Frank, everyone lying, not just Frank and everyone being untrue to who they are – just like Frank.

Writer/director Alan Ball knows this all too well, “When I was thirteen years old, my beloved older sister was killed in a car accident; I was inside the car she was driving when it happened. In one horrible instant, my life was irrevocably separated into Before and After. I have spent a lot of time and energy trying to run away from that event – all of it wasted, as I can now see. There are some things that happen to us in life from where there is truly no escape”.

In the end – no home comes without baggage!

RESIDENT EVIL Brings the Entire Franchise Collection to Start the Holidays

Jeri Jacquin

Are you ready for the holidays? Did you make your list and check it twice? Well check it again because Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is bringing all six RESIDENT EVIL films in 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and Digital (and watch 4K UHK movies on PS5) in a fantastic pack that will stuff any stocking to the brim!

Beginning in 2002, director Paul W.S. Anderson brings Milla Jovovich into the role of Alice and she makes it her own. Alice wakes up in a dilapidated mansion not knowing what is happening to her. Soon learning who she is, she seeks out the Umbrella Corporation, zombies, the Hive and the Red Queen. To do that she needs help because Umbrella and its scientists are not going down with a fight but then again, neither is Alice!

Along with Jovovich is Michelle Rodriguez as Rain, Eric Mabius as Matt, James Purefoy as Spence and Michaela Dicker as Red Queen to name a few to this large cast.

In 2004 director Alexander Witt begins his vision with RESIDENT EVIL: Apocalypse and Umbrella investigating what has happened at the Hive only to run into a hoard of the undead that make their way to Raccoon City. That is when Umbrella tries to get everyone out and STARS op Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory) telling them to get out.

Alice (Milla Jovovich) wakes up in a hospital that is deserted and knows she needs supplies now. At the bridge, Major Cain (Thomas Kretschmann) seals off the only way out but soldier Carlos (Oded Fehr) and Ginovaef team up with STARS to fight off the hoard. When they are surrounded, Alice saves them, and Dr. Ashford (Jared Harris) finds a way to use CCTV to stay in contact with the survivors while looking for his daughter Angela (Sophie Babasseur).

Escaping may be what they planned but it is also what someone else at Umbrella has planned!

Also cast is Sandrine Holt as Terri Morales, Zack Ward as Nicholai Ginovaef, Razaaq Adoti as Sgt. Wells and Matthew G. Tayor as Nemesis.

In 2007, Alice is back with RESIDENT EVIL: Extinction directed by Russell Mulcahy. Waking up in a mansion, Alice must use powers to escape. Umbrella is on to her and she is thrown into a hole with other Alices’. That means the real Alice is somewhere else when she finds that there is an uninfected place in Alaska. Hooking up with a convoy, Alice tells them what she knows.

Dr. Isaacs wants Alice back believing that her blood can tame the zombies and creates a new strain of zombies. Going against orders, Isaacs sends his new friends out to find Alice and they attack a convoy she is with. In the meantime, Umbrella tries their own method to turn Alice off, but it fails, and she finds their underground labs.

Along with the convoy, Alice, Claire (Ali Larter) and Carlos (Oded Fehr) see thousands of Isaacs creations and rescuing anyone from the labs is going to be difficult. Isaac panics and creates something even more evil than the zombies – a Tyrant. Coming up against the Red Queen brings results Alice could not have seen coming but they aren’t even close to finished with those responsible.

The cast include Iain Glen as Isaacs, Ashanti as betty, Mike Epps as L., Spencer Locke as K-Mart and Christopher Egan as Mikey.

RESIDENT EVIL: Afterlife sees the return of director Paul W.S. Anderson in this 2010 story franchise. A year has passed as Alice and the clones are in Tokyo attacking Umbrella’s HQ trying to get to Wesker who is not about to be captured. On a ship, Alice is injected with something that takes her abilities away. Thinking he will be the only one with superpowers does not go well.

In Alaska, Alice finds Arcadia but not as she hoped it would be. Claire (Ali Larter) has problems of her own that Alice manages to control as they leave for Los Angeles. There are survivors living in a prison with West (Boris Kodjoe), Wendell (Fulvio Cecere), Waters (Kacey Clarke), Bennett (Kim Coates), Yong (Norman Yeung) and Angel (Sergio Mencheta).

There, Alice discovers that there is an Arcadia and needs the help of Chris Redfield (Wentworth Miller) to find it. When they do it is deserted but functional. Checking it out, Alice finds Wesker in a condition that needs to be removed from the ship before it can be a haven. But not all haven’s can last in Alice’s world!

Other cast include Mika Nakashima as J-Pop girl and Ray Olubowale as the Axeman.

In 2012, director Paul W.S. Anderson returns for the fifth installment with RESIDENT EVIL: Retribution as Alice is with the others on the Arcadia as its under attack headed by Jill Valentine (Sienna Guillory). But something else has happened, Alice is with her family when the zombies coming, and horror ensues in Raccoon City. Is this a dream?

The captures Alice is being interrogated by Jill, but Alice finds her way out and inside a simulation! She must fight her way out but not before Wesker tells her what has happened with the Red Queen and Umbrella. Managing to get the crew of Kennedy, Burton and Luther West and Ada, their plan is to blow up Umbrella but there is a horde around them.

But now Alice is fighting two worlds that have collided! She gets to Wesker new headquarters – the White House. Meeting there she is given the ultimate weapon and told the Red Queen wants to wipe out humanity completely. Alice has other plans!

The cast also includes Michelle Rodriguez as Rain, Li Bingbing as Ada, Johann Urb as Kennedy, Boris Kodjoe as West, Kevin Durand as Barry, Oded Fehr as Carlos and Shawn Roberts as Wesker.

Finally, in 2016 director Paul W. S. Anderson brings the founder of the Umbrella Corporation forward in the story. Dr. Marcus’ (Mark Simpson) daughter Alicia has progeria. Using a drug from Dr. Ashford leads to tragic results, a web of deceit is created by Wesker (Shawn Roberts).

Now in Washington D.C., Alice (Milla Jovovich) wakes and the Red Queen tells her she has 45 hours to get to the Hive or the humans that are left will be wiped out. Finding a convoy learning Claire (Ali Larter) survived the attack on the Arcadia, they go to the Hive where Wesker is in control.

Alice also learns from the Red Queen that she cannot hurt an Umbrella employee but also must value human life which conflicts her program. Showing Alice what the plans are to restore Hive, she also tells Alice that there is a mole in her group. Running into Isaacs (Iain Glen), the traitor is revealed, and Alice learns who she is.

That does not stop her goal of destroying the hive and with Claire and Isaacs, Wesker knows his moments are numbers in milliseconds. The Red Queen tries to make it right with Alice but until the virus is controlled, she knows her work will never be done!

Cast also includes Eoin Macken as Doc, Fraser James as Razor, Ruby Rose as Abigail, William Levy as Christian, and Rola as Cobalt.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment encompasses motion picture production for television, digital content and theater releases. The studios include Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems, TriStar Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation, Stage 6 Films and Sony Picture Classics. To see what is coming to theaters and to home entertainment please visit www.sonypictures.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.

There are Blu-ray as well as 4K Special Features in this box set. Including Filmmaker and cast commentaries, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Alternate Endings, Picture-in-Picture, Outtakes, and Extended Scenes. Each film brings its own unique special features that add so much information and entertainment to each film.

Let us be clear, Milla Jovovich is and always will be Alice. She has made such a name for herself with this franchise. To be honest, the first time I saw Jovovich was in one of my all-time favorite films, the 1997 film THE FIFTH ELEMENT with Bruce Willis. I can not go past that film when channel surfing without watching it to the finish, no matter how far into the movie it is. The combination of Jovovich and Willis is undeniable and let me to watch more of her films.

As Alice she is the total badass before her time and paved the way for so many actresses to go on to do films like the RESIDENT EVIL franchise. She is powerful, does not have a lot to say but when she does you might want to listen. Jovovich gives Alice a fierceness that even when she does not have a weapon, you know by a look that things are not going to work out well for the other guy.

This is an amazing series of stories told from a video game franchise that has been amazingly successful. Each film takes the viewer further down the rabbit hole of bad guys, the undead, good guys, clones and a world that has been turned upside down by one person. Sounds eerily close to what is going on in the world right now (minus the zombies though the year is not over yet!).

So, when you are making out your Christmas list of goodies that are a tad different than a necktie or a new vacuum – why not stretch your imagination to include a series of films that will keep the family captivated over and over again. This is definetly a cuddle-up-winter-time-rainy-snowy-coco-blanket-on-the-sofa marathon worthy of every moment.

In the end – she gives us a different kind of heroine but a heroine all the same!

The Legend of the IRON MASK

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Blu-ray from Lionsgate Home Entertainment and writer/director Oleg Stephchenko is the story of the IRON MASK.

Miss Dudley (Anna Churina) is miserable since the day her father Lord Dudley (Charles Dance) chased off the love of her life Jonathan Green (Jason Flemyng).Still receiving letter from him, she learns he is in Russia making maps for Peter the Great (Yuri Kolokolnikov) – or so he thought. Ending up in jail, Jonathan also meets Cheng Lan (Yao Xinglong) who is kind to him.

Receiving word to let Jonathan go, he makes one request and that is to take the young Lan with him. Their run on the road takes them to China where Lan is free to fight for the cause of her people. In an English prison, jailer James Hook (Arnold Schwarzenegger) has a mysterious Master (Jackie Chan) and a masked man Peter. Fighting for freedom, the two come together to find a way to escape but it is Peter who runs free.

Agreeing to take a medallion to the master’s daughter, another journey takes place only to discover that Jonathan and Lan are already there, along with the surprise of Miss Dudley! The medallion is needed to take on a Princess who wants the medallion to rule the world.

But not if those who fight for the people can help it!

Chan as the Master once again plays a quiet character who does not have much to say, but rather takes everything in and then makes the call. Chan has the chance to give us a little martial arts action as well watching feats of drawer checking heights. Of course, having the final scene with Schwarzenegger, he gets the chance to lament truths that are universal.

Schwarzenegger as Hook is the ruler of an English prison but, according to some, has a heart. Translated that means if you can beat him and get to the top of the ladder – well, you are free. When you are as big as Hook, you must give points for bravery at whoever tries it. This seems like a fun role for Schwarzenegger and it shows.

Flemyng as Green is a map maker and a artist that has been away from Miss Dudley a little too long. From England to Russia to China, he sees fantastic creatures as well as how people in power treat one another. Churina as Miss Dudley knows only one thing, she wants her man back and nothing is going to stop it from happening.

 Xinglong as Cheng Lan know the culture and mythology of her people and has spent her years trying to bring back what has been lost. Lan’s travels are equally as extensive as Jonathan’s and fate bringing them together is just what they both needed to get to their destination. Kolokolnikov as Peter has been long away from his own home, but he is not about to return without helping those who made his freedom possible.

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.

IRON MASK is a fantasy film filled with creatures, martial arts and a mixture of mythologies. As with many films from Asia, the film is colorful and filled with flights of fancy. There are secrets and twists that weave this tapestry of storytelling with a cast that is as vast as the miles the story puts on the screen. There is also a moment to see Rutger Hauer giving us a look at his final performance.

It is actually fun to try and pick out the places the characters are, the creatures and their story as well as the final place and the story behind the dragon! Being a fan of dragons in all their guises, IRON MASK gives us a beautiful story about them and the loyalty of those who protect theirs.

In the end – sometimes you just need to really see the beauty of the world!

AMMONITE

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres and On Demand from writer/director Francis Lee and Neon is a story of two women in search of something more than AMMONITE.

Mary Anning (Kate Winslet) is a renown fossil hunter who spends her days on the shores of Lyme Regis in 1840 England. Day after day the self-taught paleontologist has an amazing eye for finding fossils that she sells to tourists. Taking care of her ailing mother Molly (Gemma Jones), Mary keeps to herself.

One day, at her shop door is Roderick Murchison (James McArdle) looking to learn about how Mary finds fossils. Along with him on the visit is his wife Charlotte Murchison (Saoirse Ronan) who is quiet and meek. A few days pass when Murchison offers Mary a large amount of money to watch over the depressive Charlotte while he goes on his next adventure.

Knowing the money would help, she begrudgingly agrees. Almost right away Charlotte becomes seriously ill and as she starts to get well, she and Mary start to show signs of friendship toward each other. Both have pasts that are haunting their ability to be happy with thin veils of uncomfortableness that wakes up with them each and every day.

What comes from that friendship is complicated, loving and forces life choices that are painful for them both but needed to break free.

Winslet as Mary is a woman set in her ways. Taking care of an ailing mother, Mary, in a way, hides behind her as I see it. Diving into her work finding fossils is another way to avoid people totally. Making sure they have enough money to survive is important, but the years have created a bubble around Mary’s life. I actually love when Winslet takes on roles that are a challenge to understand and grasp as the tale unfolds.

Ronan as Charlotte has a depression she is fighting through and does not see any light in her life. Even with Mary, the first days she remains aloof and dangerously closed off. Ronan is always a light on the screen and following her career is a joy. With every role she chooses there is simplicity mixed with complexity that is all wrapped up on her face that does not give anything away until she is ready for us to know – and then only in doses.

Jones as mother Molly has become use to living the secluded life her daughter provides and sees Charlotte as an interloper. Shaw makes herself known as Elizabeth Philpot who has a connection to Mary that is endearing and telling.

McArdle as Murchison is a husband who says openly that he wants his wife back but does not seem to be heart broken over leaving her with Mary. Do not think we didn’t notice that Murchison!

Other cast include Claire Rushbrook as Eleanor Butters, Alec Secareanu as Dr. Lieberson and Fiona Shaw as Elizabeth Philpot.

Neon is a film production company that is best known for such films as I, TONYA and one of the most incredible Oscar winning film PARASITE. With a total of 12 Academy Award nominations, Neon appeals to audiences that are looking for in-your-face storytelling. For more information please visit http://www.neonrated.com.

Director Lee says, “I wanted to explore what this relationship might mean to someone who has not only been socially and geographically isolated but who has had to close off to any emotional life, where you replace affection and intimacy with work and duty. Where you have been overlooked and ignored your whole life because of your gender and social class. Given this world, would Mary be able to access how she feels for Charlotte? Would she be able to let her guard down to allow the possibility of something new and wonderful to enter her life?”

When asked about the importance to telling Mary’s story, Winslet says, “She is so important. Her strength, her courage – I admire those qualities very much, but also her vulnerability, which she had to keep hidden. Now more than ever we’re living in a time when women are absolutely obsessed with other women and when, more than what we look like or how we feel when we walk down the street, it’s about what women have to say. Women are greater together; the stronger female voices we have, the more togetherness we show.

When asked what she wanted audiences to take away from seeing AMMONITE, Saoirse Ronan says, “Everyone’s going to take away something different from it, which is always wonderful, when you have people coming up to you saying “I really got this bit” or “I felt like that was me…”. You’re watching two people really discover themselves as individuals and within a partnership, and I think that’s a really beautiful thing to watch and it doesn’t necessarily come easy.”

The film has a quiet character which is the shoreline itself with its secrets waiting for Mary to discover but also a gray and cold feel. You could say that both women can sit before the waves and feel a kinship with the waves showing outside what they feel inside.

AMMONITE is a simple tale with a not-so-simple story that pushes hard to be told. Winslet and Ronan carry the entire film and bring out the characters fears, hopes and desires is so well done. This might be the story of two women but know it is also the story of two people who are learned to break through the closed off life they had come to know.

In the end – it is simply love.

A Thriller with A GIRL MISSING

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to DVD from director Koji Fukada and Film Movement comes a film of secrets and the pain of A GIRL MISSING.

Ichiko (Mariko Tsutsui) has spent many years working with the Oisho family’s taking care of their ailing mother. Close to the family she also helps Motoko (Mikako Ichikawa) study for an exam that would allow her to also be a private nurse like Ichiko.

When not at working, Ichiko is enjoying her life with a fiancé who has a young son and making a life with them. One day Motoko’s younger sister Saki can’t be found, and the police are everywhere looking for her. Ichiko does her best to tell the police what she knows as well wanting the girl found.

That is when these two family’s paths cross even more as Ichiko discovers that it is her own nephew that is being accused of the crime. Motoko defends her friend and Ichiko is appreciative not knowing there is something more traumatic about to come into her life. The media swarm Ichiko causing havoc in her relationship, at work and being dismissed by the Oisho family.

Trying to undo the damage, Ichiko finds herself on a destructive path that can only lead her to one place – right back at the beginning.

Tsutsui as Ichiko portrays her character as a very warm and understanding person. Making a life with her fiancé and becoming a stepmother is something she is accepting but doesn’t seem really to look forward to. When the madness begins, it becomes clear that everything she wanted for her future is about to be destroyed. Tsutsui is endearing and calmly terrifying at the same time.

Ichikawa as Motoko is a young woman who wants to be just like Ichiko and become a private nurse. Looking up to Ichiko turns into something more sad but dangerous at the same time. Turning someone’s life upside down does not seem to be something this character has issue with. The talks between the women become weapons for both.

Other cast include Sosuke Ikematsu as Kazumichi Yoneda.

Neon is a film production company that is best known for such films as I, TONYA and one of the most incredible Oscar winning film PARASITE. With a total of 12 Academy Award nominations, Neon appeals to audiences that are looking for in-your-face storytelling. For more information please visit http://www.neonrated.com.

The Bonus Features of the film include: Making of Featurette, Bonus Short Film: Love Comes Later directed by Sonejuhi Sinha which is an unexpected discovery forces an undocumented motel employee to make a life changing decision.

This film tells the story of a woman just moving along with her life giving the feeling that she settles for everything she does. From her job as a private nurse (although very caring towards the elder Oisho matriarch), to her relationship and future marriage and life in general.

It is what comes next that turns everything inside out and upside down making her relish the simplicity of that life. Not prepared for the lies, deceptions, shocks or revelations – it becomes almost predicted that a path of destruction brings her to a breaking point.

It is the wonderful performance of both Tsutsui and Ichikawa that keeps the suspense continuing from frame to frame. There is bomb after bomb and, quite honestly, I am surprised that Ichiko was not more reactive. Guess that says a lot about how I handle life eh?

A GIRL MISSING was nominated for a Best Film Golden Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival and an Official Selection at Toronto and the New York Film Festival. This thriller comes in at 112 minutes with or without subtitles from Japanese to English.

In the end – it is a journey she never thought she would take.

MOST GUYS ARE LOSERS

Jeri Jacquin

It is about time there was a film about a father that is not about to let his daughter go without a fight! From writer/director Eric Ustain and Third City Entertainment is a story about a Dad shouting from the rafters that MOST GUYS ARE LOSERS.

Bo (Michael Provost) and Sandy (Grace Fulton) have been living together for a while and are embarking on the next step of meeting each other’s parents. First up, Bo’s Mom who just happens to be in business for herself as a grower of marijuana. She absolutely adores Sandy and knows that Bo has been invited to spent Thanksgiving with her family in Chicago.

Wanting the best for Bo, Mom tells him to go meet her parents. That is when Sandy lets Bo know that her father is the best-selling author of the book Most Guys Are Losers. Bo tries to brush up on the flight home and puts on his game face to meet the parents. Dad Mark (Andy Buckley) already has a list of complaints and Bo is not even in the house yet. Mom Amy (Mira Sorvino) wants her husband to give the guy a chance, but it goes in one ear and out the other.

Immediately Mark is giving Bo the Dad-stink-eye and he even has gone as far as to bring old boyfriend Trevor (Belmont Cameli) around. At the family bar, Mark and friend Al (Keith David) watch to see what transpires between the two. With every sentence that comes out of his friends’ mouth, Al is sure this is going to be trouble.

What Al does not know is that Mark has his young son Paul (Sander Thomas) getting into Bo’s personal social media and anything else he can get his hands on to get the dirt. Confronted with one thing after another, Mark is even more determined to get Bo out of his daughters’ life. What Mark doesn’t count on is that he is so laser focused on Sandy that he doesn’t see what is right in front of him.

And it could cost him!

Fulton as Sandy wants to be a woman making her own choices based on how she was raised yet, there is still the little girl who wants to please Mom and Dad – especially Dad. But even pleasing a parent might mean putting one’s foot down when it comes to happiness. Provost as Bo is a young man who is extremely nervous about what Sandy will think of his mother but more so about what her Dad will do. I must be honest, if my daughter brought home someone as sweet as Bo, I could never put him through the ringer.

Buckley as Mark is a father on a rampage to live up to the words he wrote in the book. The problem is that he does not seem to think he was once thought of in the same way in his wife’s father’s eyes. The trouble he causes puts the family through a lot and he must come clean about it all if he wants them to shake their heads and giggle at his antics. Sorvino as Amy is lovely in this role trying to keep her husband for making mistakes and Sandy happy in her choices.

Shout out to Thomas as Paul – the kid scares me with what he is capable of doing but then again if I wanted info, I’d know who to go to.

Other cast include Avery Moss as Carrie, Andres Rosas as Stephon, Sarah West as Linda, Talen Marshall as Pat, Nick Greco as Barry, Kayla as Rosie, Eliza Stoughton as Jessica, Dee Dee Sorvino as Aunt Dee Dee and Paul Sorvino as Grandpa. 

MOST GUYS ARE LOSERS is a charming look at the relationship between Sandy and her family, especially with Mark being the head of the household. There are antics and things I suspect most fathers want to get away with when it comes to knowing the man their little girl is choosing.

Surrounded by a supportive family, both Bo and Sandy believe in their folks – even if they might embarrass them from time to time. They are solid in their belief in each other and feel good about their choices, but know it is not their folks cup of tea perhaps.

This is a lighthearted tale and can provide such grand entertainment about family, love, and the holidays all meshed into one. So, gather up the family and have a good time learning how to deal with a silly Dad, sweet Mom (both Moms), and the ridiculousness that can come with all of it.

In the end – watch out for Dad!

They Will Not LET HIM GO

Jeri Jacquin

Coming from writer/director Thomas Bezucha and Focus Features is the story of love when one couple demands they LET HIM GO.

Retired lawman George (Kevin Costner) and Margaret Blackledge (Diane Lane) are living a quiet life with their son James (Ryan Bruce) and daughter-in-law Lorna (Kayli Carter). With the arrival of their grandson Jimmy, George and Margaret are loving ever moment they spend with him.

After a tragedy, Margaret cannot seem to find herself again but returns to life. That is until Lorna decides to marry Donnie Weboy (Will Brittain) and move into a town apartment. Feeling the empty nest, Margaret and George once again continue on. While shopping one day, Margaret sees how Donnie is treating both Lorna and Jimmy and is not sure what to do.

Returning to their apartment the next day, she is shocked to learn that during they night they left taking everything with them. Running home to George, she tells him everything and that she is packing up the car to go find their grandson. Margaret makes it very clear that she is willing to take to the road with or without George.

Once on the road, George looks up friends he knew on the force to see if any of them can help find the couple. The more north they go the more the name Weboy seems to cause people to shut down. Parking for the evening they meet Peter Dragswolf (Booboo Stewart) who offers the couple food and a place to stay for the night.

The next morning, they finally find Bill Weboy (Jeffrey Donovan) who knows exactly where Lorna and Jimmy are. Taking them to the furthest backroad, they come across a house where Blanche Weboy (Lesley Manville) waits for George and Margaret. The moment they enter the house there is tension and mystery behind this family who has their grandson.

It becomes clear that the Weboy’s are a savage family who are not about to let Margaret or George walk away with what they think is rightfully theirs. When the couple go to Lorna to try and make a plan, the treachery of the Weboy’s comes out which means only one thing – someone is going to pay dearly.

Costner as George Blackledge is a man of few words. It is clear he cares about what happens to his family but seems a bit lost when it comes to what happens to grandson Jimmy. Trying to keep things together, he finally realizes that the danger is to great walk away. Costner seems a gentle giant in this role and when he takes action, its best to stand back and let it be done.

Lane as Margaret is a stubborn woman who loves her son and grandson. When life brings her unexpected and saddening changes, it also brings out the mother tiger inside toward her grandson. There is not anything she did that I would not do but that being said – there is a moment when she goes to far and the family pays for it dearly. Lane does not take garbage from anyone and when she and Blanche Weboy have a knock-down staring contest, it gave me chills!

Manville as Blanche is a woman no one wants to be left in a room alone with. She is powerful, fearless and does not mind spending a bullet or two on someone who gets in her way. Her reach is far, and no one will cross her. Manville is stunning and frightening at the same time. Nothing wrong with being a frightening character if you do it well and she most certainly does.

Carter as Lorna is a woman who goes from one extreme to the other when it comes to family. The undercurrent of her newest marriage is one that rings of such fear it is palpable thanks to Carter. Brittain as Donnie is nothing short of a man who is used to doing whatever he wants to whoever he wants – except for Mama!

Donovan as Bill is a Weboy that will smile while stabbing you in the back. His character made me so uncomfortable and in need of a shower. When Donovan has a chance to be bad, he takes it running and leaves the rest of us breathless with it all. Well played sir, well played.

For the stunner of the film, Booboo Stewart plays Peter, the loner Native American who just wants to be left to live his life. Getting away from schools trying to change him, he clearly sees that George and Margaret are in over their heads yet when Margaret asks – he answers.

Other cast include Bram and Otto Hornung as Jimmy, Bradley Stryker as Sheriff Nevelson, Connor Mackay as Elton Weboy and Greg Lawson as the Glastone Sheriff.

Focus Features’ mission is to make a lasting impact on global audiences by creating the home for artists to share diverse, distinctive stories that inspire human connection. Focus Features is part of NBCUniversal, one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies that brings entertainment and news to a global audience. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.focusfeatures.com.

The film is actually based on Larry Watson’s novel as Bezucha wrote the screenplay from that source material. It is a film about love, family, sacrifice, vengeance, and all the ugly mess that goes on in families. It is clear the Blackledge family believes in one kind of family while the Weboy’s believe in something most of us would disagree with.

The story is skillfully told with the backdrop of the times and with the bonus of stunning cinematography. The entire film is masterfully simple yet tells a complicated tale of two families and what it takes to keep family.

In the end – fight for family!

RAINING IN THE MOUNTAINS

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Virtual Cinema from writer/director King Hu and Film Movement Classics comes the beautifully restored story of RAINING IN THE MOUNTAINS.

On a long walk up a mountain to a monastery is Esquire Wen (Sun Yueh), White Fox (Hsu Feng) and Gold Lock (Wu Ming-tsai). Asked to come to give the Abbot (Kim Chang-Gean) advice on who should be the successor, Wen has another thought in his mind.

Also invited for advice is General Wang (Tien Feng) and his sidekick Lt. Chang (Chen Hui-Lou) who have the same thoughts as Wen. What neither of these men expect is a third member to the advise party and that is of Wu Wai (Wu Chia-Hsiang) a Buddhist master who is brought in surrounded by his own group of nuns!

Before considering his replacement, the Abbot is told that a criminal by the name of Chiu Ming wants to become a monk. Bringing him in, both the Abbot and Master Wai listen to his tale which includes Lt. Chang. The Abbot accepts Ming and gives him duties to perform. While all of this is happening, White Fox and Gold Lock are casing the place looking for an ancient scroll that Wen wants before a new Abbot is named.

With everything going on, all the players do not realize that something special is about to happen. Bringing everyone at the monastery together, the Abbot chooses the most unlikely of candidates to replace him. Chiu Ming is given the wrap of the Abbot as the elderly Abbot steps down to begin another life.

Now the plotting and planning really begins when the idea comes to the unscrupulous guests to get rid of Ming and replace him with their own choice. That way they get what they want and control the monastery.

What they did not count on was the actions of others to do what is right!

Feng as White Fox is swift, smart and hears everything going on in the monastery. When she realizes what everyone is up to, well, let’s just say she has plans of her own. Yueh as Wen brings the criminals to get what he wants most of all – the sacred scrolls. He uses his ‘friendship’ with the Abbot and that makes him worse than a criminal – well done sir! Ming-tsai as Lock is a mixture of criminal and comedy which works for me.

Feng as Wang is in the same category as Wen when it comes to using people to get what he wants. The difference is that his cohort is much nastier in thought and deed. Wang counts on that to make everyone work in his favor, including putting someone he wants at the head of the Abbot table. Hui-Lou is the biggest snake in the grass but the shortest in stature so let that be a lesson to everyone. Evil comes in all heights!

Chang-Gean as the Abbot is treated as if he has no sense to him because of his age. What I love about his character is he is as cool as a cucumber, never giving anything away of what he knows and how he intends to handle it all. Bringing Chia-Hsiang as Master Wu into the mix is hilarious as these two elderly wise men watch the games going on around them but have only one serious purpose – a new Abbot.

Film Movement, founded in 2002, is an award-winning independent and foreign film company that has released more than 250 feature films and shorts. Theatrical releases include American independent films, documentaries, and foreign arthouse titles catalog such directors as Hirokazu Kore-eda, Maren Ade, Jessica Hausner and Ciro Guerra and Melanie Laurent. Bluray and DVD films bring such directors as Eric Rohmer, Bolle August, King Hu, Sergio Corbucci and Luchino Visconti and many more. To discover what Film Movement is all about and find out more about what they have to offer please visit http://www.filmmovementplus.com.

RAINING IN THE MOUNTAINS is a fun film of cat and mouse but at the same time it is a story of redemption and believing in second chances. Filmed in a real monastery lends to the authenticity of the story being told.

The film comes in at 120 minutes, but every moment gives us a chance to know the characters story and prepare for the outcome. Of course, there is martial arts and superb skills and with these characters it’s a bonus.

This film was actually released in 1979 and has been remastered to show the beauty of the era. Director Hu is responsible for the 1966 COME DRINK WITH ME, the 1967 DRAGON INN and A TOUCH OF ZEN.

In the end – the unexpected is not what they expected!

Golden Globe Winner Olivia Colman Wears THE CROWN: The Complete Third Season

Jeri Jacquin

This week on Bluray/DVD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is the amazing series covering the sovereign from 1964 to 1977 with THE CROWN: The Complete Third Season.

It is now 1964 and Harold Wilson (Jason Watkins) is the new Prime Minister, yet the Queen (Olivia Colman) hears from Winston Churchill (John Lithgow) that he is working for the KGB. It would not be until after Churchill passes does the truth come to light and Philip (Tobias Menzies) discovers the Profumo affair.

A year later, Margaret (Helena Bonham Carter) is making her way through the United States with her husband Tony (Ben Daniels) on his book tour. Knowing that the Queen needs help from the American President Lyndon B. Johnson (Clancy Brown), she goes to the White House and manages to do what the royals have not upsetting Philip.

Aberfan would prove to be the most heartbreaking event to happen to the Queen’s country when the coal mountain behind the town explodes killing a schoolhouse of children. Philip is the first to arrive. Attending the services, the Queen tries to maintain her composure with flowers and seeing the grief of the families.

In a new family matter, Princess Alice of Athens, Philips mother, is in danger as Elizabeth gets her back to Buckingham Palace. Philip makes it plain that does not want it to happen and when a documentary on the royal family doesn’t go over very well, Phillip arranges an interview with Princess Anne but instead it is Alice that is interviewed.

When the King meets with Lord Mountbatten (Charles Dance), they speak about Wilson’s decision on the money of the country. All of this while the Queen and Porchey (Sam Phillips) are in France looking at horses. Once she returns, chaos brings the Queen to hear what Wilson and Mountbatten have to say and repair any damage done.   

Charles is not a happy prince when the Queen removes him from school and sends him to Wales. Becoming the investiture as Prince of Wales, he becomes friends with a Welsh national and decides to stand up for their plight. The Queen is furious and refusing to back down returns to do a play at school where Anne sits watching.

Prince Philip is beside himself watching the moon landing and thrilled with the astronauts come to Buckingham Palace. Sharing with them his thoughts on living in the palace, Elizabeth learns of his unhappiness with the Dean of Windsor. The Queen decide to bring in Robin Woods as the new Dean who invites Philip to become part of academia.

Now the family matters are more out in the open than the Queen would like when Prince Charles becomes involved with Camilla Shand (Emerald Fennell), who is involved with Andrew Parker Bowles (Andrew Buchan) and Princess Anne’s (Erin Doherty) involvement. She also deals with seeing the Duke of Windsor (Derek Jacobi) one more time and learns of letters Charles has been receiving through the years.

Back to being a Queen instead of a mother, she deals with a Miners’ Strike at the same time as trying everything to stop the relationships between Charles and Camilla. Rushing a wedding between Bowles and Shand, the Queen understands his feelings but feels she is doing what is best for her son.

Margaret begins to have her own marital problems and has an affair. Almost immediately a picture taken of the two makes its way to the newspapers. Feeling the pressure of what she has done takes its toll on Margaret and Elizabeth knows she must make things right between the two of them. Waiting for Elizabeth is the Silver Jubilee marking her 25th year as the monarch of the United Kingdom.

Colman as the Queen gives us the stature of a woman who has grown into an unexpected reign. Clearly it does not get easier but with each step she takes, it is not only her decisions that the people of her country rely on but keeping an eye on her family. Constantly cleaning up relationship messes, this is a Queen who also is a wife and mother and consistently trying to keep them all separate which does not always work. Colman is everything I wanted to see portrayed and stepping in to play the next part of Queen Elizabeth’s life, it has all proved to be a series I have watched a time or two waiting for the new season.

Menzies as Prince Philip comes from his time on the series THE OUTLANDER into the shoes of a royal. This actor has the presence and, at times, gives moments of humanity that are endearing. Then he goes back to being a little bit narcissistic to my way of thinking. All in all I have to say I loved watching Menzies take on this role and make it his own (still made at you for making Jamie and Claire’s life miserable but willing to let it go!).

Carter as Princess Margaret takes on the role of a woman who clearly does not know who to be or how to be in the royal family. Jumping from affair to affair not only sets her farther apart from her family but gives her a reputation that the people of the U.K. are not happy about. I love Carter’s ability to take a wild character and show a side that we would not expect. Her scenes with Colman are rich and filled with emotions that can not openly share because heavy is the head that wears the crown – even for a princess.

O’Connor as Prince Charles does not have an easy time playing this role. With the history clearly out on the table now, showing it with any perspective can be difficult. That being said, O’Connor does give us a glimpse behind the curtain regarding the story being he and Camilla Parker Bowles. It is messy and it has all the makings of a soap opera. Doherty as Princess Anne seems to have picked up a few things from Auntie Margaret. Showing that she has a willful spirit, she also wants to do what she can for the family when things get difficult.

Dance as Mountbatten can sit and read a phone book and I am all in. I have been a fan for so many years and to watch his craft still be full of surprised is a delight for me. As Mountbatten, he believes he knows what is best and makes sure the Queen is aware of it.

Geraldine Chaplin as Wallis, Duchess of Windsor is an actress that I have come to enjoy more as she keeps finding interesting roles to play. This is definetly an interesting role to take on and think it would make a great series on its own. Jacobi as the Duke of Windsor is Elizabeth’s uncle who abdicated the throne for love. Always at a distance, he has one more chance to connect with his niece and makes every attempt to do so.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment encompasses motion picture production for television, digital content and theater releases. The studios include Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems, TriStar Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation, Stage 6 Films and Sony Picture Classics. To see what is coming to theaters and to home entertainment please visit www.sonypictures.com.

The Episodes include Olding, Margaretology, Aberfan, Bubbikins, Coup, Tywysog Cymru, Moondust, Dangling Man, Imbroglio and Cri de Coeur.

The Bonus Materials include Behind the Crown: The Making of Season 3, Charles’ Investiture: Growing Up Royal, Royal Fabrics: A Look at the Costumes and Majestic Comparison: A Photo Gallery.

THE CROWN: The Complete Third Season brings new faces but slip in with the elegance needed to keep the story on track and our attention riveted. The series has managed to do both, and the thrill of the new season is already here.

It has to be said that the cinematography is absolutely stunning, and I am a firm believer that wardrobe is another character within a series or film. THE CROWN is no exception to my belief! From hairstyles to costuming, the series pulls us in to an era of family, loyalty, pressure, decisions and yes, even love for one another.

The cast is one of actors that are certainly portraying the royal family but, they also are portraying a family that has their own lives that are under constant scrutiny both within the family and the public. Before the internet they could manage to keep their lives more or less out of the newspapers, but a time came when controlling that was uncontrollable.

Catch up on the third season of THE CROWN in time for the fourth season!

In the end – it is the era of a Queen!

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