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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!

The Band is Back Together with ZOMBIELAND: Double Tap on Bluray

 

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Jeri Jacquin

Start the new year with good laughs from director Ruben Fleischer and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and the continuation of rules to survival with ZOMBIELAND: Double Tap on Bluray and DVD.

So, a few years have gone by since we last checked in with the apocalypse survivors as Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) are taking a zombie break living in a big white house. Columbus and Wichita have settled into being a couple, Tallahassee is working on a new vehicle and Little Rock is getting itchy feet.

Thinking that Wichita might need something to look forward to, Columbus does his best to clear a path for their life. Spooked by his suggestion, both the girls pack up and hit the road. A month later, Columbus is heartbroken and Tallahassee is about to lose his mind with his whining so hitting up the local mall the two get more than they bargained for. Cute and fluffy Madison (Zoey Deutch) has survived in a mall and is happy to see others.

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So happy that she latches onto Columbus which doesn’t work out really well when Witchita resurfaces with the news that Little Rock has taken up with a non-gun-toting-pacifist named Berkeley (Avan Jogia). On their way to Graceland perks Tallahassee up and all four jump into a vehicle to make their way to see the King – oh yea, and to get Little Rock Back.

Finding a hotel, the gang (minus one and plus one) meet Nevada (Rosario Dawson), Albuquerque (Luke Wilson) and Flagstaff (Thomas Middleditch). In a scuffle to end all scuffles, the gang (minus one with no plus one) heads off for a place called Babylon where Little Rock is supposed to be.

Well, to make a long story short (I know, too late!), Babylon is a perfect place for Berkeley with their non-gun-pacifist-giving-post-apocalyptic-peace-a-chance. All that would be wonderful except for one thing, a new breed of zombies affectionately called T-800’s are headed toward the drum circle and the only people that know how to stop them are going to do just that!

Eisenberg as Columbus is sticking to his rules (well, except for Madison) and knows that since they’ve been laying low for a bit their zombie skills might be a little rusty. Once Wichita comes back the tension is full of well-deserved shade. Eisenberg doesn’t miss a Columbus step. Stone as Wichita is still a strong lady who doesn’t know what she wants relationship wise and her protective sister instincts are strong. She is just fun all the way around.

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Breslin as Little Rock has itchy feet because she’s tired of hanging out with people not her age. It isn’t easy and when she meets Berkeley, Little Rock sees a chance to do something different while paying homage to Cheech & Chong with a little road trip. Jogia as Berkeley reminds me of every cliché about guitar playing pacifists to the point that agreeing with Tallahassee is hilarious.

Speaking of Harrelson as Tallahassee, he has become the father figure to the group whether he likes it or not. When Little Rock runs off you can see his ‘dad’ side come out with wanting to do only one thing – end Berkeley. I love that Harrelson finally got a chance to ham it up with some Elvis impersonating.

Shout out to Deutch as Madison because her character is just everything, we never thought we wanted for Zombieland. She is hilarious, speaks her mind even if it doesn’t make sense, isn’t judgmental towards the situation the world finds itself in, is just the happiest survivor I think I’ve ever seen. Plus, she looks absolutely fabulous through the entire film!

Dawson as Nevada is a nice addition to the storyline, Wilson as Albuquerque has a truck bigger than Tallahassee’s and Middleditch as Flagstaff knows his Terminator movies and quotes. That’s all I’m saying about that because you should have all the giggles, I did with the new additions to the Zombieland universe.

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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 http://www.MoviesAnywhere.com.

The Bluray Exclusives are Extended Blooper & Outtakes, Alternate & Extended Scenes, The Doppelgangers and A Day with Bill Murray. Also included are The Rides of Zombieland, Rules of Making a Zombie Film, Making Babylon, New Blood and Filmmaker Commentary.

First, what I love best about ZOMBIELAND: Double Tap is that the storyline doesn’t try to reinvent the wheel. Instead, it picks up a few years later without missing a sarcastic beat. The characters have become a little lazy behind the walls of their big ole house so adventures in zombie land are inevitable. What hasn’t changed is their idiosyncrasies, their need to not admit that they are feeling anything out of the ordinary like commitment, or the fact that they treat each other exactly as they did in 2009.

Think about that for a minute, it’s been 10 years since we were introduced to ZOMBIELAND and the only one that has aged is Abigail Breslin. Harrelson, Eisenberg and Stone look fantastic and I can’t express enough how glad I am that they all came back to make this sequel. Let’s be honest, sequels don’t always work out well and it is mainly because the expectations are really high. In ZOMBIELAND: Double Tap, the only thing I expected is that the humor be at the same level as before and I wasn’t disappointed in any way.

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I had a fun time, enjoyed getting reacquainted with old friends and understanding that the rules that Columbus introduced us to in 2009 are what kept these characters alive. In their world all bets are off because the only thing they need to do is remember they are a family – oh and stay alive!

That’s right folks, no spoilers here because there is oh so much more to see AND what makes the arrival of the Bluray so very cool is making it a double ZOMBIELAND night and watch both films back to back. Oh yes, that is exactly what is happening in my household this weekend.

In the end – it’s their world and we just get to enjoy it.

DOLITTLE Brings Charm to the Big Screen

Dolittle cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres this Friday from writer/director Stephen Gaghan and Universal Pictures is the story of animals who live with none other than DOLITTLE.

Dr. John Dolittle (Robert Downey, Jr.) began as a doctor who has the unique ability to speak with animals. Known far and wide, even the Queen called upon him to help with her animals. In gratitude Dolittle is given an estate to continue his work with animals and given them shelter.

When tragedy strikes the good doctor, he closes the gates to everyone and becomes secluded from the world. That is until meeting the young Tommy (Harry Collett) who discovers a squirrel that needs a doctor! It is the flying parrot Polly (voiced by Emma Thompson) who leads the lad to Dolittle’s door.

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At the same time, the young Lady Rose (Carmel Laniado) is sent to Dolittle on behest of Queen Victoria (Jessie Buckley) to come to the palace and help the monarch. Quickly is snapped back to his self by all the animals who know that he needs to do what’s right. Visiting the Queen he is met by Lord Thomas Badgley (Jim Broadbent) and the nefarious Dr. Blair Mudfly (Michael Sheen).

It seems a plot is in the works against the Queen and only Dolittle knows how to stop it. The mysterious illness that has taken the Queen has a cure and Dolittle knows where it can be found.

Taking along Tommy, their journey begins with a ship full of animals and a mission – to save the Queen

Downey, Jr. as Dolittle is perfect casting with his unique ability to be quirky and humorous in his own way. It could also be that I’m happy to see him on the big screen again taking on a role that is lighthearted and warm in character. Downey, Jr. has a flair to entertain an audience, so much so that I can easy overlook the mushiness of his accent.

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Collett as Tommy is a young man unlike the rest of his hunting family. He sees the grace in loving animals and once meeting Dolittle, knows his path in life. The adventure is just a bonus! Collett is charming and fun to watch alongside Downey, Jr. and that makes for wonderful storytelling.

Sheen as Mudfly has become good at being bad. This time he is able to add a little slap stick comedy to his role but never go against Downey, Jr.! Broadbent as Badgley is supposed to be taking care of the Queen but is he?

Laniado as Lady Rose is sweet, elegant and wants to protect her Queen. A strong young woman who isn’t afraid of much and that serves her well against both man and animal. The spark between herself and Tommy is very sweet as well.

The animal cast include: Rami Malek as Chee-Chee, John Cena as Yoshi, Kumail Nanjiani as Plimpton, Octavia Spencer as Dab-Dab, Tom Holland as Jip, Craig Robinson as Kevin, Ralph Fiennes as Barry, Selena Gomez as Betsy, Marion Cotillard as Tutu, Frances de la Tour as the Dragon and Jason Mantzoukas as James the Dragonfly.

Other cast include Kasia Smutniak as Lily Dolittle, Oliver Chris as Sir Gareth, Clive Francis, and Antonio Banderas as King Rassouli.

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DOLITTLE is a charming fun adventure for the entire family. This is an introduction to Dolittle like we have not seen before and it does leave the door open in case Downey, Jr. wants to return. The audience was taken with the bounty of talking animals and all their own personalities and it did bring lots of laughs with side jokes.

The human cast is fun and ready to take on the journey which is unexpected and full of twists and turns. DOLITTLE is the reason families come to the movies together on a Saturday and escape into a magical world for a time and still talk about it after.

So, gather the entire family (grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins – everybody!) and enjoy time together with the animals.

In the end – he’s not just a people person!

THE BIG TRIP

Big Trip DVD cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to DVD from writer/director Vasili Rovenskiy and Lionsgate comes an animated adventure of an unlikely friendship and together taking THE BIG TRIP.

Mic-Mic (Pauly Shore) is a bear who wants to enjoy his leisurely uninterrupted life but that’s all about to change. A stork making his deliveries doesn’t do such a good job when mis=delivering a baby Panda. Immediately irritated, it is decided to take him to family in China.

Going along for the big trip is rabbit Oscar (Drake Bell) because he seems to be the only animal capable of calming the crying panda. On the road they pick up a pelican, a tiger who likes to chat and a wolf with issues.

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Their journey is one of learning to understand their differences but all toward the goal of one thing – returning the baby panda to his family!

Bell as Mic-Mic is not in the mood to be any other animals caretaker let alone nanny! Deciding to take the panda home is his only way out of the situation. Bell certainly uses his voice to project his character and gives it the right amount of grump.

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Shore as Oscar is a rabbit who truly wants to be friends with all the animals they are traveling with. Mic-Mic isn’t to keen on sharing the big trip and Oscar makes darn sure that he hops his way into their hearts. Shore is sassy and funny as always.

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 DVD Special Features include Giving the Characters a Voice: At the Recording Studio with Drake Bell and Pauly Shore Featurette.

Here is how I feel about animated films – I want them to be fun and colorful of course but also have a point to the adventure and even a few lessons about how to work out difficult problems and have fun at the same time.

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THE BIG TRIP is a story of differences and unlikely friendships and that is what I’m taking from it. My granddaughter loved the animal characters who made her laugh and even ‘awwww’ a few times. She loves pandas so watching the togetherness to protect this particular little panda captured her attention from start to finish.

The is most definitely a family film that is a good way to spend time together cuddled up on the sofa during these winter months with a soft blanket and a tub of popcorn. This is how you go on an adventure without leaving home.

In the end – big dreams, big travel and big trouble!

1917 Brings the Realities of War

1917 cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from writer/director Sam Mendes and Universal Pictures comes the story of two young men who try and stop a fatal mistake of war in 1917.

In northern France, Lance Corporals Blake (Dean Charles-Chapman) and Schofield (George MacKay) are given one of the most dangerous missions. Learning that the Germans have retreated, the British 2nd Battalion Devonshire Regiment is preparing to attack. When it is discovered to be a trap, a message needs to be delivered to call it off.

Among the 1,600 men preparing is Blake’s brother so he volunteers to take a message to commander of the Battalion to stop. Schofield isn’t very happy about being a part of the mission but goes with his friend Blake.

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Through trenches, explosions, dogfights, rigged bunkers and snipers in a destroyed village, the mission becomes even more crucial with ever step to save the soldiers who don’t know what is coming.

Bravery has no limits.

Chapman as Corp. Blake knows only one thing – he needs to stop the attack. Yes, it could be said his volunteering seemed motivated by family, but Chapman’s portrayal made me believe he would have done it no matter what or who.

Mackay as Schofield doesn’t start off with the same quality. Feeling forced to take on the mission, we as the viewing audience experience his change. He is still afraid but determined to finish what was started.

These two actors carry the weight of the story squarely on their shoulders. A difficult task in a film set to a harsh time in history and yet these two actors swoop us up for the experience without any fight from us.

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1917 is a time of young men going to war with the basics of everything. Yes, there were weapons and crude by todays technological standards, so it is stunning people survived at all. Mendes makes sure we are fully aware of it in every frame from start to finish.

In telling this story, Mendes enlists the like of Benedict Cumberbatch, Colin Firth, Daniel Mays, Billy Postlewaite, Andy Apollo and Mark Strong to complete the road this film takes us down.

1917 is a start to the senses with a continual tension line to the very end. It works beautifully and the proof is in the two Golden Globe awards for Best Motion Picture – Drama and Best Director for Sam Mendes. That is all before the wide release this Friday. 1917 has won 48 awards with 154 nominations and all this before Oscar nominations have been announced.

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Mendes edited the film to be one continual shot. “You don’t want an audience thinking how you shot the film, it’s a constant dance between character and landscape and you have to allow for constant movement and create a real experience.” The story is inspired by Mendez grandfather’s experience with “The Autobiography of Alfred H. Mendes: 1897-1991.”

1917 is heartfelt and heart stopping wrapped up in an intense story of sacrifice, bravery and the ugly reality that is war. It has everything that an epic war film should but add serious intensity and it will have viewers leaving the theatre talking about Oscars.

In the end – time is the enemy!

UNDERWATER Brings Tension in the Ocean’s Depths

Underwater cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres this Friday from director William Eubank and 20th Century Fox comes the depths of the Mariana Trench and what is truly UNDERWATER.

Deep below the depths is a research laboratory platform that in a minute becomes a potential watery grave. Mechanical Engineer Norah (Kristen Stewart) is the first to notice the leaking vessel as the walls begin to close in and wetter rushes in. Trying to alert the crew, she finds Rodrigo (Mamoudou Athie) as they look for the safest place to be.

Making their way they find crew mate Paul (T.J. Miller), Emily (Jessica Henwick), Smith (John Gallagher Jr.) and Lee (Gunner Wright) as well as the Captain (Vincent Cassel). Knowing they have no choice but to leave the platform, the Captain decides the best route is to another platform and to go by walking!

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Almost immediately there is a sense that something is down in the depths with them. The shadows come closer and closer until the creatures reveal themselves. Their goal is to take out the humans and the human’s goal is to get to the other platform alive.

Norah knows how to work the mechanics to try and keep their oxygen packs working and as the group is taken down one by one, she is more determined than ever to get to the surface!

What is down in the depths with them is nothing anyone has ever seen before.

Stewart as Norah doesn’t waste a moment jumping into action. Practically from the beginning of the film the action kicks in and so does Stewart. She thinks fast on her feet (considering what is under her feet is quickly turning to water) and is doing everything to keep her wits. This isn’t a role that will make or break Stewart, but it is a role that is pretty strong, and I don’t mind that.

Cassel as the Captain knows the only way out is through the murky waters and doing it walking in very heavy suits. Having the chance to get out while the getting was good, the Captain wants everyone to get out. I love Cassel because he is so diverse in every role he has played and can get flamboyant or subtle, but his presence is palpable.

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Henwick as Emily is a young woman who isn’t having an easy time accepting what is happening and what is going to happen. She has a nervous talk and covers a wide range of subjects in a short period of time one minute and can hold a conversation with herself the next. Then again, I’m not sure how any of us would react in that situation!

Miller is the winner of the film and he is hilarious which is the tension breaker in a film loaded with it. His one-liners and need for a bunny gave us all the chance to laugh off the intensity of the story. I just love any time he’s on screen because I never know what’s going to come out of his mouth. Gallagher Jr. and Wright get a chance to run for their lives as well and once the creature is exposed, its just run or be food.

UNDERWATER is a mixture of genre films like ALIENS, THE ABYSS and the like but you know what – I’m good with that. I understand that January isn’t the month for big time releases which might play well for the film. UNDERWATER is an intense, humorous (thanks to Miller) and seat jumping story that doesn’t require a lot from the audience. I know that sounds a bit snarky but I don’t mean it that way at all.

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There is something awesome about the holidays being over and needing a film that just lets you sit back with a tub of popcorn and have a good time. I don’t know anyone that didn’t have a jump for five or six thanks to a creature that is just too creepy to be on land. Instead, there is a right amount of everything in UNDERWATER.

So load up family and friends to hit the theatre for an experience of thrills and watery chills because it’s a great way to start the new year!

In the end – seven miles below the ocean surface something has awakened!

MARRIAGE STORY Hits Viewers Hard with Life, Love and Relationships

Marriage Story cover

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on Netflix from writer/director Noah Baumback is the story of a marriage that becomes a bit of a battle with MARRIAGE STORY.

Charlie Barber (Adam Driver) and wife Nicole (Scarlett Johansson) are a young married couple living in New York City and both are in the ‘business’. Charlie is a theater director and Nicole has been in film and on stage.

Things have been difficult for them both when Nicole is offered a television pilot in Los Angeles. Charlie watches her go to L.A. living with her mother Sandra (Julie Hagerty) and taking their son Henry (Azhy Robertson) with her. Its difficult to get away for Charlie with a play coming to Broadway as it takes up much more of his time than ever.

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The more time the couple spends away from each other, issue begin to arise as Nicole feels neglected by Charlie. To his surprise Nicole is talking to attorney Nora Fanshaw (Laura Dern) who tells Charlie to get a lawyer of his own for the separation. Thinking it will all blow over, Charlie takes his time finding a lawyer. When it turns out everything isn’t going to blow over, he turns to Bert Spitz (Alan Alda).

The first order of business is to get an apartment in Los Angeles since everything now will be done according to the laws of California. This drives Charlie nuts because he believes they are New Yorkers! This isn’t going to be the only line in the sand to be drawn by Nicole’s attorney. Once the case hits court, Charlie is about to find out how much more his life is about to change.

The lawyers start with the smallest of accusations making them huge and worthy of fodder for the judge to deal with. Watching his own lawyer Bert accept what is happening, Charlie hires Jay Marotta (Ray Liotta) to try and salvage what is left of their shredded lives.

This is the story of love, relationships and what happens when those two things break down completely.

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Johansson as Nicole is a woman who decides that she wants something more in her life. Letting her husband pursue his dreams, she decides that its time for her to do the same. I have to say that Johansson character was a tad bit shady in her dealings and I’m not the only one who thinks so. I mean really? I get that using the laws to her advantage is one thing but wow, I was head shaking a time or two. Of course, Johansson gives a stellar performance but I expect nothing less.

Driver as Charlie is a man who is sort of a bit of a narcissist in that he thinks what he does is more important that what’s going on in the real world. Don’t get me wrong, I think he was done under a time or two but at the same time he was seriously oblivious to his wife and young child. This is the year of Driver with saying adios to Kylo Ren in STAR WARS: The Rise of Skywalker, THE REPORT and now MARRIAGE STORY.

Dern as Fanshaw came in with legal guns blazing but then that’s what California divorce lawyers do with a good case that has the potential to be a money maker. Did that sound biting? Oh well. Alda as Spitz gives that California-laid-back lets-not-work-ourselves-up-lawyer-vibe that works well with Charlie – in the beginning anyway. Liotta as Marotta is the kind of lawyer Charlie needed from the beginning but there is a price to be paid for that kind of game play.

It was great to see Julie Hagerty on the screen again as Sandra who seemed to be more on Charlie’s side than her daughters.

Other cast include – Martha Kelly as The Evaluator, Rich Fulcher as the Judge, Mark O’Brien as Carter, Kyle Bornheimer as Ted, Matthew Shear as Terry, Brooke Bloom as Mary Ann, and Merritt Wever as Cassie.

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MARRIAGE STORY is a harsh film to take in on many levels because there isn’t a speck of it that isn’t true in most divorces I’ve ever heard about. It is about the break down of communication between two people who are used to having words written to say by someone else so getting their own out takes a bit. They are a creative couple who have created a marriage that isn’t working without special effects.

That’s what makes their separation so difficult to watch, mainly because all I could think was how easy it all could have gone if they JUST TALKED it out. No secrets, no surprises and no other childish nonsense that seems to go hand in hand with divorces these days.

So, I think MARRIAGE STORY should be required before anyone gets married, especially the scene when the Evaluator visits both Charlie and Nicole because wow! Add THE WAR OF THE ROSES into that viewing list as well for good measure.

There will be awards and nominations for both Johannson and Driver to be sure because their performances are very good. Currently the awards up for grabs as the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild so watch for those coming soon.

In the end – just a look inside one marriage.

 

RAMBO: Last Blood Battles on Bluray

Rambo Last Blood cover

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on Bluray/DVD and Digital from director Adrian Grunberg and Lionsgate Home Entertainment comes the return of the soldier everyone underestimates and is known as RAMBO: Last Blood.

John Rambo (Sylvester Stallone) is living a quiet life on his ranch along with niece Carmen (Paz Vega) and her grandmother Maria (Carmen Delgado). Everything seems to be going along fine until Rambo discovers that Carmen has questions about her father living in Mexico. Trying to tell her he isn’t a good man; Carmen wants her own answers.

With the help of cousin Gabrielle (Yvette Monreal), Carmen sneaks over the boarder to visit her father to ask why he left. Not getting the answer she was hoping for and visibly upset, Gabrielle suggests that Carmen stay for the night and she will cheer her up by taking her to the local club for some fun.

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It isn’t until Carmen wakes up that she realizes something has gone horribly wrong. Maria has learned that her granddaughter is missing and Rambo isn’t about to let that fly. He takes a trip across the border to discover from Gabrielle where Carmen was last seen. To his horror, she has been taken by a notorious cartel that kidnaps young women.

Rambo also runs the leaders El Flaco (Pascacio Lopez), Don Manuel (Joaquin Cosio) and Hugo Martinez (Sergio Peris-Mencheta) who have no intention of giving Carmen back, in fact, they are going to make it even more difficult.

That is when Rambo takes a deep breath and knows they are going to have to play by his rules and that means they couldn’t possibly be prepared for what happens next.

Stallone as Rambo brings back the haunted fighter of a man who thought he had finally found peace in the world. Of course there are always bad guys to test him and these particular men have no idea who they are dealing with. Stallone is sullen, doesn’t speak a lot but gets the job done none the less and, as usual, not without great personal pain. Leaving the final scene open, I have no idea if John Rambo will ever pop up again.

Vega as Carmen is the typical teen who thinks she knows everything and that adults are just talking nonsense. Of course, like the typical teen that thinks adults are talking nonsense, Carmen finds herself on the end of a stick and her actions are the match. Trusting family is the one thing she counted on and you see how that works out for her right? Beltran as Maria just wants Carmen to be happy but when that doesn’t work she puts her faith in John Rambo. Monreal as Gabrielle is that cousin everyone loves but no one wants alone in their home or the silver goes missing!

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Peris-Mencheta, Cosio and Lopez as the bad guys are exactly that – very ugly bad guys! They have no one wit of care about Carmen or Rambo let alone the girls they have in their capture. They are all about money, power and fear but then again they’ve never met anyone like John Rambo so as I suspected the lesson was swift, extremely painful and a bit harsh in some spots. That’s a warning for you squeamish folks out there!

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 RAMBO: Last Blood Special Features include Drawing LAST BLOOD: Multipart Production Diary, From First Note to LAST BLOOD: Music for the Massacres and Official Trailer.

As each Rambo film has come along, it seems the character has learned new and better ways to end the bad guys. I watched the film with that five-year-old thing kids do with your hand over your eyes but fingers spread apart because you don’t want to see it but you do have to see it. So be warned there are a few scenes that make your jaw drop.

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This is definitely an action film because once the slap John Rambo to the ground you know from that moment on, he’s plotting doom. That’s when the non-stop battle begins and he’s pretty epic about it. From explosions to weaponry to tactics that made me think “I’d never have thought of that”, this is totally a Rambo film from beginning to end.

I mean when Stallone takes to Twitter and says, “Great day! We got our HARD R rating today! What’s coming is going to be unlike anything you have ever seen…” He also said he would play John Rambo as long as the films continue to be successful. I tend to take his word for it. This is also the shortest Rambo film along with the shortest hair John Rambo has ever had so there’s something for everyone.

So, load up the couch with munchies and turn off the lights because if you have a big screen and sound bar as part of your home theatre – this is going to get good!

In the end – everyone has one more fight left in them!

 

 

Disney Continues the Story of MALEFICENT: Mistress of Evil On Bluray

maleficent cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray/DVD and Digital from director Joachim Ronning and Walt Disney Home Entertainment to continue the story of MALEFICENT: Mistress of Evil.

Aurora (Elle Fanning) is now Queen of the Moor, doing her daily duties and, on this day, being proposed to by Prince Phillip (Harris Dickinson). She and Phillip are thrilled until they both realize that they must tell their respective parents. Phillip rides off to talk with his mother Queen Ingrith (Michelle Pfeiffer) and father King John (Robert Lindsey).

Diaval (Sam Riley) overhears the proposal and flies off to forewarn Maleficent (Angelina Jolie) who doesn’t take the news very well. Letting Aurora know how she feels, it is the young woman that pleads with the woman who has been her mother to go to the castle and meet Phillips parents. Wanting her happiness, Maleficent begrudgingly agrees.

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The town is on high alert when Aurora, Maleficent and Diaval arrive at the castle gate. Being introduced to the King and Queen, they all sit down to dinner. Almost immediately there is a bit of shade being thrown by the Queen towards Maleficent bringing up the past. Aurora senses it and tries her best to keep the fae calm. Eventually a line is crossed and Maleficent stretches her wings. When the King falls to the ground, the Queen screams out that a curse has been placed on him.

Not willing to wait around for the guards, Maleficent commands Aurora to join her but when that doesn’t happen, she swiftly flies away. Waiting on the roof is Gerda (Jenn Murray) who sends a buckshot into Maleficent. Falling into the sea she begins to sink and unexpectedly rescued by fae Conall (Chitwetel Ejiofor) who takes her to a place where other fae are in hiding. He tells her things she never knew and meets another hot headed fae Borra (Ed Skrein).

The Queen prepares for war with secrets beneath the castle and Maleficent realizes that her Moor is under attack. Trying to save what she can, it is Conall that is now wounded. Not wanting to wait any longer, the Queen decides it’s time for a wedding, but Aurora feels as if she is being forced to change.

As the castle prepares, a secret is unleashed on the fae in a battle that can only be won by the total destruction of one side or the other. It is time for secrets to end and an understanding between human and fae to come forward before everything each side holds dear is destroyed.

Jolie as Maleficent returns to a role she has made truly her own. In this film she has a difficult time seeing her ‘beastie’ grow into a woman. Wanting her to stay in the Moor is everything and Prince Phillip is what stands in the way. In this film the character discovers more about her own roots than she ever knew before but still must make decisions that are painful. Jolie is entertaining, tries to be as good as she can but when push comes to Queen-shoving, Maleficent will do whatever it takes to save those she loves.

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Fanning as Aurora has grown into a young woman who is ready, after five years, to finally wed the man she loves. Torn between the family she is going to marry into and the family she already has, the struggle is before her when Maleficent loses her temper. Being a smart young woman, Aurora knows that something isn’t quite right and goes about finding the truth that is going to hurt those she loves. Fanning has given Aurora a very strong sense of herself and, like Maleficent, gives her character some bite when necessary.

Pfeiffer as Queen Ingrith is just about as wicked as they come who doesn’t really have a reason other than she’s been unhappy for far too long. There is a crazy here that makes Maleficent look like a saint because the Queen is being devious, manipulative and hurts those that don’t deserve it in a very short period of time. Pfeiffer gives it everything she’s got with every evil look she can muster but she looks fabulous in the tiaras!

Dickinson as Prince Phillip is a young man in love with a girl who runs barefoot on the Moor. He wants to bring both kingdoms together to live in peace but can’t seem to get anyone to agree on how to make that happen. With Aurora he knows they can work together but what he doesn’t know is that forces are against him. Riley as Diaval wants Aurora to be happy but also wants Maleficent to keep her cool and he is the one caught in between the ladies.

Ejiofor as Conall is a fae who is a lot like Prince Phillip in that all he wants for his people is peace and the ability to not have to hide away in a cave. He doesn’t want his people to fear humans and hopes Maleficent can be the conduit for that to happen. Skrein as Borra is a bit like Maleficent in that he is full of rage towards humans and can only see attacking them as an answer to what separates them.

Other cast include Juno Temple as Thistlewit, Imelda Staunton as Knotgrass, Warwick Davis as Lickspittle, Lesley Manville as Flittle, Miyavi as Udo, Judith Shekoni as Shrike and Alex Martin as Tundra.

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!

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The Bluray includes the Bonus Extras of Extended Scenes, Behind the Scenes Look at the magic of MALEFICIENT: Mistress of Evil, outtakes, aurora’s Wedding and more!

MALEFICENT: Mistress of Evil is a bit of a stretch in the title. The story of Aurora and Phillip takes another step with Maleficent dragging her feet all the way. Funny thing is, she had every right to do it considering the underhandedness and shade thrown by Phillip’s mother the Queen. Jab after jab I’m surprised that it took so long for the green mist and red eyes to appear! Immediately I was on Maleficent’s side and cheered her on the entire film.

That being said, this is totally a Disney movie from start to finish. It has love, family, doing what’s right no matter what the cost and it is all in a beautiful castle setting. Of course, the kid in me (and it’s still there where Disney is concerned) loves the idea of the Moors filled with creatures of all kinds bringing the silly, cute and loyal to the surroundings.

Everyone in the theatres loved the film so you can imagine how this will easily become part of anyone’s Disney home library. That’s important because even though there are parts that are intense, it is still about family, friendship, knowing who you are and being ready to defend those that might be defenseless. As I said, all Disney qualities!

In the end – go beyond the fairy tale!

STAR WARS: The Rise of Skywalker Brings an End to an Era

Star Wars Cover
Jeri Jacquin
Coming to theatres from director J.J. Abrams, Lucasfilms and Walt Disney Pictures Is the conclusion of a saga that began over 40 years ago with STAR WARS: The Rise of Skywalker.
It was 1977 At the Valley Circle theatre in San Diego with my bff and life sister Ellen that STAR WARS came into my life. The first time I saw the film I was transported into a world that I have embraced through the years. My summer was filled with weekly visits to the theatre so I could watch the storyline again and again.
Thus began my crush on Luke (Mark Hamill) that continues today in my much older and less cuter form. The early scene of the original STAR WARS where Luke is on the hill lamenting as the two suns of Tatooine are setting and the rise of emotion from John Williams music begins moved me. It moved me because I knew that look, I understood wanting to know what was out in the world waiting for me. I also saw the suns radiating on his face with a look that was the most handsomest I’d ever seen. Hey, I was 16!
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Then, the buddy ‘friendship’ with Han (Harrison Ford) that always made me laugh with his antics or feeling protective anytime no one understood him. He was rough and tough yet I knew that he would never leave the two people that had become his friends by not judging to harshly the way he handled things. These two guys also showed me how pensive friendships can be brought together with the glue of a very tall and very hairy Wookie and to Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) I say a humble and grateful thank you.
My lesson to be a stronger person came from Princess Leia to whom I continue to be eternally grateful on a daily basis. She was my first female role model who showed me courage, loyalty and laid the foundation of fighting for what is right no matter what is thrown at you. Fisher may not have known what she was accomplishing early on taking the role of Leia but I hope through the years she came to know there were thousands of girls who learned the same lessons I did.
Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) became the voice of reason for those of us watching Star Wars again and again in 1977. He kept us all level headed when we wanted to jump into the battle with Luke, Han and Leia. The calm explainer of the force and how it works, he introduced us all to ‘use the force’ as it became an iconic phrase that you’d have to be locked in a cave somewhere to not know. Trust me, tears fell when he allowed Vadar to swing that saber helping Luke and the gang to escape, something I never got over.
So here we are, in 2019 and I couldn’t sleep Monday night knowing that I was hours away from seeing how this would all end. Don’t expect spoilers because I would be furious if anyone told me anything before seeing the film (Remember Han Solo?) so I’m keeping it light and reminiscent.
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On a remote planet, Rey (Daisy Ridley) is working with General Organa (Carrie Fisher) on earning Luke Skywalkers light saber but there seems to be a feeling stopping her. Resistance friends Poe (Oscar Isaac). Finn (John Boyega) and Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) are struggling to get back to Rey after retrieving what are the next step plans for the First Order. Also out in the galaxy is Supreme Leader of the First Order Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) who is knocking down anyone who gets in his way.
Now called the Final Order, it is Rey, Finn, Poe and all those who follow that must pull out all the stops to bring balance back to the force. Allegiant General Pryde (Richard E. Grant) knows how this is going to play out. There is one fiercely evil entity who is going to do his diabolical best to stop them all as secrets are revealed and choices are made!
There are others along the way who decide that it might be time to help and that includes Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) and Zorii Bliss (Keri Russell). There are those who have come before that let it be known they are with them all.
Yes, that’s all you are going to get in the plot department! So let’s move on to the characters who make their appearance in this final installment.
Ridley as Rey is still dealing with the unknown of her past. It is hard to let the force flow through you when there are those mushed up memories and a Supreme Leader who is constantly cutting into your thought process. Ridley has done everything asked of her in the three installments of the Star Wars saga she has been in. At times I wasn’t always sure where she was taking this characters but clearly, now, it was on a path that I didn’t even see coming.
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Driver as Ben/Kylo Ren has been on quite a journey! He has pretty cool parents but chooses to follow the destructive path of grandpa Vadar. Even with that there is something that connects him to Rey as she tries to convince him to put down his very angry saber and be true to himself. That’s hard to do when rage seems to be the only thing that motivates Ren. Driver has put every bit of that on the screen and when the moments where Ben shows through, this actor melts and takes everyone along with him.
Boyega as Finn has always seemed to be Rey’s protector whether that was his intention or not. Being a former storm trooper, he has truly embraced his role as being part of the Resistance and constantly surprised where it has led him. Although his relationship with Poe hasn’t always been the best, it is reminiscent of another galaxy duo who didn’t start out on the best of terms.
Isaac as Poe continues to be reckless but there comes a moment where he has to decide what his place is in the Resistance. It turns out to be the most difficult decision he has ever made (and you will know when that hits him the hardest). Isaac’s Poe is the comedy of the trio because of his casual nature and finding humor when he should be panicking.
Williams as Lando gets the chance to once again fly the Millennium Falcon with Chewy at his side. He knows that the new trio faces the same tribulations and he has one last chance to do right by Leia and help in any way he can. Lando was a wild card before and trust me when I say he doesn’t disappoint now either.
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This is where I get a little choked up – when Carrie Fisher as Leia comes up on the screen I am overcome with a wave of intense emotion. There couldn’t have been a finale without her and I am happy to take it in any form. It is even more difficult to watch Gen. Organa make a motherly choice which is something her character didn’t have a chance to do before. Yes, more quiet tears dropped but Princess Leia will always be a part of this writers life.
Other cast include everyone who could get in the film with Philicia Saunders as Tabala Zo, Simon Day as General Engell, Amir El-Masry as Commander Trach, Denis Lawson as Wedge Antiles, Naomi Ackie as Jannah, Freddie Prinze Jr. as Kannan Jarus, Dominic Monaghan as Beaumont Kin, Billie Lourd as Lieutenant Connix and Domnhall Gleeson as General Hux.
Also Jimmy Vee as R2-D2 who always had my heart as well as a humor of squeaks and blips that have always been totally understandable, and the amazing Anthony Daniels as C-3PO who always managed to be properly annoying but in such a way that I personally would never want to be without him.
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Look, I’m just going to throw it out there. Not everyone will be happy with how Abrams brings this 9 film saga to its conclusion and personally – I don’t care about the not-happy people and here’s why. STAR WARS: The Rise of Skywalker is being seen by me in a way that is part of my being. I don’t think all the Star Wars films were successful and I don’t hide my feelings about it but I still embrace it as part of the storyline that began in 1977.
Not everything in life is going to be wrapped up neatly to please every person (I mean seriously, the Game of Thrones finale almost threw people into fits!) and that’s okay. Not being neat means we all have something to talk about and share after seeing the film. We get to reminisce about more than one film, about more than one theory and about more than one character. That’s what Star Wars has done for us, it has kept the conversation going longer than any other films (maybe Harry Potter gets to be part of the club in its own way).
I hope that everyone who goes remembers that the experience is yours, each unique, each with its own memories and each with its own chance to say the words – goodbye friends! Yes there are already stories like The Mandalorian (big fan by the way) giving us a new world but I’m speaking of the story that began with Luke, Leia, Chewy, C3PO, R2D2 and Obi-Wan.
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It is time to say good-bye to seeing them on the big screen again, good-bye to the excitement of waiting for the first showing and good-bye to that part of my life that I’ve always held so cherished. Oh I won’t be removing Yoda and Darth from my desk any time soon, but instead of giggling with anticipation for the next story installment, I will smile at them for sharing the last forty two years of my life in such an impactful way. I saw these characters through 16 year-old eyes from 1977 to 2019 and that is pretty cool to my way of thinking.
So prepare yourself and just enjoy the ride – there isn’t a tub of popcorn big enough for what’s to come and look for me in the seat next to you because I’ll be there again and again and again because that’s how I started and that’s how it’s going to finish.
In the end – it started in a galaxy far, far away!

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