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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!

Voices Ring Out from MILITARY WIVES

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Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Hulu, Apple TV, Amazon Prime Video and other VOD platforms for Memorial Day weekend from director Peter Cattaneo and Bleecker Street comes the story of friendship and song with the MILITARY WIVES.

It is not easy as British military wives watch their husbands from Flitcroft base pack up for their assignment to Afghanistan in 2009. Kate (Kristin Scott Thomas) and Lisa (Sharon Horgan) make it a point to find something constructive for the wives to do in their Social Committee. After many suggestions, a choir seemed to be the ideal choice since knitting doesn’t go over very well.

Kate is a strong presence and very opinionated about how things should go, and Lisa tries to find a way around it. Having some musical ability, Lisa attempts to guide the women into singing songs that they can have fun with as Kate is more serious in her choices.

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Both women have their own family issues as Lisa tries to maintain a strained relationship with daughter Frankie (India Amarteifio) and Kate continues to hide the mourning of her son from everyone.

But the women learn to work together and have a few missteps until they learn that they have been invited to sing at The Royal British Legion’s Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall. Tensions rise and so do tempers as the performance day nears and the women must come together, or it will all fall apart.

Thomas as Kate is a woman trying to keep up an emotional front and not let anyone see her pain. Seeing her husband off almost seems a relief so that she can be alone. Thomas puts up a hard front until it begins to crack brought on by the choir and her constant head butting with Lisa.

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Horgan as Lisa is a woman who is also keeping up an emotional front of being unphased by her husband’s recent deployment. Her detachment affects the relationship with daughter Frankie and instead of dealing with that, she throws herself music first into the choir.

Thomas and Horgan carry the film and give the viewer a glimpse inside the lives of this group of women as they sing their way into a better place in their lives. The women of the choir cast gave me many reasons to smile and a few moments of laughter. Seeing their two leaders have a go at one another doesn’t sway them from their purpose of song.

Other cast include: Robert Whitelock as Malc, Stephen Thompson as Stuart, Robbie Gee as Red, Roxy Faridany as Dawn, Greg Wise as Richard, Laura Checkley as Maz, Laura Elphinstone as Helen, Amy Kelly as Sarah, Emma Lowndes as Annie, Lara Rossi as Ruby and Gaby French as Jess.

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Bleeker Street is a New York City film company that has brought outstanding films to the public. Their library includes TRUMBO, DENIAL, THE LOST CITY OF Z, BEIRUT, HOTEL MUMBAI, ORDINARY LOVE and THE ROADS NOT TAKEN. For more information on the titles from Bleeker Street please visit www.bleeckerstreetmedia.com.

MILITARY WIVES is the story of more than just one group of women as the Military Wives Choirs have over 75 groups on military bases across the UK. They have performed in such places as the Royal Albert Hall and for Queen Elizabeth. Their performances have brought about donations to the Royal British Legion and the SSAFA Forces charity.

What is truly enjoyable about the film is that for a moment in time, these women come together to find a way to deal with their struggles. Of course, it is about their husbands going so far from home and in a dangerous situation but, it is also about their feelings, at home raising kids, and finding something greater than themselves.

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There are intense emotions to be sure, but there is also a bit of fun and lots of music. The film has a cast that effortlessly portray people we all could know, are related to and love. That is important when reaching an audience who already live in a world full of uncertainty.

In the end – united they sing!

There is Delight in a Girl Named EMMA

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Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray, DVD and Digital from director Autumn de Wilde and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is a story of the flights of fancy with EMMA.

Emma Woodhouse (Anya Taylor-Joy) is a young woman growing up in Regency England. Searching out for a friend she finds Harriet Smith (Mia Goth), a young woman who is thrilled to have a friend like Emma but that is short lived when she discovers Harriet has been proposed to. Through a bit of emotional manipulation, Harriet declines Mr. Martin’s (Connor Swindells) offer.

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Then Emma believes that their vicar Mr. Elton (Josh O’Connor) has feelings for Harriet and does what she can to encourage the match. Watching all of this happen is Mr. Knightley (Johnny Flynn) who Emma isn’t too keen on. Now things are about to get complicated as Emma learns that the vicar actually likes her and the young Jane Fairfax (Amber Anderson) who brings out a jealous streak.

Emma is thrilled to have a friend in Frank Churchill (Callum Turner) who she believes Harriet has fallen for. Then things get even more confusing as Emma sets everyone’s back hair up being rude at a picnic, discovering she does not know anything about Harriet’s feelings and extraordinarily little about her own.

Now Emma must learn what it is to take a moment and think about her actions because her group of friends is growing smaller with every word she speaks!

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Taylor-Joy is sweet, filled with angst and childish mixed together as she tries to maneuver love, relationships and people. Not very good at any of it, the character of Emma must go through the maze that she has created and come out the other side a better person than when she started. Taylor-Joy is fun to watch make all of this happen in the film.

Goth as Smith doesn’t realize she is a pawn in the relationship game that Emma has created. She is as simple about life and love as her young friend and it shows with the ease in which she can fall in and out of ‘love’. Goth is also very entertaining to watch and brought a lot of charm to her role.

Flynn as Mr. Knightley isn’t amused by Emma yet can’t understand why he still wants to see what she will do next. Irritated by her most of the time, Flynn slowly breaks down his characters walls when Knightley’s own brand of jealousy rears up. He knows there is something about how Emma does things and never expected to become mixed up in it all.

Turner as Frank seems to be more like Emma in the way he flits about watching all the relationships pop about. He makes Emma smile and, in a way, boosts her ego just a little more not that it needs any help. O’Connor as Mr. Elton is a strange vicar who also gives off the wrong signals about his emotions, a running theme in the film. Not able to hide his emotional embarrassment, O’Connor is brilliant in dealing with the vicars’ life.

Anderson as Jane brings something to the story that none of them intended and they aren’t quite sure how to deal with it. Society goes into high gear in their guesswork when Jane received an extravagant gift from a stranger – or is it a stranger?

Shout out to Bill Nighy who I adore as Emma’s father who is sees what his daughter is going through and in one scene does what fathers do – just be there. The scene at the end is also quiet touching but I expect that from this fine actor.

Other cast include, Miranda Hart as Miss Bates, Rupert Graves as Mr. Weston, Gemma Whelan as Mrs. Weston, Tanya Reynolds as Mrs. Elton, Oliver Chris as John Knightley, Chloe Pirrie as Isabella Knightley, Myra McFadyen as Mrs. Bates, Esther Coles as Mrs. Cox, Suzy Bloom as Miss Gilbert, and Bill Nighy as Mr. Woodhouse.

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

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.

EMMA is a sweet film based on the beloved classic by Jane Austen. The writer is also known for her works including Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, and Mansfield Park. My favorite coffee mug has a pencil drawing of Jane Austen and below it says, “What would Jane do?”

The film is endearing, charming and fun even with its moments of heartbreak. If you, like myself, are a fan of costuming then EMMA will give you an eye full of beautiful gowns along with pomp in all its forms. The cast is stellar and brought a wonderful book to the screen.

In the end – love knows best!

The Terror is Unseen with THE INVISIBLE MAN

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Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray, DVD and Digital from writer/director Leigh Whannell and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment comes the story of fear and disbelief and it all starts with THE INVISIBLE MAN.

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

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

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

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

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

How do you prove what no one else sees?

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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The Bonus Features include: Deleted Scenes, Moss Manifested, Director’s Journey with Leigh Whannell, The Players, Timeless Terror, Feature Commentary with Writer/Director Leigh Whannell. THE INVISIBLE MAN will also be available on 4K Ultra HD which is the ultimate movie watching experience. 4K Ultra HD features the combination of 4K, resolution for four times sharper pictures than HD and immersive audio delivering a multidimensional sound experience.

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

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

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

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

In the end – what you cannot see can hurt you!

THE PHOTOGRAPH Takes a Snapshot of Life on Bluray

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Jeri Jacquin

This week on Bluray, DVD and Digital from writer/director Stella Meghie and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is a story of love, life and the decisions we make in between THE PHOTOGRAPH.

Michael Block (Lakeith Stanfield) is a young writer from New Orleans who meets the elder Isaac (Rob Morgan) to talk to him about life after Hurricane Katrina. Telling Michael about his life, Isaac has a picture of a woman named Christina (Chante Adams) and it piques his interest and he feels as if he must know more about her.

Working with Michael is Andy (Kelvin Harrison Jr.) who manages learn that Christina has passed but leaves behind daughter Mae (Issa Rae). What they discover is that Christina and Isaac were once very much in love much to the dismay of her mother. As their relationship became more complicated, Christina chose to go to New York in order to follow a career as a photographer and Isaac is distraught.

MOVIE REVIEW 'THE PHOTOGRAPH'

After several months, Christina calls her mother to share the good news about a job and learns the sad truth. Returning home, she meets Isaac at the funeral learning even more devastating news. Not staying any longer, Christina goes home and does not return to New Orleans until many years later.

Seeing Isaac only brings up memories of the heart and Christina wants to be well-away from it. In the present, Michael and Mae are working on their relationship, but she is having a difficult time trying to understand why everything must be so complicated.

The answers may be in understanding her mother and the ability to forgive and let go so that love wins out.

Rae as Mae is the young woman struggling with her own history with Christina. As it becomes clearer through the story that Mom has issues that go back to her own mother, it is when we learn that history can emotionally repeat itself. Rae gives a strong performance filled with longing and insecurity yet a strength in understanding that love is worth every step she takes with Michael.

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Stanfield as Michael is caught up in the past, the present and the strong feelings he starts to have for Mae. All while trying to capture the story that Isaac is sharing with him. When things become complicated with Mae, Michael must make the decision whether to stay or go far away and forget.

Adams as Christina was a woman ahead of her time. She wanted love to be sure, but she also wanted to be her own woman but having something all her own. Going away to find it, she believed in love but clearly forgot to let Isaac in on her beliefs. Morgan as Isaac wanted everything for Christina but had to deal with is own securities about providing a life for her. That is where life clashed between the two of them – both knowing what they wanted and neither of them giving an inch to the other to have it.

Other cast include: Dakota Paradise as young Mae, Rylee King as Sandrina, Y’lan Noel as young Issac, Lil Rey Howery as Kyle, Phoenix Noelle as Sophia, Teyonah Parris as Asia, Marsha Blake as Violet, Maxwell Cooper as Peter and Courtney B. Vance as Louis Morton.

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

Bonus Features of the Bluray and DVD include Shooting THE PHOTOGRAPH: An inside look at the making of THE PHOTOGRAPH featuring interviews with Issa Rae, Lakeith Stanfield, director Stella Meghie and producer Will Packer, Culture in Film: Filmmakers and cast discuss the important of representation in the industry, the significance of being both in front of and behind the camera, and why this story matters, and The Film Through Photographs: Explore the use of photography throughout the film as the cast and filmmakers delve into how the photographs, and use of such, told stories beyond capability of word or action.

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

THE PHOTOGRAPH is a charming story of two people who have their own feelings about life and love without realizing that the past can shape those feelings. Mae is the young woman trying to understand a mother who had her own secrets all while fighting off the idea of love. Michael put all his efforts into a career as a writer so love wasn’t something he was looking for either, yet – here they both are.

Cozy up and prepare for the story of parents, their children and love.

In the end – one photograph can bring a memory that lasts a lifetim

The Story Can Be Told About THE TRAITOR

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Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray from writer/director Marco Bellocchio and Sony Pictures Classics comes the of a man who knew to much and became THE TRAITOR.

Cosa Nostra Tommaso Buscetta (Pierfrancesco Favino) gathers his family and friends to say goodbye to Palermo, Italy, as he makes his plans to start a new life in Brazil. This also includes starting a new family with wife Cristina (Maria Fernanda Candido) as his older sons prove to have drug problems he doesn’t want to take with him. He entrusts them to friend Pippo Calo (Fabrizio Ferracane) who has always known the boys.

Believing he has left the ‘family business’ in good hands, it becomes clear that rival Toto Riina (Cali Nocla) has different ideas. Attack after attack on many of the families, it finally arrives at his doorstep. The Brazilian officials arrest Tommaso and threatens his wife until he agrees to turn on everyone else.

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Preparing for the trip, now Tommaso is attacked and knows that they new Cosa Nostra leadership is making it clear that he can be got to. Arriving in Italy, he is met by Giovanni Falcone (Fausto Russo Alesi) who listens to hours and hours of how Tommaso came into power and an odd friendship is created. The only other person to go along with Tommaso is Contorno (Luigi Lo Cascio).

Once in front of a judge and other bosses in cages behind him, Tommaso lets loose everything he knows – from drugs to murders, everything is out on the table and he doesn’t hold back. When it becomes painfully clear who is responsible for what happened to his sons, Tommaso goes full force to pay them back in pain and long lives in prison.

Never mess with a man’s family!

Favino as Buscetta had his time in the sun and moving to Brazil was a way to spend time with his family and walk away from the madness. The problem is that others had their own plans and they included the madness that would happen to Buscetta. I enjoyed Favino’s portrayal as he throws caution to the wind and comes totally clean without missing a beat. The scenes in the courtroom are particularly entertaining.

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Candido as Maria is a woman who understands what her husband does and looks the other way. She wants a quiet life in Brazil as well but when it comes like a sledgehammer to her door, she still stands behind her husband and waits patiently for the madness to end. Ferracane as Calo is Tommaso’s longtime trusted friend, but it only takes a second for that trust to be broken. The give and take between the two actors in the courtroom are brilliant.

Cascio as Contorno is a man who seems to have had enough of the madness as well. As everyone is watching Tommaso’s committing the ultimate sin of turning on the family, they weren’t keeping a close eye on Contorno who has plans of his own.

Other cast include Nicola Cali as Toto Riina, Giovanni Calcagno as Tano Badalamenti, Bruno Cariello as Alfonso Giordano, Bebo Storti as Franco Coppi, Vincenzo Pirrotta as Luciano Liggio, Goffredo Maria Bruno as Stefano Bontate, Gabriele Circirello as Benedetto Buscetta, Paride Cicirello as Antonio Buscetta, Elia Schilton as Giornalista, Alessio Pratico as Scarpuzzedda.

Sony Pictures Classics brings television, digital content, new entertainment services, independent films and technologies to viewers. Such films as GREED, THE BURNT ORANGE HERESY, THE CLIMB, CHARM CITY KINGS, I CARRY YOU WITH ME and THE FATHER are just a few of the current and upcoming releases. For more information on what Sony Pictures Classics has to offer please visit http://www.sonyclassics.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.

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THE TRAITOR is the story of Tommaso Buscetta who became the first person to ever betray the Sicilian Mafia. Living the life of the mafia in Italy, he trades it for another life in Brazil until he realizes that he can never just walk away without constant fear and paranoia. From 1986 to 1992, the trials went on as Buscetta is not the only one to give up the secrets of Sicily.

Once the trail is over, Buscetta runs off to the U.S. to enter the witness protection program but that’s another life he hadn’t seen coming. All of this because the mafia went to far with his family and with each attempt, Buscetta told the judges anything and everything they wanted to know. As the organized crime fell apart, he went after political officials and still lived to tell about it.

In the end – his two worlds collided!

The Story of the Actress Known as SEBERG

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Jeri Jacquin

Coming soon from Amazon Original to Prime Video from director Benedict Andrews is the story of an actress who did not go with the grain named SEBERG.

It is the 1960s and hot off her success in director Otto Preminger’s film Saint Joan actress Jean Seberg (Kristen Stewart) finds equal success in the Jean-Luc Godard’s film Breathless. Returning to Hollywood preparing for an audition for the next film from her home in France, she says goodbye to a young son Diego (Gabriel Sky) and husband Romain Gary (Yvan Attal).

On the plane she sees a vocal skirmish between the flight attendant and Hakim Jamal (Anthony Mackie).  Getting off her plane she notices the group of civil rights leaders speaking to the press. She takes a moment to join the group raising her fist to symbolize black power and the press is there to take photos of it all.

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Instantly taking notice of Jean at the airport are two FBI investigators, Jack Solomon (Jack O’Connell) and Carl Kowalski (Vince Vaughn) with photos of their own that start an investigation into her activities. Jack can’t discuss what he is doing with medical student wife Linette (Margaret Qualley) who doesn’t fit in with the FBI wives.

Jack and Carl begin surveillance on Jean sneaking into her home and bugging it. It doesn’t take long before they see and hear that Seberg starts an affair with the married Jamal. Wanting to find a way to make it work to their advantage, Jean refuses to stop associating or giving financial support to those working in the civil rights movement.

Jack realizes that as the investigation goes deeper, that Jean begins to show signs of stress fearing that she is being watched and listened in on in every aspect of her life. It continues for years as the COINTELPRO agents continue to create untrue stories about her to the point of despair.

This is a story of a time where only one rumor needs to be believed to ruin someone’s life.

Stewart as Seberg does an excellent job of portraying a woman who was living the life of a star without realizing that it only takes one thing to set her world on fire. A once vibrant woman is put through a ringer that takes away the light Hollywood once saw in her. Stewart portrays that from the very beginning to the very end. Her performance is one that I won’t soon forget, well done.

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O’Connell as Jack is a man dedicated to his job but also sees that after time what they are doing to Seberg becomes brutal and unnecessary.  O’Connell’s character brings moments of sanity to an FBI doing insane things, especially by some of the others in the group. It is a solid performance and I cheered him at one point and so will you.

Vaughn as Kowalski is pretty much a vicious human being who has no problem being vocal about what everyone else in America is doing wrong. He feels it is his job to destroy anything that gets in the way of being a good American. He treatment of his own family is a perfect example of the unhinged attitude. Mackie as Jamal is taken with Seberg and does not think about the repercussions of his actions in the moment, but it becomes clear that he is surrounded by others who are not about to take what he is doing lightly. The relationship goes against what his group believes in every way.

Attal as Gary is a husband who isn’t about to make a scene learning that Jean is putting herself in danger. Trying to support her fears of surveillance, a decision must be made and it is not an easy one. Qualley as Linette is a wife who doesn’t fit into the stereotype of what an FBI wife should be. Learning that Seberg is the person her husband is investigating brings her own questions about his work. I was happy with Qualley’s moxy!

Other cast include Colm Meaney as Frank Ellroy, Zazie Beetz as Dorothy Jamal, Jade Pettyjohn as Jenny Kowalski, Ser’Darius Blain as Louis Lewis, James Jordan as Roy Maddow, Stephen Root as Walt Breckman, Celeste Pechous as Betsy Ellroy and Laura Campell as Mary Kowalski.

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.

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SEBERG is a sad story of a life that is plagued in a time where nothing was off the table in the ways of the FBI. If a behavior was found un-American then the group found ways to destroy a person through surveillance, rumor, inuendo and using the press to do their dirty work. It was a time of intolerance in secret.

Jean Seberg may have looked like she had everything together on the outside (which is the goal of being a Hollywood starlet), but her personal life became a shamble. Filled with failed affairs, relationships, and marriages, it is not surprise that her death would be as mysterious as she was.

The cast of SEBERG truly bring her story together in 102-minute time and done so extremely well. The cinematography, sets and costuming lend itself to luring the viewer into the 1960s. Stewart’s performance tie it all together beautifully.

In the end – actress, activist and adversary!

Marriage is Tough Enough When Going DOWNHILL

Downhill bluray cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray from directors Nat Faxon, Jim Rash and 20th Century Home Entertainment is a moment that can make their world go DOWNHILL.

Billie (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and Pete (Will Ferrell) have taken their two sons Emerson (Ammon Ford) and Finn (Julian Grey) to the Alps for a family ski trip. Pete is still dealing with the death of his father and chooses a hotel that is not really family oriented as they are informed by hotel greeter Charlotte (Miranda Otto). Making the bet of it the family hit the slopes for the first day of skiing.

After, they head to the patio for lunch overlooking the vast and huge mountains. Hearing what sounds like gunfire, within moments everyone on the patio notices an avalanche coming towards them. As it gets closer and closer, Billie and Pete realize that something has gone terribly wrong. As people start to run, Billie sees the chaos and hugs her sons tight while Pete jumps up and runs away.

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Once the snow settles and everyone is okay but shaken, Pete returns to the table as if nothing has happened shocking Billie. Clearly the day is over. The next day Billie is still talking about it and needs to make sure the hotel knows how she feels, and they talk to Michel (Kristofer Hivju) who does not seem all that impressed by their concerns.

In contact with fellow co-worker Zach (Zach Woods) and girlfriend Rosie (Zoe Chao), Billie is not happy about sitting through a visit with them. Listening to their idle chatter with Pete, she interrupts when he refers to their avalanche incident as a ‘moment’. It is a calm that would scare most men, Billie calls him out on the details while Zach and Rosie witness it all.

Taking a solo day, Billie tells Pete he gets the boys for the day as she takes off to ski. Meeting up with Charlotte, they have a woman on woman talk (with Charlotte doing most of the talking) and Billie is introduced to Guglielmo (Giulio Berruti) and a choice has to be made.

But that’s not the only choice as they can’t continue with this vacation until someone steps forward and calls out the elephant on the slopes!

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Louis-Dreyfus as Billie is everything one would expect of a woman in a marriage that has problems, but she is quiet about it all. The avalanche is pretty much a metaphor for her life and pressure cooker of emotions. Each moment of not resolving her issues, fissures begin to release about everything else BUT the avalanche. Louis-Dreyfus gives us a full-blown view of her life and some of it is even relatable for many of us.

Ferrell as Pete is a husband who seems to be more concerned with what he wants than what his family wants. Granted Pete is still dealing with the emotions of losing his father but putting his needs before that of his wife and sons starts to make him look selfish and trust the family notices. I like roles like this for Ferrell where we get to experience more from him than comedy. Playing opposite Louis-Dreyfus, it is an amazing give and take.

Woods as Zach is someone Pete professes to not want to be around yet hangs out with him. Under the spell of a new girlfriend, Zach seems to have changed his tune about life. Chao as Rosie lets Zach speak his truth but makes sure he says it the way she thinks he should. It quickly becomes clear who wears the ski-pants in the relationship.

Otto as Charlotte absolutely won me over with her straight-forward, straight talking hilarious hotel greeter. Watching Billie’s facial reactions to her brashness was everything and a comedic break in the otherwise heavy story. Also, a shout out to Hivju as Michel because I laughed so hard with his I-don’t-see-the-problem looks and mainly because I’d probably act the same way.

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

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DOWNHILL’s Bluray and Digital Special Features include Casting the Stanton Family and Friends, Deleted Scenes: Alternate Opening, Billie’s Ski Boots, “I Deserve to be Comfortable:, Outtakes: Dinner with Charlotte, Origins of the Film and Locations.

DOWNHILL is a mixed bag of emotions starting out with the usual tourist family visiting the ski slope of the Alps, to a ‘moment’ when life flashes, to acting as if nothing has happened, to wondering who this person is Billie is married to. There are a few moments of giggle which I appreciated because they fit perfectly into the story.

Louis-Dreyfus is one of the producers of the film and says, “I am a huge fan of the Swedish film FORCE MAJEURE and was very amenable to make an American version of it. I thought it would be very interesting to put an American spin on it and open up some of these characters in different ways. Five years later we have got a movie.” A trivia note, Hivju was in the original FORCE MAJEURE playing the role of Zach.

I actually enjoyed taking the journey through this story because Louis-Dreyfus and Ferrell make every second work. It’s a story of life, love, the pressure of family, relationships with the backdrop of trying to create the perfect family vacation which equals disaster.

In the end – it’s a different kind of disaster movie!

His Story Tells of THE FLOOD

The Flood cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming from director Anthony Woodley and Samuel Goldwyn Films is the story of immigration and the story of one man facing THE FLOOD.

Working as an immigration officer in the UK, Wendy (Lena Headey) is a tough officer who does her job thoroughly and swiftly with no emotion. That is quite a feat considering she is dealing with her own personal issues. Called into the office of boss Philip (Iain Glen), she is given the high-profile case of Haile (Ivanno Jeremiah), an immigrant accused of assaulting a police officer.

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Beginning her interrogation of Haile, she asks questions as he answers. Through it he tells Wendy the story of his journey from the Calais Jungle to the interrogation room. Beginning with the reason he had to leave – because he would have been killed as a traitor in his own country. Wendy isn’t easily swayed by what he is telling her, and Philip sarcastically says, “like we haven’t heard that before”.

As the story unfolds, Wendy discovers there is so much more to Haile and his story begins to affect her. Seeing this, Philip begins to wonder if she has lost her edge knowing that the officials want this case closed swiftly. Questioning her, Wendy makes it plain that she is perfectly capable of doing her job.

But is she? Haile’s story becomes perilous, sad, moving and with a conclusion that even he cannot see coming.

Headey as Wendy is focused on her work trying not to let her personal life come through. The problem with that is the choices she makes and the cover up daily of the cost of that same personal life. Once in the room with Haile, she begins to feel something she had not before, a bit of compassion. Headey makes it easy to seem detached (I mean who hasn’t seen Cersei in Game of Thrones right?) but when the cracks begin to show it is nothing short of well done.

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Jeremiah as Haile is such a stunning person to tell the story. His emotions are never out of control, instead having dealt with the trauma of his journey, tells his story with calm and a self-understanding that is truly beautiful. The first time I experienced Jeremiah as an actor was in the AMC series Humans and his role as Max. He was one of my favorite characters in the show and to see him now in THE FLOOD reinforces why I am moved by his performances.

Glen as Philip is a man who wants to keep his own boss’ happy by getting the case taken care of swiftly and expeditiously, hence bringing Wendy in to do the job. When he sees her wavering, Philip is not happy one bit. When he is confronted by her toward the films ending, there is a moment where he is overcome and knows there is culpability on his part as well. Glen is also an alumnus from Game of Thrones but not an unknown actor by any stretch. It is good to see him!

Other cast include: Amira Ghazalla as Fatima, Jack Gordon as Russell, Adam Samuel-Bal as Baiju, Sam Otto as Josef, Rebecca Johnson as Kim and John Lightbody as Keith.

Samuel Goldwyn Films is an American film company that releases and distributes art-house, independent and foreign films. Founded by Samuel Goldwyn Jr., the son of the Hollywood magnate/mogul, Samuel Goldwyn. Founded in 2000, they are responsible for such films as BULL, TO THE STARS, LADIESIN LAVENDER and GOYA’S GHOST. For more information please visit www.samuelgoldwynfilms.com.

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THE FLOOD is an emotional film that reminds me a lot of the 1983 film EL NORTE. The first time I saw that film I was stunned, and THE FLOOD brings back all that emotion as well. In the cast of the latter film, listening to Haile tell the story with such control knowing that everything was out of control, it is all to the performance of Jeremiah.

The film is centers on Headey and Jeremiah face to face in the interrogation room as he tries to give honest answers to an unemotional Wendy’s questions. As more of his story unfolds, the interrogation room gets bigger and bigger in scope of how, as people, we need one another to do what is right amid what is legal.

Keeping with not telling everything, be prepared for your emotions to be stretched and your conscience to be knocked on.

In the end – they need to hear one another.

DREAMKATCHER Brings Frights

Dreamkatcher cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to DVD, Digital and OnDemand from writer/director Kerry Harris and Lionsgate is a tale of darkness emanating from a DREAMKATCHER.

After the loss of his mother, young Josh (Finlay Wojtak-Hissong) along with his father Luke (Henry Thomas) and Gail (Radha Mitchell) arrive in her mountain home. Surrounded by forests and trees, Luke feels like it is a chance for them all to connect. Josh has made is clear he isn’t fond of Gail.

At night, Josh has dreams that quickly turn into nightmares. When Luke is called back down the mountain for work, Gail and Josh spend their time walking through the woods. They come upon a building with the strangest object inside and it fascinates Josh. They meet Ruth (Lin Shaye) who tells them that some of the object help capture bad dreams which interests the young boy.

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Gail and Josh continue to be at odds, but she tries to remember that he is dealing with the death of his mother. He runs off without telling Gail to see Ruth feeling that she must have something that can help his sleep at night and the visions. While the two women speak, Josh wanders into the barn next store and finds an object he believes will help him.

What comes next are secrets, mystery and a spirit that has plans of its own!

Mitchell as Gail is a child psychologist who recognizes that Josh is dealing with death. Trying to give the young boy his space, it becomes clear that he is dealing with something more. Day by day she takes a deep breath and waits for Luke’s return. Mitchell jumps all in to bring the story the right amount of sanity with the right amount of creepy.

Wojtak-Hissong as Josh is the creepy factor mixed with a kid who doesn’t know how to deal with the death of a parent. Making sure Gail is the target of his frustration doesn’t help but even more is the evening hours is where his fear waits to be exploited.

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Shaye as Ruth is as quirky as she wants to be but then again, I love what she does in the horror/thriller genre. She has the unique ability to be straight forward but still a hint of mystery in her voice. Never coming out directly to say what needs to be said, her hints can be more frightening than the real thing.

Thomas as Luke tries to understand Josh but eases out to handle work leaving Gail to take over. Even when he finally comes home, he has no problem making Gail the focus of Josh’s frustrations. A parent rowing down the rough river of denial doesn’t make it without hitting a waterfall! Good to see the E.T. star keeping busy.

Other cast include Jules Willcox as Becky and Joseph Bishara as Night Hag.

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.

DREAMKATCHER is a mystery/thriller/horror mixture that plays itself out slowly. It’s a creepy yarn that deserves a dark room, a cozy couch, fluffy blankets, a bowl of popcorn and a family that likes to jump and speculate. There are moments of ‘ewwww’ and a few cover-your-eyes but isn’t that what a good yarn does?

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Lin Shaye is also an Executive Producer of the film which I think is just another cool factor about her. Making a name for herself in the thriller/horror genre, she can also be seen in the cable series PENNY DREADFUL: City of Angels as Dottie Minter (excellent I must say) and coming up in KILLING WINSTON JONES and THE GNASHING.

Staying has never been so spooky!

In the end – let the nightmare begin!

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