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FORCE OF NATURE

Force cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Digital and On Demand this week from director Michael Polish and Lionsgate comes a mixture of crime and drama when added to a FORCE OF NATURE.

Cardillo (Emile Hirsch) is having trouble with life and his job being a cop. Wanting to do as little as possible is not going to be the order of his day. As a storm moves in, he is ordered to go building to building to evacuate residents. Helping him with this is Jess (Stephanie Cayo) who sees right away that working with Cardillo is not going to be easy.

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First problem is Griffin (William Catlett) who refuses to leave until he has fed his cat! They can’t possibly see what’s coming next when they meet Ray (Mel Gibson), an ex-cop who is set in his way and in the chair he has staked his claim to. Arguing with Cardillo and Jess, Troy (Kate Bosworth) steps in to settle the dispute. On another floor there is Cruz (Joksan Ramos) and they convince him to go with them only to be met by men carrying guns.

That would be Migs (Blas Sien Diaz), Dillion (Tyler Jon Olson) and Bennie (Julio Velez) and more who are ordered by John (David Zayas) to get what Cruz has. Confused yet? Oh don’t be because mother nature is about to make her entrance into the mix and with Ray on their side it doesn’t bode well – or does it?

Hirsch as Cardillo is all grown up and in a role that has secrets of his own. Cardillo isn’t happy by any means to go out into the storm, he’d rather stay behind the police desk and ride out the weather. When ordered to go, he is still doing it kicking and screaming and making it clear to anyone who will listen that helping people is not his agenda.

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Bosworth as Troy does her best to keep Cardillo and Ray from knocking each other out which helps since she’s a doctor. Helping where she can and having eyes where they need them is her goal. Gibson as Ray sees what everyone is up against as an ex-cop, he does not mind getting in one last shot at the bad guys. He is a grumpy old codger that does not like to be told what to do which is interesting because Cardillo is exactly the same – only 30+ years younger.

Cayo as Jess isn’t having an easy time working with Cardillo but an even less easy time with the bad guys looking for them. New to the precinct, I’m sure this isn’t what she signed up for as a perfect storm is brewing! Catlett as Griffin has a little furry friend that takes precedence over anything else but sometimes furry friends have claws. Griffin wants to leave but quickly becomes part of the chaos.

Now the villainy! Diaz as Migs, Olson as Dillon and Velez as Bennie are men taking orders from Zayas as John. They aren’t about to let a little thing like hurricane winds and torrential rains stop them from getting what they want. I mean what do they have to lose right?

Other cast include: Jorge Ramos as Bergkamp, Vazquez as Pride, Jesy McKinney as Babie, Xavier Reyes as Ernesto and Luillo Ruize as Super Louie Joe.

Lionsgate is a global content leader with a reputation for innovation whose films, television series, location-based and live entertainment attractions and Starz premium pay platform reach next generation audiences around the world. For more information and to see what Lionsgate has to offer please visit www.lionsgate.com.

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FORCE OF NATURE is a story filled with twists and turns with the most unlikely of characters calling the shots. Surrounded by a Cat-5 hurricane, it only makes things even more deadly and more dangerous. There are moments where its easy to get wrapped up in both!

The characters aren’t hard to grasp and each has a story to tell, just ask Griffin, and it comes out in bits and pieces are the inner-building game of cat and mouse continues. The hurricane is frosting on the cake.

In the end – when the perfect crime meets the perfect storm!

Amazon Studios Brings the Emergency Code 7500 to Prime

7500 coverJeri Jacquin

Coming to Amazon’s own channel Amazon Prime this Thursday from writer/director Patrick Vollrath is a dilemma that one man must face when calling 7500.

Captain Lutzmann (Carlo Kitzlinger) and co-pilot Tobias Ellis (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) are flying an Airbus A319 from Berlin to Paris. Sharing the ride is stewardess Gokce (Aylin Tezel) who is mother of Ellis’ young son. Keeping work and home life separate, a very few know they are a couple. The take off goes smoothly and they are quickly in the air.

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Within minutes of the flight, a disturbance happens outside as terrorist Kalkan (Passar Hariky), Kenan (Murathan Muslu) and young Vedat (Omid Memar) attempt to gain entry to the cockpit. The pilot is wounded as Ellis manages to keep two out and knowing out the third. Trying to help the pilot, it becomes clear that Ellis is going to have to fly the plane.

Kalkan and Vedat continue to pound on the door making it clear they are going to do whatever it takes to gain entry. Kalkan goes as far as to threaten the lives of passenger’s if the door isn’t opened. Vedat translates to Ellis but one thing is clear – Ellis can not open the door.

Knowing that it is Kalkan who is in control, Ellis tries reason, but it only agitates the situation. Now Ellis must rely on his composure when everything seems out of control and do everything possible until they are able to land. Each moment brings the flight closer to being able to land – but will it?

Gordon-Levitt as Ellis brings a powerful performance to a frightening story. Making plans for his young son’s education seemed to be the only care he had. When the hijacking starts, Gordon-Levitt is uber-focused, and it shows every frame of the film. The power in each thing that happens is intense, yet this actor adds a drop more for good measure until you realize you have blinked in a while. Excellent performance with an topic that is difficult to address.

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Hariky as Kalkan is determined and nothing or no one will get in the way of his ultimate goal. Even when it seems everything is falling apart, Hariky’s character stares into the camera outside the cockpit with a glare that exudes fear and says, “try me!”.

Memar as Vedat is a young man that is absolutely troubled by what is happening but also feels a sense of hopelessness when he realizes this is not what he expected. Wanting to do what’s right as a person and what he’s been told is right as a hijacker, I think Vedat becomes more and more dangerous because of the fear he feels. There is a moment when the phone rings and Vedat falls apart that is nothing short of heartbreaking.

Other cast include: Hicham Sebiai as Hopper, Paul Wollin as Daniel, Cornel Nussbaum as Peter, Max Schimmelpfennig as the student and Aurelie Thepaut as Nathalie.

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.

7500 brings every bead of intensity and it is palpable from start to finish. It twists, turns and does not go the way that is expected but, then again, that would make for a movie of the week instead of a well-done film by Amazon Studios.

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Shot in real time and an amazing set that feels and looks like the cockpit of an airplane only lends believability to the story. Even the sounds of the aircraft and the lights lend itself to a character that the story is trying to tell.

What starts as a five man show whittles its way down to a one on one and who can keep it together until the situation is resolved. That is when the minutes drag by so slowly and it is Gordon-Levitt as Ellis who the viewer counts on to do what is right and make the hard choices– no matter the cost. When they refer to the people as “souls on board”, this films situation brings that more into focus.

Watch on a big screen, watch with the lights down and watch performances that will stay with you long after the story ends.

In the end – the distress code is only the beginning!

Prepare for THE HUNT on Bluray

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Jeri Jacquin

On Bluray, DVD and Digital from writers Nick Cuse, Damon Lindelof, director Craig Zobel. Blumhouse and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is a film that will leave you talking about THE HUNT.

A group of people wake up in the middle of nowhere and in an open field they all see a box. Running towards it, they aren’t sure what will happen when it is opened. It quickly becomes clear as shots ring out that they are being hunted – but by who?

Managing to jump a fence, Crystal (Betty Gilpin) makes her way to a gas station where Ma (Amy Madigan) and Pa (Reed Birney). Knowing she needs to get far away; Crystal gets a walkie talkie and hears voices talking about where the “hunted” are. She meets fellow huntee Don (Wayne Duvall) and off they run.

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Coming to the train tracks, they manage to jump aboard only to be recaptured by unknown soldiers. The American embassy sends someone to get Crystal and Don and want to stop what is happening. When things go wrong it’s time to find those responsible and come face to face with them.

Crystal is alive because she doesn’t trust anyone and a face to face is exactly how she wants it!

Gilpin as Crystal is stunning in every way. She is not exactly what film goers would know as a larger than life super heroine but damn if she doesn’t have her own way of dealing with thing. I love the way she reasoned and the fact that she has a clear line drawn in the sand never flinching. Gilpin just had me in awe the entire film so congrats on that!

Swank as Athena has a role to play in this entire story line and she is equally as stunning as Gilpin. Her presence isn’t totally necessary on screen for the film but when she is there, she’s frightening in her monotone voice leaving us all guessing.

Madigan as Ma is as devious cute as she wants to be, but I expect nothing less from her. Birney as Pa reminded me of an uncle but not quite as loaded for bear as Pa.

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Duvall as Don isn’t as quick to catch on to what is happening, and it is Crystal that keeps him alive. He is quickly trusting until he realizes that no one can be. I have to give a shout out to Suplee as Gary because he definitely making sure to save his own bacon.

Also shout out to Roberts for looking good in a track suit as always and the uncredited Justin Hartley. Man, I love when he shows up randomly!

Other cast include Ike Barinholtz as Statene Island, Ethan Suplee as Gary, Emma Roberts as Yoga Pants, Christopher Berry as Target, Sturgill Simpson as Vanilla Nice, Kate Nowlin as Big Red, Glenn Howerton as Richard, Steve Coulter as the Doctor, Dean West as Martin, Vince Pisani as Peter, Teri Wyble as Liberty, Steve Mokate as Sgt. Dale, Jason Kirkpatrick as Rannnndeeee, Tadasay Young as Nicole, Hannah Alline as Flight Atendant, Jim Klock as Captain O’Hara and Hilary Swank as Athena.

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 Crafting THE HUNT, Death Scene Breakdowns and Athena Vs. Crystal: Hunter or Hunted?

Here is the thing, there are a few films that I am reluctant to tell to much about because of the plot. THE HUNT is a little different in that it is easy to see what the film is about just looking at the trailer so my reluctance to tell any more is everything that ISN’T in the trailer. There are twists and turns going on every second.

There are also shocks, awes, humor, uncomfortable laughter, brief political discussions, stereotypes, and the film does not care what the weaponry does as long as it’s locked and loaded! The scene between Gilpin and Swank must be the topping of an exceptionally large and in-your-face bloody cake.

This storyline is quick, smart when bringing people from so many different walks of life. Their goal is survival and those responsible have a goal of their own and I’ll let you see what that is for yourself. The one thing that I’m sure about THE HUNT is that once you see it, there are conversations about the satire that are going to be had for quite a while.

In the end – the most talked about movie of the year that has yet to be seen!

EXIT PLAN are Many Decisions and Realities

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Jeri Jacquin

Coming to VOD this week from director Jonas Alexander Arnby and Screen Media is a journey of life and death when one has an EXIT PLAN.

Max Isaken (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is an insurance adjuster who tries to help people with their claims. That is until one day he finds himself in the hospital being told that he has a brain tumor. Wife Laerke (Tuva Novotny) is trying to do everything to make Max deal with the situation he is in but finds he is closing himself off to everyone.

Going back to work doesn’t seem to be an option as Max decides that he wants to take control of his life. In helping a previous client, he learns about the Hotel Aurora, a place where people who have illness go to work out their feelings.

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As the days go by Max cannot seem to find a peaceful place within himself, especially when the hotel has a secretiveness about it. He begins to explore, and the management isn’t happy about where he goes or what he sees.

It does not change the medical problems Max faces when the line between reality and fantasy start to blur. Max begins to question his life, thoughts and plans especially when missing Laerke and their life together.

Sometimes what we think is real and what is real are both a scary place.

Coster-Waldau as Max has had time to shed his Jamie Lannister armor and get gritty in another way. As this character, he shows every bit of emotion on his face. Since Max seems to be a man of few words, we follow the emotion and it takes us all on a journey through his life, love, empathy and what happens when we make a hasty decision. The ending is trippy but it couldn’t have been any other way.

Novotny as Laerke is trying to make her man’s life easier but when he does not communicate much it becomes difficult. As the viewer I begin to question her presence in all of it and that is a conversation for later after everyone has seen the film.

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Shout out to Robert Aramayo as Ari, a young man who sees Max as a friend. He’s not the only one that does as Max puts out an air that is endearing, especially when they all share the same reason for being at the hotel.

Other cast include: Jan Bijvoet as Frank, Sonja Richter as Alice, Johanna Woklek as Linda, Kaya Wilkins as Mia, Slimane Dazi as Francois, Mette Lysdahl as Kirstine, Solbjorg Hojfeldt as Karen and Vibeke Hastrup as the Doctor.

Screen Media is an international distributor of television series and films, licensing content through theatrical, home video, pay-per-view, free, cable and pay television, and subscription and advertising video-on-demand platforms.  In 2017 Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, Inc. acquired Screen Media which is in its 23rd year as a leading global independent distribution company. The company is continually looking to add films and television series to its content library. For more information please visit www.screenmedia.com.

EXIT PLAN is in the same vein as films like THE FOUNTAIN in which you, the viewer, must decide what is real and what is a reality used to protect from fear and anxiety. There is something quite beautiful in this story and perhaps it is because there are decisions in the film that must be made and once done – call for rethinking at such a personal cost.

The film itself tells a very slow story and it not encumbered by anything like noise, car blasts, etc., but instead keep it calm and quiet which for me was just as disturbing. It forces the characters to deal with their issues without anything getting in the way. If anything does you can be sure its whatever is in their own minds.

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Coster-Waldau gives us the saddest person in character. Even if the character attempts a smile it is only to make someone else less uncomfortable (which does not work to my way of thinking). Throughout the film it is a struggle along with Max to find one moment of happiness in the midst of what can only be described as nothingness. Strange to be sure but oh so worth the watch.

In the end – is death the only way out?

SOMETIMES ALWAYS NEVER is Silent Family Grief

sometimes cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Virtual Release from director Carl Hunter and Blue Fox Entertainment comes a story about SOMETIMES ALWAYS NEVER.

Alan (Bill Nighy) is widowed tailor and a bit of an eccentric who is taking a road trip with son Peter (Sam Riley) to discover whether Alan’s other son Michael has finally been found. Disappearing after a tough game of scrabble, the years have been difficult for father and son Peter.

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It isn’t as if Alan has made it easy on anyone really, Peter has been feeling the emotional pinch for more years than he can count. Now married to Sue (Alice Lowe) with his own son Jack (Louis Healy), there is a new disconnect.

When the road trip does not work out, other than Alan meeting Margaret (Jenny Agutter) and Arthur (Tim McInnerny), Alan decides to spend time at Peter’s house. Much to the dismay of Jack who must share his bunkbed set with grandpa, everyone is walking on eggshells.

Sue tells Peter that their son Jack has a bit of a crush on a girl two bus stops down and Jack is discovering that grandpa Alan might have a thing or two to teach him about the family and dressing snappy to get the girl.

All the while Alan is playing a game on the internet that leads him to believe that Michael is on the other end and reaching out. But when Alan goes missing, Peter is pushed to his limits.

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This is a perfectly dysfunctional family that has more issues than a magazine rack!

Nighy has Alan is, as always, impeccable as this character. Calling for Alan to be a bit quirky and very, very smart – the film succeeds because of this talented and amazing actor. I have always enjoyed Nighy and the roles he chooses, and the last few years have continually proven his has it! His fearlessness makes me laugh, gives me heart squeezes and makes me listen to ever word whatever character he plays has to say. As Alan, he gives us all these qualities and gives it well.

Riley as Peter is a son who has lived in the shadow of a brother labeled the “prodigal son” for so long he just does not know who he is in the world. Son, husband, father – it is all blurred and giving him to much reason to be angry at Alan. His own silence has transferred to Jack and yet he does not see it, that is how powerful being angry at a past can be. Riley does such an amazing job and bouncing off of Nighy isn’t as easy as it might look, but Riley gives it an exceptional shot and wins!

Healy as Jack is what I would consider a casualty of Alan and Peter’s pain. He has grown into a young man that understands it is not good explaining things to his father and he does not even know his grandfather Alan – yet. The growth between the elder and grandson is so endearing and as a grandma I get it clearly.

Lowe as Sue actually likes Alan and has no problem with him staying with them for a bit. As much as Peter pushes away, it is Sue who doesn’t go along with husbands’ complaints. Agutter as Margaret has the same issues with a missing son as Alan but deals with them in a different way, much to the dismay of Peter.

Other cast include Ella-Grace Gregoire as Rachel, Alexei Sayle as Bill, Oliver Sincup as Young Peter, and Alan Williams as the Desk Officer.

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Blue Fox Entertainment is a global film distribution and sales company specializing in connecting filmmakers to audiences and buyers in the United States and around the world internationally. For more of what Blue Fox Entertainment has to offer please visit http://www.bluefoxentertainment.com.

SOMETIMES ALWAYS NEVER is a sly look at family dysfunction when things are not said out loud. Father and son spend a lot of time being snarky with one another in an attempt to illicit a reaction to what the real problem is – brother Michael.

They have spent so much time not talking about it that the silence is at ear piercing decibels! Rather than talk it out and sharing how one person could walk away from a scrabble game, instead the trait of “no talking” has transferred onto Peter’s son Jack and a new generation is not talking.

The reconnect is between grandpa Alan and grandson Jack who has only heard about how unhappy his father Peter is with their relationship. So, it’s back to muttering, one-word answers or hiding up in a bedroom behind a computer screen.

That is not all too far from away many people see their family life and SOMETIMES ALWAYS NEVER is a look at that in your face. Yes, it is quirky, lovely, and very funny all wrapped up in an insightful story.

In the end – sometimes it is hard to find the right words.

THE VAST OF NIGHT is a Fantastic Era Sci-Fi Thriller

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Jeri Jacquin

Currently on Amazon Prime from writer/director Andrew Patterson is a fantastic look at one night looking up into the sky with THE VAST OF NIGHT.

It is a warm night in New Mexico in 1950 when Fay (Sierra McCormick) takes over the switchboard for her mother. What Fay genuinely wants to do is use her new tape recorder to interview people. Guiding her along is Everett (Jake Horowitz), a radio DJ at WOTW that everyone in town listens to on the local station.

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While a sporting event is going on at the high school, strange things are happening that Fay and Everett are taking notice of. Fay is experiencing strange telephone calls from townsfolk about noises they are hearing and then the calls drop. Fay calls Everett to ask if any of his callers are noticing strange happenings as well.

That’s when Everett receives a telephone call from a man named Billy (Bruce Davis) who claims to know what has been going on in the world. He tells them a story that leaves Fay and Everett stunned but even more shocking is the proof the caller offers that leads them straight to a forgotten tape in the local library.

Both Fay and Everett know that it is time to do everything possible to discover what is happening to their small town before word spreads as fast as the panic!

McCormick as Fay is a character ahead of her time. Gifted with a recorder, she wants to learn to interview people about their stories. She sees a career for herself outside the small dusty little town in New Mexico. She is clearly smart, clever and on the hunt for answers. McCormick gives her character everything she needs to succeed, even a bit of healthy fear. Her performance is stunning.

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Horowitz as Everett is the town big guy because, after all, he is the DJ of the radio station! There was a time when radio stations were the gods of bringing music to the masses. They could walk down the street and have people be in awe. Horowitz pulls that off marvelously and when the time comes to jump in with Fay, he becomes as serious about every move they make. This is a dynamic duo and I was all in every step of the way.

Other cast include Cheyenne Barton as Bertsie, Mark Banik as Gerald, Gregory Peyton as Benny, Rodkey Oliver as Adam, Mallorie Rodak as Susan, Mollie Milligan as Marjorie, Ingred Fease as Gretchen, Brandon Stewart as Sam, Krik Griffith as Lon and Gail Cronauer as Mabel Blanche.

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. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.amazonprime.com.

THE VAST OF NIGHT is actually quite brilliantly done. Not only is it set in a time where it was a new thing to hear and see the stories of UFO’s and such, but everything about the film harks back to the 1950’s.

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The cast bring it all together reeling me into their journey but along with the costuming, cars, music and gathering of a town at the local gymnasium on a Friday night is reminiscent to me. I am the type that has to be drawn in hook, line and sinker and THE VAST OF NIGHT does just that.

It is not an ‘in your face’ story or an explosion of aliens but instead the sleuthing of Fay and Everett who are not about to sit around and be taken over by something they do not understand. These two are on the case, as it were, to discover what is true and how they can stop it if that is even something they can do.

Writers Patterson and Craig W. Sanger have made every effort to make the audience believe they are in New Mexico in the 1950’s but they have also added homages to other films and filmmakers. The radio station WOTW where Everett is a DJ stands for ‘War of the Worlds’ from the H.G. Wells classic, the character of Renny is Michael Rennie who was Klaatu in the 1951 THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL. Even the town of Cayuga gives homage to Rod Serling’s Cayuga Productions.

The relationship between Fay and Everett was a straight joy to watch. This is a film that I would highly recommend for those who want to sit back and have a good yarn be told with the lights off and a bowl of popcorn.

In the end – the answers are in what they hear!

D-DAY: Normandy 1944 Brings History Home

Dday cover 2Jeri Jacquin

Currently on 4K UHD and Bluray from SHOUT! Factory, director Pascal Vuong and narrated by Tom Brokaw is the documentary that reminds us the history of D-DAY: Normandy 1944.

In this 75th Anniversary Edition, Brokaw, along with the original music score from the London Symphony Orchestra, we are given such detail about the strategy that led to D-Day. The military strategy, history and technology are explored in the planning for such a strategic day.

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Planning began in 1943 as the Allies worked out a way to keep Germany from discovering what was being planned, especial Hitler’s Field Marshal Rommel. The Allied Forces included General Dwight D. Eisenhower, General Bernard Montgomery, and Lt. General Omar Bradley among others. In detail there would be three countries heading up the landings – American, British and Canadian troops would be divided into sectors on a 50-miles stretch of the beaches of Normandy.

On Tuesday, June 6, 1944 the invasion codenamed Operation Neptune began. Considered the largest seaborne invasion ever attempted, the goal was to liberate France from the German forces. There was also help from within France as their had their own resistance force doing everything possible to get information to the Allies.

Twenty-four thousand soldiers landed on the beach and after a difficult first day, expansion brought about the liberation of a country but not without a large price to be paid.

D-DAY: Normandy 1944 is an extensive look at it all from beginning to end. This documentary pays tribute to those who fought and died but also explores the history in detail along with the military strategy, science, technology and most of all – the human enduring spirit.

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SHOUT! Factory has grown into a tremendous multi-platform media company. Releasing new animated features such as the exquisite Long Way North, and the epic fantasy Beauty And The Beast. Also, their own original horror film, Fender Bender gives fans a good scare. For more of what SHOUT Factor has to offer please visit http://www.shoutfactory.com.

The Bonus Features include: Interview with Director Pascal Vuong, Interview with Narrator Tom Brokaw, Interview with Historical Advisor Peter Herrly, Behind the Scenes: Normandy, Behind the Scenes: Sand Animation and More!

The cinematography of the documentary is stunning and clear but also uses a blending of multiple cinematographic techniques that capture a moment that changed the course of history.

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 D-DAY: Normandy 1944 is an intense documentary filled with so much information that I would highly recommend it for teachers and educators as the disc contains so much in the way of visuals. Brokaw brings a voice that tells the story of Normandy as only a journalist can do.

In the end – the details of a monumental and historical event!

FANTASY ISLAND Arrives by Plane on Bluray

FANTASY ISLAND cover

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on Bluray from writer/director Jeff Wadlow, Blumhouse and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is a return to a vacation like no other when landing on FANTASY ISLAND.

When a plane lands on a beautiful tropical island resort, guests Gwen (Maggie Q), Melanie (Lucy Hale), Patrick (Austin Stowell), Brax (Jimmy O. Yang) and J.D. (Ryan Hansen) are greeted by Julia (Parisa Fitz-Henley). Informing them she is the assistant of their host Mr. Roarke (Michael Pena) and that he would be meeting with them soon.

Taken to their rooms, they rest up and prepare for the one thing they came to the island for – to have their own fantasy to come true. Mr. Roarke appears and gives them the ground rules of their time on Fantasy Island starting with J.D. and Brax wanting to have it all. Arriving at their mansion with a party in full effect, not everything is at is seems especially when a Devil Face (Kim Coates) comes calling.

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Patrick, a police officer in the real world, is given a pair of fatigues as his fantasy includes time in the military after losing his father at a young age to war. Going through the brush, a man named Damon (Michael Rooker) pops out and tries to get him away from what’s coming! In an unexpected twist Patrick comes face to face with Lt. Sullivan (Mike Vogel).

Gwen is having a hard time with the decisions she has made in her life. Mr. Roarke suggests that perhaps she should go back to that moment in time when she had the choice to be happy but didn’t take it. A man named Allen (Robbie Jones) could have the answer to her happiness. Melanie, on the other hand, has a specific fantasy in mind. Troubled by the way she was treated growing up, her mind is set on making a girl named Sloan (Portia Doubleday) know what it is like to be in such pain.

Sometimes a fantasy is not really what one is after!

Pena as Roarke is a man who believes that keeping the island alive is the most important thing in his life. Letting the guests know that they must see their fantasy to its ‘natural’ conclusion keeps him focused but is there another reason? This is an interesting choice for Pena and the role is a little more complex.

Q as Gwen also has a complex role as what she thinks will make her happy does for a brief period of time. That is until she realizes that what she is experiencing isn’t exactly what has been the problem all along in her life. Now she must be clever to change things up. That’s where Fitz-Henley as Julia comes into play, but she also has a few issues of her own to come to terms with.

Yang and Hansen play brothers (kind of the twin sons from different mother’s thing) and believe that their happiness lies within having it all. The problem with having it all, as Mr. Roarke points out, is that when you have it all someone usually wants to take it from you. These two aren’t as good at handing difficult situations as they are getting into them. That’s where having Coates as the Devil Face show up to give them a taste of ‘reality’. Seeing Coates again just made me squeal with delight. He is still as much of a badass as he wants to be that’s for sure.

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Stowell as Patrick has the opportunity he didn’t even realize he wanted. Coming face to face with his past isn’t exactly how he wanted his fantasy to play out. Believing one thing about his father isn’t the same as seeing and hearing it for himself and that might be a bit much for him to take. Vogel as Lt. Sullivan has a thing or two to say about the situation he is in and how he feels about being a soldier.

The stunner story here is Hale as Melanie. I mean there are a few people from high school I’d like to verbally rake over the coals but man, Hale gets a chance to see it up close and personal. Seeing her past in a situation that is dangerous, Hale has a choice to be kind or be cruel. Doubleday as Sloane is clueless about what is happening and trust me, everyone has a story to tell.

Other cast include Jeriya Benn as Lila, Charlotte McKinney as Chastity, Josh McConville as Sarge, Tane Accra as Fischer, Edmund Hogan as Himoff, Ian Roberts as Dr. Torture, Evan Evagora as Nick, Andrew Lees as Will, Nick Slater as Greg and Joshua Diaz as Alejandro.

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 http://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.

Special Features include 12 Deleted Scenes with Commentary from Director Jeff Wadlow, Original Rated Theatrical Version Included, Audio Commentary with Director Jeff Wadlow and Cast (Unrated Version Only).

I was introduced to Fantasy Island back in 1977 with the very handsome Ricardo Montalban as Mr. Roarke and I was hooked. What I didn’t realize I was watching was a bit of what happens when ‘you get what you ask’ for kind of storytelling. This isn’t that. This version of FANTASY ISLAND is more of the darker side of what people think they want to make themselves happy.

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It is an interesting twist especially since every person on the island has a story to tell and with six degrees of separation you can be sure there is something each of them hasn’t contemplated. This film is a popcorn Friday night fun movie especially with being at home trying to find creative ways to keep ourselves entertained.

In the end – anything you desire and everything you fear!

 

The Story of ROBERT THE BRUCE Continues On Bluray

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Interview with Angus Macfadyen

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray from director Richard Gray and Screen Media is the story of a man we have come to know as ROBERT THE BRUCE.

The film ROBERT THE BRUCE is one that I had always hoped would happen. In 1985, actor Angus Macfadyen had the emotional task of portraying Robert the Bruce in the film BRAVEHEART. This is a character filled with anguish, emotions and wanting to be the king Scotland needed. Being caught up in the games of his father and the nobles, Robert the Bruce watched a man he believed in – fall.

ROBERT THE BRUCE picks up after the king is full of self-doubt (much like his younger self) after so many military losses. It is 1306 and seeing the loss his army almost in pieces, the nobility leaving the fields and England’s King Edward sends out bounty hunters to find him, Robert the Bruce sets out on his own.

After being injured by an attack, he is discovered by children playing in the field and it is with their mother that takes care of his wounds. Finally mending, Robert the Bruce discovers that this family’s father/husband had fought alongside the king.

There are still part of the clan around this family that support England and would see Robert the Bruce captured but they aren’t going to let it happen. Spending time with a family dedicated to Robert the Bruce, he discovers a newfound life and vision into the heart of this king.

I had the wonderful opportunity to talk with ROBERT THE BRUCE himself, Angus Macfadyen. It is no secret that not only do I love the stories of history but find myself even happier when I can see them portrayed by consummate actors – Macfadyen falls into that category.

Although we are all inside and redefining entertainment, ROBERT THE BRUCE is a film that needs to be seen and Macfadyen is the reason.

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Jeri: Lets jump right in if that’s alright. I know you have probably been asked this a lot but what made you decide to jump back into your own iconic role in BRAVEHEART?

Angus: To be honest when the film finished, I walked around for years wondering what happened next? What about the follow up? This guy just lost and lost and became an utter failure and finally he became the man he was meant to become. It’s like this ghost I had walking around behind me. The ghost of Robert the Bruce just wouldn’t let me go. I don’t feel like I really had any choice.

Jeri: When did you decide ‘let’s do this!’?

Angus: When I decided to do it was in 2006. I basically walked around for years, spoke about it and nobody wanted to do it. I had a friend [Eric Belgau] who was also a writer and we were sitting around talking about this. Eventually we were ready after several years and we sat down, just the two of us, and punched out our first draft of the movie. Over the course of four years we shrunk it down to the core which is what the film is now. It is the story of family because we at first had a sweeping historical epic. In 2010 we finally had a script but even after that it took another seven years to make the film.

Jeri: What did you do as far as research?

Angus: Whatever I could find, and I ordered every book I could find. Historically speaking I wanted to know what was going on. It is a fascinating time and there was a lot of tumult. The French King was going after the Knights Templar, that was a huge thing. He was roasting them alive in the public square in the Notre Dame cathedral followed by a huge seven-year plague. There was so much happening at that time, so it was hard to pick and choose what to write about. I focused in on the family aspect.

Jeri: I know you said it was like having a ghost of your back. Were you into history long before you took the role of Robert the Bruce?

Angus: Yes, I have always been fascinated by history. I love doing roles of real characters because there is such a wealth of information about them. I love to play people who were alive, and you can go study the period, find books about them, and get inside their heads a bit. There is quite a lot of stuff out there to discover about a character.

Jeri: The one thing that I noticed about your 1985 Robert the Bruce, you managed to recapture the same painful expressions and it is almost like you didn’t skip a beat. I recognized those expressions of pain, confusion and trying to figure out where life had taken Robert the Bruce since his time with William Wallace. Watching the film ROBERT THE BRUCE, I was just taken in by your expressions and emotions because they were so beautifully matched.

Angus: Wow, thank you. That is really nice. I did not pay too much attention to what I was going to do because I had so much more on my plate. I was producing the film as well and casting, there was so much going on. I realized the day before we started filming that ‘oh, I actually have to play this role tomorrow!’. I had to remember the accent, the voice and so I thought I will go to set and just do it. It is like going to a cupboard and finding a box with an old pair of slippers in it. You put them on, and they are nice and warm and comfy and you think ‘ahhhhh!’ and they feel great. It was like that; it was something very comfortable.

Jeri: Well, you did it beautifully and seamlessly.

Angus: That’s so wonderful, thank you.

Jeri: You mentioned casting and producing which is an amazing feat considering you are also acting in the film as its title character. How did you go about choosing the cast?

Angus: The director and I sat together watching tapes and auditions. The accent was very important so I had to make sure that who ever was going to do it had a good ear and that they could pick up the accent. A Scottish accent is not very easy to do.

Jeri: The children, what amazing kids.

Angus: I know, both L.A. kids born and raised. They are remarkable. The two younger kids are brother and sister (Gabriel and Talitha Bateman). I think this is the first time they worked together actually, and it actually paid off. The relationship showed on screen. They were so enthusiastic and just wanted to go.  Even when there were blizzards and we all wanted to go home, they said “no, we want to work, let’s go!”.

Jeri: Oh, the energy of the young.

Angus: Yes, they just wanted to work, and they were pros.

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Jeri: It really does show. Tell me about the location of the film?

Angus: The executive producer lives on the land where we shot. We built the farm out of real rock and those things will be standing for 100 years after this. We basically shot all around on his land for eight weeks and then headed to Scotland to get that unique look.

Jeri: From the time you first played Robert the Bruce until deciding to find out more about him till now, this has been a serious journey for you.

Angus: It kind of took me twice as long to make the film about Robert the Bruce as it took him to actually get Scottish independence. It only took him seven years; it’s taken me 14 years to tell the story and make the movie of it.

Jeri: So, do you feel now that maybe the ghost is not following you anymore?

Angus: No because I have the next story written from the ending of this film to Robert the Bruce actually becoming the King and declaring independence with the Declaration of Arbroath. If this film does well then, I hope to raise the funds to finish it off, the third and final chapter and then I will be okay. I hope to finish it sooner rather than later because I’ll be too old.

Jeri: I am actually very excited about this. That’s amazing! Now everyone gets to be happy. There is something about your character, you’re right because at the end of BRAVEHEART you see that there is something more in this man who would be king. The change that takes place or call it removing the obstacles to being himself and if you don’t know the history, you are providing it. It’s so cool that you are doing a third!

Angus: Yes, I have it ready to go.

Jeri: Will you have the same team working with you?

Angus: I don’t know yet, I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. Its definetly a bigger film because there is going to have to be some big battle because it’s the final battle. It’s going to be a larger budget, but we shall see.

Jeri: How do you feel about doing a big battle scene again?

Angus: I’m not a big fan of battle scenes. I sort of grin and bear it and get through it. I prefer scenes where people talk.

Jeri: You don’t like sharp objects being hurled at your person.

Angus: Quite frankly the scenes are boring. It’s all about the editing but you have to show up for the scenes to do it and the stunt men are there anyway.

Jeri: You have to swing a sword once or twice to make us all happy.

Angus: Yea, I’ll try to do that.

Jeri: (we are both laughing) We aren’t going to let you get away with not doing it, sorry. Are you doing anything in between all of this and quarantine?

Angus: I have a film that just came out called HENRY THE IV which is a Shakespearean film set in America, it’s a modern day version where I play Falstaff. I directed/adapted Macbeth Unhinged which is a modern version as well. It is just being wrapped up and the score is being written and I hope it will be released this year.

Jeri: You are not just quarantining in quiet?

Angus: This is all the stuff that has just been done and now I’m climbing the walls.

Jeri: If you could manage to do all that maybe you can do something else creative while you are waiting this out.

Angus: With my home movie camera maybe.

Jeri: Everyone is being creative.

Angus: Maybe make a movie with my iPhone. Wait, I can’t go out of my house.

Jeri: Make a movie through the window about being trapped inside the house.

Angus: I could do that. Or get a drone and shoot things outside the house.

Jeri: See, your brain is already clicking off ideas, run with it. When I told people I would be speaking with you today, one thing they wanted to say is that they loved the characters you have chosen to play through your career but wanted to know if you’d ever do a sci-fi movie. Would you do it?

Angus: Of course, I happen to love sci-fi really.

Jeri: Oh, do you?

Angus: Yes, anything besides the present I’d do. I’ll do the movies set in the past and in fact I just did a movie about the future, it’s called 3022 (directed by John Suits) and it’s a movie set in space. I just finished it last year. It is about the end of the world so there you go! Something to cheer everyone up!

Jeri: You know, during this time the best movies to watch are disaster movies, makes you feel a lot better about life.

Angus: Yes, yes, you can say ‘see at least it isn’t THAT bad!’

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Jeri: I want to thank you so much for speaking with me today about the film. It is brilliant and now I’m even more excited to see how you finish out the story of Robert the Bruce.

Angus: Thank you, I really do hope to get it made and want ROBERT THE BRUCE to do really well.

Jeri: Enjoy your quarantine time and want to see that iPhone movie!

Cast also includes Jared Harris as John Comyn, Anna Hutchison as Morag, Gabriel Bateman as Scot, Talitha Bateman as Iver, Emma Kenney as Briana, Melora Walters as Ylfa, Kevin McNally as Sean, Brandon Lessard as Carney, Daniel Portman as Angus McDonald, Diarmaid Murtagh as James Doublas, Shane Coffey as Finley, Zach McGowan as Brandubh, and Patrick Fugit as Will.

Screen Media is an international distributor of television series and films, licensing content through theatrical, home video, pay-per-view, free, cable and pay television, and subscription and advertising video-on-demand platforms. The company is continually looking to add films and television series to its content library. For more please visit www.screenmedia.com.

The Bluray includes the Bonus Material Audio Commentary with Angus Macfadyen and Director Richard Gray and The Making of ROBERT THE BRUCE.

The release of ROBERT THE BRUCE also happens to coincide with the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath. The film was also nominated by the Edinburgh Film Festival for an Audience Award.

ROBERT THE BRUCE is a film about the continual journey of a man still finding his rightful place in Scotland. Instead of battles, ROBERT THE BRUCE takes us deeper inside what this character must find for himself if there is ever to be a free Scotland. I believe that is what I felt most drawn to. Beaten and, without question, broken, it is time for Robert to take a step back and come to terms with what has happened in his life.

Even when it becomes clear that the family who saves him is also divided about their house guest, like Robert, the truth needs to be aired on both sides. The family admitting to their pain and anger and Robert admitting that he has lost himself.

What happens to both sides is that they clear the air, talk out their fears and find their center again. Robert is taught by this small family to accept who you are, straighten your crown and get back to the business at hand – Scotland.

There is not a moment of the film I did not adore. The story takes its time to allow the characters to develop making each performance extremely special. Macfayden sharing scenes with the kids is something to behold as it is the kids who have powerful feelings that affect the character of Robert deeply. They are strong and determined to stand by the side of the king – just as their father did.

Watching this story of ROBERT THE BRUCE, it is only right that we all be patient for Macfayden to bring the crescendo to the life of this unique man who would be king. Experience ROBERT THE BRUCE! Having Macfadyen return to play Robert the Bruce seems only fitting to my way of thinking. The cast and crew clearly made every effort to bring us back to a time of kings and the people who sometimes pay the price for following.

In the end – he fought for freedom to defy an empire!

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