Coming to theatres this week from director Mike Flanagan and Warner Bros. Pictures based on the novel by Stephen King is DOCTOR SLEEP.
Danny Torrance and mother Wendy escaped the nightmare in 1980 to living in Florida. He has managed to learn from Dick Hallorann (Carl Lumbly) how to lock up the horror of the Overlook Hotel. Now in 2011, Dan (Ewan McGregor) deals with past trauma by bathing in any bottle of alcohol he can get his hands on. After an incident with a one night stand, Dan hops a bus landing in a small town greeted by Billy Freeman (Cliff Curtis).
Not only does Billy help get Dan settled but helps find him a job at a hospice. Not expecting to stay long he finds that after sobriety and a feeling of peace, he can stay a while. He also earns the name Doctor Sleep for the ability to comfort patients into their time to pass. In his room on the wall he starts receiving friendly message of greetings from young Abra (Kyliegh Curran)who also has The Shining.
A group called True Knot is led by Rosie the Hat (Rebecca Ferguson) but they are not friendly. What they are is a group of feeders who take those who shine and steal the steam they produce in their dying moments of fear. Finding it harder and harder to get kids that produce the steam they need to stay ageless, their supply grows slim. When the group led by lover Crow Daddy (Zahn McClarnon) kidnaps a young boy, Abra connects to him and sees everything as it happens.
Reaching out to Dan, he tells her to stay away from the group and close herself off to them. But Abra isn’t about to let Rosie get away with it. Connecting in a way she never has, Rosie realizes that this young girl produces an unprecedented amount of steam. In a second attempt to connect, Abra gives Rosie something to remember but sets off an anger that will not be tamed.
Now Danny knows he has to help Abra to stay alive at all costs. He knows there is one place that Rosie won’t see coming. He has to take the young Abra as well so that they can work together to stop what Rosie has planned for them both. Of course it also means that Dan must come face to face with the very ghosts who took his father and tried to end his life.
The Overlook isn’t finished quite yet!
McGregor as the older Danny Torrance does an excellent job of showing the trauma caused by what happened at the now defunct and dilapidated hotel. Drinking and engaging in behaviors that could kill him just as easily as the woman in the bathtub, he manages to dry out and find another way to deal with his past. Being a comfort to those in the last stages of life give him a place in the world. Even his chalkboard friendship with Agra gives him a smile or two every day. When everything starts to take an insane turn that he clearly recognizes, he could easily walk away but there is something inside him that now refuses to let any creature win. I appreciated his performance.
Curran as Abra is such an amazing young lady. Her first experience with True Knot is traumatic and beyond belief to see on the screen (yes, that’s my warning), but while trying to track down the group she discovers powers she never knew she had. I love the scenes where she gets in the face of those trying to do her harm and stands up for herself several times. The scenes between Curran and McGregor are also intense and endearing at the same time.
Ferguson as Rosie the Hat is completely and utterly terrifying. It is not just in what she is capable of doing but the sly smile why she says and does things. Personally I was captivated by her performance and can honestly say that how her character ends up is equally as utterly terrifying. It is an ingenious performance and I can honestly say that maybe King should consider writing a story just based on Rosie because she talks about living through the ages (very vampirish) and what has been seen. That could make for another frightful tale!
Lumbly as Hallorann is a face that brings comfort in the mix of all the terror. He knows how to help Danny and you can feel the connection between the characters even in adulthood. Curtis as Billy is a man who sees something in Dan that says ‘help me’ and doesn’t hesitate to do just that. Even when Dan comes to him with a story that most would consider insane, he is by Dan’s side.
McClarnon as Crow Daddy believes in everything Rosie does and usually does not question her. But when the problem of having steam arises, he lets her know that the group is suffering. He will do whatever she asks but best be sure he has just as much of an evil side as Rosie does.
Couple of shout outs – Jacob Tremblay as Bradley Trevor is a young actor who does a scene that will stay in my head for longer than I’d ever like it to. Also Danny Lloyd as a spectator at the ball game, just study that face and see if you recognize who he is.
Other cast include Emily Alyn Lind as Snakebite Andi, Carel Struycken as Grandpa Flick, Robert Longstreet as Barry the Chunk, Catherine Parker as Silent Sarey, Met Clark as Short Eddie, Selena Anduze as Apron Annie, Jocelin Donahue as Lucy Stone, Alex Essoe as Wendy, Zackary Momoh as Dave Stone, Henry Thomas as Lloyd the Bartender, Bruce Greenwood as Dr. John Dalton.
DOCTOR SLEEP is going to be a complicated review because there is so much I liked and a few things that disappointed me and I’ll do my best to make sure I don’t give anything away. I like the storyline about where Dan is now in his life because most of us would have thought that what happened at the Overlook Hotel would screw up anyone’s head. The torture of what he can’t get away from is clear and when he discovers a way to deal with it, it’s like a wave of hope washes over McGregor’s portrayal of him, at least for a while.
There is so much darkness in the film coming from the True Knot but it leads Dan and Abra to working together and that’s something the young Danny didn’t have. Abra is so powerful but she doesn’t hide from it as Danny did by using Tony. The young girl jumps in and makes her presence known and although it puts her life in danger, she walk away.
Once in the Overlook I felt like I was ‘home’ if you know what I mean. The layout is insanely (wow, that’s a word to describe it right?) memorable down to the 60s patterned orange carpet. The bathtub room, the bar, the room where Jack Torrance typed ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’, the elevators – it’s all there and tattered. That’s when I immersed myself in the story because I wanted one – thing – to – happen. It sort of did. Now, if I may, there is a scene between Ewan McGregor and Bruce Greenwood, look for it and jaw drop!
Now, for a few questions I have, with all of the technology and all of the CGI available, why wasn’t it used? It isn’t as if the director needed to recreate the wheel, just upgrade the wheels that are already there! I know, I know I’m being so vague but trust me when I say you’ll ask yourself the same questions within the first five minutes. I wanted a bit of the original.
All of that vaguely being said I don’t think THE SHINING fans will be hugely disappointed, in fact it don’t think it will take long before Dan and Abra are embraced as much as Danny and Wendy once were. The terror these two characters must endure had to eventually happen because even Dan and Abra know that they can’t live their lives hiding from ever supernatural entity that wants them for their gifts and it’s time to fight back.
In the end – the world will shine again!
Coming to Bluray and Digital from director Simon Curtis and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is the world through a dogs eyes who knows THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN.
Denny Swift (Milo Ventimiglia) is an up and coming race car driver who finds himself falling head over heels for a four legged furry Enzo (voiced by Kevin Costner). This is Enzo telling the story of their meeting and life together. Finding himself drawn to Denny’s world of racing, Enzo can’t get enough of everything they do.
That is until schoolteacher Eve (Amanda Seyfried) comes into the picture! Enzo isn’t exactly thrilled with the change in Denny and having to share what he considers a perfect life with a third person. Eventually a fourth person in the form of Zoe (Ryan Armstrong) arrives and Enzo realizes that he has enough love for everyone and becomes Zoe’s protector.
Through the years Denny supports his family racing and is away occasionally and Eve is watched over by Enzo. That is when he senses that something is wrong with Eve but there isn’t any way to make Denny aware of it. On a walk, Eve collapses and Enzo has to use the only voice he has to get help.
Now Denny and Zoe are finding their stride while Eve is in hospital. There is backup by Eve’s judgmental father Maxwell (Martin Donovan) and doting mother Trish (Kathy Baker). Helping with Zoe, Denny stops going out on the road and returns to the track teaching for boss Don (Gary Cole). The goal of everyone is to make sure Eve is comfortable and Enzo keeps a very close eye nightly.
When things turn tragic, Denny is pit up against Eve’s father and Enzo wants to make it clear that he knows what’s happening. When Maxwell oversteps his bounds and Denny reacts, it starts a chain of pain for everyone including Zoe and Enzo isn’t about to allow anything to happen to his family.
Ventimiglia as Denny is a man who knows exactly how he wants to spend his life – behind the wheel of a very fast car. Everyone believes he is magical at his job and even the woman he marries is supportive (not so much the daddy dearest father-in-law). This is a role that Ventimiglia is becoming known for with his ability to be the trusted emotional support for everyone around him even if his world is falling apart. The combination of Denny and Enzo is beautiful.
Seyfried as Eve accepts that her husband just loves to be behind the wheel, although she might not understand it, there is nothing more important to her than Denny’s success. It’s nice to see that supportiveness from them both actually as conflict seems to permeate films with couples in them lately. These two are just want each other to be happy and Seyfried does that – until her character can’t.
Baker as Mom Trish is the more relaxed of the couple and lets it be known that he likes Denny even if she is nervous about his chosen profession. Donovan as Maxwell is that one character that I can’t help but curl my lip up at. He is judgmental and finds any opportunity to make Denny uncomfortable as a husband and father. It takes a lot for me to not like a character and Donovan does his job well. Cole as Don just has a presence that I have always enjoyed. From comedy, to drama to being a bad guy, he also makes playing a good guy pretty dang awesome.
Now, Costner as the voice of Enzo the dog – can I just say I absolutely adored it. He had the ability to make me believe I was listening, well, to a dog! I loved the way he spoke, his description of life, the people in it and when being naught I found myself cheering him/Enzo on. So well done and made me tear up on more than one occasion, especially “one more lap” (you’ll see, have tissue at the ready!)
Other cast include Lily Dodsworth-Evans as Teenage Zoe, Al Sapienza as Luca Pantoni, McKinely Belcher III as Mark Finn, Ian Lake as Uncle Mike and Andres Joseph as Tony.
Twentieth Century Fox 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 www.fox.com.
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The Bluray Special Features Include A Journey to Screen, Directing the Art, Enzo Cam, Behind the Wheel, The Dog Stays in the Picture, Enzo’s First Ride and Audio Commentary by Director Simon Curtis.
There are a lot of films about dogs in the last few years and there are some very heart-warming ones. THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN just had me feeling almost every range of human or dog emotions possible. I loved Enzo as a puppy immediately but it becomes clearer and clearer with Costner’s help that he is no ordinary dog. Enzo is a thinker and breaks it all down as he waits to become, like Pinocchio, human.
He knows his racing first of all which I thought was pretty cool but he also knows so much more and realizes that he grows emotionally because he sees something for his future. I think what really got me was his description of Eve’s leaving when he said “I know because I saw it” and I lost it.
The cast had their role to play as well of a family dealing with love, marriage, family, death, anger and acceptance of putting one step in front of the other to keep life in front of them all. There is so much for the family to experience with this film and it is my heartfelt hope that they see it together and talk about it all after.
In the end – meet the dog who shoes the world how to be human!
Coming to Bluray/DVD, Digital and also available on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack from director Thurop Van Orman and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment are our favorite birds with THE ANGRY BIRDS 2.
Everyone on Bird Island is in a pretty good place since Red (Jason Sudekis) has made a name for himself as a hero. Making sure the pigs stay on their island is a full time job and it comes with some adulation that Red has come to like.
Then, the green pigs on Piggy Island are being bombarded with, well, ice balls! Needing help, they reach out to Red and the other birds to see if they want to help find out what is going on. At first Red isn’t having it but when Leonard (Bill Hader) decides to sneak in to see the birds and explain what is happening.
They talk to Mighty Eagle (Peter Dinklage) who discovers that his ex-gal Zeta (Leslie Jones) is the one responsible for the ice bombs. Seems she isn’t happy being stuck on the cold Eagle Island and she is going to make sure that she gets the sun in her life again!
Now Red, Leonard, Chuck (Josh Gad) and sister Silver (Rachel Bloom) get to Eagle Island only to discover something more sinister. Zeta has created lava ice balls and plans to destroy both islands. Red thinks he can handle everything on his own until, well, he can’t realizing that he needs all his friends to save their homes.
Sudekis as Red still has issues of not being liked by everybody and thinks he needs to continue to be a solo hero in order to keep his status. Hader as Leonard makes a daring move in asking for the birds help to stop the craziness that is plaguing them both. These two characters may always be after each other but together they are pretty darn funny.
Dinklage as Mighty Eagle likes his solitude and perch high up on the island, when that is threatened you’d think he’d help right? Right? Jones as Zeta is an angry eagle who is not only smart but really smart. A combination of a hurt heart and brains can be dangerous for everyone around her.
Gad as Chuck is bouncy and fast! This actor has made quite a name for himself playing animated characters and I don’t mind one darn bit. Bloom as his sister Silver is equally as smart as Zeta but doesn’t have the broken heart to deal with. She doesn’t see herself and Red as compatible but there is a weird attraction if they can just get past the “destruction of their world” thing.
Other cast include Awkwafina as Courtney, Sterling K. Brown as Garry, Eugenio Derbez as Glenn, Tiffany Haddish as Debbie, Danny McBride as Bomb, Peter Davidson as Jerry, Dove Cameron as Ella, and Maya Rudolph as Matilda.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment encompasses motion picture production for television, digital content and theater releases. The studios include Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems, TriStar Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation, Stage 6 Films and Sony Picture Classics. To see what is coming to theaters and to home entertainment please visit www.sonypictures.com.
The Bluray and Digital Bonus Features include All New Mini Movie!, 6 Classic Hatchling Mini Movies, DIY Family Fun with Hangry Birds: Popcorn Balls, Smarty Birds: Crafty Volcano, Crafty Birds: Pig Snot!, Bird Watching, Meet the New Birds & Pigs, Hatching to Hatchlings, Flocking Together: Making the Angry Birds Movie 2, Happy Thanks-pigging and Jingle Birds: A Holiday Song from the Cast of Angry Birds 2.
THE ANGRY BIRDS 2 is very colorful, full of action and both kids and adults will find it very funny. The story is interesting in that the birds and pigs, who are always trying to one up each other with pranks, finally have a reason to work together – to save their islands.
Discovering a third island of Eagles who are kind of angry about being so cold is the right ingredient to discover more about these characters, especially Mighty Eagle. It’s a nice lesson for the kids to learn how to get along with everybody once you understand them.
In the end – this summer winter is coming!