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LITTLE WOMEN Comes Home

Little Women cover

Jeri Jacquin

Now on Digital and coming to Bluray and DVD from writer/director Greta Gerwig and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment based on the beloved novel by Louisa May Alcott comes LITTLE WOMEN.

It is during the Civil War that the March family is trying to do well without their father. Taking care of four daughters is a handful for Marmee (Laura Dern). Daughters Beth (Eliza Scanlen), Meg (Emma Watson), Jo (Saoirse Ronan) and Amy (Florence Pugh) find ways to occupy their lives each with different interests. Also keeping an eye on the family is the opinionated Aunt March (Meryl Streep) and Hannah (Jayne Houdyshell).

Introducing himself into the lively family is Theodore Laurence (Timothee Chalamet) who instantly fits right into the craziness of the March home. His tutor John Brooke (James Norton) has eyes for only one March lady. Laurie and Jo become instant inseparables talking about life and what is ahead. Even Mr. Laurence (Chris Cooper) has taken to the March family feeling all the excitement they bring to his life in the absence of Mr. March (Bob Odenkirk).

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It is Jo who has the desire for so much more. Writing and creating for the family’s entertainment has become something she counts on. Her adventures become stories that she gets Mr. Dashwood (Tracy Letts) to print in the paper when she takes the big move to go to New York. Their she meets Friedrich Bhaer (Louis Garrel) who tells Jo only the truth about what she writes.

But it is one poignant moment in her life where she finally puts down the family’s story of love, sisterhood, tragedy, friendship, music, entertainment and relationships that honors the March family. It becomes the book about little women.

Ronan as Jo is the most lively of the March girls with her opinions, thoughts and creativity constantly flowing through their home. Everything Ronan has done in her career and the choices she makes in roles has never let me down. She is stunning in every way and in LITTLE WOMEN she once again proves why she is a treasure to watch. She has a fiery spirit that shines in this role.

Watson as Meg is lovely as I would expect her to be. Meg is unpredictable and yet still endearing and it allows Watson to again grow right in front of our eyes. Scanlen as Beth is bored easily and has a streak that sends Jo almost over the edge. Their constant sisterly-ness is what I’d expect from four sisters under one roof. Pugh as Amy is thoughtful and the mousy sister who everyone adores. Pugh makes it quite easy to feel that watching her performance.

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Streep as Aunt March is stubborn, feisty, and doesn’t hesitate to give her opinion whether it is asked for or not. She is more like Jo than any of the March girls but outwardly her decisions always seem to go in unexpected directions. I loved watching Streep do her thing! Dern as Marmee is a mother doing her best during a time none of us could possibly imagine. Being the glue of the family is hard enough, the glue of four very impetuous daughters is heroic in its own way. Houdyshell as Hannah is a woman quietly in the background making sure the March family stays in her line of view as a protector.

Now for the men! Chalamet as Laurie is a young man who finds something enticing about being part of the March family. They accept him instantly and Chalamet role is sweet and at times given to a twinge of sadness. Cooper as Mr. Laurence also becomes instantly attached to the March family, especially a certain young March with talent for piano. Odenkirk has a small role as Mr. March but doesn’t need to be on screen for his name to be constantly mentioned.

Letts as Mr. Dashwood sees something in what Jo puts on paper but he has no idea what will be coming. He challenges Jo in a way to reach for more but isn’t ready for what he gets. Garrell as Frederich tells Jo what she doesn’t want to hear yet she receives it hard headedly. In a world where women are pushing so hard for ever step forward, Garrell reminds Jo that to do so means accepting criticism and changing someone’s perspective. Norton as Brooke is a tutor who also becomes involved in the March family life. Again, he loves them all but one inparticular.

Bluray, DVD and Digital Bonus Materials include A New Generation of Little Women, Making a Modern Classic, Greta Gerwig: Women Making Art, Hair & Make-up Test Sequence, LITTLE WOMEN Behind the Scenes and Orchard House, Home of Louisa May Alcott.

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

LITTLE WOMEN has always been a beloved classic and there is no doubt about that. In this telling there is a little more of the life loving Jo with her need to make sure life is on her terms. Then it is life that lets her know they can co-exist as long as she is willing to bend from time to time with the unexpected events that shape things a little differently.

This is a film that is clearly about women in the forefront of the telling. Each of the women, including housemother Hannah, have a part to play in each other’s lives through the good and the not so good. The March women clearly have different personalities and different points of view which make the film even more entertaining to watch. The clashes and the misunderstandings are expected but their resolutions are filled with love and hope.

In the end – own your story!

They Know it is all About RESISTANCE

Resistance cover

 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Digital platforms and VOD from writer/director Jonathan Jakubowicz and IFC Films comes a story of a fight without making a sound with RESISTANCE.

Marcel (Jesse Eisenberg) is a young man who isn’t exactly living life the way his father Charles Mangel (Karl Markovics) would like in their small French village. He wants to be an actor like idol Charlie Chaplin and not follow the family butcher business. Marcel does have eyes for Emma (Clemence Posey) and uses his charm and humor to keep her attention.

Asked to help with children being sent to their small town, Marcel begins to see the effects of the war with Germany during World War II on the children, especially Elsbeth (Bella Ramsey). She has seen the horrors of being Jewish and arrives with a hundred other children.

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Immediately Marcel recruits his brother Georges (Geza Rohrig) working with Emma’s sister Mila (Vica Kerekes) and Alain (Felix Moati). They find a local castle as a place to get the children healthy and help them feel safe, unfortunately, it is not to last. Knowing the Germans are close, Marcel and the group know that they must get the children away quickly.

The move is swift as they start to find places for them to stay. It breaks Marcel’s heart when he turns Elsbeth over to a priest who has taken in many children. The adults find a place to hide, then the arrival of Klaus Barbie (Matthias Schweighöfer) changes everything. His ruthlessness tests the group’s ability to save children with the first trip over the Alps to Switzerland.

Where Marcel starts and the stage that he ends up on is a journey beyond belief.

Eisenberg as Marcel is a young man who seems to care more about what he wants to do with his life than what the family wants. He doesn’t understand what the problem is until he finds something to believe in that is more important than himself. Eisenberg becomes Marcel with humor, a belief in the children and doing what is right. It is a beautiful performance.

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Posey as Emma is a young woman who started helping children and surprised to see Marcel joining in. This is a woman who takes chances and lives through a horror of her own. Ramsey as Elsbeth is nothing short of absolutely lovely. Coming to terms with what has happened in her life, she finds humor with Marcel that gives her moments of joy in a world that has become joyless.

Kerkes as Mila is another strong character and the sister of Emma. They are both believers in what they are doing and put themselves in harm’s way where the children are involved. Rohrig as George is surprised in what his brother can accomplish when called on. Following the group gives him hope, even among the horror. Markovics as Charles is always at odds with his sons but there comes a point where the reasons become clear and their father joins them.

Now, Schweighöfer has the difficult role of playing Klaus Barbie because this character was someone who had no soul as far as I am concerned. This actor gave everything to the role knowing that the potential of ‘hating’ him would be there. I love an actor that throws caution to the wind to make sure a character is portrayed accordingly in an important story. Well done sir.

Other cast include Edgar Ramirez as Sigmund, Alicia von Rittberg as Regine, Toby Elman as Joseph and Ed Harris as George S. Patton.

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RESISTANCE is a film telling the story of a man who was not famous for his saving of thousands of children. Most know Marcel Marceau as the silent actor who had an amazing gift of entertaining the masses. Now is a chance to know something about him that is even greater.

The film is set during a time that saving one another was the only way to survive. What Marcel, Emma, George, Mila and Joseph did was dangerous, yet they threw that aside to make sure that children who would have otherwise been murdered – survived.

There are moments of complete agony to watch with Barbie making sure that he used everything in his arsenal to be feared. Yet, they continued on, continued forward even in the face of fear to do the right thing and that is everything in this film.

In the end – the best way to resist is to survive!

 

 

BLOW THE MAN DOWN

Blow the man cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Amazon Prime from writer/directors Bridget Savage Cole, Danielle Krudy and Amazon Studios comes a story of twists and a town singing BLOW THE MAN DOWN.

Priscilla (Sophie Lowe) and Mary Beth Connolly (Morgan Saylor) are mourning the death of their mother, Mary Margaret. Living in a small fishing village, everyone comes to try and support the girls including their mother’s friends Gail (Annette O’Toole), Doreen (Marceline Hugot) and Susie (June Squibb).

Hearing people talk, Mary Beth finds out that they might lose the house and gets upset with Priscilla. To get away she heads to the local bar and meets Gorski (Ebon Moss-Bachrach). Going back to his place, things don’t go very well, and chaos breaks out. Going home to get help from Priscilla, they try to cover up the mess.

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The next morning at the store owned by their mother, Priscilla discovers she is missing something that could get themselves in trouble. Opening their front door, she sees Enid (Margo Martindale), also a friend of their mother’s but not welcomed by the other three in the group.

Officer Coletti (Skipp Sudduth) also knocks wanting to borrow their boat since they’ve found a body. Pricilla goes along but doesn’t recognize who the girl is but Alexis (Gayle Rankin) knows exactly who the victim is. Now, there are more secrets than that of Pricilla and Mary Beth, secrets that go further than they could ever have imagined.

The shock has ripples that show no mercy.

Lowe as Priscilla is the calm and collected sister who thinks things through and realizes that their mother’s death brings a new set of realities. As mad as she gets at Mary Beth, there isn’t anything she wouldn’t do for her – anything. Lowe is such a presence in the film and I just couldn’t take my eyes off her.

Saylor as Mary Beth is outrageous and has anger towards what she feels is a year of her life wasted. Making a crazy decision is what gets the sisters into a mess that doesn’t seem to have a way out – even if she thinks she’s found a way out. Saylor goes with the flow of craziness in a way I never could.

Moss-Bachrach as Gorski isn’t happy with the life in this small town and how he makes his living. There is a streak about him that is disconcerting and he’s so good at it. Sudduth as Coletti is an officer who is trying to discover who murdered the girl, but he isn’t getting help from anybody in town. They have their secrets and aren’t about to share them with the law.

O’Toole as Gail, Hugot as Doreen and Squibb as Susie are the three ladies I’d love to hang out with. They keep their eye on everything that happens in their little town and don’t take any nonsense. That seems to be the difference between them and Martindale as Enid. Enid is trouble waiting to explode and the three ladies aren’t happy with the nonsense she is causing in their town. When they see Alexis played by Rankin, it is time to put their foot down, but Enid isn’t the type to take anything from anyone – even her ‘so-called’ friends. Martindale has the unique ability to play the most amazing characters, from a loving character to a down right bitch, she excels and in this film she doesn’t disappoint.

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Shout out to the Singing Fisherman, I absolutely loved their singing and thought where they were placed in the film was absolutely stellar.

Other cast include Will Brittain as Officer Justin Brennan, Owen Burke as Paulie, Thomas Kee as Declan Crawley, David Coffin, David Pridemore, Adam Mayerson and Mark S. Cartier as the Singing Fisherman.

BLOW THE MAN DOWN is a story of sisters, friendships and the secrets a little town can have that are almost impossible to penetrate. The characters are completely memorable, and I don’t think I will forget any of them for a very long time.

I absolutely love the originality of the film and the way writers/directors Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy left my jaw dropping constantly. This isn’t just one storyline – it is several and they all mesh in an amazing way and wrap up beautifully.

If you are looking for something twisted, unusual and stunning to watch then you need to see BLOW THE MAN DOWN because discussions will be had after.

In the end – it is a small town with big secrets!

 

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

Rise of skywalker cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray and Digital from director J.J. Abrams, Lucasfilms and Walt Disney Pictures Home Entertainment is the conclusion of a saga that began over 40 years ago with STAR WARS: The Rise of Skywalker.

It was 1977 At the Valley Circle theatre in San Diego with my bff and life sister Ellen that STAR WARS came into my life. The first time I saw the film I was transported into a world that I have embraced through the years. My summer was filled with weekly visits to the theatre so I could watch the storyline again and again.

Thus, began my crush on Luke (Mark Hamill) that continues today in my much older and less cute form. The early scene of the original STAR WARS where Luke is on the hill lamenting as the two suns of Tatooine are setting and the rise of emotion from John Williams music begins moved me. It moved me because I knew that look, I understood wanting to know what was out in the world waiting for me. I also saw the suns radiating on his face with a look that was the handsomest I’d ever seen. Hey, I was 16!

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Then, the buddy ‘friendship’ with Han (Harrison Ford) that always made me laugh with his antics or feeling protective anytime no one understood him. He was rough and tough yet I knew that he would never leave the two people that had become his friends by not judging to harshly the way he handled things. These two guys also showed me how pensive friendships can be brought together with the glue of a very tall and very hairy Wookie and to Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) I say a humble and grateful thank you.

My lesson to be a stronger person came from Princess Leia to whom I continue to be eternally grateful on a daily basis. She was my first female role model who showed me courage, loyalty and laid the foundation of fighting for what is right no matter what is thrown at you. Fisher may not have known what she was accomplishing early on taking the role of Leia but I hope through the years she came to know there were thousands of girls who learned the same lessons I did.

Ben Obi-Wan Kenobi (Alec Guinness) became the voice of reason for those of us watching Star Wars again and again in 1977. He kept us all levelheaded when we wanted to jump into the battle with Luke, Han and Leia. The calm explainer of the force and how it works, he introduced us all to ‘use the force’ as it became an iconic phrase that you’d have to be locked in a cave somewhere to not know. Trust me, tears fell when he allowed Vadar to swing that saber helping Luke and the gang to escape, something I never got over.

So here we are, in 2019 and I couldn’t sleep Monday night knowing that I was hours away from seeing how this would all end. Don’t expect spoilers because I would be furious if anyone told me anything before seeing the film (Remember Han Solo?) so I’m keeping it light and reminiscent.

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On a remote planet, Rey (Daisy Ridley) is working with General Organa (Carrie Fisher) on earning Luke Skywalkers light saber but there seems to be a feeling stopping her. Resistance friends Poe (Oscar Isaac. Finn (John Boyega) and Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo) are struggling to get back to Rey after retrieving what are the next step plans for the First Order. Also, out in the galaxy is Supreme Leader of the First Order Kylo Ren (Adam Driver) who is knocking down anyone who gets in his way.

Now called the Final Order, it is Rey, Finn, Poe and all those who follow that must pull out all the stops to bring balance back to the force. Allegiant General Pryde (Richard E. Grant) knows how this is going to play out. There is one fiercely evil entity who is going to do his diabolical best to stop them all as secrets are revealed and choices are made!

There are others along the way who decide that it might be time to help and that includes Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams) and Zorii Bliss (Keri Russell). There are those who have come before that let it be known they are with them all.

Yes, that’s all you are going to get in the plot department! So, let’s move on to the characters who make their appearance in this final installment.

Ridley as Rey is still dealing with the unknown of her past. It is hard to let the force flow through you when there are those mushed up memories and a Supreme Leader who is constantly cutting into your thought process. Ridley has done everything asked of her in the three installments of the Star Wars saga she has been in. At times I wasn’t always sure where she was taking this character but clearly, now, it was on a path that I didn’t even see coming.

Driver as Ben/Kylo Ren has been on quite a journey! He has pretty cool parents but chooses to follow the destructive path of grandpa Vadar. Even with that there is something that connects him to Rey as she tries to convince him to put down his very angry saber and be true to himself. That’s hard to do when rage seems to be the only thing that motivates Ren. Driver has put every bit of that on the screen and when the moments where Ben shows through, this actor melts and takes everyone along with him.

Boyega as Finn has always seemed to be Rey’s protector whether that was his intention or not. Being a former storm trooper, he has truly embraced his role as being part of the Resistance and constantly surprised where it has led him. Although his relationship with Poe hasn’t always been the best, it is reminiscent of another galaxy duo who didn’t start out on the best of terms.

Isaac as Poe continues to be reckless but there comes a moment where he has to decide what his place is in the Resistance. It turns out to be the most difficult decision he has ever made (and you will know when that hits him the hardest). Isaac’s Poe is the comedy of the trio because of his casual nature and finding humor when he should be panicking.

Williams as Lando gets the chance to once again fly the Millennium Falcon with Chewy at his side. He knows that the new trio faces the same tribulations and he has one last chance to do right by Leia and help in any way he can. Lando was a wild card before and trust me when I say he doesn’t disappoint now either.

This is where I get a little choked up – when Carrie Fisher as Leia comes up on my television screen I am overcome with a wave of intense emotion. There couldn’t have been a finale without her, and I am happy to take it in any form. It is even more difficult to watch Gen. Organa make a motherly choice which is something her character didn’t have a chance to do before. Yes, more quiet tears dropped but Princess Leia will always be a part of this writer’s life.

Other cast include everyone who could get in the film with Philicia Saunders as Tabala Zo, Simon Day as General Engell, Amir El-Masry as Commander Trach, Denis Lawson as Wedge Antiles, Naomi Ackie as Jannah, Freddie Prinze Jr. as Kannan Jarus, Dominic Monaghan as Beaumont Kin, Billie Lourd as Lieutenant Connix and Domnhall Gleeson as General Hux.

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Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment began distributing under its own label in 1980 and continues to bring quality programming to kids and kids at heart. Home of the most beloved animated features including SNOW WHITE, PINOCCHIO and SLEEPING BEAUTY to name a few is what keeps families coming back for more. To see what is currently available to add to your own family library please visit. http://www.movies.disney.com for their At Home titles!

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 Bluray Bonus Extras include The Skywalker Legacy Documentary: The Story That Lives Forever in This Feature Length Look at the Making of the Movie, Pasaana Pursuit: Creating the Speeder Chases, D-O: Key to the Past and more!

Also Jimmy Vee as R2-D2 who always had my heart as well as a humor of squeaks and blips that have always been totally understandable, and the amazing Anthony Daniels as C-3PO who always managed to be properly annoying but in such a way that I personally would never want to be without him.

Look, I’m just going to throw it out there. Not everyone will be happy with how Abrams brings this nine-film saga to its conclusion and personally – I don’t care about the not-happy people and here’s why. STAR WARS: The Rise of Skywalker is seen by me in a way that is part of my being. I don’t think all the Star Wars films were successful and I don’t hide my feelings about it, but I still embrace it as part of the storyline that began in 1977.

Not everything in life is going to be wrapped up neatly to please every person (I mean seriously, the Game of Thrones finale almost threw people into fits!) and that’s okay. Not being neat means, we all have something to talk about and share after seeing the film.

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We get to reminisce about more than one film, about more than one theory and about more than one character. That’s what Star Wars has done for us; it has kept the conversation going longer than any other films (maybe Harry Potter gets to be part of the club in its own way).

I hope that everyone who gets the Bluray remembers that the experiences are yours, each unique, each with its own memories and each with its own chance to say the words – goodbye friends! Yes, there are already stories like The Mandalorian (big fan by the way) giving us a new world but I’m speaking of the story that began with Luke, Leia, Chewy, C3PO, R2D2 and Obi-Wan.

It is time to say good-bye to seeing them on the big screen, that being said I still can see them on the screen in my home thanks for Bluray.  Oh, I won’t be removing Yoda and Darth from my desk any time soon, but instead of giggling with anticipation for the next story installment in other ways. I will smile at the story for sharing the last forty-two years of my life in such an impactful way. I saw these characters through 16-year-old eyes from 1977 to 2019 and that is pretty cool to my way of thinking.

So, prepare yourself and just enjoy the ride over and over again – there isn’t a tub of popcorn big enough for what’s to come because that’s how I started and that’s how it’s going to finish.

In the end – it started in a galaxy far, far away!

Take to New Heights with SWIFT on Bluray

sWIFT Bluray cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray and DVD from directors Andrea Block, Christian Haas and Shout Studios comes the story of a brave little SWIFT.

Manou (voiced by Josh Keaton) is a little bird who has lost his parents. Taken in by seagulls Blanche (Kate Winslet) and Yves (Willem Dafoe) they try to teach him what it means to be a seagull. Even brother Luc (Mike Kelly) adores Manou and can’t imagine a day without him.

The problem is that the rest of the seagulls aren’t too happy with Manou, especially when on guard duty over the eggs from the pesky rats that try to steal them. Trying to fight them off, one egg is stolen, and the rest of the gulls want Manou to leave – especially when Manou discovers he is adopted and not a gull – in fact he is a swift!

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Meeting up with other swifts, Manou learns how to fly, find food he likes and make friends. He starts to have feelings for Kalifa (Cassandra Steen), a girl swift who is ready to teach Manou about swift life! He also has Percival (David Shaughnessy) who knows a thing or two about being a different kind of feathered friend along with Kalifa’s brothers Poncho (Arif Kinchen) and Yusuf (Nolan North).

When Manou learns that he has the ability to foretell the weather, it is a storm like no other where he brings swift and seagull together and shatters a belief system that needs it!

Keating voicing Manou is so delightful. From the moment he hatches he just gets cuter and cuter and with the help of Keating, the little swift finds his voice and shares his feelings with us all. I have to say the animation for Manou couldn’t be more stunning.

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Dafoe as Yves is a father who wants to try to change Manou into forgetting who he truly is. Very protective and loving in his own way, he gives in to gull pressure and makes a decision that puts his family’s feelings and feathers in jeopardy. Winslet as Blanche is an accepting and loving mother who is heartbroken when Manou goes his own way. She gives the little swift love from the moment she sees him and believes in everything that he is, not what others want him to be.

Kelly as Luc is a beautiful, loving and supportive brother who would do anything for Manou. It literally comes through the screen when the family is torn. Steen as Kalifa is full of spirit and fun yet doesn’t make fun of Manou’s ways but instead is intrigued by them!

The comic relief also comes in the form of Shaughnessy, Kinchen and North with their antics and outlook on the world. Sometimes bird of a feather can flock together in ways that are extraordinary and full of life lessons for us non feathered folk!

Shout! Studios is the filmed entertainment production and distribution arm of Shout! Factory, specializing in all aspects of distribution, including theatrical, VOD, digital and broadcast. Reflecting Shout! Factory’s ongoing commitment to innovation and excellence, Shout! Studios champions and supports like-minded filmmakers and creators at the forefront of pop culture, driving creative expression and diversity in independent storytelling. Shout! Studios finances, produces, acquires and distributes an eclectic slate of movies, award-winning animated features, specialty films and series from rising and established talent, filmmakers and producers.

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The Bluray Special Features include A Look At The Making Of SWIFT, An Interview With Actor Willem Dafoe and Theatrical Trailer.

SWIFT is a delightful and though provoking film and mixed in that is comedy and stunning scenery. It made me want to be a bird of any kind to be able to live on the cliffs above a vast and beautiful ocean. The characters are so memorable in every way with their distinguishable personalities.

I have to throw in a shout out to the Sandpipers because they had me laughing so much from the very start. I adore them but also agree that how they are portrayed in the film is pretty much how I thought they would react to water, hilarious.

The animation is so colorful and full of life that is drew me in deeper to the story. I truly loved every moment of the story with an ending that gave me even more giggles. SWIFT is a story about acceptance, love, family (no matter who you include in the gang), lessons, fighting for what’s right and, most of all, believing in yourself so you can soar!

In the end – find your place in the sk

Prepare for THE HUNT

hunt poster

 

Jeri Jacquin

In theatres this Friday from writers Nick Cuse, Damon Lindelof, director Craig Zobel. Blumhouse and Universal Pictures 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.

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.

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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.

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!

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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 Hillary Swank as Athena.

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.

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There is also shocks, awes, humor, uncomfortable laughter, brief political discussions, stereotypes, and the film doesn’t care what the weaponry does as long as it’s locked and loaded! The scene between Gilpin and Swank has to be the topping of a very 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 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!

A Time of Change Brought the Biggest BURDEN

Burden cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from writer/director Andrew Heckler’s debut and 101 Studios comes the story of courage, change and belief when under a BURDEN.

Mike Burden (Garrett Hedlund) is a young man who came to be raised by Klu Klux Klan leader Tom Griffin (Tom Wilkinson). In the small South Carolina town it puts a divide between the white and African American community with Reverend Kennedy (Forest Whitaker) keeping the peace.

Mike works repossessing electronics from people who are behind in their payments along with friend Clint (Austin Hebert). That is how he meets Judy (Andrea Riseborough) and after hearing her young son will be devastated not to see the Nascar races on the television, Mike makes arrangements for them to keep it. Yet, when seeing classmate Clarence (Usher Raymond), he has no problem taking his television.

Tom decides to open up a museum celebrating the history of the KKK in an historic movie theatre which sends the Reverend and most of the town into shock. Mike tries not to bring to much attention to his involvement because he truly begins to care for Judy and wants to have a life with her. Tom notices and isn’t beyond making his own mark with Judy’s son.

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As the Reverend and townspeople protest the museum, Tom makes a request of Mike that forces him to make a decision. Turning away from the KKK, the Reverend decides that it is time to replace hate with love and offers to help Mike both physically and emotionally.

But it isn’t going to be easy to step away from the only life he’s known and there are those who are going to make sure Mike suffers every step.

Hedlund as Mike is a man who has consistently stood by the leaders, he feels gave him a family. There is a part of him that remembers friendship with Clarence and is torn between the heart that knows what is right and turning away from a ‘family’. Hedlund is shy when it comes to his feelings and frightening when his rage kicks in. There are scenes of brilliance where he is in pain to speak and the final scene where his face says it all.

Whitaker as Reverend Kennedy is a man who tries to keep the peace in town even if there are small battles in his own home. Once he sees the museum, there is no question that he must do whatever it takes to keep it from becoming a permanent part of their town. Whitaker is strong in this role and the scenes with Hedlund are powerful and healing for both characters.

Riseborough as Judy is a woman who doesn’t take any nonsense from Mike or from KKK leader Tom. She doesn’t believe as Mike does yet there is something about him that she sees a chance for his life to change. Raymond as Clarence remembers a friendship with Mike and believes that there is something more for him on the other side of the KKK tracks. He believes that given a chance, Mike can be saved from those who want to destroy him.

Other cast include Crystal Fox as Janice Kennedy, Anna Colwell as Molly, Jason Davis as Jameson, Dexter Darden as Kelvin Kennedy, Charles Green as Horace King, Joshua Burge as Ronny, Jeff Pope as Cooper and Jessejames Locorriere as Dale and Tess Harper as Hazel.

BURDEN is a story written by director Andrew Heckler after meeting the real Reverend Kennedy. Heckler read about the museum in an article and decided to pen the story from Kennedy’s account. The script was written in 1998 but has taken Heckler twenty years to make the film and this is his directorial debut.

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This is a story of reality, redemption and the belief that the heart can let go of wrong and embrace positive changes. The film also deals with the twisted beliefs of a group of towns people who believe so much that they are right that hurting those who get in their way is of no consequence or guilt.

The cast brings out the story that shows the Reverends side of fight and all the frustrations that come with it. They are angry and afraid but not so much that they would allow what is happening at the museum to continue without a fight. Having lived in a small southern town, I can tell you that the believability of this story is 100%.

This may be 2020 but that doesn’t mean the belief that the character of Mike was raised with is gone because it isn’t, and it isn’t only found in small southern towns. What BURDEN does bring into focus the ability to talk about these issues openly and make us all aware that 20 years ago a group of people tried to open a museum that horrified a community.

I see BURDEN as a teachable film that has the greatest potential to reach more than just a theatre audience. It is so powerful and far reaching that it is clear why the film received a standing ovation when it was shown at the Sundance Film Festival.

In the end – only love can drive out hate!

JUMANJI: The Next Level Brings Another Adventure

Jumanji next level cover

 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray, DVD and Digital from writer/director Jake Kasdan and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is the return for another adventure with JUMANJI: The Next Level.

It’s the holidays and the gang make plans to return to Nora’s Diner for a bit of catching up. Bethany (Madison Iseman), Martha (Morgan Turner), Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain) and Spencer (Alex Wolff). Actually, Spencer is finding any way to avoid getting together at home with Mom (Marin Hinkle) and Grandpa Eddie (Danny DeVito) who is recovering from hip surgery.

The reason for seclusion is that Spencer and Martha have taken a break from their relationship and he’s having a hard time. So much so that he goes into the basement and finds a certain video game and does the unthinkable. Grandpa Eddie is dealing with his own grumpiness when friend Milo (Danny Glover) comes to visit but Eddie isn’t exactly having it.

When the gang can’t reach Spencer, they head over to his house and meet Eddie and Milo and then hear a sound that stops them in their tracks. Running down to the basement, they realize that Spencer has jumped back into the game. The only thing to do is to go in after him, except this time there are a few changes they don’t see coming.

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In the game the basic rules are the same but the game has changed! It is more challenging and the players are a tad different. Martha (Karen Gillan) keeps her character but Eddie (Dwayne Johnson) has a much bigger stature, Bethany (Jack Black) is back and Milo is Mouse Finbar (Kevin Hart). Confused yet? Well it gets better!

They begin searching for Spencer who is now Ming (Awkwafina) who is looking for a stone that will save the world but is being stopped by Jurgen the Brutal (Rory McCann). Getting it requires the help of Alex (Nick Jonas) who is happy to see everyone.

Now that all the players on in place, it’s time to put Jurgen in his place and return the beloved and precious stone before dinner time!

Johnson as Eddie gets a chance to be even more comedic than before. It is even more hilarious when you realize he is doing his best Danny DeVito Eddie. His flexing, jumping and stare into the abyss is full on fun and we’d pretty much expect nothing less from him. DeVito as the grumpy Eddie isn’t really into life and can’t seem to find a moment to be happy about. Becoming the player Eddie is the most fun he’s had in, well, forever.

Wolff as Spencer is having an early 20’s crisis and the only thing he can think to do is go somewhere where he felt special. This is a young man who didn’t think things through to well and when he shows up in the game as Ming, it’s a new character with new abilities. Awkwafina as Ming is hilarious as always and since her introduction to people in the film CRAZY RICH ASIANS, she has made a name for herself doing comedy but also can pull off true emotions when needed.

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Hart as Milo doesn’t understand what is happening except that he seems much more knowledgeable about language and animals. Hart doing Glover is probably the best I’ve seen and it just kept cracking me up. Glover as Milo wants to fix the friendship he has with Eddie and it’s not as if the grumpy guy is going to make it easy.

Black as Fridge isn’t happy about his less than perfect body and doesn’t understand why he can’t be the same character he was before. Black jumps into his role and I can see him playing any of them with ease. There is a scene with Martha that is pretty funny in the pool of change. Blain as Fridge is happy to see his friends but not so much when they have no choice but to return to the game to find Spencer.

Gillan as Martha is back in her shorts and a tank top making sure that she gets a chance to jump off things and flip around tree branches with ease. The comedy for her comes when trying to explain to Eddie and Milo that they are in a game and what the rules are. Iseman as Bethany is the monkey in the works and she has to turn to Alex (Colin Hanks) for help in a very brave way. Hanks as Alex has a small role but I’m always happy to see him.

Shout out to McCann as Jurgen the Brutal and I don’t want to say that it’s a bit of type casting but let’s through it out there and see if it sticks. As the Hound in Game of Thrones he was loud, had no problem swinging a sword and was a tad frightening, hmmmm…sounds like Jurgen the Brutal. Who cares! It’s good to see him.

Other cast include Ashley Scott as Ashley, Rhys Darby as Nigel, Deobia Oparei as Gromm, Sarah Bennani as Andi Tow, Massi Furlan as Switchblade, Jared Hasmuk as Dagfin and Sal Longobardo as Tony.

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

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

The Bluray and Digital Bonus for JUMANJI: The Next Level include Gag Reel, Rhys Darby Wants to Jingle – How do you top Jack Black and Nick Jonas’s unforgettable theme song for the first one? Everyone’s favorite Non Player Character, Rhys Darby is ready to take it to the next, next level and Body Swapping: Snapping Into Character – In the latest Jumanji adventure, the avatar roles are turned on their heads with new characters and hilarious performances.

Also included Back Together: Reuniting the Cast – Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Jack Black are back and better than ever as they share their excitement to reunite, Level Up, Scene Breakdown: Ostrich Chase, Scene Breakdown: Mandrill Bridges, Awkwafina Cat Burglar, NPC Confessions: Jurgen the Brutal, Grow Up, Telenovela, VFX Pre-Vis: Zepplin Battle, VFX Pre-Vis: Ostrich Chase and AR Game.

JUMANJI: The Next Level is family fun and especially for those who love the idea of these actors in a video game. There is fun, humor, adventure and it’s all wrapped up in the story of family, friendship, loyalty, acceptance and fighting off bad guys with your best friends. Of course, I am a fan of the Robin Williams version of JUMANJI and will always see that as the standard but at the same time it is easy to see why this generation is having such fun with he franchise.

This version of the film has more characters than the 1995 JUMANJI and the comedy is sillier with Johnson and Hart at the helm. These two clearly share the same humor and their off-screen friendship and Twitter ‘war’ adds to the charm of their film.

If you want to take a break from the crazy outside and be taken away on a fun adventure, then JUMANJI: The Next Level is the right film to see with the whole family. Make sure there is popcorn for all!

In the end – it’s the very next level!

1917 Brings the Realities of War to Bluray

1917 cover

 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD from writer/director Sam Mendes and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment comes the story of two young men who try and stop a fatal mistake of war in 1917.

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

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

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

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Bravery has no limits.

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

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

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

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 film 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 Bluray Bonus Features include The Weight of the World: Sam Mendes – Academy Award winner Sam Mendes discusses his personal connection to World War I, Allied Forces: Making 1977 – Learn how to the one shot, 360-degree format was executed and the pivotal role Academ Award winner Roger Deakins served in bringing Sam Mendes’ vision to life, The Score of 1917 -Composer Thomas Newman and filmmakers discuss the important role of the Academy Award nominated score, In the Trenches – Go behind the scenes with the cast of 1917, Recreating History – Filmmakers offer a detailed look at the production design challenges of recreating the First World War, Feature Commentary with Director/Co-Writer Sam Mendes, Feature Commentary with Director of Photography Roger Deakins.

 1917 will also be available on 4K Ultra HD combo packs which include 4K Ultra HD, Bluray & Digital Code.  

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

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

1917 is a start to the senses with a continual tension line to the very end. It works beautifully and the proof is in the 3 Academy Wards including Best Cinematography as well as two Golden Globe awards for Best Motion Picture – Drama and Best Director for Sam Mendes. The film has won 48 awards with 154 nominations and all this before Oscar nominations have been announced.

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

1917 is heartfelt and heart stopping wrapped up in an intense story of sacrifice, bravery and the ugly reality that is war. It has everything that an epic war film should but added serious intensity theatre viewers talked about for weeks and now on Bluray will keep us talking.

In the end – time is the enemy!

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