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THE AERONAUTS Fly High

Aeronaughts cover
Jeri Jacquin
Coming to theatres from writer/director Tom Harper and Amazon Studios is a look at two people who are ready to take to the skies with THE AERONAUTS.
It is l862 and James Glaisher (Eddie Redmayne) is an  obsessed meteorologist and has a theory about weather along with friend John Trew (Himesh Patel). Wanting to go up in a balloon to test out his theories, he needs to find a pilot. Amelia Wren (Felicity Jones) is a widow after losing her husband in a balloon. Locking herself away from everyone, it is her sister Antonia (Phoebe Fox) that gets her back into life where she meets Glaisher.
He tells her of his ideas and she is the show-woman who can make the ride news worthy and a spectacle keeping everyone interested. Loading his instruments on the balloon basket, he waits for Amelia to show up and when she does the entertainment begins. Glaisher isn’t the loud and shouting type and just wants to get off the ground secretly wanting to prove to his father that it can be done.
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Almost immediately the two begin butting heads but it’s a long business ahead. With each mile they go up, they begin to learn something about one another. Glaisher almost immediately begins to make weather observations and sends messages to Trew by carrier pigeon. The caution to this is that the higher they go, the more danger awaits them.
Life and death decisions are being made as both try to hang on to the reason the journey was made in the first place. The struggle begins with not knowing what happens if you go just a bit higher, and then a bit more!
They are about to find out!
Redmayne as Glaisher is a scientist definitely stuck in his ways. He sees things very analytically and with a no nonsense approach. Trying to maintain his standards proves to be a challenge when he asks Wren to be his balloon pilot. Trying to focus on the journey, he is more often sidetracked in not truly understanding what he is undertaking but at least his notes are meticulous. Redmayne continues his streak of worthy roles and plays his part with believability.
Jones as Amelia is a woman who is hiding so much pain. An entertainer with a flair for show-womanship, she makes sure this flight is worthy of all eyes. Daring and, in Glaisher’s eyes careless, she knows what the balloon can do and how to navigate the air. Of course all of this is covering up something horrible that has happened in her life and being 36,000 miles plus up in the air, she has no choice but to face it.
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Patel as Trew sees what Glaisher is trying to do, he just isn’t sure why he needs to jump in a balloon to do it. Happy to keep his feet firmly on the ground, Patel gives his character a little bit of grounded sense (because we all know not many of us would do it!). Fox as Antonia may not understand what it is her sister does, but she certainly supports it and her.
Other cast include: Tim McInnerny as Airy, Rebecca Front as Aunt Frances, Anne Reid as Ethel Glaisher, Lewin Lloyd as Charlie, Vincent Perez as Pierre Rennes, Robert Glenister as Ned Chambers, Thomas Arnold as Charles Green and Tom Courtenay as Arthur Glaisher.
THE AERONAUTS is a delightful and suspenseful ride of a film. This isn’t the first time Redmayne and Jones have worked together so well. They starred together in the 2014 film THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING about physicist Stephen Hawking life. Redmayne played Hawking and Jones played wife Jane. Redmayne won an Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role and Jones was nominated for Best Actress.
All the more reason to put these two actors together again for this film. There is a distinct chemistry between them that absolutely works. They carry the storyline of two people in a balloon doing what most would consider impossible at the time and Glaisher’s fellow scientists said just that.
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The cinematography and special effects are stunning and definitely a third character in the film. The colors are vibrant and exceptional to watch as the story and balloon go further and further into detail and into the stratosphere.
Director Harper gives the film such intensity that it’s easy to feel like we are all on the balloon as a silent witness to these characters journey. One particular scene where Glaisher and Wren are in a battle for the balloon to go no further had me holding the sides of my seat. As crazy as it might be to say during the film ‘oh no don’t do that’, it is the daring and hating the word impossible that makes people take leaps of faith. These two couldn’t have taken a larger leap if they tried.
In the end – in the air might be where you find yourself.

GAME OF THRONES Revisits the Iron Throne on Bluray

GOT Season 8 Cover
Jeri Jacquin
Coming to Bluray from HBO Home Entertainment comes the final season of a series that has captured the heart of the world as we all became part of GAME OF THRONES: The Complete 8th Season.
Our time in Westeros came to an end and that saddened me in a dual way. I came to enjoy my Sunday evenings all cured up with my yarn crocheting while watching (yes I can crochet without looking) the antics of heroes and villains I either openly cheered and jeered or even secretly cheered.
The cast of GAME OF THRONES is one fans have felt they have watched grow into their characters. From the first season even I wasn’t sure what this was all about having not read the books but was immediately curious with each episode. I’m not sure if it was because I wanted to see if Sean Bean lived (as he tended not to do with his characters) or my love of period pieces but week after week I stayed.
Game 1
The journey of the Stark clan with Ned (Bean), Catelyn (Michelle Fairley), Robb (Richard Madden), Sansa (Sophie Turner), Arya (Maisie Williams), Bran (Isaac Wright) and the bastard Jon Snow (Kit Harington) didn’t take long to be put under the thumb of the Lannisters’.
Speaking of a dysfunctional family led by Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance), daughter Cersei Lannister-Baratheon (Lena Headey), along with sons Jamie (Niolaj Coster-Waldau) and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) made sure fans appreciated their own families more. Of course dangling on that family tree was also the kid most likely to be strangled by the masses Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson) amongst the rest of the kids.
Then there was this little blonde Targaryen girl named Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) who was traded to a very tall Dothraki leader in the form of Jason Momoa. Of course there is a history of craziness in her own family that she needs to come to terms with. That little marriage brought out the Mother of Dragons who flew her way into creating an army as we all cheered her on.
Of course behind the two families were such characters as Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen), Samwell Tarly (John Bradley), Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen), Lord Varys (Conleth Hill), Davos Seaworth (Liam Cunningham), Aidan Gillen as Lord Baelish, Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie), The Hound (Rory McCann), Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel), Bronn (Jerome Flynn), Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson), Melisandre (Carice van Houten), and the beloved Hodor (Kristian Nairn).
Game 2
There are so many characters to name that I just don’t have enough room or time to write this all out so let’s move on and know that I am giving credit to every character as they are due with our humble thanks.
Onward, each season the story line grew bigger and bigger, so much so that I couldn’t wait to go to Comic Con and sit in on the panel AND happily receive a goodie that included an awesome bag and inside a book so that I could read what I was missing, Seeing the casts on panels, it was fun to hear them talk about their time on the show as well as trying so very hard not to give anything away.
As the story unfolded season after season there was plans, survival, death, secrets, destruction, betrayal, power struggles (with family and with distant family) and all in the name of the Iron Throne and who will end up sitting on it. We began with Robert Baratheon and his friendship with Ned Stark and ended up with Joffrey being the next king (and I use a small ‘k’ because it fits him). Joffrey was the kind of king who would burn the wings of flies with a magnifying glass while his mother Cersei stands behind egging him on.
That’s when Sansa gets put into play between the Starks and Lannisters but there is oh so much more to that story. As the houses begin to shift and loyalties become apparent, the one person who isn’t loyal to anyone is Tyrion and that’s when I started cheering for him. Yes, I understand that he has a problem with prostitutes and he likes to spout that ‘That’s what I do, I drink and I know things!’ becoming his (and our) mantra.
Game 5
We watched weddings, funerals, battles, enemies from far away and enemies close up fighting for supremacy, lack of love, a few crushes, women being passed on and men being passed over, magic, dragons, friendships (both faked and deserved), honesty wrapped in lies, and oh so much more in Westeros. Our loyalties, like the characters in Westeros, were solid – until they weren’t.
The break between season 7 and 8 was the longest break in the show and fans believed, as I did, that it was because the last season would be epic. We bit our collective tongues when it was announced that there would only be six episodes, and we bit even harder when we learned collectively that it would be almost two years before the end would happen. Okay, we are die-hards, we can take it…right….RIGHT?
And so we all did, rumors would drop here and there and speculation about what would happen in the final season kept fans going until the first trailer dropped. I think the world might have stopped spinning for a second or two when that happened. It didn’t give us much but it was something and we were raised to believe that it was better than nothing.
Then that first Sunday brought us all back, and sometimes in groups, to see who would finally sit on the Iron Throne. Bets were placed, surveys taken, and polls done with different opinions varying with Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister, Daenerys, Arya and Sansa being the top picks.
Game 3
As the finale drew near, I put my favorite Westeros shirt on and filled up my Tyrion “that’s what I do is drink and I know things’ cup and prepared to see who would finally sit on the Iron Throne.
In Season 8 Winterfell brings Jon and Daenerys against the White Walkers and the Night King. There are still secrets that are about to be dropped and Arya has a plan of her own. Theon decides he must return, as does Jaime Lannister to help in the fight for Winterfell and Sam reveals a startling truth to Jon. Euron is back in King’s Landing making sure that Cersei understands what it is he wants and that’s to share the Iron Throne.
Jaime doesn’t hesitate to share what he knows about Cersei and Brienne is happy to see him. Bran sees Jaime and the time has finally come to talk about what started all of the madness. Bran decides that he should be the one to bring the Night King out knowing what he truly wants. Sansa isn’t giving an inch where her distrust in Dani is concerned.
The battle against the White Walkers bring the soldiers, Unsullied, and Dothraki to put together their plan. Melisandre brings her own brand of help as well as well as Jon and Dani riding the two remaining dragons against Viserion. All those fighting see people they love fall and rise again in this battle that can only have one outcome.
Game 9
Decisions have to be made about King’s Landing as Dani makes Gendry a Baratheon. With his new title he hopes there is one person in the Stark family who will be a part of his new kingdom. Jaime and Brienne have a moment of their own but it isn’t to last an a particular loyalty can’t be forgotten. Jon tells his Stark ‘siblings’ what he knows about his lineage but it doesn’t stop the army from moving towards King’s Landing.
Tyrion continues to stand with Dani as they all set sail when Missandei is taken by Cersei, there will be no surrender when her friend is taken. He also learns that Jaime has been captured and he will do what a brother must for a brother. Varys has plans of his own as well not trusting that Dani has what it takes to sit on the Iron Throne and that causes his betrayal.
All of this leads to Dani doing the unthinkable, Tyrion telling Jon that what was done was unconscionable and the Iron Throne still for the taking. It is time to finally see who will take power and what that future looks like for them all.
HBO Home Entertainment brings critically-acclaimed and groundbreaking programming throughout the world. Releases include the global hit Game of Thrones, True Detective, Girls, The Sopranos, Sex and the City, True Blood, The Wire and Entourage. The company’s catalog contains hundreds of titles including Big Little Lies and Band of Brothers. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.hbo.com.
Game 6
GAME OF THRONES: The Complete Collection and GAME OF THRONES: The Complete Series on Bluray have the Bonus Features: GAME OF THRONES: Reunion Special – A reunion show shot live in Belfast with the cast, both past and present, hosted by Conan O’Brien and available exclusively on these complete series collections. The reunion special is assembled in segments focused on Houses Lannister, Stark and Targaryen and concludes with the key players all onstage for their final reflections on the years they shared in Westeros and Essos.
Also, Bonus Content and exclusive videos from previously released individual season box sets, totaling more than 15 hours of extra materials for fans to explore when they’ve finished watching the series.
The Complete Series and Season 8 formats also exclusively feature GAME OF THRONES: The Last Watch: A documentary featured on DVD in two parts by filmmaker Jeanie Finlay chronicling the making of the final season, WHEN WINTER FALLS: Exclusive 30-minute featurette with showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, along with major stars and behind-the-scenes players, breaking down all that went into the colossal filming of the ‘Battle of Winterfell’ in Season 8, Episode 3.
Also, DUTY IS THE DEATH OF LOVE: A compelling look at how the team behind GAME OF THRONES and its major stars, including Kit Harington, Peter Dinklage and Emilia Clarke, brought the show to its conclusion in the series finale, ‘The Iron Throne’. Audio Commentaries, Deleted and Extended Scenes, and Histories and Lore.
Game 8
Yes, that’s all I’m going to say because I think it’s very important that those who have not seen the final season have their own chance to jaw drop. So, what did we learn on our journey? We learned that absolute power corrupts absolutely so sometimes melting a throne is best and love doesn’t conqueror all, in fact in Westeros love could get you killed and usually did. We understood many things about the trials of some characters and we embraced others who seemed un-embraceable. Twisted life lessons but lessons all the same.
From the very beginning we all knew this was a game, a game among men and women for a throne, something that didn’t care about any of them was easily taken away. A game of life and death and there was plenty of that to go around from all the seven kingdoms.
We also learned that loyalty exists, friendships can come from the most unlikely places, that family (even dysfunctional ones) will beat each other up but let no one else do it and that magic is in the eyes of the beholder. All of these things are what makes us love GAME OF THRONES even when we are disgruntled by it.
We will all settle in time, we will watch and re-watch until a comfortability sets in. We will wait to see if the prequels that are rumored will give us back our Sunday’s evenings of being whisked away to another time, another place and another story and restore our suspension of disbelief.
In Westeros, after everything, they are beginning again. In our own imaginations let us hope that the choices made in the finale send them all on their way to a peace not known in Westeros for eight season.
Game 2
After holding our collective breaths the final season returns to re-visit old friends and enemies. It should keep us busy until we see the first trailer to the prequel to GAME OF THRONES.
In the words of Tyrion and the truth is in it, even after everything that has happened in the years we’ve all invested in GAME OF THRONES, “even knowing what I know now, I’d do it again” – and we will.

THE TIGER OF ESCHNAPUR and THE INDIAN TOMB is Legendary on Bluray

Tiger
Jeri Jacquin
Coming to Bluray from one of the titans of cinema director Fritz Lang and Film Movement Classics are two films the set with THE TIGER OF ESCHNAPUR and THE INDIAN TOMB.
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THE TIGER OF ESCHNAPUR
Harold Berger (Paul Hubschmid) is an architect that has been asked to India by the Maharaja Chandra (Walter Reyer). His plan for the city is to build hospitals and schools for his people. On the way to Eschnapur, Berger meets a beautiful temple dancer (Debra Paget) and almost immediately the two connect. Further along the road, Seetha’s wagon is attacked by a tiger and Berger jumps into action to save her.
Maharaja Chandra is ever grateful to Berger and gives him a token of his appreciation. Now that Seetha is near, the Maharaja becomes even more infatuated with Seetha than the first time he saw her. None of this sits well with the Maharaja’s brother Prince Ramigani (Rene Deltgen) who was stepped over as ruler of Eschnapur.
So much so is the resentment that he goes to Padu (Jochen Brockmann) who’s sister was once married to the Maharaja before she passed and others who aren’t happy with Seetha’s arrival. Standing up for the Maharaja is General Dagh (Guido Celano) and standing up for tradition is the temple leader Yama (Valery Inkijinoff).
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Helping Berger put plans together for the Maharaja is Asgara (Jochen Blume), an engineer who knows the palace very well. What he doesn’t know is that whispers are going on behind the palace walls about the relationship he has with Seetha. As he learns more of her story, the more he finds himself falling for the beautiful dancer. That sets in motion a plan that the Prince has against his brother.
The Maharaja tries to capture the heart of Seetha but knows there is something she is keeping from him. When the palace whispers get to him, he holds a banquet to test his new friends loyalty. When it all goes horribly wrong, he starts to believe that Berger and Seetha are betraying him. Sensing they are in danger, the two plan to get away as fast as possible as the palace soldiers take chase. What they don’t know is that Berger’s brother-in-law Walter Rhode (Claus Holm) and sister Irene (Sabine Bethmann) have arrived.
Now the Maharaja is playing a game of his own, lying to the Rhodes’ and making Walter an offer that is beyond anything he could have imagined. Berger and Seetha are caught in a sand storm and overtake the couple in their end – or is it?
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THE INDIAN TOMB
Irene and her husband suspect that foul play is afoot in the palace and don’t trust anyone but Asagara but he isn’t getting any answers either. In the middle of the desert, a caravan has found Berger and Seetha taking them to a local village for help. Everyone is afraid because the palace soldiers have already made it known that any village helping will be dealt with.
Berger and Seetha make a run for it again but are caught! Seetha is taken back to the palace and Berger disappears. The Maharaja has taken to asking the town seer for help in dealing with his anger and after only moments is gently told what he must do but to no avail. Back at the palace, the leader of Eschnapur begins plans to marry Seetha and isn’t about to let his brother, religious leader or anyone else tell him what to do.
The Prince tries to bide his time in an attempt to make a coup. Irene has made her way to Seetha to discover what has happened and how they are all going to escape the palace. She tells Walter what she’s discovered and the two begin to make their own plans using the problems of the palace to work in their favor.
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The Maharaja is facing enemies from the palace and below it as it all comes to a finality that is as beautifully epic as it could only be.
Paget as Seetha is absolutely stunning from the first films frame to the second films last frame. There is no doubt that she is beautiful and a stunning dancer, but Paget is calmly strong in her portrayal of Seetha. Her performance is mesmerizing and as a fan of Lang I would have expected nothing less in his choice of actress to play this role. She carried herself with such grace and covered in the lavish sari’s just made her character more breathtaking.
Hubschmid as Berger is an equally calm character. He has a gentle nature and a humble spirit that makes it easy to like him. Even when he realizes his feelings for Seetha, he doesn’t outwardly act on them until he feels there is danger for both of them. Their great escape led to the second film where, shall we say, he finds out that not everyone is as forgiving as the viewer might be. Hubschmid is tall, handsome and the hero women fall for so I can see how he was also the right choice to portray Berger!
Reyer as the Maharaja is grieving the loss of his wife but finding happiness once again in Seetha. He tries over and over to make it clear that he just wants a life with her. Not thinking his brother could ever be an adversary was the beginning of his problems and unrequited love turned the tide in his good nature. Reyer has a crazy look in his eye at times and I saw even before THE INDIAN TOMB that I’d be running to get away from him way before Seetha did! Well done performance in both films with an ending that had to happen.
Der Tiger von Eschnapur
Deltgen as Ramigani is a brother who has been stepped over (or maybe even stepped on) to become Maharaja of Eschnapur. The plotting and planning is easy when you have everyone around you rubbing salt on an royal open wound. Torn between wanting to support his brother and wanting to be Maharaja, his choice is taken away by his own hurt feelings.  Brockmann as Padu has a bone to pick with the Maharaja feeling that his sister’s memory is being cast aside for Seetha. When his words are ignored, he doesn’t mind jumping on the revenge band wagon for a round or two.
Bethmann as Irene sense from the moment they arrive in Eschnapur that something is amiss. In her mind there is no way her brother would take off without communication to her. Irene is just as clever as I’d want a sister to be and doesn’t take no for an answer. Holm as Walter is outraged at the Maharaja’s request to stay and even more so when told why. He is absolutely frustrated, as Irene is, that they are not being told the truth. Holm paces so much I’m surprised there isn’t a path ground into the marble! Even Blume as Asagara is confused by the stories being told but again is loyal to the Maharaja and would never question his intentions.
Other cast include Luciana Paluzzi as Bharani, Helmut Hildebrand as Ramigani’s servant and Richard Lauffen as Bhowana.
Film Movement has released more than 250 feature films and shorts culled from prestigious film festivals worldwide. It’s theatrical releases include American independent films, documentaries and foreign art house titles. It’s catalog includes titles by directors such as Hirokazu, Maren Ade, Jessica Hausner, Andrzej Wajda, Diane Kurys, Ciro Guerra and Melanie Laurent. Film Movement Classics features new restorations of films by such directors as Eric Rohmer, Peter Greenaway, Bille August, Marlene Gorris, Takeshi Kitano, King Hu and Ettore Scola. For more information please visit www.filmmovement.com.
The Bluray Bonus Features include Audio Commentaries by film historian David Kalat, The Indian Epic documentary, Debra Paget, For Example a video essay by Mark Rappaport and 20-page booklet with an essay by film scholar Tom Gunning.
Director Lang returned to Germany after a 20 year exile and created a two-part film leaving the first with a cliffhanger to create THE TIGER OF ESCHNAPUR and THE INDIAN TOMB. Leaving Germany before the war and going to Paris then to the United States, Lang is also responsible for the 1927 film METROPOLIS and WOMAN IN THE MOON in 1929. In the U.S. he made FURY in 1936 with Spencer Tracy and THE BIG HEAT in 1953.
He returned to Germany to create what he called his “Indian Epic” with THE TIGER OF ESCHNAPUR and THE INDIAN TOMB. The later was a story created by his estranged spouse Thea von Harbour in 1920 which he helped to develop. Lang was close to ending his career in 1963 because of health problems but made it into the film CONTEMPT.
THE TIGER OF ESCHNAPUR and THE INDIAN TOMB are epics by my standards and those of 1959 and I think it would be stunning to see on the big screen but I’ll certainly take it in my own home. The interesting part of the film is that the language is in Germany (no worries, subtitles!) but watching the film it’s easy to forget it. That’s how you know the film has captured my attention! I am a super fan of period pieces and an even bigger fan when the costuming in absolutely stunning.
These films are given so much richness by the costuming, the colors, the attention to detail and the cast carry themselves well in them. Speaking of the cast, they are impeccable in their character portrayal. Doing two films, they flow one into the next and it feels absolutely seamless. The good guys are trying hard to keep their head out of the tigers mouth and the bad guys are poking the tigers from behind.
It’s a well thought out story of family, royalty, jealousy, revenge, love, passion, exoticness, richness, and a clear message that love and jealousy cannot co-exist for brothers in the same palace.
In the end – this is an exotic Indian epic worthy of every frame!

THE MANDELA EFFECT

The mandela effect cover
Jeri Jacquin
Coming to select theatres and VOD from writer/director David Guy Levy and Gravitas Ventures is a look at life of grief and another world with THE MANDELA EFFECT.
Brendan (Charlie Hofheimer) and wife Claire (Aleksa Palladino) are dealing with grief with the accidental death of their daughter Sam (Madeleine McGraw). Claire is trying to find ways to deal with all the emotions just getting by day to day and tries to get back to her business to keep from thinking about anything at all.
But Brendan notices that something is happening around him. Trying to talk to brother-in-law Matt (Robin Lord Taylor) about it, no one seems to notice what he does. From the names of things changing to feeling as if he is having visions, Brendan begins to look for the answers.
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Discovering the Mandela Effect, he begins to see how that is possible with what he is experiencing. He learns that the Mandela Effect is basically false memories that are shared by a group of people. Part of this theory is the speculation about alternate realities as a cause for all the false memories. In Brendan’s case, it could be caused by the trauma he is feeling about what has happened to his daughter in a split second.
Seeking even more answers, he turns to Dr. Fucks (Clarke Peters) to explain what he knows. Reluctant at first, it becomes clear that Brendan believes there is truth to the theory. When science can’t completely answer his questions, he even turns to Pastor Isaac (Tim Ransom) to find some clarity.
The emotional torture is even worse because the world he is in is full of pain and sadness, but the effects of the other one is filled with fear of the unknown. Finally experiencing the “other” side and time with daughter Sam, the pull begins of how to find balance when no one else sees the unbalance!
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Hofheimer as Brendan is clearly a man devastated by the loss of his daughter. As time goes by, he cannot let go of feeling that something is off. When he starts to notice the world seems to be glitching and instead of letting it bring more shadow into his life, Brendan goes after answers. What I enjoy most about Hofheimer’s performance is that his character seeks answers from both faith and science and not many people would do both. There are moments where I know that personally I would have freaked out (the Berestain Bears moment truly gave my brain a “what the….”).
Palladino as Claire buries herself in her work and doesn’t really see what Brendan does. Not knowing how to talk to her about it, it becomes even a bigger wedge between them. I think the moment in the yard would have sent me the message that my husband was onto something.
Taylor as Matt is probably the sane person in the middle of insanity. He truly listens to Brendan and what his theories are and why. It would have been simple to stamp ‘crazy’ on his brother-in-law but instead he really does believe that something indescribable is happening to his family. Peters as Dr. Fuchs at first really doesn’t want to talk about it all with anyone but Brendan is the guy who isn’t about to let go without answers (I like those kind of characters!).
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Other cast include Ptolemy Slocum as Manning, Vernee Watson as Nadine, Elena Campbell-Martinez as Ms. Garcia, Steven Brun as Daniel and Salme Geransar as Nasim Terhani.
THE MANDELA EFFECT is a thrill film that had me scratching my head because I wasn’t sure where the story was going to go and man, once it got there I was all in. I also have to admit it had me looking into what others who study this phenomenon have to say about it and it was worth the time.
There are moments where the story just freezes as if to let us absorb everything going on and then jumps into light speed again, but this time somewhere else with the same characters. I wondered throughout the film how it was going to end and pleased that in this universe, it is possible to take a step back to see the bigger picture before moving forward – again.
The special effects are very cool and without giving to much away, there is one scene that took my breath away because in truth, it is so effective in being part of the story and bringing it all together. Trust me when I say you’ll know it when you see it. So let THE MANDELA EFFECT take you on a ride into what is possible to some and reality to others.
In the end – take a trip down memory lane.

TRAUMA CENTER Brings the Chase

Trauma Center cover
Jeri Jacquin
Coming to select theatres and On Demand this week from director Matt Eskandari and Lionsgate comes a story of a chase to survive through the TRAUMA CENTER.
Madison Taylor (Nicky Whelan) is a struggling waitress trying to take care of her younger sister Emily (Catherine Davis) after their mother has passed. Being a bit protective doesn’t sit well with Emily and after an emotional talk, the young girl is rushed to the hospital with an asthma attack.
Making it even more difficult on Madison, she can’t stay with Emily having to get right back to her shift. On her way she runs into a man who in injured and gunfire begins to erupt all around her. Taking a bullet to the leg she is rescued by Det. Steve Wakes (Bruce Willis). Taking her into the hospital, Madison tells him what she vaguely remembers. With a bullet in her leg as the only evidence to a crime, Wakes hides her on another floor.
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Following close behind are two men Tull (Texas Battle) and Pierce (Tito Ortiz) and who want what she has! Chasing her through the hospital, they make it very clear that they won’t stop, ever. Madison now must use every survival instinct she has to get away and find Wakes to tell him what she has learned. One limping step at a time Madison knows that her time is running out, especially when Emily’s life is now in danger.
But don’t count Madison out just yet.
Whelan as Madison is struggling to be the adult of the family and when Emily becomes ill, she tries her best to keep it together. Once shot and running through the hospital for her life, Whelan gives her character a little shot of badassness when the survival instinct kicks in. Becoming smarter than the guys chasing her is entertaining as all get out. When they go after baby sis, Ms. Badass decides enough is enough and gets a little comfortable with some hard weaponry.
Battle as Tull just wants what Madison has and tries to be diplomatic about everything. He is the calm one in the duo trying to find a reasonable way to work it out. The problem is he underestimates his target and that’s just the beginning of his mistakes. Ortiz as Pierce is the muscle of the duo and he has no problem throwing Madison around or anyone else that gets in his way. The problem is all that rage gets in his way of problem solving.
Davis as Emily is everything a little sister is – stubborn, doesn’t listen to anyone let alone big sister and is in the wrong place at the wrong time. Siblings are a pain.
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Willis as Det. Wakes can’t believe that his department is not supporting him on the shooting of a fellow officer. Going over the scene many times, he has a suspicion as to what happened but no proof. Madison is about to change all that. Willis doesn’t play a huge role in the film but enough to keep me watching him. He has always played a good cop and this time is no exception.
Other cast include: Steve Guttenberg as Dr. Jones, Roman Mitichyan as CSS Roman, Tyler Jon Olson as Det. Tony Martin, Heather Johansen as Nurse Rachel, David Meadows as Dr. Mark and Sergio Rizzuto as Marcos.
Lionsgate is a global leader in motion picture production and distribution for theatres, television, home entertainment and more. Theatre franchises include THE HUNGER GAMES, and DIVERGENT along with JOHN WICK. Now, adding this film to its 16,000 motion picture and television titles you can see everything coming soon as well as available now at http://www.lionsgate.com.
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TRAUMA CENTER is a combination of corruption and the maze of a hospital (which in this case is a good thing for the main character Madison). There isn’t a lull in the action although, to be honest, the premise is fairly straight forward. That doesn’t take away from going along for the ride.
Director Eskandari is no stranger to taking on challenging films. His directorial debut came about in 2010 with the film VICTIM and GAME OF ASSASSINS (2013). I first became aware of his work with the 2017 film 12 FEET DEEP and made me totally leery of pools since. He currently has two films in post-production and it will be interesting to see where he takes us next.
In the end – the enemy is closer than you think!

M. Knight Shyamalan Brings Mystery to SERVANT

Servant cover
Jeri Jacquin
Currently on Apple TV+ from creator Tony Basgallop and M. Knight Shyamalan is the stunning and jaw dropping series SERVANT.
Chef Sean (Toby Kebbell) and television reporter Dorothy (Lauren Ambrose) are a couple that are dealing with the loss of their son Jericho.  At the suggestion of family friend, Sean gives Dorothy a doll that she sees as her son. Dealing with the situation, the arrival of the very young and meek Leanne Grayson (Nell Tiger Free) is hired to be Jericho’s nanny. Following Dorothy’s lead, it is Sean who waits until they are alone to inform Leanne that she doesn’t have to pretend with him.
A few days after her arrival, Sean hears a baby crying and follows the sound to the nursery where Dorothy’s doll has become a live baby. Freaking out, Sean calls brother-in-law Julian (Rupert Grint) to show him what has happened. Immediately Julian suspects that the new nanny has something to do with it and shares his theories with Sean.
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Dorothy doesn’t seem to notice the difference and is thrilled to be back to herself with a new baby and doing her reports once again. Leanne is actually fascinated and disturbed by the goings on in the Turner house with Sean’s sous chef Tobe (Tony Revolori) taking an interest in her. At her husband’s request, Dorothy starts asking questions about where Leanne is from and her life.
In the meantime, Julian is on the case hiring Matthew Roscoe (Phillip Brannon) to find out where this mysterious girl has come from and what she is up to. He can’t wait to show his brother-in-law what they have discovered which deepens the mystery.
So, I’m going to stop right here because this is a series you absolutely have to experience for yourself!
Kebbell as Sean is an arrogant chef who loves his career and wife (even though they can, at times be mouthy to one another) and is twisted by what is happening. Giving a performance that mostly, so far, has this actor with a huge question mark above his head, also can’t help but feel fatherly toward Jericho #2. I have to say that watching him great dishes during the show is pretty cool. He gets a chance to experience a one two punch of mystery and good eats and I’m all for that.
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Ambrose as Dorothy is a woman who is proud of her reporter skills yet she seems to have blank screen when it comes to actually knowing what’s going on in her own home. She’s a good person with a quick wit and a protectiveness towards her family – including brother Julian. At first I was annoyed with Dorothy and then I just dropped my jaw and became in awe of her. Certainly most of us might behave differently but that isn’t going to stop viewers from jumping on to her bandwagon to see where this ride is going to take us. Well done Ambrose!
Free as Leanne is a young girl who seems to be missing part of the real world in her life. Fascinated by the life she is beginning with the Turner’s, she also seems to enjoy taking care of baby Jericho (that is, the doll that is now a real baby Jericho – confused yet?). Taking a liking to Dorothy, she begins to feel part of the family even if she gets snide comments and judgmental looks from both Julian and Sean.
Grint as Julian is a messed up human being who loves the wine at his brother-in-law’s house. It is clear that he’d like nothing better than to expose Leanne for whoever he thinks she is but worrying about his sister has become a full time job. Julian wants to protect her from any more pain but this is a situation that isn’t going to let that happen. Grint is on his game and I must admit to it being weird not hearing Ronald Weasly’s voice come out. Trust me when I say that thought will fade fast because he is aaaaaamazing as Julian.
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Brannon as Matthew is on the case by going with Julian to where Leanne says she comes from. What he finds disturbs him just as it would anyone else. Revolori as Tobe is attempting to be friends with Leanne but is confused by her reaction to things. That’s not going to stop him from being Sean’s best sous chef so we’ll be seeing more of him in upcoming episodes.
Apple TV+ is a video on demand web television service of Apple Inc. The content is viewable through Apple’s website and through Apple’s TV app which is available through electronic devices. Accessible in about 100 countries, they distribute their own content and original programming.
The directing duties begin with Shyamalan taking the helm with the first episode Reborn, with the directing duties going to Daniel Sackheim for episode 2 Wood and 3 Eel. There are seven more episodes to bring the series to a climatic season finale with that feeling of ‘awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!’ knowing the wait it on.
SERVANT is a series that is going to have you wanting more and more and even more. The episodes are a half hour each which absolutely and totally drives me insane. That’s probably what creator Basgallop had in mind in the first place. Sitting at his keyboard wondering what would be the best way to make everyone growl like a bear when the credits start to role – it worked so well played sir!
The show is a bit of brilliance and it is clear why Shyamalan would want to be part of it, the storyline is right up his professional ally. SERVANT is a mixture of feeling crazy, not understanding what is in front of us, twisting our brains trying to jump ahead and figure things out but then stopping because we can’t get away from the crazy feeling. Now personally, I happen to like when a show does that and I’m not going to lie, SERVANT had me slapping my head a few times, yelling at the screen with ‘what…THE…&$%@!’ or ‘you’ve GOT to be kidding me!’
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Yet, I went back, again and again wanting more, wanting answers and wanting to be riveted and I got it (I still want more than a half hour but I guess you can’t have everything – yet!). The show is creepy, eerie, maddening and filled with twisted humor moments. Apple TV+ has a hit on its hands and now I am curious to see the other series they have to offer and trust when I say I’ll be checking them out for you so stay tuned.
In the end – there is not an easy mystery to unravel!

Netflix Releases THE IRISHMAN

The Irishman cover
Jeri Jacquin
Currently on Netflix from director Martin Scorsese is the highly anticipated film streaming with THE IRISHMAN.
Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro) served in World War II and is now a truck driver trying to take care of his family in 1950’s Philadelphia. When is truck breaks down, he meets Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci) who seems to know how to fix it. Wanting to show his appreciation, Frank offers but Russell turns him down and both go on their way.
Selling a few things to a local crime family, he is accused of theft and lawyer Bill Bufalino (Ray Romano) convinces a judge that he is innocent. Bufalino introduces Frank to his cousin – Russel Bufalino and immediately he begins to work for Russell. As the head of the Scranton crime family, Russell is privvy to almost everything going on and becomes close friends with Frank. Their friendship starts real money coming to Frank and his family.
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Jimmy Hoffa is the president of the Teamsters and an acquaintance of Russells. Sending Frank over to help Hoffa means dealing with Anthony “Pro” Provenzano (Stephen Graham) who is causing trouble. If that isn’t hard enough, Hoffa is having problems with the government and blames the Kennedys for all his difficulties. Bringing Frank aboard, Hoffa starts to feel as if there is at least one person he can trust.
When Robert Kennedy is named Attorney General, Hoffa can’t control his anger knowing that the President’s brother is going to do anything possible to bring him down. Eventually that is exactly what happens and while in prison, Frank goes back to work for Russell and the Teamsters is being run by Frank Fitzsimmons.
While in prison, Hoffa gets into a scuffle with Provenzano when insults are exchanged. Not realizing that this is a bad idea, Frank consistently tries to smooth their beef over with no luck. In 1971, President Nixon pardon’s Jimmy Hoffa but he can’t get back in with the Teamsters for a while.
He may not be able to jump back in the ring but certainly make plans to do it and that’s exactly what Hoffa does. Being as loud as everyone remembers him to be, Russell starts getting heat from the others that Hoffa is becoming a problem. Turning to Frank’s friendship with Hoffa, they ask him to convey that Hoffa needs to curtail the rhetoric. Well that couldn’t have had the worse effect on the former leader of the Teamsters.
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Instead of cutting back a bit, he informs Frank loudly that he knows things about the dons that make him untouchable and all but dares them to try anything. When Bufalino’s daughter is to be married, Russell, Frank and their wives make a road trip to attend. Everything is fine until Russell tells Frank that he is going to make a side trip to meet Hoffa and bring Provenzano so they can finally put things to rest.
Putting things to rest is what Frank does best.
De Niro as Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran is fantastic but then again I would expect nothing less. Scorsese knows that if he is going to do a Mafia film he can’t exactly do it without De Niro. Having him start off as a younger man is a little unnerving and it is easy to spot the changes, but as the film goes along he just morphs into character and ages right along with him. What De Niro has the stunning ability to do is make you feel for a character that isn’t exactly an saint. The effects of this are lost on Frank but not on the family as his daughters struggle with the knowledge of who their father is.
Pacino as Hoffa is portrayed as an incredible character in that he has a mouth that I’m not sure how he got away with for so long. Well, absolute power does corrupt absolutely and Hoffa was definetly on the right side of that saying. He ran the Teamsters the way HE wanted to run it and whoa-be anybody that got in his way. Even prison didn’t stop him – much. Pacino adds a dynamic that is such a struggle for Frank and Russell, they want to understand, they try to understand but the noose starts to get tight around their necks. Pacino is everything marvelous and then some.
Pesci as Russell is such a treasure and what is interesting about this character is the eerie calmness. I’m used to seeing Pesci get loud, get crazy and make no excuses for any of it. In the role of Russell he gives a collected demeanor that never gets out of hand and plays everything close to the chest. There is nothing about the way that he behaves that gives anything away, no plans, no ideas…nothing. Instead, behind those eyes are plans upon plans and he makes no apologies for caring for those he loves first and foremost.
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Graham as Provenzano is the thorn in Hoffa’s side, the thing that rubs him the wrong way and the very thing that sets his teeth to grinding. Feeling he owes Hoffa nothing, Provenzano has no problem hitting below the belt or in the eye – which ever. Graham gives his character a Superman complex of huge proportion and puffs his chest whenever his enemy is near.
Other cast include Bobby Cannavale as Felix DiTullio, Anna Paquin as Peggy Sheeran, Stephanie Kurtzuba as Irene Sheeran, Kathrine Narducci as Carrie Bufalino, Welder White as Jo Hoffa, Jesse Plemons as Chuckie O’Brien, Jack Huston as Robert Kennedy, Domenick Lombardozzi as Anthony Salerno, Paul Herman as Whispers DiTullio, Louis Cancelmi as Salvatore Briguglio, Marin Ireland as Dolores Sheeran, Sebastian Maniscalco as Joseph Gallo, Jim Norton as Don Rickles, Al Linea as Sam Giancana, Joseph Riccobene as Jimmy Fratianno and Harvey Keitel as Angelo Bruno.
Netflix is the world’s leading streaming entertainment service with over 158 million paid memberships in over 190 countries. Enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films, Netflix is across a wide variety of genres and languages. Members can watch as much as they want, anytime, anywhere and on any internet-connected screen. For more information please visit www.netflix.com.
The project came from De Niro after he read the 2004 book by Charles Brandt I Heard You Paint Houses. Bringing it to the attention of Martin Scorsese meant that it couldn’t have been placed in better hands. Industrial Light & Magic (emphasis on ‘magic’) did the de-aging for the film.
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Scorsese said on The A24 Podcast that “there is a great deal of CGI because we’re doing this youthification of De Niro, Pesci and Al Pacino. We’re all concerned that we’re so used to watching them as the older faces.” I don’t think he has anything to worry about as the storyline takes over any thoughts about the youthification.
THE IRISHMAN is everything I want in a film like this and more. In fact the running time of 209 minutes means that every part of the story is explored. From Franks marriages to the relationships with his daughter, especially the strain with daughter Peggy and how people perceived Frank. The story of Russell is shrouded in a bit of mystery except for what Frank knows and shares with us in his narrations and I don’t mind that. The story of Hoffa and what got him in trouble with everyone is intense and constantly in flux.
The film is breath taking in scope and not a moment of time is wasted. Every minute is important and that’s something views are agreeing on. The last half hour as we are part of Frank’s mob-afterlife, I am even more giddy with De Niro, Pacino and Pesci’s performances. THE IRISHMAN is a film that reminds us of what an amazing world cinema creates for us all.
In the end – his story changed history!

THE REPORT Outs Abuse

The Report cover
Jeri Jacquin
Currently on Amazon Prime Video from writer/director Scott Z. Burns, Unbranded Pictures and Amazon Studios is a story of what happened to detainees after 9-11 because of THE REPORT.
Daniel Jones (Adam Driver) is a staffer for California Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein (Annette Benning). Chairing the senate Select Committee on Intelligence, she asks Jones to investigate the CIA. Specifically she wants to know about the terror suspects being detained after 9-11.
Putting a team together in a high security location that is practically a vault, Jones is joined by April (Sarah Goldberg) and Julian (Lucas Dixon) pouring through thousands of documents. From the beginning Jones is appalled by what they are finding. The room walls begin to fill up with photos of detainees and their connection to Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden and the 9-11 attacks.
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What they also discover is the beginnings of the program of torturing also called EITs (Enhanced Interrogation Techniques), like water boarding, in order to get what they feel is vital information about on-going plans or future plans for attacks. It becomes clear to Jones and Feinstein that no one is willing to take responsibility although there is evidence. In particular is evidence of a Panetta Review that Jones is keeping to himself.
During a confirmation hearing of Caroline Krass, Senator Mark Udall (Scott Shephard) let it be known that the Panetta Review believed in the accuracy of the study. That opens pandora’s box as Feinstein is under the gun and Jones is being accused of hacking. Feeling as if the walls are closing in, Jones is forced to make a choice about whether it is time to be a whistleblower or allow the process to have its day.
Believing in everything they have been working on for over six years, Jones and Feinstein put it on the line knowing that once the information is out, they have done their job. The frustration lay in those who would do anything to cover up what has happened and from the Panetta Report from coming out.
Driver as Jones is about as intense as a person could be given his profession. Being asked to head the investigation into the timeline of events and who knew what, when and is responsible for approving the EITs. Like a dog with a bone, Driver gives his character the fortitude to question everyone who is trying to double talk their way out of responsibility. Told not to make anything about his investigation personal, it is clear that personal is the way it needed to be taken in order to get accountability. It is clear Driver can give intensity (hellooooo…Kylo Ren!) and it is that characteristic that gets the viewer into the game asking questions of their own.
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Benning as Feinstein wants answers to the questions that seem to be consistently deflected by her colleagues. With Jones at the helm she finds an ally who isn’t going stop until they get to the root of it all. With ever meeting, ever hearing and every telephone call to the White House, she gets closer to calling the wide net bluff of the misrepresentation of what actually happened.
Shout out to Jon Hamm who plays Denis McDonough. First introduced in the beginning of the film meeting Jones for a job, I’m sure the McConough wished he had taken more of an interested in his job applicant! Trying to stay one step ahead of everything Jones finds, it is Hamm’s character that always seems to be dodging bullets.
This film has a huge, and I mean huge cast and I want to make sure they all get a mention: Corey Stoll as Cyrus Clifford, Linda Powell as Marcy Morris, John Rothman as Senator Whitehouse, Victor Slezak as Senator Rockefeller, Guy Boyd as Senator Chambliss, Alexander Chaplin as Sean Murphy, Joanne Tucker as Gretchen, Maura Tierney as Bernadette, Michael C. Hall as Thomas Eastman, Ian Blackman as Cofer Black, Dominic Fumusa as George Tenet, Fajer Al-Kaisi as Ali Soufan, Douglas Hodge as James Mitchell, T. Ryder Smith as Bruce Jessen, Carlos Gomez as Jose Rodriguez, Tim Nelson as Raymond Nathan, Ted Levine as John Brennan, and Noah Bean as Senator Heinrich.
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Also included in archival footage are Dick Cheney, John Kerry, Rachel Maddow, Donald Rumsfeld, John McCain and former President Barack Obama.
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.
THE REPORT is an in-depth look at what it takes for truth to surface. Driver’s portrayal of Daniel Jones helps us understand the connections and how the departments of the government don’t work together very well. What is actually a stand out statement is when Jones sees a lawyer Cyrus Clifford and is told he doesn’t have a legal problem, he has a sunlight problem – meaning transparency.
That is a stunning way to put it and that statement caused me to listen even more to the story and especially pay attention to the details. So much so that I fell for every minute hook, line and actor. Each of them does an outstanding job with such a difficult subject matter. Keeping the intensity going (as if Driver wasn’t enough!) throughout the film just adds layer upon layer of depth and, I loved it!
In the end – truth matters!

READY OR NOT Because it’s Back on Bluray!

Ready or Not Cover
Jeri Jacquin
Coming to Bluray and Digital from directors Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Tyler Gillett and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment comes the usual lethal family drama in READY OR NOT.
It is the happiest day of Grace’s (Samara Weaving) life as she is marrying Alex Le Domas (Mark O’Brien). Even as he uses humor to warn about the Le Domas family, Grace is just happy to finally be part of one.
After the wedding, Grace and Alex take a few moments for each other but are interrupted by the eerie Aunt Helene (Nicky Guadagni). She announces that the family is gathering wanting Grace and Alex to join them.
Surrounding the Le Domas table are Alex’s brother Daniel (Adam Brody), his wife Charity (Elyse Levesque), mother Becky (Andi MacDowell), father Tony (Henry Czerny), sister Emilie (Melanie Scrofano), and husband Fitch (Kristian Bruun).
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Tony announces that every time a new person comes into the family, they spend the first evening playing a game as a welcome. All Grace has to do is pick a card from a box which seems simple enough to her. The card ‘hide and seek’ is drawn and the entire family becomes silent and Alex gets pale.
Going along to get along Grace is given a head start and once gone the rest of the family start getting ready – by arming up. You see, the Le Domas family believes that if they don’t seek Grace, something horrible will happen to the family.
Alex sneaks away to find Grace and finally fesses up as to what is happening. Grace is about to taken on a whole family proving she can take whatever nonsense they dish out, including crazy butler Stevens (John Ralston). The in-laws are on the hunt and they aren’t about to stop!
Just another family get-together that goes crazy till dawn!
Weaving as Grace is absolutely fantastic and I loved every minute she was on screen. To go from a happy bride to Rambo-ette was very, very cool. I found myself sharing my feelings about her playing this role with lots of shouting and ‘you go girl!’ and cheering. Weaving says, “We had an amazing cast to pull this off and everything just fell into place”. She made a grand entrance in white and she made an even grander exit leaving us all wanting more so that’s exactly falling into place!
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O’Brien as Alex marries Grace knowing full well what is about to happen. I’m was not sure how I felt about him throughout the film. I mean your fiancé knows his family is crazy but waits till after the ‘I do’ to say something? Every bride’s worst fear right? Brody as brother Daniel has his own issues with the family but he’d rather go numb with alcohol than deal with any of it.
Czerny as Tony is just plain nutty but made me laugh a LOT. He wants to keep the family together and doesn’t mind doing it with a shotgun. Bruun as Fitch just goes along to get along because being married to Emilie means happy crazy life-happy crazy wife! mother Becky (Andi MacDowell),
Scrofano as Emilie is just a little to tender to do what her family thinks must be done and Levesque as Charity doesn’t have a problem with it what so ever. Guadagni as Aunt Helene is absolutely priceless and she cracked me up repeatedly even though I’m sure she was meant to scare me instead. Now Ralston as Stevens scared me more – well done sir!
MacDowell as mom Becky just stuns in this role. She is happy to have her son back home and thanks Grace for doing it. Hard to believe when she has a weapon in her hand right? Talking about the making of the film she says, “It’s scary to think how everyone was perfectly cast in the film, especially with the role I play. I had a lot of fun being cast in this type of role because I’ve played so many sweet characters and I’m not sweet”. She about sums it up perfectly!
Other cast include Liam MacDonald as Georgie, Ethan Tavares as Gabe, Hanneke Talbot as Clara, Celine Tsai as Tina and Daniela Barbosa as Dora.
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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.
The Bluray Special Features include Let the Games Begin: The Making of READY OR NOT, Gag Reel, Audio Commentary by Radio Silence and Samara Weaving and Gallery.
READY OR NOT is a fabulous film filled with terror and laughs which, if you think about it, is an odd combination. That’s what makes the film a must-see for me because of the combination of terror and laughs. I mean yes it has violence but it’s by a bunch of people who are just completely out of their minds.
I love the cinematography, costuming and the interesting choices of weapons (like Clue with Fitch-in-the-library-with-a-crossbow feel to it). The story behind the family gathering is pretty interesting as well because it is never let on whether it is true or not – until it is.
Prepare to have a good time because you might take a good look around at your own clan and not complain so much about your own family ever again.
In the end – let the game begin!

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