It's a dirty job but someone has to view 'em!

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER Stakes on Bluray with 25th Anniversary

buffy dvd


Jeri Jacquin

From writer Joss Whedon, director Fran Rubel Kuzui and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment for the first time on Bluray and Digital HD is BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER.

Buffy Summers (Kristy Swanson) is an Los Angeles cheerleading senior at Hemery High School. Hanging out with boyfriend Jeffrey and spending her day being a shopping teen, a man named Merrick (Donald Sutherland) changes her whole life. He tells her that he’s come to guide her as The Watcher because she is a Chosen Slayer.

Discovering she has untapped abilities, her heart really isn’t in what Merrick is telling her until she meets Lothos (Rutger Hauer). The local ruler of the vampires along with follower Amilyn (Paul Rubens), Buffy now knows who she is dealing with. When her friends Pike (Luke Perry) and Benny (David Arquette) are attacked one by one, Buffy starts to take her role as a Slayer seriously.

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Where else would a confrontation happen but at the high school basketball game as Buffy realizes one of the players is a vampire. Merrick has to step in when Lothos attacks Buffy and the results continue to change her life. Realizing she can’t go back to being the girl who just hung out with her friends, her so-called friends aren’t very understanding either.

When she tries to work things out with Jeffrey at the senior dance but he’s moved on but Pike makes his feelings very clear. Of course Lothos isn’t going to let this be a touching moment as another attack overtakes the dance and Buffy remembers what Merrick told her.

Buffy knows it’s time to put at end to the madness!

Other cast of well known names are also a part of the original BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER film – see if you recognize them: Hilary Swank as Kimberly Hannah, Stephen Root as Gary Murray, Paris Vaughan as Nicki, Natasha Wagner as Cassandra, Tom Jane as Zeph, Ben Affleck as Player #10 and Seth Green as a Vampire.

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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

What can be said about BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER as it was a hit film that also became a smash hit television series. Swanson as Buffy brought the role to life and gave the character sass and originality. The film gave us fun, comedy and action that is easily enjoyable 25 years later and Swanson is responsible for that.

Sutherland as Merrick is an actor that can absolutely do no wrong as far as I am concerned. Playing this character was absolutely different for its time in 1992 but as an absolute van of Sutherland I just loved it then and love it still. Hauer as Lothos is an actor who can scare the bejeezus out of me one minute and crack me up the next. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER’s Lothos looks like fun to do and Hauer makes it look easy.

Rubens as Amilyn is hilarious, cool and only a few years out of his Pee Wee Herman character. See what happens when you peel away the layers? When I realized in 1992 who was playing this character, I cheered for Rubens! There is nothing better than seeing Pee Wee go rogue with a look that is epically cool.

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The Bluray Special Features include a Featurette, Theatrical Trailer and TV Spots which are actually cool to watch. There is also the Digital HD which means you can instantly stream and download to your TV, computer, tablet and Smartphone.

Having the chance to watch how it all began with Buffy and the gang is so much fun. I remember my own daughters going to see the film and then becoming big followers of Buffy. That’s what a good storyline in a film will do, bring us all back years later for more.

So prepare to celebrate being an uber cool slayer as 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment brings BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER home!!

In the end – pert, wholesome and way lethal!


PEPPA PIG: Princess Peppa is Delightful on DVD

peppaJeri Jacquin

Coming to DVD from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment to delight families is more adventures from the cutest family on television with PEPPA PIG: Princess Peppa.

When Granny and Grandpa Pig come for a visit but Peppa and George are asleep. Mummy and Daddy Pig are having a dinner with the grandparents but when Granny Pig makes a noise, Peppa and George immediately wake up. Peppa decides to take it upon herself to tell a fantastic story!

Peppa is excited for her chance to meet the Queen when Miss Rabbit is being given an Award for Industry and of course everyone is excited to be a part of the trip. Peppa decides she wants to create her own perfume and goes to the flowers in the garden to find inspiration thanks to Grandma Pig’s scent.

George is thrilled to have a dinosaur balloon but is equally fearful that something will cause it to float away. It’s a day out for Peppa Pig and her family and they all decide to go for a drive and what they spot delights them all. Grandpa Pig isn’t happy with Granny Pig’s choice of decorations for their garden. Also in their garden are fruits that Peppa wants to make a pie with.

Pedro is playing with Peppa and friends and it’s a game of pirates as they make a treasure chest and mark the spot but their friend may have lost something that needs finding as well.

Peppa and her family and friends always bring fun and adventure!

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

Entertainment One continues to bring amazing home entertainment to fans with their own library of over 40,000 films and television titles and 45,000 music tracks. I mention those numbers because that is so impressive bringing something for everyone. For more of what they have to offer please visit

The DVD episodes include Princess Peppa, The Tooth Fairy, Treasure Hunt, Windy Castle, George’s Balloon, The Rainbow, The Queen, Perfume, Pirate Treasure, The Wishing Well, The Blackberry Bush and Chloe’s Puppet Show.

There is also a bonus episode of The Frog Prince from Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom! For more of Peppa and her family please visit and on Facebook at Official Peppa Pig!

PEPPA PIG Princess Peppa is clearly adorable on every level possible. From adventures and fun to family spending time together, PEPPA PIG continues to bring story’s that are shareable for the entire family. There are life lessons in every episode that kids (and their parents) truly do embrace.

The families are all very different but have something amazing in common, their love of family, adventure and fun! The series is created and directed by Mark Baker and Neville Astley and we thank them for bring Peppa Pig into our homes.

The addition of the Limited Edition Plush of Peppa wearing her pretty red dress with her crown is just a delight for any Peppa and family fan.

In the end – get ready for royal fun with Princess Peppa!



Jeri Jacquin

In theatres this Friday from director Hany Abu-Assad and 20th Century Fox comes a film of survival with THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US.

Alex Martin (Kate Winslet) is a photographer trying to get to her own wedding! Bad weather is keeping her away when noticing that doctor Ben Bass (Idris Elba) is also trying to desperately get to his destination.

She offers to help get him there by sharing a ride on a smaller two-seater with pilot Walter (Beau Bridges) and his dog. After brief introductions, they both look out at the beautiful scenery of mountains and snow. Noticing that the storm is shifting course, Walter attempts to make adjustments when the unthinkable happens.

The plane goes down deep in the high mountains as Ben checks on Walter and Alex for wounds. Immediately he goes into survival mode trying to keep the unconscious Alex warm and taking care of Walter – and the dog. Time goes by and Alex wakes up with a badly hurt leg and realizes they need to leave right away.

Walter wants to stay behind and wait for a rescue but is reminded by Alex that no one would know how to find them. After an encounter with a wild animal, it becomes clear to her that going down is the only way to survive. Along with the dog, they bundle up and begin a trek that is dangerous and soul crushing at times.

The two must come to rely on one another and being equally as stubborn come head to head on how they are to survive.

Winslet as Alex is head strong and makes rash decisions but in all of it knows they have to get off the mountain. She doesn’t understand Ben’s resistance to the idea and takes it upon herself as if to say ‘stay then…I’m outta here!’ I have to give her props for that because there are moments I’m wondering why Ben is so obstinate – then I remember he’s a guy! (Just kidding guys!)

Elba as Ben has a ton of issues and the plane crash just seems to enhance them. As he gets to know Alex he starts to understand that whatever is keeping him so balled up could possibly be the reason they will die. There is something about Elba’s presence that is just smooth and endearing which helps since the movie is fairly predictable but enjoyable with him in it.

The winner here is – Walter’s dog! I love this dog! He is smart, he is brave and puts up with the two humans who, at times, don’t have a clue what it is they are doing. If I was lost or stranded anywhere I want this dog with me…of course I’d give him a better name than ‘Walter’s Dog’. He deserves better!

THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US is beautifully done in the way of cinematography. The mountains are stunning and every scene brings more beauty in the midst of human tragedy. I have to admit that if I found a cabin in the woods I might be tempted to stay just to take it all in.

The relationship between Alex and Ben is inevitable as fear and survival bring about human frailties. Being together kept them focused in the sense that when ever one of them felt it was over; the other would push to continue. Winslet and Elba are strong and difficult in character and it seemed almost a challenge to each other to survive. It is a beautiful story with an ending that the audience wants to happen.

In the end – what if your life depended on a stranger?

THE STRAY: Speaking with Michael Cassidy



Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres this Friday from writer/director Mitch Davis and KEB Entertainment comes the story of a family who doesn’t know they need THE STRAY.

Christian (Connor Corum) is a young boy who is having a hard time connecting with his busy father Mitch (Michael Cassidy). Mom Michelle (Sarah Lancaster) just wants everyone to be happy but isn’t happy with how much Mitch is working.

When Christian is bullied at school, out of no where a dog comes to his rescue and follows him home. The little boy names him Pluto, where all dogs come from according to Christian, and the family embraces him. When Mitch becomes so distracted that he almost loses their youngest daughter – it is time for the family to make some changes.


Moving to a small town in Colorado, Mitch is back to writing again but his relationship with son Christian isn’t any better. He decides the best thing to do is gather up a few neighbor boys and take them all out camping with Christian. The one thing is that the rest of the family wants Pluto to stay with them!

Their first night camping there is a snow storm and Pluto seems edgy. A bolt of lightening comes out of no where as Mitch and the boys are struck. When the boys wake up they realize that Mitch hasn’t and Christian prays for his Dad to wake up and when he does they all realize what has happened to Pluto.

It’s a mysterious friendship created with faith!

I had the opportunity to speak with Michael Cassidy who portrays Mitch Davis about the film and his thoughts about making such a touching and heartwarming family film.

Jeri Jacquin: Thanks for taking the time to talk with me today Michael.

Michael Davis: Of course Jeri, I appreciate you taking time as well.

JJ: Tell me how you got involved with THE STRAY?

MD: Mitch Davis picked me when I was with my family. To this day I don’t know what of mine he had seen that made me a good choice to play him. I am grateful that he did though.

JJ: Had you read the script before he picked you out?

MD: I read the script before I talked to him. I was sent the script when offered the lead for the film. I gave it a read and responded immediately to it. I mean I backpack with my child, at the time we had a dog as well who passed shortly after the film was made and I am a father as well. So there were a lot of levels that I really related to. I talked to Mitch the next day after reading the script and we totally hit it off. I have so much respect for who he is as a man and a filmmaker.


JJ: I was going to ask you what drew you to THE STRAY but I think it was, well, everything!

MD: Absolutely, it was shot in a beautiful part of the world too. I like Mitch very much; I liked the script and the theme of the story. I was really impressed by Mitch because this is his story.

JJ: The family sense of it is big. It’s really hard to find films that the entire family can go see together. Listening to you say that you’re a dad and love animals, it’s an instant draw.

MD: Yes, I haven’t done a lot of things that I can take my kids to so this is a very unique opportunity for my wife and I to take the kids to the theatre this weekend. It’s going to be a cool experience and I plan to enjoy it with my family.

JJ: Did you think about what people will take away from watching THE STRAY?

MD: Yes, I think at the heart of it the movie is about how hard it is to be a person in a family – a husband, wife or a child and even a dog. At the same time how powerful it is to love your family and what a gift it is even when it’s difficult.

JJ: Is there anything particular about the film that touched you most of all?

MD: When I read the script before I filmed it and knew Mitch, I was touched. I related to the character in that he’s working all the time and it’s not working for him. I like to see characters that make mistakes. When we were making the movie I had some pretty powerful and emotional experiences around the dog story line. To be honest, the dog didn’t register with me when I read the script but eventually Shiloh, that’s the dog who plays Pluto in the movie, played intensely in my life because of my own dog.

JJ: You know, W.C. Fields says about ‘kids and animals’ and you got both, how was that for you?

MD: I really liked working with Conor (who plays Christian Davis) very much. I connected to him and felt more like he was a peer on so many levels. We were in those woods getting eaten alive by mosquitoes, chasing the dog and carrying those backpacks together. I saw an actor that was in the same challenging work environment as me and I didn’t expect that. No matter how challenging the elements are, I knew there was a guy who shared the same name as my character and had it way harder than me. I said that to Mitch, I told him it was going to be weird to be him while he’s on the set. It was a fun experience that we shared.

JJ: Usually people who portray other people don’t have that person right there next to them. That had to be strange.


MD: I was very up front with Mitch when we talked about the film saying that I am not you and I have to do what makes sense to me. He was amazing! It was my biggest concern going in that he might whisper “I don’t do things like that” but he never did that. He even said ‘look man, this is the story that happened to me and my family and you are here because you are going to do a good job telling that story’. He trusted me totally and it was very comfortable.

JJ: Do you think THE STRAY being based on a true story was something else that drew you to make the film?

MD: Oh yes definitely! I have been in electrical storms and had so many shared experiences with Mitch that it was just grace that my experiences in those elements were different than him. I totally connected to the elements in the exact same way as he did in his life and did it as a story teller to be able to bring it all to the screen.

I so appreciate Michael Cassidy talking with us today about THE STRAY. The film brings Mitch Davis’ story to the screen as Michael Cassidy tells the story of family, friendship and love.

THE STRAY is a film about faith, hope, love, family and healing. The Davis family is like so many of us in that we all get so busy with life that we truly forget to live. In this case it takes the arrival of a beautiful dog to bring everything into focus. This is an amazing family film that can be shared with many walks of life with a sense of unity and strength that we all can relate to.

In theatres this Friday is a family that needed THE STRAY.

In the end – one dog can change everything!

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial Celebrates 35th Anniversary with Limited Edition Bluray

ET Limited Edition Gift Set


Jeri Jacquin

Now on Bluray from Amblin Entertainment and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment along with amazing director Steven Spielberg comes the 1982 iconic and classic film with E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.

Elliot (Henry Thomas), Michael (Robert MacNaughton) and Gertie (Drew Barrymore) are living with their mother Mary (Dee Wallace) in a family suburb. Hanging out with friends Greg (K.C. Martel), Steve (Sean Frye) and Tyler (C. Thomas Howell) there is a night of pizza and fun.

Elliot discovers something weird in their backyard and trying to get his brother’s help turns into nothing being found. The young boy isn’t about to give up and discovers a creature bringing him inside the house.

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Faking illness and Mom going crazy getting everyone out of the house in the morning. Elliot spends time with the creature having no fear of his presence. Later in the day he brings Michael and Gertie in on his secret and they are drawn to the creature as well. Elliot informs them both he is keeping E.T. and wants to help him reach out of his own kind.

What Elliot and the others don’t know is that a man with keys on his belt (Peter Coyote) is also looking for E.T. Using listening devices, a van roams the streets listening to see if anyone has had contact with the short, stubby creature.

As Elliot and E.T.’s connection grows stronger, he understands that E.T. must reach out to his people so they can come back for him. Elliot also becomes aware that his friend is becoming sick the longer he stays on Earth. All too quickly the alien seeking agency takes over Elliot’s house and now it seems both Elliot and E.T. need saving.

That’s what friends do for friends!


Thomas as Elliot is still the face of an innocent young boy who immediately engages with E.T. There isn’t any fear of being harmed but instead the love of a friendship that grows quickly. Thomas continues all these years later to be the face of a young man who believes and anyone who watches this performance will believe as well.

Barrymore as Gertie is spunky, doesn’t take any garbage from her brothers and has a motherly feel for E.T. She is hilarious and a sister who knows that her brother’s friend is someone very special. MacNaughton as Michael isn’t keen at first to Elliot keeping E.T. but begins to understand that he needs their protection which includes his buddies.

Wallace as Mary is a woman still getting over a divorce and raising three kids. Unaware of who is living in her home; by the time she is aware all heck breaks loose. K.C. Martel, Sean Frye and C. Thomas Howell are funny as Michael’s friends but equally cool when they are called upon to help their new friend.

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

The Bluray gift set features premium packaging with a re-mastered CD soundtrack from the original Grammy Award winning album as well as over three hours of bonus features. There is a collector’s booklet with behind-the-scenes stories and rare images from archives. Also included is a 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack along with the Bluray and Digital HD.

The 4K Ultra HD movie on disc one contains the 4X sharper picture than HD, HDR (High Dynamic Range) for brilliant brights and deepest darks, finally immersive audio for a multi-dimensional sound experience. The Bluray three hour Bonus Features include Deleted Scenes, Steven Spielberg & E.T., The E.T. Journal, A Look Back, The Evolution and Creation of E.T., The E.T. Reunion, The Music of E.T.: A Discussion with John Williams, The 20th Anniversary Premier, Designs, Photographs and Marketing and Theatrical Trailer.

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial will always and I mean always be a classic family film. A film for all ages this is a story of an amazing friendship, the emotional struggles of a broken family and knowing that buddies don’t ask why when help is needed. Spielberg brought a film that embraces the frailties of human nature yet the strength to do what is right.

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In 1982, when E.T. showed up in theatres, it was pure magic and seeing it on the big screen brought out deep emotions in us all. Now, with the ability to practically have a big screen in our homes, E.T. returns once again to remind us all how we felt then. I am amazed that it still brings out those feelings but that is what makes E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial iconic but most importantly – beloved.

The is a film for any one’s home entertainment library because it has no age requirement to enjoy a good story, humor, friendship, family, love and most of all a little alien who will forever be known as E.T.

In the end – this is a story that touched the world!



tHE cRUCIFIX poster

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres this Friday from director Xavier Gens and Lionsgate is a film inspired by true events and the story of THE CRUCIFIXION.

Nicole Rawlins (Sophie Cookson) is fascinated by a case that has made headlines in Romania. A priest named Demetrius has been arrested for the death of a young girl named Adelina and Nicole knows there is more to the story. Deciding to investigate the situation, she convinces her editor Phil (Alexis Rodney) to give her support.

The story she learns is that a young girl has been supposedly possessed and that the priest accused of murder was in the middle of an exorcism when it was stopped. On her way to the hospital she died but also under more mysterious circumstances. Nicole knows she must go back to the beginning and visit the locations and speak to those who may know more than they are telling.

She turns to Father Anton (Corneliu Ulici) to explain the process that led to the girl’s death. Telling Nicole the process of how demons possess and how it’s possible to go from one person to another, she looks once again at the photos from the crime scene. Speaking with her sister Vaduva (Brittany Ashworth), Nicole learns that Adelina went to Germany and on her return dealt with the death of a Father Gabriel who she was fond of.

Only getting worse, Nicole knows there is something mysterious that isn’t being said. Just when she is about to give up the story – something pulls her to keep searching leading her to a boy name Tavian (Florian Voicu) and his father Amanar (Radu Banzaru)!

Prepare to be challenged!

Cookson as Nicole has just the right amount of skepticism and scare in her role. She is curious, not easily swayed and has her own set of beliefs. The more she looks the more the world she doesn’t understand gets closer to her.  Ulici as Father Anton seems to be an unsung hero in the story. He continually tells Nicole what she needs to do to find answers and to be safe at the same time.

Voicu as Tavian holds the key to helping Nicole find the answers. Reaching out to Father Anton it is all about to happen once again.

THE CRUCIFIXION is a story from the creators of ANNABELLE and THE CONJURING so you know it’s going to be filled with jumps and twists. October is the month to be jumpy and this film will happily oblige.

The story unravels slowly and when it all blows apart, prepare for anything to happen. In the vein of religious horror films, THE CRUCIFIXION falls in the hands of Nicole and Father Anton. Stuck in a barn the demon is going to take on anybody that comes near and it doesn’t have a preference towards its next host.

The special effects are what one would expect and the cinematography is beautiful with the small country town feel. The ending is a bit abrupt but the viewer isn’t left wondering what happened to the priest and nuns who were accused of murder.

Cookson does a good job of carrying the majority of the film which is difficult enough to do and she does it with the right amount of twisted creepiness. Ulici is the spiritual cheer leader and although his role isn’t prominent, he does have an impact on the story’s conclusion.

In the end – be careful what you pray for!

LET’S PLAY TWO Pearl Jam Live at Wrigley Field Gives us the Band We’ve Been Missing

pearl jam poster

Jeri Jacquin

In theatres from director Danny Clinch and Falco Inc. is a concert film from one of the legendary bands with LET’S PLAY TWO Pearl Jam Live at Wrigley Field.

During the Chicago Cubs historic 2016 baseball season, the band Pearl Jam has a chance to perform on my home turf, Chicago’s Wrigley Field. Hometown boy Eddie Vedder has the chance to pay the music of the bands 25-year musical career. The mixture of a returning band and a team trying to break a 108 year streak is about to blow up the big screen.

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The footage also gives fans an opportunity to look at behind-the-scenes at the Wrigleyville neighborhood and exclusive interviews. Using both past and present, it is a journey with the band and their relationship of the Chicago Cubs and Pearl Jam. Along with band mates guitarist Stone Gossard, bassist Jeff Ament and drummer Matt Cameron – this is Pearl Jam at it’s finest.

Spending time in Wrigley field, lead singer of Pearl Jam talks about being a Cub fan during the World Series calling it being abused in a humorous way. He calls the fandom “a community that comes together based on not glory in winning but comforting each other and it’s been that way for quite a long time”.

Watching his excitement of once finding field sod to a trip through the old and new clubhouse, I was even a little giggly. Yes, a proud Chicago gal right here!

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It is the eternal hopes “with the hope arm to prove it” of Cubs and Pearl Jam fans!

What an absolutely amazing look at a band that I have always continued to keep an eye out for. Pearl Jam rehearsing on the rooftop has to be one of my favorite parts of this film. It is a relaxed setting and yet the song and music are still filled with emotion and feeling.

A mixture of the tension of the Chicago Cubs and the excitement of Pearl Jam brings people together and it is generational. The man from Australia wearing the awesome Pearl Jam shirt is like a kid waiting for the candy store to open.

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Vedder’s voice is still sultry, sexy and full of rage emotion that is not only exceptional but beautiful to hear. Added to that the unforgiving guitar riffs that demand closed eyes and a slowly shaking head to take it all in, what more could I want right? Well, Vedder singing ‘Take Me To The Ball Game’ for the Cubs might do it!

The Wrigley field concert is filled with fan favorites such as Alive, Crazy Mary, Release, Better Man and the very recognizable and still stunning Jeremy, the live performance is just frakken amazing. I certainly don’t mind cheering and reliving my Cubs once again (and it still gives me thrill-chills) while rocking out to a band I hope someday to see live.

In the end – experience two of the best Chicago has to offer!

ABUNDANT ACREAGE AVAILABLE Deserves Your Consideration

abundant cover


Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from writer/director Angus MacLachlan and Gravitas Ventures comes the story of siblings and history with ABUNDANT ACREAGE AVAILABLE.

Jesse (Terry Kinney) and his sister Tracy (Amy Ryan) are in mourning over the recent death of their father. Deciding to bury him in the middle of the crop field, Tracy wants her father to be in a fitting place and not a cemetery. Jesse tries to understand her reasoning’s and agrees to let it happen as long as when spring comes they take him to the cemetery.

A few days later Tracy discovers three elderly men sleeping in a tent on their farmland. Introducing themselves as Hans (Max Gail), Charles (Steve Coulter) and Tom (Francis Guinan) it becomes clear quickly that these men once lived on this very same farm. Jesse is fascinated with the men and their story but Tracy is immediately on edge.

Jesse decides without discussing it with Tracy that he wants to return the farmland to the brothers. Tracy is absolutely livid believing that he is making the decision for hurtful reasons. Trying to explain herself to Charles, they seem to have a connection of people who have spent their whole life taking care of other people.

Hans and Jesse spend a lot of time getting to know one another, especially when it is clear that both he and brother Tom aren’t in the best of health. Tom manages to shock every chance he gets with his outbursts of language that sets Tracy on edge. That’s when she speaks with Hans who wants one thing – for he and Tom to be buried with their father in the same way Tracy and Jesse buried their own father.

Still not knowing what decision Jesse will make, Tracy agrees to do what Hans asks. Finally Charles brings his family home to the farm and his decision gives Tracy hope, that is until Jesse lets her know that he has made his own decision as well.

Ryan as Tracy is absolutely fantastic and riveting to watch. She is a woman surrounded by men making decisions about her life when her whole life has been that way. The frustration and lack of respect for her feelings goes continually unnoticed or she is placated by the wants of the men around her. Overruled by her brother, her life is once again on hold. Ryan gives every ounce of that in her performance and it is painfully beautiful to watch.

Kinney as Jesse has issues of his own that are just crazy to my way of thinking. He makes decisions without consulting Tracy for reasons that are pure jaw dropping. It is almost as if he placates her to keep the peace but has no problem with continuing a course of action that is completely nuts. Kinney’s character is what I call quietly underhanded taking control of his sister instead of releasing her to live a life she has missed.

Gail as Hans watches the exchange between Jesse and Tracy but continues with his own plan of bringing the family ‘home’ as it were. In a final effort to reach Tracy, he lays in a field with his brother Tom begging to know that their wishes will come to pass by her hand. Guinan as Tom is the one character in this film that is never predictable and doesn’t have an agenda. He is remembering what he can of his childhood and throwing in a few moments of Tourette’s for good measure. This character brings out uncomfortable laughter in a situation that is already amazingly uncomfortable.

Coulter as Charles understands the frustrations that Tracy is feeling. There is almost a connection between the two and brothers Hans and Tom both see it. Wanting the best for their brother, they seem to push the two together wanting both Charles and Tracy to perhaps have a life together that both have missed.

ABUNDANT ACREAGE AVAILABLE is a slow paced story that takes every frame and makes the viewer beg to know which way it will all go. There is unpredictability and sadness in the story line that needs to be felt and boy did I feel it. Of course I sided with Tracy and not because she is the only woman in the film but because of how her family feelings were just set aside because of where she came from.

When I thought all hope for anyone understanding her was gone – the final scene is everything glorious. It is said that carrying the weight of pain and fear will break backs and Tracy has a moment of clarity releasing it all and I cheered for her…literally got up and cheered! Brava Amy Ryan, Brava!

Shot on a wide open farm with only five characters in a worn farmhouse forces us to strip back anything like cgi or effects and deal with the humanity and history of these siblings. Nothing like raw emotion!

In the end – a legacy comes home!

WIZARD OF LIES Comes to Bluray from HBO

wizard cover


Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray from director Barry Levinson and HBO Home Entertainment is an inside look at corruption and destruction with WIZARD OF LIES.

Bernie Madoff (Robert De Niro) had one of the biggest businesses on Wall Street. Known for being a wizard of making money, people from all walks of life put their life savings into investments. Along with sons Mark (Alessandro Nivola) and Andrew (Nathan Darrow), they were living the life of success.

That is until Bernie must tell his family that the FBI is investigating the business for fraud. This sets in motion a rush to see who will get the information needed or destroy the information first as the FBI raid the offices. Frank DiPascali (Hank Azaria) makes an effort to get to the 17th floor first!

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As the SEC begin their intense investigation, family, co-workers and investors begin to tell their story of how Bernie brought them all in to the business. Now called the worst Ponzi scheme in American history there is over $50 billion (yes, that billion with a ‘b’) in other people’s money gone.

Bernie doesn’t seem to understand the predicament he is in as wife Ruth (Michelle Pfeiffer) begins to see her family unravel. Mark and Andrew have all but stopped talking to their parents and brother Peter (Michael Kostroff) is make it clear to authorities that he knew nothing of what Bernie had been doing.

When the news catches wind of the story, every person who has ever invested with Madoff comes to the realization that their lives have been destroyed. Bernie and Ruth try to decide how to get free of it all in the most dramatic way possible and his sons are bombarded by the press with the allegation that they knew everything.

As the evidence mounts, there is only one thing Bernie Madoff can do, plead guilty and go to jail. Thinking that will stop everything from reaching his family, he couldn’t be more wrong as Ruth, Mark and Andrew continue to be affected by the lies Bernie told for almost twenty years.

This is the story of one man’s lies to the ruin of lives.

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De Niro as Bernie Madoff is amazing to the point where I forgot it was him behind the makeup. The fascinating part of his portrayal of this man is how Madoff can not seem to grasp what he had done. There are moments where I kept saying out loud ‘you’ve got to be kidding me man!’ when he would seem to play innocent. That’s what De Niro does for a character that had me so involved in the story what I’m yelling at a man playing the character of a man I’ll never meet. Frakken awesome!

Pfeiffer as Ruth is a woman who can not even imagine that a man she spent most of her life living with was capable of such a thing. Becoming comfortable in the life that Bernie provided, she can not wrap her head around how deep the affect might be. When it all comes down fast, Pfeiffer just brings on the sadness, sass and pain that came hard. Playing opposite De Niro, she is definitely an equal partner in making this story line work.

Nivola as Mark is a son who just wanted to be a part of his father’s business. Constantly told by his father that he isn’t ready, it all begins to make sense when the FBI steps in. The bigger problem is that Mark can not get past what his father did and the public fallout. It begins to become an obsession that is tragic.

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Darrow as Andrew knows the only way to get away from what his father has done is by totaling cutting his parents out. Keeping his family safe from the government and the public means doing what ever he must to set things as right as they can be.

Other cast include Kathrine Narducci as Eleanor Squillari, Steve Coulter as Martin London, David Lipman as Martin Flumenbaum, Kelly AuCoin as Agent Cacioppi, Amanda Warren as the SEC Investigator, Mark La Mura as Ike Sorkin, Kristen Connolly as Stephanie Madoff and Lily Rabe as Catherine Hooper.

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The WIZARD OF LIES Bluray includes the Bonus Features of In-Depth Interviews with stars Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer plus director Barry Levinson and author Diana B. Henriques. I highly suggest giving this extra a look-see!

WIZARD OF LIES is a compelling look at the story of Bernie Madoff with its twists and turns. The addition of the jail house interview with Diana B. Henriques who wrote Wizard of Lies: Bernard Madoff and the Death of Trust, adds such authenticity and draws the viewer in immediately. I have to say that I was so wrapped up in De Niro and Pfeiffer’s performances that I reacted strongly to the entire film.

Having a look inside the family there is honestly nothing that surprised me in their handling of the situation. How does a family deal with knowing that their lives and everything they believed they have worked for is all a lie? The man they trusted to lead them is a lie? I can not even imagine it.

The script written by Sam Levinson, who also wrote and directed ANOTHER HAPPY DAY, and directed by his father Barry Levinson is well done and shot beautifully. I would expect no less from the Levinson group.

In the end – only those you trust can truly betray you!

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