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FARGO Brings an Epic Third Season to DVD!

Fargo Bluray

Jeri Jacquin

Nominated for Six Emmy Awards including Outstanding Series on DVD from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is the amazing FX series FARGO: Year 3.

In St. Cloud, Minnesota, it is 2010 and Ray Stussy (Ewan McGregor) really wants to put a ring on the finger of Nikki Swango (Mary Elizabeth Winstead). Short on cash he asks his brother Emmit (Ewan McGregor) for a loan. That’s were most family problems start because Emmitt says no.

These two brothers have even deeper problems when Ray, a parole officer, decides he will enlist the help of Maurice (Scoot McNairy), a parolee to get back at Emmitt by taking what was first Ray’s anyway. This is where things get even more twisted because Maurice doesn’t really remember the address of Emmit’s house and ends up in another Stussy house!

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Emmit’s problems come from a shade business dealing with Varga (David Thewlis) and a two year old loan. Now Emmit worries about his business and has Varga investigated which only causes a journey off a parking garage.

Back at the address Maurice did go to, turns out it is the home of Ennis (Scott Hylands) Stussy of Eden Valley. To add insult to injury, temporary police chief Gloria Burgle (Carrie Coon) discovers the body of relative by marriage and their home all messed up. Of course when the new police chief shows up and dealing with a funeral, Gloria learns something about her stepfather that she never knew. But that is a side note as she begins to investigate the murder.

Ray and Nikki try to figure out how they are going to get the stamp which is a moot point when Nikki discovers it has been moved. Emmit tells Sy (Michael Stuhlbarg) the stamp is being reframed and Sy says Ray better stay away and to make his point there is a little fender bender.

Thaddeus Mobley (Thomas Mann) writes a novel called The Planet Wyn in 1975 which catches the attention of Los Angeles producer Howard Zimmerman (Fred Melamed). Mobley also meets Vivian Lord (Francesca Eastwood) who tries to seduce him into a deal. He doesn’t fall for it and lets it be known he isn’t a sucker for Hollywood.

Gloria wants to know more about the Mobley story and heads to L.A. to discover that both Zimmerman and Vivian are still around with their own story to tell. In a weird time travel moment, the name Dennis Stussy takes on new meaning for Gloria.

Gloria’s partner Marshman (Mark Forward) let’s her know that a man named Maurice has been found dead add more mystery to her life. Discovering Ray is his parole officer, it’s time for a visit from the local law. But before that Ray does a little brotherly costuming to get his hands on Emmitt’s money. Officer Winnie Lopez (Olivia Sandoval) is investigating a case against Sy and meets Gloria when the two piece together the weird coincidence about the slightly different addresses and names of Emmit and Ray.

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Ray continues with his farce disguising himself as Emmit and it finally hits home. Ray moves his life along as a wedding is being prepared. Varga and Sy are not seeing eye to eye about the police nosing around but it gets more conflicted when someone wants to buy Stussy Lots in the form of Ruby Goldfarb (Mary McDonnell).

Gloria and Winnie get their hands on Ray to question him about Ennis’ murder but the new police chief thinks there is nothing there and lets him go. He gets home to find Nikki in a shocking state at the hands of thugs Yuri (Goran Bogdan) and Memo (Andy Yu). Wanting revenge is what will bring two brothers together one final time.

Gloria and Winnie are about to expand their investigation even further when it’s brought to a halt just as quickly. Winnie’s boss puts her back on traffic duty and tells Gloria to get out of town. Gloria isn’t taking it at all and in a fluke actually saves Nikki’s life from Golem (DJ Qualls) but breaking her parole she has to head off to prison.

Now Yuri, Meemo and Golem are on the hunt to get Nikki but fail once again as she finds herself attached to Mr. Wrench (Russell Harvard) running through the woods. All of this has Gloria demoted and everyone still on the run while Varga has expanded the business.

Emmit isn’t free from suspicion as the police are still close by but freaking him out even more is his office has been broken into and, well, tagged with a photo of a certain stamp. Varga sees how this is all affecting him trying to keep him calm. Unable to deal with it Emmitt decides there is only one thing he can do.

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In St. Cloud two more Stussy’s are killed and Emmitt is talking to Gloria about the issues he had with his brother. Varga freaks out and wants Meemo to get him out of their immediately but Nikki and Mr. Wrench have other plans. Nikki makes Varga an offer he can’t refuse – or can he?

When IRS agent Dollard (Hamish Linklater) gets to his office there is a mysterious package waiting for him along with Gloria’s telephone number. Waiting for some good news, Dollard tells Gloria that there is a tax scam going on at Stussy Lots. Emmitt returns only to discover he is responsible for all the debts of the business and Nikki takes one to many chances.

But it all comes together when Gloria finds her place at the Department of Homeland Security but is still dealing with Varga and a chance that things will once again change!

McGregor as Emmitt and Ray Stussy does an insanely incredible job of playing brothers who may seem different but when it comes to being greedy and vengeful – are exactly the same. I just love the way he portrays them both to uniquely that I forget McGregor is doing both parts. Love when that happens. He is also the voice of the Captain which means this was a busy season that I’m sure McGregor isn’t likely to forget

Coon as Gloria is such a joy to watch as she is involved in a little family mystery of her own brought to her by the Stussy brothers. She takes everything in stride where as I probably wouldn’t have been so calm. That’s what makes Coon riveting to watch and I can’t wait to see her again!

Winstead as Nikki is just a gorgeous wild child who loves her man and when things go south, she is only going to visit before returning north. Oh yes, she isn’t about to let anyone or anything get in the way of her revenge.

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Thewlis as Varga gets a chance to be as bad as he wants to be. Of course I knew he had it in him and if you have seen the 1996 film DRAGONHEART and his psycho role of King Einon, I’d say it was good training for the crazy of Varga.

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 DVD of FARGO: Year 3 contains 4-discs with all ten episodes that include: The Law of Vacant Places, The Principles of Restricted Choice, The Law of Non-Contradiction, The Narrow Escape Problem, The House of Special Purpose, The Lord of No Mercy, The Law of Inevitability, Who Rules the Land of Denial?, Aporia and Somebody to Love.

There are also Special Features that include First Look, Ray and Nikki, Emmit Stussy and Sy Feltz, One Actor Two Characters, Gloria Burgle, Varga, Anatomy of a Scene, The Digital Age, Connectivity and References, Locations and Noah Hawley.

FARGO has become such a stellar hit for the out of the box cable channel FX. When FARGO aired it’s first season I knew there were more stories that needed to be told with an appreciation of where it could all go. The introduction of new characters each season and the return of secret favorites, it is equally amazing as I would think everyone is biting at the bit to be part of FARGO.

So that begs the question, will there be another season of FARGO? Well, FX Chief John Landgraf has said, “We haven’t heard the idea from Noah Hawley for what the fourth season would be. What we’ve encouraged Noah to do is think about it and make sure he has an idea he’s excited about.”

As vague as that may seem, I’m going to keep my hopes high and my love of FARGO open for another season no matter how long it takes. That’s how the fans I’ve spoken to feel about their FARGO fix.

In the meantime, add FARGO: Year 3 to your home entertainment library along with the first two seasons of the amazing series that has kept us all thrilled!

In the end – it’s another limb in the tree that leads to FARGO!

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DESPICABLE ME 3 Expands the Family Fun on Bluray!

despic 3

Jeri Jacquin

Get the family together because they family is back on Bluray & DVD from directors Eric Guillon, Kyle Balda and Pierre Cofflin along with Illumination Entertainment and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment with DESPICABLE ME 3.

Gru (Steve Carell) and Lucy (Kristen Wiig) are on their next mission for the Anti-Villain League going after Balthazar Bratt (Trey Parker), a once child star who took his role into adulthood. With his keytair and 80’s dance moves, Bratt gets away with a diamond as large as his head!

Returning to the AVL headquarters, Silas Ramsbottom (Steve Coogan) announces that he will be stepping down. Taking his job is Valerie Da Vinci (Jenny Slate) and her first move is to fire Gru. Lucy threatens to walk if she follows through with the firing and now both are out of a job. The Minions aren’t happy when Gru refuses to return to villainy and stage a walk out.

Going home to explain it all to Margo (Miranda Cosgrove), Edith (Dana Gaier) and Agnes (Nev Scharrel), the parents assure the girls it will all work out. That’s when a stranger shows up and announces that Gru has a twin brother names Dru (also voiced by Steve Carell). Not believing it Gru forces his Mom (Julie Andrews) and he learns the truth about his family.

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Packing the family up, they fly to Dru’s luxurious estate and Gru learns more about who his father was. He also learns that Dru wants to be villainous and it’s Gru’s chance to capture Bratt while Lucy works on her Mom-skills. Bratt isn’t about to make anything easy as he has plans for tinsel town.

In their efforts to strengthen their family, Gru, Lucy and Dru along with the girls learn that love of family is amazing and there is no bad guy big enough to break them apart!

Recently at CinemaCon, Steve Carell spoke about his iconic work as Gru saying the DESPICABLE ME franchise is filled with “characters that are funny for adults as well as kids and that’s what has made it all successful”. How did the voice of Gru come to be? Carell says, “I tried voices on my daughter and when I did the voice of Gru they told me that was the one. Gru’s voice was like I flew over Eastern Europe and Dru’s voice had to be different. It had to be very fun, free and giddy in a way”.

Wiig as Lucy is trying her best to be a good Mom and it takes being herself to let everyone know that no one messes with Mama Bear! I just think the character of Lucy is crazy cool. Cosgrove, Gaier and Scharrel as Margo, Edith and Agnes are just girls growing up in a different household that is filled with unexpected adventure and they roll with it.

Parker as Bratt had me cracking up! His shoulder pads, keytar and dance moves along with a balding mullet and bubblegum means he isn’t about to let Gru, Dru, Lucy or anyone else stop him from a little Hollywood payback.

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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 www.uphe.com.

The Bluray & DVD also includes the Bonus Features Deleted Scenes, Minion Moments, Character Profiles, The Making of Despicable Me 3, Developing Dru, The AVL Files, Freedonia Visitors Guide, Despicable Me TV, “Doowit” Sing-Along, “Yellow Light” Music Video and the All New Mini Movie: The Secret Life of Kyle.

DESPICABLE ME 3 is going to give families over and over again everything they have come to love about Gru, the girls and even the minions. This may not be the average family but it sure is one filled with love, excitement, understanding and fun. One would have thought that completed the family.

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Of course not, Illumination expands their family with Dru and a unicorn, well of sorts, which means a double dose of excitement. There are the usual jokes with the minions trying to be jail house rockers but they know where they truly belong. The animation is strong, vibrant and has such creativity that I am always surprised yet not surprised.

Gru and Dru have found one another which means Lucy and the girls have their hands full. That doesn’t have to be a bad thing but if Illumination wants one more story line I have a few ideas that I wouldn’t mind sharing!

So gather up your own minions, fill up the popcorn bowl and cuddle on the sofa with holiday family fun of the family kind with DESPICABLE ME 3.

In the end – ohhhhhhhh brother it’s good to be bad!

VICTORIA & ABDUL is Perfection on Stunning Bluray!

Victoria and Abdul

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray/DVD and Digital from director Stephen Frears, Focus Features and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is the story of an unlikely friendship between VICTORIA & ABDUL.

Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal) is a clerk in a prison in India and his life is about to change. Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) is to be given a tribute coin and Abdul is the tall man for the job. Along with a shorter Mohammed (Adeel Akhtar), they sale toward England and Abdul is very excited.

There is no time for looking around much as Abdul and Mohammed are given a crash course on how to present to the Queen. Sir Henry Ponsonby (Tim Pigott-Smith) lets the two men know that everything is to be precise and quickly.

During the dinner, Abdul and Mohammed make their way toward Queen Victoria and after a quick nap the presentation is made. Walking backwards, Abdul does the unthinkable and makes eye contact and gives a smile to the Queen and what turns into one moment becomes an unlikely friendship.

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Much to the horror of Sir Ponsonby and Lord Salisbury (Michael Gambon) as well as her ladies Lady Churchill (Olivia Williams) and Miss Phipps (Fenella Woolgar), the Queen begins to prefer the company of Abdul. They inform the Queen’s son Bertie (Eddie Izzard) and a plan is formed.

Queen Victoria asks Abdul about his land, language and his story as they share walks and private times. It is clear that Abdul cares very much for the Queen and she for him, especially discovering he is married and demanding he get his family and return. That doesn’t stop the Queen’s staff, along with Dr. Reid (Paul Higgins), from looking into Abdul’s past. Believing they can stop him with what they know, it only manages to infuriate the Queen in Abdul’s favor.

Including a knighthood which sends the entire palace into a tizzy and a decision that will not only put their loyalty in question but show how Queen Victoria wasn’t napping any longer.

This is a friendship that is filled with understanding, forgiveness and even unspoken love.

Dench as Victoria once again proves why she is a queen in her own right. She is smart, strong, delicate, wistful and a woman who sees so little to move forward for. Once the Queen’s inner light is ignited, Dench shines every moment of the film. I quite honestly could not take my eyes off her performance and the ending brought me to tears.

Karim as Fazal is a man who doesn’t see the world in such an aggressive way as those around him. A simple jail clerk who happens to know how to write is sent across the world to do one simple thing and it turns into a friendship. Fazal delivers his lines with the innocence I see in Abdul in that how one sees the world is clearly different than the Queen. There are moments where he is clearly confused, moments of profound joy and deep sadness and Fazal gets every drop of emotion out of the audience who is just as enraptured as the Queen.

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Izzard as Bertie is just the worst that a son could possible be. Instead of being happy for the emotional reviving of his mother, he sees Abdul as an interloper and acts like a spoiled child instead of a future ruler. Izzard just pours it on and gets the reaction he wants!

Akhtar as Mohammed just wants to go home, and when he sees that the Prince and others want to use that against his friend Abdul – his response is epic! Pigott-Smith as Ponsonby is confused by the relationship between the Queen and Abdul but at the same time has a faithfulness to the way things ought to be done. Higgins as Dr. Reid is just another lackey who isn’t happy about Abdul’s presence and finds himself faced with the wrath of the Queen. Gambon as Salisbury wants one thing only – for Abdul to be gone and the crown to go back to normal.

Williams as Lady Churchill isn’t happy to have the Queen’s ear and convinces Miss Phipps to do the extortion deed. Woolgar as Phipps has a moment in front of the Queen that is nerve wracking to watch but awesome to experience.

Other cast include Julian Wadham as Alick Yorke, Robin Soans as Arthur Bigge, Ruth McCabe as Mrs. Tuck, Sukh Ojla as Mrs. Karim, Kemaal Deen-Ellis as Ahmed and Simon Callow as Puccini.

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 www.uphe.com.

The Bluray includes the Bonus Features of Judi & Ali and The Look of Victoria & Abdul. Included in the pack, DVD and Digital HD along with theatre quality sound. The Digital means you can enjoy VICTORIA & ABDUL on television, computer, Tablet and Smartphone!

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VICTORIA & ABDUL is absolutely Oscar worthy in every sense. There is nothing about this film that goes wrong with me. The story between Queen Victoria and Abdul is delightful, funny, testing, sad, misunderstood and heartbreaking.

Mixed in with that is the ugliness of those around the Queen with their jabbing, back biting, underhanded, and horrible treatment of Abdul and Mohammed. Instead of embracing the cultural differences of these two men, they found ways to cut them to the quick – and right to their face in some cases.

The cinematography is amazing and it is a period piece which is going to grab me from the word go. I absolutely adore the costuming which is always an important part of a period piece because it adds such a richness to the storytelling.

I’m warning anyone who sees this film on Bluray to keep a Kleenex handy because for the ending you are going to need it. The chemistry between Dench and Fazal is everything I wanted for this story to be told – thank you both for making me laugh, smile and shed a tear.

In the end – an extraordinary true story of a queen and her new best friend!

OPERATION SANTA SALUTE Brings Holiday Fun to our Military!

military christmas

Saturday December 2 

10:00am – 9:00pm

Westfield Mission Valley, Westfield North County, Westfield Plaza Bonita

Gather up the family and prepare for a day of Holiday Fun!

Join Westfield Mission Valley, Plaza Bonita or North County for Operation Santa Salute, on Saturday, December 2 – a day of appreciation for our active Military and Veteran Families. On this day, all active Military and Veteran families are invited to visit Santa during regular Santa hours to receive one free 5×7 photo* and a free digital download*

*(with valid Government issued Military/Veteran ID card, one photo per family only, no purchase necessary, valid only on December 2).

Below are other celebrations at the 3 shopping centers on this day showing support to our local Veterans and Active Military families including:

Westfield Mission Valley 

Santa is located in his workshop between Bath & Body Works & AMC Theaters

-More information, go here: https://www.westfield.com/missionvalley/events/all-events/operation-santa-salute-/45701

10-9pm Free goodies from Bloomingdale’s Outlet
12-2pm Letters to Troops and coffee samplings hosted by Starbucks
1-3pm Arts & Crafts hosted by Arts for Learning San Diego, an Affiliate of Young Audiences
3-5pm Holiday Carolers
3-5pm Tasty patriotic samplings from Panera Bread
5:30-7:30pm Gingerbread House for kids hosted by Mint Studio
Military discounts provided by Westfield Mission Valley retailers, including a special 20% off of the entire bill from Ruby’s Diner, can be found here: http://bit.ly/2zTNoVO

 

Westfield Plaza Bonita

Santa is located on Level 1, by John’s Incredible Pizza Co.

-For more information, go here: https://www.westfield.com/plazabonita/events/all-events/operation-santa-salute/45672

12:00PM-2:00PM Holiday caroling by Kaleidoscope Carolers
2:00PM-4:00PM Sips by Red Robin
4:30PM-6:30PM Holiday art activity hosted by Arts for Learning San Diego

Find more details, including military discounts provided by Westfield Plaza Bonita retailers here: http://bit.ly/SantaSalutePB

 

Westfield North County

Santa is located on Level 1, center court

– For more information, go here: https://www.westfield.com/northcounty/events/all-events/operation-santa-salute/45677

10:00AM-12:00PM Holiday art activity hosted by Arts for Learning San Diego, an Affiliate of Young Audiences
12:00PM-2:00PM Holiday caroling by Kaleidoscope Carolers
12:00PM-2:00PM Merchandise display by Allegiance, showcasing the New Allegiance Clothing Patriotic Tee Lineup and Spy Optic. Plus a 20% discount on ALL Allegiance Apparel only in-store December 2-3. Visit their store on Level 3 for a free cinch bag while supplies last (with valid Government issued Military/Veteran ID card). No Purchase necessary.
2:00PM-4:00PM Holiday bites by Auntie Anne’s
2:00PM-4:00PM Holiday cards for military/veteran families, presented by Totally Thomas’ Toy Depot
Find more details, including military discounts provided by Westfield North County retailers here: http://bit.ly/SantaSaluteNC

HISTORY Offers Up the New Intense Drama Series with KNIGHTFALL: Speaking with Tom Cullen

 

Knightfall

Jeri Jacquin

The History Channel has once again brought amazing story telling and on December 6th you will experience a story of the Knights Templar and the Holy Grail with KNIGHTFALL.

During the Middle Ages, the Knights Templar were an order of men with one goal – the protection of a prized relic known as the Holy Grail. An order of warrior monks, they will do what ever is required to carry out their duty.

Landry (Tom Cullen) is such a warrior monk along with Godfrey (Sam Hazeldine), Tancrede (Simon Merrells) and Gawain (Padraic Delaney). After an attack on their stronghold, they are all forced to flee and fifteen years later find themselves in Paris.

Now a friend to King Philip IV (Ed Stoppard), Queen Joan (Olivia Ross) and Princess Isabella (Sabrina Bartlett), Landry visits much to the hostility of William De Nogaret (Julian Ovenden). The brothers gather to discuss how to do what is right by the all the people they vow to serve. That brings discourse when Landry wants to know why they have not spoken of returning to the Holy Land.

Godfrey leaves to handle business outside Paris and asks that Landry be in charge which makes him instantly suspicious. Parsifal (Bobby Schofield) witnesses what happens on the open road and is given a mission that will cost him dearly.

When a Jewish businessman kills another man in the square in broad daylight, the King orders that the Jewish people must evacuate. What he doesn’t know is that there are others within the palace walls that have more frightening plans. In the chaos, there is a hint that the Holy Grail might be closer than any of the Knights Templar could have hoped bringing Pope Boniface VIII (Jim Carter) to their door.

With this news brings hope of a return to the Holy Land and the Holy Grail!

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I had the opportunity to conference call with Tom Cullen, the actor who marvelously portrays the role of Landry. Having spent my Sundays with Downton Abbey I was drawn to see Cullen’s performance in Knightfall and equally thrilled to talk to him about it.

Jeri Jacquin: Hello Tom, thanks for talking with us today.

Tom Cullen: Thank you too.

JJ: Can you tell us about your experience filming Knightfall?

TC: This is the kind of project I’ve always dreamt of being involved in ever since I was a little boy. I grew up in Wales and I grew up next to a castle. That kind of history is really woven into the fabric of my DNA like I think it is in many European’s DNA. When I was a kid, my dad gave me this wooden sword and shield and I used to go up there with my mate and we just used to run around pretending to be knights and warriors. I think that the older we get the more baggage we carry and I know that I spent a lot of time pining after that kind of innocence. This job really opened up the gateway to accessing the kid again and it felt like every single day I had little Tom next to me swinging a wooden sword around with his mates in a castle in Wales. That was my favorite thing about the job; being able to have as much fun as I had while filming this show and I loved it.

JJ: Besides your informal and very cool childhood training, did you more intensive training?

TC: In drama school in the UK we do a lot of fight training. I’d done a lot of sword training prior and I found that I had the propensity for killing people, ironically. *laughs* I hadn’t swung a sword in about eight years, so it was all very new in many respects. The stunt team that we had was led by an amazing Frenchman, Cédric Proust. He is a top stuntman and fight choreographer. He really put us through it and we had a great swordsman named Roman. The entire team wanted us to be at a very, very high level. So every day on set they would drill us and I did about three months of physical training beforehand to get myself and my body ready for the fighting portion of my character and the series.

Working on Knightfall was a full-on experience because the team wanted it to look authentic and real, and when you watch the fights they are absolutely incredible. I’m so proud of all of the actors who’ve participated in the battles because we’ve really done a great job and the stunt guys have really trained us well and they’re epic battles and muddy and gruesome. And they feel very real, which I think is something I’m very proud of.

There is an incredible battle sequence in the final episode which is the biggest thing I’ve ever been involved in. We had like 400 guys on a battlefield fighting for about two weeks. It’s epic, amazing and the real geeky nerd in me – because I am one – just can’t believe that I’m in it. I’m extremely proud of it.

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JJ: How did you react to getting the role of Landry?

TC: I genuinely love to do stuff that is different from the last thing that I did, and something that really scares me and something that is new. Knightfall was truly a dream come true for me. It’s something that I’ve always dreamt of doing since I was a kid. I grew up on films like ROBIN HOOD – Prince of Thieves and BRAVEHEART and those films had a huge influence on me as a kid. When I read this script it was like my dreams were coming true. It’s really amazing to be a part of a project like this one.

JJ: The Knights Templar and the Holy Grail are fairly known because of documentaries, film and television. I have to say I’m also drawn to that mysterious period of time. Did you research yourself?

TC: Yes. I wanted to know as much about the crusades and about the politics at the time. Not just the politics in Europe or in the Middle East but also Mongolian politics because they had a huge influence.

You just need to immerse yourself in the world and know everything that these men would have known, understand every single and the political permutation that is affected where they reach –where they are at this point and what drives these men and women to do the things that they do. I think that’s something that you have to do.

You take history for granted and history should never be taken for granted because it’s essential for us furthering ourselves as a society and as a culture, because the one thing that history teaches us is that it’s cyclical. So yes, I read a lot and we had a fantastic historian on set. His name is Dan Jones. He’s just released an amazing book that you must read called The Templars which is on the New York Times Bestseller’s List; it’s brilliant. He was there on hand at all times feeding into us and making sure that what we were portraying was as accurate as possible.

So anything that would come up in the script that we didn’t know, we would use him as a source of knowledge and he would say, “Go and read this, go and read that,” or just tell us because he he’s a real fountain of knowledge. That wasn’t just the access that put me in the world of the Knights Templar.

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The costume design, the art direction, the production design, makeup, etc. it was all so dense and real that you’re feel like you’re right in it as soon as you turn up on set. It’s just all there for you, you know, and you can really immerse yourself into the world.

The days we spent on set were amazing. We filmed on the biggest sets in Europe at Barrandov Studios. They built medieval Paris. I’ve never seen anything quite like it and in the show I have to do this shot where I’m riding down this nearly 200-meter long street that they built. There’re 350 extras and each extra has a job, each extra has a name. It is a real world and you just forget that the cameras are there because it’s so extraordinary.

Our costume designer, Diana Cilliers, was amazing. I remember the first time we did our screen test so they can see what it looks like on camera with the makeup and the hair. I remember putting the costume on, the chainmail and everything, and it weighed 50 pounds which was like an insane amount of weight. I struggled to walk down the corridor to get to the studio to do the screen test.

I was like, “Guys, why is the costume so heavy. How are we supposed to move and fight in this?” The answer was that Diana tried out lighter material such as plastics and other materials but they just didn’t look authentic. So they put us in the most authentic costume that they could and we just had to deal with it. We got bigger and we got stronger, and so very quickly we were able to run and jump, get on horses in the 50-pound costumes and do everything that we needed to do to play our parts.

You can see the difference in way that the costumes move and the way that your body moves in them. It’s just authentic and I think it makes for a very real experience when watching the show.

JJ: The relationship between Landry and Godfrey is such a mystery. Can you tell me more about that?

TC: The relationship that Landry has with Godfrey runs throughout the entire first season. In Episode 1, Godfrey is Landry’s surrogate father. Landry was an orphan and Godfrey essentially took him in and saved him from this orphanage. Because of the promise Godfrey saw in him, Landry became a Templar at the age of 11 which is very, very, very rare.

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One of the Templar rules is that you must become a Templar of your own volition because it’s such a monastic lifestyle where you do things like eat your food out of the same bowl as another man. There’s no vanity and no possessions. It’s completely monastic so it’s very rare for a young boy to join the Templars like Landry did.

In Episode 1 there is a truth revealed to Landry about Godfrey that he didn’t know. Landry, like a classic hero that we all know as the protagonist, he hunts and searches for the truth at all costs. He is like a boar who gets physically beaten, emotionally beaten and he just gets back up by himself and charges towards the truth.

Godfrey is pivotal in that circle of truth that Landry is striving towards and it isn’t a very easy journey for Landry to go on throughout the first season. It’s a very satisfying journey for the viewers. Every time the scripts would come in there would be a new revelation and it would be a new shock, a new turn and it was very cool to read and really fun to play. I hope that the audience enjoys it as much as we enjoyed making it.

JJ: The Knights Templar have very strict religious views that is talked about in detail in Knightfall, how do you reconcile that with their mysterious history?

TC: The one thing that history will always do is prove itself cyclical and that human beings have very short memories. We forget very quickly what we’ve already been through and we tend to make the same mistakes. I think it’s really important to remind ourselves of those mistakes.

Of course Knightfall is a show that is about the Templars and you’d be remiss to not talk about the holy wars; though the show actually doesn’t take place during that period of time, it takes place 15 years after the holy wars. The show is about the Templars being disbanded and rounded up. That’s essentially what the show would be over three or four seasons.

The Templars were a very interesting group of men because they were founded to protect pilgrims on the road and that was their purpose. Not to fight wars but to protect people who were going to pray and they were very respectful of all faiths. There is a very famous story of being held captive in the Templar temple. They made space for them so that they could pray with ease and they gave them their space because they respect faith.

I think the show touches on what faith is and how faith can be manipulated to one’s own needs and how faith is often used for political games which is something that has nothing to do with religion. The Holy Grail in our show is used as a pivot of power in which people circle around it and use it in order to gain political favor.

That for me is really a very interesting world to live in. It doesn’t pit religion against religion but it talks about how religion can be manipulated to man’s want and need for power.

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JJ: You have touched on just about every theme regarding the Knights Templar. How do you think this will reach the viewers?

TC: I think what I’m very proud of in the show is that you can kind of look at Knightfall objectively from the outside having not seen it and say, “Oh, this is about guys swinging swords and that’s what the show is about,” but the show is so much more than that. The show is about politics. We have a lot of stuff that takes place in the French Court at the time, dissecting, and breaking down the politics and the machinations of political interplay, which I just love that kind of stuff.

It has a fantastic central spine through the show; an amazing love story which I’m surprised at how strong and moving that story was as we were filming it. It kind of grew into this thing that we had no idea it would become. The show talks about revenge and betrayal, brotherhood, loyalty, faith, humanity and mortality.

I truly believe the show has something for everybody. I think that it is by no means a gendered show. I think that women would love it as much as men will love it and that is something I’m really proud of too. It has fantastic strong female characters. They are actually probably stronger than all of the male characters and they’re just as complex and rich as the male counterparts, and it’s very moving. I’ve watched the last episode three or four times now and I’ve shed many tears every single time. It’s a great rollercoaster.

JJ: Is there anything that makes you nervous about your role in Knightfall?

TC: There’s so much that scared me about this role. The size of it and the responsibility of playing a lead in a show as big as this, it was terrifying. Also just the physical and emotional commitment that was required to make this show work. If I wasn’t committed 100% to the show, it wouldn’t work. They really, really put me through it in the best way possible making sure I became the best Landry I could be. That was a terrifying challenge and terrifying to have to pull off.

I was learning new skills like horse riding and fighting. The biggest thing that was terrifying for me was that – and this is something that I’ve been dealing with my entire life – I was doing something that I love. I read the script and I wanted it so badly because I thought it was so good. That really terrifies me.

I’m much more comfortable in that way. I come from a poor area of Wales where I’m much more comfortable with rejection than not. What terrified me was that I wanted to do it and doing something that you love and that you want is often the scariest thing that you can do because if you fail at it, that’s a big journey to go on.

JJ: Is there something in particular that drew you toward the medieval era?

TC: I’ve always been obsessed with the medieval time period because I think it’s a time that we can look back on and learn from. Actually 800 years isn’t that long ago and that this is the time really when the world that we live in today was created and formulated. We’re still feeling the repercussions of the actions and choices the people made in the medieval period today.

It’s also a period that is grimy and dirty and dangerous. The line between life and death is so thin, it’s really interesting to learn about. I think that’s a fantastic place to make a drama in. It’s a very rich world since life and death was so next to each other and it’s world rich in terms of human wants and needs.

Nowadays our lives are reasonably comfortable for certain people, especially in America. We typically don’t have that kind of life and death threat every single day where we are going to drop down with scurvy or have to go into battle.

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Our choices aren’t as drastic but if you have a lifespan of 35 years, every choice you make is loaded. I think that the world of the medieval period is one of very high octane and people making life and death choices every single move. That for me is an exhilarating period of time to make a drama in.

JJ: The costume designer Diana Cilliers has done some amazing work. Can you talk about the garments and some of your favorites?

TC: Yes. Unfortunately, I only ever had one costume really which is either with chain mail or without chain mail but most of the time with chain mail. But Diana made it so that it was completely authentic even in terms of the undergarment underneath the chain mail. We had a very, very thick heavy muslin underneath like a linen dresser with leather underneath and the same on our bottom half as well. The chain mail was real metal and so it gave that kind of weight and movement to it.

The tunics were made in the same way that they would have made the fabrics back at the time. Things like the crosses they spent a lot of time discussing what cross to use. Templars used many different crosses depending on where they were based, and later in the series, we meet another group of Templars and they have a different cross than what you see me wearing.

Diana talked about how they would have died, the wreaths, the crosses and how they would have stitched them and sewn them on, and how the draper would have done it. They stitched in the same way that they would have stitched then. They had a huge workshop at our studios, Barrandov Studios in Prague, with the most incredible costume teams who worked tirelessly. I don’t think people realized how much work it took because I certainly didn’t realize it.

When you have 400 extras on set, the costume team starts work at 2 o’clock in the morning to start dressing all of these men and women so that we’re ready to start filming at 7:00 am. Then they wash all the costumes and they go to bed at an insane hour and they do it in shifts. The work that goes into making 400 beautiful costumes is unprecedented. In terms of the court costumes, I was really jealous because their costumes were incredible.

Queen Joan and Princess Isabella played by Olivia Ross and Sabrina Bartlett, their costumes were inspired from real medieval images and fabrics that they had used and they are just unbelievable. Like every time I saw Olivia, she was in this new extraordinary costume that Diana fashioned and created out of seemingly thin air in no time and they’re just stunning works of art really.

What is amazing is that the way they were made is the way that they would have made them back then. Diana was really collaborative as well. I think each of us wanted to have our own unique way in which we wore our costume or we wore our belt or the color of our cross and so she allowed me to choose the color of my cross and how I would have dyed it. All of that really detailed history and information about The Templars is fascinating and we loved going there and making it as authentic as possible.

JJ: Landry is such a complex character from childhood to when we are introduced to him. How do you think becoming a Templar at the tender age of 11 shaped him?

TC: I think that when we first meet Landry at the top of Episode 1 he is 20. He is brash and young –he is a maverick, incredibly cocky and is kind of emboldened by the fact that he has God on his side and he thinks that he’s invincible, which I think a lot of 20 year olds think, regardless of whether they have God on their side or not. I know I certainly felt like that.

What we see at the top of Episode 1 is his entire life flipped upside down when they lose Acre, the last Templar stronghold in the Holy Land and they lose the Holy Grail. We flash forward 15 years and when you’ve been brought up as a as a warrior, and that’s all you know, everything you know, it’s a tough reality to deal with. He’s like a caged animal, unable to fulfill what he thinks is his only purpose and duty which is to fight.

When we meet him, he is this very, very complex, pulled apart guy in Episode 1. He is battling with his humanity and he is secular yet he is also still mentally devout. He is very loyal to his brothers, his family yet he is lying to them. He is having an affair with a woman yet he is a monk. He is the bravest, most fearless warrior yet he’s starting to feel a sense of his own mortality.

I think that’s why he kind of falls in love with this woman. It’s not that he’s doubting God or that he’s doubting the Templars or religion, but that he’s doubting himself. He is in a conflict, in a battle with himself, which are the stories that I love to watch where your hero is so full of contradiction and battle and personal complications. Throughout the first season, we see him work through that and battle through that and try and find out who he really is. It’s an awesome journey for me to play and to take viewers on.

JJ: Talking about more seasons, do you know where Landry and the show will go?

TC: We love the show and we really hope that we can continue making it for as long as possible because we’re a real family and we’re very, very proud of it and we love making it. There’s also still a lot of the Templar history that has yet to be told. We have an idea of where the show will go and where it will take us. What actually happens is that while you’re making a show it becomes this dialogue that happens between the writers, the actors, directors, the costume designers, the art director, the production designer, makeup artists, etc. where you’re constantly kind of feeding into this pot which is the show.

It evolves and changes and moves in ways that you would never expect it to. It’s like a living organism but that surprises you. Though we have an idea of where this is going, actually the truth is that we don’t in many respects. We have the structure of history and what actually happened which we have to stay with but in terms of the characters, and their fuels and wants and needs and how they navigate their way through that history is something that we’re constantly being surprised by with the characters. That’s a really exciting place to work with.

Especially as an actor, I don’t want to know where the character is going because in life I have no idea what I’m doing tomorrow or how it’s going to pan out. And so I can only be in the present and I can only make choices in the present, and so that’s what you want your characters to do. The writers actually withheld scripts from us and didn’t tell us what was happening later in this first season so that we could be surprised in the moments whilst we were making the episode, which is a really fantastic and authentic way to work.

Once we get the script we kind of talk about them and collaborate on them. Dominic Minghella is an incredible show runner. He is a force of nature and an amazing man and a brilliant writer, and he really values the actors’ input. He is always very good at fielding ideas and whether he takes them or not is up to him but it feels like a very collaborative process where everybody is feeding into it and we all have ownership over the show and that’s really exciting.

JJ: I won’t deny that I am and always will be a huge Downton Abbey fan. How was it for you getting together with a few of your DA costars?

TC: I was so happy to work with Jim Carter who plays Mr. Carson on Downton and Julian Ovenden who plays Charles Blake on Downton Abbey, because they are just unbelievable actors. And I think that the caliber that they have only reflects so well on Knightfall, you know. The cast that we’ve assembled on Knightfall is one of the best that I’ve ever worked with. They are really amazing actors and amazing sponsors.

To have someone like Jim Carter who is a multiple Emmy nominated actor and the fact that he was so excited and hungry to do our show, I think is really a testament to the scripts of Knightfall. We hope that everyone likes it as much as we do.

history

I can confidently say that the History Channel’s new series Knightfall will be a series that will have viewers coming back for more. There is a complexity to these characters that challenges their humanity and power against the history of the Knights Templar, the Holy Grail and Kings of other country’s involved in it all.

There is intrigue that tests loyalty and a brotherhood that is going through pains of its own from inside their own house. Bringing it all together with fantastic costuming and set design, Knightfall draws the viewer in and takes us on an adventure through the medieval era.

Dan Jones is the New York Times best selling author who is also responsible for Summer of Blood: England’s First Revolution, Magna Carta: The Birth of Liberty,  The Plantagenets and The Wars of the Roses as well as The Templars: The Rise and Spectacular Fall of God’s Holy Warriors.

There is plenty of time to learn all you can about Knightfall and the History Channel has made it even easier. Go to http://www.history.com/shows/knightfall/pages/dan-jones-knights-templar to see stories and videos including Pilgrims, Warriors, Heretics: Who Were the Knights Templar?, The Templars’ Crusader Origins, From Pilgrim Bodyguards to Master Warriors, How the Templars Made and Lost a Fortune, How Religion and Greed Toppled the Templars, From Medieval Myths to Modern Mystery and Were Crusader Knights Really Protecting the Cup of Christ?

 The History Channel brings more stellar successful series to television with The Hunt for the Zodiac Killer, The Curse of Oak Island, The WarFighters as well as the continuing series such as American Pickers, Pawn Stars, and Ice Road Truckers. Let us not forget the absolutely stunning series VIKINGS that returns November 29th.

Knightfall premiers Wednesday, December 6 at 10PM ET/PT on History!

ON WINGS OF EAGLES: The Eric Liddell Story is One of Faith

On Eagles

 

Jeri Jacquin

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has every right to be amazingly proud of their DVD release of ON WINGS OF EAGLES: The Eric Liddell Story directed by Stephen Shin and Michael Parker.

Eric Liddell (Joseph Fiennes) has returned to China after winning a Gold Medal at the 1942 Paris Olympics. Believing he was born to help others through his faith and the missionary teachings of his parents, he returns to the classroom to teach children.

It all becomes dangerous when in 1937 Japan invades China at the beginning of World War II. Finding help in Xu Niu (Shawn Dou), the two continue to find a way to reach the towns and villages. Knowing the danger is increasing, Eric sends his wife Florence (Elizabeth Arends) and their children to Canada.

Eric

Florence knows right away that Eric intends to stay to fulfill his duty to help the villagers as much as he can. During a wedding ceremony, the Japanese capture Eric along with the entire church congregation and inter them in camps. Separating families, he takes on the mantle of leader and all that it implies trying to make their lives livable.

When the camp leader discovers who Eric is, he demands that they race. Providing him with nutritious food, Eric finds a way to distribute it to the children and those who are sickly. Xu Niu is outside the camp as well finding ways to bring in necessary food and medicine when he is able and always keeping an eye on his friend.

As the camp runs low on food for both the prisoners and the Japanese soldiers, Eric tries his best to compromise with results that are devastating. It doesn’t stop Eric Liddell from bringing hope to all those who rely on his strength to survive their time as prisoners.

It is hope that makes them stronger together!

Fiennes as Liddell is a quiet man who seems to have the ability to bring people such joy. Believing that helping others is what his duty on earth is, Fiennes brings a gentleness and strength to the role. That is what I enjoy about this actor in that his emotions come through his eyes and expression. Portraying Liddell is a challenge in itself and Fiennes gives it so much soul.

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Dou as Xu Niu shares such a beloved friendship with Liddell. Seemingly inseparable throughout the film, it is clear that there is no boundary between these two individuals. Seeing one another as family is exactly what this film is all about. Fiennes and Dou make it feel so believable and lovely.

It also must be said that the music by Scott Greer is just absolutely lovely and powerful. It doesn’t drown out the emotions that we need to be feeling about the story but instead gently reminds us that investing our emotions in the story is a good thing.

The cast is exceptional with the addition of Augusta Xu-Holland as Catherine Standish, Richard Sanderson as Dr. Hubbard, Jesse Kove as Hugh Johnson, Simon Twu as Chen Quan, Shigeo Kobayashi as Yoshinori Yumoto, Zach Ireland as David Marshall and Bruce Locke as the Elder Xu Niu.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment brings amazing quality motion picture and television productions. Such films as BILLY LYNN’S LONG HALFTIME WALK, THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN, UNDERWORLD BLOOD WARS and PASSENGERS also available for your home entertainment library – there is so much more. To see more of what they have to offer please visit www.sonypictures.com.

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I have intentionally left out details in my review because I truly want the viewer to have the chance to feel the film in every scene. ON WINGS OF EAGLES: The Eric Liddell Story is such a heartfelt film of love, family, friendship and loyalty that endures through a struggle that is unfathomable.

The cast draws us into a journey and an era that could sometimes be so unforgiving and incomprehensible yet brings out the best in people. From helping one another to finding friendship and help from the villagers outside the electric fences, it is a reminder that evil may seem so tall but good doesn’t need a yardstick.

In the end – it is the true story of hope!

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI is Oscar Worthy!

Three poster

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from writer/director Martin McDonagh and Fox Searchlight Pictures is the story of a mother who isn’t giving up using THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI.

Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) is a woman dealing with a lot in her life. The painful loss of a murdered daughter, ex-husband Charlie (John Hawkes) who has anger issues and chief of police William Willoughby (Woody Harrelson) who she believes doesn’t care about catching her daughter’s killer.

Driving home on a small stretch of road are three dilapidated billboards and Mildred gets an idea. Responsible for the billboards is Red (Caleb Jones) who takes her down payment on all three billboards with a message to the chief of police. The first to see them is deputy Dixon (Sam Rockwell) who immediately tells Willoughby.

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Everyone soon learns of the billboards and son Robbie (Lucas Hedges) is feeling the impact of what his mother is doing. Worried how this will all affect her chief of police husband, Anne (Abbie Cornish) is assured that it will all pass. Wanting to protect Mildred is James (Peter Dinklage) who Charlie takes a pot-shots at. Instead of it passing, things get out of hand as the insanity of Dixon and Mildred’s anger start a town war.

Small town living just got a little dicey!

McDormand as Mildred is spectacular, amazing, brilliant, moving, shocking and every bit of a woman tired of the b.s.! Feeling unheard by the police and thrown away by an abusive husband, one idea gives this character the remarkable strength to say, without a word, ‘I will be heard or else!’ Every moment McDormand is on the screen I am completely riveted and engrossed with anticipation as to what she would do next. Nominations are in McDormand’s future and I, for one, will be cheering her every step of the way.

Harrelson as Willouby is an understanding and tolerant man. He knows that Mildred is still riddled with grief and now feels the pressure even more that he hasn’t found the killer. He is also dealing with Dixon who is making matters worse with his antics. Spending time with his wife and kids is becoming more important as his secret hasn’t been a secret for quite some time. Harrelson is endearing and is impeccable with his character humor. This is the second time in the last few months that Harrelson has impressed me as his film LBJ should also be seen!

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Rockwell as Dixon gets to bring out the inner complete douche bag of this character. Feeling he has the right to do what ever he wants to who ever he wants because he has a badge is an embarrassment to pretty much everyone in town. Deciding he isn’t going to stop being a jerk, Dixon once again takes matters into his own hands and it’s nothing but disaster. It sure doesn’t help that Momma Dixon (Sandy Martin) is stoking the fires.

Hedges as Robbie is a young man who understands what his mother has been through but doesn’t agree with how she handles things. Living the same pain about his sister every day as well, he watches her actions and can’t seem to make Mildred understand that nothing good can come of it all. Jones as Red is a laid back kid who sees everything the town is about and when it comes to his door a choice has to be made.

Dinklage as James is a good hearted guy who seems to have a soft spot for Mildred. He wants nothing more than to protect her – oh and date her. Hawkes as Charlie thinks that he can be as abusive as possible towards Mildred and the ex in ex-husband isn’t going to stop him and is certainly is a different role for Hawkes.

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Other cast include Zeljko Ivanek as the Desk Sergeant, Amanda Warren as Denise, Kerry Condon as Pamela, Riya Atwood as Polly, Selah Atwood as Jane, Christopher Berry as Tony, Jerry Winsett as Geoffrey, Kathryn Newton as Angela, Samara Weaving as Penelope, Clarke Peters as Abercrombie, Malaya Drew as Gabriella, and Darrell Britt-Gibson as Jerome.

TUBS OF POPCORN: THREE BILLBOARDS IN EBBING, MISSOURI deserves without a doubt five tubs of popcorn out of five. This film has every range of human emotion possible and isn’t shy about making you feel it. A combination of the darkest of comedy mixed with jaw dropping twists and drama that is engrossing is what makes this film from start to finish.

There isn’t anything apologetic in this film and each character has a life of its own. McDormand is powerful and doesn’t skip a beat in leading the film to its chuckling conclusion. Harrelson and Rockwell are polar opposites which is what makes their characters work and there is no surprise in what these two actors accomplish in this film.

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The film does a dance with the viewer’s emotions and even sets of a shock or two but after seeing director McDonagh’s previous work such as IN BRUGES and a personal favorite SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS could anyone not expect this film from him? I met McDonagh during his press junket for SEVEN PSYCHOPATHS and I knew after speaking with him that I’d love anything he did. His sense of humor and way with characters comes out in every second of the film.

Writing the screenplay with McDormand in mind for the lead role, I am equally thrilled that he did so because she rules the screen as Mildred. This is a powerful film with exceptional performances that can not and should not be missed.

In the end – welcome to Ebbing, Missouri!

 

 

ROMAN J. ISRAEL, ESQ. is an Acquired Taste

roman poster

Jeri Jacquin

In theatres for Thanksgiving weekend from writer/director Dan Gilroy and Columbia Pictures is a different look at the law from the eyes of ROMAN J. ISRAEL, ESQ.

Roman (Denzel Washington) is a lawyer who doesn’t go into the courtroom but instead is responsible for writing the briefs for employer Jackson. Going to work and being in a routine is what works for Roman.

That is until his boss of 30 years has a heart attack and daughter Lynn (Amanda Warren) announces that the office will close and the clients will be taken by George Pierce (Colin Farrell). Roman can not comprehend what is happening but George steps in and offers him a job at his firm.

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Wanting to try something different, Roman meets Maya Alston (Carmen Ejogo) who is responsible for a volunteer law service. There meeting is strained and Roman has no choice but to take the job with George.

Their first case is a young man named Derrell (DeRon Horton) who is involved in a store robbery and murder. Roman tries to work the case himself to make a deal with the D.A. in exchange for information regarding the other man who is wanted by police. When that goes wrong, George is furious and Roman spirals.

Doing the unthinkable, he decides to do for himself and experience life outside of the law. When it all becomes too much, Roman does what he has always done – what works for him.

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Washington as Israel is a character locked into his ways and has no problem giving his opinion – even if it makes other uncomfortable. His verbal confrontations put him in situations that has consequences and Washington’s performance brings each on head to head on a level that can be dizzying.

Farrell as George wants to do the right thing by Roman but at times you get the feeling he is doing it for his own financial gain. The thing about Farrell is that he has this amazing ability to give us a character that might be a little bit douchey but the performance is worth it. A sharped dressed lawyer seems to suit Farrell and it must be said the women around me had no problem with looking at him.

Ejogo as Maya is a little surprised by Roman’s behavior yet there is something uniquely honest that draws her. They both try to understand one another yet there is still a thin line of disconnect. Jackson as Amanda knows that Roman is an important part of her father’s work and tries to be understanding when Roman has to deal with death.

Other cast includes Lynda Gravatt as Vernita Wells, Hugo Armstrong as Fritz Molinar, Sam Gilroy as Connor Novick, Amari Cheatom as Carter Johnson, Nazneen Contractor as Melina Nassour and Tony Plana as Jessie Salinas.

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ROMAN J. ISRAEL, ESQ. is a film that deal with several issues of law and the criminal court system. The character of Roman is definitely set in his ways and doesn’t suffer fools. When he feels that the system isn’t fair and those who claim to defend the helpless are not doing just that, Roman strays and Washington takes him to levels that are questionable yet riveting.

Of course this film will be a hard sell I think because the way the character speaks might be just a tad much. I will be honest and say my head was spinning at certain points and the story is fairly predictable as well.

Director Gilroy is sort of a hit and miss for me because I absolutely love the 2014 film Nightcrawler and theatre goers went crazy for Kong: Skull Island. Then there is a lull with other films so I wouldn’t mind having a conversation with him about it all.

In the end – all rise!

The Best in Twisted can be Found in ALFRED HITCHCOCK: The Ultimate Collection on Bluray!

Hitchcock collection

Jeri Jacquin

Coming on Bluray is the most amazing collection of films by one of Hollywood’s iconic storyteller and filmmaker as Universal Pictures Home Entertainment brings ALFRED HITCHCOCK: The Ultimate Collection.

Known as the Master of Suspense, Alfred Joseph Hitchcock has brought suspense and mystery to the big screen. Coming to Hollywood in 1939, he worked the town with a unique style that made him a staple on the big screen and small.

Introducing theatre goers to his work is the 1927 film The Lodger that began the idea of a thriller. In 1939, it would be another Hollywood great David O. Selznick brings Hitchcock into the fold and the two often disagreed on the films being made. The film REBECCA the next year is America’s first glimpse at what he could do.

Psycho

For several years after Hitchcock mixed genres with such films as MR. & MRS. SMITH and SABOTEUR. One of my favorites is the 1945 film SPELLBOUND and it could be easily because of Gregory Peck but honestly it is also the amazing story.

He would follow it up with NOTORIOUS with another stellar actor in Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman who was also in SPELLBOUND. These films should be a must-see because they are an introduction to this amazing collection of films on Bluray.

PSYCHO was released in 1940 starring Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh and brought audiences the first fear of showers that continues with me at least! In 1963, Hitchcock brings another side of fear with Rod Taylor and Tippi Hendren being stalked by THE BIRDS. Tippi Hendren returns in 1964 with a psychological thriller in MARNIE.

What makes this collection amazing are the fifteen films including PSYCHO, THE BIRDS, VERTIGO, REAR WINDOW, NORTH BY NORTHWEST, THE MAN WHO KNEW TO MUCH, MARNIE, SABOTEUR, SHADOW OF A DOUBT, ROPE, THE TROUBLE WITH HARRY, TORN CURTAIN, TOPAZ, FRENZY and FAMILY PLOT.

The Birds

The actors in these films range from Jimmy Stewart, Paul Newman, Cary Grant, Gregory Peck, Sean Connery, Joseph Cotton, Bruce Dern and John Forsythe. Let us not forget the actresses that include Kim Novack, Shirley MacClaine, Tippi Hendren, Ingrid Bergman, Julie Andrews, and Karen Black. That is absolutely a list of stellar talent.

But the Bluray collection doesn’t stop there as ALFRED HITCHCOCK: The Ultimate Collection also includes seven television episodes from Alfred Hitchcock Presents and three television episodes from The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.

Still not enough? Well then, how about fifteen hours of Bonus Features that include: Documentaries, Expert Commentaries, Interviews, Screen Tests, Storyboards and so much more!

Each disc comes with a look at the original posters and colorful list of each discs bonus feature. Also included is a stunning 58-page booklet that is filled with color information and tucks neatly into the creative box with film photos.

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 www.uphe.com.

Family Plot

It doesn’t seem enough to say this is the collection that Hitchcock fans need to have in their home entertainment library. Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has truly outdone themselves because ever film in this collection is a masterpiece! Each film brings something unique, thrilling and yes, keeps me still leery of birds and shower curtains!

The holidays are here and Hitchcock wouldn’t mind at all being in a film fans stocking! I am a fan of rainy days and trust me when I say a cup of something warm, a fuzzy blanket and a stretch on the couch will be happening because these films are what these kinds of days are made for.

From Universal Pictures Home Entertainment on stunning Bluray is ALFRED HITCHCOCK: The Ultimate Collection!

In the end – there is no mind like Hitchcock’s!

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