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THE KILL TEAM Brings More Fears During Wartime to Bluray

The Kill Team cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray and Digital from writer/director Dan Krauss, A24 and Lionsgate are events of war and the effects caused by THE KILL TEAM.

Andrew Briggman (Nat Wolff) is a young man who joins the military and immediately send to the Middle East. Settling into camp, he tries to learn the ropes from the other soldiers. His first experience with the seriousness of their work is when their leader Weppler (Osy Ikhile) is killed. The group tries to come together as the new leader Sgt. Deeks (Alexander Skarsgard) walks in with confidence.

Deeks makes it very clear what he expects from the men under him and even treats them to a cookout. He also takes Briggman under his wing a little and encourages him to be more forward in his soldiering. The young soldier appreciates the attention and begins to find his way and becomes more inclusive with the platoon.

kill 2

Out on a mission, Briggman remembers what Weppler told him about ‘hearts and minds’ but Deeks doesn’t agree with this approach. In fact, while out on patrol, he witnesses something that he knows is frighteningly wrong. Unsure of what to do, Briggman reaches out to his father William (Rob Morrow) who tells his son to stand fast using his military contacts to find help.

As word begins to spread that there could be a rat in the ranks, Briggman watches everyone including Deeks for signs of danger. The days become more difficult to handle as the others start weeding out who could be the person turning on them all.

Every move brings him to a decision that will cost everyone!

Wolff as Briggman is a young man who comes from a military family and sees himself as doing his duty to country. Not as tough as some of the other soldiers he is with means if someone is going to be made to feel the outcast it is Briggman. Wolff brings a believable naivetés to his character that is shattered quickly and his reaction is fear. From beginning to the end of the film I felt with Briggman every step of the way (including feeling a big paranoid) and all of the emotions means Wolff delivers.

Skarsgard as Deeks is charming and disarming at the same time. Coming off as ‘one of the guys’ is perfect for a predator of his calibre. Of course I know Skarsgard can play a villain because I’ve seen him do it as a vampire in the HBO series True Blood, but this isn’t the same by any means. In THE KILL TEAM, he uses war and the innocence of these young soldiers to fulfill his own nasty need for destruction. Despicable yes, well portrayed – absolutely.

kill 1

Morrow as William Briggman is a father who just wants his son to come home alive without physical harm or emotional scars. When his son reaches out, Dad does what dad’s do, try to fix a problem before it becomes bigger than a problem.

Other cast include Anna Francolini as Laura, Oliver Ritchie as Cappy, Brian Marc as Marquez, Jonathan Whitesell as Coombs, Adam Long as Rayburn and Ian Attard as Captain Weaver.

Lionsgate is a global leader in motion picture production and distribution for theatres, television, home entertainment and more. Theatre franchises include THE HUNGER GAMES, and DIVERGENT along with JOHN WICK. Now, adding this film to its 16,000 motion picture and television titles you can see everything coming soon as well as available now at http://www.lionsgate.com.

The Special Features of THE KILL TEAM include The Reality of Courage: Making THE KILL TEAM, Deleted Scenes and Audio Commentary with Writer-Director Dan Krauss.

THE KILL TEAM also includes a Digital Copy that allows the viewer to stream instantly or download to your devices such as PC’s, laptops, tablets and your own phone.

THE KILL TEAM is a difficult film because the idea presented is one that people have thought about but never talk openly about. War brings about actions that otherwise wouldn’t be a part of a person’s behaviors in everyday life. Not just in the recent wars but wars throughout history people have done things to one another that aren’t spoken of in ‘polite society’.

kill 3

Not so much in recent years as PTSD has become prevalent in our world and with that come the stories (and even photographs/video with our technology now) that show what the men/women of the armed services endure. The leader in this film, Deeks, is supposedly one of their own that is trusted to do his job and protect his soldiers is the disturbing part. Instead he is a man that betrays that trust and does the unthinkable.

Briggman is a character but not so far removed from all the young soldiers who join the military. When the trust of a leader is betrayed, the fear is just another thing that can get one killed. Anyone in the military or family of those in the military will experience this film in a more difficult way because having a service member in the family is already difficult enough. The choices they make as soldiers is one most of us will never have to make and the film portrays that as well.

The entire film is on an emotional roller coaster for the viewer but at the same time will have the same viewer writing up a mental list of questions. That’s where the conversations come into play that need to be had regarding the realities of war. Of course my father and grandfather came from a generation where what happened in war was never discussed but that is no longer the case and, in fact, they are now speaking out for their own mental health.

In the years to come this will not be the only time we hear and see a story of this kind as writer/director Krauss gives us a based on a true story, in-depth look at a few good men brought to many bad (and sad) behaviors.

In the end – they are soldiers, brothers and enemies.

THE KILL TEAM

The Kill Team cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres and On Demand from writer/director Dan Krauss and A24 are events of war and the effects caused by THE KILL TEAM.

 

Andrew Briggman (Nat Wolff) is a young man who joins the military and immediately send to the Middle East. Settling into camp, he tries to learn the ropes from the other soldiers. His first experience with the seriousness of their work is when their leader Weppler (Osy Ikhile) is killed. The group tries to come together as the new leader Sgt. Deeks (Alexander Skarsgard) walks in with confidence.

 

Deeks makes it very clear what he expects from the men under him and even treats them to a cookout. He also takes Briggman under his wing a little and encourages him to be more forward in his soldiering. The young soldier appreciates the attention and begins to find his way and becomes more inclusive with the platoon.

kill 2

Out on a mission, Briggman remembers what Weppler told him about ‘hearts and minds’ but Deeks doesn’t agree with this approach. In fact, while out on patrol, he witnesses something that he knows is frighteningly wrong. Unsure of what to do, Briggman reaches out to his father William (Rob Morrow) who tells his son to stand fast using his military contacts to find help.

 

As word begins to spread that there could be a rat in the ranks, Briggman watches everyone including Deeks for signs of danger. The days become more difficult to handle as the others start weeding out who could be the person turning on them all.

Every move brings him to a decision that will cost everyone!

Wolff as Briggman is a young man who comes from a military family and sees himself as doing his duty to country. Not as tough as some of the other soldiers he is with means if someone is going to be made to feel the outcast it is Briggman. Wolff brings a believable naivetés to his character that is shattered quickly and his reaction is fear. From beginning to the end of the film I felt with Briggman every step of the way (including feeling a big paranoid) and all of the emotions means Wolff delivers.

kill 1

Skarsgard as Deeks is charming and disarming at the same time. Coming off as ‘one of the guys’ is perfect for a predator of his calibre. Of course I know Skarsgard can play a villain because I’ve seen him do it as a vampire in the HBO series True Blood, but this isn’t the same by any means. In THE KILL TEAM, he uses war and the innocence of these young soldiers to fulfill his own nasty need for destruction. Despicable yes, well portrayed – absolutely.

Morrow as William Briggman is a father who just wants his son to come home alive without physical harm or emotional scars. When his son reaches out, Dad does what dad’s do, try to fix a problem before it becomes bigger than a problem.

Other cast include Anna Francolini as Laura, Oliver Ritchie as Cappy, Brian Marc as Marquez, Jonathan Whitesell as Coombs, Adam Long as Rayburn and Ian Attard as Captain Weaver.

THE KILL TEAM is a difficult film because the idea presented is one that people have thought about but never talk openly about. War brings about actions that otherwise wouldn’t be a part of a person’s behaviors in everyday life. Not just in the recent wars but wars throughout history people have done things to one another that aren’t spoken of in ‘polite society’.

kill 3

Not so much in recent years as PTSD has become prevalent in our world and with that come the stories (and even photographs/video with our technology now) that show what the men/women of the armed services endure. The leader in this film, Deeks, is supposedly one of their own that is trusted to do his job and protect his soldiers is the disturbing part. Instead he is a man that betrays that trust and does the unthinkable.

Briggman is a character but not so far removed from all the young soldiers who join the military. When the trust of a leader is betrayed, the fear is just another thing that can get one killed. Anyone in the military or family of those in the military will experience this film in a more difficult way because having a service member in the family is already difficult enough. The choices they make as soldiers is one most of us will never have to make and the film portrays that as well.

The entire film is on an emotional roller coaster for the viewer but at the same time will have the same viewer writing up a mental list of questions. That’s where the conversations come into play that need to be had regarding the realities of war. Of course my father and grandfather came from a generation where what happened in war was never discussed but that is no longer the case and, in fact, they are now speaking out for their own mental health.

In the years to come this will not be the only time we hear and see a story of this kind as writer/director Krauss gives us a based on a true story, in-depth look at a few good men brought to many bad (and sad) behaviors.

In the end – they are soldiers, brothers and enemies.

GLORIA BELL

Gloria Bell cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from director Sebastian Lelio and A24 comes the story of a woman trying to find her place with GLORIA BELL.

Gloria (Julianne Moore) is a divorced 50-something woman who is trying to find her way. Escaping occasionally to dance at a local nightclub, it helps her deal with life. When she isn’t tripping the lights, she sees her daughter Anne (Caren Pistorius) and son Peter (Michael Cera).

On one of her dancing nights she meets Arnold (John Turturro) and there is a connection as they start seeing one another. What Gloria doesn’t understand is the mysterious relationship Arnold has with his two grown daughters but she lets it alone. Deciding its time for her own family to meet him, Gloria invites him to Peter’s birthday party.

gloria 1

While there, Gloria’s ex-husband Dustin (Brad Garrett) makes Arnold feel as if he doesn’t exist so he sneaks away from the party. Upset beyond belief, Gloria won’t listen to anything Arnold says when he attempts to apologize.

She ignores his calls, ignores the flowers but the calls keep coming. After Anne leaves, Gloria gives in for a trip with Arnold to Las Vegas hoping they can get past any issues but it takes an instant for it all to change.

Now Gloria must decide whether to remain stagnant or remember that she can be everything and that includes happy!

Moore as Gloria has the serious chops to pull of this role. There is a vulnerability needed here to make this character believable and Moore gives it her all. Gloria is a woman who is trying to find her place in a world that doesn’t recognize her as a young woman any longer and doesn’t exactly embrace the number 50 when it comes to meeting a good man. Instead, she flounders with her family and the ability to let go adding a complicated relationship with Arnold. I just love Moore!

gloria 3

Turturro as Arnold is a complicated character because from the beginning you are never quite sure where he stands with the way he deals with things. One moment he is completely happy with and the next he is tortured by family issues that he can not seem to ignore.

Other cast include: Sean Astin as Jeremy, Cassie Thomson as Virginia, Chris Mulkey as Charlie, Barbara Sukowa as Melinda along with Jeanne Tripplehorn, Holland Taylor Tyson Ritter and Rita Wilson as Vicky and I just love her spunk which is exactly what Gloria needs!

GLORIA BELL is a film that dives in the deep end of the complications that come with older relationships. Being divorced with a family is one thing but trying to also be with someone who also has a family brings in every complication you can imagine. Director Lelio doesn’t hesitate to tackle these issues head on no matter how messy.

gloria 2

There is something about Moore’s portrayal of this character that brings about every range of the over-50 female experience. She is vulnerable, guilt ridden, lives slightly dangerously, reaches out to life only to pull back when it comes close and finds herself completely alone.

The music for the film is perfect but then again I found myself singing along with ease. Every song fit perfectly in the scene and working its way toward the end I would expect to see Gloria dancing madly!

In the end – this is her life.

THE VANISHING OF SIDNEY HALL is Stunning Storytelling!

the vanishing

 

Jeri Jacquin

In theatres this week from writer/director Shawn Christensen and A24 is a film that allows us a look inside of a life of secrets with THE VANISHING OF SIDNEY HALL.

Sidney (Logan Lerman) is a young man who sees the world differently than his classmates. He finds solace in writing and is encouraged by his teacher who sees something special in him. Sidney also has a little mystery in his life when a girl who lives across the street lets a bit of her feelings show.

He introduces himself to Melody (Elle Fanning) and they begin a deep relationship that Sidney knows is life changing. What becomes life-altering is when school jock Brett Newport (Blake Jenner) asks Sidney to hold something for him and to tell no one. Happy to oblige, he is also curious about what had Brett so nervous.

What happened between the two young men becomes the subject of Sidney’s book that sky-rockets him to literary stardom. The fame becomes a whirlwind that begins to affect his relationship with Melody and when it all begins to fall apart – Sidney disappears without a trace.

vanishing 1

That’s when a detective (Kyle Chandler) begins searching for Sidney who is wanted for a series of fires set in places where there are books. Trying to follow the clues, the detective hopes it will lead to Sidney and answers as to what happened to push this young man toward a path filled with pain.

Lerman as Sidney carries this story and film brilliantly in a way that kept me wondering how much more one life can take. I literally couldn’t take my eyes off his performance because his character is so dedicated to everything he pursued that the pitfalls just crushed my heart. All of that emotion is because of Lerman’s portrayal which is a thing of true beauty.

Fanning as Melody clearly enjoys life, sees the beauty past the pain and loves Sidney. Her character sees the best in Sidney and supports when it all becomes too much for him. Trying to be his support comes at a price that Melody seemed more than willing to pay until it was no longer just she that would pay.

vanishing 3

Chandler as the Detective is absolutely amazing in this role. Watching him take each crime scene apart piece by piece to ‘get his man’, it also gives the viewer the same opportunity to go back into Sidney’s life and see what might have gone unnoticed because, like our own lives, it is all in the eye of the beholder. I loved this performance by Chandler but then again if you’ve seen the series Bloodline, you know this actor was certainly up to the challenge in this role.

The must-see breakout performance is Jenner as Brett Newport. This BMOC senior jock walks the hallways of high school in his letterman’s jacket without a care in the world. Sometimes what we think is so true of someone can turn at a moments notice. Jenner’s character brings harshness mixed with a sadness that feels so real for this young man.

Another shout out to Nathan Lane as Harold! Although his role isn’t large, Lane has the unique ability to make every second he is on screen count and playing Harold is no exception. As Harold, Lane is brash, bold and I loved it.

Other cast include Michelle Monaghan as Mrs. Hall, Janina Gavankar as Gina, Margaret Qualley as Alexandra, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Duane, Tim Nelson as Johan, Michael Drayer as Max, Christina Brucato as Jeanine, Alex Karpovsky as Bauer, Darren Pettie as Gerald Hall and David Basche as Senator Dale.

vanishing 2

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give THE VANISHING OF SIDNEY HALL four tubs of popcorn out of five. I know it is early in the year yet I feel like I’ve seen something stellar, heart felt wrapped in an honestly original story. Filled with a weaving of time periods that is done with such ease and yet so compelling to watch.

This is a cast that envelopes every moment of screen time stretching my emotional core and just when I thought I could take a deep breath – twist! Isn’t that what we want from good storytelling and good filmmaking? That’s what this film is all about, testing us all to our emotional limits and rooting for each to release the memories that hold them down.

Trust me when I say there is so much more to the film that I will not put in this review. I truly want everyone who sees this film to experience each moment for themselves and jaw drop at the twists that are nothing short of brilliantly done. The cinematography is equally well done and if you thinks places in the world are just geography – think again.

In the end – it’s all about beginnings.

 

 

TRESPASS AGAINST US Crosses the Line of Family Conflict

trespass-poster

 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres this Friday from director Adam Smith and A24 is a film about the power struggle in a family with TRESPASS AGAINST US.

Chad Cutler (Michael Fassbender) is a man trying to break away from father Colby (Brendan Gleeson). He wants something different for son Tyson (Georgie Smith), daughter Mini (Kacie Anderson) and wife Kelly (Lyndsey Marshal). That is difficult when the family has a history of criminal behavior.

Behind his father’s back, Chad attempts to obtain a permanent home for his wife and kids. Seeing how Colby is pulling Tyson towards the same criminal behavior he experienced, Chad is more determined to do what is needed to protect his family.

But Colby is well aware in every aspect of his family. Realizing that Chad is pulling away, he sets into motion events that prove once and for all he rules the Cutler clan with an iron fist and metal will.

Chad makes one stand to break away but it might not be enough!

Fassbender as Chad gives the right amount of vulnerability being under the thumb of a very tyrant father. Understanding his upbringing was just how it was doesn’t mean he believes it should be the same for his own children. Fassbender gives this character heart that is purely based on a fear he must overcome at all cost. This is a role that Fassbender does well and makes look easy at the same time.

Gleeson as Colby has the believability to be this brutal without shedding a single drop of blood. There is such a coldness to this character and although Colby wants to be seen as a loving father and grandfather, those close to him know better. There is this fine line between taking care of the family and crossing the family. Gleeson gives the character grit and an eerie creepiness that I’d stay away from!

Marshall as Kelly knows that Chad is stuck between a father and a hard place yet even when she’s upset, it doesn’t stop her support of her husband. Smith as Tyson is a young man easily influenced by grandfather Colby, especially being of the age where listening to a parent is usually met with heavy resistance.

Other cast include: Rory Kinnear as PC Lovage, Killian Scott as Kenny, Sean Harris as Gordon Bennett, Kingsley Ben-Adir as Sampson, Gerard Kearns as Lester, Tony Way as Norman, Barry Keoghan as Windows, Ezra Khan as Jamail, Alan Williams as Noah and Anastasia Hille as Mrs. Crawley.

TRESPASS AGAINST US is a film stripped away of a ‘normal’ family life and instead straight survival. The head of this family is clearly set on controlling every aspect of their lives and expects no questions to be asked. The fact that their survival depends on criminal activity doesn’t seem to bother Gleeson’s character one little bit. Instead it is almost as if he taunts the authorities with a ‘challenge me if you dare’ attitude.

It is Fassbender’s portrayal of Chad that is extremely complex filled with the duality in the father-son relationship going in both directions. Dealing with his father and trying to be a good father, Fassbender shows that the history we come from doesn’t have to be the future he wants for his own family.

What makes this film riveting is that there isn’t anything else here to distract audiences from the bare relationships between this family and what it is all based on. The story is bold as director Smith lets nothing get in his way of telling the tale in its rawest form.

In the end – blood is a brutal bond!

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