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Disney’s MARY POPPINS RETURNS Lands Down on Bluray

Bluray Cover

Jeri Jacquin

On Bluray/DVD and Digital from Walt Disney Home Entertainment and director Rob Marshall comes our favorite Nanny as MARY POPPINS RETURNS.

Back in 1930s London, Michael Banks (Ben Whishaw) is living with his three children Annabell (Pixie Davies), John (Nathanael Saleh) and Georgie (Joel Dawson) after the passing of his wife. Sister Jane (Emily Mortimer) visits the childhood home regularly and living a busy life.

The Fidelity Fiduciary Bank is back with a new chairman in Weatherall Wilkins (Colin Firth) who is in their lives as Michael has borrowed money and the Banks family is being threatened with repossession of the family home. Remembering that their father left them shares, the two go through the attic to desperately find them – instead they find a kite but Michael throws it away.

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Annabel, John and Georgie find the kite and decide to take it to the park. That is where they meet a very straight forward and no-nonsense nanny named Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) who takes the children home. Much to the surprise of Michael and Jane, Mary Poppins announces she is taking charge of the children.

That gives Michael time to go and look for the shares but Wilkins is no help. That’s when Annabel and John get the idea to sell something of their mother’s hoping it will help pay off the debt. Georgie has an accident and Mary enlists the help of her friend Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda) as they set off on an adventure to fix the bowl.

When that doesn’t work, Mary takes the children to visit Topsy (Meryl Streep) who tells them the bowl won’t help their problem. The children decide to go straight to Wilkins to ask for help only to discover what is really going on.

The family learns that it only takes a moment to turn back time but will it be enough to save their iconic home?

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Blunt as Mary Poppins is charming and looks like she is having an amazing time. To me that’s important when you are taking on such an iconic character. It is good to see those shoes back in the house on Cherry Tree Lane and Blunt makes sure that we remember every minute of the return.

Whishaw as Michael is now raising his own children in the house of his childhood. It makes the transition for those of us who remember everything from 1964. Dealing with the bank is such an adult issue but then again it is nothing new to Michael. Mortimer as Jane has much of her mother’s women empowerment issues but doesn’t forget where they came from as children.

Davies, Saleh and Dawson as the new Banks children have some big shoes to fill and they do it quite nicely thank you very much. They are charming, sweet, funny and have hearts as big as their father and aunt. There isn’t anything they won’t do for their family and with Mary Poppins’ help, they are about to prove it.

Firth as Wilkins has the wonderful ability to be absolutely sympathetic on one hand (and be believable about it) and in the next breath he is as horrible as he wants to be – all while grinning with no shame. Streep as Topsy is very funny and of course she has the pipes to pull off any song you put in front of her.

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Miranda as Jack gets a chance to be the next generation chimney sweet as well as “Jack” of all trades. He fits in with his soot laden face and dancing on the London night cobblestone streets with all of his friends – including Mary Poppins.

Shout out to Julie Walters as Ellen because I have adored her since first seeing her in the 1983 film EDUCATING RITA. She is a chameleon and there isn’t a role she has done that I am not enthralled with. As Ellen she is hilarious!

It must be said, this film could NOT have been any more endearing without Dick Van Dyke who just made me absolutely giddy. Returning as Dawes was the smartest thing Disney could have done allowing us slightly older movie lovers to embrace someone who still dances in paintings that are drawn on our hearts.

Other cast include Julie Walters as Ellen, David Warner as Admiral Boom, Jim Norton as Mr. Binnacle, Jeremy Swift as Hamilton Gooding, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith as Templeton Frye, Angela Lansbury as the Balloon Lady, Noma Dumezweni as Miss Penny Farthing, Sudha Bhuchar as Miss Lark, Tarik Frimpong as Angus and Dick Van Dyke as Mr. Dawes Jr.

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

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The Bluray Bonus Extras contain over an hour of Bonus Including a Sing-Along Edition Deleted Song: The Anthropomorphic Zoo, Bloopers, The Practically Perfect Making of MARY POPPINS RETURNS, Deleted Scenes and so much more!

MARY POPPINS RETURNS is absolutely a must have on Bluray to sit right next to the 1964 original MARY POPPINS. You can have both, love both and binge watch both with what I think could be three or four generations of family members loving every moment.

MARY POPPINS RETURNS is colorful, musical, fun, animated and everything we would expect not only from Disney but from Mary Poppins’ herself.

In the end – in a place we hold dear where wonder once lived…soon from above, a new story begins – again!

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CAPTAIN MARVEL Joins the Universal Fight

captain marvel cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres this Friday from directors Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck, Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Pictures is a mystery unraveled in space and on Earth with CAPTAIN MARVEL.

Vers (Brie Larson) is a warrior who is part of the Kree race and has powers she received during an accident. Plagued with dreams of people she doesn’t know, she turns to mentor Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) who is a commander of the Starforce. He tries to instill the need to keep her powers in check.

Given a mission by the Supreme Intelligence (Annette Bening), Yon-Rogg, Vers and the crew are sent to retrieve one of their own that has information they need. Instead they are ambushed by the Skrull, a tribe of shape shifters who want what is locked up in the mind of Vers and led by Talos (Ben Mendelsohn).

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Escaping the Skrull, Vers finds herself on Earth which is the last known location of a scientist who can help her unravel the mystery. Yon-Rogg is relieved that Vers is still alive but they both know the Skrull are not far behind. Enter Agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) who question Vers.

She is open with them but they don’t believe her until a Skrull comes out of no where and the chase begins. Fury follows and now believes her story! Trying to help her discover more information about who the Skrull are looking for, Vers begins to piece together some of her own dreams that have haunted her.

She finds Marie Rambeau (Lashana Lynch) and a life that included the name Carol Danvers as everything begins to fall into place. Talos discovers where Danvers is and she learns there is more to all of this than meets the inter-galatic eye!

Larson as Captain Marvel is fairly straight forward in her role. She has a bit of a temper, doesn’t mind knocking people around a bit, has a biting sense of humor and wants answers. Trying to fit in with the Kree and trying to fit in on Earth, it is what is locked in her memory that can help her bridge the two worlds.

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Jackson as a younger Nick Fury gives us a little more of his back story and the beginnings of what is to come in the Marvel universe. There is no mistaking Jackson’s humor and attitude but along with that are a few answers as to how Nick Fury became Nick Fury. I always enjoy Jackson when he is being sarcastic but he also gets a few surprises of his own along the way.

Mendelsohn as Talos is a fighter, charming in his own way, equally witty as Captain Marvel and knows a things or two about a good fight. He has his reasons for wanting what she has locked in her brain and he isn’t going to stop until he gets it. I’ve always enjoyed Mendelsohn as an actor and I absolutely love that he branches out in unpredictable roles.

Law as Yon -Rogg prides himself on mentoring Vers and wants to make sure that the Skrull are all but wiped out. He is a strong character that believes in what he is doing and has a skilled crew to back him up.

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Lynch as Rambeau is the only person on Earth, literally, that can help bring Danvers memory into focus. Along with daughter Monica played by Akbar, they aren’t at all frightened by what is in front of them by way of the Skrull and what lies in outer space waiting for them.

Bening as the Supreme Intelligence keeps a watchful eye over Vers and has an agenda of her own. Her role isn’t a big one but its impact is important on the storyline and it’s pretty cool to see her take on the dual role.

Other cast include Mckenna Grace as young Carol Danvers, Gemma Chan as Minn-Erva, Lee Pace as Ronan, Djimon Hounsou as Korath, Rune Temte as Bron-Char, Colin Ford as Steve Danvers, and Akira Akbar as Monica Rambeau.

CAPTAIN MARVEL joins the ranks of the Marvel Universe and is given the opportunity to tell her story. She is animated, can handle her own and has a few witty remarks in her almost skin tight uniform. Of course there is more to the story and I’m sure Marvel will be telling it but there is also that little nudge of where she fits in with the Avengers.

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Super heroine fans are going to be pleased well enough with what is on the screen and it is a nice two hour get away from the real world. That being said, it is also fairly predictable in its telling and the special effects are becoming a little common place – translated that means I’m not absolutely wow’d by it all.

What I did love as it hurt my heart was the opening sequence as a fantastic nod to everything Stan Lee has done for us all. His cameos always had audiences cheering and at the beginnings of CAPTAIN MARVEL is no exception. The man who made comic books legends and iconic characters deserves nothing less and everything more.

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The film comes in at around two hours and if that’s not enough don’t worry; she will be back again and sooner than you think.

In the end – discover what makes her a (her)o!

 

THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS is Brilliant on Bluray

nutcracker bluray

 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray, DVD and Digital from directors Lasse Hallstrom, Joe Johnston and Walt Disney Home Entertainment comes the delight of THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS.

It is Christmas Eve in Victorian London but not cheerful for the Stahlbaum family. Mr. Stahlbaum (Matthew Macfadyen) tries to make the holidays memorable but the sadness at the death of his wife Marie still holds on. Daughter Clara (Mackenzie Foy) is not giving an inch of happiness where the holidays are concerned.

Receiving a beautiful egg-shaped box from her Mother, Clara is intrigued until she discovers that no one has the key to open it. There is a note attached telling the young girl that inside is everything she would ever need. Putting it away until later, the family leaves for the Christmas Eve ball where she is thrilled to spend time with Drosselmeyer (Morgan Freeman).

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Clara shows him the egg which he instantly recognizes telling her that she will find a way to open it. Returning to the ball, the young girl’s father is upset that she isn’t keeping with their traditions, such as the father-daughter dance. Clara speaks horribly to him and knows she caused pain.

That is when Drosselmeyer tells the children to find the string with their name on it and at the end will be their presents! Clara finds her and at the end she is shocked to find herself in another place all together. Going through the strange snow forest she sees a key dangling from a tree but a small mouse sees it sooner, grabs it and runs!

Trying to follow Clara comes across Captain Hoffman the Nutcracker (Jayden Knight). Discovering who she is, he follows her into the dark Land of Amusements now called the Fourth Realm only to come close to the outcast Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren). Instead, the Captain takes Clara to the palace learning that her mother was a Queen. She is introduced to the Sugar Plum Fairy (Kiera Knightley), Shivers (Richard E. Grant) and Hawthorne (Eugenio Derbez).

They are thrilled to meet Clara and are equally sad to learn that their Queen has passed away. Embracing Clara they want her help in protecting the kingdom from Mother Ginger. They show her the story of the land through ballet explaining that Clara’s mother created this kingdom when she was a girl. The Sugar Plum Fairy also shows Clara the inventions that would help them but they need a key, the same key she has been looking for.

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Helping the Sugar Plum Fairy, Clara learns that she is not as sweet as she would seem and that Mother Ginger isn’t the bad character after all. Now they must all come together to help the kingdom from the creations being made with Clara’s mother’s invention.

It is time to save her mother’s kingdom!

Foy as Clara has definitely made her way clear from being a very young half human-halfvampire into an amazingly beautiful and talented young lady. As a young girl who can not seem to grasp losing her mother, her pain lashes out against those who truly love her. Discovering that her mother was a queen of a realm of her own creation, Foy takes Clara on a journey surrounded by beauty, danger and creativity. She is completely lovely in this role.

Knightley as the Sugar Plum Fairy proves the old adage that looks can be deceiving. Tricking an impressionable young girl is one thing, going on an anger tangent of power is totally another. Not sure I can ever look at this character again during the holidays and not be suspicious. It is definitely a different role for Knightley and well done.

Knight as Captain Hoffman the Nutcracker is a soldier dedicated to his post (even if it is in the middle of nowhere in snow). Once he meets Clara and realizes who she is, it takes no time at all before he is joining in on the adventure to save the kingdom. Knight is gentle and soulful in this role.

Mirren as Mother Ginger is not about to let anyone show her up – not even Clara. At least that is the way she seems at their first meeting. Mirren is everything I love her to be but then again she is one of my favorite actresses so it is a joy to watch her in this film. I have to say that I love the wild red hair!

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Macfadyen as Stahlbaum is a grieving husband who is trying to be a good father to his children. Wanting to create a beautiful and memorable Christmas, he is met with the hurt of a young daughter. Macfadyen is perfect in this role as he continues his recent streak of role that stand out. Freeman as Dosselmeyer is in on the secret of the realm and misses Clara’s mother almost as much as she does. He has but one job and he does it exceptionally well.

Other cast include Misty Copeland as the Ballerina Princess, Anna Madeley as Marie Stahlbaum, Sergei Polunin as The Sweets Cavalier, Ellie Bamber as Louise Stahlbaum, Tom Sweet as Fritz Stahlbaum, Jack Whitehall as Harlequin and Charles Riley as The Mouse King.

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

The Bluray Bonus Extras Include On Pointe: Misty Copeland, Unwrapped THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS, Music Videos ‘Fall On Me’ by Andrea Bocelli featuring Matteo Bocelli and ‘The Nutcracker Suite’ by Lang Lang as well as Deleted Scenes.

The Digital Code is also included using Movies Anywhere – watch Anywhere with the Movies Anywhere App for Download and Streaming.

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THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS is visually stunning in the story that it is telling. That is important because although many have seen the ballet version in some form, this is an amazing opportunity to see the combination of ballet and live action. Exploring the characters even further with vivid characters and graceful movement is a true treat.

This film in stunning Bluray is everything my family wants to add to our growing family traditions. There is everything from wonderful music, dancing, wild characters, fun, laughter, a little sadness, adventure and an ending that we can all embrace.

It is a story of love, hope, loyalty, goodness and working together to save something bigger than themselves – and isn’t that what we want not only from the holidays but all year long? I think so.

In the end – let the mystery unfold!

THE ORVILLE: The Complete First Season is Out Of This World on DVD

Orville Season One

Jeri Jacquin

On DVD from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment comes a ship and its crew filled with adventure and awkwardness on the deck of THE ORVILLE: The Complete First Season.

Ed Mercer (Seth MacFarlane) is living in the 25th century with 21st century problems. After finding his wife Kelly Grayson (Adrianne Palicki) cheating on him with something blue between the sheet, it is a year before he can even talk about it. When a captain’s chair becomes available on the USS Orville, Mercer jumps at the chance bringing Lt. Gordon Malloy (Scott Grimes) as his helmsman.

Arriving on the ship looking spiffy, his happiness is immediately taken down a peg when he is told that Kelly has been assigned as his first officer. After a time acceleration deal with a Krill Captain, Mercer and Kelly find themselves trapped in a Calivon zoo! Alara (Halston Sage) is commanding the Orville because Bortus (Peter Macon) had laid an egg and needs to be a good parent with mate Klyden (Chad Coleman). Claire wants to help Alara but it is Admiral Tucker (Ron Canada) who orders that the ship return home without Mercer.

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Bortus and Klyden are upset that their hatchling is a girl and turn to Doctor Finn (Penny Johnson Jerald) to make it ‘right’. The Doc refuses as does everyone else the two talk with about it. Upset they can’t get help, they turn to a Mocian vessel to have it done. Mercer even goes as far as to find one of their kind that has lived happily as a female and the choice between the two must be made.

Mercer and the crew of the Orville come across a 2000 year old ship drifting in space. They are shocked to discover that there are people called the Dorahl who don’t know they are on a ship! Their leader Hamelac refuses to let anyone tell the Dorahl about the outside world. The truth comes out when Captain Jahavus Dorahl (Liam Neeson) explains the truth.

Captain Pria Lavesque (Charlize Theron) and her ship are saved by The Orville and immediately Mercer is taken with her. There is a nagging feeling that something isn’t quite right yet she saves the Orville from a weird storm. Of course she did it for a reason as Pria turns out to be a time-traveling artifact dealer and puts Mercer’s head in just as much of a wormhole as she does the Orville!

On Sargas 4, Grayson is sent to find two missing anthropologists along with Alara and Claire. Mercer is keeping himself busy bringing Lysella onto the Orville to explain about a dancing feed that will teach her the difference between opinion and knowledge. Taking a little break, Isaac, Finn, Marcus (BJ Tanner) and Ty (Kai Wener) crash on a planet light years away from where they should be. It’s not a pretty planet either as the local cannibals are hungry and the dinner bell has been rung.

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The Orville is sent to mediate between the Navarians and the Bruidians. Mercer isn’t happy to learn that Darulio (Rob Lowe) is also at the meeting. Darulio has a pheromone problem and it has a major effect on the crew – most especially Grayson as well as Mercer, Finn and Yaphit (Norm Macdonald). Having such a big effect a battle between the Navarians and Bruidians breaks out and a they need something to bring out a cease fire. Grayson might also get the answer to the question that’s been following her for the last year – maybe.

After feeling guilty about the death of a ship mate, Alara wants to resign her post but Mercer refuses. The Orville is about to be hit by several interesting phenomena including scary clowns, giant spiders and murdering ship mates. Alara and Mercer have a confrontation that bring captain and crew to an understanding.

Mercer has to find a new chief engineer for the Orville and Grayson tries to convince him to give the post to LaMarr. Keeping that decision on hold, the crew comes in contact with someone who has plasma rifles that belong to the Krill. To get out of a potential problem with the Krill, Mercer discovers that his hesitation about LeMarr turn out to be unnecessary.

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Grayson and her team crash land on a Bronze Age planet and they quickly realize they only have 11 days to get home or else 700 years will pass. Grayson becomes a deity of sorts and a theocracy happens very quickly. Mercer is in hot water with Admiral Ozawa Kelly Hu) and is told to stay away from the planet. Mercer and Grayson don’t listen (what a surprise right?) and see how much the planets history continues to shift. Isaac Mark Jackson) stays for a planet rotation only to come back to the Orville to explain that they are now on the right path and far ahead time wise!

MacFarlane as Mercer is unsure, depressed and neurotic as anyone would be when finding a blue alien in a wife’s bed! Getting sympathy orders to be the captain of the Orville seems like the lowest blow he could deal with but instead, Mercer takes it in stride and gets comfortable in the captains chair. Of course that moment of happiness is fleeting but he accepts the challenge that the Orville brings and it can only be done by MacFarlane. The guy still makes me laugh after all these years!

Palicki as Grayson is dealing with her own issues of guilt and bedding a blue guy can do it to a gal. Trying to make things right by joining the crew of the Orville certainly puts the ex’s relationship to the test on several occasions but I enjoy the banter. Grimes as Malloy is the character I can’t wait to see what he says next. He is cocky and doesn’t seem to have a problem voicing his opinion on just about anything. I kinda like the guy!

Sage as Alara is smart and sweet which can be a bad combination. As the season goes on don’t let the interesting face fool you. Macon as Bortus is an alien with some serious issues from egg laying to egg raising. Along with Coleman as mate Klyden, this is a family that needs to figure things out quick as space waits for no one. Jerald as Finn is always one step back watching the craziness the crew comes up with and tries to guide when she can and stays out of the mayhem when necessary.

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Other cast include J. Lee as Lt. John LaMarr, Gavin Lee as Nurse Park, Mike Henry as Dann, Brian George as Doctor Aronov, Victor Garber as Admiral Halsey, Jeffrey Tambor as Ben Mercer, Holland Taylor as Jeannie Mercer, Rena Owen as Heveena, James Horan as Sazeron, Steven Culp as Wilks, and Brian Thompson as Drogen.

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 episodes include Old Wounds, Command Performance, About a Girl, If the Stars Should Appear, Pria, Krill, Majority Rule, Into the Fold, Cupid’s Dagger, Firestorm, New Dimensions and Mad Idolatry.

The Special Features include Q&A with Cast and Creative Team from PaleyFest 2018, Inside Look, Directed By, The First Six Missions, Designing the Future, The Orville Takes Flight, The Science of The Orville: Quantum Drive and Alien Life, Crafting Aliens and A Better Tomorrow.

THE ORVILLE is such a good time and I want more. The cast of characters and the actors that portray them are spot on and actually look like they are enjoying it more than they probably should be allowed to. Having so many guests on the show also means that the street-cred of the crew is universal.

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In the midst of the comedy there are subtle issue tackling bits of space housecleaning that are sure to catch anyone’s attention. Prime example is Bortus and Klyden raising a female in what clearly is a male dominated alien species but its also not without its secrets and its idea of acceptance.

So this is the perfect cold weather marathoning series to watch in prep for a second season that is certainly sure to have even more outrageous aliens and Captain Mercer at the helm. I mean really, would we have it any other way? I’m all in!

THE ORVILLE Season Two is docking to your television set in the new year!

In the end – they are our future gawd help us!

THE MEG Brings Cool Relief from the Beach into Theatres

The Meg

Jeri Jacquin

Starting off the weekend with a bite in theatres from director Jon Turteltaub and Warner Bros. comes a reason to stay off the beach and sit in the theatre to ride the wave of THE MEG.

Jonas Taylor (Jason Statham) was an expert driver but on one mission he had to choose between two of his crewmen or a whole submarine full of wounded men when something attacks their vessel. Five years later that decision had career and marital consequences but he seems to be doing fine living in Thailand.

Out in the middle of the ocean, billionaire Morris (Rainn Wilson) is helicoptering onto platform to see where his money is going. The Mana One research facility off the coast of China is still under construction as Zhang (Winston Chao), daughter Syuin (Bingbing Li) and crew consisting of Mac (Cliff Curtis), Jaxx (Ruby Rose), DJ (Page Kennedy), Heller (Robert Taylor) and Suyin’s eight year old daughter Meiying (Sophia Cai).

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Ready to go to the deepest part of the Marianna Trench, Suyin believes it is possible to go deeper and that a thermal layer separates our world for another ocean discovery. Sending sub driver Lori (Jessica McNamee), Toshi (Masi Oka) and The Wall (Olafur Olafsson), they dive. Breaking through they are surprised by what they see and quickly become shocked when their sub comes under attack and communications are cut off. The last words they hear is from Lori saying, “Tell Jonas he was right!”

Trying to put together a rescue plan, Mac brings up Jonas Taylor saying he is really the only man who would take such a risk to rescue the three trapped in the sub. Off to Thailand Mac and Zhang go to convince Taylor that he is needed. After some fast talking, Taylor arrives on the research platform and is immediately set to diving because Suyin took it upon herself to try and rescue her friends.

Preparing to dive, Taylor meets Meiying and learns that eight year olds hear everything. Meeting up with Suyin, they too are immediately hit by something big and fast. Working together they manage to get their friends and get out and back to the platform. As they all regather their thoughts, Meiying comes face to face (thank goodness for very thick plastic) with something that wants to let it be known it is there – a Megalodon.

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Discovering how it came to the surface, the crew knows they can not let it get to a populated area. Hopping on a large ship, they take off looking for the Meg and once again Taylor does the incredibly shocking jumping into the water to tag the beast. Almost everyone believes the only thing to do is kill it but Suyin wants to study it alive.

Thinking they have stopped a disaster, there is an even bigger beast swimming in the water around them. Once it has made its point with the crew, the Meg heads towards the beaches that are littered with people like meaty human krill! Taylor and the crew are not about to stop trying to stop the biggest creature in the water who has only one goal – destruction!

Statham as Taylor proves why we continue to love this guy! Of course I can honestly say that the towel scene (oh you will know exactly what I’m talking soon) had the guys impressed and the gals drooling. Now with that out of the way, Statham has the perfect bad boy swagger to play this role. The character gives zero-frakks about what people think of him and gives stone face when someone tries to tell him what to do or not to do. He proves it by jumping into danger with a smirk on his face and a mischievous twinkle in his eyes. Also, it doesn’t hurt that he plays opposite an equally quick 8-year-old! That’s is what makes a good action star and THE MEG solidifies Statham’s status and truth be told we love to love the guy!

Li as Suyin is a researcher who certainly doesn’t count on finding a living Megalodon but once she does, killing it is not something she wants to do. Equally as hard headed as Taylor, she has a few quick one-liners and also doesn’t hesitate to jump into the deep end of the ocean. Cali as the magnificent 8-year-old Meiying was one of the best characters in the film. She doesn’t get in the way yet doesn’t hesitate to put in her two cents. I do wonder who would put their kid on a boat and chase a Meg but then again it isn’t like social services are on board!

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Curtis as Mac is on Taylor’s side in all things believing that he was wronged all those years ago and makes it clear that his expertise is necessary to rescue friends but then also to take out the Meg. Rose as Jaxx it smart but honestly there isn’t a lot here for her to do but look concerned and throw out a line now and then. Taylor as Heller is the idiot character that I looked forward to the Meg chomping down – a girl can dream.

Chao as Zhang just wants success for the research crew but when things start to go wrong, he is with Taylor 100 per cent. Olafsson as The Wall has reason to be afraid after his experience in the sub. Wilson as Morris is a rich guy who thought everything was cool – until it wasn’t. There was actually a moment where I thought he was smarter than everyone else but it passed quickly. His character was one of the comic reliefs of the film.

Kennedy as DJ had a line for everything and was not at all thrilled with any aspect of the rescue or anything that happened after that. Everything he said made me laugh because Kennedy was basically saying what everyone was thinking at some point in the film.

Other cast include: Jessica McNamee as Lori, Masi Oka as Toshi, Rob Kipa-Williams as D’Angelo, Tawanda Manyimo as Marks, James Gaylyn as David, Kelly the Dog as Pippin.

Okay, let’s face it, we all love shark movies – good, bad or indifferent we secretly love them all. I, like allot of my generation probably took a liking to sharks films right around the summer of June 1975. Shark films have made their way to us ever since in some form or another in films, television and documentaries. The teeth baring sea creatures have even managed to finally get a whole week on television as the Discovery Channel gets us all worked up with Shark Week. I mean they get a whole week and we don’t get enough of it.

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THE MEG is going to have its place among very cool shark movies because it all comes together in such a fantastic way. In the 113 minutes of the film there is not a frame wasted and look homage’s to shark films that have come before it. THE MEG is based on the Steve Alten book MEG: A Novel of Deep Terror. I’m sure there will be readers who will be watching every move the film makes.

Personally I was excited as the release of THE MEG drew closer. I wanted to be taken away, entertained, made to jump, laugh, hide my eyes, holler a little bit and cheer. That’s exactly what happened and it felt like a group theatre experience as everyone around me was doing the same exact thing.

THE MEG gives us a reminder of why we gather up in a group (for safety purposes of course), grab the biggest tub of popcorn and soda we can hold, get great seats and prepare to be thrilled. Sitting through this film was fun and when it’s over we get to stand up and walk away from the big bad Meg with all our pieces in tact. Might as well know now – I’m going back to see THE MEG again with friends and…I can’t wait!

In the end – before chasing seas monsters you had better check your place on the sea food chain!

THE BOXCAR CHILDREN: Surprise Island Brings Animated Family Adventure to Bluray and DVD

The Boxcar Children

Jeri Jacquin

On Bluray & DVD this week from directors Dan Chuba and Mark Dippe along with Legacy Classics and SHOUT! Kids Factory comes a story of family and a summer like no other for THE BOXCAR CHILDREN: Surprise Island.

Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny are spending the summer on a private island that belongs to their grandfather. Every day they do something special together like make cabinets for their cabin and making lunches together. They also meet young Joe who is a mystery to many people on the island.

Out wandering they take to the beach and soon run the beach looking for clams and exploring. Chasing sandpipers they soon discover a platform in the water. Violet and Benny meet Joe who shows them amazing things about the ocean. Wanting to know more, Henry decides to create a museum from their exploration.

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Joe volunteers to help them learn by getting books from the library. They begin to create an amazing collection of items from the island and continue to explore even more about the island finding an unusual cave. They tell Joe who is as excited about what is inside.

When Grandfather returns, he sees that the children not only have made the cabin a home but turned the upstairs into a wonderful museum. A man named Mr. Browning arrives looking for a friend when the kids offer him something to eat.

And quickly the kids discover that their friend Joe has a surprise for everyone but what a joyous surprise it is!

The cast is voiced by Joey King as Jessie, Talitha Bateman as Violet, Griffin Gluck as Henry, Carter Sand as Benny, Gil Birmingham as Mr. Browning, Stephen Stanton as Captain Daniel, Dane DeHaan as Joe, J.K. Simmons as Dr. Moore, and Martin Sheen as James Alden.

SHOUT! Factory brings the best to fans offering up feature films, classic television series, animation and specials. For more of what they have to offer go to www.shoutfactory.com.

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Legacy Classics is dedicated to family entertainment and educational tools based on classic and award-winning children’s literature. The Boxcar Children, written by Gertrude Chandler Warner, has sold over 70 million books world-wide. Most do not know that there are over 150 books in the series that reaches over 1 million kids!

The DVD of THE BOXCAR CHILDREN: Surprise Island includes the Special Features of Interviews with Cast & Crew, Interview with the Composer, and Behind-The-Scenes Interview with the Sound Editing and Mixing Team. Also included is a Watch-Anywhere code that allows you to experience the film on your PC, Mac, iPhone, and iPod and a fantastic book mark showing the wonderful cover of THE BOXCAR CHILDREN: Surprise Island.

THE BOXCAR CHILDREN: Surprise Island is a beautiful film with a deep connection to a simpler life and a hunger for learning. These are kids who are very close and take care of each other. The story sweeps the viewer in quickly because the relationship between the siblings is one of mutual respect and love.

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The characters in the story gave me plenty of reason to giggle, smile and remember what it was like to spend summers on the beach with my own siblings. The animation is vivid and extraordinary to tell this touching story.

This film is absolutely a must have for the home film library and a story I want my own grandchildren to watch again and again. These are important stories to be told and they are made sweeter by a studio that takes such amazing care in the way a story is presented to those of us who love the books.

THE BOXCAR CHILDREN: Surprise Island has so much to teach us all about beauty, family, love and support along with believing in a few life surprises.

In the end – on a small island they find big adventure!

THE MONKEY KING 3 Takes on Another Adventure!

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Jeri Jacquin

On Bluray and DVD from director Soi Cheang and Well Go USA Entertainment is the next adventure from the THE MONKEY KING 3.

Tang Sanzang (William Feng Shaofeng) is back in action with Wukong the Monkey King (Aaron Kwok Fu-shing), sand demon blue Wujing (Him Lo Chung-him) and pig demon Bajie (Xiao Shenyang). Riding down a peaceful river, it all begins to turn dangerous when they accidentally come into the Womanland of Western Liang.

What makes this land unique is that it is totally inhabited by women. Immediately they realize that these women truly believe that men have no ability to love but rather break hearts. It is Tang Sanzang who is immediately taken with Womanland’s Queen (Zhao Liying).

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Less loving is the Royal Preceptor (Gigi Leung Wing-kei) who is making it her mission to have the gang put to death. Believing that her role is to keep everything status quo, Royal Preceptor does her best to convince the Queen that death is the only way to stop her ‘feelings’ from spreading.

Wandering the countryside, they are taken prisoners but while being questioned, each has the opportunity to come up against their female counterpart. Sanzang meets with the Queen who finally has the opportunity to talk about the beliefs she has come to know and what the Monk has to say about it all.

It becomes and opportunity for them both to shatter old myths, discover what drives their fears and share what their feelings could mean. That’s when the Queen decides to break the mold and help them escape, the journey really begins. They want to find the missing piece of an ancient text that could set them all free. What they don’t expect is to find a piece that has a life of its very own!

If that isn’t enough of a problem, the Royal Preceptor has had enough of the Monk and his crew and sends him out to see. What she didn’t plan is that the Queen would follow possibly ending Womanland once and for all.

It can all change with a single emotion – love.

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Shaofeng as Tang Sanzang is a very gentle character which he needs to be to hang around his disciples. The problem is that it seems those in Womanland are unimpressed by his quiet nature – except maybe the Queen. Kwok as the Monkey King isn’t exactly thrilled with their situation and isn’t about to let anything or anyone get in their way of getting home.

Xiaoshenyang as Bajie is absolutely taken with the world of women and in his quest to introduce himself, gets the whole group taken prisoner. Chung-him as Wujing is curious about their situation and completely relies on Sanzang to get the answers.

Liying as the Queen is lovely, sweet, charming and very curious to know if what Womanland believes is really true. Wanting to find out for herself and get to know Sanzang, she knows she must go against the Royal Preceptor. Leung as the RP has her own agenda and it isn’t to do what’s right for the Queen.

Well Go USA Entertainment is an amazing company that brings the best of Action and Independent films from around the world. There format includes theatres, digital, cable and VOD along with Bluray. For more of what they have to offer go to www.wellgousa.com.

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THE MONKEY KING 3 is a magical adventure filled with amazing special effects, color, imagination and brilliant costuming. In the midst of that is a story about the myths that can stagger a culture and opening up to all possibilities.

The characters from THE MONKEY KING are all on a journey looking for something as is the monk. Of course there is humor and comedy mixed in which is the driving force of the story being told. I actually enjoy the loveliness of this series with its beautiful colors and slightly exaggerated emotions and creatures that are epic in scope.

THE MONKEY KING 3 is an adventure filled with amazing action sequences that are as mythical as the story itself. It is a wild ride filled with so much to see and experience filled with mischief, a tale of love and the loyalties of friendship.

In the end – can love break through centuries worth of belief?

TOMB RAIDER

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Jeri Jacquin

In theatres this Friday from director Roar Uthaug and Warner Bros. Pictures is the beginning adventure of Lara Croft becoming the Tomb Raider.

Lara Croft (Alicia Vikander) is a young woman trying to find her place by making it on her own. She really doesn’t need to since her father Lord Richard Croft (Dominic West), who has been missing for seven years, left his daughter an inheritance. When family friend Ana Miller (Kristin Scott Thomas) bails Lara out of a problem, she is told it is time to sign the papers legally declaring her father dead.

Agreeing to finally do so, family lawyer Mr. Yaffe (Derek Jacobi) is presented with a puzzle and in it is something that sets Lara off on a quest for answers. Finding clues to the last place her father went, she discovers a diary and maps along with a cryptex with a story about a Japanese Queen and a power that has the capability of world destruction.

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Lara makes her way to the Far East in search of a man named Lu Ren, instead she finds the son, also Lu Ren (Daniel Wu) who is shocked to learn that they have something in common. Explaining that they both need answers about their fathers, Lu and Lara head off to a dangerous island that shows them no mercy.

So much so that the ship is grounded and Lara is washed ashore only to be taken by Mathias Vogel (Walton Coggins). He is thrilled at the new island arrival because she holds the answers he has spent seven years looking for. Lara has no plan on letting Vogel get away with what he is doing and manages to escape. In an adventure within an adventure, she is surprised to find someone else on the island she hasn’t expected to see.

Vogel finds the tomb and along with his well weaponized mercenaries forces Lara to go in first and lead them to the final resting place of the Queen of Death. The horror that awaits them is nothing they are prepared for but that isn’t going to stop Lara from doing the right thing and save the world!

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Vikander as Lara shows the beginnings of Lara Croft and how hard headed and yet still an adrenaline junkie she is. Wanting to avoid signing the papers declaring her father dead, she is told by Ana that if it doesn’t happen, Lara will lose everything that her father built. Vikander literally jumps into action and I can clearly see why she was chosen to be a younger Lara Croft.

Coggins as Vogel has made being a bad guy so deliciously easy. All balled up with anger at being forced to live in a dangerous place for seven years, he isn’t very forgiving. Looking for the one thing that can bring him home means nothing or no one, not even Lara Croft, is going to get in his way. Coggins is an actor who can play a good guy (or gal), a mediocre guy and a bad guy – all with such skill. Can you tell I’m a fan?

Wu as the younger Lu Ren is a boat owner who doesn’t want to get involved with Lara’s mystery. Talking him into it isn’t hard and after being thrown on the island with Lara, he jumps into the action when seeing how wrong everything around him is. Of course I am a serious fan of Wu and if you’ve seen the AMC series Into the Badlands where he plays Sunny, you’d be hooked on him too.

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West as Lord Richard Croft raises his young daughter but leads a very secretive life. As Lara gets older she accepts her father’s ‘business’ trips with ease knowing that her father loves her. West takes the role of Richard and gives the audience a little more back story and experience the father-daughter relationship.

Thomas as Ana has been keeping Croft Holdings up and running for Lara but knows its time for decisions to be made so she doesn’t lose what her father has left behind. I have to say I love seeing Thomas taken on a shady character.

Other cast includes: Alexandre Willaume, Tamer Burjaq, Adrian Collins, Keenan Arrison, Andrian Mazive, Milton Schorr and a cameo by Nick Frost.

Okay, time to get real and announce this is where there may be a few spoilers because there is no way to talk about the film without letting things slip here and there. So if you don’t want to know – check out right here – still here? Then prepare for a rant.

I want to be taken away and go on an adventure when I’m watching a movie that is suppose to be, well, an adventure. Then a scene takes me completely out of it and I’m spending the rest of the time seeing nothing but what’s wrong. Let’s begin being hit by a car, I realize she is Lara Croft but, um, yea, a car usually puts people out of commission for a day at least. Then again I guess that’s what one does when dealing with daddy issues.

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Then there is a camera left behind seven years after Richard Croft’s disappearance. Lara finds it and – low and behold – it works. Really? REALLY? My cell phone can’t hold a charge for more than a day and this frikken camera is still working after seven years?Also, knowing a thing or two about keeping a house – is it me or shouldn’t there be more dust and cobwebs in an office that has been left untouched for seven years. I mean not a single cobweb?

Onward trying not to shake my head, the next jaw dropper – I could be wrong but when a tree stabs you in the side and you get sewn up, do you (less than 8 hours later) run top speed through the jungle like Katniss Everdeen hunting President Snow? It could be she is a descendant of Legolas from Lord of the Rings with the ability to run and shoot rapid arrows at close range. Maybe it’s Indian Jones figuring out the traps so that she can get her hands on the Grail? That can’t be possible since Dan Brown has taken care of that faux cup right? Professor Jones must feel sheepish.

I mean seriously we have had the Grail, Priory, Illuminati which, by the way, the original Lara Croft’s father was a part of. Since that’s been covered, it’s on to the new secret sect of crazies called the Trinity. My head is spinning.

Yes, I am completely over it which once again proves to my stubborn self that there is no reason to redo films that are perfectly okay as they are. The thought process should have been this; how about saving millions of dollars and have a Lara Croft: Tomb Raider marathon of the original films and pocket money without out really spending millions. Oh I know, I’m going to get garbage about how old the other film is or how a “new generation” needs a revamp of the story. I’m calling b.s. on that Hollywood.

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And as far as the theme song does it really have to be ‘Survivor’? This song has been played into the dirt and this is the best you could come up with? What’s with calling the film TOMB RAIDER as if Lara Croft is an after thought. Did you think that leaving it off would mean people wouldn’t IMDB it to see that this is a remake, rethink, reimaging or anything else re?

So here is the deal – is the film heinous? No, it’s just annoying and I hate being annoyed. Is it a good cast? Yes, and in lies another dilemma for me. I don’t have issue with the cast at all, I am a Vikander, West and Wu fan and am completely in love with anything Walton Coggins does. I mean really, any guy who can pull off the ever so lovely Venus Van Damn with a heart of gold to sway Tig from Sons of Anarchy fame works for me completely. That’s where my thumbs up ends.

Come on studios! Are you going to rely on Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan, Alfonso Cuaron and Spike Jonze to do all the original film heavy lifting forever?

In the end – her legend begins.

JUMANJI: Welcome to the Jungle Bangs the Drums on Bluray

Jumanji Bluray cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray next Tuesday from director Jake Kasdan and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is an adventure inside a video game with JUMANJI: Welcome to the Jungle.

It is 1998 and Alex is jogging on the beach when he is stopped by the sound of drums. Looking in the sand he discovers a box that reads Jumanji and takes it home. Learning it’s a board game he is clearly uninterested as video games are in. Setting the box on the shelf he jumps into play own game. Later that night Jumanji has, well, upgraded itself!

Flash forward to 2018 and Spencer (Alex Wolff) is into video games and trying to keep an old friendship with Fridge (Ser’Darius Blain). The only way that can happen is by doing the football players homework which leads to both having detention. Bethany (Madison Iseman) is totally into selfies and her phone. Thinking the world revolves around her and that puts her in detention. Martha (Morgan Turner) isn’t a fan of P.E. class and that gets her into detention.

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So, all four are sentences to two days of removing staples from old magazines in a dingy room when Fridge finds a video game and Spencer hooks it up. Wanting to do anything but pull staples, the four choose characters in the game and get ready to play. That’s when a mysterious green light from the game pulls them into a jungle filled world with one slight difference – well not slight exactly.

The characters each chose has changed their appearance and now Spencer (Dwayne Johnson) is the tall, muscular smoldering Dr. Xander Bravestone, Fridge (Kevin Hart) is the small yet still mouthy weapons carrier Franklin ‘Moose’ Finbar, Martha (Karen Gillan) is the bad ass beauty with skills Ruby Roundhouse and Bethany (Jack Black) is still Bethany without actually being Bethany but is Professor Shelley Oberon.

It takes the four time to acclimate to where and who they are and trying to discover what the game wants. That’s when Nigel (Rhys Darby) shows up and explains to them that a man names Van Pelt (Bobby Cannavale) has taken the Jaguar’s Eye and it must be returned if they want to return to home.

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Learning what there skills are and finding a map that takes them through the levels, they meet Alex (Nick Jonas) who doesn’t realize how long he’s been in the game. Dealing with such different personalities, this group of players needs to come together and be smart about how to play the game because the game only gives them three chances.

They discover that planning out their moves together works and Van Pelt is hardly prepared for how good they are!

Johnson as Spencer is given a chance to be the big guy with little guy insecurities. Of course I never thought I’d hear him scream like that but I found myself giggling. He has made a name for himself playing these roles and people love him for it. Wolff as Spencer the younger is insecure and feels abandoned by a friendship with Fridge that he remembers fondly. Wanting to do anything to keep it means making a decision that just intensifies the split between them and Wolff plays this role wonderfully.

Hart as Fridge is clearly unhappy with how his character looks and has a serious case of little man syndrome. When pressed to put Spencer in his place, he has a big surprise coming to him. Blain as Fridge the younger knows that he isn’t treating Spencer right and feels justified for blaming him when they get in trouble together. Boy does he have a lesson coming his way.

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Gillan as Martha is shocked by her appearance in the video game and surprises herself even more when she learns one of her skills is Dance Fighting. The shell she was in sort of fades away when the gang needs her certain set of skills. Turner as Martha the younger is shy and keeps to herself but when pushed she roars which pretty much put her right smack into detention.

Black as Bethany is completely hilarious – I mean completely! His mannerism and attitude are absolutely the character and when training video game Martha how to flirt with a guy, I was in stitches. I think this is Black’s silliest role since TROPIC THUNDER! Iseman as Bethany the younger is totally wrapped up in, well, herself and her phone. When those two things are taken from her, it is more than she can handle.

Jonas as Alex has been in the game for quite some time and although a bit sad that he doesn’t realize it, it is to the advantage of the group that he has knowledge of how to beat levels. His weakness is a fear of losing his last life before breaking free of Jumanji. Also, there is a touching scene between the group and Colin Hanks so I’m definitely giving a shout out for that.

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Other cast include Sean Buxton, Mason Guccione, Marin Hinkle, Tracey Bonner, Natasha Parker, Kat Altman, Michael Shacket, Marc Jackson, Missi Pyle and Colin Hanks.

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.

The Bluray and Digital includes the Special Features of Gag Reel, Meet the Players: A Heroic Cast, Surviving the Jungle: Spectacular Stunts!, Attack of the Rhinos!, Journey Through the Jungle: The Making of Jumanji, Book to Board Game to Big Screen & Beyond, and Celebrating the Legacy of Jumanji! The DVD Bonus’ include ‘Jumanji, Jumanji’ Music Video by Jack Black and Nick Jonas.

Another amazing bonus feature is that the Bluray includes a Snapchat code that will be available March 20th. The code will transform you to the world of Jumanji as Dr. Smolder Bravestone gives additional clues to another code and another experience as Jumanji brings characters to life. More fun included is the ability to record the experience and share it with friends!

JUMANJI: Welcome to the Jungle is a fun family film which means its time to break out the popcorn and enjoy the adventure. Adding JUMANJI: Welcome to the Jungle to your own home entertainment library means you can play again and again and there’s nothing wrong with a little adventure now and then.

In the end – the game has evolved!

 

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