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CINEMACON 2019 Delivers the Best in what is To Come for This Year

Cinemacon

 

Jeri Jacquin

Every year I look forward to a trip with my favorite traveling companion Jenise aka Film Brat to Las Vegas, Nevada for CinemaCon that began Monday, April 1st! We always start the very early drive 5+ hours and make sure to take time to stop at our favorite places along the way, have great conversations, crank up the music and enjoy our little working vacation.

We make our usual pit-stops along the way for gas and snack breaks but this time the stops were to see the majestic snow covered mountains that surrounded us. From San Bernardino to Victorville, I can not remember the last time I saw so much snow. We also stopped to see the masses of butterflies everywhere and the fields that are coated with flowers of every kind and color.

Our usual stop at the World’s Largest Thermometer in Baker, California also coincided with our stop at the place where humans meet aliens. Alien Fresh Jerky surprised us this year as we discovered serious renovations to the general store and the beginnings of what is to be a new alien hotel. I already asked if it was possible to make reservations for next year but alas – no lift off.

Then the long stretch of road that is good for having the window down for fresh air before coming over the slight hill that shows the ever expanding city of Las Vegas in Nevada. Of course it isn’t a surprise to find as the roadside is covered with billboards warning of impending fun times no matter what you might be into.

Our favorite place to check into is The Linq which is right across the street from Cesar’s Palace. That works out ducky since Cesar’s is where we spent our entire week with CinemaCon 2019. Checking into our rooms and a quick freshening up, we head off to the first day of the four days of a mixture of work and fun.

After a few conferences, we are welcomed to a pre-reception welcoming us to CinemaCon 2019 and to get us in the mood for what is to come, NEON premiers a screening of the film WILD ROSE. Afterwards we finally have a chance to say hello to other attendees who we have come to know over the years. It’s a great time to catch up, show off kid and grandkid pictures, and talk about what’s new in theatres and our schedules.

Tuesday morning we hit up a little breakfast time before seating to see what STX Films has to share with us. Jon M. Chu walks on stage to talk about the three movies that brought him to be a part of filmmaking and they are E.T., BATMAN and THE JOY LUCK CLUB. We were thrilled with his choices because, as for me, those three are on my top 20 list without question. His next project is IN THE HEIGHTS working with Lin-Manuel Miranda and will be in theatres in 2020.

Charles Rivkin, Chairman & CEO of the MPAA says, “As technology grows, it always speaks of doom for theaters. Yet, as Edna Mode says, ‘here we are!’ Cinema continues to grow, become more diverse and tell stories people want to see and hear. The audiences take magic seriously.”

Adam Fogelson, Chairman of the MPG introduces what is to come for STX and there are a few things we are personally waiting for. Beginning with a look at BEST OF ENEMIES which is the story of Ann Atwater starring Taraji P. Henson and Sam Rockwell and POMS starring Diane Keaton (who takes the stage of charm us all), Jackie Weaver and Pam Grier is the story of women of a certain age who start their own cheerleading group.

Chadwick Boseman arrives on stage to talk about his upcoming city thriller 21 BRIDGES as New York shuts down the bridges to apprehend criminals. The film also stars JK Simmons and Taylor Kitch who gets a chance to try on his bad boy chops.  Dave Bautista arrives to talk about his comedy MY SPY with Ken Jeong, Chloe Coleman and Kristen Schaal.

If horror is more your style, BRAMS: The Boy II is back and this time Katie Holmes comes along to talk about the next chapter. Holmes says she saw the universal connection of a mother and child. Working with the young actor Christopher Convery was very exciting as well. As for the supernatural aspect, Holmes says, “There were a couple of times during shooting that things happened that gave me moments of a scare”.

THE GENTLEMEN is next on the slate and it starts one of our favorites Charlie Hunnam, Henry Golding, Hugh Grant and Matthew McConaughey. Golding who starred in the hit CRAZY RICH ASIANS says he would do anything they asked to be in the film, “My character is unpredictable, young and hungry and not a character anyone would expect me to play”.

Hunnam says, “I play a guy named Ramundo who is the right hand man to Matthew, who is the biggest weed dealer in the U.K. Most of the time I play the guy who is quite bookish and does the logistics but once in the while I pull out the bone saw.” That being said, please put us down for two tickets immediately!

Colin Firth returns to the screen with his upcoming film THE SECRET GARDEN, Jennifer Lopez also has another film in the hopper with HUSTLERS, the film COUNTDOWN, HORIZON LINE, WORK IT, CRIME AFTER CRIME are waiting to jump into theatres. Gerard Butler returns with GREEN LAND, Vin Diesel is MUSCLE and the Moms’ Moms are back with BAD MOM’S MOMS.

Finally, the one we have personally been waiting for. A few years ago at CinemaCon, STX teased us with the story for a film called UGLY DOLLS. After their presentation, we were handed two of the strangest looking dolls but there was something surprisingly cute about them. Well, after two minutes of looking at it, my then two-year-old granddaughter took the pink ‘Dreamy Bat’ into her arms and they have been friends ever since. Now, the animated film is finally complete and will be in theaters in a few short weeks. It looks to be fun, full of moments and songs we will remember for a very long time.

WARNER BROS. STUDIOS brought their studio presentation hosted by Aisha Tyler, who is the voice of Lana in the animated hit series ARCHER, and she brought the laughs and a few special guests. Starting with animation, Toby Emmerich announces the coming DC PETS, TOM & JERRY, SCOOBY-DOO and SPACE JAM II.

DC brings its offerings of SUICIDE SQUAD II, BATMAN, WONDER WOMAN 84 and the highly anticipated Joaquin Phoenix as the JOKER. Director Todd Phillips says of the film, “What people hear about the film isn’t accurate. If anything, my description of the film would be that it is sad”.

Samuel L. Jackson brings the character of SHAFT back to the big screen, BIRDS OF PREY, and THE SUN IS ALSO A STAR is also in the works. THE GOOD LIAR starring Helen Mirren and Ian McKellan is directed by Bill Condon. SUPER INTELLIGENCE brings one of our favorite funny lady’s Melissa McCarthy to the screen and is directed by husband Ben Falcone.

POKEMON DETECTIVE PIKACHU brings Justice Smith together with the yellow and furry animated Ryan Reynolds as Pikachu together for some fun. BLINDED BY THE LIGHT is a film that believes that trying to find the best of yourself is universal. Ansel Elgort and Aaron Finn star in THE GOLDFINCH DIRECTED BY John Crowley. Elgort says of the book to film, “I hope what ever drew people to the book draws them to the movie.”

DOCTOR SLEEP directed by Mike Flanigan is a sequel to 1980 film THE SHINING. Ewan McGregor stars as the very grown up Danny Torrance who meets a young girl with powers like his own. GODZILLA: King of the Monsters brings Mothra, Rodan and King Ghidorah back to tear up the planet.

It is 1950s New York as Edward Norton, Bruce Willis, Willem Dafoe, Leslie Mann and Alec Baldwin star in the film MOTHERLESS BROOKLYN. Director and writer Andrea Berloff brings together Melissa McCarthy, Tiffany Haddish, Elisabeth Moss and Domnall Gleeson for the Vertigo graphic novel THE KITCHEN.

Finally, horror is back with a new friend and two repeat offenders as THE CURSE OF LA LLORNA wants your kids, ANNABELLE COMES HOME from writer James Wan and writer/director Gary Dauberman. Our favorite clown is back as the next installment prepares us for IT: Chapter Two with James McAvoy, Jessica Chastain, Bill Hader, Javier Botet and Pennywise himself Bill Skarsgard and all of it put together by director Andy Muschietti.

Now we can not be in Vegas without walking around in the evening to see the big lights and people watching that is what makes this working vacation so much fun. Watching the water fun at Treasure Island, visiting Gordon Ramsay’s restaurant of fish right outside the door of The Linq with Hell’s Kitchen right across the street. If you are looking for even more tasty treats, Guy Fieri has his steak house just waiting to grill to order, Robert Irvine Public House is next to the Tropicana, Nobu, and Searsuckers. Opening only a few days before our arrival is Vanderpump Las Vegas with her own unique style of flowers and class nestled inside Caesar’s Palace next to the Coliseum.

Onto Wednesday’s presentations, UNIVERSAL PICTURES begins their showings with my favorite creator Chris Meledandri who brings the question to animation of ‘what are our pets doing when we aren’t home?’ with SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2 with Kevin Hart as Snowball and Tiffany Haddish as the new pet Daisy. Both made their way onto the stage and Hart was immediately upstaged by a rabbit that seemed to have an agenda of his own.

Dennis Quaid and director Gail Mancuso brings a look with the next chapter of a dog we have all come to love with A DOG’S JOURNEY. Quaid says of the film and the story that, “magical things happen in our own backyard.” Director Mancuso believes that the film shows how we can transcend lifetimes.

Jason Blum of Blumhouse Productions says, “In film – all sizes matter!” and with that introduces Justin Hartley and Emma Thompson in THE HUNT. Then, the audience goes wild when Octavia Spencer and director Tate Taylor bring us a sneak peek at her first shot at the horror genre with the film MA.

Will Packer Productions brings Regina Hall, Issa Rae, Marsai Martin and director Tina Gordon with a big film about LITTLE. 127 HOURS and T2 TRAINSPOTTING director Danny Boyle brings Lily James and Himesh Patel into a little story that has something to do with the Beatles and YESTERDAY.

Seth Rogen brings his boyish cast of Jacob Tremblay, Josh Caras, Brady Noon and Chance Murstfield and Keith L. Williams to crack the audience up with a look at GOOD BOYS. DREAMWORKS brings the adorable look to ABOMINABLE, a story about Everest who is a 2,000 year old Yeti living in China and the young girl Yee who helps him when he needs it the most!

FOCUS FEATURES has brought giddy to a whole new level for me personally as the film DOWNTON ABBEY brings back the entire cast from the Masterpiece hit television series of the same name from the small screen to the big one. Now, the Crawley family is about to have a royal guest and its all staff at the ready.

Emma Thompson and Henry Golding along with Emilia Clarke get ready to celebrate the holidays in the film LAST CHRISTMAS. Thompson makes her way to the stage to entertain us and has the cutest snort-laugh I’ve ever heard. Also slated for the theaters is QUEEN + SLIM with Lena Waith and the film 1917 where time is the enemy.

Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham get the audience going with a sneak peek at their film Fast & Furious Presents: HOBBS & SHAW. These two are on the hunt to stop Idris Elba who plays Brixton, a genetically enhances villain who seems to be tickles by the two.

Finally, director Tom Hooper brings a Broadway sensation to the silver screen as Taylor Swift, Rebel Wilson, Judy Dench, Ian McKellan, James Corden, Ray Winstone and Jennifer Hudson bring CATS. If that isn’t enough, Ms. Hudson enthralled the audience with her rendition of the song Memory. She was stunning and our collective breaths were being held from the first note to the last, just extraordinary.

DISNEY wasted no time in delighting the audience with the upcoming slate of Disney, Marvel, Blue Sky, Pixar, Fox Searchlight, 20th Century Fox, Disney Animation and Lucasfilms now that they are under one roof. The list is long with STUBER, THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW, BREAKTHROUGH, THE NEW MUTANTS, SPIES IN DISGUISE, FORD VS. FERRARI, TOLKIEN, CALL OF THE WILD, AD ASTRA and ARTEMIS FOWL.

Not to be forgotten is the highly anticipated sequel of Anna, Elsa and Hans with FROZEN II, the coming excitement of DARK PHOENIX and the out of this world excitement of AVENGERS: Endgame.

ALADDIN brings Mena Massoud, Naomi Scott and Will Smith bring live action to the 1992 animated favorite. Director Jon Favreau takes the jungle from animation to live action with THE LION KING. Finally, Angelina Jolie returns to take on new threats to Aurora and the beloved Moors with MALEFICENT: Mistress of Evil.

PIXAR is bringing back our favorite toys with Woody, Buzz, Jessie, Bo Peep, Trixie, Rex, Dolly and the newly created Forky in TOY STORY 4. After a look at what is to come, all I can say is bring your giggles, your friends, family and Kleenex.

AMAZON STUDIOS brings Emma Thompson (and we don’t mind that she’s everywhere!) and Mindy Kaling with their work with LATE NIGHT. Thompson plays a late night talk show host and Kaling is hired to be the only woman in an all male writers’ room. They work together to bring back failing ratings and we think only these two ladies can make that happen.

It’s THURSDAY and we can’t believe the final day of CinemaCon 2019. So much has happened that this write-up is only a fraction of it all. Beginning the morning with PARAMOUNT PICTURES who start the presentation off on the right note as Taron Egerton stars as Sir Elton John in the film ROCKETMAN. Egerton says, “We always felt we wanted to be reverent about the role. We wanted to tell a raw human story about a great man. Elton was hands-off really and wanted us to have fun with it.” We can say it’s going to be a good time at the movies!

Director Alexandre Aja brings a little creepy with Barry Pepper and Kaya Scodelario in the film CRAWL. Paramount in conjunction with Nickelodeon bring DORA & THE LOST CITY OF GOLD starring Eva Longoria and Michael Pena, LIMITED PARTNERS stars Tiffany Haddish and Rose Byrne as two friends who want to start their own business and when they do Selma Hayek wants to take it all.

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG brings live action to the screen as James Marsden and Ben Schwartz (who voices Sonic) fight off Dr. Ivo Robotnik played by Jim Carrey. Of course the audience practically lost its mind when Carrey walked across the stage with a huge tub of popcorn and an announcement that we all needed to see his Robotnik work in all its glory. Well, he wasn’t going to get any argument from anyone!

Carrey says of his role, “He is pure unbridled evil with a 300 IQ so I had to take a couple of weeks to prepare. I made sure that there were some winks, nods and edgy things that work for all age groups.”

I would hate to have been Jon Cena after Carrey’s popcorn fun with the audience as he follows to the stage with his film PALYING WITH FIRE. He gives it his best shot when saying, “This film is lit! It is the hottest film of the year! No other movie can hold a candle to it, you will not be able to extinguish it, it practically sizzles with excitement. Wait, the fire puns aren’t working. I thought you were going to love them but its not turning out like I thought. We are actually still filming but I came here today to tell you guys about it. The film has heart, comedy, great characters which make you think, laugh and cry.”

TERMINATOR: Dark Fate brings is directed by Tim Miller and stars Natalia Reyes, Gabriel Luna, Mackenzie Davis and sees the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Linda Hamilton to reprise her role as Sarah Connor. Miller says of his cast, “I never knew that one day I would be continuing the story of these iconic characters. Even more so is that I get to do it the right way and this is a direct sequel to the movie that allowed me to bring back the original cast.”

Miller brings the cast of the film to the stage and Schwarzenegger takes the mic who says, “It’s really great to be back here and I want to thank Tim Miller and James Cameron for bringing us all back together again. I’m so excited about that. It all began in 1994 and changed my life. They cast has worked so hard and I am so proud of all the work they have put into this film. I’m so happy that Linda Hamilton is back, remember when she was in TERMINATOR 1 and 2 and doing pushups? Well, she’s back doing pushups again and I was blown away. It was like magic for James Cameron to come up with this story. I love this franchise but am bummed that I can’t do this forever so I can do this for another 20 or 30 years but that’s it, that’s all”.

Hamilton had to say, “Well it has been nearly 30 years since I last stepped into the shoes of Sarah Connor. She is a character that changed my life and I have to thank everyone for bringing me back into this world. This is an event I could not turn away from and I can’t wait to share this movie with all of you.”

 

GEMINI MAN is a film that brings Will Smith and Academy Award winner Ang Lee together to bring a story about a man who comes face to face with a younger clone of himself. Lee wanted to everyone to know that, “When you are a director and you can get Will Smith you should consider yourself lucky, in this case I get to work with two of them. Working with Smith over the last year I discovered that he is such a fine actor and this film shows that.”

At the CinemaCon 2019 Filmmakers Roundtable, Elizabeth Banks, Olivia Wilde, Anthony Russo and Dexter Fletcher share what it was like to see an audience watch their films. Russo says, “The only reason you make a movie is for the audience to see it. That’s been one of the great thrills for me. We have always been fed and fired by the audience reaction. You don’t know what you’ve created until you experience that.” Olivia Wilde says that it was, “One of the most terrifying experiences of my life. You never know how its going to go but the audience reaction was amazing.”

Fletcher says, “My first film was called WILD BILL that was a father and son story. They showed it to 16 year old kids and the feeling of their response was indescribable.” Banks says, “I made my first feature with PITCH PERFECT 2 and it’s very funny and very musical. When I took it to my first screening it was like a rock concert. I was throwing up in the back but the audience loved it. You always test and show it to people and make sure you are not insane before you put it in theatres. I knew the movie worked but I didn’t know it would be so well received as it was.”

To end the studio presentations before the award ceremony, LIONSGATE brings Joe Drake, Chairman of the MPG to talk about their upcoming slate of films. Beginning with LONG SHOT, Seth Rogen and Charlize Theron star in this comedy of fun that comes to theaters in a few weeks. David Harbour hits the stage to push his upcoming little film called HELLBOY.

Our collective lady hearts skip a beat when JOHN WICK: Chapter 3 – Parabellum is introduced by director Chad Stahelski. On hand to talk about the film is Halle Berry who says that she wanted so much to be a part of the franchise that she didn’t need to read the script. For once we might be in total agreement on her movie choices because John Wick is definitely our man if we ever need someone dealt with!

I STILL BELIEVE caters to the spiritual and faith-based films that have become popular in recent years. This film is about Jeremy Camp who deals with the death of his wife and through it comes to write the song by the same name.

Jamie Lee Curtis takes the stage and just when I thought she couldn’t be any funnier than she was last year pushing HALLOWEEN, she proved me wrong. The film is KNIVES OUT which is about a family that caught everyone’s attention. Also staring Daniel Craig, Toni Collette, Chris Evans, Don Johnson, Christopher Plummer and the ever amazing Michael Shannon, the film is directed by Rian Johnson and will be out later this year.

And just when you think you might have a moment to slip a dollar in the slot machine or grab a sandwich or a Starbucks…it’s time for the 2019 BIG SCREEN ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS with host Natalie Morales from Access Hollywood. Here are a list of the winners and their categories!

Male Star of Tomorrow:     Henry Golding

Female Stars of Tomorrow: Kaitlyn Dever & Beanie Feldstein

Directors of the Year: Anthony & Joe Russo

International Star of the Year: Kevin Hart

Breakthrough Director of the Year: Olivia Wilde

Action Star of the Year: David Harbour

CinemaCon Spotlight Award: Octavia Spencer

CinemaCon Ensemble Award: The cast of TERMINATOR: Dark Fate – Linda Hamilton, Natalia Reyes, Mackenzie David and Gabriel Luna.

Comedy Stars of the Year: Seth Rogen & Charlize Theron

CinemaCon Vanguard Award: Jamie Lee Curtis

 

There you have it! Four days of everything that Hollywood has to offer for this years CinemaCon 2019. Jenise aka Film Brat and I are always surprised at what we see and experience as well as who we meet and become reacquainted with. We love what we do in general but CinemaCon is our chance to dive into what we love morning, noon and night.

Now that you’ve had a look inside the slates of these remarkable studios, keep up to date with us at http://moviemaven.homestead.com for the reviews and so much more. It’s time to hope in the car and take the long drive home. We have so much to talk about that I don’t think five hours will be enough for us. Of course we are both willing to try.

Until then – see you next year from CinemaCon!

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INCREDIBLES 2 is Exactly That – Purely Incredible!

Incred 2

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres this week from writer/director Brad Bird, Pixar and Walt Disney Studios is the return of the family we love to love with INCREDIBLES 2.

After the Parr family has dealt with the Mole and his attack on the city, the Supers once again find themselves on the outs. Sitting in a motel room wondering what they are going to do next, Lucius aka Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) arrives with news.

It seems someone wants to help bring Supers back! A meeting with Winston (Bob Odenkirk) and Evelyn Deavor (Catherine Keener) brings Bob/Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) and Helen/Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) a chance to prove that Supers should be brought back.

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The idea is to make Elastigirl the face of the Supers which takes them by surprise, especially Bob’s ego. The Deavor’s provide the Parr family with a spacious and, well incredible new home and Helen an awesome two wheel ride. All of this means Bob is home to tend to teen-angst ridden Violet (Sarah Vowell), Dash (Huck Milner) and Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile).

Home life problems include Violet’s confusion about her date with Tony (Michael Bird), Dash’s rambunctiousness and Jack-Jack being Jack-Jack. As Helen leaves to resume ‘hero’ work, Bob is now Mr. Mom and learning the ropes. It doesn’t take long before he becomes over whelmed but can’t let Helen know so calls on Lucius who is equally confused about it all. His last hope is Edna Mode (Brad Bird)!

Helen on the other hand is busy saving Ambassador’s and meeting new Supers. Winston wants to create a summit where everyone comes together once again. The problem is a new villain is using technology to turn the Supers into not-so-nice Supers putting the possibility of bringing Supers back on the back burner! You follow?

Don’t worry, you will, and what an incredible ride it is!

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Hunter as Helen/Elastigirl takes the lead in this film as a working Mom in the most Super of ways. I love Hunter’s character for so many reasons but mainly she is the glue that holds the Parr family together. Not taking anything away from Bob, it’s just a Mom thang!

Nelson as Bob/Mr. Incredible is a little distraught about being put aside but slowly begins to see that he can be equally incredible being an dialed-in Dad as well. When he is finally called to help save the world once again, a twists comes in and the loyalty of family suits up!

Vowell as Violet is having the double issue of teen and super confusion. The one thing she does know for sure is that family is everything. Milner as Dash continues his wise cracking sense of humor and ability to test his parent’s limits – which isn’t always a bad thing.

Jackson as Lucius/Frozone is thrilled at the possibility of being free to freeze, even if his wife might have other ideas. Odenkirk as Winston is a man who truly believes that the Supers need to come back. He has his own personal reasons for it which are endearing. Keener as Evelyn is laid back and the technical brains of the very rich duo.

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Fucil as Jack-Jack steals the film from everyone and it must be said. This kid-character had me cracking up from start to finish – probably because that’s exactly how I see most toddlers. Fiery one minute and happy with a cookie the next, Jack-Jack is coming into his own and the family better learn to deal!

Other cast include Sophia Bush as Voyd, Phil LaMarr as Krushauer/Helectrix, Adam Gates as Chad Brentley, Jonathan Banks as Rick Dicker, Isabella Rossellini as the Ambassador.

INCREDIBLES 2 has my whole family jumping in our very incredible Incredible pajamas. Yes, when we like something we go all in and this film is definitely family fun from start to finish. It is so great to have the gang back together dealing with the duality of trying to have a normal life while trying to save the world from itself.

I believe the reason for the films success in 2004 is because this family is so dang cute for one but totally relatable for another. They have work problems, family issues, sibling rivalry – basically everything we non-supers deal with every day. The fact that they are animated just makes all of those things sort of enjoyable.

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What I enjoy as well is the fact that writer/director Bird doesn’t really deviate from that winning formula. In fact, once again the story deals with losing a home, being unemployed, Mom having to be the bread winner and Dad discovering what really goes on at home and, of course, turning to true friends in time of need.

Those are awesome things to take away from a film that also entertains at every turn. I walked into the theatre giddy with excitement to see one of my favorite families (if you must know, The Adams Family is also in that list) come together once again and, well, be a family that just happens to have something extra to share with us all.

So gather up your own super family and prepare for adventure, laughs and a little learning with a family that shows us all how it’s possible to be incredible in our own ways.

In the end – it’s back to work!

SOLO: A Star Wars Story

 

Solo Cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theaters this week from director Ron Howard and Walt Disney Studios comes the story of a scruffy-looking-nerf-herder in SOLO: A Star Wars Story.

On Coreillia, a young Han (Alden Ehrenreich) is trying to get away from the miserable and abusive life on the planet. Wanting to bring the girl who has his heart Qi’ra (Emilia Clarke), he devises a plan that will test his piloting skills. Mere steps from the transport that will take them away, they are spotted and Qi’ra pushes Han to leave without her. Pledging that he will return for her, there is only one thing he can do to make that happen and immediately joins the Imperial Navy who give him the name Han Solo.

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Several years go by and Han still is having a difficult time. Kicked out of the Imperial Flight Academy, he ends up on Mimban fighting in a battle as an infantryman. That’s when Han notices Imperial Officer Tobias Beckett (Woody Harrelson) and Val (Thandie Newton) and follows him to discover that he is actually an imposter but not before Tobias has him arrested and thrown in a pit where he meets Chewbacca (Joonas Suotamo).

Managing to escape from prison, Han and Chewbacca make their way back to Tobias who sees potential and brings them aboard his ship. Getting help with his next job, Han learns that the leader of the Crimson Dawn, Dryden Vos (Paul Bettany), is expecting a shipment of something called coaxium and Tobias is going after it. The problem is there is someone else interested in doing the same thing which puts Tobias, Han and Chewbacca in danger.

The meeting with Vos is not something Tobias is looking forward to but Han is shocked to see Qi’ra there all grown up and Vos’ right hand woman. Feeling that their lives are in danger, it is Han who says that they can steal unprocessed coaxium from the mines on Kessel. Agreeing to the plan, Vos also sends Qi’ra with them and she locates smugger Lando Calrissian (Donald Glover). In a game of poker brings them all aboard the Millennium Falcon to Kessel and once they get their bounty they have little time to get the unstable coaxium back to Vos.

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But they is also the Cloud Riders led by Enftys Nest as the group learns that they are only trying to make a difference by aiding the rebellion against the Empire. When they arrive to delivery to Vos, he informs them that he knows what they’ve been doing and how he knows shocks Han and Chewbacca. Now Han must deal with the traitor, save a friend and make things right for the Cloud Riders – and he will definitely make sure all scores are settled.

Ehrenreich as Solo does a fine job as the young Solo. He has the look of someone who doesn’t take orders well and isn’t about to be told what to do, that’s important. He throws out the arrogant confidence and silly charm that I’d expect from Han Solo. That being said there is something not quite right – oh yes, it isn’t Harrison Ford. Look, I get that it’s hard to walk in on a role that has been made iconic by another actor, in fact I give Ehrenreich props for doing it, but I can’t make the leap in years between this young Han and the Han of 1976.

Clarke as Qi’ra is another character that I’m afraid will end up with its own film (gawd please don’t). Kind of broke my heart a little that Leia wasn’t Han’s first love but the more I got to know Qi’ra the less I worried about her. The chemistry between Clarke and Ehrenreich is good. Glover as Calrissian gave a charmer performance and he gave the character swagger and capes. His robot counterpart was far funnier and more interesting to watch however.

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Harrelson as Beckett is a smuggler who is going to go with who ever is going to pay him the most. Being a traitor seemed to come naturally to this character and Harrelson gives it his smirk and calmness that ends up being some of the trademarks found in Han. Newton as Val has a small role that works with Beckett and is the smuggler with a heart.

Bettany as Vos is a bad guy who doesn’t give one wit of care who knows it or what anyone else thinks of it. In fact he only answers to one person (sorry, no spoiler for you!) so how he handles situations goes easily unchecked.

Big shout out to Suotamo as Chewbacca because I think this is the first film that I’ve seen him in where he’s “talked” so much! It must be said that seeing him on the Millenium Falcon was uber cool.

Other cast include Phoebe Waller-Bridge as L3-37, Jon Favreau as Rio Durant, Linda Hunt as Lady Proxima, Ian Kenny as Rebolt, John Tui as Korso, and Warwick Davis as Weazel.

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Now that I’ve given you background lets get right to it, SOLO: A Star Wars Story is just that and nothing more – a story. There isn’t anything in this film that makes me thrilled and may answer only one question that I hadn’t thought to ask. The rest is what I call Star Wars noise and that’s about it. There were laughs, action and plenty of symbolism and nods to the original Star Wars and there isn’t anything wrong with that.

I guess my problem is I wanted something more, something unexpected, something – something! It’s hard to explain it unless you can have a conversation with the 1976 version of me. I think the fact that Han is gone, Luke is gone and Leia is really gone, it is hard for me to care about this film because I never really needed to know the back story of characters. I trusted who they were from the beginning and was happy with that.

Now ROGUE ONE was cool because it didn’t involve the main three characters but instead the story of how R2-D2 got the Death Star plans. That took me in a direction that was where I wanted to go, SOLO just really doesn’t do that. I mean I go for the ride but I’m happy when it’s over.

This is another difficult Star Wars review to write because I am an original die hard fan, yes I stood in line every Saturday for months to go for the ride and I didn’t need any urging. That’s what I want from anyone who dares to take on the task of making these “A Star Wars Story” film and we all know there are more on the horizon (deep sigh).

I think I also feel a bit like someone is treading on my memories, on my love of the galaxy far, far away. I didn’t embrace these characters but instead wanted to offer them a cup of blue milk in a traveler cup and send them on their way.

SOLO: A Star Wars Story isn’t bad, it’s filled with a lot that fans love and that is going to have to be enough.

In the end – never tell him the odds!

Disney Brings Home A WRINKLE IN TIME

a wrinkle in time coverJeri Jacquin

Coming soon to Bluray-DVD and Digital Code in a Multi-Screen Edition is from director Ava DuVernay and Disney is a search for A WRINKLE IN TIME.

Meg (Storm Reid) is a young girl having a difficult time. Since her scientist father Murray’s (Chris Pine), she feels the only connection to her life are Mom (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and little brother Charles Wallace (Dedric McCabe).

Hearing talk around school on the anniversary of her father’s disappearance, both Meg and Charles Wallace find themselves in trouble at school. Later that same night, the Murray family is visited by Mrs. Whatsit (Reese Witherspoon) leading to a cryptic message about her father’s work on time travel.

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The next day Charles Wallace recruits Meg’s friend Calvin (Levi Miller) and they meet Mrs. Who (Mindy Kaling) who takes them to meet Mrs. Which (Oprah Winfrey). She explains to the children that they came because of a call for help.

In order to find her father, Meg is told about The It. Woven through the universe, it is a bad energy that always wants something more. Meg just wants to find her father and it’s up to the three kids to discover where he is and get out before The It can work its worse on them all.

This is how warriors are born!

Reid is lovely as Meg, a young girl that has enough going on without the added pressures of being a bully’s target. Knowing her father is out there somewhere gives her strength to search no matter what it takes, She is also a pretty cool big sister who knows her brother is quite special. Reid gives her character soul and strength wrapped up in such a small girl with a big heart.

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McCabe as Charles Wallace almost steals the film half way through. Watching the amazing energy he puts out to try and change the course of Meg’s journey. I was gob smacked at his small stature taking center stage in a pivotal moment and making his small size mean nothing – just wow!

Miller as Calvin wants to help Meg and she eventually learns that she isn’t alone in the life she leads. Calvin has a few secrets of his own to keep hidden inside himself. A strong side-kick to have if you are going to be time travelling.

Winfrey as Mrs. Which is the mother figure of the unusual trio. She wants Meg to find her own strength in being exactly who she is. Kaling as Mrs. Who is lovely and supportive. Witherspoon as Mrs. Whatsit is scatter brained and delightful but all with a purpose.

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Pine as Mr. Murray doesn’t realize what his scientific obsession would cost him or his family until it is too late. Mbatha-Raw as Mrs. Murray keeps the family together and the hope alive for her husbands return.

Other cast include: Zach Galifianakis as Happy Medium, Michael Pena as Red, Andre Holland as Principal Jenkins, Rowan Blanchard as Veronica Kiley, Bellamy Young as Camzotz and David Oyelowo as The It.

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!

wrinkle 4

The Bluray/DVD of A WRINKLE IN TIME includes Bloopers, Deleted Scenes, A Journey Through Time: Director Ava DuVernay, Oprah Winfrey and Some of the Cast and Crew Give an Up-Close Look at the Making of This Extraordinary Film, Music Videos: ‘I Believe’ by DJ Khaled Featuring Demi Lovato, ‘Warrior’ by Chloe x Halle and Audio Commentary with Director Ava DuVernay, Producer Jim Whitaker, Co-Writer Jennifer Lee and some of the Production Crew.

 A WRINKLE IN TIME is a beautiful story of childhood that includes secret pain and the issue of bullying, keeping a family together and never giving up hope. That’s what Meg does, although she turns away from people to hide her feelings, the one thing she will stand up brazenly for is her family.

The film is also filled with grand imagination, special effects that set the tone for the story being told and stunning imagery. There is certainly nothing wrong with having a film that not only can be enjoyed by the whole family but is filled with such intense life lessons. Sometimes it only takes a good movie to get the family talking.

In the end – be a warrior!

Las Vegas Once Again Hosts CINEMACON 2018

Cinemacon 2018

Jeri Jacquin

Every year I look forward to one of the most amazing events that the city of Las Vegas hosts and this year was no exception as CINEMACON 2018 brings the best in what the studios have to offer theater owners.

CINEMACON is a fascinating gathering of people who have the chance to be a part of what is up and coming by seeing the trade show and demonstrations of all things that make their way into theatres. From the latest innovations in theater sound to the eye catching and stunning capabilities of the next generation of projection equipment, CINEMACON is a feast for those of us who love everything that goes behind and in front of the big screen.

Also part of CINEMACON is the anticipated presentations by the studios that come each year to share with theater owners what will be coming by way of entertainment for movie lovers of all kinds. For four days, the excitement builds with each presentation and the studios do not disappoint.

VENOM

The studios of SONY begins the four day event with their slate of films that include SUPERFLY with Trevor Jackson and Jason Mitchell, SICARIO: Day of the Soldado with Benicio Del Toro, THE EQUALIZER 2, WHITE BOY RICK with Matthew McConaughey and Jeff Robinov, the highly anticipated VENOM with Tom Hardy and Michelle Williams, THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER’S WEB with the Queen herself Claire Foy and Fede Alvarez, SPIDER-MAN: Into the Spider-Verse, HOLMES AND WATSON with the beloved Will Ferrell breaking out into song and finally, MISS BALA with Gina Rodriguez and Anthony Mackie due in theaters January 25, 2019.

On day two, Disney brings in their line up that includes many live action stories. Also celebrating the 10 year anniversary for Marvel Studios beginning with IRON MAN, it is 14.8 billion dollars later and here we are with AVENGERS: Infinity War. Also coming to theaters is ANT MAN and the WASP bringing Paul Rudd back to his tiny role in a huge film. Disney also announced that Brie Larson is the new CAPTAIN MARVEL with a story set in the 90’s and will be on the big screen in March 2019.

The live action CHRISTOPHER ROBIN stars Ewan McGregor as Christopher all grown up and forgetting what it is like to be a child but with the help of some old friends he might just remember once again. THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS brings McKenzie Foy of TWILIGHT fame now playing Clara. Rounding out the cast is Morgan Freeman, Kiera Knightely and Helen Mirren.

This December is the return of a beloved nanny as Emily Blunt dons the cap and umbrella for MARY POPPINS RETURNS. Jane and Michael are now grown and seem to be in need of help that only Mary Poppins can provide. Look to see a few familiar faces in the cast as well as we all travel once again to the house on Cherry Tree Lane!

Tim Burton is bringing a live action DUMBO to the 2019 Disney slate starring Danny DeVito, Michael Keaton, Colin Farrell and Eva Green among others to tell the story of an elephant who can fly. ALADDIN is Guy Ritchie’s vision of the live action story of a peasant from Agraba who meets a princess looking for more excitement in her life and Will Smith is the Genie.

incredibles

From Pixar and Disney Animation comes the one film I have been waiting for. Writer and director Brad Bird brings a family of supers back to fight for us all once again as INCREDIBLES 2 will fill theater seats this summer on June 15. Craig T. Nelson, Holly Hunter and Samuel L. Jackson returns as Frozone! Wait until you see what Jack-Jack has been up to!

WRECK IT RALPH 2: Ralph Breaks the Internet comes swinging into theaters for the whole family this fall and you can be sure that the story will be as epic as the first.

Lucas Films brings the next film with the anticipated SOLO: A Star Wars Story this May. Ron Howard along with Lawrence and John Kasdan bring the story of our favorite scruffy-looking-nerf-herder to life. Hopefully we will get all the answers to Han Solo’s life and with Ron Howard at the helm I am absolutely looking forward to the film.

The future of Disney includes director Kenneth Branagh’s telling of the Eoin Coifer book ARTEMIS FOWL starring Dame Judy Dench, Josh Gad and Lara McDonnell. Anna and Elsa return in FROZEN 2 in the fall of 2019 and finally THE LION KING will bring the return of James Earl Jones as Mufasa to this live action film.

WARNER BROS. pictures bring Will Arnett out to introduce their coming films starting with AQUAMAN as Jason Mamoa, Amber Heard and Patrick Wilson join director James Wan to talk about the underwater thrill ride to come. Also announced is the coming of SHAZAM and the next installment of WONDER WOMAN.

Melissa McCarthy

Melissa McCarthy is set to be the LIFE OF THE PARTY hitting theaters May 11th, OCEANS 8 brings its bevy of beauties with Sandra Bullock at the helm, TAG has Ed Helm, Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Jake Johnson and Hannibal Buress playing the adult version of the game and Jason Statham prepares for what swims big in the water with THE MEG. If frights are what you are looking for then this fall beware of THE NUN or perhaps you’d like something a little more clownish with the return of IT: Chapter 2 due in theaters September 2019.

In animation, Arnett was more than happy to talk about the upcoming TEEN TITAN GO! TO THE MOVIES and for more animated fun, Channing Tatum, Zendaya and Common bring SMALL FOOT to families.

CRAZY RICH ASIANS is a film based on the best selling novel and it proves that perspective mother-in-laws are pretty much the same all over the world. Andy Serkis brings the live action story of MOWGLI with the voices of Cate Blanchett, Benedict Cumberbatch and Matthew Rhys. Bradley Cooper retells A STAR IS BORN starring himself and Lady GaGa.

FANTASTIC BEASTS: The Crimes of Grindelwald starring Eddie Redmayne, Jude Law and Johnny Depp is going to make the month of November one of the most anticipated. Newt Scamander is back at Hogwarts and once again there is trouble afoot in the wizarding world. That’s all I need to say because the line around the theater is going to be endless!

The studio STX brings Chairman Adam Fogelson center stage to introduce a film I am excited to see with ADRIFT starring Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin coming this June. On the water two people in love find that the elements aren’t always on their side. PEPPERMIND with Jennifer Garner is about a Mother who refuses to see injustice go unpunished, SECOND ACT has Jennifer Lopez back on the screen as a woman looking to change her life one more time.

BRADLEY COOPER

My granddaughter is thrilled to know that UGLY DOLLS will be making its debut May of 2019 and Melissa McCarthy with husband Ben Falcone are part of the human-puppet experience with the HAPPY TIME MURDERS.

Mark Wahlberg and Peter Berg are together again bringing Lauren Cohan and Ronda Rousey along for the action thriller MILE 22. It is clear that Wahlberg and Berg have a partnership that makes for fantastic story telling as they succeeded in showing us just that with last years films DEEPWATER HORIZON and PATRIOTS DAY.

Entertainment Studios will be bringing the animated feature ANIMAL CRACKERS to the entire family voiced by John Krazinski, Emily Blunt, Danny DeVito and Sylvester Stallone. Also GOD BLESS THIS BROKEN ROAD and BOSS LEVEL with Mel Gibson. Finally, the return of a guilty pleasure as the sharks have another go at 47 METERS DOWN 2.

UNIVERSAL PICTURES brings Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish together for a little NIGHT SCHOOL. Hart also says he will be returning as Snowball in SNOWBALL: THE SECRET LIFE OF PETS 2. Founder of Illumination Chris Meledandri promises the return of our favorite overhaul wearing little people in MINIONS RETURN and another SING film. Benedict Cumberbatch will be the voice of THE GRINCH in this telling of his life again.

Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy and director Damien Chazelle bring the story of Neil Armstrong in the film FIRST MAN. Jack Black, Eli Roth and Cate Blanchett bring the Amblin Entertainment film THE HOUSE WITH THE CLOCK IN ITS WALLS. It looks to be quite the story! Director Gerard McMurray return to bring another Fourth of July chapter of THE FIRST PURGE. Peter Jackson brings his next epic story with MORTAL ENGINES this December.

Laurie Strode is back forty years later as Michael Meyers isn’t quite done with Haddonfield in HALLOWEEN. Jamie Lee Curtis says the film is ‘hella scary’ with the promise that it will scare us all beyond belief. Writer-director M. Night Shyamalan is bringing Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson and James McAvoy together for a final showdown in the film GLASS. Jackson is fairly thrilled that he finally has a film names after his character.

For Toothless fans out there of which I’m sure there are many, HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: The Hidden World will be dazzling us with all things dragon from DreamWorks in March of 2019.

Dwayne Johnson brings another high intensity action film reminding us all what fun those can be in a theater with SKYSCRAPER. He says that SKYSCRAPER will be an experience that audiences will remember and also says that when fans love it, “I’m going to take complete credit” in a joking way that only Johnson can do.

MAMA MIA

MAMA MIA! Here We Go Again brings the sites of the Greek Isles along with the music of Abba in this next installment. The story brings Sophie, played by Amanda Seyfried, on a journey to learn about her mother Donna in her younger years played by Lily James. Mixing the present with the past, MAMA MIA! Here We Go Again will have audiences cheering once again as well. I will admit I went full on squeal-fan when Cher came to the Colusseum stage and performed the Abba song Fernando. It was an experience that the audience will never forget – ever!

Finally, JURASSIC WORLD: Fallen Kingdom brings Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard center stage to talk about the film. Pratt promises that it is going to be a good summer but I have to say that anytime dinosaurs are around, it’s going to be epic! I’m sort of thrilled that Blue comes back in this film; I always like a dinosaur that makes that kind of impact in a film.

Focus Features brings Charlize Theron in a film that I know should be seen by any woman who gets the chaos of family life in the film TULLY. I absolutely love this film. Also coming from the studio is POPE FRANCIS: A Man of His Word and a film about a man we all know as Mr. Rogers in WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR.

Domhnall Gleeson, Charlotte Rampling, Ruth Wilson and Will Poulter star in THE LITTLE STRANGER and Rowan Atkinson is back with JOHNNY ENGLISH STRIKES AGAIN. Felicity Jones and Mimi Leder talk ON THE BASIS OF SEX as Ms. Jones compares her character to Rocky! Joel Edgerton and Lucas Hedges star in BOY ERASED. Finally, Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie are two fierce queens in the film MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS. I personally am looking so forward to seeing these two actresses go all out regal.

Paramount Pictures brings it’s slate and talent beginning with Hailee Steinfelt and John Cena in BUMBLEBEE directed by Travis Knight. His resume is pretty impressive with the films CORALINE, BOXTROLLS, PARANORMAN and my favorite KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGS.

THE BOOK CLUB

When these four women come to the stage, you know the film has got to be epic! Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen and Diane Keaton are lovely ladies deciding if there are more chapters to their lives in THE BOOKCLUB. Also coming from Paramount is the film ELI, DORA THE EXPLORER and ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK?

Taraji P. Henson thinks she knows WHAT MEN WANT, director Sean Anders brings Mark Wahlberg and Rose Byrne together to make an INSTANT FAMILY, Will Smith is the GEMINI MAN and Linda Hamilton along with Arnold Schwarzenegger return for another TERMINATOR. In animation there is WONDER PARK with Ken Jeong and Mila Kunis, MONSTER ON THE HILL, LUCK, SONIC THE HEDGEHOG and THE SPONGE BOB SQUARE PANTS MOVIE: The Wonderful Sponge.

Also in the works from Paramount Pictures is TOP GUN 2, PET CEMETARY, and ACTION POINT with Johnny Knoxville as an amusement park owner with a business that is disturbingly amusing! Also J.J. Abrams brings the first R-rated film from the company Bad Robot with the title of OVERLORD. Abrams calls the film ‘batsh*t crazy!’

Tom Cruise is back with Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg and Rebecca Ferguson in MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: Fallout. Also, Cruise received the PIONEER OF THE YEAR Award at a dinner.

deadpool

20th Century Fox knows how to start out a presentation as dancers with the Deadpool theme give the audience a morning of song and dance, Chris Aronson get caught between the sheets because what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. ALITA: Battle Angel is a James Cameron and Jon Landau works with director Robert Rodriguez. The director says that his process is keeping the heart and soul of his protagonist keeping her strong and relatable.

THE HATE U GIVE and THE DARKEST MINDS bring the YA film genre front and center. BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE stars Jeff Bridges, Jon Hamm, Chris Hemsworth and Dakota Johnson in an eerie tale that I have just got to see. WIDOWS brings together four women and the only thing they have in common is death and debt starring Viola Davis.

THE PREDATOR is back in the hands of director Shake Black starring Olivia Munn and Sterling K. Brown. Rami Malek has a chance to bring back one of the most iconic performers in music history as Freddy Mercury in BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY.

Amazon Studios brings their slate and the story of John Callahan as Joaquin Phoenix, Jack Black and Jonah Hill bring Gus Van Sant together for DON’T WORRY HE WON’T GET FAR ON FOOT. The documentary GENERATION WEALTH might have a few people’s jaws dropping as director Lauren Greenfield surmises that ‘No matter how much people have, they want more’ PETERLOO brings a story of the 1819 massacre by British forces against a peaceful pro-democracy rally in Manchester.

Also, Pawel Pawlikowski’s work COLD WAR, Rosamund Pike as Madame Curie in RADIOACTIVE, PHOTOGRAPH, Viola Davis and Allison Janney in TROUPE ZERO, Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones in THE AERONAUTS, and Luca Gudagnino’s retelling of SUSPIRIA starring Tilda Swinton and Dakota Johnson. Steve Carell and Timothy Chalamet bring director Felix Van Groeningen’s story of a troubled but BEAUTIFUL BOY.

rami malek

The final presentation of CINEMACON 2018 is Lionsgate’s offering beginning with UNCLE DREW starring Lil Rel, Tiffany Haddish and Shaq, BLINDSPOTTING, Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon in THE SPY WHO DUMPED ME, KIN starring Dennis Quaid and James Franco, HELL FEST, A SIMPLE FAVOR and the retelling of OVERBOARD with Ana Faris and Eugenio Derbez.

It was an adventurous, exciting, enlightening, fun and entertaining four days of CINEMACON 2018 and I expect no less. Every year the gathering of industry and theater owners brings so much that it really is a whirl wind to experience it all. I’d like to thank everyone responsible for putting this convention together for all their hard work and dedication to making the yearly trek into the desert something to always look forward to.

Every year I have the opportunity to see amazing friends I have made over the years and meet new people who bring ideas, creativity and technology all wrapped up in entertainment.

There are so many films coming this year and a slew more in 2019! We will be in the seats to see them all because that is where great experiences and great adventures are meant to be seen – in your local theater! Enjoy it all with a huge tub of popcorn and an ice cold beverage with your friends, family or just a big theater full of people who go to the movies for the same reason you do!

See you in 2019!

A Golden Globe Winner is Ready to Perform on Bluray with COCO

coco cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming next week (and perfect for a rainy day) on Bluray/DVD and Digital from Disney, Pixar and directors Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina is the animated hit COCO.

Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) is a young man who is loved by his extended family. As everyone works together in life there seems to be only one thing not accepted – music! That is difficult for Miguel since he absolutely loves music and has to secretly find a way to have it in his life.

His favorite musician is Ernesto de la Cruz (Benjamin Bratt) who Miguel sees as his musical hero. Keeping him away from music is Mama (Sofia Espinosa), Mama Imelda (Alanna Ubach), and Abuelita (Renee Victor) but Mama Coco (Ana Ofelia Murguia) tries to tell Miguel a family secret.

coco 1

After a confrontation with family, Miguel says the one thing that sends him to the realm of his ancestors. There he finds Hector (Gael Garcia Bernal) who says he knows Ernesto and will take Miguel to see him. The problem with the realm of his ancestors is that they aren’t to happy when a living person roams in their land!

On the run with Hector, Miguel finally gets to Ernesto and has the chance to ask the questions his family won’t answer. He also discovers that family secrets can change how a little boy sees his world.

When the story of Hector and Ernesto comes out, Miguel does what he must to help those in his family not be forgotten and bring music back to someone very special!

Gonzalez as the voice of Miguel brings such lovely inflections when he talks. His character is a young man who just doesn’t understand the musical feelings of his family yet has a yearning in his bones. Yet the character of Miguel finds amazing strength in the truth.

coco 2

Bernal as Hector wants nothing more than to not be forgotten – but there is also truths that he wants told. Befriending Miguel is the only way he can make that happen. Bernal brings humor to a character that just needs to be remembered.

Bratt as Cruz is definitely full of himself with no remorse over causing his family to turn their backs on music. Miguel learns that family secrets might start out to protect one another but the truth always comes out in the end.

I love the cast of Mama’s with their protective natures and ease of using a shoe to smack off anyone who would hurt Miguel. It’s nice to know that happens in so many cultures as my Grandmother had a thing for shoe-whacking too! The Papa’s have worked hard and embraced their families with a fierce protection and while the Mama’s are whacking with shoes, the Papa’s are making shoes.

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Two more characters that stand out are Natalia Cordova-Buckley as Frida Kahlo and Edward James Olmos as Chicharron. This is truly a big voice cast but each character brings something endearing to the story.

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!

There is over two hours of Bonus Features including a Commentary, Deleted Scenes, Paths to Pixar: COCO, The Music of Coco and so much more! You can also instantly stream or download on Digital on iTunes.

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Disney Pixar’s COCO is stunning eye candy for everyone who loves animation with an emotional family storyline. That is what Pixar does with ease with its use of such color and vibrancy to enhance everything about a story. The music absolutely stands out and adds even more depth to the film.

The story of Miguel learning the stories of his family is one everyone can relate to no matter what culture you are from. We all want to know where our traditions and yearnings come from and COCO gives us a look at one such story giving us all hope and remembering to embrace our families now and forever.

Gather the family together to sing, dance and embrace everything that is love, loyalty, family and traditions. Next Tuesday is the release of Disney Pixar’s fabulous tale that includes it all with COCO.

In the end – it’s a celebration of a lifetime!

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: Dead Men Tell No Tales Sails onto Bluray

pirates bluray

 

Jeri Jacquin

Jack is back coming to Bluray/DVD and Digital HD as directors Joachim Ronning and Espen Sandberg along with Walt Disney Pictures is PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: Dead Men Tell No Tales.

Henry Turner (Brenton Thwaites) is a young man who wants one thing – to see his father Will Turner permanently returned to dry land. What he needs is Poseidon’s Trident and the map that will lead him there to break the curse holding his father deep in the ocean.

Carina Smyth (Kaya Scodelario) is a young woman who holds a map to the where the trident is and only she can read it. Basically it’s because she can read the stars where as most pirates can’t, well, read.

pirates 1

Someone who can help them is Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) but he’s not having the best lucky with a crew lately. As if that’s not enough, Henry tells Jack that a ghost named Captain Salazar (Javier Bardem) pretty much wants his head on a platter.

Unphased by the prospect of losing his head, Jack is more focused on what he’s always focused on – getting his hands on the Pearl! When Captain Barbossa (Geoffrey Rush) comes upon the hair flowing Captain Salazar, a deal is struck to find Jack together.

Jack, Henry and Carina try to stay one step ahead of Barbossa and Barbossa tries to stay two steps ahead of Salazar. As they all get closer to the prize, there are still scores to settle and a few surprises for them all.

This is the life of a pirate!

Depp as Jack Sparrow puts a period at the end of his time as a pirate. His usual throwing caution to the wind and not being upset by much, Depp throws out lines and facial reactions that continue to make us all laugh. Jack Sparrow is endearing and even to the very end he seems to be able to come out with what he truly wants.

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Thwaites as Henry Turner is a young actor that is able to pull off the role of a kid who just wants his Dad back. Becoming somewhat of an expert on the legends of the sea, Thwaites is charming, caring and daring all rolled into one. Scodelario as Carina is a smart young woman who is misunderstood by, well, pirates. Looking for the trident is her mission to finding her own family.

Rush as Barbossa is his usual peg-legged self who wants to keep the money rolling in and going up against Jack is just topping on the cake. Bardem as Salazar is kind of creepy but then again he is a tad upset at Jack so we have to let him get out his frustration. The cgi around his character is more than a tad disturbing and cool at the same time.

Other cast include Kevin McNally as Gibbs, David Wenham as Scarfield, Stephen Graham as Scrum, Adam Brown as Cremble, Orlando Bloom as Will Turner and Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Swann. There is also a cameo appearance that had the audience cheering so look out for that!

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!

pirates 3

The Bluray Bonus Extras include Dead Men Tell More Tales: The Making of a New Adventure – Join the filmmakers and cast for an up-close look at the film’s creation, encompassing eerie ghost sharks, astonishing undersea set pieces, Jack Sparrow’s extended family and much more, in this fascinating collection of stories: A Return to the Sea, Telling Tales: A Sit-Down with Brenton & Kaya, The Matador & The Bull: Secrets of Salazar & The Silent Mary, First Mate Confidential, Deconstructing the Ghost Sharks, Wings Over the Caribbean, An Enduring Legacy, Bloopers of the Caribbean, Deleted Scenes and More!

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: Dead Men Tell No Tales is a fantastical journey’s we have all enjoyed with Captain Jack Sparrow. Although the film brings the story full circle and the special effects are pretty darn cool, it is almost addictive how we all keep coming back for more! Of course we would because it’s Disney film!

It has been an adventure from 2003 until now with characters that are memorable and have become iconic. Disney has done a good job in wrapping up this series of films in such a way that no will be disappointed.

Everyone jumps on board for another adventure and a few surprises as well. This is fun for the family filled with laughs, adventure, action and characters that once again have us cheer for our favorite pirate. Of course no one else will ever be Jack Sparrow so thanks for that Johnny Depp!

So prepare matey’s for a journey through the sea of adventure.

In the end – it is the final tale of a pirate’s life!

 

CARS 3 Revs Up Their Engines for the Weekend!

cars 3

 

Jeri Jacquin

Racing into theatres this weekend from writer/director Brian Fee, Pixar Animated Studios and Disney is everyone’s favorite racers with CARS 3.

Lightening McQueen (voiced by Owen Wilson) has been a winner on the track race after race. That is until one day a big race that he felt was a win suddenly changes when a new generation car speeds past to take the win. Shocked, McQueen meets Jackson Storm (Armie Hammer), a new race car that is all teched out and he isn’t sure how to deal with it.

When an event on the track happens, McQueen goes back to his little town to basically hide. That is until his friends Sally (Bonnie Hunt), Luigi (Tony Shalhoub) and Mater (Larry the Cable Guy) convince him that he needs to reach out Rust-eze, the sponsor who is now owned by Sterling (Nathan Fillion).

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Sterling gives McQueen trainer Cruz Ramirez (Cristela Alonzo) who makes her duty to get him up to speed, literally, before the next big race in Florida. Wanting to go back to training the old-school way, McQueen and Cruz begin to understand one another.

But there is still one more thing McQueen needs to do and that’s return to where his mentor Doc (Paul Newman) lived and discover what motivated him! He meets Smokey (Chris Cooper) who introduced him to old-school racers who push McQueen.

When they arrive in Florida, McQueen begins to realize that the racing world is changing and it might be time for him to change too!

Wilson as McQueen once again brings humor and fun to his vocal role. This is a character that just continues to grow, even if he doesn’t understand why he has to. Wanting to be the best for as long as he can isn’t a new concept in life and McQueen eventually shows us all that being the best only changes when we realize change can be oh so good!

Alonzo as Cruz is a young lady car that absolutely needs to know her worth. As McQueen begins to understand her drive, he realizes that he can either help his new friend or be part of the problem. I love Cruz’s get up and go but also her dreams.

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Cooper as Smokey brings in the old school gang to straighten out McQueen letting him know that Doc has always been with him. Those scenes are extremely touching. Hammer as Storm is a car that plays to the cameras but his wit even though it is stingingly aimed at McQueen. The addition of Fillion as Sterling is an owner that seems committed to McQueen but, of course he’s only in it for what he can get out of it and not the love of racing.

Larry the Cable Guy as Mater is till the sweetest and sometimes smartest car of them all. He wants what is best for his friends, believes in them and will drop everything to help them. He helps McQueen in ways that even Mater doesn’t realize. Larry will always be Mater!

Other cast includes Ray Magliozzi as Dusty, Kerry Washington as Natalie Certain, Bob Costas as Bob Cutlass, Margo Martindale as Louise Nash, Darrell Waltrip as Darrell Cartrip and Isiah Whitlock Jr. as River Scott.

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give CARS 3 four tubs of popcorn out of five. It is fantastic that Pixar and Disney have returned to the original formula that made the original CARS so much fun. Having come full circle with the inclusion of Paul Newman’s character just brought a tear.

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The story gives each character an added depth of loyalty, belief in one another, can-do attitude and even when feeling defeated the uplifting of friends. It is thrilling that the original cast came together bringing all the comedy and laughs I felt missing in the second film.

Everyone in the audience truly had a great time and with school ending it is a great beginning to the summer family movie going experience. Lightening McQueen and the gang have brought their story full circle and it is nothing short of well done and fun.

Grab the family and head to the theatre this weekend for an amazing story from beloved friends who just happen to be CARS.

In the end – It’s not over until lightning strikes!

Beauty and the Beast Dances and Sings onto Bluray

Beauty and the Beast cover

 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray/DVD and Digital HD from director Bill Condon and Disney is the return of a tale as old as time with BEAUTY AND THE BEAST.

Belle (Emma Watson) is a young girl living in a small village where everyone knows everyone. So much so that Belle is known as an unusual girl who would read than find a husband. Living with her father Maurice (Kevin Kline), he is also seen as unusual.

Also in the town is Gaston (Luke Evans), a tad self centered man who sees Belle as his prize and wants to marry her. Along with side kick LeFou (Josh Gad), it is a constant struggle to understand why she is not falling at his feet!

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During a trip to the neighboring town, Maurice unexpectedly loses his way and ends up in a tattered castle. He quickly discovers that the inhabitants are a little more magical and terrifying. A Beast (Dan Stevens) roars down and puts Maurice in a tower cell.

When their horse returns to Belle, she immediately knows her father is in trouble and rides off to find him. Finding her father in a cell and meeting the Beast, Belle offers a trade to stay in exchange for releasing her father.

Maurice returns to the town and tries to convince everyone that Belle is being held prisoner by a Beast. In the meantime Belle is getting to know her surroundings and the magic that holds the castle captive. Taking care of her is the candlestick Lumiere (Ewan McGregor), the elegant clock Cogsworth (Ian McKellen), the motherly teapot Mrs. Potts (Emma Thompson) and her teacup son Chip (Nathan Mack), the chiffarobe Madame Garderobe (Audra McDonald) and the ivory keys of Maestro Cadenza (Stanley Tucci).

Getting to know the Beast, Belle begins to see a different side of the creature. This thrills the residence of the castle since there is a curse with a glass encased rose and when the last petal falls they all will become unchangeable forever.

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The Beast begins to feel so much more than he could have imagined and when Belle needs to be with her father, his heart gives in. But that isn’t all changing as Gaston convinces the town that the Beast must be destroyed. The two sides collide but one thing is certain, nothing will ever be the same.

It begins with heart!

Watson is charming as Belle and she certainly has made her way out of another iconic character. She twirls and sings her way though and looks to be enjoying her performance. Stevens voicing the Beast is gruff and unmoving at first but, of course, finds his heart and is changed.

Evans as Gaston is very funny and manages to capture the arrogance and narcissism of the marriage minded self-absorbed hunter. Gad as LeFou is clever and also funny.  Kline as Maurice gets a chance to portray Belle’s father in a less absent minded way but still well done.

McGregor as Lumiere is charming, but then again he is supposed to be. McKellen as Cogsworth has that voice that clearly defines who he is. Thompson as Mrs. Potts is sweet and caring along with the adorable Mack as Chip. McDonald as Madame Garderobe needs lessons in fashion and Tucci as Cadenza plays the ivories beautifully.

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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 film is obviously beautiful and live-action fans will have a good time singing along whenever they like to song they already know and one or two new ditties. The costuming is stunning and the cgi is clever. The cast is fun and that is all that will matter to families ready to have a real home movie night.

The Bluray includes so many Bonus Extras including Enchantable Table Read – You’re invited to join the cast for the movie’s elaborately staged table read, complete with singing and dancing to live music, set pieces and more, A Beauty of a Tale – Explore the process of transforming a beloved animated film into a new live-action classic, and The Women Behind Beauty and the Beast – Emma Watson introduces several of the many talented women in all aspects of production who helped bring this enchanted tale to life.

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That isn’t all! Also included From Song to Screen: Making the Musical Sequences – Discover what goes into creating some Beauty and the Beast’s best-known moments, Making a Moment with Celine Dion, Beauty and the Beast Music Video & Making the Music Video, Extended Song: Days in the Sun – Learn more about Beast’s childhood in an alternate version of this beautiful song, and finally Deleted Scenes, Song Selection and so much more!

This BEAUTY AND THE BEAST pack includes a Bluray, DVD and Digital HD which means with the code you can take the gang where ever you are going and instantly stream and download all 129 minutes of fun.

In the end – be our guest!

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