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YESTERDAY Has Music and Love on Bluray

 

Yesterday cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Ultra 4K HD, Bluray/DVD and currently on Digital from director Danny Boyle and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment Is a story of a crazy moment in time, THE BEATLES and a bit of YESTERDAY.

Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) is a struggling musician in the UK who pushes his career but doesn’t seem to find that one break. Ellie (Lily James) has taken the mantle of friend/roadie and manager believing that he has something to offer through his music. Thinking that it’s time to give it all up, there is a strange blackout and Jack is knocked out.

He wakes up to the same world but with one interesting difference, no one seems to have heard of The Beatles. Jack knows every song and every note of their work and decides to play their songs to see what happens. Well, what happens is he is heard by Gavin (Alexander Arnold) who wants to immediately record everything Jack wants to record.

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It turns into a phenomenon and now everyone wants to hear his music, including music executive Debra Hammer (Kate McKinnon). Everything begins to move into high gear and Ellie can’t go where Jack is headed and brings Rocky (Joel Fry) in to look after him. On a whirlwind, Jack finds himself dealing with what is happening and the fact that Ellie now seems so very far away.

Taking notice is musician Ed Sheeran who believes Jack to be the most epic singer/songwriter of the ages. In fact he asks Jack to be part of his opening act. Jack is in awe of all these opportunities that he is being handed but in the back of his mind he knows they are being handed to the wrong person.

That doesn’t mean the weirdness has stopped either but one thing is for sure, Jack must decide if he wants to continue to ride the rollercoaster of fortune and fame or now.

Patel as Malik is a young man who at first doesn’t understand what has made his world turn and is then confused how no one knows who The Beatles are but finds himself wrapped in their musical history. There is the struggle playing the music and feeling a bit of euphoria in the attention. Of course, with all things dishonest, Patel comes to terms with what he could possible lose by continuing the farce. Patel shows every bit of emotion on his face and also in the way he sings.

James as Ellie believes in Malik and doesn’t mind being the roadie/manager on the weekend. Once Malik takes off musically, she comes to terms with the fact that she is not able to follow but also the feelings about her friend. James is sweet and lovely but then again she always is.

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McKinnon as Hammer becomes Malik’s agent but dang if she doesn’t creep me out with a dash of fright added to it. A very intense manager she doesn’t pull any punches and expects Malik to fall in line if he wants to be the biggest in music of all time. I love when McKinnon goes rogue in a character and here she really gets a chance to go off the rails.

It must be said that Rocky (Fry) is an absolute gem. He is the friend we all wish we had and for me it’s because his honesty is brutally funny, he truly cares for Malik and might even have a secret crush on Ellie. He tries to stay out of his friends way but always manages to get a word in anyway.

Ed Sheeran gets a chance to show his musical chops with acting – as himself. I love the interaction between Sheeran and Patel in the kitchen as a case of star struck and ‘who is this?’ happens in one room.

Other cast include Sophia Di Martino as Carol, Ellize Chappel as Lucy, Meera Syal as Sheila Malik, Harry Michell as Nick, Vincent Franklin as Brian, Sanjeev Bhaskar as Jed Malik, Alexander Arnold as Gavin and Robert Carlyle as John. Cameo appearances by James Corden and Ed Sheeran.

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

MOVIES ANYWHERE gives viewers the ability to download the Movies Anywhere App. With that you can view films by downloading or streaming to your favorite device using a Digital Code. For more information on Movies Anywhere please visit www.MoviesAnywhere.com.

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The Bonus Features on 4K Ultra HD, Bluray, DVD and Digital include Alternate Opening, Alternate Ending, Deleted Scenes, Gag Reel, Live at Abbey Road Studios and Watch Himesh Patel Perform the Song ‘Yesterday’ and More, Ed Sheeran: From Stadium to Screen, Agent of Comedy: Kate McKinnon, A Talented Duo, Playing for Real, Soul Mates, A Conversation with Richard & Ed and Feature Commentary with Director Danny Boyle and Writer/Producer Richard Curtis.

YESTERDAY is a film that takes on our memories of The Beatles in such a way that I found myself thinking ‘wow, what if no one did remember The Beatles?’. It is such an impossibility in my world which makes the film even more endearing. Here is this musician without a cause and when he finds one it happens to be due to one of the biggest influences in music history.

I was actually very honored to hear Himesh Patel perform one of The Beatles songs and he is amazing. Clearly talented in his own right, I can’t imagine anyone else playing the role of Jack. It is a crazy whirlwind film that even in a world without The Beatles, the same conflicts, human relationships, friendships and vices don’t really change much. What Jack brings to the film is that he is constantly in flux with the decisions he is making and never once truly becomes sucked into the world Hammer wants to create.

YESTERDAY is fun and a romantic comedy that just happens to have the fantastic songs of The Beatles in it which is the beautiful music kiss we want. There is a moment between Patel and Carlyle is about as hopeful and tearful as it gets when it comes to the original four musicians we still hold dear as The Beatles.

In the end – everyone in the world has forgotten The Beatles – except Jack!

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Amazon Studios CARNIVAL ROW brings Mystery and Fantasy

Carnival cover

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on Amazon Prime is the first season of an original mystery and fantasy along CARNIVAL ROW.

Vignette Stonemoss (Cara Delevingne) is a fae who has escaped from an attack on her homeland from the Pact. Finding her way to a ship, a storm then sinks it and she is the sole survivor. The ship belongs to Ezra Spurnrose (Andrew Gower) and seeing Vignette as an indentured servant on the ship expects her to now work in his home as a maid. Knowing she must survive in this new place, Vignette visits Carnival Row and finds Tourmaline (Karla Crome). They have so much to catch up on but the biggest surprise is discovering that the man she loves, Philo (Orlando Bloom) is actually alive. Living the past seven years believing he was dead, Vignette is shocked and angry.

Philo is investigating the recent attacks on what are known as fae-folk as a police inspector. Aisling is one of the fae that is murdered and Philo continues to follow the clues. Taking it step by step he talks to everyone involved with the victims only to come up against a man warning him that a creature he calls the “dark-god” is responsible. If that isn’t freaky enough, Vignette makes herself known to Philo and she does so with a vengeance. She doesn’t understand how he could have gone all this time letting her suffer thinking she had lost him and Philo has no answers for her.

Spurnrose lives in the richer part of town with his sister Imogen (Tamzin Merchant) and both are horrified to learn that their new neighbor Agreus (David Gyasi) is a faun which is unacceptable to them. It is considered ridiculous that a creature would try to make his way into society. When Spurnrose finally confides in Imogen that their finances aren’t what they should be, a deal is struck with Agreus – his backing for a new ship for introduction into high society. Imogen agrees to make that happen.

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The Chancellor Absalom Breakspear (Jared Harris) is trying to keep the peace in the city along with his wife Piety (Indira Varma) and son Jonah (Arty Froushan). He knows something is going on and advises them to steer clear of Carnival Row. That doesn’t stop Jonah from being kidnapped but they don’t know who is responsible.

It is finally revealed how Burguish soldier Philo met Vignette. Her village becomes a station for the soldiers are looking for the best location for keeping an eye out for the Pact while fixing the telegraph line. While out, Philo, Vignette and his friend Darius are attacked by wolves. When the Pact attack the village in a brutal way, Vignette is taken away but told that Philo has been killed.

Now, more people are being killed and it is becoming clear that what they have in common is knowing Philo. Vignette is trying to separate herself from him as her anger toward what has happened to her people outweighs any feelings she might have for him. To that effort Philo takes his landlady out for dinner and tries to begin something but he is still in a dark place.

The Chancellor believes that Longerbane (Ronan Vibert) is responsible for the kidnapping but after he meets with disaster, his daughter Sophie (Caroline Ford) steps in and Jonah is actually found. The young man believes he knows who is actually responsible for his capture but doesn’t want to call it out in case he is wrong. Seeing Sophie in chambers for the first time, he is captivated by her but mom Petrie isn’t as happy about it.

As more secrets are brought out in the open, Philo and Vignette realize that they must work together to find out what is killing those in Carnival Row. The landlady isn’t as happy and tells Philo’s officers a secret that she knows about him leading to his arrest for murder.

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The relationship between Agreus and Imogen has her brother aggravated and wants it to stop. He understands that they may need his money but as others in town start offering to socialize with Agreus, he sees no need to keep up appearances for his sister. Chancellor Breakspear wants to help Philo and Vignette but doesn’t realize that he is about to have his life altered by a Puck, the last group that would ever be suspected.

The dominos are starting to fall and it is leading a showdown on Carnival Row that no one could have ever imagined!

Bloom as Philo has the look of a man tortured by his orphaned past, losing his love and seeing the worst of mankind in his role as an officer of the law. When Philo sees Vignette, he is reminded of so much of the past that it could interfere with what is happening right in front of him. Bloom has taken on such a dark character but it wouldn’t be the first time. In CARNIVAL ROW he has the added bonus of so many dark characters all around him and a story that is filled with twists that he fits right in.

Delevingne as Vignette is a fierce fae who isn’t about to put her people or their culture ahead of anything else, except for maybe love. Not a fan of Philo in the beginning, she begins to realize that he doesn’t mean her or the fae any harm. When she thinks him gone, it breaks her heart but not her spirit. She can easily take care of herself but once on Carnival Row, Vignette realizes that her anger at Philo is far down the list of what it takes to survive. Delevinge is quite perfect for this role in that she has the fae look and makes the role her very own and I love that about this character.

Gower as Spurnrose is absolutely yucky from top to bottom of his character and this actor plays it dripping with distain. That’s what makes it such a fantastic role! I can’t stand Spurnrose yet I also can’t wait to see how he’s going to make me dislike him even more and Gower doesn’t disappoint. Merchant as Imogen is as stuck up as one would expect from a woman of her time and station. She doesn’t care about anything or anyone but herself and her finery and yet it takes a Puck to make her see past all of that.

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Gyasi as Agreus is a Puck to isn’t about to let anyone, human or otherwise, tell him how to live his life. Enjoying the fine home he purchased for himself and man-servant Jim, he also has the uncanny knack of knowing what humans are thinking. His relationship with Imogen is not one either is happy about but it does have its clever perks. Crome as Tourmaline sees what her friend Vignette is going through and it hurts her heart but for more reason that either wants to openly admit.

Varma as Piety is a woman who understands the politics that her husband is part of but also enjoys the lifestyle it provides. She also knows that something is changing on Carnival Row and wants her son to stay away. When he is kidnapped, she suspects everyone. Froushan as Jonah is a young man who is use to a certain lifestyle and doesn’t have much expected of him. Smothered by his mother and feeling like he is disappointing his father, he finds a strange solace at Carnival Row. Ford as Sophie begins to provide Jonah with another kind of distraction and no one is pleased about it. She is a strong character who doesn’t mind breaking the rules in order to get higher up in the ranks.

Harris as the Chancellor continues to be on an amazing streak of roles in the last few years. I absolutely love everything he does including the recent HBO mini-series CHERNOBYL, the AMC series THE TERROR, and the series THE CROWN. There is a presence about this actor that I’m drawn to see what role he will take next and in CARNIVAL ROW he once again is full of human frailty hidden under the robes of politics – even if it is the politics of the different.

Shout out to Alice Krige as Aoife who also is an actress that I follow because she is so multi-dimensional and in CARNIVAL ROW she is creepy yet honestly a character I was never afraid of. Of course Aoife could probably turn me into a toad if she wanted but there is something straight forward in this role that I appreciated and was fascinated by.

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Other cast include Ariyon Bakare as Darius, Maeve Dermody as Portia Fyfe, Jamie Harris as Sgt. Dombey, Waj Ali as Constable Berwick, James Beaumont as Constable Cuppins, Jim High as Fergus, Erika Starkova as

Aisling and Simon McBurney as Runyon Millworthy.

This year CARNIVAL ROW made a showing at San Diego Comic Con International 2019 and the crowd couldn’t have been happier. Of course what made it even more special was that Bloom and Delevingne hid underneath costumes so that the big reveal brought the crowd to their feet with cheers. The audience was then treated to a special screening of the series and some even lucky enough to walk away with a pair of very luminescent wings. I knew then that the show was something special and am pleased to say that there will a second season.

I absolutely love the darkness of the show and I don’t mean the less than colorful costuming but the story and the characters that are wrapped up in every fiber of it all. Just when you think it’s all figured out – nope! Let’s be honest, the show starts out in a million knots and we are left, episode by episode, to unravel it like a fine chain necklace. Those who have ever tried to get knots out of a fine chain necklace know exactly what I’m talking about.

Vague in this review? Absolutely. There is no way I want to dive to deeply into the story because that is what makes CARNIVAL ROW such a draw. There is a lot going on so instead of giving it all away, I brought out some of the characters that I appreciated because something tells me we haven’t heard the last from any of them (well, maybe a few of them).

The story is based in a fantastical mythology of fae, pucks, spells, history, culture and a tale that is all too familiar in that what is different people are afraid of. By the end of the series you will understand why a second season is not only needed but necessary. I personally want to see where Philo and Vignette are going to take this journey of theirs and for reasons you will see when you binge watch the first season of CARNIVAL ROW on Amazon Prime.

In the end – they each have a story to tell!

BOOKSMART Brings Teen Comedy to Bluray as School Year Begins

booksmart bluray cover

Coming to Bluray from director Olivia Wilde and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is the story of the last night of the first night of their lives after being BOOKSMART.

Molly (Beanie Feldstein) and Amy (Kaitlyn Dever) are two girls who have spent their years in libraries and studying. In those years Molly and Amy became the best of friends and know each other secrets and habits. Their idea of fun isn’t exactly like most seniors in high school.

Even Principal Brown (Jason Sudeikis) knows that about the two girls. Molly being class president and valedictorian on the class, she is making sure that all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed before saying goodbye to the halls that educated her.

Overhearing a conversation, Molly learns that students she thought didn’t take school seriously are attending colleges just as prestigious as hers! The thought sends her into a tizzy and tells Amy that they are not going to sit home in their pj’s on their final night.

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That’s when she learns that Nick (Mason Gooding) is having a final wild party and convinces Amy that going is the only way they are going to redeem themselves. It also gives Amy a chance to hang out with Ryan (Victoria Ruesga) and Molly can visit with Nick.

The problem is that with every move they make to try to get to the party, something else gets in their way and mayhem ensues. From Jared (Skyler Gisondo) leading them astray to Gigi (Billie Lourd) freaking them out every place they go, Molly is not going to let anything to her from getting to Nick’s.

When they finally arrive, everything changes – even Molly and Amy! Their friendship is riding on the party and put to the test. Then again…it’s only high school right?

Feldstein as Molly is the spokesperson for the dynamic duo. She knows what she wants and pretty much tells Amy every bit of it. Yet there is a believeability in the way she speaks to her friend and their relationship from beginning to end. I enjoyed Feldstein so much and she reminded me a little of someone I know.

Dever as Amy is charming, sweet and in love with someone who doesn’t know she exists. It is clear she loves her friendship with Molly and although reminding me a bit of Cameron Frye from FERRIS BUELLER’S DAY OFF. She goes along to get along and even if she’s having fun, there are moments where fun makes her very nervous.

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Gisondo as Jared is absolutely outrageous yet there is something sweet about him. Perhaps it’s because he understands Molly and Amy more than he is given credit for. Gooding as Nick is the guy in school who just wants to have a good time and isn’t seen as a serious student. Sudeikis as the Principal is hilarious and in a role that totally gives him the opportunity to just totally go crazy in a great way.

Okay, it must be said Lourd as Gigi is absolutely hysterical. I just love this character but mainly because of what she says and what she does. A free spirit that’s a little bit on the nutty side and no one more than Lourd deserves to just let loose.

Other cast include Will Forte as Doug, Diana Silvers as Hope, Molly Gordon as Triple A, Eduardo Franco as Theo, Nico Hiraga as Tanner, Austin Crute as Alan, Jessica Williams as Miss Fine and Lisa Kudrow as Charmaine.

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 http://www.fox.com.

MOVIES ANYWHERE gives viewers the ability to download the Movies Anywhere App. With that you can view films by downloading or streaming to your favorite device using a Digital Code. For more information on Movies Anywhere please visit http://www.MoviesAnywhere.com.

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The Bluray Special Features include Booksmart: The Next “Best High School Comedy”, Plies and Jazz Hands: The Dance Fantasy, Dressing Booksmart, Gallery, Audio Commentary by Olivia Wilde and Deleted Scenes.

BOOKSMART is charming, funny, silly, and gives the audience a look at pieces of their own high school days. There are the usual misunderstandings, cliques, misconceptions and chances to have one last opportunity to a make a mark that could be memorable forever.

After all, isn’t that what high school is all about? The mistakes that are made, the plans that change every other day, friendships that in some cases become life long (I happen to know a few of those) and broken hearts, oh yes, the high school broken hearts most everyone has experienced. Most of all, the pure laughs about who we were and hopefully who we all turned out to be.

In the end – getting straight A’s and giving zero F’s.

SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK

Scary stories

 

Jeri Jacquin

In theatres now from director Andre Ovredal, Entertainment One and Lionsgate comes the tale of kids and SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK.

It is fall in Mill Valley, PA in 1968 and Halloween has brought out mischief. Stella (Zoe Colletti) and friends Auggie (Gabriel Rush) and Chuck (Austin Zajur) had plans of their own as town bully Tommy (Austin Abrams) is the object of their pranks. When it doesn’t turn out well, the three have to hide and find protection in Ramon’s car (Michael Garza).

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Getting to know their rescuer, the gang decides to do their own Halloween by visiting the local haunted house. Once owned by the Bellows family, it has a history for spookiness and rumor. Stella tells the story of Sarah Bellows, a woman who was kept in the basement of her family home but no one really knew why.

Finding the room in the basement, Stella finds a book of her stories while at the same time Tommy found all of them! Taking it with them when they manage to get out, they have no idea what they have unleashed.

The book begins to tell stories and Stella is shocked to learn that the tales come true. Beginning with Tommy, she realizes that everyone that was in the basement is now a target. Ramon stays in town to help find the answers as they dig into town records about the Bellows and discover the truth.

They are running out of time and friends!

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Colletti as Stella is front and center of the film as a young girl dealing with feelings about her mother while taking care of her father. Growing up with her two buddies, she still feels alone and spends her time writing. Colletti gives her character vulnerability, smarts and a fearlessness that I found myself cheering for without realizing I was doing it.

Garza as Ramon is passing through town but has a nosey sheriff keeping tabs on him. Helping Stella and friends brings him problems from the town bully but those are minor compared to what follows them all. This young actor keeps it together while friends Auggie and Chuck don’t.

Rush as Auggie is a little different than most boys his age and that is the reason Stella hangs out with him. Zajur as Chuck not only is the smarty pants of the bunch but also loves to make sister Ruth, played by Natalie Ganzhorn, miserable. Ganzhorn is the drama queen in every sense of the word and with very good eight legged reason to be.

Other cast include Gil Bellows as Chief Turner, Lorraine Toussaint as Lou Lou, Will Carr as Ephraim Bellows and Kathleen Pollard as Sarah Bellows.

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SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK has everything suspenseful and very cool special effects. The story is set in an era that is becoming more popular in film and you won’t get a complaint out of me about that. There is something very special about films that are filled with cell phones, loud music, guns, and all the things we’ve become desensitized to.

This film is a good scary yarn that is filled with a few jumps, creepy music, a back-story and kids so that’s a start. That being said, the premise of the film is one I have seen before. Not a reinvention of the horror genre wheel by any stretch, it’s a nice get-a-big-tub-of-popcorn-to-share film with friends (but go to the matinee).

In the end – stay out of scary houses!

ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD

Once Upon A Time

Jeri Jacquin

In theatres this week from visionary writer/director Quentin Tarantino and Columbia Pictures is a film that can only be called ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD.

It is 1969 Los Angeles and Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) is having an identity crisis. Once the lead in his own television series, he also makes time to do roles in other television shows. Living in the Hollywood hills on the secluded Cielo Drive, he is driven around town by his stunt double and friend Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt).

Also living on Cielo Drive next door is actress Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) and husband director Roman Polanski (Rafal Zawierucha). She is living and loving life taking time to enjoy her career.

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While working out life and where his career is going, Dalton has to take each phase like a scene with decisions that constantly plague him. Cliff is a little more free spirited and enjoys stunt work when he gets it and being a friend to Dalton. It is difficult for Cliff with a rumor that surrounds an incident in his life.

On several occasions he sees the young girl Pussycat (Margaret Qualley) hitchhiking through L.A. After dropping Dalton off on the set, he sees Pussycat again and offers her a ride. Strangely enough she is staying at the Spahn Movie Ranch where Cliff once shot scenes and she invites him to meet Charlie. Eager to see owner George Spahn (Bruce Dern), he is met with hostility by Squeaky (Dakota Fanning) and Tex (Austin Butler).

Dalton decides to go to Italy and do spaghetti westerns and returns home after six months with a wife and a need to simplify his life which includes having to let Cliff go as a driver. That doesn’t stop these old friends from whooping it up one last time. That same night, Dalton’s very pregnant neighbor Sharon and friends Jay (Emile Hirsch), Abigail (Samantha Robinson) and Voytek (Costa Ronin) are out celebrating as well.

What none of them could know was what would happen on Cielo Drive that hot night in 1969!

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DiCaprio as Dalton is absolutely stunning in this role. He is a paranoid, dysfunctional, insecure chain smoking alcoholic who believes the worst about himself as an actor. That is what makes his performance brilliant in that he is not only able to pull all of that off, but kept me convinces for two hours and forty-five minutes. DiCaprio’s acting within acting scenes is intense at times but so damn well done I forgot it was a scene within a scene of the movie itself. I will be thinking about this performance for a very long time.

Pitt as Cliff is laid back and happy with his life of being in the background of Dalton’s career. This character that has a past that gets in his way yet not enough to bother him. His true love is pittie Brandy who is just as adorable as she wants to be and very protective of her human. Pitt gives the audience charm, rooftop abs (oh sorry, should I not have mentioned that?), that insanely memorable grin and a threshold of no-nonsense that is amazing up to the point where it isn’t. I am crazy about every aspect of this character until the absolute…very…end and then I just fell head over heels once again for Pitt. There couldn’t have been a better pairing than these two actors and honestly I never would have thought of it which is why I’m not a director.

Robbie as Tate gives a performance of a sweet and simple woman who loved music, friends, and sitting in a movie theatre watching herself not out of narcissm, but to experience the audience reaction. Her character portrayal of the actress was beautiful.

Olyphant as Stacey gets a chance to don western gear and I loved watching him dual it out, so to speak, with DiCaprio. Fanning as Squeaky portrayed someone I wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley…ever. Butler, Madison and Beatty as the terrifying Manson trio are as frightening as they need to be and I’m leaving it right there.

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A shout out to young Julia Butters as Trudi is epic in her two scenes with DiCaprio. My reaction to her was immediate and filled with smiles. Her character is smart, witty, and perceptive all trapped inside the body of an 8 year old. I want to be her when I grow up!

Other cast include Sydney Sweeney as Snake, Timothy Olyphant as James Stacy, Harley Quinn Smith as Froggie, Damian Lewis as Steve McQueen, Mike Moh as Bruce Lee, Lorenza Izzo as Francesca Capucci, Rumer Willis as Joanna Pettet, Scoot McNairy as Bob Gilbert, Clifton Collins Jr. as Ernesto, Michael Madsen, and Kurt Russell as Randy.

Also, Rebecca Gayheart as Billie, Lena Dunham as Gypsy, Nicholas Hammond as Sam Wanamaker, Mikey Madison as Sadie, Madisen Beaty as Katie, Julia Butters as Trudi, Luke Perry as Wayne Maunder, and Al Pacino as Marvin Schwarzs.

This is as brief of a review as I could possible do for this film because I really don’t want to spoil any of it for anyone. I can say that I think I’ve seen a strong contender for an Academy Award nomination and many actors that could easily fill all the slots for Best Actor and Best Supporting nods.

What I love best about this film, and perhaps it shows my age, is that I remember all of it. The clothing, magazines, music, cars, the scenery, the places and the events of the era turned a light back on inside my head. All of it provided an emotional rollercoaster of staying in the story and trying not to let the eye candy distract.

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The story, and oh what a story it is, came from the mind of Tarantino absolutely. Every scene was a wonder of where it was going and what would happen when we (meaning everyone in the theatre with me) got there. Dalton and Booth took us on the ride and I didn’t fight on second of it. We wanted to know more about their personal issues and the six degrees of separation between every character we were introduced to. Trust me when I say this was definitely a theatrical experience.

Were there a few giggles? Of course! Tarantino has a twisted sense of that and he lets us in on it. Of course I caught myself giggling a few times to myself but that’s my own personal twisted sense of humor.

The audience walked out on a high of immediately talking about what they had seen and wondering if the people they were with shared in their thought process. No one left right away but instead mingled outside of theatre 5 to continue sharing the experience. Here I sit and I’m still thinking about it all.

Yes the film is 161 minutes long yet it is one of the best times I’ve had at the movies in a long time. Being in the desert of wanting-thirst for something amazing on screen, Tarantino has just given me a huge whiskey sour and I certainly wouldn’t mind another.

In the end – it is a story of Hollywood Tarantino style!

THE JUNGLE BUNCH Brings Fun and Family to DVD

jungle bunch

 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to DVD from writer/director David Alaux and SHOUT! Kids Factory is the story of family, friendship and protecting the home of THE JUNGLE BUNCH.

It is another day in the jungle or is it? Tony the sloth (Frantz Confiac), Natasha the tiger (Marie-Christine Darah), Goliath the rhino (Alain Dorval) and Ricky the porcupine (also called The Champs) are chasing Igor the koala (Richard Darbois) through the jungle. Igor is up to no good and attempting to ruin the jungle for all who live their.

When he succeeds all the animals must find their own way. Natasha finds herself the foster-mother of Maurice (Philippe Bozo), a young penguin who takes to jungle life. Her ward has plans of his own as he grows to create a new team that fights for justice.

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Mom Natasha isn’t too thrilled about Maurice’s goal but he sets out into the jungle to find others who want to be aprt of it. He brings his team including Junior the fish, Miguel the gorilla (Pascal Casanova), Gilbert the tarsier (Laurent Morteau) and Batricia the bat (Celine Montsarrat) and call themselves ‘The Jungle Bunch’.

Igor has been busy as well on his secluded island, he wants to get back and take on The Champs once again. When he discovers there is another justice fighting team in town he is equally thrilled. Especially when he learns Maurice is Natasha’s son.

The Jungle Bunch knows their new mission is to save the jungle and everything they love about their home. When Igor kidnaps Junior, it is Natasha that wants to put The Champs back together to save him. Feeling left out, Maurice realizes that he must do what ever it takes to rescue his family but with a little help from his friends.

Other characters include Emmanuel Curtil as Al the Toad, Paul Borne by Bob the Toad, Michel Mella as Fred the warthog, Jean-Philippe Puymartin as Snake, Barbara Tissier as Ping, and Alexis Tomassian as Pong.

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SHOUT! Factory has grown into a tremendous multi-platform media company. Releasing new animated features such as the exquisite Long Way North, and the epic fantasy Beauty And The Beast. Also their own original horror film, Fender Bender gives fans a good scare. For more of what SHOUT Factor has to offer please visit www.shoutfactory.com.

The characters are all delightful and, well, animated! This is a story about many things but mainly that differences don’t seem to matter one bit to these jungle creatures. They love who they love and that includes Natasha taking in Maurice and Maurice taking in Junior.

The story of Igor being cast out because of the harm he wants to cause is believable in that the other animals would ban together to put him in his place. There is also a generational issue that I found a great theme to talk about. Natasha protecting her son caused her to say things that she should have thought about more carefully. Taking to heart the words of his mother was tough and a lesson to parents – even parents who have grown children.

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It is a treasure when there is an animated film that actually brings family and community together like THE JUNGLE BUNCH. The actors truly bring the animals to life with their vocal performances. Oh don’t worry, there is plenty of fun to be had and my own family laughed a lot at the antics.

So gather up your own jungle herd with a big bowl of popcorn and enjoy a film that brings so much of everything we love animated films for!

In the end – things are getting wild!

BREAKTHROUGH Inspires Faith

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Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray/DVD and Digital from director Roxann Dawson and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is a true story about faith in family that has a BREAKTHROUGH.

The Smith family is going through a difficult time as 14-year-old John (Marcel Ruiz) is struggling. Mom Joyce (Chrissy Metz) and Dad Brian (Josh Lucas) are divided on how to handle it. Mom wants to find answers and Dad wants to give John his space. Strong in their faith, they attend church where Pastor Jason (Topher Grace) is also struggling as his congregation isn’t quite sure how to handle a progressive leader.

All of that seems ridiculous when the real struggle of life happens for John. Having a day with his friends, they slide around on Lake Saint Louis even after being warned from a bystander that it might not be such a great idea. In a sudden movement, the ice gives way and all three boys find themselves in the ice waters.

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Two boys manage to stay above water but John can not hold on and begins to sink. Paramedics and law enforcement arrive as Tommy Shine (Mike Colter) jumps in the water to find John. After a few moments the young boy is retrieved and off to the hospital where Dr. Sutterer (Sam Trammell) tries everything he knows to bring the boy back.

Joyce has minutes to watch her sons heart start beating again as he is transferred to a hospital where specialist Doctor Garrett (Dennis Haysbert) takes over. Joyce makes it very clear that he is to do everything to save her son. Brian can not even bare to see his son and waits with family and friends who begin a firestorm of prayer.

The power of love can make believers of us all.

Metz as Joyce is a strong woman who becomes a fierce mother. She demands positivity from everyone around John and when fear comes into play it can seem harsh. Personally I don’t think she was as I would do anything for my kids. That being said it is during John’s time in the hospital that change occurs in many people and Metz’s character is the main focus of that change. Lucas as Brian is a little disconcerting in many ways but we all handle stress differently. It is what happens in the end that will define this character.

Ruiz as John is struggling as any teenager would be trying to find his place in a world that doesn’t seem to quite fit. Colter as Tommy is a man who outwardly claims to not believe yet wants to understand what really happened out on the lake that tragic day.

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Haysbert as Dr. Garrett answers the family’s questions according to what he sees on the charts. Only when he is challenges by Joyce does he begin to realize that sometimes it’s not what’s in the charts but what the patient is capable of on his own. Grace as Pastor Jason does what a pastor knows is right, being with the Smith family even if there is a wedge in the relationship with Joyce. Grace’s character has his own insecurities and Joyce doesn’t make it easy but his line after she mentions it’s not a good time is “I know, that’s why I’m here” is a smacker.

Other cast include Rebecca Staab as Cindy Reiger, Victor Zinck Jr. as Joe Morrow, Ali Skovbye as Emma, Lisa Durupt as Paula, Stephanie Czajkowski as Melissa, Nancy Sorel as Mrs. Abbott, Isaac Kragten as Josh and Chuck Shamata as the Fire Chief.

The Bluray and DVD include the Special Features A Tapestry of Miracles: Making BREAKTHROUGH, “Carry My Soul” Phil Wickham Deleted Scene, Trapped in Icy Waters, Audio Commentary by DeVon Franklin and Roxann Dawson and Gallery.

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.

MOVIES ANYWHERE gives viewers the ability to download the Movies Anywhere App. With that you can view films by downloading or streaming to your favorite device using a Digital Code. For more information on Movies Anywhere please visit www.MoviesAnywhere.com.

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BREAKTHROUGH is based on a true story of the Smith family and their struggle with family, faith and individual self doubts. Falling through the ice, it is over an hour later before the hospital can get a heart beat. John says of his ordeal, “When I fell through the ice I felt cold, the shock. I remembered my life flashing through my eyes and my family. Sixteen days later I walked out of the hospital. I had physical therapy but only for a bit of problems with my wrist. God still does the impossible!”

The film is a story of family, faith, community and those who stood by the Smith family even if they didn’t quite understand how it all happened and learned what a miracle looks like in the face of John.

In the end – it’s all about divine intervention!

THE LION KING Comes Alive

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Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from director Jon Favreau and Disney is the 1994 iconic animated story now come to life with THE LION KING.

In case you come from another solar system I’ll give the story a run down. There is a young cub named Simba (Donald Glover) who is born a prince. Father King Mufasa (James Earl Jones) tries to teach his young son what it is to be a king. He is also learning side lessons from his jealous Uncle Scar (Chitwetel Ejiofor) that get him into a few scrapes.

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Along with his best friend Nala, the two explore much to the fright of Mufasa, even if the royal bird Zazu (John Oliver) can’t keep up. Scar gets an idea enlisting the help of the hyenas and their leader Shenzi (Florence Kasumba) to take what he thinks is his.

Simba is caught up in a stampede that brings death and sadness to the pride and the young prince decides to run. He walks away and meets meerkat Timon (Billy Eichner) and faithful companion Pumbaa (Seth Rogen) who embrace Simba as one of their own.

In the meantime Scar is destroying the valley and Nala (Beyonce) knows it is time to get help. What she doesn’t plan on is running into Simba who is now fully grown. Explaining what has happened, Simba meets Rafiki (John Kani) who shows him why it is important to remember who he is and what it means to be a king.

Glover as Simba is a little less animated vocally than I would have expected. The younger cub prince was delightful and brought a bit of playfulness that made the little furry growler even cuter. Beyonce as Nala stayed in her lane so to speak meaning I had thought she would have song-wise taken over but instead they kept it easy and lovely.

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Several characters that I enjoyed so much are Oliver as Zazu making me laugh several times with his antics, Kasumba as Shenzi with a tad less humor than her 1994 Goldberg counterpart but still very good and Ejiofor getting a chance to be the devious Uncle Scar.

Eichner and Rogen got all the silliness that made the animated version so much fun. I giggled so much as the antics of Simba’s smaller friends. It must be said that my four year old granddaughter couldn’t stop smiling when these two were on the screen.

Finally, James Earl Jones is the one and only Mufasa and having him once again accept the mantel of King was a wise choice. He is Mufasa and his presence at the beginning and at the most important point of the film’s emotion is something only his voice could capture. It also soothes the ruffled feathers of those not happy with Disney and its live action choices as of late.

Other cast include Keegan-Michael Key as Kamari, Eric Andre as Azizi, JD McCrary as Young Simba, Shahadi Wright Joseph as Young Nala and Alfre Woodard as Sarabi.

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Now, let me get this out of the way – do I think THE LION KING needed to have a live-action version? Nope. Am I a fan of live-action films? Not really. I just think it’s a huge waste of money when we could easily enjoy the animated versions of stories on the big screen and my family would love it. Plus, after seeing the trailer for MULAN and the latest LITTLE MERMAID ruckus – I’m still not a fan.

THAT being said, I can’t fault THE LION KING at all. From the moment the screen is lit up with a beautiful sunrise and music that continues to be recognized with The Circle of Life and I Just Can’t Wait to be King, this is absolutely how it’s done folks!

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Favreau should be applauded on several fronts – first of all he stayed ever faithful keeping to the original 1994 story that has become so iconic and also allowed the songs to once again bring joy. I saw this on the faces of not just the children at the screening but the adults as well. Oh trust me when I say I caught a woman six seats down singing along to Hakuna Matata and thrilled to be doing it.

The cinematography in the live-action is colorful and lively to the point that it was easy to forget that these lions, hyenas, birds, and the rest weren’t actually real. From the look of joy in Rafiki’s eyes to the sadness in Simba’s eyes, everything that needed to be related emotionally is there. The humor is wonderful in the film and there is a moment between Timon and Pumbaa that gives a nod to a beast of another kind so listen for it.

In the end – the King has returned!

 

 

 

STRANGER THINGS Season 3 Brings More Frights in Friendship

 

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Jeri Jacquin

Currently on Netflix with its continuing story is the highly successful and long awaited STRANGER THINGS Season 3.

It is 1985 and Hawkins has fallen to shopping malls causing the shops in town to begin closing. The Starcourt Mall is now the hangout for everyone who wants to see and be seen. Mike (Finn Wolfhard) and Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) aren’t seen there much because they’ve been spending quality time together much to the dismay of El’s guardian Officer Hopper (David Harbour).

Looking for parental tips, Hopper turns to Joyce (Winona Ryder) who is coming to terms with her choice to move away from Hawkins. That doesn’t give Hopper much time to deal with his feelings about anything. The rest of the gang – Will (Noah Schnapp), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) and Max (Sade Sink) welcome Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) back from science camp.

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At the nearby steel mill, something wicked this way comes and Mike is feeling it on the back of his neck. The power goes out and a weird creature emerges from the darkness. Max’s brother Billy (Dacre Montgomery) is on his way for a rendezvous when his car is struck by an invisible force and without warning he is dragged into the Upside Down.

The tips Joyce gave to Hopper about Mike and El didn’t work out so well and Mike now fears to be around El. She doesn’t understand it but Max shows her the fun side of life with a trip to the Starcourt Mall and another way for El to use her powers. At the local paper, Nancy (Natalia Dyer) gets Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) to help her investigate a local woman who is having a weird rat problem.

Dustin is still weirding out by the hilltop transmission that sounds like Russian and convinces Steve (Joe Keery) to help figure it out. What they both don’t expect is that Robin (Maya Hawke) who works with Steve is more than happy to lend her language ear to the problem at hand.

Discovering the joys of the mall, El and Max decide to spy on the guys again with powers but Eleven only discovers that Billy may be responsible for a missing lifeguard. Billy is changing and he can’t explain why he is making dangerous choices. Hopper finally asks Joyce on a date but she loses track of time when her refrigerator magnets lose their magnetism.

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Dustin, Steve and Robin make a chilling discovery when they see Russians moving shipments of mysterious crates down into the mall. Nothing is going to stop these three from uncovering what is going on below their town and they find help from the very smart and no-nonsense Erica (Priah Ferguson).

What they don’t know is that Joyce and Hopper have gone to high school teacher Murray Bauman (Brett Gelman) for answers about the magnets. It leads them back to the place they didn’t want to ever go again. That’s when they take Russian scientist Dr. Alexi (Alec Utgoff) sort of hostage to get answers as to what is happening but they are being chased mercilessly.

Nancy and Jonathan are still trying to discover what has happened to the source of their story. Once at the hospital, the two are also attacked by something, well, gooey that comes together to create an insanely large beast! Still below the mall, Steve and Robin are interrogated by Russians but Dustin and Erica save the date.

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Now above ground, they all manage to come together to put the pieces of the monster puzzle together. El discovers from Billy the exact location of the beast and now a plan is formed as the gang handles the food court, Dustin handles the communications while Joyce and Hopper take on the reason for all of this happening again.

What the Russians and the monster don’t realize is that this group isn’t afraid of taking hard knocks and they have El on their side!

Brown as Eleven is growing up so fast and under the protection of her guardian and new boyfriend. Her world is still relatively small until Max shows her what she’s been missing. Of course that doesn’t last long but Brown has made the character of Eleven her very own and I love when she embraces her powers.

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Wolfhard as Mike is smitten with Eleven and wants to spend every minute with her. Of course this doesn’t set well with his buddies, especially with Will. The other person it doesn’t make happy is Harbour as Officer Hopper. Trying to keep his ‘fatherly’ instincts in check, it is policeman instincts that take over and are a little harsher than poor Mike can take. Harbour is a little more intense this season but then again I think I would be too if the town I’m responsible for can’t catch a break.

Matarazzo as Dustin returns from science camp with a new outlook and a new love even though no one believes him. I adore Matarazzo because he is quick and hilarious all rolled into mischievous eyes and a quirky smile. Keery as Steve is thrilled to see Dustin as their friendship finds another level – that of Russians and being a hero to the town. Hawke as Robin is a breath of fresh air and don’t like the ice cream costume fool you. She’s smart as a whip and has a secret of her own.

Ryder as Joyce is still dealing with the death of Bob Newby and can’t quite catch on to Hopper’s intentions. The one thing she is sure of and that’s there is a creepy in Hawkins that she knows all too well. Ryder continues to give her character everything I remember about Moms of 1985. Schnapp as Will understands the creepy as it tends to bring goose bumps to the back of his neck. Of course he’d rather be playing D&D with his friends but they all have other plans.

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McLaughlin as Lucas keeps busy with his relationship with Max but is also surprised when Ferguson as sister Erica joins the mix and madness. Ferguson as Erica is smart, doesn’t take any garbage from anyone and has a thing for ice cream which is a good thing for Steve, Robin and Dustin! Sink as Max is a fiery redhead who has the chance to solidify her friendship with El through fashion and boy advice. Montgomery as brother Billy gets the intensity award this season! He lives through the creature and throughout the season it just gets worse and worse. What a great role for the season!

Dyer as Nancy smells a story and nothing or no one is going to get in the way of her investigating.  Heaton as Jonathan doesn’t want to follow Dryer’s character but it all starts to make horrible sense and he can’t turn away.  Gelman as teacher Murray Bauman carries all the science and language and finds himself deep into all that is happening to the town, what’s under the town and the people in it.  Utgoff as Dr. Alexi thinks he holds all the cards so get the man a cherry slurpee and get on with it!

Other cast include Cara Buono as Karen Wheeler, Joe Chrest as Ted Wheeler, Andrey Ivchenko as Grigori, Cary Elwes as Mayor Kline, Peggy Miley as Mrs. Driscoll, Jake Busey as Bruce, Francesca Reale as Heather Holloway, Michael Park as Tom Holloway, Rob Morgan as Officer Powell, Arthur Darbinyan as Dr. Zharkov and Misha Kuznetsov as Ozerov.

The episodes include Chapter One: Suzie Do You Copy?, Chapter Two: The Mall Rats, Chapter Three: The Case of the Missing Lifeguard, Chapter Four: The Sauna Test, Chapter Five: The Flayed, Chapter Six: E. Pluribus Unum, Chapter Seven: The Bite and Chapter Eight: The Battle of Starcourt.

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 Season 3 of STRANGER THINGS has to be the most intense yet and with that being said, watch carefully the last few moments of the last episode. That means Season 4 has it’s work cut out yet I think the writers have accepted the challenge. As these characters have grown older, I can’t wait to see what they all do next in the season and in other things. Brown already tested her chops in the summer film GODZILLA.

What I love best about STRANGER THINGS is everything about the era the story takes place in. From the outrageous clothes, shoes and hair to the music that I still embrace and listen to today. Wrapping the story around the setting of an era we still hold dear is so much fun and brings back memories for some of a time when things like bike riding, malls, friendships and big hair were more important than cell phones and texting.

All of the friendships are so endearing and even though they are growing up (both on and off camera), it hasn’t changed this group in the way they interact with each other. It is totally believable that they would have been friends in 1985, played D&D, went to the mall, and watched early zombie movies – all of it. This cast, these actors and actresses have given us a treat and when the final season comes around (because we all know its going to happen), we will be all the sadder for it.

The downside of binge watching the whole season in one day is that the waiting begins for the next season. Of course it will drag its heels making us all crazy with wonder and craving the first trailer of what is to come. It’s a pretty cool torture and I don’t mind saying so.

In the end – friends like these are amazing and necessary!

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