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The Battle to Bring Back Humanity Begins with THE STRAIN: The Complete Fourth Season on DVD

the strain

Jeri Jacquin

On DVD from creators Guillermo del Toro, Chuck Hogan, Carlton Cuse and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment comes the epic final season with THE STRAIN: The Complete Fourth Season.

Since Eph’s (Corey Stoll) son Zach (Max Charles) detonated a bomb that has brought a nuclear winter, nine months have passed. Strigoi have created “The Partnership” trying to show everyone a togetherness with humans. Fet (Kevin Durand) and Quinlan (Rupert Penry-Jones) are looking for another nuclear weapon to use on the Master (Robin Downes) and learn about a missile silo that may have one.

Eph is in Philadelphia trying to survive when the Strigoi find him but with the help of Jason, they manage to get away. The Master is still favoring Zach and Eichhorst (Richard Sammel) isn’t exactly happy about it. But that isn’t all Eichhorst isn’t happy about as Sanjay’s (Sanjay Desai) project is moving too slow and Dutch (Ruta Gedmintas) is one of their captives.

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Gus (Miguel Gomez) and Alonso (Jamie Hector) have spent the last months building back up their black market business and that will come in handy for Eph and the group. Fet and Quinlan are having problems once they get their hands on the nuclear bomb and Eph discovers a poison that might just slow down a large population of the strigoi.

Zach meets a young maid who works for the Master but there comes a moment when he must decide where is loyalties actually lie. Sanjay’s project must now speed up, as Eichhorst wants the women who are captive to produce children. Dutch has another plan and comes face to face with Desai and a processing facility for humans but Eichhorst is onto Dutch and she learns that he has Setrakian (David Bradley). They escape to get the Lumen and Setrakian discovers what he didn’t see before.

Now, the story of Quinlan is told beginning in the 19th Century with Louisa along with daughter Lydia. Enjoying having a family in his own way, it all turns when the Master causes nothing but pain.

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The gang comes back together for an attack of a different kind and one no one saw coming. A plan is put together that brings about attacks from all sides bringing them all into the most danger they have ever faced. Eph comes to terms with the fate of his relationship with Zach when it becomes clear that the Master is using every trick in the book.

The Master forgot one thing – humanity always finds a way to survive against evil!

Stoll as Ephraim Goodweather began the series as a man broken with the arrival of the Master and the Strigoi. What makes his character to unique to the story if that I could never tell which way the wind was going to blow his behavior. His anger ruled his drinking and his drinking actually brought out some amazing ideas. Not that I suggest drinking as an answer to problems but where blood sucking big tongued vampires are concerned, I can see the need.

Bradley as Setrakian is just superb! As his story and history with the Master unfolds, it is told so strongly and shows what motivates Setrakians need to wipe every bit of this evil off the planet. Bradley is amazing and through is gruffness is a sense of strength that requires no nonsense and secrets.

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Durand as Fet is the different character of the bunch. He has a story to tell as well about where he comes from and what motivates him – and it isn’t just rats. He never gives up and isn’t about to let anything stop him from accomplishing his goal – stopping the new rats from taking the people and place he loves.

Sammel as Eichhorst is as evil as he wants to be. From the moment this character comes on screen it isn’t going to end well for anyone who comes into contact with him. His story also unfolds and it is clear why Setrakian gets under his skin – so to speak. The Master may rule the strigoi but it is Eichhorst who is the face of evil.

Gedmintas as Dutch has a lot in common with Fet in that she is tough, strong and very, very smart. She takes to Setrakian and Fet as they share a lot in common with a fighting spirit. Charles as Zach is a kid who is taken early enough to be influenced – so much so that Zach is willing to fry the world to prove he doesn’t need anyone but the Master. That kid drove me insane!

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Penry-Jones as Quinlan has to be the most angrily charismatic intelligent straight villain I’ve ever seen. He knows what needs to be done but also realizes he can’t accomplish it without the help of humans. His history with the Master is intense and filled with personal pain that he doesn’t share with anyone. There are even moments where I think this character is amused with the silliness of humanity at times.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment brings award-winning global product and new entertainment to DVD, Bluray, and Digital HD. There amazing collection offers fans an opportunity to expand their own home libraries with the best films. To discover what other titles they have please visit www.fox.com.

The DVD contains the final ten episodes including The Worm Turns, The Blood Tax, One Shot, New Horizons, Belly of the Beast, Tainted Love, Ouroboros, Extraction, The Traitor, and The Last Stand. Also, the Special Features include Deleted Scenes, Gag Reel, Coping with THE STRAIN: A Therapy Session and so much more!

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The Strain written by del Toro was first published in 2012 in two volumes followed by The Strain: The Fall in volumes 3 & 4. The Strain: The Night Eternal Volume 5 & 6 were released in 2016.

THE STRAIN is another of the fantastic series that landed on the FX channel! From the first episode to the last, fans were absolutely involved in the characters and storyline of these different vampires and their plans for humanity. Of course the mind of del Toro brought us every minute of horror and cheering for humanity – oh the duality of suspense. The ensemble cast brought about a story worthy of being followed until the very satisfying end.

It’s time to revisit the fight as 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment brings THE STRAIN: The Complete Fourth Season to DVD.

In the end – they will do anything to save humanity!

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THE SHAPE OF WATER Brings Unconditional Love

The shape poster

Jeri Jacquin

This Friday from the masterful writer/director Guillermo del Toro and Fox Searchlight comes a story that captures the heart when becoming a part of THE SHAPE OF WATER.

In 1962, Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is a young mute woman living in a quiet world of her own. Living her life day to day in a repeating pattern, it includes visiting her neighbor Giles (Richard Jenkins) for a little television and being watched over at work by friend Zelda (Octavia Spencer).

Working as a cleaning lady in a government facility, one day a strange container arrives. Being fairly invisible, Elisa is curious about what they are working on. Hearing that whatever is in the container is highly-classified, it doesn’t stop her from taking a look for herself.

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That’s when she discovers a creature (Doug Jones) submerged in a tank pool, yet not truly afraid of what she sees. Instead, Elisa seems to sense that the creature is afraid and she discovers ways to put it at ease. Through patience, Elisa and her webbed friend begin to have a friendship that is quietly beautiful.

Keeping an eye on the laboratory is the very aggressive Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon) who is feared by most everyone. Watching over the experiments is Dr. Robert Hoffstetler (Michael Stuhlbarg) who isn’t a fan of Strickland’s either and has his own secrets to keep.

Elisa sees that her creature friend is suffering and decides she is going to do whatever it takes to help. Enlisting Giles proves to be a challenge and a plan is made. What surprises Elisa the most is who comes out of no where to make sure the plan works perfectly!

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Strickland becomes even more hostile and ballistic and is about to make sure every human being within his earshot suffers until the creature is found. There is no mercy for anyone as he investigates every person working at the laboratory. Elisa knows that time may not be on their side but can’t turn away from her feelings.

It is a friendship that embraces their differences!

Hawkins as Elisa is absolutely endearing, lovely, heart wrenching, soulful, playful and a dreamer of epic proportions. Every part of Elisa’s character is in her eyes and smile which brought smiles to my own face before I could help myself. In the life she has created, finding someone who is also mute yet full of emotion, Elisa just dances over this film effortlessly. Hawkins is on my list for any award she wants – yes, including an Oscar.

Jenkins as Giles is such a lovely man who is creative in a time when things are ever changing. He loves his old movies and the friendship with Elisa and even though he might be a tad afraid of the unknown, he is challenged by Elisa’s will to be humane. Jenkins can portray characters that are so sweet and harmless and Giles is such a character done so well.

Spencer as Zelda is funny, no-nonsense and protective of Elisa. I love her monologues while mopping with Elisa and straight faced one liners and quips when up against Strickland. I mean seriously, would expect anything less from Spencer? Stuhlbarg as Dr. Robert Hoffstetler is definitely a conflicted character and for reasons you will discover for yourself. I do love his performance because I have seen Stuhlbarg be both good guy and bad and here he mixes the two and I adore the outcome.

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There are two actors in this film that we must discuss, first Shannon as Richard Strickland is as frightening as I know he can be. There are so many dimensions to Shannon as an actor and he always manages to surprise me. Yes, he can be the scariest and meanest badass ever to grace a film but Shannon never does it the same way twice or even three or four times for that matter. Here Strickland is a complex hater of a human being and only Shannon could have done it – and done it right.

Second, the every amazing and continually exceptional work of Doug Jones as the creature. Jones has been at the forefront of some of the most amazing characters and yet never seeing his face. In the 2004 film HELLBOY he was Abe Sapien, teaming up with Del Torro in the 2006 film PAN’S LABYRINTH he was the Pale Man, in 2007 he starred in FANTASTIC 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer as the Silver Surfer, in 2010’s LEGION he was the Ice Cream Man (creepier than all get out people!) and back with Del Torro in the 2015 horror offering of CRIMSON PEAK.

Let us not forget television when in 2014 he played one of my favorite characters in the series Falling Skies as Cochise, gave us a new vampire in the FX series The Strain as one of The Ancient’s and is now part of the trekkie family with Star Trek: Discovery.

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Now, in THE SHAPE OF WATER, Jones once again portrays a character that is all about the physicality of storytelling. Over all that costuming, a persona comes to life that is easy to love and want to protect. That’s what Jones brings out in us all with this performance. In case you might be wondering, I had the opportunity to speak with Doug last year when he was promoting the space film SPACE COMMAND. All I can say is that he is lovely, charming and funny so perhaps I have more of a bit of a soft spot for his portrayal of this endearing creature. Amazing performance Doug and congratulations for making us all fall in love with love again!

Other cast include David Hewlett as Fleming, Nick Searcy as General Hoyt, Stewart Arnott as Bernard, Nigel Bennett as Mihalkov, Lauren Lee Smith as Elaine Strickland, Martin Roach as Brewster Fuller, Allegra Fulton as Yolanda and John Kapelos as Mr. Arzoumanian.

THE SHAPE OF WATER is a film that is so magnificently shot with nuances that I couldn’t get enough of. The story is one of beauty, loneliness, fear, courage, music, caring, anger, betrayal, secrets, friendships and about every human emotion on the spectrum.

It is just a beautiful story that is covered in a cast that makes every moment theatre worthy. Crafted in the del Toro magic, there is so much to enjoy and not necessarily garbled with words but instead pure emotion and an endless supply of love

In the end – it is a fairy tale for troubled times!

THE STRAIN Brings Season Three to Bluray

the Strain

 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray and you NEED to have it is creators Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s ancient vampyric tale of THE STRAIN: The Complete Third Season.

This season brings a lot of the groups issues into the forefront starting out with Eph (Corey Stoll) hitting the bottle harder than usual. The Master has Eichhorst (Richard Sammel) kidnap his son Zach (Max Charles) and it’s too much for him. What is keeping him going is working on a bioweapon to stop the Strigoi.

Fet (Kevin Durand) is helping those who need his knowledge of the tunnels but Eichhorst is once again ahead of the game. Setrakian (David Bradley) is working on the translation of the Occio Lumen looking for ancient answers to stop the madness. Quinlan (Rupert Penry-Jones) is watching the humans and agrees to help begrudgingly.

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Palmer (Jonathan Hyde) is still trying to get the magical ‘white’ from The Master and wants to live forever as promised. When Quinlan offers to work together with Eph to switch the Lumen for Zack but also confesses to his vampyric bloodline and what will happen once The Master is dead. Gus (Miguel Gomez) has a secret of his own and it’s discovered by Angel (Joaquin Cosio) much to his sadness.

Palmer’s health is going down rapidly and Eichhorst brings in Sanjay Desai (Cas Anvar). Now the strigoi have managed to take over Manhattan and are using the underground tunnels to take over all of New York. There is a huge battle as the group begins to scatter to keep Eichhorst and The Master from tracking them all but it doesn’t stop Eichhorst and Dutch makes a quick move to help them escape.

Fet and Setrakian know they have to get to The Master’s sarcophagus and use silver to trap the strigoi leader. They also discover that a signal they believe is his voice but need a comparison. Palmer is discovered on a cargo ship by Setrakian who gives him one dose of the white with the promise of his help.

Desai is using humans as live subjects but Eichhorst wants quicker results. Even more disturbing is Palmer admitting to Setrakian and Fet that there is blood processing centers everywhere. Eichhorst discovers where the Ancient’s are hiding and does what he always does, his worst!

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Palmer discovers a nuclear bomb and fights Eichhorst for it only to work with Setrakian to lure The Master into his silver lined sarcophagus. What Palmer doesn’t see coming is that he needs a new host and gains Palmer’s memories. Placing the bomb at the Statue of Liberty, Zach has been with the strigoi Kelly-Mom and Eph wants his son. Not to be stopped by the creature he takes matters into his own hands. Zach is furious and takes revenge on Eph in the worst and most tragic way possible.

Stoll as Eph has gone through several transformations as each of the traumatic events puts him to the test. This actor has taken his character to dark places and makes, shall we say, ‘human’ decisions that are totally done out of emotion. Where his son is concerned he is somewhat blind to the truths that are obvious to others. This season Stoll is seriously put to the test with an end result that is horrific.

Sammel as Eichhorst is just a villain to the bone and he does it beautifully (and makes it look easy). There are very few moments where Eichhorst shows his emotion but more-so amused by the humans every move. Of course it’s because of his history so don’t expect him to go soft on the humans any time soon.

Durand as Fet is strong, consistent and the guy I’d want on my side of any fight. He doesn’t take crap from anyone and even though he shows heart, it doesn’t mean much gets past him. Always on his toes and stands up for the human race I love this character and that Durand brings it.

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Bradley as Setrakian is a man who has lived well beyond his years. In those years comes knowledge that is engrained in mystery he knows only he can unravel. I love Bradley’s straight forward gravely voice that tells the group exactly how it is and what they can expect from the enemy they are trying to destroy.

Penry-Jones as Quinlan is my hero! Seen by most as the creature that could turn any time he wants to, I see Quinlan as their only hope. He is strong, introspective, ancient on his own terms and doesn’t stand a fool. Keeping his distance from caring about his human counter parts, there are moments where it is easy to see how he could care and the reasons he can’t. Well done Penry-Jones, absolutely well done!

Other cast include: Natalie Brown as Kelly, Ruta Gedmintas as Dutch, Samantha Mathis as Judtine Feraldo, Jack Kesey as The Master.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment brings award-winning global product and new entertainment to DVD, Bluray, and Digital HD. There amazing collection offers fans an opportunity to expand their own home libraries with the best films. To discover what other titles they have please visit www.fox.com.

THE STRAIN: The Complete Third Season contains the Special Features Under Siege Companion Series Into with Carlton Cruse, The Strain: Under Siege Companion Series, Vamp Boom Music Video, Deleted Scenes and a hilarious Gag Reel!

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This series is in its final season, yes, I realize that is almost bringing fans to the point of tears. This has been an amazing ride and it’s hard to believe it’s almost over. We have all come to go along for the ride and invest in these characters – even the horrible ones. Nothing is ever as it seems and with the last season I can certainly say it’s all happening so fast and is jaw dropping.

That is what makes Season Three so thrilling to watch. The twists and turns come into play but it all comes together seamlessly but not obvious. Most of us were raised to see vampires in a certain Bella Lugosi-Christopher Lee way, Guillermo Del Toro introduced a vampire like no other and gives us a creature that won’t soon be forgotten.

THE STRAIN has been awarded the Critics Choice Television Award, Satellite Award, Saturn Award (three times), Fangoria Chainsaw Awards (twice), Golden Reel Award, Canadian Society of Cinematographers Award, Golden Maple Awards, Visual Effects Society Awards and Visual Effects Society Award. There should be a category for just plain sheer awesomeness award and I’d be giving that one out.

Watch THE STRAIN’s final season every Sunday night at 10 p.m. on FX!

In the end – they will save humanity at all costs!

 

THE STRAIN Returns for its Final Season: Speaking with Cas Anvar

final

 

Jeri Jacquin

The wait is over! FX has kept us waiting long enough for all the answers to their highest rated sci-fi television show filled with vampires and human endurance for survival from THE STRAIN.

For those who may not know about this fantastic series, let me catch you up. Guillermo del Toro’s hands decided to bring the novel to series and enlisted the help of Chuck Hogan. In 2009 fans were introduced to The Strain followed by The Fall and The Night Eternal in 2010 and 2011.

Bringing the story to FX was an incredible idea that brings this storyline – a jet landing at JFK International Airport is filled with people who are infected with a parasitic worm. Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll) and Dr. Nora Martinez (Mia Maestro) investigate finding four people alive. What they don’t realize is that in the cargo hold is a large mysterious box that holds the key to everything.

Enter Abraham Setrakian (David Bradley), an elderly man who informs them that the bodies on the plane must be immediately destroyed as well as the intricately carved box that was found in the cargo hold. That isn’t about to happen as far as Thomas Eichhorst (Richard Sammel) is concerned as he takes control of the box.

From that moment on the city and the people begin to change as a fight for survival begins. A race of vampires are on the lose and no one is safe as it becomes every human for himself. That includes Eldritch Palmer (Jonathan Hyde) a very sick man who will do anything for immortality and makes a deal with Palmer and The Master, an Ancient vampire who is out for revenge and the world.

Eph and Vasility Fet (Kevin Durand), a vermin terminator, begin a quest to save who they can and find a way to destroy The Master and all vampires before there is nothing left of the human race.

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Cas Anvar is returning to reprise his role as Sanjay Desai, right-hand man to the evil freaky eyed blinking Eichhorst played by the amazing Richard Sammel. Sanjay is a character who knows how to get the job done in bringing world domination to the vampires. This is a character that is hard to read because he keeps his emotions away from the vampires staying in survival mode every step of the way.

This actor has been keeping the pace with roles in both film and television. In film he began in 2000 as Zakir in the film SEDUCING MAARYA with his most recently film AS Deep Panday in MISS INDIA AMERICA.

In television I first saw him in 2010 as Omer Jarrah in another series I can watch a million times over with LOST. This year he has been doing double with is role as Alex Kamal in the series THE EXPANSE and now his return as Sanjay Desai in the FX final season of THE STRAIN.

I had the opportunity to speak with Cas about his role, returning to finish the job (so to speak) and all things THE STRAIN and a bit of THE EXPANSE!

Jeri Jacquin: Hi Cas, thanks for taking the time to speak with us today, especially since you are doing double duty between THE STRAIN and a new season of THE EXPANSE. You are a busy man.

Cas Anvar: Yes, it has been a very good year and I’ve been very fortunate. I’m enjoying it all.

JJ: You have to tell me how did you get involved with THE STRAIN? I am really a huge, huge fan of the series.

CA: Yes? You are a little bit of a dark horse are you?

JJ: Yes, really dark. I have the Masters head on my desk does that tell you anything?

CA: Oh my gawd.

JJ: But he’s next to Yoda so it’s kind of a yin/yang thing, good and evil you know?

CA: That is so weird, I don’t think even Guillermo has the Masters head on his desk.

JJ: Well, there is Darth Vadar, Buddha, Yoda and the Master all lined up.

cas the strain

CA: Buddha? What! Oh my gawd.

JJ: See how it evens out?

CA: The duality, no I get it. I actually don’t really want to know what’s going on in your head; it’s kind of scary <laughing>

JJ: Here’s the thing, I’m 56 years old but I’m young and twisted at heart.

CA: You sound definitely, definitely…something <still laughing>

JJ: So you know with Comic Con coming it’s the light of my life.

CA: I can only imagine.

JJ: Back to business sir, how did you get involved with THE STRAIN?

CA: I was very lucky; I was working on THE EXPANSE and April Webster, a casting director that knows me very well casting me in LOST and a few other things. She knows my work and they were looking for someone to play this character in THE STRAIN. Desai wasn’t originally the character written for the show and they changed it for me. She pitched me to the producers Carlton Cuse and the gang. I don’t know how it happened but they offered me the role without me reading for it. They saw my work and by the time they got to me they changed the character from what ever it was to Sanjay Desai. They modified it and customized it for me. From what I understand the character is a copulation from a couple of different characters from the books. It was suppose to be a completely different name and they thought I could do a good job of this and the rest is history. I walked in and was excited about the role because it’s the antithesis of what I’m doing on THE EXPANSE. Everything about it fell into place, the shooting seasons were completely opposite so as one show is ending the other begins, the characters are the opposite and the shows are very different. It is a wonderful gift as an actor to play these totally diverse and different characters.

JJ: What did you think when you read not only your role but the part he plays in this crazy world that is THE STRAIN?

CA: I was excited because I think this is one of the darkest roles I’ve had to do. I’ve played a lot of bad guys but this is a very fleshed out, very realistic bad guy, not some two dimensional villain going on a killing rampage. This character truly believes in survival and will do what ever it takes to be on the winning team. What’s scary about it is how realistic it is. If you look at our world right now, we are surrounded by examples of self-serving individuals that will do or say what ever they have to to get what they want.

JJ: Palmer is a prime example of someone we all know <both of us are laughing now> that will say one thing to one person and do something different to another. Anything to get that one thing that he wants – in his case immortality.

CA: Absolutely. He reinvents history in every different situation to just suit their own selfish needs and agenda. It is an important show in that respect. Sure it is a horror genre and fantasy world but the issues they are dealing with and the people they are dealing with are very realistic and very much based on the world we are living in today.

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JJ: The thing about the way the cast works together is that not only do you see this survivalist mode, whether good, bad or indifferent, but you see that they also haven’t forgotten how to be human. Like when Eph is dealing with his drinking and the traits before all of this went down.

CA: Yes, they’ve kept all their human flaws.

JJ: Exactly. For your character, were you surprised when they said ‘hey, come on back’?

CA: I was both surprised and excited because it ended in a very questionable way and we didn’t know what was going to happen. I think they just liked what I did and they gave me a complex character and I attacked it. I mean I loved doing it, I loved the people and working with Richard Sammel who plays Thomas Eichhorst. That combination of the writers, directors and producers and co-stars was very inspiring and I had a really good time. I put my heart and soul into making this a very-well fleshed out nasty three dimensional character. I think by the time we came to the end of season three there was room for him to come back. I think there are things in the book they decided to merge with my character.

JJ: Sometimes that’s a really good idea because not everything translates really well from book to screen. You have to be willing to compromise.

CA: I think in a book it is a lot easier to have more characters for a reader to follow a more complex story line. On television you tend to consolidate a little more by having a cast of characters a little more manageable.

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JJ: I know you can’t tell us anything about what is going to happen but for you and your character, do you feel like everything is wrapped up neatly for fans or is there a little opening?

CA: Lets put it this way, we all knew season four was coming and the last season of THE STRAIN. The writers had free reign to have the best story possible while honoring the characters. They are no longer restricted by the restrictions of an ongoing series; they have the books as a guideline.

JJ: There is something freeing about that don’t you think?

CA: Yes, it allows you to take it and push the boundaries of a story and what ever happens to the characters happens but it honors the over all story. It allows for you to do some really amazing dramatic work. In the case of Sanjay, man oh man, they took him on a roller coaster. What I can tell you is that this character is based on and what excited me about this character in the beginning was it was based on real people that existed during the World War II. They were called “collaborators”; these are people who worked with the Nazi’s to set up what would become Nazi Germany, the Reich and the concentration camps. These are people that betrayed their own people for their own good, their own survival, wealth and status. Fifty years later when they are interviewed, these collaborators who were never put in the camps, they can’t face what they did. They won’t admit that they did anything wrong and somehow have managed to convince themselves they did not wrong.

JJ: A mental survival mode.

CA: Yes, they have somehow told themselves they made the best of a bad situation. They attitude of ‘at least I saved a few people’ but they participated in it and betrayed their own people to survive. That to me fascinated me, this character who can go there and do that staying that completely oblivious – a willful oblivion. Sanjay is a highly intelligent guy; he’s a smart man who is driven and passionate.

JJ: But you also can’t see on his face what is going on. For me it was hard to know what he was thinking or planning. Some characters you can see on their faces the hamster turning the wheel and you go along with a characters thought process; with Sanjay I couldn’t really do that because he showed … nothing!

CA: Because he knows who he is dealing with and he knows how incredibly perceptive the Strigoi (the vampires), especially Eichhorst are. Sanjay is such a survivor so he doesn’t show his cards because he knows the Strigoi can smell it. If he is scared he knows they will smell it. If he is planning his own thing he knows they will smell it. He knows he has to keep everything close to his chest and only give them bits and pieces so nobody knows what is really going on in his head. The Strigoi are too smart, they are too perceptive.

JJ: Absolutely, that’s what makes it all so difficult.

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CA: Yes, he has to protect himself. In season three when Eichhorst demonstrated the inefficiency of the machinery using my assistant, that was a very brutal scene.

JJ: Absolutely brutal!

CA: If you watch that scene again you will see a bit of a reaction, you can see some stuff going on but by the end of the scene when Sanjay realizes who he is dealing with because he hasn’t had a lot of experience with Eichhorst up to that point. He hasn’t spent a lot of time with him or really seen him demonstrate his true power till that moment. So being a survivor is like being in prison right? They tell you ‘don’t look scared’ or ‘don’t make eye contact’ – you have to look somewhere in the middle so that people don’t target you. You have to learn this language of survival that makes you not a threat but not prey either. Sanjay is a survivor, Sanjay is the guy who knows how to read people and keep himself outside of the zone where people are targeted. He had to think really quick in that scene as to how to interact with Eichhorst so as not to show weakness and not lose his sh*t because of what just happened.

JJ: That’s an amazing way to sum it up because with these characters by the end of each season you become aware of their strengths and weaknesses, every one of them. To have Sanjay come back it’s going to be ‘great I have to figure him out for sure now’!

CA: Exactly, you are going to get a lot. They gave me a gift in season four in terms of what they gave Sanjay to do. You aren’t going to like him, far from it, but you are going to understand him a lot better.

JJ: That’s going to be fun, I’m excited.

CA: He gets put through the ringer I can tell you that.

JJ: And I’m okay with that! If I’m going invest my time in a series, it better be dang well worth it. I’ve met Guillermo and he is one of the most amazing people you can sit and talk to about creativity. This series didn’t surprise me and he was first talking about it, but to see how far it’s come from concept to book to series has been just an awesomely fun, intense and gruesome ride.

CA: You’ve like it I see.

JJ: Absolutely, anytime you can get something that’s original and filled with talented actors giving every bit to a storyline that is just plain jaw dropping? Oh yea, I’m in. I know there is horror and gore, and it may sound strange for me to say this but Guillermo puts it in THE STRAIN and it isn’t senseless gore – wow that does sound strange.

CA: No, you are right, absolutely, it is a violent and dark show but it’s surrounded by an amazingly rich crafted story. It’s not just gratuitous stuff, the violence in his shows … it’s very poignant in that it’s all there because it’s meant to shock and it’s meant to be difficult. The world is not as pretty as we want to believe and sometimes that’s an important slap in the face that we need to feel. You don’t want to be facing that 24/7 but it’s not necessarily a bad lesson.

THE STRAIN -- Pictured: Jonathan Hyde as Eldritch Palmer. CR: Michael Muller/FX

JJ: It’s an amazingly crazy world that has been created that’s for sure. I’m going to be sad to see it go.

CA: Yes, I know, but it ends only for something new to take its place.

JJ: And we still get to see you on THE EXPANSE, how is that going?

CA: Amazing, we just finished the first few days with episodes one and two. We are already stoked and nervous because season two went really well and we delivered a powerful season two finale. The show is a big show and it’s really hard for us wondering how to top it. I mean how do we go to the next level? Season one is an introduction to all of the characters and absorbing all the information and feel the universe and provide action that doesn’t overload people’s brains. Then season two was nice because it was all character and explore them and further the action in the plot. Now in season three we have built the universe and really explore the characters because we have got the plot going. How do we take it to the next level? Season three is going to be about the characters everyone has fallen in love with and being metaphorically split apart. We have fought to stay alive and fought to stay together and we needed each other to survive. Now we are all grounded and rooted in our life and in our world. We are surrounded by chaos but we are no longer fighting just to breathe and survive, we are actually going to make choices for ourselves. Everyone has individual believes and personalities and they are able to come into play in terms of the direction the characters take. It’s not just about the family that has come together to survive but individuals in the group who have a voice.

JJ: So now you have gone from THE STRAIN knowing you can go freely because it’s a final season, you are back to the other side where you are restricted a bit trying to keep the story going from season to season.

CA: I know, exactly.

JJ: What a rollercoaster ride for you!

CA: Yes, it’s an actors dream right? To be able to play these characters that are so different. I mean how different can Sanjay Desai and Alex Kamal be. Its two completely opposite ends of the spectrum.

JJ: And you are digging it every step of the way.

CA: Oh man, I’m loving it. I was so lucky because the shows shot at exactly opposite ends of the schedule. There was no overlap with THE STRAIN starts Sunday and when it ends THE EXPANSE begins. One is horror and one is sci-fi and I’m thrilled.

JJ: And you were meant to do both.

CA: I was meant to do both and it was wonderful and a gift for me. Now what am I going to do?

JJ: Sit back and enjoy it a little.

CA: <insert colorful outburst here> I mean what am I going to do once THE EXPANSE is done shooting? Jeez

<this is the time where the laughing has gotten contagious with seriously good humor as if it hasn’t been the case the whole interview right?>

 JJ: Look dude, I think playing both these roles and being seen, I don’t think you will be sitting around on your butt for too long.

CA: Awwww, that’s very sweet. I have huge aspirations for THE EXPANSE. We have material for like ten seasons and there will be nine novels by the end of it. There are already six or seven that have been written. It’s like GAME OF THRONES; there is a huge bank of material and huge fan base. I think we have the potential of having a series that will last a long time.

JJ: So what are you worried about?

CA: Every year, every year it’s the waiting game. It’s like the lottery; fingers crossed waiting with baited breath waiting to hear. But that’s my hope with THE EXPANSE, that we go for a nice long successful run and then – feature films! I’m talking THE EXPANSE to go into feature films. Can you imagine going the STAR TREK route? We are doing amazing work, when you look at it on the big screen it looks like a feature film. I watched the premier of season two in New Jersey at the Alamo Drafthouse Theatre on this gorgeous massive like IMAX screen with Dolby surround sound and amazing imagery and I walked into the theatre and I was like this looks like a feature film! Holy moly! I wanted everyone who watches on their phones to get a huge flat panel t.v. to see the awesomeness of show at the very least!

JJ: A series like THE EXPANSE and THE STRAIN…the bigger the t.v. the better and put a sound bar on that puppy and crank it up.

CA: Go big or go home!

JJ: I don’t care if my neighbors ask ‘what’s all that screaming’?

CA: Yea, call the cops!

JJ: You are hilarious!

CA: So feature film, that’s my call so you come back in eight years and say ‘you were right’!

JJ: Trust me; I don’t plan to go anywhere for a few years so I’m going to keep my eye on your happy little self. It was such a joy talking to you this morning and I appreciate you letting me geek out a little bit.

CA: Oh absolutely!

JJ: Congratulations on both THE STRAIN and THE EXPANSE. Both shows are uber-cool and you can take a bow for your part in both.

CA: Thank you so much Jeri. You have to let me know what you think of Sanjay.

JJ: I’ll make sure to do that. I can’t wait, it’s going to be nuts.

 

And that my friends was the conversation I had with Cas Anvar this morning filled with craziness, fun, insight, doing good work and all without spoilers – we don’t do that here folks. I’m always saying it because it’s true, talking to an actor who not only loves talking about a project and character but has a sense of humor it just priceless.

After this talk I will not only be watching Cas doing his Sanjay thang in the final season of THE STRAIN beginning this Sunday but am excited about the next season of Alex Kamal in THE EXPANSE. Well done sir!

This Sunday on FX is the final season of one of the craziest and not-teen-angst vampire stories with a ride through history and intensely complex characters I’ve ever seen or experiences with the final season of THE STRAIN.

Prepare to get your Strigoi on because it’s going to be epic!

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The Epic Series from FX gives us THE STRAIN: The Complete Second Season

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Jeri Jacquin

This week is awesome because on Bluray from Carlton Cuse, Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan with 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is a chance to stunningly recap THE STRAIN: The Complete Second Season.

Oh yes, lets get right to it as the second season begins with a young Abraham being told by his grandmother about Jusef Sardu who suffered from gigantism. When his brother takes him to find the great wolf thinking it would cure him, Sardu instead finds a creature taking out his brother. In one fell swoop, he is infested and becomes a monster himself.

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Now, the older Abraham (David Bradley) is meeting with the Ancients to make a deal to find the Master. Not telling Eph (Corey Stoll), Nora (Mia Maestro) or Fet (Kevin Durand) about it, they go with him to find objects in a warehouse. Quickly they are attacked by a strigoi-couple that are infected and Eph wants to use them to come up with a weapon.

Meanwhile the Master needs a new body in the form of Gabriel Bolivar (Jack Kesy) and tells Eichhorst (Richard Sammel) to gather children to make a group of Feelers, basically kid vampires. Zach’s mother, Kelly (Natalie Brown), becomes the mother figure to the Feelers and she uses them to find her son. Eichhorst  learns that Abraham may be in possession of the Occido Lumen, a document that contains a way to kill the Master.

Palmer has a new assistant, Coco Marchand (Lizzie Brochere), who does her job exceedingly well and is trusted by him to the point of a romantic relationship beginning. Eph and Nora are discovering that the anti-strigoi weapon might not be as affective as they hope. Enter the Silver Angel (Joaquin Cosio), a man who once had an action B-movie career but an injury put a stop to that. He becomes part of the group when Gus (Miguel Gomez) recognizes him but at the same time falls for Aanya (Parveen Kaur) discovering she is his daughter!

Eph test the anti-strigoi weapon again and discovers it works and now he travels to Washington D.C. to try to get help in mass producing it. The whole trip is going to put the group in danger but Eph does get help a National Guard contact. Back at home a new strigoi named Quinlan (Rupert Penry-Jones) is upset that the Master has not been destroyed and tells the Ancients so.

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Kelly hasn’t backed of from finding Zach as Fet and Abraham find the Feelers’ nursery. Discovering where Zach is located she begs her son to join them. Eph and Nora are able to show Zach that the creature standing before them is not his mother. That isn’t about to stop Kelly from trying again!

When the power it cut, the group knows they must do what they can needing the UV lamps to stop the strigoi. The next step is to take out Palmer and Eph and Dutch (Ruta Gedmintas) make a plan that doesn’t go well. Now the police become involved and that is Palmer’s in.

Eichhorst is also having a good time torturing Dutch after the police deliver her to the monster. The gang isn’t about to let this go down and a rescue mission is explosive.

The Lumen is still up for grabs but Abraham comes face to face with Rudyard Fonescue telling him that the Occido Lumen could save them. Fonescue doesn’t listen and leaves with the Lumen. A bidding war between Setrakian and Palmer cause demands from both sides and the fight begins.

In the middle of everything is the confrontation with Eph and Nora when she discovers what he did in Washington D.C. as well as Fet learning that Dutch is returning to her former lover.

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It all comes to a tension filled finale when Quinlan has Abraham in his sights and just when they think the Lumen is in their hands, they are attacked. The Master is furious at Palmer for letting it all happen and doles out punishment accordingly. That isn’t the only horror as the group begins to be torn apart and scattered to the wind and sea!

Can they find their way back before the Master rules?

Stoll as Eph continues to amaze me with the directions his character takes. He is a smart man clearly but he lets his emotions get away from him. This season Eph really does go all in which is scary because that means crazy is about to hit season three. I can’t wait to see what he does next!

Bradley as Abraham has always been a favorite of mine. Of course being a Harry Potter fan I wasn’t sure what to expect from this character when the show began. What has come from this role is that I have completely forgotten Argus Filch and am totally invested in the path that the character Abraham has taken fans. Such an amazing job!

Maestro as Nora goes through serious changes as well this season and it’s brought on by Eph’s lunacy and the mother role she has taken toward Zach.  Kesy gets his shot at being the Master now and trust me he looks good doing it. Sammel as Eichhorst is still so creepy or is it just me. Don’t get me wrong I am thrilled with his performance and the creepy factor is a major plus for this role.

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Brown as Kelly gets a chance to be a Mom again, well sort of in a twisted weird Guillermo Del Toro sort of way which is always awesome. Cosio as Silver Angel gives us the strength of a man who sees a new purpose, Brochere as Coco Marchand totally tripped me out in the relationship with Palmer, Kaur as Aanya has a crush in Gomez’s character of Gus. Gomez is a strong character that continues to grow in doing what’s right.

Penry-Jones as Quinlan is frakken awesome. He doesn’t take much from the Ancients nor does he seem to fear the Master. There is something to be said for being one of the rare characters that knows what to do, jumps in and does it and doesn’t look back!

Durand as Fet is a stunner! I am absolutely a fan and have been prior to THE STRAIN and now with this series no one should be surprised at what a major talent he is. Of course I get a double thrill chill when I see him pop up in the series VIKINGS. The fact that he is so versatile brings nothing but the best to THE STRAIN.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is the industry leading worldwide entertainment. Each year TCFHE expands its award-winning global product portfolio with the introduction of new entertainment content through established and emerging formats including DVD, Blu-ray™ and Digital HD™. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is a subsidiary of 21st Century Fox. For more please visit www.foxconnect.com.

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give THE STRAIN four tubs of popcorn out of five. Okay so I’m holding back a tub because I want to see what season three brings. Season Two not only brought in new characters but expanded on those we already have come to know. There are so many twists and turns that make THE STRAIN an absolute joy to watch – except for the six days in between episodes that is.

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THE STRAIN SEASON 2 Bluray and DVD include the special features of Deleted Scenes, Meet the Crew of THE STRAIN, The White Room, Audio Commentary on “Night Train” featuring Carlton Cruse, Gag Reel, Beyond the Page and Sentient Strigoi.

Executive Producer/Director/Writer Carlton Cuse along with Co-Creator and Executive Producer/Writer Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan have brought something unique to television and that’s always what I expect from FX!

Get ready for season three coming in less than a week because to wait any longer is torture!

In the end – the hunt is on!

CRIMSON PEAK on Bluray Delivers Old Fashion Ghost Story

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Jeri Jacquin

Leave it to Guillermo del Toro to be a part of the writing team and direct, along with Universal Studios Home Entertainment, a ghost story that can only happen at CRIMSON PEAK coming to Bluray.

Edith (Mia Wasikowska) is a young girl ahead of her time. Wishing to publish her stories she is only met with kind rejection. Using her father Carter Cushing’s (Jim Beaver) office typewriter, she meets Baronet Thomas Sharpe (Tom Hiddleston).

Sharpe has come to Cushing to find investors for a machine he believes will revolutionize the digging of earth materials. Bringing his idea forward, Sharpe is met with scrutiny by Edith’s father and probably more so when he realizes Edith is taken with Sharpe.

Looking to Edith as well is Dr. Alan McMichael (Charlie Hunnam) who clearly has feelings for the young woman. At a town gathering, Edith meets Sharpes’ sister Lucille (Jessica Chastain) who greets the woman a little coolly. That doesn’t stop Sharpe and Edith from spending time together!

What does stop it is a private investigator hired by Cushing to discover the story behind the Sharpe’s. When it becomes clear what they are after, Edith’s father buys them off to go away and forget his daughter. It is Sharpe who can not stay away from the young woman and after a tragedy – the couple marries and returns to the Sharpe Estate in England.

Arriving to a house that is falling down brick by brick, Edith tries to make herself at home. The problem lies deep within as the ghosts begin to reach out to her with the secrets that can not rest.

This house is alive with truths it is dying to tell!

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Wasikowska as Edith is the perfect choice for this role. She has the lovely look of the era (proving time and time again works for her) and when it’s time for her hair to come down and face to become forlorn – she nails it. Don’t let Edith’s quiet demeanor fool you as this young lady might not like ghosts but she isn’t afraid to find out why they are stalking her. Plus, and it has to be said, Wasikowska looks stunning in period piece costumes.

Chastain as Lucille has a heart as cold as the brick that holds the estate home up! She isn’t about to be besties with Edith and clearly has an agenda that she is sticking too. Chastain is deliciously bad in this role and I loved it. She is an actress who can play a character good, bad or indifferent giving it a life of its own and in CRIMSON PEAK she delivers once again.

Hunnam as McMichael has a small role as the lovelorn eye doctor who wants to understand Edith’s obsession with ghosts. Being a gentleman of the times he doesn’t stand in the way of Edith’s happiness that is until he can prove there is a reason to be concerned for her well being. Beaver as Cushing has a quick role but an awesome one at the same time.

Hiddleston as Thomas Sharpe just continues to bring good work to the screen. In 2001 I saw him in The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby and knew I was seeing the beginning of his career. In the series Wallander I was hoping Hiddleston’s next jump would be to film and two years later he delighted fans as Loki in THOR. As the character Sharpe, fans get the full experience of a man dealing with demons (literally), hiding a history, and the experience of love. There is nothing about this character I don’t enjoy!

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Other cast includes Burn Gorman as Holly, Leslie Hope as Mrs. McMichael, Jonathan Hyde as Ogilvie, Bruce Gray as Ferguson and the ever fantastic Mr. Doug Jones in a role I’ll let everyone figure out!

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

The Bluray and Digital HD with Ultraviolet to watch anywhere includes: I Remember Crimson Peak, A Primer on Gothic Romance, Hand Tailored Gothic, A Living Thing and Crimson Phantoms. Additional Features include: Deleted Scenes, Beware of Crimson Peak, The Light and Dark of Crimson Peak, and Feature Commentary with Co-Writer and Director Guillermo del Toro.

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give CRIMSON PEAK three and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. Let talk about the good stuff – the costuming is absolutely stunning, I mean really stunning. From the beautiful dresses, to the tailored suits it is sheer perfection. I’m pretty much a sucker for amazing costuming. The same can be said for cinematography and CRIMSON PEAK gives the audience plenty of shots that are spectacular.

Wasikowska, Chastain and Hiddleston breathe everything glorious into this ghost story and are aided by their surroundings. It truly was a pure joy watching these three actors take CRIMSON PEAK to creepy heights with their portrayals.

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The special effects were very cool and didn’t overtake the film. There was just enough and perfectly placed so I’m thanking del Torro for that obviously. That being said my only downer is that I felt like there were moments I was being talked down to – as if the story thought I couldn’t take it so it was watered down. When that happened it made it easy for me to know where the ghosts were leading me. Personally I don’t want to know that much so soon!

Okay, other than that I think CRIMSON PEAK gives audiences the old fashioned scary story without a lot of gore to ruin it. Instead, in the theater we will take a deep breath, say ‘oh my gosh!’ a few times, jump more than a few times and grab onto who ever is next to us and enjoy the eerie house that is surrounded by snowy crimson!

In the end – beware!

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