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THE CHAPERONE

 

The Chaperone

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from director Michael Engler, writer Julian Fellowes and based on the book by Laura Moriarty and PBS Films with THE CHAPERONE.

Norma Carlisle (Elizabeth McGovern) is a married woman and mother of grown twin sons living in 1920’s Kansas. Her life has been turned upside down and she is feeling the need to do something different. When she hears that the young 16-year-old Louise Brooke (Haley Lu Richardson) needs a chaperone while she attends dance school in New York, Norma sees an opportunity.

Husband Alan (Campbell Scott) doesn’t seem thrilled to see his wife go but she makes it clear it is something she needs to do. Norma and Louise board the train for the trip and it takes only a moment before the young girl tries her hand at breaking away. Tired of the small town life, she is going to push every envelope possible.

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Arriving in New York, both women are excited and Louise prepares to meet dance teachers Ruth St. Dennis (Miranda Otto) and Raymond (Matt McGrath) at the Denishaw School. While Louise is dancing during the day, Norma decides that she is going to visit the convent where she was an orphan. Hoping to discover anything about her parents, she is met by a nun who isn’t exactly helpful.

Both Louise and Norma are trying to find their way and with where they come from to where they are now. Louise is pushing the boundaries of propriety and the mindset that she’ll never return home. Norma is pushing her own boundaries of propriety to discover that life is full of lies, deceptions and realities that are continually tested.

Who will break away and who will break the rules?

McGovern as Norma is a woman who started off life as an orphan, raised on a farm and married off at a young age – all three of those things done to survive. Once married to Mr. Carlisle, she once again played the role as she had been told. It takes one moment and opening a door to discover that her life has been played out to please others and not herself. I loved watching McGovern take step after step to find Norma’s own truth and happiness.

Richardson as Louise is a rebellious young woman who doesn’t like playing by the rules. Instead she wants to break away from a family that doesn’t seem to care what she does, as long as she does it without rumors starting. Instantly in New York Richardson lets her character loose wanting McGovern’s Norma to join in. I think the final scene between Richardson and McGovern just shook my heart – and I believe it will shake yours too!

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Scott as Mr. Carlisle is everything a man of that era would be. He is an impeccably dressed lawyer who keeps home and hearth comfortable while keeping his reputation sterling. He also does as is expected of him by marrying and having children. Scott keeps everything level headed and even when McGovern’s Norma tries to break away, he keeps it calm so no one asks questions or wonders what is going on in their own home.

Otto as Ruth St. Dennis keeps an eye on Louise, especially since she seems to have captured the attention of her partner Raymond played by McGrath. Both of these characters are serious about their dance school and even when Louise becomes a little reckless, it is Norma who steers her back.

Other cast include Victoria Hill as Myra Brooks, Robert Fairchild as Ted Shawn, Tyler Weaks as Howard Carlisle, Kate Grimes as Ms. Burton, Andrew Burnap as Floyd, Bill Hoag as Jack, Ellen Toland as Greta, George Hampe as Earl Carlisle, Sean Hudock as Norman Ross and Blythe Danner as Mary O’Dell.

THE CHAPERONE is a look inside the life of women in the 1920’s and what was considered respectable, acceptable and expected. Marrying and having children seemed to be the only choices that Norma had but it is Louise who wants to break away. Dancing her way to New York, Norma mentally dances along to get some answers of her own.

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Even though both women see a freedom in the big city, they first must come to terms with the lies and deceptions of the past. Each has choices to make and, for me, some of those choices are groundbreaking. I will let you decide who breaks the mold and who becomes trapped by it.

I am a period piece person so THE CHAPERONE is in my wheelhouse of films. In this case not only is the casting brilliantly done but the set design and costuming just take me away deeper into the film itself. This is truly and enjoyable film!

Moriarty wrote The Chaperone in 2012 but is also the author of four other books including The Center of Everything, The Rest of Her Life, When I’m Falling and American Heart.

In the end – one trip can change everything!

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OPERATION FINALE is a Story of Justice

Operation Finale cover

Jeri Jacquin

On Bluray/DVD and Digital from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and director Chris Weitz based on a true story tells us about the historic OPERATION FINALE.

Peter Malkin (Oscar Isaac) is part of an Israeli secret agents who have one goal – to track down and arrest SS officer Adolf Eichmann (Ben Kingsley). They want him as he is known as the mastermind of what is known as the ‘Final Solution’ and the Jewish people in concentration camps during World War II.

In Argentina, Sylvia Hermann (Haley Lu Richardson) is a young woman who begins dating a boy named Klaus Eichmann (Joe Alwyn). Klaus tells her family that he has been raised by his uncle Ricardo after his father died. It is Sylvia’s father who believes that he is onto something. When a photograph is relayed back to Israel of Uncle Ricardo, Malkin is brief on the operation to bring Eichmann back to Israel to stand trail for war crimes.

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Along with Hanna Elian (Melanie Laurent), Isser Harel (Lior Raz), Rafi Eitan (Nick Kroll) and others, the group come to Buenos Aires, Argentina searching. They set up and prepare the best way to capture Eichmann and get him to an airplane covertly. Malkin has a lot to prove as they thought they were capturing the same man in Austria and it went wrong.

Capturing Eichmann is one thing, having him at a safe house until he can be extracted is another. Son Klaus and wife Vera (Greta Scacchi) are doing everything possible to find Eichmann. That means the clock is ticking to get a confession from Eichmann about who he really is.

Malkin finds himself talking with Eichmann when it is his turn to watch the prisoner. Everyone else in the safe house finds taking care of the former SS officer distasteful so Malkin takes their shifts as he wants to know why and believes he can convince Eichmann to sign the document.

Klaus has brought down every person to bear in order to find his father – even throwing both Sylvia and her father in jail. Torturing the young girl doesn’t seem to faze Klaus enough to stop it but what she tells him put them all on the hunt for the safe house. Every move is becoming ever more dangerous with lives at stake.

Time is running out and the race is on to get Eichmann to the plane and to stand trial for his war crimes.

Operation 2

Golden Globe winner Isaac as Malkin is a man with memories that make it difficult at times to do what needs doing. When an earlier mission to capture Eichmann turned chaotic, it is clear that Malkin wants to make sure the mission goes according to a well laid plan. When Eichmann is their prisoner at the safe house, Isaac’s character takes it upon himself to get to ‘know’ the man with the goal of a confession. That means telling Eichmann very personal things in the hope that the former SS officer will trust in him. There comes a moment of cat and mouse that I thought was going to go horribly wrong. Isaac is proving time and time again to be such a stellar actor and the roles he chooses are smart and poignant, OPERATION FINALE is one such role.

Academy Award winner Kingsley as Eichmann is absolutely stunning and I say that because I have been an admirer of this actor long before he was Sir Ben Kingsley. He has the unique ability to be any character he chooses, meaning good characters and not-so-nice characters yet I am riveted to see where he takes the story. This film is no exception to that rule as Kingsley starts out in character defiance but inevitably realizes the situation he is in portraying it masterfully.

Laurent as Hanna agrees to be the medic for the mission but refuses to give Eichmann an ounce of compassion. This is the second film dealing with Nazi’s as she was the French cinema owner Shoshana in INGLORIOUS BASTERDS in 2009. Kroll as Eitan is goal oriented to get the mission done swiftly and needs the confession to make that happen.

Other cast include Michael Aronov as Zvi Aharoni, Ohad Knoller as Ephraim Ilani, Greg Hill as Moshe Tabor, Torben Liebrecht as Yaakov Gat, Michael Hernandez as Dani Shalom, Pepe Rapazote as Carlos Fuldner, Haley Lu Richardson as Sylvia Hermann and Peter Strauss as Lothar Hermann.

Operation 3

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 www.uphe.com.

The Bonus Features on Bluray and DVD include Inside the Operations: Cast, filmmakers and crew discuss working together, filing in Buenos Aires, and their collective approach to telling such a historically significant story and Feature Commentary with Director Chris Weitz.

 OPERATION FINALE is an intense thriller in a story that absolutely needed to be told. The film is stellar and what makes it so is the cast who take on their characters with depth and intensity. As the story unfolds it becomes clear that not only is there much to fear if they get caught but the fact that Eichmann wasn’t the only Nazi in Buenos Aires!

The scenes between Isaacs and Kingsley are pure brilliance in their exchanges and I couldn’t take my eyes of the screen. Both of these actors have brought so much to the screen through the years and OPERATION FINALE is going to be a film that sticks with me for a very long time.

In the end – after World War II the mission for justice began!

SPLIT Revisit Stellar Performances and Fright Now on Bluray!

Split bluray

 

Jenise Jacquin

This week on Bluray from director M. Night Shyamalan and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is the fantastically creepy SPLIT.

The film star James McAvoy (be still my heart!) as a man who has several serious problems named Dennis, Patricia, Hedwig, Barry, Orwell, Jade, The Beast and Kevin Wendell Crumb. One day he kidnaps Casey (Haley Lu Richardson), Marcia (Jessica Sula) and Claire (Anya Taylor-Joy) taking them to a dark and dismal location. He kidnaps the girls with a plan but Claire is an extra not planned on. It is clear this man has a problem with girls and when they stick together against him; their main goal is to escape.

Claire realizes that this man has the voice of a young boy name Hedwig and tries to be convincing about the need to escape. It also becomes clear that this man is responsible for different personalities who have different agendas. One by one each girl tries to escape and their different tactics keep their captor on edge. What they don’t know is that something sinister called The Beast is more terrifying than any of the personalities they have ever seen.

McAvoy portraying all of these different personalities gives him the opportunity to cement his status as an actor. The most interesting thing about him is that he takes roles that are as equally diverse as the personalities in SPLIT (except perhaps not quite as frightening). I enjoyed the transition between the characters – from the sweet, helpful innocent to the creepy-man-next-door but what I loved most is the spots of creepy/mean characters, there are moments of compassion. Especially when he becomes Kevin because there is a moment where you feel for him and what he is going through. In the short time he is Kevin you feel his emotions down to the core and forget everything that came before it. No matter what he does he’s a sexy man – call me!

Taylor-Joy as Claire is the character most involved with the splits. She is secluded and misunderstood even before she is kidnapped with the girls and is perfect for this role. It’s a good life lesson actually for teens that you never really know what is going on. Claire is actually very smart but has been through a lot and does a great job of hiding it. Taylor-Joy gives the “weird kid” persona something to think about but in a calm, collective, peaceful and beautiful kind of way. You will see exactly what I mean from scene one!

Richardson as Casey was the reason Claire was in the car in the first place so we blame her for everything…period. Sula as Marcia is the follower and she had no guts so there isn’t about to be no glory. Even when Claire tells her to stop putting them all in danger, Marcia just does what Marcia does.

Betty Buckley as Dr. Karen Fletcher gets a personal shout out from me. She kept all the characters in line and respectfully sought out to help each one individually. I believe her character is one that sticks out because her presence made me feel like I was in the film not just watching it. Buckley captures different aspects of film because it made me root for her who rooted for Kevin and the other personalities. She had a huge role in a way in how the character behaves because she calls him out when he tries to put something over on everyone. I just plain out enjoyed her performance.

Other cast includes Sebastian Arcelus as Casey’s Father, Brad William Henke as Uncle John, Neal Huff as Mr. Benoit, Robert Michael Kelly as Joe, and Jon Rainey as Dr. Clerque.

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 www.uphe.com.

I really think the film is as creepy, original, and suspenseful on Bluray as it was the first time I saw it on the screen. It isn’t a bloody horror film but a suspenseful and smart telling of a man with a serious problem. The different ideas and characters always kept me aware but still creeped out wondering what was going to happen next and who is going to show up at the door – and when you are going to meet The Beast.

I’m making sure to leave tons of information out of this review because this is the film you want to experience for yourself and personally I hate when people give to much away – its more fun to discover the creepy within us all right? SPLIT will definitely give you just that and don’t be in such a hurry to hit the stop button on your player because nothing is ever quite finished the way you might expect.

The Bluray includes the awesome Bonus Features of Alternate Ending and Deleted Scenes with an introduction by M. Night Shyamalan, The Making of SPLIT, The Many Faces of James McAvoy, and The Filmmaker’s Eyes: M. Night Shyamalan. The Digital HD and Ultraviolet Watch It Anywhere gives instant streaming and download on your television, computer, Tablet and Smartphone.

In the end – Kevin has 23 personalities and the 24th is about to be unleashed!

 

 

 

Edited by Jeri Jacquin

THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN Tackles Teen Angst with Brilliance on Bluray

edge-of

 

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on Digital HD, coming to Bluray/DVD and OnDemand from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and writer/director Kelly Fremon Craig is a reminder about THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN.

Nadine (Hailee Steinfeld) is a high school girl living in a teen crisis life. Feeling the crushing weight of it all, it would almost be unbearable if she didn’t have bff Krista (Haley Lu Richardson).

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Watching her successful brother Darian (Blake Jenner) be great at everything doesn’t help and Mom Mona (Kyra Sedgwick) is on a roller coaster of her own. Just when Nadine thinks she has a handle on it all, she discovers that Krista and Darian are dating!

That sends her straight to Mr. Bruner (Woody Harrelson), a teacher who can’t go a day without listening to Nadine’s exploits. Listening to her go off on tangents, he attempts in his own way to offer advice.

In the middle of all of the craziness she strikes up a friendship with Erwin (Hayden Szeto), a young man who seems to understand the misunderstood Nadine. As the rollercoaster of life keeps baiting Nadine, she has to decide what her happiness level is…

and then get there.

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Steinfeld as Nadine will take the viewer through every emotion she is feeling so be prepared for your own emotional exhaustion by films end. From the very beginning Steinfeld’s character narrates the world from her point of view but, in truth, it was and is pretty much the world view we all have felt.

Harrelson as Mr. Bruner is absolutely hilarious. His characters demeanor is very unique but I have to admit I was laughing myself silly. Sedgwick as Mona is a mother who seems to favor one child over another and absorbed into her own life. Sedgwick still know how to deliver a performance.

Richardson as Krista is everything a bff should be – except when that girl code is broken. Watching Richardson and Steinfeld go through their relationships problems brings out the worst in them both.

Jenner as Darian is a brother who is the guy everyone wants to be which makes his relationship with sister Nadine even more difficult. Szeto as Erwin is the calm in Nadine’s storm; it just might take her a little while to realize it.

Other cast include Alexander Calvert as Nick, Eric Keenleyside as Tom, Nesta Cooper as Shannon, Daniel Bacon as M.C., and Lina Renna as Little Nadine.

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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 www.uphe.com.

THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN is such a well done film in so many respects. It is a trip down memory lane a bit with the awkwardness we all have felt in our teens. Even though the film has humor, it doesn’t make light in a downgraded way to what Nadine goes through.

The casting of the film is wonderful as Steinfeld seems to embrace playing a young teen girl making it look so easy. From her fear of peers, to dealing with a set of beliefs about her Mother to completely misreading a trusted confident, Steinfeld nails it all. THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN on Bluray can stand proudly next to the likes of THE BREAKFAST CLUB, SIXTEEN CANDLES and EASY A – and it will in my home.

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The Bluray and DVD include the bonus features of a Gag Reel and Deleted Scenes. Bluray unleashes the power of any HDTV with amazing picture resolution and DVD can be played in more places. Digital HD with Ultraviolet means more places to view films on an iPad, iPhone, and Androids.

If you have forgotten what it means to be seventeen again, THE EDGE OF SEVENTEEN is an awesome reminder of the pains mixed with the comedy of teen life.

If you happen to be a teen, the film embraces every aspect of the emotions and situations with a movie-hug.

In the end – you’re only young once…is it over yet?

SPLIT Brings Stellar Performances and Fright!

split-poster

 

Jenise Jacquin

In 1999, writer/director M. Night Shyamalan decided to creep out the entire planet with a little film called THE SIXTH SENSE. Of course I was a mere gal of 17 when the film came out and I immediately knew I was watching something pretty spectacular. It was a creative, original and definitely kept me riveted from beginning to the shocking end.

A year later in 2000, UNBREAKABLE hit the screen and of course I had to be a part of anything Bruce Willis would be involved in. I watched it but felt it was more oriented toward guys leaving me out of the loop a little but I still loved Willis no matter what.

split-1

Then the worst happened! The following films after UNBREAKABLE seemed to become a tad gimmicky to my way of thinking. Even SIGNS which I had hoped would knock it out of the park just seem to fall short of the originality and creativity of THE SIXTH SENSE. After that, any Shyamalan film coming my way just bounced off my ‘have to watch’ radar.

Now, in 2017, Shyamalan is back in theatres and I am here to say that SPLIT gave me the creative storyline and originality I associated with him back in 1999.

The film star James McAvoy (be still my heart!) as a man who has several serious problems named Dennis, Patricia, Hedwig, Barry, Orwell, Jade, The Beast and Kevin Wendell Crumb. One day he kidnaps Casey (Haley Lu Richardson), Marcia (Jessica Sula) and Claire (Anya Taylor-Joy) taking them to a dark and dismal location. He kidnaps the girls with a plan but Claire is an extra not planned on. It is clear this man has a problem with girls and when they stick together against him; their main goal is to escape.

Claire realizes that this man has the voice of a young boy name Hedwig and tries to be convincing about the need to escape. It also becomes clear that this man is responsible for different personalities who have different agendas. One by one each girl tries to escape and their different tactics keep their captor on edge. What they don’t know is that something sinister called The Beast is more terrifying than any of the personalities they have ever seen.

split-2

McAvoy portraying all of these different personalities gives him the opportunity to cement his status as an actor. The most interesting thing about him is that he takes roles that are as equally diverse as the personalities in SPLIT (except perhaps not quite as frightening). I enjoyed the transition between the characters – from the sweet, helpful innocent to the creepy-man-next-door but what I loved most is the spots of creepy/mean characters, there are moments of compassion. Especially when he becomes Kevin because there is a moment where you feel for him and what he is going through. In the short time he is Kevin you feel his emotions down to the core and forget everything that came before it. No matter what he does he’s a sexy man – call me!

Taylor-Joy as Claire is the character most involved with the splits. She is secluded and misunderstood even before she is kidnapped with the girls and is perfect for this role. It’s a good life lesson actually for teens that you never really know what is going on. Claire is actually very smart but has been through a lot and does a great job of hiding it. Taylor-Joy gives the “weird kid” persona something to think about but in a calm, collective, peaceful and beautiful kind of way. You will see exactly what I mean from scene one!

Richardson as Casey was the reason Claire was in the car in the first place so we blame her for everything…period. Sula as Marcia is the follower and she had no guts so there isn’t about to be no glory. Even when Claire tells her to stop putting them all in danger, Marcia just does what Marcia does.

Betty Buckley as Dr. Karen Fletcher gets a personal shout out from me. She kept all the characters in line and respectfully sought out to help each one individually. I believe her character is one that sticks out because her presence made me feel like I was in the film not just watching it. Buckley captures different aspects of film because it made me root for her who rooted for Kevin and the other personalities. She had a huge role in a way in how the character behaves because she calls him out when he tries to put something over on everyone. I just plain out enjoyed her performance.

split-3

Other cast includes   Sebastian Arcelus as Casey’s Father, Brad William Henke as Uncle John, Neal Huff as Mr. Benoit, Robert Michael Kelly as Joe, and Jon Rainey as Dr. Clerque.

I really did think the film was creepy, original, suspenseful and I most definitely would watch it again. It isn’t a bloody horror film but a suspenseful and smart telling of a man with a serious problem. The different ideas and characters always kept me aware but still creeped out wondering what was going to happen next and who is going to show up at the door – and when you are going to meet The Beast. The cinematography lends itself to the creepiness as well.

I’m making sure to leave tons of information out of this review because this is the film you want to experience for yourself and personally I hate when people give to much away – its more fun to discover the creepy within us all right? SPLIT will definitely give the audience just that and don’t be in such a hurry to leave your seat because nothing is ever quite finished the way you might expect.

In the end – Kevin has 23 personalities and the 24th is about to be unleashed!

 

 

 

Edited by Jeri Jacquin

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