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This is not a Simple ORDINARY LOVE

Ordinary cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from directors Lisa Barros D’Sa, Glenn Leyburn and Bleeker Street is the story of the unexpected bumps in a couple’s life of ORDINARY LOVE.

Joan (Lesley Manville) and Tom (Liam Neeson) have settled into a life that is comfortable for them both. Their routine includes a brisk walk, shopping, television time and humor that is easy for this couple. The comfortable life is interrupted when Joan discovers a lump in her breast.

Keeping everything easy in conversation until they know something more, Joan and Tom continue with their life. When the results are not what they were hoping, the life they had been sharing becomes a test on everything they had been holding on to.

Early into her treatment, Joan meets Peter (David Wilmot) who is a teacher. Now Joan feels a kinship to someone who understands what having cancer brings out in emotions. Spending time in the cafeteria during Joan’s treatments, Tom meets Peter’s partner Steve (Amit Shah) and finds the same kinship of having someone you love living in fear.

As the treatment progresses so does the tension between two people who truly love one another because spending years together with a history.

Manville as Joan is a woman who will forever have a place in my heart. This film brings a very realistic look at the fear, anxiety and frustration that comes with the word ‘cancer’. Even more so for a woman when it is breast cancer. Every thought that came across her face I understood as will most women who have ever had to deal with this disease. From the moment Joan finds the lump to the very end of the film, I remembered that feeling of having no control of anything. Manville is stunning – period.

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Neeson as Tom is a man who takes life one day at a time. He wit with Joan is something I couldn’t help but laugh at. Come on, who doesn’t want a partner who can match wits and bring out the best sarcasm. Coming to terms with Joan’s prognosis, he deals with the same feelings of fear, anxiety and frustration except his tact is to keep it inside to be the strong part of the partnership. Even superman can’t keep that up before emotions come to a head. The conversation with his daughter is nothing short of heartbreaking. Well, just when I couldn’t adore Neeson more he gives me reason too.

Wilmot as Peter shares his feelings with Joan, and it is only natural that the two strike up a friendship. Being brutally honest about their feelings is something each can’t do with their partner. Shah as Steve is lost, and Tom sees it from across the room which makes their friendship a bit of a life raft.

ORDINARY LOVE is almost an indescribably film because it is based in a subject matter that most people find uncomfortable. Yes, there are films that deal with cancer, but this is a raw and in-your-face look at what it looks like skin to skin. Cancer takes, and takes, and takes and takes until the lid of safety we all create in our lives is weakened to the point of explosion.

Tom and Joan have a comfortable life but that doesn’t mean there aren’t issues in the life history they share that have never been truly resolved or spoken of. This is also a time where Joan realizes things about herself that are eye opening (if cancer isn’t enough) and Tom also stretches his emotions to what seems like a dangerous place for this character.

Manville and Neeson carry this film from start to finish and they don’t slack at any point. What they give is a fantastic performance that I easily forgot was a performance. Perhaps it is because I have been in Joan’s shoes myself or perhaps, I felt she had a love with Tom that many of us didn’t have going through a difficult time.

So, what ORDINARY LOVE does for those who have experienced cancer, a reminder of what it means to survive and for those that have not experienced it, this is a film to experience how close this film truly is.

I adored Joan and Tom’s relationship in its simplicity and humor and as more of their story is revealed, you feel for this couple even more and become the outside cheerleader to push them toward healing.

In the end – love doesn’t give up.

RICHARD JEWELL is a Lesson in Being a Hero

Richard Jewell cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming soon to theatres from director Clint Eastwood and Warner Bros. is the story of a man who sees the world better than he is treated and his name is RICHARD JEWELL.

Richard (Paul Walter Hauser) is a very polite southerner who meets lawyer Watson Bryant (Sam Rockwell) working for a firm delivering mail. Preparing to move on to a security job, Richard makes sure to say goodbye to Watson. As a university security, it doesn’t go well and once again he has to move on to another job. The one person standing by him is mom Bobi (Kathy Bates) knowing her son believes in law enforcement.

The opportunity comes for Richard to work security at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia’s Centennial Park. Taking his job serious, he is polite to everyone and even makes himself indispensable to on-sight law enforcement. His job also has its perks taking Mom to a concert in the park. Someone who isn’t happy about the Olympics assignment is FBI Agent Tom Shaw (Jon Hamm) and partner Dan Bennet (Ian Gomez).

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Each day Richard is ready and stays alert to everything around him. One evening he has to stop a group of young kids from throwing bottles against a media tower and notices a backpack. Alerting authorities they at first don’t seem worried, but after closer inspection everyone leaps into action to get people away – including Richard.

When the bomb explodes, the contents flies into the crowd and people fall everywhere. A stunned Richard tries to do what he can to help those who are hurt. The mayhem is emotional for everyone and when Richard returns home to a grateful Mom, he can’t believe what has happened. Quickly the media hails him a hero and the attention makes Richard a tad uncomfortable but still very polite.

The FBI immediately jump on the case and start investigating everyone who was at Centennial Park and one name that pops up is Richard Jewell. Trying to get a scoop on the story if Kathy Scruggs (Olivia Wilde), a reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution who turns to Shaw for information and runs with it. Immediately Richard goes from being hailed as a hero to a villain.

Richard calls Watson Bryant at first to look over a contract but quickly needs much more help. Watson’s secretary Nadya (Nina Arianda) informs him that Richard is being looked at as a suspect in the bombing. Both Richard and mom Bobi are being emotionally torn apart with the things being said, the constant attack by the media and the life altering harassing by the FBI.

Yet Richard remains respectful until Watson reminds him that standing up for himself is just as respectful.

Hauser as Jewell is just that – a jewel! His portrayal of Richard is a combination of so many things from a very caring person who notices people to being a little over zealous wanting to be part of the law enforcement community to a son who will not tolerate anyone making his mother cry. From the moment of the bombing all he wants to do is help find the person responsible and in that lies Hauser’s stunning performance. Raised to be respectful, he knows that he is not everyone’s cup of tea but it doesn’t change how he treats them and Hauser portrayal gives Richard a depth that just tore at my heart.

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Rockwell as Bryant is the loud to Richard’s soft feelings about what is happening around them. Not understanding how Richard can continue to be loyal to law enforcement that are trying to sacrifice him is stunning to Rockwell’s character. Keeping his client under control proves to be a challenge as well but one that has moments of smiles and even, dare I say, giggles. Knowing Richard to be an acquired taste, Rockwell’s Bryant can’t help but see what we as the audience sees. I am confessing here and now that I adore Rockwell and even more so in this film.

Bates as Mom Bobi is a simple woman who keeps her life tidy and believes one hundred percent in her son. So proud of him for saving lives after the bombing, she doesn’t understand how and why the vilification of her son can possibly be happening. What I love about Bates in this role is that at no time does her portrayal of Bobi fail to believe in her son and she is everything believable.

Wilde as Scruggs is just a reporter who from the moment she steps on screen is someone I wanted to just shake because of the tactics used to get her story. She is a very outward character in her mannerisms and behavior to the point that the audience in the theatre had, and I quote from the woman next to me, “just about enough of that woman!”. I can’t remember the last time I heard that from someone in the audience. Hamm as Shaw has issues of his own and the grumblings of being at the Olympics turns bad quickly. Seeing the result of the bombing puts him on an all-out idea that he will capture the bomber. The problem is his tactics along with those he works with at the FBI letting everything get out of hand. Hamm makes an awesome good guy and an equally awesome not so good guy.

Gomez as Bennet is just as guilty for the tactics against Richard as Shaw and what was so irritating is that neither of these men seen to have any guilt for it all. You know you’ve done a good job in your role when everyone wants to scream at you so well done. Arianda as Nadya is such a good person seeing exactly what Bobi, Bryant and the audience sees about Richard Jewell and she is a no nonsense character as well.

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RICHARD JEWELL is absolutely one hundred percent a Clint Eastwood film. This actor/director takes stories of everyday people and put them on screen in such a way that we become a cheering squad by the end of the story. There is certainly nothing wrong with that to my way of thinking. What I truly enjoyed about this film is that Hauser’s portrayal of Jewell is so uncanny and so endearing. It would be easy to just play up the stereotypical southern boy instead of a man who was raised to believe in the good of people and the respect of those who know might know more, including law enforcement.

The film also forces us all to realize that, as Rockwell’s character says, we are confronted by the two most powerful forces in the world – the U.S. government and the media. That was said in 1996 without even realizing that statement would predict the future in many ways. Ruining a life in 1996 with print is one thing, if the same thing happened to Jewell today it would have been incredible worse and more dangerous than even I want to think about.

The last half hour of the film is one for a box of Kleenex as the story finally confronts all of what happened that evening in 1996 and how two men became even closer friends and a mom never stopped believing in her son.

In the end – the world will know his name and the truth!

A Deeper Look at JOKER

Joker cover
Jeri Jacquin
Coming to theatres from director Todd Phillips and Warner Bros. is a dark look at an iconic villain from his beginning to becoming JOKER.
Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) is a meek clown who is the target of everyone who sees him as weak. It’s not just the bullies on the street that take aim at him but also the other clowns he works with. Taking care of his mother Penny (Frances Conroy), they live in the downtrodden part of Gotham City.
On his way home in full clown regalia, Arthur comes face to face with more humiliation when he fights back. Unfazed by it, he returns home again to his mother who believes that her previous employer will help their plight.
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In the meantime, Arthur works on his comedy act and hopes that one day he will be on Live with Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro). Practicing his skills he hopes to impress lovely neighbor Sophie (Zazie Beetz) and invites her to watch his performance. Returning home late, he discovers Penny is ill and there are detectives wanting to talk to him.
While she recovers, Arthur sees a recording of his performance airing on Live with Murray Franklin and finally has his chance to make a comedic impact, but not before he lets people around him know that things are about to change.
Say hello to Joker!
Phoenix as Arthur takes this iconic villain deeper than ever before. His story is complex, dark, and heart breaking to watch. Coming in at 121 minutes, the story slowly makes its way to a climax that is as hauntingly beautiful (there is no other way to describe it) as is his portrayal. The physicality of Arthur is one thing but in those eyes lives everything that is Arthur Fleck. The pain, confusion, delusion and the desire to be something more than most can imagine. That is why the critics have just become mesmerized by what Phoenix has done with the Joker.
Conroy as Penny is a woman fixated on finding a way for them both to struggle less. Conroy has always found roles that are complex and as the mother of Joker she truly has placed herself in an arc in his storyline. Beetz as Sophie lives close to Arthur and he finds her intriguing with a chance to offer a bit of solace from the real world.
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De Niro as Murray Franklin dons his caricature of Johnny Carson in bad suits and snide comments yet Arthur and his mother shared nightly television time. His part is pivotal in the evolution of Arthur Fleck into Joker.
Other cast include Shea Whigham as Detective Burke, Bill Camp as Detective Garrity, Glenn Fleshler as Randall, Leigh Gill as Gary, Josh Pais as Hoyt, Rocco Luna as GiGi, Marc Maron as Gene, Sondra James as Dr. Sally, Murphy Guyer as Barry, Douglas Hodge as Alfred and Brett Cullen as Thomas Wayne.
I know it is easy to jump to the comparison between Phoenix’s portrayal of the JOKER and Heath Ledger’s (or Jack Nicholson and Cesar Romero for that matter) take on the iconic character. I will admit to having the same reservations but I’m here to tell you to put those thoughts at rest. THIS is not THAT Joker. Phoenix gives us an deeper and disturbing look at what brought about the growth of Arthur Fleck. I feel there is a melding of these Joker portrayals and they call can co-exist quite happily.
In JOKER, Gotham is a dark place filled with struggling citizens and it could easily be said that it is a statement of what is going on in the world today. The film could be picked apart for a political view about the rich versus the poor and lack of law and the double talk of elections but, I will save that for others who want to look for that. I wanted to invest myself in the character of Arthur Fleck and his story.
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Joker wasn’t born Joker, he was born a child who became Arthur Fleck who became the Joker. That is what this film addresses and it is a nightmare in a city full of nightmares. Gotham has given birth to villainy but it’s not only Arthur Fleck. There is Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot, Edward Nigma, Dr. Pamela Isley, Harleen Quinzel just to name a few of those who turned to a life of crime.
What Phoenix and Todd have managed to do is tell the story of a future arch enemy making it possible to tell more of those stories. Personally I hope it doesn’t become a habit because there is something about not knowing every little thing about every nemesis of Gotham. At the same time I am curious if Phoenix could take his portrayal of the Joker and take it one step further.
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I believe that die-hard fans of the comic will be thrilled because it does take in the dark side and less of a comic side. That doesn’t mean there aren’t chuckles but they are uncomfortable in a way that is hard to describe. Phoenix takes us into Arthur/Joker’s dark place and we stay there the entire time because, to be honest, we can’t look away.
In the end – put on a happy face!

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY Brings Mercury Back on Stunning Bluray

Bohemian Bluray

 

Jeri Jacquin

On Bluray/DVD and Digital from director Brian Singer and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment comes the story of a legend that lives on today through a BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY.

Farrokh Bulsara (Rami Malek) isn’t about to conform to his parents expectations and when he has the opportunity to change his path it is because he meets Brian May (Gwilym Lee) and Roger Taylor (Ben Hardy) who have a band and just lost their front man. At first the two men think Freddie is joking about what he has to offer – but proven surprised as Queen is born.

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Now Freddie Mercury openly, he meets Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton) and is madly in love. She supports his musical dream and is always there to help him through anything life throws at him. The band plays a few gigs adding John Deacon (Joseph Mazzello)  to the group when John Reid (Aidan Gillen) notices them bringing in attorney Jim Beach (Tom Hollander) to protect the gang.

Freddie and the band decide they don’t want to be just like every other music group but instead be daring and bold. This doesn’t go over well with record executive Ray Foster (Mike Meyers) not believing people want to hear six minute songs. Of course Freddie is out to prove him wrong and Bohemian Rhapsody makes its way onto airwaves.

As with all bands, the tension, touring and egos are starting to get in the way of the music. It doesn’t help that Freddie has started a relationship with Paul (Allen Leech) with Brian and John none to pleased, not to mention Mary. The blow up blows Queen apart and they all go their own way.

Freddie meets Jim Hutton (Aaron McCusker) who makes it very clear that he is not the type that will be taken lightly, especially since others are running the singers life. Then, there is the illness he never saw coming and once he did, turns to the people in his life that will always love him – family, friends and fans!

Because Queen is all about rocking us!

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Malek as Freddie Mercury does the job that needs doing and carries enough weight behind it with the cast and music. It is obvious that he put all into portraying a man who was larger than life so keeping that in mind I willingly went into suspension of disbelief. The performance scenes are so much fun because the music is stellar and ingrained into many of our lives.

Lee as May believes in what Queen is doing and totally understands Freddie’s idiosyncrasies. Writing and putting it all together in the studio is what makes the group the happiest but there are moments that twinge in the ego about who is running the band. Rogers as Taylor wants more of a say in what the group puts out but would rather not butt heads with Freddie on it. It doesn’t mean there isn’t resentment simmering just below the surface. I enjoyed Taylor’s performance, especially doing his high pitch part in the song Bohemian Rhapsody. Mazello as Deacon lets the status quo rule even though he doesn’t always agree with Freddie.

Boynton as Mary is a woman who has a bigger heart than mine that’s for sure. She loves Freddie and consistently looks past what is right in front of her. Calling her his ‘soul mate’ means she can’t walk away not matter how hard she tries. There comes a point when thinking about yourself is not only right, it is necessary for happiness and Freddie has to understand that. Boynton gives an amazing performance that I won’t soon forget.

Gillen as Reid definitely wants to see what the band is capable of and more times than not he lets it all flow as it will – even when it comes to Freddie. I love seeing Gillen on screen outside of the Seven Kingdoms so well done sir! Hollander as Jim, aka Miami, is one of the most laid back lawyers I think I’ve ever seen. He has moments of important input but the rest of the time, he nods and goes along to get along. I love Hollander in everything he has done so you’ll never hear a complaint from me.

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Meyers as Foster has no idea what he’s getting into and even more clueless that Freddie is a strong personality and loves to prove the world wrong. Meyers cracked me up to the very end. Leech as Paul totally had me seeing a blood-sucking-groupie in his character and wanted to jump through the screen and wring his little neck myself. Good thing I refrained but just goes to show how powerful his performance is.

McCusker as Jim is probably the only sane one of this bunch! Knowing that Freddie is his own worst enemy but also realizing that people abuse him, he is still not going to fall into it all. It was good to see someone throw life-coffee into Freddie’s place and humbling for him at the same time.

Other cast include Meneka Das as Jer Bulsara, Ace Bhatti as Bomi Bulsara, Priya Blackburn as Kashmira Bulsara, Max Bennett as David, Dermon Murphy as Bob Geldof and Dickie Beau as Kenny Everett.

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 Bluray and DVD Special Features include The Complete LIVE AID Movie Performance Not Seen in Theatres, Rami Malek Becoming Freddie, The Look and Sound of Queen and Recreating LIVE AID.

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY tells the story of a young man born Farrokh Bulsara and reborn into Freddie Mercury. From a baggage handler at Heathrow to meeting May and Taylor, life had bigger plans for them all – especially Freddie.  When the band goes through harrowing times, sleazy Paul managed to work on Freddie’s insecurities leading to firings and a blow out.

It is once again Mary who sets him straight about remembering who he is and how he got there and, more importantly, who was there with him every step of the way! Learning that Bob Geldof had a concert called Live Aid at Wembley, Freddie knows it is the way back to what made Queen stellar.

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But that’s only part of it; Freddie’s parents go through pains with their son even if his siblings are supportive. It is the Zoroastrian belief of ‘good thoughts, good words, and good deeds’ that truly begin to come to light.

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY has so far earned two Golden Globe Awards for Best Motion Picture and Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama for Rami Malek. Also for Malek’s mantel is a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role.

Currently, BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY is nominated for five Academy Awards including Best Motion Picture of the Year for Graham King, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role for Rami Malek, Best Achievement in Film Editing, Best Achievement in Sound Editing and Best Achievement in Sound Mixing. It’s going to be a tense evening for the film!

The soundtrack is amazing! If you are a Queen fan then this film will rock you, if you think you are a Queen fan this film will rock you, and if you want to be a Queen fan then go get rocked as BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY coming to Bluray, DVD and Digital from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

In the end – fearless lives forever!

 

WE, THE MARINES is a Lesson in Honor and Love of Country

We the Marines Bluray

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on 4K Ultra HD, Bluray and Digital from SHOUT! Factory, directed by Greg MacGillivray and narrated by Academy Award winner and former Marine Gene Hackman is WE, THE MARINES.

The documentary gives viewers an inside look to the strength and beliefs of the United States Marine Corps. Hackman begins with a brief history of when the Marines began. In 1775, the Marine Corps began because men were needed to defend the states militarily from enemies.

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As the years passed, the Marine Corps served on the beaches of Iwo Jima and by raising the American flag, become a symbol of honor and sacrifice around the world. Serving in Vietnam, the Marines continued to serve and defend.

In current times, the men and women of the United States Marine Corps are trained on the east and the west coast. From Parris Island to Camp Pendleton to training in Yuma Arizona, it all begins with boot camp. Hackman talks about the lessons each person who enlists comes to understand about the Corps.

From the air, land and sea, MacGillivray gives us a glimpse of the training and dedication those in the Marine Corp endure to become the best. Waiting for them to complete missions and come home are the families who see each and every Marine as a hero.

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But it is not just war were the Marine Corps can be found, they are also on the front line of humanitarian efforts around the world. Hurricanes, floods and earthquakes, they can be found helping bringing supplies and aid to survivors.

That is why their creed of Semper Fidelis – Latin for ‘always faithful’ – is something that stays with each United States Marine for the rest of their lives.

A MacGillivray Freeman film produced in association with the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation and presented by The Boeing Company, WE, THE MARINES was originally produced for permanent exhibition in the Giant-Screen Medal of Honor Theater at the National Museum of the Marine Corps. This striking film will not be available in living rooms across the country.

The Ultra HD Bluray release of WE, THE MARINES stands as SHOUT! Factory’s first foray into the new HDR10+ technology, which allows filmmakers to present their content not only in the best quality possible, but to showcase the creative intent behind it. HDR10+ provides for scene-by-scene, frame-by-frame adjustments through dynamic metadata, allowing an unparalleled level of detail. It also puts the control of content presentation directly back into the filmmakers’ hands.

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WE, THE MARINES includes 4K SDR, 4K HRD, and 4K HDR10+ for the full UHD experience. Also in Ultra HD TV with HDR is needed to access 4K HDR and HDR10+.

SHOUT! Factory has grown into a tremendous multi-platform media company. Releasing an exciting catalog of 4K films that include the incredible critically acclaimed and award-winning odyssey JOURNEY TO SPACE, FLIGHT OF THE BUTTERFLIES, THE LAST REEF: CITIES BENEATH THE SEA and NATIONAL PARKS ADVENTURE. For more of what SHOUT Factor has to offer please visit www.shoutfactory.com.

Narrated by Gene Hackman, it is amazing that as a former Marine he takes the tasks of speaking on the Corps. He does so with intensity and feeling while allowing those in service now to share small pieces of their own experiences and feelings.

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That is what makes WE, THE MARINES such an important piece of filmmaking. It is an opportunity for those who might not have family members in the Marine Corps to at least understand more about it. For those who do have family members in the Marine Corps, it gives a little more insight into perhaps some of the reason this branch of the military is chosen.

I have family members who are former Marines and some who are thinking of following in the family footsteps. It is a humbling thing to see their dedication and drive to succeed in their military endeavors.

In the end – it is more than dedication and service!

ERNIE KOVACS: The Centennial Edition Comes to DVD

Kovacs

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on DVD to celebrate the 100th birthday of a comic genius from SHOUT! Factory is an amazing collection with ERNIE KOVACS: The Centennial Edition.

Ernie Kovacs came from a family that immigrated to Hungary and although not a great student still managed to receive a scholarship to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Struggling to live in New York City, he managed to go to the movies that he would later say influences him.

Finding acting work in summer stock, it would be an almost fatal illness that would be a school of another kind. After spending time in several hospital, he returned home to take care of his mother after his parents separated. His first job in television was in 1950 and a show called Pick Your Ideal, then hosting Deadline For Dinner, Now You’re Cooking and Three to Get Ready.

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In 1954, Kovacs began a late-night talk show called The Ernie Kovacs Show so now he could be seen almost everywhere on television. He even took a few nights a week for Steve Allen on The Tonight Show, part of the game show Gamble on Love, One Minute Please, Time Will Tell and Take a Good Look.

 Kovacs also did television specials which were popular in the 50’s and 60’s as Silent Show contained no dialogue but instead only sound effects and music. Now Kovacs would be noticed receiving movie offers, the Sylvania Award and the cover of Life magazine.

His theatrical films included OPERATION MAD BALL, IT HAPPENED TO JANE, STRANGERS WHEN WE MEET, NORTH TO ALASKA, FIVE GOLDEN HOURS and SAIL A CROOKED SHIP to name a few.

That’s not all Kovacs is known for as he was a music lover from the days of being in the hospital. He would often use classic music as part of his comedy as well. He also wrote the book Zoomar: A Sophisticated Novel about Love and TV, Silent Show, How to Talk at Gin as well as articles for Mad magazine.

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Kovacs was killed in a car accident in 1962 but he left behind some of the most iconic legacy of original comedy that we are not likely to ever see again.

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 9 DVD set includes 22 hours of landmark hilarity featuring Episodes from his Local and National Morning Shows, Episodes from his NBC Prime-Time Show, Kovacs on Music, Five ABC TV Specials, The Color Version of His Legendary Silent Show Eugene, His Award-Winning Commercials for Dutch Masters Cigars, Short Films, Tributes, and Rarities.

 Eighteen Bonus Sketches Featuring Man of his Most Beloved Characters, Three Complete Episodes of his Offbeat Game Show Take a Good Look, “A Pony for Chris” – his Rare TV Pilot for Medicine Man Costarring Buster Keaton, The Lively Arts Featuring the Only Existing Filmed Solo Interview with Ernie Kovacs and the 2011 American Cinematheque Panel.

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 Ernie Kovacs was one of the first funny men that I can remember watching on television with my mother. His sense of humor was hilarious to me and I knew his voice on television even if I was in another room. The comedy of Kovacs continues to be what I consider the gold standard and can see how comedy throughout the years has some similarities to his creativity.

This man had so much talent that it isn’t surprising to me that he found so many outlets for it. From radio, music, television and films, as well as in book form, Kovacs found a way to reach his fans.

ERNIE KOVACS: The Centennial Edition is not only a great way to remember everything he brought to us through the years but a stellar way to introduce a new generation to comedy that is enduring. There is so much in this collection to share and let me say, it is totally worth a marathon with everyone who enjoys laughing with characters that are original and so full of fun.

In the end – happy 100th birthday to an original genius!

THE BEST OF THE THREE STOOGES

three

Jeri Jacquin

From the vaults of Time Life comes one of the most amazing collections of comedy I will ever have the joy of watching again and again with THE BEST OF THE THREE STOOGES.

Let me first start off by saying that as a kid, the Three Stooges were one of my most important introductions to comedy. Better than any Saturday morning cartoon, Moe, Curly and Larry could have tears running down my face within a few short minutes.

How did they begin? In the 1920’s vaudeville was huge and a source of amazing entertainment as Ted Healy and Moe Howard hit the stage. Shemp Howard, Curly Howard and Larry Fine would later become part of the group as well in their own time.

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Within a few short years, The Three Stooges would begin making short comedies and between 1934 and 1946, Columbia Pictures would let the comedy trio do over 90 short films. That is insanely incredible to make that many pieces in what I consider a short period of time.

There were many shifts in the group with illnesses and deaths, but that didn’t stop The Three Stooges from continuing well into the 1970’s. In all that time, fans did not stop wanting to experience the fantastic comedy timing that The Three Stooges had to offer.

No one seemed to mind the changes in the line up as long as the line up was funny and entertaining. It seems audiences were more forgiving during that time than they are today.

What Time Life has managed to do, and I’m so thrilled they did it, was bring 13 discs which equals 45 hours of feature films, vintage animated cartoons and a nine part documentary series that had me completely riveted. I love knowing how my favorite actors, actresses and comediennes began, and it is all here.

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With iconic lines such as “well I outta…..”, “oh wise guy eh?” and “Nyuk! Nyuk!” which are still used today (and probably not known why by those young folk who use it), it is a staple in my family. The Three Stooges brought slap to slap stick with eye pokes, rotating shoulders, nose grabs, and bonks on the head and yes, they are still used today by us all.

The first disc includes the feature film The Three Stooges, The Three Stooges Cartoons Bon Bon Parade (1935), Merry Mutineers (1936) A Hollywood Detour (1942), Disc 2 contains Shemp Howard Comedy Shorts with 14 Classics from the ‘30s and ‘40s, Joe Besser Comedy Shorts with 10 Side Splitters From the ‘40s and 50s, Joe DeRita Comedy Shorts with 4 Smackers from the ‘40s. Disc 3 has Have Rocket Will Travel, The Outlaws is Coming and Rockin’ in the Rockies.

 That isn’t all! Disc 4 contains Documentary: Hey Moe! Hey Dad! and 4 Episodes of A Trio Grows in Brooklyn, A Stooge is Born, Slap Happy and Eureka. Finally, Disc 5 finished up with Documentary: Hey Moe! Hey Dad! and Good Night & Good Nyuk!, Déjà vu All Over Again, Bum’s Rush, Curtain Call and A Son Also Rises.

Time Life continues to bring never before released anywhere classic collections of television shows for fans to revisit and remember what has made television so special. Time Life has released Mama’s Family, CPO Sharkey and The Tonight Show and they now reminds of us of a time when sex and politics were up for grabs with ROWAN & MARTIN’S LAUGH-IN. For more of what Time Life has to offer fans of classic television visit www.timelife.com.

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Here’s more amazing news – this is only Volume One of THE BEST OF THE THREE STOOGES and it would have to be. This group of whacky and talented men lives a comedic life that was both hilarious and tragic at the same time.

Have Rocket, Will Travel has the group blasting off to Venus for a ride into the world of talking unicorns, aliens and giant tarantula’s and yes, those things are made for the boys to make fun of. Rockin’ in the Rockies has The Three Stooges prospecting in Nevada. Of course that couldn’t possibly be all especially with the era full of cattle rustlers and roulette wheels at the local casino saloon.

There are so many amazing reasons to have The Three Stooges as part of your home entertainment library and these two examples of laughs are only one reason. The comedy trio (even through the changes) are iconic in the world and are still copied today in many ways.

This past Halloween alone I saw people dressed up as Moe, Curly and Larry and I couldn’t be happier about it. There is something sweet and nostalgic about a part of my childhood showing up from time to time to remind me of where my sense of humor came from.

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Now, I have the opportunity to share with my family the hilarity and it is my three-year-old granddaughter who follows in my footsteps in a fantastic way. She can’t stop herself from laughing hysterically at the antics of The Three Stooges. Time Life has gone in-depth gathering the films, documentaries and animated cartoons for what will be known now as fans of all ages.

In the end – they are The Three Stooges of mayhem and fun!

MAMA MIA! Here We Go Again Sings & Dances onto Bluray

Mama Mia here we go again cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to 4K Ultra HD, Bluray/DVD this Tuesday from writer/director Ol Parker and Universal Home Entertainment is the return of MAMA MIA! Here We Go Again.

Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) is working hard to reopen the Bella Donna Hotel with the help of Fernando Cienfuegos (Andy Garcia). Husband Sky (Dominic Cooper) is away working and making her feel a bit lonely. While putting her mother Donna’s (Meryl Streep) belongings away, she begins to explore Donna’s life that initially brought her to the island.

Donna (Lily James), in 1979, graduates college with friends Rosie (Alexis Davies) Tanya (Jessica Wynn). Deciding what to do with her life, Sophie begins her travels and meets a young Harry (Hugh Skinner) who becomes instantly infatuated with her. Finding her own way to the island she meets the charming sailboat racer Bill (Josh Dylan) who takes her to the docks and promises he will see her again.

As a storm breaks, Donna finds herself needing a bit of horse help when on the road she meets Sam (Jeremy Irvine) and her heart is captured and then broken.

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Back to Sophie’s life, the opening of the hotel is stressing her out as she turns to Sam (Pierce Brosnan) for support and wishes Dads Bill (Stellan Skarsgard) and Harry (Colin Firth) could be there. She does have Rosie (Julie Walters) and Tanya (Christine Baranski) who wouldn’t miss the opening for anything. The two ladies are having emotional flash backs of their own.

When a storm hits and threatens to ruin all of Sophie’s plans, it is those she loves who come to her rescue as the hotel opens as it always should have, especially when Grandma Ruby (Cher) shows up.

But, they are family and nothing is impossible with their love!

Seyfried returns as Sophie who has grown up a bit and decided that she wants to follow in her mother’s footsteps by finishing what Donna started. Wanting to make the hotel a huge success also comes with allot of questions still about her mother and how they have all made it to this point in their lives. Seyfried sings beautifully and carries her role.

James as a young Donna is a chance for viewers to explore her side of the story and how she came to be part of the plan for the hotel. Along the way she just happens to meet three very different men who become an important part of her life – and then Sophie’s. Lily is daring and at the same time very strong in her convictions as to what she wants and how she will get it.

Irvine as Sam gives us a look inside how deep the relationship was with Donna when they were young but also the truth behind the heart ache that would follow them both for so many years Brosnan as Sam has remained with Sophie as a support and a man who has settled into a life that works for him.

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Dylan as a young Bill is the reckless one of the bunch and believes his charms will win the heart of Donna but she has other plans.  Skarsgard as Bill has mellowed a bit and even regrets his behavior towards Rosie. When he needs to be there for Sophie, Skarsgard gets a chance to play two roles in the film, even if only briefly.

Skinner as young Harry clearly is as uncomfortable in his youth as he continued to be into adulthood. Skinner manages to capture all of that angst it really works into understanding Harry later. Speaking of that, Firth as Harry is still so darn sweet and sensitive but starting to get a little more outspoken about what he wants in life.

Davies as young Rosie is just as cute and funny as Walters return as the more mature version. Dealing with a jolt from Bill has not changed her one bit and she’s going to make sure he knows it. Wynn as a young Tanya is just as witty as her counterpart Baranski. These two actresses didn’t miss a beat playing this character and I loved it.

Cher as Ruby was perfect with her drop in and drop dead look. Of course Cher is going to be amazing – she’s Cher! I recently saw her in Las Vegas performing the song ‘Fernando’ and I just got a little fan crazy with my cheering. She continues to have a voice that is rich and memorable.

Garcia as Cienfuegos is charming and has a line for everything. That’s not necessarily a bad thing as this character always shows up at the right time and always knows the right thing to say. He also believes in Sophie and that makes all the difference.

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Other cast include Gerard Monaco as Alexio, Anna Antoniades as Apollonia, Panos Mouzourakis as Lazarus, Maria Bacratsis as Sophia, Naoko Mori as Yumiko, Tayo Igawa as Dr. Horvath and Susanne Barklund as Alma.

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 of the 4K and Bluray include Deleted/Extended Songs and Scene with Commentary by Director/Screenplay Writer Ol Parker, Enhanced Sing-Alongs, Cast Meets Cast: Tanya Meets Tanya – Jessica Wynn interviews Christine Baranski about playing the sassiest Dynamo – Tanya, Rosie Meets Rosie – Alexa Davies interviews Julie Walters as the two actresses share their experiences playing Rosie, Cast Chats, High Jinks, Choreographing MAMA MIA! Here We Go Again, Dancing Queen: Anatomy of a Scene, Performing for Legends, and Class of ’79.

Also on the Bluray/DVD and Digital are The Story – Producer Judy Craymer reveal how the MAMA MIA! legacy began, evolved into the first feature film and how she teamed with executive producer/co-writer Richard Curtis and director/screenplay writer Ol Parker to develop the perfect sequel, MAMA MIA! Reunited, Playing Donna, Meeting Cher, Costumes and The Dynamos, Curtain Call, NBC’s Today Show Interview with Cher & Judy Craymer, Feature Commentary with Director/Screenplay Writer Ol Parker and Feature Commentary with Producer Judy Craymer.

MAMA MIA! Here We Go Again is a chance to get to know more about the characters that audiences embraced in 2008 with answers to the questions so many of us had. It’s a story of family, relationships, the past, who comes into our lives and leaves footprints in our hearts. The characters learn understanding, love and that none of us is perfect in the choices we make but at least we get in the game and make them!

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The cast mostly returns to have a little more fun with their musical talents and with the addition of Cher, well, it all works! The film is filled with the music audiences may have forgotten but it was all still in the back of our playbook minds as ABBA will always be one of my favorites. Along with the music is dancing and no one is immune to toe tapping and lip synching when watching the film or even after.

That’s what makes musicals work on the big screen and now everyone has a chance to revisit the island again and again to laugh, dance and sing with MAMA MIA! Here We Go Again as a companion to the original film in your home entertainment library.

In the end – we get to once again have the time of our lives!

John Boorman’s Film of EXORCIST II: The Heretic Returns on Bluray

Exorcist II Bluray

 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray from director John Boorman and Scream Factory is the next chapter in a young girl’s life of danger with 1977 film EXORCIST II: The Heretic

Living with guardian Sharon (Kitty Winn), grown Regan (Linda Blair) works with Dr. Gene Tuskin (Louise Fletcher) to help children who are plagued by sleep disorders and memories they keep hidden. Regan understands what the kids are going through because of the event in her life four years earlier.

Father Lamont (Richard Burton) receives his next order from the Cardinal (Paul Henreid) to find out what really happened to the beloved Father Merrin (Max von Sydow) that same night four years ago. It was during the exorcism of Regan that he died but that is all they know.

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Father Lamont isn’t happy about the assignment knowing he is only asked because of his previous exposure to Merrin’s teachings. Dealing with a failed exorcism in South America, he goes into his assignment with less than holy feelings.

With the help of equipment developed by Dr. Tuskin, Regan and the doctor can sync up their memories. In a session, the demon Pazuzu who took over the young girls body four years ago, seems to still be around and wants Regan once again. Father Lamont tries to question Regan but the good doctor isn’t about to let that happen. Sharon takes the Father to the house in Georgetown where it all took place but feels that using the device with Regan is the only way.

That’s when he sees a boy named Kokumo and a swarm of locusts fighting Pazuzu and realizes he must go to Africa and find the boy who is now a man. Learning things he didn’t know before from the grown Kokumo (James Earl Jones), its back to Regan and the house in Georgetown where once again a battle between good and evil must happen if they are all to be saved.

Blair as Regan returns as the lovely young woman Regan who struggles with the memory of what happened in her mother’s house four years earlier. Tackling the first film at a young age was an incredible feat for this actress and taking up the mantle of Regan again can only be done by Blair. Seeing the storyline all the way through she shares the screen with Fletcher, Sydow and Burton and that doesn’t look bad on a resume.

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Fletcher as Tuskin is a strong influence on Regan and only wants what is best for her. Protecting her is one thing but finally reaching what is inside of the young girl is something she could never have imagined. I believe Fletcher is one of our finest actors and I will watch and have watched everything she has performed in. Good, bad and in between, Fletcher has played her roles strongly.

Jones as Kukomo is a very young actor in this film and I’d know that voice anywhere even then. In this role he goes from a young man taking on a demon to a scientist who wants to forget it. Henreid as the Cardinal makes his final film appearance as a part of the church that wants to know exactly what happened to the priests who died at the hands of a demon. Winn returns as guardian Sharon and makes it her purpose to make sure Regan is looked after.

Two iconic actors share the screen in this film. Burton as Father Lamont has a history with Father Merrin having spent time with him as a younger priest. Dealing with his own failure at an exorcism, he is reluctant to deal with Regan. Max von Sydow – what an amazing iconic actor who returns to the film to give us more of the story behind the priest and his teachings.

Other cast include Joey Green as young Kokumo, Ned Beatty as Edwards, Belinda Beatty as Liz, Barbara Cason as Mrs. Phalor, Ken Renard as Abbott, Dana Plato as Sandra and Karen Knapp as the voice of Pazuzu.

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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 2-disc Bluray includes the Special Features of Two Cuts of the Film, 117-Minute and 201 Minute Versions, New 2K Scan of Both Cuts from the Original Film Elements, New Audio Commentary with Director John Boorman (Longer Cut), New Interview with Actress Linda Blair, New Audio Commentary with Special Project Consultant Scott Michael Bosco, Teaser and Theatrical Trailers and Still Galleries.

William Goodhard took on the screenplay and used the works of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin for the storyline. Director Boorman found the new direction of the film quite different than the first film. It was the director who convinced Max von Sydow to return as Father Merrin and Kitty Winn to return as Sharon.

EXORCIST II: The Heretic has its own set of frights and scares that may not be as shocking as the first film but equally as engrossing. I might be playing favorites a bit since Burton, Blair, Fletcher, von Sydow and Jones happen to be on my list of actors I think made an impact on films.

We are getting closer and closer to the season of spooky time and scary movies are high on the list of things to stack up for at my house. After scaring the neighbor kids and handing out candy – its time to shut off the lights and hunker down for a night of lights out frights.

EXORCIST II: The Heretic brings all that and more. I personally suggest watching the original and the new Bluray release back to back because that is four hours of spine tingles well worth every tingle!

If you would like the chance to win a copy for your own home entertainment library, please visit http://moviemaven.homestead.com to find out how.

In the end – four years later and what does she remember?

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