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Idris Elba

CATS Sings and Dances onto the Big Screen

Cats cover

Jeri Jacquin
Coming to theatres for Christmas from director Tom Hooper and Warner Bros. is the Broadway hit story coming to screen with CATS.
Victoria (Francesca Hayward) is a cat who has been dumped by her owner into a dark alley where Jellicle cats are waiting to see what it wiggling in the bag. She meets magician Mr. Mistoffelees (Laurie Davidson) Who introduces her to a wide range of cats and informs her that she has come on a special night.
The oldest cat Deuteronomy (Dame Judy Dench) arrives to see cats perform for the honor of being chosen to rise up to Heaviside Layer and come back with a new life. In the running is Bustopher Jones (James Corden), Rum Tum Tugger (Jason Derulo), Jennyandots (Rebel Wilson), Munkustrap (Robbie Fairchild) and Gus the Theatre Cat (Ian McKellen) but it is Macavity (Idris Elba) who will do anything to be chosen. He also has help in the form of Bombalurina (Taylor Swift).
cats 1
Watching all the events in the shadows is Grizabella (Jennifer Hudson) a once beautiful feline now trying to find her place in the world that hisses where they use to cheer. Victoria sees the world differently because she was abandoned but it is the cats she has met that show her another way of life.
Hayward As Victoria is very sweet and has serious dance moves but spends most of her time on screen with wide-eyed long pull away shots and cat lounging watching every other cat perform. She is a very beautiful cat and, as a cat owner, I’d be the first to scoop her up but in the film is basically a cat for other cats to spin around.
Dench as Old Deuteronomy Is a wise ole cat who is keenly aware of everything going on in the alley of cats. Watching each of the candidates perform is entertaining enough as she stretches in her sparkly cat-bed of honor. McKellen is very cute as a cat and his moment on stage was something I’ve never seen him do before so now I can check that off his list.
cats 2
Elba as Mccavity gets a chance to be a bad guy in a cat suit but we already knew he could be a bad guy aka THE FAST AND FURIOUS: HOBBS & SHAW but now we know he can do it with fur and purr. Swift as Bombalurina Is an odd choice for a cat who likes spreading catnip like a fairy granting wishes. I have to say that her costume was odd because it seem to constantly change – please watch and tell me I’m seeing things.
Wilson as Jennyandots does what she usually does and that’s pratfall and humor her way through a role but this time in a cat suit. The same can be said of Corden as fat cat Bustopher who seems more interested in digging through garbage than anything else.
Davidson as Mr. Mistofolees is everything and charming all wrapped up in an awesome hat. I truly enjoyed watching his character grow on screen. Derulo as Rum Tum is a confident cat who doesn’t seem to mind letting everyone know what a cool-cat he is! Fairchild as Munkustrap has the fastest tapping paws while keeping time on the tracks.
Other cats include: Mette Towley as Cassandra, Larry Bourgeois as Plato, Daniela Norman as Demeter, Yasmin Harrison as Ensemble, Zizi Strallen as Tantomile, Melissa Madden-Gray as Griddlebone, Naoimh Morgan as Rumpleteazer, Laurent Bourgeois as Socrates, and Ray Winstone as Growltiger.
CATS did not thrill me and mainly because I just couldn’t get into it. Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of CATS but this version is a bit wonky at best. Let’s just say some people shouldn’t sing and others who I know can – seemed not to.
cats 3
Now, the lesser known cast knocked it out of the park with their ensemble cat-ing, dancing and singing. I was more interested in their performances than the ‘stars’. The set is dull and flat and didn’t draw me in at all. In fact it was smaller things that kept my attention like the mice and the dancing roaches.
The film is an alright chance for those who can’t get to a stage production to see what the fuss is all about and that’s about it. Might I suggest that you definitely DO see a stage production because it is colorful, wonderful and emotional. There is something about going to a theatre production with others who are just as excited that makes the stage experience amazing.
I didn’t get that in this movie theatre with CATS. Instead, looking around the theatre I see people uncomfortable and not really happy with what was on the screen. There were people talking during the film (which always isn’t a good sign) because I think the expectation was much higher than the film could provide.
In the end – only one can be chosen!

Fast & Furious Presents: HOBBS & SHAW Bring Action to Bluray and 4K Ultra

Hobbs and Shaw Cover
Jeri Jacquin
This week Bluray/DVD, Digital Code and also available on 4K Ultra HD from director David Leitch and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment comes the double team of action with Fast & Furious Presents: HOBBS & SHAW.
Trying to obtain a virus that could kill people all over the world, MI6 Agent Hattie Shaw (Vanessa Kirby) is sent in with other agents. What they couldn’t have foreseen is Brixton Lore (Idris Elba) arriving to steal the virus for himself. Hattie has no choice but to get the virus out the only way possible.
Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) is notified that he will be working with someone else on the case. Imagine his surprise when it turns out to be Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson)! They are not thrilled to see one another in the slightest and make it known as loudly and verbally as possible.
When Hattie hits the news that she is a rogue agent, Hobbs and Shaw are told they need to find her and both go about it in their own way. When she is finally captured it doesn’t take long before Brixton breaks the door down to take her away. She is now the virus and someone powerful wants her.
Ho 1
After getting her back, the only way save her is to find Professor Andreiko (Eddie Marsan) who created the virus. There is a machine that can help retrieve it but the company Etheon has it which means finding a way inside, get it and get away and – it’s in the Ukraine.
Time isn’t something these three have and Brixton isn’t about to stop till he gets what he wants. That means it’s time to get off the grid and go someplace no one would think to look and much to Hobbs’ dismay its home in Samoa.
Getting his family and disgruntled brother Jonah (Cliff Curtis) to help proves to be difficult, but then again even when family is a little upset – no one messes with them. It’s time to let the enemy know that you can’t get past Mama!
Now it’s time to go old school and take down Brixton!
Johnson as Hobbs is funny, charming, and everything we have come to expect from an action hero. There is something absolutely fantastic about the way Johnson handles his roles to the point where he makes it all look so darn easy. This time he gets a chance to bring in his own heritage in a way of family and the strength of those who will stand up for you even if they only have large clubs to do it with.
Statham as Shaw can’t help but bring his driving skills to bear in this film. Always behind the wheel, he doesn’t bat an eye when turning corners like they are on rails and jumping anything that stands in his way. Playing opposite Johnson, these two are meant to be in action films together because as much as the characters think they are different, lets be honest they are pretty much the same. They are full of quickness, silliness, brotherly quarreling and everything that goes with this twisted friendship.
Ho 2
Kirby as Hattie is very smart, doesn’t hesitate to act when the moment is right and has to deal with Hobbs and Shaw like a babysitter. I enjoyed her character in that she actually is a seriously more than capable agent and slick as they come and although her ‘wards’ are necessary they sort of aren’t.
Elba as Brixton is a genetically modified man who has been changed by the voice behind Etheon. A history with Shaw that is nothing short of lethal, Brixton is a man who feels superhuman and has no trouble letting everyone know that the human race itself is weak. Elba is deliciously evil and there isn’t a dang thing wrong with that!
Other cast include: Lori Tuisano as Sefina, John Tui as Kal, Joshua Mauga as Timo, Joe Anoa’I as Mateo, Rob Delaney as Agent Loeb, Alex King at Lt. Grapefruit, Eliana Sua as Sam, Eiza Gonzalez as Madam M and Helen Mirren as Queenie. Also, look for a surprise that will make you laugh and cheer!
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has just added an amazing film to their library and making it available for us to all experience and re-experience in our own home theaters. There are film of every genre available from scary to drama to family films. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.uphe.com.
There are 80+ minutes of Bonus Features including Alternate Opening and Deleted Scenes and even more content not seen in theatres! You want more? Well, how about Johnson & Statham: Hobbs & Shaw, Progress of a Fight Scene with Director David Leitch, Practical Action, The Bad Guy, The Sister, The Hobbs Family Tree, The Matriarch, New Friends, Elevator Action, Stunt Show and Tell, Keeping it in the Family: A Conversation with Roman and Dwayne, Blind Fury, Dwayne and Hobbs: Love at First Bite and Feature Commentary with Director David Leitch.
Ho 3
MOVIES ANYWHERE gives viewers the ability to download the Movies Anywhere App. With that you can view films by downloading or streaming to your favorite device using a Digital Code. For more information on Movies Anywhere please visit www.MoviesAnywhere.com.
Fast and Furious Presents: HOBBS & SHAW is 135 minute thrill ride of action, crazy humor and everything fans have come to expect from the F&F franchise. You can help but cheer, laugh and cheer even more as the story draws to a close. It is clear that Johnson and Statham have a chemistry that everyone watching absolutely loved. I kinda liked it myself!
There are a few surprises that bring even more laughs and I think I was grinning from ear to ear a lot. That is saying something. So if you are looking for a reason to spend quality time with two pretty awesome dudes, then join Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham for a ride that only these two can provide with Fast and Furious Presents: HOBBS & SHAW.
In the end – they may not like each other but they dislike bad guys even more!

Fast & Furious Presents: HOBBS & SHAW

Hobbs and shaw cover

 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from director David Leitch and Universal Pictures comes the double team of action with Fast & Furious Presents: HOBBS & SHAW.

Trying to obtain a virus that could kill people all over the world, MI6 Agent Hattie Shaw (Vanessa Kirby) is sent in with other agents. What they couldn’t have foreseen is Brixton Lore (Idris Elba) arriving to steal the virus for himself. Hattie has no choice but to get the virus out the only way possible.

Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) is notified that he will be working with someone else on the case. Imagine his surprise when it turns out to be Luke Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson)! They are not thrilled to see one another in the slightest and make it known as loudly and verbally as possible.

hobbs 1

When Hattie hits the news that she is a rogue agent, Hobbs and Shaw are told they need to find her and both go about it in their own way. When she is finally captured it doesn’t take long before Brixton breaks the door down to take her away. She is now the virus and someone powerful wants her.

After getting her back, the only way save her is to find Professor Andreiko (Eddie Marsan) who created the virus. There is a machine that can help retrieve it but the company Etheon has it which means finding a way inside, get it and get away and – it’s in the Ukraine.

Time isn’t something these three have and Brixton isn’t about to stop till he gets what he wants. That means it’s time to get off the grid and go someplace no one would think to look and much to Hobbs’ dismay its home in Samoa.

hobbs 2

Getting his family and disgruntled brother Jonah (Cliff Curtis) to help proves to be difficult, but then again even when family is a little upset – no one messes with them. It’s time to let the enemy know that you can’t get past Mama!

Now it’s time to go old school and take down Brixton!

Johnson as Hobbs is funny, charming, and everything we have come to expect from an action hero. There is something absolutely fantastic about the way Johnson handles his roles to the point where he makes it all look so darn easy. This time he gets a chance to bring in his own heritage in a way of family and the strength of those who will stand up for you even if they only have large clubs to do it with.

Statham as Shaw can’t help but bring his driving skills to bear in this film. Always behind the wheel, he doesn’t bat an eye when turning corners like they are on rails and jumping anything that stands in his way. Playing opposite Johnson, these two are meant to be in action films together because as much as the characters think they are different, lets be honest they are pretty much the same. They are full of quickness, silliness, brotherly quarreling and everything that goes with this twisted friendship.

hobbs 3

Kirby as Hattie is very smart, doesn’t hesitate to act when the moment is right and has to deal with Hobbs and Shaw like a babysitter. I enjoyed her character in that she actually is a seriously more than capable agent and slick as they come and although her ‘wards’ are necessary they sort of aren’t.

Elba as Brixton is a genetically modified man who has been changed by the voice behind Etheon. A history with Shaw that is nothing short of lethal, Brixton is a man who feels superhuman and has no trouble letting everyone know that the human race itself is weak. Elba is deliciously evil and there isn’t a dang thing wrong with that!

Other cast include: Lori Tuisano as Sefina, John Tui as Kal, Joshua Mauga as Timo, Joe Anoa’I as Mateo, Rob Delaney as Agent Loeb, Alex King at Lt. Grapefruit, Eliana Sua as Sam, Eiza Gonzalez as Madam M and Helen Mirren as Queenie. Also, look for a surprise that will make you laugh and cheer!

hobbs 4

Fast and Furious Presents: HOBBS & SHAW is 135 minute thrill ride of action, crazy humor and everything fans have come to expect from the F&F franchise. Everyone in the audience was cheering, laughing and cheering even more as the film drew to a close. It is clear that Johnson and Statham have a chemistry that everyone watching absolutely loved. I kinda liked it myself!

There are a few surprises that bring even more laughs and I think I was grinning from ear to ear a lot. That is saying something. So if you are looking for a reason to spend quality time in a theatre seat then join Dwayne Johnson and Jason Statham for a ride that only these two can provide with Fast and Furious Presents: HOBBS & SHAW.

In the end – they may not like each other but they dislike bad guys even more!

THOR: Ragnarok Puts the Hammer Down on Bluray!

thor cover

 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray/DVD and Digital from director Taika Waititi, Marvel Entertainment and Walt Disney Pictures Home Entertainment is the next adventure from THOR: Ragnarok.

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is once again in a predicament but once the hammer is back in hands there is one place to go – Asgard. Knowing that brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has been hiding behind the image of their father Odin, they both go looking for him. Not where Loki left him, they get a little unexpected help.

Thor and Loki speak with Odin and discover that they have sister named Hela (Cate Blanchett) and she is an angry individual and extremely powerful. He tells them about Ragnarok which is the destruction of Asgard by the hand of Hela. When she arrives unexpectedly, Loki panics bringing the gateway and Hela hitches a ride.

thor 1

Pushing both Loki and Thor out into another world, Thor lands in a pile of junk on a planet that has piles of junk. Captured by Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), he is taken to the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) who has a little fighting arena to keep the masses entertained. Surprised to discover who he will be fighting, the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) bring entertainment to the masses.

Back on Asgard, Hela has found a new lackey in Skurge (Karl Urban) who is guarding the door of their world. Heimdall (Idris Elba) is now considered a traitor and no one knows where he is. The destruction of the beautiful civilization of Asgard has begun and the people are all looking for safety.

As Thor, Valkyrie, Loki and David Banner escape from the Grandmaster, their eye is on Asgard and nothing is going to stop them from saving what is left of their world!

Oh yea Hela, it’s on now!

thor 2

Hemsworth as Thor is physically still ripped (didn’t think I’d miss that did you?), expands his humor and keeps Loki in check and all while still calling him brother, and twists the Hulk/Banner to do what is right for Asgard. Is it me or does he smile a heck of a lot more in this film and join in on the jokes? I think cutting his hair made Thor much more at ease with being the God of Thunder. All of that just gives Hemsworth everything he needs to be the one and only Thor.

Hiddleston as Loki is hilarious, saucy, charming, unpredictable, edgy and although still full of mischief, finds that helping can also be self serving to his way of thinking. I adore Hiddleston, there, I said it. He is so fun as Loki because lets be honest, it is fun watching him have fun being Loki. There are moments where the expressions on his face are just pure magic. That’s what Hiddleston brings to this character a sense of everything a good bad guy needs to have his own beloved army – meaning everyone who loves Loki even with his faults. I keep thinking ‘when will Loki get his own gig?’ but maybe just having him mischievous in the right amounts works just as well.

Blanchett as Hela is the opposite of Lady Galadriel from LORD OF THE RINGS. Hela is angry, sarcastic and certainly doesn’t walk away from a fight. Knowing her brothers aren’t about to embrace her takeover, she spends her time looking for Heimdall and using Skurge to get what she wants. Blanchett turns on her badass and has no intention of letting anyone find the off switch. It must be said – she is stunning!

thor 4

Ruffalo as Hulk/Bruce Banner has been stuck being the big green guy for quite a while. He doesn’t want to get involved in any other skirmish but knows what the right thing to do is. Ruffalo also gets to be part of the humor that this film brings out and the audience loved it.

Thompson as Valkyrie is a disillusioned Asgardian who just needs a little push to remember her honor. Goldblum as the Grandmaster is perfection with his zany outlook on things and I’d hire him to be a DJ at my party any day. Hopkins as Odin deserves to be Odin and every time I see this actor on screen it is such a joy.

Urban as Skurge wants a position of importance in Asgard but serving a scary goddess means doing what he’s told and keeping his distance when she’s a bit upset. Elba as Heimdall isn’t about to let anyone get the sword, especially Hela since her plan is universal destruction and domination.

I’m throwing a shout out to director Taika Waititi as the voice of Korg who I think is my newest funny creature. He is laid back yet tells it like it is and when things go wrong, well, he is the last to get all upset about it. Just know that we all could use a good Rock-guy on our side! I think he needs his own Funko actually.

thor 3

More cast include Rachel House as Topaz, Clancy Brown as the voice of Surtur, Tadanobu Asano as Hogun, Ray Stevenson as Volstagg, and Zachary Levi as Fandral. Cameos include Luke Hemsworth, Sam Neill, Charlotte Nicdao, Benedict Cumberbatch and Matt Damon.

Marvel Studios has released sixteen films since 2008 in what is known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel is built on a library of over eight thousand characters featured in a variety of media content for over seventy years. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.marvel.com.

The Bluray includes the stunning Bonus Extras Deleted Scenes, Gag Reel, Getting in Touch with Your Inner Thor, Unstoppable Women: Hela & Valkyrie, Finding Korg, Exclusive Short – Team Darryl: With Thor Gone, Darryl Runs an Ad for a New Roommate, Director’s Commentary and so much more! Also, THOR: Ragnarok can instantly be streamed or downloaded on Digital through iTunes!

THOR: Ragnarok is a wild ride from beginning to past the credits end! The story is strong, the special effects are pretty frakken cool and I don’t mind since it is part of this universe. The characters are absolutely amazing and the cross over in the film brought the audience to its comic book knees.

There is serious laughter, cheering and fun bringing the adventure on Bluray to us excitement like to kids in a candy store. I will say it here and now, I had so much fun watching THOR: Ragnarok again, and alright I’ll admit it – again! There is non-stop action with a cast that brought their adventurous A-game. This film is the reason people have Bluray collections so microwave a huge bag of popcorn and revisit that theatre feeling once again – and again.

In the end – No hammer? No problem!

THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US

The Mountain

Jeri Jacquin

Now on Bluray/DVD and Digital from director Hany Abu-Assad and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment comes a film of survival with THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US.

Alex Martin (Kate Winslet) is a photographer trying to get to her own wedding! Bad weather is keeping her away when noticing that doctor Ben Bass (Idris Elba) is also trying to desperately get to his destination.

She offers to help get him there by sharing a ride on a smaller two-seater with pilot Walter (Beau Bridges) and his dog. After brief introductions, they both look out at the beautiful scenery of mountains and snow. Noticing that the storm is shifting course, Walter attempts to make adjustments when the unthinkable happens.

Mount 2

The plane goes down deep in the high mountains as Ben checks on Walter and Alex for wounds. Immediately he goes into survival mode trying to keep the unconscious Alex warm and taking care of Walter – and the dog. Time goes by and Alex wakes up with a badly hurt leg and realizes they need to leave right away.

Walter wants to stay behind and wait for a rescue but is reminded by Alex that no one would know how to find them. After an encounter with a wild animal, it becomes clear to her that going down is the only way to survive. Along with the dog, they bundle up and begin a trek that is dangerous and soul crushing at times.

The two must come to rely on one another and being equally as stubborn come head to head on how they are to survive.

Winslet as Alex is head strong and makes rash decisions but in all of it knows they have to get off the mountain. She doesn’t understand Ben’s resistance to the idea and takes it upon herself as if to say ‘stay then…I’m outta here!’ I have to give her props for that because there are moments I’m wondering why Ben is so obstinate – then I remember he’s a guy! (Just kidding guys!) Winslet is no stranger to playing strong and slightly stubborn characters so this fits her perfectly.

Mount 1

Elba as Ben has a ton of issues and the plane crash just seems to enhance them. As he gets to know Alex he starts to understand that whatever is keeping him so balled up could possibly be the reason they will die. There is something about Elba’s presence that is just smooth and endearing which helps since the movie is fairly predictable but enjoyable with him in it. He’s smooth with eyes that will melt anyone staring to long into them.

The winner here is – Walter’s dog! I love this dog! He is smart, he is brave and puts up with the two humans who, at times, don’t have a clue what it is they are doing. If I was lost or stranded anywhere I want this dog with me…of course I’d give him a better name than ‘Walter’s Dog’. He deserves better!

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 includes the Special Features of Love and Survival: Creating Chemistry, Mountain Between Then: Shooting in Isolation, The Wilds: Survival Stunts, Deleted Scenes and Director’s Commentary by Hany Abu-Assad.

mount 3

 Also included is the Digital copy that allows viewing from television, Computer, Tablet and Smartphone for anytime instant streaming and download.

THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US is beautifully done in the way of cinematography. The mountains are stunning and every scene brings more beauty in the midst of human tragedy. I have to admit that if I found a cabin in the woods I might be tempted to stay just to take it all in.

The relationship between Alex and Ben is inevitable as fear and survival bring about human frailties. Being together kept them focused in the sense that when ever one of them felt it was over; the other would push to continue. Winslet and Elba are strong and difficult in character and it seemed almost a challenge to each other to survive. It is a beautiful story with an ending that the audience wants to happen.

In the end – what if your life depended on a stranger would you survive?

Get Ready for THOR: Ragnarok!

Thor poster

Jeri Jacquin

In theatres from director Taika Waititi, Marvel Entertainment and Walt Disney Pictures is the next adventure from THOR: Ragnarok.

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is once again in a predicament but once the hammer is back in hands there is one place to go – Asgard. Knowing that brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) has been hiding behind the image of their father Odin, they both go looking for him. Not where Loki left him, they get a little unexpected help.

Thor and Loki speak with Odin and discover that they have sister named Hela (Cate Blanchett) and she is an angry individual and extremely powerful. He tells them about Ragnarok which is the destruction of Asgard by the hand of Hela. When she arrives unexpectedly, Loki panics bringing the gateway and Hela hitches a ride.

thor 1

Pushing both Loki and Thor out into another world, Thor lands in a pile of junk on a planet that has piles of junk. Captured by Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), he is taken to the Grandmaster (Jeff Goldblum) who has a little fighting arena to keep the masses entertained. Surprised to discover who he will be fighting, the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) bring entertainment to the masses.

Back on Asgard, Hela has found a new lackey in Skurge (Karl Urban) who is guarding the door of their world. Heimdall (Idris Elba) is now considered a traitor and no one knows where he is. The destruction of the beautiful civilization of Asgard has begun and the people are all looking for safety.

As Thor, Valkyrie, Loki and David Banner escape from the Grandmaster, their eye is on Asgard and nothing is going to stop them from saving what is left of their world!

Oh yea Hela, it’s on now!

thor 2

Hemsworth as Thor is physically still ripped (didn’t think I’d miss that did you?), expands his humor and keeps Loki in check and all while still calling him brother, and twists the Hulk/Banner to do what is right for Asgard. Is it me or does he smile a heck of a lot more in this film and join in on the jokes? I think cutting his hair made Thor much more at ease with being the God of Thunder. All of that just gives Hemsworth everything he needs to be the one and only Thor.

Hiddleston as Loki is hilarious, saucy, charming, unpredictable, edgy and although still full of mischief, finds that helping can also be self serving to his way of thinking. I adore Hiddleston, there, I said it. He is so fun as Loki because lets be honest, it is fun watching him have fun being Loki. There are moments where the expressions on his face are just pure magic. I keep thinking ‘when will Loki get his own gig?’ but maybe just having him mischievous in the right amounts works just as well.

Blanchett as Hela is the opposite of Lady Galadriel from LORD OF THE RINGS. Hela is angry, sarcastic and certainly doesn’t walk away from a fight. Knowing her brothers aren’t about to embrace her takeover, she spends her time looking for Heimdall and using Skurge to get what she wants. Blanchett turns on her badass and has no intention of letting anyone find the off switch. It must be said – she is stunning!

thor 4

Ruffalo as Hulk/Bruce Banner has been stuck being the big green guy for quite a while. He doesn’t want to get involved in any other skirmish but knows what the right thing to do is. Ruffalo also gets to be part of the humor that this film brings out and the audience loved it.

Thompson as Valkyrie is a disillusioned Asgardian who just needs a little push to remember her honor. Goldblum as the Grandmaster is perfection with his zany outlook on things and I’d hire him to be a DJ at my party any day. Hopkins as Odin deserves to be Odin and every time I see this actor on screen it is such a joy.

Urban as Skurge wants a position of importance in Asgard but serving a scary goddess means doing what he’s told and keeping his distance when she’s a bit upset. Elba as Heimdall isn’t about to let anyone get the sword, especially Hela since her plan is universal destruction and domination.

I’m throwing a shout out to director Taika Waititi as the voice of Korg who I think is my newest funny creature. He is laid back yet tells it like it is and when things go wrong, well, he is the last to get all upset about it. Just know that we all could use a good Rock-guy on our side! I think he needs his own Funko actually.

thor 3

More cast include Rachel House as Topaz, Clancy Brown as the voice of Surtur, Tadanobu Asano as Hogun, Ray Stevenson as Volstagg, and Zachary Levi as Fandral. Cameos include Luke Hemsworth, Sam Neill, Charlotte Nicdao, Benedict Cumberbatch and Matt Damon.

THOR: Ragnarok is a wild ride from beginning to past the credits end! The story is strong, the special effects are pretty frakken cool and I don’t mind since it is part of this universe. The characters are absolutely amazing and the cross over in the film brought the audience to its comic book knees.

There was serious laughter, cheering and the screening audience were like kids in a candy store. I will say it here and now, I had so much fun watching THOR: Ragnarok. There is non-stop action with a cast that brought their adventure A-game. This film is the reason people go in packs to the theatre, buy huge buckets of popcorn and come out feeling like they have just had an experience worthy of the price of admission.

In the end – No hammer? No problem!

 

THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US

image001

Jeri Jacquin

In theatres this Friday from director Hany Abu-Assad and 20th Century Fox comes a film of survival with THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US.

Alex Martin (Kate Winslet) is a photographer trying to get to her own wedding! Bad weather is keeping her away when noticing that doctor Ben Bass (Idris Elba) is also trying to desperately get to his destination.

She offers to help get him there by sharing a ride on a smaller two-seater with pilot Walter (Beau Bridges) and his dog. After brief introductions, they both look out at the beautiful scenery of mountains and snow. Noticing that the storm is shifting course, Walter attempts to make adjustments when the unthinkable happens.

The plane goes down deep in the high mountains as Ben checks on Walter and Alex for wounds. Immediately he goes into survival mode trying to keep the unconscious Alex warm and taking care of Walter – and the dog. Time goes by and Alex wakes up with a badly hurt leg and realizes they need to leave right away.

Walter wants to stay behind and wait for a rescue but is reminded by Alex that no one would know how to find them. After an encounter with a wild animal, it becomes clear to her that going down is the only way to survive. Along with the dog, they bundle up and begin a trek that is dangerous and soul crushing at times.

The two must come to rely on one another and being equally as stubborn come head to head on how they are to survive.

Winslet as Alex is head strong and makes rash decisions but in all of it knows they have to get off the mountain. She doesn’t understand Ben’s resistance to the idea and takes it upon herself as if to say ‘stay then…I’m outta here!’ I have to give her props for that because there are moments I’m wondering why Ben is so obstinate – then I remember he’s a guy! (Just kidding guys!)

Elba as Ben has a ton of issues and the plane crash just seems to enhance them. As he gets to know Alex he starts to understand that whatever is keeping him so balled up could possibly be the reason they will die. There is something about Elba’s presence that is just smooth and endearing which helps since the movie is fairly predictable but enjoyable with him in it.

The winner here is – Walter’s dog! I love this dog! He is smart, he is brave and puts up with the two humans who, at times, don’t have a clue what it is they are doing. If I was lost or stranded anywhere I want this dog with me…of course I’d give him a better name than ‘Walter’s Dog’. He deserves better!

THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US is beautifully done in the way of cinematography. The mountains are stunning and every scene brings more beauty in the midst of human tragedy. I have to admit that if I found a cabin in the woods I might be tempted to stay just to take it all in.

The relationship between Alex and Ben is inevitable as fear and survival bring about human frailties. Being together kept them focused in the sense that when ever one of them felt it was over; the other would push to continue. Winslet and Elba are strong and difficult in character and it seemed almost a challenge to each other to survive. It is a beautiful story with an ending that the audience wants to happen.

In the end – what if your life depended on a stranger?

THE DARK TOWER

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Jeri Jacquin

In theatres this Friday from director Nikolaj Arcel and Columbia Pictures is a novel to screen with the highly anticipated THE DARK TOWER.

Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor) is a young man dealing with the loss of his father. Continuing to have bad dreams, he tries to explain them to his mother Laurie (Katheryn Winnick). She and Jake’s step-father have been sending the young man for professional help but only he knows that it’s not needed.

He dreams about the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey) and a world that includes a gunslinger named Roland Deschain (Idris Elba). The Man in Black named Walter is looking for a way to take down the Dark Tower and cause an apocalypse that reverberates into several worlds in the service of the Crimson King.

Jake holds the key with his ability known as ‘the shine’ and Walter wants it badly because it’s the only way to bring down the tower. Constantly fighting to stop it, Roland loses his father causing him to only focus on revenge in Mid-World.

When Jake puts together the pieces from his dreams, he finds his way to into Roland’s world. Roland takes the boy to a seer to discover what his dreams and drawings mean and if they can lead them to Walter. Instead, the two need to run into Jake’s world or as Roland calls it Keystone Earth to think of a plan that will get them swiftly to the Man in Black and stop his plan.

But the shine is calling out to Walter making it easier to find the two leading to a showdown where the two worlds work together to survive!

Taylor as Jakes gives the performance of a young man who is torn about the death of his father and the nightmares that plague him. There isn’t anyone who truly believes what he is drawing and even his therapist isn’t on board. Taylor’s character is withdrawn and sullen looking for answers but I think I saw him smile once.

Elba as Roland plays the troubled gunslinger that is angry about what is happening in his world. When revenge takes over, others begin to wonder if he is the gunslinger after all being the only one left. Elba says little except when reciting a creed taught to him by his father and keeps a brooding feel throughout the film which kind of bums me out because there isn’t ‘acting’ in his act.

McConaughey as the Man in Black is pretty much evil down to his core yet keeps his cool every moment. There is something between he and Roland that keeps his ‘magiks’ from penetrating the gunslingers mind. McConaughey has the perfect ensembles and hair while performing his evil deeds and Walter doesn’t mince words but that’s about it.

Winnick as Laurie wants to believe her son but with the pressure from hubby she believes that sending him away for the weekend could help things. Jackie Earle Haley as Sayre is the yes-man for Walter having one of the portals between worlds.

Other cast includes Jackie Earle Haley as Sayre, Abbey Lee as Tirana, Nicholas Hamilton as Lucas Hanson, Dennis Haysbert as Steven Deschain, Michael Barbieri as Timmy, Claudia Kim as Arra, Fran Kranz as Pimli and Joe Suniga as Dr. Hotchkiss.

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give THE DARK TOWER three tubs of popcorn five. It is definitely an adventure and I can see how there could be more to it all which means I might have to read the books. Elba and Taylor work so well together even though that means the basically brood together. They are the yin and yang of each other which plays out.

I suppose my only problem with the film is that I expected so, so, so much more. The running time is about 90 minutes yet there was nothing that really wow’d me, made me giggle a few times but no wow at all. They called Jake’s gift ‘shine’ which is a nice homage to the young boy Danny from 1980 film THE SHINING and the tower looks much like the tall residence of both Saruman and the Eye of Sauron from LORD OF THE RINGS.

There is also reference to Excalibur which made my head do a questioning shake of “whaaaaa?” Maybe it’s that I had the film figured out from start to finish the moment Jake ran away which is irritating since I haven’t read the books.

Okay, perhaps I’m just getting cranky wanting more from Hollywood in general and THE DARK TOWER is a prime example of why. Lets be honest, there is no character development really which would have been nice for those of us who haven’t had the time to delve into the printed page.

There are so many references to other Stephen King films that if I wanted to see them I’d just stay home and watch – well – Stephen King films! I really hate it too because I’m a King fan (not to be confused with the Crimson King like I know who that is) from years and years of reading so it sucks to write a so-so review. Then again, it’s not like he’s going to lose a dime over this person’s opinion of the film.

A far more interesting tidbit is that THE DARK TOWER began with a book written by Stephen King based on a poem by Robert Browning called Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came.

In the end – in a world of superheroes there is only one gunslinger!

THE JUNGLE BOOK Comes Alive

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Jeri Jacquin

Now on Bluray from director Jon Favreau and Walt Disney Home Entertainment is the story of a boy and the animals who love him in THE JUNGLE BOOK.

Mowgli (Neel Sethi) is a very young boy who was rescued by Bagheera (voiced by Ben Kingsley) and raised by the jungle wolves led by Akela (Giancarlo Esposito). Learning all he can from the jungle animals, he is a happy man-cub.

That is until the appearance of Shere Khan (Idris Elba) who wants the jungle animals to turn over Mowgli. Bagheera knows that the only way to help Mowgli is to return him to the man-village where he will be safe with his own kind.

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Doing what Bagheera wants, it takes a flash before Mowgli decides that he wants to be with his animal family. That’s when the boy meets Baloo (Bill Murray) who befriends Mowgli and tries to teach him the carefree part of life.

On his journeys Mowgli meets unsavory types including Kaa (Scarlett Johansson) and King Louie the Orangutan (Christopher Walken). When King Louie tells Mowgli the truth about what Shere Khan has done, he knows what he must do. That is to return to Shere Khan with the Red Flower [fire].

The cub is about to become a man!

Sethi as Mowgli looks exactly how I’d expect him to. Of course there is the memory of the 1967 THE JUNGLE BOOK to base that statement off of. He is a strong and spindly legged character who has the same agility as the animals he has been raised by. This is a very big role for a young actor but Sethi seems to embrace it and jumps Mowgli from animation to flesh and man-cub.

Kingsley as Bagheera can read a phone book and I’d be happy. In his voice of this beautiful leopard is the care and concern for a boy he sees as one of the jungles very own. Murray as Baloo is his usual vocally funny self. Like Kingsley, the voice of Bill Murray will always win over movie goers whether it’s animation or character voices.

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Elba as Shere Khan allows his voice to make this tiger as angry as he wants to be. This tiger lives for the joy of causing pain in every man-cub or creature he comes into contact with. Elba’s voice projects that from start to finish.

Walken as King Louie cracked me up. Yes, I realize the end result is a gigantic orangutan out of control but before that moment Walken sweet talks the audience and the man-cub. Johannson as Kaa is sultry and slithery and if you’re going to hang around a snake you could do worse than have it speak like Johannson.

Cast also includes Lupita Nyong’o as Raksha, Garry Shandling as Ikki, Brighton Rose as Gray, Russell Peters as Rocky the Rhino, Madeleine Favreau as Raquel the Rhino, Sara Arrington as Neelgai Deer, and Sam Raimi as the voice of the Giant Squirrel.

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment is a recognized leader in the home entertainment industry. Their titles represent the highest level of picture and sound, featuring groundbreaking and state-of-the-art animation with unprecedented levels of interactivity made possible by Bluray technology.

THE JUNGLE BOOK had a lot to live up to as fans were holding their breath while protecting the animated version of this film. It is colorful, thoughtful and gives Disney another feather in its cap for bringing animation to live action. Bringing the Mowgli/Baloo Bare Necessities song brings people my age a shout out and ode to the animated film that many still hold dear. I know that my granddaughter loved the film being captivated by the characters and the soundtrack.

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The Bluray-DVD-Digital HD is filled with so many extras including THE JUNGLE BOOK Reimagined: Discover how the filmmakers reenvisioned this classic tale, I Am Mowgli: Follow the extraordinary journey of Neel Sethi who joins some of the biggest names in movies to bring this story to life, King Louie’s Temple Layer By Layer: Take a fast, engaging look at how the “I Wan’na Be Like You” sequence was created and Audio Commentary with Director Jon Favreau.

In the end – the legend will never be the same!

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