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BALLERS: The Complete Second Season Shows How the Game is Played on Bluray

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Jeri Jacquin

Coming this week from HBO Home Entertainment is an inside look at of sports and the management company’s that are complete BALLERS: The Complete Second Season.

Spencer Strasmore (Dwayne Johnson) is a retired NFL player who has moved on to work Mr. Anderson (Richard Schiff) at Anderson Financial Management representing players. Along with sidekick and business partner Joe (Rob Corddry), these two run around Miami, Florida putting out fires the players seem to create.

The season begins with Spencer’s girlfriend Stephanie (Taylor Cole) finding a job but in another town. As the head of his department, he also must deal with issues from his past and the one person who keeps popping up – Andre Allen (Andy Garcia).

Ricky (John Washington) is looking for another team who might want his talents as he is charmed by New York and St. Lois. Not sure what he wants to do, Ricky is also constantly feeling interference by his father who can’t seem to stay off Twitter.

AFM’s Jason (Troy Garity) isn’t happy that he has to go deep into Florida’s reeds to get Travis Mack (Adam Aalderks) signed. Being left out in the water as a test means Jason needs to bring in Spencer to smooth things over. During an interview, it becomes clear that Mack might be a wonder-boy on the field but he has a secret of his own.

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Charles Greane (Omar Benson Miller) has been asked by his team to change up where he plays on the field. Knowing that he needs to do this in order to keep his family in Miami, he doesn’t feel good about it at all. Wife Julie (Jazmyn Simon) is a supportive wife that wants to see her husband have a chance to do what he loves.

Vernon Littlefield (Donovan W. Carter) is also in a bind when he goes paintballing with friends and is injured. Trying to stay the honest person he believes himself to be, Spencer tells him that owning up might mean the end of his career. It doesn’t help that friend Reggie (London Brown) is a fast talking friend who has a big heart even if his actions are a little wonky.

Spencer is also have troubles of his own with trying to keep pain from an injury out of prescription hands and gets a sharp talking to from Dr. Robbins (Stacy Ann Rose). Keeping himself busy trying to dig up dirt on Allen, the two come head to head when it becomes clear that either Spencer digs deeper or Allen will make sure his job is gone.

Sending Joe to look for more on Allen from Maximo Gomez (Clifton Collins, Jr.) it is Joe who discovers that his friendship with Spencer has secrets as well.

Now it comes down to a final meeting with Mr. Anderson as Spencer feels the need to come clean with his past history only to find out it has already made its way into a decision that changes everything.

Johnson as Strasmore looks the part absolutely. He is immaculately dressed, has charm, style and an absolute smooth talker.

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Corddry as Joe gives b.s. a whole new look and feel. This character knows how to shovel the manure on to make roses grow beautiful. Corddry’s ability to talk so fast and feel from the heart has me totally wondering what makes this guy tick. Joe is a character I hope writers delve into because, as Truvy says ‘there’s a story there!’

Washington as Ricky is taking his free-agent status to a relaxing level with plans to visit Israel. When his group goes through the list of places he could play, Ricky considers St. Louis hoping to find fan ‘love’ there. Dealing with a one-time absent father trying to push him to chose – old issues come to the surface with a showdown.

Miller as Charles is the nicest guy and all his friends and colleagues know that about him. Trying to do what’s right without hurting fellow players puts Charles in a very uncomfortable position. It is his wife Julie played by Simon who tells it to him straight and still supports him in a strong and loving way.

Carter as Vernon doesn’t handle confrontation very well and when he is hurt, shutting down becomes his only way to deal with it. Spencer basically hand-holds him through it and leave it to best buddy Reggie played by Brown to offer the comic relief.

Schiff as Mr. Anderson is quickly made unhappy the moves Spencer and Joe make to keep players from being stolen by Allen. Skating right along the edge of what is legal seems to be okay with Anderson until it isn’t.

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Garcia as Allen is a man who fears nothing or no one, no matter what someone brings he laughs at it. Not happy with Strasmore, he announces quickly that the gloves are off and wastes no time in trying to get Joe out of the line of fire. Yet, it is clear he moves people easily to get whatever he wants.

Other cast include Dule Hill as Larry Siefert, Antoine Harris as Alonzo, Robert Wisdom as Dennis Jerret, Carl McDowell as TTD with special appearances by Ndamkong Suh, Terrell Suggs, Anthony “Spice” Adams, Jared Odrick, Mark Schlereth and Jay Glazer.

BALLERS has a stellar list of executive producers including Stephen Levinson (of Boardwalk Empire fame), Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia, Peter Berg, Evan Reilly, Rob Weiss, Julian Farino and Denis Biggs.

HBO Home Entertainment has an extensive array of critically-acclaimed and groundbreaking programs found on Bluray, DVD and Digital HD. They have provided viewers with some of the most amazing programs with huge fan bases that include the shows True Blood, Sex and the City, The Sopranos, True Detectives, The Wire, Entourage and Game of Thrones. Launched in 1984, HBO is world wide in viewed entertainment in more than 70 territories around the world! For more of what they have to offer please visit www.hbo.com.

BALLERS: The Complete Second Season on Bluray and DVD is a fast paced continuation of the successful first season. This is a series filled with unexpected twists and turns where truth is definitely not easy to figure out at times. The music certainly rides along with the storyline of sports, money, women and the decisions in the moment and for the future.

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The Season Two Bluray and DVD include the episodes Face of the Franchise, Enter the Temple, Elidee, World of Hurt, Most Guys, Saturdaze, Everybody Knows, Laying in the Weeds, Million Bucks in a Bag and Game Day. Also includes are the Bonus Features of Get the Play-by-Play Episodes with 10 “Inside the Episodes” bonus segments, Featuring Interviews with Executive Producer Evan Reilly, Star Dwayne Johnson and more!

BALLERS has been renewed for a third season which is a huge relief since the second season ended with a jaw dropper that must be addressed in the next season. I say that because I didn’t think it would end such a bomb dropping moment! It is in this stellar cast that the show works so well. Johnson and Corddry are the oddest couple who are perfectly suited to lead the band of complicated and complex clients two guys could ever have!

In the end – success hits hard!

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SPECTRE is an Apparition of Bond

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Jeri Jacquin

Opening in theatres this Friday from director Sam Mendes and Columbia Pictures is the next installment with the one and only Bond with SPECTRE.

James Bond (Daniel Craig) is back and this time the first bit of madness occurs during a mission in Mexico City. Going rogue to get information, everything falls apart – including a building!

Returning to London he must face M (Ralph Fiennes) who informs Bond that the new head of National Security is Max Denbigh (Andrew Scott) and his first order of business is to close down MI6. To keep tabs on Bond, Q (Ben Whishaw) inserts a tracking device so they know where the agent is at all times.

Of course that doesn’t stop 007! He begins to follow clues given to him by first speaking with Lucia (Monica Bellucci) but clues aren’t the only thing he gets. Each clue brings him a step closer to an old enemy Mr. White (Jesper Christensen) who wants his daughter Madeleine (Lea Seydoux) protected in exchange for information.

But Bond isn’t alone as a brute named Hinx (Dave Bautista) is everywhere he turns. Needing help he reaches out to Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) and Q who help him find Madeleine. Soon the pieces begin to come together as Oberhauser (Christoph Waltz) and Bond come face to face to bring everything out in the open.

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Craig as Bond gives a solid performance but unfortunately that’s it. There is nothing unexpected or surprising here which makes it rough to stay focused on what Bond is really going after. To be truthful I wasn’t sure what he was after so I sat back as much as I could and let the character do what he does. There is the usual one liners, a few drinks, a couple of women, fast car chases, and a few other Bond-ish moves.

Bellucci as Lucia has a short but lovely role. She makes a hot looking widow that’s for sure and still looks amazing. Christensen as Mr. White also has a short role and, of course, makes his appearance as cryptic as possible.

Scott as Denbigh has a face waiting to be punched but by the time it happens I’m happy with the result – how did he get to be the head of Intelligence anyway? Bautista as Hinx doesn’t have a lot to say and I don’t blame him. He gets a chance to smack people around and look as menacing as possible.

Whishaw as Q is smart, cute and doesn’t take much garbage from Bond and has a sense of humor! Harris as Moneypenny is the other person who doesn’t take much guff from Bond. Both Q and Moneypenny keep Bond in motion when others want to shut him down!

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Fiennes as M is a straight forward agent until it’s time not to be. It’s nice to see him get his hands a little dirty. Seydoux as Madeleine starts out looking like she might be an intellectual equal to Bond but that falls apart for me at least.

Waltz as Oberhauser is a character I’ve seen this actor do before. He does tone down his accent a bit and his mannerisms but it’s still the same bad guy. Not that this is a bad thing, it’s just another statement of fact. I like Waltz as an actor but I’m waiting for a role that doesn’t remind me of another role he’s already done.

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give SPECTRE three tubs of popcorn out of five. I’ll be honest and say this is probably more generous than I would have been if you had asked me right after seeing the film. Coming in at two and a half hours there were several times I wanted to scream or at least yell “oh come oooooooooooooon!” out loud.

So let’s get to it and hope Bond doesn’t show up at my house! First, it was nice to see the quick make out session between Bond and Lucia because my first thought was, ‘oh, he’s making out with an age appropriate woman’. My thought here is that any women age appropriate wouldn’t put up with Bond charm and running-out-the-door b.s. and Lucia doesn’t seem to mind it either.

Of course that would be followed by Bond bedding the young daughter of a former enemy. Oh yea, ask me how I felt about that one. Seriously? Yep, it would take a younger woman to follow him around like a puppy. Especially since Bond magically whips up great outfits and gowns at his disposal (but Oberhauser should be ashamed at his dress choice – hideous!). It was just all too creepy for me to take in.

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I had the plot figured out within 20 minutes knowing who was who so that pretty much meant I had to sit for another two hours watching this guy run around the world. I’m thinking had he just gone to the safe house that he ended up in later, Q could have used his computer wizardry to get him answers and save the mileage. I guess that wouldn’t be Bond though would it?

Speaking of Bond, I’m over the car bit. One car is messed up and another one doesn’t even work right? How is that possible? I felt as if this all was one big stretch in order to keep the Bond franchise moving along but I’m thinking it’s time to stop for about twenty years. This film was suppose to answer questions left in SKYFALL but by the time they were answered I really didn’t care anymore.

Sure Bond is considered a man’s man so perhaps I’m being a tad harsh on 007. Let me think for a second – nope, I’m good. I started watching Bond movies in the 1960’s and through my formative years was introduced to Bond films going back to the 1953 original CASINO ROYALE. My father seemed to be the only person in the seven member family that liked the films.

But the history of Bond comes from creator/writer Ian Fleming who wrote stories and novels about James Bond. Daniel Craig is actor number six to play the suave 007. If anyone is wondering who my personal favorite Bond is it would be, of course, Mr. Sean Connery but there are five others to choose from.

Is this the best Bond? No. Is this the worst Bond? No. It is just Bond – James Bond.

In the end – the answers are only a spectre away!

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