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ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD

Once Upon A Time

Jeri Jacquin

In theatres this week from visionary writer/director Quentin Tarantino and Columbia Pictures is a film that can only be called ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD.

It is 1969 Los Angeles and Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) is having an identity crisis. Once the lead in his own television series, he also makes time to do roles in other television shows. Living in the Hollywood hills on the secluded Cielo Drive, he is driven around town by his stunt double and friend Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt).

Also living on Cielo Drive next door is actress Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) and husband director Roman Polanski (Rafal Zawierucha). She is living and loving life taking time to enjoy her career.

once 3

While working out life and where his career is going, Dalton has to take each phase like a scene with decisions that constantly plague him. Cliff is a little more free spirited and enjoys stunt work when he gets it and being a friend to Dalton. It is difficult for Cliff with a rumor that surrounds an incident in his life.

On several occasions he sees the young girl Pussycat (Margaret Qualley) hitchhiking through L.A. After dropping Dalton off on the set, he sees Pussycat again and offers her a ride. Strangely enough she is staying at the Spahn Movie Ranch where Cliff once shot scenes and she invites him to meet Charlie. Eager to see owner George Spahn (Bruce Dern), he is met with hostility by Squeaky (Dakota Fanning) and Tex (Austin Butler).

Dalton decides to go to Italy and do spaghetti westerns and returns home after six months with a wife and a need to simplify his life which includes having to let Cliff go as a driver. That doesn’t stop these old friends from whooping it up one last time. That same night, Dalton’s very pregnant neighbor Sharon and friends Jay (Emile Hirsch), Abigail (Samantha Robinson) and Voytek (Costa Ronin) are out celebrating as well.

What none of them could know was what would happen on Cielo Drive that hot night in 1969!

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DiCaprio as Dalton is absolutely stunning in this role. He is a paranoid, dysfunctional, insecure chain smoking alcoholic who believes the worst about himself as an actor. That is what makes his performance brilliant in that he is not only able to pull all of that off, but kept me convinces for two hours and forty-five minutes. DiCaprio’s acting within acting scenes is intense at times but so damn well done I forgot it was a scene within a scene of the movie itself. I will be thinking about this performance for a very long time.

Pitt as Cliff is laid back and happy with his life of being in the background of Dalton’s career. This character that has a past that gets in his way yet not enough to bother him. His true love is pittie Brandy who is just as adorable as she wants to be and very protective of her human. Pitt gives the audience charm, rooftop abs (oh sorry, should I not have mentioned that?), that insanely memorable grin and a threshold of no-nonsense that is amazing up to the point where it isn’t. I am crazy about every aspect of this character until the absolute…very…end and then I just fell head over heels once again for Pitt. There couldn’t have been a better pairing than these two actors and honestly I never would have thought of it which is why I’m not a director.

Robbie as Tate gives a performance of a sweet and simple woman who loved music, friends, and sitting in a movie theatre watching herself not out of narcissm, but to experience the audience reaction. Her character portrayal of the actress was beautiful.

Olyphant as Stacey gets a chance to don western gear and I loved watching him dual it out, so to speak, with DiCaprio. Fanning as Squeaky portrayed someone I wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley…ever. Butler, Madison and Beatty as the terrifying Manson trio are as frightening as they need to be and I’m leaving it right there.

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A shout out to young Julia Butters as Trudi is epic in her two scenes with DiCaprio. My reaction to her was immediate and filled with smiles. Her character is smart, witty, and perceptive all trapped inside the body of an 8 year old. I want to be her when I grow up!

Other cast include Sydney Sweeney as Snake, Timothy Olyphant as James Stacy, Harley Quinn Smith as Froggie, Damian Lewis as Steve McQueen, Mike Moh as Bruce Lee, Lorenza Izzo as Francesca Capucci, Rumer Willis as Joanna Pettet, Scoot McNairy as Bob Gilbert, Clifton Collins Jr. as Ernesto, Michael Madsen, and Kurt Russell as Randy.

Also, Rebecca Gayheart as Billie, Lena Dunham as Gypsy, Nicholas Hammond as Sam Wanamaker, Mikey Madison as Sadie, Madisen Beaty as Katie, Julia Butters as Trudi, Luke Perry as Wayne Maunder, and Al Pacino as Marvin Schwarzs.

This is as brief of a review as I could possible do for this film because I really don’t want to spoil any of it for anyone. I can say that I think I’ve seen a strong contender for an Academy Award nomination and many actors that could easily fill all the slots for Best Actor and Best Supporting nods.

What I love best about this film, and perhaps it shows my age, is that I remember all of it. The clothing, magazines, music, cars, the scenery, the places and the events of the era turned a light back on inside my head. All of it provided an emotional rollercoaster of staying in the story and trying not to let the eye candy distract.

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The story, and oh what a story it is, came from the mind of Tarantino absolutely. Every scene was a wonder of where it was going and what would happen when we (meaning everyone in the theatre with me) got there. Dalton and Booth took us on the ride and I didn’t fight on second of it. We wanted to know more about their personal issues and the six degrees of separation between every character we were introduced to. Trust me when I say this was definitely a theatrical experience.

Were there a few giggles? Of course! Tarantino has a twisted sense of that and he lets us in on it. Of course I caught myself giggling a few times to myself but that’s my own personal twisted sense of humor.

The audience walked out on a high of immediately talking about what they had seen and wondering if the people they were with shared in their thought process. No one left right away but instead mingled outside of theatre 5 to continue sharing the experience. Here I sit and I’m still thinking about it all.

Yes the film is 161 minutes long yet it is one of the best times I’ve had at the movies in a long time. Being in the desert of wanting-thirst for something amazing on screen, Tarantino has just given me a huge whiskey sour and I certainly wouldn’t mind another.

In the end – it is a story of Hollywood Tarantino style!

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GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Vol. 2 Lands At Home

Guardians_Of_The_Galaxy_Vol._2 Small

 

Jeri Jacquin

Finally arriving on 4K Ultra HD, Bluray, DVD and Digital is our favorite heroes as writer/director James Gunn, Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Pictures bring GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Vol. 2!

Zipping through the galaxy once again being heroes, Peter Quill aka Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Baby Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) are helping Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) keep their power source from being stolen.

guard 5

After an epic saving, their reward is the one thing Gamora has been wanting – her sister Nebula (Karen Gillan). On their way out the door, Rocket can’t help but grab a few power capsules thinking no one will miss them.

Not even out of range, Ayesha and her people attack Quill’s ship and they may not get a chance to jump through space. That is until an unusual craft assists them right before they manage to escape only to crash land tearing up the ship. Moments later, the same craft lands as Ego (Kurt Russell) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) introduce themselves.

Shocking Quill a tad is the announcement that Ego is his father. Trying to explain everything, Ego convinces Quill to come with him where all will be revealed. Taking Drax and Gamora, Rocket stays behind to repair the ship and babysit Nebula.

guard 4

Also looking for the guardians is Yondu (Michael Rooker) as Ayesha makes it known she wants them all. Even that goes into chaos when Yondu and Rocket come together to put a traitorous band in its place.

Landing on Ego’s planet, it is a beautiful place and the story of what happened between Ego and Peter’s mother Meredith is explained. Peter also learns that he is the son of a god with powers he can call upon. Gamora knows there is something not right about it all, especially with Mantis seemly secretive.

As the story begins show its true meaning, Peter is joined by Gamora, Rocket, Yondu and Nebula along with Baby Groot to set things right again but not without great cost.

That’s not about to stop the Guardians!

Pratt as Quill has this role down to perfection. He covers everything from a hero to a kid needing to know who his father is and everything in between. With his Guardian family he knows they accept him for all his idiosyncrasies and the penchant for his mixed tapes (which we all are!). I just love watching Pratt go for it every moment he is on screen and listening to everyone cheer for their favorite Star-Lord.

guard 1

Saldana as Gamora is keeping her emotions in check with Quill and even more so with a sister who is driving her crazy. Trusting her instincts about everything she gang is going through, it becomes clear that the history with Nebula is something that has always needed to be talked about. Oh sisters – they can hate each other but one good brawl always sets things right.

Cooper voicing Rocket is arrogant, guarded, hilarious and yet has a soft spot for all his guardian buddies. He may be a Guardian but he still has his old habits that need to be kicked. Diesel as the voice of Baby Groot, I mean really, what else can be said here about the awesomeness that is Groot. “I am Groot” – we’re done!

Bautista as Drax has a chance to really show serious comedy here although what he laughs at isn’t as funny until he laughs about it. He is the powerhouse the group needs and he doesn’t hesitate to stand up for his buddies. I love the scenes between Drax and Mantis. Klementieff as Mantis is endearing, sweet and giggly funny.

guard 3

Debicki as Ayesha is clearly a woman who has anger and power issues. Gillan as Nebula tries to work on her anger issues but when you’ve been angry as long as she has, it’s difficult.

Rooker as Yondu brings his blue-ness back to irritate Quill and the gang. It is the scenes with Yondu and Rocket that are pretty amazing. This is a role that looks so easy for Rooker to play because he has a swagger that is distinctive and an attitude that would give anyone pause.

Russell as Ego is always a thrill to see. Nothing seems to be slowing this actor down and being the god/father to Quill finally gets to tell the whole story – and I mean the whole story. Russell gives us the charm and flashy smile to bring us into his world and I don’t mind visiting at all.

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Other cast include Sean Gunn as Kraglin, Tommy Flanagan as Tullk, Laura Haddock as Meredith Quill, Chris Sullivan as Taserface and Sylvester Stallone as Stakar Ogord.

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 http://www.marvel.com.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Vol. 2 is a five tubs of popcorn out of five film. I mean seriously, would you expect anything less? I am not always on board to all things in the Marvel Universe but the Guardians franchise is definitely worth every second on screen.

This ensemble has brought a uniqueness that I enjoy with characters that are relatable with their flaws, awesome in their survival/fighting skills, care for one another, humor and how each one protects Baby Groot. Come on, you know that’s cute! The special effects are just amazing and add to the story instead of being used to just dazzle.

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It must be said that the soundtrack for GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Vol. 2 is just as frakken awesome as the first film. There is no way, absolutely no way to not tap a foot or even sing along because each song fits the scene perfectly. It adds to the fun as if the film needed any but I’ll take it!

I don’t know what you are doing this weekend but if it’s not seeing GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Vol. 2 on Bluray, DVD and Digital HD then you must be in a coma! This film is funny, action packed, endearing, hilarious, and yes Baby Groot steals every scene he is in – I mean is that shocking? Hardly.

The Bluray, DVD and Digital HD include the Bonus Extras of Guardians Inferno Music Video – join David Hasselhoff and special guests for a galactic ‘70s disco dance party, and Hilarious Deleted Scenes, Outrageous Gag Reel.

Also Bonus Round: The Making of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Vol. 2A four-part behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film with The Director’s Chari with James Gunn, Reunion Tour: The Music of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Vol. 2, Living Planets and Talking Trees: The Visual Effects of Vol. 2, Showtime: The Cast of Vol. 2 and finally the Audio Commentary by director James Gunn.

In the end – you only get one chance to save the galaxy twice!

 

THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS Burns Rubber on Bluray!

fATE OF THE fURIOUS bLURAY

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray & DVD from director F. Gary Gray and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is the next installment when it comes to understanding THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS.

Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) are in Puerto Rico with family and cars. Not there long before Dom has to put his foot to the pedal for the respect of family. Returning to the hotel, he is stopped by a woman named Cipher (Charlize Theron) who isn’t pulling any punches by letting Dom know that he will soon be working for her.\furious 1

Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) goes from coaching his daughter’s soccer team to a job that gets him a nice stint in the slammer but Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) offers him a deal to stay out of jail. Backed up by Little Nobody (Scott Eastwood) on the deal, Hobbs refuses. Waiting in a cell across from Hobbs is his least favorite person Deckard (Jason Statham) as the two immediately begin to verbally spar.

It takes no time at all before Mr. Nobody gets Hobbs, Deckard, Letty, Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Ludacris) and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) in a room to tell them that Dom has gone rogue! They get the intel on Cipher but have no idea what they are up against as the game of cat and mouse begins. Letty doesn’t believe it but the mission is to stop him.

Dom knows he is hurting his woman and friends by working with Cipher but there is something they do not know and he can’t tell them. Every time the gang gets close, Dom has back up from Cipher and her muscle Rhodes (Kristofer Hivju) to elude them once again. That is until they all end up on the Barents Sea in the arctic for a showdown like nothing the gang has experienced before.

All of it to stop an anarchist and discover what made their leader go rogue!

fate 11

Diesel as Dom returns to the hard and tough role that fans have loved about this franchise. Knowing that taking care of family, whether blood or otherwise, means taking each step carefully. His performance is totally spot on and the scenes with Theron are filled with tension that is amazing to watch from them both.

Diesel recently announced at CinemaCon that there will be a 9th and 10th installment of the FAST AND FURIOUS franchise. He told the audience, “We are proud of how we defied expectations with this series of films.” Of course the topic of Paul Walker came up and he said, “It was a hard decision to make the film without Paul but his legacy is in every frame we shoot. He was the concept of brotherhood! When I thought of going into the 8th chapter, it was Paul that said ‘8 is guaranteed!’

Theron as Cipher is frakken brilliant as this character. She is smart, doesn’t take any guff and isn’t afraid of anyone – including Dom’s gang. In fact, this character seems to find great joy in staying many steps ahead of anyone trying to stop her from getting what she wants. Using Dom is her insurance policy and he is definitely a policy worth having. I love Theron every moment she is on the screen!

furious 4

Johnson as Hobbs is bigger and bulkier than ever bringing a softer side to his character as a soccer coach. That also brings a big of comedy to his character and it really is quite funny. That being said, when the comedy stops – Hobbs gets to business and as much as he doesn’t want to go after Dom, he will and he will without hesitation.

Statham as Deckard is a mixture of hilarious, bad ass, softy and perfection in his interaction with Johnson’s character. This actor keeps getting better and better in the sense that he can be a tough in some roles that are scary and then amazing comedy as in the film SPY (which still cracks me up every time I see it) and now a mixture of both for THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS.

Rodriguez as Letty is dedicated to her man and there isn’t anyone that’s going to convince her otherwise. Although she helps Hobbs and the gang, she sees it more as saving Dom from something she doesn’t understand and not take him down. Emmanuel as Ramsey is the high tech gal who is working overtime to stay ahead of Cipher.

Gibson as Roman is back looking for the fastest and baddest looking car in the bunch. Ludacris as Tej works well with Emmanuel trying to discover how Cipher manages to do the unthinkable with the technology she has.

Russell as Mr. Nobody is smart and witty and I’d expect nothing less form him. I’m still amazed with the diversity of his characters and the fantastic way he portrays them. Eastwood as Little Nobody doesn’t yet understand how the gang works and soon learns that they have a way of doing things and it’s not always by the book.

I’m giving a shout out to Hivju as Rhodes. He is such a cool bad guy with the ability to give anyone crazy-eye. Then again this shouldn’t be a shock for anyone who is a Game of Thrones fan of his character Tormund Giantsbane.

furious 3

Other cast include: Luke Evans as Owen, Elsa Pataky as Elena, Patrick St. Esprit as DS Allan and Janmarco Santiago as Fernando.

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 exclusive to Bluray has The Cuban Spirit as the first major studio motion picture to shoot in Cuba in decades, the country’s effusive spirit permeates the making of the film, In the Family – In THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS family ties are put to the ultimate test and get an inside look at the family divide, Car Culture – It’s time to put yourself in the driver’s seat of the supercharged vehicles showcased in THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS.

Bonus Features on both Bluray and DVD include All About the Stunts – Go behind the scenes to witness how THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS accomplished the most epic stunts in franchise history, Extended Fight Scenes and Feature Commentary with Director F. Gary Gray. Also included is THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS Extended Director’s Cut with never-before-seen extended cut along with the theatrical release.furious 2

Want more? Well, I can help out with that as well. THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS will be available on 4K Ultra HD in a combo pack that includes the 4K Ultra HD Bluray, Bluray and Digital HD.

THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS is definitely a high octane ride from start to finish. Fans of the franchise aren’t going to be disappointed with the action, car chases and even an ice breaking submarine. It is fun, humorous, and even cute in a few places provided by the one and only Jason Statham, which just adds more fun to the film.

This is a large cast which keeps the intensity flowing and there isn’t much time to sit back and relax. Trust me when I say I’m leaving tons of details out because this is a film that doesn’t need everything put out there. Instead, it’s a film where everyone gets together and goes to have a good time so let’s not over think it.

This week order a pizza, calls friends and sit in your air conditioned living room and still get hot watching THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS on Bluray and see how much action the Furious can provide!

In the end – the ride isn’t over!

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Vol. 2 Protects in Theatres

guardians

Jeri Jacquin

Finally arriving in a theatre near you are our favorite heroes as writer/director James Gunn, Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Pictures bring GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Vol. 2!

Zipping through the galaxy once again being heroes, Peter Quill aka Star-Lord (Chris Pratt), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Drax (Dave Bautista), Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Baby Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) are helping Ayesha (Elizabeth Debicki) keep their power source from being stolen.

After an epic saving, their reward is the one thing Gamora has been wanting – her sister Nebula (Karen Gillan). On their way out the door, Rocket can’t help but grab a few power capsules thinking no one will miss them.

guard 5

Not even out of range, Ayesha and her people attack Quill’s ship and they may not get a chance to jump through space. That is until an unusual craft assists them right before they manage to escape only to crash land tearing up the ship. Moments later, the same craft lands as Ego (Kurt Russell) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff) introduce themselves.

Shocking Quill a tad is the announcement that Ego is his father. Trying to explain everything, Ego convinces Quill to come with him where all will be revealed. Taking Drax and Gamora, Rocket stays behind to repair the ship and babysit Nebula.

Also looking for the guardians is Yondu (Michael Rooker) as Ayesha makes it known she wants them all. Even that goes into chaos when Yondu and Rocket come together to put a traitorous band in its place.

guard 1

Landing on Ego’s planet, it is a beautiful place and the story of what happened between Ego and Peter’s mother Meredith is explained. Peter also learns that he is the son of a god with powers he can call upon. Gamora knows there is something not right about it all, especially with Mantis seemly secretive.

As the story begins show its true meaning, Peter is joined by Gamora, Rocket, Yondu and Nebula along with Baby Groot to set things right again but not without great cost.

That’s not about to stop the Guardians!

guard 4

Pratt as Quill has this role down to perfection. He covers everything from a hero to a kid needing to know who his father is and everything in between. With his Guardian family he knows they accept him for all his idiosyncrasies and the penchant for his mixed tapes (which we all are!). I just love watching Pratt go for it every moment he is on screen and listening to everyone cheer for their favorite Star-Lord.

Saldana as Gamora is keeping her emotions in check with Quill and even more so with a sister who is driving her crazy. Trusting her instincts about everything she gang is going through, it becomes clear that the history with Nebula is something that has always needed to be talked about. Oh sisters – they can hate each other but one good brawl always sets things right.

Cooper voicing Rocket is arrogant, guarded, hilarious and yet has a soft spot for all his guardian buddies. He may be a Guardian but he still has his old habits that need to be kicked. Diesel as the voice of Baby Groot, I mean really, what can else can be said here about the awesomeness that is Groot. “I am Groot” – we’re done!

guard 6

Bautista as Drax has a chance to really show serious comedy here although what he laughs at isn’t as funny until he laughs about it. He is the powerhouse the group needs and he doesn’t hesitate to stand up for his buddies. I love the scenes between Drax and Mantis. Klementieff as Mantis is endearing, sweet and giggly funny.

Debicki as Ayesha is clearly a woman who has anger and power issues. Gillan as Nebula tries to work on her anger issues but when you’ve been angry as long as she has, it’s difficult.

guard 2

Rooker as Yondu brings his blue-ness back to irritate Quill and the gang. It is the scenes with Yondu and Rocket that are pretty amazing. This is a role that looks so easy for Rooker to play because he has a swagger that is distinctive and an attitude that would give anyone pause.

Russell as Ego is always a thrill to see. Nothing seems to be slowing this actor down and being the god/father to Quill finally gets to tell the whole story – and I mean the whole story. Russell gives us the charm and flashy smile to bring us into his world and I don’t mind visiting at all.

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Other cast include Sean Gunn as Kraglin, Tommy Flanagan as Tullk, Laura Haddock as Meredith Quill, Chris Sullivan as Taserface and Sylvester Stallone as Stakar Ogord.

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Vol. 2 five tubs of popcorn out of five. I mean seriously, would you expect anything less? I am not always on board to all things in the Marvel Universe but the Guardians franchise is definitely worth every second on screen.

This ensemble has brought a uniqueness that I enjoy with characters that are relatable with their flaws, awesome in their survival/fighting skills, care for one another, humor and how each one protects Baby Groot. Come on, you know that’s cute! The special effects are just amazing and add to the story instead of being used to just dazzle.

I am purposely being vague about the film because I had such a fun time that I want everyone who sees it to have a great time as well. This is an event, truly, and groups of people should see the film together. Grab everyone and make it a movie night to remember.

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It must be said that the soundtrack for GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Vol. 2 is just as frakken awesome as the first film. There is no way, absolutely no way to not tap a foot or even sing along because each song fits the scene perfectly. Everyone in the audience during the screening was so into the music which made it all even more fantastic of a time.

I don’t know what you are doing this weekend but if it’s not seeing GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Vol. 2 then you must be in traction! This film is funny, action packed, endearing, hilarious, and yes Baby Groot steals every scene he is in – I mean is that shocking? Hardly.

In the end – you only get one chance to save the galaxy twice!

 

THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS Revs Up Their Engines Once Again!

fate of

 

Jeri Jacquin

In theatres this Friday from director F. Gary Gray and Universal Pictures come the next installment when it comes to knowing THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS.

Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) are on their honeymoon in Puerto Rico. Not there long before Dom has to put his foot to the pedal for the respect of family. Returning to the hotel, he is stopped by a woman named Cipher (Charlize Theron) who isn’t pulling any punches by letting Dom know that he will soon be working for her.

Hobbs goes from coaching his daughter’s soccer team to a job that gets him a nice stint in the slammer but Mr. Nobody (Kurt Russell) offers him a deal to stay out of jail. Backed up by Little Nobody (Scott Eastwood) on the deal, Hobbs refuses. Waiting in a cell across from Hobbs is his least favorite person Deckard (Jason Statham) as the two immediately begin to verbally spar.

furious 1

It takes no time at all before Mr. Nobody gets Hobbs, Deckard, Letty, Roman (Tyrese Gibson), Tej (Ludacris) and Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) in a room to tell them that Dom has gone rogue! The get the intel of Cipher but they have no idea what they are up against as the game of cat and mouse begins. Letty doesn’t believe it but the mission is to stop him.

Dom knows he is hurting his new bride and friends by working with Cipher but there is something they do not know and he can’t tell them. Every time the gang gets close, Dom has back up from Cipher and her muscle Rhodes (Kristofer Hivju) to elude them once again. That is until they all end up on the Barents Sea in the arctic for a showdown like nothing the gang has experienced before.

All of it to stop an anarchist and discover what made their leader go rogue!

Diesel as Dom returns to the hard and tough role that fans have loved about this franchise. Knowing that taking care of family, whether blood or otherwise, means taking each step carefully. His performance is totally spot on and the scenes with Theron are filled with tension that is amazing to watch from them both.

furious 2

Diesel recently announced at CinemaCon that there will be a 9th and 10th installment of the FAST AND FURIOUS franchise. He told the audience, “We are proud of how we defied expectations with this series of films.” Of course the topic of Paul Walker came up and he said, “It was a hard decision to make the film without Paul but his legacy is in every frame we shoot. He was the concept of brotherhood! When I thought of going into the 8th chapter, it was Paul that said ‘8 is guaranteed!’

Johnson as Hobbs is bigger and bulkier than ever bringing a softer side to his character as a soccer coach. That also brings a big of comedy to his character and it really is quite funny. That being said, when the comedy stops – Hobbs gets to business and as much as he doesn’t want to go after Dom, he will and he will without hesitation.

Statham as Deckard is a mixture of hilarious, bad ass, softy and perfection with his interaction with Johnson’s character. This actor keeps getting better and better in the sense that he can be a tough in some roles that are scary and then amazing comedy as in the film SPY (which still cracks me up every time I see it) and now a mixture of both for THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS.

furious 4

Rodriguez as Letty is dedicated to her man and there isn’t anyone that’s going to convince her otherwise. Although she helps Hobbs and the gang, she sees it more as saving Dom from something she doesn’t understand and not take him down. Emmanuel as Ramsey is the high tech gal who is working overtime to stay ahead of Cipher.

Gibson as Roman is back looking for the fastest and baddest looking car in the bunch. Ludacris as Tej works well with Emmanuel trying to discover how Cipher manages to do the unthinkable with the technology she has.

Russell as Mr. Nobody is smart and witty and I’d expect nothing less form him. I’m still amazed with the diversity of his characters and the fantastic way he portrays them. Eastwood as Little Nobody doesn’t yet understand how the gang works and soon learns that they have a way of doing things and it’s not always by the book.

I’m giving a shout out to Hivju as Rhodes. He is such a cool bad guy with the ability to give anyone crazy-eye. Then again this shouldn’t be a shock for anyone who is a Game of Thrones fan of his character Tormund Giantsbane.

Theron as Cipher is frakken brilliant as this character. She is smart, doesn’t take any guff and isn’t afraid of anyone – including Dom’s gang. In fact, this character seems to find great joy in staying many steps ahead of anyone trying to stop her from getting what she wants. Using Dom is her insurance policy and he is definitely a policy worth having. I love Theron every moment she is on the screen!

furious 3

Other cast include: Luke Evans as Owen, Elsa Pataky as Elena, Patrick St. Esprit as DS Allan and Janmarco Santiago as Fernando.

THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS is definitely a high octane ride from start to finish. Fans of the franchise aren’t going to be disappointed with the action, car chases and even an ice breaking submarine. It is fun, humorous, and even cute in a few places which just adds more fun to the film.

This is a large cast which keeps the intensity flowing and there isn’t much time to sit back and relax. Trust me when I say I’m leaving tons of details out because this is a film that doesn’t need everything put out there. Instead, it’s a film where everyone gets together and goes to have a good time so let’s not over think it.

This weekend, do just that! Grab friends, get a huge tub of popcorn and get ready for the ride that one THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS can provide.

In the end – the ride isn’t over!

Director Peter Berg Talks About Film DEEPWATER HORIZON

deep-water

 

Jeri Jacquin

This week in theatres Summit Entertainment brings director Peter Berg’s film about the PB oil disaster and the courage of those aboard DEEPWATER HORIZON.

In April of 2010, a drilling rig known as DEEPWATER HORIZON owned by BP oil was a floating rig that could travel to any spot for drilling. Mike Williams (Mark Wahlberg) boarding the rig along with Jimmy Harrell (Kurt Russell), and Andrea Fleytas (Gina Rodriguez).

With questions already looming about the readiness of the rig, Harrell has questions for the execs already on board. Already in conference are Vidrine (John Malkovich) and Jimmy calls them out on the inspection that seems to have been bypassed. Mike isn’t happy asking Caleb Holloway (Dylan O’Brien) who is working the pipes if the inspection has been done.

Agreeing to a pressure test, everyone on the rig waits as the first test fails. It is Vidrine who consistently tries to out-talk the crew on what BP is expecting from the rig and there is nothing wrong. Nothing could be further from the truth when later in the evening the earth decides to revolt against the rig.

The explosion brings out courage of the many to save lives!

Director Peter Berg has taken the story of Deepwater Horizon and made it into a film that tells the story bringing Mike Williams to the forefront as a hero. This isn’t the first film Berg has brought to the screen with an intense story about courageous individuals. In 2013 he directed the film LONE SURVIVOR about Marcus Luttrell (played by Mark Wahlberg) and his team on a mission to capture a Taliban leader. In 2017 has the film PATRIOTS DAY will be released about the Boston Marathon bombing and the city-wide manhunt for the terrorists.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Peter Berg about DEEPWATER HORIZON and what pushes him to tell stories of extraordinary people and events.

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JJ: Thanks for talking with me today Peter.

PB: Of course Jeri, it’s my pleasure.

JJ: Tell me what interested you in wanting to take on this project?

PB: There was a 60 Minutes piece about Mike Williams and it really just got to me. I thought it was a great story and it spoke to me.

JJ: Did you realize the monumental scope of the making this film when you decided to go ahead and make the film?

PB: I did, I knew it was going to be a challenging movie and I felt absolutely ready for it. I was actually really excited to get involved and get it going.

JJ: Did you already have a cast in mind?

PB: Mark [Wahlberg] was already to go and we knew each other which was obviously part of the reason I was excited about the film.

JJ: He and Kurt Russell together are so fantastic and amazing in the film. Was Kurt some one else you knew right away needed to be in the film?

PB: Not right away but pretty quickly I thought of Kurt. I am a really big fan of his.

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JJ: John Malkovich as well? I know I’m a huge fan.

PB: Absolutely, same here, I am a big fan of his work as well.

JJ: He is so amazing, his accent is pretty good.

PB: Perfect right?

JJ: Building the set, it must have caused a little bit of a shock to put together something so spectacular?

PB: It was fun!

JJ: Really?

PB: Yes, because we got to big a real big set. We got to be kids with Lincoln Logs but bigger!

JJ: That’s a pretty massive Lincoln Log Peter.

PB: Yes it was. It was a massive Lincoln Log and fun to do at the same time.

JJ: I was surprised to see you in it as well, which is a nice bonus.

PB: Thank you, it was actually fun to do it.

JJ: You took on the film and started putting it all together, did you see it was going so big. I mean you have your human characters but now you have this big other character (the rig) to control. How did you manage the double duty?

PB: It was fun too. Making movies is always super challenging and for me it is getting myself fired up and getting excited for those challenges. The set was a big challenge and executing it in New Orleans with the heat and the water and you have to be up for it. As long as you are I find it all works out pretty well.

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JJ: The storyline is so intense and you didn’t sugar coat anything?

PB: My grandmother Ruth said ‘shoot straight and don’t sugar coat’.

JJ: I was wondering how you were going to get around the BP situation and thank you for being straight with the story telling.

PB: BP messed up big time and you have got to be accurate with the facts if you are going to point the finger at some of BP’s behavior.

JJ: The scene with Russell and Malkovich when they are doing the pressure test, I have to say their interaction felt so brutally honest.

PB: I appreciate that. My grandmother also said honest is the best policy so I went with that.

JJ: I think that is what makes this film bigger than just the action, that you were telling the story honesty. Now, dealing with all that mud and oil, how did you make that happen?

PB: We had this guy name Burt Dalton who is a physical production designer for films and he brought in all these gallons of mud and oil and this incredible pumping system. He was able to get heavy pressure and throw that mud around. I had my son and his friends from high school on summer break and made them clean it all up.

JJ: Excellent!

PB: It’s true!

JJ: It looks like the cast took a beating. You’ve got fire, mud, falling metal, water – that’s pretty intense. How long did it take you to shoot the film?

PB: It was done in sixty days or around that. It didn’t take as long as you might think, we moved pretty quickly.

JJ: Working with such Malkovich, Russell and Wahlberg who you have worked with before. How is that for you as a director to look at that cast and think ‘wow’.

PB: I look at everything and say wow! I like my cast, crew, getting to meet Mike Williams and the men and women who were on that rig. It is all a process that I like very much and I’m very grateful to have participated in all of it.

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JJ: I’ve seen interviews with Mike Williams, what an amazing person.

PB: I’ll say.

JJ: You seem to really enjoy doing films working with amazing people.

PB: I like non-fiction and I’m at a point in my life where I meet people who have gone through extraordinary experiences like Mike Williams and Marcus Luttrell (from the film LONE SURVIVOR) or some of the FBI agents, police and citizens of Boston (coming soon PATRIOTS DAY) who were involved in the hunting down of those who hurt people in the Boston Marathon, those are the stories that excite me.

JJ: It gives you an opportunity tell those truths.

PB: It gives me so much inspiration. You spend time with the people who went through it and obviously it’s a more authentic experience and gives me access to that part of the process that inspires me. Every director is different and some like science fiction, I like non-fiction.

JJ: Finally Peter, what do you want the audience to walk out of the theatre understanding about DEEPWATER HORIZON?

PB: There is never any one thing. I think certainly one of the things that resonates with me is that there were eleven people who died on that rig because of corporate bullying. They could have all run and jumped into life boats and they all would have been back with their kids. They did their jobs when a lot of other people like the executives who got off that rig. These working class men stayed on that rig and they died, it cost them their lives. To me that is worth knowing.

JJ: That means everything, thank you Peter.  In DEEPWATER HORIZON Peter, it is nothing like I expected yet everything I want in good and true storytelling well done sir!

PB: Thank you Jeri, thank you so much.

 

Once again Director Peter Berg brings a true story to the screen and does it in a big way. From set design to casting, everything about the film is big. That being said, that is only a fraction of a moment thought compared to the truly amazing story that is told shooting straight from the hip.

Not only did Berg tell the story of DEEPWATER HORIZON, but he took the time to explain it all. The performances of Wahlberg, Russell and the rest of the cast is so well done that it kept myself, as well as the screening audience totally engrossed from start to finish. This is an epic movie going experience!

In the end – inspired by the true story of real life heroes!

 

Tarantino’s THE HATEFUL EIGHT Gives a Different Take on a Merry Christmas!

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Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres Christmas day from writer/director Quentin Tarantino and The Weinstein Company comes a western with more twists than a candy cane with THE HATEFUL EIGHT.

In post-Civil War Wyoming, John Ruth (Kurt Russell) is on a mission, to get Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to the town of Red Rock to hang for her crimes. Taking a private stage coach and running from a blizzard, they come across Major Marquis Warren (Samuel L. Jackson),another bounty hunter who lost his horse. Ruth recognizes Warren and begrudgingly agrees to share the stage coach to Red Rock.

Getting back on their way, Ruth and Warren converse about their last meeting and about prisoner Daisy. That’s when driver O.B. (James Parks) alerts them to another man walking in the snow. Introducing himself as the soon-to-be Sheriff of Red Rock Chris Mannix (Walton Goggins), he also needs a ride.

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The coach arrives at Minnie’s Haberdashery where they are met by Senior Bob (Demian Bichir) and inside the cabin is the hangman Oswaldo Mobray (Tim Roth), Joe Gage (Michael Madsen) and General Sandy Smithers (Bruce Dern). As the blizzard bears down on the haberdashery, it becomes clear that suspicions run high and each one has a story.

It is a puzzle that can only be told – western style!

Russell as Ruth is just plain frakken amazing. Of course I have been a fan since we were both kids and there isn’t a film he has done that I don’t like. In THE HATEFUL EIGHT he exudes the character of John Ruth, bounty hunter, from his speech, attitude, suspicious nature and attire and I loved every minute of it. Even in his softer moments I thoroughly enjoyed watching Ruth evolve and the way his mind works. Oh I’ll just say it – he rocks!

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Jackson as Major Warren once again gets the chance to play a badass in every way, shape and form that could be. He is suspicious of everyone along with Ruth. When the story is told it is easy to see why he has an itchy trigger finger and has no problem taking care of business. From beginning to end the character of Major Warren will not be silenced and doesn’t mince his words.

Goggins as Mannix is just one hot mess and again, loved every minute he is on screen. Mannix gives the illusion of being a smart man but there are moments I question that. He seems to side with who ever will keep him alive. Goggins is an actor who just continues to thrill with every character and performance he gives. His three most amazing performances has been as Boyd Crowder in the television series JUSTIFIED, his stellar performance as Venus Van Dam in the series SONS OF ANARCHY and now this role of Mannix in THE HATEFUL EIGHT.

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Bichir as Senior Bob brings humor along with his Christmas piano playing. Madsen as Joe Gage is the quiet type who seems to rub a few people the wrong way. Dern is the slightly off centered General who sits in his seat observing until he hears a story that is shocking. Parks as O.B. is hilarious and I don’t think I’ll ever look at a cabin door the same way again.

The huge standout here for me is Jennifer Jason Leigh as Daisy. This is a woman who speaks her mind and doesn’t mind an elbow in her face when she does spout off. There are moments of brilliance that I would speak about but I’m not into ruining some of the best acting I’ve seen from Leigh. If there aren’t nominations for her performance then something is really, really wrong with voters. An excellent performance that I will be watching again.

Other cast include: Zoe Bell as Six-Horse Judy, Dana Gournier as Minni, Lee Horsley as Ed, Craig Stark as Chester Smithers, Belinda Owino as Gemma and Channing Tatum as Jody.

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TUBS OF POPCORN: I give THE HATEFUL EIGHT four tubs of popcorn out of five. From the moment the Interlude appears on the screen I know this is going to be a film that will bring out every response from me possible. Tarantino has a way of doing that and I wouldn’t be disappointed as he takes on the vengeful nature of eight very unsavory characters who apparently didn’t get enough Mommy-time in childhood!

THE HATEFUL EIGHT is shocking, delightful, funny, gory, smart, and kept me along for the ride. The intermission half way through the film gave me a chance to soak up everything I experienced and catch my breath for the second half. Keeping the film in the cabin meant actually listening to every word spoken because, as my grandmother said, the devil is in the details – and there is a ton of details!

The cast is stellar and from beginning to end and the performances knocked me out. The drawn out camera shots of the stage coach in the snow, the choice of music, keeping the story within the cabin walls giving me a bit of claustrophobia, the amazing costumes and set added up to my thrill of the film. I can guarantee not everyone will agree with me on the like of the film but that doesn’t change how I feel about it one bit.

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I caught myself laughing out loud, had my breath taken away a few times, a couple of ‘oh hell no!’s in there, one or two jaw drops and a head smack! Does Tarantino push the limits? Absolutely. Do I mind? Not in the slightest. It became clear with INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS and DJANGO UNCHAINED that I knew what I was in for. You could say I set myself up for every bit of this willingly – all 187 minutes.

Tarantino’s films have become so iconic with RESEVOIR DOGS, PULP FICTION, FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, KILL BILL I & II, GRINDHOUSE, INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS (my personal favorite) and DJANGO UNCHAINED. Fans of the KILL BILL films are waiting for KILL BILL: Vol. 3!

In the end – spend the holidays with someone you hate!

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