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His Story and Life Collide in TOLKIEN

TOLKIEN

 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres this Friday from director Dome Karukoski and Fox Searchlight Pictures comes the story of stories told about the life of TOLKIEN.

The story begins with war as Private Sam Hodges (Craig Roberts) finds a very ill Tolkien and makes it his mission to help him survive. Out in the field as bombs rage and gas explodes, he once again sees how his life began and led him to the field of inhumanity.

J.R.R. Tolkien (Nicholas Hoult) was a young man living with his mother and brother in a small English house in the middle of vast fields. One day Father Francis (Colm Meaney) helps the family move to the city to start again but it doesn’t last long as once again Father Francis moves Tolkien and his younger brother to the house of Mrs. Faulkner (Pam Ferris). Becoming their guardian, she starts with the boys’ education and Tolkien dives deeper into his drawings and writings.

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Eventual Mrs. Faulkner takes in Edith Bratt (Lily Collins) and Tolkien is quite taken with her. Continuing to be watched over by Father Francis, the young man is told that he can’t share his feelings about her and still go to university. He makes the sad choice to leave her and joins childhood friends Rob Gilson (Patrick Gibson), Geoffrey Smith (Anthony Boyle) and Christopher Wiseman (Tom Glynn-Carney), also known as the TCBS, to university.

As the group continues to meet, Tolkien is one step away from having to leave school when he discovers Professor Wright (Derek Jacobi). Sharing his story’s with the Professor, both men become thrilled at the possibilities of the story and language. Finally finding his place in school, the war breaks out and Tolkien is called up.

Before shipping out he once again sees Edith and he finds himself still smitten with the young girl. They have a chance to explain to one another the situation as it was then but their hearts never let go of one another only to be parted again by battle.

Tolkien fights to stay alive, fights to find his friends and without realizing it would soon take all the horrors of war and create one of the most iconic stories ever written.

Hoult as Tolkien takes on the monumental task of playing a character that became famous for his books and his name becomes world wide again when the films come to the screen. I will be honest, I wasn’t sure that justice could be done in the story telling of a writer who impacted my life so profoundly yet Hoult did so. The struggles of youth followed Tolkien and he could have ‘gone wrong’ as the sayings goes but instead he found a path that Hoult walks honorably.

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Collins as Edith is a young girl understanding Tolkien much more than anyone else (other than his brother). She pushes him to continue to write stories because she saw something magical about the world Tolkien creates. Collins gives her character strength, dignity and a forwardness not seen by women of Edith’s day. Meaney as Father Francis takes the role of father, protector and if that doesn’t work he uses good old fashioned guilt to ‘guide’ Tolkien’s life choices. I have to say I wasn’t happy with this character and that’s probably because I’m not much for emotional bullying which means Meaney did a fantastic job!

Gibson, Boyle and Glynn-Carney as Rob, Geoffrey and Christopher are three friends I’d love to have had growing up. Although they started out prickly, the story of each of these young men would impact Tolkien in ways they would never see coming. These four actors when on screen together are gripping and I enjoyed watching their friendship grow.

Now, as for Roberts as Private Sam Hodges, I have only one thing to say – stellar and well done young man, extremely well done. From beginning to end it was the life of Tolkien that was his mission and he took it so seriously that nothing would turn him from it. Sound like a story character you might know?

Other cast include Laura Donnelly as Mabel Tolkien, Guillermo Bedward as Hilary Tolkien, Nia Gwynne as Browen, Tony Nash as Mackintosh, Owen Teale as Headmaster Gilson, Lara Maguire as Rose, Holly Dempster as Beryl, Genevieve O’Reilly as Mrs. Smith and David Birkbeck as Porter.

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TOLKIEN is well done, beautifully put on screen and gives the viewer a deep look inside what it took for THE LORD OF THE RINGS to make it to the page. Watching the story unfold is like seeing how characters were born in his mind. I caught myself a few times pointing at things I saw on the screen with an inhale and then a smile. Okay, so being a raging Tolkien fan it was like being part of a mental treasure hunt.

The cast brings together with such intensity the moments in Tolkien’s life that he held on to for dear life. The story is raw and beautiful at the same time to the point where I didn’t want it to end. The good news is that sitting on my library shelf are the books and films which are a wonderful solace brought by a man who took what he experienced in his life and shared it in the most magnificent way with the world.

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In the end – a life of love, courage and fellowship!

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THE KID WHO WOULD BE KING is Crowned on Bluray

kid cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray from writer/director Joe Cornish and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment comes a story of honor for THE KID WHO WOULD BE KING.

Alex (Louis Ashbourne Serkis) is a young boy living in England being raised by single mother Mrs. Elliott (Denise Gough). At school he isn’t having a much better time except for his friendship with Bedders (Dean Chaumoo) who can’t help with the bullying from Lance (Tom Taylor) and Kaye (Rhianna Dorris).

After a run in with the two and detentions handed out, Lance and Kaye are after Alex once again but he hides in a construction site. There he finds a sword and takes it out of the rocks. Taking it home, Alex shows it to Bedders and they do some internet searching and discover that the markings are that of Exaclibur, the sword of King Arthur.

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What the two don’t know is that Morgana (Rebecca Ferguson), a sorceress is also looking for the sword and weird creatures are sent to find it. Shaken by what’s happening, things get even weirder when the next day at school, Merlin (Angus Imrie)  shows up as a boy of 16 and has to prove to Alex that he is actually the wizard Merlin by changing to an older version of himself (Patrick Stewart).

Merlin explains that in a few days things are going to become horrible for everyone in the town Alex lives in and all because of Morgana. Needing a few more knights, he shows Tom and Kaye what is going on and now they are, along with Bedders, Alexs’ knights of the round kitchen table.

Alex also believes that his father might be the key to knowing how to find and defeat Morgana going to a place call Tintagel where Arthur was born. On the way, Merlin trains the four in ways that will help their quest. The problem is Morgana knows where they are and Merlin has to save them but not before Alex and Tom have a fight that breaks Exalibur and they all meet the Lady of the Lake.

Discovering the family truth, Alex feels defeated but it is Merlin that explains that the story may not be what he knew but it changes nothing. Morgana is still on a path of destruction so Alex must call upon the most unlikely people to create an army.

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Morgana has no idea who she is dealing with!

Serkis as Alex is a young man who is perfect for this role. He looks like any other little boy and is very smart except for one thing – he is a king. Of course that might comes a quite a shock to the royal family but Serkis gives his character a good heart and an adventuresome spirit. Once he understands what must be done, his heart is as big as Excalibur.

Chaumoo as Bedder is such a sweetheart and very supportive friend to Alex. He is excited about the quest they are on and wants to be a part of it in every way. Even when things seem down, it is Bedders that lifts his friend up to move forward.

Taylor as Lance is a bully who just can’t get enough of Alex. The problem is once the detention hits, he is even more ready to cause the young boy problems. That is until he sees that Alex isn’t joking about what is going on and it does take him time but it seems being a knight suits him. Dorris as Kaye follows the same path as Taylor but finds a bit of power in her new role as a knight. She begins to see what is happening and wants to help but in the same way as the boys.

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Imrie as Merlin is smart, funny and jumps through two worlds with a simple flick of his hands. He also knows what he needs to do to help Alex. Imrie gives his Merlin a sense of humor and a wicked way of getting his point across. He made me laugh – A LOT. Stewart as the older Merlin brings his usual wit and charisma to this iconic character.

Ferguson as Morgana is pretty upset at Merlin and being the half-sister of Arthur. Getting ahold of the sword is all she is interested in, oh and probably finding a way to get back at Merlin, Arthur and anyone else that gets in her way.

Other cast includes: Norma Dumezweni as Mrs. Lee, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett as Mr. Kepler, Mark Bonnar as Mr. Jeffreys, Alexandra Roach as Ms. Foster, Nick Mohammed as Mr. Hyde and Genevieve O’Reilly as Aunt Sophie.

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.

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.

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The Bluray and DVD includes over an hour of Quest Features including: Deleted Scenes, Origins of a King, Young Knights, Knight School, The Two Merlins and so much more.

THE KID WHO WOULD BE KING is a fun adventure not only for kids but for the kids at heart. This is actually a great family film to watch together (or even with grandkids if you have them!). It’s a story of the struggles each of us face when we aren’t understood by others, how to deal with those who want to cause harm, what can happen when everyone works together and the power of belief and friendship.

I enjoyed the story and the bringing together of four people who probably wouldn’t have been friends if it hadn’t been for fate and a sword called Excalibur. The film is filled with everything one would want from King Arthur and the round table mixed in with a young boy telling the story of his part in history.

Gather the family, break out the armor and pop the royal corn because it’s time for a weekend adventure.

In the end – An army to fight, a demon to slay, a world to save…no pressure!

PEPPA PIG: When I Grow Up Delights on DVD

 

peppa dvd

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to DVD from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is the delightful young piglet along with family and friends with PEPPA PIG: When I Grow Up.

In class, Peppa Pig is hearing all about the choices her classmates are making as to what they want to be when they grow up. From being a policeman to a teacher, each also likes the choice of telling people what to do. Peppa is upset because she doesn’t know what she wants to be even if little brother George wants to be dinosaur.

Peppa and her family join the local flying vet to visit sick animals and doing it in an airplane! They soon get a call from their own home as baby ducks are stuck on their roof. The vet teaches Peppa to quack at the little babies to get them home to their parents on the pond.

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Ms. Gazelle teaches her students to appreciate music by using their imaginations to describe what they hear. Peppa decides that the music reminds her of jumping up and down in a puddle and her friends don’t hesitate to join her while they create their own song.

Danny the dog is having a pirate themed birthday party and Peppa is thrilled. Taking the ship up stream they are all looking for the golden treasure. Grandpa Pig helps with the game and catches Grand-dad Dog taking the treasure!

Mommy Pig is going to the local firehouse to meet with other Mommy’s and Daddy Pig is off with his friends for a bit of football. Peppa and George go with Mommy Pig and get to see the new fire engine! Peppa is surprised when they get a real life fire call and it is at their home.

Tittles the Turtle is found up a tree while Pedro and Peppa rescue him but not before he gets a bumped nose. The doctor quickly shows up to fix his nose but can’t fix Pedro’s glasses. After fixing glasses, there is trouble with the dentists’ car that Doctor Dog can fix. It seems there is someone in the town for every situation.

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The class is preparing for showing talent and Peppa is having difficulty picking just one to share with her friends. Pedro shows his magic, Emily Elephant plays the flute and Rebecca Bunny shares her silly noises and all of this worries Peppa.

Peppa, George and Mommy Pig prepare to take their first helicopter ride with Ms. Rabbit and they are having a blast, well maybe not so much for Mommy Pig. Daddy pig is having a fun time at the local carnival and when its time to get home, his car gets stuck in the mud and he has to call for help.

The police come to the school and teaches the students the do’s and don’ts of bicycle riding. Even teacher Ms. Gazelle learns a few lessons about properly being safe on a bicycle.

Daddy Pig got his days all mixed up thinking it is Saturday and Mommy has to work on her computer sending Peppa off to play group. At group, they decide to open a play store and help customers with what they need or think they need. When the family comes home they discover that when work is over there is plenty of time for play.

Peppa and the class learn what an ambulance does from Dr. Brown Bear and how it helps people in their community. But what happens when the doctor needs an ambulance himself? Ms. Gazelle and the entire class step in to make sure Dr. Brown Bear gets the help he needs.

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The class is making their own music with rattles, all kinds of drums, maracas, cymbals, castanets, triangles and tambourines. Ms. Gazelle must teach them the difference between a bunch of wild noise and working together to make fantastic music. The best part is playing for their parents and surprised when the parents join in.

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 DVD includes the Peppasodes of When I Grow Up, The Flying Vet, Move to Music, Danny’s Pirate Party, The Fire Engine, Doctors, Talent Day, Miss Rabbit’s Helicopter, The Police, Work and Play, The Ambulance and Shake Rattle and Bang.

 Peppa Pig and her family have made their way into my family and spend every day with us. My granddaughter loves the series and even has the toys to play knowing each characters name. That is how you know that a family program has made an impact, when a child embraces each character like family.

The series teaches such valuable lessons about life, friendship, family, loyalty, learning, respect and loads of fun! That is what drew me to the series from the beginning. The fact that Peppa and her brother George have the love of an extended family is very important for kids to see – and it doesn’t matter if they learn it from a cute little pig.

PEPPA PIG: When I Grow Up give children a chance to think about that very question without it becoming too serious. Instead they learn about the choices and ask the questions that could possibly plant the seed for their dreams to one day come true.

In the end – if there is a job puddle jumping then Peppa is your pig!

THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS is Brilliant on Bluray

nutcracker bluray

 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray, DVD and Digital from directors Lasse Hallstrom, Joe Johnston and Walt Disney Home Entertainment comes the delight of THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS.

It is Christmas Eve in Victorian London but not cheerful for the Stahlbaum family. Mr. Stahlbaum (Matthew Macfadyen) tries to make the holidays memorable but the sadness at the death of his wife Marie still holds on. Daughter Clara (Mackenzie Foy) is not giving an inch of happiness where the holidays are concerned.

Receiving a beautiful egg-shaped box from her Mother, Clara is intrigued until she discovers that no one has the key to open it. There is a note attached telling the young girl that inside is everything she would ever need. Putting it away until later, the family leaves for the Christmas Eve ball where she is thrilled to spend time with Drosselmeyer (Morgan Freeman).

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Clara shows him the egg which he instantly recognizes telling her that she will find a way to open it. Returning to the ball, the young girl’s father is upset that she isn’t keeping with their traditions, such as the father-daughter dance. Clara speaks horribly to him and knows she caused pain.

That is when Drosselmeyer tells the children to find the string with their name on it and at the end will be their presents! Clara finds her and at the end she is shocked to find herself in another place all together. Going through the strange snow forest she sees a key dangling from a tree but a small mouse sees it sooner, grabs it and runs!

Trying to follow Clara comes across Captain Hoffman the Nutcracker (Jayden Knight). Discovering who she is, he follows her into the dark Land of Amusements now called the Fourth Realm only to come close to the outcast Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren). Instead, the Captain takes Clara to the palace learning that her mother was a Queen. She is introduced to the Sugar Plum Fairy (Kiera Knightley), Shivers (Richard E. Grant) and Hawthorne (Eugenio Derbez).

They are thrilled to meet Clara and are equally sad to learn that their Queen has passed away. Embracing Clara they want her help in protecting the kingdom from Mother Ginger. They show her the story of the land through ballet explaining that Clara’s mother created this kingdom when she was a girl. The Sugar Plum Fairy also shows Clara the inventions that would help them but they need a key, the same key she has been looking for.

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Helping the Sugar Plum Fairy, Clara learns that she is not as sweet as she would seem and that Mother Ginger isn’t the bad character after all. Now they must all come together to help the kingdom from the creations being made with Clara’s mother’s invention.

It is time to save her mother’s kingdom!

Foy as Clara has definitely made her way clear from being a very young half human-halfvampire into an amazingly beautiful and talented young lady. As a young girl who can not seem to grasp losing her mother, her pain lashes out against those who truly love her. Discovering that her mother was a queen of a realm of her own creation, Foy takes Clara on a journey surrounded by beauty, danger and creativity. She is completely lovely in this role.

Knightley as the Sugar Plum Fairy proves the old adage that looks can be deceiving. Tricking an impressionable young girl is one thing, going on an anger tangent of power is totally another. Not sure I can ever look at this character again during the holidays and not be suspicious. It is definitely a different role for Knightley and well done.

Knight as Captain Hoffman the Nutcracker is a soldier dedicated to his post (even if it is in the middle of nowhere in snow). Once he meets Clara and realizes who she is, it takes no time at all before he is joining in on the adventure to save the kingdom. Knight is gentle and soulful in this role.

Mirren as Mother Ginger is not about to let anyone show her up – not even Clara. At least that is the way she seems at their first meeting. Mirren is everything I love her to be but then again she is one of my favorite actresses so it is a joy to watch her in this film. I have to say that I love the wild red hair!

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Macfadyen as Stahlbaum is a grieving husband who is trying to be a good father to his children. Wanting to create a beautiful and memorable Christmas, he is met with the hurt of a young daughter. Macfadyen is perfect in this role as he continues his recent streak of role that stand out. Freeman as Dosselmeyer is in on the secret of the realm and misses Clara’s mother almost as much as she does. He has but one job and he does it exceptionally well.

Other cast include Misty Copeland as the Ballerina Princess, Anna Madeley as Marie Stahlbaum, Sergei Polunin as The Sweets Cavalier, Ellie Bamber as Louise Stahlbaum, Tom Sweet as Fritz Stahlbaum, Jack Whitehall as Harlequin and Charles Riley as The Mouse King.

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment began distributing under its own label in 1980 and continues to bring quality programming to kids and kids at heart. Home of the most beloved animated features including SNOW WHITE, PINOCCHIO and SLEEPING BEAUTY to name a few is what keeps families coming back for more. To see what is currently available to add to your own family library please visit. www.movies.disney.com for their At Home titles!

The Bluray Bonus Extras Include On Pointe: Misty Copeland, Unwrapped THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS, Music Videos ‘Fall On Me’ by Andrea Bocelli featuring Matteo Bocelli and ‘The Nutcracker Suite’ by Lang Lang as well as Deleted Scenes.

The Digital Code is also included using Movies Anywhere – watch Anywhere with the Movies Anywhere App for Download and Streaming.

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THE NUTCRACKER AND THE FOUR REALMS is visually stunning in the story that it is telling. That is important because although many have seen the ballet version in some form, this is an amazing opportunity to see the combination of ballet and live action. Exploring the characters even further with vivid characters and graceful movement is a true treat.

This film in stunning Bluray is everything my family wants to add to our growing family traditions. There is everything from wonderful music, dancing, wild characters, fun, laughter, a little sadness, adventure and an ending that we can all embrace.

It is a story of love, hope, loyalty, goodness and working together to save something bigger than themselves – and isn’t that what we want not only from the holidays but all year long? I think so.

In the end – let the mystery unfold!

ALPHA Brings Mans Best Friends Story to Bluray

Alpha

 

Jeri Jacquin

Now on DVD and Bluray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and writer/director Albert Hughes comes the story of a young man and a wolf he calls ALPHA.

Keda (Kodi Smit-McPhee) is a young man finding his place in the Paleolithic tribe. Being the son of Tau (Johannes Johannesson) isn’t easy, especially when Keda must prove himself worthy to hunt as bison season approaches. Preparing, it is easy to see that Keda wants to be everything his father expects but has insecurities of his own.

Out in the wilderness the group catches a boar and Tau expects Keda to prove his worth by killing the creature. Later that night, in the blink of an eye they lose a member of their group but there is no time to mourn. A heard of bison is close and they need everyone to do their part to corral the stampede in one direction. As one breaks away, the bison has his eye on Keda.

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Rushing the boy it only takes a moment before Tau sees his son go over the edge of a cliff. Believing him lost, he must walk away for the sake of the others and return home. But Keda isn’t dead, in fact through a fluke of weather he manages to make it back to the top where the group was last seen. There he discovers a cairn left by the tribe and knows he is on his own.

With an injured foot, he is suddenly chased by wolves sending him up a tree but not before he wounds one of them. Staying up high, Keda wakes the next day to see the pack gone but not the wounded wolf. Knowing he can not kill the animal, he decides to help him get better.

Finding them a place to be safe, both young man and wolf take the time to heal from their wounds and get to know one another. Trust isn’t that easy to come by but they both have time. Keda calls the animal Alpha and preparing for his journey home is surprised to see the wolf following him.

Their friendship blooms as they face more animals and a bitter tundra that isn’t about to show either man nor beast any mercy. They lean on one another with each step taken but both realize they are becoming weaker with the village no where in site.

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Smit-McPhee as Keda basically carries this film through some of the worst weather imaginable. From the beginning it is clear that the character Keda isn’t exactly the hunter his father would like but his own mother knows that Keda does everything with a big heart. Even when confronted with the boar kill, it is all over the young man’s face that he can’t find it in him to do it. Smit-McPhee has that unique ability to give us all of that emotion with very little dialogue. The relationship with Alpha is a joy to watch.

Johannesson as Tau has a duty to the village to feed them all through the winter and the bison hunt is a chance to show what his son can do. Unfortunately, Tau is keenly aware that his son has a heart but is hoping that won’t stop him from being part of the tribe’s hierarchy. It is heartbreaking to watch this actor grieve because he is totally believable in a father’s ache for the loss of his son.

Other cast includes Marcin Kowalczyk as Sigma, Jense Hulten as Xi, Natassia Malthe as Rho, Spencer Bogaert as Kappa, Mercedes de la Zerda as Nu, Lenor Varela as the Shaman Woman and narrated by Morgan Freeman.

Sony Pictures Entertainment encompasses motion picture production for television, digital content and theater releases. The studios include Columbia Pictures, Screen Gems, TriStar Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation, Stage 6 Films and Sony Picture Classics. To see what is coming to theaters and to home entertainment please visit www.sonypictures.com.

The Bluray and Digital Bonus Materials Include: Director’s Cut, Alternate Opening and Ending with Commentaries by Director Albert Hughes, Deleted Scenes with Commentaries by Director Albert Hughes: Starscape, Fighting For Survival and Dream Sequence. Also, Four Featurettes: The Wolf Behind Alpha, Boy & Wolf and Building the World. Finally, A Hero’s Journey is also included. The DVD includes Two Featurettes: The Wolf Behind Alpha and Boy & Wolf.

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ALPHA is the film for those who love to see the relationship between the young man Keda and the first friendship that comes from Alpha. The wolf has a personality all its own and made me giggle quite a few times. Besides being stunningly beautiful, Alpha’s facial features were strong and lovely at the same time.

The cinematography is stunning with its wide open spaces and harshness that is believable for the times. There are moments of beauty and then frightening moments where every step can either bring them closer to their destination or farther away.

Director Albert Hughes is also responsible for such films as DEAD PRESIDENTS, THE BOOK OF ELI and now ALPHA. Receiving numerous nominations and a win for Best Director from the Black Reel Awards for THE BOOK OF ELI, Hughes is currently in pre-production for the film THE FURY OF A PATIENT MAN.

ALPHA is a film I enjoyed from start to finish with its lovely story of a young big hearted boy who would find the best friend he would ever know. It’s a story of trust, loyalty, friendship and survival all wrapped up a beautifully shot film.

In the end – mankind discovers man’s best friend!

 

THE FAVOURITE Stars Three Dazzling Women

the Fav

Jeri Jacquin

I absolutely love period pieces so I have been anxiously waiting for director Yorgos Lanthimos and Fox Searchlight Pictures offering of THE FAVOURITE.

Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) sits on the throne in 18th Century England and Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) is her constant companion. Their relationship is one of straight forwardness and longing. England is also at war with France and Lady Sarah is keeping an eye on it while taking care of the Queen’s frailties and occasional childlike temper tantrums.

Enter Abigail (Emma Stone) a fall aristocrat turned servant girl who isn’t well received in the kitchen of the Queen. Sarah sees how her cousin is treated and becomes a mentor to the young girl. Abigail wants nothing more than to return to the life she once knew and realizes this just might be the way for that to happen.

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During one of the Queens outbursts, Abigail takes pity on her and starts a friendship over the royals “children” (rabbits). The Queen is delighted as they spend the afternoon sharing and laughing together. Sarah catches wind of what is happening with the Queen and lets it be known in her own way that trying to weasel in to the Queen’s favor might not be such a good idea.

Now that the gauntlet is thrown down – Abigail and Sarah go toe to toe for the Queen’s attentions and who truly cares for the monarch is at stake.

I must start with Colman as Queen Anne because she is absolutely stellar, absolutely. From her tantrums to her insecurities to her loyalties, Colman portrays the woman as most would never see a monarch – vulnerable. Knowing that parliament is consistently against her, she attempts to turn to those she should be able to trust. I love Colman’s performance with ever emotion lay plainly before us, I do so hope her performance is recognized and that accolades are given. She most definitely deserves them for this role.

Weisz as Lady Sarah is the smart, politically savvy and is the no-nonsense taking companion to the Queen. She works hard at keeping the crown on her royal head and makes it her business to know what everyone is doing at all times. Weisz can pull off sassy and sarcastic in the same breath better than other actress I know. Of course she does have her hands full with Ms. Stone.

Stone as Abigail is a fallen aristocrat who doesn’t want to stay that way. Getting into the Queen’s kitchen is the first step and getting into her heart may just get Abigail off her knees and high in the rankings. Stone begins as a fawn-eyed girl who is thrilled to have Lady Sarah show an interest in her, but of course we all know that Stone can pull off fawn-eyed girl with the best of them. I loved her antics from start to finish and kept thinking about Abigail, ‘just because you can play the game doesn’t mean you should!’

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Other cast include Jennifer White as Mrs. Meg, LillyRose Stevens as Sally, James Smith as Godolphin, Mark Gatiss as Lord Marlborough, Edward Aczel as Earl of Stratford, Carolyn Saint-Pe as Madame Tournee, Joe Alwyn as Masham and Nicholas Hoult as Harley.

THE FAVOURITE is a gloriously fascinating film about three women who are filled with so much want that goes in so many different directions. That being said, Abigail and Sarah have much different relationships with Queen Anne although you’d have a tough time convincing Abigail of that.

Sarah and the Queen understand one another clearly and it is also clear that Sarah runs the part of the kingdom that the Queen is to busy being petulant to deal with. That’s the crux of their relationship – one is clearly and adult, the other is drowning from the weight of the crown. Yet in that is a relationship of hilarity and sadness mixed together.

Abigail being the new girl to all of this is a distraction for the Queen when Sarah is gone. The Queen believes she has a new and understanding friend when it is clear Abigail has decided to get what Sarah has and take a lot of short cuts to get there. She doesn’t have the understanding of the other two and that’s where she makes mistakes.

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This is a film that spans every human emotion possible in that you don’t know at times whether to laugh, cry or be outright shocked. In an era of excess and political gain, this cast revels in that history with marvelous results. The surroundings only adds to the story telling with its opulence and grandeur along with stunning clothing and jewelry.

THE FAVOURITE has already been recognized by the British Independent Film Awards, Camerimage, and Ghent International Film Festival Gotham Awards. The Hollywood Film Awards gave a win for Rachel Weisz and Costume Designer Sandy Powell. The Venice Film Festival win came for Director Yorgos Lanthimos and Best Actress for Olivia Colman (well done!).

This is one of my favorite films of the year so when deciding what regurgitation to see in theatres, chose something new and amazing with THE FAVOURITE!

In the end – some wounds do not close!

 

INCREDIBLES 2 is Exactly That – Purely Incredible and Now on Bluray!

incred 2

 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray/DVD and Digital from writer/director Brad Bird, Pixar and Walt Disney Home Entertainment is the return of the family we love to love with INCREDIBLES 2.

After the Parr family has dealt with the Mole and his attack on the city, the Supers once again find themselves on the outs. Sitting in a motel room wondering what they are going to do next, Lucius aka Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson) arrives with news.

It seems someone wants to help bring Supers back! A meeting with Winston (Bob Odenkirk) and Evelyn Deavor (Catherine Keener) brings Bob/Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) and Helen/Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) a chance to prove that Supers should be brought back.

The idea is to make Elastigirl the face of the Supers which takes them by surprise, especially Bob’s ego. The Deavor’s provide the Parr family with a spacious and, well incredible new home and Helen an awesome two wheel ride. All of this means Bob is home to tend to teen-angst ridden Violet (Sarah Vowell), Dash (Huck Milner) and Jack-Jack (Eli Fucile).

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Home life problems include Violet’s confusion about her date with Tony (Michael Bird), Dash’s rambunctiousness and Jack-Jack being Jack-Jack. As Helen leaves to resume ‘hero’ work, Bob is now Mr. Mom and learning the ropes. It doesn’t take long before he becomes over whelmed but can’t let Helen know so calls on Lucius who is equally confused about it all. His last hope is Edna Mode (Brad Bird)!

Helen on the other hand is busy saving Ambassador’s and meeting new Supers. Winston wants to create a summit where everyone comes together once again. The problem is a new villain is using technology to turn the Supers into not-so-nice Supers putting the possibility of bringing Supers back on the back burner! You follow?

Don’t worry, you will, and what an incredible ride it is!

Hunter as Helen/Elastigirl takes the lead in this film as a working Mom in the most Super of ways. I love Hunter’s character for so many reasons but mainly she is the glue that holds the Parr family together. Not taking anything away from Bob, it’s just a Mom thang!

Nelson as Bob/Mr. Incredible is a little distraught about being put aside but slowly begins to see that he can be equally incredible being a dialed-in Dad as well. When he is finally called to help save the world once again, a twists comes in and the loyalty of family suits up!

Vowell as Violet is having the double issue of teen and super confusion. The one thing she does know for sure is that family is everything. Milner as Dash continues his wise cracking sense of humor and ability to test his parent’s limits – which isn’t always a bad thing.

Jackson as Lucius/Frozone is thrilled at the possibility of being free to freeze, even if his wife might have other ideas. Odenkirk as Winston is a man who truly believes that the Supers need to come back. He has his own personal reasons for it which are endearing. Keener as Evelyn is laid back and the technical brains of the very rich duo.

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Fucil as Jack-Jack steals the film from everyone and it must be said. This kid-character had me cracking up from start to finish – probably because that’s exactly how I see most toddlers. Fiery one minute and happy with a cookie the next, Jack-Jack is coming into his own and the family better learn to deal!

Other cast include Sophia Bush as Voyd, Phil LaMarr as Krushauer/Helectrix, Adam Gates as Chad Brentley, Jonathan Banks as Rick Dicker, Isabella Rossellini as the Ambassador.

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment began distributing under its own label in 1980 and continues to bring quality programming to kids and kids at heart. Home of the most beloved animated features including SNOW WHITE, PINOCCHIO and SLEEPING BEAUTY to name a few is what keeps families coming back for more. To see what is currently available to add to your own family library please visit. www.movies.disney.com for their At Home titles!

The Bluray include the Bonus Extras of Ten Deleted Scenes – Ideas from the Cutting Room Floor, Heroes & Villains – A Collection of Mini-Docs About the Incredible Characters of INCREDIBLES 2, Superbaby – Music Video About the Making of INCREDIBLES 2, Strong Coffee: A Lesson in Animation with Brad Bird – Explore Director Brad Bird’s Early Career and His Big Personality, Super Stuff – See What it Takes to Design and Build an Incredible World.

Also included is Making Bao, the Short Film BAO from Disney*Pixar and the All New Mini-Movie AUNTIE EDNA.

INCREDIBLES 2 has my whole family jumping in our very incredible Incredible pajamas. Yes, when we like something we go all in and this film is definitely family fun from start to finish. It is so great to have the gang back together dealing with the duality of trying to have a normal life while trying to save the world from itself.

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I believe the reason for the films success in 2004 is because this family is so dang cute for one but totally relatable for another. They have work problems, family issues, sibling rivalry – basically everything we non-supers deal with every day. The fact that they are animated just makes all of those things sort of enjoyable.

What I enjoy as well is the fact that writer/director Bird doesn’t really deviate from that winning formula. In fact, once again the story deals with losing a home, being unemployed, Mom having to be the bread winner and Dad discovering what really goes on at home and, of course, turning to true friends in time of need.

Those are awesome things to take away from a film that also entertains at every turn. I sit in front of my big screen television and am giddy with excitement to see one of my favorite families (if you must know, The Adams Family is also in that list) come together once again and, well, be a family that just happens to have something extra to share with us all.

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So gather up your own super family and prepare for adventure, laughs and a little learning with a family that shows us all how it’s possible to be incredible in our own special ways.

In the end – it’s back to work!

 

SAVED BY THE BELL: The Complete Collection is Binge Worthy

 

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Jeri Jacquin

On DVD this week from SHOUT! Factory is an amazing box set of a ‘90s sitcom series that has made it’s was to the status of iconic with SAVED BY THE BELL: The Complete Collection.

Premièring in 1989, Saved by the Bell is the series about Bayside High School in Palisades, California and friends Zack (Mark-Paul Gosselaar), Kelly (Tiffani Thiessen), Slater (Mario Lopez), Jessie (Elizabeth Berkley), Lisa (Lark Voorhies) and Screech (Dustin Diamond) and their teachers Miss Bliss (Hayley Mills) to Mr. Belding (Dennis Haskins).

In the Good Morning, Miss Bliss season, going through school together, these friends go through turmoil’s beginning with Zack beginning his school years with a bit of a lie. If he isn’t busy enough, Zack’s friend Screech has love life issues that only he can solve. Nikki decides that she isn’t about to do anything required to the class science frog.

Screech is dealing with a bully and the gang thinks its best to stand up to him. Teacher Miss Bliss and Mr. Belding trade places while Zack is invited to be part of a club that might not be what he needs.

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Season one Saved by the Bell has the gang back again beginning with icon Casey Kasem hosts a dance show. Screech manages to get hit by lightening and becomes clairvoyant and you can be sure Zack and Slater find a way to make that work for them. Jessie’s room is being listening in on when she has a girl’s sleepover and they are going to make who ever is responsible miserable.

Zack thinks it’s time for Screech to have a girlfriend. When substitute teacher Mr. Crane comes to class, the girls are beside themselves with a little bit of a teachers crush. Kelly wants to go to a George Michael concert but the only way that is going to happen is if she gets immediately better at science.

It’s time for the yearly prank when Zack and Slater take off with the Valley’s mascot while the Valley gets a present of their own in the form of Screech!

In Season 2, Zack believes he is finally going to do something special with Kelly by going to the prom. When he learns that she has family problem, Zack does something unexpected. Discovering that Bayside once had a radio station, they convince Mr. Belding that it would be cool to put it back on the air.

Screech isn’t the only one who is a little accident prone when the group breaks something special that belongs to his mother. There is only one way to make it right and that’s to raise the money.

Zack is up to his money making scheme when he believes he can give good advice to students on their relationships with Screech and Lisa. This is going to be good – or is it? When it comes time to do a presentation about his heritage, Zack knows he has to make it work or he can’t be part of the track team. That is when he meets Chief Henry and learns about the culture and heritage.

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Who can believe it when Zack, Kelly and Slater have a fall out and are all too stubborn to admit when they are wrong. Mr. Belding is in a similar jam at home and now everyone has to either reconcile with each other or break up an awesome batch of friendships and a marriage.

In Season Three, Kelly gets a job so that she can get a costume for the ball but instead finds herself falling for her boss. Zack is upset when he sees that Kelly and Jeff spent time at the movies so he’s going to give them both a taste of their own medicine.

Zack becomes a judge in the pageant that celebrates the Fourth of July. Thinking it will be fun he soon discovers that one of the contestants is being pushed to win. Fake ID’s are the order of the day when Zack gets a crush on Danielle who just happens to be a college student. The ID’s are so that the boys can get into a nightclub where she goes at night.

Jessie is horrified to learn that her stepbrother Eric uses people to get whatever he wants. Raising money for new cheerleader outfits, Jessie is again unsettled by the school having a date auction. Zack proves why Jessie isn’t happy when a girl wins Zack and he doesn’t want to date her.

Bayside High is about to be on the celebrity map when it is chosen to shoot an anti-drug commercial and are devastated to learn that someone was smoking pot. Imagine their surprise when they learn who it is and Kelly tells them of the pressures they face about trying it themselves.

The group of friends attend a murder mystery weekend and freak out once they discover that the host is missing. They are determined to find out who is responsible for it all.

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Season Four starts out with a true test of friendship when Zack and Slater can’t help but fall in love with the same young lady. Screech is busy with his grandma’s spaghetti sauce when he meets Robin. Thinking this is awesome for their friend, they soon discover that she has other plans and it isn’t good.

Slater isn’t happy when he argues with his father about the pros and cons of college versus a military academy and Jessie has college fears of her own. Zack is in another love mess when he falls for Slater’s sister. Slater isn’t about to have it and wants his sister to know of Zack’s ways.

Snow White and the Seven Dorks becomes a rap version that the group performs but a kiss might change everything. With a chance to do something awesome for Bayside High, a contest is started to see who can write the best school song.

Graduation day is here and Zack discovers he needs one more credit to even graduate. Jessie believes that she is valedictorian until she discovers that someone else is chosen and comes to realize this is her chance to let someone else have their dream.

In 1992 Hawaiian Style the group has a chance to go to Hawaii thanks to Kelly’s grandfather. Staying at his hotel, the gang soon learns that there is someone out to take it away from him and they are not about to let that happen!

The College Years start at Cal U where Zack, Slater and Screech discover that college isn’t anything like high school. Zack is going to have to remember the high school days a little bit when Kelly transfers into Cal U.

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Slater begins to learn more about his Hispanic heritage when he becomes part of student activism. The girls decide they want to get a big screen TV and the only way to raise the money is by putting together a male pinup calendar. For Thanksgiving, Mike, Leslie and Screech decide to make a holiday meal for kids who truly need it.

Zack sees a copy of the midterm exam and group isn’t sure how to handle it with the new ethics professor. Kelly decides she wants to take a cruise for the summer and Zack instantly goes into a panic over it. There is truly only one way to make sure that Kelly stays with him.

Talking about their futures, Zack and Kelly now have to deal with people who want to play an active part in their marriage decision. As if that isn’t enough, Slater makes it clear that he isn’t for it at all.

Finally, Wedding in Las Vegas brings more family drama than either Zack or Kelly could have anticipated. Especially when Zack’s father makes it clear he is not for the wedding and won’t give him one dime toward it.

Packed and ready to go, the guys don’t get far before they have their first experience behind bars. The girls aren’t having any better luck when their cars radiator blows and belt fails. Along the road comes Kurt Martin who rigs the car and only wants a ride to Vegas as payment.

They boys get out of jail while the girls are already in the Stardust hotel lobby. After guys, gals, money problems, escorts, thugs, misunderstandings, car chases, and dirty diamond, there is a wedding as the group must say their goodbyes so another chapter of their lives can begin.

Hasbro Studios is an iconic brand with some of the best in animation and family programming with MY LITTLE PONY, and LITTLEST PET SHOP. Since its formation in 2009, Hasbro Studios has received seven Daytime Emmy’s!

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SHOUT! Factory brings the best to fans offering up feature films, classic television series, animation and specials. For more of what they have to offer go to www.shoutfactory.com.

The box set includes the Bonus Features of New Documentary Features Past Times at Bayside High: Making Saved by the Bell and Bayside’s Greatest Hits: The Music of Saved by the Bell, Saturday Morning: From Toons to Teens, It’s Alright: Back to the Bell, The First of Its Class: From Sit-Com to Icon, Audio Commentaries, Photo Galleries and a Sixteen-Page Episode Guide.

That means this amazing SAVED BY THE BELL: The Complete Collection contains all 118 episodes from all three series – Good Morning, Miss Bliss, Saved by the Bell and Saved by the Bell: The College Years plus both movies and a locker full of special features.

SAVED BY THE BELL is an iconic series that is continually shared by those of us who watched it from the very beginning. I remember my grown kids spending their time with the Bayside High gang and I never worried that the show was too edgy for them. Instead I enjoyed how much fun they had watching the show and introduced me to it as well.

From the very beginning the show related to the kids about the issues they were facing at the time. From bullying, dances, life choices and friendship, SAVED BY THE BELL continually followed their growing up and into college years where their lives changed even more as the reached young adulthood.

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The cast of Gosselaar, Thiessen, Lopez, Berkley, Voorhies and Diamond along with Mills and Haskins truly made the show. None of the characters could have gone on without them because they truly gave faces to the characters they played from the first episode to the last. That is a rare thing for a television series and we are thrilled they did!

Here it is 2018 and the opportunity to revisit old friends once again is all in one box set. That means something to all of us who have come to embrace the show because now the next generation has the chance to see what we all laughed about then and discover that things are not so very different now.

In the end – we were all saved by the bell!

SKYSCRAPER is Everything Anyone Can Want from the Rock on Bluray!

SKYSCRAPER COVER

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray/DVD and Digital from writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment comes the story of a family man, bad guys and a tall building called a SKYSCRAPER.

Will Sawyer (Dwayne Johnson) is a former FBI man who has begun a small security business of his own. Through the help of Ben (Pablo Schreiber), a former member of his FBI team, Will has been given the opportunity of a lifetime. Doing the security check of the highest skyscraper in the world owned by Zhao Long Ji (Chin Han), Will is more than a little nervous.

Living in the family section of the building that is waiting to be open to the public is wife Sarah (Neve Campbell) who is a successful doctor in her own right. Also, their twins Georgia (McKenna Roberts) and Henry (Noah Cottrell) are enjoying the adventure living in Hong Kong.

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Meeting with Zhao, Will is given the okay to complete his security work and given a tablet that allows only him access to certain areas of the building. Headed to the off site facility, Will is attacked and his satchel is stolen. Ben is there to help and discovers that Will still has what it takes. It becomes clear that there is something more sinister happening when Kores Botha (Roland Moller) enters the building.

Seen by Sarah in the hallways, it is soon after that a fire alarm goes off! Will figures out that the building is under attack and tries to reach his family when he realizes they are in their apartment. He is surprised when it is put on the big screens around Hong Kong that he is the one responsible for it all.

A police headquarters is set up and led by Inspector Wu (Byron Mann) who is suspicious about everything that has been happening. Putting a call out to find Will, it doesn’t take long. On a building next to the skyscraper, Will is finding his own way back into the building that has now been locked down with police hot on his trail.

Zhao is told by his handlers and Mr. Pierce (Noah Taylor) that Will’s family is still in the building and they try to retrieve them. As the fire burns out of control and Zhao realizes that his building has been compromised, he knows it’s time to go and who is responsible for everything.

None of that matters to Will, he wants his family safe and no billionaire, bad guy or skyscraper is going to stop him!

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Johnson as Sawyer is a man with heart, soul and a deep understanding of family. Now, let’s get down to business with this role. Of course this is a ‘disaster’ film and it looks like a few we’ve seen over the years yet bit when Dwayne Johnson takes the lead it’s all good with me. He always portrays a charmingly humble sort of guy who knows what the right thing is and doesn’t hesitate to do it. His characters are always flawed in some way and as Sawyer; he is a man who has a physical disability that doesn’t slow him down. He’s smart, unwavering and determined to make sure his family comes first and that’s what makes him a good dude.

I also must say that if the universe is looking for another Spiderman, they might want to consider Dwayne Johnson (you will understand when you see the film). I was also impressed with little tricks that I kept thinking, “I bet John McClane (DIE HARD) is mad he didn’t think of that”. Just a great homage to a lot of classic disaster and action films I happen to love.

Campell as Sarah is a pretty darn good woman in her own right. She is supportive of her husband, smart with an important career and equally as dedicated to her family. When it all starts to go down, Campell goes into beast mode and makes it clear she is a force to be reckoned with as well. I enjoyed that about her role, she gets her hands dirty and clearly isn’t a pushover. That goes for Roberts as daughter Georgia and Cottrell as son Henry as these two are afraid (with every reason to be) yet are motivated by the example set by their parents.

Moller as bad guy Botha is quiet, skilled and doesn’t give a hoot who gets in his way. He has a score to settle and settle it he absolutely will. Schreiber as Ben is the man who starts it all using his friendship with Will. Taylor as Mr. Pierce is the guy I’d never trust in a million years which means a performance well done. Mann as Inspector Wu gives Will the chance to plea

Other cast include Kevin Rankin as Ray, Matt O’Leary as Skinny Hacker, Tzi Ma as Fire Chief Sheng, Adrian Holmes as Ajani Okeke, and Elfina Luk as Sgt. Han.

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Universal Studios Home Entertainment has just added an amazing film to their library and making it available for us all to experience and re-experience in our own home theatres. There are films of every genre available from scary to drama to family films. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.uphe.com.

The Bluray includes the Bonus Features Deleted & Extended Scenes with Commentary by Director Rawson Marshall Thurber – Go behind the scenes with Dwayne Johnson and the rest of the cast of Skyscraper, Dwayne Johnson: Embodying a Hero – Go behind the scenes to see what it took for Dwayne Johnson to bring the intense character of Will Sawyer to life.

Inspiration – Meet the real life amputee and motivational speaker Jeff Glasbrenner, the inspiration for Dwayne Johnson’s role of Will Sawyer. See how Jeff’s consultations helped inform Dwayne’s character from day one. Opposing Forces – There’s no holding back as the women of SKYSCRAPER get in on the action. Now, see first hand what it took for Neve Campbell and Hannah Quinlivan to be fight ready.

Friends No More – When Dwayne Johnson and Pablo Schreiber met face to face, they immediately knew what they were up against. Witness first hand the making of the intense apartment fight between two former on screen friends.

 Kids in Action – In SKYSCRAPER everyone gets in on the action, even the Sawyer children. Go on set with Noah Cottrell and McKenna Roberts to discover the moves behind their stunts.

 Finally, Pineapple Pitch – Hear first hand from Dwayne Johnson how writer/director Rawson Marshall Thurber pitched him the idea of SKYSCRAPER. It may be a little fruitier than you think, and Feature Commentary by Director Rawson Marshall Thurber.

 SKYSCRAPER has pretty much everything you go to see an action film for. Although the storyline might seem familiar in a few ways, it certainly doesn’t take away from what happens on screen. Johnson goes in full force and doesn’t waste any time taking his character for a full on adventure but then again we have come to expect that from him – happily so.

Look, I’ve been a fan of disaster films since I was a kid. My earliest experience in disasters on film was watching the 1953 film TITANIC with Clifton Webb and Barbara Stanwyck which captivated me from start to finish much to my mother’s dismay. After that I couldn’t wait to see what Hollywood would come up with next and I followed fearlessly with each film. It’s probably the notion that I get a thrill out of surviving the disasters or perhaps I just enjoy watching what human beings do when survival is on the line.

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Now, SKYSCRAPER is one of those films that I will watch again and again. I enjoyed Johnson be a part of a family that fights for their survival and not be a victim of it which I’m sure the bad guys didn’t anticipate. Instead, I cheer them all on and boo when the bad guys showed their ugly mugs and will every time I watch the film.

That’s what makes films like SKYSCRAPER so enjoyable – the interaction that my family enjoys being a part of and now at home we can holler as loud as we want! There is something to be said for being outspoken when the characters on screen give us something to cheer about. Finally, this film is just one heck of a good time and just like in the theatres, do so with a bucket of popcorn and a comfy seat.

In the end – don’t look down!

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