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DREAMKATCHER Brings Frights

Dreamkatcher cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to DVD, Digital and OnDemand from writer/director Kerry Harris and Lionsgate is a tale of darkness emanating from a DREAMKATCHER.

After the loss of his mother, young Josh (Finlay Wojtak-Hissong) along with his father Luke (Henry Thomas) and Gail (Radha Mitchell) arrive in her mountain home. Surrounded by forests and trees, Luke feels like it is a chance for them all to connect. Josh has made is clear he isn’t fond of Gail.

At night, Josh has dreams that quickly turn into nightmares. When Luke is called back down the mountain for work, Gail and Josh spend their time walking through the woods. They come upon a building with the strangest object inside and it fascinates Josh. They meet Ruth (Lin Shaye) who tells them that some of the object help capture bad dreams which interests the young boy.

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Gail and Josh continue to be at odds, but she tries to remember that he is dealing with the death of his mother. He runs off without telling Gail to see Ruth feeling that she must have something that can help his sleep at night and the visions. While the two women speak, Josh wanders into the barn next store and finds an object he believes will help him.

What comes next are secrets, mystery and a spirit that has plans of its own!

Mitchell as Gail is a child psychologist who recognizes that Josh is dealing with death. Trying to give the young boy his space, it becomes clear that he is dealing with something more. Day by day she takes a deep breath and waits for Luke’s return. Mitchell jumps all in to bring the story the right amount of sanity with the right amount of creepy.

Wojtak-Hissong as Josh is the creepy factor mixed with a kid who doesn’t know how to deal with the death of a parent. Making sure Gail is the target of his frustration doesn’t help but even more is the evening hours is where his fear waits to be exploited.

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Shaye as Ruth is as quirky as she wants to be but then again, I love what she does in the horror/thriller genre. She has the unique ability to be straight forward but still a hint of mystery in her voice. Never coming out directly to say what needs to be said, her hints can be more frightening than the real thing.

Thomas as Luke tries to understand Josh but eases out to handle work leaving Gail to take over. Even when he finally comes home, he has no problem making Gail the focus of Josh’s frustrations. A parent rowing down the rough river of denial doesn’t make it without hitting a waterfall! Good to see the E.T. star keeping busy.

Other cast include Jules Willcox as Becky and Joseph Bishara as Night Hag.

Lionsgate is a global leader in motion picture production and distribution for theatres, television, home entertainment and more. Theatre franchises include THE HUNGER GAMES, and DIVERGENT along with JOHN WICK. Now, adding this film to its 16,000 motion picture and television titles you can see everything coming soon as well as available now at http://www.lionsgate.com.

DREAMKATCHER is a mystery/thriller/horror mixture that plays itself out slowly. It’s a creepy yarn that deserves a dark room, a cozy couch, fluffy blankets, a bowl of popcorn and a family that likes to jump and speculate. There are moments of ‘ewwww’ and a few cover-your-eyes but isn’t that what a good yarn does?

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Lin Shaye is also an Executive Producer of the film which I think is just another cool factor about her. Making a name for herself in the thriller/horror genre, she can also be seen in the cable series PENNY DREADFUL: City of Angels as Dottie Minter (excellent I must say) and coming up in KILLING WINSTON JONES and THE GNASHING.

Staying has never been so spooky!

In the end – let the nightmare begin!

It is a Haunting Sound of the SONATA on Bluray

sonata bluray

 

Jeri Jacquin

On Bluray from writer/director Andrew Desmond and Screen Media Films comes a haunting story of secrets, family and a beautiful and deadly SONATA.

Rose Fisher (Freya Tingley) is an amazing violinist on stage but once the music is finished, she lives a secluded life. Her day to day schedule is tended to by Charles Vermais (Simon Abkarian) who handles everything keeping Rose free to create.

While recording music, Rose is informed that her father Richard Marlowe (Rutger Hauer) has passed away. In the lawyer’s office, she is told that her inheritance includes a large secluded house. Rose has no emotions regarding his death since he never made an effort to be a father.

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Curiosity brings her to Marlowe’s house and Rose discovers his last piece of music. Trying to play it she doesn’t understand the markings on the paper. Vermais calls to check up on Rose and she tells him everything.

He begins to research Marlowe and turns to Sir Victor Ferdinand (James Faulkner) who sets him searching even more. In the meantime, Rose is experiencing something alive in the house and it is trying to tell her something.

It is even more frightening than she could ever imagine.

Tingley as Rose is raised feeling that her father made no attempt to be a part of her life. Music is her way to express her emotions that she is unable to express in her daily life. At Marlowe’s house she begins to feel a power that is challenging her emotional strength and Tingley does an amazing job of portraying that.

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Abkarian as Vernais is a manager who really does have control of Rose’s life in every aspect. He makes sure that she is taken care of which allows her to be the famous musician. The problem is the house begins to have its way with him as well.

Falulker as Ferdinand is the man with the explanations as he watches both Rose and Vernais unravel the musical puzzle left behind by Marlowe.

Hauer as Marlowe isn’t on the screen as much as I wish he could have been. Yet, he is perfect because what you do see is what Hauer has always done best – be hauntingly good.

Other cast include Catherine Schaub-Abkarian as Therese, Matt Barber as James, and Laine Stengrevica as Meredith.

Screen Media has one of the largest independently-owned libraries of filmed entertainment in the world and license agreements across all forms of media, Screen Media’s distribution capability enables direct distribution of all rights in all countries, thus enhancing the profitability of Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment productions. The company is continually looking to add films and television series to its content library. For more information please visit http://www.screenmedia.net.

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The Bonus Feature includes a Behind the Scenes.

SONATA is a thriller on more than one level. There is the story of Rose and her father also Rose and her manager. Those are difficult at best as the film slowly reveals. Then Rose has the relationship with the house, but she doesn’t understand why.

All of this brings and intensity and the need to keep up with the mystery that wraps everything together. The cast is small which means that the focus stays on three main characters to tell you the true story of SONATA.

The film is creepy, telling and mysterious and all of it put together make SONATA a great Friday night with the lights out and a big bowl of popcorn. All of the above are the reason I love films like this with an original story with twists and turns that are pretty darn cool.

In the end – play the music and prepare for darkness!

M. Knight Shyamalan Brings Mystery to SERVANT

Servant cover
Jeri Jacquin
Currently on Apple TV+ from creator Tony Basgallop and M. Knight Shyamalan is the stunning and jaw dropping series SERVANT.
Chef Sean (Toby Kebbell) and television reporter Dorothy (Lauren Ambrose) are a couple that are dealing with the loss of their son Jericho.  At the suggestion of family friend, Sean gives Dorothy a doll that she sees as her son. Dealing with the situation, the arrival of the very young and meek Leanne Grayson (Nell Tiger Free) is hired to be Jericho’s nanny. Following Dorothy’s lead, it is Sean who waits until they are alone to inform Leanne that she doesn’t have to pretend with him.
A few days after her arrival, Sean hears a baby crying and follows the sound to the nursery where Dorothy’s doll has become a live baby. Freaking out, Sean calls brother-in-law Julian (Rupert Grint) to show him what has happened. Immediately Julian suspects that the new nanny has something to do with it and shares his theories with Sean.
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Dorothy doesn’t seem to notice the difference and is thrilled to be back to herself with a new baby and doing her reports once again. Leanne is actually fascinated and disturbed by the goings on in the Turner house with Sean’s sous chef Tobe (Tony Revolori) taking an interest in her. At her husband’s request, Dorothy starts asking questions about where Leanne is from and her life.
In the meantime, Julian is on the case hiring Matthew Roscoe (Phillip Brannon) to find out where this mysterious girl has come from and what she is up to. He can’t wait to show his brother-in-law what they have discovered which deepens the mystery.
So, I’m going to stop right here because this is a series you absolutely have to experience for yourself!
Kebbell as Sean is an arrogant chef who loves his career and wife (even though they can, at times be mouthy to one another) and is twisted by what is happening. Giving a performance that mostly, so far, has this actor with a huge question mark above his head, also can’t help but feel fatherly toward Jericho #2. I have to say that watching him great dishes during the show is pretty cool. He gets a chance to experience a one two punch of mystery and good eats and I’m all for that.
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Ambrose as Dorothy is a woman who is proud of her reporter skills yet she seems to have blank screen when it comes to actually knowing what’s going on in her own home. She’s a good person with a quick wit and a protectiveness towards her family – including brother Julian. At first I was annoyed with Dorothy and then I just dropped my jaw and became in awe of her. Certainly most of us might behave differently but that isn’t going to stop viewers from jumping on to her bandwagon to see where this ride is going to take us. Well done Ambrose!
Free as Leanne is a young girl who seems to be missing part of the real world in her life. Fascinated by the life she is beginning with the Turner’s, she also seems to enjoy taking care of baby Jericho (that is, the doll that is now a real baby Jericho – confused yet?). Taking a liking to Dorothy, she begins to feel part of the family even if she gets snide comments and judgmental looks from both Julian and Sean.
Grint as Julian is a messed up human being who loves the wine at his brother-in-law’s house. It is clear that he’d like nothing better than to expose Leanne for whoever he thinks she is but worrying about his sister has become a full time job. Julian wants to protect her from any more pain but this is a situation that isn’t going to let that happen. Grint is on his game and I must admit to it being weird not hearing Ronald Weasly’s voice come out. Trust me when I say that thought will fade fast because he is aaaaaamazing as Julian.
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Brannon as Matthew is on the case by going with Julian to where Leanne says she comes from. What he finds disturbs him just as it would anyone else. Revolori as Tobe is attempting to be friends with Leanne but is confused by her reaction to things. That’s not going to stop him from being Sean’s best sous chef so we’ll be seeing more of him in upcoming episodes.
Apple TV+ is a video on demand web television service of Apple Inc. The content is viewable through Apple’s website and through Apple’s TV app which is available through electronic devices. Accessible in about 100 countries, they distribute their own content and original programming.
The directing duties begin with Shyamalan taking the helm with the first episode Reborn, with the directing duties going to Daniel Sackheim for episode 2 Wood and 3 Eel. There are seven more episodes to bring the series to a climatic season finale with that feeling of ‘awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!’ knowing the wait it on.
SERVANT is a series that is going to have you wanting more and more and even more. The episodes are a half hour each which absolutely and totally drives me insane. That’s probably what creator Basgallop had in mind in the first place. Sitting at his keyboard wondering what would be the best way to make everyone growl like a bear when the credits start to role – it worked so well played sir!
The show is a bit of brilliance and it is clear why Shyamalan would want to be part of it, the storyline is right up his professional ally. SERVANT is a mixture of feeling crazy, not understanding what is in front of us, twisting our brains trying to jump ahead and figure things out but then stopping because we can’t get away from the crazy feeling. Now personally, I happen to like when a show does that and I’m not going to lie, SERVANT had me slapping my head a few times, yelling at the screen with ‘what…THE…&$%@!’ or ‘you’ve GOT to be kidding me!’
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Yet, I went back, again and again wanting more, wanting answers and wanting to be riveted and I got it (I still want more than a half hour but I guess you can’t have everything – yet!). The show is creepy, eerie, maddening and filled with twisted humor moments. Apple TV+ has a hit on its hands and now I am curious to see the other series they have to offer and trust when I say I’ll be checking them out for you so stay tuned.
In the end – there is not an easy mystery to unravel!

ANGEL OF MINE Brings Mystery to Bluray

Angel cover
Jeri Jacquin
Coming to Bluray/DVD, Digital and currently on VOD from director Kim Farrant and Lionsgate is the unbelievable mystery wrapped in the ANGEL OF MINE.
Lizzie (Noomi Rapace) has spent the last several years of her life drifting because of a terrible fire accident at the local hospital. She has been so deep in her emotions that husband Mike (Luke Evans) has moved out and son Thomas (Finn Little) is being effected. When Mike tells Lizzie that their son needs to come live in a less dark place, Lizzie is even more distraught.
Living on medications from her therapist and a job that just fills in the time, she happens to see the young Lola (Annika Whiteley) picking up Thomas from school. She is drawn to the child in such a way that she goes out of her way to meet Mom Claire (Yvonne Strahovski). Friending each other, their sons get along very well.
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Lizzie spends moments with Lola and can’t understand why there is a strange draw to the girl. Claire and husband Bernard (Richard Roxburgh) notice but don’t make a big deal about it as they are trying to sell their home for a move. As the days go by, Claire becomes more and more aware of Lizzie and becomes disturbed.
The obsession takes over Lizzie’s life to the point that everyone notices and an intervention happens with Mike taking their son and the therapist suggests inpatient care. Lizzie isn’t about to let anyone change her feelings for Lola because she believes something that they could never comprehend.
That belief might drive her to an even darker place!
Rapace as Lizzie is a young mother suffering by trying to be something everyone wants her to be and that’s ‘normal’. Her day to day becomes a struggle to the point where son Thomas can’t find happiness either feeling pulled into her medicated world. Rapace does such an amazing job of portraying a mother who has had her life taken over by everyone and afraid of her own feelings.
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Strahovski as Claire is a mother who is happy with her family and sees that something is becoming strange with Lizzie. She will do anything to protect her family as Lizzie pops up unexpectedly to often fixated on her daughter Lola. Strahovski is a strong character who isn’t about to let anyone hurt her family.
Evans as Mike is a man who can not seem to find a way to reach his estranged wife. He tries to tell her that it is tearing everyone apart but can’t seem to reach her. He wants what is best for his son and at the moment – it isn’t his mother. Roxburgh as Bernard tries to be kind to Lizzie and excuse some of her odd behavior but eventually he comes to understand his wife’s concerns.
Little as Thomas is the one who suffers with a father who is no longer in the home and a mother who is in the home but isn’t there for him. He doesn’t want to be apart from his mother but it is all becoming to much for him and that’s the sadness of it. Whiteley is a very charming young lady who has such a beautiful smile. She likes Lizzie and doesn’t seem to feel any danger at all.
Other cast include Pip Miller as Carl, Tracy Mann as Lena, Indi Serafin as Jeremy, Rob Collins as Brian, Emily Gruhl as Courtney, Natalia Rozpara as Majka and Mirko Grillini as Dr. Armand.
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Lionsgate is a global leader in motion picture production and distribution for theatres, television, home entertainment and more. Theatre franchises include THE HUNGER GAMES, and DIVERGENT along with JOHN WICK. Now, adding this film to its 16,000 motion picture and television titles you can see everything coming soon as well as available now at http://www.lionsgate.com.
ANGEL OF MINE  is an intense psychological thriller that doesn’t give itself away. There is a fine line between what Lizzie thinks she sees and what is true. Trying to be a wife doesn’t work, trying to be a good mother fails, trying to be a good daughter only brings judgement and just being a person is painful.
Rapace manages to handle all that in one character and do it extremely well. Then again I might be a tad partial because I have always enjoyed her performances since seeing her in the 2009 THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO. She took one of my favorite characters from book to screen and I’ve followed her ever since.
She has such an intensity and that is absolutely required to play the role of Lizzie. She has the mannerisms, expressions and sense of urgency that this character needed to be believable. Add to the Strahovski and these two women bring this story to a climax that made my jaw drop. Well done ladies!
In the end – there are two sides to every secret!

AD ASTRA Takes to the Stars

Ad Astra cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres this Friday from directors James Gray, Dan Bradley and 20th Century Fox comes a story of a man who needs to save the planet with AD ASTRA.

Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) is an astronaut who has the uncanny knack for keeping his emotions under control. Constantly being monitored for flight readiness, it has come at the expense of his relationship with Eve (Liv Tyler). During an accident at work, his superiors notice that he kept a level head. What Roy learns is that the accident is caused by the Lima Project that was run by his father Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones).

The senior McBride left years earlier in search of other life in the universe. Hailed as a hero for his work in space, that is what Roy remembers or more so what he has been told.

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He is given the mission to go to Mars and send a transmission to his father. Mars is the only planet that hasn’t been affected by the violent pulses sent through the galaxy. Going along with McBride is Col. Pruitt (Donald Sutherland), a one-time friend to Clifford and someone to keep an eye on Roy. Stopping on the moon, Roy learns more about what is expected of him once he reaches Mars.

Once landed, Roy is met by Helen Lantos (Ruth Negga) who seems mysterious but actually has information that he has never been privy to. Reaching out to his father through transmissions, all of a sudden things change and those in charge want him back on earth. He is not about to turn back now and with the help of Helen he once again gets aboard a ship that will take him on the most solitary and long voyage he could have imagined.

He has time to make the decision about how to stop the effects of the Lima Project and come face to face with a father he thought he knew.

Pitt as Roy is a man who tries to keep focus on his emotions by keeping himself apart from everyone else. Believing that his father was dead, he is still calm when told it is a possibility that the elder McBride might still be alive. Every step he takes is calculated and once realizing his purpose is served isn’t about to stop until he has all the answers. There is something so very cool when Pitt takes a role that isn’t full of talk but instead straight forward action. Although there is a full cast here, it is Pitt’s character that commands the film.

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Sutherland as Col. Pruitt is sent by the higher ups to keep an eye on Roy but there is also a history. Pruitt knew the elder McBride and seems to be hoping to see him once again but his reasons are a bit different that Roy’s. I have always enjoyed Sutherland on any screen because he is an actor that may be large in stature but never pulls on the screen. Even when he yells it’s brief, important and then back to center with such roles in M*A*S*H, INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, ORDINARY PEOPLE and even his role in THE HUNGER GAMES, I am always all in to watch him.

Tyler as Eve has a smaller role but one that is important in understanding the repercussions of Roy’s inability to let loose once in a while. She wanted more and he couldn’t provide it. Negga as Helen has her own story to tell and she is absolutely ready to tell Roy, whether he is ready to hear it or not.

Jones as Clifford McBride is a hero to everyone who knows about the Lima Project. Roy has lived in the shadow of Clifford even though he didn’t truly understand why he chose space over his family. When Jones is on screen there is a sincere insanity that exists in that he believes in what he says to the point of not being able to tell right from wrong.

On an interesting side note – Sutherland and Jones appeared in another movie together in 2000 called SPACE COWBOYS so it seems fitting they would come full circle in suits once again. In that film they were both space geniuses as well so kudos for bringing it back 19 years later!

Other cast include Anne McDaniels as Shunga Hologram, John Ortiz as General Rivas, Kimberly Elise as Lorraine Deavers, Greg Bryk as Chip Garnes, Loren Dean as Donald Stanford, John Finn as Stroud, Kimmy Shields as Sgt. Romano, and LisaGay Hamilton as Adjutent General Amelia Vogel.

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AD ASTRA is a film about many different things – from a man who is about to discover that his emotional world is larger than the universe he is about to fly into, to learning that history doesn’t always paint a real picture. Clearly the visual are stunning but then again most space films are. In recent years there have been several and since I am a fan of space films, AD ASTRA works.

That being said I also want to say that it seems that this is a man-version of GRAVITY. Don’t get me wrong, that isn’t a bad thing, it’s just how I see it. Throw in 2014’s INTERSTELLAR and Matthew McConaughey’s character Cooper along with Sandra Bullock’s character Ryan Stone from GRAVITY and Roy McBride of AD ASTRA – all have emotional issues that they hide with their space work. When life and death kick in they all trust in what they know intellectually but also experience a sense of acceptance and letting go.

Now that I have that out of my system I truly did enjoy Pitt’s performance because of in depth. A role doesn’t have to have tons of talking in order for me to totally understand the plight of a character. Pitt seems to be the calm in the middle of a galactic storm as others swirl around the outer vortex of this character.

There is absolutely no doubt that the cinematography is also a character in the film. From the stunning landing on the moon to shooting off to Mars and then Jupiter and beyond, the colors are stunning, the space is cold yet inviting and it is eye candy for anyone who just adores the idea of space and space travel.

 

In the end – the answers we seek are just outside our reach!

THE BLACK STRING is a Trip of the Mind

The Black String DVD

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to DVD and screening at the GI Film Festival San Diego from director Brian Hanson and Lionsgate is a story of twists and bends and a trail of THE BLACK STRING.

Jonathan (Frankie Muniz) is a lonely young man who works in a convenience store. He is avoiding his parents and takes advice from friend Eric (Blake Webb) on how to get out into the world. One night at home he sees a commercial for companionship and is drawn to call. The next night he has a blind date with Dena (Chelsea Edmundson) who rushes Jonathan into spending the night.

The next morning Dena is gone but leaves behind a mysterious rash and Jonathan is instantly freaked out. If that isn’t enough, he starts experiencing strange disturbances that turn into actions he knows are caused by whatever is eating at him. Looking for answers, Eric and his parents decide he is detached from reality and so the fight begins to prove what he knows is true with the forces that are pushing everyone away.

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Turning to a woman named Melinda (Mary K. DeVault) for help, she tries to guide him before turning back is no longer an option. Explaining that she knows exactly what he is going through, the process if painful, terrorizing and one that begs the question of who is responsible and how can they be stopped!

Muniz as Jonathan is a young man who clearly is not the popular guy in town. Rather shy he is often mistook for someone who can be pushed around and easily manipulated. He lets things go, that is until pushed to his limits trying to survive something he doesn’t understand. Muniz makes that performance terrifyingly believable and that’s important because this story is deliberate in the telling leaving each encounter creepier than the last.

Webb as Eric is the outgoing, a little nutty and colorful friend to Jonathan, that is until he sees something happening to his friend that he can’t handle. DeVault as Melinda tries to help Jonathan as much as she can without getting herself back into a place that obviously terrifies her.

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Shout out to Alexander Ward as The Entity because anything that does what his, well, entity does is just a tad creepier than I need. It is a creature that I think we’ve all dreamt about in our scary dreams and here it is in the flesh so to speak.

Other cast include Richard Handley as Dr. Ronaldi, Colby French as Mr. Marsh, Laura Richardson as Mrs. March, Ravi Patel as Dr. May, Jackie Moore as Lollypop, Jenny Strubin as Winter, Gary Sievers as Homeless Mike and Cullen Douglas as the Man in Black.

Lionsgate is a global leader in motion picture production and distribution for theaters, television, home entertainment and more. Theater franchises include THE HUNGER GAMES, and DIVERGENT along with JOHN WICK. Now, adding this film to its 16,000 motion picture and television titles and you can see everything coming soon as well as available now at http://www.lionsgate.com.

The DVD and Digital Special Features include Audio commentary with Director and Cowriter Brian Hanson and Producer Charles Bunch, String Theory: The Making of THE BLACK STRING Featurette, Deleted Scenes and Alternate Takes.

THE BLACK STRING was the Official Selection at the Austin Film Festival in 2018 and will be a feature film presented at the GI Film Festival in San Diego in late September. If you want to enjoy a fright on the big screen visit http://www.gifilmfestivalsd.org to purchase tickets and view the schedule time.

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Muniz gives a performance that adds to the films deeply disturbing story. Trying to make his way in the world with parents who don’t see his potential, it doesn’t help when he takes a step forward to try and date. Although I personally wouldn’t call a hotline for that, the character of Jonathan would and it’s believable.

The creepiness of the film is watching Muniz character try and discover what is true and what isn’t because, at times, I wasn’t sure myself. When he is told that he answers are right in front of him, I went on the hunt for clues right along with the character. That’s always a fun way to keep the scary in check.

Of playing the role, Muniz says, “It’s amazing when you can look at a project you’ve done and say ‘man, we worked hard’. I am thrilled with it and I hope people enjoy it to.”

In the end – paranoia cuts deep!

 

Amazon Studios CARNIVAL ROW brings Mystery and Fantasy

Carnival cover

Jeri Jacquin

Currently on Amazon Prime is the first season of an original mystery and fantasy along CARNIVAL ROW.

Vignette Stonemoss (Cara Delevingne) is a fae who has escaped from an attack on her homeland from the Pact. Finding her way to a ship, a storm then sinks it and she is the sole survivor. The ship belongs to Ezra Spurnrose (Andrew Gower) and seeing Vignette as an indentured servant on the ship expects her to now work in his home as a maid. Knowing she must survive in this new place, Vignette visits Carnival Row and finds Tourmaline (Karla Crome). They have so much to catch up on but the biggest surprise is discovering that the man she loves, Philo (Orlando Bloom) is actually alive. Living the past seven years believing he was dead, Vignette is shocked and angry.

Philo is investigating the recent attacks on what are known as fae-folk as a police inspector. Aisling is one of the fae that is murdered and Philo continues to follow the clues. Taking it step by step he talks to everyone involved with the victims only to come up against a man warning him that a creature he calls the “dark-god” is responsible. If that isn’t freaky enough, Vignette makes herself known to Philo and she does so with a vengeance. She doesn’t understand how he could have gone all this time letting her suffer thinking she had lost him and Philo has no answers for her.

Spurnrose lives in the richer part of town with his sister Imogen (Tamzin Merchant) and both are horrified to learn that their new neighbor Agreus (David Gyasi) is a faun which is unacceptable to them. It is considered ridiculous that a creature would try to make his way into society. When Spurnrose finally confides in Imogen that their finances aren’t what they should be, a deal is struck with Agreus – his backing for a new ship for introduction into high society. Imogen agrees to make that happen.

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The Chancellor Absalom Breakspear (Jared Harris) is trying to keep the peace in the city along with his wife Piety (Indira Varma) and son Jonah (Arty Froushan). He knows something is going on and advises them to steer clear of Carnival Row. That doesn’t stop Jonah from being kidnapped but they don’t know who is responsible.

It is finally revealed how Burguish soldier Philo met Vignette. Her village becomes a station for the soldiers are looking for the best location for keeping an eye out for the Pact while fixing the telegraph line. While out, Philo, Vignette and his friend Darius are attacked by wolves. When the Pact attack the village in a brutal way, Vignette is taken away but told that Philo has been killed.

Now, more people are being killed and it is becoming clear that what they have in common is knowing Philo. Vignette is trying to separate herself from him as her anger toward what has happened to her people outweighs any feelings she might have for him. To that effort Philo takes his landlady out for dinner and tries to begin something but he is still in a dark place.

The Chancellor believes that Longerbane (Ronan Vibert) is responsible for the kidnapping but after he meets with disaster, his daughter Sophie (Caroline Ford) steps in and Jonah is actually found. The young man believes he knows who is actually responsible for his capture but doesn’t want to call it out in case he is wrong. Seeing Sophie in chambers for the first time, he is captivated by her but mom Petrie isn’t as happy about it.

As more secrets are brought out in the open, Philo and Vignette realize that they must work together to find out what is killing those in Carnival Row. The landlady isn’t as happy and tells Philo’s officers a secret that she knows about him leading to his arrest for murder.

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The relationship between Agreus and Imogen has her brother aggravated and wants it to stop. He understands that they may need his money but as others in town start offering to socialize with Agreus, he sees no need to keep up appearances for his sister. Chancellor Breakspear wants to help Philo and Vignette but doesn’t realize that he is about to have his life altered by a Puck, the last group that would ever be suspected.

The dominos are starting to fall and it is leading a showdown on Carnival Row that no one could have ever imagined!

Bloom as Philo has the look of a man tortured by his orphaned past, losing his love and seeing the worst of mankind in his role as an officer of the law. When Philo sees Vignette, he is reminded of so much of the past that it could interfere with what is happening right in front of him. Bloom has taken on such a dark character but it wouldn’t be the first time. In CARNIVAL ROW he has the added bonus of so many dark characters all around him and a story that is filled with twists that he fits right in.

Delevingne as Vignette is a fierce fae who isn’t about to put her people or their culture ahead of anything else, except for maybe love. Not a fan of Philo in the beginning, she begins to realize that he doesn’t mean her or the fae any harm. When she thinks him gone, it breaks her heart but not her spirit. She can easily take care of herself but once on Carnival Row, Vignette realizes that her anger at Philo is far down the list of what it takes to survive. Delevinge is quite perfect for this role in that she has the fae look and makes the role her very own and I love that about this character.

Gower as Spurnrose is absolutely yucky from top to bottom of his character and this actor plays it dripping with distain. That’s what makes it such a fantastic role! I can’t stand Spurnrose yet I also can’t wait to see how he’s going to make me dislike him even more and Gower doesn’t disappoint. Merchant as Imogen is as stuck up as one would expect from a woman of her time and station. She doesn’t care about anything or anyone but herself and her finery and yet it takes a Puck to make her see past all of that.

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Gyasi as Agreus is a Puck to isn’t about to let anyone, human or otherwise, tell him how to live his life. Enjoying the fine home he purchased for himself and man-servant Jim, he also has the uncanny knack of knowing what humans are thinking. His relationship with Imogen is not one either is happy about but it does have its clever perks. Crome as Tourmaline sees what her friend Vignette is going through and it hurts her heart but for more reason that either wants to openly admit.

Varma as Piety is a woman who understands the politics that her husband is part of but also enjoys the lifestyle it provides. She also knows that something is changing on Carnival Row and wants her son to stay away. When he is kidnapped, she suspects everyone. Froushan as Jonah is a young man who is use to a certain lifestyle and doesn’t have much expected of him. Smothered by his mother and feeling like he is disappointing his father, he finds a strange solace at Carnival Row. Ford as Sophie begins to provide Jonah with another kind of distraction and no one is pleased about it. She is a strong character who doesn’t mind breaking the rules in order to get higher up in the ranks.

Harris as the Chancellor continues to be on an amazing streak of roles in the last few years. I absolutely love everything he does including the recent HBO mini-series CHERNOBYL, the AMC series THE TERROR, and the series THE CROWN. There is a presence about this actor that I’m drawn to see what role he will take next and in CARNIVAL ROW he once again is full of human frailty hidden under the robes of politics – even if it is the politics of the different.

Shout out to Alice Krige as Aoife who also is an actress that I follow because she is so multi-dimensional and in CARNIVAL ROW she is creepy yet honestly a character I was never afraid of. Of course Aoife could probably turn me into a toad if she wanted but there is something straight forward in this role that I appreciated and was fascinated by.

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Other cast include Ariyon Bakare as Darius, Maeve Dermody as Portia Fyfe, Jamie Harris as Sgt. Dombey, Waj Ali as Constable Berwick, James Beaumont as Constable Cuppins, Jim High as Fergus, Erika Starkova as

Aisling and Simon McBurney as Runyon Millworthy.

This year CARNIVAL ROW made a showing at San Diego Comic Con International 2019 and the crowd couldn’t have been happier. Of course what made it even more special was that Bloom and Delevingne hid underneath costumes so that the big reveal brought the crowd to their feet with cheers. The audience was then treated to a special screening of the series and some even lucky enough to walk away with a pair of very luminescent wings. I knew then that the show was something special and am pleased to say that there will a second season.

I absolutely love the darkness of the show and I don’t mean the less than colorful costuming but the story and the characters that are wrapped up in every fiber of it all. Just when you think it’s all figured out – nope! Let’s be honest, the show starts out in a million knots and we are left, episode by episode, to unravel it like a fine chain necklace. Those who have ever tried to get knots out of a fine chain necklace know exactly what I’m talking about.

Vague in this review? Absolutely. There is no way I want to dive to deeply into the story because that is what makes CARNIVAL ROW such a draw. There is a lot going on so instead of giving it all away, I brought out some of the characters that I appreciated because something tells me we haven’t heard the last from any of them (well, maybe a few of them).

The story is based in a fantastical mythology of fae, pucks, spells, history, culture and a tale that is all too familiar in that what is different people are afraid of. By the end of the series you will understand why a second season is not only needed but necessary. I personally want to see where Philo and Vignette are going to take this journey of theirs and for reasons you will see when you binge watch the first season of CARNIVAL ROW on Amazon Prime.

In the end – they each have a story to tell!

DORA and the LOST CITY OF GOLD is Fun for Families

Dora cover

 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres this Friday from director James Bobin and Paramount Pictures is the story of a young girl and adventures with DORA AND THE LOST CITY OF GOLD.

Dora (Isabela Moner) is a young girl who lives with her parents Elena (Eva Longoria) and Cole (Michael Pena) in the jungle. Living their most of her life she loved sharing adventures with her cousin Diego (Jeff Wahlberg) when he visited. Her parents were always exploring and especially now as they feel they are closer to finding a lost Inca civilization. Dora is excited but that fades fast when she learns that Mom and Dad are sending her to cousin Diego believing it is time for her to have the high school experience.

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Looking at it as an adventure, Dora is not happy about leaving behind her monkey friend Boots (voiced by Danny Trejo) but looks forward to what could happen next. Diego doesn’t know what to make of his cousin and the cheeriness that seems to follow her everywhere especially when she seems to know a little more than a lot of her classmates. It is irritating to one particular classmate, Sammy (Madeleine Madden) but not so much for Randy (Nicholas Coombe).

Dora spends her time trying to fit in and visiting with family and especially grandmother Valerie (Adriana Barraza). Staying in touch with Mom and Dad through calls and mapping, it makes her feel like she is part of it all. Then, the phone calls suddenly stop and Dora begins to investigate why landing her, Diego, Sammy and Randy back in the jungle with Alejandro (Eugenio Derbez) who is also looking for her parents. But there are people chasing them and Dora knows only one thing – she must find her parents and quickly.

No one else knows the jungle better than Dora the explorer!

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Moner as Dora is cheerful, inquisitive, blunt and very funny and that’s just the beginning. This is a character that absolutely reaches out to children and that is the whole point of the film that came from an animated show. There is definitely culture shock on the part of Dora who goes from a free spirited, jungle roaming and tutored by her professor parent’s kid to a pavement walking high school where there are all kinds of people who don’t think the way she does. This is a good film to address both of those issue all while exploring and having lots of giggles.

Wahlberg as Diego is irritated with his cousin at first because he is instantly knows from the moment she lands in California that she is going to have trouble fitting in. He tries to tell her how to make that happen but Dora believes in the philosophy of being herself. He is a good cousin and remembers what it was like in the jungle and that helps Dora a lot. Madden as Sammy is a girl who clearly has self-esteem issues while masking it with a superiority that is way more irritating than the happy-go-lucky Dora.

One adventure might change all that right? Coombe as Randy likes Dora just the way she is with her outgoing personality, her knowledge of the stars and pretty much everything else she can do that most girls in high school don’t. He may be afraid on their adventure but he always manages to do the right thing by Dora’s side.

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Derbez as Alejandro wants to help Dora find her parents and the lost Inca city. He’s a little bumbly which amuses Dora but he has a secret as well that she and the rest are unaware of. Derbez looks like he’s having a good time in the film. Barraza as Grandmother Valerie is supportive of Dora and sees that even though she may be a little different, it’s no reason not to always do what’s right even if it is unpopular.

Longoria as Elena wants her daughter to make friends and go off to school to learn more about the world outside the jungle. She absolutely nails the mother role and she does so with humor. Pena as Cole might be wrapped up in his work but he always makes time to talk with Dora about what they are doing and what discoveries they make. That’s a good Dad right there folks!

Trejo gets to be a blue friend to Dora and del Toro gets the chance to be a fox who isn’t as smart as he thinks!

Other cast include Madelyn Miranda as Young Dora, Malachi Barton as Young Diego, Temuera Morrison as Powell, Pai Miller as Mami, Q’orianka Kilcher as Inca Princess Kawillaka, Isela Vega as Old Womanand Benicio del Toro as the voice of Swiper the Fox.

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DORA AND THE LOST CITY OF GOLD is definetly a film that families can go see together just to have a lot of fun, a little bit of adventure and learn about family and friendship. The adventure is action packed and well done and there are a few moments of ‘Dora’isms’ that Mom’s and Dad’s will get a good chuckle out of. This is the type of film that you buy a huge tub of popcorn and a drink to share with everyone and just enjoy the ride.

I took my granddaughter who is four to see the film and she loved it and there were children as old as twelve also in attendance and they enjoyed it just as much. The laughing was constant and it was very plain to see that everyone in the theatre was having a good time. The film is a little over an hour and a half which means it isn’t taxing for the smaller children but enough time for the characters to be developed and a story that is easy to follow.

In the end – unleash your wild side!

 

 

KILLERS ANONYMOUS Looks for Support

Killers Anonymous

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray and Digital from director Martin Owen and Lionsgate comes a film about a different kind of support with KILLERS ANONYMOUS.

Killers Anonymous is a meeting of people dealing with their addiction to talk about their kill-life choices. In the group meeting is the every paranoid Krystal (Elizabeth Morris), Alice (Rhyon Brown), Calvin (Tim McInnerny), Ben (Elliot Langridge), Leandro (Michael Socha) Markus (Tommy Flanagan) and led by Joanna (MyAnna Buring).

Senator Kyle (Sam Hazeldine) bursts into the meeting wanting to know why someone is trying to kill him. Joanna has answers for him but then again she has answers for all of them and truth be told – they aren’t going to like it. Even more paranoid, now the group wants to know who Alice is and why she is there. To add more thrills, a kid has heard and seen too much.

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The Man (Gary Oldman) is only a phone call away when a killer wants to do what they shouldn’t and need to be talked down. Right now he’s on the phone with Violet (Suki Waterhouse) who was making a sandwich when her life became more stressful than she could handle.

Back at the meeting, the mystery person is revealed but there’s a knock at the door with more mystery. Once Joe explains everything and the mysteries unraveled, each of KA members now realizes that the answers were always right in front of them – if they weren’t so busy fighting urges!

Oldman as The Man is a phone in Dr. Phil where he talks to killers about what is setting them off and how to deal with it. I had to laugh at some of his advice and I don’t think I’ll look at chicken the same ever again. Buring as Joanna leads the KA group but she knows much more than she telling and what she does tell is even more confusing to the group.

Morris as Krystal is plain out nutty and has no problem taking a person out if they get in her way. Her moral compass is must less in the direction of compassionate than some of her counterparts. McInnerny as Calvin seems to be taking all the commotion in trying to piece together what is going on with the group.

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Langridge as Ben doesn’t like being played and Socha as Leandro has more of a heart than a killer has a right to. Brown as Alice sits in the group and watches it all unfold before her. Even when the group gets heated around her, she lets them know that she had no problem handling herself.

Flanagan as Markus lets out his emotions, calls it as he sees it and has the attitude of someone you wouldn’t expect to find at a KA meeting. Personally I think he goes to the meetings to have someone to insult. Flanagan is a great bad guy without showing that he’s a bad guy…now that’s a talent.

Other cast include Isabelle Allen as Morgan, Sally Collett as Becky, Sadie Frost as Lucy, Takako Akashi as Lady Ming and Jessica Alba as Jade.

Lionsgate is a global leader in motion picture production and distribution for theatres, television, home entertainment and more. Theatre franchises include THE HUNGER GAMES, and DIVERGENT along with JOHN WICK. Now, adding this film to it’s 16,000 motion picture and television titles you can see everything coming soon as well as available now at http://www.lionsgate.com.

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The Bluray includes a Digital Copy of the film and Special Features of Deleted Scenes, Alternate Ending, Director’s Commentary and Trailer Gallery.

 KILLERS ANONYMOUS is a twisted, crafty tale of them that do bad things but more importantly their world of paranoia while working on their trust and personal issues. The film just throws everything but the kitchen sink into their problems and every time it looks as if there are answers, the plot thickens.

This is a fast cast who are in a room together playing a group of people who are not fond of each other. They are twisted, weirdly witty, and bold in their story telling and yet kept me confused which is part of the trip.

In the end – take it one slay at a time!

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