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THE POISON ROSE

 

Poison rose cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray from directors Francesco Cinquemani, George Gallo and Lionsgate is a story of the hazards of being a P.I. with THE POISON ROSE.

Carson Philips (John Travolta) is a self proclaimed private investigator who proclaims he ‘drinks to much, smokes to much and gambles to much’. In his office is a woman who wants Philips to investigate the nursing home Pleasant Meadows and the care of a relative. A chance to get out of town and a paid gig has him in the car driving to Galveston, Texas.

Arriving at the hospital he is met by Dr. Miles Mitchell (Brendan Frasier) who tells him that Barbara van Poole is in a therapy session. He also refreshes Philips memory that they went to school together and played a little football. Agreeing to call when she is out of therapy, he realizes the doctor isn’t exactly on the up and up.

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Hitting up the local gambling joint he meets up with old poker friends Doc (Morgan Freeman), Chief Walsh (Robert Patrick) and Slide (Peter Stormare). He sees nothing has changed as the hustle and fights happen all around him. It’s back to the case however when he returns and confronts Dr. Mitchell on why he isn’t being allowed to see Barbara.

Seeing that he is going to have to take matters into his own hands, he immediately discovers that something nefarious is happening in the halls. Empty room and locked doors are everywhere but it’s the doctor’s office he needs to reach to find Barbara’s file. Now the reason behind hospital secrecy becomes even clearer.

He also meets the one person he didn’t intend to – his ex-wife Jayne (Famke Janssen) who wants to talk about a player Happy Chandler who had an accident on the football field. Daughter Rebecca (Ella Bleu Travolta) is also the players’ wife so Philips reaches out to the local coroner but Jayne reaches out to Doc.

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Now Philips is looking for a missing woman, a potential murder suspect, dealing with an ex-wife, a man who has taken over the town and the secrets buried deep in a town he escaped from twenty years earlier.

Welcome home Philips!

Travolta as Philips seems to have lived his life on the rough edge. Going back to Galveston was meant to be a quick money proposition but instead turned into regret ever setting foot in the town. Travolta plays the part of a beat up P.I. with gruffness, a keen eye and a slow slang that fits the town he’s dealing with.

Freeman as Doc has the town locked up and isn’t happy that Philips is poking around. Offering to give him information about Barbara van Poole in exchange for leaving, Philips can’t bring himself to leave. That’s when they all start coming out of the woodwork to make his life even more difficult.

Janssen as Jayne is playing both ends against the middle. She wants her daughter protected and she wants any trace of suspicion taken off her daughter Rebecca. Fraser as Dr. Mitchell is absolutely creepy to the bone. He is playing his own game with Philips and he’s not exactly buying it. Fraser takes the role and runs with it in a direction that is surprising.

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Patrick as Walsh is trying to get Philips out of town but he also continually drops hints to get out before it’s too late. Stormare as Slide gets to once again play the role he has become famous for, an untrustworthy, shade individual you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley.

Ella Bleu Travolta as Rebecca has a smaller role in a big story. Her character is a woman who has been abused and now that the husband is dead she is the number one suspect. It’s interesting to see father and daughter on screen together.

Other cast include Kat Graham as Rose, Sheila Shah as Ashley, Claudia Gerini as Violet Gregory, Nick Vallelonga as the Bodyguard, Julie Lott as Mrs. Johnson, Ashley Atwood as Nurse Melissa, Nadine Lewington as Geraldine.

Travolta as Philips brings the film noir detective feel to this role. From the always-in-trouble-with-someone private investigator that needs to leave town but instead finds trouble in the next town he goes to. Freeman as Doc gets the chance to be the biggest rooster in the town’s henhouse. He makes it clear that no one is going to get in the way of what he wants – no one.

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Janssen as Jayne needs to play both sides if she is going to protect her daughter. The problem is she is making a bigger mess than is already in front of Philips. Patrick has a small role as Chief Walsh but he seems to be on the side of Philips no matter what Doc might think. Ella Blue Travolta also has a small role but it is her scenes with her father John Travolta that are worth a watch.

The winner here is Brendan Fraser as Dr. Mitchell! This is a unique chance for him to really reach for it and he absolutely does and man does he ever. I think it is the final scene with Travolta that just blows me away.

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.

The Bluray includes the Special Features of Commentary with Director George Gallo and Writer-Producer Richard Salvatore and Trailer Gallery.

THE POISON ROSE is several mysteries wrapped into one and you can’t blink or else you’ll miss the clues putting them all together. Currently On Demand, the film is based on the novel The Poison Rose by Richard Salvatore.

This is a tale of Texas murder and corruption but also of the deep dark secrets that keep a town filled with fear and those brave enough to take it all on – a target. Travolta takes his role head on and with a cast that include Freeman as a very smooth operator. It’s definitely a film that keeps you wondering who to trust.

In the end – a private eye, a public murder and a perfect crime!

 

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POKEMON DETECTIVE PIKACHU Brings Laughs

Pokemon Cover

 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres this Friday from director Rob Letterman and Warner Bros. Pictures is a little yellow fluff ball with a mind of his own known as POKEMON DETECTIVE PIKACHU.

Tim Goodman (Justice Smith) is a young man raised by his grandmother in a world of Pokémon’s and working at a life insurance company. All of that is about to change when he receives a telephone call from Lt. Hide Yoshida (Ken Watanabe) to inform him that his father Henry Goodman has died.

Meeting with Lt. Yoshida it is clear that Tim doesn’t want to hear about what happened asking for the keys to his father’s apartment. Arriving, Tim discovers that the room his father made for him remains exactly the same. Well, maybe not exactly the same as something is creeping around the room.

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Shining a light Tim discovers Detective Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds), his father’s Pokémon and that he understands him! That’s when a story pours out of the yellow eared creature saying there is something wrong with his memory. Believing that something is amiss, Tim tells Pikachu about a vile of blue liquid that makes other Pokémon’s a little nut.

Wanting answers, Tim finds himself caught up in Pikachu’s investigation which leads them to Howard Clifford (Bill Nighy) who also believes that Tim’s father is still alive. Clifford also believes his son Roger (Chris Geere) has something to do with what is happening.

Wanna-be reporter Lucy Stevens (Kathryn Newton) steps in and wants to help because she believes there is a story in all of this. At a secret lab Tim, Pikachu and Lucy discover that this is more frightening than they could have imagined. Someone is trying to let loose a chemical that will change everything. Who is who will surprise them all.

That doesn’t mean Pikachu, Tim and Lucy aren’t going to go without a fight!

Smith as Tim is a young man who isn’t too thrilled with his life. He has a thing against Pokémon’s so discovering he has to work with Pikachu to get answers doesn’t exactly thrill him. As the story of his father unfolds, Tim finds himself more and more curious about the true story. Smith is moody and definitely needs Pikachu’s comic relief.

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Newton as Lucy is on the ball, has a nose for news and doesn’t grasp the concept of the word ‘no’. She isn’t about to let a story like Tim’s go without investigating and she certainly gives it her all. Newton is spunky and funny in a quirky way. Watanabe as Yoshida has a small role but I’ll take any screen time he can get!

Nighy as Clifford is an inventor who believes Tim’s father isn’t gone but just missing. Wanting to help in any way he can also means keeping his son at bay. Geere as Clifford seems to be the bad guy in this scenario with his creepy smile and ability to take out anyone that gets in his way.

Now, let’s talk about Reynolds even though we really don’t need to as far as I’m concerned. Yes, his wit and timing are absolutely astounding and yes I love him as Deadpool which means I wasn’t certain how I’d feel about him taking on Pikachu. It was a fleeting thought because as Pikachu he gets to once again be silly and the audience loved every minute of it. That basically means Reynolds can do no wrong in pretty much everyone’s eyes.

Other cast include Suki Waterhouse as Ms. Norman, Josette Simon as Grams, Karan Soni as Jack, Diplo as DJ and Rita Ora as Dr. Ann Laurent.

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POKEMON DETECTIVE PIKACHU is definitely a film that fans of Pokémon are going to enjoy. They are going to recognize characters from the Pokémon world and will be laughing at a lot of their antics. My kids who are now grownups are the ones I watched go through the Pokémon era so I know they are going to enjoy this film lot.

I recognized the characters and found myself giggling quite a few times. The film is fun, colorful, fast paced and did I mention fun? The CGI is pretty cool and the scene between Tim, Pikachu and their mime attests to that.

POKEMON DETECTIVE PIKACHU is charming and even delightful. There are a few twists and turns that I’m avoiding because I want everyone to enjoy it for themselves. So grab a bucket of popcorn with the kids and go have a good time this weekend!

In the end – the mystery is on!

HOLMES & WATSON Solve a Mystery on Bluray

holmes and watson cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray/DVD and Digital from writer/director Ethan Cohen and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment brings together HOLMES & WATSON.

In the year 1881, Sherlock Holmes (Will Ferrell) and Dr. Watson (John C. Reilly) becomes friends from childhood to adulthood. Working on the criminal trial of nemesis Professor James Moriarty (Ralph Fiennes), Holmes believes that the man on trial is a doppelganger. Inspector Lestrade (Rob Brydon) isn’t happy when the fake Moriarty is set free.

But Holmes and Watson can’t stand around and babble about it because they need to go to Buckingham Palace where a party given by Queen Victoria (Pam Ferris) is happening. The two men lock eyes with Dr. Grace Hart (Rebecca Hall) and her companion Millie (Lauren Lapkus) but that is interrupted by a body falling out of the Queen’s cake. Adding to that a threat on the Queen’s life has the Big Ben ticking down.

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Now Watson works with Dr. Hart on the autopsy while Holmes stays outside with Millie – all four are having unusual feelings towards each other. Snapping back quickly, Holmes realizes that he must go to his brother Mycroft (Hugh Laurie) to get a little help and is told that he should look at someone close to him.

Trusting his brother leads Holmes to make a major mistake that he needs to correct because the pieces have fallen into place and there is no way Holmes will finish the case without his best friend Dr. Watson.

Ferrell as Sherlock Holmes is totally ridiculous yet he lands his lines in such a way that I had to think about what he was saying. His thought process is fast paced and has math in a way which is not my strong suit! That being said, only Ferrell could bring such a twistedness to a beloved icon of mystery solving. It also shows that Ferrell sees humor in the sense that no one is safe!

Reilly as Dr. Watson is really a twisted character who has an unusual and emotional heaviness towards Holmes and the Queen. That being said, the minute he walks in to take a selfie with her majesty, mayhem ensues and I couldn’t imagine any other two actors that could pull it off.

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Hall as Dr. Hart has a GHOST moment with Reilly’s Dr. Watson that was so comically disturbing that I can’t imagine they did it in one take. I personally would have cracked up repeatedly. Her character is strong and deals with the men trying to handle the fact that she is a doctor.

Fiennes as Moriarty is just as bad as he wants to be. I love Fiennes so whether the character he plays is good, bad or indifferent – I’m all in. Lapkus as Millie will never, ever, ever make me forget why I don’t like onions. She is a straight faced character that I basically waited every time she was on screen for her to crack. Well done young lady, well done.

Ferris as Queen Victoria brings a presence that I thought was so cool. She carried herself with the grace of a Queen but took the slapstick and made it her own.

Other cast includes Steve Coogan as Gustav Klinger, Hugh Laurie as Mycroft Holmes, Bella Ramsey as Flotsam, Scarlet Grace as Pickle, Noah Jupe as Doxy, Braun Strowman as Brawn and Kelly Macdonald as Rose Hudson. Look out for a familiar Billy Zane that made me laugh.

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 Exclusives include Line-O-Rama: Laugh Out Loud Outtakes with the Cast, Deleted & Extended Scenes, Will & John: Together Again, Seriously Absurd: A Look a the Cast, and Mrs. Hudson’s Men: Exclusive Testimonials with Mrs. Hudson’s Suitors.

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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.

FINAL WORD: HOLMES & WATSON is a comedy that only Ferrell and Reilly could pull off. It is nice to see them together again as they seem to have a comedy chemistry. Starting off with TALLEDEGA NIGHTS: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby to STEP-BROTHERS, it is clear that these two men enjoy bringing laughs to fans.

There is a lot of adult humor, slapstick, twists, turns and silliness that make HOLMES & WATSON everything that these two actors do together. I can’t imagine there wasn’t a fun day on the set with these two. I will admit there were moments where I had to rewind things in my head as the story does twist a lot so be ready for that or just don’t and laugh.

In the end – they are weapons of mass deduction!

CAPTAIN MARVEL Joins the Universal Fight

captain marvel cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres this Friday from directors Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck, Marvel Studios and Walt Disney Pictures is a mystery unraveled in space and on Earth with CAPTAIN MARVEL.

Vers (Brie Larson) is a warrior who is part of the Kree race and has powers she received during an accident. Plagued with dreams of people she doesn’t know, she turns to mentor Yon-Rogg (Jude Law) who is a commander of the Starforce. He tries to instill the need to keep her powers in check.

Given a mission by the Supreme Intelligence (Annette Bening), Yon-Rogg, Vers and the crew are sent to retrieve one of their own that has information they need. Instead they are ambushed by the Skrull, a tribe of shape shifters who want what is locked up in the mind of Vers and led by Talos (Ben Mendelsohn).

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Escaping the Skrull, Vers finds herself on Earth which is the last known location of a scientist who can help her unravel the mystery. Yon-Rogg is relieved that Vers is still alive but they both know the Skrull are not far behind. Enter Agent Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) who question Vers.

She is open with them but they don’t believe her until a Skrull comes out of no where and the chase begins. Fury follows and now believes her story! Trying to help her discover more information about who the Skrull are looking for, Vers begins to piece together some of her own dreams that have haunted her.

She finds Marie Rambeau (Lashana Lynch) and a life that included the name Carol Danvers as everything begins to fall into place. Talos discovers where Danvers is and she learns there is more to all of this than meets the inter-galatic eye!

Larson as Captain Marvel is fairly straight forward in her role. She has a bit of a temper, doesn’t mind knocking people around a bit, has a biting sense of humor and wants answers. Trying to fit in with the Kree and trying to fit in on Earth, it is what is locked in her memory that can help her bridge the two worlds.

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Jackson as a younger Nick Fury gives us a little more of his back story and the beginnings of what is to come in the Marvel universe. There is no mistaking Jackson’s humor and attitude but along with that are a few answers as to how Nick Fury became Nick Fury. I always enjoy Jackson when he is being sarcastic but he also gets a few surprises of his own along the way.

Mendelsohn as Talos is a fighter, charming in his own way, equally witty as Captain Marvel and knows a things or two about a good fight. He has his reasons for wanting what she has locked in her brain and he isn’t going to stop until he gets it. I’ve always enjoyed Mendelsohn as an actor and I absolutely love that he branches out in unpredictable roles.

Law as Yon -Rogg prides himself on mentoring Vers and wants to make sure that the Skrull are all but wiped out. He is a strong character that believes in what he is doing and has a skilled crew to back him up.

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Lynch as Rambeau is the only person on Earth, literally, that can help bring Danvers memory into focus. Along with daughter Monica played by Akbar, they aren’t at all frightened by what is in front of them by way of the Skrull and what lies in outer space waiting for them.

Bening as the Supreme Intelligence keeps a watchful eye over Vers and has an agenda of her own. Her role isn’t a big one but its impact is important on the storyline and it’s pretty cool to see her take on the dual role.

Other cast include Mckenna Grace as young Carol Danvers, Gemma Chan as Minn-Erva, Lee Pace as Ronan, Djimon Hounsou as Korath, Rune Temte as Bron-Char, Colin Ford as Steve Danvers, and Akira Akbar as Monica Rambeau.

CAPTAIN MARVEL joins the ranks of the Marvel Universe and is given the opportunity to tell her story. She is animated, can handle her own and has a few witty remarks in her almost skin tight uniform. Of course there is more to the story and I’m sure Marvel will be telling it but there is also that little nudge of where she fits in with the Avengers.

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Super heroine fans are going to be pleased well enough with what is on the screen and it is a nice two hour get away from the real world. That being said, it is also fairly predictable in its telling and the special effects are becoming a little common place – translated that means I’m not absolutely wow’d by it all.

What I did love as it hurt my heart was the opening sequence as a fantastic nod to everything Stan Lee has done for us all. His cameos always had audiences cheering and at the beginnings of CAPTAIN MARVEL is no exception. The man who made comic books legends and iconic characters deserves nothing less and everything more.

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The film comes in at around two hours and if that’s not enough don’t worry; she will be back again and sooner than you think.

In the end – discover what makes her a (her)o!

 

The Wedding Guest

 

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Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from writer/director Michael Winterbottom and IFC Films comes a story of what everyone does for love with THE WEDDING GUEST.

Jay (Dev Patel) is a mystery man who is hired by Deepesh (Jim Sarbh) to do the unthinkable. Nearing a small town in Pakistan, Jay ingratiates himself to a wedding party in order to get near the bride-to-be Samira (Radhika Apte).

During the night, Jay enters the house and kidnaps Samira and comes face to face with a guard. Stashing the girl in the trunk, Jay speeds away hearing the household awaken in a fury. Changing cars he again speeds away but this time lets Samira know that everything is fine.

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Feeling secure enough, Jay lets Samira out and lets her know that someone hired him to take her. She instantly knows who it is as they travel deeper into India. The problem is that the news has spread of her kidnapping and now they are being looked for.

That’s the biggest problem as Deepesh is now having second thoughts about dealing with the problem and wants Jay’s help again. There is something deeper here and Jay is going to have to discover what it is and how to handle it.

Someone isn’t telling him the whole truth!

Patel as Jay is very menacing as this character with is quiet ways and little time for chit-chat. He is methodical and quick on his feet when it comes to adjusting the plan at a moments notice. It doesn’t help that everyone around him has other agendas. Patel continues to chose roles that are challenging and unexpected and, lets face it, he is a far cry from SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE and he has made his way flawlessly.

Apte as Samira doesn’t want to get married but also comes from a family where tradition isn’t about what she wants. Once she understands the situation with Jay, she doesn’t fight back and actually begins to let the whole thing play out. She is smart, tough and did I mention smart?

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Sarbh as Deepesh has a small role but he is the instigator of the whole misadventure. Money he’s got and has no problem throwing it at Jay to get everything he wants – well, almost everything.

Other cast include Harish Khanna as Nitin, Nish Nathwani as Sam, Meherbaan Singh as Osman and Sidhu Manpreet as Haveli.

THE WEDDING GUEST is a thriller that brings the action to every scene. The film is carried by Patel and Apte from start to finish as they play off each other’s character. Both are mysterious and both keep secrets very well. So much so that we really don’t know much about them accept for what is right in front of us – and I’m okay with that.

The vastness of Pakistan and the tight quarters of India only add to the intensity and the anxiety of hiding in plain sight in both circumstances. From the very beginning I was curious as to what Patel’s character was up to and had no problem going for the ride. Changing his papers from one name to the next always reminds us that we never truly know who Jay is or if Jay is even his real name!

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That’s what makes THE WEDDING GUEST a film worth investing time to watch. The curiosity factor is so high that each step the duo takes changes up the course of what initially was to happen.

In the end – be prepared for wedding plans to change!

BACKTRACE

 

backtrace cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray from director Brian A. Miller and Lionsgate is a tale of reliving a memory on the run when you have to BACKTRACE.

Donovan MacDonald (Matthew Modine) is caught up in a 20 million dollar robbery gone wrong he barely escapes with his life. Responding to the shoot out is Det. Sykes (Sylvester Stallone) and Det. Carter (Colin Egglesfield). MacDonald is taken to the hospital ending up in a coma.

Fast forward seven years and MacDonald has recovered from his coma but can not remember anything about the robbery. Serving time in prison for a crime he can not remember, he is approached by an inmate who suggests it is possible for him to get out. As quick as it was suggested, MacDonald finds himself on the outside.

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Just as quick, Det. Sykes is on the case trying to discover how he was taken out of the prison and joined by FBI Agent Franks (Christopher McDonald). What they don’t know is that MacDonald has been taken by former prisoner Lucas (Ryan Guzman), Farren (Tyler Jon Olson) and Alicia (Baylee Curran).

Giving him a drug to help regain his memory, their goal…to find the money that was lost seven years ago after the original heist but with a twist!

Modine as MacDonald carries the film as he tries to remember what it is he has forgotten. That’s hard enough but when you’re injected in the spine with a drug that makes things even crazier, well, Modine has his head full. The plot twists and turns add to his characters story all the way to the end.

Stallone as Det. Sykes only wants one thing, to find out who has taken MacDonald and why. Knowing he now has the FBI breathing down his neck, Stallone gives his usual look of ‘you don’t scare me in the slightest’ while doing his job. Egglesfield as Det. Carter is out in the field following every lead possible. McDonald as Agent Franks is always one potential face smack away from anyone he is around because of his ability to just rub everyone wrong.

Guzman as Lucas, Olson as Farren and Curran as Alicia all have a secret that is bigger than the millions they are trying to get their hands on. As much as they think they are taking all the risks, I think it is Modine’s character that pays the price for it all in many ways.

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Other cast include Meadow Williams as Erin, Jenna Willis as Det. Bay, Swen Temmel as Truby, Heather Johansen as Sara, Tamara Callie as Melissa, Lydia Hull as Dr. Nichols and Sergio Rizzuto as Foster.

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.

The Bluray includes the Special Features Making BACKTRACE, Cast and Crew Interviews and Trailer Gallery.

BACKTRACE is a film that starts out with a total bang and never lets up. It’s not just the action sequences that are fast, it is the story that changes from one frame to the next. Never knowing exactly what is mystery and what is greed, director Miller takes the mystery deeper into the subconscious of us all.

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Coming in at 88 minutes, plan on eating nothing crunchy and don’t take your eyes off the screen because any interruption and you will miss every second of the mystery, the secrets and law enforcement that have ideas of their own.

In the end – some crimes never let you go!

THE HOUSE WITH THE CLOCK IN ITS WALLS is Family Fun!

The House cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres this Friday from director Eli Roth and DreamWorks comes a magical and mystical tale about THE HOUSE WITH THE CLOCK IN ITS WALLS.

Young Lewis (Owen Vaccaro) is still grieving over the loss of his parents when finding himself on a bus to Michigan. There he is met by his Uncle Jonathan (Jack Black) who Lewis realizes quickly is quite quirky. Arriving at his new home, he also meets his Uncle’s friend and neighbor Mrs. Zimmerman (Cate Blanchett).

Immediately Uncle Jonathan tries to make Lewis feel at home with an amazing room of his own and free reign with only one rule – in the library is a locked bookcase and it is to be left alone. Lewis begins his first day of school as well finding himself on the outside until Tarby Corrigan (Sunny Suljic) befriends him.

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At home, Lewis suspects there is something different about his Uncle’s house and learns why from Mrs. Zimmerman. Isaac Izard (Kyle MacLachlan) was once a magical partner with Uncle Jonathan but after coming home from war – he returned a very changed man. Marrying Selena (Renee Goldsberry), the two created a clock that will count down to doomsday.

Lewis notices that Tarby isn’t as friendly anymore and tries to find a way to keep their friendship. Inviting him back to Uncle Jonathan’s, Tarby sees the cabinet and even with Lewis begging him to not open it, what happens next is even worse. The boys take the book to the local cemetery and Lewis tries to wow Tarby with what he can do.

Instead, Lewis releases something that is part of the strange happenings around Uncle Jonathan’s house. As the walls tick, Lewis, Jonathan and Mrs. Zimmerman must use all their powers to locate the clock before evil does!

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Black as Jonathan Barnavelt is quirky, funny, strange, animated and everything we have come to know expect from him. This is definitely the type of character he is not only good at portraying but makes it fun. Black was in last years film JUMANJI: Welcome to the Jungle and we can expect to see him again next year for a sequel.

Blanchett as Mrs. Zimmerman is just stunning to look at in her beautiful costuming and equally as stellar to watch. What I have come to love most about her performances is that she always has a look in her eye that says, “I know something you don’t”. In this film she bounces off Jack Black’s character in a game of table tennis that is just pure enjoyable to watch.

Vaccaro as Lewis is a young man trying to find his place after losing his parents. Being reserved, he is definetly different than his Uncle Jonathan. The thing is that although they may be different to begin with, they also discover that they are not so different after all. His performance is that of a young boy trying to fit in only to discover that being himself can be quite enjoyable. Suljic as Corrigan is a boy who uses a sad young man and when done – throws him back to the wolves. The thing is – the Lewis wolf came back leader of the pack!

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MacLachlan as Izard is so much fun to watch, mainly because I am a fan of MacLachlan no matter what he does. Here he gets the chance to have a little fun while being a little maniacal at the same time and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. Goldsberry as Selena stands by her man, even when he’s a tad gooey and I give her props for that.

Other cast include Colleen Camp as Mrs. Hanchett, Lorenza Izzo as Mom, Braxton Bierken as Woody, De’Jon Watts as Clark, Christian Calloway as Azazel and Vanessa Anne Williams as Rose.

THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS is definetly a family fun film. Of course I’m not sure I’d recommend it for smaller children as there are a few creature that might scare them so lets say six years plus to be on the safe side. There are jumps and spooky elements mixed in a story line of family and new friendships.

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The special effects are amazing and I want to know where I can find a cute chair like the one in Uncle Jonathan’s house. Every effect has it’s place and is done so colorfully well that I was captivated through the entire film. I wouldn’t even mind having a lion topiary!

It is the cast of Black, Blanchett and Vacarro that make the film with the added dash of MacLachlan. They play off each other with comedy and affection which is what can be the cherry on the cake of any film.

In the end – this house knows what makes you tick!

Another Side of the Story We Haven’t Heard About LIZZIE

 

Lizzie cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from director Craig William Macneill and Roadside Attractions is a tragic tale when it comes to LIZZIE.

Lizzie Borden (Chloë Sevigny) is a woman who is unimpressed by what others think of her much to the irritation of her father Andrew (Jamey Sheridan). Living in her father’s home in Fall Rivers, Massachusetts with sister Emma (Kim Dickens) and step-mother Abby (Fiona Shaw), Lizzie is keenly aware of everything.

Especially when she realizes that her father Andrew has been handling his affairs in a way that Lizzie feels is irresponsible. When servant Bridget Sullivan (Kristen Stewart) comes into the home, Lizzie begins to feel as if there is someone in that house who understands her.

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Constantly under her father’s thumb, Lizzie rebels when she can and the consequences are physically draining. Making matters even more dangerous, Andrew has given John Morse (Denis O’Hare) more control over family affairs. Even sister Emma tries to reason with Lizzie explaining this is how their life is.

As their relationship progresses, it is Lizzie’s father who begins to tighten the hold on both his daughter and Bridget. That is when the two women decide that nothing is going to keep them apart.

Nothing and no one.

Sevigny as Lizzie is intense, keeping her emotions in check but making sure her words cut deep and swift. Making it as clear as possible, no matter what her fathers says Lizzie will have her own life. Sevigny has that ability to keep a stoic expression and although this may be based on a true story, she isn’t giving anything away.

Stewart as Bridgett is just as nervous and a cat on a hot tin roof living in the Borden home. Dealing with Andrew’s proclivities, she finds solace with Lizzie that isn’t setting to well with the other members of the family. After the murders is where the mystery between the two women grows and Stewart plays her part well.

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Sheridan as Andrew is a man who doesn’t treat others the way he would want to be treated. In fact, he sees mostly everyone as someone for him to control and take serious advantage of. The tension between Andrew and Lizzie is a battle of wills. Sheridan takes on the battle and gives more than a few jaw dropping moments.

Shaw as Abby is a woman attempting to take over the spot left by Borden’s first wife and Lizzie isn’t having a minute of it. Shaw is stern and goes along to get along but don’t think for one moment she isn’t clued in on what goes on inside her own home. Dickens as Emma just wants her sister to not make waves and again, that isn’t sitting well with Lizzie.

O’Hare as John Morse is the sleazy, greedy uncle and had every reason to do the job himself but he was never accused. Instead he completely loses his mind when believing he had his life settled with the stroke of a pen on a will. Once again Lizzie makes sure he is put in his place.

Other cast include Jeff Perry as Andrew Jennings, Tara Ochs as Susan Gilbert, Jay Huguley as William Moody, and Tom Thon as Professor Wood.

LIZZIE is the story of Lizzie Borden who, on August 4, 1892, was accused of axing her father Andrew and step-mother Abbey to death. Going to trial for the murders brought the town notoriety and when acquitted of the charges, saw the beginnings of a mystery that has lasted to this day.

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This is not the first hint that Lizzie was caught in an intense relationship as the as the 1984 book Lizzie was the first time I was introduced to the possibility that the axe wielding young woman was caught in a love affair. Now writer Bruce Kass and director Craig Macneill bring it all to the screen and once again we are left to decide.

The cast brings it all into riveting focus with hints, family secrets and what could truly have been going on behind the doors of the Borden home. In 1975, actress Elizabeth Montgomery of the television series Bewitched fame game a harrowing performance about Lizzie Borden. This was considered shocking at the time and if you haven’t seen that version I suggest you should, it’s very well done.

Now, with LIZZIE, the story is expanded in another direction that brings Lizzie Borden and her entire household into question. Sevigny and Stewart are the bearers of great burden and an even greater secret and it became clear through their performances that their characters would take a secret to their graves.

The cinematography is bleak and color deprived which only adds to the story of a bleak and color deprived household. I love the costuming but I truly am a fan of period pieces that are done extremely well as in this case.

In the end – it is the legend of Lizzie Borden!

THE BOXCAR CHILDREN: Surprise Island Brings Animated Family Adventure to Bluray and DVD

The Boxcar Children

Jeri Jacquin

On Bluray & DVD this week from directors Dan Chuba and Mark Dippe along with Legacy Classics and SHOUT! Kids Factory comes a story of family and a summer like no other for THE BOXCAR CHILDREN: Surprise Island.

Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny are spending the summer on a private island that belongs to their grandfather. Every day they do something special together like make cabinets for their cabin and making lunches together. They also meet young Joe who is a mystery to many people on the island.

Out wandering they take to the beach and soon run the beach looking for clams and exploring. Chasing sandpipers they soon discover a platform in the water. Violet and Benny meet Joe who shows them amazing things about the ocean. Wanting to know more, Henry decides to create a museum from their exploration.

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Joe volunteers to help them learn by getting books from the library. They begin to create an amazing collection of items from the island and continue to explore even more about the island finding an unusual cave. They tell Joe who is as excited about what is inside.

When Grandfather returns, he sees that the children not only have made the cabin a home but turned the upstairs into a wonderful museum. A man named Mr. Browning arrives looking for a friend when the kids offer him something to eat.

And quickly the kids discover that their friend Joe has a surprise for everyone but what a joyous surprise it is!

The cast is voiced by Joey King as Jessie, Talitha Bateman as Violet, Griffin Gluck as Henry, Carter Sand as Benny, Gil Birmingham as Mr. Browning, Stephen Stanton as Captain Daniel, Dane DeHaan as Joe, J.K. Simmons as Dr. Moore, and Martin Sheen as James Alden.

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.

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Legacy Classics is dedicated to family entertainment and educational tools based on classic and award-winning children’s literature. The Boxcar Children, written by Gertrude Chandler Warner, has sold over 70 million books world-wide. Most do not know that there are over 150 books in the series that reaches over 1 million kids!

The DVD of THE BOXCAR CHILDREN: Surprise Island includes the Special Features of Interviews with Cast & Crew, Interview with the Composer, and Behind-The-Scenes Interview with the Sound Editing and Mixing Team. Also included is a Watch-Anywhere code that allows you to experience the film on your PC, Mac, iPhone, and iPod and a fantastic book mark showing the wonderful cover of THE BOXCAR CHILDREN: Surprise Island.

THE BOXCAR CHILDREN: Surprise Island is a beautiful film with a deep connection to a simpler life and a hunger for learning. These are kids who are very close and take care of each other. The story sweeps the viewer in quickly because the relationship between the siblings is one of mutual respect and love.

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The characters in the story gave me plenty of reason to giggle, smile and remember what it was like to spend summers on the beach with my own siblings. The animation is vivid and extraordinary to tell this touching story.

This film is absolutely a must have for the home film library and a story I want my own grandchildren to watch again and again. These are important stories to be told and they are made sweeter by a studio that takes such amazing care in the way a story is presented to those of us who love the books.

THE BOXCAR CHILDREN: Surprise Island has so much to teach us all about beauty, family, love and support along with believing in a few life surprises.

In the end – on a small island they find big adventure!

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