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Screen Media Films

DRONE Brings About a Debating Story

drone

 

Jeri Jacquin

In theatres this week from director Jason Bourque and Screen Media Films is a story that will bring about debate when it comes to a DRONE.

Neil Wistin (Sean Bean) works secrets as a drone contractor who flies missions that target terrorists. His wife Ellen (Mary McCormack) and teenage son Shane (Maxwell Haynes) believe he is in the IT business. Keeping his work life and home life separate is difficult on everyone.

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When Neil’s father dies there is definitely a tension at home as Shane finds it difficult to deal with his grandfather being gone. In their driveway sits a constant reminder in the form of a large sailing boat with a for sale sign plastered across its bow.

While working at home Neil sees a man standing in the driveway. He introduces himself as Imir Shaw (Patrick Sabongui) and shows interest in buying the boat. Happy about it, Neil invites Imir in so they can discuss the price and paperwork.

After some talk Neil invites Imir to dinner with Mary and Shane. Casual conversation about work and culture are pleasant enough until an uncomfortable tension comes between them all.

What happens next will have everyone talking!

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Bean as Neil is a man who is pressured by the work he does, the death of his father and a family that doesn’t talk to one another. When the stranger shows up it is inevitable that feelings will rise to the surface and secrets slip out under pressure. Watching Beans’ character juggle everything through a bottle of wine was a train wreck waiting to happen.

McCormack as Ellen is clearly unhappy with family life but tries to reach her husband and son. Hayes as Shane is a young man who wants to send off his grandfather in his own way. Keeping to himself, Shane’s parents are not quite sure how to help him.

Sabongui as Shaw is a man with his own demons. Wanting people to understand everything he’s been through and his sadness becomes difficult when it’s done through fear. Sabongui uses everything from his delivery of words to the expression on his face to bring the audience in.

Other cast include Joel Moore as Gary, Viv Leacock as Agent Barker, Sharon Taylor as Agent Jenkins, Bradley Stryker as Ted Little and Kirby Morrow as Dave Wistin.

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Screen Media Films is a global independent motion picture company releasing titles that include TEN THOUSAND SAINTS starring Ethan Hawke, Hailee Steinfeld and Emile Hirsch; COLONIA starring Emma Watson and Daniel Bruhl, SHELTER starring Jennifer Connelly and Anthony Mackie and SHARK LAKE starring Dolph Lundgren. For more on what Screen Media Films has to offer please visit www.screenmediafilms.net.

DRONE brings about the question of who is behind the controls and how it affects us all. This is a story that not only deals with the home life of a man who is not being truthful with his family but another man who feels justified in his actions.

Yes, that seems cryptic to say but this is a film that must be experienced so that the conversation about drones has a starting point. We live in a world of bad guys who imbed themselves around innocent people. We also live in a world were decisions aren’t always so cut and dry and in this film it all comes to a head for both.

The cast is what keeps the story on its feet with Bean, McCormack and Sabongui meshing it all together with emotional shock and awe and knowing our secrets can be used as a weapon.

In the end – choose your target!

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MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS in Time for Mother’s Day

Mothers and Daughters

 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres this week and on VOD from writer/director Paul Duddridge and Screen Media Films is what happens between MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS.

Rigby Gray (Selma Blair) is a young photographer who is in the middle of her career doing very well for herself. Rebecca (Christina Ricci) is another young woman in the middle of a family situation she could have never seen coming.

Georgina Scott (Mira Sorvino) is coming to terms with a past that is stopping her from moving forward in her life. Finally there is Gayle (Eva Amurri Martino), a woman who is supportive of her husband except when it comes to asking her mother for help.

What do these ladies have in common? Well, they all have mothers. Millie (Susan Sarandon) is trying to understand daughter Gayle but isn’t being true to herself in the process. Beth (Courtney Cox) is trying to fix the family that includes Rebecca. Nina (Sharon Stone) also has to decide how to tell her daughter of secrets that include them both.

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This is a story of love, loss, mistakes, joys and most of all forgiveness because that’s what it takes to be mothers and daughters!

I love this cast, starting with Blair as Rigby who portrays a woman who has the dream job. What she doesn’t expect is to find a little surprise that will be taking over the rest of her life. Blair is actually quite funny! Ricci as Rebecca is an angry young woman who doesn’t know where to really put her anger. Needing time to put it all together is something I can relate to absolutely.

Sorvino as Georgina is so lovely in this role. It’s difficult to come to terms with the past, especially when you wake up one morning and it wants answers. Martino as Gayle is feeling like life went on without her. I know many women will understand this character and embrace her.

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Sarandon as Millie is the character I understand the most. As a mother you want to be able to talk to your child but when its talk on egg shells, it’s the worst! I just love Sarandon’s ability to be soft and then flip the switch. Cox as Beth is the mother who reaches out and is shut down but won’t give up. Stone as Nina is a strong woman who may be afraid of secrets but it doesn’t stop her from being a Mom.

Other cast include: Elizabeth Daily as Momma Quinn, Luke Mitchell as Nelson Quinn, Paul Adelstein as Peter, Natalie Burn as Young Lydia, Gilles Marini as Bill, Liana Mendoza as Grace and Quinton Aaron as Dr. Hamilton.

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS three and a half tubs of popcorn out of five. This is certainly the film that will bring mothers and daughters to tears. These stories cover so many emotions because they are all close to many of us.

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It is hard for husbands-boyfriends-brothers etc., often have a difficult time understanding the complex relationship of women but it’s even more so with mothers and their daughters. We try so hard not to be like the one person we are almost exactly like that we all need to embrace it and even laugh about it.

When deciding what film us gals want to see this weekend, perhaps it’s a good time to see ourselves on the big screen with MOTHERS AND DAUGHTERS.

In the end – love is the one thing they can all agree on!

COLONIA Tells a Harrowing Story in Chile

Colonia

 

Jeri Jacquin

In theatres now from Screen Media Films and Academy Award winning director Florian Gallenberger is a riveting story of what went on behind the walls of COLONIA.

Lena (Emma Watson) is a young airline stewardess who is in love with Daniel (Daniel Brühl). While on a trip to Chile, she meets up with Daniel who is providing photography and art work for the protesters in 1973.

Their time together is short-lived when Pinochet’s secret police begin to gather up all the protesters. Being pointed out as one of the leaders of the group, Daniel is taken away leaving Lena behind. The only lead she has is a familiar truck that others seem to know.

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The vehicle belongs to the Colonia Dignidad, a charitable mission that is run by self-proclaimed preacher Paul Schäfer (Michael Nyqvist). Seeking advice on how to get inside to find Daniel, Lena poses as a young woman seeking God to get inside the compound. What she doesn’t know is what Daniel has been going through himself.

From the moment she walked through the highly guarded door, Lena realized that those around the compound lived in another world and some lived in fear. Trying to remain focused, Lena discovers that there is something disturbing happening. Learning all she can puts her in even more danger than she could have ever imagined.

What she does is not only for love but because it is right!

Watson as Lena continues to grow away from the role that made her famous. Not that there is anything wrong with being known as Hermione Granger, but her performances since then have been truly amazing. From THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER to THE BLING RING and even taking herself less seriously in THIS IS THE END, she continues to grow and take chances. In COLONIA, Watson is strong, determined, and allows her character to take one hard step after another deeper into a dark place that could easily make her disappear.

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Brühl as Daniel is a man possessed with getting on film the atrocities facing the people of Chile. Putting himself in danger is one thing but now he has dragged Lena deep into it. Even when he realizes she is in the compound, Brühls character continues to put them in danger. That part of Daniel really peeved me a tad but I ain’t mad at cha! When Lena literally saves the day I realize who is truly thinking straight. Brühl caught my eye as he pretty much caught everyone else’s in the 2009 Tarantino film INGLORIOUS BASTERDS.

Nyqvist as Schäfer plays a douche bag in every sense of the word. From his abuse of women and children to helping a brutal government, this is a character that is going to be hated. That being said his performance is nothing short of riveting to experience! Nyqvist throws himself into this role and it’s scary to watch but the point is you do watch! Once again I not only appreciate every nuance of his portrayal of this despicable human being but am an out n’ out fan of Nyqvist. His resume of roles is so damn impressive and they are diverse in scope. When he is playing a dark character Nyqvist doesn’t blink an eye unless that’s exactly what he wants to do. He knocked it out of the park in the film JOHN WICK.

A shout out to Richenda Carey as matron Gisela. Talk about having a look that is filled with crazy, Carey gives Gisela every ounce of a reason to take her seriously when she speaks and never, ever turn your back on this woman! So well done.

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Other cast include: Vickey Krieps as Ursel, Jeanne Werner as Doro, Julian Ovenden as Roman, Martin Wuttke as Niels Biedermann, Nicolas Barsoff as Jorge, Steve Karier as Bernd, and Johannes Allmayer as Kieter.

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give COLONIA four tubs of popcorn out of five. There are some serious performances here that I enjoyed very much. I do wish the story had gone a little deeper but it doesn’t change my opinion of the film. The story line is extremely intense but it is also heartbreaking knowing there were people who suffered so much at the hands of those in that compound. COLONIA is also the Official Selection of the Toronto International Film Festival.

Colonia Dignidad was founded by Paul Schäfer in 1961 and located in Santiago de Chile in a very isolated part of the country. Living by a tyrants rule, the charity was actually a disguise for something much darker. With the protection of General Augusto Pinochet, Schäfer produced weapons and poison gas. Very few people managed to escape from Schäfer or the compound and some that did were recaptured because the Germany Embassy supported Schäfer.

Director Gallenberger recalls what brought the need to make the film. “I was a student at elementary school when I heard about that place in Chile where people couldn’t run away and lived like prisoners. It really shocked me. The more time I spent studying the historical facts and hearing people’s stories, the more I wanted to learn about Schäfer’s microcosm”.

To do that, Gallengerger wanted to tell not only the story of the governments involved but Colonia Dignidad. “Although our two main characters are fictitious, each detail of the film is historically confirmed; even some of the dialogue with Paul Schäfer is authentic”. For me, that is what makes the film even more intense.

In the end – it’s an unforgettable story of survival!

BAD HURT Burrows Deep into the Heart

bad hurt

 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres from Screen Media Films and writer/director Mark Kemble is the story of struggle, devotion and love all wrapped up in BAD HURT.

The Kendall’s are living an extraordinarily difficult life. Mom Elaine (Karen Allen) begins and ends her days looking after daughter with special needs DeeDee (Iris Gilad) and war-torn son Kent (Johnny Whitworth) who suffers from PTSD. Dad Ed (Michael Harney) is completely overwhelmed by it all and tries to find solace in a shed in the backyard.

That leaves Todd (Theo Rossi) a special needs bus driver and part time reserve policeman who is trying his best to be all things to all people. That is until Jessie (Ashley Williams) catches his eye. Even when a moment comes for him to reach out to Jessie, Kent is on the street and it’s Todd to the rescue.

Elaine and Ed can not find a resolution when DeeDee becomes more difficult to manage. She lashes out continually and the strain begins to show on the family. When the family is down as far as a family can possibly go, a secret is revealed and one last tragedy is more than any family should have to take.

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What should break them apart only brings them closer together.

Rossi as Todd is such a rock for this family. Standing up for a brother who definitely has a problem and a sister who is unable to fend for herself, Todd doesn’t have a moment to find his own personal life. As family secrets pour out, Todd tries to put everything into place, even if it doesn’t want to fit just right. The family dynamic is such that this character doesn’t want to place blame but instead try to find a healing point that they can all grab onto. When Rossi tears up, the world stops for a moment because every once of pain is there. That, folks, makes every moment of this characters pain believable.

Allen as Elaine is a mother who carries the weight of the entire world on her shoulders. Spending her days caring for two adult children who can not care for themselves, she becomes lost in that world of pain. Even her characters ability to reach out is past heartbreaking as it seems Elaine wants answers where there may not be any, or at least any she would be willing to accept. Allen is superb!

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Harney as Ed is a man who seems to have checked out in many ways. Harney was made for this role with his ability to show so much in the things he doesn’t say. His expressions say it all with family disappointment and feeling as if he has no control over his life or what happens to his family. The disconnect is palpable and it is truly because of Harney’s performance. The scene between Rossi and Harney on the sports field is remarkable.

Gilad as DeeDee is a special needs character who is in love with Willy. The problem isn’t so much with DeeDee as it is the people outside her family. Gilad gives this role the soul it needs to reach the audience. Dutton as Willy loves DeeDee just as much and can not live without her.

Williams as Jessie sees Todd’s family at their worse and it’s clear that her life is only a few struggles away from the Kendall’s situation. Whitworth as Kent has a secret that he knows will destroy his father’s opinion of him. Kent’s parents can not understand why they are not receiving more help from the military and Whitworth character self destruct mode is in full effect.

Other cast include: Cezar Williams as Mr. Peck, Gia Longo as Annie, Calvin Dutton as Willy Crum, Charles Socarides as Cisco, Charles Techman as Ray, Sebastian Tillinger as Mr. Jenkins, Joana Sanchez as Ms. Bing, Barry Primus as Marty, and Dorothy Lyman as Mrs. Salisbury.

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Screen media Films is a leading global independent motion picture distribution company bringing international theatrical, home video, television, cable and new media to its large independently owned motion picture library. The company has released more than 80 titles including NOEL with Susan Sarandon, LOVERBOY with Kevin Bacon, ONE LAST DANCE with Patrick Swayze; CONFESSIONS OF A SOCIOPATHIC SOCIAL CLIMBER with Jennifer Love Hewitt and CHILLY DOGS with Leslie Nielsen. For more of what Screen Media Films has to offer please visit http://www.screenmediafilms.net.

TUBS OF POPCORN: I give BAD HURT four tubs of popcorn out of five. This is such a heart breaking film to watch seeing this family try to keep their sanity in the midst of chaos. That being said, the cast brings every emotion one could imagine having in a family and wrings my heart with it. The struggles are as real as it gets yet the Kendall’s comes out the other side more aware, more forgiving and ready to pick up the pieces and make things right in their world. Something we all should remember when times in our own families becomes chaotic.

Theo Rossi, coming off an amazing seven year run with the FX hit SONS OF ANARCHY, is also one of the films producers making a name for himself in bringing this film to the screen. Returning to his native Staten Island, he says of the film “it was the exact story I was looking for. I think it’s such a fascinating look at the complex family dynamic happening behind so many doors in America.” The story itself comes from writer/director Kemble describing it as his family over a twenty-year period into one week.

BAD HURT is the Official Selection for the Tribeca Film Festival, Berkshire International Film Festival, Sunscreen Film Festival and the Petaluma Film Festival.

In the end – this family knows how to handle life and the bad hurt.

Redemption Can Be Found in SHELTER

shelter5

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres this Friday from writer/director Paul Bettany and Screen Media Films comes an intense tale of life from two points of view while looking for SHELTER.

Hannah (Jennifer Connelly) is a heroine addict living on the streets of New York. Day to day survival is a way of life for this woman who a history. She runs into Tahir (Anthony Mackie) and their relationship doesn’t start out in the best of circumstances.

Full of anger Hannah tries to push people away but Tahir doesn’t move that easily. Ending up in a beautiful house – the two have a chance to drop their guards and talk about the lives they are living.

When Tahir becomes desperately ill, Hannah begins to think about someone other than herself. Now, she wants to bring joy into Tahir’s Loatian life and all that could mean for the both of them.

Time has other plans.

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Connelly as Hannah is absolutely amazing in this role. Watching this character set so deep into her own fears wallow through it all right in front of the viewer is something to be hold. The addiction is beings hiding a pain and continues to keep the pain. She definitely grabbed my heart and attention.

Mackie as Tahir has his own life demons that seem to be in another direction yet the relationship with Hannah is perfect. Trying to right his own life-wrongs, Tahir has the added difficulty of an illness he can not afford to treat. Finding someone to share a few moments of happiness with, Mackie wants so much for Connelly’s character.

When the two mix it up more of their life story emerges and you can only scream so long as the truth can withstand a hurricane! These two characters give it their best shot and what comes out the other side is hauntingly beautiful.

Other cast include: Kevin Hoffman as Brendan, Steve Cirbus as Jerry, Alok Tewari as Abdul, Bruce Altman as Peter and Rob Morgan as Franklin.

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TUBS OF POPCORN: I give SHELTER four tubs of popcorn out of five. This story is so brilliantly done and Jennifer Connelly absolutely shines as Hannah. Her range of emotion or even lack of emotion plays into every word she speaks. Mackie has a life-watch in his characters pocket and every moment that ticks away is heartbreaking to watch.

This is Bettany’s directorial debut and based his story on a homeless couple in his own neighborhood. Speaking with Jimmy Fallon about SHELTER he says, “Last year in New York City where I’ve lived for the last fifteen years we past two milestones…60,000 New York City residents slept in the municipal shelter system every night, 24,000 of those people tonight will be children. For me that is shocking and for me this is all going on in a town with more billionaires than any other city on earth. Now there is this movie that’s trying to become part of the debate, part of the conversation.”

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This film is wrenching to watch at times but the truth can be so – now it depends on what you do with that emotion that makes the difference. SHELTER will have everyone who sees it talking for days and I hope that action follows. That’s just my personal wish.

In the end – finding home can be the most difficult journey of all.

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