Search

moviemavenspeaks

It's a dirty job but someone has to view 'em!

Tag

thriller

It is the 40th Anniversary of Our Worst Space Fears with ALIEN

 

Aliens cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to 4K Ultra HD, Bluray and Digital from director Ridley Scott is the 1979 alien horror film that put everyone in fright mode with the 40th Anniversary of ALIEN.

Captain Dallas (Tom Skerritt), along with crew Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), Lambert (Veronica Cartwright), Brett (Harry Dean Stanton), Parker (Yaphet Kotto), Ash (Ian Holm) and Kane (John Hurt) are on the commercial space ship Nostromo. Awaken from hyper-sleep by Mother, they are told that a transmission of unknown origin needs to be investigated.

On LV-426 Dallas, Lambert and Kane land and discovers odd surroundings that make no sense. Kane is lowered down to a place he believes is some kind of hatchery and what happens next scares the crew beyond belief. Returning to the ship, Dallas explains to Ripley that something has attached itself to Kane’s helmet and she refuses to let them aboard citing possible contamination.

alien 1

Ash overrides Ripley opening the door allowing Kane in who is brought to the infirmary. The process then begins to remove what ever it is on Kane’s face causing what could only be considered as acid to break through the metal of the ship. Surprising everyone, the organism falls off Kane’s face and he seems fine. That is until a creature emerges from Kane that hides in the ship.

Now the survivors must go inch by inch through the ship to find the creature. Realizing it can hide in the smallest of spaces they must find a way to track and keep it from taking the entire crew.

Sometimes the scariest things come from inside!

Weaver as Ripley took 1979 by storm as a woman who is smart, inventive and questions everything around her. She took this role and made it iconic in showing another characteristic, that of true fear. Weaver made an impact that has reverberated for years (at least 40 of them with this film) and with her return in ALIENS in 1986, ALIENS 3 in 1992 and ALIEN: Resurrection in 1997, it has become clear she is Ellen Ripley and we will accept no other.

Skerritt as Dallas is a Captain who does what he is told by the computer Mother. Once he realizes that what was brought on board is nothing short of a holy terror, he is always the first one in much to his detriment. Cartwright as Lambert knows that what is now aboard is coming for them all and she has to do her part. Trust when I say that Cartwright’s characters fear is palatable and frightening.

alien 2

Stanton as Brett is a man with a plan and that plan is to make sure he gets more money for all the work he thinks he’s done. Joining him in that chorus is Kotto as Parker because he too believes he is worth more than the company thinks he is. These two together bring a few chuckles but when things start to turn, so do their survival instincts.

Hurt as Kane has the most impactful performance because it is that moment on the table during dinner that let us all know our film world would never be the same. Hurt has spent years being a part of the ALIEN franchise because of that scene. I’ve even seen a comedy skit that he did which shows he not only took his role in stride but had a great sense of humor about it.

Holm as Ash would also be a character that would continue on through the franchise in ways we could never have imagined. Ash is a cold (and not just because he lacked blood) individual who only sees how magnificent the alien is holding no animosity for what it is capable of doing.

Of course we can not forget to give credit where terror credit is due and that is the alien itself. Acid for blood, a long narrow head, a whipping tale and a double set of jaws that show no mercy. If it wasn’t for any of those things being put together in a terrifying package, the ALIEN franchise wouldn’t have worked. To our pure enjoyment – it did and to this day still does.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment brings award-winning global product and new entertainment to DVD, Bluray, and Digital HD. There amazing collection offers fans an opportunity to expand their own home libraries with the best films. To discover what other titles they have please visit www.fox.com.

alien 3

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.

The Special Features of the 4K Ultra HD and Bluray include The 1979 Theatrical Version and the 2003 Director’s Cut of ALIEN, Audio Commentary by Director Ridley Scott, Cast and Crew, Audio Commentary by Ridley Scott (Theatrical Version Only), Introduction by Ridley Scott (Directors Cut Only and Bluray Only), Final Theatrical Isolated Score by Jerry Goldsmith, Composer’s Original Isolated Score by Jerry Goldsmith and Deleted and Extended Scenes.

ALIEN: The 40th Anniversary is just as magnificent today as it was in 1979. There isn’t anything about this film that needs to be critiqued nor should anyone really try except to say that this film is a work of art. It has done what films that excel were meant to do – not withstand the test of time but not be affected by time.

Experiencing ALIEN now, every aspect of space, the ship, the surroundings, the technology feel as if it could have been film today. Each of the films does that actually and I am a huge fan of ALIEN binge watching several times a year. Only good filmmaking can bring that about for me.

alien 4

Ridley Scott opens the film speaking about the 1979 film version saying he is really proud of it and now with DVD there have been adjustment and changes he felt were needed. He is reintroducing footage in the 2003 version making “minor adjustments because after 25 years you see little things you like to adjust. I hope you agree with me and enjoy it”.

What 4K Ultra HD/Bluray and Digital copy of ALIEN brings is the original 1979 theatrical version of the film and the 2003 Director’s Cut. The 4K Ultra is absolutely clear and stunning in its color and presentation, just thought I’d through that personal observation in again. Having them both known as the best of both outer worlds!

In the end – in space no one can hear you scream.

 

Advertisements

They Don’t See MISS BALA Coming on Bluray!

Miss Bala cover

 

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray and Digital from director Catherine Hardwicke and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment comes a thriller that starts with MISS BALA.

Gloria (Gina Rodriguez) is preparing to drive to Tijuana, Mexico to watch her best friend Suzu (Cristina Rodio) compete in the Miss Baja beauty pageant. Before the festivities begin, Gloria and Suzu take a night out to dance and have a few drinks. That idea is short lived when out of nowhere gunmen break into the nightclub and try to grab Gloria but she escapes.

The next morning she can’t find Suzu and begins making telephone calls. Going to the police turns into a detour when she discovers that her friend was taken by the Las Estrellas gang. Let by Lino (Ismael Cruz Cordova), he agrees to help her get Suzu back if, and only if, Gloria agrees to work for them.

bala 1

That entails driving explosives that blow up a building, driving drugs and guns across the boarder and leading the DEA to Las Estrellas. In the meantime, Lino takes a liking to Gloria and shows her how to defend herself should the need arise again. No one around her, especially Poyo (Ricardo Abarca) seems to trust her but Lino and meeting Isabella (Aislinn Derbez), Gloria sees what happens to women they take.

The plans are about to get even more dangerous when Lino tells Gloria that he wants her to enter the Miss Baja pageant because it will lead him to the real target – the Mexican Chief of Police Saucedo (Damian Alcazar). Agreeing to let Gloria see Suzu, it is all a set up for the shootout that is going to change who is taking who.

Never point a weapon unless you intent to use it!

Rodriguez as Gloria puts in a stellar performance of a woman trapped in a web not of her own making. She takes her character into a place where it is safer to pay attention to even the smallest of details because they will come in handy later. Each step she takes brings her closer to even more danger but she can’t exactly step back either. When Rodriguez finally gets to let her character loose, she still keeps it together and stays one step ahead of who ever is trying to stop her. I like that about this character and Rodriguez’s portrayal.

Cordova as Lino is a smooth talking gangster who uses fear as a way to control Gloria. Even with the charm he is as ruthless as anyone can imagine. His character doesn’t get loud, doesn’t get physical but instead lets his weapon do the talking for him. There is no hesitation in distrusting anyone but there is a chink in his armor when it comes to Gloria.

bala 2

Abarca as Poyo is a character you just can’t stand from minute one. As one of Lino’s “trusted” men, he keeps an eye on Gloria and tries to get Lino to turn on her every chance he gets. He definitely plays a bad guy you like to dislike immensely. Rodio as Suzu is used just as one would expect of a kidnapped woman and Gloria is determined to find her. Derbez as Isabella is also a kept woman who lives in as much fear as Gloria and manages to keep it under control doing what she is told when she is told, that’s survival.

Other cast include: Erick Urbina as Tucan, Mikhail Plata as Chivo, Jorge Mardueno as Ortiz, Lilian Robles as Dona Rosita, Oscar Estrada as Owl Man and Matt Lauria as DEA Agent Brian Reich.

Sony Pictures Home 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.

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.

The Bonus Materials Include: Eight Deleted Scenes & Extended Scenes, Three Features including – Gina: The Unstoppable Strength of a Woman, The Bigger the Bang: Action on the Set and Making of MISS BALA, A Look into the Stunts and Costumes with Catherine Hardwicke and Feature Commentary with Director Catherine Hardwick, Executive Producer Jamie Marshall and Associate Producer Shayda Frost.

bala 3

MISS BALA is a thriller that works its way into the final scenes. It allows the viewer to experience Gloria’s journey step by step and what she must do to survive. Rodriguez also has the opportunity to share her views about her role playing a strong Latina woman and having a cast and crew that is 93% Latino led.

The story weaves its way through Gloria’s smarts and Rodriguez truly does make the tale complete. I enjoyed every aspect of the film and can see how it could be possible to make more of them with the help of Jimmy played by Anthony Mackie. We shall see!

Anyone who lives in the San Diego area will recognize quite readily the scenes both in Mexico and across the United States border. I have to say that’s almost a bonus for me as I know exactly where most of those locations are – it’s a fun bonus.

In the end – who would you become to save your family?

 

The Wedding Guest

 

the wedding guest cover

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.

wedding 1

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?

wedding 2

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!

wedding 3

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!

OPERATION FINALE is a Story of Justice

Operation Finale cover

Jeri Jacquin

On Bluray/DVD and Digital from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and director Chris Weitz based on a true story tells us about the historic OPERATION FINALE.

Peter Malkin (Oscar Isaac) is part of an Israeli secret agents who have one goal – to track down and arrest SS officer Adolf Eichmann (Ben Kingsley). They want him as he is known as the mastermind of what is known as the ‘Final Solution’ and the Jewish people in concentration camps during World War II.

In Argentina, Sylvia Hermann (Haley Lu Richardson) is a young woman who begins dating a boy named Klaus Eichmann (Joe Alwyn). Klaus tells her family that he has been raised by his uncle Ricardo after his father died. It is Sylvia’s father who believes that he is onto something. When a photograph is relayed back to Israel of Uncle Ricardo, Malkin is brief on the operation to bring Eichmann back to Israel to stand trail for war crimes.

operation 1

Along with Hanna Elian (Melanie Laurent), Isser Harel (Lior Raz), Rafi Eitan (Nick Kroll) and others, the group come to Buenos Aires, Argentina searching. They set up and prepare the best way to capture Eichmann and get him to an airplane covertly. Malkin has a lot to prove as they thought they were capturing the same man in Austria and it went wrong.

Capturing Eichmann is one thing, having him at a safe house until he can be extracted is another. Son Klaus and wife Vera (Greta Scacchi) are doing everything possible to find Eichmann. That means the clock is ticking to get a confession from Eichmann about who he really is.

Malkin finds himself talking with Eichmann when it is his turn to watch the prisoner. Everyone else in the safe house finds taking care of the former SS officer distasteful so Malkin takes their shifts as he wants to know why and believes he can convince Eichmann to sign the document.

Klaus has brought down every person to bear in order to find his father – even throwing both Sylvia and her father in jail. Torturing the young girl doesn’t seem to faze Klaus enough to stop it but what she tells him put them all on the hunt for the safe house. Every move is becoming ever more dangerous with lives at stake.

Time is running out and the race is on to get Eichmann to the plane and to stand trial for his war crimes.

Operation 2

Golden Globe winner Isaac as Malkin is a man with memories that make it difficult at times to do what needs doing. When an earlier mission to capture Eichmann turned chaotic, it is clear that Malkin wants to make sure the mission goes according to a well laid plan. When Eichmann is their prisoner at the safe house, Isaac’s character takes it upon himself to get to ‘know’ the man with the goal of a confession. That means telling Eichmann very personal things in the hope that the former SS officer will trust in him. There comes a moment of cat and mouse that I thought was going to go horribly wrong. Isaac is proving time and time again to be such a stellar actor and the roles he chooses are smart and poignant, OPERATION FINALE is one such role.

Academy Award winner Kingsley as Eichmann is absolutely stunning and I say that because I have been an admirer of this actor long before he was Sir Ben Kingsley. He has the unique ability to be any character he chooses, meaning good characters and not-so-nice characters yet I am riveted to see where he takes the story. This film is no exception to that rule as Kingsley starts out in character defiance but inevitably realizes the situation he is in portraying it masterfully.

Laurent as Hanna agrees to be the medic for the mission but refuses to give Eichmann an ounce of compassion. This is the second film dealing with Nazi’s as she was the French cinema owner Shoshana in INGLORIOUS BASTERDS in 2009. Kroll as Eitan is goal oriented to get the mission done swiftly and needs the confession to make that happen.

Other cast include Michael Aronov as Zvi Aharoni, Ohad Knoller as Ephraim Ilani, Greg Hill as Moshe Tabor, Torben Liebrecht as Yaakov Gat, Michael Hernandez as Dani Shalom, Pepe Rapazote as Carlos Fuldner, Haley Lu Richardson as Sylvia Hermann and Peter Strauss as Lothar Hermann.

Operation 3

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

The Bonus Features on Bluray and DVD include Inside the Operations: Cast, filmmakers and crew discuss working together, filing in Buenos Aires, and their collective approach to telling such a historically significant story and Feature Commentary with Director Chris Weitz.

 OPERATION FINALE is an intense thriller in a story that absolutely needed to be told. The film is stellar and what makes it so is the cast who take on their characters with depth and intensity. As the story unfolds it becomes clear that not only is there much to fear if they get caught but the fact that Eichmann wasn’t the only Nazi in Buenos Aires!

The scenes between Isaacs and Kingsley are pure brilliance in their exchanges and I couldn’t take my eyes of the screen. Both of these actors have brought so much to the screen through the years and OPERATION FINALE is going to be a film that sticks with me for a very long time.

In the end – after World War II the mission for justice began!

RED SPARROW Brings Twists and Vengeance

red sparrow bluray

Jeri Jacquin

This week on Bluray/DVD and Digital from director Francis Lawrence and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment comes a thriller in the form of a RED SPARROW.

Dominika (Jennifer Lawrence) is a beloved Russian ballet dancer who lights up a stage. When an accident forces her to give up the stage, her uncle Vanya Egrora (Matthias Schoenaerts) wants to help. Knowing the state pays for the apartment she shares with her ill mother Nina (Joely Richardson, Dominika is asked to do a specific job.

red 1

That one event sends her to a secret program that trains people to be agents and do whatever – whatever it takes for Russia. That’s more important now with the suspicion of a mole right under their noses. Watching Dominika is the school Matron (Charlotte Rampling) and General Korchnoi (Jeremy Irons).

Setting up a coincidental meeting with American Nate Nash (Joel Edgerton) the game of cat and mouse begins. Deals are made, money is exchanged and lives hold little value in the game to win.

But they’ve never met this Red Sparrow!

Lawrence as Dominika gives a performance that is stoic and all the while it is clear the wheels in her mind are in motion. Discovering who to trust, who has the most to lose and how to use the schools programming in her favor takes chess like maneuvering. Lawrence makes it all thrilling and at times jaw-dropping to watch. This character is strong and very smart and with Lawrence doing all the heavy lifting, it works stunningly.

red 2

Edgerton as Nash looks like a man who has played this game many, many times. Dominika is sent to get his attention and the message is clearly received. Nash also sees that she isn’t just any sparrow. Working together is going to have a high price attached to it and let me just say OMG the price tag is considerable. Irons as the General has a small role here but that doesn’t make his presence any less felt. Irons still has the amazing power to compel a watcher and it still happens to me.

Schoenaerts as Vanya has been in the game for a long time and clearly sees nothing wrong with sacrificing his niece to it all. His goal is to find the mole and rise even farther up the ranks of the spy game. Schoenaerts is clever in this role and equally disturbing – well done.

A shout out to Charlotte Rampling as the scary Matron of the Sparrow School, you go girl! One thing she shares in common with Dominika is the stoic way she handles every situation – no matter how disturbing. Rampling is a personal favorite for me to watch so thumbs way up every time I see her.

red 4

 

Other cast include: Mary-Louise Parker as Stephanie Boucher, Ciaran Hinds as Zakharov, Bill Camp as Marty Gable, Thekla Reuten as Marta, Douglas Hodge as Maxim Volontov and Sakina Jaffrey as Trish Forsyth.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment brings award-winning global product and new entertainment to DVD, Bluray, and Digital HD. There amazing collection offers fans an opportunity to expand their own home libraries with the best films. To discover what other titles they have please visit www.fox.com.

RED SPARROW is a film that has so much going on and is so fascinating while its happening. The intrigue sets in quite early in Dominika’s life realizing you can’t trust anyone. Becoming an agent seems to be her only way out of a bad situation. The fact that she has no qualms about smacking someone around helps her cause in a weird way.

The story takes us down so many different rabbit holes and just as I thought I knew the destination – wrong! RED SPARROW is a true spy thriller that doesn’t give itself away until it’s damn good and ready!

The Bluray/DVD include the Special Features of A New Cold War: Organization & Adaptation, Agents Provocateurs: The Ensemble Cast, Tradecraft: Visual Authenticity, Heart of the Tempest: On Location, Welcome to Sparrow School: Ballet & Stunts, A Puzzle of Need: Post Production, Director Commentary by Francis Lawrence and Deleted Scenes: Commentary by Francis Lawrence.

red 3

There is 90+ minutes of extras and include Movies Anywhere! Watch anywhere with the Movies Anywhere App and a Digital movie is included.

The cast led by Lawrence comes together with each playing their part so well that I certainly wouldn’t be unhappy if they came back for more.

In the end – she’s seductive, deceptive and deadly!

BENT Brings Mystery to Bluray

 

bent cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray and Digital from writer/director Bobby Moresco and Lionsgate is a tale of deceit, corruption and a set up that give meaning to crime-thriller when everyone around you is BENT.

Danny Gallagher (Karl Urban) is a hard working cop who wanted to help his buddy in a drug bust when it goes horribly wrong. So wrong, in fact, that Gallagher ends up in prison and when released is seen as a cop killer. Knowing that he can’t get his life back the way it was, he tracks down everything he remembers from that night including the car-bomb murder of an official’s wife.

Right away he knows there are people out to end him and at the same time people who want to help. Jimmy Murtha (Andy Garcia) is telling Gallagher to run as far away from everything as he can and buddy Eddie (Pat Asanti) is keeping the bugs off and the cars working. He also is being told by mystery woman Rebecca (Sofia Vergara) that there is more to this than he could possibly imagine but won’t say more.

bent 1

Gallagher knows that he is going to have to dig deeper into every aspect of what happened before going to prison, the trial and what ever else he might be missing. Rebecca is becoming scared when people who are part of everything start dying believing she and Gallagher are absolutely next.

That doesn’t stop the ex-cop from pushing harder in every direction to bring who ever is responsible for everything that is happening out in the open. Could it be other cops, a drug lord with revenge in mind, a government agency or someone he never saw coming.

Urban as Gallagher comes on strong and always has that look like he knows when you are pulling his chain. This is a character that was happy pining for a singer and working cases and now spends his post-prison time just trying to stay alive. Urban gives a hard performance of a man who isn’t untouchable and doesn’t trust anyone – no matter how beautiful.

Vergara as Rebecca is a woman who knows more than she’s saying but also realizes that what is happening around her is coming close to home. Knowing the players, she isn’t always as candid with Gallagher and he knows it – and pillow talk doesn’t make those answers come any quicker. She’s in the same position as he is in that you don’t know who to trust or what can be said without getting to those who want to kill you.

bent 2

Garcia as Murtha greets Gallagher when is released from jail. Obviously wanting to make sure his friend is taken care of, he also sees that nothing he says will stop Gallagher from doing what ever he wants how ever he wants.

Other cast includes Grace Byers as Kate, Trai Byers as Chuck, John Finn as Driscoll, Tonya Cornelisse as Helen, Patrick Brennan as Casey, Joe Pacheco as Bill Pierce, Andrea Bruschi as Tom Loach and Vincent Spano as Charlie.

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.

The Bluray/DVD Special Features include Behind the Scenes of BENT Featurette along with Cast and Crew Interviews.

BENT is a thriller that will keep you guessing as to why all of this is happening, how did it get this far and ending with ‘you have got to be kidding me!’ in a good way. That’s why the crime-thriller genre is still alive and well. It’s fun to follow the clues and hope we get to the end faster than the film’s ending.

bent 3

It is the twists, turns and not wanting the facts to change our minds about the people we have invested in while watching the story unfold. When a crime-thriller is finally explained in its entirety, we are forced to decide who is right and who is justified in walking the fragile line of the law.

That’s what BENT does, sends us on a journey to find out why anyone would do this to a good cop and jump on his every move to discover who is responsible. When that happens we all become part of the dilemma that Gallagher faces in the end. I think that’s what I enjoy most about this genre and I’m not the only one.

BENT is currently On Demand and arrives on Bluray, Digital and DVD May 15th.

In the end – follow your instincts!

FIFTY SHADES FREED Closes Out the Thriller/Sexual Trilogy

freed

 

Jeri Jacquin

Climaxing this Friday from Universal Pictures and director James Foley is the final film in a trilogy that brings us FIFTY SHADES FREED.

Anastasia Steele (Dakota Johnson) has received a ring from the unusual man of her dreams Christian Grey (Jamie Dornan). After a beautiful wedding the two jet off to Europe for a honeymoon of sun and spending time as only these newlyweds can. Back in Seattle, someone is trying to sabotage Christian’s family when files are stolen and a fire is set.

The Grey’s immediately return and as Christian investigates what is happening, Ana returns to her job to discover that she has been given a promotion. It’s important to her because the person responsible for what is happening is Jack Hyde (Eric Johnson) who clearly has an agenda to bring down the Grey’s.

fifty 1

Realizing her life has been a whirlwind, Ana reconnects with Kate (Eloise Mumford) spending time together over the watchful eye of her bodyguard Sawyer (Brant Daugherty) while Christian is out of town. Upset with Ana, he understands that she misses the company of her friends. Arranging time with Kate, Jose (Victor Rasuk) and his siblings Mia (Rita Ora) and Elliot (Luke Grimes) they learn an unexpected surprise.

Relaxed and back to work, it isn’t long before Jack’s back! Being attacked is more than Ana and Christian can take and after more surprising family news; the couple’s next event is staggering. Ana must now make a decision without Christian that is dangerous and could cost her everything.

Johnson as Anastasia is much stronger in this film and it’s nice to see. I think my favorite part is when she puts architect Gia Matteo on the hot seat by staking her claim to the house Christian has bought for them and being called ‘Mrs. Grey’. She also lets her new husband know that their life together is important, but so is working and friendships. Christian is discovering that his new wife is much stronger than he ever gave her credit for. I think I like Johnson in this film the best.

Dornan as Christian begins to show his weaker side in this film and that’s not a bad thing. For a character that spent two films being in control of everything, it was only a matter of time before the cracks would begin to show. Those insecurities lead Christian to make some seriously dumb decisions and this stronger Ana gives him what-for in no uncertain terms! Dornan’s Christian is in new territory but the women in the audience adore both the character and the actor so forgiveness flowed in the theatre.

fifty 3

Eric Johnson as Jack clearly is still angry over his firing, Ana’s quick rise in the publishing world and a few secrets that Christian is determined to find out. Let’s be honest, crazy people do crazy things and Jack lives up to that and does so in plain site. His goal is one thing, to make Ana pay for what he believe she has done and give the Grey family reasons to be nervous.

Mumford returns as Ana’s friend Kate with a few surprises in store for her, Grimes as brother Elliot shares a little of Christian’s childhood and sees that he is finally happy, Ora returns as sister Mia who is still protective of her adoptive brother. Harden returns as Christian’s mother Grace who believes in her son and is supportive when things go a little awry.

Other cast includes Max Martini as Taylor, Jennifer Ehle as Carla, Bruce Altman as Jerry Roach, Arielle Kebbel as Gia Matteo, Callum Keith Rennie as Ray, Robinne Lee as Ros Bailey and Marcia Gay Harden as Grace Grey.

FIFTY SHADES FREED brings the story of Anastasia and Christian full circle and pushes a little past for those who truly want to know how their life plays out. I heard a woman next to me at the screening say she was a little sad there wasn’t more of the wedding shown and, as with TWILIGHT films, everyone wants to see more of the beautiful dress.

The story does take off fairly quickly not giving much time for the couple or the audience to settle in. Jack returns to make sure to put a kibosh on a happy newlywed beginning. Honeymoon is over when security guards become part of the Grey’s new married life. It was nice to see Ana return to a job she obviously loves but also make it known that she wants a life of friends and normalcy.

fifty 2

Of course the FIFTY SHADES OF GREY films give audiences their soft core sex scenes that haven’t been shy in any way since it first hit screens in 2015 and FIFTY SHADES FREED is no exception. What is new in the films is the insecurities Christian can no longer hide from. In the first two films he is calm, cool and a bit on the controlling side. This film he throws a few tantrums that made the women in the audience gasp a little but that’s what happens when all that control starts slipping away.

Erika Mitchell wrote under the pen name of E.L. James when writing her Fifty Shades trilogy. There is also Grey: Fifty Shades of Grey as Told by Christian novel that was released last year. Possible there could be another Fifty Shades film? I think there are fans who would like to see that happen.

I have no doubt that those who love the Fifty Shades books will gather up like minded gals for a fun night at the movies. Have dinner, a few drinks and cheer the new couple on their alternative life together. Nothing wrong with a little Friday night Grey!

In the end – Mrs. Grey will see you now!

 

 

THE COMMUTER Rides on Rails!

The Commuter

 

Jeri Jacquin

Get your tickets ready to board the train as director Jaume Collet-Serra and Lionsgate take us all on a thrill ride following THE COMMUTER.

Michael MacCauley (Liam Neeson) is a man that has fallen into a routine of life. Getting up, spending morning moments with wife Karen (Elizabeth McGovern) and family and jumping on the train to get to work is how he sees his life. Having spent the last ten years working for an insurance company, his life is about to change in ways he never saw coming.

Meeting up with friend Alex Murphy (Patrick Wilson), he has a chance to vent about things. Running into former colleague Hawthorne (Sam Neill), Michael and Alex have nothing nice to say about their working relationship or the good ole days.

commuter 1

After having a few beers, Michael boards the train going home feeling a
little defeated. Trying to forget life for a moment in a book, he is interrupted by Joanna (Vera Farmiga) who sits and starts a hypothetical conversation that intrigues Michael. The problem is – it is turning out not to be so hypothetical.

Joanna wants Michael to find someone who is on the train and obtain a little something they are carrying. The problem is – even Joanna doesn’t know who it is. He is shocked to
learn that Joanna knows about his problems, wife and son and is stunned when he is offered a large sum of money for his services.

When he discovers that murder is happening on the train, Joanna makes it clear learns his family could be next. Now he must walk back and forth on the moving commuter train to find out who doesn’t belong and figure out who Joanna really is and what it is she desperately wants.

Time is clicking away faster than the wheels spinning on the train!

commuter 4

Neeson as Michael is once again proving that not only does he still got it but more over we all want to see it. Before going into the theatre, I heard so many conversations of the audience members (of all ages by the way) that they couldn’t wait to see the film
because it was Liam Neeson. That is one heck of a following to have and I absolutely count myself as one of them. Neeson has the voice, swag and willingness to take hits as this character comes to terms with where he is in his life. That being said, when enough is enough Neeson does what he does best – flip the tables and the audience lost its mind cheering. Neeson has become an absolute treasure and I love it.

Farmiga as Joanna is a woman who got Michael’s attention and kept it all through the film. This character basically has me totally rethinking anytime anyone says “let’s just say hypothetically speaking” and Farmiga delivers that line so well. Wilson as Alex is a friend Michael turns to when everything begins to go crazy. It’s hard to know who to trust when the wheels are turning and time isn’t on your side. It’s interesting to see Farmiga and Wilson in the same film together without there being a creepy doll or possessed house in the mix.

The cast of commuters is so well done and I’m not going to give a breakdown because this is a train ride I want everyone to be part of for themselves. It is an intense who-done-it or in this case who-is-it and watching Neeson’s character try to remain calm and work it out kept my brain busy. Good luck figuring it out!

commuter 3

Other cast includes Jonathan Bans as Walt, Killian Scott as Dylan, Shazad Latif as Vince, Andy Nyman as Tony, Clara Lago as Eva, Roland Moller as Jackson, Florence Pugh as Gwen, Ella-Rae Smith as Sofia and Jonathan Banks as Walt.

THE COMMUTER is a fun thrill ride for the beginning of the new year. This is the type of film, especially for Neeson fans, to gather up a bunch of friends for a night at the movies. I love it when eating popcorn that there is more time with popcorn in your hand up to an open mouth than actually eaten. That’s what a fun thriller like THE COMMUTER is.

Of course it is centered on the inside of a train which one might think would confine the story but you would be wrong. There is so much action and different compartments of the train that the action is constant. I’m throwing up tons of props brining intensity and adventure to a moving train and with a storyline of twists.

In the end – lives are on the line!

Prepare for an ATOMIC BLONDE to Shatter on Bluray

atomic blonde cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray/DVD and Digital with a kick and a bang from director David Leitch and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment is the ATOMIC BLONDE.

It is Berlin and the Cold War as Lorraine (Charlize Theron), a British agent with MI6 and a mean set of skills. Interrogated by Gray (Toby Jones) and Chief C (James Faulkner), they want to know about the mission to retrieve information stolen from another agent.

It is a list of top secret information that can hurt agents everywhere hidden in a watch. Landing in Berlin, Lorraine makes contact with Percival (James McAvoy), a twisted agent living a life more like a bohemian who is good at getting things. Under the cover of retrieving the agent killed, Lorraine begins to poke around given bits and pieces by Percival.

atomic 1

One thing she learns is that there is someone named Spyglass (Eddie Marsan) who has memorized the information. That brings more curiosity to Lorraine and she wants to know what other secrets everyone is keeping from her. Meeting Delphine (Sofia Boutella) might be the key to so very much more.

It is a game of cat and mouse with a high body count when dealing with an ATOMIC BLONDE!

Theron as Lorraine is not anyone I’d ever mess with. Focused, strong, smart and highly aware of her surroundings, she takes a beating but gives just as much in return. Theron doesn’t need tons of dialogue to get the job done. Her eyes and face are expressive until they are not. I love seeing her tear up the screen, not just physically but her intense presence.

McAvoy gets the chance to be sleazy once again. Trying to fit into the scene of Berlin he buys information with Jack Daniels and Jordache jeans (if you don’t know that name kids, ask your grandparents). McAvoy gives the slick chain-smoking character the right amount of angry charm that I enjoyed watching. He’s getting good at being bad!

atomic 3

Jones as Gray wants to know every detail of what happened to the mission yet doesn’t seem shocked at the answers. Goodman as Emmett gets the suspicion of Lorraine from the moment he steps into the room yet there is more to it than just being American.

Marsan as Spyglass is a timid man who knows a little too much about everything and uses it to try and save his family. Boutella as Delphine is the mysterious woman who captures Lorraine’s attention as she watches the chess pieces move all around the board.

Other cast includes Roland Moller as Alekander Bremovych, Bill Skarsgard as Merkel, Sam Hargrave as James Gasciogne, Johannes Johansson as Yuri Bakhtin, Tig Schweiger as the Watchmaker and John Goodman as Emmett.

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

ATOMIC BLONDE continues to get four and a half tubs of popcorn out of five on this stunning Bluray. Why? Simply put it’s a heck of a lot of fun to watch, the soundtrack is smokin’, the cinematography is fantastic and the action is none stop from start to finish. It truly is the reason we go to the movies!

The story isn’t geared toward any one demographic as it plays to its strengths and not the political correctness of it all. There just isn’t anything about ATOMIC BLONDE that I didn’t like. Theron is absolutely beautiful and coming off of THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS where she is a real bad gal, in ATOMIC BLONDE she is another type of real bad gal and this one I’d want on my side.

atomic 2

What can be said about the cinematography but wow, absolutely wow. Of course Theron makes the screen look amazing just by her presence but the dark, rough way the film is shot lends such an underworld feel I just loved.

The soundtrack includes a few awesome songs such as 99 Luftballons performed by Nena (remember that video?), Father Figure by George Michaels, Der Kommissar by After the Fire, The Politics of Dancing by Re-Flex, Voices Carry by Til Tuesday, I Ran by Flock of Seagulls and Under Pressure by Queen and David Bowie. I spent a lot of time lip-synching while watching Theron drop kick a few bad guys!

The Bluray/DVD include the Bonus Features of Deleted Scenes, Welcome to Berlin, Blondes Have More Gun, Spymaster, Anatomy of a Fight Scene, Story in Motion with Commentary by Director David Leitch, Feature Commentary with Director David Leitch and Editor Elisabet Ronaldsottir.

ATOMIC BLONDE is taken from the Oni Press graphic novel series The Coldest City by Antony Johnston who also authored Wasteland.

In the end – she’s about to go atomic!

 

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑