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THE KILL TEAM Brings More Fears During Wartime to Bluray

The Kill Team cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray and Digital from writer/director Dan Krauss, A24 and Lionsgate are events of war and the effects caused by THE KILL TEAM.

Andrew Briggman (Nat Wolff) is a young man who joins the military and immediately send to the Middle East. Settling into camp, he tries to learn the ropes from the other soldiers. His first experience with the seriousness of their work is when their leader Weppler (Osy Ikhile) is killed. The group tries to come together as the new leader Sgt. Deeks (Alexander Skarsgard) walks in with confidence.

Deeks makes it very clear what he expects from the men under him and even treats them to a cookout. He also takes Briggman under his wing a little and encourages him to be more forward in his soldiering. The young soldier appreciates the attention and begins to find his way and becomes more inclusive with the platoon.

kill 2

Out on a mission, Briggman remembers what Weppler told him about ‘hearts and minds’ but Deeks doesn’t agree with this approach. In fact, while out on patrol, he witnesses something that he knows is frighteningly wrong. Unsure of what to do, Briggman reaches out to his father William (Rob Morrow) who tells his son to stand fast using his military contacts to find help.

As word begins to spread that there could be a rat in the ranks, Briggman watches everyone including Deeks for signs of danger. The days become more difficult to handle as the others start weeding out who could be the person turning on them all.

Every move brings him to a decision that will cost everyone!

Wolff as Briggman is a young man who comes from a military family and sees himself as doing his duty to country. Not as tough as some of the other soldiers he is with means if someone is going to be made to feel the outcast it is Briggman. Wolff brings a believable naivetés to his character that is shattered quickly and his reaction is fear. From beginning to the end of the film I felt with Briggman every step of the way (including feeling a big paranoid) and all of the emotions means Wolff delivers.

Skarsgard as Deeks is charming and disarming at the same time. Coming off as ‘one of the guys’ is perfect for a predator of his calibre. Of course I know Skarsgard can play a villain because I’ve seen him do it as a vampire in the HBO series True Blood, but this isn’t the same by any means. In THE KILL TEAM, he uses war and the innocence of these young soldiers to fulfill his own nasty need for destruction. Despicable yes, well portrayed – absolutely.

kill 1

Morrow as William Briggman is a father who just wants his son to come home alive without physical harm or emotional scars. When his son reaches out, Dad does what dad’s do, try to fix a problem before it becomes bigger than a problem.

Other cast include Anna Francolini as Laura, Oliver Ritchie as Cappy, Brian Marc as Marquez, Jonathan Whitesell as Coombs, Adam Long as Rayburn and Ian Attard as Captain Weaver.

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 Special Features of THE KILL TEAM include The Reality of Courage: Making THE KILL TEAM, Deleted Scenes and Audio Commentary with Writer-Director Dan Krauss.

THE KILL TEAM also includes a Digital Copy that allows the viewer to stream instantly or download to your devices such as PC’s, laptops, tablets and your own phone.

THE KILL TEAM is a difficult film because the idea presented is one that people have thought about but never talk openly about. War brings about actions that otherwise wouldn’t be a part of a person’s behaviors in everyday life. Not just in the recent wars but wars throughout history people have done things to one another that aren’t spoken of in ‘polite society’.

kill 3

Not so much in recent years as PTSD has become prevalent in our world and with that come the stories (and even photographs/video with our technology now) that show what the men/women of the armed services endure. The leader in this film, Deeks, is supposedly one of their own that is trusted to do his job and protect his soldiers is the disturbing part. Instead he is a man that betrays that trust and does the unthinkable.

Briggman is a character but not so far removed from all the young soldiers who join the military. When the trust of a leader is betrayed, the fear is just another thing that can get one killed. Anyone in the military or family of those in the military will experience this film in a more difficult way because having a service member in the family is already difficult enough. The choices they make as soldiers is one most of us will never have to make and the film portrays that as well.

The entire film is on an emotional roller coaster for the viewer but at the same time will have the same viewer writing up a mental list of questions. That’s where the conversations come into play that need to be had regarding the realities of war. Of course my father and grandfather came from a generation where what happened in war was never discussed but that is no longer the case and, in fact, they are now speaking out for their own mental health.

In the years to come this will not be the only time we hear and see a story of this kind as writer/director Krauss gives us a based on a true story, in-depth look at a few good men brought to many bad (and sad) behaviors.

In the end – they are soldiers, brothers and enemies.

SAVING LENINGRAD

saving leningrad cover
Jeri Jacquin
Coming to theatres from writer/director Aleksey Kozlov and Universal Pictures International is the story of hope and survival when SAVING LENINGRAD.
It is war between the Russian people and German soldiers in the Soviet Union in 1941 and the people of Leningrad are being evacuated. On Lake Lodoga is an old barge, number 752, that is being loaded with soldiers and civilians. Trying to get on board is cadet Kostya Gorelov (Andrey Mironov-Udalov) and his girlfriend Nastya Tkachoyva (Maria Melniova). Also getting on board is Vadim Petruchik (Gela Meskhi), a NKVD investigator who has papers that he deems important to the war.
When Gorelov’s group is taken off the boat to head to the front, his father Col. Nikolai Gorelov (Vitaliy Kishchenko) makes a last minute decision. What Nastya doesn’t know is that after leaving her mother Nariya (Anastasiya Melnikova) behind, that her father Alexandr (Valeriy Degtyar) has been released from prison and sent to that very front.
Petruchik recognizes Nastya and can’t stop himself from bringing up her father’s past or putting thoughts in her head about Kostya. He also realizes who Kostya’s father is but has no problem threatening him as well. Trying to make the best of the frightening situation isn’t helping the couple deal with their own issues.
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On land the fighting increases as the soldiers march toward the battle. In front of them is a hill that is wiping out soldier after soldier. That doesn’t stop the men from doing what they must to hold the enemy back. When leaders of the platoons fall, new leaders emerge with a call to arms that the Germans couldn’t even imagine coming.
Believing the barge is the only chance for evacuation, it is sent out onto the lake for the crossing. What they didn’t expect was a storm that ravages the ship to the point of bring on water and have to start dumping everything on the deck. Nastya sees that Kostya is doing his part as more and more being to try and save the ship.
Thinking they might still have a chance, from the air comes more terror as the scattering begins. Those on board don’t have much to fight with and try to fight back with all they have but it might not be enough to save the barge or the people below in the holds.
This is a story of survival.
Mironov-Udalov as Kostya is clearly a young man in love but he is also a soldier. Sort of a considered a lady’s man, no one is really sure if the new girl is serious or he’s just trying to impress her. That perception changes quickly when he makes sure she is safely aboard the barge. It is his own father that makes arrangements for Kostya and it is something that troubles him not wanting problems for his father. With the decision made, Kostya doesn’t hesitate to do whatever is necessary to save the people on board.
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Melniova as Nastya is a young woman in love who will follow her man to start a new life. The problem is the old one isn’t quite finished with either of them yet. Trying to be supportive, she does manage to let Petruchik get into her head questioning Kostya’s motives. Eventually she sees what her man is made of! Melnikova as mother Nariya has tried to live her life raising daughter Nastya alone while her husband is in prison. Trying to stay clear of losing her job with the government (not a good idea to anger them), she knows her daughter is on the barge and husband is being sent to war.
Meskhi as Petruchik is a power hungry narcissist who has a penchant for striking fear into people. He causes trouble between Kostya and Nastya in different ways. Petruckik makes it perfectly clear that all he has to do is snap his fingers and life will be difficult for them both, the thing is they have more serious problems waiting for them than his snappy fingers. Absolute power corrupts absolutely and the character of Petruckik could be their poster child!
Degtyar as Nastya’s father Alexandr is finally released from prison but doesn’t escape his fate. Being sent to fight the war may seem crazy considering his age but he accepts it and is stronger than most of the soldiers. Kishchenko as Col. Nikolai Gorelov is definetly a military man who is facing some hard and painful decisions. He may be a soldier but he’s also Kostya’s father and when those two parts of him collide, one side wins out.
Other cast include: Aleksey Shevchenkov as Erofeev, Elena Zimina as Zoya, Sergey Zharkov as Gena Bukin, Ivan Lyrchikov as Andrey Babintsev, Maria Kepustinskaya as Sveta,Yesenia Raevskaya as Pomerantseva, Vadim Andreyev as Skyortsov, Inga Strelkova-Oboldina as Galochka, Vladimir Petrov as Sasha, Stepan Yakovlev as Seryozha, Vladimir Seleznev as Yarygin, Mikhail Morozov as Vitya, Evgenia Lyubimova as Lyusya, Pavel Grigoriev as Mikhail and Natalya Tkachenko as Liza.
SAVING LENINGRAD is a story of a young couple in love, parents and their children, soldiers, enemies and war. It is also about decisions made because of connections people have with one another. There are good guys and there are bad guys and the problem can often be that both of those are on the same side.
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I am a serious lover of period pieces and this film falls nicely into that category. The costuming and sets all take the viewer into that time period. It is in the costuming and sets that we as the viewer either go for the ride the story is telling or fall behind. I went completely for the ride. Having never heard this story I was interested in every aspect of what was happening and shared in the characters ultimate acceptance of how it all turns out.
They story is based on the actual events of barge number 752. Initially, the barge was used to transport supplies to Leningrad for the survival of the people. Their food transport had to be used for people because an evacuation was deemed an emergency and 1,000 people were loaded on. On September 17, 1941, 460 people would lose their lives on barge 752 and the tow boat Selemzha.
Although SAVING LENINGRAD is a film about the war between Germany and Russia, once the boat sails it becomes about the barge 752 and those aboard. Already considered a dangerous proposition, the fight for survival began the moment it left the dock – little did they know that survival was about to be taken to a higher level.
In the end – the fight has just begun!

THE KILL TEAM

The Kill Team cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres and On Demand from writer/director Dan Krauss and A24 are events of war and the effects caused by THE KILL TEAM.

 

Andrew Briggman (Nat Wolff) is a young man who joins the military and immediately send to the Middle East. Settling into camp, he tries to learn the ropes from the other soldiers. His first experience with the seriousness of their work is when their leader Weppler (Osy Ikhile) is killed. The group tries to come together as the new leader Sgt. Deeks (Alexander Skarsgard) walks in with confidence.

 

Deeks makes it very clear what he expects from the men under him and even treats them to a cookout. He also takes Briggman under his wing a little and encourages him to be more forward in his soldiering. The young soldier appreciates the attention and begins to find his way and becomes more inclusive with the platoon.

kill 2

Out on a mission, Briggman remembers what Weppler told him about ‘hearts and minds’ but Deeks doesn’t agree with this approach. In fact, while out on patrol, he witnesses something that he knows is frighteningly wrong. Unsure of what to do, Briggman reaches out to his father William (Rob Morrow) who tells his son to stand fast using his military contacts to find help.

 

As word begins to spread that there could be a rat in the ranks, Briggman watches everyone including Deeks for signs of danger. The days become more difficult to handle as the others start weeding out who could be the person turning on them all.

Every move brings him to a decision that will cost everyone!

Wolff as Briggman is a young man who comes from a military family and sees himself as doing his duty to country. Not as tough as some of the other soldiers he is with means if someone is going to be made to feel the outcast it is Briggman. Wolff brings a believable naivetés to his character that is shattered quickly and his reaction is fear. From beginning to the end of the film I felt with Briggman every step of the way (including feeling a big paranoid) and all of the emotions means Wolff delivers.

kill 1

Skarsgard as Deeks is charming and disarming at the same time. Coming off as ‘one of the guys’ is perfect for a predator of his calibre. Of course I know Skarsgard can play a villain because I’ve seen him do it as a vampire in the HBO series True Blood, but this isn’t the same by any means. In THE KILL TEAM, he uses war and the innocence of these young soldiers to fulfill his own nasty need for destruction. Despicable yes, well portrayed – absolutely.

Morrow as William Briggman is a father who just wants his son to come home alive without physical harm or emotional scars. When his son reaches out, Dad does what dad’s do, try to fix a problem before it becomes bigger than a problem.

Other cast include Anna Francolini as Laura, Oliver Ritchie as Cappy, Brian Marc as Marquez, Jonathan Whitesell as Coombs, Adam Long as Rayburn and Ian Attard as Captain Weaver.

THE KILL TEAM is a difficult film because the idea presented is one that people have thought about but never talk openly about. War brings about actions that otherwise wouldn’t be a part of a person’s behaviors in everyday life. Not just in the recent wars but wars throughout history people have done things to one another that aren’t spoken of in ‘polite society’.

kill 3

Not so much in recent years as PTSD has become prevalent in our world and with that come the stories (and even photographs/video with our technology now) that show what the men/women of the armed services endure. The leader in this film, Deeks, is supposedly one of their own that is trusted to do his job and protect his soldiers is the disturbing part. Instead he is a man that betrays that trust and does the unthinkable.

Briggman is a character but not so far removed from all the young soldiers who join the military. When the trust of a leader is betrayed, the fear is just another thing that can get one killed. Anyone in the military or family of those in the military will experience this film in a more difficult way because having a service member in the family is already difficult enough. The choices they make as soldiers is one most of us will never have to make and the film portrays that as well.

The entire film is on an emotional roller coaster for the viewer but at the same time will have the same viewer writing up a mental list of questions. That’s where the conversations come into play that need to be had regarding the realities of war. Of course my father and grandfather came from a generation where what happened in war was never discussed but that is no longer the case and, in fact, they are now speaking out for their own mental health.

In the years to come this will not be the only time we hear and see a story of this kind as writer/director Krauss gives us a based on a true story, in-depth look at a few good men brought to many bad (and sad) behaviors.

In the end – they are soldiers, brothers and enemies.

THE WARRIOR QUEEN OF JHANSI

warrior queen

 Jeri Jacquin
Coming to theatres from director Swati Bhise and Roadside Attractions is a tale of battle and the unexpected warriors who fight it with THE WARRIOR QUEEN OF JHANSI.
Rani Lakshmibai (Devika Bhise) is a young woman married into the royal family becoming Queen of Jhansi. Happy in her marriage, the only unhappiness is the loss of a child yet the adoption of a nephew means a prince and the royal line to continue. Witnessing the adoption is Major Robert Ellis (Ben Lamb) and Sir Robert Hamilton (Nathaniel Parker). Not long after that, husband Gangadhar Rao passes as well.
As the years move on, the East India Company attempts to crush Indian provinces and Lakshmibal is a Queen in their way. Queen Victoria (Jodhi May) understands and makes it clear that she doesn’t want the people hurt. The one person who doesn’t care about that is Sir Hamilton. He considers all the people of India savages and wants to crush them under his boots.
Major Ellis has been a friend to Lakshmibai for years and tries to explain to Major General Sir Hugh Rose (Rupert Everett) that the Queen only wants what is best for her people. Attack after attack, Lakshmibai reaches out to the Indian people to come together because the British soldiers no longer have respect for their friendship.
warrior 1
Bhise as Lakshmibai is stunning in her portrayal of the Jhansi Queen. Learning from the men around her, there comes a time when she must say out loud ‘I am capable’ and when she does they listen. Bhise gives her character a fearlessness wrapped in the beauty of a sari that is belted with a sword. I see it as saying ‘never forget that I may be the woman but can fight like a man’. Remember a certain red-headed Queen who believed that about herself?
Lamb as Ellis watches the Queen grow into her responsibilities. He may have feelings for and want to protect her but he also understands what she is doing. There is a conflict for him in being an officer and a man. He tries his best to be on both sides but in this case it may just be too much to ask.
Parker as Hamilton is just a plain out and out cruel, savage human being. He doesn’t want there to be a peace, he wants to kill every last person who gets in his way. He lies, manipulates and lay in wait when no one is around to do his dirty deeds. The character of Parker is just a reflection of others in that time who felt the exact same way. Parker really does this character evil.
Everett as Maj. Gen. Rose hears both sides but has his orders. The only problem is I’m never really sure what his side is? He says one thing and yet does another knowing that Hamilton is just an instigator. He trusts Ellis but yet doesn’t show it. He is truly a confusing character but I’m happy to see Everett on the screen once again.
May as Queen Victoria is a monarch who doesn’t want to choose sides but it is her friendship with Saleem Khan that helps her see the sadness of it all. The orders she gives are not followed and there fall out (but not enough for my liking). Omar Malik as Saleem makes certain that Queen Victoria understands the struggle and isn’t afraid of any Englishman.
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Other cast include R. Bhakti Klein as Walrus Moustache, Glenn Webster as Lord, Nagesh Bhonsie as Bakshish Ali and Derek Jacobi as Lord Palmerston.
This film once again speaks about the era where one group of people feel that another group are savages because they have their own culture, beliefs, traditions and spirit to hold onto their country.
Under the leadership of Lakshmibai, the fight didn’t start because of her and it certainly didn’t stop because of her. She instilled a sense of right for her people and it carried on to others even when The East India Company was abolished much to the hostility of Sir Hamilton.
India is a country filled with a history that is absolutely stunning and majestic and THE WARRIOR QUEEN OF JHANSI shows just that. The richness of tradition is equal to the costuming and music that is so haunting but hits the soul. The cast brings this story full circle with all of these elements combined.
This film is a history lesson yes but more than that. It is a story of a people who understand that it is their duty to fight to keep who they are. They continually make it clear that no one has the right to take away what they hold dear and I couldn’t appreciate that more.
In the end – she fought and died for the freedom of her people.

SEMPER FI Brings Loyalty and Brotherhood

Semper Fi Cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to theatres, On Demand and digital from writer/director Henry-Alex Rubin, co-writer Sean Mullin and Lionsgate is the story of brothers and brotherhood with SEMPER FI.

Callahan (Jai Courtney) is a police officer in a small town but also a reservist in the Marine Corps along with his friends and brother Oyster (Nat Wolff). Hanging out with Jaeger (Finn Wittrock), Milk (Beau Knapp), Snowball (Arturo Castro), they enjoy their time together just have a bit of fun.

Cal has been keeping an eye on his younger brother Oyster since their mother died and it is a job big brother takes seriously. Helping him stay out of trouble has also brought tension to the brothers that occasionally come to the surface.   As the gang goes out for a night of drinks, they all know that going to Iraq is very close. Cal warns Oyster to stay out of trouble but gets a snarky reply.

Semper 22

Later in the evening, Cal gets a telephone call that his brother is wanted for beating up a man at the bar. Having no choice, he goes to look for his brother wanting to be the one to arrest him before anything else happens. It doesn’t go well and Oyster is sent to prison while Cal is sent to Iraq. The brother each fight to stay alive but in different ways. Cal is faced with his own decisions in war when his platoon is attacked. Oyster is fighting corruption from those that should be protecting him.

Returning home Cal visits his brother in jail and is met with disdain and hostility but it is clear that something bad is happening to Oyster. Cal reaches out to anyone that he things can help but all he is told is that there is a possibility the younger brother can be transferred. He tries to discover why Oyster is out of legal options only to find out there is something nefarious happening.

That’s when he decides the only recourse is to be a law man who is about to break that law and with help!

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Courtney as Callahan is a complex character being that he is a big brother put in a position of responsibility at a young age to be a father figure. As he gets older, he sees the path Oyster is on and will do anything to help him avoid the painful effects of bad decisions. Courtney has made a career portraying a stern faced and by the book leader roles and it’s because he makes it work beautifully. This is an intense role because of the truths behind it with war and a sense of brotherhood that has brotherhood attached to it as well.

Wolff as Oyster clearly has issues that he has not dealt with and a history that is filled with pain and fear. Instead of the brothers dealing with that history, Wolff holds anger towards his brother that is taken to the stratosphere when Cal is the one who arrests him. Wrapped up in himself, he can’t see past that anger and blames everyone else for his own bad choices. Wolff is that little brother many of us can relate to and that brings the viewer deeper into the relationships with Cal.

Knapp, Castro and Wittrock are Cal and Oyster’s military brothers who see what is happening between them and tries to keep the peace. When they all go to Iraq without Oyster, these men follow their leader Cal because that’s what brothers do, watch out for each other and trust that their leader will get them home. Once home, they all understand the pain Cal is going through when he sees Oyster in prison and will follow both brothers into another kind of battle.

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Other cast include Leighton Meester as Clara, Rachel Hendrix as Rachel, Wayne Pere as Tom Nichols, Ashton Leigh as Val, Sylvia Crim as Carrie, Rob Mello as Tony, Lance Nichols as Balfour, Jared Bankens as DJ Dwyer, Mehdi Merali as Jalal and William Harris as Dr. Stall.

SEMPER FI is a story with many layers beginning with the brothers and ending with brotherhood. It shares within the story the struggles of those returning from war to try and find their way yet never forgetting who got them home in the first place. Another layer is that of a brotherhood that happens for soldiers in the military. In this instance it is a brotherhood that supports one another and even though it is an unusual situation, it is still not farfetched.

Films like SEMPER FI are important in that they address such serious issues that soldiers face when they return from war. In the case of Cal he is fighting what happened after the attack and how to deal with it once home. Trying to be strong for his brother and ‘brothers’ is difficult and the strain becomes too much at one point. When it comes to Oyster, it is his brothers who let him know that nothing is impossible together.

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Sean Mullin is an award-winning screenwriter and film director but previous to that was a Captain in the New York Amy National Guard and a first responder after the September 11th attacks. He spent his time working as the Officer in Charge of the soldiers stationed at Ground Zero. His critically-acclaimed debut – AMIRA & SAM won at numerous film festivals and was distributed by Drafthouse Films. He is the co-writer and co-producer of SEMPER FI along with Academy Award Nominated director Henry-Alex Rubin. Also involved is Academy Award nominated producer of WHIPLASH David Lancaster.

In the end – honor your brother!

 

 

THE REFLECTING SKIN is a Film of Twisted Brilliance

reflect cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to DVD from Film Movement Classics and writer/director Philip Ridley is the stunning classic THE REFLECTING SKIN.

Seth Dove (Jeremy Cooper) is a young man living in 1950s Idaho farmland country with parents Luke (Duncan Fraser) and Ruth (Sheila Moore). The days are long and Seth spends time with friends Eben (Codie Wilbee) and Kim (Evan Hall). Three young boys together sometimes brings about mischief.

One such gathering the boys pull a prank on neighbor lady Dolphin Blue (Lindsay Duncan) and Seth feels momentary guilt. Back at home the young boy deals with a mother who treats him in almost sadistic ways and finds a bit of solace with his father who speaks rarely. Trying to talk with him, Luke introduces his son to the idea of vampires in a book he is reading.

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Seth is in trouble about a frog incident and must go to Dolphin to apologize. She tells him a little about herself and in the midst of a joke that he takes wrong decides she is a vampire. Eben goes missing so Seth and Kim decide to sneak into the neighbor’s house to see what she may be hiding. After a fright, he runs home and accidentally finds his friend.

That sets his parents on edge and disaster comes from it with a town that holds a grudge on a past secret. This brings home Seth’s older brother Cameron (Viggo Mortensen) who finds himself taken with Dolphin Blue. Now that his mother is in a state, the boy finds that he needs his brother even more.

But Cameron finds solace with Dolphin and tells her of the bomb experiments he was a part of in the war while Seth peeks in on them both. When he sees that his brother may be getting ill, he is more convinced Dolphin is a vampire killing his brother. More tragedy strikes the town and there are more questions than answers.

In that tragedy Seth believes he has found a way to save his brother from a monster that lives so close to home.

Cooper as the young Seth is absolutely brilliant for a young actor to play this very disturbing role. From the way he spoke to the characters clothing, Cooper made that secondary to his performance. Disturbing is too small a word for Seth yet it was impossible to take my eyes off of him.

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Duncan as neighbor Dolphin Blue is beautiful, extraordinary and holds a solemn and strangely peaceful attitude toward her life but will let out a scream with ease. Her handling of Seth is sometimes amusing and its probably there conversation on the rode that amused me the most with its disturbing content.

Mortensen as Cameron is a young man who returns from war only to find that coming home is really the last thing he wanted to do. It is Dolphin that gives him light in a dark place and he embraces it immediately. This is one of Mortensen’s first roles and had I seen this film earlier I would have said then what I believe now and that is he has a presence on screen that is a mixture of tough, charming and painful all rolled into him.

Other cast include David Longworth as Joshua, Robert Koons as Sheriff Ticker, Jason Wolfe as Cadillac Driver, Walt Healy as the Old Man, Sherry Bie as Cassie, and Jeff Walker as Adam Blue.

Celebrating its 17th year in 2019, Film Movement has released more than 250 feature films and shorts culled from prestigious film festivals worldwide, and last year it had its first Academy Award-nominated film, THEEB. Film Movement’s theatrical distribution strategy has evolved to include promising American independent films, documentaries, and an even stronger slate of foreign art house titles. Noted directors Film Movement brings are Eric Rohmer, Peter Greenaway, Bille August, Marleen Gorris, Takeshi Kitano and Ettore Scola. For more information, please visit www.filmmovement.com.

The DVD includes the Bonus Features of Angels & Atom Bombs: The Making of THE REFLECTING SKIN, Commentary with writer/director Philip Ridley and New Essay by Travis Crawford and Heather Hyche.

kinopoisk.ru

THE REFLECTING SKIN is a film with so many layers that eventually level into one. There is a strangeness, horror, mystery, intensity, beauty and a draw to go down the road of the story even if something tells us not to. Each character has fears of their own yet survival makes a convenient blinder.

Small towns have big secrets and this place has one that they use to quickly fill in the gap tragedy often leads. It isn’t important whether or not it’s the true; it makes whatever sadness permeates the people easier to serve up with their evening meals. The vampires are secondary to my way of thinking.

A film such as THE REFLECTING SKIN will leave its cinematic mark and I am thrilled to have had the chance to experience it.

In the end – sometimes terrible things happen quite naturall

SGT. WILL GARDNER is a Story of Pain and Redemption

 

sgt cover

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to DVD from writer/director Max Martini and Cinedigm comes the story of a man who has seen war and forgot his life in SGT. WILL GARDNER.

Will ‘Ghost’ Gardner (Max Martini) is a man struggling with life after his time in the military. After an explosion kills his close friend Samuel ‘Top’ Gallegos (Omari Hardwick) and causes brain injury, he leaves his life behind to wander the streets.

As the years pass, Ghost realizes he must get back into life and makes his way to see his young son. Along the way he meets Mary Anne (Lily Rabe) who accidentally mistakes him for a famous actor. The two get to know one another and discover they are both lost in the big world.

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After reconnecting with his young son Will Jr. (Leo Martini), he sees his ex-wife Kimmy (Elisabeth Rohm) and new husband Buddy (Dermot Mulroney). She explains what happened with her life when Ghost went off to war and it is what they both needed to move forward.

Trying to find his way clear, Ghost takes one step forward and four steps back trying to find his way in a world that doesn’t see him nor do they see his injury.  Relationships are held together by a thread, friendships are so difficult to maintain and sanity walks on the edge of what he wants his world to be.

This is his story but it is also the story of so many.

Martini as Ghost is a man who can not seem to find his way clear of the war. He wants so much to have the life he once knew but the trauma gets in the way. The emotional battle inside takes a piece of him little by little to the point where he can not see his way clearly. For every two steps forward he slides a little back but yet there is something inside him that refuses to stay down. That is his saving grace!

Hardwick as Top has become the conscience that Ghost doesn’t want to deal with. Always with him, Top is a constant reminder of where they have been together. Hardwick gives a performance of a friend that offers strength and courage and we should all be so blessed to have a friend that makes that kind of impact in our lives.

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Rabe as Mary Anne is a woman who is also looking for something that isn’t exactly what she expects. Ghost does take advantage of that for a bit but Rabe, as we all know from American Horror Story, can give as good as she takes.

A shout out to Bordonada as Charlie Burroughs as a vet who seems to be a target for every person with big-man-syndrome. Even when he goes against Ghost, he discovers that there is someone else out there who understands the fear and pain of war. Bordonada is a bit of the missing piece for Ghost that can create a new path for them both.

Sinise as Larry makes an appearance and it must be said that anytime he shows up in a film it is an experience but every time he shows up in a film for vets it makes me love him even more. Dedicated to supporting veterans, Sinise has become a recognizable face for the cause of our active, wounded and retired service members.

Other cast include: JoBeth Williams as Sherry, Luis Bordonada as Charlie Burroughs, Holt McCallany as Officer Callahan, Justin Tucker as Farnsworth, Matthew Velez as Morley, Georgina Lighting as Emily Saunders, Jay DeMarcus as Top Gunner and Gary Sinise as Larry.

Cinedigm is a leading distributor of amazing content in storefronts, digital platforms, Internet and Demand platforms for cable television. With an extensive library of over 52,000 films and television shows, Docurama films, next-gen Indies and Independent films. At its inception, Cinedigm has played a pioneering role in transitioning movie theatres from traditional film prints to digital distribution to advance worldwide cinema modernization. For more on what Cinedigm has to offer please visit http://www.cinedigm.com.

Martini has pledged that 30% of SGT. WILL GARDNER’s film proceeds will go to charities that help soldiers with homelessness, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury such as the character Ghost suffers from.

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SGT. WILL GARDNER is an amazing film in that it is simple, straight forward and only a glimpse inside the lives of wounded service members. Tough as nails on one hand and spiritually tired on the other, this film shows that Ghost wants what everyone else wants – a simple life, love of family and to be of help to others.

The reality for all who serve is, “Although it is impossible to gauge accurately, the findings estimate approximately 50,000 veterans are still homeless on any given night in the United States of America. A recent DoD report states that 383,947 veterans have been diagnosed with war related Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI) since the year 2000. In 2015, a VA Inspector General’s report revealed that 307,000 veterans died while awaiting pending healthcare claims. The VA National Suicide Data Report claims that the average number of Veterans who die by suicide each day remains unchanged at 20” – leave no man behind!

It is stirring to see, rough to feel and real enough to take in what is happening to our veterans after serving our country.

In the end – sometimes the battle follows you home!

 

The Most Successful Norseman Series Brings its Fourth Season to Bluray with VIKINGS

vikings season 4

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is the series that has fans coming back for more with VIKINGS Season 4 Volume 2.

Ragnar (Travis Fimmel) wastes no time upon his return to Kattegat challenging his sons if one of them wants to be King. The one to step forward is Ubbe (Jordan Smith) but for a completely different challenge. Wanting his sons to return to England with him, he is surprised when Bjorn (Alexander Ludwig) tells Ragnar that he has his own plans with Floki (Gustaf Skarsgard), Harald (Peter Franzen) and Hvitserk (Marco Llso) to take the Mediterranean.

Lagertha (Katheryn Winnick) also has no intention of going to England with Ragnar even after he apologizes to her for everything that has happened. Thinking that his time might be up in this world, the ravens have other plans for Ragnar. When he returns to Kattegat it is to ask Ivar (Alex Hogh) to go to England. Before anyone leaves, Ragnar wants Bjorn to find peace with Rollo while Lagertha refuses to find peace with Aslaug (Alyssa Sutherland).

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Before he leaves, Aslaug reveals a vision she’s had but Ragnar and Ivar won’t be stopped from going to England. When a storm capsizes the boat, Ragnar and Ivar get to shore and King Ecbert (Linus Roache) is told. Trying to find peace with Rollo (Clive Standen), Bjorn ends up in jail with his companions but safe passage isn’t far away.

Lagertha decides it’s time to reclaim what is hers and takes Ubbe and Sigurd captive with every intent on removing Aslaug from the throne. Proclaiming herself queen, Lagertha hears from Aslaug that she will tell her sons not to fight back if she can leave free. Of course the new queen has a plan of her own with Astrid keeping Ubbe and Sigurd in check.

In Aethelwulf, Ecbert promises that nothing will happen to either Ragnar or Ivar and introduces them to Magnus. Ragnar makes a claim about Kwenthrith and Ecbert admits a few truths of his own. After a few drinks the two reminisce about Athelstan and Ecbert is surprised when Ragnar asks him for death. Refusing to take part in it, he instead agrees to take Ragnar to King Aelle so that Ivar can go home. In the same agreement, he tells Ecbert that Wessex will not be the focus of his son’s revenge.

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Before returning home, Ivar learns from Ragnar of his plan and when Ivar lashes out promising revenge before he is taken to a ship going home. Ragnar sees Alfred and gives him a gift of his father before a journey where he has time to rethink all that has happened. Ecbert can not stay away and when the time comes, he knows that he has lost a friend.

Ivar returns to Kattegat to find Lagertha on the throne and his mother gone. When he challenges the new Queen she ignores it and focuses on building Kattegat’s back up. But a longship brings a mysterious stranger and more challenges begin. Bjorn reaches the Mediterranean and along with Rollo they attack Algeciras. Coming in contact with praying men in the mosque, Floki wants their lives spared. The news of what has happened to Ragnar reaches Spain and Bjorn and Lagertha is told by a mystic that a son of Ragnar is planning to take her down.

A return to England is on the minds of Ubbe, Sigurd and Ivar as a way to revenge Ragnar. Help is also on the way when Earl Jorgensen brings his ships to help the Lothbroks. Floki knows that Ivar will stop at nothing to go to war and so he builds him a chariot and now he had the ability to be a true leader of the troops.

Ivar wants total leadership of the armies but Bjorn has something to say about it. As the Viking troops advance, Athelwulf knows he needs more help and turns to Ecbert and in Northumbria, King Aelle is taken and his fate is sealed.

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A surprise attack on Kattegat brings the capture of Egil who lets it be known that it is King Harald that ordered the attack. The Viking army is still on the move and Prince Aethelwulf tries everything to stop them. When he is forced back to Wessex, he tells Ecbert to retreat which he will not do. Instead, turning his crown over to his son, Bjorn then allows him to decide his own fate.

As the brothers decide where they will go next, it is Ivar that stands out with an action that brings even Bjorn into shock.

Fimmel as Ragnar has taken this character to depths that are absolutely amazing. He is not a vocal character by any means but when he does speak, the clan better listen. As Ragnar has grown season by season, it is clear that both the good and bad choices of his life are coming to a decision that had the viewing audiences’ jaws dropping. I can not think of one actor that could have done what Fimmel has for the role of Ragnar.

Winnick as Lagertha has also gone to hell and back as a woman in a world where wielding a weapon and shield is equally as important as having a family. Lagertha has also made good and bad choices but is solid and strong even when she is wrong. I have to give props to a bad ass chick who can give a look that says ‘yea, I was wrong – what about it?’ Winnick is powerful and she’s back on the throne!

Ludwig as Bjorn has grown out of his father’s shadow. Wanting to get back to the sea and do what Vikings do is now his motivation. Making a name and life for himself, Bjorn also begins to understand Ragnar more and more. Standen as Rollo grabs onto the creed of ‘once a Viking always a Viking’ and it’s good to see him back with the axe of nightmares.

Andersen as Ivar is one crazy individual who doesn’t have a problem being without legs. His mind is sharp and his decisions are sharper. Being the son of both Ragnar and Aslaug means he isn’t someone to be toyed with as he can mix plotting, war and revenge in a wine cup and swallow in one breath. Sutherland as Aslaug doesn’t fair as well with Lagertha this time around as her own plotting just doesn’t have the umph that hers does.

Roache as King Ecbert has played the game with Ragnar to the point that they are both played out.

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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.

VIKINGS Season 4 Volume 2 also contains the special features of The Queen and the Shield Maiden, Vikings – Valhalla and the Legacy of Ragnar Lothbrok, Creator’s Audio Commentary with Michael Hirst and Linus Roache on Selected Episodes, The Journeys of Bjorn Ironside and Deleted Scenes. There are ten unrated episodes with extended and deleted scenes not shown on television.

The episodes include: The Outsider, The Vision, Two Journeys, In the Uncertain Hour Before the Morning, All His Angels, Crossings, The Great Army, Revenge, On the Eve and The Reckoning.

 The History Channel has brought a magnificent series to television and it just gets better and better. Yes I hate when the show loses characters but I know that means more room for the story to go in another direction as it should. There is so much more to come and I, for one, will be there when it happens.

Of course if you have ever been to San Diego Comic Con International you know that fans wait in ridiculously long lines to see the actors from the series. They want to know as much as can possibly be shared and share their own costumes of proud VIKINGS. Of course I have my own drinking horn that is always used when watching VIKINGS.

If you are looking for action, adventure, intrigue, fantastic costuming, intense story lines and all wrapped up with actors who have made VIKINGS a smash, then this is the show for you. Catch up on all the prior season of VIKINGS and look for VIKINGS Season 4 Volume to on Bluray!

In the end – heavy is the head that wears the Viking crown!

MEGAN LEAVEY Inspires Coming to Bluray

Megan

Jeri Jacquin

Coming to Bluray/DVD and Digital HD from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and Bleeker Street is the inspirational film based on the story of MEGAN LEAVEY.

Megan (Kate Mara) is a young woman staggering through life. Unhappy with her job and unhappy living at home with mom Jackie (Edie Falco) and her boyfriend Jim (Will Patton), it seems the days just blur.

That is until she makes the decision to hop a bus and join the U.S. Marine Corps. It didn’t take long until Megan was in trouble within the Corps as well that has her cleaning the kennels of the K9 unit.

There she meets Rex, a four legged anti-social dog who gives trainers a difficult time. Megan continues to ask Gunny Martin (Common) to become part of the K9 unit. When a situation presents itself, Megan and Rex are paired together and so begins a training of each other to become a strong unit through patience and friendship.

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Sent to Camp Ramadi in Iraq, Megan and Rex are sent on missions to sniff out IED’s clearing the way for soldiers and the Iraqi people. She also meets Matt Morales (Ramon Rodriguez) who is also part of the K9 unit and starts to become comfortable being part of a team.

Then a mission puts both of their lives in danger changing the path for them both. Megan knows that she can not continue on her path without Rex and with dad Bob’s (Bradley Whitford) push, she is will get Rex back at her side and will do anything to make that happen.

In that is the true meaning of friendship!

Mara as Megan portrays a young woman who clearly has problems dealing with home and family. Making a swift move to join the military, Mara’s character puts up serious walls until she creates an unbreakable bond with Rex. What is amazing is that feeling this connection and watching the story unfold between Megan and Rex; it is not surprising that they would work together so brilliantly. Mara and Rex are lovely in this film and the audience fell in love with them both.

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Common as Gunny Martin is a man who clearly doesn’t take any guff from anyone – including a pint size Megan Leavey. Testing her potential and patiently watching to see if her dedication to the K9 unit is solid, he gives us both the tough Gunny as well as a man who understands the hurt of battle.

Rodriguez as Morales is a wise cracking but dedicated part of the K9 unit in Iraq. He manages to bring down some of Megan’s emotional walls but it can take the snap of fingers to bring them back up. Patton as Jim is not someone Megan is thrilled to have around and this is a small role.

Whitford as Megan’s father Bob is a man who realizes that choices he made in his life have affected his daughter. Wanting to reach out and help her, he just isn’t sure how to do it or if it would make a difference. This is a different role for Whitford and he delivers with a lovely scene when Megan returns from Iraq.

Falco as Jackie is – well – Falco. She is an over dramatic and wildly awesome to watch as Megan’s mother. Big or small, Falco brings her best to every role she does and always manages to surprise me.

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Other cast include Geraldine James as Dr. Turbeville, Shannon Tarbet as Barb, Miguel Gomez as Gomez, Jonathan Howard as Peter Walters, George Webster as Finn, Corey Johnson as Master Sergeant and Tom Felton as Andrew Dean.

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.

MEGAN LEAVEY could very easily be called a feel good film but that would be an injustice to the story being told. There are so many issues that are handled in this story with straight forwardness, no sugar-coating and boldly done.

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It is the story of a young woman dealing with the situation her life is in and knowing at some point something had to give. Joining the Marine Corps gives Megan the opportunity to become part of something bigger than herself and not just fighting in a war but becoming responsible for Rex and the lives of everyone around her. Mara takes this role and lets us all experience the journey of this young woman until the end where we come to understand more than we ever could.

Director Cowperthwaite says of her film, “There are so many important story threads, what about the political commentary about the war one could make or about a ton of things regarding women Marines and dealing with their situations…and to focus on this world from Megan’s perspective. You have to hone in on that relationship and how that bond gets built because that is really what the story is – loyalty and friendship.”

In regards to PTSD and returning troops she says, “Dealing with PTSD when our military come home and how we can maybe look at it different, pay attention and be better listeners I think that would be a great thing.”

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MEGAN LEAVEY is a story that is well done dealing with issues that might be uncomfortable for some to see but necessary to experience. This film speaks on love, understanding, patience and a friendship that saved not only the lives of others – but of one another as well.

The Bluray includes the Bonus Features of Never Give Up: An Inside Look at How Megan Leavey Learned to Trust Rex!

We are proud to offer a chance for Military Press readers to win a Bluray copy of MEGAN LEAVEY. Go to hellomoviemaven@aol.com with “Megan & Rex” in the subject line along with your name and address. We will be chose winners at random and will notify by email.

In the end – a true story of a marine and her best friend!

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