Extraordinary Emily Dickinson Biopic Available on Home Video

 

A Quiet Passion,  DVD Review, Emily Dickinson, legendary poet,Cynthia Nixon, A Quiet Passion

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Extraordinary Emily Dickinson Biopic Available on Home Video

Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) had less than a dozen of her 1,800 poems published, while she was still alive. Since she was only appreciated posthumously, it makes sense that a movie about her life might revolve around something other than the literary prowess that went unrecognized by her contemporaries.

In bringing her story to the big screen, writer/director Terrence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) wisely resisted the temptation to pore over the prolific scribe’s evocative verses in favor of plumbing the depths of her terribly tortured soul. The upshot of that endeavor is A Quiet Passion, an exquisite costume drama  alternately presenting the protagonist as an iconoclastic visionary and as a retiring recluse.

On the macro level, the socially-conscious production subtly suggests that the agnostic, feminist abolitionist was ahead of her time and withdrew from the world in response to being raised in an era when evangelism, slavery and male chauvinism were the order of the day. Meanwhile, on the micro level, the character-driven drama telescopes intensely on a fragile psyche ostensibly further crippled by a cloistered existence. 

As the film unfolds, we find Emily (played in her teens by Emma Bell, later as an adult by Cynthia Nixon) just finishing a frustrating freshman year at Mount Holyoke. She soon decides to drop out due to the pressure being unfairly exerted by the school’s president, Mary Lyon (Sara Vertongen), to conform to the outwardly pious practices dictated by the Christian revival movement. Introspective Emily rebels because she sees her relationship with God as a direct and personal matter as opposed to one demanding public displays of devotion at church services.

So, she returns to Amherst, Massachusetts, where she again takes up residence on the grounds of the Dickinson family estate inhabited by her parents (Keith Carradine and Joanna Bacon), brother (Duncan Duff) and sister (Jennifer Ehle). Unfortunately, headstrong Emily proves unable to bite her tongue when visitors like the local pastor (Miles Richardson) or even a potential suitor (Stefan Menaul) come a callin’.

Although she does eventually make trusted confidantes of her sister-in-law Susan (Jodhi May) and the equally-irreverent Mabel Loomis Todd (Noemie Schellens), her preference remains the solitude of the remote, upstairs bedroom which affords her the opportunity to craft her immortal poems in secret. Cynthia Nixon has never been more convincing than conveying the emotional fires simmering just beneath the surface of such a stoic countenance.

A melancholy mood piece for the ages!

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated PG-13 for mature themes, disturbing images and suggestive material

Production Studio: Hurricane Films

Running time: 126 minutes

Distributor: Music Box Films

DVD Extras: Q&A with writer/director Terence Davies and Cynthia Nixon; and a behind-the-scenes featurette

To order a copy of A Quiet Passion on DVD, visit:

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06XWSDRD8/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

 Source:  Baret News

 

Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale Co-Star in WWI Docudrama

 

The Promise,  DVD Review, Eastern Turkey, 1914, Oscar Isaac, riveting docudramaThe Promise

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Oscar Isaac and Christian Bale Co-Star in WWI Docudrama

It’s Eastern Turkey in 1914, which is where we find druggist Mikael Boghosian (Oscar Isaac) plying his trade in his half-Armenian/half-Turkish village where Christians and Muslims get along swell. The ambitious, young apothecary would really rather be a doctor, so he strategically courts a neighbor (Angela Sarafyan) from a relatively-wealthy family just for the dowry.

Those 400 gold coins do enable him to afford med school. However, while studying in Constantinople, he falls head-over-heels for Ana (Charlotte Le Bon), a fellow Armenian recently repatriated from France. The country bumpkin is taken not only with her pulchritude but with her urbane sophistication ostensibly cultivated over the course of a childhood spent in Paris. Trouble is, Ana has returned accompanied by her lover, Chris Meyers (Christian Bale), an intrepid, American photojournalist assigned by the Associated Press to find evidence of ethnic cleansing.

The plot thickens when World War I erupts. Instead of pursuing Ana and his M.D., Mikael finds himself fleeing the roundup of innocent Armenian civilians by the Turkish army. He makes his way back to his tiny hometown to rescue relatives and friends. Meanwhile, Ana is in a similar struggle to survive, and her beau does his best to shoot proof of the savage slaughter rumored to be transpiring.   

That is the dire set of circumstances established at the outset of The Promise, a riveting docudrama directed and co-written by Oscar-winner Terry George (The Short).  The edge-of-your-seat thriller bears an uncanny resemblance to Hotel Rwanda, which George directed and co-wrote, too.

For both of these films chronicle extraordinary exhibitions of heroism in the face of a complete collapse of civilization. If this picture has a flaw, it’s that it appears to be trivializing the ethnic cleansing of one and a half million Armenians when it asks that holocaust to serve as a mere backdrop to the love story at the center of the saga.

That being said, I nevertheless invested in the characters emotionally, and ended up teary-eyed during the denouement. War may be hell, but luckily, love still conquers all!

Excellent (3.5 stars)

Rated PG-13 for mature themes, sexuality, violence, disturbing images and war atrocities

Running time: 134 minutes

Production Studio: Survival Pictures

Distributor: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Extras: Deleted scenes; The Love Story; War and Struggle; A Cause; and feature commentary with director Terry George and producer Eric Esrailian. 

To order a copy of The Promise Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack, visit: https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0719XBL75/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

 Source:  Baret News

Reboot of Much Beloved Monster Franchise Arrives on Home Video

 

<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/44LdLqgOpjo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>Kong: Skull Island

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Reboot of Much Beloved Monster Franchise Arrives on Home Video

The beloved classic King Kong (1933), starring Fay Wray, revolved around an expedition to an uncharted island in the Indian Ocean inhabited by an array of prodigious prehistoric creatures. The explorers proceed to capture and cage a gigantic ape with plans to put him on exhibition in New York as the 8th Wonder of the World.

He eventually escapes and wreaks havoc around the city before scaling the face of the Empire State Building during one of the most iconic climaxes in the annals of cinema. A spin-off, Son of Kong, was released later that year, thereby launching an enduring franchise which would serve over the intervening decades as a wellspring for a profusion of scintillating sequels and remakes.

Kong: Skull Island is a refreshing reboot of the original co-starring Samuel L.Jackson, John Goodman, Brie Larson, John C. Reilly and Tom Hiddleston. The film features a large ensemble cast in accordance with the demands of a typical horror flick with a high body count. It was directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts who made an impressive debut in 2013 with the coming-of-age comedy The Kings of Summer.

A riveting origins tale, this special f/x-driven adventure unfolds in the Seventies, near the end of the Vietnam conflict. At the point of departure, we find thrill seeker Bill Randa (Goodman) pressuring a U.S. senator (Richard Jenkins) to underwrite a perilous trek to a godforsaken  Pacific island permanently surrounded by treacherous storms blamed for the mysterious disappearance of countless boats and airplanes.

Once the ill-advised caravan is approved, Randa hastily assembles a ragtag crew composed of an intrepid photographer (Larson), a nerdy geologist (Corey Hawkins), a brainy biologist (Jing Tian) and a cowardly bureaucrat (John Ortiz). The team is escorted on its appointed mission by a squadron of Vietnam veterans led by salty Lieutenant Colonel Preston Packard (Jackson).

As the convoy of choppers approaches Skull Island, the screen is cluttered with more characters than you could possibly keep track of. Not to worry. Soon enough, they start getting picked off in creative fashion by an army of gargantuan, primordial beasts.

It’s man versus monsters in a struggle to survive an anachronistic hellhole that time forgot. Stick around all the way till the very end of the credits and you’ll be rewarded with an extended postscript setting up Godzilla vs. Kong, a sequel already slated for release in the spring of 2020.

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated PG-13 for action, intense violence and brief profanity

Running time: 118 minutes

Distributor: Warner Brothers Home Entertainment Group

Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Extras: Deleted scenes; director’s commentary; On Location: Vietnam; Through the Lens: Brie Larson’s Photography; Tom Hiddleston: The Intrepid Traveler; Monarch Files: 2.0; Creating a King: Realizing an Icon; and Creating a King: Summoning a God.

To order a copy of the Kong: Skull Island Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack , visit:

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0714C2W9C/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

Source:  Baret News 

 

8th Installment of Car Crash Franchise Arrives on Home Video

 

The Fate of the Furious

DVD Review by Kam Williams

8th Installment of Car Crash Franchise Arrives on Home Video

There are a number of action films whose opening scenes alone are well worth the price of admission. Taken (2008), District B-13 (2004) Super 8 (2011) and Dawn of the Dead (2004)  are four which automatically come to mind. Feel free to add The Fate of the Furious to the list of flicks that grab you by the throat right off the bat.

Action Films, The Fate of the Furious,  DVD Review, Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez

The fun starts in Cuba, which is where newlyweds Dom (Vin Diesel) and Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) are happily honeymooning. But their nuptial bliss is interrupted when Dom comes to the rescue when a repo man threatens to cart off his cousin’s vintage jalopy.

Dom talks the guy out of towing and into a drag race to settle their differences. What ensues is heart-stopping careening around the colorful streets of Havana leading to a crowd-pleasing photo finish right at the ocean shore.

Next, we find the bride and groom relaxing back at the hotel. Letty, aware of her biological clock ticking, brings up the idea of starting a family. However, before they decide, Dom goes for a fateful walk alone during which he stops to lend a hand to a damsel ostensibly in automobile distress (Charlize Theron).

Truth be told, it’s Cipher, a cyber-terrorist bent on world domination through the acquisition of a gizmo capable of shutting down the electrical grid. She blackmails Dom into joining her criminal enterprise by showing him something very incriminating on her cell phone.

Just like that, the stage is set for a high-octane battle of brawn, muscle cars and wits which has Dom squaring off against his wife and a reassembled gang composed of returnees: Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson), Tej (Ludacris), Ramsey (Nathalie Emmanuel) and Roman (Tyrese) as well as new team leader Frank (Kurt Russell), his awkward assistant Eric (Scott Eastwood) and ex-villain  Deckard (Jason Statham).

Forget the idea of following the plot. It’s messy and there are way too many characters to follow. Just sit back and soak in the spectacular stunts, the playful badinage between Hobbs and Deckard, and the comic relief coming courtesy of Roman.

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated PG-13 for profanity, suggestive content, and prolonged sequences of violence and destruction

Running time: 136 minutes

Distributor: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Extras: The Cuban Spirit; In the Family; Car Culture; All about the Stunts; extended fight scenes; and feature commentary with director F. Gary Gray.

To order a copy of The Fate of the Furious Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack, visit: https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06Y3KS6S9/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

 Source:  Baret News

 

Selfless Heroine Saves Animals and Jews in Fact-Based Biopic

 

The Zookeeper's Wife,  DVD Review, Johan Heldenbergh, Jessica Chastain, wildlife whisperer, Warsaw Zoo, Warsaw ZooThe Zookeeper’s Wife

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Selfless Heroine Saves Animals and Jews in Fact-Based Biopic

In 1928, Dr. Jan Zabinski (Johan Heldenbergh) became the director of the Warsaw Zoo. Over the next decade, he ran it  with the help of his wife, Antonina (Jessica Chastain), who was something of a wildlife whisperer. The institution flourished under their auspices until the outbreak of the Second World War in September of ’39 when Hitler invaded Poland.

The zoo was closed to the public after being repeatedly bombed by the Luftwaffe during the siege of the city. However, the Zabinskis continued to live on the grounds with their young son (Timothy Radford) and the beleaguered animals that survived the attacks.

But once Warsaw was occupied by the Nazis, the couple was ordered to report directly to Lutz Heck (Daniel Bruhl), the Third Reich’s recently-appointed chief zoologist. Despite being married, Heck never bothered to hide his lust for attractive Antonina, shamelessly forcing himself on her as they attended to the agglomeration of exotic beasts scattered around the premises.

Knowing that resistance was futile and might cost her her life, Jan directed his wife to submit to the unwelcome advances. And he understandably ended up feeling utterly emasculated by the frustration of failing to prevent her being pawed by the creepy Hitler henchman.   

Nevertheless, the  Zabinskis did find an avenue of retaliation: the Polish resistance movement. Joining the Underground, they secretly helped smuggle Jews destined for the concentration camps out of the Warsaw ghetto. Furthermore, they hid the escapees on the grounds of the zoo at a time when death was the punishment for attempting to liberate a Jew.

This is the spine-tingling series of events chronicled by The Zookeeper’s Wife, a fact-based docudrama adapted from Diane Ackerman’s best seller of the same name. Ackerman’s book, FYI, had, in turn, been based on an unpublished memoir by Antonina Zabinski herself.

Directed by Niki Caro (Whale Rider), the picture stars Jessica Chastain as the fearless and endearing title character. The two-time, Academy Award-nominee (for The Help and Zero Dark Thirty) delivers another quality performance, which is no surprise given how Caro has previously coaxed Oscar-nominated work out of a trio of talented actresses (Charlize Theron, Frances McDormand and Keisha Castle-Hughes).

A bittersweet biopic belatedly paying tribute to an unsung heroine who selflessly put her life on the line in the face of unspeakable evil.     

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated  PG-13 for violence, disturbing images, mature themes, smoking, sexuality and brief nudity

Running time: 126 minutes

Studio: Scion Films

Distributor: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Extras: The Zabinski Family; The Making of The Zookeeper’s Wife, and deleted scenes.. 

To order a copy of The Zookeeper’s Wife on Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack, visit: https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06ZXXC768/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

Source:  Baret News 

Raunchy Adaptation of Classic TV Series Arrives on Home Video

 

Chips,  DVD Review, classic television, Ponch Poncherello, Jon Baker, California Highway Patrol OfficersChips

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Raunchy Adaptation of Classic TV Series Arrives on Home Video

Whenever a classic television series is made into a movie, the buzz always seems to be about whether the screen version will be a creative variation on the theme or merely a campy, cornball, take-the-money-and-run ripoff trading in familiar formulas and shopworn cliches. After all, for every inspired adaptation like Batman (1989), Charlie’s Angels (2000) and 21 Jump Street (2012) there are just as many bitter disappointments, al a  Dragnet (1987), I Spy (2002) and Get Smart (2008).

Fortunately, Chips is more in league with the worthwhile remakes rather than the ones leaving you wondering why they ever bothered. The picture was ostensibly a labor of Dax Shepard who wrote, directed, produced and also co-stars in it opposite Michael Pena. They  play California Highway Patrol Officers Ponch Poncherello and Jon Baker, the same characters popularized on TV by Erik Estrada and Larry Willcox.

The original, airing for a half dozen seasons starting in 1977, was a buddy action drama basically revolving around the heroic exploits of a couple of mismatched motorcycle cops, with Ponch often going rogue, much to the chagrin of his relatively-straitlaced partner.  This go-round, the script has been flipped, so that Jon is more of a misfit. At the point of departure, we find him getting a probationary badge and graduating from the police academy only because Sergeant Hernandez (Maya Rudolph) takes pity on him.

They’re both going through difficult divorces, although Jon is desperate to win back his wife (Kristen Bell). He hopes she’ll be impressed by his transition into a safer line of work after an accident-prone career as a professional motorcross bike racer.

He’s soon teamed with the veteran Ponch to solve a rash of armored car robberies suspected of being pulled off by a gang of crooked cops. They proceed to make a mess of the investigation at every turn, which only makes their terminally-exasperated boss (Isiah Whitlock, Jr.) repeatedly blow his cork.

However, there’s little reason to pay attention to the intermittently-incoherent plot, for this kitchen sink comedy’s raison d’etre is to generate laughs by any means necessary. To that end, the politically-incorrect bottom feeder easily earns its R rating via an incessant indulgence in scatological, ethnic, sexist, slapstick, bodily function and gay panic fare.

A vulgar but funny enough departure from the classic TV series to warrant recommending. 

Very Good (3 stars)

Rated  R for crude humor, graphic sexuality, frontal nudity, violence, drug use and pervasive profanity

Running time: 100 minutes

Distributor: Warner Brothers Home Entertainment Group

Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Extras: This Is Not Your Dad’s Chips; Practical Pursuit;   Ducati: The Perfect Bike; director’s commentary; and deleted scenes.

To order a copy of the Chips Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack , visit: https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B071DX64LP/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

Source:  Baret News

Keanu Reeves Reprises Role in Splatterfest Sequel Arriving on DVD

 

John Wick: Chapter 2,  DVD Review, Keanu Reeves, Bridget Moynahan, Laurence Fishburne, The MatrixJohn Wick: Chapter 2

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Keanu Reeves Reprises Role in Splatterfest Sequel Arriving on DVD

When we first met John Wick (Keanu Reeves), he went on a bloody killing spree in the wake of losing the love of his life (Bridget Moynahan). And at the end of that revenge-fueled splatterfest we saw the wounded assassin walk off into the sunset with a puppy he just rescued from the dog pound.

  Picking up soon after the events of the original, Chapter 2 opens with Wick retiring after retrieving his stolen Mustang from a Russian gang. But before he has a chance to settle into a rocking chair, he’s recruited by Santonio D’Antonio (Riccardo Scamarcio) to perform one last hit.

The ambitious mobster wants his sister Gianna (Claudia Gerini) knocked off so that he can assume the reins of the powerful Mafia family left to her by their late father. Wick grudgingly agrees to kill her only because Santonio is holding his marker, a blood oath ironically taken in order to leave behind his grisly line of work.

So, he proceeds to Rome where he tracks down Gianna who quickly commits suicide once she realizes the reason for his visit. Nevertheless, her death doesn’t sit well with her horde of henchman, especially her personal bodyguard, Cassian (Common).

Next thing you know, Wick needs to waste wave after wave of minions while on the run through the catacombs. After a miraculous escape, things are no better back in America where the senseless slaughter simply continues.

That is the sum and substance of John Wick: Chapter 2, an unapologetic indulgence in blood lust. This high-body count affair is right in  Keanu Reeves’ wheelhouse, as he seems to excel when called upon to dispatch dozens, if not hundreds, of adversaries in a variety of creative ways, without ever having to exhibit much of an acting range.

The picture reunites Reeves with Laurence Fishburne, his co-star in The Matrix trilogy. Laurence only enjoys a minor role here, however, in favor of Common, a standout who proves to be the protagonist’s worthy adversary in a protracted hand-to-hand showdown.

A twisted Wick continues to burn bright!

Very Good (3 stars)

Rated R for profanity, brief nudity and pervasive violence

In English, italian, Hebrew and Russian with subtitles

Running time: 122 minutes

Distributor: Lionsgate Home Entertainment    

Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Extras: Deleted scenes; Retro Wick; Training John Wick; WICK-fizzed; Friends, Confidantes: The Keanu/Chad Partnership;As Above, So Below: The Underworld of John Wick; Car Fu Ride-Along; Chamber Deck: Evolution of a Fight Scene; Wick’s Toolbox; Kill Count;”Dog Wick” short; and an audio commentary with Keanu Reeves and director Chad Stahelski.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

To order a copy of John Wick: Chapter 2 on Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack, visit: 

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06XWWZ955/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

 Source:  Baret News

Hilarious Caped Crusader Cartoon Spoof Comes to Home Video

 

The LEGO Batman Movie,  DVD Review, Chris McKay, Batman, Robin, Batgirl, superhero, clever, sillyThe LEGO Batman Movie

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Hilarious Caped Crusader Cartoon Spoof Comes to Home Video

Not since the campy TV-sitcom back in the Sixties has Batman been so successfully lampooned. Now, the much-beloved superhero again proves perfect fodder for parody in a madcap, animated adventure with a terribly-short attention span.

More concerned with jokes than plot development, this irreverent spoof is relentless in its rush to find the next punch line. Fortunately, the picture never disappoints in that endeavor, whether the laughs be generated by clever quips, silly sight gags or allusions to earlier incarnations of the enduring franchise.

For example, right before confronting a couple of villains, Batman (Will Arnett) informs Robin (Michael Cera) that, “We’re going to punch these guys so hard that words are going to magically appear out of thin air.” That’s a thinly-veiled reference to the cartoon bubbles (a la “Crack!” and “Pow!”) that would appear on the screen during fist fights on the old television series.

And it’s not just the TV Batman that gets knocked off a pedestal, here. For, every big screen version of The Caped Crusader is fair game in the eyes of Chris McKay, who makes a remarkable, feature film directorial debut with this frenetically-paced farce.

The picture does have a premise, though it does read like a stock Batman storyline. At the point of departure, we learn that The Joker (Zach Galifianakis) is hatching a plan to level Gotham City with the help of a host of infamous supervillains. In turn, Batman enlists the assistance of  Robin (Michael Cera), Batgirl (Rosario Dawson) and his loyal manservant, Alfred (Ralph Fiennes).

However, before the typical tussle between these long-standing archenemies, we’re treated to an emotionally-charged exchange in which The Joker demands Batman finally commit to their adversarial relationship of 78 years by uttering, “I hate you.” When that phrase isn’t forthcoming, The Clown Prince of Crime vindictively responds with “I’m done, and on the way out I’m going to blow up Gotham City.”

The ensuing mix of mirth and mayhem is so mesmerizing, it’s easy to forget you’re watching LEGO figures. More fun than a barrel of monkeys, not that anybody still gets a kick out of watching primates at play.

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated  PG for action and rude humor

Running time: 104 minutes

Distributor: Warner Brothers Home Entertainment Group

Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Extras: Dark Hoser; Batman Is Just Not That into You; Cooking with Alfred; Movie Sound Effects: How Do They Do That?; The Master: A LEGO Ninjago Short; deleted scenes; Rebrick Contest Winners; film trailers; Lego Life trailer; social promos; director and crew commentary; and six more featurettes.

                     

To order a copy of The LEGO Batman Movie Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack, visit:

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06W53FHJJ/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

 Source:  Baret News

David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike Co-Star in True Tale of Forbidden Love

 

A United Kingdom,  DVD Review, David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike, 1946, Great Britain, Africa, racial intolerance, Lloyd's of LondonA United Kingdom

DVD Review by Kam Williams

David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike Co-Star in True Tale of Forbidden Love

Upon the untimely death of his father, Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo) was crowned the King of Bechuanaland at the tender age of 4. But his Uncle Tshekedi (Vusi Kunene) assumed the reins of power until the heir apparent could complete his education.

While studying law in Great Britain, Seretse fell in love at first sight with Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike), a lowly clerk at Lloyd’s of London. Their whirlwind romance ignited an international firestorm of controversy because of their color, not their class, differences.

For, he was black and she was white, and this was 1946, a time of strict racial segregation. So, the couple’s scandalous liaison was met with resistance both in England and back of Africa.

Although they found themselves assailed with racial slurs like “slut” and “savage” while out on dates, the hostility only served to intensify their feelings for one another. Meanwhile, Seretse was threatened with the loss of his throne, since Bechuanaland was a protectorate of neighboring South Africa, a white supremacist nation. Nevertheless, he got down on one knee and proposed to Ruth and the two married just a year after they met.

Unfortunately, major impediments were subsequently placed between the exiled young monarch and his governing, and that struggle is the subject of A United Kingdom. Directed by Amma Asante (Belle), the film was shot on location in Botswana, which is what the country has called itself since gaining independence in 1966.

Because the movie telescopes tightly on Ruth and Seretse’s relationship, it’s success or failure is destined to turn on the performances of co-stars David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike. The good news is that they’re very talented thespians capable of disappearing into their roles while generating the requisite chemistry to make their characters’ enduring affair convincing.

The film’s only flaw is that it feels a bit rushed, as if director Asante had a long checklist of touchstones from “Colour Bar” (the 432-page book it’s based on) she was determined to shoehorn into the encyclopedic biopic. Nonetheless, the final product is a praiseworthy production reminiscent of another true tale of racial intolerance.

Can anybody say, “Loving,” African style!

Very Good (3 stars)

Rated PG-13 for sensuality, profanity and ethnic slurs

Running time: 111 minutes

Distributor: Distributor: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Extras: The Making of A United Kingdom; Filming in Botswana; The Legacy of Seretse and Ruth; and London Film Festival Opening Night Gala Premiere.

To order a copy of A United Kingdom on Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack, visit

https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06Y4S4VBX/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

Source:  Baret News

Shades of “Groundhog’s Day” in Adaptation of Young Adult Best Seller

 

Before I Fall,  DVD Review, Kam Williams, Zoey Deutch, Erica Tremblay, bittersweet tale of redemption, Lauren Oliver, Groundhog DayBefore I Fall

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Shades of “Groundhog’s Day” in Adaptation of Young Adult Best Seller

Samantha “Sam” Kingston (Zoey Deutch) was a spoiled-rotten brat the night she perished in a tragic car crash. First of all, she and her little sister Izzy (Erica Tremblay) were lucky enough to be raised in the lap of luxury by a couple of loving parents (Jennifer Beals and Nicholas Lea).

Secondly, the recently-deceased 17 year-old was not only leaving behind a handsome boyfriend in Rob (Kian Lawley), but an ardent admirer in Kent (Logan Miller), a Platonic friend she’d taken for granted since grade school. Sam was also pretty popular at Ridgview High School where she was a member of an exclusive clique along with her three BFFs, Liz (Halston Sage), Elody (Medalion Rahimi) and Ally (Cynthy Wu).

The snobby quartet took delight in teasing classmates like lesbian Anna (Liv Hewson) and reclusive outcast Juliet (Elena Kampouri). So, Sam would think nothing of participating in such mean girl rituals as dumping drinks on Juliet while calling her a “psycho bitch.” 

However, after the accident, she was afforded an unusual opportunity to reconsider her cruel behavior when, instead of proceeding to the hereafter, her spirit miraculously reentered her body. Upon opening her eyes, she realized that it was again dawn on February 12th, and that she was about to relive the same day again.

In fact, Sam’s about to experience February 12th over and over, while learning valuable lessons in tolerance each go-round. Thus unfolds Before I Fall, a bittersweet tale of redemption based on Lauren Oliver’s young adult novel of the same name. 

At first blush, the picture’s premise reads rather reminiscent of the Bill Murray classic Groundhog Day (1993), although this is a drama as opposed to a comedy, and it’s set on February 12th instead of the 2nd. The movie was directed by Ry Russo-Young (Nobody Walks), who puts a fresh enough spin on the familiar theme to make you forget Groundhog Day after 15 minutes.

Kudos aplenty are in order for Zoey Deutch who’s incredibly convincing as Sam in a demanding role which calls for the exhibition of a considerable acting range over the course of the story. Her supporting cast delivers stellar work selling an escapist fantasy which might otherwise fall apart oh so easily.

A deja vu-driven, surrealistic morality play designed to leave you deep in reflection and weeping as you walk up the aisle. 

Excellent (4 stars)

Rated  PG-13 for mature themes, bullying, sexuality, violent images, profanity and underage drinking

Running time: 99 minutes

Distributor: Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack Extras: None

To order a copy of the Before I Fall Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack, visit: https://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B06XPS28JJ/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

Source:  Baret News