Win a DVD Copy of the Chilling Horror ‘Escape Room’

Just in time for Halloween comes the new Lionsgate chilling and tension packed horror-thriller Escape Room. Starring Evan Williams (TV’s “Awkward” and “Degrassi: The Next Generation”), Annabelle Stephenson (TV’s “Revenge”), and Billy Flynn (TV’s “Days of our Lives”). This is the kinda claustrophobic movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat. What better way to celebrate Halloween than getting in some timely scares.

You can win a FREE copy of Escape Room. All you need to do is Tweet to @TheReelTalker and/or @TheJimAlexander the name of your favorite scary movie and use the hashtag #EscapeRoom to be entered into a drawing for a free copy of the the film. Only one entry per person is eligible for the drawing. Winners will be selected at random and notified prior to the release of the film on October 17. 

Escape Room releases on DVD, Digital HD and On Demand on October 17, 2017 from Lionsgate. 

‘The Only Living Boy in New York’ Digital HD Release Date Announced

One of my favorite movies of this year The Only Living Boy in New York is coming to Digital HD for its home release. At this time there are no news if there will be a Blu-ray & DVD release date to follow. Lionsgate will release the film on Digital HD on October 20. Here are the special features included:

The home entertainment release of The Only Living Boy in New York includes three featurettes looking at the making of the film, the eco-friendly measures that the production used, and how the character of New York City contributed to the story.

DIGITAL HD SPECIAL FEATURES

  • ”The Making of The Only Living Boy in New York” Featurette
  • The Only Living Boy in New York: A Green Initiative Production” Featurette
  • “New York City as a Character” Featurette

Exclusive Clip For ‘Abundant Acreage Available’

Reel Talker is proud to share the exclusive clip for upcoming film Abundant Acreage Available. The film stars Amy Ryan and Terry Kinney and it’s executive producer is Martin Scorsese.

ABUNDANT ACREAGE AVAILABLE

On a fifty-acre tobacco farm in North Carolina, Tracy (Amy Ryan) and Jesse (Terry Kinney) bury the remains of their recently deceased father in the middle of the field, in the land that he loved. One week later they find three older men camping in their field. Tracy and Jesse discover the men (Max Gail, Francis Guinan, Steve Coulter) are brothers whose family used to own the farm. They haven’t been back in 50 years. Abundant Acreage Available is about family, morality, ownership, grief, and letting go.

Written & Directed by: 
Angus MacLachlan (Academy Award nominated film Junebug)

Executive Produced by:
Martin Scorsese

Starring: 
Amy Ryan (Academy Award nominee for Gone Baby Gone, Birdman)
Terry Kinney (“Billions,” “Oz”) 
Steve Coulter (The Wizard of Lies, “House of Cards”)
Francis Guinan (Hannibal, Constantine)
Max Gail (42, “Barney Miller”)

Win A Digital Copy ‘Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales’!

Tuesday, September 19 marks the digital release date of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales and it’s the official‘Talk Like A Pirate Day”. In celebration of the release, Reel Talker is offering a chance to win a free digital copy of the film.

In order to enter for a chance at a copy of the film, tweet #FreePirates and list your favorite Pirates character to @thereeltalker and/or @TheJimAlexander. You have until Friday, September 22 at 12 P.M. C/T to enter. Only one entry will count. A random winner will be selected on September 22 and be notified that day! Make sure to enter and you can be enjoying your free digital copy of the film and the special features!

BONUS FEATURES:

  • Dead Men Tell More Tales: The Making of a New Adventure – Get unique access into the making of this exciting new “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie with this collection of revealing and entertaining stories that you can view individually or as a “play all.”
  • A Return to the Sea – Two talented filmmakers, Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg, team up to bring “Pirates of the Caribbean” back to the screen. Hear how this new chapter of the tale was developed.
  • Telling Tales: A Sit-down with Brenton & Kaya – Meet Brenton Thwaites and Kaya Scodelario, the young actors behind Henry and Carina. The two sit down together for a revealing conversation on becoming a part of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” film franchise and its continuing legacy.
  • The Matador & The Bull: Secrets of Salazar & The Silent Mary – Oscar-winner Javier Bardem reveals more about his menacing new character and the foreboding ship he helms.
  • First Mate Confidential – Go on-set along with Kevin McNally, the affable actor behind the feisty Mr. Gibbs, Captain Jack’s reliable first mate from all five movies.
  • Deconstructing the Ghost Sharks – Peer below the depths at how these ferocious, mythical monsters were designed and brought to life.
  • Wings Over the Caribbean – Captain Jack has a memorable encounter with Sir Paul McCartney – rock ‘n’ roll royalty.
  • An Enduring Legacy – Take one more look at the “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” experience and the impact of “Pirates of the Caribbean” — the movies, the ride and beyond.
  • Bloopers of the Caribbean
  • Jerry Bruckheimer Photo Diary
  • Deleted Scenes
    • Highwayman
    • Henry Turner Learns a Lesson from Captain Jack
    • A Whale in Poseidon’s Tomb
    • Alternate Coda: Murtogg & Mullroy “Flogging”

Must See Movies Releases

The recent list of movie releases has a lot of options for everyone. September has offered a variety of movies, from must see under-the-radar releases to higher profile summer movies that are arriving for home entertainment viewing. Here are the September Blu-ray, DVD, VOD and limited theatrical releases to see:

WONDER WOMAN:

Arguably the best movie of the summer. Wonder Woman amazed audiences and critics with the inspirational portrayal of a superhero that everyone can embrace. Gal Gadot marvels as Wonder Woman. She’s heroic, tough, kind and empowering. Her chemistry with Chris Pine who plays her love interest Steve Trevor is outstanding, they are equally playful as they are connected. The film has a very smart and entertaining plot with a variety of interesting and likable characters. On the surface it may seem like just another superhero movie, but Wonder Woman is a lot more than that. It’s a story of a woman maturing by coming into her own and finding her place in the world. To me this film could also have been mentioned alongside any war movie. The war setting is a major point of the film’s story. Wonder Woman succeeds on a variety of levels, acting, directing (Patty Jenkins), cinematography, story-telling and entertainment. It’s a definite must-see and must own movie.

Blu-ray Bonus Content (including a bonus scene not seen in theaters):

  • Epilogue: Etta’s Mission
  • Crafting the Wonder
  • A Director’s Vision: Themyscira: The Hidden Island 
  • A Director’s Vision: Beach Battle
  • A Director’s Vision: A Photograph Through Time
  • A Director’s Vision: Diana in the Modern World
  • A Director’s Vision: Wonder Woman at War
  • Warriors of Wonder Woman
  • The Trinity 
  • The Wonder Behind the Camera
  • Finding the Wonder Woman
  • Extended Scenes 
  • Blooper Reel 

‘Wonder Woman’ is available on Ultra HD Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray , Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD, Digital HD and VOD

Movie Review: American Assassin

The late 80’s and and early 90’s are a thing of the past. That means the golden standard of action stars such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Jean-Claude Van Damme are old and can’t cut it as action stars (see: Expendables) anymore. What happens when stars can’t do it anymore? You make new stars. In American Assassin Maze Runner’s Dylan O’Brien gets an opportunity to start his action star-making journey. Does he succeed? Here is the full breakdown of the film and O’Brien’s performance.

WHATS’ THIS MOVIE ABOUT:

It’s not anything you haven’t heard or seen from an action flick. O’Brien plays Mitch Rapp, a young man with a bad rap when it comes to following orders and seeking assistance in his hunt for bad guys. Young Mitch is on a mission to exterminate a terrorist group that took the life of his fiancee along with other vacationing civilians. Rapp’s crusade doesn’t go very far as the CIA embarks on his plan, but offers to give him top-notch training from their best and fiercest instructor, Stan Hurley (Michael Keaton).

The gist of the movie is that O’Brien’s character is on a mission to take out a chain of terrorist groups in order to avenge his fiancee, while getting help from an expert mentor. It has all the makings and hints of movies such as Karate Kid and Death Wish, with a modern spin.

HOW DID THE ACTORS DO:

As far as O’Brien’s leading action man potential, well it neither bad or good. He’s capable and does well with the fight sequences and choreography. That’s the good part. The issue is that his acting isn’t very believable. He just has one tone, the stoic too cool for school schtick. There are plenty of emotional levels that O’Brien could have tapped into, but doesn’t.

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Action star or Backstreet Boys band member?

O’Brien doesn’t have to necessarily look like a tough guy, but when you see how scrawny he looks, well, that doesn’t help his believability of being an ass-kicker. Yes, you don’t have to look tough to be tough. Bruce Lee conquered most people twice his size, but he had this quiet intimidating presence about him, and you believed he could kick ass. Not the case for O’Brien who looks more like a boy band member that’s trying too hard to grow a few strands of facial and chest scruff.

As far as Keaton goes, he’s basically doing his own thing. Some reactions will make you think of Beetlejuice Keaton, there was even a little bit of Batman, it just all depends on the scene he’s in. Even though he’s playing up a gimmick, he’s still fairly entertaining and fun, especially considering he’s playing a stereotypically dull character type.

Taylor Kitsch plays the main villain in the movie, but I couldn’t help but think that a few years ago he would have been pegged to play the role O’Brien has. He went from being a guy with a lot of promise to be a leading man, to being forgotten and relegated to villain side roles. That’s what happens in Hollywood when your movies bomb at the box office and you’re the leading man. Unfortunate for Kitsch. What’s even more unfortunate is his attempt at speaking Polish. As someone who is of Polish descent, I could have offered Kitsch some pointers.

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Forgotten man Kitsch 

HOW DID THE MOVIE LOOK AND SOUND:

Lots of the movie takes place in Istanbul, Turkey and Rome, Italy. There are some nice touristy sights shown, but it pales in comparison to the Bourne series which moved from one one scenic locale to the next one from scene-to-scene. The visuals aren’t a problem. It fits the genre. Sound wise it’s fine also. Loud as you’d expect intense action scenes to be.

WAS IT ENTERTAINING:

The plot is basic, but the film is enjoyable. It begins to go off the rails towards the end, but through a good chunk of it there are fun and engaging moments. So if you’re wondering if it’s a bore? It’s not. The movie gets off to a fast and exciting start, so it manages to get your attention early on.

What surprised me about American Assassin is how violent and brutal it was. This film doesn’t give a f**k about the gore and making your stomach turn. It’s that in-your-face. The “ear” scene will get a reaction out of most viewers

IS IT WORTH SEEING:

PROS:

It satisfies the basic action movie needs. Solid fight choreography. Good pacing. Moderate intrigue. Presentable plot. Keaton is having fun, so naturally it translates to the viewer. Intense cringeworthy action.

CONS:

Intense cringeworthy action. Some will buy the fact they are actually showing you the gore without cutting away, for others, it will make you turn away and disengage. O’Brien doesn’t establish himself as a legitimate action star. The film doesn’t bring about anything new or unique. It’s basic in most ways.

I wasn’t bored during this movie and I was engaged from time-to-time. This looks like it may be the beginning of a new franchise, but I’m not sure it has enough substance to succeed long-term. O’Brien tried, but he’s better suited for roles he’s previously done. I just don’t see him as leading action man material. American Assassin does offer solid action with occasional humor, but nothing you haven’t seen before.

  • Movie Rating: R
  • Runtime: 1 hr 51 min
  • Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Mystery, Suspense
  • Release Date: September 15, 2017 (wide theatrical) 

‘AMERICAN ASSASSIN’ SCORE: 50% (AVERAGE: WORTHY RENTAL, QUESTIONABLE THEATRICAL WATCH)

Movie Review: Mother!

Oh Mother! What doesn’t this movie try to say? Darren Aronofsky’s bizarre horror thriller drama is all over the place. Not necessarily in a bad way though. Now, this is the same man who delivered movies such as Requiem for a Dream, The Fountain and Pi, so strange and obscure is in his wheelhouse, but even those films don’t compare to what Mother! is. Should you see it or pass on it? Here is the breakdown:

WHAT’S THIS MOVIE ABOUT:

Well, that’s the $30,000,000 million dollar question (estimated budget of the movie), because this film is so many different things. The plot revolves around a young woman and her much older significant other’s peaceful isolated existence. The peaceful portion doesn’t last long, as uninvited guests attempt to intervene with their lives and bring personal chaos along with them. Yeah, that’s about right. Add the fact Lawrence’s character “Mother” appears to be the only rational and non self-obsessed human in this remote area. She seems overly polite, submissive, kind, not to mention distraught once all those people start arriving.

Javier Bardem plays “Him” or the significant other to Lawrence’s character. He’s a trip. Bardem plays the best oblivious fool you’ll see in a movie. Not only can’t he say no to all the randoms coming into his home, but his obsessively creepy insistence on inviting them is very amusing to watch. It’s the sort of performance by Bardem that makes you wonder if his character is the second coming of the devil or just a really nice fella.

mother2

Basically Bardem’s character is a writer with major writers block, while Lawrence’s just floats around this big home and attempts to appease him at all times. All those uninvited visitors act as a big facial pimple that refuses to clear up, no matter how hard you try to remove it.

HOW DID THE ACTORS DO:

See above. Bardem is ferociously fun and creepy, while Lawrence does fine work with the camera jammed in her face throughout the movie. Believe me, you don’t miss any of her expressive reactions. There is a lot of screaming and shouting on her part, which couldn’t have been easy to pull off, bless those vocal chords.

Ed Harris and a dolled up Michelle Pfeiffer, respectively playing “Man” and “Woman”, because no one in this movie gets to have a proper name. They play a husband and wife, although they barely look like a compatible couple. She’s confrontational, he’s distant and tame.

mother-movie-trailer-screencaps-7

The acting is fine. Talented and proven performers with two Academy Award heavy-hitters (Lawrence & Bardem) leading the way. They must have been pivotal in getting this movie to a mainstream release, otherwise the film would be a hard sell for studio heads without Lawrence and Bardem’s names attached.

HOW DID THE MOVIE LOOK AND SOUND:

The sound and look are two major components that this film utilizes. As far as the sound goes, this movie is loud. It’s not the soundtrack or any music that really stands out, it’s the natural sounds, the screams, shouting, crying and physical destruction that resonates. There is a scene in the movie where hell breaks loose with all the guests in the house and the breaking of items and materials is so loud and chaotic that it actually brings about a genuine uncomfortable feeling. The sound is definitely key to making this film come alive.

The look is another key to making it all come alive. Almost all of this film takes place inside the house. You’d think Mother is on house arrest or something (in theory she kind of is). The house is large but also confined. The ceilings are never ending, but with the insurmountable number of doors all over the house it makes it look small. The house itself looks like it could have been from the Conjuring or Amytiville, creepy wooden mansion with old furniture, appliances and for goodness sake replace that boiler room fireplace.

Naturally the lighting is key in a movie of this genre. The brooding dark shades overtake, even though the occasional ray of light flashes from the outside. If not for some hints of modern devices (cell phones), it could easily be mistaken that this film takes place in the early to mid 20th century. Their wall phone is about 50 years overdue a replacement. Even the supernatural elements look good and don’t come off looking phony.

WAS IT ENTERTAINING:

Well, it certainly wasn’t boring. There is so much going on in the film with so little of the story moving forward. What I mean by that is that the story doesn’t progress much, but the constant frantic action makes it appear as if a decade of changes transpires. Mother! gets you from the start. It grips you and doesn’t let you go. Puts you in a corner and makes you watch as if you were in detention, but the thing is that you can’t really look away even if you wanted to. This film builds tension in a very natural way. Subtle events that turn into chaotic ones in a blink of the eye. It’s this roller-coaster of calm and frenzy that overlap each other. It’s engaging and it’s hard to understand why.

The thing to take away from the movie is that Aronofsky splatters plenty of social commentary into the plot. All sorts of political and social themes are encrypted along the way. There is a definite commentary on religion, speaking of that, this movie is certain to rub religious people the wrong way. The in-your-face depictions (can’t give away the spoiler) can be easily interpreted as offensive and repulsive.

I took away the depiction of the god-like status of celebrity worship as a big emphasis in the message Aronofsky is trying to relay. It appears that his off-screen romance with Lawrence holds a significance in the portrayal of her in the movie. Her treatment by the media is teased in these very depictions of this celebrity worship that’s relayed by the intruding followers in the movie.

Another message that resonates is the control factor in the relationship between the Bardem and Lawrence’s characters. The female submission to the male that plucks every inch and ounce of her soul. She’s more of a servant than a wife/girlfriend to his character. The physical, emotional and mental domination is startling.

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Additionally, there is a political message being depicted that resonates with our current political climate of division among the people and administration.

IS IT WORTH SEEING:

PROS: 

This is unlike any movie out there. It’s twisted, odd, chilling, refreshing, over-the-top, frantic, intense, mesmerizing, intriguing. I can continue with descriptions to fill out the rest of the page, point being it’s a movie that’s sure to garner a reaction from the viewer, good or bad. You’ll most definitely have a thought and opinion once you leave the theater.

CONS: 

For the same reasons it’s a draw, it can also be a pass. This is a movie that will offend, disgust and confuse people. It doesn’t let up. Some things cross the line as far as what’s shown. For someone looking to clear their mind after a long week, this will just add to your mental fatigue.

Mother! is designed to leave you with a WTF reaction. It’s all about the reaction during and after the movie that will have you talking for days. The early word has it being compared to a modern Rosemary’s Baby, but it hardly bears any similarities. Mother! is an original and stands on its own merit. Frankly, I’m still wondering how the execs at Paramount green lit it, but credit them for thinking out-of-the box and taking a risk. It will be up to the moviegoers to see if the risk will pay off.

    • Movie Rating: R
    • Runtime: 2 hrs 1 min
    • Genre: Drama, Horror, Mystery

 

  • Release Date: September 15, 2017 (wide theatrical) 

‘MOTHER!’ SCORE: 75% (Trip To The Theater Worthwhile For The Experience)