Cohen Media Group: Come What May – Blu-ray Review

When it comes to stories about war and conflicts around the world, too often we forget about the citizens that are many times permanently affected by the violence that has come to their front door. Too often the story is about the militaries and their strategies rather than they men, women, and children whose lives are disrupted and destroyed without their consent or even knowledge.

Come What May explores humanity among the chaos as Germany invades France during the early days of World War II. Hans is a dedicated father who lives in Germany with his young son, Max. While they may be German, Hans is against the Nazi regime and the evil it stands for. Fleeing to Germany, he’s eventually arrested and thrown in jail for lying about his nationality to French officials, leaving his son under the care of the locals of the town they had fled to.

As the Nazis begin their invasion, Hans and the other prisoners are released and his mission becomes to do whatever it takes to get back to his son. Teamed up with a Scottish soldier, Hans follows clues left by his son to find him and the other villagers who have left their small town behind out of fear for their lives. As Hans dodges the threat of Nazis as he travels toward where he hopes his son and the villagers have gone, it becomes less of a quest for a reunion and more a quest of survival.

What I found most intriguing about the film was its intermixing of the German, French, and English languages throughout the narrative. As people from myriad countries merge together, you can see how it was imperative that knowing at least one other language could mean the difference between life and death, especially in the throes of war.

Come What May is a beautifully shot, expertly acted film that respects its subject and explores part of the German invasion that I haven’t seen covered that often in film form. The Blu-ray includes a variety of special features, which include:

Making of Come What May

Behind-the-Scenes with Ennio Morricone

Audio Commentary with Director Christian Carrion

Interview with Director Christian Carion and Richard Pena, former program director of the Film Society of Lincoln Center

I highly recommend Come What May. It’s an impactful film that resonates with you long after it’s ended.

Come What May is available now on Blu-ray.

American Pastoral – Blu-ray Review

The United States of America has gone through its share of evolutionary changes over its history. Some good. Some not so good. And through it all we have persevered as a nation; taking each challenge and overcoming it as a united people. Even when things looked bleak, when mores and values were questioned, and when the status quo was challenged, America survived and trudged onward to witness another day.

American Pastoral embodies this conceit: a country at a crossroads between seeming idealism and rampant anarchy. The elders content to live in a state of denial about the travesties that befall their fellow man, while the younger generation is ready to rise up and tear down the structures that have oppressed minorities, women, and other for generations.

Set against the backdrop of the 1960s, American Pastoral revolves around the relationship between a father a daughter and the generational tensions that arise between them. Seymour “Swede” Levov (Ewan McGregor) is a proud husband and father living life as the manager of glove-making factory. His past is filled with successes as is his wife Dawn’s (Jennifer Connelly) past, but they are concerned about the present and future of their daughter, Merry.

As Merry goes from being a young girl to a teen (played by Dakota Fanning), it soon becomes clear -despite their denials – that something is up with their daughter. Merry has embraced the rebellious counterculture of the decade speaking out against racism, corporate America, and Vietnam. This leaves her out of step with her more traditional parents who do their best to cope with here behavior, but the task is often too much to bear.

After Seymour suggests that Merry work to bring her message to the rural town they live in, a tragic event throws the entire area into disarray. Was Merry responsible for the atrocity? With her in the wind, Seymour takes it upon himself to solve the mystery of his daughter’s disappearance and bring her home by any means necessary.

American Pastoral is a timely and still-relevant tale given the recent political upheaval and rebellion taking place in our nation today. It asks the questions, How far is too far when fighting for a cause? and What are you willing to sacrifice to have a societal impact? For better or worse, this film speaks to these questions and also explores a myriad themes that can be seen anytime you scroll through your newsfeed on your phone.

Ewan McGregor’s directorial debut was quite impressive, especially given that he had to act and direct himself on his first outing as director. Everyone in the film does a superb job.

The Blu-ray includes two excellent documentaries about the making of the film: American Pastoral: Adapting an American Classic and Making the American Dream, along with Audio Commentary by Ewan McGregor.

I highly recommend American Pastoral. It is a well-made and timely film.

American Pastoral is available now on DVD, Blu-ray, and Digital Download.

Tyler Perry’s Madea on the Run: The Play – Blu-ray Review

Hilarious. Powerful. Fun. These, and many more adjectives, describe the events that transpire over the course of Tyler Perry’s latest Madea outing, Madea on the Run: The Play. I really, really enjoyed this production. It is laugh-out-loud funny, has some amazing singing performances, and is a real treat from start to finish. Perry once again delivers a solid narrative with both a message and his own unique comedic tone with Madea at the center of familial chaos.

On the run from the law, Madea ducks into the home of her best friend and neighbor Aunt Bam (Cassi Davis) who lives with her daughter, son-in-law, and grand-daughter. It’s a home filled with tension and an undercurrent of discord that elevates to the nth degree as secrets are revealed, truths are exposed, and lives are ripped apart.

And while all that’s going on, Madea delivers her patented advice, wisdom, and plenty of physical comedy. Throw in her fourth-wall-breaking antics (it is a play with an audience, after all), and you’ve got a solid mix of entertainment that’s as engaging as it is funny!

Needless to say, I really enjoyed Madea on the Run. It made me want to check out all the other Madea-based plays that Tyler Perry has written over the years along with the seven Madea movies that have been produced.

Tyler Perry’s Madea on the Run: The Play is available January 31, 2017 on DVD, Blu-ray, and Digitial Download.

What’s your favorite Tyler Perry creation? Leave a comment and let us know!

Tyler Perry’s Boo! Madea’s Halloween – Blu-ray Review

The year 2016 will be remembered for many things, but one of the oddest events was the strange clown epidemic that seemed to sweep the nation during the latter half of the year. I, like most people, am not a huge fan of clowns, but I am far from being terrified of them. My good friend is terrified of clowns to the point that even a photo of one makes him uncomfortable. Madea (Tyler Perry) has similar feelings when it comes to clowns and her thoughts are also made perfectly clear about them (and many, many other things) in Boo! Madea’s Halloween.

Boo! is the seventh big-screen outing for everyone’s favorite loudmouthed, opinionated, gun-toting woman who doesn’t take any lip, and definitely doesn’t take things lying down. When she’s tasked to babysit on Halloween night, it’s a battle of wits, child rearing tactics, and scares as Madea does her best to keep things under control in the only chaotic way she knows how. From punching clowns to confronting a sketchy frat house, Madea is a woman who takes no prisoners and always has the last word.

Boo! Madea’s Halloween has some very funny moments, especially when Madea is paired with Aunt Bam (Cassi Davis) and her friend Hattie (Patrice Lovely). Tyler Perry has been able to create a very expanded universe in which Madea exists both on film and on stage where she originated. It’s a testament to his talents as a writer and as an actor that Madea has grown and flourished as a comedic character for over a decade.

Along with the Halloween hijinks, the films also touches on more serious topics about family, the importance of raising children with boundaries and limits, and the value of honesty. Like all Tyler Perry productions, there’s always a message woven into the narrative even with Madea is at her wackiest (and she gets pretty wacky in this one!).

The Blu-ray includes the featurette Why We Love Madea!, a look at the character over the years with comments by her creator, Tyler Perry. It also includes Boo! From the Crew with the cast and crew delivering their best “Boos!” to try and scare the audience.

If you enjoyed the previous six Madea films, you will definitely enjoy Boo! Madea’s Halloween. And even if you haven’t seen them, it’s still worth a look!

Boo! Madea’s Halloween is available January 31, 2017 on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Download!

What’s your favorite Madea movie? Leave a comment and let us know!

The Light Between Oceans – Blu-ray Review

My late grandmother loved lighthouses. She had lighthouse calendars, lighthouse pillows, lighthouse coffee mugs, and even lighthouse miniatures. When she passed away, I was given several of her lighthouse miniatures. I have them out as a reminder of her and also of her love of lighthouses. After watching The Light Between Oceans, I know that she would have enjoyed the film as much as I did.

The Light Between Oceans is a historical drama about love, lies, and the lengths some will go to create their own reality. It’s a story fraught with passion and tragedy. And at its heart is a lighthouse and the island on which it resides.

Michael Fassbender plays Tom, a stoic, well-mannered World War I vet who seeks refuge as the caretaker of a lighthouse on off the coast of Australia. It’s an isolated, lonely existence for Tom, but all that changes when a chance meeting with a young woman, Isabel (Alicia Vikander), end in a quick courtship and marriage. As the two enjoy their time together on the secluded island, Isabel comes to realization that she is unable to carry a child to term and provide Tom with the family they both want. When all seems bleak and hope ripped from their lives, a lifeboat appears. Inside: a dead man with a living, breathing baby.

Suddenly, it appears that their prayers have been answered. Or have they? On a return trip to the mainland, Tom happens across a woman (Rachel Weisz) in mourning for her lost husband and child. Is their found daughter really hers?

Brilliantly acted, The Light Between Oceans features stunning cinematography, a beautiful score, and carries an emotional weight few films these days possess. Fassbender (the X-Men films, Prometheus) and Vikander (Ex Machina, The Danish Girl) are amazing, and Rachel Weisz (The Mummy, The Deep Blue Sea) also delivers a stellar performance.

The Blu-ray special features include Bringing The Light To Life, which looks at the making of the film; Lighthouse Keeper explores how a film’s setting can be just as important a character as the human cast; and an Audio Commentary with the filmmakers.

I highly recommend The Light Between Oceans. It’s a tear-jerker for sure, but a wonderful film nevertheless.

The Light Between Oceans is available January 24 on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital Download.

Come and Find Me – Blu-ray Review

David and Claire are a young couple with a promising future. All seems right with the world until one morning David wakes up and discovers that Claire is gone. Vanished. Disappeared. Where is she? What happened to her? It’s up to her devoted boyfriend to find the answers to those questions – and a whole lot more – in the mystery-thriller, Come and Find Me.

Come and Find Me is a labyrinth filled with mysterious characters, crazy twists and turns, and plenty of surprises that will have you guessing until the very last frame. Intermixed within the mystery are flashbacks that give us insight into David and Claire’s relationship from inception to the present. Do the flashbacks hold clues that can help David discover where Claire has gone?

Featuring the amazing talents of Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad, The Path, Central Intelligence), Annabelle Wallis (Annabelle, Peaky Blinders), and Garret Dillahunt (No Country for Old Men, Deadwood), Come and Find Me is an exciting and engaging thriller from first-time director Zach Whedon. It’s a solid debut film from Whedon whose writing credits include Halt and Catch Fire, Southland, and Deadwood, along with this film.

The Blu-ray includes the Unraveling the Mysteries of Come and Find Me featurette that gives you and behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film.

I highly recommend Come and Find Me. It’s solid, suspenseful, and sharp.

Come and Find Me is available January 17, 2017 on DVD, Blu-ray, and Digital Download.

What’s your favorite mystery-thriller? Leave a comment and let us know!