Ali & Nino – DVD Review

A love that transcends two differing cultures. A time of war determined to keep them apart. A life both are desperate to have together despite the obstacles. Ali & Nino is an enchanting and thought-provoking love story that shows that love can sometimes overcome anything. Even in a time of cultural unrest, with countries choosing sides for both political and financial gain, the attraction between two young lovers can never be diminished.

Set against the backdrop of the early stages of World War I, Ali & Nino introduces us to our young couple: the headstrong and confident Nino (Maria Valverde) and Ali (Adam Bakri). It is clear that they are a pair that truly have designs on a future together in spite of their religious and cultural differences (Nino is Christian, Ali is Muslim). Both are welcomed and accepted by the parents of the other, and all seems well.

Until the war begins.

The sudden change in the political climate throws Ali and Nino’s plans to marry into upheaval. It is the overriding conflict itself that threatens to rip their future together apart and tear their love asunder. Will Ali and Nino find love once again and rekindle the flames of passion the war threatens to snuff out for good?

Religion is a key factor in the narrative of the film, and what screenwriter Christopher Hampton executes so beautifully is showing both Muslims and Christians as people instead of ideologues and caricatures of the cultures they represent. These are real people with real issues, loves, hopes, and dreams. He shows that even with differences it’s our similarities that matter most in the long run and allow us to live together in peace.

This is an extraordinary film. Superb acting. A great story. Beautiful cinematography. It’s a period piece set in a time that is rarely explored in film, which makes the narrative all the more intriguing. I was also delighted to see a few familiar faces with Mandy Patinkin (The Princess Bride, Homeland) and Connie Nielsen (Gladiator, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) co-starring as Nino’s parents.

I highly recommend Ali & Nino!

Ali & Nino is available now on DVD.

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Marauders – Blu-ray Review

MARAUDERS BD OCARD 3D

Christopher Meloni is back kicking ass and taking names in the action flick, Marauders. Meloni – who’s best known to TV audiences as Detective Elliot Stabler from Law & Order: Special Victims Unit – plays Montgomery, an FBI agent with the Robbery/Homicide Division in Ohio. He’s a no nonsense guy with a badge, a gun, and tragedy in his past that drives him to seek justice for those who have been wronged.

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When a bank robbery results in murder, Montgomery and his FBI team are ready to swoop in a make things right. The only problem is, someone’s trying to make it harder than it should be. Will they be able to put a stop to the chaos before it escalates beyond their control?

Along with solid action, Marauders is a clever whodunit that will have you guessing who’s responsible for the chaos that has erupted in the city until the very end. There are plenty of twists, plenty of surprises, and lots of mayhem as bank after bank is hit, and the team of robbers uses technology to their advantage.

Meloni

Joining Meloni’s Montgomery on his quest to track down those responsible for the city’s bank robbing spree are Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy) and Adrian Grenier (Entourage) who make up an elite team of FBI Agents ready to take whatever actions are necessary to quell the succession of robberies. As the pieces begin to fall into place, the stakes are raised, and Montgomery and his team find themselves in the middle of something bigger than they ever imagined.

Also along for the ride is a very subdued Bruce Willis (Die Hard film series, Armageddon, The Sixth Sense) who plays the owner of the banks that have been hit. It’s an interesting turn for Willis. He’s not in the center of the action, but it’s nice to see him in and out of the story throughout the film.

Meloni and Willis

Director Steven C. Miller does an excellent job creating a gritty underworld where crime runs amok and the most corrupt are sometimes those we least expect. From its sweeping vista shots over the city, to it’s in-your-face ugliness, Marauders succeeds visually as well as narratively.

Special features include Commentary from Director Steven C. Miller and Cinematographer Brandon Cox; The Making of Marauders featurette; Deleted/Extended Scenes; and Interviews with the Cast & Crew.

For a solid crime-drama with plenty of action and lots of twists, I recommend Marauders.

Marauders is available September 13, 2016 on DVD and Blu-ray!