Jimmy P. Not Just Another Movie Based On Actual Events

Courtesy:  IFC Films

Courtesy: IFC Films

IFC Films’ newly released drama Jimmy P. is one of the more intriguing movies that has been released so far in 2014.  On the surface, it could very easily be argued that the film is just one more piece to toss into the ever-growing pile of movies that are “based on actual events.”  But as audiences will see in watching this story, the script proves it to be more than just another one of those movies.  That is the most important aspect of the whole thing.  Equally important to the movie’s overall success is the acting on the part of both Benicio Del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth, Snatch, Traffic) and Mathieu Almaric (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Quantum of Solace, The Grand Budapest Hotel).  And last but not least, the bonus material included with the DVD brings everything full circle with interviews and discussions centered on the movie’s creation.  All of these noted aspects of Jimmy P. make IFC Films’ latest drama one more work that proves indie flicks are becoming increasingly more worth watching than the glut of prequels, sequels, and remakes that are polluting this nation’s theaters.

The very first shot of IFC Films’ new drama Jimmy P. superimposes the words “This is a true story” over the shot.  Those five words would make it so easy to immediately toss this movie into the ever-growing pile of works that are “based on actual events.”  But those that give the movie a chance will see that it is in fact not just another of that genre of films.  So many movies within that genre are little more than overly embellished tear jerkers about underdog figures overcoming great odds.  Jimmy P. is the polar opposite of those stories.  It is a completely unadorned film that is centered on the relationship between Dr. Georges Devereux and his patient Jimmy Picard, played respectively by Almaric and Del Toro.  It follows Devereux’s personal growth from a man largely considered a quack to a far more respected figure in the psychiatric community thanks to his psychoanalysis of Picard.  At the same time, it also follows Picard’s own personal growth and recovery from what proves to be a lifetime of emotional trauma due to some rather eye opening events. What’s more interesting about the movie is that much of the movie was taken directly from Devereux’s own personal notes from his sessions with Picard. Was there some embellishment with the story? More than likely. But odds are if there were, it would be safe to say that they were far fewer than most movies that are “based on actual events.” And that is always a good thing especially in the case of movies within that genre.

Jimmy P. doesn’t fit nicely into the standard mold of movies that are “based on actual events” is a good starting point for the movie’s script. It isn’t the only positive to note regarding this rather deep story. The acting on the part of co-stars Benicio Dle Toro and Mathieu Almaric is just as impressive. There’s almost something hypnotic about Del Toro’s acting for lack of better wording. His portrayal of Jimmy is so subtle that one can’t help but watch him. And Almaric’s portrayal of Dr. Devereux is just as impressive. It would have been so easy for either of the men to ham it up in their roles. But it’s obvious just how seriously both men took their roles just by watching their acting. This is especially evident late in the story when Devereux confronts the head of the hospital about requesting specific information regarding Jimmy and it being denied. That is one of those moments that could have so easily been pushed over the top. But Almaric didn’t go that route. He showed such depth of emotion in this scene. It’s but one of a number of moments that could serve as examples of the seriousness with which the pair took its roles. That solid acting served to make this latest offering from IFC even more worth the watch.

Both the acting on the part of Del Toro and Almaric, and the story’s relatively original script play equally important roles in the overall success of Jimmy P. As integral as those factors prove to be to the movie’s success, there is still one more factor to the overall presentation that makes it worth checking out. That final factor is the collective bonus material included on the DVD. The DVD’s bonus material is comprised mainly of interviews with the movie’s cast and director. The truly interesting thing of the bonus interviews included with this DVD is that considering the depth of the story, one would actually be encouraged to watch the bonus interviews before watching the movie. It will actually be beneficial in that it will better help to outline exactly the point of the story. That understanding will make for more appreciation of the story in the long run. That being the case, the interviews are less bonus material than necessary additions to the overall presentation. They bring everything full circle and make the presentation that is Jimmy P. complete and completely worth watching at least once.

Jimmy P. is available now in stores and online. More information on this and other titles from IFC Films is available online at http://www.facebook.com/IFCFilmsOfficial and http://www.IFCFilms.com. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

The Best Offer Is One Of 2014′s Best New Movies

Courtesy:  IFC Films

Courtesy: IFC Films

IFC Films’ new drama The Best Offer is one of the most original stories to be released this year. The movie, which stars Geoffrey Rush (The Pirates of the Caribbean Trilogy, The King’s Speech) and Donald Sutherland (The Hunger Games, The Dirty Dozen, Backdraft) sees Rush as a devious art appraiser and auctioneer. The film, which was written and directed by legendary director Giuseppe Tornatore, is another masterful work from a master filmmaker. In an era in which Hollywwood’s major studios are relying almost one hundred percent on prequels, sequels and remakes to bring audiences into theaters, Tornatore has crafted a work that is original. That is the foundation of why any true movie buff should take the time to see this movie at least once. The original script is the foundation of this film’s success. Resting comfortably on that originality is the story’s pacing…at least to a point. Rounding things out for the reasons for the movie’s overall success is the acting on the part of the cast. Rush is the true star of the story. Though co-star Sylvia Hoeks deserves her own kudos for a job well done, too. The pair’s acting will keep viewers mesmerized through the course of the movie’s near two and a half hour run time. All things considered, this drama proves to be one of the year’s most original works and one of the year’s best movies overall.

The Best Offer is more than deserving of being called not just one of the most original works, but also one of the best movies of the year. The very first reason for this is the story’s originality. It is not a prequel. It is not a sequel. And it is not a remake. On another level, it isn’t even another of the seemingly countless overly embellished movies based on actual events. It is an original drama centered on an art appraiser and auctioneer named Virgil Oldman (Rush) who has spent the better part of his life secretly deceiving others. Writer/director Giuseppe Tornatore deserves a standing ovation for having crafted the story. That’s because every time that viewers think they have everything figured out, Tornatore throws in a twist that leaves them guessing in the best way possible. Not to reveal too much for the sake of those who have yet to see this masterwork, but by the story’s final minutes, audiences will find themselves torn as to how to feel about what happens to Virgil. The only downside to the entire story is that (again not to reveal too much) it could easily have been shortened. And that leads to the next aspect of The Best Offer worth discussing. That aspect is the story’s pacing.

The run time on The Best Offer just barely tops the two hour mark. To be more precise, it comes in at roughly two hours and eleven minutes long. Over the course of that two-hour plus mark, Tornatore manages to keep the story’s pace relatively solid. At least that is to a point. It would have been so easy to let this story drag considering everything that occurs throughout the story in terms of character development and relationships. But much as with fellow legendary director Martin Scorsese, Tornatore manages to make that run time pass by almost effortlessly. The only time that the pacing suffers is the movie’s final act. It suffers because again as audiences will see, that final sequence is unnecessary. Other than that though, the movie’s overall pacing is spot on and will keep viewers fully engaged. To that extent, the story’s overall pacing becomes another positive to the presentation. It’s flanked by one final positive—the acting on the part of the entire cast.

Writer/director Giuseppe Tornatore’s original script and the story’s pacing both play important roles in the overall success of The Best Offer. The very fact that this movie is neither a prequel nor a sequel, and not even a remake or a piece based on actual events is a major plus. That instantly pulls in any viewer looking for something original. The story’s pacing helps keep viewers engaged. The acting on the part of the cast—specifically that of co-stars Geoffrey Rush and Sylvia Hoeks—makes this work even more worth the watch. Rush breezes through the story. He makes viewers believe in Virgil’s growth, thus leading viewers to be so torn at his final outcome. On the other hand, Hoeks is just as believable as the rather emotionally unstable Claire. There is such chemistry between the pair. It’s obvious considering the believability of the character development between the pair as its relationship grows. That development is another part of what makes the story’s final outcome so surprising in turn leaving viewers torn in the absolutely best way. That feeling of being torn will lead to quite a bit of discussion. And that it could generate more discussion than any major motion picture just goes to prove once more why The Best Offer is one of the best independent movies of 2014 and one of the best movies of 2014 overall.

The Best Offer is available now on DVD in stores and online. It can be ordered online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Best-Offer-Geoffrey-Rush/dp/B00GS08Y3Q/ref=sr_1_2?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1400892448&sr=1-2&keywords=The+Best+Offer. More information on this and other releases from IFC Films is available online at http://www.facebook.com/IFCFilmsOfficial and http://www.IFCFilms.com. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Breslin’s Latest Just As Enjoyable As Any Big Budget Paranormal Flick

Courtesy:  MPI Home Video/MPI Media Group/IFC Films/IFC Midnight

Courtesy: MPI Home Video/MPI Media Group/IFC Films/IFC Midnight

IFC Midnight (a division of IFC Films) and its partner MPI Media Group will release their latest paranormal thriller next week.  Haunter will be released on Blu-ray and DVD next Tuesday, February 11th.  The movie, starring Abigail Breslin (Zombieland, Ender’s Game) is quite a surprise for anyone that is a fan of movies in the paranormal genre.  It’s a surprise first and foremost because as audiences will discover of the movie, it is not so much a horror movie as it is a thriller of sorts.  It could even be argued to be a mystery,too.  By direct connection, the script behind the story makes it the thriller that it is.  That is another element of this piece that makes it well worth the watch.  One more factor to be taken into consideration with Haunter is its pacing.  The story’s pacing is factor that audiences will appreciate about it.  Its run time barely tops the ninety-minute mark.  But even with that relatively short run time, it doesn’t move too fast or too slow at any one given point.  It gets right to the point, instead of wasting unnecessary time building backstory or any unnecessary elements.  That factor is among the most important.  And along with the other mentioned factors, it makes Haunter a movie that any fan of the paranormal genre a must see.

The very first thing that viewers will notice about Haunter is that it is more paranormal thriller than a horror story per se.  One could even argue to a point that it is a paranormal mystery movie because Lisa (Breslin) is left to figure out the mystery of what is happening with her family and what happened to them for that matter.  It leads to an even bigger mystery that will be left for viewers to find out for themselves.  The trail that Lisa follows will have viewers literally on the edge of their seat, trying to figure out the mystery with her.  It’s nice to see that this movie is so easily able to walk that line of paranormal and mystery, all while keeping the blood and gore to a minimum.  This is just the first aspect of Haunter that makes it so enjoyable for any fan of the paranormal genre.  By direct connection, script writer Brian King’s script for this movie is just as impressive.

Writer Brian King’s script for Haunter is an important piece of the whole that makes the indie-paranormal thriller so enjoyable.  King’s script combines elements of The Lovely Bones and The Others to bring this story to life.  On the surface, the fact that he has combined those movies’ elements seems like a bad thing.  But in combining them, he was able to craft a wholly new story that turns the paranormal genre on its ear.  It is essentially a battle of good and bad that takes place in the spirit realm.  He throws in just enough twists and turns throughout the script to keep audiences engaged, but not confused.  The catch is that in order to not be confused, audiences must be completely engaged in the movie, and not otherwise distracted by anything.  Anyone that allows themselves to become distracted will become distracted and in turn, confused.  This will lead to less appreciation for King’s script.  It goes to show how well King balanced all of his script’s elements and eventually developed this impressive final product.

King’s script is definitely impressive, even having used elements of at least two other paranormal thrillers.  He was able to craft a balanced script that keeps viewers engaged straight to its end.  The script’s balance of elements is just part of what makes it a success.  Along with that balance, King is to be applauded for his script’s pacing.  He wastes no time getting right to the story.  It launches right from its outset.  There’s no overloaded backstory slowing things down.  And the twists and turns peppered throughout the story are placed at just the right points so as to not overwhelm viewers.  The same can be said of Lisa’s transitions between the spirit world and the human world as she tries to solve the mystery that she uncovers.  He sets the pacing so well that as with the writing, it requires audiences to engage themselves entirely in the story, and not let themselves be distracted by anything else.  THAT is the truest sign of this story’s success.  It requires audiences to pay attention.  Few movies do that today, either indie or mainstream.  And those that do pay full attention will agree that it is a paranormal thriller that is just as enjoyable–if not more so–than any major mainstream movie in the paranormal genre.  It will be available in stores and online next Tuesday, February 11th.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

A Case Of You A Quirky, Fun Rom-Com For Today’s Thirty-Something Audiences

A Case of You Blu-ray

Courtesy: MPI Home Video/IFC Films

IFC’s new rom-com A Case of You is the first fun story of its type in 2014.  The story is one that has been told countless times.  But in the case of A Case of You, co-writers Justin and Christian Long have teamed up with Keir O’Donnell to craft a story that is more than just the standard boy meets girl-loses her-gets her back in the end story.  Sure that standard story line is there.  But the execution of the story is what makes it worth the watch.  The writing is just one part of this roughly ninety-minute plus story.  Actor/writer Justin Long (Going The Distance, Live Free Or Die Hard, He’s Just Not The Into You) is fully believable as a desperate character looking for love.  His personal development over the course of the movie will keep viewers completely engaged.  And while it is usually not the most noticeable portion of any movie, the soundtrack used for the story gives it even more charm.  These three factors together make A Case of You a rom-com that any of today’s thirty-something audiences will enjoy.

A Case of You is a fun rom-com for today’s thirty-something audiences.  That is primarily thanks to the writing of Justin Long (who also stars in the movie), his brother Christian Long, and Keir O’Donnell.  Sitcom and movie writers have touched on the oft times ludicrous lengths to which men and women will go in order to attract the opposite sex.  But basing an entire movie on this concept is in its own right original.  That’s because few of said writers have ever actually taken the risk of doing so.  The primary update on the classic rom-com formula isn’t all in the writing that audiences will appreciate. O’Donnell and the brothers Long also collectively impress audiences in that they have taken the rom-com and turned it on its ear by mixing in elements of a stoner flick, too.  One wouldn’t think that a rom-com and a stoner flick would work.  But thanks to the teamwork of O’Donnell and the Long brothers, the stoner elements don’t manage to overpower the central story.  The end result is a story that is quirky but has enough charm to make it endearing at the same time.

The writing and the manner in which it was balanced is the biggest part of what makes A Case of You as enjoyable as it is.  In direct relation, Justin Long shows his ability to interpret his character quite well through his acting.  Many won’t want to publicly admit to it, but there are audiences that will say they too have used Facebook to try and land their love interest.  It’s a sign of the times.  But that’s a commentary for another time.  Sam’s personal growth as he gets to know Birdie even more is relatable to any viewer male or female.  Sam’s sudden fear of commitment when Birdie finally expresses her feelings for him is a classic rom-com and even romantic dramedy element. It’s been used time and again throughout the history of both genres.  But that moment, in relation to his attempts to woo Birdie, makes it an even more impactful moment.  It proves to be the pinnacle of his personal growth.  And it makes the movie’s final minutes all the more heartwarming.  On a side note, the Long brothers and their writing partner deserve even more kudos for not having gone the formulaic route and used the all too clichéd final airport scene that every other rom-com and romantic dramedy uses.  Rather, they actually pay tribute to Dustin Hoffman’s 1967 classic The Graduate.  Whether that was intentional is anyone’s guess.  There is no commentary allowing for such insight.  But it is there regardless.  And it’s one more bonus that classic movie buffs will appreciate.  The positives don’t end here, either.

The writing and acting on the part of lead Justin Long go a long way toward making A Case of You a quirky yet fun flick for today’s thirty-something viewers. There is still one aspect of the story that is deserving of note here that makes everything complete.  That aspect is the movie’s soundtrack.  The music that makes up the movie’s soundtrack is just as quirky as the movie itself.  Included in the movie’s soundtrack are the likes of Spin Doctors, Joan Baez, Johnny Mathis, Fitz and the Tantrums, and so many other artists.  The musical spectrum that makes up the movie’s soundtrack runs the gamut.  As wide as that swath is, each song was a perfect fit for its companion scene.  And each song works just as well on its own on a soundtrack.  It’s the final touch on a movie that is a great fit for any younger couple this Valentine’s Day or another.  It will be available Tuesday, February 4th on DVD and Blu-ray. More information on this and other releases from IFC Films is available online at http://www.facebook.com/IFCFilmsOfficial and http://www.IFCFilms.com. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

MPI, IFC Announce Details For New Paranormal Thriller

Courtesy:  MPI Home Video/IFM Midnight/IFC Films/MPI Media Group

Courtesy: MPI Home Video/IFM Midnight/IFC Films/MPI Media Group

Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine, Signs, Rango) returns this Winter with her latest film.  She stars in IFC Midnight’s new horror story, Haunter in which she plays the part of a spirit of a girl named Lisa.  The film co-stars veteran actor and director Stephen McHattie (300, Watchmen, The Fountain) Eleanor Zichy (Skins), Peter Outerbridge (Silent Hill: Revelation), Michelle Nolden (RED) and David Hewlett (Rise of the Planet of the Apes).

In this new “reverse ghost story”, Breslin plays the spirit of a teen girl named Lisa whose family was killed by a mysterious figure in 1986.  Now over three decades after Lisa and her family were killed, Lisa must convince her family that they are no longer among the living.  Making things even more interesting, a new family has moved into the house that was once home to Lisa and her family.  Now this new family faces the same danger that led to the death of Lisa and her family.  So Lisa must do whatever she can to protect the new family living in the house.  Directed by Vincenzo Natali (Splice, The ABCs of Death 2, Cube)  and co-written by Brian King and Matthew Brian King, this movie is sure to impress fans of movies the likes of: The Lovely Bones, The Others, and Insidious).

Haunter will be available on DVD and Blu-ray via MPI Media Group and IFC Midnight on Tuesday February 11th.  The DVD will be available for SRP of $$29.98.  The Blu-ray presentation will be available for SRP of $24.98.  The trailer for the movie can be viewed online at http://www.ifcfilms.com/uncategorized/haunter-trailer.  The DVD and Blu-ray can be ordered online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Haunter-Blu-ray-Abigail-Breslin/dp/B00FYV7W9W/ref=sr_1_1?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1390420977&sr=1-1&keywords=Haunter.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Garlin’s New Movie Is Twisted, Awkward, And Completely Hilarious

Courtesy: IFC Films

Courtesy: IFC Films

Writer/comedian/director Jeff Garlin’s (Curb Your Enthusiasm) new indie comedy Dealin’ With Idiots is twisted. It’s awkward. And it’s absolutely hilarious.  The near ninety-minute comedy sees Garlin’s Max Morris living in an upper middle-class city.  There’s just one problem. He’s surrounded by some of the most peculiar individuals that one could even begin to imagine at his son’s little league baseball games. The team’s coach is a nobody, working in a dead job. He has a severe Napoleon complex of sorts as a result. The parents of the players are just as bad. They’re completely outlandish characters. Yet the irony of these parents is that there is a certain modicum of truth about their character styles. This is one of the keys to the success of this movie.  Just as important to the movie’s success is the ability of its cast to interpret the movie’s script effectively.  The case is made up of some of the most respected names in comedy today.  These two factors alone are enough to make this movie one of the year’s funniest comedies, indie or otherwise.

The story behind Dealin’ With Idiots is a simple one. It puts Garlin’s Max Morris among a group of stereotypical sports parents in the world of little league baseball.  Audiences will laugh out loud watching the behavior of Max’s fellow parents as they sit on the bleachers, watching their kids play, basically doing what so many parents do.  Any viewer that denies the reality of what’s portrayed in this story is probably in fact one of the very parent types spoofed in the story’s script.  Bob Odenkirk’s Coach Jimbo and Richard Kind’s (Spin City) Harold are two of the funniest of the story’s characters. That’s because of their realism and their portrayal by their respective actors. Far too many people can say that they know of someone like Coach Jimbo.  He’s a jobber who is trying to make up for his own lack of an exciting life by taking on coaching duties of a children’s sports team. It’s also to make up for his own shortcomings earlier in life, just as Coach Jimbo points out having had himself.  And Harold is the stereotypical neighborhood man that shows off in public as a means to cover up his less than stellar personal life. When they are put alongside their fellow rogue’s gallery of characters, Coach Jimbo, Harold, and the rest of the characters make for more than their share of laughs as Max observes their contradictory lifestyles on and off of the bleachers. Simply put, it’s something that absolutely must be seen to be appreciated.  Audiences should take into account that this is not a movie for everyone.  Not everyone will get the humor incorporated into the script.  But those that do get the story will appreciate it and find themselves laughing nonstop from beginning to end.

Garlin’s script for his movie is smart, witty, and humorously twisted in its own way.  This critic should reiterate here that it is not for everyone.  But those that do get Garlin’s humor will love it each time they watch the story.  Viewers that get his brand of comedy will enjoy just as much the cast chosen to fill out the story.  Some of the top names in comedy fill out the movie’s cast.  Steve Agee, Fred Willard, J.B. Smoove, Jami Gertz, and Gina Gershon join Bob Odenkirk and Richard Kind to make one of the most hilariously bizarre comedy troupes assembled in recent memory.  A big part of what makes the cast’s interpretation of its characters is its experience with improve comedy.  Allegedly, a large amount of the cast’s on-screen interaction if not all, was improv.  That would explain quite a bit.  It would especially at its core, explain why Dealin’ With Idiots is such a hilarious movie, indie flick or not.  It’s a movie that any comedy lover should watch at least once.  More information on this and other releases from IFC Films is available online at http://www.facebook.com/IFCFilmsOfficial and http://www.IFCFilms.com.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Room 237 An Interesting Tribute to Kubrick’s Genius

Courtesy:  MPI Home Video/IFC Films

Courtesy: MPI Home Video/IFC Films

Strange.  Twisted.  Bizarre.  Odd.  Any and every one of these terms are perfectly fitting for the new documentary Room 237.  The documentary, which focuses on director Stanley Kubrick’s vision of author Stephen King’s novel by the same name, has been met with relatively mixed reviews.  Most of those reviews have been anything but positive.  It’s easy to see just why the reactions to Room 237 would be so negative.  Those that share their thoughts throughout the near two hour documentary echo the idea that Kubrick’s idea not just with The Shining but with the likes of 2001: A Space Odyssey was to make audiences think.  And just as those movies make audiences think, so does this latest release from IFC Films Midnight.  Yes, the ideas presented here are about as out there as those presented on History Channel’s Ancient Aliens, but in the bigger picture of things, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  In fact, as out there as they might be, they really help to illustrate Kubrick’s brilliance.

Those that are familiar with Stephen King’s books (and the movies based on his books) know just how much distaste King had for Kubrick’s take on his book.  But in Kubrick’s defense, his adaptation of King’s book stood quite well on its own two feet even as its own work.  It stood so well that some three decades plus after its debut, conspiracy theories continue to abound over its imagery.  That is where Room 237 comes into play.  Fair warning to those that take the time to sit down and watch this documentary, the conspiracy theories that are bandied about throughout this program are pretty out there to say the least.  There are theories about the imagery in The Shining hiding secret holding meaning about the genocide of different groups.  There are crackpot theories centered on mythology, numerology and somehow even the supposed faking of the moon landing.  Yes, somehow, someone even found time to link The Shining to the conspiracy theory about whether or not the moon landing even happened.  These people obviously had far too much time on their hands.  But that’s beside the point.  In defense of the faceless conspiracy theorists, they do manage to defend their arguments, as wild as they may be.  That much can be said of them even if their theories are completely out there.

The theories thrown around throughout the course of Room 237 are definitely as out there as conspiracy theories can be.  This is the case even for theories brought about from a movie.  But the very fact that so many theories have been dreamed up makes an even bolder statement that audiences should consider.  It makes the statement that Stanley Kubrick really was the genius that everyone said he was behind the camera.  Even though he is no longer with us, it shows why he is still the respected individual today that he was today.  Not many directors have an eye like he did for details.  For that matter, few directors could generate so much discussion to this day.  Did Kubrick really intend for people to find everything that they have found?  Did he really have some hidden agenda in moving a chair or a sticker of one of the seven dwarves?  And really, did he intend to send a message about Jack being sexually confused?  What?  It’s all in Room 237.  Regardless of what one believes, the fact that Kubrick could lead so many people to come up with such wild ideas makes this a documentary entirely worth watching at least once.  It is available now on DVD and Blu-ray from MPI Home Video and IFC Films.  It can be ordered online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Room-237-Blu-ray-Bill-Blakemore/dp/B00D6I7CSQ/ref=sr_1_3?s=movies-tv&ie=UTF8&qid=1380408584&sr=1-3&keywords=room+237.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

IFC Films To Release New Documentary On Kubrick’s Adaptation Of The Shining

Courtesy:  IFC FIlms

Courtesy: IFC FIlms

IFC Films releases the next documentary in its IFC Films Midnight series next month.  Room 237 will be released on double-disc DVD and Blu-ray on September 24th,  the same day that Doctor Sleep will be released.  Doctor Sleep is the long-awaited follow-up to author Stephen King’s hugely popular horror novel, The Shining.  The upcoming novel follows a now grown up Danny Torrance as he uses his “shining” as he works with elderly patients at a nursing home.

Most people know that The Shining was adapted for the big screen with famed director Stanley Kubrick at the helm.  What some might not know is King’s opinion of Kubrick’s take on his novel.  For those that don’t, King was never pleased by the treatment, thus leading him to helming an adaptation of his own for the small screen.  Now thanks to IFC Films, audiences will get a deeper look at Kubrick’s adaptation of King’s novel, and the hotel that would be the inspiration for the hotel in the movie.

Directed by Rodney Ascher, Room 237 attempts to decode the hidden meanings, symbols, and theories that viewers believe are strewn throughout the movie through first-hand interviews with a variety of figures.  The alleged meanings, symbols and theories were developed by audiences, scholars, and critics alike and have lived on since the movie’s original debut over three decades ago.  The new documentary was named an Official Selection at the 2012 Sundance, Cannes, and Toronto film festivals.  It took home the Best Director Prize at the Fantastic Fest.  Its upcoming double-disc DVD and Blu-ray presentation comes with a handful of special features, listed below.

* “The mastermind Speaks: Commentary with Kevin McLeod.” McLeod is a key figure in the online examination of Kubrick’s film.

* “Secrets of The Shining,” an hour-long panel discussion from the first Stanley Film Festival, an event at Colorado’s historic Stanley Hotel, which inspired one-time guest Stephen King to write his novel.

* 11 Deleted Scenes

* The Making of the Music Featurette

* Mondo Poster Design Discussion with Artist Aled Lewis

* Trailers

Room 237 will be available on double-disc DVD and Blu-ray September 24th for an MSRP of $27.98 and $29.98 respectively. More information on Room 237 and other releases from IFC Films is available online at http://www.facebook.com/IFCFilmsOfficial and http://www.IFCFilms.com.

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My Amityville Horror Is A Gripping Paranormal Documentary

Courtesy:  IFC Films

Courtesy: IFC Films

The Amityville Horror is the stuff of legends.  The things that have gone on in the infamous house have been the topic of debate and movies ever since the murderous spree embarked upon by Ronald DeFeo, Jr.  Now thanks to IFC Films Midnight, audiences get an entirely new view on what happened from one member of the Lutz family over the course of the family’s twenty-eight day stay in the house on 112 Ocean Avenue in Amityville, NY in the new documentary, My Amityville Horror.

My Amityville Horror is unlike most documentaries out there today.  It’s not one of those Blair Witch guerilla style films.  It features an adult Daniel Lutz talking one on one with director Eric Walter for a very candid and gripping story of what happened in that house when he was a child.  There are no re-enactments here.  So it’s not like Bio Channel’s Celebrity Ghost Stories or My Ghost Story: Caught on Camera.  Lutz’s calm yet almost determined mindset leads one to believe that he experienced something.  And whatever it was, it was something not good.  His reaction late in the documentary to being asked if he would take a lie detector is hard hitting.  It makes one want to really believe his story, even if one has never experienced paranormal activity for themselves.  Speaking of his demeanor, that demeanor and Lutz’s facial gestures make him come across almost like veteran actor Michael Chiklis.  But that’s beside the point.  What is important is that he is convincing. 

Lutz is very convincing through his interviews.  There are however, those that didn’t believe his story.  This is actually another part of what makes My Amityville Horror worth watching.  It is unbiased.  It shows the opinions of both the believers and of the skeptics.  It leaves viewers to decide for themselves if in fact the events described by so many movies and books (and Daniel Lutz himself) did indeed happen.  Only Daniel really knows; he and renowned demonologist Lorraine Warren.  Audiences familiar with A&E’s former hot paranormal show, Paranormal State will remember her.  Ironically enough, Mrs. Warren was also featured in an article on Yahoo! News discussing how the Amityville House was the one place that she would never step foot in again.  When someone as well-known as she would make such a comment, one has to stop and take notice, regardless of whether or not they believe in the paranormal.

Because it is a documentary, there are those that would potentially discount it for their Halloween parties, or just in general.  But anyone that has any interest whatsoever in the paranormal will want to watch this near ninety-minute documentary.  Even among the skeptics interviewed for this feature, there were some skeptics that agreed that there are some things in this world that we cannot understand.  And as Lutz notes in his own way, only those that have experienced events such as what he experienced, will ever fully appreciate the gravity of what allegedly happened over those twenty-eight days.  It’s just as good that Lutz notes the reason he hadn’t come forward is the stigma attached to those who have experienced those unexplainable events.  His reason for not coming forward before is the stigma attached to having experienced those events that are labeled as “unexplainable” by even the skeptics in this documentary.   Those that even begin to public discuss the paranormal every day are labeled with any number of names.  But maybe seeing Lutz come forward finally, viewers will take their cue from him and be less afraid to step up to skeptics.  To that extent, it could be argued that this is one more positive to a surprisingly gripping paranormal documentary that stands out loud against so many other paranormal movies and documentaries.  It is available now in stores and online.  Audiences can get more information on My Amityville Horror and other releases from IFC Films on its official Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/IFCFilmsOfficial.

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Kerouac Fans Will Appreciate IFC Films’ Adaptation Of Author’s Book

Courtesy:  IFC Films/mpi media group

Courtesy: IFC Films/mpi media group

The new small screen adaptation of author Jack Kerouac’s legendary novel, On The Road, is a work that any fan of the man’s work will appreciate.  It will also appeal to college age audiences because of its story of self-discovery and discovering the meaning of life.  Those that are not so familiar with his work are far more likely to not be fans of the movie.  However, those that are more open minded may be at least somewhat more open to the movie.

On The Road’s narrative style is nothing new to moviemaking.  But it works quite well with the novel on which it is based.  It doesn’t overpower the overall story.  Rather, Sal Paradise’s occasional narration helps to serve as a tool to help advance the story through each chapter.  And his final moment of enlightenment at the story’s end that led to him furiously typing away at his typewriter drove home quite well the two-hour journey experienced by Sal and his friends (played by Kristen Stewart and company).  The journey embarked upon by the story’s characters is enlightening for those open minded enough to experience it with them.  Even for those that are open minded enough, the story’s sexual content might be a little bit unsettling.  The groups cross country journey of self-discovery and search for the meaning of life leads to lots and lots of sex.  Some of it straight, some of it not so straight.  But there is a lot of it.  In connection, there is also a certain amount of nudity, thus the movie’s “R” rating.

The sex and everything else tied into this adaptation of Kerouac’s book definitely make this a niche film.  To its defense though, so much can be said of the movie’s cinematography.  As the group of friends makes its way across the country in its journey, it crosses through so many different areas.  The wide shots of the different areas through which the friends travel are stunning.  And even lesser scenes such as when the stops made along the way offer their own extra touch to the overall presentation.  Whether in those shots, or others such as tight, confined apartments or the others that make up the movie, those behind the cameras did their jobs with full professionalism.  If for no other reason than the camera work, this most recent adaptation of On The Road is worth at least one watch.   That’s not to say that the movie’s writing or the cast’s acting were any less.  But the cinematography stood out more than any other factor in this movie.  On The Road is available now on DVD and Blu-ray.

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