Release Date, Product Info Released For Low Winter Sun Box Set

Courtesy:  Anchor Bay Entertainment

Courtesy: Anchor Bay Entertainment

Officials with Anchor Bay Entertainment announced Monday that the company will release AMC’s Low Winter Sun: The Complete Series this summer.

Courtesy:  Anchor Bay Entertainment

Courtesy: Anchor Bay Entertainment

Low Winter Sun: The Complete Series will be released Tuesday, August 12, 2014. It will be released on DVD in a 3-disc set containing all ten episodes from the series. The crime drama, which is based on the 2006 award-winning British mini-series, was written by Simon Donald and produced by Tiger Aspect Productions (an Endemol company). The story opens with the murder of a Detroit police officer by a fellow detective from the city. The detective’s crime is anything but the perfect crime as it leads him ever deeper into Detroit’s underworld. Mark Strong (Zero Dark Thirty, Sherlock Holmes, Robin Hood), Lennie James (The Walking Dead, Snatch), David Canstabile (Breaking Bad, Side Effects), and Athena Karkanis (Saw IV, V, VI) lead the series’ cast.

The upcoming triple disc box set comes with a handful of bonus features to enhance the viewing experience for audiences. Those bonus features include: A Look at “Low Winter Sun”, Detroit Grit, Designing The Precinct, Episode Featurettes, and Deleted Scenes. The box set will retail at SRP of $49.98.

More information on this and other releases from Anchor Bay Entertainment is available online now at http://www.facebook.com/AnchorBay, http://twitter.com/Anchor_Bay, http://www.anchorbayent.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.

Seal Team Six An Underappreciated Military Thriller

Courtesy:  Anchor Bay Entertainmen

Courtesy: Anchor Bay Entertainmen

Movies based on actual events make up one of the largest genres of movies in the modern movie industry.  From stories centered on legal cases to sports to everything else in between, movies based on actual events are more bountiful than the egos that fill the movie industry today.  That’s saying something.  Keeping this in mind, it’s easy to discount so many of those movies, whether they be big budget or independent.  And then there are those such as the recent megahit, Zero Dark Thirty that was anything but passable. It was a definite hit for a variety of reasons.  Ironically, as big of a hit as it was, it actually came after a far lesser known, but just as enjoyable story in Anchor Bay Entertainment’s, Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden.  It leaves one wondering what prevented this surprisingly entertaining story from gaining the fame and success of its big blockbuster brother.

The most obvious of reasons why Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden didn’t gain the fame of Zero Dark Thirty is that the prior was an indie flick, while the other was backed by a major studio.  Despite the fact that it was backed by an independent studio, Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden is surprisingly entertaining. Any viewer that was a fan of CBS’ short-lived military drama The Unit or Entertainment One’s more recent military action/thriller, Special Forces will enjoy this movie.  It may not have the deep drama-filled storyline of Zero Dark Thirty or the major special effects, etc.  But it still manages to hold its own against its big brother.  As was noted in the movie’s bonus “Making of” featurette, those behind the camera did not set out to make it another Zero Dark Thirty.  It’s obvious this statement was made after the movie in question had been released, considering that this movie was released before the other.  That aside, it’s good to know that it didn’t want to be about all the extra drama that surrounded the raid before and after.  That it focused mainly on the raid itself and the men that carried out the orders is perhaps another reason that it wasn’t as warmly welcomed as its big screen counterpart.

One of the most important factors pointed out in the “Making of” featurette that accompanies this movie is its tri-pointed story approach.  It’s noted that the story is told from the vantage point of not just the members of Seal Team Six, but also from the point of the CIA operatives in Washington, D.C., and from a pair of intelligence gatherers inside Pakistan.  The three points eventually intersect for the final action filled sequence that will have viewers on the edge of their seats.  What is most impressive of the three stories is that the melodrama between Cherry (Anson Mount – Hell on Wheels) and Stunner (Cam Gigandet—The O.C., Twilight, Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 2, Easy A) is kept to an extreme minimum.  This allows the story to progress much more smoothly and stay focused on the central story of the operation to take Bin Laden.  In turn, the story’s pacing never lets up, thus keeping viewers engaged throughout the story’s hour and a half run time. 

The script’s limited melodrama is the tip of the iceberg for Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden in keeping audiences engaged.  Keeping the melodrama to an extreme minimum allows for more time for action and focus on story development from all three perspectives.  Instead of wasting unnecessary amounts of time focusing on each member’s personal and family drama, it instead used that time to develop the characters themselves and build tension as preparations began for the operation to take Bin Laden.  Throughout the course of these developments, the script’s pacing never lets up.  This is the center of everything.  The pacing is never too fast or slow.  This combined with the minimalist drama and energy packed action scenes all come together to make this movie an underappreciated military action movie.  It proves, in the end, to be a movie that while it may be a TV movie, is still one that is worth at least one watch by fans of this genre now that it is available on DVD and Blu-ray.  It can be ordered online direct from Anchor Bay’s official website at http://www.anchorbayentertainment.com/detail.aspx?projectID=78fae55b-2924-e211-a8d1-d4ae527c3b65.  Fans of this movie can keep up with even more from Anchor Bay on its official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/AnchorBayEntertainmentCanada

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.

Crime Drama Fans Will Love Lawless

Courtesy: The Weinstein Company Home Entertainment/Anchor Bay Entertainment

Shia LaBeouf’s new starring vehicle, Lawless, is a good movie for any fan of the crime drama genre of movies.  This gritty, violent movie follows the story of the infamous Bondurant brothers.  The brothers were known throughout Franklin County, Virginia during the prohibition era.  Knowing this, it’s tough to not make a quick comparison to the likes of The Untouchables.  And while knowing that it’s another period piece that takes place during the Prohibition era, it would also be wrong to compare it to The Untouchables.  It really is its own movie.  It shows a completely different side of life in the Prohibition era.  The story itself is compelling.  And it’s nice to see lead star Shia LaBeouf starring in a less typecast role this time out instead of running around screaming nonstop.  He actually is convincing in the role of Jack Bondurant.  This dramatic turn is a nice change of pace for him.

Shia LaBeouf’s take on Jack Bondurant is one part of Lawless’ success.  The movie’s cinematography and backdrop make for another pair of high points here.  The manner in which the movie was shot does an especially impressive job of capturing the intensity of the gunfights between the Bondurant brothers and their rivals.  And the way Virginia’s countryside was captured helped to make the story’s period setting that much more believable.  Speaking of that setting, everyone behind the cameras should be commended for making the story believable.  From the characters’ attire to the vehicles to minutiae such as the coca-cola signs and markings of the nation’s racial divide on the buildings helps to establish that all important suspension of disbelief.

For all the positives that Lawless offers, there is one blaring downside to this movie.  It’s a problem that so many writers face in trying to make a good story.  That problem is pacing.  As impressive as the story is thanks to all of the work that went into bringing it to life, its pacing is problematic to say the least.  Considering that the movie runs just shy of two hours, it feels as if it took forever for the entire thing to unravel.  It’s almost as if writer Nick Cave wasn’t sure where to take the story as he attempted to adapt it from Matt Bondurant’s original book about his family.  Ironically, it’s Bondurant’s own words in the bonus feature, “The True Story of the Wettest County in The World” that helps to make up for that slow pacing.  And that bonus feature brings up another interesting point about this movie.  That point is that this is one more home release in which the movie’s bonus features help to make the movie, too, rather than break it.

The bonus features in the home release of Lawless are rare.  Typically, a home release’s bonus features can be saved for viewing after the movie.  But this is one of those rare times when they should be viewed first.  To go into the movie without some understanding of its background will undoubtedly change how one views the story presented here.  Among the most important of those features is “The True Story of the Wettest County in The World.”  Matt Bondurant, who is a direct descendant of the original Bondurant brothers helps tell the brothers’ story along with those behind the cameras.  The comparison of the original story to that of the movie actually helps make the story’s pacing more bearable, and thus makes the movie more watchable.  Add in the director’s commentary both on the Blu-ray and DVD feature included in the set, and any crime drama fan has on their hands a movie that’s worth at least one watch.