The Quiet Ones Proves Low-Budget Horror Flicks Can Be As Scary As Their Big Budget Brothers

Courtesy:  Lionsgate

Courtesy: Lionsgate

The Quiet Ones, the latest horror/thriller from Lionsgate Films, is one of the scariest movies that horror fans will see this year if not the single scariest.  The phrase edge-of-your-seat is tossed around far too often in various film genres.  However in the case of The Quiet Ones, that far too oft term is quite properly used to describe this story.  It will keep viewers on the edge of their seats from start to finish even with the movie coming in at just over an hour and a half.  It all starts with the script.  The script is one that while based on actual events, has crafted a story that successfully creates its own story.  It will leave viewers questioning quite a bit right up to the story’s twist ending.  The script is but one part of what makes The Quiet Ones work.  The acting on the part of the movie’s cast makes the story even scarier.  There is something about the cast’s acting that will pull viewers in and at times, even send chills up viewers’ spines, thus leading to the edge-of-your-seat term even more justified here.  Last but hardly least worth noting that makes this movie work now in its home release is the bonus “Making of” documentary.  Much like the far too oft used phrase noted already, “Making of” featurettes hardly ever live up to the expectation of being bonus material.  The “Making of” featurette here only serves to deepen the overall experience and in turn makes the movie even scarier.  These three factors are but the tip of the iceberg that can be noted in what makes The Quiet Ones one of 2014’s scariest movies.  Audiences will find plenty more for themselves when they purchase this movie for themselves.  And when they do, said audiences will themselves be making quite the noise (yes, bad pun intended) about The Quiet Ones.

So much can be said of the script behind The Quiet Ones.  This script isn’t just another one of those run-of-the-mill, over-the-top slasher flicks or even just another ghost story.  The movie’s script writers have crafted in this piece a story that combines an absolutely terrifying tale of the occult with an unexpected human drama, both of which combine to make a story that will leave even the hardest of unbelievers questioning what they believe right up to the story’s twist ending.  And the script itself is only part of what makes the story work as surprisingly well as it does.  The movie’s trailers made it come across as just another found footage film.  The reality of this movie is that it in fact is not just another one of those works.  Audiences will note that while there is an element of the found footage genre, it isn’t just another found footage flick.  That element is used more as part of the story rather than as the story itself, if that makes any sense.  It is used to help advance the story at various points rather than being used as the crux of the script, to hopefully make that clearer.  This is all discussed at length in the bonus “Making of” featurette that has been included in the movie’s new home release.  The discussions on those and so many other topics add even more depth to the movie.  The end result is a respect for the movie that some viewers might not have previously had should they have seen the movie while it was in theaters early this year.

The deep and deeply terrifying script crafted for The Quiet Ones is the center of the movie’s terrifying success.  It’s just one element of what makes the movie work.  Also worth taking into account is the acting on the part of the movie’s cast.  The Quiet Ones is a low budget film.  Going back to the in-depth bonus “Making of” featurette, this is noted in that featurette.  The thing is that typically, when one thinks of low budget films (such as the ones churned out by Syfy), one thinks of everything wrong with the movie industry.  But in the case of The Quiet Ones both the script itself and the acting on the part of the cast made this movie a success.  Actress Olivia Cooke (The Signal, Bates Motel, Ouija) steals the spotlight as the troubled young Jane Harper.  Viewers can’t help but watch her as the movie progresses.  At no one point does she ever try to take things over the top.  There is just something on which a finger can’t be placed about her acting that makes it work.  Perhaps as (again) noted in the bonus “Making of” featurette, it is her ability to go from zero to sixty in the blink of an eye.  Her cast mates—Jared Harris (Natural Born Killers, Lincoln, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows), Sam Claflin (Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Snow White and the Huntsman, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire), and Erin Richards (Open Grave, Breaking In, Gotham) feed off of that energy and serve to heighten the story’s tension and terror.  Audiences will see that in their gradual transition from believers in science to believers in something much darker and less capable of being explained away.  They expertly interpret the script and present a fear that audiences can almost feel as they watch the story unfold.  It proves to be a feeling of terror that audiences will find it hard to shake even after the movie ends.   That is one more sign of acting done right.  So, kudos are in order for the cast of The Quiet Ones for doing their part to make this movie a terror in the best possible way.

The acting and writing that went into bringing The Quiet Ones to life are both key to the movie’s success.  Despite the work of the scribes charged with bringing the movie to life and that of the movie’s cast, this underrated horror was largely lambasted by audiences and critics alike.  Now that it is being released to DVD and Blu-ray/VUDU, audiences will see it for its true value especially thanks to the movie’s bonus “Making of” featurette.  Far too often, moviemakers and studios try to throw in these additions to movies in hopes that they will make their movies more accepted.  The problem is that hardly often enough does that actually happen.  That’s not to say that it doesn’t always work.  The case with The Quiet Ones proves that it can and does at times make a movie more worthy of respect.  Audiences get an in-depth look at the movie’s script, the location shooting, acting, and so much more.  There are discussions on the inspiration behind the script, why the house in question was chosen and even on the choice of Olivia Cooke as the movie’s lead.  Audiences will learn why this story isn’t just another movie that is based on actual events.  They will learn about the terror factor in the house and Cooke’s ability to simply turn her emotions on and off for the cameras with ease.  There is so much to note that audiences would be best served to watch this featurette for themselves.  In doing so, both those that have and haven’t already seen The Quiet Ones will have a new respect for a movie that is one of the year’s scariest movies, hands down.

The Quiet Ones will be available tomorrow, Tuesday, August 19th on DVD and Blu-ray/VUDU combo pack.  It can be ordered direct from the Lionsgate online store at http://www.lionsgateshop.com/search_results.asp?Search=The%20Quiet%20Ones.  More information on this and other releases from Lionsgate is available online at http://www.facebook.com/linosgate, http://www.lionsgate.com, and http://twitter.com/lionsgatemovies.  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.

Josh & The Jamtones’ New Album A Fun New Take On A Children’s Classic

Bear Hunt

Courtesy: Waldmania PR

Boston based children’s band, Josh & The Jamtones describes itself on its Facebook page as being an “exciting and hilarious interactive dance party kids’ band geared towards 2 – 10-year olds and parents of all ages.”  This could not have been a more proper description for the band, fronted by songwriter Josh Shriber.   Simply put, this band’s music is fun for the whole family.  The band’s new album, Bear Hunt more than lives up to the reputation of being exciting and hilarious from start to finish.  Listeners of all ages will enjoy and appreciate both the songs and the skits performed by Shriber and band mate Patrick Hanlin.  The whole presentation is one that easily makes its case for being one of the year’s best children’s albums.

Bear Hunt takes its name from the classic children’s song by the same name. It’s not the “Bear Hunt” that most parents remember.  Shriber and company take the classic “song” and turn it on its ear thanks to its skits.  There are only four skits across the album.  The album’s other ten tracks are music tracks.  Even numbering only four, the skits included in Bear Hunt will have both children and parents alike laughing hysterically.  This is especially the case in the first of the skits.  Shriber’s character makes a call to a hotel to reserve a room for himself and his friend for their bear hunting trip.  The “woman” that answers sounds like Howard Walowitz’s mother from CBS’ Big Bang Theory.  That is to say, “she” sounds like Howard’s mother, only older and without the yelling.  Any parent that watches Big Bang Theory will get that reference.  What it is that makes this personality style so fun to impersonate and just as funny is anyone’s guess.  But the back and forth between this Josh’s character and the receptionist makes for so many laughs.  It is something that must be heard to be fully appreciated and enjoyed.

The opening skit in the Bear Hunt story is a laugh riot.  Parents will especially enjoy this moment.  The fun doesn’t end there.  Josh and his friend have to make their way through the Death Valley Cornfield of Doom and the Lightning Lake of 1,000 Sea Monsters in order to finally reach their goal.  The banter between the pair makes for its own share of laughs.  For instance, there is a funny bit about one of the guys hugging a giant purple bear.  Parents and kids will both laugh at this moment both for their own reasons.  Children will enjoy it simply because of its absurdity.  Parents will enjoy this moment because they will know that adults do in fact over-embellish their accomplishments on a near daily basis.  This is just a reflection of that behavior.  The absurdity of Patrick trying to cover up that he didn’t really hug a giant bear, but a teddy bear only makes it that much funnier.  Again, there’s a certain amount of realism here.

The end result of the pair’s bear hunt is just as hilarious as the previous trio of skits that built up the punch line that is the final scene.  That punch line won’t be revealed here since this album won’t hit stores until this Fall.  But suffice it to say, it will again have both parents and children alike laughing.  They do meet a bear.  But it’s what happens when they meet the bear that will have listeners laughing just as uproariously as they did in the story’s first segment.  The whole thing is so hilarious, that it would be interesting to see Josh & The Jamtones make a full video feature on the story to accompany it.  It absolutely begs for a full video.  Even without a video, it’s still an entertaining group of skits that kids will enjoy with every listen.

The skits included in Bear Hunt are a joy to listen to.  As enjoyable as they are, they’re only part of what makes up Bear Hunt.  There is also plenty of music that will have young listeners dancing.  It boasts a fun mix of ska and reggae set right next to a touch of bluegrass, believe it or not.  One generally would not associate ska and reggae with bluegrass.  But somehow Shriber and company have made it work.  They have made it work quite well at that.  The energy laden ‘Everybody Dance!’ is one of the most enjoyable of songs on this album.  It’s a catchy tune that boasts influences the likes of The Mighty Mighty Bosstones among others.  And what parent wouldn’t look back on their own childhood in hearing ‘Snow Day’ without smiling?  Snow days were the best.  And that nostalgia is echoed clearly through this song.  Seeing their own children dance and sing along with this song will no doubt put a smile on parents’ faces as they will bring back those happy memories.  And of course, who doesn’t love pirates?  Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has proven that everybody does.  So what better fit in this fun collection of songs than a pirate song in the aptly titled, ‘Pirate’s Life?’  These songs are just a tiny portion of what parents and children can expect from Bear Hunt.  There are no motivational songs or anything like that here.  It’s just a fun record with poppy tunes that the whole family will enjoy with every listen.  And there’s not one thing wrong with that.  Bear Hunt will be available October 1st.  The band will hit the road this fall for a tour in support of its new album beginning with a pair of performances at the Life is Good Festival in Canton, MA on Sunday and Monday September 21st and 22nd.  More information on the band’s tour and its upcoming album are available on its official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/joshandthejamtones and its official website, http://joshandthejamtones.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.

Aerosmith Set To Celebrate New LP With Surprise Performance

Boston’s favorite sons (aside from the Boston Red Sox) are set to tentatively release the new Aerosmith album in two weeks.  Music From Another Dimension is currently set to hit stores and online outlets on Tuesday, November 6th.  In celebration of the band’s upcoming new release, Aerosmith will perform on the streets of Boston Monday, November 5th.  The performance will not only be a way to promote the band’s new album, but also a way to get everyone to do their civic duty and vote.  The band is scheduled to appear in a surprise location around noon on November 5th and play.

Courtesy: MSO PR

The upcoming performance date is also a pre-party for the band’s upcoming month-long tour in support of its new album.  The tour will take Aerosmith to fourteen arenas across the country along with Cheap Trick.  The first pair of singles from the album has already been released together to radio.  Other highlights from Music From Another Dimension include a duet with American Idol star Carrie Underwood and another song with actor Johnny Depp on backing vocals.

Aerosmith fans can get the band’s full tour itinerary and the band’s latest news online at http://www.aerosmith.com, http://www.aeroforceone.com, http://www.facebook.com/aerosmith, http://twitter.com/#!/Aerosmith, and http://www.youtube.com/theofficialaerosmith.

To keep up with all the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/ 381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

The new Three Musketeers is all for nothing

The new Three Musketeers is an odd bird of a movie.  This new adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ classic novel has every requisite for a major big screen blockbuster.  It has the fast moving action scenes.  It has the sex appeal with star Milla Jovovich.  And it has the romance subplot for the tween and teen audiences.  But that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a good movie. 

This new adaptation of the classic story makes audiences want to like it.  But the problem is that its impossible to tell whether or not it was meant to be taken as a serious re-imagining .  The sword fighting scenes are great fun to watch.  But other than those scenes, there is little else positive to say about this movie.  That’s even if it isn’t meant to be taken as a serious re-telling of the original story.  The major problem with this adaptation of The Three Musketeers lies in that it has no originality whatsoever.  It comes across as little more than a ripoff of Robert Downey, Jr’s. recent mega re-imagning of Sherlock Holmes and the Sean Connery led flop that was The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.   From the sets to the special effects (cg-included), there was little original to this flick flop.  The amount of CG based special effects is reminiscent of both movies.  Whether it be the flying ship scenes or MIlla Jovovich’s fight scenes with the king’s guards, or the early scenes in which the Musketeers break into DaVinci’s vault, the cg used throughout this movie was simply far too much over the top.

The Musketeers’ breaking into DaVinci’s vault is a slight hint at the story that’s eventually revealed to audiences.  The problem is that the story isn’t even fully revealed until nearly an hour into the movie.  The rest of that time waiting is filled with lots of sword fights, not so witty banter and even a really bad joke about cleaning up after one’s horse.  When the story is finally revealed to audiences, it’s so outrageous that it, along with all the over the top cg based special effects, make suspension of disbelief impossible.  Suspension of disbelief is key to any movie.  Movies are supposed to be about escape.  And even as much as audiences want to escape into this high energy action flick, the inability to suspend disbelief prevents it.  That, combined with all the movie’s other problems, make The Three Musketeers one of the worst movies of 2011.