Life Of Crime Is Anything But The Standard Crime Drama

Courtesy:  Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions/Hyde Park Entertainment/Image Nation/Starstream Entertainment/Abbolita Productions/The Gotham Group

Courtesy: Lionsgate/Roadside Attractions/Hyde Park Entertainment/Image Nation/Starstream Entertainment/Abbolita Productions/The Gotham Group

Lionsgate’s new drama Life Of Crime is an interesting movie.  The movie, which is based on author Elmore Leonard’s book The Switch is the polar opposite of all of the prequels, sequels, and remakes being churned out by Hollywood’s ‘Power Five” studios today.  It stands out completely from everything else on theaters and in the realm of home entertainment primarily because of its story.  The story centers on the kidnapping of a woman that is married to a rather unpleasant man by two ex-cons, one of which just got out of jail.  That aspect is discussed in the movie’s bonus features.  So it will be touched on later.  The story though, is rather interesting in that it doesn’t necessarily turn out the way that audiences might think.  In fact it actually turns the classic crime story a bit on its ear as audiences will see.  Another reason that the movie works as well as it does is the acting on the part of the cast.  The cast’s acting really serves to highlight the character development that takes place over the course of the movie’s near two-hour run time.  Last but not least of note in this recent release is the movie’s bonus material.  The behind-the-scenes featurette and the discussion on how the movie came to be adapted from Leonard’s book both shed their own light on the movie, making the whole viewing experience all the richer.  That isn’t to take away from the movie’s bonus commentary.  It serves its own purpose in the grand scheme of things, too.  The end result is a movie that while it definitely walks off the beaten path is well worth the watch if only once.

Life of Crime is a welcome respite from all of the prequels, sequels, and remakes currently being churned out by Hollywood’s “Power Five” studios.  The central reason for this is its script.  While adapted from author Elmore Leonard’s book The Switch, it stays true to the source material, as audiences will learn in watching the movie’s bonus material.  The story centers on the kidnapping of well-to-do wife Mickey Dawson (Jennifer Aniston).  Mickey is kidnapped by two ex-cons named Louis (John Hawkes—American Gangster, The Sessions, Lincoln) and Ordell (Yasiin Bey a.k.a. Mos Def—The Italian Job, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, 16 Blocks).  The pair originally sets out to kidnap her and extort $1 million from her husband Frank (Tim Robbins—The Shawshank Redemption, The Hudsucker Proxy, Mystic River).  There’s just one problem.  He is getting ready to file for divorce unbeknownst to both her and her captors.  As things progress, a friendship of sorts forms between Mickey and Louis.  On the other end, Ordell ends up with Frank’s mistress Melanie (Isla Fisher—Now You See Me, Rango, Wedding Crashers).  Considering all of this, one would think that the movie is a comedy.  But that isn’t the case.  Writer/Director Daniel Schecter took the story in a more dramatic direction, again staying true to the source material.  The only way that this is a bad thing is the story’s pacing.  It does tend to drag somewhat as the story progresses.  But it is still a story worth at least one watch despite this.

The story on which Life of Crime is centered is an important reason that audiences should give this movie at least one watch.  Again as Writer/Director Daniel Schecter notes in the movie’s bonus material, he wanted to stay true to the movie’s source material. That’s because, as he notes, he didn’t like all of the movies that changed the story in its adaptation from its source material.  The story itself would be nothing without a cast to carry out the story.  And the movie’s cast does quite the job of bringing the story to life.  Their interpretation of Schecter’s script makes up for the story’s issues with pacing.  Audiences will love the fact that Aniston’s Mickey is such a strong female lead.  This goes back to the fact that the story turns the typical crime drama genre on its ear.  Mickey isn’t afraid to stand up to her captors, which is what leads to her budding friendship with Louis.  Women especially will cheer as Mickey uses a lit cigarette to burn Richard (Mark Boone, Jr.) in his eye.  Her overall interactions with Louis and Ordell display so much character development throughout the story.  That mix of development and interaction will pull in audiences with ease and keep them engaged right to the end again despite the story’s pacing issue.  It’s one more way in which Life of Crime stands out from all of the other major blockbuster prequels, sequels, and remakes currently out there and that are on the way.  It still is not the last factor that makes the movie work, either.  The last factor that makes Life of Crime work as well as it does is the movie’s bonus material.

The last factor involved in Life of Crime’s home release is the bonus material included in the movie’s Blu-ray/Digital HD release.  The bonus behind-the-scenes featurette itself offers quite a bit of insight into the movie.  That insight includes the thoughts on the movie’s source material from both the cast and director.  Aniston also has the chance to discuss her character’s portrayal to some length in the behind-the-scenes featurette.  The companion featurette entitled “Envisioning The Big Picture: Shooting Crime” allows Schecter to discuss his reasoning for staying as close as possible to Leonard’s original book in adapting it and the surprise that Leonard actually liked Schecter’s script for his adaptation.  There is much more discussed in both features.  And audiences will find in taking in the rest of those discussions, they add even more interest to Life of Crime in whole.  The same can be said of the movie’s bonus commentary from Schecter and actor Will Forte (Saturday Night Live) who plays a slightly overbearing man trying to win over Mickey throughout the movie.  The end result of all of these discussions is a viewing experience that makes Life of Crime even more a story worth at least one watch.

Whether it be for the story, the acting on the part of the cast or the movie’s companion bonus material, every one of these factors plays an integral role in the overall success and enjoyment of Life of Crime.  All three factors together make it an unsuspecting and rather interesting work worth at least one watch and a potential candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of this year’s best new independent movies.  Life of Crime is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered direct through Lionsgate’s online store at http://www.lionsgateshop.com/search_results.asp?Search=life%20of%20crime.  More information on this and other titles from Lionsgate is available online at:

Website: http://www.lionsgatefilms.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lionsgate

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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.

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.