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.

No Mystery About It: The Great Mouse Detective Is A Fun Family Movie

Courtesy: Disney Home Entertainment

Everybody knows the name and face of Mickey Mouse.  The iconic figure has been the face of Disney since his creation.  And he’s still the most famous animal figure in the movie world to this day.  As famous as Mickey might be, he isn’t the only mouse to grace the silver screen in the annals of Disney’s movie history.  Next to Mickey and Minnie, most audiences probably instantly think back to Bernard and Miss Bianca A.K.A. The Rescuers.  There is at least one more mouse whose name is likely less prominent in audiences’ minds when asked about famous Disney figures.  That mouse is none other than Basil of Baker Street.

Basil is the mouse counterpart to author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famed detective, Sherlock Holmes.  He’s the star of Disney’s 1986 animated feature, The Great Mouse Detective.  The Great Mouse Detective has never enjoyed the popularity of The Rescuers or of any of Mickey Mouse’s adventures.  But it’s still a fun movie for any fan of mysteries.  One factor that makes The Great Mouse Detective enjoyable is the understanding of how much work went into bringing this film to life.  While it’s somewhat short, the bonus “making of” featurette contains some information that will make for a new appreciation for this story.  In that same vein, the work that went into bringing The Great Mouse Detective to life included making a believable story and equally believable characters.  All of this combined makes it a movie that deserves more attention and credit than what it has gotten in the almost three decades since its debut.

The new Blu-ray/DVD combo pack re-issue of The Great Mouse Detective includes a short bonus “Making of” featurette pointing out that it took four years for this movie to come to life.  It goes on to point out that a major reason (of not the reason) was the combination of computer based graphics and hand drawn animation.  This movie was the first ever in which Disney actually used computer graphics to any extent.  As viewers will see in the bonus feature, a lot of work was put into making the final conflict between Basil and Ratigan happen.  The feature points out that the clockworks inside Big Ben were created largely by computer.  That meant taking extensive lengths in order to mix the CG and hand drawn animation without losing the film’s integrity.  The animators behind this mix and the rest of the movie’s animation are to be commended for the work put into making this happen.

The animators behind The Great Mouse Detective went into painstaking detail in order to make its animation stand out.  So did the writers responsible for making the story happen.  Viewers don’t have to have read the books on which this movie is based to be able to enjoy it.  It’s a simple story that presents a good guy (Basil), a bad guy (Ratigan) and a mystery.  Even more interesting is that in its own way, the writing staff behind the movie made it even more believable in that they made Basil flawed.  Here is a character that starts out as a pompous, arrogant individual.  But as the story progresses, audiences see him become warmer and more caring towards Olivia Flaversham.  Olivia originally comes to Basil after her father is abducted by Ratigan’s henchman Fidget.  Basil’s personal growth and his relationship to Olivia is a secondary storyline to that of his search for Ratigan.  But it makes the story more heartwarming, and in turn, more enjoyable.

One of the most important factors of any movie script’s success is suspension of disbelief.  The Great Mouse Detective has a story that easily allows audiences to suspend their disbelief.  As a matter of fact, the main story and its intertwining story will pull in audiences with ease.  No story is believable without equally believable characters.  And believable characters are exactly what the movie has.  Basil’s personal growth makes him more relatable and endearing to audiences.  On the other side of the spectrum, Professor Ratigan is equally vile and despicable. If there’s one thing that Disney has always had the ability to do, it’s creating great villains.  And thanks to the voice acting of the late, great Vincent Price, Ratigan jumps off the screen.  He wastes little time establishing himself as an all out bad guy.  That he feeds other mice to his “pet” cat without remorse is itself worthy of the title “evil.”  Audiences will instantly find themselves booing him.  That means from Price to the writers, everyone involved in bringing Ratigan to life did everything right.

As one can see, so much went into bringing The Great Mouse Detective to life.  From making the art to the story to its characters, the work involved in making this movie a reality paid off.  It is a good movie not just for fans of the mystery genre, but for anyone who is a fan of Disney’s history.  The new Blu-ray/DVD combo pack is available in stores and online now.  It can be ordered direct via Disney’s online shop at http://www.disneystore.com/the-great-mouse-detective-special-edition-blu-ray-and-dvd-combo-pack/mp/1319926/1000316/

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Downey, Law Prove Sometimes A Sequel IS Better Than The Original

Courtesy: Warner Home Video

Ah, sequels.  One of Hollywood’s mainstays in today’s movie industry.  This latest sequel is exactly what audiences should and have come to expect of a big time blockbuster.  It’s a surprise it was released to theaters in December rather than the Summer movie season, as it has all the requisite flashes, bangs and booms throughout, with a touch of raunchiness thrown in for good measure.  The irony is that as much as individuals may want to bash the movie–as it deserves–it’s a guilty pleasure.  If not for the action, the globe hopping from the streets of London to Paris to the snowy maountaintops of another country would be enough to leave most viewers’ heads spinning. Luckily all those special effects are there, distracting viewers.

If the fast paced almost Dan Brown-esque storytelling and special effects aren’t enough trouble, there is no denying the close similarities to The League of (not so) Extraordinary Men in terms of the settings and special effects, and even the story itself.  It’s almost like this story was lifted from the prior movie and altered for this sequel.  Thankfully, the special features included in the DVD and blu-ray do make up for all of that.

Courtesy: Warner Home Video

The bonus features included on the dvd and blu-ray show a cast who didn’t merely show up and recite their lines.  Rather, they seemed to be good friends who were coming together to actually make a movie.  Perhaps that friendship actually helped to make the acting believeable.  This adds some level of enjoyment back to the movie.  It isn’t all, either.  In the defense of this movie, there is also a discussion on the slow motion fight scenes included in the bonus features.  It’s interesting to note that the actors actually did peform the fight scenes themselves in slow motion.  The special effects were only added after the fact to enhance the scenes.  And director Guy Ritchie was interviewed concerning the selection of Jared Harris for the role of Dr. Moriarty.  It was nice to see that he paid attention to detail, rather than simply going for the style of Moriarty that has been used so many times before.  He did make the attempt to stay true to the original villain.  So kudos to him for that. 

Speaking of the not so good Doctor, the bonus features even include a feature on the the showdowns between Holmes and Moriarty, including the chess scene near the movie’s end.  It was interesting to learn that people would actually act as Holmes and Moriarty did in this scene.  For that matter, that they would bring in a professional chess player to teach Downey and Harris about the game actually adds some credibility to the movie.

Courtesy: Warner Home Video

Overall, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows is hardly the most memorable of major blockbusters.  The reality is that while it is a guilty pleasure, it’s still enough to make audiences hopeful that Hollywood’s elite brass will one day soon finally start to take chances on real movies again, rather than rely on forgettable pieces like this.

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