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.

Day Of The Falcon Stands Out In The Indie Flock

Courtesy: Image Entertainment/Quinta/PRIMA TV S.p.A/Carthago Films/france2 cinema/DFI Doha Film INstitute

Courtesy: Image Entertainment/Quinta/PRIMA TV S.p.A/Carthago Films/france2 cinema/DFI Doha Film Institute

Day of the Falcon is an interesting movie, especially considering that it is an indie flick.  This modern day update on Lawrence of Arabia may not be the year’s best movie.  But in the grander picture of indie movies released each year, it is one of the best of the flock in 2013.  So many film makers try to make indie flicks, but sadly come up short, instead releasing a final product that looks more like a second or third run movie that belongs on basic cable on a cold and rainy weekend.  This movie doesn’t fit in that category, though.  Amazingly enough, thanks to at least a pair of factors, the final product of this movie could easily hold its own against not only other indie flicks, but even some major theatrical releases.  One of those factors is the scripting.  Another would be the general scenery and backdrop.  And that actually ties directly into the cinematography.

The script for this movie is a good script, although it isn’t without its faults.  It centers on the earliest days of the Middle East as it begins to rise to power thanks to the discovery of oil in the region.  Here is where the problems start.  The discovery of oil in the region leads to conflict between two of the region’s kingdoms.  The death of two members of one of the kingdoms leads to even more tensions, as it leads to the belief that the men in question were drowned in oil by members of the opposing kingdom in question.  Tensions eventually escalate after a request from Auda’s (Tahar Rahim) father, Amar (Mark Strong) is not exactly received too well by Nesib (Antonio Banderas), Auda’s father-in-law.  That would be because the request in question comes across as less than humble, upsetting Nesib.  Nesib’s refusal to this proposal leads to the eventual conflicts that follow Auda has he travels the desert to return to his wife.  So who’s still following all of this?  Does anyone need a program?  Sure, one might have to go back a couple times to catch everything going on.  But once the full story is unwrapped and understood, it leads to what makes the movie truly worth checking out; the cinematography and the shooting locales.    

Whereas the intertwining storylines can get more than a little bit confusing in this movie, the movie’s cinematography and shooting locales go hand in hand with one another.  As audiences will learn in the movie’s forty-minute long “Making of” feature, the movie was actually shot largely in the Middle East.  It was shot partially in Tunisia and partially in Qatar.  That it was shot on location in the Middle East instead of in a sound stage or in some location meant to look similar to the Middle East region played a big role in making the movie more believable.  The manner in which director Jean-Jacques Annaud caught the scenes made them all the more dramatic, even when Auda and those with him were facing the elements and not human enemies.  The inner turmoil on the faces of those with Auda as they struggled against the heat and dwindling supplies was powerful to say the least.  The joy on their faces as they discovered a freshwater spring and the sadness at the death of Auda’s brother were just as moving.  And it was all from getting just the right camera angles. 

The cinematography of the massive battle scenes—especially the final climactic battle scene—are perhaps the highlight of this movie.  Annaud explains in the movie’s “Making of” feature how the movie’s battle scenes were shot both from the ground and the air.  Again, those different angles help to really intensify the battles.  Annaud noted in the “Making of” feature that he wanted to make a movie that looked on par with the major motion pictures in theaters.  And he did just that.  He did so not just with the battle scenes, though.  He managed to succeed in that aspect throughout the course of the movie’s two hours and ten minutes.  Thankfully, it is Annaud’s leadership of the ship that is Day of the Falcon that helps make up for the slow first half.  He does the best that he can keeping the action moving.  And luckily once the initial story setup is finished the second and third acts come rather quickly before audiences even realize it, thus making it a movie that while it may need more than one watch, will grow on audiences more with each viewing.  And with each viewing, audiences will see that it is yet more proof that some indie flicks are just as good as pictures released by Hollywood’s major studios.  It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct from the Image Entertainment store at http://www.watchimage.com/product/day-of-the-falcon/4fee57e8-e613-e211-a415-020045490004.  A trailer for the movie is also available for viewing at this site.

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.

Special Forces Offers Nonstop Action For Military Movie Fans

Courtesy:  Entertainment One

Courtesy: Entertainment One

EOne’s latest action thriller, Special Forces, is a solid work that will impress any fan of the military movie genre.  It is a gripping story that follows a group of French Special Forces commandos who are sent behind enemy lines to rescue a kidnapped journalist played by Diane Kruger.  On the surface, one might glance at this story and think that it’s just another run of the mill military action flick along the lines of perhaps Delta Force, Seal Team Six, The Expendables, and Zero Dark Thirty.  But a much closer look shows that it’s more than that.  Yes it’s a story about good versus bad.  But it’s more than that.  It’s also a story of man versus himself and man versus nature.  The entire thing is set against the backdrop of the Afghan/Pakistani border.  At the same time that the commandos have to fight a group of relentless Taliban fighters along the way, they also must battle the elements and their own wills in order to survive.  The script’s writing will keep viewers engaged as will its cinematography and its backdrop.  By the story’s end it is that writing, cinematography, and backdrop that will make this movie one more in the military genre that is worth at least one watch.

Special Forces wastes no time moving the story forward.  Right off the bat, audiences are presented with the central plot.  That plot is that young reporter Elsa Casanova (Diane Kruger) has been kidnapped by a ruthless Taliban fighter who threatens to kill her because of something that she wrote about him in a newspaper.  Considering the recent headlines concerning a young girl who was gunned down by Taliban fighters and by some miracle survived the shooting, this simple plot is actually quite believable.  That believability will instantly pull viewers in and allow them to suspend their disbelief.  That’s all the script writers needed as audiences will be hooked by the nonstop action throughout the rest of the story.

The writing keeps the movie’s action moving at a rapid fire pace early on.  The cinematography does much the same.  That’s especially the case during the shootout scenes between the commandos and the Taliban fighters.  There are those who might complain that it moves too fast.  But the point in the quick pacing of the shots is to emphasize the adrenaline levels of the commandos.  One can only imagine if that’s what military forces currently fighting the Taliban and Muslim insurgents actually feel when they are actually in the process of firefights.  The firefight scenes make for some of the best throughout the movie’s near two-hour run time.    Just as impressive is the work of the camera crews in capturing the landscape which the commandos must navigate in their journey to get Elsa back to Afghanistan.  Not to give away too much but it is that same cinematography that helps heighten the drama of the man versus nature element of this action/drama.  Audiences see just how much adversity the soldiers have to overcome throughout their journey.  Whether it be against the Taliban forces that are constantly on their heels, or against the vast Middle Eastern mountains and plains, Elsa and her protectors are never really safe.  The camera crews and director Stephane Rybojad are to be commended for their interpretation of the script in this aspect.

As one can hopefully tell by now, Special Forces is not just another military action thriller.  There is more to it than one would realize from simply watching it.  But hopefully in understanding everything noted here, viewers who give the movie at least one watch will have more understanding and appreciation for it.  It is available now on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack and can be ordered online direct via Amazon.com at http://amzn.com/B00AFQSYMU.  The Phil’s Picks Facebook page is also holding a drawing for copies of the movie.  Fans can get into the drawing for the movie at the Phil’s Picks Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/philspicks.  A trailer for the movie is also available now.  It can be viewed at http://youtu.be/tIe7Vvt0jDA

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks.  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.