History Buffs In Whole Should See Film Movement’s New WWII Doc ‘Line 41’ At Least Once

Courtesy: Film Movement

Ever since World War II came to its end in 1945, so many stories have been told of the war. At the same time, just as many stories have not been shared. That is because so many innocent lives were lost in the war and because so many survivors have died since then without being able to pass on their stories. Luckily, two more stories have finally been told in a new documentary from independent film studio Film Movement titled Line 41. They are the stories of two men on opposite sides of the tragic events that happened in the Lodz ghetto in Poland. This dual-pronged story creates a solid foundation for the program, which in itself guarantees audiences’ engagement. It is only one part of what makes the program worth the watch. The program’s collective pacing and transitions play directly into the program’s presentation, even as minute as they might seem on the surface. This will be discussed later. The bonus deleted interviews included with the doc’s home release round out its most important elements. That’s the case even though there is one interview that is sadly missing and would have added so much to the program. Even with that in mind, when the bonus interview segments are set alongside the story at the center of this doc and its aesthetic elements, the whole of those elements makes Line 41 a program that history buffs and WWII history buffs alike will appreciate.

Line 41, Film Movement’s new World War II retrospective documentary from documentarian Tanja Cummings, is a program that will easily appeal to history buffs and more specifically World War II history buffs alike. That is due in part to the 96-minute program’s dual-pronged story. The story follows two men — Natan Grossman, a Jewish survivor of those events who would eventually be sent to Auschwitz, and Jens-Jurgen Ventzki, the son of the Nazi head of Lodz — who were both directly tied to the horrific events that happened in the Lodz ghetto in Poland. Grossman returned, in this documentary, to his former home after being gone for more than 70 years as he searches for his brother. Ventzki meanwhile is trying to come to terms with the man who was his father and the heinous acts that his father allowed to happen to Jews who lived in Lodz. Eventually the two men come face to face as their stories progress, which leads to quite the powerful moment — a moment that is certain to move any viewer as the men talk about what happened and even bond over those events. Even after the men finally meet, their stories are not over. The doc’s finale is bittersweet to say the least. It won’t be revealed here, for the sake of those who have yet to see the program, but it will leave a lasting impression on audiences. Keeping all of this in mind, audiences will agree in watching the overall story that it is in fact one of the doc’s most important elements, if not its single most important element. It definitely is not the program’s only important element, though. Just as important to discuss in analyzing this presentation is its collective pacing and transitions.

Considering that two separate stories are told over the course of Line 41’s one hour, 36-minute run time, it would have been easy for it to get bogged down in itself. Luckily though, that did not happen. Cummings and her crew expertly balanced each man’s story while also including the stories of others who were connected to the events at Lodz as secondary stories. Their stories are presented as each man makes his way through his own journey. Cummings and company spend just enough time with each story, finding exactly the right points to move from one story to the other. It ensures even more, audiences’ maintained engagement throughout. On another level, audiences will appreciate the precise transition points and how they were handled. The transitions are made fully evident through the use of sketches that gradually grow into the scenes that start each segment. This clearly lets viewers know that the documentary is moving from one story to another. That clarity even more certainly assures audiences’ engagement from beginning to end of this program, in turn making the program that much more impacting. There are also lines from Jewish victims’ diaries incorporated into the program as their own segment dividers that are even harder hitting than the general scene transitions. These segments add even more depth to the program even though they are little more than transition points. Cummings and company are to be complimented for the thought put into their use here, too. To that end, the program’s solid pacing and clear transition points do just as much to keep audiences engaged in this program as the dual-pronged story at its center. They are not its only collectively important elements, either. The bonus interviews included in the program’s presentation round out its most important elements.

The deleted interviews that are included with Line 41 as bonus material are so important to note here because of how much they add to the doc’s viewing experience and depth. One of the most intriguing interviews is with Grossman as he discusses the role of the Catholic Church in connection to the events at Lodz. Grossman basically indicts the Catholic Church, alleging Pope John Paul II (born Karl Josef Wojtyla in Poland in 1920) was the only pope who did anything to try to help Jews in Lodz. This is part of a bigger discussion that he presents about Jewish/Christian relations as they pertained to what perhaps led to World War II. It’s an undeniably intriguing discussion as are his more in-depth conversations with Cummings about how he had tried to put the events at Lodz behind him for so many years and how hard it was to bring everything back. There are also interviews with the secondary figures introduced through the story that add their own depth to the presentation. Their recollections are interesting, as they add even more to the story, but it is clear in listening to them why they ended up on the cutting room floor. When all of the interviews are considered in whole, they add their own share of interest to Line 41. When they are set alongside the in-depth story at the center of the doc and its solid pacing and transitions, the end result is a presentation that will, again, appeal to students and lovers of history and more specifically World War II history.

Film Movement’s new World War II retrospective documentary Line 41 is a powerful new story about the atrocities that were committed against the Jewish community during World War II. It is one of those stories that deserves at least one watch among its key audiences. That is proven in part through that noted story, which follows two men as they retrace the events in the Lodz ghetto in Poland. The two-pronged story’s collective pacing and transitions do just as much as the story itself to keep audiences engaged as do the bonus interviews that were cut from the final product. Some of the interviews clearly should have been left in while others were rightfully cut despite presenting their own interest. Each element is important in its own right to the whole of Line 41. All things considered, they make Line 41 a story that any student and lover of history, and more specifically World War II history, will appreciate. Those who watch will agree it is worth at least one watch. It is available now and can be ordered direct via Film Movement’s online store. More information on this and other titles from Film Movement is available online now at:

Website: http://www.filmmovement.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Film_Movement

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Maya The Bee Is Buzzing Home Again This Spring

Courtesy: Shout! Factory Kids/Shout! Factory

Maya The Bee is back!

The beloved little honey bee has a new family friendly movie on the way.  Maya The Bee 2The Honey Games is currently scheduled for release May 1, 2018 via Shout! Factory Kids.  It will be released on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack and standalone DVD.

Co-directed by the team of Noel Cleary (Tashi), Sergio Delfino (Chicken Run) and Alexs Stadermann (Maya The BeeBambi IIA Goofy Movie), this story follows Maya and her friend Willy as they travel to Buzztropolis to compete in The Honey Games.  The danger is that if the pair loses the games, they have to give their summer honey harvest to the Empress.

This could spell disaster for Maya’s hive since the harvest season had been slim. Over the course of the story, audiences learn invaluable lessons about friendship, responsibility and courage.

Originally based on the German novel Maya The Bee in 1912, the stories of Maya have been passed down throughout the ages in countless languages.  It has also been translated into an animated series in Europe, Australia and Asia.

More information on Maya The Bee 2 and other titles from Shout! Factory Kids is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

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‘Live In South Africa’ Will Join OneRepublic’s Fans As One

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Pop rock group OneRepublic has come quite a long way since its initial formation 16 years ago. Over the course of now 16 years in existence, this Colorado-based band has seen the highest of highs and the lowest of lows and in the process, has gone on to become one of the most popular acts in the world, garnering millions of records and tickets sold. The band’s fame is certain to grow even more next Friday when its new live recording Live in South Africa is released in stores and online. Originally recorded June 19, 2015 at the Coca-Cola Dome in Johannesburg, South Africa, this 18-song, roughly 90-minute performance is one that will easily appeal to every one of the band’s fans, regardless of their familiarity with the band. That is due in no small part to the concert’s set list, which will be discussed shortly. The band’s performance will definitely do just as much to make the concert enjoyable to fans. It will be discussed later. The bonus material included with the recording also plays into that appeal. It will also be discussed later. Each element is important in its own right as will be discussed in this analysis. All things considered, they make the recording, again, one that will appeal to every one of OneRepublic’s fans.

Live in South Africa, OneRepublic’s latest (and second) live recording, is a presentation that is certain to appeal to every one of the band’s fans. For that matter, it is a work that is likely to keep this superstar act’s fame rise even more upon its release. That is due in no small part to the concert’s 18-song, roughly 90-minute body. Originally recorded June 19, 2015 in Johannesburg, South Africa as part of the band’s “Native” tour, the set list lifts very liberally from the band’s 2013 album Native. More specifically, 12 of that record’s 13 total songs are included in this set list while the band’s 2007 debut album Dreaming Out Loud only gets two nods. Waking Up, the band’s 2009 sophomore album gets three nods. The 18th song is the band’s cover of Louis Armstrong’s timeless classic ‘Wonderful World.’ Given, it would have been nice to have seen more balance between the band’s then three albums. But the band cannot be faulted for trying to put as much attention as possible on its then most recent album. That is especially the case since the band’s breakthrough hit ‘Apologize’ (from the band’s debut album) is included here along with three other hit singles from the band’s sophomore record. To that end, the band is to be commended for giving audiences music from the early portion of its life while also pushing forward with such a heavy representation of its then most recent album.

While the set list is important because of the album representation, that is only one part of what makes the set list important. The actual ordering of the songs is just as important to its whole as the songs themselves. The balance of energy from one song to the next is impressive, smoothly moving up and down from one song to the next. The almost ethereal feel of the concert’s opener ‘Don’t Look Down’ is so powerful in its own right. In the same breath, the controlled, yet driving energy of its follow-up, ‘Light It Up’ makes for a solid transition that easily keeps audiences engaged and entertained. The more reserved energy of the concert’s third entry, ‘Secrets’ makes for another strong change that keeps the set list moving fluidly and interestingly, too. This is just the beginning of the varying energies exhibited throughout the set list. It rises and falls just as smoothly throughout the rest of the concert, ensuring just as much, audiences’ engagement. When this obviously well-thought out organization is considered alongside the thought put into the concert’s very set list, it becomes clear why the concert’s st list plays so strongly into making this concert appealing for OneRepublic’s fans. It is only one part of what makes the recording in whole so appealing for fans. The band’s performance of said set list is also key to the concert’s appeal.

As already noted, the fluidity of the energies in this concert’s set list are pivotal to its overall presentation. That is because of how much they do collectively for the concert’s viewing experience. On a directly related note, the band’s performance plays hand in hand with those energies. Front man Ryan Tedder easily keeps audiences engaged as he makes his way around the stage and even into the crowd at one point while his band mates — drummer Eddie Fisher, guitarists Zach Filkins and Drew Brown, and bassist/cellist Brent Kutzle — keep the energy moving with their own performances. Fisher’s time keeping is spotless throughout the show, keeping the band in time with ease while Filkins and Brown put on their own displays of talent. At one point, audiences even get an extended, awe-inspiring flamenco performance from one of the pair. Kutzle’s work on the cello adds so much emotion whenever it is added to the songs, making them that much more engaging and entertaining. When each man’s part is joined with those of his band mates, the end result is a performance from all involved that will certainly entertain audiences. It is not the last of the recording’s most vital elements either. The bonus material included with the recording’s home release is important in its own way, too.

The bonus material included in Live in South Africa’s presentation is so important because it truly is bonus material. the half-hour mini-documentary ‘Don’t Look Down’ takes audiences all the way back to the bands earliest roots. Those roots reach back to Tedder’s youth in Oklahoma and include winning a singing contest on MTV’s Total Request Live, the band being dropped from Columbia Records and rising from those ashes to be signed to a new deal that has gone on to help make the band a superstar act. Simply put, the documentary that comes with this recording presents OneRepublic as the proverbial “working man” band made up of everyday people who worked hard and persevered through so many ups and downs to get where they are today. It creates a whole new appreciation for the band that again, audiences overall will appreciate. The bonus performance of the song ‘Wherever I Go’ from Sydney, Australia adds even more enjoyment, though the documentary is really the key bonus included here. The history that it provides audiences, again, generates a new appreciation for the band. When that new appreciation is considered along with the concert’s Native-rich set list and the band’s performance thereof, the whole of the recording proves to be a work that OneRepublics fans in South Africa and other parts of the world will appreciate. It will be available next Friday, February 23 in stores and online. More information on Live in South Africa is available online now along with all of OneRepublic’s latest news and more at:

Website: http://www.onerepublic.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/OneRepublic

More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:

Website: http://www.eagle-rock.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

IFC Films’ Risk Pays Off In ‘Walking Out’

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/IFC Films

IFC Films has, for the longest time, prided itself on releasing movies that strayed from the mainstream, opting for original content over copy cat flicks. Apparently all good things must come to an end, even for IFC Films, as has been proven in the studio’s new wilderness drama Walking Out. This 96-minute movie is a work that can easily be likened to so many bigger name dramas of the same ilk including The Grey, The Edge, The Mountain Between Us among so many other major blockbusters. Taking this easy comparison into consideration, the movie’s central story becomes a critical piece of its presentation — one that both succeeds and fails at the same time. It will be discussed shortly. The movie’s cinematography is another key piece of its whole and proves quite impressive to say the very least. It will be discussed later. The bonus behind-the-scenes featurette included with the movie rounds out the movie’s most important elements. It will also be addressed later. Each element is important in its own right to the whole of Walking Out. This will be proven through this analysis. All things considered, they make Walking Out an interesting new effort from IFC Films, and hopefully its only attempt to compete with the mainstream.

IFC Films’ new wilderness drama Walking Out is an interesting new effort from a studio that has made such a name for itself by creating movies that stand largely apart from the mainstream. That aside, it is still worth at least one watch. That statement is supported in part by the movie’s story. More specifically, the subplot at the center of the story is what really makes the story stand out. The story’s subplot centers on Cal’s (Matt Bomer) attempt to reclaim the father son relationship that he lost with his own father, Clyde (Bill Pullman) by going out on a hunting trip with his son, David (Josh Wiggins). The duo’s hunting trip starts as a search for game bird before somehow transforming into Cal’s own almost “Mellvillian” hunt for a bull elk. The aspect of Cal trying to secretly trying to reclaim that bond that he lost with Clyde is an original setup for the wilderness drama genre, giving at least one reason to watch the movie. However, this aspect of the story is where the success ends.

At first, David doesn’t seem to care in the least about hunting, but as soon as he even comes close to bagging his first kill (which ultimately escapes), David suddenly enjoys hunting and agrees to go on the fateful hunting tip in search of the elusive bull elk (just as Ahab went after the elusive white whale). this sudden change of heart so to speak is a bit bewildering. A couple of brief encounters with a grizzly bear during the hunt leads David to be injured and in turn accidentally shooting Cal, which sets up the fight for survival that takes up the rest of the movie. This is where the story starts to suffer. Viewers will note that Cal loses more blood every day as David carries him back down the mountain. This is despite the tourniquet applied to Cal’s leg. Considering how much blood Cal had to have lost along the way, he should not have survived as long as he did. The ultimate outcome won’t be revealed here, but it definitely leads to that unavoidable question of how Cal survived for such a long time. What’s more, after the initial meetings with the bears that set off the fight for survival, there is no more threat from them for the rest of the movie’s run. This means that the only real threat that David and Cal face on the journey back down the mountain is mother nature (a la the famous short story Open Boat). Ironically, one can’t help but keep watching to see if father and son make it down the mountain and back to safety. To that end, even with the problems posed throughout the story, the ability of the story to still keep audiences engaged makes the story at least a partial success. It is only one part of what makes the movie worth at least one watch. The movie’s stunning cinematography is just as important to its overall presentation as the story.

Walking Out‘s cinematography is so important to discuss in analyzing this movie because it really is the cornerstone of the movie’s presentation. Shot entirely in the mountains of Montana, the sweeping shots of said mountains as a backdrop creates a sense of awe, heightening the story’s drama. Honestly, one could argue to a point that the noted heightened drama is what in fact keeps audiences watching. It’s a sort of subconscious element. Keeping that in mind, those behind the lenses are to be commended for their work. Of course the sweeping mountain backdrops and aerials are not the only impressive cinematic elements. The general scenery used in each act is just as impressive as those sweeping mountain backdrops. The very fact that the scenes were real instead of CG adds to the interest in their look. It was nice to see the effort and time taken to make the tension in each scene so believable even through something as simple as the snow-covered ground. Between that effort and the effort put into using the rest of the movie’s cinematography to heighten the story’s emotion (and in turn engagement) it can be said with ease that the cinematography at the center of Walking Out does more than enough to keep audiences from walking out on this movie. It is not the last of the movie’s most important elements, either. The bonus material included in the movie’s home release rounds out its most important elements.

The bonus material included in Walking Out‘s home release is so important because it is yet another example of how much bonus material can actually add to a movie’s viewing experience. The behind-the-scenes featurette makes the overall viewing experience more enjoyable because of the back story that it gives the movie itself. Audiences learn that Bill Pullman (Independence Day, Spaceballs, Independence Day: Resurgence) agreed to star in this movie as a supporting actor because of his love for the mountains and for working with the movie’s creative heads. The discussions with Matt Bomer and Josh Wiggins are interesting in their own right, too. Audiences will be interested to hear of the pair’s dedication to making the movie believable, which shows throughout the movie. Considering the movie’s plot, it would have been so easy for either man to ham it up. Luckily though, that did not happen at any point. Maybe that plays into keeping audiences engaged, too. Getting back on track, the interviews are not the only important bonuses included with the movie. The deleted scenes add their own depth to the story. One of the most important of the deleted scenes is a light-hearted moment between David and Cal in which the pair finally gets to smile for once. Considering the abundance of tension and drama throughout this movie, this is a scene that should not have been cut. It would have added so much to the movie, even as brief as it was. David and Cal’s discussion about Cal’s divorce with his wife (who is never named anywhere in the movie) is another moment that while minor, still could have added a little more to the movie. It’s too bad that scene was left out. On the other hand, it was good to see the scene involving the tire blowout on the jeep was left out. That whole sequence, which partners with David’s arrival at the airport, really was unnecessary (at least in this critic’s eyes). All things considered, the deleted scenes and interviews that make up Walking Out‘s bonus material prove to be another positive to this movie’s presentation, and gives even more reason to watch the movie at least once. When this is considered along with the importance of the movie’s cinematography and even the story’s rare positives, all three elements make this movie one that will, in the long run, just manage to keep audiences from walking out themselves.

IFC Films’ new wilderness drama Walking Out was a big risk for the studio, which has for years prided itself on avoiding any movie similar to those in the mainstream. While it was a risk, it was a risk that paid of at least to a point. That is evidenced in a story whose problems cannot be ignored, but are not enough to make the movie completely unwatchable. The movie’s cinematography is stunning to say the very least, and serves as the cornerstone of the movie’s presentation. The bonus material included in its home release adds its own interest to the movie’s presentation. Each element is important in its own right as has been pointed out here. All things considered, they make this movie a work that just manages to keep audiences from walking out themselves. It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct via Shout! Factory’s online store. More information on this and other titles from IFC Films is available online at:

Website: http://www.IFCFilms.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ifcfilms

More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

‘Dealt’ Is As Good As And Possibly Better Than Any Hollywood Underdog Drama

Courtesy: IFC Films

Card mechanic Richard Turner is one of the greatest and most respected figures in the world of card tricks. Turner has, for decades, wowed audiences across the country with his sleight of hand abilities, and next week, a new documentary from mpi media group and IFC Films will profile the veteran performer with a new documentary titled Dealt. The nearly 90-minute doc, which is also rather aptly titled, is an entertaining, inspiring and memorable work that is an easy candidate for any critic’s list of the year’s top new documentaries. That statement is supported in part through the program’s story. It will be discussed shortly. The program’s pacing also supports that statement and will be discussed later. The bonus material included in the program’s presentation supports said statement even more. Each element is important in its own way, as will be discussed. All things considered, they make Dealt a program that is pure magic. Yes, that pun was fully intended.

Dealt, the new Richard Turner profile from mpi media group and IFC Films, is an aptly titled, truly magical presentation that will appeal to not just magic lovers but audiences in general. That is proven in part through the doc’s inspiring and entertaining story. The story in question profiles Turner and what has made him such a respected figure in the magic community throughout his life and career. It is also a profile of a man who as he has gotten older, has had to come to terms with his disability, learning to accept it rather than be ashamed by it. As audiences will see over the course of the program’s 86-minute run time, Turner starts out being upset about being blind, even somewhat ashamed of it. That is obvious as he talks about his anger over media figures bringing it to light in their interviews with him. Yet over time, he finally begins to accept his situation, learning to live with it rather than hide it. There’s even an eventual award reception for his talents included in the story. One could argue that, considering all of this, this story is the stuff of so many Hollywood underdog dramas, except being an un-embellished and true story, is even better than that fare. Keeping this in mind, the story forms a solid foundation for Dealt, proving easily in itself why this doc is, again, its own magical presentation. Of course, the doc’s story is only one part of what makes it an impressive offering. The story’s pacing, by connection, is important to discuss.

The pacing of the story at the center of Dealt is important to note because of how much ground the story covers in its nearly 90-minute run time. The story starts out immediately by introducing Turner to audiences before eventually making its way into the heart of the story, the development of Turner’s blindness at a young age, and his attempts to cope with that disability. At the same time, there are discussions on both sides about coping with blindness by featuring a woman who is blind but accepts it, and is working with Turner to accept his blindness. Considering the doc’s deeper feature that tackles the issue of coping with disability and the bigger story of Turner’s talents and his legacy, there is so much going on here. Even with so much going on, those behind the story’s creation timed every aspect of the story expertly, moving fluidly from one to the other from start to finish. That fluidity insures just as much as the story itself audiences’ maintained engagement. While that engagement does plenty to help the doc’s presentation, it still is not the last of the program’s last important element. Its bonus material rounds out its most important elements.

The bonus material included in Dealt is relatively simple. It includes a handful of deleted scenes and a group of card mechanics (they apparently don’t like being called card trick magicians) giving viewers a quick show. One of the most interesting of the deleted scenes comes as Turner jokes about his blindness with the woman working with him on handling his condition. The jokes that the pair share cannot be repeated in this review, as they are rather adult-oriented, but are certain to have any viewer laughing, sighted or not. The opening deleted scene in which Turner is teaching another aspiring blind card mechanic is just as interesting because it shows the impact that he has continue to have throughout his career. It’s a moving moment to say the least. The bonus magic shows are enjoyable because of their variety. Audiences will get a kick out of one magician’s take on the classic shell game — in which a pea is placed under a shell and moved around. The trickster’s sleight of hand here is impressive. The other card variants displayed add their own enjoyment to this feature. When the enjoyment brought by the deleted scenes is coupled with that brought by the mini-magic shows, the whole of the bonus material shows fully why even as minimal as it might be, it is just as important to the whole of this program as the other noted elements. When all three elements are joined together, they prove without a doubt that this documentary is truly a magical presentation in itself.

Dealt, the new profile of card mechanic Richard Turner, is a powerful, entertaining and inspiring profile of a great man who is also very aptly titled. It shows that despite the *ahem* cards that one is dealt in life, it is possible to make the best of said situation, which is what Turner essentially learned through the course of this real life doc. That is the ultimate message presented in the doc’s central story, which serves as a solid foundation for the program. The story’s pacing strengthens that foundation even more. The bonus material included with the program adds even more enjoyment to its overall presentation. Each element, as has now been noted, is important in its own way to the whole of Dealt. All things considered, they make Dealt a truly magical presentation that is as good as any major Hollywood underdog drama if not better. It will be available in stores and online next Tuesday, February 13. More information on this and other title from mpi media group is available online now at:

Website: http://www.mpimedia.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MPIMediaGroup

More information on this and other titles from IFC Films is available online now at:

Website: http://www.IFCFilms.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ifcfilms

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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

‘The Girl Without Hands’ Will Appeal To Grown-Up Fans Of Art Films, The Brothers Grimm

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/GKids

Cinderella. Hansel & Gretel. Sleeping Beauty. The Frog Prince. These are just some of the most well-known stories that were first made well-known by the famed Brothers Grimm. For ages, the brothers’ stories have both entertained and terrified audiences (depending on the story), of all ages.  Yet another of the duo’s tales — the lesser-known The Girl Without Hands — received a then new cinematic adaptation in 2016 via Les Films Pelleas. That adaptation will receive its first ever home release later this month via GKids and Shout! Factory. While GKids is one of the movie’s distributors, it goes without saying that this movie is not one meant for kids. That is thanks to its story, which is one of the main elements to discuss in examining the movie’s upcoming home release. It is related at least in part to the movie’s animation, which will be discussed a little bit later. The bonus material included in the movie’s home release is the last, but not least, important element to discuss in examining this presentation.  It adds its own interest and depth to the movie. Each element is important in its own way to this movie’s home presentation as will be pointed out here. All things considered, they make The Girl Without Hands a presentation that art film fans and brothers Grimm fans alike will appreciate.

Shout! Factory and GKids’ upcoming home release of Les Films Pelleas’ 2016 production of The Girl Without Hands is a presentation that art film fans and those of The Brothers Grimm will appreciate equally. That is due in part to the story at the center of this presentation. The story follows a young woman who is sold to the devil by her father, and eventually goes on a journey to escape the devil. Along the way, she meets the river spirit, who saves her life, and a prince, whom she ends up marrying and with whom she has a son. The story changes some of the elements of the original story in its translation from printed page to screen, but largely stays true to its source material. Purist fans of the Brothers Grimm stories will appreciate the fact that this adaptation did not stray too far from the original story. What’s more, the story’s pacing stays relatively stable from start to finish, too. This is important to note in the bigger picture of the story because the story is just shy of an hour and a half. Considering that this movie is based on a short story, that pacing is important to note because of how solidly it keeps the story moving. At no point will viewers ever find themselves fast forwarding thanks to the attention given to the pacing. On yet another level, it should be noted that while the movie will be distributed via GKids, this story is not one for kids. There is violence — the miller cutting off the girl’s hands, a baby deer being killed, etc. — as well as nudity — there are scenes in which the girl is shown totally nude top to bottom and other times when it’s partial — and even sex. Of course the sex isn’t shown. But it’s pretty obvious regardless. Keeping that in mind, while the story and its pacing are both critical to its presentation, it’s obvious that this movie is not meant for kids, despite being released via GKids. It is meant for adult audiences. Having noted this, the story is only one of the key elements to discuss in examining The Girl Without Hands. Its animation style is, believe it or not, important to its presentation, too.

The animation style used in this presentation is important to discuss because it isn’t just another cookie cutter digital cut and paste presentation. Each scene in the story was hand drawn. From the characters to the scenes themselves, everything was done by hand. Even more intriguing is the fashion in which each scene was animated. The animation is completely unlike anything that American audiences have seen in regards to hand drawn animation past or present. Even the characters themselves, who are drawn in a sort of blinking fashion, shows the advancement of each cel. This approach is discussed by director/writer Sebastien Laudenbach in the movie’s bonus making of featurette, too. His discussion explains in some depth to this topic, too, and is just one of the reasons why that bonus offering is important to the movie’s presentation. It will be discussed shortly. Getting back on the subject at hand, the animation used in this presentation creates full, rich scenes that look almost painted, not just drawn. This approach shows a real attention to such detail, and in tun to giving viewers a visual experience that they will not forget. While it might not be an approach that appeals to everyone — even being hand drawn — it still shows that there is a place for hand drawn animation in today’s overly digitized world. Keeping this in mind, it proves to be critical in its own right to this movie’s presentation, and is still not the last of the movie’s most important elements. Its bonus material rounds out its most important elements.

The bonus material that is included in the home release of The Girl Without Hands is important because of the depth that it adds to the movie. Audiences learn through Laudenbach’s interview that the approach taken to the animation was very deliberate. He explains that the brush strokes and making the characters basically flash gave them more identity and life. It’s an interesting thought, but makes at least some sense in the end. There is also discussion by Laudencbach about the movie’s life. He notes that the story of the movie’s creation goes all the way back to 2008. There were plenty of twists and turns along the way including issues with financial backing, getting rights to the story in certain formats and much more. Through it all the movie never died, leading to its eventual debut in its home nation in 2016, and now its forthcoming domestic home release. It’s an interesting story that adds a certain level of appreciation for the movie, even if one is not a fan of the story of The Girl Without Hands. Keeping this in mind, it becomes clear why the bonus making of featurette included with the movie is just as important to consider as the story and its animation. All three elements tie directly into one another, and in turn make this a presentation that again art film fans will appreciate just as much as fans of the Brothers Grimm’s often dark tales.

Shout! Factory and GKids’ forthcoming home release of The Girl Without Hands is a work that is certain to appeal to grown up fans of the art film world and those of the Brothers Grimm’s often dark tales. Set to be released in stores and online February 20, it definitely is not a movie for children, despite being released via GKids. That being noted, the movie’s adult viewers will appreciate the story, which stays largely true to its source material. The animation stands out starkly against both the cookie cuter digital animation that dominates the animation world today and every other animated movie past and present. The bonus interview with writer/director Sebastien Laudenbach offers its own interest because of the depth that it adds to not just the story but the animation, too. All three elements are clearly intertwined with one another, and through that connection, make the movie in whole a work that is certain to entertain its target art film fans and those of the Brothers Grimm. It can be pre-ordered online now via Shout! Factory’s online store. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

More information on this and other titles from GKids is available online now at:

Website: http://www.gkids.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/GKIDSfilms

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Eagle Rock’s New Mingus Montreux 1975 2CD Set Is A Solid Audio Companion To Concert’s ’04 DVD Release

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Jazz great Charles Mingus is considered by most critics and aficionados alike to be one of the most important names within the jazz world. From Mingus Ah Um to Cumbia & Jazz Fusion to The Black Saint and the Sinner Lady and beyond, the impact and importance of Mingus’ works both as a composer and band leader have been felt throughout the ages. Sadly, the world lost the greatness that was Charles Mingus what seemed too early in 1979 as a result of Lou Gehrig’s disease, otherwise known as ALS. Luckily, his legacy has since lived on through a variety of re-issues and archived live recordings through various labels. This Friday, Feb. 2, Eagle Rock Entertainment will release the latest of those archived concert recordings when it releases Live at Montreux 1975 on a new 2CD set. The companion piece to the concert’s previously released DVD presentation –released via Eagle Rock Entertainment in 2004 — this recording is such a critical piece of Mingus’ history because it would be one of his final live performances before being diagnosed with the disease, playing one of its most pivotal roles. The concert’s set list is just as important to the recording’s presentation as its back story. Last but most definitely not least of note to examine here is the band’s performance throughout the concert. It will be discussed later. Each element noted here is important in its own right. All things considered, Live at Montreux 1975 proves to be a recording that belongs in the home library of Mingus’ fans and jazz aficionados alike.

Eagle Rock Entertainment’s mew 2CD presentation of Charles Mingus Live at Montreux 1975 is a critical piece of Mingus’ history. Even having been previously released on DVD in 2004, it doesn’t lose that importance. As a matter of fact, the very fact that 13 years have passed since that initial release renews that importance. It proves to be such an important recording in no small part because it would be one of his last live performances before ALS would eventually take away his ability to perform or even record. The 85-minute concert presents Mingus and his band mates (at the time) at the top of their game, often times seemingly untamed and at others so smooth yet throughout. This will be discussed later. What’s more, it presents the band performing two of Mingus’ critical albums in whole along with a pair of equally important covers. This will be discussed shortly. All things considered here, the concert itself proves to be a concert that presents Mingus and company at the top of their collective games. With any luck, it will eventually be complimented with a new Blu-ray re-issue that makes up for the concert’s previous DVD re-issue.

The new 2CD presentation of Charles Mingus Live at Montreux 1975 is an important piece of Mingus’ history in part because of its very background, which has been pointed out. That back story is only one element that makes it such an important recording. Its set list is important in its own way. The concert’s set list is its own important part of its presentation. Audiences will note that the 5-song, 85-minute performance lifts from two of Mingus’ most talked about albums — Changes One and Changes Two, both of which were recorded together in 1974 for Atlantic Records — while also adding in a take on Duke Ellington’s hit song ‘Take The A Train’ and Mingus’ own 1959 classic ‘Goodbye Pork Pie Hat.’ Given, it doesn’t encompass the whole of those two albums, but it does present at least three of the albums’ best works. Even more interesting is that while ‘Take The A Train’ is not included on either record, there is a cover of Ellington’s ‘Sound of Love’ included in Changes Two. That cover is replaced here with ‘Take The A Train.’ The inclusion of the Ellington cover — both on and off record — is important to note because during his life and career, Mingus was called the heir apparent to Ellington. Getting back on track, the songs pulled from Changes One and Changes Two get quite the extended takes — takes that are certain to keep listeners’ attention. That is thanks to the group’s performances, the last of the recording’s most important elements.

The performances put on by Mingus and company throughout the course of the concert definitely stand out, as was noted earlier. At times, the performances feel wild and untamed such as in ‘Cell Block F, ‘Tis Nazi U.S.A.,’ and ‘Sue’s Changes.’ At other times, such as in ‘Goodbye Pork Pie Hat’ and ‘Devil’s Blues,’ is so much calmer. Mingus’ calm, cool work on the bass on ‘Goodbye Pork Pie Hat’ couples expertly with drummer Dannie Richmond and pianist Don Pullen in this song to give it such an enjoyable, relaxed vibe. Saxophonist and trumpeter George Adams and Jack Walrath add their own touch to the song, making it even more smooth. Pullen’s wildly outrageous work on ‘Cell Block F, ‘Tis Nazi U.S.A.’ illustrates quite well the events of the Attica riots. The easygoing vibe of ‘Take The A Train’ from the group in whole stands out just as much. From the playful improved piano line to the time keeping to Mingus’ own work on the bass, listeners can close their eyes and so vividly see passengers getting on and off the train thanks to the group’s work here. It is just one more way in which the group’s performance proves its importance to the concert. Every one of the songs featured in this performance could just as easily. That being the case, it becomes obvious in listening through each performance, why taking in the musicians’ talents, why their performances are so important to this presentation. When they are joined with the recording’s set list and its back story, the end result is a recording that will appeal to jazz fans in general just as much as it will to Mingus’ most devout fans.

Eagle Rock Entertainment’s new Charles Mingus Montreux ’75 2CD set is a presentation that is certain to appeal to any of the famed jazz bassist’s fans and to jazz aficionados in general. The companion piece to Eagle Rock’s 2004 release of the concert recording on DVD, it offers plenty for audiences to appreciate. That is especially considering it is the first time that the recording has been released on CD. The back story behind this concert, and Mingus’ eventual health decline not too long after, adds plenty of interest to the concert. The set list, while not wholly representative of Changes One and Changes Two, presents a rich picture of the albums. The group’s performance over the course of the show’s nearly 90-minute run puts the finishing touch to the recording. Each element, as has been made clear in the discussions here, is important in its own right to the recording’s whole. All things considered, Eagle Rock Entertainment’s new 2CD presentation of Charles Mingus Live at Montreux 1975 proves to be a great companion piece to the concert’s previously released DVD and another piece that Mingus’ fans will appreciate just as much as jazz fans in general. It will be available in stores and online Feb. 2. More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now at:

Website: http://www.eagle-rock.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

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