Dramaphiles Shoud Make Room For Room In Their Movie Collections

Courtesy:  Lionsgate

Courtesy: Lionsgate

Lionsgate’s new dramatic thriller Room is one of the most powerful movies of 2015’s crop of new releases.  It should be said right off that bat that for those that haven’t yet seen this movie it is not an easy movie to watch.  That is because it is that powerful.  That being noted those that can steel themselves ahead of watching this gripping drama will find it to be a completely engaging piece that is both gripping and moving all at the same time.  The main reason for this is the movie’s script.  This includes both the movie’s central story and its more minute details. The work of the movie’s cast is just as important to note especially considering the story and its setting.  That will be discussed later.  Last but not least to note is the bonus material included in the movie’s new home release.  Each element is important in its own right to note in the overall presentation of Room.  Collectively they make this presentation one of the biggest surprises of 2015 and just as big of a surprise now that it has been released on Blu-ray and DVD.

Room proved in its initial theatrical run to be one of 2015’s biggest surprises.  That is because it was the polar opposite of all of the prequels, sequels, and remakes churned out by Hollywood ’s major studios.  In other words it proved to be an original story even having been adapted from a book published by author Emma Donoghue roughly five years ago.  The story follows mother and son Joy(Brie Larson) and Jack (Jacob Tremblay) as they try to survive and escape their captivity.  All the while their captor “Old Nick” (Sean Bridgers) maintains his control over them by providing for them.  It sounds eerily like the case of the Ariel Castro kidnappings.  However, one must keep in mind that said case didn’t break until 2013 when Amanda Berry escaped Castro’s house and notified authorities of her captivity and that of Michelle Knight and Georgina DeJesus.  Donoghue’s book was published two years ahead of the case breaking.  So any connection between the two is purely coincidental.  That maintains the originality of Donoghue’s story.  What’s more Donoghue largely controlled the adaptation of her story from book to big screen.  This is perhaps why the story was so enthralling in its presentation here.  It’s not the first time that an author has had direct say in how his/her work was adapted from book to big screen.  However those scenarios are rarer than people might think.  Considering this Donoghue’s direct hand in the movie’s translation is important to note in the final product.  It’s just one aspect of the writing that makes this movie’s script so powerful.  The script’s more minute details are just as important to the script as the story.

The story at the center of Room’s script is an undeniably important part of the movie’s success.  That is because of the simple fact that while it was a literary adaptation, it wasn’t just another prequel, sequel, or remake.  What’s more there’s no chance of the story producing any of those movies, either.  And considering the fact that a story very similar to that of room proved to be reality two years after it was published proved to be reality, it makes Room’s story that much more believable.  It’s scary but true.  Even with this in mind the story at the center of the script is just one part of what makes the script so important to the movie’s success.  The script’s more minute details are just as important to the story as the story itself.  The fact that the story can stand on its own two feet with Joy not even being formally named until more than halfway through the movie is a powerful statement in itself.  More than likely Donaghue did this intentionally as a sort of way to illustrate Joy’s lack of identity during her captivity versus her new-found freedom later in the movie.  It shows the importance that something as simple as a name can have in a movie’s story.  On another level, the relationship between Jack and his mother is worth noting in regards to Room’s script, too.  As difficult as the pair’s situation is in their time in the shed, the emotional connection that is exhibited between mother and son is both moving and beautiful even.  It is moving when Joy finally tells Jack about the reality of their situation and he doesn’t believe it.  It is sort of that end of innocence situation in a manner of speaking and will really tug at viewers’ heartstrings.  The other moments are just as moving in a number of ways.  The happier moments are beautiful while the more difficult moments are moving in a painful way.  It makes seeing their situation in whole all the more painful for viewers to see yet just as gripping.  Believe it or not this is actually a good thing.  It is a good thing because it makes suspension of disbelief all the easier for audiences and in turn makes maintaining engagement in the story just as easy.  It also shows that as with the 1957 classic 12 Angry Men it is still possible to write a good story even with the story’s characters confined to a given space for most of the movie.  Staying on that note, Donoghue is to be commended just as much for the manner in which she explained how long Jack and his mother had been there.  At one point Joy tells Jack that she had been kidnapped by “Old Nick” seven years prior to being in the shed.  Keeping this in mind and that the story opens with Jack telling Joy that he is now five years old, one is led to believe that “Old Nick” got Joy pregnant and she in turn gave birth to Jack.  The fact that “Old Nick” bought a toy truck for Jack for his birthday solidifies that even more.  It’s a small plot element.  But it is so important.  And the way in which Donoghue executed this element is just as impressive as the script’s overall story.  It’s just one more way in which the script’s smaller elements prove to be just as important to the movie as the story at the heart of the script.  There are plenty of other ways in which the script’s smaller elements prove just as important to the movie’s overall presentation as the central story.  Audiences will find plenty of those other ways when they watch the movie for themselves.  Moving on, Room’s script is just one part of the movie that makes it stand tall amidst all of its prequel, sequel, and reboot counterparts from 2015.  The cast’s work in front of the camera is just as important as that of Donoghue and director Lenny Abrahamson.

The combined efforts of Emma Donoghue and director Lenny Abrahamson to bring Donoghue’s book to the big screen is a big part of what makes Room one of 2015’s biggest surprise theatrical releases.  It also helps to make the movie just as surprisingly enjoyable for first time audiences now that it is available on DVD and Blu-ray.  The cast’s work in front of the camera is just as important to the movie’s success as its script.  Brie Larson shows throughout the course of the movie’s nearly two-hour run time why she received the Golden Globe® and Oscar® for her role in the movie.  Viewers’ hearts will hurt terribly for Joy as she struggles to raise Jack essentially on her own in the confines of that shed.  And the emotional pain that she exhibits as she comes up with her plans to get Jack out of the shed is just as difficult to take in.  The seriousness with which Larson approached these moments is what makes them so difficult to watch, but not in a bad way.  When she places the hot cloth on Jack’s head and face to feign him being sick, it is clear that Joy did not want to take that route especially as Jack expressed the pain at feeling its heat.  When she gagged herself and wiped the result on his hair to make him appear even sicker his momentary disbelief is just as painful to see.  This applies both in the case of Joy and of Jack.  Speaking of Jack, Jacob Tremblay is just as impressive as the five-year old boy.  The innocence and naivety exhibited on the part of the boy, especially when he yells at his mother in disbelief about their situation, is just as spot on.  This is especially important to note considering that Tremblay is, in real life, almost twice the age of his character.  Audiences know that the shed is all that Jack has ever known.  So he doesn’t believe that there is anything else in the world, just like any small child.  He doesn’t overplay the moment either.  Being that he doesn’t he makes viewers’ hearts go out just as much to him as to his mother.  Regardless of that moment or any other, both Larson and Tremblay handle their roles perfectly, never once allowing themselves to go over the top.  It makes both mother and so fully believable and sympathetic characters.  They make viewers want the pair to get out and see “Old Nick” punished for what he had done to them.  That is a powerful statement about Larson and Tremblay’s work.  On the same note, what happens in their attempt to adjust to “normal” life after having for both escaped the shed is just as powerful.  It is obvious just how difficult that adjustment was for both Jack and Joy.  Jack doesn’t want to play with his new toys or talk to his grandmother’s new boyfriend at first.  And Joy sadly attempts suicide at one point.  She does survive the attempt, though not to give away too much.  Yet again neither actor overdoes it at any point.  Rather they make viewers’ hearts hurt for Joy and Jack that much more but fill with so much joy in the story’s finale. There are so many other moments that could be cited which exemplify the outstanding work of both Larson and Tremblay.  Regardless of which moment(s) viewers find for themselves, viewers will agree that from beginning to end the pair is outstanding together.  The duo proves from beginning to end why their work is just as important to the movie as the movie’s story and its associated elements.  Even as important as both elements are to the movie they are not the only important elements to note of the movie’s presentation.  Now that it has been released on DVD and Blu-ray the movie’s bonus material can be noted, too.

The writing behind Lionsgate’s adaptation of Room and the work of the movie’s cast that brought the movie’s cast to life are both key elements in the movie’s presentation.  As important as both elements are to the movie’s presentation they are not the only important elements that should be noted.  The bonus material that has been included with the movie in its small screen release is just as important to note as the movie’s script and acting.  The behind-the-scenes featurettes are enjoyable enough.  There is the standard “Making of” featurette and a pair of featurettes that examine “Old Nick’s” shed and the importance of the shed in the story.  As much as they might add to the movie’s presentation, the movie’s bonus feature-length commentary proves to be the most important of the movie’s bonuses.  Audiences get to hear from director Lenny Abrahamson and Emma Donoghue throughout the course of the movie as well as other members of the movie’s crew.  And they cover a number of topics throughout.  There are discussions on the movie’s shooting angles, the importance of making the shed look dark yet not overly foreboding (this will be discussed shortly), the movie’s pacing, and so much more.  The discussion on the setup of the shed is important because as is noted in the discussion, it was meant to look and feel like a place that ironically enough Jack felt safe even despite what it really was.  It really plays into the discussion on Jack’s innocence and Tremblay’s handling of that innocence and naivety.  The note of the movie’s pacing is just as important.  That is because it serves to drive home how easily Donoghue and Abrahamson were able to keep the story moving even as Joy and Jack try to readjust to something similar to normalcy.  Those that are interested in movie production will appreciate the discussions throughout the movie on its various angles and how they are used to evoke certain emotions from both the movie’s viewers and its cast.  These are just some of the discussions raised throughout the course of Room’s bonus commentary.  There is much more in-depth commentary provided over the course of the movie’s nearly two-hour run time that audiences will appreciate.  Collectively it shows clearly why the movie’s commentary is such an important bonus addition to the movie in its new home release if not the movie’s most important bonus.  Most important or not it can be said that the commentary, along with the movie’s bonus featurettes, complete the movie’s viewing experience and show once and for all why Room is just as surprisingly powerful now in its home release as it was in its theatrical release last year.

Room was one of the biggest surprise movies of 2015’s new theatrical releases.  That is because the movie, based on Emma Donoghue’s book by the same name wasn’t just another heartless, soulless prequel, sequel, or remake.  It was a movie that exhibited real heart, depth, and originally.  What’s more there’s no way that it could lead to a prequel or sequel.  It is a movie that, thanks to its power, absolutely demands viewers steel themselves going into the movie.  It is that deep and powerful; especially for those viewers with children.  The work of lead stars Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay in bringing Joy and Jack to life adds its own share of heart to the movie.  Their work expertly illustrates the mother and son’s close relationship and how it manages to survive amazingly even the most difficult situations.  That clear bond will bring even the strongest viewer to tears at times.  Their relationship is just one of a number of interesting topics discussed in the movie’s bonus commentary, the most important of the movie’s bonuses in its new home release.  It isn’t the movie’s only bonus.  But it is the movie’s most important bonus.  Together with the extra featurettes included in the movie’s home release, the bonus material completes the movie’s viewing experience.  After watching all of the movie’s bonuses and taking in the movie’s story and acting, viewers that can make themselves watch this movie all the way through will agree that they should make *ahem* room for Room on their DVD and Blu-ray racks and in their digital collections.  It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct via the movie’s official website at http://roomthemovie.com/#/.  More information on Room is available online now at:

 

 

Websitehttp://www.roomthemovie.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/RoomTheMovie

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/roomthemovie

 

More information on Room and other titles from Lionsgate is available online now at:

 

Websitehttp://www.lionsgate.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/lionsgate

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/lionsgatemovies

 

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Suddenly Re-Issue Another Welcome Remnant Of Hollywood’s Golden Age

Courtesy:  Image Entertainment

Courtesy: Image Entertainment/United Artists

Almost half a century ago, the United States suffered one of the worst tragedies of the twentieth century.  That tragedy was the assassination of then President John F. Kennedy.  Conspiracy theories aside, what many people might not know is that according to author Kitty Kelley, it was Sinatra’s 1954 movie, Suddenly that was the alleged influence behind Lee Harvey Oswald’s assassination of then President John F. Kennedy.  According to her bio on the singer, His Way: The Unauthorized Biography of Frank Sinatra, Oswald allegedly watched the movie the day before he changed history.  As a result of this accusation, the movie was pulled for years before it was finally allowed back into the public realm.  And now audiences can see how Suddenly may have played a role in that dark day for themselves as it has been re-issued on Blu-ray by Image Entertainment.

Suddenly is hardly the longest movie ever made.  But that’s not a bad thing, either.  In a time when it seems like so many movie studios seem to be competing with one another to see who can make the longest possible story, this movie comes in at a little less than ninety minutes.  Throughout the course of its hour and fifteen minute run time, audiences are kept engaged thanks to the growing tension between Sinatra’s psychopathic ex-military officer John Baron and Sterling Hayden’s clean cut fellow ex-military officer Sheriff Tod Shaw.  Much like 12 Angry Men which wouldn’t see the light of day for another three years, what really heightens the story’s tension is that the majority of the story takes place in a limited set.  This is a minor factor to some audiences.  But in viewing the movie from a more analytical vantage point, it’s a factor that plays a much larger factor.  Understanding this makes the movie that much more interesting and worth the watch.  Add in the understanding of the controversy surrounding the movie, and audiences get a movie that is that much more intriguing, underappreciated, and worth the watch.

A single viewing of Suddenly shows how Lee Harvey Oswald could easily have been influenced to commit a copy-cat act.  But it’s not necessarily the attempted act in question that will have audiences talking after watching.  If anything it’s Baron’s (Sinatra) comment late in the movie that he wasn’t the one committing the act.  Rather he was doing it for someone else, purely for the money.  Baron told Sheriff Shaw that he didn’t know for whom he was working and didn’t care to know, either.  If anything this brief moment will surely re-ignite the discussions between conspiracy theorists about whether or not Oswald worked alone.  On another level, it serves as one more example of the possible power of media to influence real life.  Should there be any credence to the influence of Suddenly on Oswald’s actions, it can be just as strongly used as another warning to the media in regards to taking responsibility for the potential impact of what is written for TV shows and movies.

Getting back to the story behind Suddenly as art.  Writer Richard Sale accomplished quite the feat with this movie.  It wastes no time establishing the story’s plot and its cast.  As a result of this quickness, the rest of the story is spent in just a few rooms of a house.  For most film makers and script writers today, limiting a story to so few sets would prove a mind twist, so to speak.  That’s because so many of today’s movies rely more on flash-boom-bang special effects and overt sexuality to drive their stories.  But for Sale, his writing was solely story based.  It allowed for more tension between Sinatra and Hayden.  And that tension is what keeps audiences so engaged.  There was obviously some chemistry between the two as they expertly played off of one another throughout the story making it increasingly emotional.  The chemistry between the two men made for a movie that was entirely enthralling; so much so that it’s ironic that it wasn’t Hayden whose character was ultimately responsible for the movie’s final outcome.  That outcome won’t be ruined for those who haven’t yet seen it.  But it is an ending that has quite the twist in and of itself.  It’s a twist that will leave audiences completely breathless after everything that had happened through the course of this underrated thriller.  That twist ending is the icing on the cake for Sale’s writing here.  And combined with the equally expert acting of both Hayden and Sinatra (and their supporting cast), it all comes together for a movie that is at the same time underrated and underappreciated.  And now that it’s available once more on Blu-ray, it’s a movie that every movie lover should see at least once.

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