The summer movie season is officially upon us once again. And once again Hollywood is offering up yet another overly bloated crop of prequels, sequels, remakes and spin-offs. Captain America: Civil War proved to be a flash in the pan. DC’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice fared just as poorly. And X-Men: Apocalypse, while out now, received less than stellar reviews by critics ahead of its release. The rest of this year’s summer blockbusters don’t look overly promising in terms of content or longevity either. Considering all of this one can only ask if there are any truly worthwhile alternatives to those movies out there. Thankfully the answer is yes. One of those alternatives comes in the form of the indie sci-fi flick Synchronicity. It was released just recently (May 17th to be exact) direct to DVD, Blu-ray, and Digital formats by Magnolia Pictures. It is a good offering both for sci-fi fans and noir fans. This is due in part to the movie’s writing. This will be discussed shortly. The work of the movie’s cast is just as important as its writing. That will be discussed later. The bonus material that is included with the movie plays its own important part in the movie’s overall presentation. It rounds out the most important of the movie’s elements. In the end, each of the noted elements proves important in its own right to the movie’s presentation. Collectively, they show clearly why Synchronicity is one of 2016’s top new indie offerings and potentially one of the year’s best new movies overall.
Magnolia Pictures’ new sci-fi flick Synchronicity is one of the year’s top new indie offerings. It is also potentially one of the year’s top new overall cinematic offerings. That is especially the case considering how little Hollywood’s major studios have offered, and how little they have to offer this year. This argument is proven in part by the movie’s writing. This applies both to the movie’s central story and its secondary element. Writer/Director Jacob Gentry has crafted a script for this movie that is more than just another run-of-the-mill sci-fi flick. Yes, it is rooted in time travel, parallel universes, and other theoretical physics concepts. But thanks to Gentry’s attention to detail it doesn’t allow itself to become bogged down in discussions on those concepts. Rather it only uses them as the basis for Jim’s (Chad McKnight—My Super Psycho Sweet 16, The Signal, Last Goodbye) adventure. The story in question centers on a machine built by Jim and his friends Chuck (AJ Bowen—The Signal, You’re Next, The Sacrament) and Matty (Scott Pythress—The Signal, What To Expect When You’re Expecting, Allegiant) that has the ability to open a wormhole and thus allow for time travel. What they don’t realize until later is that it allows for more than time travel. That will be left for audiences to discover for themselves. What happens as a result of the wormhole opening will keep audiences completely engaged and entertained from beginning to end. It is only one part of the script that makes the writing so intriguing. The theme that Gentry has incorporated into the movie as a secondary element is just as important to the movie’s writing as the movie’s central story.
The story at the center of Synchronicity is in itself an important part of the movie’s writing. It is not the only important part of that writing however. Gentry has also included a bit of philosophy into the movie’s script that ties directly into that story. That bit of philosophy in question is centered on the role of fate in the universe (or universes). As Jim discovers over time no matter how many times he goes back things still turn out the same for the most part. Yes, there are some minor differences with each journey. But by and large the outcome is still the same. The outcome in question will be left for audiences to discover for themselves just as with the revelation of the wormhole’s abilities. Audiences will appreciate in noting this underlying theme that Gentry doesn’t allow it to overpower the movie’s central story just as he doesn’t let the very real theoretical physics concepts overpower it either. Keeping all of this in mind, the writing behind Synchronicity proves in whole to be a hugely important part of the movie’s presentation. It shows clearly in and of itself why Synchronicity is such a worthwhile alternative to this year’s major summer blockbusters. The writing is just one of the elements that shows why Synchronicity is a worthwhile alternatives to this year’s major summer blockbusters. The work of the movie’s cast is just as worth noting as its writing in its presentation.
The writing behind Synchronicity is a hugely important part of the movie’s presentation. Thanks to the work of Writer/Director Jacob Gentry, the sci-fi flick’s central story is expertly balanced with the concepts at its base. It is just as well-balanced with its underlying philosophical concept of fate. It all combines to make the movie’s writing an undeniably important part of the movie’s presentation. The writing is just one important part of that presentation, though. The work of the movie’s cast is just as important to its presentation as the writing. Chad McKnight is wonderful as lead character Jim Beale. It is intriguing to watch his gradual psychological decline as he keeps going back through the wormhole over and over again. At first it isn’t clear what is causing that decline. But as the story progresses it becomes more evident. And McKnight does a good job of not letting that breakdown go over the top at any one point. He makes audiences want to see just how deeply Jim is being affected psychologically by what is going on. McKnight’s co-star Brianne Davis is just as fun to watch as the mysterious Abby. Right from the story’s outset she leaves audiences wondering just whose side she is on. Is she on Jim’s side? Is she on Kraus’ side? Or is she on her own side? Viewers do finally find out her true intentions in the end. That revelation will move audiences very deeply. That is thanks in large part to the way in which her intentions are revealed, pointing out again Writer/Director Jacob Gentry’s talents. Speaking of Gentry once again, his bonus interview, and those with McKnight and Davis, serve to add to appreciation for each individual’s work. They aren’t the movie’s only bonuses or worthwhile bonuses for that matter. Gentry’s commentary throughout the movie couples with those interviews to show why the movie’s bonus material is just as important to its presentation as the movie’s writing and the cast’s work on camera.
Jacob Gentry’s work in developing Synchronicity’s script and his cast’s work in interpreting the script are both equally important in examining what makes the movie’s overall presentation so interesting. While both elements are undeniably important to the movie’s presentation they are not its only important element. The bonus material that came with the movie is just as important to its presentation as those noted elements. The interviews with McKnight and Davis do their own part in helping to set the groundwork for understanding and appreciating the movie’s script. They do just as much to illustrate what makes their characters so important in the overall story. On the other side of the proverbial coin, Gentry’s bonus interview sheds its own light on the movie’s script, including the script’s previously noted underlying philosophical theme. Viewers get even more insight while taking in the movie with the bonus commentary from Gentry. Right off the bat Gentry notes in his commentary that his aim was to raft a movie that felt like it was written in 1982. That would explain the movie’s decidedly 80s new wave style soundtrack and its retro-futuristic look, which Gentry also discusses at length. On a related note, Gentry discusses the influence of countless movies and directors on the different camera angles, effects and more on his own directing style. The movies in question include the likes of Poltergeist, Logan’s Run, Double Indemnity, and so many others. Among the directors cited in Gentry’s commentary are: Steven Spielberg, Ridley and Tony Scott, and others. One of the Spielberg mentions comes with a note of certain lighting effects in Synchronicity being influenced by Close Encounters of the Third Kind. The connection isn’t obvious at first. But in hearing Gentry discuss the influence in the noted moment it really becomes clear. For all of the serious discussions that Gentry shares throughout the movie he isn’t without his humorous side, too. One of the funnier of his discussions comes as he discusses the movie’s cast. He notes about Chad McKnight being tapped for the movie’s lead that it was his way of paying McKnight back for casting him as a dysfunctional character in his previous movies. One can’t help but laugh alongside Gentry for that sentiment. His comment about Brianne Davis having a certain Barbara Stanwick characteristic about her in her performance is interesting in another way. Considering how many different movies that Gentry prattles on about in his commentary few if any are classics from Hollywood’s golden era. So for him to put Davis alongside such a renowned actress is quite the compliment to Davis. All of these insights serve to paint the picture of Gentry as a director and his mindset in creating Synchronicity. They are just some of the insights that he shares over the course of the movie’s hour and forty-minute run time. Those insights couple with the insights noted here and the movie’s bonus interviews to show in whole why Synchronicity’s bonus material is just as important as its writing and acting to its overall presentation. All things considered Synchronicity may never gain the attention or acclaim of its counterparts churned out by Hollywood’s major studios. But truth be told it is just as deserving to be seen as those movies if not more so.
Synchronicity is on the surface just an indie flick. But in examining it deeper, as has been done here, it proves to be more than just another indie flick. It is a movie that takes the standard sci-fi setup (and noir setup) and sets it on its ear, just as Gentry notes in his bonus interview. It presents a story that is original believe it or not. That is because it doesn’t allow its very real theoretical physics concepts to dominate it. And its theme of accepting fate is one that works both in regards to philosophy and science. Chad McKnight and Brianne Davis are just as important to the movie’s overall presentation as the work put in by Jacob Gentry. Both actors put in an equally impressive performance from beginning to end here. And the appreciation for their work is increased in watching their respective bonus interviews. Those interviews and that of Gentry couple with Gentry’s bonus commentary to make the movie’s bonus material just as important to the movie as its writing and the cast’s acting. Each element proves integral in its own right to the movie’s overall presentation. Altogether they show in whole why Synchronicity is one of the best alternatives to this year’s overly bloated crop of summer blockbusters. In turn they present a movie that is one of the year’s top new independent movies and even potentially one of the year’s top new movies overall. It is available now in stores and online. More information on this and other titles from Magnolia Pictures is available online now at:
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