Collaborator An Underappreciated Indie Flick

Courtesy:  Entertainment One

Courtesy: Entertainment One

Entertainment One’s latest crime thriller (if one can venture to call it that) is one of those movies that must be watched more than once to be fully appreciated.  It has been received to largely mixed reviews.  Chances are that those who gave the movie bad marks perhaps didn’t give it more than a passing glance in their first viewing of this not so ordinary story.  It is not a movie that fits perfectly into every critic’s comfort zone.  Rather, it delves into a far more psychological and emotional place through the pairing of Gus (David Morse) and Robert (Martin Donovan).  What audiences get in the pair’s story is a story of two men who know each other like brothers.  And just as with brothers, the pair have tensions hidden just below the surface that come out when Gus takes Robert hostage after having killed a liquor store clerk.

Part of the reason that this movie doesn’t fit nicely into the mold of so many critics is that it comes across ironically like one of writer/director Martin Donovan’s own personal works.  It takes place within the confines of one set–the home of Robert’s mother.  Most of the pair’s time is spent in the home’s living room.  Through their discussions, one can infer that having known each other through the better part of each other’s lives, there is perhaps some jealousy on the part of Gus toward Robert because of Robert’s success.  Yet through that jealousy, audiences still see a certain bond between the pair that makes for an intriguing dichotomy.  This mix of personalities eventually leads the pair to a final climactic moment that will ultimately leave audiences’ completely surprised and shocked by the story’s end.

For the drama inside the house, one can’t help but laugh at the seeming social commentary on the general public toward instances such as the standoff.  Both Gus and Robert’s mother sit outside the house waiting the next developments.  At times, their mouths hang agape, eyes wide.  It represents what so much of the public does at such cases.  Perhaps the funniest moment shared outside the house comes when Robert’s mother pulls out her asthma inhaler, proceeds to use it and then is offered a cigarette by one of her friends.  It’s all audiences can do to laugh at the irony.    It’s one more aspect that makes this underrated and underappreciated story worth at least one watch by anyone that has enough of an open mind.  The movie is available now and can be ordered via Amazon at  The movie’s trailer is available online via YouTube at  And now fans have a chance to win a copy of the movie on DVD for free at the Phil’s Picks Facebook page when they like it.  Three copies are available to give away now.  Fans just need to “Like” the Phil’s Picks Facebook page and say they want to be entered for a copy of the movie.

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The Odd Life Of Timothy Green Is Anything But Odd

Courtesy: Disney Studios

The Odd Life of Timothy Green is anything but odd.  While so many critics have obviously had their field day with this magical, touching film, perhaps the reason they so abrasively bashed it is because they couldn’t see past their own noses to actually take in the story.  Yes it is schmaltzy and saccharine.  Yes it is aimed at childless parents.  It’s all that.  But it’s also much more.  It’s a story that teaches audiences about life.  It teaches audiences about the importance of family.  And most of all, it teaches audiences to NEVER GIVE UP.  Hope is the most important thing in life.  As Morgan Freeman noted in the 1994 hit movie, The Shawshank Redemption, “hope is a dangerous thing.”    Without hope, what do we have?

It’s obvious that The Odd Life of Timothy is entirely fantastical.  But at a time when Hollywood is continuing to churn out endless streams of prequels, sequels, and remakes, this heartfelt family film stands as tall and colorful among the forest of movies currently out there as the leaves on the trees in this movie.  What makes it so enjoyable is the emphasis on family.  Jim Green (Joel Edgerton) finally came to realize that he was overdoing it as a father to compensate for his own father not being there for him emotionally.  How many fathers out there can honestly look at themselves and say that hasn’t happened to them?  Perhaps some.  But odds are that number is likely very small. 

Jim isn’t the only one who comes to realize what he was doing as a parent.  Both he and Cindy (Jennifer Garner) realized in wanting a child so bad that they were letting the pressures of parents and others around them get to them.  Most parents will likely scoff and say they have never done such a thing.  That would be a lie, and those parents know it.  No parent is ever ready to be a parent.  A parent can only do the best that a parent can.  And Timothy reminds Jim and Cindy that they were doing fine, as they were just trying to be the best parents that they could.  Perhaps all of this is why so many critics have decided to have the take that they did on this dramedy.  Much like certain sitcoms on television over the years, it’s such a mirror image to reality, that it’s unsettling to its viewers who refuse to admit that they see themselves in the roles.

Let the critics say what they will.  Those critics have obviously forgotten that while yes, movies are meant as an escape, they are also meant to be memorable.  And that is what The Odd Life of Timothy Green is.  It’s an escape in that it is so fantastical of a story.  At the same time, because of its magic and its heartfelt story, it has proven to be on of Disney’s best in a very long time.  In other words, it is a truly memorable story.  Sure the end is somewhat bittersweet (it won’t be revealed for those who have yet to see it).  But it still does have a happy ending proving the value and the power of hope.

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