IFC Films To Release New Documentary On Kubrick’s Adaptation Of The Shining

Courtesy:  IFC FIlms

Courtesy: IFC FIlms

IFC Films releases the next documentary in its IFC Films Midnight series next month.  Room 237 will be released on double-disc DVD and Blu-ray on September 24th,  the same day that Doctor Sleep will be released.  Doctor Sleep is the long-awaited follow-up to author Stephen King’s hugely popular horror novel, The Shining.  The upcoming novel follows a now grown up Danny Torrance as he uses his “shining” as he works with elderly patients at a nursing home.

Most people know that The Shining was adapted for the big screen with famed director Stanley Kubrick at the helm.  What some might not know is King’s opinion of Kubrick’s take on his novel.  For those that don’t, King was never pleased by the treatment, thus leading him to helming an adaptation of his own for the small screen.  Now thanks to IFC Films, audiences will get a deeper look at Kubrick’s adaptation of King’s novel, and the hotel that would be the inspiration for the hotel in the movie.

Directed by Rodney Ascher, Room 237 attempts to decode the hidden meanings, symbols, and theories that viewers believe are strewn throughout the movie through first-hand interviews with a variety of figures.  The alleged meanings, symbols and theories were developed by audiences, scholars, and critics alike and have lived on since the movie’s original debut over three decades ago.  The new documentary was named an Official Selection at the 2012 Sundance, Cannes, and Toronto film festivals.  It took home the Best Director Prize at the Fantastic Fest.  Its upcoming double-disc DVD and Blu-ray presentation comes with a handful of special features, listed below.

* “The mastermind Speaks: Commentary with Kevin McLeod.” McLeod is a key figure in the online examination of Kubrick’s film.

* “Secrets of The Shining,” an hour-long panel discussion from the first Stanley Film Festival, an event at Colorado’s historic Stanley Hotel, which inspired one-time guest Stephen King to write his novel.

* 11 Deleted Scenes

* The Making of the Music Featurette

* Mondo Poster Design Discussion with Artist Aled Lewis

* Trailers

Room 237 will be available on double-disc DVD and Blu-ray September 24th for an MSRP of $27.98 and $29.98 respectively. More information on Room 237 and other releases from IFC Films is available online at http://www.facebook.com/IFCFilmsOfficial and http://www.IFCFilms.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 https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Battle For Brooklyn One Of 2013’s Most Important Documentaries

Courtesy:  Virgil Films

Courtesy: Virgil Films

Battle for Brooklyn is one of the most important documentaries to be released this year.  The film follows the battle of one Brooklyn neighborhood in its fight against a group wanting to build a new arena for the now Brooklyn Nets on top of their homes.  It originally debuted at the Brooklyn International Film Festival on June 3rd, 2011.  It then went into a limited theatrical release on June 17th, 2011.  But it wasn’t until January 15th of this year that the movie was finally released to DVD.  And now that it’s available for the masses on DVD, audiences can and should pick up a copy of this gripping documentary.

Battle for Brooklyn was filmed by activist Daniel Goldstein, who takes audiences through his personal battle against Forest City Ratner in an attempt to keep his home and those of everyone in his neighborhood from being taken.  The six year-long battle is expertly documented over the course of the documentary’s ninety-three minutes.  In that hour and a half plus run time, Goldstein effortlessly manages to keep viewers engaged through the timeline of the events that unfolds.  At the center of Battle for Brooklyn is the controversial issue of eminent domain, which is essentially the same thing as its predecessor, manifest destiny.  Audiences are taken through the battle of one Brooklyn neighborhood against development firm, Forest City Ratner. The battle happens as Ratner has its sights aimed squarely at the community in question as the sight of the new home of the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets.  Some have called this presentation rather one sided.  But in watching it, audiences will see that that couldn’t be farther from the truth as employees of Forest City Ratner are interviewed just as much as those living in the endangered neighborhood.  And while Goldstein and those at his side make a number of very arguments against Forest City Ratner, the firm’s Executive VP makes at least one solid argument regarding economic progress.  This argument is sure to be a point of contention that will bring about discussion among audiences; some of which may get heated. 

The subject matter of this documentary is much like that of the hit movie, Barbershop 2 as it too focuses on a similar issue.  One of the most powerful moments that viewers are presented with in Battle for Brooklyn comes when viewers discover that those who originally stood by Goldstein had either taken buyouts and their associated gag orders, or simply started taking the side of Forest City Ratner.  Just as powerful is the revelation of some very interesting tax documents filed by a group known as B.U.I.L.D.  The documents in question seem to hint that despite what one member of B.U.I.L.D. claimed, the forms show that a rather large amount of money was given to B.U.I.L.D. by Forest City Ratner.  It’s just one of many revelations that show the power of business and political interests.

Goldstein has crafted in this feature, a story that’s just as gripping as any major legal thriller out there today as is already evidenced here.  The difference is that unlike those legal thrillers, this story is real life.  It shows a topic that while it has been used for movies and TV shows alike, it’s just as serious as those stories if not more so.  It shows an unbiased look at the effect of corporate might on entire communities.  The neighborhood placed in danger here is just one example of something that happens throughout the country.  It adds an extra example in the bonus feature, “More To Talk About” The Tragedy Of Urban Renewal.  Audiences learn that the history of eminent domain goes as far back as the 1950’s and the Truman presidency.  Even as a mini-history lesson, it is an eye opener that puts the main story into even more focus.  Together, the pair makes for a documentary that is just as good as any legal thriller penned for the big screen.  It can be ordered direct now via the Virgil Films online store at http://www.virgilfilmsent.com/store/product.php?pid=604.

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.

Undefeated A Championship Contender Among Sports Documentaries

Courtesy:  The Weinstein Company/Anchor Bay Entertainment

Courtesy: The Weinstein Company/Anchor Bay Entertainment

With a name like Undefeated, one would think that The Weinstein Company’s new sports documentary would be like so many other tear-jerker sports documentaries and sports-centric big screen dramas that have been created throughout Hollywood’s modern era.  But the reality of Undefeated is that while it does bare some semblance to other fictitious football dramas and sports documentaries, this documentary stand out in that it is actually less about football than it is about the struggle of a group of young men to overcome the challenges of their surroundings and escape those environs.  It just so happens that the main means of escaping all of that is through football.

What is most impressive about Undefeated is that while it is a documentary film, the progression of the story makes it feel just like it was a scripted work.  That’s thanks to equally solid editing and cinematography.  Rather than simply being another par for course documentary, what audiences get in this program is more of a fly on the wall point of view.  There is no interaction with the camera throughout the story.  And the first person testimonials of sorts are kept to an extreme minimum.  Yes, there are times when audiences are offered Courtney’s personal thoughts on his journey with his players.  But those “testimonials” are more along the lines of voice-overs than someone sitting in front of the camera, talking to viewers.  That angle gives the story an extra amount of emotional depth.  That depth will pull viewers in even more and keep them engaged throughout the course of the story’s near two-hour run time.  And in being so emotionally invested in the story, no viewer will be left dry-eyed by its final moments.  Even the strongest of male audiences will be moved by the story’s final closure and its epilogue included in the end credits.  And that’s okay.  That emotional openness just shows character, which as coach Courtney notes is revealed through football.

The shooting and the editing go a long way toward making Undefeated a moving story for all audiences.  But what would the shooting be without the story itself?  Yes, it bears some semblance to so many big budget sports based dramas.  But as audiences will see in this story, it is its own original story.  For starters, Coach Courtney (who looks a little bit like comedian Louie Anderson) isn’t one of Hollywood’s beautiful people.  He is an ordinary person who leads this group of roughnecks for absolutely no pay.  He is a volunteer coach.  How often have audiences ever seen such a story on the big screen?  And he shows his love and respect for the young men he leads not by some script loaded with flourishing soliloquies and moments of epiphany.  Rather, he shows them a mix of tough love and respect.  That mix is used as many of these young men have no male role model in their lives.  This is very much a reality in everyday life.  Courtney himself admits to having grown up without a father.  That makes his determination to make these young men into respectable individuals and athletes that much stronger.  And it’s because of this that audiences will easily find themselves rooting both for Courtney and for the group of young men whom he leads into battle every Friday night on the high school gridiron.

Those on-field battles help key players O.C., Money, and Chavis become better.  They also help the whole team become a stronger unit and become one of the best teams that Manassas has ever had.  Of course it all leads up to a rather unexpected ending, which won’t be revealed here.  But even with that ending, it is the personal wins of O.C., Money, and Chavis and the entire team that makes the title of this documentary so fitting.  It’s that understanding that leaves Undefeated a rare touchdown of a sports documentary that audiences will want to watch over and over again.

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.

Disney Nature’s Chimpanzee A Heartwarming And Enlightening Documentary

Courtesy: Disney/Disney Nature

Good morning, everyone.  In the second of today’s mega blast of new reviews, I’ve got a look at one of the many new blu-ray/dvd combo packs from Disney.  The first of that new group of releases is the brand new home release of Disney nature’s hit documentary, Chimpanzee.  There is a lot to say about this documentary.  So rather than try to take lots of time setting it up, I’ll let you see for yourselves everything that went into it.  Needless to say, it’s a documentary worth watching.  It definitely will go into the reviewer’s list of the year’s best DVD/Blu-ray releases.  From the footage itself to the narration to the bonus documentary, it has so many positives.  So without further ado, I offer for your consideration dear readers, Disney Nature’s brand new home release of Chimpanzee.

Disney and Disney Nature have a hit on their hands with the latest release in the Disney Nature series, Chimpanzee.  This nature documentary is touching and heartwarming for the entire family.  At the same time, it is also quite eye opening, considering the most commonly known social roles of the primate community.  Generally, males in this community are not known for taking on the caretaking role.  Yet here, audiences see something that can only be described as miraculous.  Add in equally spectacular footage of the jungles of West Africa and the subtle narration of veteran actor Tim Allen, and audiences get a truly memorable work.

Chimpanzee has so many positives going for it.  But if there is one factor that stands out more than any other as the key, it is that young Oscar is fostered by the head of his group of Chimpanzees, “Freddy.”  This generally goes against common logic of this group of primates’ behavior patterns.  Yes it is wonderfully touching for audiences.  But on a more scientific level, it makes for quite the interesting display.  Disney and Disney Nature included on the home release of Chimpanzee a behind the scenes look at the work that went into filming the documentary. Almost everyone involved in the filming who was interview, noted how “human” the behavior was.  Even the most casual of viewers can’t help but be equally amazed at this behavior.  Take into note that this isn’t just another animated Disney feature, either.  This is the real world that audiences are seeing.

The fatherly behavior of “Freddy” is extremely enlightening and surprising as well as touching.  Just as interesting to note is the chimpanzees’ use of “tools” to crack open the notes in their grove.  Add in that the younger chimps were being “taught” so to speak how to use them was even more incredible to see.  The chimps both young and old “learned” what they needed to use in order to crack open the tough shells of the nuts.  This real life vision of adaptation is another extremely interesting portion of the documentary.

The material shown in Chimpanzee is enlightening and interesting to say the very least.  It alone makes for a documentary that every family and even teacher should watch at least once.  It is the meat and potatoes of the documentary.  That being the case, then the narration of veteran actor Tim Allen (Home Improvement, The Santa Clause 1 – 3) is the garnish that makes the whole display that much more appealing to the viewer.  His narration is subtle enough to not overpower the sheer beauty and intellectual value of the film.  If anything, the narration adds a nice light hearted humor throughout the work.  And hearing him pull out his classic Tim Allen Tool Time grunt at one point was a nice additional touch. 

So much work went into bringing Chimpanzee to life.  As noted already, from the stunning visuals, to the very behaviors of the chimpanzees to Tim Allen’s narration, Chimpanzee has so much going for it.  Whether or not viewers had the opportunity to see the film in theaters, the home release of the documentary has one more touch that makes it a memorable work.  That one extra touch was the extensive behind the scenes documentary that followed the film crew over the course of its filming.  Seeing that the crew was actually worried when it turned out Oscar was orphaned showed how much the film meant to them.  And that the crew endured bee stings, bug bites and so much more adds to the appreciation of the work turned in to bring this piece to life.

Chimpanzee is not a simple piece.  The footage presented in the blu-ray presentation is crystal clear on an HD TV.  The story of Oscar’s journey and Tim Allen’s narration make everything that much more enjoyable.  And the bonus documentary is more proof of the importance of bonus features on a home release of a feature.  Assembled all together in one double disc Blu-ray/DVD package, they combine to make a feature that any family will enjoy watching time and again.  It gives that much more hope for Disney Nature’s next release.

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Mill Creek Entertainment’s latest is a “grand” success

Courtesy: Mill Creek Entertainment

The Grand Canyon is one of the greatest natural wonders of North America.  As grand and stunning as the Grand Canyon, many people don’t realize that it’s only one part of a much larger natural wonder that is centered on the “Four Corners” region of the country.  That larger natural wonder is known as the Colorado Plateau.  Thanks to Mill Creek Entertainment, now viewers can learn about the entire Colorado Plateau and what makes it the amazing wonder that it is in the new blu-ray release in the National Parks Exploration Series focusing on The Grand Canyon.

The Grand Canyon focuses on more than just the Grand Canyon.  It focuses on the entire Colorado Plateau, which according to the documentary, covers regions of Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado.  The Colorado Plateau, according to the documentary, is larger than New York, Illinois, Georgia and Virginia combined.  Yet for its massive size, no one lives there.  However at one time very long ago, it was home to the Anasazi.  That time is covered in one of the four segments that make up the documentary.

“The Grand Canyon” is seprated by four different segments:  “The Colorado Plateau”, “The Beauty”, “Geology”, and “The Parks.”  “The Parks” segment takes up the majority of the documentary’s hour and twenty minute run time.  It’s in this segment that it focuses on the ancient Anasazi people, their cliff dwellings and the art found in and around their homes.  It’s amazing to learn that the roofs for their homes were built using trees taht had to have been brought by hand from roughly fifty miles away.  It’s explained that these people didn’t have the wheel or anything else to use.  They had to bring the trees used for their homes by hand.  The discussion on the art foudn in and around their dwellings is equally interesting.  It discusses how they were drawn, and their signifigance.  And for those who want to believe, it doesn’t avoid the obvious extra-terrrestrial theories, either.  Though those theories are made mostly in a quick passing note.

The focus on the Anasazi is just one part of the in depth feature on each of the National Parks that make up the Colorado Plateau.  Another of the amazing National Parks featured in this segment is the Petrified Noational Forest.  This segment notes that many people come to the Petrified National Forest, expecting to see really tall stone trees.  That’s not the reality, though.  What visitors to this park see is remnants of trees from the late Triassic Period.  They will also see the famed “Painted Desert.”

From the “Painted Desert” to the Petrified Forest, to the Delicate Arch and Balanced Rock, the entire Colorado Plateau offers so much awe, wonder, and beauty.  This documentary does include a segment titled, “The Beauty” that focuses on all of that natural beauty that visitors will experience.  But it’s only part of the entire work that will leave audiences amazed at everything this entire region has to offer.  As noted in the documentary, it’s one of those places that everybody has on their bucket list.  And those who didn’t have a visit to the region on their list will after watching this beautiful video post card.

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.