Level 33 Entertainment Announces U.S. Release Date For Spike Island

Courtesy:  Level 33 Entertainment

Courtesy: Level 33 Entertainment

Indie film studio Level 33 Entertainment will finally bring its new movie Spike Island home later this month.

Level 33 Entertainment announced this week that Spike Island will be released in stores on Tuesday, June 23rd. The movie is a coming-of-age piece that centers on young wannabe rockers who come up with a plan to get their demo tape hand-delivered to their favorite band The Stone Roses. Their hopes are that the Stone Roses will hear the band’s music and help them kick start their dreams of stardom. The catch is getting in to the band’s upcoming show at Spike Island, a 103-acre island that lies in Cork Harbor, Ireland. The problem is that the friends’ tickets never appear. So they take off on a road trip with a plan to sneak into the show. The journey to the show tests the friendships of the young band leading the young rockers to come to some tough realizations and make some equally tough decisions.

Spike Island was written by Chris Coghill and directed by award winner Matt Whitecross (Winner—Independent Spirit Award for The Road To Guantanamo). It was nominated for a British Independent Film Award for Most Promising Newcomer (Elliot Tittensor—Shameless, The Selfish Giant, Slap) and features the music of The Stone Roses. Speaking of Tittensor, he stars alongside Emilia Clark (Game of Thrones, Terminator: Genysis, Don Hemingway), Lesley Manville (Maleficent, Another Year, Law & Order: UK), Rob James-Collier (Downton Abbey, Coronation Street, Mercenaries), Kaya Scodelario (Moon, The Maze Runner, Clash of the Titans), Adam Long (The Thirteenth Tale, Happy Valley, The Passing Bells), Oliver Heald (Shameless, The Messenger), Antonia Thomas (Survivor, Misfits, Sunshine on Leath), Michael Socha (Being Human, Once Upon a Time, This is England), Jordan Murphy (The Passing Bells, My Mad Fat Diary, Marvellous), and Nico Mirallegro (Hollyoaks, Common, Anita B.).

Level 33 Entertainment head Andreas Olavarria discussed his thoughts on the movie’s U.S. release with the press noting all that makes it such a standout story. “We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to bring Spike Island to audiences across North America,” he said. “The movie is filled with youthful energy, great music and terrific performances that are sure to entertain a broad range of filmgoers – especially fans of The Stone Roses and of Emilia Clarke, who plays a very different role from her well known character in HBO’s Game Of Thrones.”

Spike Island was released through Universal Pictures and Vertigo Films in the United Kingdom. Audiences can check out a trailer for the movie online now via Level 33 Entertainment’s website. More information on Spike Island is available online now at:

Website: http://level33entertainment.com/Spike_Island.html

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

More information on Spike Island and other titles available from Level 33 Entertainment is available online now at:

Website: http://www.level33entertainment.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Level33entertainment

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Level33_ent

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Boardwalk Empire’s Third Volume Is A Wonderful Musical Love Letter To Music’s Golden Age

Courtesy:  ABKCO Records

Courtesy: ABKCO Records

HBO’s hit drama Boardwalk Empire wrapped up its fifth and final season late last year. the series, which starred veteran actor Steve Buscemi, wrapped up after five seasons. The series’ final season. With the series at its end, its final season was released on DVD last month alongside its soundtrack, Boardwalk Empire Volume 3. It is still very early in the year. But it is safe to say at this point that Boardwalk Empire Volume 3 is one of this year’s best new overall albums. The reason that it is deserving of such high honor is the fact that listening to this record is like taking a musical trip back in time. And while that phrase is tossed around sometimes too often by critics (this critic included sometimes), this compilation of songs is one of those rare pieces that truly is wholly deserving of such note. The collection resurrects some of the greatest jazz songs of all time, reaching all the way back to the 1920s ad 30s for its track listing. The catch is that each of the record’s nineteen tracks is recorded by a modern act. Yet none of the songs has been updated. It would have been easy for the acts in question to put their own spin on each song. But they didn’t do that. They recorded the songs exactly as they were recorded so many decades ago. The only thing that the songs on this record is missing is the static of an old vinyl. If that had been there, it would have pushed the record over the top. Even without that static, the songs still comprise a record that any true lover of jazz will appreciate and one that should be on every critic’s list of the year’s best new albums overall come December. That is just part of what makes this record a must hear for any true-blooded lover of jazz. Another reason that audiences will appreciate this collection so much is the fact that while classic jazz songs make up the majority of its body, there is also a light touch of the blues and even some classic Latin-tinged pieces, too. That mix of musical styles coupled with the fact that the songs themselves are true classics makes Boardwalk Empire Volume 3 all the more enjoyable. Last but not least worth noting of this collection is the fact that while it is a soundtrack, the songs that make up the record make it just as solid a stand-alone collection as a companion to the series’ recently released fifth and final season DVD box set. Listeners can enjoy this record without having to have any prior knowledge of Boardwalk Empire’s five-season run on HBO. Rather they can just enjoy it as the collection of classic jazz tunes that it is. It is just as important a factor in the record’s success and enjoyment as the songs themselves and their renditions. All things considered, Boardwalk Empire Volume 3 proves in the end with its full complement of songs to justifiably be considered an early contender for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new albums overall.

Soundtracks for movies and television series far too often are little more than a bunch of songs tossed together for the purpose of bringing in extra money for a given movie studio or television company. The mass of soundtracks that meet that mantle is so extensive that it would be impossible to name all of the soundtracks that never should have seen the light of day. For all of the forgettable soundtracks that are churned out each year, there are actually some rare diamonds in the rough among that mass. Boardwalk Empire Volume 3 is one of those rare diamonds. It proves to be one of those rare diamonds first and foremost because of its songs. The songs collected for this latest (and final) volume of songs from HBO’s hit drama is a wonderful arrangement of songs that any true lover of classic jazz will appreciate. The songs that make up Boardwalk Empire Volume 3 reach all the way back to the 1920s and 30s, music’s golden era. From Elvis Costello’s take of Harry Barris and Gordon Clifford’s timeless I Surrender Dear as the record’s opener to Margot Bingham and David Mansfield’s take of Ma Rainey’s blues classic ‘Farewell Daddy Blues’ to Bingham’s cover of the equally timeless Fabian Andre/Wilbur Schwandt/Gus Kahn song ‘Dream A Little Dream of Me,’ to all of the record’s other songs, the record in whole presents itself like a musical trip back in time. That phrase is thrown around sometimes too often by critics. But in the case of this record, it is deservedly used. From start to finish, every one of the songs that makes up the record’s body was recorded in the exact same fashion as in their original recordings. There was no attempt by any of the artists to put their own spin on the songs. This makes the songs feel like they were pulled right from the original masters instead of having been re-recorded by modern artists. The only thing that is lacking in the presentation of the record’s songs is that classic sound of static. Even without that sound though, the quality of the songs is reduced by a factor of zero. That is how incredibly believable these songs are in their presentation and why the songs and their presentation combine to make the most important part of Boardwalk Empire Volume 3’s enjoyment and success.

The songs that were chosen for Boardwalk Empire Volume 3 and the uncanny similarity to their original recordings are collectively the most important part of the record’s enjoyment and overall success. For all of its importance, just as important to note of the disc’s success is its overall makeup. Classic jazz songs make up most of the record’s body. But they are not all that audiences get in this collection of songs. As noted perviously, there is a touch of the blues in Margot Bingham and David Mansfield’s cover of Ma Rainey’s ‘Farewell Daddy Blues.’ It is an acoustic performance that must be heard to be fully appreciated. There is also a Latin-tinged piece in ‘Son Que Quita Las Penas,’ which translates roughly to ‘They are that it removes penalties.’ And ‘The Yodeling Chinaman’ offers its own interesting sound that adds even more interesting musical variety to the record. The combination of those varied sounds across the album’s nineteen songs and sixty-two minutes coupled with the incredible presentation of each song makes even more evident why any jazz purist will love this record and why it is one of this year’s best new albums overall.

The songs that make up the body of Boardwalk Empire Volume 3 display a wonderful window into the music industry’s past. They take listeners on a musical trip back in time to the business’s golden era more so than any classic collection since. Making this collection of songs even better is the fact that the artists that re-recorded them for the collection didn’t try to make some artsy remake in their own vision. Rather they stayed true to the original rendition of each song. Save for the static in the background, the end result of the recordings is a group of recordings that sounds like it was lifted right from the original masters. Both aspects of Boardwalk Empire Volume 3 are of equal importance to the record’s presentation. As important as each element proves to be to the whole, the fact that audiences don’t have to have any knowledge of Boardwalk Empire’s televised side in order to enjoy these songs. Unlike so many other soundtracks released every year in partner with their movies and television series, this collection of songs wasn’t aligned in time with its show’s episodes. So there’s no need to have any background information on the show in order to enjoy the songs. A basic understanding and appreciation of jazz history is all that audiences need. And even for those lacking even that understanding and appreciation, it makes for just as solid a starting point for anyone wanting to learn about the history of both music and jazz more specifically. It’s yet another way that Boardwalk Empire Volume 3 proves to be one of this year’s best new albums overall.

Boardwalk Empire Volume 3 is one of this year’s best new albums overall. Given, it is a soundtrack for all intents and purposes. But it is still deserving of a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s best new albums overall. That is because the songs presented on the record make this recording more than any before, a musical trip back in time to a better age. The renditions of the presented songs pay full tribute to the original songs. And audiences don’t even have to have any previous knowledge of the series in which they are utilized. That’s because the songs aren’t used in that same chronological fashion as songs that comprise other soundtracks. They are just great classic jazz tunes. They are a window into a better era of music. Because audiences don’t have to be fans of the series from which they were lifted, and because of the fact that they weren’t altered in their new versions from their original performances, they are made all the more enjoyable. The very fact that they have been resurrected for a whole new generation of music lovers is the ultimate statement of love and respect for their legacy. Whether for one of the aforementioned reasons or all of them, any listener that gives this recently released soundtrack/compilation will agree that it is indeed one of the best new albums of 2015. It is available now in stores and online.

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Anchor Bay, Starz Conjure Up Second Season Of Da Vinci’s Demons On DVD, Blu-ray

Courtesy: Anchor Bay Entertainment/Starz Media

Courtesy: Anchor Bay Entertainment/Starz Media

Fans of the original drama Da Vinci’s Demons have reason to be excited this winter. That is thanks to Anchor Bay’s announcement Tuesday that it will release the hit drama’s second season next month.

Officials with Starz announced Tuesday that the second season of Da Vinci’s Demons will be released Tuesday, March 3rd. It will be released on Blu-ray + Digital HD and DVD. Season Two picks up where the series’ first season left off. Da Vinci continues to defend Florence against the powers that be in Rome. Meanwhile he also continues his quest for the fabled Book of Leaves and for answers about his mother. New enemies rise up along the way, too; forces that prove to be even more dangerous than even Pope Sixtus and his minions. Both the DVD and Blu-ray + Digital HD presentation of Da Vinci’s Demons include a handful of bonuses to complement its ten-episode run. Those bonuses include a “making of” featurette, a recap of Season One, a look at the new sets used in Season Two and more. The full list of bonus material included on Season Two’s box set is noted below.

New Bonus Features:

  • New Sets
  • Creating the World
  • A Closer Look

The Journey Begins: Season 1 Recap

Da Vinci’s Demons stars Tom Riley (I Want Candy, Return to House on Haunted Hill, Happy Ever Afters) as famed inventor Leonardo Da Vinci. He is joined by Laura Haddock (Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: The First Avenger, The Inbetweeners Movie), Blake Ritson (Rock N Rolla, Titus, Red Cap), Elliot Cowan (Happy-Go-Lucky, Alexander, The Golden Compass), Lara Pulver (Edge of Tomorrow, True Blood, Sherlock), and James Faulkner (Downton Abbey, Bridget Jones’s Diary, X-Men: First Class). The Blu-ray + Digital HD box set will retail for $54.99 and the DVD box set for $44.98. All of the latest updates on Da Vinci’s Demons are available online at:

Website: https://www.davincisdemons.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/davincisdemons.starz

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DaVincis_Starz

All of the latest information on Da Vinci’s Demons and other titles from Anchor Bay Entertainment is available online at:

Website: https://www.anchorbayentertainment.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AnchorBay

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Anchor_Bay

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://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.

Anchor Bay Reveals Release Date, Specs For TURN The Complete First Season

Courtesy:  Anchor Bay Entertainment/AMC

Courtesy: Anchor Bay Entertainment/AMC

Anchor Bay Entertainment announced recently that it will release the first season of its hit AMC series TURN: Washington’s Spies this spring.

TURN: Washington’s SpiesThe Complete First Season will be released Tuesday, March 17th. That is just in time for audiences to catch up with the hit historically-based series before its second season debuts this spring. It will be released both on DVD and Blu-ray + Digital HD combo pack. The ten-episode season will be spread across three discs on both sets. It will also include a handful of extras, which are noted below.

Bonus Features:

  • The History Of TURN: WASHINGTON’S SPIES
  • From Art To Image
  • Deleted Scenes

Based on author Alexander Rose’s book Washington’s Spies, Turn: Washington’s Spies centers on patriot Abe Woodhull. Woodhull is a farmer living in British-occupied Long Island. He joins with a group of his childhood friends to form what would become known as the Culper Ring in an effort to help then General Washington and his forces defeat the Red Coats in the Revolutionary War. What resulted would go on to be considered the birth of espionage. The series stars Jamie Bell (The Adventures of Tin Tin, Billy Elliot, Flags of Our Fathers), Seth Numrich (Gravity, Private Romeo)m Daniel Henshall (Out of the Blue, These Final Hours, The Babadook), Heather Lind (Boardwalk Empire, Sleepy Hollow, Blue Bloods), Kevin R. McNally (Downton Abbey, Pirates of the Caribbean 1 – 4, Supernatural ), Meegan Warner (Portend, The Veil, A Place To Call Home), Burn Gorman (Torchwood, Pacific Rim, The Dark Knight Rises), Angus McFayden (Californication, Chuck, The Pinkertons), JJ Field (The Musketeers, Captain America: The First Avenger, To The Ends of the Earth), and Samuel Roukin (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I, Bright Star, Happy-Go-Lucky).

TURN: Washington’s SpiesThe Complete First Season will retail for MSRP of $49.98 on DVD and $59.99 on Blu-ray + Digital HD combo pack. More information on TURN: Washington’s Spies is available online at:

Website: http://www.amctv.com/shows/turn

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

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.

The Opposite Sex Is An Edgy, Entertaining Rom-Com

Courtesy: Cinedigm

Courtesy: Cinedigm

Opposites attract or so people have been raised to understand. That old adage has served as the basis for so many rom-coms throughout the ages. Apparently so do people with the same personality type as is seen in indie studio Cinedigm’s new rom-com The Opposite Sex. Not to be confused with the 1956 June Allyson/Joan Collins rom-com, this movie is a fun, edgy romp that will have audiences laughing nonstop from start to finish. It obviously isn’t the first story of its kind by any means. But the execution of its oft-used boy meets girl-loses her-gets her back in the end formula is relatively creative. It’s interesting to note that while similar setups have been used in previous rom-coms, this one is perhaps the first to actually incorporate a figure whose job it is to break up marriages himself finding love in the most unexpected place. The script behind The Opposite Sex is within itself plenty of reason to check out this new indie rom-com. The work of the star-studded movie’s cast is just as praiseworthy. Geoff Stults conjures Charlie Sheen’s Charlie Harper and even Josh Duhamel as he plays the chauvinistic Vince opposite the equally strong-willed Jane (Mena Suvari). The supporting cast on both sides collectively adds its own touch to the film making for even more laughs. Through it all, the movie’s pacing and its run time come together to round out the reasons for the success of The Opposite Sex. The movie–minus end credits–clocks in right at ninety minutes. throughout the course of that time, the story’s pacing never loses a step. Together with the work of the movie’s cast and the script behind the whole thing, The Opposite Sex proves to be a late addition to this year’s list of the best new indie flicks and the best new movies overall, too.

The Opposite Sex is not the first story of its kind. That goes without saying. The standard boy meets girl-loses her-gets her back in the end formula used as the script’s basis has been used for nearly every rom-com that has come before it. Yet the execution of that formula makes this indie rom-com stand solidly on its own two feet. This applies both among the indie film community and that of its much bigger-name counterparts. Co-writers and cast mates Jennifer Finnigan (Tyrant, Better With You, Close To Home) and Josh Silverman (Weekend at Bernie’s, Weekend at Bernie’s II, Close To Home) placed lead character Vince in the position of a successful, high-powered divorce lawyer who ends up finding love through the most unexpected place. His character in particular is relatively original. Though audiences that are familiar with the likes of Hitch, What Women Want, and How To Lose A Guy in Ten Days will see instant similarities between those movies and this work. Just like the aforementioned stories, this work sees the standard male lead with the “bachelor for life” mentality “unexpectedly” falling for a certain woman after his view of the opposite sex changes over the time that he spends with her. In the case of The Opposite Sex Vince finds that certain female love interest thanks to his friend’s wife Stephanie (Jennnifer Finnigan). Stephanie is old friends with Jane (Suvari). Jane and Stephanie’s decades-longfriendship leads to a rather interesting meeting between Jane and Vince, which in itself makes for its own share of laughs. That first unfcomfortable (in many more ways than one) meeting is the first spark that leads to the pair’s slowly evolving romance. Again, the formula is very similar to previous rom-coms. But the ability of FInnigan and Silverman to change things up just a bit is just enough to make the script work in this case.

The formula used for The Opposite Sex’s script is one that is quite well-known to audiences of the rom-com genre. To the credit of both Jennifer Finnigan and Josh Silverman, the pair was adapted the formula in question just enough in the case of this movie to keep the story entertaining from start to finish. The script itself would have been nothing though, without a cast to properly interpret and make it entertaining. Again, lead stars Mena Suvari (Six Feet Under, American Beauty, Chicago Fire) and Geoff Stults (Wedding Crashers, She’s Out Of My League, The Breakup) do just that. And considering the duo’s experience in the world of rom-coms, it should come as no surprise. Suvari will have even the movie’s male audiences laughing as Jane puts Vince in his place time and again without even the slightest hint of remorse. From making a bet on a twenty-dollar pool game to some rather more interesting situations, Jane never once lets herself become the standard pushover female who ends up giving in to the guy. This submission on the part of the female lead happens far too often in other rom-coms. So it’s nice to see that didn’t happen here. It’s yet another way in which this movie stands out from its bigger-name counterparts. The duo’s supporting cast adds even more enjoyment to the movie, too. Audiences will find themselves laughing just as much as Stephanie (Finnigan) and Jane (Suvari) team up to play charades against Vince (Stults) and Kenny (Josh Hopkins). The sight of Kenny trying to act out the act of taxidermy will have audiences laughing tears of joy. It is such a hilarious moment because there is so much truth to something as simple as charades. The actors’ reactions to Kenny’s attempts only adds to the moment’s hilarity. And even when Kenny is by himself, trying to counsel a couple played by Josh Silverman and Nadia Dajani, audiences will laugh just as much. Add in a cameo guest spot by former N’Sync member Joey Fatone, and audiences will see just how important the work of The Opposite Sex’s cast was to the movie’s enjoyment and success. On a side note, Fatone’s blooper with Stults and Hopkins in the movie’s end credits makes for just as many laughs. Getting back to the movie’s main factors, the acting on the part of its cast does plenty to make it enjoyable, as audiences will see when they watch it for themselves. Its run time and pacing play their own pivotal role in the movie’s success, too. They come together to solidify it and show once and for all why it is just as entertaining as any of its bigger-name counterparts.

The scripting and acting that went into The Opposite Sex offers audiences more than its collective share of laughs. Even being an independent release, its script and the work of its cast make it just as entertaining as its more well-known counterparts. While both the script and the acting are key to that level of success, the movie’s pacing and companion run time play just as much of a role in its enjoyment. At no one point does The Opposite Sex ever lose audiences either in terms of its script or its cast’s acting. It never moves too fast or too slow, thus allowing audiences to enjoy every quip and every joke surrounding the never-ending battle of the sexes. It’s all done over the course of about ninety minutes. That perhaps is the most intriguing factor of all in the movie’s success. Not counting its end credits, it comes in right at about ninety minutes. That is roughly par for course in terms of run times for the rom-coms churned out by Hollywood’s Power Five studios. The combination of that standard run time and solid pacing completes The Opposite Sex, proving once more why this movie is just as enjoyable as any more well-known rom-com past or present. It shows once more that indie flicks can and are just as worth the watch as anything that Hollywood’s major studios can churn out and have, too. Keeping that in mind, The Opposite Sex proves that despite a familiar formula, the movie’s script, its cast’s acting and its collective pacing and run time make it one of this year’s best independent movies and one of the best movies of 2014.

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’ “Premature” Is As Good As Any Big Screen Teen Flick

Courtesy:  IFC FIlms

Courtesy: IFC FIlms

IFC Films’ teen comedy Premature is not only one of the best indie flicks of 2014, but it is one of the best movies of the year overall.  In comparison to the endless stream of prequels, sequels, and remakes churned out by Hollywood’s “Power 5” studios, this movie is a complete breath of fresh air.  It balances just enough bawdiness and raunch with an equal amount of depth and heart to make it a surprisingly entertaining work.  The central reason for that is the movie’s script.  It isn’t just another standard, formulaic teen romp.  It actually teaches some important lessons; lessons that both male and female audiences will appreciate.  The movie’s script is at the heart of its enjoyment.  Another reason that audiences will enjoy this movie is its bonus material.  Included as bonus material on the DVD are a number of interviews with the cast and crew, a fun little behind-the-scenes featurette, and even an alternate ending that proves to be just as good as the ending presented in the final product.  The last aspect of the movie that makes it enjoyable for audiences is the acting on the part of the cast.  The cast isn’t exactly A-listers just yet.  But its members already have quite the chops under their belts thanks to roles on some big movies and TV shows.  It shows quite well in this presentation, too.  It rounds out a movie that while being an indie flick, is one of this year’s best indie flicks and one of the year’s best movies overall.

At first glance, many critics have automatically panned IFC Films’ new teen comedy Premature.  Elizabeth Weitzman, of the New York Daily News, said of the movie that it is “a retreat of every lousy 80s high school comedy you never bothered watching.”  And Variety’s Joe Leydon had one of the harshest comments, attacking not only the movie but those that actually showed any appreciation of the movie.  He noted of the movie and its audiences that “only undiscriminating audiences with a pronounced taste for crotch-centric tomfoolery will sample this goulash.”  Really, Joe?  There was an equally scathing commentary from New York Times writer Nicolas Rapold, equating co-writers Dan Beers and Mathew Harawitz’s script to work from Family Guy head Seth McFarlane.  That is an insult of the highest degree. For all of its naysayers, Premature has also gotten positive marks, too.  Though, even those positive remarks have been tepid at best.  This means that most audiences and critics that saw this movie completely missed the mark in analyzing it.  The script itself does throw back to the teen romps of the 80s.  There’s no denying that.  But it throws back to more than just those movies.  Its script balances the crudeness of those movies with the heart–believe it or not–of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.  To a lesser extent, those that are old enough to remember will see a comparison to the likes of Fox’s classic series Parker Lewis Can’t Lose, too.  That’s thanks in large part to the work of lead actor John Karna, who plays Rob Crabbe.  The movie sees Rob learn some valuable lessons about both life and love as the story progresses.  He learns about doing what makes him happy versus what makes his father happy through his interactions with his Georgetown recruiter and his father.  The lesson about love just happens to be tied in to Rob’s own full-throttle sex drive.  Audiences need to remember that in our adolescence, the human sex drive is actually much like what is portrayed here.  Hormones are going crazy in the adolescent brain and body.  Beer and Harawitz have just taken that fact and made humorous light of it as part of the bigger picture.  Keeping that in mind makes that aspect of the movie less crude and much funnier.  If audiences can accept that fact and enjoy it for what it is, they will enjoy Premature much more.  They will also enjoy the lessons incorporated into the script, too thus leading to a realization that this movie is far more enjoyable than what some would have others believe.

The script used for Premature is by itself more than enough reason to give this underrated indie flick worth at least one watch.  By itself, it makes Premature one of this year’s best new indie flicks and one of the year’s best new movies overall.  The script is just part of what makes the movie worth watching.  The bonus material included with the movie makes the presentation in whole even more enjoyable.  There are interviews with the cast and crew that will inform and entertain audiences.  There is also a bonus alternate ending that proves to be just as entertaining as the ending presented in the final product if not more so.  And the bonus behind-the-scenes featurette will have audiences just as much in stitches.  [John] Karna takes audiences through the movie’s sets during this segment.  Throughout the featurette, Karna stays somewhat in character holding the same personality as Rob Crabbe without actually trying to portray Rob.  He playfully hits on every female that he finds as if he were Rob.  It really is fun and funny to watch.  Together with the bonus interviews and alternate ending, it shows even more what makes the movie’s bonus features even more important to the presentation in whole. They collectively make Premature that much more of a joy to watch.  They still aren’t the last of the factors that make Premature so enjoyable, either.  The acting on the part of the movie’s cast is just as important to the movie.  It rounds out the whole that is this surprisingly entertaining indie flick.

The acting on the part of Premature’s cast is one of the most important parts of this movie’s enjoyment.  Most audiences probably don’t know the cast’s names.  But Karna and his cast mates–Katie Findlay (How To Get Away With Murder, The Carrie Diaries, After The Dark), Alan Tudyk (Frozen, Wreck-it-Ralph ,i-Robot) Craig Roberts (Neighbors, 22 Jump Street, Jane Eyre), Steve Coulter (The Hunger Games, Insidious: Chapter 2, The Conjuring) , and Carlson Young (True Blood, The Dog Who Saved Christmas, Pretty Little Liars)–are each fully believable in their roles.  And that is thanks to their work on some rather well-known movies and TV series.  Katie Findlay plays Rob’s best friend Gabrielle.  She does quite the job in her role, although most audiences can tell as the story progresses what will happen between them.  It’s a classic partnering that has been used before.  But it still works quite well even in this case.  Alan tudyk plays the part of Rob’s Georgetown recruiter.  Tudyk is a laugh riot as he breaks down, crying like a little child as he interviews Rob.  His acting will by itself leave audiences laughing uproariously.  Craig Roberts plays Rob’s sex-crazed friend Stanley.  Even in the side-kick role, Roberts offers his own share of laughs.  One could really compare him to Stiffler from the famed American Pie franchise, only younger. Steve Coulter plays a minimal role as Rob’s dad Jim.  But he’s still entertaining as the standard subtly controlling father figure.  And Carlson Young is spot on as the stereotypical blonde sex kitten Angela Yearwood.  Her role is understated as it plays an important part in Rob’s personal development and self-realization.  But just as with her co-stars, Young pulls off her role expertly as do the rest of the cast members.  Their collective experience makes their portrayals here so enjoyable in their own right.  It makes suspension of disbelief so simple in this case.  The end result is a story that will keep audiences fully engaged from start to finish, laughing the whole way through.

Whether it be the movie’s script, the bonus features included as part of the whole, or the acting on the part of the cast, Premature proves in the end to have plenty of positives.  It proves to have far more positives than its critics would lead audiences to believe.  It proves to be one of this year’s best new indie flicks and one of the year’s best new movies overall.  It is available in stores and online now.  More information on this and other titles from IFC Films is available online at:

Website: http://www.ifcfilms.com

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IFC’s Portlandia is As Solid As Ever Now In Its Fourth Season

Courtesy:  IFC

Courtesy: IFC

When it first debuted on IFC almost four years ago in 2011, Portlandia was little more than an unknown sketch comedy show.  Now three years later, it has gone on to quite the unexpected success.  It has garnered itself a nomination for an Emmy award and even a Peabody award win; this despite the show still being largely a cult favorite.  Now with the recent release of the show’s fourth season on DVD, audiences that might still be unfamiliar with Portlandia will be able to see for themselves just what has made this little show that could a fan favorite for four seasons now.  The first and most obvious reason that Portlandia has garnered such a fan following over the course of its run is its writing.  The writing behind this show is the sort of writing that will impress any fan of The Kids in the Hall and The Upright Citizens Brigade.  Also worth noting of this season is the acting on the part of lead stars Fred Armisen (Saturday Night Live) and Carrie Brownstein along with their co-stars and guest stars.  Speaking of the guest stars, the guest stars lined up for Season Four add their own comedic element that audiences will appreciate, rounding out the whole presentation.  All three factors together make the fourth season of IFC’s Portlandia a presentation that audiences new and not so new to the show will enjoy from start to finish.

The central point in the enjoyment of Portlandia Season Four is the show’s writing.  This season’s writing is a laugh riot.  Armisen and Brownstein take no prisoners with co-writer Jonathan Krisel throughout this season.  From social media to organized religion to horror movies, pet adoption agencies and so much more, nothing is off limits this season.  There’s even a spoof of the classic 1993 Robert Redford/Demi Moore drama Indecent Proposal in one episode.  The episode in question features none other than the star of HBO’s hit drama Boardwalk Empire, Steve Buscemi.  The pokes at all things pop culture alone make Season Four well worth the watch.  They’re just the tip of the proverbial iceberg in what makes this season’s writing work.  As with the series’ previous three seasons, each episode is split into multiple segments with one skit serving as the hub of each episode.  That hub is sandwiched by a group of other stand-alone sketches.  This aspect of the writing is likely thanks in large part to SNL head Lorne Michaels also playing a role in this series, too.  And it proves to work quite well surprisingly enough even here.

Directly related to the writing behind Portlandia’s fourth season is the acting on the part of the both Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein.  The characters that have become so familiar and beloved by fans throughout the show’s first three seasons are back once again.  And the way that Armisen and Brownstein handle their portrayals makes for more than its share of laughs.  Those that might not be so familiar with the duo’s brand of comedy might see the duo’s acting as being aimed at a very specific audience.  The reality is that their acting is meant entirely to poke fun at certain groups of people.  They do so by going completely over the top in their stereotypical presentation of said characters.  It works perfectly with the scripts in general to make each of the sketches even more of a laugh riot.  Armisen and Brownstein’s acting combines with the season’s writing to make each of this season even more entertaining, regardless of audiences’ familiarity with the series.

Both the writing and acting that went into the fourth season of Portlandia play their own part in the overall enjoyment of this cult hit series.  Adding even more enjoyment to the overall presentation that is the series’ fourth season is the inclusion of a who’s who of guest stars.  It has already been noted that Boardwalk Empire star Steve Buscemi is on board this season.  Joining him are the likes of Kirsten Dunst (Spiderman 1,23), Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic ParkIndependence DayHoly Man), and singer k.d. Lang among others.  Goldblum actually makes multiple appearances throughout this season’s sketches.  And Dunst opens the season in a hilarious episode that pokes fun at all of the really bad horror movies polluting theaters, store shelves and online retailers.  It is certain to leave any viewer laughing so hard that they cry.  k.d. Lang’s appearance later in the season is just as funny.  She appears in a skit about a group of lesbians on a nature retreat.  The retreat just happens to be led by an older man.  Needless to say that things turn rather interesting for him and Lang’s character.  These are just some of the laughs offered by the guest stars throughout Portlandia’s fourth season.  Audiences will find their own favorite moments when they pick up this season’s box set.

The guest stars tapped to appear in Portlandia’s fourth season make for plenty of laughs.  The same can be said of the acting both on their part and that of Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein (as well as their cat mates).  And the writing in general makes a solid cornerstone on which rests the equally solid acting and A-list guest list.  All things considered, Porlandia Season 4 proves in the end to be a collection of episodes that anyone looking for a good laugh will enjoy.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on Portlandia is available online at http://www.facebook.com/portlandia and http://www.ifc.com/portlandia.  More information on this and other releases from IFC is available online at http://www.facebook.com/IFC and http://ifc.com.  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.