Public Media Distribution Re-Issuing ‘Room On The Broom’

Courtesy: NCircle Entertainment

There’s always room for more…on the broom.

Public Media Distribution announced Tuesday that it will re-issue the small-screen adaptation of author Julia Donaldson’s book Room on the Broom this summer.  Released via Magic Light Pictures and Orange Eye and featuring the voices of Simon Pegg (Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, Star Trek Beyond), Gillian Anderson (The X-Files, The Last King of Scotland, The Fall), Rob Brydon (Cinderella, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, The Huntsman: Winter’s War) and others, the DVD will retail for MSRP of $12.99.

The movie’s story follows the journey of a witch (voiced by Anderson) and her pet dog (voiced by Martin Clumes – Shakespeare in Love, Kipper, Doc Martin) as they try to recover some lost items.  Along the way, the pair is joined by a kindly bird, cat and frog, who help save the witch from a dragon.

The new re-issue comes with the same bonus material included in the DVD’s previous 2013 release.  Those bonuses include a behind-the-scenes featurette, live performance from Donaldson and art gallery.

Room on the Broom can be ordered direct from the NCircle online store at http://www.ncircleentertainment.com/room-on-the-broom/843501008041.  To find out about even more releases from NCircle Entertainment, parents can go online to http://www.facebook.com/NCircleEntertainment or the company’s official website, http://www.NCircleEntertainment.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.

‘Stick Man’ Stands Out In This Year’s Field Of New Family Flicks

Courtesy: Magic Light Pictures/PBS/PBS DIstribution

Courtesy: Magic Light Pictures/PBS/PBS DIstribution

Earlier this month, PBS Distribution partnered with Magic Light pictures to release a small screen adaptation of yet another of author Julia Donaldson’s books in the form of Stick Man.  The latest of Magic Light’s adaptations of Donaldson’s books, this feature stands out quite a bit from its predecessors.  That is due in part to the story at the center of the feature.  That will be discussed shortly.  The feature’s companion bonus material is important to the feature just as much as its story.  That will be discussed later.  The animation that is used for the feature rounds out its most important elements.  Each element is important in its own right, obviously.  All things considered, Stick Man proves in the end to be one of this year’s most intriguing family flicks.

Magic Light Pictures’ small screen adaptation of author Julia Donaldson’s book Stick Man is one of this year’s most intriguing family flicks.  That is due in part to the story at the feature’s center.  The story, believe it or not, is technically not one for the whole family.  As one individual notes in the feature’s bonus material, it can be easily compared to the story in the timeless Greek myth, The Odyssey.  It is a very heavy story that finds its title character trying so hard to get back to his family.  It’s not an easy journey either.  Stick Man has to face children who use him as a bat, a boomerang and even a bag holder, as well as a swan who uses him for her nest, and even gets swept out to sea along the way.  The whole time, the story transitions back to Stick man’s wife and young sons who keep vigil for him.  Their deep emotion is painful to see and might be a bit too intense for some younger audiences.  The same applies with seeing Stick Man’s reactions to his situations.  It stands out clearly from Donaldson’s previously adapted books because the only points at which it really has any light heartedness is at the story’s opening and in its closing.  Throughout the rest of the story, it tends to be emotionally heavy.  So again, it is not necessarily a work that is recommended for the whole family.  That doesn’t disqualify it from being worth the watch, though.  The fact that Donaldson could craft such a grown up story and that Magic Light Pictures would once again stay true to the source material makes it well worth the watch.  Keeping all of this in mind, it is clear why the story at the center of Stick Man is so important to its overall presentation.

The story at the center of Stick Man is a hugely important part of the recently released small screen adaptation of Julia Donaldson’s book.  That is because her approach to this story is such a stark departure from her previous stories.  It is much more emotionally heavy than those stories, making it a work that some younger viewers might have trouble handling.  While the feature’s story is an important part of its presentation, it is not the feature’s only important element.  The bonus material that is included with the feature is just as important to its presentation as its story.  The bonus material is just as in-depth as that presented in Magic Light Pictures’ previous Donaldson adaptations.  Those behind the feature’s creation discuss (along with Donaldson) the importance of the story staying true to its source material included in the bonus material.  There is also a discussion on making sure the feature, despite being crafted primarily via CG, still maintained a look just like that of its previous Donaldson adaptations and as far away from so many other CG flicks as possible. If that isn’t enough, there are also discussions comparing the feature’s story, as previously noted, to the likes of The Odyssey along with so much more.  It is all so enlightening, and adds so much more depth to the feature in whole.  When it is partnered with the feature’s central story, the two elements make even clearer why this feature stands out.  They show why it stands out both among Magic Pictures’ Donaldson adaptations and among this year’s crop of holiday movies.  In reality, one could argue (on a side note) that it is less a holiday story than a story about family.

The story at the center of Stick Man and its companion bonus material are both central to the feature’s overall presentation.  The story is a stark departure from those presented in Donaldson’s other works in so many ways.  The bonus material that is included with the story adds even more depth to the feature’s overall presentation.  While both elements do so much to flesh out the feature’s presentation, they are not its only important elements.  The feature’s animation approach is just as important to note in examining the feature’s presentation as the feature’s story and its bonus material.  Audiences familiar with Magic Light Pictures’ adaptation of Donaldson’s books will be pleased to see that (as discussed previously) this feature looks just like the company’s previous adaptations of her books.  It is clear that it was made on computer.  The thing is that while it maintains the company’s trademark look of its Donaldson adaptations, that look also maintains a distinct identity totally separate from that of every other animation studios’ offerings.  Using such approach presents a certain comfort for audiences.  For audiences not so familiar to Magic Light Pictures’ offerings, it will be an especially welcome introduction and change of pace from all of those cookie cutter stylistic approaches.  In other words, it makes the feature all the more engaging and entertaining for audiences.  Considering this and the other discussed elements, it becomes wholly clear why Stick Man—while perhaps not for the whole family—is still an intriguing family flick from Magic Light Pictures.  It is in fact one of this year’s most intriguing family flicks.

Stick Man is one of this year’s most intriguing new family flicks.  It is a work that is a stark departure from author Julia Donaldson’s previous books.  That Magic Light Pictures once again stayed true to Donaldson’s source material in its source material makes the story all the more engaging.  Again, not every younger viewer will be able to handle the story because it is so emotionally heavy.  But that also makes it so interesting to watch, considering how much it stands out from Donaldson’s other previously adapted stories.  The bonus material that is included in the feature adds to the depth of its overall presentation.  The animation approach that is used in the feature’s presentation rounds out its most important elements.  Each element is important in its own right to the feature’s overall presentation. All things considered, Stick Man proves in the end to be one of this year’s most intriguing family flicks, regardless of whether audiences consider it a holiday flick or a family flick in general.  It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store.

More information on this and other titles from Magic Light Pictures is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.magiclightpictures.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MagicLightPics

 

 

 

More information on this and other titles from Public Media Distribution is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/pbs

 

 

 

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.

PBS Distribution, Magic Light Pictures Partner To Release New Family Holiday Flick

Courtesy: Magic Light Pictures/PBS/PBS DIstribution

Courtesy: Magic Light Pictures/PBS/PBS DIstribution

PBS Distribution has a new DVD on the way just in time to get the whole family into the holiday spirit.

PBS Distribution announced this week that it will release the animated feature Stick Man next month in partnership with Magic Light Pictures. The presentation, from the makers of The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom, follows its title character as he makes his way through the seasons as he tries to make his way home to be with his family in time for Christmas.

Stick Man’s journey through the seasons is anything but easy. From being thrown into a river to having to escape a swan’s nest to even escaping a fire, Stick Man’s journey is wrought with peril.  There is even a visit by Santa himself (voiced by Hugh Bonneville—Downton Abbey, Notting Hill, The Monuments Men) along the way.  The story, based on author Julia Donaldson’s beloved children’s book, is narrated by Jennifer Saunders (Absolutely Fabulous, Coraline, Shrek 2).

The story’s title character is voiced by Martin Freeman (The Hobbit, Sherlock, Hot Fuzz). Rob Brydon (Cinderella, Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, The Huntsman: Winter’s War) lends his talents to the presentation, too along with Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky, Paddington, Blue Jasmine), and Russell Tovey (Being Human, Grabbers, The Pirates! Band of Misfits) to bolster the presentation even more.

As an additional bonus for audiences, the story also comes with a behind-the-scenes featurette that presents the process of how Donaldson’s book was brought to life on the small screen. The 20-minute presentation tells that story through interviews with Donaldson as well as director Jeroen Jaspert, composer Rene Aubry, and others who worked on the adaptation.

Stick Man will be released on Tuesday, November 8 and will be available exclusively on DVD via PBS Distribution.  It will retail for MSRP of $12.99 and can be pre-ordered online now via PBS’ online store.  More information on this and other titles from PBS is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/pbs

 

 

 

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.

Room on the Broom An Entertaining, Touching Story For The Whole Family

Courtesy:  NCircle Entertainment

Courtesy: NCircle Entertainment

The new “animated” take on author Julia Donaldson’s children’s book, Room on the Broom is a wonderful piece for families and even churches as the country starts to look towards October and Halloween.  Donaldson, who also wrote The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child, co-wrote the book on which this feature is based, with Axel Scheffler.  This latest feature is much like its predecessors first and foremost because of its run time. It comes in at just under half an hour, much like those features.  Also like those features, this story features its share of lessons, too.  Speaking of the small screen adaptation of The Gruffalo, audiences will appreciate this new release even more as the animated presentation of said book is included on this disc along with a pair of pleasant bonus features to complete the overall positive viewing experience.

The very first aspect of this latest feature from NCircle Entertainment is its run time.  Much like both the Gruffalo and its sequel, this feature is not that long.  It comes in at just under half an hour in length.  There are those that have criticized this feature for the fact that it is as short as it is.  One can’t help but wonder if these same people watched the adaptations of Donaldson’s other books.  If so, did they feel that those features were too short, too?  That run time only serves to make this feature even more kid friendly, along with the lush, beautiful colors and positive lessons.  That is because most young viewers’ attention span doesn’t exceed half an hour.  So this is right on par with any children’s feature.  So whoever would think the run time is a bad thing should perhaps watch it again with more of an open mind.

The lessons taught throughout the short run time of Room on the Broom are another aspect of the feature that viewers of all ages will appreciate.  Throughout the course of the story, it teaches so many important lessons.  It teaches lessons about friendship, acceptance, sharing, respect, teamwork, loyalty, and tolerance.  And it does it all in less than half an hour without making everything seem jumbled together.  For that alone, this adaptation of the modern classic children’s story deserves very high marks.  The lessons are taught via interactions between the witch’s cat, a dog, a bird, and a slightly neurotic frog with a penchant for cleanliness.  The bird’s story of having been rejected by its fellow birds just because of how it looked teaches an invaluable lesson and starting point for discussions on tolerance and acceptance.  What’s more, it will touch very deeply, any viewer with a heart.  On the other side of things, the frog’s penchant for cleanliness will have adults and parents alike laughing.  And the dog’s simple innocence and loyalty adds one more element of joy to the story.  Together, this motley crew illustrates the intended lessons in a way that is accessible both to children and their parents, making the story all the more entertaining and touching.    

The “animated” adaptation of Room on the Broom is very similar in style to its counterparts in The Gruffalo and the Gruffalos Child.  However, it isn’t pointed out in this feature’s bonuses as to whether or not the same mix of claymation and CG was used in bringing the book to life on the screen.  There were elements of CG shown in the behind-the-scenes bonus.  But there was no mention of any claymation.  So it would have been interesting to find out if this indeed was used once again considering how close it looks to those features, stylistically speaking.  For once, this reviewer finds himself noting that regardless of whether it was primarily CG or a mix of both, the visual presentation of the story was absolutely beautiful.  The colors were so rich and vibrant.  Considering the fact that it’s a story about a witch, the bright colors used throughout each scene help to illustrate that this was no ordinary witch and that she didn’t live in the stereotypical world of a witch.  She was a good witch who appreciated everything and everyone around her.  Again, there is one of a handful of positive lessons that parents, teachers, and pastors will appreciate in the story.  Many audiences don’t take into account a factor as minute as colors used in the success or failure of a movie or feature.  But they really do play an integral role, at last on a psychological level.  And that is proven here, just as with so many children’s features.  Combined with the music, the bright colors maintain the feature’s positive vibe, thus in its own way, helps to make Room on the Broom that much more entertaining and family friendly. 

The aspects noted already noted here do so much to make Room on the Broom such a joy.  But no proper review of this new release would be complete without mention of its bonus features.  There are few bonus features this time around.  Audiences get a slightly different behind-the-scenes featurette in this presentation than in its counterparts in The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child.  It makes the extra live performance of the book by author Julia Donaldson stand out even more.  Audiences actually get to see Donaldson perform a reading of the book along with some young friends to help her along the way.  Her performance brings the book to life in an entirely different, but just as entertaining fashion.  It’s something that parents and children will love to take in together.  And even younger viewers will appreciate the performance just as much as the children that were in attendance at the taping of her performance of the book.  This standout bonus serves as the icing on the sweet cake that is this feature.  It will be available in stores and online next Tuesday, August 6th on DVD.  It can be ordered direct from the NCircle online store at http://www.ncircleentertainment.com/room-on-the-broom/843501008041.  To find out about even more releases from NCircle Entertainment, parents can go online to http://www.facebook.com/NCircleEntertainment or the company’s official website, http://www.NCircleEntertainment.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.

The Gruffalo’s Child is a rare welcome sequel

Courtesy: NCircle Entertainment/Magic Light

Three years ago, one of the most unlikely family hits was released to dvd in the form of The Gruffalo.  The Gruffalo was about a little mouse who inadvertently creates a creature called The Gruffalo in an attempt to escape being eaten by a fox, an owl and a snake.  Now, fans of that hit will be treated to its sequel on August 14th in The Gruffalo’s Child.

Author Julia Donaldson notes in the behind the scenes feature included in the dvd presentation of The Gruffalo’s Child that this sequel was not originally planned after the publication of The Gruffalo.  She notes that after The Gruffalo was originally published, she went to work on a number of other books.  But then The Gruffalo’s Child came along.  And audiences can say that for once, it’s nice to see a sequel that meets the bar set by the original. 

In The Gruffalo’s Child, the mouse (voiced again by James Cordon) has to outsmart the younger Gruffalo, so as to not be eaten by her.  She is voiced by Shirley Henderson.  Cordon is joined again by Tom Wilkinson as the Fox, John Hurt as the Owl, and Rob Brydon as the slippery snake.  Helena Bonham Carter returns again, too, as the voice of the mother squirrel, who tells the story of what happened when the Gruffalo’s child went off into the deep dark woods in search of the big bad mouse.  She tells her children of how tthe Gruffalo’s child–who is unnamed–meets the snake, the owl, and the fox.  Each one tells the Gruffalo’s child of where they believe the mouse is, until she finally comes face to face with the creature that scared her father so badly yeas ago.  How the mouse outsmarts the Gruffalos’ child won’t be revealed here.  But it’s worth its own share of laughs.

The story behind The Gruffalo’s Child is a wonderful story for the entire family.  But the story itself isn’t all that makes this dvd so impressive.  Just as the original story of The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo’s Child is simple in its presentation and its music.  It even makes some subtle statements along the way.  Unlike so many other “animated” movies out there, The Gruffalo’s Child  is a mix of claymation and CG, rather than being entirely CG-based.  The comparisons to The Fantastic Mr. Fox are inescapable.  That aside, being that so few “animated” features out there take this hybrid course, it helps The Gruffalo’s Child to stand out just as much as The Gruffalo.  The Gruffalo’s Child also boasts the same music as The Gruffalo.  It’s a simple soundtrack that actually serves to heighten the emotion of each scene, rather than simply be background noise.  And the subtle statements included in the story range from lessons about children needing something in which to believe to that inate need that each person has to be scared at least to some extent.  Given these may have been totally unintentional statements.  But they are there.

The Gruffalo’s Child is a simple movie.  Its run time is noted as forty minutes on the case.  However, the actual presentation itself is just over twenty-five minutes.  That’s a perfect run time for the attention span of younger audiences.  Combine that in with the overall simple presentation and story, and audiences of all ages are offered what is one of the year’s best “animated” family features.

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