Lionsgate Announces Release Date, Specs For New Dramedy While We’re Young

While Were Young BD Box ArtLionsgate will release actor Ben Stiller’s new dramedy While We’re Young next month.

While We’re Young will be released on Blu-ray + Digital HD combo pack and DVD + Digital combo pack on Tuesday, June 30th. Stiller (Night at the Museum 1 – 3) and Naomi Watts (King Kong, The Impossible, Mullholland Drive) star as a pair of aging urban sophisticates trying too hard to hold onto their youth in the movie. In their efforts to hold onto their youth, the pair—Jason (Stiller) and Cornelia (Watts)—join a hip-hop dance class and “mind-expanding” parties among other activities. They are joined by Adam Driver (HBO’s Girls), Amanda Seyfried (Alice in Wonderland, Les Miserables, Mamma Mia), Charles Grodin (Beethoven, Beethoven’s Second, Midnight Run) and now former Beastie Boys member Adam Horovitz (a.k. Ad-Rock) along the way. The movie was helmed by Academy Award®-nominated director Noah Baumbach (Best Original Screenplay The Squid and the Whale, 2005). Baumbach has also previously worked with Stiller on the 2010 drama Greenberg. He also developed the big screen adaptation of the classic children’s book The Fantastic Mr. Fox in 2009.

One writer for Variety called While We’re Young a “blisteringly of-the-moment and classically zany comedy.” Along with the main feature, both the Blu-ray + Digital HD and DVD + Digital combo pack will also feature a handful of bonus material including six behind-the scenes featurettes and some more scene specific features. The complete list of bonus material included on the Blu-ray + Digital HD combo pack is noted below.

BLU-RAY/DVD SPECIAL FEATURES*

  • Six Behind-the-Scenes Vignettes:  “The Cast,” “Working with Filmmaker Noah Baumbach,”
  • “Generation Tech,” “Working with Charles Grodin,” “Ayahuasca Ceremony” and “Hip-Hop Class”

*Subject to change

While We’re Young will be released on Blu-ray + Digital HD combo pack and DVD + Digital combo pack on Tuesday, June 30th. The Blu-ray + Digital HD combo pack will retail for MSRP of $24.99 and the DVD + Digital combo pack for $19.98. More information on this and other titles from Lionsgate is available online now at:

Website: http://www.lionsgate.com

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

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Mortdecai Shows That Action Flicks Can Still Be Fun Without Being Dark, Gritty, Moody, Or Violent

Courtesy:  Lionsgate

Courtesy: Lionsgate

Twelve years ago, veteran actor Johnny Depp single-handedly resurrected his career and became one of the movie industry’s hottest commodities when he starred in Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. Sadly though, his career has been in something of a free fall since then. Few if any of the movies in which he has starred since have gone on to the same level of success as that surprise sleeper hit. That includes the now trio of sequels that followed it and his latest movie Mortdecai, which debuted in theaters earlier this year. As with those previously noted movies, Mortdecai was released to a rather tepid response by critics and fans alike. So why exactly did Depp’s latest effort fall so flat? It’s just this critic’s own take but more than likely the reason that it failed is simple. It failed in theaters for exact same reason that it has proven so enjoyable for this critic–its stylistic approach. More simply put, it’s an action comedy in a world overly populated with dark, gritty action flicks. While that doesn’t seem like very much it is an important element to note. It’s just one of the factors that makes the movie work, too. The work of writer Eric Aronson in his adaptation of author Kyril Bonfiglioli’s original book is just as important to the presentation in whole. Last but hardly least important of all to mention is the work of the movie’s cast. This includes not only lead star Johnny Depp but his co-stars, too. Depp’s own acting throws back (intentionally or not) to the work of Peter Sellers and even at one point to Dudley Moore. The work of his cast mates is entertaining in its own right, too. The cast’s acting coupled with Eric Aronson’s adaptation of author Kyril Bonfiglioli and the very concept of the movie being a shining beacon among a sea of overly dark, gritty, violent action flicks, all three elements prove without a doubt that all of this movie’s naysayers are completely wrong in their reviews. As a matter of fact, it proves in the end to be one of this year’s most unsuspecting hits.

Despite what so many audiences and critics had to say about it, Lionsgate’s new action comedy Mortdecai is one of the most unsuspecting hits of 2015. This surprisingly entertaining release is a shining beacon in a sea polluted with overly dark, violent, action flicks. That is the main reason that this movie is such an unsuspecting hit. It may not seem like much. But it is in fact an important factor to consider. In an age when Marvel, DC and others are competing to make the darkest, grittiest, moodiest, and most violent action flick possible without garnering an “R” rating, Lionsgate has taken the road less traveled with this movie. It has opted to take the elements that have made Marvel and DC’s movies so popular and traded them in for a much more lighthearted yet equally action-filled story that will also leave open-minded audiences laughing nonstop from beginning to end. Taking that into account Aronson and Director David Koepp showed through their combined work on this movie that an action movie doesn’t necessarily have to be the next Dark Kight Returns, X-Men, or even James Bond to be entertaining. They showed with this rather rarely used approach that a movie can be action packed and entertaining without being dark, violent, and brooding. Keeping that in mind, the approach used for Mortdecai proves in the long run Mortdecai gives hope that maybe one day audiences and studios alike will finally lean back to those stand-alone movies rather than rely on the ever decreasingly original and creative franchise flicks that are out there. Both of those aspects of the movie’s stylistic approach are equally important to the whole of that element. Together, they show why Mortdecai simply not following other studios’ action flick formula makes this movie well worth the watch.

The fact that Mortdecai doesn’t follow the standard formula used by other major action flicks past and present is within itself more than enough reason for those tired of all the dark, gritty, violent action flicks to watch it. Eric Aronson’s adaptation of author Kyril Bonfiglioli’s book Don’t Point That Thing At Me is another reason for audiences to check out this movie. Aronson’s script offers up just enough plot twists and comedic moments from beginning to end to keep audiences completely engaged and entertained. The twists coupled with the story’s pacing and its transitions are handled so expertly that at no point will audiences ever feel like they need a program to know what’s going on. What’s more, there is at no point any brooding or other material that would make it comparable to all the other action flicks out there. And the jokes that Aronson throws in are obviously not for younger viewers. But in comparison to some of the material churned out by writers of bigger-named movies, they are actually far less crass than the jokes churned out by so many writers out there today. To that extent, Aronson is to be highly commended. All of this considered, the writing behind Mortdecai proves once to even more length why it is such an unsuspecting hit. It still is not the last reason that it proves itself worth the chance. The work of the cast rounds out the reasons for audiences to give Mortdecai a second chance now that it is now available on DVD and Blu-ray.

Being that Mortdecai is not just another unnecessarily dark, gritty, brainless, explosion-filled action flick is in itself plenty of reason for those looking for something different to give it a chance. Writer Eric Aronson’s adaptation of Kyril Bonafiglioli’s original book Don’t Point That Thing At Me makes it even more worth the watch as it is loaded with laughs’ laughs that in their own way throw back to the days of the Pink Panther franchise. Speaking of that franchise, the work of Johnny Depp and his cast mates throws back to those movies just as much ironically enough. Intentional or not, Depp’s work as the movie’s title character instantly conjures thoughts of Peter Sellers what with Mortdecai’s overall personality and his bumbling ways. One could even argue that Mortdecai’s drunken presentation in his return from Moscow is a throwback to Dudley Moore. Again this is the case even if it wasn’t intentional. Given neither Depp’s portrayals aren’t precisely the same as those of Moore or Sellers. But the similarities are there. On the other side of the coin, Ewan McGregor does an excellent job of making Inspector Martland a completely despicable character. This is the case even though Martland is one of the good guys, interestingly enough. The thing is that he doesn’t necessarily make audiences hate Martland per se. Rather he makes Martland a great foil to Mortdecai at which audiences enjoy laughing in his failures. Moving on, Paul Bettany is just as entertaining as Mortdecai’s servant Jock. Considering the way that Mortdecai treats Jock, one can’t help but laugh at the pair’s relationship. At the same time, one can’t help but feel at least a little sorry for Jock considering that relationship. It makes for quite the surprise that Jock was in fact not the suspect in the end, not to reveal too much about the movie. Female audiences will be just as enamoured with Gwyneth Paltrow’s portrayal of Johanna. Johanna is the total antithesis of the stereotypical action flick female lead. She is a strong, confident figure. Yet she doesn’t come out and scream it. Rather she shows it in more of a reserved, demure fashion that will have audiences laughing just as riotously as the work of her cast mates. Audiences will love watching her handle Charlie without even lifting a finger. That subtle yet strong portrayal is one of the best of the cast. When partnered with the work of said cast mates, the collective body of work from Paltrow and her cast mates proves once more why Mortdecai is worth far more credit than it received in its run in theaters earlier this year. When set along with the previously noted factors, it serves to help prove once and for all why Mortdecai is not only deserving of far more credit than it received but why it is in fact one of the best new theatrical releases of 2015.

Mortedcai was panned by critics and audiences alike when it was released in theaters earlier this year. The only reason that this critic can come up with for its lack of success is that audiences have been so conditioned by the endless mass of unnecessarily dark, gritty, violent action flicks churned out in recent years that they have lost sight of what’s really important and enjoyable in an action movie. Not to mention the fact that Mortdecai was far less familiar with audiences than anything offered up by DC and Marvel in recent years. These factors taken into consideration audiences and critics that panned Mortdecai were sadly missing the enjoyment that it really offers. The fact that Mortdecai stands wholly apart from that noted mass of movies actually makes it far more entertaining than said features in this critic’s own view. Eric Aronson’s work in adapting Kyril Bonafiglioli’s original book couple with the work of the movie’s lead cast show even more why it is so surprisingly entertaining. It’s just too bad others didn’t see that. But hopefully now that it is available on DVD and Blu-ray those same audiences that panned it, and those that have yet to see it, will give it a chance and see everything that this critic has seen. If not, it is their own loss as they are missing out, again, on what is one of this year’s best new theatrical releases.

Mortdecai is available now in stores and online on DVD and Blu-ray. It can be ordered direct from Lionsgate’s online store at http://www.lionsgateshop.com/search_results.asp?Search=Mortdecai. More information on this and other titles from Lionsgate is available online at:

Website: http://www.lionsgate.com

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

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.

Leap Frog’s Latest Release Is Another Fun Adventure For The Whole Family

Courtesy:  Lionsgate/Leap Frog

Courtesy: Lionsgate/Leap Frog

Lionsgate has made the quite the name for itself in the world of both movies and home entertainment in recent years.  Its hit movie franchises (The Expendables 1- 3, The Hunger Games) and home releases thanks to ties with History Channel and MLB Productions have garnered Lionsgate quite the reason for attention.  Its ongoing series of DVD releases from Leap Frog’s Letter Factory Adventures franchise has done just as much to put Lionsgate on the map.  Speaking of the Letter Factory Adventures franchise, Lionsgate released the latest installment in that franchise this past March in the form of Letter Factory Adventures: Amazing Word Explorers.  It is another win not just or the people at Lionsgate and Leap Frog but for viewers, too.  That is because of all that it has to offer audiences.  There is plenty to say about its lessons on rhyming, storytelling, and word building.  The musical numbers featured throughout the program’s thirty-seven-minute run time will entertain younger audiences just as much as ay presented in previous Letter Factory Adventures DVDs. Parents, teachers, and children alike will recognize the bonus material included with the DVD.  The standard curriculum commentary is there for teachers and parents as are the bonus sing-a-longs for the kids that have become just as standard with these DVDs.  The combination of the bonus material, the smartly-written lessons, and the equally entertaining musical numbers makes this installment of Lionsgate’s Letter Factory Adventures franchise one more candidate for a slot on this year’s list of best new DVDs and Blu-rays for children and families.

Letter Factory Adventures: Amazing Word Explorers, the latest addition to Lionsgate’s hugely popular Letter Factory Adventures DVDs, is yet another win not just for the people at Lionsgate and Leap Frog, but for parents, teachers, and children, too.  It continues the success carried by the franchise’s previous DVDs primarily through the work of the franchise’s writers.  The writers have crafted yet another story that incorporates three more equally important lessons and does so seamlessly at that.  The lessons in question help young audiences develop an understanding of how words rhyme, understand the structure of stories, and the structure of words.  Young audiences learn through the lesson on rhyming that the suffix of given words makes them rhyme with other words with the same suffix.  The lesson on story structure is even more of a positive in that it actually serves a dual purpose. The central purpose of this lesson is to teach young viewers how a story is built. It presents a story’s key moments—beginning, middle and end—on the most basic of levels. Leap’s use of a card game to encourage his young friends to build their own stories is a great teaching tool for teachers and parents alike. It is just as likely to encourage young viewers in the classroom or the living room to develop their own imaginations and strengthen their understanding of story structure. In the same vein, the lesson on word structure uses a similar sort of card game. The difference here is that instead of cards used to define different story elements, the cards are letter cards. The cards in question allow children to change words by changing just one letter at a time. It brings everything full circle as changing the words can also lead right back to the lesson on rhyming just as much as it is meant to establish children’s word building skills overall. Teachers and parents can even tie in the lesson on word building directly into the lesson on story structure just as Leap and his young friends did to connect everything together in their learning adventure. All three lessons show in their own way why they are so important to the whole of Letter Factoy Adventures: Amazing Word Explorers. Each lesson will educate children without said audiences even realize they are being educated. The fact that each of the lessons can be connected to the others makes them even more critical to the success and enjoyment of this new DVD. And that they can be translated into the real world makes them all the more important, showing yet again why the presented lessons are the cornerstone of this new Letter Factory Adventures DVD. It’s only the beginning of what makes this disc so enjoyable, too. Believe it or not, the musical numbers included throughout the program are important to the whole in their own way, too.

The lessons incorporated into Letter Factory Adventures: Amazing Word Explorers are central to the enjoyment and overall success of the recently released DVD. That is thanks to the accessibility among audiences of all ages. It is also thanks to the fact that the lesson building ideas presented in the program can be easily translated into the real world. They put a whole new spin on the ongoing card game fad that is still so popular among certain groups of older youths. They are only one part of what makes the whole of Letter Factory Adventures: Amazing Word Explorers enjoyable for audiences of all ages, too. The musical numbers that are peppered throughout the program are just as important to the whole in their own way. The main reason that they are so important is that just as with the lessons, they actually educate young viewers without said viewers even realizing it. The group sings about word structures and story structures, and how each is built all within the course of maybe a minute. Children will pay more attention on the songs’ entertaining aspects while parents and teachers will know that the children are in fact being educated just as much as they are being entertained. It’s one more part of the whole that has been standard for previous Letter Factory Adventures DVDs. To see that it remains standard here makes for even more reason for parents and teachers to add this DVD to their collection.

The musical numbers that have become standard among Lionsgate’s Letter Factory Adventures DVDs is its own important element to the whole of the franchise’s latest installment. Coupled with its solidly written literary lessons the two elements together show clearly why every classroom and living room would benefit from having a copy of Letter Factory Adventures: Amazing Word Explorers. For all of the enjoyment that both elements offer audiences in this presentation, the people at Lionsgate and Leap Frog didn’t stop there. Once again, they have included as bonus material curriculum commentary for parents and teachers that offers far more in depth discussion on the lessons than this critic can give. The commentary explains all of the little nuances of the lessons. It really is another important addition to this DVD that educators especially will appreciate. The bonus sing-a-longs take the songs featured in the program and make them karaoke style, encouraging children to sing along even more. It is another way to drive home the concepts being taught throughout the program. As with the curriculum commentary, this bonus is one more standard element in the Letter Factory Adventures DVDs. And it is another welcome standard, too. It proves once again here just how valuable it is to the whole of the presentation. It proves to be just as invaluable to the whole as the curriculum commentary and the lessons themselves. When it is taken into consideration with those other elements it becomes the period at the end of a statement that will have audiences of all ages happily paying attention from beginning to end with each watch.

From its solidly-written literary lessons to its equally entertaining and educational song numbers to its all-too-important curriculum commentary and karaoke style sing-a-longs, Letter Factory Adventures: Amazing Word Explorers presents plenty for audiences of all ages to appreciate. Whether taken by themselves or collectively, they show regardless the continued attention to detail that was given to this installment of the Letter Factory Adventures franchise. They show a continued dedication to excellence in education. And it is that continued dedication to excellence that makes this latest Letter Factory Adventure one that families and classes alike will enjoy taking time and again now that it is available in stores and online. It can be ordered online direct from Leap Frog’s online store at http://www.leapfrog.com/en-us/app-center/p/letter-factory-adventures-amazing-word-explorers/_/A-prod51563-96914. More information on this and other installments in the Letter Factory Adventures franchise is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.leapfrog.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/LeapFrog

 

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Ryan Reynolds Shines In Lionsgate’s New Horror/Thriller

Courtesy:  Lionsgate

Courtesy: Lionsgate

Ryan Reynolds’ new horror flick The Voices is one of the most disturbing and unsettling movies in its genre to be released so far this year. The movie is billed as a dark comedy. But on a deeper level, it is a much deeper, troubling story that stands completely apart from all of the other slasher flicks that crowd theaters each year. What’s more, it isn’t just another CSI, Criminal Minds, or Law & Order: CI, either. It is something far more disturbing. So disturbing in fact that it puts even the likes of Psycho to shame. That is just one part of what makes The Voices a piece that even horror fans will find so unsettling that they can’t help but watch. Star Ryan Reynolds’ work in the role of Jerry adds even more interest to the movie. Being that he is more familiar with comedies and action flicks than horrors in large part, this movie was a big risk for him. And he succeeded in a big way here. Simply put, his work in this movie is the kind of work that will give audiences nightmares. Rounding out the movie in whole is its bonus material. The standard “making of” featurette is there. There is also a look at how Reynolds brought to life the voices of Jerry’s dog and cat as well as deleted and extended scenes among other bonuses. All three elements pose their own part in the strange success of this so grotesque and troubling that one can’t ignore it movie. Collectively, they make this movie one of the most original and strangely entertaining movies of this year.

The Voices is one of the most unsettling and disturbing horror flicks to come along in a very long time. The story follows Jerry (Ryan Reynolds), a schizophrenic who murders a trio of his female co-workers. It is obvious in committing the murders that Jerry’s schizophrenia has almost completely overtaken him as he has almost no sense of morals in regards to his horrible, grotesque acts. While he does show great separation from reality throughout most of the story, he shows that he does have some sense of what he’s doing albeit not until the story’s thrilling climax. It is one of the most original stories to come along within the horror genre this year if not the most original. Instead of just being another run-of-the-mill, cookie cutter slasher flick that throws out a bunch of blood and gore for shock value, it uses it to illustrate just how far gone Jerry proves to be. The comic elements are darkly funny. And audiences will find themselves to be ashamed of themselves for laughing at the comic elements in question. But they serve, too to illustrate the depth of Jerry’s mentality or rather lack thereof. Considering all of this, the script behind The Voices proves that it is not only not just another carbon copy slasher flick but that it even stands out from the likes of Criminal Minds, Law & Order: CI, CSI, Dexter, and any of those TV crime dramas. It proves to be something much deeper and more unsettling right to the end. It is a work that is so deep, unsettling and grotesque that audiences won’t be able to help but watch it.

The story behind The Voices proves undoubtedly that this movie is one of the year’s most original horror flicks if not the best of the genre. It stands out completely from its big screen slasher flick counterparts and even all of the crime dramas that over-populate television’s broadcast and cable networks today. It is just one part of the whole of this movie that makes it one of those works that audiences can’t help but watch. Lead star Ryan Reynolds’ work in the role of Jerry adds even more reason to watch this movie. Anyone that is familiar with Reynolds’ body of work know that he is more commonly associated with comedy and action flicks than horror. Aside from this new movie, Reynolds is also starring in another new thriller from Lionsgate titled The Captive. Other than that movie, the only other well-known experience that he has in the horror/thriller genre is the 2005 remake of The Amityville Horror. Considering his overall lack of experience in the horror/thriller realm in comparison to his work in comedies and actions, Reynolds is to be highly commended for his work in this movie. His performance as Jerry makes Norman Bates look like a saint as he basically chops up and disembowels (yes, disembowels) the three women and puts their remains in Tupperware and pizza boxes. This is the kind of behavior that puts even the crimes from Se7en and Silence of the Lambs to shame. Reynolds is especially frightening as he finally begins to realize (without his medications) that there is something seriously wrong with him and confronts his psychotherapist Dr. Warren (Jacki Weaver–Silver Linings Playbook, Gracepoint, The Five-Year Engagement) in the movie’s climax. He knows what he has done and is now desperate for some kind of help, any help. His reaction here is especially interesting because it shows that Jerry is not entirely gone and has at least some sense of humanity left in him. It is just one more of so many moments in which Reynolds shines in his role and proves his surprising versatility as an actor. That surprisingly entertaining portrayal shows both Reynolds’ potential as an actor worthy of being taken seriously and one more reason that audiences won’t be able to help but watch The Voices.

The script behind The Voices and lead actor Ryan Reynolds’ portrayal of schizophrenic killer Jerry are two clear reasons that audiences won’t be able to help but watch this sleeper hit of a horror flick. Both are solid reasons that audiences won’t be able to help but watch, too. They are not all that should be taken into consideration in what makes this movie surprisingly worth the watch, either. The material included with the movie as bonus features makes it even more worth the watch. More specifically, the bonus “Making of” featurette and (surprisingly) deleted scenes make the movie more worth the watch. Audiences learn in the bonus “making of” featurette how those behind the cameras brought Jerry’s four-legged friends to life and the real feelings of the cast among many other tidbits. It’s interesting to learn that those behind the cameras actually took a real dog and cat, and completely reconstructed their heads via CG to make them talk. They didn’t just go the cheesy route and make it look like they were talking. The special effects crew discussed how they went to painstaking efforts to make the animals look as real as possible as they talked. Those efforts paid off in spades. Just as interesting to hear is that most of the cast echoed the sentiment that they were drawn to the movie because of its original script. That is a powerful statement considering that Lionsgate is not typically thought of as one of Hollywood’s Power Five Studios. The deleted scenes hold their own importance as bonus material. There are some scenes presented that audiences will agree deserved to be cut. In another case such as when Jerry meets his now deceased, abusive father and discusses his [Jerry’s] fate, one can’t help but wonder if maybe such a scene should have been left in the movie. The same can be said of the scene in which Fiona’s remains are discovered by the police. It is actually a scene that really could have been left in or taken out. Its removal neither hinders nor boosts the story in any way. But it is a good part of the whole story even in its short few moments. It’s one more example of how the deleted scenes presented here help to enhance The Voices and prove that sometimes a movie’s bonus material can in fact make a movie better and even as worth the watch as any major name horror and/or thriller.

The bonus material included with Lionsgate’s home release of The Voices actually goes a long way toward making this movie so surprisingly worth the watch even as unsettling and grotesque as it proves to be. The same can be said of lead actor Ryan Reynolds’ portrayal of Jerry, and of course the movie’s script. All three elements combined, The Voices proves itself to be one of the most surprisingly intriguing and original works to be released so far both in the horror world and in terms of movies overall. It is a movie that because of not just its unsettling nature but its depth that audiences won’t be able to help but watch. It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered online direct from Lionsgate’s online store both on DVD and Blu-ray at http://www.lionsgateshop.com/search_results.asp?Search=The%20Voices. More information on this and other titles from Lionsgate is available online now at:

Website: http://www.lionsgate.com

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

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.

MLB Productions Releasing New Babe Ruth Documentary This Spring

Courtesy:  Lionsgate/A&E Networks/A&E Home Video/MLB Productions

Courtesy: Lionsgate/A&E Networks/A&E Home Video/MLB Productions

This spring, MLB Productions will examine the life and career of one of baseball’s greatest figures when it releases American Hercules: Babe Ruth.

American Hercules: Babe Ruth will be released on DVD on Tuesday, May 19th. It will be released in partnership with Lionsgate and A&E Networks. The film, narrated by veteran actor Martin Sheen, examines Ruth’s life and career from his early days as a youth in Baltimore to his time as a member of both the Red Sox and the Yankees. Along the way, it examines why Ruth remains such a revered figure among both baseball players and fans alike to this day. It does all of this through the use of new psychological and historical perspectives on Ruth the man and Ruth the legend.

American Hercules: Babe Ruth will retail for MSRP of $19.98. It can be ordered online via MLB Production’s online store at http://shop.mlb.com. More information on this and other titles from MLB Productions is available online now at:

Website: http://mlbproductions.com

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

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.

Lionsgate Announces Home Release Date For Mortdecai

Courtesy:  Lionsgate

Courtesy: Lionsgate

The annual summer movie season is almost upon us. And everyone knows what that means. It means another summer full of prequels, sequels, and remakes. Thankfully for those looking for an alternative to that mass of movies, Lionsgate has just the thing.

Lionsgate announced Monday that its new action/comedy Mortdecai, released in theaters earlier this year, will make its way onto store shelves right at the start of the summer movie season. The movie, which stars Johnny Depp (Pirates of the Caribbean 1 – 4, Once Upon A Time In Mexico, Alice in Wonderland) Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron Man 1 – 3, The Avengers, Shakespeare in Love), Ewan McGregor (Star Wars Episode I – III, Trainspotting, Big Fish), Olivia Munn (Miles From Tomorrowland, The Newsroom, Attack of the Show!), Jeff Goldblum (Jurassic Park, Jurassic Park: The Lost World, Independence Day) and Paul Bettany (Iron Man 1 – 3, The Avengers, A Beautiful Mind). The story follows Depp’s Mortdecai after he is enlisted to track down a priceless, painting that has been stolen. It just so happens that Mortdecai is enlisted by his former rival Inspector Martland (McGregor) for the investigation. While Mortdecai isn’t entirely trusting of the Inspector’s intentions, he needs to the money both for himself and to keep his wife Johanna (Paltrow) happy. With the help of his servant Jock (Bettany), Mortdecai travels the globe, facing terrorists, angry Russians and much more as he hunts down the stolen painting.

David Koepp directs the film, which is based on the novel Don’t Point That Thing at Me from The Mortdecai Trilogy. It will be released via Digital HD and On Demand on Tuesday, May 5th, and Blu-ray + Digital HD combo pack on May 12 alongside a DVD + Digital combo pack. The Blu-ray + Digital HD combo pack and DVD + Digital combo pack will include a pair of bonuses. The included bonuses are:

  • Stolen Moments: On The Set Of Mortdecai

 

  • The Art of Noise: Making Music for Mortdecai

Audiences can check out a trailer for Mortdecai online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c_01JbPZD3g&feature=youtu.be and via the movie’s official website at http://www.mortdecaimovie.com. Both the Blu-ray + Digital HD combo pack and DVD + Digital combo pack can be purchased via the movie’s official website, too. Audiences can also get more information on the movie’s upcoming home release via its Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/MortdecaiTheFilm. 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.

Dying Of The Light Is One Of Nicholas Cage’s Rare Hits

Courtesy:  Lionsgate

Courtesy: Lionsgate

Nicholas Cage has never been known as one of Hollywood’s top names over the course of his career. Cage has some hits under his belt including the likes of the National Treasure franchise, Amos & Andy, and Face/Off just to name a handful. He has also had his share of misses throughout this career. Some of his lesser films include the likes of Bringing out the Dead, Family Man, and Marvel’s Ghost Rider franchise among so many others. Left Behind one of his most recent works was soundly panned by both members of the press and audiences. That movie was released just last year alongside his rather intriguing anti-action/thriller of sorts Dying of the Light. Dying of the Light, released via Lionsgate, is the polar opposite of so many thrillers currently in the market today. One could argue in watching Dying of the Light that it is in fact less an action/thriller and more an allegory of man’s own fight against his own mortality. That argument could be made through just one watch. Writer/director Paul Schrader just happened to use a typical action/thriller backdrop as a means to tell his allegory. Schrader balanced both elements relatively well in his script, proving why the script is the central reason audiences should watch Dying of the Light at least once. Adding to the reasons to check out Dying of the Light is the companion material included as bonuses. The interviews with Schrader, Cage, and his cast mates are the most important of the movie’s bonuses as they shed extra light on the movie and everyone’s reasoning for taking on the project. The deleted scenes are just as important to the whole, as audiences will see. They add their own interest to the story, too. Both of these elements strengthen the argument that a movie, which might not have done so well in theaters, could prove to be better than thought in its home release. Last but not least worth noting of the movie is its pacing. There are some that seem to feel the pacing was choppy at best. But that isn’t the case. The story’s pacing is at a rate that will leave no one feeling (pardon the pun) left behind. Being that no viewer will feel lost, audiences will in turn have an easier time following Schrader’s story and hopefully see for themselves that regardless of fondness for cage or his works, that Dying of the Light is still a movie worth at least one watch.

Dying of the Light is easily one of the most intriguing works in which Nicholas Cage has ever starred. That is saying quite a bit considering his decades-long body of work. Depending on who one asks, this could be good, bad, or a little bit of both. The very fact that responses are so varied proves that Dying of the Light is a movie worth at least one watch, regardless of one’s opinion of Nicholas Cage and his body of work. The central reason that opinions have proven to be so mixed is the movie’s script. A single glance at the story’s synopsis leads one to think that Dying of the Light is an action/thriller. But the reality of the movie is that it is in fact more a deeply introspective drama and an allegory about man’s fight against his own mortality. The script sees Cage’s Evan Lake in an Ahab-esque situation, hunting down a terrorist who years before had held him captive and tortured him all while Lake was fighting his own deteriorating mental state. More specifically, Lake is falling victim to dementia. On the other side, the terrorist, Muhammad Banir (Aleander Karim), is revealed to be fighting his own end as his health is also worsening. Because both men are suffering from their own debilitating conditions, it leads to a showdown that no one would have expected. That first encounter isn’t the pair’s last either, not to give away too much. Banir’s assertion as to why he had been so hard to find surprisingly makes one actually feel a certain amount of sympathy for him just as much as for Lake as he battles his own ailment. While it is central to the success of the movie’s script, it is only one part of what makes the script so important to the presentation in whole. There are other subtle elements of the script that should be noted, too such as the story’s overall low level of violence and its equally subtle filling of what could have been one major plot hole. Both of these elements should be noted, too in the whole of the movie’s script.

The story of Lake and Banir fighting their own internal battles all while facing off against one another is central to the success of Dying of the Light. While it is key to the script’s success, there are more subtle elements to the whole that makes the script work as well as it does. Schrader’s avoids in his script, the violence that is all too common to most action flicks. That isn’t to say that there is no violence in the script. But the nonstop shoot-em-up scenes and explosions that are standard in those movies are nearly nonexistent here. There is only one major gunfight scene. And then there is the movie’s final minutes, which again won’t be given away here. Even there, the script could have called for much more violence and bloodshed. But Schrader avoided that. To that end, it makes the movie that much more worth the watch. On a related note, there is a scene in which Evan and his protégé Milton Schulz (Anton Yelchin) are discussing how lake would get close enough to Banir. Lake points out that he knows he would be frisked so he can’t just go up into Banir’s place and shoot it up. In only a matter of lines, Schrader has managed to fill what would have otherwise been a major plot hole with the utmost ease. Schader’s handling of both elements combines with his handling of the script’s central story to prove unquestionably why the script is key to the success of Dying of the Light and in turn why the script makes the movie worth at least one watch.

The work that went into bringing to life Dying of the Light’s script proved worth it in the end. That is because the script behind this movie makes it well worth at least one watch. It is just one part of what makes the movie worth the watch, though. Now that it has come home on DVD and Blu-ray/DVD combo, it can be said that the bonus material included with the movie makes the movie even more worth the watch. The bonus deleted scenes and interviews with Schrader, Cage, and his cast mates are most worth noting. More often than not, deleted scenes included with movies in their home releases are more or less obligatory additions to said releases. In the case of Dying of the Light the movie’s deleted scenes actually make the movie all the more worth the watch. Those that watch the movie and then its deleted scenes will see a number of scenes that were justifiably cut from the final film and those that really should have been kept it. It’s rare to say such a thing about any movie’s deleted scenes. But it is true in this case. The bonus interviews give even more insight not just into the movie but what drew each individual involved in the film to said work. Also discussed are the thoughts of the cast members regarding one another. Given the remarks in question seem rehearsed at points. But at others, they actually seem genuine. So either way one looks at it, the bonus features included with Dying of the Light still prove in the long run to be collectively just as important to the movie’s success as its script. And as important as both elements prove to be to the movie in whole, there is still one more piece of the puzzle to analyze here. That last piece is the movie’s pacing.

The pacing of the story behind Dying of the Light has been noted by some viewers to be choppy. That is rather interesting considering that in this critic’s view, that is hardly the case. As a matter of fact, the story’s pacing is such that no viewer will be felt *ahem* left behind. As a mater of fact, the story moves at what feels like a rather standard pace, especially in comparison to other more well-known action/thrillers and dramas. The story’s clear scene transitions help with that, too. Because the scene transitions are so clear and the story’s pacing is in fact so stable it rounds back to the movie’s script again, making the movie overall more accessible for audiences. That accessibility makes easier the appreciation of the script for all of its minutia, from the minor details of the writing to the scene transitions themselves and more. The end result of that appreciation is the realization once again that Dying of the Light is indeed a movie well worth at least one watch.

Whether for its script, the bonus material included in its recent home release, or for its pacing, Dying of the Light proves in the end to be one of Nicholas Cage’s more surprisingly intriguing movies. It could be argued with a thorough watch to be one of his few hits albeit a subdued hit. That aside, it still proves to be not just one of his more intriguing starring vehicles, but also a movie surprisingly worth at least one watch. It is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online direct from Lionsgate’s online store both on DVD and Blu-ray/Digital combo pack at http://www.lionsgateshop.com/search_results.asp?Search=dying%20of%20the%20light. More information on this and other titles from Lionsgate is available online at:

Website: http://www.lionsgate.com

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

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