Magnolia Pictures’ ‘Little Men’ Is A Big Little Indie Flick

Courtesy: Magnolia Pictures

A little more than three months have passed since Magnolia Pictures released its heartfelt indie flick Little Men.  The nearly 90-minute movie is a heartfelt work that will appeal to diehard indie flick fans and to the genre’s more casual consumers.  That is due in part to the movie’s story.  This will be discussed shortly.  The movie’s editing is just as important to examine as its story in analyzing its overall presentation.  It will be discussed later.  The work of the movie’s cast rounds out is most important elements.  It is directly connected to the bonus “Making of” featurette that is included in the movie’s extras.  They will be discussed later, too.  Each element is important in its own right to the movie’s overall presentation.  All things considered, Little Men proves in the end that sometimes, big things truly do come in small packages and that indie flicks can be just as entertaining as any big screen blockbuster.

Magnolia Pictures’ recently released drama Little Men was one of last year’s top new independent releases.  It is proof that sometimes indie flicks can be just as entertaining as their more well-known counterparts.  That is due in part to the movie’s story.  The story at the center of this movie follows the budding friendship between Jake (Theo Taplitz) and Tony (Michael Barbieri—Spiderman: Homecoming, The Dark Tower) as their parents bicker over the rent being paid by Tony’s mother.  The boys’ friendship drives home the oft used message that sometimes kids are more grown up than their adult counterparts.  What’s interesting here is that as easy as it would have been for writer/director Ira Sachs and co-writer Mauricio Zacharias to go over the top with the drama, they didn’t let it go that over-the-top route.  If this movie had been accepted by one of Hollywood’s “Big Six,” there’s no doubt it would have been turned into some overly dramatic, unnecessarily heart wrenching piece that would have quickly become forgotten weeks after its release.  Thankfully that didn’t happen here.  Instead, Sachs and Zacharias expertly controlled the story’s dramatic elements from start to finish.  The end result is a story that is powerful in its simplicity, and that as a result, is entertaining and engaging from start to finish.  It is just part of what makes this movie so impressive.  The movie’s editing is just as important to discuss as its story.

The editing within Little Men is just as important to discuss in analyzing its presentation as the story itself.  That is because it keeps the movie’s pacing solid throughout the course of its 85-minute run time.  Audiences will note that the story is told through a series of segments that are short yet tell just enough of the story within each to keep audiences engaged.  It’s like watching a play on screen without the feel of a play.  Go figure, star Greg Kinear (Little Miss Sunshine, Ghost Town, As Good As It Gets) plays a hard on his luck thespian.  Whether or not that connection was intentional is anyone’s guess as it isn’t discussed in the movie’s bonus material.  Regardless, it can be said that the short yet concise scenes crafted through the movie’s editing are handled expertly.  When that attention to detail is coupled with the movie’s fully believable story, the two elements show even more why this movie stands out and why it is well worth the watch.  They are not its only important elements, either.  The work of the movie’s cast rounds out its most important elements.

The story at the center of Little Men and its editing are both key pieces of this surprisingly enjoyable indie flick’s overall presentation.  They work both by themselves and collectively to make this movie a surprisingly enjoyable offering from Magnolia Pictures.  They are not its only key elements.  The work of the movie’s cast is important to examine, too.  The cast’s work on camera is so important to note because of the subtlety in each cast member’s work.  It has already been noted that rather than let this movie’s story get out of control with its dramatic elements, its writers tamp down that drama.  The cast follows suit, opting for the same subtlety in its acting.  A key example comes as Jake and Tony agree to their vow of silence against their parents.  This would have been a moment for any big screen actor (and writer) to go overboard.  That didn’t happen here.  Again, that didn’t happen here, though.  The simple fashion in which the boys agreed to the vow felt so natural that it makes one believe that it is something one would see in an everyday setting.  Brian (Kinear) and Leonor’s (Paulina Garcia)’s discussions on the rent are also examples of the importance of the cast’s work to the movie’s presentation.  It would have been just as easy for the pair to go over the top as Taplitz and Barbieri when they took their vow of silence.  Yet, they didn’t go over the top either.  The simple subtle work on the part of both actors makes both performances just as believable as those presented by the actors’ younger counterparts and those of the rest of the cast.  All things considered in terms of the cast’s work, this element puts the finishing touch on a presentation that was already worth watching to begin with.  The discussions on the cast’s work in the movie’s bonus “making of featurette” explains why the subtleties in the cast’s work are so believable.  It is the very last positive touch on a work that true cinephiles will appreciate.  When it is joined with the cast’s work, that of the movie’s editing team of Mollie Goldstein and Affonso Goncalves, and the work of the movie’s writing team, the whole of this little indie flick that could proves to be a work that proves big things can and do often come in “little” packages.

Magnolia Pictures’ indie human drama Little Men is proof that sometimes indie flicks can be just as entertaining as their more well-known counterparts if not more so.  It mixes a simple, believable story with expert editing and wholly believable and engaging acting for a presentation that was one of last year’s top new independent movies.  It can be purchased online now here.  More information on Little Men and other titles from Magnolia Pictures is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.magnoliapictures.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/magnoliapics

 

 

 

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Hiddleston Shines In Magnet Releasing’s New Drama ‘High Rise’

Courtesy: Magnet Releasing/Magnolia Pictures

Courtesy: Magnet Releasing/Magnolia Pictures

Tom Hiddleston has made quite the name for himself in recent years, starring as Loki, the evil brother of Thor is Marvel’s Avengers movies (including the standalone Thor movies).  He has also been one of the key names tossed around to potentially replace Daniel Craig as the next James Bond. That could actually be a good choice in the eyes of this critic.  While Hiddleston has some major movies under his belt and possibly on the horizon they aren’t his only credits.  Earlier this year Hiddleston also starred in independent studio Magnet Releasing’s new art flick High Rise.  This movie is a huge departure for Hiddleston from his previous offerings.  Considering this, his acting in this movie is clearly worth noting.  Even as impressive as Hiddleston’s acting (and that of his cast mates) is in High Rise, the movie is far from perfect.  The movie’s story proves to be a matter that is certain to divide audiences.  That will be discussed shortly.  Its  pacing is just as problematic especially considering the movie’s two-hour run time.  There is no ignoring this issue.  All things considered High Rise is not a movie for everyone, including Tom Hiddleston’s fans.  But it is worth at least one watch for those who are able to sit through the whole thing.

Tom Hiddleston’s new indie art flick High Rise is a huge departure for the Avengers star. That is due in large part to the movie’s story and its leader character, Dr. Laing.  Hiddleston’s work (and that of his cast mates) is certain to unite audiences in agreement of his talents.  Hiddleston completely embraces Dr. Laing’s personality throughout the movie.  As Dr. Laing tries to navigate the intricacies of the building’s clearly defined social structure the stresses of making that effort becomes increasingly clear. And Hiddleston handles the growing stress on Laing with the fullest expertise.  Even as the building’s social structure collapses around him, He keeps Laing completely calm even though it is clear that he is being emotionally and psychologically impacted by it all.  Hiddleston’s cast mate Luke Evans (Fast & Furious 6, The Raven, Dracula Untold) is just as impressive as Wilder.  He is the perfect contradiction to Laing thanks to his…well…wild personality.  Evans is perfect in the role, really showing clearly how easily the separation of classes and resources can create a negative scenario.  Jeremy Irons is just as impressive as Royal, too.  One could go on pointing out the positives presented by the rest of the cast.  Needless to say, the combined efforts of all involved make the cast’s work one of this movie’s rare bright spots.  As much as Hiddleston’s work (and that of his cast mates) does to make High Rise worth the watch, the movie’s pacing sadly offsets it.

Tom Hiddleston’s work as Dr. Laing in High Rise is undeniably the movie’s most important positive.  The same can be said of his cast mates’ work on camera, too.  As important as it proves to be in making the movie worth at least one watch, it can’t be said that the movie is perfect.  That is due to the movie’s pacing.  The movie clocks in at roughly two hours.  Thanks to the story’s pacing, that run time feels far longer.  Whether screenwriter Amy Jump directly adapted J.G. Ballard’s original novel or not, the movie’s pacing is still extremely problematic.  It seems like the breakdown of the building’s social structure just takes far longer than it should.  Even when it does finally happen, it feels as if the consequences of that breakdown take just as long.  Considering this, some audiences might find themselves fast forwarding through certain points.  That clearly exhibits why the movie’s pacing is so problematic.  Even as problematic as it is, it doesn’t make the movie completely unwatchable.  The movie’s central story and the approach to the story couples with the work of the movie’s cast to, again, make the movie worth at least one watch.

Tom Hiddleston’s new indie drama High Rise is not a perfect movie.  That is evidenced through the movie’s problematic pacing.  As problematic as the movie’s pacing proves to be, it is not enough to make the movie unwatchable.  The work of the movie’s cast makes the movie worth at least one watch.  The same can be said of the movie’s story and the approach taken to the story.  The movie’s story is an over the top artsy commentary on capitalism gone awry and the consequences of  trying to control social classes.  It is definitely an original approach to such commentary.  There is no denying that.  But the fact of the matter is that said approach is so over the top that it will, in itself, likely turn off any number of viewers.  That aside, it is still a story worth seeing at least once.  Viewers should be warned that there is an extreme amount of sex and violence throughout the course of the two-hour movie and a healthy amount of nudity, too.  So it definitely earned its “R” rating and then some.  Even with this in mind, and the fact that the story will divide audiences, it is still serves to help the movie stand on solid ground, if not high ground.

High Rise, Magnet Releasing’s new offering starring superstar Tom Hiddleston, is not a movie for everyone.  It is unquestionably an art film, and a total departure for Hiddleston.  That being the case, it was a huge risk for Hiddleston.  For his sake, it was a risk worth taking.  That is because his work on camera and that of his cast mates saves the movie even with its problematic pacing and divisive story.  It might not go on to become one of Hiddleston’s most well-known works.  But it is worth at least one watch.  It is available now in stores and online. More information on this and other titles from Magnet Releasing is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.magnetreleasing.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/magnetreleasing

 

 

 

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Synhronicity Will Impress Sci-Fi And Noir Fans ‘Time’ And Again

Courtesy: Magnolia Home Entertainment

Courtesy: Magnolia Home Entertainment

The summer movie season is officially upon us once again.  And once again Hollywood is offering up yet another overly bloated crop of prequels, sequels, remakes and spin-offs.  Captain America: Civil War proved to be a flash in the pan.  DC’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice fared just as poorly.  And X-Men: Apocalypse, while out now, received less than stellar reviews by critics ahead of its release.  The rest of this year’s summer blockbusters don’t look overly promising in terms of content or longevity either.  Considering all of this one can only ask if there are any truly worthwhile alternatives to those movies out there.  Thankfully the answer is yes.  One of those alternatives comes in the form of the indie sci-fi flick Synchronicity.  It was released just recently (May 17th to be exact) direct to DVD, Blu-ray, and Digital formats by Magnolia Pictures.  It is a good offering both for sci-fi fans and noir fans.  This is due in part to the movie’s writing.  This will be discussed shortly.  The work of the movie’s cast is just as important as its writing.  That will be discussed later.  The bonus material that is included with the movie plays its own important part in the movie’s overall presentation.  It rounds out the most important of the movie’s elements.  In the end, each of the noted elements proves important in its own right to the movie’s presentation.  Collectively, they show clearly why Synchronicity is one of 2016’s top new indie offerings and potentially one of the year’s best new movies overall.

Magnolia Pictures’ new sci-fi flick Synchronicity is one of the year’s top new indie offerings.  It is also potentially one of the year’s top new overall cinematic offerings.  That is especially the case considering how little Hollywood’s major studios have offered, and how little they have to offer this year.  This argument is proven in part by the movie’s writing.  This applies both to the movie’s central story and its secondary element.  Writer/Director Jacob Gentry has crafted a script for this movie that is more than just another run-of-the-mill sci-fi flick.  Yes, it is rooted in time travel, parallel universes, and other theoretical physics concepts.  But thanks to Gentry’s attention to detail it doesn’t allow itself to become bogged down in discussions on those concepts.  Rather it only uses them as the basis for Jim’s (Chad McKnight—My Super Psycho Sweet 16, The Signal, Last Goodbye) adventure.  The story in question centers on a machine built by Jim and his friends Chuck (AJ Bowen—The Signal, You’re Next, The Sacrament) and Matty (Scott Pythress—The Signal, What To Expect When You’re Expecting, Allegiant) that has the ability to open a wormhole and thus allow for time travel.  What they don’t realize until later is that it allows for more than time travel.  That will be left for audiences to discover for themselves.  What happens as a result of the wormhole opening will keep audiences completely engaged and entertained from beginning to end.  It is only one part of the script that makes the writing so intriguing.  The theme that Gentry has incorporated into the movie as a secondary element is just as important to the movie’s writing as the movie’s central story.

The story at the center of Synchronicity is in itself an important part of the movie’s writing.  It is not the only important part of that writing however.  Gentry has also included a bit of philosophy into the movie’s script that ties directly into that story.  That bit of philosophy in question is centered on the role of fate in the universe (or universes).  As Jim discovers over time no matter how many times he goes back things still turn out the same for the most part.  Yes, there are some minor differences with each journey.  But by and large the outcome is still the same.  The outcome in question will be left for audiences to discover for themselves just as with the revelation of the wormhole’s abilities.  Audiences will appreciate in noting this underlying theme that Gentry doesn’t allow it to overpower the movie’s central story just as he doesn’t let the very real theoretical physics concepts overpower it either.  Keeping all of this in mind, the writing behind Synchronicity proves in whole to be a hugely important part of the movie’s presentation.  It shows clearly in and of itself why Synchronicity is such a worthwhile alternative to this year’s major summer blockbusters.  The writing is just one of the elements that shows why Synchronicity is a worthwhile alternatives to this year’s major summer blockbusters.  The work of the movie’s cast is just as worth noting as its writing in its presentation.

The writing behind Synchronicity is a hugely important part of the movie’s presentation.  Thanks to the work of Writer/Director Jacob Gentry, the sci-fi flick’s central story is expertly balanced with the concepts at its base.  It is just as well-balanced with its underlying philosophical concept of fate.  It all combines to make the movie’s writing an undeniably important part of the movie’s presentation.  The writing is just one important part of that presentation, though.  The work of the movie’s cast is just as important to its presentation as the writing.  Chad McKnight is wonderful as lead character Jim Beale.  It is intriguing to watch his gradual psychological decline as he keeps going back through the wormhole over and over again.  At first it isn’t clear what is causing that decline.  But as the story progresses it becomes more evident.  And McKnight does a good job of not letting that breakdown go over the top at any one point.  He makes audiences want to see just how deeply Jim is being affected psychologically by what is going on.  McKnight’s co-star Brianne Davis is just as fun to watch as the mysterious Abby.  Right from the story’s outset she leaves audiences wondering just whose side she is on.  Is she on Jim’s side?  Is she on Kraus’ side?   Or is she on her own side?  Viewers do finally find out her true intentions in the end.  That revelation will move audiences very deeply.  That is thanks in large part to the way in which her intentions are revealed, pointing out again Writer/Director Jacob Gentry’s talents.  Speaking of Gentry once again, his bonus interview, and those with McKnight and Davis, serve to add to appreciation for each individual’s work.  They aren’t the movie’s only bonuses or worthwhile bonuses for that matter.  Gentry’s commentary throughout the movie couples with those interviews to show why the movie’s bonus material is just as important to its presentation as the movie’s writing and the cast’s work on camera.

Jacob Gentry’s work in developing Synchronicity’s script and his cast’s work in interpreting the script are both equally important in examining what makes the movie’s overall presentation so interesting.  While both elements are undeniably important to the movie’s presentation they are not its only important element.  The bonus material that came with the movie is just as important to its presentation as those noted elements.  The interviews with McKnight and Davis do their own part in helping to set the groundwork for understanding and appreciating the movie’s script.  They do just as much to illustrate what makes their characters so important in the overall story.  On the other side of the proverbial coin, Gentry’s bonus interview sheds its own light on the movie’s script, including the script’s previously noted underlying philosophical theme.  Viewers get even more insight while taking in the movie with the bonus commentary from Gentry.  Right off the bat Gentry notes in his commentary that his aim was to raft a movie that felt like it was written in 1982.  That would explain the movie’s decidedly 80s new wave style soundtrack and its retro-futuristic look, which Gentry also discusses at length.  On a related note, Gentry discusses the influence of countless movies and directors on the different camera angles, effects and more on his own directing style.  The movies in question include the likes of Poltergeist, Logan’s Run, Double Indemnity, and so many others.  Among the directors cited in Gentry’s commentary are: Steven Spielberg, Ridley and Tony Scott, and others.  One of the Spielberg mentions comes with a note of certain lighting effects in Synchronicity being influenced by Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  The connection isn’t obvious at first.  But in hearing Gentry discuss the influence in the noted moment it really becomes clear.  For all of the serious discussions that Gentry shares throughout the movie he isn’t without his humorous side, too.  One of the funnier of his discussions comes as he discusses the movie’s cast.  He notes about Chad McKnight being tapped for the movie’s lead that it was his way of paying McKnight back for casting him as a dysfunctional character in his previous movies.  One can’t help but laugh alongside Gentry for that sentiment.  His comment about Brianne Davis having a certain Barbara Stanwick characteristic about her in her performance is interesting in another way.  Considering how many different movies that Gentry prattles on about in his commentary few if any are classics from Hollywood’s golden era.  So for him to put Davis alongside such a renowned actress is quite the compliment to Davis.  All of these insights serve to paint the picture of Gentry as a director and his mindset in creating Synchronicity.  They are just some of the insights that he shares over the course of the movie’s hour and forty-minute run time.  Those insights couple with the insights noted here and the movie’s bonus interviews to show in whole why Synchronicity’s bonus material is just as important as its writing and acting to its overall presentation.  All things considered Synchronicity may never gain the attention or acclaim of its counterparts churned out by Hollywood’s major studios.  But truth be told it is just as deserving to be seen as those movies if not more so.

Synchronicity is on the surface just an indie flick.  But in examining it deeper, as has been done here, it proves to be more than just another indie flick.  It is a movie that takes the standard sci-fi setup (and noir setup) and sets it on its ear, just as Gentry notes in his bonus interview.  It presents a story that is original believe it or not.  That is because it doesn’t allow its very real theoretical physics concepts to dominate it.  And its theme of accepting fate is one that works both in regards to philosophy and science.  Chad McKnight and Brianne Davis are just as important to the movie’s overall presentation as the work put in by Jacob Gentry.  Both actors put in an equally impressive performance from beginning to end here.  And the appreciation for their work is increased in watching their respective bonus interviews.  Those interviews and that of Gentry couple with Gentry’s bonus commentary to make the movie’s bonus material just as important to the movie as its writing and the cast’s acting.  Each element proves integral in its own right to the movie’s overall presentation.  Altogether they show in whole why Synchronicity is one of the best alternatives to this year’s overly bloated crop of summer blockbusters.  In turn they present a movie that is one of the year’s top new independent movies and even potentially one of the year’s top new movies overall.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on this and other titles from Magnolia Pictures is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://www.magpictures.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/magnoliapics

 

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks an “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.

Magnolia Pictures Moves Up Synchronicity’s Release Date

Magnolia Films has moved up the release date for its new movie Synchronicity.

The studio’s independent sci-fi thriller will now be available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital rental/download on Tuesday, May 10th.  That is one week earlier than its previous release date of Tuesday, May 17th.  It will be released by Magnolia Home Entertainment under The Magnet Label.  The movie centers on brilliant physicist Jim Beale (Chad McKnight–ER, The Signal, My Super Psycho Sweet 16) as he unveils the world’s first actual working time machine.  It doesn’t take long for trouble to follow.  He ends up having to protect his invention from his largest benefactor Klaus Meisner (Michael Ironside—Top Gun, Total Recall, The Machinist).  The only way that he can do that is to travel back in time and prove that his invention works.  Even that journey is fraught with trouble as he meets the beautiful but mysterious Abby (Brianne Davis—Jarhead, True Blood, Hollywood Heights).  Beale has reason to believe that beneath her beautiful exterior, she is hiding a secret—that she is working with Klaus in order to gain control of Beale’s time machine.  In the end what Beale discovers could very well destroy both his present and future.  Audiences can view a trailer for Synchronicity online now at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E1el06Ic5Ts.

 

Courtesy:  Magnolia Pictures

Courtesy: Magnolia Pictures

 

Synchronicity will be available in stores and online on Tuesday, May 10th on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital rental/download.  The Blu-ray will retail for MSRP of $29.98 and DVD for $26.98.  It will also include a handful of bonus features, which are listed below.  More information on this and other titles from Magnolia Home Entertainment is available online now at:

 

 

Website: http://www.magpictures.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MagnoliaPics

 

 

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, Others Offer Solid Alternatives To Hollywood’s Power Five Studios In 2015

Looking at numbers from the box office this year, one would imagine that theaters did quite well. In terms of financial figures, they did. But in terms of really worthwhile offerings, theaters and studios clearly did not do that well. That is because much like 2014 the major theatrical offerings churned out this year were prequels, sequels, and remakes. Next year looks to be sadly much the same in that aspect. Luckily for all of the brainless, unoriginal content churned out by Hollywood’s major studios this year, audiences were offered some viable alternatives. Many of those alternatives came courtesy of Lionsgate and other independent studios. Magnolia Films’ dramedy Life’s A Breeze is just one of the noted films that proved to be one of the year’s best new movies. The independently released buddy flick A Walk in the Woods is another of those great alternatives. IFC’s Match and Manglehorn aso proved to be viable alternatives to all of the prequels, sequels, and remakes churned out by Hollywood’s Power Five Studios. And who would have thought that Shaun The Sheep: The Movie would prove to be so enjoyable, too? There’s no dialogue at all. What’s more it’s a claymation flick. But it has so much heart. It is one that the whole family should see together at least once. It is just one more movie that made it onto this critic’s list of the year’s Top 10 New Movies. Speaking of that list the following collection of titles makes up the Phil’s Picks 2015 Top 10 New Movies. And as always the top 10 make up the main body of the list while the bottom five each receive honorable mention for a total of fifteen titles. Enough rambling. Without any further ado, here for your consideration dear readers, is the Phil’s Picks 2015 Top 10 New Movies.

PHIL’S PICKS 2015 TOP 10 NEW MOVIES

1. A WALK IN THE WOODS

2. MATCH

3. SHAUN THE SHEEP: THE MOVIE

4. TURKEY HOLLOW

5. MR. HOLMES

6. LIFE’S A BREEZE

7. SPIKE ISLAND

8. LIFE’S A BREEZE

9. BELIEVE ME

10. SPARE PARTS

11. MANGLEHORN

12. SHIPS

13. GRACE

14. WHILE WE’RE YOUNG

15. DOG YEARS

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Sunshine Superman Is A Soaring Success

Courtesy: Magnolia Pictures

Courtesy: Magnolia Pictures

Base (Building, Antenna, Span, and Earth) jumping is one of the favorite activities of adrenaline junkies around the world. Even those that prefer to keep their feet on solid ground (including this critic) have to agree that there is something truly exhilarating about it even in wanting to stay on the ground. As popular as it is though, it is not popular with everybody. That is because ever since it was first started around 1978 by cinematographer Carl Boenish it has remained outlawed in many parts of America if not the world. That hasn’t stopped many BASE jumpers from doing what they love. Regardless of which side one takes in the discussion on BASE jumping or even if one is just an observer one can’t deny that that it is one of the most important “extreme sports” to ever be created. Now thanks to filmmaker Marah Strauch and independent studio Magnolia Pictures audiences can see for themselves just what makes BASE jumping such an important part of America’s culture to so many in the new documentary Sunshine Superman. The nearly two-hour documentary is a must see regardless of whether one is a BASE jumping enthusiast or one that prefers to keep his or her feet on the ground. The main reason for that is the history lesson presented at the heart of the documentary. The cinematography is undeniably incredible to say the very least. It is another reason that audiences will appreciate this presentation. Last but hardly least of note in Sunshine Superman is its pacing. While the documentary comes in at a little less than two hours there is still a lot of ground to be covered. Strauch and company cover every bit of it in a timely fashion, never once losing themselves or audiences along the way. Because they keep viewers engaged so well viewers will in turn potentially gain a new respect for BASE jumping and its history, again, regardless of which side they might or might not take on the subject. Regardless of which side one ends up taking (if either) audiences will, in the end, agree in watching this documentary that the documentary is one of the best of this year’s new documentaries.

Magnolia Pictures’ new documentary Sunshine Superman is one of 2015’s best new documentaries. It is not the first documentary to ever be released on the topic of Base Jumping. But it is arguably the best piece yet to be released on the subject. The main reason for this is the story that lies at the center of the documentary. It tells the story of BASE jumping’s roots and even more specifically the man that started it all, Carol Boenish. The whole thing is presented through first-person interviews with those closest to Boenish and those that had anything to do with him and his friends on either side of the BASE jumping divide. It is also told through actual archived footage of Boenish and company’s activities shot both by them and of them. It goes without saying that the first hand footage will send chills through audiences even today. That ties in to the next element of note in this documentary—its cinematography. That topic will be tackled shortly. Getting back on topic, audiences that might not be so familiar with the history of BASE jumping or with Boenish will be surprised to learn of how he and his friends got into the “sport” in the first place through this program. Just as intriguing to learn is the kind of person that Beonish was. One would think that considering the intensity of BASE jumping that Boenish and company would be equally over the top. Yet the reality proves to be the total opposite. They were just humble, ordinary people that just enjoyed feeling the “freedom” in taking those huge leaps of faith so to speak. The long-term impact of that humility and love for what Boenish and his friends did is incredible to learn about as the program progresses. It’s just one more way in which the central story behind Sunshine Superman proves to be such an important part of the documentary’s overall presentation. As important as it proves to be in the whole of the presentation, it is just one part of the documentary that is worth noting. The cinematography that is incorporated into Sunshine Superman is just as important to its overall presentation as its story.

The story at the center of Sunshine Superman is obviously the most important part of the documentary. Instead of just being another documentary about skydiving and BASE jumping, it actually gives audiences a first-hand look at the man that founded the BASE jumping movement and the effect of his joy has impacted the view of BASE jumping today. It isn’t just one of those run-of-the-mill third person perspective pieces either. Instead, audiences get to hear from the Boenish and those that were closest to him through interviews and archived footage of the famed figure. As important as the story is to the overall presentation of Sunshine Superman it is just one part of the documentary’s whole that makes it so engaging. Its cinematography is just as important as its story. The cinematography is so important because it actually comes from Boenish and his fellow BASE jumpers. Again, this goes back to the fact that this isn’t just some third-person narrative. Audiences actually get to see what Boenish and his friends saw in their jumps. From actually seeing the world literally fly by to seeing watching them test each location ahead of their jumps for safety audiences will be amazed at the time and care that went into each jump. They will be just as blown away by the jumps themselves; so much so that the footage will send chills through audiences even as they sit watching each jump. That impressive mass of original footage works with Sunshine Superman’s story to make a presentation that will no doubt keep audiences engaged and enthralled from beginning to end. Even as much of an impact as this combination has in the overall presentation of Sunshine Superman, that impact is not complete without noting the documentary’s pacing. Its pacing rounds out the documentary’s presentation and makes it in whole a piece that is in the end, one of the best of this year’s crop of new documentaries.

The story at the center of Sunshine Superman and the documentary’s cinematography are both key elements that make this presentation one of 2015’s best new documentaries. While both elements are equally important to the whole of the program they are not the only important factors to note here. The program’s pacing is just as important to the whole of Sunshine Superman as its story and its cinematography. There is a lot of ground to cover in this story considering that it is about not just Carl Boenish but the legacy that he left behind, too. So that means that ample time had to be given to every element of his story. And thankfully those behind the lens (and the computer screens) gave just enough time to each part of the story without moving too fast along the way. The end result of those efforts is that audiences are easily able to follow the story of how Boenish and company were essentially forced to do what they did thanks to ongoing issues with those in positions in power. Those individuals had an unjustified belief that there was something wrong (and apparently still is in some people’s minds) with BASE jumping. From doing something illegal to finally being allowed to do what they loved to being criminals in the eyes of the law again and so forth, the back and forth was largely to blame for the BASE jumpers taking extreme measures. Even one of those in power admitted to having pull the proverbial trigger too quickly on Boenish and his fellow enthusiasts. The ups and downs are balanced expertly throughout along with Boenish’s own personal story never leaving viewers feeling that they need a program to keep up with the overall story. Thanks to this, viewers will in turn see for themselves just how outstanding the documentary’s cinematography proves to be and how impressive the story behind this documentary is, too. All things considered, Sunshine Superman may not be the first documentary produced that is centered on BASE jumping. It is though, the best of its kind to date and also one of the best new documentaries of 2015.

Magnolia Pictures’ new documentary film Sunshine Superman is a piece that shines brightly among this year’s crop of documentaries. It is hardly the first documentary ever produced that has been centered on BASE jumping. Even with that in mind, it is still the best of its kind. That is largely thanks to its story. Its story is not one of those run-of-the-mill third person pieces that utilizes this expert and that to tell its story. Rather it shares the story of the man who started BASE jumping and the legacy that he left behind. It is told through the words of those closest to him, including his own wife (now widow) and even one of the men that both worked with and against him among so many others. It also utilizes Boenish’s home movies to tell his story. The archived footage of Boenish and company making their jumps makes the feature’s cinematography top-notch. The pacing of the program in whole will keep viewers enthralled from beginning to end. This includes not just those that are BASE jumpers (and enthusiasts) but those that prefer to keep their feet on solid ground, too. Each noted element makes Sunshine Superman a shining new documentary. Collectively, all three elements show not only what makes Sunshine Superman a shining new documentary but one of the brightest of this year’s field of new documentary offerings. It is currently available on digital download via Magnolia Pictures’ official website at http://www.magpictures.com/profile.aspx?id=4841ab73-b6b2-4df1-9cd3-c9643bba335f and will be available on DVD and Blu-ray early in 2016. More information on this and other titles from Magnolia Films is available online now at:

Website: http://www.magpictures.com

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Life’s A Breeze Is A Dramedy Well Worth The Watch

Courtesy:  Magnolia Pictures/Magnolia Home Entertainment

Courtesy: Magnolia Pictures/Magnolia Home Entertainment

Money, it’s often said, is the root of all evil. However, the reality is that it is not money but the want of money that is the source of all evil. It is that want of money that drives man to do bad things. Those bad things include putting their own well-being over that of their own friends and family. And that message is at the core of Life’s A Breeze, the new dramedy from indie studio Magnolia Home Entertainment. It’s also a message that is presented without being preachy. For that reason alone, it makes Life’s A Breeze well worth the watch. The story behind which that message rests is just as important to the movie’s success. It centers on a group of adult children who start out just trying to help their elderly mother. But in learning of the mattress and the alleged fortune stashed within, things change very quickly. The end result reveals a message just as deep as the central message of human greed. That secondary message is one of how the elderly are viewed and treated by younger adults and even young people. Both of those messages coupled with the movie’s story make for plenty of reason for audiences to check out Life’s A Breeze now that it’s available on DVD and Blu-ray. While each element proves its importance in its own way, there is still one remaining element worth noting to the movie’s benefit. That element is the work of the movie’s cast. Being an import from Ireland, American audiences won’t recognize any of the cast in this movie. But that’s beside the point. That’s because every member of the cast is equally entertaining. Pat Shortt’s portrayal of the dopey, somewhat scheming Colm, young Kelly Thornton’s presentation of Emma, and Fionnula Flanagan’s take on the family’s underappreciated matriarch Nan are all spot on. The rest of the cast is just as entertaining in its supporting roles. The cast’s acting is so surprisingly entertaining that it makes suspension of disbelief quite easy. That ability of audiences to so easily suspend their disbelief leads to even easier grasp of the movie’s central story and its messages. Those whose minds are open enough will find themselves appreciating all of these elements together and agreeing that while not necessarily the “Feel-good film” that the Irish Times claimed it to be, it is still a movie that is as deep as it is funny and touching. That being the case, it proves to be yet another independent release that is just as worth the watch as anything churned out by Hollywood’s Power Five studios.

Hollywood in its current era has become increasingly a wasteland over the course of the past two decades or more thanks to the fact that those at the heads of the major studios have become afraid to take chances and back anything original and creative. Even the audiences that one supported Hollywood’s endless river of prequels, sequels, and remakes are becoming increasingly vocal against this practice. They are starting to chomp at the bit for something with real substance that doesn’t require involvement in more than one movie. They want the mainstream movie world to step out and take those chances again. Where Hollywood has struggled to offer anything along those lines, smaller, independent companies such as Magnolia Home Entertainment have picked up the slack and given those audiences exactly what they want and need. The most recent example of this comes from its new Irish import Life’s A Breeze. Its message about the emphasis that we as people put on money versus that of our own loved ones lies at the center of the movie’s enjoyment. Thanks to the efforts of the movie’s writer/director Lance Daly, that message is presented without being overly preachy. Its rather serious nature is balanced with just enough moments of comic relief to keep it from overpowering audiences while still remaining at the story’s forefront. The message itself is presented through the movie’s story, which sees a group of adult children hunting for a missing matress that belongs to their mother. The mattress in question allegedly has almost a million Euros, which is equal to a little more than a million dollars American currency. It isn’t until their mother tells them about the mattress that they even start to care. Even then, they care more about the money for themselves than for her. It’s such a sad, telling and true statement that transcends nations. And because of its ability to reach so many different audiences, the story proves itself to be another of the movie’s most important positives.

The central message of man’s greed that lies within Life’s A Breeze is itself plenty of reason for audiences to check out this surprisingly worthwhile watch. There is no preachy nature involved in the message’s delivery. It is delivered with class thanks to the Daly’s work. Its value to the movie in whole can’t be denied. And neither can the value of the story itself. The story that is used to deliver the movie’s message is just as important to the whole. The story is centered on a group of adult children who are cleaning up the home of their mother Nan (Fionnula Flanagan–The Others, Yes Man, Four Brothers), which is something almost akin to that of a hoarder. In the process, Nan’s childre end up throwing out her mattress, which she alleges contained close to a million Euros. That is, on the current market, a little less than a million dollars in U.S. currency. The problem is that they are not trying to find the money for her. Rather, they want it for themselves. When the people of the city are called upon by Colm to help, they prove even more the emphasis put on money over others. The only person that treats Nan with any real civility and humanity through it all is her grand-daughter Emma (Kelly Thornton–Clean Break, Love/Hate). The bond that grows between Nan and Emma throughout the course of the movie will bring audiences both to laughter and tears. And speaking of Emma, her final scene, which also closes the movie, will move audiences just as much. Itdrives home once and for all the message of human greed and how we as people should value who and what we have. Most amazing of all is the fact that this is done all within two short shots. Those shots won’t be given away here for the sake of those that haven’t yet seen the movie. But alongside the rest of the movie, they make for a powerful close to a movie that more than proves itself just as enjoyable as any big name blockbuster.

There are a lot of deep, thought-provoking moments throughout the course of Life’s A Breeze. For all of those moments that are shared, there are plenty of laughs along the way, too. They come courtesy of Colm’s (Pat Shortt–Calvary, The Guard, Rory O’Shea) buffoonery in his hunt. One of his best moments comes when he thinks that Nan has won the nation’s lottery. This is another moment that won’t be given away. But it involves shaving cream and his fellow grown-up siblings. There is another moment when Colm has to chase down a bunch of kids who have stolen Nan’s wheeled shed so as to burn it in a bonfire. He is essentially accused by one mother of being a pedophile when he confronts one of the kids. It’s one more of so many great moments provided by Shortt that will leave audiences laughing. Those moments collectively set against the movie’s more in-depth, emotional moments make the movie’s story that much more enjoyable and prove why the story is just as important to the enjoyment of the whole as its central message.

The pairing of the story behind Life’s A Breeze and the delivery of its message of human greed makes this independent dramedy a work that is just as worth the watch as any of its counterparts released by Hollywood’s major studios. In fact, it could be argued to be even better than those movies as it doesn’t try to dumb itself down, unlike those movies. It still offers its own share of laughs and deeper moments for a presentation that any true movie lover should see at least once. While the work put into Life’s a Breeze in terms of its script and its central message both play their own pivotal roles in the movie’s enjoyment, one would be remiss to ignore the work of the movie’s cast. It’s already been noted that lead star Pat Shortt is a laugh riot as Nan’s son Colm. His comic timing as he struggles to find Nan’s mattress make for plenty of laughs. He is wholly believable in his portrayal of the oafish, almost middle-aged man who leads his siblings in the search for Nan’s money. Fionnula Flanagan is just as entertaining in her portrayal of Nan. Nan isn’t just some helpless, elderly woman. She proves to be pretty sharp even in her old age. She will have audiences laughing plenty when she and Emma set out to find the matress themselves without telling her own children. Her reaction to the male stripper (yes, there’s even a male stripper) at her 80th birthday party is timeless and will have anyone laughing just as uproariously. And then there’s Emma. Kelly Thornton’s take on Emma makes the story just as rich in its own way. Emma is the only one that show’s any real respect and love for Nan. Seeing Thornton handle Emma’s growth as Emma’s relationship with her grandmother grows adds even more depth to the story. Emma really is that hope for mankind among all of the selfish, short-sighted individuals that fill the world. She reminds audiences that it is possible to show care and concern for others over money, but that one must first care more for people than for money for that to happen. It is one more wonderful job of acting from the movie’s cast. And together with the work of her cast mates, it makes for one more equally wonderful reason to watch Life’s A Breeze at least once. It also shows once more why this deep, funny, and moving indie flick should be an early pick for any critic’s list of the year’s best new indie flicks.

The work of the cast in Life’s A Breeze, its central story, and its primary message together make it an early candidate for any critic’s list of the year’s best new indie flicks. It proves thanks to all of these elements that it is just as enjoyable as any dramedy churned out by Hollywood’s major studios. It is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered direct from Magnolia Home Entertainment online at http://www.magpictures.com/lifesabreeze/. More information on this and other releases from Magnolia Home Entertainment is available online at:

Website: http://www.magpictures.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/magnoliapics

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.