‘Bad Reputation’ Is A “Good” New Tribute To A Rock Legend

Courtesy: Magnolia Pictures

Joan Jett is one of the most important figures in the modern history of rock music.  From her days with The Runaways to her time with The Blackhearts, she has blazed a trail for countless musicians while also making remaining active in a variety of causes.  Now thanks to Magnolia Pictures, Jett is getting the recognition that she has deserved for such a long time in the form of the new rock doc Bad Reputation.  Released on DVD on Jan.1 via Magnolia Pictures, the 93-minute doc takes audiences through the life and ongoing career of the famed rocker, who proves in this program to be anything but the typical rock star.  That story forms a strong foundation for the documentary, and will be discussed shortly.  The bonus material included with the documentary gives audiences at least a little bit more to appreciate about the presentation.  The documentary’s average price point rounds out its most important elements.  Each item is key in its own way to the whole of Bad Reputation.  All things considered, they make Bad Reputation a very good documentary.

Magnolia Pictures’ new profile of Joan Jett, Bad Reputation, is a fitting tribute to the trailblazing musician/performer.  That is proven in part through the story at the center of the documentary.  The story is told in part from Jett herself and those closest to her, such as former and current band members, fellow celebrities and friends.  Listening to Jett talk, audiences will appreciate her grounded nature.  She does not have any sense of self-indulgence or ego.  Rather, there is a certain sense of humility about her as she talks about The Runaways’ acceptance overseas, The Blackhearts’ place in the music industry and her own personal views on items, such as animal rights and feminism. Jett said of The Runaways’ acceptance in Japan, “I thought it was exhilarating.  They loved their music stars over there.”  The tone in her voice as she made those statements truly exhibits that humility.  Comments from the likes of Iggy Pop, Jett’s sister Ann Larkin and Green Day front man Billie Joe Armstrong prove even more, that said humility is real.  Larkin notes in one segment that Jett’s rebellion was not against her parents, but against society.  In fact, Jett herself recalls warmly, how supportive her parents were of her from an early age, adding that they were the ones who gave Jett her first guitar and told her that she could do anything that they wanted to do in life.  Pop notes that the era in which Jett’s star was rising, “A lot of women wanted to rock.  The problem was that they were always in a sidecar role.  Joan Jett was nobody’s sidecar.”  Armstrong adds to Pop’s statements, noting that Jett’s work as being “kick-ass songs.”  This emphasizes that determination from Jett to be noticed in what was then (and still is today) a very male-dominated industry.  Between the comments from Jett’s contemporaries, her family and friends, and those from Jett herself, the story that is presented proves to be one that will keep audiences fully engaged throughout the course of the program from start to end.  Keeping that in mind, the story at the center of Bad Reputation is a very good story, and gives audiences more than enough reason to watch.  Of course it is just one of the items that makes the recently released DVD worth viewing.  The bonus material included with the DVD gives audiences a little more to appreciate.

The bonus material featured with Bad Reputation is a pair of performances from Jett and company.  One is a performance of her hit singles ‘Bad Reputation’ and ‘Fresh Start’ at the premiere of Bad Reputation in a semi-acoustic setting.  The other features Jett and company performing the same two songs on the group’s tour bus and at a live soundcheck.  In essence audiences get a light glimpse of the same songs in different settings through that bonus material.  There is also an extended piece of backstage footage of Jett and company at the 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.  That was the ceremony at which Jett was inducted into the famed institution.  Some of the footage was included as part of the story at the center of Bad Reputation.  Getting to see the footage in more depth creates even more appreciation for the overall presentation that is Bad Reputation.  Given, it is not much when it comes to bonus material.  There is no getting around this.  However, considering all of the live material and “home movies” that are used to help tell the central story of Bad Reputation, this additional material proves to be entertaining, if not invaluable.  To that end, the bonus material, while bare at its best, is still a positive in its own right to the whole of the doc.  When it is considered along with the central story and all that said story offers audiences, the pairing of the two still gives audiences plenty of entertainment and engagement.  The documentary’s average price point makes that entertainment and engagement money well-spent.

The average price point of Bad Reputation is $15.88.  That price was determined using prices listed at Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Books-A-Million.  Considering that the most expensive of the listed prices is $19.98 (at Walmart.com) and the least expensive is $13.99 (Best Buy and Amazon), that average price is actually a relatively solid mid-point.  Add in the overall depth and breadth of Bad Reputation’s story, and audiences will agree that a price of less than $20 for this deep story is not a bad price at all.  Rather, they will agree that it is money well-spent on a documentary that generation of audiences will appreciate.  When all of this is considered together, audiences will agree, again, that Bad Reputation is a doc whose reputation is in fact quite good.

Magnolia Pictures’ new Joan Jett profile Bad Reputation is a very good presentation on the famed musician/performer’s life and career.  It is a work that rock and roll aficionados across the board will appreciate.  That is due in large part to the doc’s central story, which presents Jett as quite the humble, down to earth figure, completely unlike so many rock stars past and present.  The bonus material included with the DVD adds a little bit more for audiences to appreciate.  The disc’s average price point of less than $20 gives audiences even more reason to give this documentary a chance.  Each item is important in its own right to the whole of Bad Reputation.  All things considered, they give this program its own very good reputation.  More information on Bad Reputation is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.badreputationfilm.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/badrepfilm

 

 

 

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CNN Films, Magnolia Pictures Start 2019 On A Strong Note With New Gilda Radner Doc

Courtesy: CNN Films/Magnolia Pictures

Once you reach the top, there’s nowhere to go but down.  Who hasn’t heard or repeated this old adage at one point or another in life?  Well, CNN Films and Magnolia Pictures have started 2019 at the top with their brand new documentary Love, Gilda.  Keeping that in mind, here’s to hoping that the nearly 90-minute documentary, which focuses on the life and career of the late, great Gilda Radner will not be the only great new offering from the two studios this year.  That aside, this presentation is such a strong start for each side partly because of its main feature.  This will be discussed shortly.  The bonus content that comes with the DVD strengthens its presentation even more, and will be discussed a little bit later.  The DVD’s average price point rounds out its most important elements, and will also be discussed later.  Each item is important in its own right to the whole of Love, Gilda.  All things considered, they make Love, Gilda the first great documentary of the new year.

CNN Films and Magnolia Pictures’ new documentary Love, Gilda is the first great new documentary of the new year.  That is proven in part through the documentary’s main feature.  The primary content is a standard presentation, following the life and career of the late great entertainer, providing a look not just at the woman on camera, but the woman behind the lens, too.  Needless to say, that in-depth examination of Radner’s life and career is a fitting tribute to Radner.  It is such, that it will leave even the most emotionally steeled person tearing up to a point.  Audiences learn over the course of the doc’s 86-minute run time, that her comedic roots were in here childhood.  Even more surprising is the apparent long-term impact of her being bullied for her weight during her childhood.  It would appear in watching this program, that Radner suffered from anorexia throughout the majority of her life as a result of that bullying.  Of course, that is entirely assumption, but it would seem that there is a link there.  Even more interesting (and sad) is her battle with ovarian cancer, which eventually is what took her life.  She did not die as a result of drugs or alcohol, but from something far more unexpected.  Her brave battle with the disease will keep those unfamiliar with her story completely engaged, and agreeing that the way in which she passed was so tragic.  On a happier, note, audiences get a first hand telling of Radner and second husband Gene Wilder’s true love story along with clarification that she was never married to John Belushi.  Wilder and Radner’s love story will move any viewer in the best way possible.  On a related note, the revelation that Radner was married to former Saturday Night Live band leader G.E. Smith prior to her marriage to Wilder adds its own share of interest to the overall story, too.  The readings from Radner’s own autobiography It’s Always Something and the highlights of her own personal notes adds yet more interest to the story.  That is because they show even more clearly, the woman behind the lens.  They reveal her to be such a fragile person, emotionally, but not just some diva type figure.  Rather, they make her a figure to whom so many people can relate.  She was just an average person going through emotional turmoil that every person goes through even today.  These revelations add even more appreciation for Radner not just as an entertainer, but as a person.  When one considers everything noted here, along with the vintage footage of Radner performing on SNL, The National Lampoon Show and even her earliest days working with a stage troupe, what audiences get through this doc’s main feature is a story that rivals any overly embellished story that Hollywood’s “Big Six” could ever develop.  Hopefully none of those studios will ever try to tell their own unnecessary story of Radner’s life and career, but even if one were to make such a thoughtless move, this doc’s main feature would still outperform said presentation, proving again why docs are far better than said biopics.  Now, keeping all of this in mind, it should be clear why the main feature of Love, Gilda is so important to the doc’s overall presentation.  That presentation follows a standard formula, yes, but at the same time, it tells a powerful and moving story that will keep any viewer engaged and entertained.  Of course, that primary content is only a portion of what makes the doc such a strong new offering from CNN Films and Magnolia Pictures.  The bonus content strengthens even more, the foundation formed through the doc’s main feature.

The bonus content that is included with Love, Gilda strengthens the doc’s presentation even more primarily through its extensive bonus interview segments.  The interview segments in question are more in-depth presentations that were segmented throughout the course of the main feature.  They are with the likes of Martin Short (with whom Radner worked early in her career), SNL producer Lorne Michaels, SNL alums Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph and Bill Hader and Radner’s family and friends. Poehler spoke warmly of Radner, saying that next to Carol Burnett, Radner was one of the most influential female entertainers in her own life and career.  Additionally, Poehler states in her extended interview, that she regretted never having gotten to meet Radner because of Radner’s impact on her life and career.

Short talks during his extended interview that Radner’s “command of a room” and her “originality” were among the most important aspects of Radner’s personality.  Additionally, he smiles as he recalls that Radner never tried to compete with other entertainers, but rather enjoyed just being with other entertainers.  Short said of that nature that “it was an amazing aura.  It wasn’t even stardom.  It was something beyond that.”

As if all of these fond recollections are not enough, audiences also learn through another of the extended interviews where Radner actually got her name.  It is revealed by one of those closest to Radner that she allegedly was named after the title character from actress Rita Hayworth’s 1946 starring vehicle Gilda.  That story alone is certain to bring plenty of smiles and even some fond laughs.  Between this revelation, the others noted here and so many others presented in the extended interviews, the story and picture that audiences get of Radner here is just as engaging and entertaining as that presented in the doc’s main feature.

The “home movies” and “gallery’ bonuses are not exactly the most standout additions in terms of bonuses.  Even with that in mind, they help audiences to see even more, the importance of those extended interview segments.  To that end, audiences will agree that the extended interviews are just as critical to this doc as the doc’s main feature.  When those interviews and the main feature are paired together, their whole creates a presentation that proves even more why it is such a strong first effort from CNN Films and Magnolia Pictures.  Keeping that strength in mind, it makes the doc’s price point money well-spent.

Love, Gilda’s average price point is $22.89.  That number is obtained by averaging prices from Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy and Barnes & Noble Booksellers.  It should be noted that the “buy” link at the doc’s official website takes audiences back to Amazon, and that while information on the film is listed at CNN Films and Magnolia Pictures’ websites, no “buy” link is available.  Additionally, the doc is not listed at Books-A-Million’s website.  Keeping this in mind, Love, Gilda can be ordered via the country’s biggest retailers, and at a price that will not break the bank.  What’s more, the mode price of $22.39 means that the average price point is only barely above that most commonly listed price.  That is even more of a positive for audiences.  When one takes into consideration the depth and breadth of the information shared throughout the course of Love, Gilda, both prices prove to be equally affordable and worth spending.  When one keeps all of this in mind, Love, Gilda proves in whole to be a strong start to 2019 for CNN Films and Magnolia Pictures, and easily the year’s first great new documentary.

CNN and Magnolia Pictures’ first new documentary of 2019 is also the year’s first great new documentary.  Go figure, it has been released today, on the very first day of the new year.  The doc’s main feature easily supports these statements, as it presents the story of someone who might have been a celebrity, but who never made herself like so many celebrities past or present.  It presents Radner as someone to whom any everyday person can relate even today.  It is a touching story that easily rivals any biopic that Hollywood’s “Big Six” might ever try to create.  Again, hopefully none of those studios will ever try to ruin her life and legacy, but if they should ever go that low, this doc will still outdo anything they churn out.  The bonus extended interviews included with the doc deepen Radner’s story even more, adding even more appreciation for her as a person and entertainer.  The DVD’s average price point proves to be money well-spent, considering the appreciation that the main and secondary content creates.  Each item is important in its own way to the whole of Love, Gilda.  All things considered, they make Love, Gilda a great start to 2019 for documentary fans, and the year’s first great new documentary. More information on Love, Gilda is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.lovegilda.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/LoveGildaFilm

 

 

 

More information on this 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

 

 

 

More information on this and other titles from CNN Films is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.cnn.com/shows/cnn-films

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/cnnfilms

 

 

 

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.

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

 

 

 

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.

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

 

 

 

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 reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

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

 

 

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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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