History Buffs In Whole Should See Film Movement’s New WWII Doc ‘Line 41’ At Least Once

Courtesy: Film Movement

Ever since World War II came to its end in 1945, so many stories have been told of the war. At the same time, just as many stories have not been shared. That is because so many innocent lives were lost in the war and because so many survivors have died since then without being able to pass on their stories. Luckily, two more stories have finally been told in a new documentary from independent film studio Film Movement titled Line 41. They are the stories of two men on opposite sides of the tragic events that happened in the Lodz ghetto in Poland. This dual-pronged story creates a solid foundation for the program, which in itself guarantees audiences’ engagement. It is only one part of what makes the program worth the watch. The program’s collective pacing and transitions play directly into the program’s presentation, even as minute as they might seem on the surface. This will be discussed later. The bonus deleted interviews included with the doc’s home release round out its most important elements. That’s the case even though there is one interview that is sadly missing and would have added so much to the program. Even with that in mind, when the bonus interview segments are set alongside the story at the center of this doc and its aesthetic elements, the whole of those elements makes Line 41 a program that history buffs and WWII history buffs alike will appreciate.

Line 41, Film Movement’s new World War II retrospective documentary from documentarian Tanja Cummings, is a program that will easily appeal to history buffs and more specifically World War II history buffs alike. That is due in part to the 96-minute program’s dual-pronged story. The story follows two men — Natan Grossman, a Jewish survivor of those events who would eventually be sent to Auschwitz, and Jens-Jurgen Ventzki, the son of the Nazi head of Lodz — who were both directly tied to the horrific events that happened in the Lodz ghetto in Poland. Grossman returned, in this documentary, to his former home after being gone for more than 70 years as he searches for his brother. Ventzki meanwhile is trying to come to terms with the man who was his father and the heinous acts that his father allowed to happen to Jews who lived in Lodz. Eventually the two men come face to face as their stories progress, which leads to quite the powerful moment — a moment that is certain to move any viewer as the men talk about what happened and even bond over those events. Even after the men finally meet, their stories are not over. The doc’s finale is bittersweet to say the least. It won’t be revealed here, for the sake of those who have yet to see the program, but it will leave a lasting impression on audiences. Keeping all of this in mind, audiences will agree in watching the overall story that it is in fact one of the doc’s most important elements, if not its single most important element. It definitely is not the program’s only important element, though. Just as important to discuss in analyzing this presentation is its collective pacing and transitions.

Considering that two separate stories are told over the course of Line 41’s one hour, 36-minute run time, it would have been easy for it to get bogged down in itself. Luckily though, that did not happen. Cummings and her crew expertly balanced each man’s story while also including the stories of others who were connected to the events at Lodz as secondary stories. Their stories are presented as each man makes his way through his own journey. Cummings and company spend just enough time with each story, finding exactly the right points to move from one story to the other. It ensures even more, audiences’ maintained engagement throughout. On another level, audiences will appreciate the precise transition points and how they were handled. The transitions are made fully evident through the use of sketches that gradually grow into the scenes that start each segment. This clearly lets viewers know that the documentary is moving from one story to another. That clarity even more certainly assures audiences’ engagement from beginning to end of this program, in turn making the program that much more impacting. There are also lines from Jewish victims’ diaries incorporated into the program as their own segment dividers that are even harder hitting than the general scene transitions. These segments add even more depth to the program even though they are little more than transition points. Cummings and company are to be complimented for the thought put into their use here, too. To that end, the program’s solid pacing and clear transition points do just as much to keep audiences engaged in this program as the dual-pronged story at its center. They are not its only collectively important elements, either. The bonus interviews included in the program’s presentation round out its most important elements.

The deleted interviews that are included with Line 41 as bonus material are so important to note here because of how much they add to the doc’s viewing experience and depth. One of the most intriguing interviews is with Grossman as he discusses the role of the Catholic Church in connection to the events at Lodz. Grossman basically indicts the Catholic Church, alleging Pope John Paul II (born Karl Josef Wojtyla in Poland in 1920) was the only pope who did anything to try to help Jews in Lodz. This is part of a bigger discussion that he presents about Jewish/Christian relations as they pertained to what perhaps led to World War II. It’s an undeniably intriguing discussion as are his more in-depth conversations with Cummings about how he had tried to put the events at Lodz behind him for so many years and how hard it was to bring everything back. There are also interviews with the secondary figures introduced through the story that add their own depth to the presentation. Their recollections are interesting, as they add even more to the story, but it is clear in listening to them why they ended up on the cutting room floor. When all of the interviews are considered in whole, they add their own share of interest to Line 41. When they are set alongside the in-depth story at the center of the doc and its solid pacing and transitions, the end result is a presentation that will, again, appeal to students and lovers of history and more specifically World War II history.

Film Movement’s new World War II retrospective documentary Line 41 is a powerful new story about the atrocities that were committed against the Jewish community during World War II. It is one of those stories that deserves at least one watch among its key audiences. That is proven in part through that noted story, which follows two men as they retrace the events in the Lodz ghetto in Poland. The two-pronged story’s collective pacing and transitions do just as much as the story itself to keep audiences engaged as do the bonus interviews that were cut from the final product. Some of the interviews clearly should have been left in while others were rightfully cut despite presenting their own interest. Each element is important in its own right to the whole of Line 41. All things considered, they make Line 41 a story that any student and lover of history, and more specifically World War II history, will appreciate. Those who watch will agree it is worth at least one watch. It is available now and can be ordered direct via Film Movement’s online store. More information on this and other titles from Film Movement is available online now at:

Website: http://www.filmmovement.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Film_Movement

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Maya The Bee Is Buzzing Home Again This Spring

Courtesy: Shout! Factory Kids/Shout! Factory

Maya The Bee is back!

The beloved little honey bee has a new family friendly movie on the way.  Maya The Bee 2The Honey Games is currently scheduled for release May 1, 2018 via Shout! Factory Kids.  It will be released on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack and standalone DVD.

Co-directed by the team of Noel Cleary (Tashi), Sergio Delfino (Chicken Run) and Alexs Stadermann (Maya The BeeBambi IIA Goofy Movie), this story follows Maya and her friend Willy as they travel to Buzztropolis to compete in The Honey Games.  The danger is that if the pair loses the games, they have to give their summer honey harvest to the Empress.

This could spell disaster for Maya’s hive since the harvest season had been slim. Over the course of the story, audiences learn invaluable lessons about friendship, responsibility and courage.

Originally based on the German novel Maya The Bee in 1912, the stories of Maya have been passed down throughout the ages in countless languages.  It has also been translated into an animated series in Europe, Australia and Asia.

More information on Maya The Bee 2 and other titles from Shout! Factory Kids is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

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IFC Films’ Risk Pays Off In ‘Walking Out’

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/IFC Films

IFC Films has, for the longest time, prided itself on releasing movies that strayed from the mainstream, opting for original content over copy cat flicks. Apparently all good things must come to an end, even for IFC Films, as has been proven in the studio’s new wilderness drama Walking Out. This 96-minute movie is a work that can easily be likened to so many bigger name dramas of the same ilk including The Grey, The Edge, The Mountain Between Us among so many other major blockbusters. Taking this easy comparison into consideration, the movie’s central story becomes a critical piece of its presentation — one that both succeeds and fails at the same time. It will be discussed shortly. The movie’s cinematography is another key piece of its whole and proves quite impressive to say the very least. It will be discussed later. The bonus behind-the-scenes featurette included with the movie rounds out the movie’s most important elements. It will also be addressed later. Each element is important in its own right to the whole of Walking Out. This will be proven through this analysis. All things considered, they make Walking Out an interesting new effort from IFC Films, and hopefully its only attempt to compete with the mainstream.

IFC Films’ new wilderness drama Walking Out is an interesting new effort from a studio that has made such a name for itself by creating movies that stand largely apart from the mainstream. That aside, it is still worth at least one watch. That statement is supported in part by the movie’s story. More specifically, the subplot at the center of the story is what really makes the story stand out. The story’s subplot centers on Cal’s (Matt Bomer) attempt to reclaim the father son relationship that he lost with his own father, Clyde (Bill Pullman) by going out on a hunting trip with his son, David (Josh Wiggins). The duo’s hunting trip starts as a search for game bird before somehow transforming into Cal’s own almost “Mellvillian” hunt for a bull elk. The aspect of Cal trying to secretly trying to reclaim that bond that he lost with Clyde is an original setup for the wilderness drama genre, giving at least one reason to watch the movie. However, this aspect of the story is where the success ends.

At first, David doesn’t seem to care in the least about hunting, but as soon as he even comes close to bagging his first kill (which ultimately escapes), David suddenly enjoys hunting and agrees to go on the fateful hunting tip in search of the elusive bull elk (just as Ahab went after the elusive white whale). this sudden change of heart so to speak is a bit bewildering. A couple of brief encounters with a grizzly bear during the hunt leads David to be injured and in turn accidentally shooting Cal, which sets up the fight for survival that takes up the rest of the movie. This is where the story starts to suffer. Viewers will note that Cal loses more blood every day as David carries him back down the mountain. This is despite the tourniquet applied to Cal’s leg. Considering how much blood Cal had to have lost along the way, he should not have survived as long as he did. The ultimate outcome won’t be revealed here, but it definitely leads to that unavoidable question of how Cal survived for such a long time. What’s more, after the initial meetings with the bears that set off the fight for survival, there is no more threat from them for the rest of the movie’s run. This means that the only real threat that David and Cal face on the journey back down the mountain is mother nature (a la the famous short story Open Boat). Ironically, one can’t help but keep watching to see if father and son make it down the mountain and back to safety. To that end, even with the problems posed throughout the story, the ability of the story to still keep audiences engaged makes the story at least a partial success. It is only one part of what makes the movie worth at least one watch. The movie’s stunning cinematography is just as important to its overall presentation as the story.

Walking Out‘s cinematography is so important to discuss in analyzing this movie because it really is the cornerstone of the movie’s presentation. Shot entirely in the mountains of Montana, the sweeping shots of said mountains as a backdrop creates a sense of awe, heightening the story’s drama. Honestly, one could argue to a point that the noted heightened drama is what in fact keeps audiences watching. It’s a sort of subconscious element. Keeping that in mind, those behind the lenses are to be commended for their work. Of course the sweeping mountain backdrops and aerials are not the only impressive cinematic elements. The general scenery used in each act is just as impressive as those sweeping mountain backdrops. The very fact that the scenes were real instead of CG adds to the interest in their look. It was nice to see the effort and time taken to make the tension in each scene so believable even through something as simple as the snow-covered ground. Between that effort and the effort put into using the rest of the movie’s cinematography to heighten the story’s emotion (and in turn engagement) it can be said with ease that the cinematography at the center of Walking Out does more than enough to keep audiences from walking out on this movie. It is not the last of the movie’s most important elements, either. The bonus material included in the movie’s home release rounds out its most important elements.

The bonus material included in Walking Out‘s home release is so important because it is yet another example of how much bonus material can actually add to a movie’s viewing experience. The behind-the-scenes featurette makes the overall viewing experience more enjoyable because of the back story that it gives the movie itself. Audiences learn that Bill Pullman (Independence Day, Spaceballs, Independence Day: Resurgence) agreed to star in this movie as a supporting actor because of his love for the mountains and for working with the movie’s creative heads. The discussions with Matt Bomer and Josh Wiggins are interesting in their own right, too. Audiences will be interested to hear of the pair’s dedication to making the movie believable, which shows throughout the movie. Considering the movie’s plot, it would have been so easy for either man to ham it up. Luckily though, that did not happen at any point. Maybe that plays into keeping audiences engaged, too. Getting back on track, the interviews are not the only important bonuses included with the movie. The deleted scenes add their own depth to the story. One of the most important of the deleted scenes is a light-hearted moment between David and Cal in which the pair finally gets to smile for once. Considering the abundance of tension and drama throughout this movie, this is a scene that should not have been cut. It would have added so much to the movie, even as brief as it was. David and Cal’s discussion about Cal’s divorce with his wife (who is never named anywhere in the movie) is another moment that while minor, still could have added a little more to the movie. It’s too bad that scene was left out. On the other hand, it was good to see the scene involving the tire blowout on the jeep was left out. That whole sequence, which partners with David’s arrival at the airport, really was unnecessary (at least in this critic’s eyes). All things considered, the deleted scenes and interviews that make up Walking Out‘s bonus material prove to be another positive to this movie’s presentation, and gives even more reason to watch the movie at least once. When this is considered along with the importance of the movie’s cinematography and even the story’s rare positives, all three elements make this movie one that will, in the long run, just manage to keep audiences from walking out themselves.

IFC Films’ new wilderness drama Walking Out was a big risk for the studio, which has for years prided itself on avoiding any movie similar to those in the mainstream. While it was a risk, it was a risk that paid of at least to a point. That is evidenced in a story whose problems cannot be ignored, but are not enough to make the movie completely unwatchable. The movie’s cinematography is stunning to say the very least, and serves as the cornerstone of the movie’s presentation. The bonus material included in its home release adds its own interest to the movie’s presentation. Each element is important in its own right as has been pointed out here. All things considered, they make this movie a work that just manages to keep audiences from walking out themselves. It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct via Shout! Factory’s online store. More information on this and other titles from IFC Films is available online at:

Website: http://www.IFCFilms.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ifcfilms

More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

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‘Dealt’ Is As Good As And Possibly Better Than Any Hollywood Underdog Drama

Courtesy: IFC Films

Card mechanic Richard Turner is one of the greatest and most respected figures in the world of card tricks. Turner has, for decades, wowed audiences across the country with his sleight of hand abilities, and next week, a new documentary from mpi media group and IFC Films will profile the veteran performer with a new documentary titled Dealt. The nearly 90-minute doc, which is also rather aptly titled, is an entertaining, inspiring and memorable work that is an easy candidate for any critic’s list of the year’s top new documentaries. That statement is supported in part through the program’s story. It will be discussed shortly. The program’s pacing also supports that statement and will be discussed later. The bonus material included in the program’s presentation supports said statement even more. Each element is important in its own way, as will be discussed. All things considered, they make Dealt a program that is pure magic. Yes, that pun was fully intended.

Dealt, the new Richard Turner profile from mpi media group and IFC Films, is an aptly titled, truly magical presentation that will appeal to not just magic lovers but audiences in general. That is proven in part through the doc’s inspiring and entertaining story. The story in question profiles Turner and what has made him such a respected figure in the magic community throughout his life and career. It is also a profile of a man who as he has gotten older, has had to come to terms with his disability, learning to accept it rather than be ashamed by it. As audiences will see over the course of the program’s 86-minute run time, Turner starts out being upset about being blind, even somewhat ashamed of it. That is obvious as he talks about his anger over media figures bringing it to light in their interviews with him. Yet over time, he finally begins to accept his situation, learning to live with it rather than hide it. There’s even an eventual award reception for his talents included in the story. One could argue that, considering all of this, this story is the stuff of so many Hollywood underdog dramas, except being an un-embellished and true story, is even better than that fare. Keeping this in mind, the story forms a solid foundation for Dealt, proving easily in itself why this doc is, again, its own magical presentation. Of course, the doc’s story is only one part of what makes it an impressive offering. The story’s pacing, by connection, is important to discuss.

The pacing of the story at the center of Dealt is important to note because of how much ground the story covers in its nearly 90-minute run time. The story starts out immediately by introducing Turner to audiences before eventually making its way into the heart of the story, the development of Turner’s blindness at a young age, and his attempts to cope with that disability. At the same time, there are discussions on both sides about coping with blindness by featuring a woman who is blind but accepts it, and is working with Turner to accept his blindness. Considering the doc’s deeper feature that tackles the issue of coping with disability and the bigger story of Turner’s talents and his legacy, there is so much going on here. Even with so much going on, those behind the story’s creation timed every aspect of the story expertly, moving fluidly from one to the other from start to finish. That fluidity insures just as much as the story itself audiences’ maintained engagement. While that engagement does plenty to help the doc’s presentation, it still is not the last of the program’s last important element. Its bonus material rounds out its most important elements.

The bonus material included in Dealt is relatively simple. It includes a handful of deleted scenes and a group of card mechanics (they apparently don’t like being called card trick magicians) giving viewers a quick show. One of the most interesting of the deleted scenes comes as Turner jokes about his blindness with the woman working with him on handling his condition. The jokes that the pair share cannot be repeated in this review, as they are rather adult-oriented, but are certain to have any viewer laughing, sighted or not. The opening deleted scene in which Turner is teaching another aspiring blind card mechanic is just as interesting because it shows the impact that he has continue to have throughout his career. It’s a moving moment to say the least. The bonus magic shows are enjoyable because of their variety. Audiences will get a kick out of one magician’s take on the classic shell game — in which a pea is placed under a shell and moved around. The trickster’s sleight of hand here is impressive. The other card variants displayed add their own enjoyment to this feature. When the enjoyment brought by the deleted scenes is coupled with that brought by the mini-magic shows, the whole of the bonus material shows fully why even as minimal as it might be, it is just as important to the whole of this program as the other noted elements. When all three elements are joined together, they prove without a doubt that this documentary is truly a magical presentation in itself.

Dealt, the new profile of card mechanic Richard Turner, is a powerful, entertaining and inspiring profile of a great man who is also very aptly titled. It shows that despite the *ahem* cards that one is dealt in life, it is possible to make the best of said situation, which is what Turner essentially learned through the course of this real life doc. That is the ultimate message presented in the doc’s central story, which serves as a solid foundation for the program. The story’s pacing strengthens that foundation even more. The bonus material included with the program adds even more enjoyment to its overall presentation. Each element, as has now been noted, is important in its own way to the whole of Dealt. All things considered, they make Dealt a truly magical presentation that is as good as any major Hollywood underdog drama if not better. It will be available in stores and online next Tuesday, February 13. More information on this and other title from mpi media group is available online now at:

Website: http://www.mpimedia.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MPIMediaGroup

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

Website: http://www.IFCFilms.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ifcfilms

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‘The Girl Without Hands’ Will Appeal To Grown-Up Fans Of Art Films, The Brothers Grimm

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/GKids

Cinderella. Hansel & Gretel. Sleeping Beauty. The Frog Prince. These are just some of the most well-known stories that were first made well-known by the famed Brothers Grimm. For ages, the brothers’ stories have both entertained and terrified audiences (depending on the story), of all ages.  Yet another of the duo’s tales — the lesser-known The Girl Without Hands — received a then new cinematic adaptation in 2016 via Les Films Pelleas. That adaptation will receive its first ever home release later this month via GKids and Shout! Factory. While GKids is one of the movie’s distributors, it goes without saying that this movie is not one meant for kids. That is thanks to its story, which is one of the main elements to discuss in examining the movie’s upcoming home release. It is related at least in part to the movie’s animation, which will be discussed a little bit later. The bonus material included in the movie’s home release is the last, but not least, important element to discuss in examining this presentation.  It adds its own interest and depth to the movie. Each element is important in its own way to this movie’s home presentation as will be pointed out here. All things considered, they make The Girl Without Hands a presentation that art film fans and brothers Grimm fans alike will appreciate.

Shout! Factory and GKids’ upcoming home release of Les Films Pelleas’ 2016 production of The Girl Without Hands is a presentation that art film fans and those of The Brothers Grimm will appreciate equally. That is due in part to the story at the center of this presentation. The story follows a young woman who is sold to the devil by her father, and eventually goes on a journey to escape the devil. Along the way, she meets the river spirit, who saves her life, and a prince, whom she ends up marrying and with whom she has a son. The story changes some of the elements of the original story in its translation from printed page to screen, but largely stays true to its source material. Purist fans of the Brothers Grimm stories will appreciate the fact that this adaptation did not stray too far from the original story. What’s more, the story’s pacing stays relatively stable from start to finish, too. This is important to note in the bigger picture of the story because the story is just shy of an hour and a half. Considering that this movie is based on a short story, that pacing is important to note because of how solidly it keeps the story moving. At no point will viewers ever find themselves fast forwarding thanks to the attention given to the pacing. On yet another level, it should be noted that while the movie will be distributed via GKids, this story is not one for kids. There is violence — the miller cutting off the girl’s hands, a baby deer being killed, etc. — as well as nudity — there are scenes in which the girl is shown totally nude top to bottom and other times when it’s partial — and even sex. Of course the sex isn’t shown. But it’s pretty obvious regardless. Keeping that in mind, while the story and its pacing are both critical to its presentation, it’s obvious that this movie is not meant for kids, despite being released via GKids. It is meant for adult audiences. Having noted this, the story is only one of the key elements to discuss in examining The Girl Without Hands. Its animation style is, believe it or not, important to its presentation, too.

The animation style used in this presentation is important to discuss because it isn’t just another cookie cutter digital cut and paste presentation. Each scene in the story was hand drawn. From the characters to the scenes themselves, everything was done by hand. Even more intriguing is the fashion in which each scene was animated. The animation is completely unlike anything that American audiences have seen in regards to hand drawn animation past or present. Even the characters themselves, who are drawn in a sort of blinking fashion, shows the advancement of each cel. This approach is discussed by director/writer Sebastien Laudenbach in the movie’s bonus making of featurette, too. His discussion explains in some depth to this topic, too, and is just one of the reasons why that bonus offering is important to the movie’s presentation. It will be discussed shortly. Getting back on the subject at hand, the animation used in this presentation creates full, rich scenes that look almost painted, not just drawn. This approach shows a real attention to such detail, and in tun to giving viewers a visual experience that they will not forget. While it might not be an approach that appeals to everyone — even being hand drawn — it still shows that there is a place for hand drawn animation in today’s overly digitized world. Keeping this in mind, it proves to be critical in its own right to this movie’s presentation, and is still not the last of the movie’s most important elements. Its bonus material rounds out its most important elements.

The bonus material that is included in the home release of The Girl Without Hands is important because of the depth that it adds to the movie. Audiences learn through Laudenbach’s interview that the approach taken to the animation was very deliberate. He explains that the brush strokes and making the characters basically flash gave them more identity and life. It’s an interesting thought, but makes at least some sense in the end. There is also discussion by Laudencbach about the movie’s life. He notes that the story of the movie’s creation goes all the way back to 2008. There were plenty of twists and turns along the way including issues with financial backing, getting rights to the story in certain formats and much more. Through it all the movie never died, leading to its eventual debut in its home nation in 2016, and now its forthcoming domestic home release. It’s an interesting story that adds a certain level of appreciation for the movie, even if one is not a fan of the story of The Girl Without Hands. Keeping this in mind, it becomes clear why the bonus making of featurette included with the movie is just as important to consider as the story and its animation. All three elements tie directly into one another, and in turn make this a presentation that again art film fans will appreciate just as much as fans of the Brothers Grimm’s often dark tales.

Shout! Factory and GKids’ forthcoming home release of The Girl Without Hands is a work that is certain to appeal to grown up fans of the art film world and those of the Brothers Grimm’s often dark tales. Set to be released in stores and online February 20, it definitely is not a movie for children, despite being released via GKids. That being noted, the movie’s adult viewers will appreciate the story, which stays largely true to its source material. The animation stands out starkly against both the cookie cuter digital animation that dominates the animation world today and every other animated movie past and present. The bonus interview with writer/director Sebastien Laudenbach offers its own interest because of the depth that it adds to not just the story but the animation, too. All three elements are clearly intertwined with one another, and through that connection, make the movie in whole a work that is certain to entertain its target art film fans and those of the Brothers Grimm. It can be pre-ordered online now via Shout! Factory’s online store. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

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

Website: http://www.gkids.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/GKIDSfilms

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‘Attack Of The Killer Tomatoes’ Re-Issue Proves Again The Importance Of Re-Issues In the Movie Industry

Courtesy: Four Square Productions/MVD Entertainment/MVD Visual

“The worst movie of all time.” That is the wording that has often been used to describe Four Square Productions’ 1978 camp cult classic Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. Yes, the movie is bad, but the fact of the matter is that it is meant to be that bad. It’s too bad that so many people have missed that point over the years. Early this week, MVD Entertainment Group’s movie branch MVD Visual re-issued the so bad it’s great flick on a new DVD/Blu-ray combo pack with brand new bonuses, giving those who still hate the movie another chance to change their minds and see the light while also giving true fans (such as this critic), a brand new opportunity to finally add the movie to their home libraries. There is so much to like about this movie beginning with its story. This will be discussed shortly. While there is a lot to like about this brand new re-issue, there is one minor qualm that must addressed — the sound mixing between the movie’s main menu and the rest of the presentation. It’s minor, but cannot be ignored, and thus, will be discussed later. While the problems with the sound mixing cannot be ignored, they are luckily the movie’s only negative in its brand new re-issue. The bonus material included in this re-issue rounds out its most important elements. Each element is, in itself an important part of this reissue’s overall presentation. All things considered, this cult classic still proves once more why re-issues can be — and often are — just as important annually as the new theatrical releases that fill theaters.

MVD Entertainment/Visual’s brand new re-issue of Four Square Productions’ 1978 camp cult classic (say that five times fast) Attack of the Killer Tomatoes is one of the best movie re-issues that will be released this year. That statement is supported easily in no small part through the movie’s story. The story, in a nutshell, follows the events of an attack by a bunch of…well…killer tomatoes on an unidentified town and the attempts by a rag-tag group of people to stop the fruity (remember, tomatoes are fruits, not vegetables) attack. The only explanation of how the tomatoes came to be was an opening scene showing an experimental garden. Audiences are left to assume that it’s a government establishment. Even as little as it is, it’s still funny, considering that they decided to change the tomatoes’ origin in the movie’s sequel. If that isn’t enough proof of how wonderfully silly this movie’s story is, then the random musical numbers, tickers at the bottom of various scenes with nonsensical phrasing and completely outrageous, over the top acting definitely show why this movie is just a fun, turn-off-your brain ride. Ironically enough, as random and outrageous as this story is, one can say to its benefit even more that the story actually manages somehow to stay on track through it all. It never allows itself to get so sidetracked with its zany material that it gets bogged down. Those behind the story’s creation are to be commended for that, especially as much as is thrown into the mix. Keeping all of this in mind, it should be clear why the movie’s story is so important to its presentation. It’s just a dumb, fun movie that is a laugh riot because it is so dumb. Hopefully those who missed that in the movie’s previous release (and those who have never seen the movie) will see it this time around now that the story is seeing the light of day again. While it is obviously important, it is only one of the reissue’s key elements. One cannot ignore the one glaring issue presented in the movie, its sound mixing.

The sound mixing involved in the movie’s new home re-issue is problematic to say the very least, for the movie’s presentation. As soon as the movie’s main menu comes up, audiences are presented with a decidedly ear-piercing whistle that opens the movie’s main theme. The whole thing is so loud that it forces audiences to push down the volume on their televisions. From there, audiences are then forced to turn the volume back up once the movie starts in order to be able to hear. the same discrepancy happens when going back and forth between the main menu and the bonus material included in the new re-issue. The bonus material is presented at a very low volume while that main menu music was obviously recorded at a very high level. The only option that this critic has found to work is to keep the movie and bonus material at one level and then mute the TV while choosing either so as to not have to endure that overpowering sound of the music on the main menu. It should be noted that this critic has nothing against the movie’s theme. The problem here is the seeming lack of attention that was paid to the audio balance between the movie, menu music and bonus content. If more attention had been paid to balancing each piece’s audio, this new presentation of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes would be perfect. If the movie should ever get another re-issue, hopefully this will serve as a reminder to those re-issuing it next. Now, having discussed this one issue, it should be noted that it is the movie’s only negative. The bonus material is its other positive.

The bonus material included in the movie’s re-issue adds so much to its overall presentation. Audiences are treated to the original 8 mm take of the movie that would serve as the basis for the big screen feature that has gone on to become a cult favorite. They are also treated to the very first movie made by those behind this movie, called Gone With The Babusuland, which is supposed to be a spy movie, and is almost as outrageous as the original take of Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. There’s even mention in the included commentary that it could be seen in watching this “movie” how the latter movie could be made. That speaks volumes about each movie’s entertainment value. The audio commentary included in the main feature adds its own depth to the movie’s presentation, too. Right off the top, audiences learn through the commentary that the tomatoes splat so well on the opening credits because they were boiled ahead of time. There’s even note of the meeting scene with the military officials being stolen from a Marx Brothers film. If that doesn’t add some appreciation to this movie, nothing will. Viewers also learn as Mason Dixon is first introduced that the cast did its own stunts and that for some of the shoots, the crew didn’t even get permits, but shot guerilla style. That was brave, and clearly paid off. This is all within the movie’s first 20 minutes or so. The insight and entertainment continue nonstop throughout the movie. As if all of the entertainment and insight offered through the already noted bonuses wasn’t enough, audiences are also treated in the bonus es to a faux doc following where the movie’s cast went after the movie was made including a hilarious short pseudo-conspiracy piece, a sing-a-long feature, in which audiences discover from Director John DeBello that it even gained fame on Dr. Demento’s radio show. Between this and all of the other bonus material included in the movie’s re-issue audiences get so much extra enjoyment, and the movie gets so much more depth to its presentation. It really is the finishing touch to the movie’s presentation in this case. When it is joined with the simply outrageous story at the center of the movie, the whole of those elements makes this presentation more than worth the watch and easily one of the year’s best DVD/BD re-issues. That is the case even despite the issue of the sound editing and mixing here.

MVD Entertainment/Visual’s brand new re-issue of Four Square Productions’ 1978 cult classic Attack of the Killer Tomatoes is one of this year’s top new DVD/BD re-issues hands down. Between its laugh riot story and its expansive list of bonuses, the entertainment factor is high here. There is also plenty of insight offered through the commentaries included with the movie and its bonuses. Even with the problems clearly raised through the movie’s lack of audio balance, those noted elements are more than enough to make the movie’s new re-issue worth the watch. It is available now in stores and online. More information on this and other titles from MVD Entertainment Group is available online now at:

Website: http://mvdentertainment.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/mvdentgroup

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Shout! Factory, GKids Partner To Release Updated Take Of Classic Brothers Grimm Story

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/GKids

Shout! Factory’s partnership with GKids is producing yet another home release for both companies this winter.

The Girl Without Hands is currently scheduled to be released Tuesday, Feb. 20 in stores and online.  The movie, based on the classic tale from the Brothers Grimm, will be available on DVD and Blu-ray/DVD combo pack.  It follows a young girl who is being chased by the devil yet is protected by the grace of God.

The story is not one that would be suitable for younger viewers, despite being released via GKids as it deal with the girl’s hands being cut off and being pursued by the devil, but rather for older audiences.  It does have a positive ending, though.

This take on the Grimms’ classic story debuted at the ACID section at the most recent Cannes film festival and was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Cesar Awards, a French film honors festival.  It won the Jury Prize at the Annecy International Animation Festival, which is a French festival celebrating animated films.  It features the voice talents of Anais Demoustier (ThereseThe Snows of KilimanjaroSweet Evil) and Jeremie Elkaim (Declaration of WarHand in HandMarguerite & Julien).

Along with its main feature, The Girl Without Hands will also feature a handful of bonuses including an interview with director Sebastien Laudenbach and some of his own short films.  It also features a “making of” featurette and a trailer for the movie.

The Girl Without Hands will retail for MSRP of $22.97 on DVD/BD combo pack and $16.97 on DVD, but can be pre-ordered now at a reduced cost of $18.97 (DVD/BD) and $13.97 (DVD) via Shout! Factory’s online store.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

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

 

Website: http://www.gkids.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/GKIDSfilms

 

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.