‘The Honey Games’ Is A “Sweet” New Addition To Studio 100’s ‘Maya The Bee’ Franchise

Courtesy: Shout! Factory Kids/Shout! Factory

Maya the Bee is back on Blu-ray with a brand new adventure that is certain to have viewers of all ages *ahem* buzzing courtesy of Shout! Factory and Studio 100.  The adventure, Maya The Bee 2 comes a little more than two years after the release of its predecessor, Maya The Bee, which was also released via Shout! Factory and Studio 100.  While it likely will not be unfamiliar to many audiences in its approach, this installment in the Maya The Bee franchise is still a story that is certain to entertain and engage viewers of all ages.  That story is one part of what makes the movie worth at least one watch.  The bonus material included with the movie adds to its entertainment, showing even more why this movie is worth seeing.  The work of the movie’s cast plays its own part in the movie’s presentation, too, and will be discussed a little later on.  Each element noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Maya The Bee 2.  All things considered, they make Maya The Bee 2 a work that is certain to bring the whole family together, and in turn have viewers of all ages buzzing about this new animated feature.

Shout! Factory and Studio 100’s new animated import Maya The Bee 2 is another enjoyable entry in the bigger story of the little bee who could.  It is definitely worth at least one watch.  That is due in no small part to the story at the center of the movie. Many viewers may find that the movie at the center of the movie is not exactly unfamiliar.  It is, at its core, an underdog tale centered on a competition that will decide the fate of two groups.  In the case of this story, Maya and an unlikely group of ragtag misfits join together to defeat Violet and her friends so that Maya’s colony won’t have to sacrifice what little honey it has in a thin summer season.  As expected Violet and her friends at first prove problematic for Maya and Team Poppy.  That’s because of her villainous ways, including playing with the emotions of Maya’s best friend.  As the story progresses, Violet of course learns her lesson and finally does the right thing, leading to a happy ending for all that includes Violet and Maya becoming friends.  It’s anything but new in regards to the overall plot.  Audiences have seen this already in the likes of Disney’s Pixie Hollow Games (one of its many Tinkerbell specials), Monsters University, Revenge of the Nerds and other similar movies and TV specials.  Through it all are the common discussions on friendship, fair play and family that are tied in to the story’s secondary coming-of-age plot.  That secondary plot sees Maya growing as she navigates the situation.  That growth plays directly into the main plot, and in turn shows even more why the movie’s story, while not unfamiliar, is still reason enough for families to see it at least once.  It is only one part of what makes Maya The Bee 2 an interesting watch.  The bonus material that is included in the movie’s presentation strengthens that presentation even more.

The bonus material included with Maya The Bee 2’s home release is the standard fare, much as with its story – a behind-the-scenes making of featurette that shows how the movie came to life.  Yet, it does its own share to entertain viewers and keep them engaged.  The making of featurette gives viewers a glimpse into the process of the movie’s creation, from the importance of lining up the sound effects (and using the proper tools to create the sound effects) to the time and effort put into making the movie look as realistic as possible and more.  It only runs roughly 20 minutes at the most, yet those discussions and the discussion on the very motivation for the movie’s creation come together the add even more reason for families to watch the movie.  That’s because of the added appreciation that they create for the movie overall.  Even with that added appreciation in mind, the noted elements are still not the last of the movie’s most important elements.  The work of the movie’s cast is important in its own right to the movie’s presentation, too.

The work of the movie’s cast is important to note because while it is voice over work, it still requires its own share of effort and time.  Luckily, that time and effort paid off, especially for lead voice actor Coco Jack Gillies (Mad Max: Fury Road, The evil’s Playground, Oddball and the Penguins), the voice of Maya.  Whether in her happier moments or her more emotional moments, Gillies makes Maya a wholly sympathetic character for whom audiences will have no problem rooting.  Case in point is the movie’s climax, in which Maya admits to the Queen (Justine Clark – Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Look Both Ways, Danny Deckchair) and to the Empress (Marny McQueen – Son of the Mask, The Mule, Bogan Pride) that she had disrespected each character, and in turn dishonored them.  The humility that Gillies establishes in her delivery makes this moment one of the movie’s most memorable and engaging.  That’s because of Gillies’ ability to make audiences believe her performance.  A happier moment such as that when the Empress initially invites Maya to the games, is just as believable.  Gillies’ cast mates do their own part in making the movie engaging, too.  Linda Ngo (Top of the Lake, The Furies, Mako Mermaids) is just as enjoyable as the despicable and spoiled Violet.  She brings to her performance, a certain something that makes audiences love to hate Violet.  That is a tribute to Ngo’s work.  Even as Violet has her change of heart, Ngo makes that moment believable even as predictable as it was.  Benson Jack Anthony (800 Words, Emo The Musical, High Life) does a good job in his own right, too, even though Willi, Maya’s “sidekick” is not on screen but so much.  Anthony makes the most of each appearance, making viewers applaud him, too.  His performance gives plenty of hope for his future regardless of whether it is in voice work or actually on screen.  Taking into account each of these performances and those not more directly discussed, the whole of the cast’s work proves to do just as much for Maya The Bee 2 as its story and bonus material.  When all three elements are joined together, they make Maya the Bee a movie that is sure to have the whole family *ahem* buzzing.

Studio 100’s latest entry in its Maya The Bee franchise, The Honey Games is a surprisingly *sweet* new addition to the series in both senses of the word.  That is due in part to a story that while not unfamiliar, still gives the story a new life in its dual plot.  The bonus material included with the movie adds a certain extra depth to the story and its presentation.  The work of the movie’s cast – both main and support – ensures in its own way, too, audiences engagement and entertainment.  Each element is important in its own right to the whole of Maya The Bee 2.  All things considered, they make this movie a work that will have the whole family *buzzing.* More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

 

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Comedy, Heart, Bonus Content, Combine To Make ‘Doctor Detroit’ One Of 2018’s Top New Movie Re-Issues

Courtesy: SHout! Factory

Truly diversely talented actors are hard to find in the current era of entertainment.  Sure, there are good actors, both male and female, but finding actors who show true diversity and talent within that diversity is difficult to say the very least.  Thinking briefly, some of the names that come to this critic’s mind are the likes of Meryl Streep, the late great Robin Williams, the legendary Katherine Hepburn, and as underappreciated as he is, Paul Giamatti among others.  These actors showed time and again their ability to adapt to so many different styles of performances, and did so with such talent.  As noted, they are just some of the people on that list.  Another name that deserves to be discussed along with them is none other than Dan Akroyd.  Akroyd, has shown just as much talent through his diverse roles as his counterparts and contemporaries.  Ghostbusters, Driving Miss Daisy, My Stepmother Is An Alien, My Girl and so many other movies have allowed Akroyd to exhibit such range and talent therein.  On April 24, another of Akroyd’s classics – Doctor Detroit — will get new life thanks to Universal Pictures and Shout! Factory, thus serving as more proof of Akroyd’s talents and abilities.  Whether audiences are seeing it for the first time or first time in a long time, it proves in many ways not only Akroyd’s talents, but in itself to be one of his best movies.  It proves both statements first and foremost through its story, which will be discussed shortly.  Speaking of Akroyd’s talent and diversity, both show through clearly in his acting, which will be discussed later.  The bonus material included with the movie’s forthcoming Blu-ray re-issue put the final touch on the movie’s presentation.  Each element is important in its own right to the overall presentation of Doctor Detroit.  All things considered, these elements make this movie (and its soon to be released re-issue) a work that any Dan Akroyd fan will appreciate and that proves Akroyd’s place in the pantheon of great actors.

Shout! Factory’s upcoming Blu-ray re-issue of Universal Pictures’ 1983 adult comedy Doctor Detroit is a work that will appeal to any Dan Akroyd fan while also proving just as much as Akroyd’s other movies, why he is one of Hollywood’s elite actors.  Both of those statements are supported in part through the story at the center of this classic comedy.  The story, which is at its heart an underdog story, sees mild-mannered (and very geeky) professor Clifford Skridlow unwittingly thrust into a world that is the polar opposite of his life of academia and the upper crust.  It’s really a fish-out-of-water element that when coupled with that underdog element gives this story so much heart.  One could even argue that Skridlow having to take on an alter ego of sorts in order to free Walker’s ladies – Monica, Jasmine, Thelma and Karen – even gives the movie a sort of super hero element even though it’s not a super hero story.  Through it all, Skridlow maintains his sense of honor, respecting the ladies and befriending Diavolo (T.K. Carter—Domino, Rush Hour, The Thing), again highlighting the story’s underdog element.  Considering that element, the super hero element, and the fish-out-of-water element all being so expertly balanced here, the writing team of Bruce Jay Friedman, Carl Gottlieb and Robert Boris deserve their own share of applause for their work.  More often than not, the more hands in a proverbial pot, the more troubled things get, but that didn’t happen here.  What’s more even with everything going on, the story’s pacing still stayed solid throughout.  What’s more the elements themselves blended together just as well and in turn complimented each other quite well.  In all honesty, if not for the drugs and sexual content, this movie would have been a great family movie.  Director Michael Pressman even makes note of this in his new bonus interview included with the movie’s re-issue. This will be discussed later in the discussion on the movie’s bonus material.  Getting back on track, the story itself and the elements tied into the story give the story so much heart that it alone makes this movie a standout work not just from Akroyd and Universal Pictures, but in general.  It is just part of the reason that the movie stands out, too.  Akroyd’s work on camera is another way in which the movie stands out.

Akroyd’s portrayal of Skridlow and his wild alter ego is so important to note because it keeps audiences just as engaged and entertained as the movie’s story and its combined elements.  The two characters so dramatically juxtapose each other throughout.  One could almost argue that Akroyd took certain parts of his character from his Coneheads skits on Saturday Night Live and attributed it to his take on the “good doctor.”  Those familiar with his performance in those skits will hopefully see that comparison just as much as this critic.  In the same breath, his presentation of Skridlow as a geeky, mild-mannered figure makes one wonder if that portrayal played – at least in part – to his portrayal of Ray Stanz in The Ghostbusters.  That’s because there is at least some similarity in those characters.  Watching Akroyd’s portrayal of Skridlow as he tries to balance the two personality types throughout is a laugh riot and makes suspension of disbelief so easy.  Considering all of this, and the work of his supporting cast, those collective performances go a long way toward making the story even more interesting.  They make their characters that entertaining with their comic and caring personas.  While Akroyd’s work, and that of his cast mates, clearly does plenty to add to Doctor Detroit’s enjoyment, it still is not the last of the movie’s most important elements.  The bonus material included in the movie’s upcoming re-issue rounds out its most important elements.

The bonus material included in Doctor Detroit’s new re-issue is important to note because it combines some previous bonus material with some new material.  The new material includes a feature length audio commentary with director Michael Pressman and Pop Culture Historian Russell Dyball and a one-on-one interview with Pressman about the movie.  The older material includes the familiar promotional radio interviews that the cast did for the movie, the trailers, TV spots, radio spots and photo gallery.  The new material included in this release offers quite a bit of insight and entertainment.  One of the most interesting comments that comes from Pressman’s one-on-one interview is his hindsight revelation about the movie’s drug and sexual content.  He said in no uncertain terms of that content, that he was not fond of that content, looking back on the movie.  Ironically, if that content had not been there, the movie’s story might have been quite different.  That’s not to say a similar story could not have been told.  But it would have likely ended up quite different, but probably still as entertaining in its own right.  That sentiment is echoed in the feature-length audio commentary along with his discussion his decision to make the movie very cartoonish, right down to the wrecker running through the junkyard gate.  Just as interesting to note in his interview and commentary is the note the connection of the drug content to the death of Akroyd’s fellow actor and longtime friend John Belushi’s death not long before the movie’s filming from a drug overdose.  Pressman openly ruminates that he was concerned how Akroyd would handle those references considering Belushi’s passing so soon before work on the movie started.  Bringing everything full circle, Dyball notes during the audio commentary that he personally thought this movie was the point at which Akroyd’s star really started to rise, creatively speaking.  He admitted The Blues Brothers and 1941 were both good movies, but that it wasn’t until this movie that things really started moving for him.  He has a point.  Looking at the movies that came after Doctor DetroitTrading Places, Ghostbusters, Spies Like Us, Dragnet, etc – it is a valid statement, at least to this critic.

As if the information shared in the new bonus material is not enough, the promotional radio interviews offer their own insight and entertainment.  Akroyd talks about The Blues Brothers in one of the radio interviews, noting that he felt the movie was, at its heart, about separation of church and state.  That is an interesting angle to take.  He also notes the creative process for Doctor Detroit and a handful of other topics that are in themselves certain to keep audiences just as entertained and engaged as the information shared in the new bonus material.  Between the information shared by Akroyd and the rest of the movie’s cast in the radio interviews and the information and thoughts shared in the movie’s new bonus material, the bonus material overall presents plenty of its own reason for audiences to watch this new re-issue.  When all of the bonus material is considered along with the work of Akroyd (and his castmates) and the movie’s fully entertaining story, the whole of those elements makes Doctor Detroit the right prescription (yes, this critic went there) for Akroyd’s fans and for classic movie buffs alike.

Shout! Factory’s upcoming re-issue of Universal Pictures’ 1983 adult comedy Doctor Detroit is a wonderful watch for Dan Akroyd’s fans and classic film buffs alike.  It is the perfect prescription (yes, this critic went there again) for anyone looking for an alternative to all of the prequels, sequels, reboots, biopics and movies based on actual events currently filling theaters.  That is proven in no small part to the movie’s central story, which expertly balances so many story elements into one whole.  Even being an adult comedy, those elements give the movie just enough heart that if not for the drug and sexual references (including the sexual content that makes up its central plot), this could easily be a family movie.  The work of Akroyd and his fellow cast mates throughout does plenty in its own right to keep audiences entertained and engaged.  The entertainment and insight offered through the movie’s bonus material – both the familiar and the new – adds its own level of enjoyment here, too.  Each element is important in its own right, as has hopefully been made clear in this review.  All things considered, they make the upcoming re-issue of Doctor Detroit one of this year’s top new movie re-issues.  It will be available April 24 in stores and online.  It can be pre-ordered online now via Shout! Factory’s store.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

 

 

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Death Valley Dreams Premieres New Single, Video

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

Death Valley Dreams is back with new music and a new video to boot.

The band premiered the video for its new song ‘Turn out Those Eyes’ on Tuesday online via Pure Grain Audio.  The song is included in the soundtrack to the new independent movie Baby Frankenstein. Due to that connection, the obviously 80s-influenced song’s companion video fuses footage of the band performing its song with footage from the movie.

Chad Azeliga (Breaking Benjamin, Black Label Society, Black Star Riders) makes a cameo appearance on drums for this video along with Cold guitarists Nick Coyle and Johnny Nova.

Produced by Mike Rutkoski and directed by Jon YonKondy, Baby Frankenstein is a comedy/horror that follows young teen protagonist Lance (Ian Barling — in his acting debut) and his unlikely friendship with a tiny, sentient, robot (Rance Nix — The Other Half (short), Trapeze, U.S.A. (short), AWAKE, on the Train to Hell (short).  Also starring Andrew Gower (The Monster SquadBaby Makes FiveMr. President) and Patrick McCartney (ElfUpright Citizens BrigadeManhunt), Baby Frankenstein will start screening globally this spring.  It will be available on multiple platforms later this year.

More information on Death Valley Dreams’ new single and video is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.deathvalleydreams.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/dvdofficial

 

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‘The Railway Children’ Proves A Success In Its Domestic Debut

Courtesy: Film Movement

Finding presentations in this day and age that will not only bring families together but entertain adults as well as children, is a difficult task. As a matter of fact, It seems today that bringing the family together to watch anything, whether on television or on disc, is next to impossible. Finding something that will entertain the whole family at the same time is just as much of a feat. That being the case, Film Movement has potentially done the impossible with its soon to be released theatrical adaptation of author E. Nesbit’s beloved children’s book The Railway Children. Originally released on DVD overseas in 2016 from the York Theatre Royal’s stage adaptation, that presentation is scheduled to make its domestic debut April 3 via Film Movement. There is plenty to like about this presentation beginning with the story at the tale’s center. This will be discussed shortly. The presentation put on by the play’s cast does its own part to make this presentation enjoyable. It will be discussed later. The play’s production values (most notably its audio and cinematography) play their own collective role in the play’s presentation, too. Of course, there is one extra surprise connected to those values that will be discussed along with them. That item, along with the noted production items, the cast’s work and the story itself are each important in their own way to the whole of this presentation. All things considered, this domestic debut of The Railway Children‘s 2016 stage play proves to be a wonderful presentation for the whole family regardless of families’ familiarity with the story.

Independent movie studio Film Movement’s forthcoming domestic DVD debut of the 2016 stage adaptation of author E. Nesbit’s book The Railway Children is a miracle of a presentation. It is a work that is certain to not only bring families together, but also to entertain the whole family. That is a telling statement. It proves to be such a powerfully entertaining presentation in part through its central story. The story follows three children — Bobbie (Roberta), Phyllis and Peter — as they move from their opulent life to the Yorkshire countryside after their father is wrongly imprisoned on accusations of spying against the British. the story takes place around the time of World War I. There is an obvious statement made at one point against certain governmental styles when the children help a French-speaking Russian refugee who is searching for his wife and daughter. This critic will admit to having never read Nesbit’s original book. However, the addition of that statement to the story is something that will reach most older audiences and generate its own share of discussion among said audiences. It’s a statement that sadly is just as relevant today as it would have been in the time of the story. That’s because there are regimes around the world that would — and do — jail people for speaking their minds even today. Getting back on the subject at hand, the children’s story, that follows their daily activities as they wait for their father’s return is accessible for adults and children because it is told by the children. Speaking of this presentation, the telling of the story by the children plays into their overall performance, another important part of the play’s presentation.

The cast’s presentation of the story is so important to discuss because it does so much to pull audiences into the story as the story itself. The cast — Rosalind Lailey (Bobbie), Beth Lilly (Phyllis) and Izaak Cainer (Peter) — tell the story to the audience while at the same time acting out the scenes. That balance of breaking down the fourth wall while also putting on a performance in each scene is to be commended. That is because the cast so easily moves back and forth between the two scenarios that somehow audiences are still able to maintain suspension of disbelief. It truly pulls audiences that much more into the story. It’s an enjoyable, unique approach. Staying on that note, Lailey, Lilly and Cainer are deserving of their credit for their work, not just the way in which they balance fantasy and reality. Lailey truly makes Bobbie a sympathetic character as she prays for the return of the children’s father. Her reaction when she reads in the newspaper that their father had been foudn guilty of spying (not to give away too much here) is such a painful moment. That is meant in a positive way. Lailey really makes audiences feel for Bobbie in this moment. At the same time, Bobbie’s more joyful moments such as when the Russian leans he will be reunited with his family (again, not to give away too much), will put a smile on anyone’s face. Cainer and Lilly are just as entertaining as they support Lailey. Cainer’s take on Peter offers its share of laughs. One of his best moments comes as he has to handle Bobbie thinking Peter was giving his locomotive to her. It’s a slightly emotional moment, but funny, too. It’s funny because so many audiences can relate to such a sibling scenario. Even Lilly offers her own entertainment as she breaks that fourth wall right before the play’s intermission, staying in character the whole time as she tells the audiences it was a good time to take a break. It’s a minor moment, but adds so much just because she stays in character even there. For those who might be worried, the intermission is omitted here, replaced expertly by a fade out and fade in at the intermission’s start and end respectively. Keeping all of this in mind, it becomes clear why the work of the play’s cast is so important to its overall presentation. One would be remiss to ignore the part played by the rest of the supporting cast here. The supporting cast does just as much in its time on stage as the primary cast. Again, their addition to the play shows even more why the cast’s work is so important in keeping audiences engaged and entertained. All things considered here, the work of the cast is without argument, critical to the enjoyment of this play, even on screen. When it is coupled with the story itself, the two elements go a very long way toward making this presentation worth the watch. It still is not the last of the presentation’s most important elements. The production values round out its most important elements.

Considering that this plays was presented in a railway museum’s theater, audio and video were of critical importance. The cast didn’t seem to be wearing mics at any time here. If they were, then those behind the scenes are to be commended for having made them invisible to the naked eye. Regardless of mic or no, those behind the scenes are still to be commended for their work in making the sound audible for home viewers. The manner in which the cast delivers its lines — thanks to those individuals’ work — makes watching this play on screen feel almost as if one is there in person watching from some VIP box. The addition of the equally expert directing and cinematography gives home viewers the best seat in the house as so many angles are used throughout the play. Those who attended the play in person had a very limited range of vision, so having so many angles provides an even fuller experience for home viewers. It makes watching the play here on DVD even better than being there in person. That is not to say that being there likely wasn’t enjoyable in its own right. That should not be misinterpreted here. Rather, it enhances the experience that much more, and together with the solid audio engineering, makes the experience, in terms of production, completely enjoyable. Add in the inclusion of an actual engine — the same engine used in the book’s 1970 cinematic adaptation no less — and the experience becomes even more enthralling. Seeing that engine enter the theater as part of the story is just something special — again — even on screen. It adds so much with those minute appearances. Keeping all of this in mind, it should be obvious by now why the production values of The Railway Children are just as critical to its presentation as the work of the play’s cast and the play’s story. When all three elements are joined, they prove without any doubt that The Railway Children is a work that the entire family will enjoy.

Film Movement’s upcoming domestic home release of The Railway Children on stage is a work that is a must see for any and every family. That is due in no small part to the family friendly story, which touts the positives of kindness, friendship and devotion to family. The cast’s work on stage is just as important to the play’s presentation. Both the main and supporting cast offer plenty to appreciate here, as has been noted. The play’s production values are also key to its presentation. They make the viewing experience just as good, if not better than, being there. Each element is critical in its own way to making this presentation so enjoyable. All things considered, they make this domestic release of The Railway Children on stage a work that, again, the entire family will enjoy. It will be available in stores and online April 3. More information on this presentation of The Railway Children is available online now at:

Website: http://www.railwaychildrenfilm.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheRailwayChildrenFilm2016

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TRCthefilm

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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Shout! Factory Announces Release Date, Specs For ‘Doctor Detroit’ Re-Issue

Courtesy: SHout! Factory

Shout! Factory is-re-issuing another classic comedy next month on Blu-ray as part of its Shout! Select collection.

Doctor Detroit is currently scheduled to be re-issued in stores and online on April 24. It will be available exclusively on Blu-ray.  The movie, which debuted in 1983 via Universal Pictures, stars Dan Akroyd (Ghostbusters 1 & 2Spies Like UsTrading Places) as mild-mannered college professor Clifford Skridlow in its lead role.  Skridlow unwittingly becomes a perverbial fish-out-of-water in this story when he becomes a patsy pimp for real pimp Smooth Walker (Howard Hesseman–WKRP in CincinnatiFlight of the NavigatorAbout Schmidt).

Walker puts Skridlow in his place when he comes under fire from Chicago crime boss Mom (Kate Murtagh — Farewell My LovelyThe CarSwitchblade Sisters).  Thrust into his unlikely position under the thumb of Mom, Skirdlow takes it on himself to become a savior for Walker’s women of sorts, and in the process for his college.

Doctor Detroit‘s forthcoming re-issue is complimented with a new feature-length audio commentary from the movie’s director, Michael Pressman and pop culture historian Russell Dyball.  It also will feature a new one-on-one interview with Pressman alongside a handful of trailers, a photo gallery and TV and radio spots.

Pre-orders are open now for Shout! Factory’s forthcoming Doctor Detroit re-issue. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

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Film Movement’s New Arts Doc Sadly Won’t Get Repeat Performances

Courtesy: Film Movement

The Paris Opera is one of the most respected and famed cultural arts venues in the world. Period. It has been in operation for hundreds of years and has hosted some of the greatest performances in history, and early this month, Film Movement took audiences behind the scenes of the famed facility and its operations with the aptly titled new documentary The Paris Opera. Considering the rich history of the center, one would think that watching the happenings of just one season would be something truly enthralling for cultural arts fans. That single-season “ride-along” of sorts is what audiences get here, but sadly it comes up short of its potential even as interesting as the concept is at its heart. This will be discussed shortly. The bonus interview with the doc’s director, Jean-Stephane Bron, does little to make up for the lack of interest generated through the main feature. He has some interesting insights in his brief interview, but even with those insights, there is not much to write home about. The “bonus” short film Les Indes Galantes, being separate entirely from the main feature is interesting, too, but is just interesting enough for maybe the occasional watch. Considering all that this documentary could have been yet all that it didn’t turn out to be, it proves sadly to be a miss for Film Movement.

Independent film studio Film Movement’s new documentary feature The Paris Opera is a work that could have offered so much for audiences to appreciate. This includes not only those who know the facility’s rich history and everything that goes into keeping the facility such a respected venue year after year, but arts lovers in general. One cannot deny in watching the 111-minute (roughly 1-hour 51-minute) that it does generate at least a little bit of interest in all of that work. However, there is no one central story point to keep viewers engaged throughout. Yes, it is a documentary, but there is no anchor, no real point to keep viewers engaged. Rather, it jumps from one point to another with no clear transitions from scene to scene. In other words, there’s no real reason for viewers to stay invested in the program. Rather, it will leave viewers occasionally checking in to see what’s going on. That being the case, this doc’s main feature, as entertaining and engaging as it could have been, falls short of those expectations, making it worth maybe one watch at best. That is not meant to be a slam at the program. Rather, it is just an observation and meant to be constructive criticism. Staying on that note, the program’s main feature is not its only feature. The brief interview with its director, Jean-Stephane Bon deserves some discussion.

Bon’s interview, which is included here as a bonus feature, is brief. Even with the questions and responses, it probably doesn’t run more than five minutes, if that. During the course of his interview, Bon discusses what he hoped viewers will get out of the doc and the process of recording everything. Audiences will be intrigued to learn that one portion of the program took roughly two weeks of recording just for an 11-minute segment. Just as interesting to learn is the number of hoops through which Bon had to jump before even starting the first recording. That discussion in itself generates at least some respect for the work that was put in during each phase (pre, production and post). Those discussions and a couple of others offer some insight and appreciation for the work put in to bringing this doc to life, but other than that, doesn’t do much more for the program’s overall presentation. Taking this into consideration while Bon’s bonus interview is interesting in its own right, it still is not enough to salvage The Paris Opera. Sadly, much the same can be said of the doc’s bonus short film Les Indes Galantes.

Les Indes Galantes (The Galant Indies in English) is its own intriguing bonus feature. It takes a classic work of music and sets it against a modern dance that will definitely appeal to younger audiences who perhaps might otherwise not have any interest in opera or dance. Watching the dancers’ rigid moves in time with the music is entertaining, and there’s no denying it’s something that will definitely appeal to dancers and dance enthusiasts. Again though, it’s still not enough to make buying this whole DVD worth the money. Rather, it might just lead the noted audiences to look up the dance and similar dances on YouTube for their entertainment. Staying on that note, as entertaining as this element is in itself and alongside Bon’s bonus interview, those bonuses are still not enough to make up for the passive viewing that audiences will find themselves doing with the program’s main feature. Again, the main feature is not a total loss, but it is also sadly not enough to be worth more than maybe one watch.

The Paris Opera is a sad miss for independent film company Film Movement. This nearly two-hour doc, which follows the events of one season at the legendary arts venue, is an interesting program worth maybe one watch. Sadly though, it doesn’t do a lot to keep viewers invested, instead leaving them watching more passively than actively as there’s no real common thread throughout its run. It’s interesting to see what goes on behind the scenes, but the program sadly doesn’t do much more than show what goes on. The bonus interview with director Jean-Stephane Bon and the bonus short film make valiant efforts to make up for that general lack of interest generated through the main feature and deserve their share of credit. The problem is that as much as they work to make up for that issue, they ultimately fall short of making up for it. Keeping this in mind this program, in the end, proves to be worth maybe one watch among arts enthusiasts, but not much more. Hopefully Film Movement will take all of this to heart and be more selective before taking on its next documentary. For those willing to take the chance on the program, it is available for purchase online now 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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Arrow Academy Hits Another Bullseye With Its Re-Issue Of ‘The Apartment’

Courtesy: Arrow Academy/Arrow Films/Arrow Video

Romantic comedies, dramas and dramedies nowadays are not exactly the cream of the crop. From one to the next, they center on the boy meets girl-loses her-gets her back in the end storyline with far too many similarities from one to the next. Even the execution of the stories far too often mirror one another, even while some movies are more light-hearted than others and vice versa. Keeping that in mind, having an original entry in that field come along is always welcome. Enter United Artists’ 1960 dramedy The Apartment. Starring a laundry list of now famed actors including Jack Lemmon, Shirley Maclaine, Fred MacMurray, Ray Walston and others, this heartfelt romantic dramedy is a true classic that every classic film buff should own, especially in its new re-issue from Arrow Academy. The movie’s limited edition re-issue is a must have in part because it is a brand new opportunity to experience a story that is just as relevant today as it was more than 50 years ago when it originally premiered. This will be discussed shortly. Lead star Jack Lemmon’s work on camera also makes the movie so entertaining. It will be discussed later. The bonus material included in this new re-issue rounds out the most important of its elements. Each item is important in its own way to the movie’s presentation, as will be explained through this review. All things considered, they make Arrow Academy’s recent re-issue of The Apartment more proof that re-issues are just as valuable for movie lovers as the prequels, sequels, reboots and over-the-top biopics that flood theaters today.

Arrow Academy’s recently released re-issue of United Artists’ 1960 Jack Lemmon romantic dramedy The Apartment is a must have for any true classic movie buff. It is one more example of why re-issues are just as important as viewing options as the prequels, sequels, reboots and over-the-top biopics that flood theaters today. That is proven in part through the story at the center of the movie. The story centers on Lemmon’s character, C.C. Baxter as he tries to work his way up the corporate ladder by letting his superiors use his apartment for their illicit romantic trysts. As he proceeds, he eventually grows as a person and finally grows a spine, standing up to them (specifically to J.D. Sheldrake–played by Fred MacMurray (The Absent Minded Professor, Son of Flubber) ) and making his own way. To that end, it is a classic underdog story. Here is a man who just wants to make it, but has had to sacrifice his own dignity in order to do so. When he finally stands up to Sheldrake, He finally comes out on top, just in an unexpected fashion. That unexpected ending is another part of what makes the story so interesting. It won’t be revealed here, for the sake of those who haven’t yet seen the movie.

While it is, at its heart, a warm, entertaining underdog story, it is also a statement about corporate America; a statement that the culture that has for so long been accepted within that world, must change. As is noted in the bonus commentary (which will be discussed later), this is critical because this movie came along during the age of McCarthyism, yet still didn’t land director and co-writer Billy Wilder on Hollywood’s black list. Considering the ongoing discussions about the “Me Too” and “Time’s Up” movements going on right now, this element of the story becomes that much more critical to its whole. It makes even more so, the story overall just as relevant today as it was in its 1960 premiere (nearly 60 years ago). That is a very telling statement. When this element is coupled with the story’s more heartfelt, fun underdog story, the whole of those elements make the overall story a tale that insures audiences’ entertainment and engagement from beginning to end. Of course, the story is only one key part of what makes this movie so entertaining so many decades after its original premiere. Lead star Jack Lemmon’s work on camera plays its own critical part here, too.

Lemmon’s work is so important to note in examining this movie because it is so entertaining in its own right. This movie, as audiences learn in the bonus content, was only the second time that Lemmon and Wilder had worked together. The first time was only a year prior in 1959’s Some Like It Hot. Audiences see a lot of similarity in his portrayal of Baxter to that of Jerry (from the prior flick). In the same breath, one can also argue that Lemmon’s take on Baxter here also could be where he got the inspiration for Felix Unger in The Odd Couple, which interestingly would not come along for another eight years after The Apartment. A close side-by-side comparison of those portrayals would seem to hint at that considering Baxter’s at times semi neurotic behavior. The general sympathetic, underdog persona adds to the strength of that comparison. Of course, as audiences learn in the bonus material (again, this will be discussed later), this was nothing new for Lemmon by this time. To that end, maybe Felix’s character wasn’t influenced by Baxter, but it’s interesting to consider the similarities regardless. Either way, Lemmon’s take on Baxter is so entertaining that audiences will agree it is just as much of a strong point in this movie’s presentation as the story itself. It is of course still not the last of the movie’s most important elements. The bonus material that is included with the movie’s new re-issue rounds out the most important of its elements.

The bonus material included in the movie’s re-issue is extensive to say the very least. There is an archived one-on-one interview with Wilder from the Film Writers Guild in which Wilder talks film theory and how it related to how he helmed The Apartment. It comes complete with an audio introduction from Lemmon. Also included in the bonus material is an interview with Hope Holiday, who played Margie McDougall in which she shares her story of how she actually ended up in the movie almost by chance. The tears of joy that Holiday sheds as she shares her story make the story all the more engaging. That is because they are clearly not crocodile tears. She really is so thankful to have been able to have been in the movie. As if all of this isn’t enough, the bonus feature-length commentary reveals its own share of interesting information. For example, audiences learn through that commentary that Fred MacMurray was not the original actor who portrayed Sheldrake. As a matter of fact, it turns out that he was under contract to Disney when he was called to replace the original actor who played Sheldrake, and was not exactly in favor of playing a character such as Sheldrake because of the characters he was playing for Disney. Obviously he ended up being convinced to play Sheldrake, and the rest (as the adage states) is history. The commentary also reveals that the scene in which Baxter had a cold was very real. He in fact had a cold when the scene in question was filmed. There is also discussion on the anti-capitalist themes presented in the movie and how Wilder and co-writer I.A.L. Diamond surprisingly got away with putting them into the movie without being black listed. This adds its own insight into the movie. Between all of this, the commentary about Wilder’s distaste for television (and the contradiction thereof since he hired a bunch of television actors for his leads), and so much more, it becomes wholly clear why the bonus material included in The Apartment‘s new re-issue is so critical to its overall presentation. It adds just as much — if not more — to the re-issue’s presentation as the movie’s story and Lemmon’s acting. When all three of those elements are considered together, they make this movie a work that should be in any true classic movie buff’s movie library, and a work that shows once more that re-issues are just as important for audiences as all of the prequels, sequels, reboots and biopics out there today.

Arrow Academy’s recent re-issue of The Apartment is a presentation that belongs in the home library of any true classic movie buff. That is because it is a re-issue done right. From the movie’s look and sound to its very story alongside Lemmon’s acting to the bonus material included this time, there is so much done right here. All things considered, this re-issue shows that re-issues are just as important as viewing options for audiences as the new theatrical offerings out there today. It is available now and can be ordered online direct via Arrow Academy’s online store. More information on The Apartment and other titles from Arrow Academy is available online now at:

Website: http://arrowfilms.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ArrowFilmsVideo

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