PBS Distribution Announces Release Date For ‘The Tunnel: Season 1’

Courtesy: Public Media Distribution

Courtesy: Public Media Distribution

PBS Distribution has announced the release date for PBS’ new political crime thriller The Tunnel.

The Tunnel will be released on DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday, August 9th.  The movie stars Stephen Dillane (The Hours, Game of Thrones, King Arthur) as lead character Detective Karl Roebuck.  Roebucks is investigating the death of a prominent French politician who was found in the middle of the fame Channel Tunnel, straddling the border between England and France.  It is up to Roebuck and his partner Elise Wasserman (Clemence Poesy—Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I & II, 127 Hours) to solve the mystery of the politician’s death.  Things take a gripping turn when a shocking discovery is made at the scene of the crime.  The discovery forces both French and British police to put aside their differences and work together in order to solve the case while Roebuck and Wasserman are pulled ever-deeper into the case.

The Tunnel’s run time is 450 minutes spread across 3 discs.  The DVD set will retail for MSRP of $49.99 and the Blu-ray set for $59.99.  It can be pre-ordered online now direct via PBS’ online store.  More information on The Tunnel is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website:  http://www.thetunnelmovie.net

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/thtunnelmovie

 

 

 

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.

‘Endgame’ Makes Plenty Of Smart Moves

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

The underdog story is one of the most overly story types in the movie industry today.  From Rudy to Rocky to Remember The Titans and beyond Hollywood loves visiting the underdog arena.  In all honesty, it is the view of this critic that Hollywood loves the underdog arena way too much.  That is because of the genre’s overall lack of creativity and originality. It seems that nine out of every ten underdog stories offered to audiences today present roughly the same story just in a different setting.  While that is a somewhat disheartening number to consider, it does at least mean that every now and then there is one underdog story that makes up for the other nine that are otherwise forgettable.  Earlier this month Shout! Factory released one of those standout offerings in the form of the indie underdog story Endgame.  The movie, originally released nationwide on September 25th, 2015, was released earlier this month on DVD and Blu-ray by Shout! Factory.  While it might not be the most memorable movie of its kind to ever be released it is still a worthwhile alternative to all of the other run-of-the-mill stories within that arena.  That is especially true in considering the movie’s story, which is just one of its key elements.  The work of the movie’s cast is just as important to note here.  That will be discussed later.  The bonus material that is included with the movie’s new home release rounds out the most important of its elements.  It completes the movie’s presentation in its new home release and shows once more why this indie underdog story is just as inspirational and moving as its more well-known counterparts and in turn, is worth at least one watch.

Endgame is hardly the first underdog story to ever be presented to audiences in cinematic history.  It is however, an underdog story that is just as inspirational as its more well-known counterparts.  In turn it is an underdog story that is worth at least one watch as is evidenced in the movie’s central story.  The story follows a young Latino boy named Jose (Rico Rodriguez—Modern Family, The Muppets, Epic Movie) who happens to be quite the talented chess player.  Growing up in the poor community of Brownsville, Texas, chess is the only thing that brings him any joy in life other than his grandmother (Ivonne Coll—Jane The Virgin, Lean on Me, The Godfather: Part II).  That is because he is living in the shadow of his older brother Miguel (Xavier Gonzalez—Between Us, Walk Away, Stories of the Paranormal).  Miguel is a rising soccer star and everybody knows and loves him.  They expect Jose to be just like Miguel.  But when Miguel is killed in a late night car crash, life changes for everyone, including Jose and his divorcee mother.  Chess becomes even more Jose’s escape and his source of strength.  The story eventually sees Jose and his team mates in his school’s chess team inspire each other and their entire community as they make their way to the state chess championships.  Even Jose’s mother and grandmother are inspired and moved in their own way.  What is most interesting of the whole story is that while the story does end at least somewhat as expected there is a surprise of sorts in the end, too.  That unexpected ending element is actually a pleasant surprise.  It won’t be revealed here for the sake of those who haven’t yet seen the movie.  But it is nice to see that writer/director Carmen Marron didn’t let the story remain formulaic even in its end.  Staying on that train of thought, Marron’s approach to her adaptation of the real life events on which this movie are based is to be just as commendable as the story itself.

The story at the center of Endgame is in itself worth at least one watch.  That is because it isn’t just another underdog story centered on a boxer, football player (or team), or sports team in whole.  Rather it focuses on one community’s banding together behind an unsuspecting middle school chess team in one of Americas most underprivileged school districts.  While the story’s “nothing to something” story line is ultimately not that original the story is still original in its own right since few if any underdog stories have ever centered on such subjects.  That is just part of what makes the story stand out.  Writer/director Carmen Marron’s approach to the story is just as important to note in considering the story as the story itself.  That is because unlike other screenwriters, Marron didn’t try to make Endgame into yet another run-of-the-mill, over-the-top epic underdog stories of which audiences are all too familiar.  Rather she made sure that the story maintained a certain sense of humility throughout instead of letting it become one of those almost pompous presentations that are so common among its more well-known counterparts.  At the same time, being a Dove Foundation approved movie it also didn’t have that overly cheesy vibe of so many other movies given the okay by the Christian-based film rating organization.  Rather it has more the feel of a general independent movie than one of its over-the-top big brothers or one of its cheesier indie counterparts.  In other words, it boasts its own approach, and in turn identity thanks to Marron’s approach.  When this is taken into consideration along with the story itself the two elements combine to show why Endgame’s story makes its worth at least one watch.

The story at the center of Endgame and the approach taken in creating the movie are both important pieces of the movie’s presentation.  Both by themselves and together, they make the movie worth at least one watch.  They are not the only important elements to note in examining the movie’s presentation.  The work of the movie’s cast is just as important to note as that of Marron in developing the story.  Rodriguez, Coll, and Justina Machado are among the most notable of the cast members in considering the cast’s work.  Whether alone or together, each actor puts forth an admirable performance throughout the movie.  Thanks to Rodriguez’s performance, so many younger audiences will be able to relate to Jose regardless of nationality.  Even older audiences may find themselves being able to relate to Jose.  That is because so many people have faced the same sibling issues that Jose faced and the related frustrations.  It makes Jose’s frustrations completely understandable.  Rodriguez’s handling of those emotions is just as relatable to many viewers.  Given, probably not every has broken a sibling’s trophy out of anger, but they have likely broken something belonging to a sibling out of anger towards said figure.  In the same breath, likely fewer people have ever had to deal with the death of a sibling (or even a child) at such a young age.  But there sadly are those few that have dealt with it.  Being that there are those who have, they will appreciate the pure emotion exhibited by all three actors.  It would have been so easy for each to go over the top in their portrayal of their respective characters’ sadness of Miguel’s death.  In a much bigger budgeted film, that might have even happened.  That’s especially the case since this has in fact happened in said movies.  But none of the trio went to that length.  It makes each individual’s performance all the more believable and engaging.  On a different note, the relationship between Jose and his grandmother is just as enjoyable to see.  Coll and Rodriguez have such wonderful chemistry when they are on screen together.  It is clear in watching them that thy really enjoyed working together.  Because they had so much fun together audiences will enjoy their performances just as much.  There are so many other performances that could be cited here in explaining why the cast’s work is just as important to the movie’s presentation as its story.  They include that of Rodriguez’s cast mate Alina Herrera (Marrying God, The Little Samaritan, Caribe Road) as Jose’s frien Dani, Efran Ramirez’s (Crank, Napoleon Dynamite, Eastbound & Down) take on Jose’s teacher Mr. Alvarado, and Jon Gries’ (Napoleon Dynamite, Taken, Men in Black) take on Principal Thomas.  Each actor puts forth his (or her) impressive performance throughout the movie.  Their performances couple with those of Rodriguez, Coll, and Machado to show even more clearly why the work of the movie’s cast is just as important to its presentation as that of Marron in crafting the story.  They are not the movie’s only important elements, though.  The bonus material that is included in the movie’s home release is just as important to note as its story and the work of its cast.

Writer/director Carmen Marron’s work in developing Endgame’s story and the work of the movie’s cast in interpreting Marron’s scripts are both important in their own right to the movie’s presentation.  Each element makes the movie worth at least one watch.  They are not the movie’s only important elements, though.  The bonus material that is included with the movie in its new home release is just as important to the movie’s presentation as its writing and acting.  The most notable of those bonus materials is the movie’s bonus behind-the-scenes featurette.  This is important to note because it is rare for a behind-the-scenes featurette to add any real value to a movie’s presentation.  More often than not they are little more than space fillers regardless of the studio.  But in the case of this movie it actually adds quite a bit to the movie’s presentation.  Audiences learn in watching this featurette that lead star Rico Rodriguez actually came into the movie with at least some knowledge of chess.  He openly admitted that he was hardly a professional.  But he did have at least a certain amount of knowledge and understanding of the game.  So being involved in the movie, he states in his interviews that has in fact served to strengthen his interest in the centuries-old board game.  That is quite the statement.  On a related note, audiences will be just as interested to learn in this feature that the movie was recorded in just 19 days, many of which couldn’t even be full, eight-hour days.  That is due to labor laws preventing minors from working eight hours in a single day.  Most of the 19 days in question turned out to be about 6 hour days because of those labor laws.  All of this is so notable because of how the movie turned out in the long run.  Again, it boasts its very own identity both within the underdog arena and within the Dove-nominated field.  It stands out in both fields both in terms of its look and its feel.  This is the case even with the movie having been recorded in just 19 days.  That is truly extraordinary especially for an independent movie.  Just as interesting to note is the fact that the movie was filmed completely on-site in Brownsville, Texas.  That adds even more to the movie’s believability.  By direct connection the revelation of the community’s welcoming nature towards the movie’s cast and crew is just as interesting to learn.  It echoes the togetherness exhibited by the community in the movie.  This shows once more the importance of the movies bonus material in regards to the movie’s overall presentation.  Even Marron’s own audio commentary throughout the movie adds its own interest to the movie.  When that engaging bonus material is set alongside the movie’s story and the work of the movie’s cast, the presentation in whole proves why it is, again, worth at least one watch.

Endgame is not the first underdog story to ever be presented to audiences either independently or on a major scale.  It is however, just as inspiring and moving as its more well-known counterparts past and present.  That is due to its largely original story and the approach taken in presenting the story.  The work of the movie’s cast plays its own part in making the movie worth seeing.  The same can be said of the bonus material included in the movie’s recent home release.  Each element plays its own important part in the movie’s overall presentation.  All things considered they make the movie more than just another underdog story.  They make it an underdog story that is worth at least one watch.  It is available in stores and online now and can be ordered online direct via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/film/film-drama/endgame. 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

 

 

 

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.

Virgil Films’ New ‘Back To The Future’ Doc Is A “Heavy” Presentation

Courtesy: Virgil Films

Courtesy: Virgil Films

Throughout the course of its rich, ages-long history Hollywood and its major studios have carved out so many new cinematic highways on which audiences have traveled.  It is on those same roads that audiences have been introduced to just as many iconic cars and more.  In 1964 audiences were introduced to James Bond’s now famed Aston Martin for the first time.  Four years later in 1968 audiences were introduced to yet another iconic car in the form of the Ford Bullitt Mustang GT 390 Fastback.  And in 1985 audiences went for another ride with one of the single most iconic cinematic cars of all time in the form of Doctor Emmett L. Brown’s DeLorean time machine.  That car is the focus of today’s review.  Or rather, a new documentary focused on the car in question is the focus of today’s review.  Just last week Virgil Films released a new documentary title OUTATIME:  Saving The DeLorean Time Machine.  The roughly 63 minute documentary follows the efforts of a dedicated team of fans who made it their mission to reconstruct the car, which for years had sadly been left to the elements by the very studio that made it famous.  That story in question sits at the center of the documentary as its most important elements.  The transitions that are used to advance the story are just as important to note as the documentary’s central story.  The bonus material that is included in the documentary rounds out its most important elements.  It brings everything full circle in the program’s presentation.  Each element plays its own unquestionably important part in the program’s presentation.  Altogether they make OUTATIME: Saving The DeLorean Time Machine a must see not just for Back to the Future fans but for car nuts and film buffs, too.  They come together to make the program in whole potentially one of the year’s top new documentaries.

Virgil Films’ new cinematic documentary OUTATIME: Saving The DeLorean Time Machine is potentially one of 2016’s top new documentaries.  It is a must see not just for Back to the Future fans but for car nuts and film buffs, too.  That is exhibited in large part through the story that makes up the body of the program’s main feature.  The story follows a group of dedicated Back to the Future fans who make it their mission to bring back to life the famed DeLorean time machine used in the filming of the beloved film series (and apparently its animated spinoff, too as audiences will learn in watching this documentary).  As the story goes, the car in question was Universal’s “A” car.  It was one of three that were used in the filming of the original trilogy and is the only one of the three cars that survived the filming.  The problem is that the car was largely neglected in the years following the trilogy’s filming.  If it wasn’t being used at special events and around the Universal back lot, it was being left open to the elements and overzealous fans, many of whom picked pieces of the car and took them home for themselves.  So, as the story presents, it was up to these dedicated fans to reconstruct the car to its original, pristine condition.  It was anything but an easy chore, too.  It took the team a whole year to find get the job done.  From looking through military surplus yards to contacting fans who had taken pieces of the original car (including the original flux capacitor) to even building parts from scratch and more the reconstruction team had quite the job in store.  Lead man Joe Walser made certain, too that the car was rebuilt right down to the smallest detail.  Perhaps most incredible of all is that not a single member of the team was paid for its efforts.  One man drove three hours either way from beginning to end while another even flew 7 hours at one point and was instantly put right to work upon arrival.  The end result of the team’s efforts is incredible to see.  Interestingly enough had Universal taken more care of the DeLorean, this documentary might have ironically never happened.  But now thanks to the efforts of the build team, it does exist.  Not only that but the DeLorean now sits in one of the world’s most renowned automotive museums for all to see after being moved from Universal Studios.  This is revealed in one of the program’s key bonus features, and will be discussed later.  Getting back on the subject at hand, the story at the center of OUTATIME: Saving the DeLorean Time Machine is a key element to the documentary’s presentation.  It is only one of the program’s key elements.  The transitions that are used in telling the story, and advancing it, are just as important to the program as its story.

The story at the center of OUTATIME: Saving the DeLorean Time Machine is a key element in the program’s presentation.  It is just one of the documentary’s key elements.  The transitions that are used to help tell the story and advance it are just as important to its overall presentation as the story itself.  Viewers will be pleased to see just how smooth the transitions in question are.  Each segment is launched by the use of yet another iconic BTTF element, the clock from the clock tower.  As each month ticks by so does the clock tick back to zero.  Within each segment viewers are presented with a specific portion of the rebuild–the time circuits, reacquiring the pieces that had been picked from the car, the hunt to find other parts, etc.  The beginning and end of each segment is wholly clear, making the story in whole that much easier to follow.  That in turn leads to insurance of viewers’ engagement from the beginning of the program to its end.  It works with the story directly to make the presentation of the program’s central story key in itself to the documentary’s overall presentation.  It still is not the last of the documentary’s most notable elements.  Its bonus material is just as important to note as its story and transitions therein.

The story at the center of OUTATIME: Saving the DeLorean Time Machine and its related transitions are both key pieces of this documentary’s presentation.  The story centers on the efforts to restore what is one of the most iconic cars in Hollywood’s modern history.  The transitions ensure viewers’ engagement from beginning to end.  While both elements prove to be undeniably important to the documentary’s overall presentation they are not its only important elements.  The bonus material that comes with the documentary is just as important as the story and its elements.  That is because the bonus material collectively brings the whole presentation full circle beginning with the “Petersen Automotive Museum” featurette.  This bonus features Joe Walser and a representative from the Petersen Automotive Museum discussing the addition of the DeLorean time machine to the museum’s collection.  Walser is so ecstatic as he discusses the car’s move from Universal Studios post reconstruction to the Petersen Museum.  He notes that he could not have been happier because unlike its time at Universal Studios, it is not encased in a giant box.  It is on display for everybody to see.  And as the museum’s rep notes, it is presented so that people can walk almost all the way around it as they admire it.  But it is also monitored very closely so as to prevent anyone from touching it, again bringing the story full circle since people originally taking parts from the car was part of what led to its near demise.  Speaking of the car’s parts the documentary also features a short piece discussing the names for the various parts that make up Doc Brown’s famed time machine and how said names came to be.  Walser and another member of the team note that many of the car’s parts were named by other BTTF fans, not by the people behind the cameras.  As a result of that dedication to the car and the franchise that made the car so famous, the names for the parts have, in turn, stuck to this day.  On a similar note, there is also a feature on sci-fi archivist Bob Burns and how his dedication to archiving and maintaining props and other pieces from Hollywood’s history served as the inspiration for Walser and others.  It is eye-opening to see Burns’ vast collection and the state in which the props remain today.  It is a compliment to Burns’ efforts to say the very least.  As if that isn’t enough there is also an extensive collection of deleted scenes that adds its own share of enjoyment to the program.  The bonus feature-length commentary adds just as much entertainment and insight to the documentary if not more than the other noted bonus features.  That aside, audiences will agree that each bonus plays its own part in the whole of the program’s presentation.  Altogether they prove to be just as important to the documentary as its story and the story’s related transitions.  All things considered they make OUUTATIME: Saving the DeLorean Time Machine a must see for any Back To the Future fan as well as any car nut and cinema history buff.  It is the kind of program that would be a good fit on History Channel and even Velocity network because of that reach and the networks’ similar programming.  Considering all of this, the documentary proves to be such a solid work that it is potentially one of 2016’s top new documentaries.

OUTATIME: Saving the DeLorean Time Machine is potentially one of 2016s top new documentaries.  That is due in large part to its original story and the transitions therein that ensure viewers’ engagement from beginning to end.  The story makes it a good fit not just on Blu-ray but also alongside programming offered on History Channel and even Velocity network.  The bonus material that is included with the program’s home release makes the documentary even more worth the watch.  That is because it brings the program full circle with its presented material.  Each element plays its own important part to the program, as has already been noted.  When they are set against one another, they show this documentary to be one that every car nut, cinematic history buff, and Back to the Future fan alike will appreciate.  Considering that reach and overall enjoyment, the documentary in whole proves to be potentially one of 2016’s top new documentaries.  It is available now in store and online.  More information on this and other titles from Virgil Films is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.virgilfilmsent.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/virgilfilms

 

 

 

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.

Arrow Films Hits Another Bulls Eye With ‘Killer Tomatoes’ Sequel Re-Issue

Courtesy: Arrow Video/MVD Visual

Courtesy: Arrow Video/MVD Visual

It is hard to believe but nearly thirty years have passed since the indie spoof flick Return of the Killer Tomatoes was originally released by KT Entertainment and New World Pictures.  More specifically 28 years have passed since its original release.  And at last check roughly eight years have passed since the cult classic was released on DVD.  That release was via independent studio Anchor Bay Entertainment.  Now thanks to another independent studio—Arrow Films—it has received its first Blu-ray treatment.  Released on June 28th, the movie’s new Special Edition Blu-ray presentation is another must have for any true movie buff.  That is due in part to the movie’s writing, which includes not just its story but its smaller items, too.  This will be discussed shortly.  The work of the movie’s cast is just as important to note in the movie’s presentation as its writing.  The bonus material included in the movie’s new Special Edition Blu-ray platform rounds out the movie’s most important elements.  Each element is important in its own way to the movie’s presentation.  Together, they make this new re-issue one of the year’s only truly welcome sequel even being a previously released movie.  It is again, one more absolute must have for any true movie buff.

Arrow Films’ new re-issue of Return of the Killer Tomatoes is an absolute must have for any true movie buff.  It is also one of 2016’s top new DVD/BD re-issues.  That is due in part to the movie’s writing.  This includes both the movie’s story and the script’s smaller details (E.g. dialogue, story-telling, etc.).  In an age when sequels are churned out just for the sake of being churned out, very few of said offerings offer anything substantial for audiences.  This sequel however is the exact opposite.  It is a full-on nonsensical story that takes every opportunity to entertain audiences.  It sees the evil Professor Gangreen (John Astin—The Addams Family, National Lampoon’s European Vacation, Recess)  crafting a new way to use tomatoes to take over the world.  This time he has found a way to turn tomatoes into humans and vice versa using toxic waste, music, and a special chamber.  When Tara, (Karen M. Waldron—Space Cowboys, The New Adventures of Beans Baxter, Coach) one of Professor Gangreen’s tomato/human hybrids runs away from his mansion with her furry tomato friend “FT” the story is eventually set in motion.  She tries to hide her true identity from boyfriend Chad Finletter (Anthony Starke—Prison Break, The Magnificent Seven, The George Carlin Show) things begun to unravel, leading to lots of trouble.  Of course the story does have a happy ending.  Even greater about the whole story is that despite its title there are never any killer tomatoes in the movie.  The whole movie centers on Professor Gangreen’s attempt to turn tomatoes into humans and Chad’s eventual plan to stop Gangreen’s plan.  It makes the movie’s title that much funnier in hindsight.  The story and title are just a portion of what makes the movie’s writing so important to note here.  The smaller details of the movie’s script are just as important to note as its story in examining the importance of the movie’s writing.

The story at the center of Return of the Killer Tomatoes is undeniably important to note in examining the movie’s writing.  It is just as important to the movie’s overall presentation as to just the writing.  It is only one part of the movie’s writing that should be considered, though.  The scripts smaller details are just as important to note in examining its importance as its story.  One of the most notable of those details is the story’s constant, deliberate breaking down of the fourth wall.  Sometimes it is overly blatant, which makes for plenty of laughs.  At other times it is a little bit more subtle but still just as deliberate.  This still makes for its own share of laughs, too.  One of the funniest of those overtly deliberate moments comes late in the movie as the “director” stops the filming and claims that there is no more money to film the movie.  This leads lead star George Clooney (yes, that George Clooney) tells everyone that they should consider using product placement, since, after all, it is the 80s.  His delivery in this moment is one of the examples of what makes the cast’s work so entertaining.  It will be discussed later.  The very fact that the movie’s writing team would so openly make a joke about product placement in movies, and then proceed to use said practice as its own joke within the story is absolutely hilarious.  It is just one example of the importance of the script’s smaller elements in its overall presentation.  Igor’s (Steve Lundquist—Earth Girls Are Easy, Killer Tomatoes Eat France, Killer Tomatoes Strike Back) aspiration to be a newsman is another example of the importance of the script’s smaller details.

That the movie consistently lets audiences know that they are watching a movie by breaking that fourth wall is an important piece of the movie script.  It is a smaller detail within the movie’s writing.  But it does so much to entertain audiences and advance the story.  That is because neither the writers nor the cast take themselves the least bit seriously at any moment in which this happens.  Igor’s drive to become a newsman all while being Gangreen’s oafish henchman is another of those small yet so entertaining elements of the script.  He is so set on being a newsman that (as is revealed later in the movie) his room in Gangreen’s mansion is a virtual shrine to some of the most well-known news broadcasters of the time.  There is even a picture of one of those figures surrounded by candles, as if it was an altar to her.  As if that isn’t enough, he even drives around in a garbage truck with the sign of a news station that he has made up himself.  Speaking of the news, the writers also poke fun at the news media in the bigger picture of the story.  This is yet another of the script’s smaller yet still so entertaining elements.

The blatant breaking of the fourth wall throughout Return of the Killer Tomatoes and the character depiction of Igor are two smaller yet still entertaining elements of the movie’s script.  They are just as important in examining the importance of the movie’s writing as the movie’s story.  They are hardly the only important details to note in examining the importance of the movie’s writing.  The writers’ poke at the news media is just as notable as the previously noted elements.  Time and again, the writers poke fun at the broadcast news media showing its willingness to do whatever it takes to get people to watch.  The sad reality is that this depiction is actually quite accurate even today.  Sure there’s a certain amount of embellishment in at least one scene.  But in the bigger picture of that depiction, it is pretty spot on even now nearly thirty years after this movie originally premiered.  Considering this it makes this element even funnier, and shows once again why the script’s smaller elements are just as important to the movie’s overall writing as the movie’s story.  There are so many other elements and moments that could be cited in exhibiting what makes the script’s smaller elements so important.  Audiences will have to discover them for themselves.  Moving on, the work of the movie’s cast is just as important to note in the movie’s overall presentation as its writing.

The writing at the center of Return of the Killer Tomatoes is hugely important to note in considering what makes this movie such a fun flick.  From its full-on nonsensical story to its smaller yet equally nonsensical elements the writing forms a solid foundation for the movie.  The work of the movie’s cast is just as solid of an addition to that foundation beginning with that of John Astin.  Astin is just as *ahem* kooky (just not spooky) here as he was as Gomez Addams in The Addams Family.  The distant look in his eyes as he delivers his lines makes his bizarre delusional personality entirely believable and so hilarious at the same time.  George Clooney is just as entertaining as Chad’s friend Matt Stevens.  It is interesting to note Matt’s womanizing ways and the kind of characters that he has played since.  Given, Clooney was already in television before joining the movie’s cast.  However, one can’t help but wonder if this role played any part in the roles that he would take on in the years to come.  Case in point his character on Roseanne.  He was very similar in his suave, confident womanizing personality.  J. Stephen Peace cannot be ignored in examining the work of the movie’s cast either.  He is wonderful as the Tomato War hero Wilbur Finletter.  He is so impressive in his portrayal as it is so much along the lines of the stereotypical war veteran presented in other comedies.  That is evident in his one-track mindset and his firm beliefs as a result of his experiences.  It is just one more way in which the cast’s work proves to be so important to the movie’s presentation and hardly the last.  Anthony Starke is just as hilarious as Wilbur’s nephew.  Even Waldron shines as Tara in her own right.  Whether through her performance, that of Starke, or any of the movie’s other cast members, the fact remains that the work of the cast in whole is just as important to note in the movie’s presentation as its writing.  It is also not the last of the movie’s most important elements.  The bonus material that is included in the movie’s new Blu-ray re-issue is just as important to note as its writing and the work of its cast.

The writing behind Return of the Killer Tomatoes and the work of the movie’s cast are both integral in the movie’s overall presentation.  Each element makes the movie hugely entertaining in its own right.  Collectively they reveal the movie to be just as underappreciated as it is entertaining.  That says plenty.  The combination of those two elements only does so much for the movie, though.  The movie’s new Blu-ray re-issue also includes a feature-length commentary from writer/director John De Bello and Michael Felsher, from Red Shirt Films that is just as entertaining in its own right as the movie’s writing and the cast’s work on camera.  Audiences learn in hearing the commentary that this movie in particular only happened because there was actually demand for the movie on the part of audiences who had watched the original Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.  De Bello jokes here about it when comparing that demand to Hollywood’s current practice of announcing sequels for movies before said movies’ progenitors have even hit the big screen.  He hit the nail right on the head there.  That didn’t use to be Hollywood’s practice.  But now it’s become the norm for Hollywood, a way of life for the industry almost.  De Bello also reveals that New World Pictures didn’t want the movie to look too good because it was, after all, a spoof.  This is all within the first ten minutes of the movie or so.  There is also a discussion later on the casting of Anthony Starke and George Clooney that leads to a separate yet insightful discussion on the transition of TV stars to the big screen at the time.  It is interesting to learn that, at the time, it was basically a death sentence for an actor’s career when a TV actor tried to make the jump to movies.  All of this is just a glance into the commentary provided within the movie.  There is so much more entertainment and information provided throughout the course of the movie’s hour and thirty-nine minute run time.  Audiences will find their own favorite information and entertainment from the commentary when they watch this new Blu-ray re-issue for themselves.  That overall entertainment and information joins with the movie’s writing and the cast’s work to make the movie’s overall presentation lots of fruity (tomatoes are NOT vegetables.  See what I did there?) and funny entertainment for any true movie buff.

Return of the Killer Tomatoes is one of 2016’s top new DVD/BD re-issues.  It is an absolute must have for any true movie buff.  That is proven clearly in the movie’s script.  Both the story at the center of the movie and its smaller elements are so nonsensically funny that one can’t help but laugh.  That is exactly what the cast and crew wanted after all.  The work of the movie’s cast is just as enjoyable as that of the movie’s writing team.  The cast’s interpretation of the script and characters will keep audiences laughing just as loudly as the story and its smaller items.  The bonus, feature-length commentary adds even more enjoyment to the movie.  That is because of the jokes and information that are shared throughout.  By now it should be clear just how important each element is to the overall presentation of Return of the Killer Tomatoes in its new Blu-ray re-issue.  All things considered this new re-issue reminds audiences just why it is such an undervalued movie.  They show why the movie, now in its new Blu-ray re-issue is an absolutely must have for any true movie buff and one of the year’s top new DVD/BD re-issues.  It is available now and can be ordered online direct via Arrow Films’ online store.  More information on this and other titles from Arrow Films is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.arrowfilms.co.uk

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ArrowFilms

 

 

 

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.

‘Flight Of The Butterflies’ Is A “Soaring” Success

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

The butterfly is one of nature’s most incredible creatures.  From one species to the next there the butterfly inspires so much awe.  That is because of the process that it goes through to become the winged being that people of all ages love.  It is also because of the beautiful rainbow of colors displayed by each species post metamorphosis.  There is also the contrast of their fragility and endurance to consider among so many other topics in considering what makes them such wonderfully interesting creatures.  Now thanks to Shout! Factory and SK Films audiences are getting a very special look at what makes just one species of butterfly so incredible in the new IMAX presentation Flight of the Butterflies.  This roughly forty-five minute documentary follows what is perhaps the most well-known of the butterfly species in the form of the Monarch Butterfly.  It reveals in its re-enactment/documentary hybrid style presentation the life cycle of the Monarch Butterfly including its epic (for lack of better wording) migratory pattern.  That story and presentation style makes up the central focus of the documentary’s presentation.  The program’s cinematography is just as important to note as the story and its format.  The bonus material included in the program’s home release rounds out its most important elements.  One can’t ignore the program’s audio here either.  That is especially when comparing it to the audio of the company’s previously released IMAX presentations.  It is just as important as the programs story, its cinematography, and bonus material.  All things considered, they make Flight of the Butterflies the best of Shout! Factory’s new IMAX presentations so far this year.

Flight of the Butterflies is Shout! Factory’s best new IMAX offering so far this year. That statement is supported through a number of elements that make up the program’s presentation beginning with its story.  This includes the format in which the story is presented, too.  Unlike its predecessors—Journey to Space and Rocky Mountain Express—this story turns the focus from technology to nature.  More specifically it focuses on the Monarch Butterfly, perhaps the most well-known and revered of the thousands of butterfly species.  The story takes audiences through the life cycle of the butterfly from a tiny egg all the way to its final stop in the mountains of Mexico and even back to Canada.  Along the way, the story notes subtly the impact that humans are having on the Monarch Butterfly population through urban sprawl, the elimination of resources such as milkweed, and other related actions.  That the filmmakers kept the program’s more preachy material to a minimum is deserving of its own applause.  It makes the overall story even more engaging for audiences of all ages.  The manner in which the story is presented plays its own important part in the program’s presentation, too.  It is presented more in the style of Hollywood’s major bio pics than the docs that have come before.  What is important to note here is that even being presented in such fashion, it doesn’t go full on in the way that those movies have and do go.  Rather it maintains a certain sense of simplicity and humility in that presentation style.  On the other side of that proverbial coin it doesn’t try to copy the re-enactment style presentations used by History Channel or PBS either.  What this means is that it presents the story in its own fashion even being a familiar style format.  It is just one way in which Fight of the Butterflies shows itself to be the best of Shout! Factory’s IMAX programs so far this year.  The cinematography that is used throughout the program is just as important to note as the story and its format in examining what makes it work.

The story at the center of Flight of the Butterflies and its format are both key pieces of the program’s presentation.  The story goes in a direction that is entirely opposite that of Journey to Space and Rocky Mountain Express. The format used to present the story stands out just as much as the story itself.  That is because neither of those programs used the format that is used here.  It even stands out from the format used in documentaries from PBS and History Channel.  This is even with the familiarity of the format.  Keeping all of this in mind, the program’s story and its format are just part of what makes the program stand out among its counterparts.  Its cinematography is just as important to note in its presentation as its story and format.  One of the most stunning pieces of footage presented in the program comes as the camera crew pans across an abandoned farm.  The farm, as the narrator notes, is shelter for the Monarch Butterflies.  It stands out both because of the shooting style and because of the contrast of colors in the footage.  The grass around the abandoned barn is a deep green.  The paint on the barn had obviously long ago worn away, leaving a bleak white/grey tint to its boards.  Meanwhile the sky off in the distance indicates trouble (I.E. a storm).  So much discussion can rise from this contrast.  That includes a statement about the safety and life offered by the barn even in its bleakness because of the deep green around the barn and.  The barn stands tall against the dark clouds in the distance, strengthening that statement about it serving as a safe haven for the butterflies.  The zoom effect used to show a butterfly’s path to a backyard haven, full of flowers, is another key example of what makes the program’s cinematography stand out.  It makes audiences feel as if they are the butterflies, making their way into the garden.  The way in which this shot was captured is explained in the program’s bonus material.  That will be discussed later.  Getting back on the subject at hand, the footage in this scene is stunning to say the very least.  One cannot ignore the absolutely incredible footage of the Monarch Butterflies in the mountains of Mexico, the final point of their migration.  There is something about the footage that is so beautiful.  This includes those moments in which the butterflies go about their lives alone an as they surround Doctor Urquhart and his wife.  It is just like something out of a major motion picture and must simply be seen to be fully appreciated.  It is just one more way in which the progam’s cinematography shines as part of the program’s overall presentation.  There is much more footage that could be cited here in explaining the importance of the program’s cinematography.  When audiences see it all for themselves they will agree that the program’s cinematography is indeed just as important to its presentation as its story. It still is not the last of the program’s most important elements.  The bonus material that is included in the doc’s home release is just as important to its presentation as its story and cinematography.

The story at the center of Flight of The Butterflies and the manner in which it is presented form a solid foundation for the program.  The cinematography that is used to help tell that story is just as important to the program’s presentation as its story.  They are not its only important elements, though.  The bonus material that is included in the documentary’s home release is just as important as its story and cinematography.  The most important of the included bonus material is its behind-the-scenes featurette.  More often than not the behind-the-scenes material included in most movies and documentaries amount to nothing and are typically useless to said presentations.  However in the case of this documentary it adds so much the program’s presentation.   Audiences will be surprised to learn in this feature that Gordon Pinsent (Babar and the Adventures of Badou, Babar, Away From Her) came into the role of Dr. Urquhart knowing little to nothing about Monarch butterflies or even lepidopterology (the study of butterflies).  He admits this himself. He also openly states how much his view on both changed as a result of his work on the documentary.  On another level audiences will be just as surprised to learn the lengths to which the filming crew went to capture the butterflies in their winter home.  What’s more the revelation that filming took an entire year is just as interesting to learn.   That is because it reveals the dedication on the part of the movie’s crew to fully capturing the life and migration of the butterflies.  On a related note, the respect that the crew showed the butterflies as it captured them on camera is just as enlightening and moving.   This is directly discussed and shown in this feature, too.  The discussion on the program’s cinematography is just as interesting as the feature’s other discussions.  One of the most interesting aspects of this discussion involves the butterflies’ discovery of a backyard haven that was developed specifically for butterflies.  Audiences learn that the crew used both a camera mounted on a helicopter and a boom arm camera to capture this moment, and that the two elements were melded together in order to present the sequence shown in the program.  The revelation about the regulations that led to this shooting style add even more interest to the discussion.  It would be understandable that the crew wouldn’t be able to get but so close to the residential sanctuary with a massive aircraft.  The combination of the chopper-mounted footage and the boom-mounted footage makes this sequence alone so memorable in its own right.  It is just one more way in which the bonus material shines in the documentary’s new home release.  There are plenty of other discussions that will interest viewers in the feature.  Altogether the discussions presented in the program’s behind-the-scenes footage make this bonus just as important to the documentary’s overall presentation as its story and its cinematography.  All things considered this latest IMAX entry from Shout! Factory proves to be the best of its IMAX offerings so far this year.

Flight of the Butterflies is the best of Shout! Factory’s current offerings in its new IMAX series.  That is due in large part to the story at the heart of its presentation.  The cinematography that is used to help tell the story stands out just as much in the program’s presentation.  The bonus behind-the-scenes featurette that is included in the program’s home release rounds out its most important elements.  Each element is important in its own way.  Altogether they make Flight of the Butterflies the best of Shout! Factory’s IMAX offerings so far this year.  It is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online direct via Shout! Factory’s online store at https://www.shoutfactory.com/film/documentary/flight-of-the-butterflies.  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

 

 

 

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 http://philspick.wordpress.com.

Joseph And Mary Is An Interesting New Look At Jesus’ Early Life

Courtesy: Cinedigm

Courtesy: Cinedigm

Earlier this month Cinedigm released its new biblically-based movie Joseph and Mary to retail and online outlets around the country.  The independent studio’s new offering is an interesting new presentation.  That is due in part to its story.  This will be discussed shortly.  While the story makes the movie worth at least one watch by Christian audiences, it is not a perfect presentation.  It does suffer from some casting issues that cannot be ignored.  That will be discussed later.  As much as the movie’s casting takes away from its presentation its production values make up at least somewhat for that one negative.  The combination of that positive couples with the movie’s central story to make the movie worth at least one watch even with its one glaring con.

Cinedigm’s new biblically based movie Joseph and Mary is an interesting new cinematic offering from the Los Angeles-based independent movie studio.  It is not the worst biblically based movie to ever be released, nor the best.  For all intents and purposes it is somewhere in the middle, a movie that for Christian viewers, is worth at least one viewing.  That is due in large part to the movie’s story.  One could argue that it is an in-between of sorts that connects The Greatest Story Ever Told and the many variants of The Nativity Story.  It tells the story of Jesus’ birth in the manger.  But it does more than that.  It also tells the story of Elijah, a rabbi who ends up caring for Aaron’s wife Rebekah after Aaron is killed by a tax collector.  The troubles don’t end for Elijah there.  Rebekah and Elijah end up losing not one but two sons as a result of orders by King Herod.  There should be a slight digression for a moment here.  Aaron’s murder and the scene involving the killing of the first-born sons are both very violent even for an independent movie.  So audiences should use their discretion in screening this movie.  There is also a somewhat intense scene in which Rebekah has to fight off the man who killed her children.  This scene could easily be considered a bit intense for some younger viewers, too.  More simply put the overall content presented within the movie’s story might not be suitable for all viewers.  Keeping this in mind, the movie is perhaps aimed less at younger viewers and more so at older audiences.  Now getting back on the subject at hand, all of the troubles faced by Elijah force him to make a very difficult choice.  That choice is between forgiving Herod and the others or exacting revenge.  Of course it is through Jesus’ own insight (even as a boy) that Elijah makes his ultimate decision.  It is obvious what that choice is.  Keeping this in mind, the central message of forgiveness that Jesus taught in the bible is just as prevalent here, too.  There is also an interesting addition to the story as it presents Josephs fate, which is not exactly a happy fate, either.  It is one more way in which the movie’s story stands out from so many other biblically based presentations.  To that end, Joseph and Mary, as misleading as its title proves to be, is still a story that truly devout Christian audiences will want to see (since it really focuses more on Elijah and Rebekah than on Joseph and Mary) at least once if no more.  While Joseph and Mary’s story makes it worth at least one watch, it is not the movie’s only interesting element.  The movie’s casting should also be examined but not for a good reason.

The story at the center of Joseph and Mary is an interesting part of the movie’s overall presentation.  It is one of the lesser-told of the bible’s many stories either orally or on screen.  To that end, it makes the movie at least one watch.  For all that the story does for this movie, it is not the movie’s only notable elements.  The movie’s casting is just as notable, but not for a good reason.  Others have noted, just as this critic will, that the movie’s cast is quite noticeably whitewashed.  Joseph and Mary are played by Kevin Sorbo (Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, God’s Not Dead, Andromeda) and Lara Jean Chorostecki (Hannibal, Camelot, Dan For Mayor) respectively.  Elijah and Rebekah are played by Steven McCarthy (Eye of the Beholder, The Skulls, The Crossing) and Katie Boland (The Master, Daydream Nation, Some Things That Stay).  Boland and McCarthy are both Canadian as is Chorostecki.  Sorbo, according to his bio on IMDB, is from Minnesota.  Even Sean Bell, who plays Tiberius, is from Canada.  Lawrence Bayne (Highlander: The Animated Series, Strange Days at Blake Holsey High, Dog Pound) plays Herod.  He is, yes, also Canadian.  Not even  young Jesus actor Lucius Hoyos (Bark Ranger, The Colony, What If) has any Middle Eastern roots.  Simply put it would have been nice to have seen actors of at least some Middle Eastern descent fill the movie’s key roles versus a full-on white cast.  Making matters worse is that in a number of cases, the actors more than likely were not entirely at an age that (if one wants to use the story’s source material properly) would line up with their seeming ages in the bible.  That makes the movie’s casting more of an issue within the bigger picture of the movie.  To its defense though, it is not the only movie to ever face this issue.  Most recently Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014) came under fire for its mis-casting.  And if one really wants to get specific, the cast of The Ten Commandments (1956) was completely improper, too as have been so many movies’ casts.  Considering this, there is no denying that the movie’s cast detracts from its overall presentation.  But taking the cast into consideration against other miscast movies, one can’t take too many points from the movie.  On that note, the movie’s casting is its only real negative.  So as much as it might take away from the movie, it doesn’t completely cancel out the movie’s positives, one more of which is its production values.

The issues with Joseph and Mary’s castings are undeniable in regards to the movie’s presentation.  It would have been nice to see the movie use actors with at least some Middle Eastern roots, even if said actors were not major name actors.  But keeping in mind that it is not the only movie to ever face this issue on cannot completely ignore the movie.  Considering this, the movie’s story couples with its other positive, its production values, to outweigh that negative and, again, make the movie worth at least one watch.  It is obvious in watching the movie that its production budget wasn’t very big.  The sets look exactly like something that one would expect from an independent Christian film.  In all honesty they give the movie the look of something that was produced by a church group without any major financial backing.  Yet even with that look, its equally novice  shooting style,  and special effects the movie’s presentation becomes even more worth the watch.  It shows that those behind the production didn’t try to make it look like perhaps Exodus: Gods and Kings, Noah, or other similar movies.  Rather, it honestly conjures thoughts of The Ten Commandments thanks to its look.  Believe it or not this is a good thing for the movie.  That look lets audiences know that the movie’s cast and crew just wanted it to be what it was, not one of those overblown mega-blockbusters from Hollywood that hardly tries to stay true to its source material.  It makes the movie that much more worth the watch.  When that natural look (including its shooting style and special effects) is coupled with the movie’s story, the two elements outweigh the movie’s one glaring negative and prove once more why it is worth at least one watch.  They are not enough to make the movie memorable.  One would be lying if one said it is.  But they are enough to make the movie worth, again, at least one chance.

Joseph and Mary, Cinedigm’s new biblically based movie is not the genre’s worst offering nor is it the genre’s best.  It is a movie that while hardly perfect, is still worth at least one watch.  It should be noted, though that considering the movie’s content, it is not a movie aimed at younger audiences, even being biblically based.  Audiences should take this immediately into consideration before watching it.  It story is one that has been very rarely adapted to literary or even cinematic form.  That in itself makes it worth at least one chance.  Its casting is problematic.  There is no denying this.  But it is not the only movie that is guilty of “whitewashing.”  To that end, one cannot take away too many points from its overall presentation.  That is especially the case considering its production values.  Its sets, shooting style, and special effects look like they were done by a church group rather than a studio with any financial backing.  Believe it or not this is actually a good thing.  It sets the movie apart from its counterparts churned out by Hollywood’s major studios (E.g. Exodus: Gods and Kings, Noah) an in a good way.  It makes the movie more endearing for lack of better wording.  When this is considered with the movie’s story and even its problematic casting, it still leaves the movie worth at least one watch.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on this and other titles from Cinedigm is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.cinedigm.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/cinedigm

 

 

 

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.

Fandango Releases New ‘Ghostbusters’ Content Ahead Of Movie’s Release

Fandango Logo

Courtesy: Fandango

Courtesy: Columbia Pictures

Courtesy: Columbia Pictures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This Friday Columbia Pictures will release its much anticipated reboot of the classic paranormal comedy Ghostbusters.  In anticipation of its release Fandango has released some content to get audiences in the mood for the movie.

Fandango released a handful of material this week in order to build excitement for Sony Pictures’ updated take on Ghostbusters.  One of those materials is a DIY Ghostbusters t-shirt.  The shirt comes complete with detailed directions on how to make the shirt along with pictures outlining the process.  Audiences can learn how to make the shirt for themselves now here.

Also released this week is a Ghostbusters personality test.  It asks audiences Which New Ghosbuster Are You?”  Through a series of questions, audiences can find out if they are Erin, Abby, Jillian, or Patty.  Audiences can take the quiz now here.

There is even a group of Ghostbusters intro videos that introduce each of the new team members.  It can be viewed online now here.

More information on Ghostbusters is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.Ghostbusters.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ghostbusters

 

 

 

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.