Public Media Distribution Re-Issuing ‘Room On The Broom’

Courtesy: NCircle Entertainment

There’s always room for more…on the broom.

Public Media Distribution announced Tuesday that it will re-issue the small-screen adaptation of author Julia Donaldson’s book Room on the Broom this summer.  Released via Magic Light Pictures and Orange Eye and featuring the voices of Simon Pegg (Star Trek, Star Trek Into Darkness, Star Trek Beyond), Gillian Anderson (The X-Files, The Last King of Scotland, The Fall), Rob Brydon (Cinderella, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, The Huntsman: Winter’s War) and others, the DVD will retail for MSRP of $12.99.

The movie’s story follows the journey of a witch (voiced by Anderson) and her pet dog (voiced by Martin Clumes – Shakespeare in Love, Kipper, Doc Martin) as they try to recover some lost items.  Along the way, the pair is joined by a kindly bird, cat and frog, who help save the witch from a dragon.

The new re-issue comes with the same bonus material included in the DVD’s previous 2013 release.  Those bonuses include a behind-the-scenes featurette, live performance from Donaldson and art gallery.

Room on the Broom can be ordered direct from the NCircle online store at http://www.ncircleentertainment.com/room-on-the-broom/843501008041.  To find out about even more releases from NCircle Entertainment, parents can go online to http://www.facebook.com/NCircleEntertainment or the company’s official website, http://www.NCircleEntertainment.com.

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‘Stick Man’ Stands Out In This Year’s Field Of New Family Flicks

Courtesy: Magic Light Pictures/PBS/PBS DIstribution

Courtesy: Magic Light Pictures/PBS/PBS DIstribution

Earlier this month, PBS Distribution partnered with Magic Light pictures to release a small screen adaptation of yet another of author Julia Donaldson’s books in the form of Stick Man.  The latest of Magic Light’s adaptations of Donaldson’s books, this feature stands out quite a bit from its predecessors.  That is due in part to the story at the center of the feature.  That will be discussed shortly.  The feature’s companion bonus material is important to the feature just as much as its story.  That will be discussed later.  The animation that is used for the feature rounds out its most important elements.  Each element is important in its own right, obviously.  All things considered, Stick Man proves in the end to be one of this year’s most intriguing family flicks.

Magic Light Pictures’ small screen adaptation of author Julia Donaldson’s book Stick Man is one of this year’s most intriguing family flicks.  That is due in part to the story at the feature’s center.  The story, believe it or not, is technically not one for the whole family.  As one individual notes in the feature’s bonus material, it can be easily compared to the story in the timeless Greek myth, The Odyssey.  It is a very heavy story that finds its title character trying so hard to get back to his family.  It’s not an easy journey either.  Stick Man has to face children who use him as a bat, a boomerang and even a bag holder, as well as a swan who uses him for her nest, and even gets swept out to sea along the way.  The whole time, the story transitions back to Stick man’s wife and young sons who keep vigil for him.  Their deep emotion is painful to see and might be a bit too intense for some younger audiences.  The same applies with seeing Stick Man’s reactions to his situations.  It stands out clearly from Donaldson’s previously adapted books because the only points at which it really has any light heartedness is at the story’s opening and in its closing.  Throughout the rest of the story, it tends to be emotionally heavy.  So again, it is not necessarily a work that is recommended for the whole family.  That doesn’t disqualify it from being worth the watch, though.  The fact that Donaldson could craft such a grown up story and that Magic Light Pictures would once again stay true to the source material makes it well worth the watch.  Keeping all of this in mind, it is clear why the story at the center of Stick Man is so important to its overall presentation.

The story at the center of Stick Man is a hugely important part of the recently released small screen adaptation of Julia Donaldson’s book.  That is because her approach to this story is such a stark departure from her previous stories.  It is much more emotionally heavy than those stories, making it a work that some younger viewers might have trouble handling.  While the feature’s story is an important part of its presentation, it is not the feature’s only important element.  The bonus material that is included with the feature is just as important to its presentation as its story.  The bonus material is just as in-depth as that presented in Magic Light Pictures’ previous Donaldson adaptations.  Those behind the feature’s creation discuss (along with Donaldson) the importance of the story staying true to its source material included in the bonus material.  There is also a discussion on making sure the feature, despite being crafted primarily via CG, still maintained a look just like that of its previous Donaldson adaptations and as far away from so many other CG flicks as possible. If that isn’t enough, there are also discussions comparing the feature’s story, as previously noted, to the likes of The Odyssey along with so much more.  It is all so enlightening, and adds so much more depth to the feature in whole.  When it is partnered with the feature’s central story, the two elements make even clearer why this feature stands out.  They show why it stands out both among Magic Pictures’ Donaldson adaptations and among this year’s crop of holiday movies.  In reality, one could argue (on a side note) that it is less a holiday story than a story about family.

The story at the center of Stick Man and its companion bonus material are both central to the feature’s overall presentation.  The story is a stark departure from those presented in Donaldson’s other works in so many ways.  The bonus material that is included with the story adds even more depth to the feature’s overall presentation.  While both elements do so much to flesh out the feature’s presentation, they are not its only important elements.  The feature’s animation approach is just as important to note in examining the feature’s presentation as the feature’s story and its bonus material.  Audiences familiar with Magic Light Pictures’ adaptation of Donaldson’s books will be pleased to see that (as discussed previously) this feature looks just like the company’s previous adaptations of her books.  It is clear that it was made on computer.  The thing is that while it maintains the company’s trademark look of its Donaldson adaptations, that look also maintains a distinct identity totally separate from that of every other animation studios’ offerings.  Using such approach presents a certain comfort for audiences.  For audiences not so familiar to Magic Light Pictures’ offerings, it will be an especially welcome introduction and change of pace from all of those cookie cutter stylistic approaches.  In other words, it makes the feature all the more engaging and entertaining for audiences.  Considering this and the other discussed elements, it becomes wholly clear why Stick Man—while perhaps not for the whole family—is still an intriguing family flick from Magic Light Pictures.  It is in fact one of this year’s most intriguing family flicks.

Stick Man is one of this year’s most intriguing new family flicks.  It is a work that is a stark departure from author Julia Donaldson’s previous books.  That Magic Light Pictures once again stayed true to Donaldson’s source material in its source material makes the story all the more engaging.  Again, not every younger viewer will be able to handle the story because it is so emotionally heavy.  But that also makes it so interesting to watch, considering how much it stands out from Donaldson’s other previously adapted stories.  The bonus material that is included in the feature adds to the depth of its overall presentation.  The animation approach that is used in the feature’s presentation rounds out its most important elements.  Each element is important in its own right to the feature’s overall presentation. All things considered, Stick Man proves in the end to be one of this year’s most intriguing family flicks, regardless of whether audiences consider it a holiday flick or a family flick in general.  It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered online direct via PBS’ online store.

More information on this and other titles from Magic Light Pictures is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.magiclightpictures.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MagicLightPics

 

 

 

More information on this and other titles from Public Media Distribution is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/pbs

 

 

 

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.

PBS Distribution, Magic Light Pictures Partner To Release New Family Holiday Flick

Courtesy: Magic Light Pictures/PBS/PBS DIstribution

Courtesy: Magic Light Pictures/PBS/PBS DIstribution

PBS Distribution has a new DVD on the way just in time to get the whole family into the holiday spirit.

PBS Distribution announced this week that it will release the animated feature Stick Man next month in partnership with Magic Light Pictures. The presentation, from the makers of The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom, follows its title character as he makes his way through the seasons as he tries to make his way home to be with his family in time for Christmas.

Stick Man’s journey through the seasons is anything but easy. From being thrown into a river to having to escape a swan’s nest to even escaping a fire, Stick Man’s journey is wrought with peril.  There is even a visit by Santa himself (voiced by Hugh Bonneville—Downton Abbey, Notting Hill, The Monuments Men) along the way.  The story, based on author Julia Donaldson’s beloved children’s book, is narrated by Jennifer Saunders (Absolutely Fabulous, Coraline, Shrek 2).

The story’s title character is voiced by Martin Freeman (The Hobbit, Sherlock, Hot Fuzz). Rob Brydon (Cinderella, Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, The Huntsman: Winter’s War) lends his talents to the presentation, too along with Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky, Paddington, Blue Jasmine), and Russell Tovey (Being Human, Grabbers, The Pirates! Band of Misfits) to bolster the presentation even more.

As an additional bonus for audiences, the story also comes with a behind-the-scenes featurette that presents the process of how Donaldson’s book was brought to life on the small screen. The 20-minute presentation tells that story through interviews with Donaldson as well as director Jeroen Jaspert, composer Rene Aubry, and others who worked on the adaptation.

Stick Man will be released on Tuesday, November 8 and will be available exclusively on DVD via PBS Distribution.  It will retail for MSRP of $12.99 and can be pre-ordered online now via PBS’ online store.  More information on this and other titles from PBS is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.pbs.org

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/pbs

 

 

 

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.

Coogan And Brydon’s Second Outing Is Another Entertaining And Delectable Trip

Courtesy:  IFC Films/mpi Media Group

Courtesy: IFC Films/mpi Media Group

IFC Films’ latest outing from actors Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan is one of 2014’s best new independent releases. The “sequel” to the duo’s 2011 feature simply (and aptly) titled The Trip, The Trip To Italy stands out unlike any other production released in 2014. It stands out primarily in its approach. It isn’t necessarily a movie in the most traditional sense. Though there is a sense of a buddy road trip to the story. That buddy comedy element is crossed with something that could almost be considered a reality TV sort of approach. The end result is a presentation that one can’t help but watch if only for that reason. The approach taken by those behind the cameras in presenting The Trip To Italy is just part of the whole that makes this rather intriguing and entertaining work so well worth the watch. Brydon and Coogan’s (sounds like a law firm doesn’t it?) jokes and impersonations throughout the trip make for their own share of entertainment. Nothing is off limits to the pair. No doubt the duo’s comic bits and discussions will have any open-minded viewer laughing uproariously. The last element of The Trip To Italy that makes it such a joy is its backdrops. There is no green screen here. There is no movie magic. Everything that audiences see is really the Italian countryside. In its own way, it could be argued that it is a throwback to the golden era of moviemaking. Together with the movie’s comic element and its overall presentation, all three elements make The Trip To Italy a movie that while not a movie in the traditional sense, a production that still stands firm on its own laurels and is one of the best new independent releases of 2014.

The Trip To Italy is one of the best new independent film releases of 2014. The movie, which ironically enough is itself a sequel, proves to be far better than any of the mass of sequels churned out by Hollywood’s Power Five studios last year. The central reason that it outperforms those movies is the manner in which it is presented. The “movie” isn’t necessarily a movie in the traditional sense. Yet the classic buddy comedy/road trip aspect is there. To be more precise, it blends that element with something along the lines of a reality TV show to make for a production that completely stands out from that mass of major name equels. What’s more, being that Coogan and Brydon spend most of their time either eating and driving, one could even compare it to the likes of PBS’ Rick Steves Europe. Go figure, Coogan and Brydon go after so many pop culture figures, movies, and more. But they don’t poke fun at Rick Steves even being in a setting that only encourages such jabs. That will be discussed later. Getting back to the subject at hand, the duo’s travels through Europe was compltely unscripted. It was just them touring Italy, checking out some of the country’s finest cuisine and taking in the sights all while making jokes and trying out their best impersonations. There’s no scripting. So while yes it is a movie, it also shows to be one third documentary and one third reality TV. That The Trip To Italy comes across as such an intriguing hybrid is plenty of reason within itself for audiences to check out this latest release from IFC Films. It’s just one reason to watch it, too. The jokes and impersonations shared throughout the its near two-hour run time make The Trip To Italy even more worth the watch.

The hybrid presentation of The Trip To Italy offers audiences plenty of reason within itself for audiences to watch the “movie” at least once. The jokes and impersonations that are thrown around throughout the course of its near two-hour run time add even more reason for audiences to check it out. Nothing is off limits to Coogan and Brydon, either. From Alanis Morissette to Sean Connery and Roger Moore to Al Pacino and more, Coogan and Brydon go after everyone that they can think of. There’s even a joke aimed at famed Prairie Home Companion host Garrison Keillor. Speaking of public broadcasting, it is interesting that there was no mention of PBS’ travel series Rick Steves Europe anywhere in this production since the duo spent the length of the movie travelling the Italian countryside. Perhaps that was just too easy and too expected. It’s anyone’s guess. Regardles, the jokes and impersonations that are included throughout the “movie”–including a lighthearted jab at Americans’ tendency to use overblown names for themselves and their posessions–make for plenty of laughs and in turn, just as much entertainment. It’s yet another way in which The Trip To Italy proves itself worth the watch. It still isn’t all that makes the production worth the watch, either. The backdrops throughout the presentation round out the reasons to watch The Trip To Italy.

The comic element of The Trip To Italy and its original hybrid presentation are both key to its enjoyment. Both aspects play their own important role in the production’s enjoyment. While both are equally important, they still are not all that make the presentation worth the watch. The “movie’s” backdrops round out the whole thing and make it all the more enjoyable. As noted previously, it would have been so easy for audiences to make a comparison between The Trip To Italy and PBS’ Rick Steves Europe in watching this work since Coogan and Brydon were travelling the Italian countryside. It would have been just as easy for Coogan and Brydon to make jokes at that show’s expense. Of course that didn’t happen. Perhaps that’s because it would have been too expected and easy. Regardless, the backdrop of the Italian countryside is a major positive to the whole of The Trip To Italy. As subtle as it is and as little as some might think about it, seeing that countryside is just like watching Rick Steves Europe. It’s like watching a video postcard. There is no green screen. There are no special effects. It is really the duo travelling the countryside. It is more proof of the duo’s (and of IFC Films’) dedication to making the experience 100 real and believable for audiences. It is that reality of the “movie” alongside its original hybrid presentation, and its laugh riot jokes and impersonations that makes The Trip To Italy a trip that audiences will want to take more than once.

The Trip To Italy is available online now in stores and online now. It can be downloaded via iTunes now at https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/the-trip-to-italy/id900191598. More information on this and other titles from IFC Films is available online at:

Website: http://www.ifcfilms.com

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

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The Gruffalo’s Child is a rare welcome sequel

Courtesy: NCircle Entertainment/Magic Light

Three years ago, one of the most unlikely family hits was released to dvd in the form of The Gruffalo.  The Gruffalo was about a little mouse who inadvertently creates a creature called The Gruffalo in an attempt to escape being eaten by a fox, an owl and a snake.  Now, fans of that hit will be treated to its sequel on August 14th in The Gruffalo’s Child.

Author Julia Donaldson notes in the behind the scenes feature included in the dvd presentation of The Gruffalo’s Child that this sequel was not originally planned after the publication of The Gruffalo.  She notes that after The Gruffalo was originally published, she went to work on a number of other books.  But then The Gruffalo’s Child came along.  And audiences can say that for once, it’s nice to see a sequel that meets the bar set by the original. 

In The Gruffalo’s Child, the mouse (voiced again by James Cordon) has to outsmart the younger Gruffalo, so as to not be eaten by her.  She is voiced by Shirley Henderson.  Cordon is joined again by Tom Wilkinson as the Fox, John Hurt as the Owl, and Rob Brydon as the slippery snake.  Helena Bonham Carter returns again, too, as the voice of the mother squirrel, who tells the story of what happened when the Gruffalo’s child went off into the deep dark woods in search of the big bad mouse.  She tells her children of how tthe Gruffalo’s child–who is unnamed–meets the snake, the owl, and the fox.  Each one tells the Gruffalo’s child of where they believe the mouse is, until she finally comes face to face with the creature that scared her father so badly yeas ago.  How the mouse outsmarts the Gruffalos’ child won’t be revealed here.  But it’s worth its own share of laughs.

The story behind The Gruffalo’s Child is a wonderful story for the entire family.  But the story itself isn’t all that makes this dvd so impressive.  Just as the original story of The Gruffalo, The Gruffalo’s Child is simple in its presentation and its music.  It even makes some subtle statements along the way.  Unlike so many other “animated” movies out there, The Gruffalo’s Child  is a mix of claymation and CG, rather than being entirely CG-based.  The comparisons to The Fantastic Mr. Fox are inescapable.  That aside, being that so few “animated” features out there take this hybrid course, it helps The Gruffalo’s Child to stand out just as much as The Gruffalo.  The Gruffalo’s Child also boasts the same music as The Gruffalo.  It’s a simple soundtrack that actually serves to heighten the emotion of each scene, rather than simply be background noise.  And the subtle statements included in the story range from lessons about children needing something in which to believe to that inate need that each person has to be scared at least to some extent.  Given these may have been totally unintentional statements.  But they are there.

The Gruffalo’s Child is a simple movie.  Its run time is noted as forty minutes on the case.  However, the actual presentation itself is just over twenty-five minutes.  That’s a perfect run time for the attention span of younger audiences.  Combine that in with the overall simple presentation and story, and audiences of all ages are offered what is one of the year’s best “animated” family features.

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