Anchor Bay’s In Fear Is One Of 2014’s Top Indie Flicks

Courtesy: Anchor Bay Entertainment

Courtesy: Anchor Bay Entertainment

Independent movie studio Anchor Bay has crafted some of the industry’s most surprising and underrated movies since the start of the twenty-first century. Most recently, Anchor Bay was behind the moving human drama that is Unfinished Song and the more lighthearted romantic comedy Shanghai Calling. It was also behind the release of the equally under appreciated 6 Souls and Dark Skies. Now in 2014, Anchor Bay has released yet another impressive yet under appreciated movie to its ever growing stable in the form of In Fear. While it is an indie flick, In Fear proves to be yet another piece from Anchor Bay that holds its own against any of the major horror flicks and thriller features out there today. The primary reason for that is the movie’s writing. This includes its plot. Another reason for its success is the acting on the part of Iain De Caestecker (Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Alice Englert (Beautiful Creatures) and Allen Leech (Downton Abbey). And last but not least, In Fear works because of its cinematography and associated editing. All three of these factors together prove In Fear a work that will leave any open minded horror and thriller fan in happiness.

In Fear is not a major, big budget horror or thriller flick, obviously. What it is though, is a movie that any open-minded fan of both genres will enjoy. The main reason for this is the movie’s writing. The general plot starts out as one that has been done so many times before. Here, audiences see a young couple off on what is supposed to be a romantic weekend at a secluded hotel. But obviously, things eventually start to turn to the negative side of the needle for lack of better wording. This is where writer/director Jeremy Lovering takes the *ahem* high road (bad pun fully intended). It would have been so easy for Lovering to simply allow In Fear to descend to the dumbed down, overly violent level of so many major horror and thriller flicks from here. Instead, he kept the overt violence to a minimum by comparison. Where far too many major horror and thriller flicks fill their run times with unnecessary violence, blood and gore, Lovering has virtually eliminated those elements, using only what was absolutely necessary to help maintain the story’s grip on viewers. And the standard exploitative sexual content thrown in to those major motion pictures is totally nonexistent here. For that reason alone, Lovering deserves a lot of credit.

The minimized use of blood, gore and general violence and the complete lack of exploitive sexual content is just one part of what makes this movie’s writing work so well. Lovering keeps viewers wondering even after Tom and Lucy let Max into their car. Audiences have to admit that had they been in Tom and Lucy’s position, they too would be uncertain as to whether or not Max was good or bad. So any viewer that might like to claim the movie was predictable is proven wrong through this avenue alone. That unpredictability is heightened through the use of certain elements that also lead to some “a-ha” moments by the story’s end, too. Those “a-ha” moments illustrate even more the depth of Lovering’s writing in his script and in turn its enjoyment.

Jeremy Lovering’s script for In Fear is the cornerstone of the movie’s success. The acting on the part of Iain De Caestecker, Alice Englert, and Allen Leech serves to strengthen the movie even more. The trio is entirely believable in its acting. Caestecker and Englert expertly exhibit the growing tension and fear felt by any normal person lost in unknown territory. Given, the odds of being lost and hunted by an unseen predator of sorts are slim to nil in reality. But the fear caused simply by being lost in unknown territory is very real as is the general fear of the unknown. And Caestecker and Englert have made that fear all the more real through their acting. Any viewer will be able to relate to them as they watch the pair try to reach the Kilairney Hotel thanks to the seriousness with which the pair took its roles. Together with the script, this aspect of In Fear makes the movie all the more gripping and enjoyable for viewers.

The acting and writing behind In Fear both are pivotal to the success of the movie. There is still one more aspect of the movie that adds to its enjoyment. That factor is the movie’s collective cinematography and editing. Some of the best shots of the entire movie come as Lucy is looking out of the car, waiting for she and Tom to reach the hotel. Audiences see trees hanging ominously overhead as the sky slowly darkens. These are such subtle shots. But they are so powerful because they are so powerful. It adds to the feeling of tension and being trapped in an enclosed environment for extended periods of time. The way that editor Jonathan Amos (A.C.E.) transitioned the two shots adds so much by doing so little. Those behind the cameras are just as worthy of applause for the solid yet short shots of the figure that seems to be hunting Tom and Lucy. Audiences get just enough of a glimpse to know that there is something outside that car that doesn’t want the pair around. And the shots are just plentiful enough to add to the movie’s fear factor, too. Again, it shows the expert work of Amos and his co-workers behind the cameras. There are far more examples of how the cinematography and editing make In Fear a horror/thriller worth seeing. Audiences will find even more examples when they purchase or rent the movie for themselves on DVD and Blu-ray.

Whether for the cinematography, the editing, the acting or for the general writing, any open-minded fan of the thriller and horror genres will find plenty of reasons to check out this latest underrated and under appreciated release from Anchor Bay Entertainment. The movie is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered direct from Anchor Bay Entertainment’s website at http://www.anchorbayent.com/detail.aspx?projectID=2545b3bd-9d4b-e311-bba7-d4ae527c3b65. More information on this and other releases from Anchor Bay Entertainment is available online at http://www.anchorbayent.com, http://www.facebook.com/AnchorBay, and http://twitter.com/Anchor_Bay. 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.

Pixies Announce New Tour Dates, Music Video

Photo Credit:  Michael Halsband

Photo Credit: Michael Halsband

The road rolls on for veteran rock group, The Pixies.  The Boston based quartet has announced that it has added a new North American leg to its current worldwide tour.  The thirty-three date tour will kick off on January 15th in Toronto, Ontario Canada.  From there, the band will hit a number of dates in the Northeast before heading south to finish off the month of January.  It will close out January with a performance at the famed Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) in Durham, North Carolina on January 31st.  It will kick off the month of February by heading west to the mountains of North Carolina and a performance in Asheville, NC on February 1st.  That performance will be at Asheville’s Thomas Wolfe Auditorium.  Cults will provide support for both performances.

The remainder of February will see the Pixies perform at dates in the Midwest, West Coast, and Southwest.  It all wraps up on March 1st with a performance at the Austin Music Hall in Austin, TX.  Tickets for this and other shows are available online at http://www.pixiesmusic.com.

Along with the upcoming U.S. tour, Pixies fans have a new video from the band to check out, too.  The band has debuted the video for ‘Andro Queen’, the opening track from the band’s new EP, EP-1.  The video was created and directed by filmmaker Ondi Timoner through her Interloper Films production company.  Timoner’s resume is quite extensive.  She has won the Grand Jury prize for documentaries at the Sundance Film Festival twice and has work permanently displayed at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.  She was also the creative force behind VH-1’s series, Sound Effects.  These aren’t her only credentials.  She also crafted the opening film for President Clinton’s 2011 birthday/fundraiser at the Hollywood Bowl.  That even featured celebrities such as: Steven Spielberg, Barbara Streisand, Jay-Z, and President Clinton himself.  She even has her hands in the online world.  She is the founder and director of the web-channel, “A Total Disruption.”  This channel features the works of other ingenious individuals and business people that use technology to transform lives, the economy, and the path of mankind.

More information on the band’s upcoming U.S. tour and its new EP, EP-1, is available online at http://www.pixiesmusic.com, http://www.facebook.com/pixiesofficial, http://www.myspace.com/pixies, and http://twitter.com/pixies.  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.

ESPN, espnW Kick Off Nine For IX Film Series Next Tuesday

Courtesy:  ESPN/espnW

Courtesy: ESPN/espnW

ESPN and espnW have teamed up for a new film series.  The pair will kick off the brand new Nine for IX series next Tuesday, July 2nd at 8pm EST.  Venus Vs. is the first film in the series.  Directed by Ava DuVernay, the film the achievements and work of Venus and how it has changed the course of women’s tennis.  One of the film’s highlights is the case of Williams challenging the issue of equal pay in men’s and women’s tennis at Wimbledon.  DuVernay won the “Best Director Award” at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival for her second feature length film, Middle of Nowhere.

This case saw Williams lobby the British Parliament, UNESCO, and Fleet Street to level the financial playing field for women at Wimbledon.  In 2007, Roland Garros and Wimbledon finally gave in to Williams’ requests.  It was that same year that Williams went on to become the first female Wimbledon winner to earn equal pay as the men’s winner, Roger Federer.

A new film in the Nine for IX series every Tuesday throughout the Summer.  The next film slated to air is titled, Pat XO.  This film focuses on University of Tennessee women’s basketball coach Pat Summit.  The official Nine for IX trailer is available online now at http://espn.go.com/espnw/video/8959146/trailer.  The complete film schedule is available below.

July 2: Venus Vs.
July 9: Pat XO
July 16: Let Them Wear Towels
July 23: No Limits
July 30: Swoopes
August 6: The Diplomat
August 13: Runner
August 20: The ‘99ers
August 27: Branded

For more information on the debut film in the Nine for IX series, fans can go online to http://www.facebook.com/espnW.    Each film will be available via iTunes and Amazon the day after its broadcast.  A special gift set containing each film will be available October 13, 2013.

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.

Beasts Of The Southern Wild Gives Hope For The Future Of Movies

Courtesy: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment/Fox Searchlight

Fox Searchlight’s new indie effort, Beasts of the Southern Wild is a moving story that’s one part coming-of-age story and one part allegory about the yin and yang of life. The story’s protagonist, Hushpuppy, lives with her father in a tiny town off the coast of Louisiana nicknamed “The Bathtub.” The story’s writers don’t come right out and say it, but it’s intimated that her mother died in childbirth, as audiences see her father have a flashback in which he is carrying her as a newborn. This leaves him to be her primary caretaker. As a result, the father/daughter dynamic is difficult to say the least. Though he shows that in his own way, he cares about her regardless.

Hushpuppy’s father shows his love and devotion for her after a giant storm much like Katrina comes along and wipes out “The Bathtub.” He shows her how to fish by hand for catfish, and tries so hard to get back to her when the residents of “The Bathtub” are forcibly evacuated from their homes after the storm. Along the way, her father’s devotion to her leads Hushpuppy to grow up very fast and have to learn to care for herself. And she does just that as she and the other residents try to get back to their homes. This personal growth on Hushpuppy’s part captivates and engages the audience. Her deep desire to find her mother is painful, yet so moving at the same time. It all leads up to a final bittersweet moment that will leave any true movie lover at least somewhat in tears.

 

 

The story presented in Beasts of the Southern Wild is not the first coming-of-age story ever presented to audiences. But for writer/director Benh Zeitlin and co-writer Lucy Alibar, it is an impressive first effort. From the general cinematography to the use of untrained, local actors and the writing, audiences get in this presentation a movie that represents everything that is right with independent films. In an age when so much of American movie fare is sequels, prequels or remakes, this movie is proof that originality is still alive and well in Hollywood’s modern era. And it gives hope for the future of movies, too. Beasts of the Southern Wild will be available in stores and online on Tuesday, December 4th. It can be ordered online direct Fox’s online store at http://www.foxconnect.com.To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.