Lionsgate, Others Offer Solid Alternatives To Hollywood’s Power Five Studios In 2015

Looking at numbers from the box office this year, one would imagine that theaters did quite well. In terms of financial figures, they did. But in terms of really worthwhile offerings, theaters and studios clearly did not do that well. That is because much like 2014 the major theatrical offerings churned out this year were prequels, sequels, and remakes. Next year looks to be sadly much the same in that aspect. Luckily for all of the brainless, unoriginal content churned out by Hollywood’s major studios this year, audiences were offered some viable alternatives. Many of those alternatives came courtesy of Lionsgate and other independent studios. Magnolia Films’ dramedy Life’s A Breeze is just one of the noted films that proved to be one of the year’s best new movies. The independently released buddy flick A Walk in the Woods is another of those great alternatives. IFC’s Match and Manglehorn aso proved to be viable alternatives to all of the prequels, sequels, and remakes churned out by Hollywood’s Power Five Studios. And who would have thought that Shaun The Sheep: The Movie would prove to be so enjoyable, too? There’s no dialogue at all. What’s more it’s a claymation flick. But it has so much heart. It is one that the whole family should see together at least once. It is just one more movie that made it onto this critic’s list of the year’s Top 10 New Movies. Speaking of that list the following collection of titles makes up the Phil’s Picks 2015 Top 10 New Movies. And as always the top 10 make up the main body of the list while the bottom five each receive honorable mention for a total of fifteen titles. Enough rambling. Without any further ado, here for your consideration dear readers, is the Phil’s Picks 2015 Top 10 New Movies.

















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Stiller’s Latest Indie Outing Is One Of This Year’s Best New Independent Movies

While Were Young BD Box ArtBen Stiller is one of the most accomplished actors in Hollywood’s modern history. Having starred in countless movies and TV series, and worked behind the lens in just as many projects with plenty more in the works. One of those countless projects, While We’re Young was released direct to DVD and Blu-ray + Digital HD combo pack earlier this summer. The movie, which also co-stars Naomi Watts (King Kong, Mullholland Drive, The Ring), Amanda Seyfried (Les Miserables, Mama Mia, Dear John) and Adam Driver (Inside Llewyn Davis, This is Where I Leave You, What If), is not Stiller’s first jaunt into the indie movie world. In 2010, Stiller starred in the largely forgettable indie flick Greenberg. That movie was forgettable for good reason. While We’re Young however, proves to be more worth viewers’ time than Greenberg. It should be noted that while it is more worth viewers’ time than the prior movie, it is still very much an acquired taste. Though, that is the case with most Noah Baumbach movies. Now having noted that, While We’re Young is an interesting new entry for Stiller and the people at Lionsgate that is worth at least one watch. The main reason for that is its script, crafted by Baumbach. The script follows a couple played by Stiller and Watts that upon meeting a young twenty-something couple begins ruminating on years lost and in turn starts trying to reclaim and relive those years. Yes it’s an oft-used story element. But Baumbach takes an approach in his script that gives the story a new identity in the case of this movie. The additional commentary on the connection between technology and culture that is intertwined into the script is another reason that viewers will enjoy this movie. It is neither preachy nor unnecessarily comic. The bonus material included with the movie rounds out the reasons that While We’re Young proves worth the watch. It is made up mostly of interviews with Baumbach and the movie’s cast. It is one of those rare cases in which the standard bonus addition actually proves to actually be a bonus. And together with the aforementioned elements, all three show together why While We’re Young is one of the best of this year’s new independent movies.

While We’re Young is one of this year’s best new independent movies. It is a movie that stands out both among the endless sea of prequels, sequels, and remakes filling theaters and its fellow independent counterparts alike. It shows this mainly through its script. The script, crafted by writer/director Noah Baumbach, centers on a married couple played by veteran actor and actress Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts. Josh (Stiller) and Cornelia (Watts) are married and both in their forties. After a chance meeting with the much younger Jamie (Driver) and Darby (Seyfried), Josh and Cornelia start ruminating on lost years and lost chances. The resultant effect leads to plenty of laughs and even some moments of deep introspection. It is that balance of humor and contemplation that sets Baumbach’s script apart from every one of the previous instances in which this oft used plot has appeared. Rather than being the typical shmaltzy, slapstick story about people trying to reclaim their youth (E.g. Grown Ups, Grown Ups 2), it offers a solid balance of both humor and depth that few if any other stories of its kind present. That mix of humor and depth is exhibited especially through the blatant cultural differences (of sorts) between the two couples. There’s a lot of truth to the behaviors presented by both pairs. There’s also just enough humor shared between the couples to keep viewers entertained and engaged from beginning to end thus showing again exactly why Baumbach’s script in itself makes While We’re Young worth at least one watch.

The central story presented in Baumbach’s script presents a strong reason why the movie’s script in whole makes this movie worth at least once watch. It is just one reason that this surprisingly interesting independent movie is worth at least that one watch. Along with its central story, there is also an intended commentary on the connection between technology and culture tied into the central story that will have viewers laughing and thinking just as much as the movie’s main story. The commentary regarding the acceptance of technology’s overly intrusive nature (I.E. cell phones being used for everything all the time) is just once example of how the commentary tied into the story helps to make the story all the more enjoyable. There is also a commentary centered on one generation trying to keep up with technology while the other (today’s younger generation) is bringing back everything that was once cool years ago and calling it cool by their own self-serving judgement. It really serves as another example of art clearly imitating real life thus showing yet again why the commentaries included in the movie’s script make the movie all the more entertaining for its target audiences. They are just a couple of the commentaries that are tied in to the script, too. Audiences will see for themselves that there are even more commentaries when they see the movie for themselves. Once again, here is reason that While We’re Young stands out both among the year’s new releases overall and the year’s new independent releases.

Both the central story presented in Baumbach’s script for While We’re Young and the commentaries that accompany the movie’s main story present plenty of reason for viewers to watch this movie at least once. Both elements are of equal importance to the movie’s success and enjoyment. However, they are only a portion of what makes the movie worth the watch. The bonus material included with the movie make its overall presentation all the more worth the watch. The bonus material in question here is largely composed of interviews with Baumbach as well as the movie’s cast. This is a pretty standard bonus included in most movies’ home releases. The difference between these interviews and those included in so many other movies is that the interviews included with this movie actually present a certain value believe it or not. Baumbach and company actually offer some valuable insight into the movie, its script, commentaries and more. It’s quite the change of pace from those other, lesser interviews that try to pass themselves off as “bonuses” with other movies. In the case of this movie, they are in fact bonuses; bonuses that every viewer will find quite insightful. The insight offered by the bonus interviews along with the script’s main story and its companion commentaries make While We’re Young a movie that in whole while not for everyone is still one of the best of this year’s new independent film field and a movie worth at least one watch.

While We’re Young may not have gotten the coverage from media outlets as the major motion pictures released this summer by Hollywood’s “Power Five Studios.” But in comparison to those largely unoriginal, uncreative, prequels, sequels, and remakes, it holds its own quite well. It even holds its own quite well among its fellow independent counterparts. That is thanks to the movie’s script, which includes a new take on a classic story line and some equally entertaining yet in-depth commentaries that will have viewers talking and laughing long after the movie ends. The bonus interviews included with the movie make the overall viewing experience of this movie even richer for fans. All three elements combined, they prove While We’re Young to be one of this year’s best new independent movies and potentially even one of the year’s best overall new movies. It is available now in stores on DVD + Digital and Blu-ray + Digital HD combo pack.

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Lionsgate Announces Release Date, Specs For New Dramedy While We’re Young

While Were Young BD Box ArtLionsgate will release actor Ben Stiller’s new dramedy While We’re Young next month.

While We’re Young will be released on Blu-ray + Digital HD combo pack and DVD + Digital combo pack on Tuesday, June 30th. Stiller (Night at the Museum 1 – 3) and Naomi Watts (King Kong, The Impossible, Mullholland Drive) star as a pair of aging urban sophisticates trying too hard to hold onto their youth in the movie. In their efforts to hold onto their youth, the pair—Jason (Stiller) and Cornelia (Watts)—join a hip-hop dance class and “mind-expanding” parties among other activities. They are joined by Adam Driver (HBO’s Girls), Amanda Seyfried (Alice in Wonderland, Les Miserables, Mamma Mia), Charles Grodin (Beethoven, Beethoven’s Second, Midnight Run) and now former Beastie Boys member Adam Horovitz (a.k. Ad-Rock) along the way. The movie was helmed by Academy Award®-nominated director Noah Baumbach (Best Original Screenplay The Squid and the Whale, 2005). Baumbach has also previously worked with Stiller on the 2010 drama Greenberg. He also developed the big screen adaptation of the classic children’s book The Fantastic Mr. Fox in 2009.

One writer for Variety called While We’re Young a “blisteringly of-the-moment and classically zany comedy.” Along with the main feature, both the Blu-ray + Digital HD and DVD + Digital combo pack will also feature a handful of bonus material including six behind-the scenes featurettes and some more scene specific features. The complete list of bonus material included on the Blu-ray + Digital HD combo pack is noted below.


  • Six Behind-the-Scenes Vignettes:  “The Cast,” “Working with Filmmaker Noah Baumbach,”
  • “Generation Tech,” “Working with Charles Grodin,” “Ayahuasca Ceremony” and “Hip-Hop Class”

*Subject to change

While We’re Young will be released on Blu-ray + Digital HD combo pack and DVD + Digital combo pack on Tuesday, June 30th. The Blu-ray + Digital HD combo pack will retail for MSRP of $24.99 and the DVD + Digital combo pack for $19.98. More information on this and other titles from Lionsgate is available online now at:



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