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Ryan Gosling’s Directorial Debut, “Lost River,” Comes to Theaters and Digital April 10, 2015

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Warner Bros. Pictures today announced that Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut film, “Lost River,” will open April 10 for a theatrical run in New York and Los Angeles and will also be available same day via national digital release in the U.S. This news comes the same day as the announcement of the film’s North American premiere being part of the SXSW Film Festival, running March 13 – 21 in Austin Texas. The announcement was made today by Sue Kroll, President of Worldwide Marketing and International Distribution, and Dan Fellman, President, Domestic Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures.

“I am excited that ‘Lost River’ is being released by Warner Bros. and having its North American premiere at SXSW”

“Ryan is one of the most exciting actors of his generation and ‘Lost River’ reveals that he is also one of its most promising young directors,” said Kroll. “His debut film is a singular vision of stranded people finding connection in a broken world. We believe in this film and in Ryan as a director, and are delighted to be working with him in this new role. This is a great opportunity to give audiences the chance to discover this compelling, original work for themselves.”

Added Fellman, “By capitalizing on the growing variety of film release opportunities, we can better target the right audience and give ‘Lost River’ a bigger and more focused voice than it would have if we put it exclusively in theaters. We are excited to see the result.”

“I am excited that ‘Lost River’ is being released by Warner Bros. and having its North American premiere at SXSW,” said Gosling. ”It’s a small specialty film, so for me, this day-and-date theatrical and digital release plan provides the best of both worlds. It allows those who are interested in seeing my film in a theatre to do so without excluding the majority of people who don’t have access to a specialty cinema. VOD is giving a new life to independent cinema and I’m very excited to have the opportunity to showcase the wonderful work of my cast and crew on such a broad platform.”

The film, from Sierra Affinity, Phantasma Films and Bold Films, stars Christina Hendricks (TV’s “Mad Men”), Saoirse Ronan (“The Grand Budapest Hotel”), Iain De Caestecker (TV’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”), Matt Smith (TV’s “Doctor Who”), Reda Kateb (“Zero Dark Thirty”), Barbara Steele (TV’s “Dark Shadows”), with Eva Mendes (“The Place Beyond the Pines”), and Ben Mendelsohn (“The Dark Knight Rises”). In addition to directing the film, Gosling also wrote the screenplay. The producers are Marc Platt (“Into the Woods”), Gosling, Adam Siegel (“Drive”), Michael Litvak (“Nightcrawler”) and David Lancaster (“Nightcrawler”). Gary Michael Walters and Jeffrey Stott served as executive producers. Johnny Jewel (“Drive”) composed the film’s music.

“Lost River” is a dark fairy tale about love, family and the fight for survival in the face of danger. In the virtually abandoned city of Lost River, Billy (Christina Hendricks), a single mother of two, is led into a macabre underworld in her quest to save her childhood home and hold her family together. Her teenage son Bones (Iain De Caestecker) discovers a mystery about the origins of Lost River that triggers his curiosity and sets into motion an unexpected journey that will test his limits and the limits of those he loves.

“Lost River” composer Johnny Jewel will be releasing the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack on his record label, Italians Do It Better, on March 30, ahead of the film’s theatrical release on April 10. The soundtrack features original score by Jewel, vocal performances from “Lost River” stars Saoirse Ronan and Ben Mendelsohn, as well as songs written for the film by Jewel’s groups Chromatics, Glass Candy, and Desire. The soundtrack will be released on CD and digitally as well as a collectible double record pressed on purple vinyl. “Lost River” reunites the collaborative efforts of writer-director Ryan Gosling and critically acclaimed musician Johnny Jewel, who first worked together on the soundtrack success of ”Drive.”

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“Kung Fu Panda 4” — A Letdown for True Fans

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As a longtime fan of the “Kung Fu Panda” franchise, I eagerly anticipated the release of “Kung Fu Panda 4.” Unfortunately, this latest installment feels more like a blatant cash grab than a heartfelt continuation of Po’s journey. Despite its dazzling animation, the film falls short in delivering the magic that made us fall in love with the series in the first place.

A Recycled Plot

The storyline of “Kung Fu Panda 4” lacks originality. Po’s quest to save yet another endangered village from an ancient threat feels redundant and uninspired. Instead of the rich character development and emotional depth we’ve come to expect, we’re left with a series of disjointed action scenes and lackluster jokes. 

Neglecting the Furious Five

One of the most disappointing aspects of the film is its treatment of the beloved Furious Five. These characters, who played crucial roles in Po’s previous adventures, are now relegated to the background with minimal impact on the story. Their interactions with Po, once a highlight of the series, are reduced to mere cameos.

Stunning Yet Hollow Animation

While the animation in “Kung Fu Panda 4” is as visually stunning as ever, it can’t mask the film’s weak script. The vibrant landscapes and expertly choreographed fight scenes are impressive, but they feel empty and superficial without a compelling story. It’s as if the filmmakers hoped that impressive visuals alone could carry the film.

Flat Humor

The humor, which was a cornerstone of the earlier films, falls disappointingly flat in this installment. The jokes rely heavily on slapstick and recycled gags, lacking the wit and charm that made us laugh in previous movies. This reliance on tired humor only reinforces the sense that “Kung Fu Panda 4” is more interested in maintaining a profitable brand than in telling a meaningful story.

Final Verdict

In conclusion, “Kung Fu Panda 4” is a letdown for true franchise fans. It fails to capture the heart, creativity, and narrative depth that made its predecessors special. For those hoping for a return to form, this film may feel like a disappointing attempt to cash in on past successes rather than a genuine effort to continue Po’s journey. Let’s hope DreamWorks learns from this misstep and returns to what made “Kung Fu Panda” great in the first place.

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The Idea Man

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Disney’s latest documentary, “The Idea Man,” offers an enthralling and intimate portrait of Jim Henson, the mastermind behind the Muppets and a pioneer in the world of puppetry and children’s entertainment. This documentary not only honors Henson’s legacy but also delves deeply into the creative processes that made him a visionary in the entertainment industry.

“The Idea Man” begins by chronicling Henson’s early years, showcasing his initial forays into puppetry and television. The documentary paints a vivid picture of a young, ambitious Henson who dared to dream beyond conventional storytelling methods. Through rare footage and personal anecdotes from family, friends, and colleagues, viewers gain a comprehensive understanding of Henson’s innovative spirit.

One of the documentary’s strengths lies in its exploration of Henson’s multifaceted personality. Interviews with those who knew him best reveal a man driven by an insatiable curiosity and a profound desire to connect with audiences of all ages. The film highlights how Henson’s unique ability to infuse his creations with humor, heart, and a touch of whimsy made characters like Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggy, and Big Bird beloved worldwide.

“The Idea Man” delves into the meticulous craftsmanship that went into Henson’s work. The documentary showcases behind-the-scenes footage of Henson at work, providing an insider’s look at the creative process behind iconic projects like “Sesame Street,” “The Muppet Show,” and “Fraggle Rock.” These glimpses into his workshop reveal the painstaking detail and boundless imagination that characterized Henson’s approach to puppetry and storytelling.

The documentary also emphasizes Henson’s contributions to the broader landscape of entertainment and technology. His pioneering work in animatronics and special effects, particularly in films like “The Dark Crystal” and “Labyrinth,” is explored in depth. Interviews with contemporary filmmakers and special effects artists underscore Henson’s lasting impact on the industry, cementing his status as a trailblazer whose influence endures.

“The Idea Man” does not shy away from the emotional aspects of Henson’s life. The documentary addresses the challenges he faced, both professionally and personally, and how he navigated the pressures of creative success. This balanced portrayal adds depth to the narrative, making it not only a celebration of Henson’s achievements but also a poignant reminder of his humanity.

Disney’s “The Idea Man” is a must-watch for fans of Jim Henson and anyone interested in the magic of creative storytelling. The documentary is a heartfelt tribute to a man whose imagination knew no bounds and whose work continues to inspire generations. Through a blend of archival footage, personal interviews, and expert analysis, “The Idea Man” offers a rich and engaging look at the life and legacy of Jim Henson.

For those searching for an insightful and inspiring documentary on one of the entertainment industry’s most influential figures, “The Idea Man” is an essential addition to your watchlist.

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Beach boys documentary

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**Rating: ★★★★☆**

Disney Plus’ new documentary, “The Beach Boys: Endless Harmony,” dives deep into the tumultuous, yet harmonious journey of America’s quintessential surf rock band. Directed with a keen eye for both nostalgia and narrative depth, the film offers an intimate look at the band’s rise to stardom, their internal conflicts, and their enduring legacy.

From the outset, the documentary captures the essence of The Beach Boys’ musical genius, spotlighting Brian Wilson’s unparalleled songwriting and the band’s signature harmonies that defined a generation. Archival footage, including rare studio sessions and candid home videos, paints a vivid picture of their creative process and the carefree California lifestyle that inspired their biggest hits. The inclusion of previously unreleased tracks and demos adds a layer of authenticity, giving fans a rare glimpse into the evolution of some of their most iconic songs.

Interviews with surviving band members Brian Wilson, Mike Love, and Al Jardine, alongside insights from music historians and contemporary artists influenced by The Beach Boys, enrich the narrative. These personal accounts are heartfelt and, at times, poignant, particularly when addressing the darker chapters of the band’s history—Brian Wilson’s struggles with mental health, the impact of drugs, and the tragic loss of Dennis and Carl Wilson.

The documentary’s strength lies in its balanced portrayal. It doesn’t shy away from the band’s internal discord and the challenges they faced, yet it also celebrates their artistic achievements and cultural impact. The visual style is vibrant, with a seamless blend of past and present, creating a tapestry that feels both nostalgic and fresh.

However, “Endless Harmony” occasionally veers into fan-service territory, glossing over certain controversies and perhaps offering a more sanitized version of events. Despite this, the documentary succeeds in providing a comprehensive overview that will satisfy long-time fans while introducing new audiences to the magic of The Beach Boys.

In conclusion, “The Beach Boys: Endless Harmony” is a must-watch for music lovers and history buffs alike. It captures the spirit of an era, the brilliance of a band, and the timeless appeal of their music. Disney Plus has delivered a documentary that is as much a celebration of The Beach Boys’ legacy as it is a testament to the enduring power of their sound and soul.

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