Posts tagged "VOD"

“The Lost Husband” exceeds expectations thanks to talented cast

April 10th, 2020 Posted by Review 0 thoughts on ““The Lost Husband” exceeds expectations thanks to talented cast”

While the theaters remain closed, theatrical releases continue to premiere on easily accessed digital platforms. “The Lost Husband,” starring Josh Duhamel, Nora Dunn, and Leslie Bibb is available to stream on iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, and a host of other outlets including several cable options such as Comcast and Spectrum. It’s a perfect escapism film filled with love, loss, secrets, and hope for the future as Libby (Bibb), a young widow with two children who loses everything she owns, ends up at her long-lost Aunt Jean’s (Dunn) farm where she meets the Farm Manager James (Duhamel).

WATCH THE TRAILER HERE

The mere description seemingly says it all, and it does say a lot as you can accurately predict what will happen, but there are a few surprises along the way. We meet Libby as she is escaping the suffocating confines of her wealthy yet emotionally unsupportive mother, Marsha (Sharon Lawrence). Traveling thousands of miles with the few items this small family owns, they show up on the doorstep of Aunt Jean whose no-nonsense yet kind arms welcome them all. Libby’s relaxed attitude takes a quick left turn the following morning as she learns she will be James the Farm Manager’s apprentice to help Aunt Jean run her goat farm. Initially, James and Libby repel one another like oil and water, but you guessed it, the two begin to blend perfectly.

“The Lost Husband” provides plenty of sub stories throughout including young Abby (Callie Hope Haverda) being bullied in school, and Libby’s inability to let go of her departed and rather flawed husband as she is consumed by guilt. Aunt Jean and James have their own stories as well, allowing all the characters to have a substantive storyline to contribute to the overall film. While much of this probably sounds very ordinary, it is, but what isn’t is the heart of the film thanks to the chemistry and talent of the actors.

Bibb and Duhamel elevate their love story by never overplaying their roles. There are comedic moments and beautifully romantic and poignant ones as well, but again, there is never a moment of eliciting an eye-roll response. And Dunn, quite expectedly, is pure gold in this as she teaches Bibb how to heal all while making goat’s milk cheese and planting the perfect vegetable garden. The only aspect of incredulousness is the picture perfect Pottery Barn-looking farm house. But I’ll forgive that and focus only on the story and performances which far outweigh that one unbelievable element.

For the first half of the film, much of what happens is quite predictable, but during the second half, we lean in more to Bibb’s antagonistic relationship with her mother and the fallout Marsha and Aunt Jean had upon the passing of Libby’s grandfather. There are emotional puzzle pieces that we and Libby now see and she must put them together to allow herself and her children to finally stand on solid ground.

“The Lost Husband” is not a Hallmark movie as many of us might initially think. It’s much more than that as the script is not totally formulaic and the actors gel using their talents to never overact. And within the main story, we are transported to a more fundamental and basic lifestyle that gives meaning and independence. While it may romanticize the arduous actuality of farming, it’s also inspiring in this way. I’m sure that wasn’t an expected outcome of this film, but given our times, it evokes just that.

Check out “The Lost Husband,” a charmingly entertaining movie that just might surprise you thanks to wonderful performances and a script that takes the time to create surprises and develop a satisfyingly layered story.

3 1/2 STARS

“Social Animals” An Instagram story

December 27th, 2018 Posted by Review, Weekly VOD 0 thoughts on ““Social Animals” An Instagram story”

Instagram.  If you’re over 30, and I am, it’s an anomaly.  As a teenager in the 1970’s, popularity was assessed based on the number of carnations you received on Valentine’s Day during classes.  Now, it’s the number of public “likes” that can truly make or break you in high school.  Director Jonathan Ignatius Green followed three teens; an aspiring photographer in New York City, a Midwestern girl from Central Ohio, and a wealthy entrepreneur near Malibu, California.  The three are very different teens, but they all experience the emotional costs, both positive and negative of the impact of the social media platform of Instagram.

Green introduces us to Humza, a kid from the inner city of N.Y.  who develops an eye for photographs taken from forbidden vantage points.  Humza’s popularity blows up, but just at the peak of his popularity, he is vilified for revealing a subculture within the city.  Green interviews Humza before, during, and after his Instagram “success,” giving the viewers a keen insight to Humza’s rather mature and very candid expression of social media consequences.

Interwoven into Humza’s story, Green expertly incorporates Kaylyn’s unusual panache for engaging viewers with her style and look which eventually leads to greater opportunities.  Although, fame does have its drawbacks for her and her family, we are privy to the emotions at the time.  Matching Humza and Kaylyn’s story arc, we see that Green couldn’t have chosen a better representation for middle America than a small town near Cincinnati, Ohio with Emma who pays an ever greater emotional price as a negative spin is thrust upon her perceived persona.  

The pressure these kids feel is obvious, determining, in many instances, whether a teen has a sense of self-worth.  In fact, as the film reveals, purchasing “likes” and “followers” is also a technique used to increase their reputation as someone worthy of knowing.  As crazy as this might sound to someone outside of the Instagram realm, it’s a heady and real situation for kids, not to mention emotionally and financially costly.

Green tells each of these teens’ stories from beginning to end, allowing the viewer to walk in their shoes.  His ability to ask the right questions and create a trusting atmosphere for each subject to feel comfortable gives the film integrity and honesty.  These elements connect us to Humza, Kaylyn, and Emma as we watch them rise and fall and then hopefully find the strength to rise again.  Following these “kids” as well as having interviews with parents and other kids over the course of two years, Green allows you, the viewer, to arrive at your own conclusions about the impact of social media as he always takes the position of neutral observer, allowing the story to unfold naturally and honestly.

Initially, my hopes for the film were to be in some way to denounce social media platforms, justifying my inabilities to somehow master the medium, but Green doesn’t place a judgment upon it.   “Social Animals” expertly weaves together a compelling narrative, but more importantly, it allows everyone, no matter their age, to better comprehend the social pressures of today’s youth in a digital era.  It also serves as an avenue for teens to relate and perhaps even find comfort in knowing that they are all in the same boat.  

 

While I long for the days where it was only one day of a popularity contest and hoping that I wouldn’t get any green carnations (indicating “You bug me”), times have changed and “Social Animals” creatively communicates these changes.  Every parent, teacher, social worker and counselor would benefit from seeing this film.  While I no longer have teens at home, the film did allow me to let go of the pressure I feel as I attempt to “master” using Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.  Don’t even get me started on SnapChat!

For more information about the film and director, go to  https://www.socialanimalsfilm.com/home

and  http://www.ignatiusgreen.com/social-animals/

You can see “Social Animals” on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/social-animals/id1438474795?mt=6&ign-mpt=uo%3D4    or on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Social-Animals-Kaylyn-Slevin/dp/B07K1L5VF3/ref=sr_1_3?s=instant-video&ie=UTF8&qid=1544750364&sr=1-3&keywords=social+animals

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