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directed by Phillip Irwin Cooper
USA 2015

 

Having spent much of his unsuccessful Hollywood acting career as the personal assistant to diva Frances (René Ashton), Phillip Stalworth (writer/director Phillip Irwin Cooper) has just been rejected from yet another job for being too old to be a "southern Steve Carrell" when he learns that his mother Tina (Mariette Hartley, THE RETURN OF COUNT YORGA) has Stage Four Lung Cancer and wants him to come home to middle-of-nowhere Lower Fig Tree. While his bitter thrice-divorced sister "Sis" (Allison Elliott, THE WINGS OF THE DOVE) and gruff father Garrett (John Heard, CAT PEOPLE) seem content as usual to just endure the length of Tina's illness, Phillip is proactive and supportive of her decision to try non-traditional treatments. When she shows improvement with natural methods, she stops medical treatment and is determined to finally take life by the horns (having backed off out of fear from her goals several times throughout her life) even if it alienates her daughter and husband (who at first seems to have decided to mount the project of building the small fishing cabin by the lake out of spite for feeling ignored). With his mother seemingly on the mend, Phillip is able to explore nagging and long-suppressed desires when former high school acquaintance turned solitary home restorer Joe (Peter Stebbings) makes a move on him. Described in the promotional materials as "reminiscent of TERMS OF ENDEARMENT, as played between a mother and son," COUNTING FOR THUNDER is not so much a coming out story (this aspect is rather minor) as a late coming of age for its protagonist whose achievement of closure is a step towards a second chance at life. Cooper's broadly Southern accent is a bit cheesy at first in the opening narration in terms of delivery and the backwards cliches - although this tone-setting material is derived from his one man show - but he manages to etch out a sympathetic and insecure character when playing off his co-stars, and it is easy to overlook the solid supporting work by Heard, Elliott, and Valeri Ross (AND THE BAND PLAYED ON) for the more prominent work of Hartley and Stebbings. The mix of drama and comedy is rather lopsided, with a recurring bit where Phillip tries to jog backwards and blindfolded up the steep and winding drive to his family home not very organically worked into the storyline to give the rest of the drama a sense of framing.

Eric Cotenas

Poster

Theatrical Release: 21 December 2015 (USA)

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DVD Review: Wolfe Video - Region 1 - NTSC

Big thanks to Eric Cotenas for the Review!

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Distribution

Wolfe Video

Region 1 - NTSC

Runtime 1:43:08
Video

2.39:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 8.53 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English Dolby Digital 5.1; English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo
Subtitles English SDH, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Wolfe Video

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.39:1

Edition Details:
� Audio Commentary by director Phillip Irwin Cooper and actress Mariette Hartley
� Columbia Gorge Film Festival Q&A (12:08)
� Theatrical Trailer (2:02)
� Previews

DVD Release Date: May 2nd, 2017
Amaray

Chapters 9

 

 

 

Comments

Wolfe provide a typically high-bitrate progressive, anmorphic encode to this digitally-lensed film which looks at its best in bright exteriors and crisp close-ups. The Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 tracks both get the job done as the sound design is rather sparse and intimate with only some twangy songs and scoring making full use of the soundstage. Optional English SDH subtitles are provided. Star/writer/director Cooper appears on a commentary track with Hartley in which we learn that his narration - culled from his one man show - was added in post-production at the suggestion of the editor and was not part of the original script, that the film was shot entirely in southern California, and that Hartley suggested her daughter to play the younger version of her in the opening sequence among other things. Cooper and co-star Stebbings also appear in a screening Q&A, and the film's trailer is provided along with previews for other titles.

  - Eric Cotenas

 


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DVD Box Cover

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Distribution

Wolfe Video

Region 1 - NTSC

 

 




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