Fredís No Clue Movie Review

"Manna From Heaven"
Directed by Gabrielle C. Burton & Maria Burton

    I saw this movie at a special screening a few months ago at the Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, CA.  I originally became intrigued by the movie, because it was shot in my hometown of Western New York.  The entire film was shot in and around the Buffalo area.  Now, there have been some movies that were shot partially in the area. The Natural, a wonderful film that many local people still talk about being involved in.  Best Friends and Superman II were also shot there (remember Superman saving the kid falling into Niagara Falls?).  More recently, Buffalo í66, which depicted Buffalonians as sports obsessed weirdos with little to do, but freeze in the cold winter.  Now, Iíll admit, thatís partially true, but to focus on that you miss the whole point of the area.  Itís filled with broken promises, hopes, dreams and some of the most wonderful people in the world.

    This movie is a little bit sugary sweet for my tastes as a movie lover, but itís a film that the whole family can enjoy together.  Itís about a family who finds money falling from the sky one day and after being convinced by one little girl, keeps it thinking itís a gift from God.  Flash forward many years, where this same little girl is now a nun and convinces the rest of them itís time to pay back their ďloanĒ.  The problem is that nobody has it.  Itís like a little fairy tale or fable.   

    It doesnít have a lot of cursing, sex, or violence that flows through many independent films of today.  A large cast headlined by Wendie Malick, Cloris Leachman, Jill Eikenberry, Shirley Jones, Frank Gorshin and many more get into a lot of trouble and have plenty of fun.  Itís a film that reminded me a lot of Itís a Mad, Mad, Mad World.  I laughed a lot during the film.  Especially during the scenes with Wendie Malick, a Buffalo native, whoís hilarious as a deadpan woman who has left the area and is not the happiest to be back.  Itís a movie filled with hope, fun, and the importance of family.  It makes you feel good after seeing it and thatís the movieís greatest strength. 

   It manages to capture the warm spirit of the Buffalo area.  The community will pull together in the face of adversity to help out anyone.  The movie demonstrates this through the fund-raising efforts of the family.  I donít want to say anymore since I might ruin some of the fun of the movie.

    Itís a beautifully shot film filled with warm colors.  Kudos to the cinematographer who shot a very nice looking film.  (I saw a really great print I must add.)  It contains a lot of longer held shots, not at all a frantic pace of edits.  Itís reminiscent of an older style of movie that doesnít seem to get made anymore.  It was a film made by an entire family.  The sisters produced it, one of them stars in it, and their mother wrote it.  Itís a labor of love for this family and it shows.   

    The very cool thing about this film is that the Burton sisters, there are five of them, who own their company together, are taking this movie on the road.  They are traveling in a van, going from city to city presenting the film.  They couldíve sold out to a major distributor, but then they wouldnít have had a theatrical release.  Instead, theyíre releasing it on their own, which is very risky.  They are having Q&A sessions after certain screenings and getting the word out in a grass roots sort of way.  Itís already played in Branson and Kansas City, Missouri, as well as, a screening for Congress.  Itís currently on a five-week and counting stand playing in a plethora of local theaters in the Buffalo area.  Itís likely to play there for a few more weeks.  There are plans to take this movie across the country throughout the year.  For specific cities and dates of when you can catch this film check their website below. 

    I recommend seeing this fun family film.  Itís got heart and is a bunch of fun.  You also might consider seeing it, to encourage the growth of true independent filmmakers.  People who get an idea and stick with it, knowing that theyíve done something that many people are sure to enjoy.

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come back soon, until then, iíll be at the movies...