Blu-ray Review: PICKINGS

PICKINGS was written, directed, edited by produced by Usher Morgan and stars Elyse Price, Emil Ferzola, Joel Bernard, Katie Vincent, Joe Trombino, and Yaron Urbas.

In PICKINGS, Jo Lee-Haywood (Elyse Price) is a devoted single mother and sister who divides her time between her family and Pickings, the local Michigan tavern that she owns. Easy, right? WRONG! When a local mob boss (Emil Ferzola) and his goons try to muscle in and wet their beaks off Jo’s hard work, it’s up to Jo to embrace her inner demons and tap into her mysterious and violent past to protect her family and livelihood. It doesn’t take too long for the haunted, hardboiled Jo and her pistol-packing posse to lock and load and take on the mob the only way they know how.

The movie follows Jo, a single mother who works hard at her bar to provide for her children and it’s easy to see that this loving mother has a great relationship with them. What happens is, a small town mobster decides he wants to take Jo’s bar away from her, but she’s full of surprises because when she’s threatened, a different side of Jo awakens. A much darker and violent side that shows no remorse for her attackers. Through flashbacks, the viewer gets to know first hand all about Jo’s mysterious past and what has turned her into this dangerous femme fatale who doesn’t take shit from anyone. Jo also has some backup that comes in to help her take out the trash that the mobster and his goons weren’t aware of – if you know what I mean. What the mobster and his goons find out is they messed with the wrong woman.

The front of the packaging features the artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The Blu-ray disc is plain and features the movie logo. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, Pickings ended up being an extremely impressive indie outing that’s a combination of a neo-noir crime thriller and a spaghetti western maxed out with vengeance. The story about this bar owner and her mysterious past was intriguing and the cast did a great job with their characters. She’s a loving and caring mother but once this mobster and his goons push her too far, a much darker side of this woman surfaces and it’s a violent one. You want violence? You got it! The movie even has some nice tunes to go along with all of the violence. Usher Morgan has delivered an ambitious slice of cinematic pop here that’s influenced by fan favorite movies like Sin City and Pulp Fiction, but make no mistake about it, Pickings is its own wild beast. Usher has constructed a visually stunning live-action graphic novel that’s destined for cult status. Pickings will be available on Blu-ray on August 10th.

Distributor: Dark Passage Films

Run Time: 101 Minutes

Rated: R

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0

Subtitles: N/A

Special Features: The Blu-ray extras include a behind-the-scenes featurette, deleted scene, short film and a music video.

  • Behind-the-Scenes featurette (04:20)
  • Deleted Scene (04:48)
  • The Mop – a Short Film (00:58)
  • The Way it Goes – Music Video (03:21)
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