DVD Talk
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
Blu-ray
Ultra HD
International DVDs
Theatrical
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
DVD Stalk
DVD Savant
High-Def Revolution
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum
Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

DVDTalk Info
Review Staff
About DVD Talk
Advertise
Newsletter Subscribe
Join DVD Talk Forum
DVD Talk Feeds


Sponsored Links

Search: For:
Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Manna From Heaven
Manna From Heaven
MGM // PG // July 12, 2005
List Price: $25.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Preston Jones | posted August 27, 2005 | E-mail the Author
Buy from Amazon.com
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Recommended
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
P R I N T
Printer Friendly
The Movie

I'll never ever lightly throw the phrase "family affair" around again – not after viewing the sweetly charming, if slightly awkward, fable Manna From Heaven. A product of Five Sisters Productions, this 2003 domestic drama was indeed produced by five sisters from Buffalo, New York (Maria, Ursula, Charity, Jennifer and Gabrielle C. Burton) – but it doesn't stop there. Two sisters (Gabrielle and Maria) directed from a script penned by their mother, Gabrielle B. Burton. Oh, and another Burton – Roger – helped produce the film.

Set in Buffalo, Manna From Heaven opens with a literal windfall – a blizzard of cash, blown from a passing panel truck, lands in the lap of an eccentric family living in a working-class neighborhood circa the 1960s. The youngest member of the family, Theresa (played by Hallee Hirsh as a child and Ursula Burton as an adult), views the unexpected gift as a present from above, which isn't surprising, considering that Theresa aspires to be a nun.

The family splits up the money equally and the film flash-forwards to present day Buffalo, where Theresa has indeed grown up to become a nun, albeit a nun stricken by her morals; Theresa now feels that the money wasn't a gift, but rather a "loan from God," one that must be repaid. Of course, the family has long since blown through the windfall and Theresa must coax her relatives into holding a fundraiser – auctioning a car donated by a kindly local dealer (Seymour Cassel) amid a dance contest held in a refurbished Twenties movie house.

Loaded with talent – the film stars veteran character actors Shirley Jones, Cloris Leachman, Louise Fletcher, Shelley Duvall, Jill Eikenberry and Frank Gorshin – these stars help gloss over some of the more rough patches in Manna From Heaven; the films runs a bit long at two hours and there are moments that feel forced, but the film has a tremendous amount of heart, which in an age of soulless blockbusters, certainly counts for something.

The DVD

The Video:

Manna From Heaven is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that is warm, free of defect and doesn't suffer from any edge enhancement. A slick, smooth image that does ample justice to Ed Slattery's cinematography.

The Audio:

Dolby 2.0 stereo is included and while it's not overwhelming, it's perfectly adequate for this type of dialogue-driven film. The score doesn't overwhelm the dialogue and there's no distortion or defects detectable – much like the visuals, the aural end is perfectly acceptable.

The Extras:

Manna From Heaven is stocked with a healthy selection of bonus material – a commentary track bursting with participants (co-director Gabrielle C. Burton, co-director Maria Burton, producers Roger Burton, Jennifer Burton and Charity Burton, writer Gabrielle B. Burton and actress Ursula Burton. As befits a track with numerous participants, the track is chatty and informative, with overlapping discussions. A Q&A with co-director Gabrielle C. Burton, producer Roger Burton and writer Gabrielle B. Burton, which runs 17 minutes, is on-board as is the five-and-a-half-minute "Traveling The Indie Road: Making and Releasing 'Manna'" featurette detailing the production of the film. Twenty-three deleted/extended scenes in non-anamorphic widescreen (running an aggregate of 18 minutes) are included; two minutes of bloopers presented in non-anamorphic widescreen; a photo gallery, two TV spots (running an aggregate of 90 seconds) and trailers for Swimming Upstream, Bigger Than The Sky and Dust Factory round out the package.

Final Thoughts:

Engaging and entertaining, the drama Manna From Heaven is the very definition of a family affair – so why not rent it and share it with your family? It's an easy recommendation for a Saturday night at home.

Popular Reviews
1. Batman And Robin (4K)
2. Universal Horror Collection: Vol.1
3. Double Impact: Collector's Edition
4. Arabian Adventure
5. They Might Be Giants
6. Sex Madness Revealed
7. Fantomas 1960s Collection
8. Supercock
9. Terra Formars
10. Blue Velvet (Criterion Collection)


Sponsored Links
DVD Blowouts
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Alien [Blu-ray]
Buy: $19.99 $9.99
8.
9.
10.
Sponsored Links
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Copyright 2019 DVDTalk.com All Rights Reserved. Legal Info, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use