Give Up Tomorrow (2012/First Run DVD)/Knuckleball
(2012/Film Buff/MPI DVD)/Patriocracy
(2012/Cinema Libre DVD)/Walk Away Renee
(2011/Sundance Select/MPI DVD)
Picture: C+/C+/C+/C Sound: C+ Extras: B-/B-/C+/C+ Documentaries: B/B-/B/B-
Now for some
decent documentaries worth your time…
Collins’ Give Up Tomorrow (2012) is
the unbelievable tale of how one man in the Philippines has been railroaded by
corruption, injustice and scapegoated for a horrible crime he could not have
possibly committed. Paco Larranaga was
dreaming of being a chef when unbeknownst to him and his family, two young
ladies were kidnapped and possibly raped and murdered. Without DNA evidence or any other kind of
evidence, he was grouped together with other young men as if they had done this
unproved crime and he was convicted with the death penalty.
dodged through diplomacy and he was eventually transferred to his other home
country of Spain, but the mother of one of the alleged victims turned out to
have many powerful connections, displayed bizarre behavior, said extremely
inappropriate things and then some related to the case suddenly died. I don’t want to ruin the amazing work here in
the intense 96 minutes presented, but this is just one of the tales we know of
innocent people railroaded by elites up to no good, even if we cannot figure
out why, save “because they can do it”.
story deserves more international attention and this documentary should be seen
by everyone, asks some serious questions about international laws and reminds
us that we live in a too often sick world where people with common sense should
have objected to what was going on immediately instead of letting such ugly
things happen. I was also shocked how
some in the TV media were complicit by sensationalizing the events and making
things much worse.
include a compilation of Film Festival Highlights, Deleted Scenes, Filmmaker
Interviews and a New Alternative Ending.
You can read even more at this link;
On a less
serious note, we have Knuckleball
(2012) about the rarest pitch in baseball that seems to cliché and amateur and
yet, a few people have made careers out of it by using it in very effective
ways. The latest is 2012 Cy Young Award
Winner R.A. Dickey, but the 85 minutes here manage to cover the history of the
men who have used it throughout MLB history and became legends in their own
novices will be impressed by the intense, thorough coverage and it gives the
pitch its moment in the sun. Some may
find it overdone, but I think it does what it needs to do and quits while it is
ahead. You also get 2 hours of extras
supporting the documentary with more interviews, featurettes and rare footage.
Malone’s Patriocracy (2012) shows
how people are profiting by splitting up journalism into extreme camps, passing
off entertainment and commentary as news and making a mint out of it. Though much has changed since this was
released less than a year ago, it is still pretty accurate and observant on how
this all works, then expert interviews criticize the petty talk, dumb talk, big
money that should not be allowed in elections and what is being done to counter
released, President Obama was reelected, though it suggests he might not simply
because some angry billionaires might buy the election. Despite that not coming to pass, much of what
is said and shown here is still valid and could become more so in the next
mid-term 2014 and Presidential 2016 elections.
We’ll see, but I highly recommend this great look at Civics Gone Wild
and extras include a trailer and extended interviews.
we have Johnathan Caouette’s Walk Away
Renee (2011), his follow up to the well-received Tarnation which had him take film and video home movies of his
family and take a brutal look at his life and theirs. Here, he is fighting to help his very ill
mother cope with emotional and mental illness issues brought on more by medical
mistreatment than anyone should have experienced. Though he apparently did not sue anyone, he
is going out of his way to take care of her against the odds of limited
resources and bureaucracy.
It can be
painful and even brutal, but it is also brave, especially in an age where
(since the 1980s especially) mental illness has been restigmatized and a record
number of people who need and deserve help are falling through the cracks. It is also often fearless and shows his love
of family. The style of editing is fine,
though the restylizing of much of the footage hinders the presentation. Still, it is worth seeing, even if you did
not see the first release.
is the only extra.
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on all three DVDs are fine for documentaries
that are compilation-based, but Renee
has more softness and image flaws more from style choices than the quality of
the film or analog amateur videotape. The
lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 sound on all the DVDs but Renee (which tries to upgrade its sound to lossy Dolby Digital 5.1,
but the sound is just not there) are simple stereo at best, but all have their monophonic
- Nicholas Sheffo