After The End (2013/Cinema Libre DVD)/Dieppe
Uncovered (2012/E1 DVD)/Lucky
Express (2013/Cinema Libre DVD)/Ocean
Men: Extreme Dive (2001/IMAX/Image Blu-ray)/Scatter My Ashes At Bergdorf’s (2012/E1 DVD)/SOMM (2013/First Run DVD)
Picture: C/C+/C/B/C+/C+ Sound: C+/C+/C+/B/C+/C Extras: C-/D/C-/C/C/C+ Documentaries: B/B-/B/B-/B/B-
Now for a
really good cycle of the latest documentary releases…
Morgan’s After The End (2013) is an
all-too-rare, honest look at death, grieving and the challenges that come with
it, especially when it is as shocking as the many situations presented in this
very intense 79 minutes starting with Morgan’s own encounters and including
many others. Each story is awful,
heartbreaking, painful and all who participated are very brave.
footage of the departed, including toddlers, children, relatives and varying
circumstances that could happen to anyone, but we also get some key clips of
legendary Elisabeth Kuebler-Ross discussing how we deny death, how not dealing
with it properly can come back to haunt us and she is joined by several active
experts who add to the interviews throughout.
It may not be what you might consider watching at first, but it is a
great work for when you can handle it or need something to watch when a crisis
occurs. I recommend you see it before
supposed to include a Photo Gallery, but all we get is an Original Theatrical
Abbott’s Dieppe Uncovered (2012) is
a smart TV production with some big surprises about one of the most secretive
operations of WWII and it leads to none other than Ian Fleming! On August 19, 1942, the Allies invaded the
French city of the title which the Germans had taken over and to more of an extent
than anyone had expected, with an invasion that reaped far more casualties than
expected. Weather played a factor, but
many to this day wonder why it was such a mess.
generalized theories have been considered, but top secret documents that have
only recently been declassified held the answers, even if a new round of
research was needed to piece things together.
Turns out that Fleming, who we now know was running major chunk of
British Intelligence, had taken his newly former commando team (a dram was just
made of that tale) and send them in during the raid for the real mission and it
involved the Enigma decoder the Nazis had developed to send coded messages.
had figured out how to decode the messages, but the Nazis had created upgraded
machines that even British Intelligence could not break the codes of, so the
real objective of the mission was to get any print materials or even a new
version of this machine to get the war to go their way again, but not let the
Axis thugs realize they had penetrated their defenses. I will not say much else except that this is
a very pleasant surprise and a must-see for all spy and war tale fans.
Fischer’s Lucky Express (2013) is a
very brave look at the hidden, lost children of India’s massively impoverished lower
class and how they get caught in and barely survive life on the streets, but in
this case, on the many thousands of train stations throughout the country. Exploited for everything from slave labor to
sex to being beaten & mutilated by sick people to money to even being
imprisoned and having their organs removed to be sold on the black market, it
is one of the ugliest crisis the country is facing and one of the most horrid
untold stories of child exploitation worldwide.
up by those more interested in tourism money, Miss Fischer and company get into
trouble more than once and go places most could not and have not. There are so many stations for one of the
most populous places in the world that some are no longer active, so they
become special havens for exploitation and more dangerous. The result is (in 86 minutes) a very
priceless document that if more people could and would see it, could cause
Rushdie criticized Danny Boyle’s Slumdog
Millionaire for being ridiculous and unrealistic, maybe even glamorizing
poverty, if I understand his statement on the film. After seeing Lucky Express, I can say there is definitely a great deal of
validity to his statement.
a Photo Gallery and an Original Theatrical Trailer.
Talbot’s Ocean Men: Extreme Dive
(2001) is a terrific, underseen IMAX film about two men who are part of an
elite tradition of deep sea diving without any scuba equipment. As of this release, the two champs with two
different approaches in breaking world records and competing heavily with each
other are Pipin Ferreras and Umberto Pelizzari.
We see about their childhoods, their predecessors & their own
groundbreaking past achievements and the amazing science describing how they
can do what most cannot.
might run only 40 minutes, which is the usual for IMAX special subjects, but
this one is so rich in this special history, a love of the ocean and the
amazing things these men do that you
want to watch it over again as soon as it is over like the best IMAX
productions. If you have never seen this
one, consider it another IMAX must-see and on this great Blu-ray,. must-have.
include a huge number of Original Theatrical Trailers for other IMAX films that
happen to be on Blu-ray, most of which we have reviewed.
Miele’s Scatter My Ashes At Bergdorf’s
(2012) is an amazing look at the rise and continued relevance of the upscale
clothing department store in New York City known as Bergdorf Goodman’s. Established in the late 1800s, it was joined
by many other great, even legendary clothing stores, but this store managed to
somehow see trends ahead of the others, became the first upscale store to do
off the rack clothes for the wealthy and steadily became the epitome of the
worlds of better things both New York City and fashion are supposed to be
interviews are a who’s who of the fashion world including some of the most
important designers ever, celebrities like Joan Rivers who tells it like it is
again and new designers all singing the praises of the store. Past and current employees talk about stories
of the store, while we see the man who creates their stunning window displays
that are a cut above the rest. This is
an intense, must-see 93 minutes that opens us up to a dream store for women
worldwide and why it continues to be so.
include Additional Interviews worth seeing after the film.
not least is Jason Wise’s SOMM
(2013) about a special class of Sommeliers, experts in food, wine, cigars and
other related, upscale delights, the insane study and massive, extensive
expertise it takes to gain said title and how achieving success in the field
(including serving the moist discriminating of the rich) means big money and
helps add to the success of the greatest hotels, restaurants and clubs in the
think of it as too much and not be interested, but the makers show us that it
matters to enough people (money or not) that it is a little-seen part of this
world that can also separate the ignorant rich from those with money in the
know and that is why I ultimately liked it.
include an Alternative Ending which I thought was not bad, Official Original
Theatrical Trailer, Sommeliers’ feature length audio commentary track and a Making
DVDs offer anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image transfers, but quality
varies, with Dieppe, Ashes and SOMM faring best despite some softness and motion blur, but End and Express are much softer and rougher, though the circumstances they
were made under accounts for some of that.
1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Ocean is easily the best presentation, shot entirely on 65mm film
and looking great shot after shot, including demo shots that will impress on
HDTVs and even now Ultra HDTVs. Most
impressive is that the archive footage shown also is exceptionally clean and
clear, which is not always the case in IMAX presentations when they show older
DVDs offer lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mixes save Ashes, which is actually in lossy Dolby Digital 5.1, but it might
as well be simple stereo often because there is only so much the audio can
offer. SOMM has the poorest sonic performance being just too soft and even
monophonic at times, so be careful of audio switching and high playback levels.
leaves the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Ocean the clear sonic winner and though narration can be towards
the front speakers, it is consistent with the larger IMAX-sized soundfield and
is well-transferred along with vintage audio.
The new audio is tops, however, with fine sonic moments to spare.