(2013/Cinema Libre DVD)/The
Best Of Jack Hanna (1992
- 2013/Image DVD Set)/Dark
DVD)/Evocatuer: The Morton
Downey Jr. Movie
Place On Earth
Of Love (2013/Maddox
DVD)/Space Junk 3D
(2012/IMAX/Image Blu-ray 3D w/2D)
Picture: B (on Space)
Picture: C/C/C/B-/B-/C/C/B Sound: C/C+/C+/B-/B-/C/C+/B
Extras: C-/D/D/B-/C/D/D/C Main Programs: B-/B/B/B/B-/C+/C/B-
set of documentary releases show the full range of the form, from
hate to enlightenment, from education to propaganda, but always vital
work that is sadly effective at its most evil...
star with a very important, infoprmative work in Josh Taub's
(2013), a new documentary look at a little-known but more prominent
than you'd think disease that effects 1 in 2,500 people called
Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease or CTM. Focusing on Bernadette
Scarduzio, who has the most common form of CTM, we see how bad it is,
how it runs in families more than you would consider and how
rterrible it is to suffer from. With 2.6 Million people and counting
havin it and no cure in sight, showing the dfisease could help get a
movement for a cure going.
give Miss Scarduzio and her family major credit for being so brave
and open in showing so much of their personal lives to try and stop
this latest medical menace. Of course, I felt bad as I watched, but
this is not about pity, but finding answers and solutions so this
gets cured as soon as possible and becomes one less awful thing we
have to see anyone go through. Well done.
incluide a trailer, photo gallery and Heredity Nerotheapy Foundation
Best Of Jack Hanna
combines the best episodes of the pro-animal naturist and scholar on
one 5-DVD box set with 60 episodes. The set starts with his newer
then continues with the second older series on DVD 3 with Animal
The shopw ranges form specific animals to specific locations,
includes many great examples of animal rescue and the great people
doing this. As well, it continus a great documentary tradition about
saving and preserving animals, our world and if you really think
about it, our own lives.
is often with his wife on these shows and their vast knowldege on
animals only enhances each and every episode. Packaged in Image's
terrific heavy-duty foldout paperboard DVD holder case, this makes
for a nice gift set and is very much worth your time, especially if
you ever wanted to know more about Hanna and why he is the name he
are no extras.
Spike Lee's musical School
(1988), there is a storyline that leads to a controversdial musical
sequence that shows the divisionbetween Afrcian Amwrican women spli
by one factor, the shade of their skintone. Many felt betrayed by
Lee, opthers shocked this was being discussed let alone being spun
into a musical number, but like any other subject, talking about it
is the first step to expose it. The gretat Bill Duke has co-directed
a new documentary on the subject with Channsin Berry entitled Dark
(2011, with a cover that looks more than a bit like the album cover
of the 1976 Diana Ross solo album simply entitled Diana
reviewed elsewhere on this site) and it is along-overdue look at the
the Chris Rock-hosted Good
(also reviewed on the site), the fleshtone split is dealt with on
every level, a whole range, how inv isibl;e (and even insidious)
ideas of beauty hve caused problems and heartache for young ladies
not just in the African American community, but all over the world.
Some would say globalization has reenforced this in recent decades,
but it could be argued that these tired old stereotypes about who is
beautiful and what is beauty havew not been challenged enough, in
part because some people (not just racist white persons with money
and power either) would prefer things stay the same for their own
profit, hate and greed.
the first scene with a young female African Amerian child answering
contradictorally in being asked about being black to the many
interviews that follow, it is a strong 71 minuts that everyone eneds
to see once because it applies ot all of us and the world we live in,
how to improve that and cheers to everyone who made it possible.
are no extras.
it is not a documentary, I included Tyler Maddox-Simms' Power
(2013) is a faith-basded rerlation ship comedy with Vivia A. Fox as a
book author tyring to be positive and progressive in her work, life
and appearances in promoting the book and herself. It is at its best
when showing how beautiful African American women of all shades are
and this has been a hallmark fo Miss Fox's work for decades, so there
are great people out there making headway against such hate,
self-hate and stereotypes, resulting in the formulaic script being
overcome by posibitve intents and posibitve energy.
are no extras.
the other hand, Evocatuer:
The Morton Downey Jr. Movie
(2012, with three co-direcors who manage to keep this on together) a
look at the controversial one-time entertainer who in the later 1980s
came up with a self-named TV talk show that was highly controverial
and politically charged series that became more of a shouting match
with Downey Jr. (a one-time singer) taking a hard Right-of-Center,
Pro-Reagan stnce going after so-called liberal enemies, et al.
Playing like a sick rip-off of Phil Donahue's talk show, which was
the top such show until Oprah Winfrey's show showed up, it was a
sudden huge hit, but then it was suddenly on the downslide hat turned
into an all-angry series that was soon cancelled because they had
troible getting guests.
what happened and how did it happen? For one thing, syndication as
new and he had space to fill. Also, that was the mood of the 1980s
Reagan backlash and it was about to get worse, with no sign of
letting up. It was also one of the first times anything that angry
or unpolite was seen as consistently as this outside of maybe analog
cable TV and was qwhat angrier people (including certain angry rich
people) were encouraging and continue to encourage.
is a biography, but irt is also a look at the decline of U.S. media,
rightly suggests the show inspired the dark side of the likes of Fox
News and set up the Roight in the U.S. For more radical discourses
and voices which only as this disc arrives ther American Peopel are
just now starting to reject outright instead of silently tolerating
it, ignoring it or wrongly think it is going away. This work is fair
to Downey (including interviews with his relatives), but also shows
how it became a way more vile discourses and anger became too
mainstreamed for our own good.
Downey seems tame versus some of his meaner successors and might by
some of them be considered to centrist or worse by their ultra-Right
Wing standards. Even more ironic, he died of a terrible bout with
cancer only six-monuths before the 9/11 attack. What would he have
thought or that or said about it? We'll neve rknow.
include BD Live Blu-ray interactive functions, Memorable Moments,
Behind The Animation, Theatrical Trailer, An Evening With Keelie
Evers and a feature length audio commentary track by Co-Directors
Seth Kramer, Donald A. Miller and Jeremy Newberger.
Place On Earth
(2012) tells the story of how Jews targeted by the Nazis survived
their extermination campaign by literally living underground and
hiding from October 1942 until the war ended. It was ugly, not easy,
ahrropwing and is yet another untold story, coming out on home video
on the heals of the diswcovery of more hidden extermination
strongholds were just discovered in the last year that most did not
know about. The 83 intense, sad, troubling minutes unravel yt
another chapter of the evil of the Axis Powers and Hitler's Fascist
regime. The makers even go back to the location to see how it is
today and extensively interviews the surviovoprd and their families
include BD Live Blu-ray interactive functions, nine mini-featurettes
following up the documentary that should only be seen after watching
it, Photo Galleries and an Original Theatrical Trailer.
to the situation was a devious propaganda film cleverly disguised as
a documentary, Leni Riefenstahl's Olympia
(1938), issued in two parts (Festival
it is supposed to be a film (or pair of films) about the 1936 Munich
Olympics, but in its editing and non-competition footage (including
Greek Staturs turning into nude German people, German men running in
the forrest/park (read nature) naked and semi-naked including getting
cleaned up together and cleaning each other. You can reads the
latter as inncoulating any homosecuality in The Third Reich.
it gets worse and you have to see it to believe it. It's obsession
with beauty tends ot be white Europeans, especially German and only
in the actual competition do you see other ethnicities and note the
emphasis on Japanese and Italians, Hitler's Axis allies. Riefenstah
said she had no idea what genocide or oither ugly things her employer
Hitler, et al, were doing, but the editing and shooting which she was
heavily invovled with and responsible for indicate otherwise.
she and the Reich really did was to make a film that tried ot make
their country look like the mot surerior country in the world or
superior in the making after their post-WWI decline in their severe
loss in that conflict. That it did not show the actual country
hardly at all is telling, as are new-at-the-time slow motion and
editing tecniques that played on some of Sergei Eisenstein's editing
innovations. Like his films which were slilent, Riefenstah plays on
who are serious film fans and need to know history or must see and
know history (which in this case is everyone) should see this film
once armed with knowing its dark side to see how seamlessly
manipluative the film really is.
are no extras.
but not least is Melissa R. Butts' Space
(2012), a look at a very serious problem and issue no one is talking
about. Narrated by Tom Wilkinson, this fine IMAX film shows us the
troiubles with so many satellites and other items are circling our
planet earth that it cold start to interfere with things like nature,
sunlight, wireless transmissions and the very future of the planet.
To most people, the idea that anything is in space still seems
exciting and great, but we are long past that point where the skies
are clear. This film shows what a crisis this is going to become.
might not take ther situation seriously, but thanks to the makers of
this IMAX film and that it is in IMAX, the points are made very well,
clearly and definitely. However, I also found this film to just be a
very well done IMAX work and documentary all around. If you like
solid documentary filmmaking, 3D films, IMAX films and love the
subject of space, you will especially enjoy this one, but this is yet
another release everyone should see.
include over a dozen IMAX trailers for other great IMAX films that
are mostly available from Image on Blu-ray (including in 3D; see
which ones elsewhere on this site), a Making Of featurette, BTS Photo
Gallery and Interview with actor/narrator Tom Wilkinson.
a fine 1080p
1.78 X 1 MVC-encoded 3-D - Full Resolution digital High Definition
image and 2D HD version with great detail and depth, Space
is easily the best playback performer image-wise throughout, though
some of the CGI animation holds it back a bit, it is a solid IMAX
film in 65mm negative and shows how strong filmed 3D still is.
1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on Evocateur
are the second-place winners with rough video, analog video, standard
definition video and other images mixed with the new HD shooting.
Magnolia has done the best they can do with the material and I cannot
imagine either looking better, though some of the Downey TV show
clips could use better NTSC decoding.
the case of the DVDs, they are all weaker than expected from the
rough 1.33 X 1 black and white footage on Olympia
(which could look better, for better and worse) and the
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on the newer DVDs which have
their share of rough footage or simply have never HD or even
standard-definition footage newly shot that looks softer than one
would have liked.
for sound, the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Space
is easily the best-sounding, recorded and well mixed of all these
releases down to the Tom Wilkinson voice-over narrative and the
multi-channel sound + .1 LFE track is as active as you would expect
from the best IMAX releases. Remember, they have to play through 64
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on Evocateur
the second-place winners
sonically as well, ranging from some good surrounds at times to
simple stereo and even monophonic sound. Like the rest of the DVD
documentaries, there are also the occasional location audio issues.
the only lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation, Power
should have third place all to itself sonically, but it is too
dialogue-based to use the channels fully, yet is not badly recorded.
However, this meas the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Hanna
can match it. The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Bernadette
has more instances location audio issues, some rough audio and
monophonic-like sounds, so it is not as strong, but more than easy to
hear and sit throughout. That leaves the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0
Mono on Olympia,
which has its share of silences and ambient sound throughout, along
with its carefully placed music, though you hear some English
narration and other languages, particularly German, as one would
expect with the nature of such a sinister film.