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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Biography > Music > Addiction > Classical Music > Culture > Politics > Prejudice > Bob & The Monster (2013/MVD Visual Blu-ray + DVD)/Celibidache Rehearses Bruckner's Ninth (1991, 2005/ArtHaus/Naxos Blu-ray)/Gozaran: Time Passing (2013/EuroArts/Naxos Blu-ray)

Bob & The Monster (2013/MVD Visual Blu-ray + DVD)/Celibidache Rehearses Bruckner's Ninth (1991, 2005/ArtHaus/Naxos Blu-ray)/Gozaran: Time Passing (2013/EuroArts/Naxos Blu-ray)


Picture: C+/C+/B- Sound: C/B-/B- Extras: B-/C-/C Documentaries: B-/C+/B-



The following documentaries all involve music, but they have the unusual common denominator that the biography and story sides of each tend to overshadow the music a bit.



Kierda Bahruth's Bob & The Monster (2013) is a look at the life and times of Bob Forrest, one time writer and lead singer of the band Thelonious Monster, a band like Big Star and The Stone Roses that should have been the next big band, but was foiled by inner turmoil. In this case, Forrest was a very self-willed man who became a very serious addict to drinking and especially drugs, which nearly destroyed him. He still managed to befriend future Red Hot Chili Peppers bandmates Flea and Anthony Kiedis before their band did become the next big thing and was part of the center of major musicians in the 1980s Hollywood scene.


This is a biography of Forrest, the industry, the music and how he barley survived to become a recovered addict who has since gone out of his way to help save endless others who are sick and ill form addiction. Courtney Love, John Frusciante and Scott Weiland are among the many friends and family who join in to tel the story and how they see Bob. It is another great untold story of Rock Music and a real artist and hurt human being who somehow survived to see it through.


Extras in both format versions include a Making Of for the Claymation sequences and feature length audio commentary tracks by Director Bahryth and Bob himself.



Jan Schmidt-Garre's Celibidache Rehearses Bruckner's Ninth (1991, 2005) takes an hour to show conductor exploring, discussing, teaching and molding an orchestra into performing the major Bruckner work (we have reviewed the legendary composer 4 times and counting as of this posting) of the title, giving us his insights from a few interviews in between long clips of working though the entire work with said orchestra.


To its advantage, it shows Sergiu Celibidache in his later peak years giving great advice on music, showing us his instincts, grasp, understanding and love of Classical Music and music overall. Some may find this tedious and repetitive, but if you love the music and realize the man makes great calls throughout, it becomes a fine record of his work and how hard it is to really conduct music and do it on a great scale. It is admittedly not for everyone, though fans will love it, but it is also a key release that is bold in its own way. Constructive criticism can be tough, rough and ongoing, but can be worth it if an orchestra can deliver.


Trailers for other ArtHaus Classical Blu-ray released are the only extras, though there is text on the foldout DigiPak casing about this program.



Frank Scheffer's Gozaran: Time Passing (2013) is as much about music as it is about clashing cultures. Iranian composer Nader Mashayekhi is asked to run the Tehran Symphony Orchestra in playing Western Classical music back in 2005. Tougher than pushing a camel through a needle, things do not work out (from the country that banned its own great diva, Googoosh) and this documentary looks at the fallout o0f that and how Mashayekhi recovered and regrouped from it.


This runs 85 minutes and even with odd turns of events between Iran and the U.S., et al, this remains as relevant and interesting as ever. The makers rights leave politics secondary knowing the ever-changing, even intense situation, leaving the music and people the true ultimate focus of the film. I have a feeling this will remain so for a very long time to come.


Extras include a nicely illustrated booklet on the program including informative text and trailers for other EuroArts Classical Blu-ray releases.



The 1080i 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on all three Blu-rays can be rough with good HD and even filmed footage mixed with bad digital, analog and film footage where applicable. Bob is so rough at times that there is little difference between the Blu-ray and anamorphically enhanced DVD that it tells you how rough some of it really gets. I still narrowly liked the Blu-ray better. Ninth has more noise throughout than I would have liked (1.33 X 1 16mm cut to be 1.78 X 1 perhaps in the main concert footage?) mixed with analog video that can look degraded and VHS-like. Gozaran has almost all location footage shot often when the camera is moving, but many of the images can be detail challenged.


As for sound, Bob has lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 (usually) Stereo sound in both format releases, but this includes rough vintage audio, rough audio from rough video sources and some location audio issues at times. Ninth and Gozaran tie for first place in the sonics department, having PCM 2.0 Stereo mixes that fare better overall than Bob, but Gozaran adds a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix that tries to give more clarity to the music, but this only helps so much.



- Nicholas Sheffo


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