Empire: An Act Of Collective Madness
Contradictions Of Fair Hope
(2013/Shelter Island DVD)/Greedy
(2013/Anchor Bay Blu-ray)/Unmanned:
America's Drone War
C/C/C/C+/C/C+ Sound: C/C/C/C+/C+/C+ Extras: C/C/C/D/B-/C-
is a mix of political documentaries that covers the wide range of
subjects, but you usually will not find sharing the same text.
Patrick's American Empire: An Act
Of Collective Madness
(2012) runs 95 minutes and uses ideas, facts, suggestions and
interview clips to argue that the U.S. is so powerful that it is
destroying and controlling the world, that only it has all the power
since it is the only superpower left and one unprecedented in all of
human and planetary history. Referring generically to this as a
cartel, the dialogue layers on more and more ideas to point this out.
besides some of the interview clips looking recycled and possibly
being taken out of context at times, there are many flaws in its
sometimes convincing points of view as it acts as if foreign
countries have zero power, never allows any counter ideas to
challenge the layering and is a propaganda film that has its moments,
but suffers from overdoing things rendering it only partly
successful. Even going by its own logic, it is not always
include a Music Video, Original Theatrical Trailer, Bonus Interviews
and featurette Occupy: The
Epatha Merkerson & Rockell Metcalf's The
Contradictions Of Fair Hope
(2013) is not out of place here at all, talking about slavery, how
African Americans in the South formed Benevolent Societies to protect
their own from racism backlash and to be able to take care of the
health and dead of those who joined these vital organizations.
Unfortunately, the religious tradition of foot washing becomes
twisted when the annual event becomes a party of sex, drugs, drinking
and acting crazy that has nothing to do with the ideas, words or
origins of the event.
by Whoopi Goldberg, she explains how new generations who owned land
decided to cash in on the past and what was gained by selling it out
(or down the river) but how others want to keep the original purpose
going. At only 67 minutes, the program makes its points well and the
result is a vital history lesson everyone should see once.
include (unlisted on the back of the case) Spiritual, Prayer and
Music Recording Studio Session clips, plus three more clips of
Rosebaugh's Greedy Lying
Bastards (2013) is
another look at the financial crisis and who is behind it on Wall
Street and in political circles, but ties it into Global Warming and
the director tries too much to be a Michael Moore-style provocateur,
funny as that can be. However, that gets in the way of the impact of
his valuable research and by the time we get to some name-calling,
when he should offer even more facts, the shortcomings catch up with
an otherwise solid piece of informative journalism. This is as
successful as an entry on this list.
(unlisted on the back of the DVD Case) include five bonus clips on
Lobbying, Media, Peru, Uganda and the IPCC, whose research on Global
Warming has been trashed by big money interests.
Mactavish's Murph The
Protector (2013) is
simply a tribute to fallen Navy SEAL Michael P. Murphy, who died in a
6/28/08 assault in Afghanistan against the Taliban. The short 76
minutes has tons of interviews, pictures and more film and video
footage of the man throughout his life than expected, telling us what
a great guy he was and I believe it.
some other soldiers who we lost, this situation does not seem suspect
and the family is not left with unanswered questions, yet this work
never asks why those coming back deceased were banned from being
shown on TV. It also skips the controversial sides of the George W.
Bush Administration's mishandlings (and worse) of the whole affair.
It is not supposed to necessarily being a biography, but that
undiscussed side casts a shadow over the program just the same.
are no extras.
America's Drone War
(2013) is a deeper look at how the U.S is using drones (often in
place of soldiers, a change back to pre-George W. Bush
use-the-soldiers-all-the-time policy) has been so effective that more
than just the main targets are getting killed. Children are being
killed too often, the program is being outsourced at billions of
dollars and the makers gets into the people affected.
believe in drone use, but too much of anything even if it is good or
useful, can backfire and Greenwald asks fair questions and makes
mature suggestions about how such a program should operate. You will
not see some of this footage anywhere else or hear this discussion
this clearly, but Greenwald is one of the best directors in this
genre and this is definitely worth a look. Be sure to see it with
also reviewed on this site, as they make great companion works.
include a feature length audio commentary by Director Greenwald where
he makes his points even clearer than in the actual program and
we have White House
Revealed (2008) narrated
by Martin Sheen is being issued on DVD to go with the interest it
will have in conjunction with Lee Daniels' critically lauded drama
This is 51 minutes of how presidents through the decades, in good
times and bad, have been served by big staffs making their lives
better and how these workers become like family.
are variances in how each group interacts with each president and his
family, but these are rare glimpses inside the interworkings of one
of the most famous addresses of all time and this is nicely done
overall, if shorter than one might have liked.
for other Smithsonian programs precede the documentary.
1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Murph
has some of the best images of the six releases being the only
Blu-ray, but it has more than its share of rough footage, so the
enhanced 1.78 X 1 image
DVD is able to compete with it by having more consistently refined
rest of the DVDs are softer, tying for second place, but also
offering anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image presentations. It is
just the footage is rougher, has aliasing errors, video errors and
older rough analog and low def digital. All six releases all happen
to feature lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mixes, but Murph,
tie for first by being more consistent than the others, which have
more rough audio, old audio, location audio issues and even some
slight editing issues.