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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Housing > Scandal > Politics > Government > Financial > Food > Forward 13: Waking Up The American Dream (2014/Cinema Libre DVD)/Spinning Plates (2013/Inception DVD)

Forward 13: Waking Up The American Dream (2014/Cinema Libre DVD)/Spinning Plates (2013/Inception DVD)

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

Here are two new documentaries worth going out of your way for.

Patrick S. Lovell's Forward 13 (2014) is a hard, smart look at how bad and ugly the housing crisis was and still is, how certain banks and politicians decided to steal the equity out from under home owners who thought their houses were secure while getting vulnerable others to sign for homes they could never afford at prices they could not afford and/or with hidden costs. The intense 97 minutes is very thorough and gives deep details the media has not done anywhere enough to explain or detail. This is not the first time we have encountered the subject in a documentary and will not be the last, but it is well done and a must-see work.

Joseph Levy's Spinning Plates (2013) may not be as political, but is as engaging as it shows the ups and downs of three different families running three different kinds of restaurants against different kinds of odds. The Breitbach Family has had their place for 150 years and their classy eatery is a major center of the community, then the longtime building burns to the ground! We go to Tuscan and meet a Hispanic family running a Mexican restaurant while trying to just survive, but things are not going as well as they should despite some great food ideas and had work. Then there is the successful people of Chicago's Alinea making world news for their food and their place., but a bizarre twist is about to befall one of the owners.

A celebration of food and people, the program asks us to consider both, how we interact with it and what it means in the future. A really pleasant surprise, this one is also worth going out of your ay for an joins a solid cycle of food documentaries we have seen in recent years that have been as enlightening as they are informative.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on both DVDs are digital shoots, but 13 is a little softer using many rough and standard definition digital and analog video sources as evidence to show the scandal in detail. The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on Plates is better than the he lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on 13, but both hardly epitomize what you can do with the tracks available as the former is interview-based and the latter can offer rough and even monophonic sound. A trailer is the only extra on either release.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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