Jesus (2013/Glass Eye
Pix/Shelter Island DVD)/Follow
DVD)/The Hooping Life
C (2013/Cohen Media Group
(2011/Shelter Island DVD)
C/C+/C+/C/B-/C Sound: C+/C+/C+/C/C+/C Extras:
C-/C/C+/C+/C-/C- Documentaries: C+ (Jesus: C-)
are some new documentary releases that are usually at least decent if
not always successful.
Garriga's American Jesus
(2013) starts by telling us it is a diverse look at people in all
walks of life who share Christianity as their religion, only the
opening of the long 67 minutes tends to be almost the same thing over
and over, then towards the end, we hear about The Apocalypse, how the
world is coming to an end and despite some joy being discussed early
how everything is in final days and we'd better get religious...
is quite a bait-and-switch, very condescending and ultimately
condescending and offensive in the end, sounding like a cult sermon.
As dishonest as it is cynical, it will leave you highly unimpressed
to and is yet another reason many people in this country have been
tuning out of religion since it started to become so extreme in the
1980s. Here is the latest piece of ignorant evidence.
include Additional Interviews and a Making Of featurette.
McCabe's Follow Me
(1969) does an interesting job of capitalizing on the hit surfing
film Endless Summer
(1966, reviewed on Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) by sending a trio
of surfers (including one female, constantly criticized for comic
effect?) to different countries to see if they can find waves no one
has before. Mary Lou McGinnis, Claude Codgen and Bob Purvey travel
to Hong Kong, Japan, India, Portugal, New Zealand, Tahiti, Morocco
and more in this colorful, semi-travelogue film that is fun and holds
up pretty well.
least a minor classic of surfing films, the voice-overs are actually
done by character actor (see Downhill
Racer from Criterion
elsewhere on this site) and animation voice-over artist (the original
Aqualad and one-time Superboy) Jerry Dexter, scripted by Stanley
Ralph Ross (also a voice actor in cartoons and writer on hits like
and Wonder Woman),
the aged parts make this a time capsule like the talking, but the
real star of this film are the surfers, surf and beautiful locales,
which take over by the end for maximum impact.
is interesting here, with the main instrumentals composed by the very
capable Stu Phillips, who co-wrote three songs here with David Gates
before his launching of the underrated soft rock band Bread and al
are performed by Dino, Desi & Billy, the peak of the trio of Dean
Martin Jr., Desi Arnaz Jr. and Billy Hinshse peaking here after
making a serious go of it as a trio. A very interesting film worth
catching up with, including some enduring surf footage.
trailer is sadly the only extra.
E. Robbins' Girl Rising
(2012) is the latest look at how young ladies are exploited worldwide
and that old societal standards are part of the problem. Education
is part of the solution, especially in the face of the major backlash
we have seen against women in recent years that seems as hateful as
it does extremely desperate. The documentary is decent, but does not
go far enough (disturbingly ignoring the various male/religious
groups perpetuating the latest round of crimes against women)
hampering some god, even painstaking work.
Hathaway, Meryl Streep, Alicia Keys, Freida Pinto, Salma Hayek, Cate
Blanchett, Kerry Washington and Liam Neeson are among those who lend
voice-overs here and it is worth a look, but the next such work needs
to go much, much further.
include a Director's Welcome, Outtakes, On Location footage and a
Behind The Scenes featurette.
Goldstein's The Hooping
Life (2014) is a
too-short look at the rise, fall and possible resurgence of people
enjoying the sue and showing off of the use of the hula hoop. Taking
several years to complete, I wished it were longer and I think there
might be more to say, but Basement Jaxx supplies new music and a
bunch of interviews including Shaquille O'Neal and especially Art
Linkletter, the TV megastar who paired with then-unknown toy company
Whammo to make their version of the hoop a massive nationwide hit are
all-too-short 70 minutes has some nice vintage clips (including
Whammo commercials, which it can never have enough of) along with new
interviews, a few old ones and profiles of people who have come up
with more complex ways to hoop. Will it become a big business again?
The joke is that it is a revolution, but that may only apply to the
hoops around gyrating bodies. Still, this is a decent profile of the
activity worth a look.
galleries of extra footage in included covering interviews, hoop
moves you can learn, stills and how to make a hoop.
Constant's Mademoiselle C
(2013) tells us the story of model Carine Roitfeld, who became an
icon in her field and moved on to become a editor for French
Vogue for 10 years.
No longer with them, she decides to launch her own magazine and
lands up going to war without trying with former bosses Conde Nast.
They essentially say that anyone who works with her will be
blacklisted form their magazines, but Roitfeld has enough connections
(Laugerfeld, Versace, Tom Ford) that this will not stop her from
launching her deluxe CR
a mere 53 minutes, much is stuffed into this program, but much more
ls left to be said and it is not the best fashion documentary we have
seen lately. However, it is still a good one and once again, one
worth a look.
include a trailer and footage of the Paris premiere on the
Island (2011) goes to the
near New York locale to show us how nice it is to live there and even
go there. Of course, this is a sunny portrait of the place and who
knows what the dark sides are, but there has so be some. However, we
get character profiles including that of artists, those battling
mental illness and a little more in a 77 minutes program that does
not necessarily make me want to visit the place, but one might stop
by if they remember this one. Not bad.
include Alex Olinkiewick's short film about having autism entitled In
My Mind and a 2:31 montage of Harold Olson's paintings.
the releases, save Follow, are a mix of old and new film and
video footage with new (usually HD) interview footage, but the 1080p
1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Mademoiselle
is the best-looking of all as expected from being the only Blu-ray on
the list. That is not to say it is consistent as some shots have
motion blur, others are slightly problematic and the shaky camerawork
is never welcome. The
anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on Follow Me can
sometimes show the age of the materials used, but this is the best of
the DVDs by a sliver using 16mm footage (from a new HD transfer).
The color filming in the many locales of the film gives us something
to see all the time, with the surfing footage being king. The
rest of the DVD are here in anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image
presentations with Girl
Rising nearly matching
and the rest of the DVDs being a little rougher and substandard
overall than expected.
the sound department, the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix
should be easily the champ here, but the location audio is often
weak, sometimes monophonic and the mixers put the sound too much in
the center channel. We get moments where the surrounds kick in, but
this is not a great mix. Therefore, the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Girl
and lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Jesus
can actually compete. Unfortunately, the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0
Stereo on Hooping
are rougher and weaker than expected, so be careful of volume
switching and high volume levels.