End Of Time
(2012)/Mercedes Sosa: The
Voice Of Latin America
(2013)/Picture Of Light
(1994/First Run DVDs)/7
Days In September
Sane For This World
(2014/Cinema Libre DVD)
C-/C+/C+/C+/C/C Sound: C/C+/C+/C+/C/C+ Extras:
C+/C+/D/C-/C-/C- Films: C+/C+/B/B-/B-/B-
are a new cycle of documentaries worth knowing about...
O. Nguyen's Cruzin
(2013) shows how biking Olympian Antonio Tony
Cruz and some friends took a 1,000 mile, 12-day trip all the way from
the north to south ends of Vietnam in a decent look at the heart,
soul, lifestyle and love of the sport and the lifetime experience
they all get out of it. They are often friends or about to become so
and this is not bad, but only lasts an hour when one wishes it was
longer. The side curio to all of it is that Harrison Ford's son
Willard is a cyclist and is here often. Fans will enjoy this is no
one else, though I was not happy with the playback quality.
feature length audio commentary track, trailer and cooking class
video are the extras.
End Of Time (2012) is the
first of two Peter Mettler documentaries here, this one taking 114
minutes with its theories about time, what it is, how humans might
throw out this measurement one day (though I found the argument weak)
and has extensive philosophy voice over on the subject throughout. A
mixed bag, it is watered down and oversimplified versus better films
on the subject (the Qasti
et al) that is sometimes very flat, but it is a point of view defined
well enough. I just did not buy enough of it for it to work.
feature length audio commentary track, Photo Gallery and text
biography are the only extras.
is more successful with Picture
Of Light (1994), filmed
in Arctic Canada and more original in the questions it asks about
life, living, what we believe, what we feel we need to see and even
tries to deconstruct the idea (and the need perhaps) of filming.
Outside of the mixed results of that line of thinking, this is a very
interesting journey of a film and takes us somewhere we have not been
hardly before. At 83 minutes, it could have been a little longer,
but I enjoyed it and it is definitely worth a look.
article, Photo Gallery and text biography are the only extras.
H. Vila's Mercedes Sosa:
The Voice Of Latin America
(2013) is the best of our releases, presenting an unflinching
biography of the legendary singer and political activist from
Argentina who became a political target for her left-wing politics
and feared for her massive, undying popularity. At a rich 93
minutes, we trace her life from childhood, to her rise as a singer
and artist, then how that quickly evolves into Sosa-mania and
political backlash. Her timing turns out to be at a critical time
when right-winger militants are going in full force to take over and
rule the country, et al.
get interviews with her friends, major music figures (including David
Byrne) reveal a vital, priceless history of an artist who is not as
well known as she should be in the U.S., where many current
right-wingers would consider her too dangerous and subversive. In
real life, she was amazing and that is why should put this one on
your must-see list.
are sadly no extras.
Rosenbaum's 7 Days In
September (2002) is a
compilation work interviewing survivors of the 9/11 attacks that we
never got to see on home video, but is here now as Memorial Day
approaches. Running 93 minutes, we get 27 people telling their
then-fresh first-person accounts of the events and the only problem
is that it just might not be long enough. Otherwise, if you can
handle the subject matter, this can be added to the historical
filmography on key works on the subject.
Photo Gallery is the only extra.
but not least is William Davenport's Too
Sane For This World
(2014), a work that also weaves the lives of several people with
common denominators into a key work on its subject, which here has
all the persons talked to all have to deal with autism. After a
great introduction by Temple Grandin, we follow the lives of the
several subjects who talk about their experiences, triumphs, pain and
living in a 63-minutes work that is well-rounded, but I wish had much
more exposition since the makers are on a roll here and was longer.
Still, it is a solid work and another one everyone should go out of
their way to see.
trailer and Music Video are the only extras.
the DVDs are here in anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image
presentations save the letterboxed, color, 1.66 X 1, 16mm-filmed
image on Light, which ties Time and Sosa as the
best presentations here. Cruzin has some good color for a
digital production, but the transfer is highly problematic with
aliasing errors, digititis, coming, blocking and crazy motion blur on
the long list throughout, making it very difficult to watch. That
leaves Days and World somewhere in the middle, softer
and more flawed than one would like, but not as unwatchable.
for sound, Days
try to deliver credible, lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes, but Days is
very weak and ties with the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Cruzin
as the poorest sonic performers on the list with poor location audio
and some compression issues among the limits, while Time
never achieves much depth, so the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on
can more than compete.