Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Poitics > Media > Journalism > Financial Crisis > Voting Rights > Autism > Civil Rights > Abuse > Me > The Newsroom: The Complete Second Season (2014/HBO Blu-ray Set)/Pay 2 Play: Democracy's High Stakes (2014)/Who Killed Alex Spourdalakis? (2014/Disinformation DVDs)

The Newsroom: The Complete Second Season (2014/HBO Blu-ray Set)/Pay 2 Play: Democracy's High Stakes (2014)/Who Killed Alex Spourdalakis? (2014/Disinformation DVDs)

Picture: B/C+/C Sound: B/C+/C+ Extras: C+ Main Programs: B/B/B-

Here are the smart new releases that entertain, inform and make the viewer think about important issues, including a few you should know more about...

The Newsroom: The Complete Second Season (2014) is back for what has turned out to be its middle season, a shame for such a smart show we first covered at this link:


This time round, without ruining anything, the adventures of Atlantis Cable News starts off with a major reporting scandal just before the Occupy Movement is about to happen, who will stay at the network and who will go, what is responsible journalism and how ugly is massive litigation today that it stops more pure journalism from happening? The cast, including Jeff Daniels, Jane Fonda, Sam Waterston, Dev Pavel, Emily Mortimer, Olivia Munn and company are even more settled into their roles which continue to be some of the best written on television anywhere and I am pleasantly surprised at the high quality the show has retained. You should ABOSLUTELY start with the first season, but even if you see this on its own, it is still very impactful and asks the hard questions few seem to anymore.

Extras include Digital HD UltraViolet Copy for PC, PC portable and iTunes capable devices, while the Blu-rays add Inside The Episode mini-featurettes, audio commentary tracks on four of the episodes and Deleted Scenes.

John Wellington Ennis' Pay 2 Play: Democracy's High Stakes (2014) at first might look merely like it is a political documentary with references to the popular board game Monopoly, but it turns out to be an all-out look at not only how money has corrupted democracy in the U.S., but does this laying out the entire history of Monopoly including how it was originally a public domain board game called The Landlord's Game and what a twisted, amusing, interesting and ironic history we get there.

However, this is as good as any such look at the problem we have had to date, even with slight overlap on programs that have rightly attacked the Koch Brothers before, yet it has its own new edge, sensibilities, great new ways of explaining how bad the situation has become and at 89 minutes, I wanted it to go on a lot longer. Excellent and highly recommended!

Extras include a trailer and 6 featurettes including M&W Art Show 2011 and Who Is Alex Monopoly? (amusing for the ways people mistake his use of the paintings of Rich Uncle Pennybags as pro-money when they are not), all to be seen after watching the main feature and running 24 minutes long.

Andy Wakefield's Who Killed Alex Spourdalakis? (2014) is the latest in releases about those suffering from autism and the most disturbing since it is about a young boy who had the condition, was doing fine with a special diet, then medical people started tampering with what they should have left alone and the mother of limited means started to find herself in a hideously spiraling out-of-control situation between HMOs, contradictory advice and extremely high stress in their hometown of Chicago. It did not help that her son was restrained like an animal for days on end or that treatment was with endless drugs he should not have had and his condition was approached as if autism was mental illness.

Running a rich and never-long-enough 66 minutes, the title tells you what happened in a real-life story uglier than you could imagine, with the fallout still going on as you read this. People with autism are now the most vulnerable persons of all groups of the ill in our society and they are dying (as well as being abused and exploited) more than any others and that needs to change immediately. As this posts, another young autistic male child was found dead in a body of water and we have the most underreported crisis in the U.S. of its kind right now. An important documentary work, everyone should see Who Killed Alex Spourdalakis? as soon as possible.

Extras include Filmmaker Interviews and two featurettes: A Success Story about helping someone with autism and a Tribute To Alex, all running 17 minutes long in total.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on Newsroom look as good as the last season and are a true pleasure to watch like so many of the high quality HBO Blu-ray releases we have seen over the years. It helps build the atmosphere of the narrative and is solid throughout. Needless to say it outperforms both DVDs here, both in anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image presentations, though Alex has more rough low-definition material by necessity and softness throughout, so expect it but don't let that stop you from seeing it.

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on all Newsroom episodes are also as warm, rich, well recorded and well mixed as the previous season (down to the score and use of popular hit songs) while both DVDs have lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo that is sometimes monophonic and rough, but are consistently good in the face of what they had to work with.

- Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com