Of The Dead
(2014/Altitude Region Free Import PAL DVD)/Life
Pryor: Omit The Logic
C+/B-/B- Sound: C+/B-/B- Extras: C-/C+/C+ Documentaries:
are three interesting new documentaries on show business, especially
the film business...
Of The Dead
(2014) is the latest documentary about zombies, zombies on film and
the current history and mania connected to them, but the difference
in this work from the director of The
People Vs. George Lucas
(reviewed elsewhere in this site) has more non-U.S. filmmakers and
fans interviewed, plus some rarer clips and film history several
similar productions missed. We are lucky to see this one since this
is a (Region Free) Import PAL DVD from the solid new Altitude label,
but I could see this being a U.S. hit with ease.
Romero and Tom Savini are interviewed as expected, but Bruce
Campbell, Alex Cox and Simon Pegg get the extra screen time they
deserve and though some people come up with ideas and concepts that
are off-base (or outright inaccurate), this runs a solid 81 minutes
and is worth your time, as well as that for serious film fans beyond
the zombie cycle or its history. Well done.
trailer is the only extra.
(2014) is a documentary about the longtime film critic Roger Ebert,
who became a legend beyond his press success when his show from PBS
affiliate WTTW Chicago with rival film critic Gene Siskel became one
of the biggest hits in public television history. James, whose Hoop
became a hit thanks to the critical duo backing it, was doing a
profile when Ebert became even sicker from his horrible cancer ordeal
and passed on. As a result, this became a memorial to his legacy,
one that is very effective, well researched, thorough and worthy of
interviews, a plethora of vintage clips, behind the scenes footage
and much more fill this sometimes painful-to-watch two hours (I am
personally angry that Ebert went through what he did with cancer in a
day and age it should have NEVER HAPPENED) as Ebert triumphantly does
what he can not to let his illness get in the way of living, loving
and his love of family, friends and film. Prepare for some serious
highs and lows, but this is one of the best documentaries of the last
include a Sundance Tribute, Original Theatrical Trailer, AXS-TV piece
to promote its release, interview with Director James and Deleted
but not least is Marina Zenovich's Richard
Pryor: Omit The Logic
(2013), a serious look at one of the most important talents the U.S.
ever produced, comic or otherwise, a groundbreaking innovator as
important as Robin Williams, who was actually interviewed recently or
this one before we lost him. At 83 minutes, this os one of those
too-rare releases that should have gone on much longer, which I can
say about the Ebert piece above for that matter, buy more so.
get the biography of his life, then a bunch of rare photos and even
clips behind the scenes of his rise to success, fame, his troubles
along the way personally, as well as in a Hollywood that did not
understand him (he was to star in Mel Brooks' Blazing
which he co-wrote, but Warner Bros. did not think he could handle it)
and how he made important contributions to everything he did. We
also see more about his successful series of comedy albums, how he
was a cause celebre on every TV talk show he ever appeared on and how
his work in 1980s Hollywood films did not work out (and not because
a remake of a French film, was a 'white' script as one interviewee
states). To see his comebacks and health decline is something, but
Dave Chappelle says it best, something I will let you see by having
you see this film.
include extended interviews with some of the principal persons talked
to including Quincy Jones, Mel Brooks, Whoopi Goldberg, Lily Tomlin,
Willie Nelson and more.
is also now part of a new 13-DVD set on Pryor you can get, we
reviewed and you can read more about at this link:
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on the Dead
DVD is not bad, though some archival footage is weak as expected,
1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on the two
Blu-rays can show the age of the older materials used as well, but
presentations and new footage look pretty decent throughout.
for sound, the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Dead
is just fine for dealing with films that are mostly monophonic
releases and interviews that are simple stereo at best, while both
Blu-rays offer lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless sound, but
has a 5.1 mix and Pryor
has 2.0 Stereo. They turn out to be about even performance-wise and
are as good as expected.