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 > Documentary > Death > Poison > Disease > Environment > Politics > Murder > Genocide > Terrorism > Racism > Med > Bhopali (2012/IndiePix DVD)/He Named Me Malala (2015/Fox DVD)/The Nine Lives Of Marion Barry (2010/IndiePix DVD)/Our Brand Is Crisis (2015 drama/Warner Blu-ray)

Bhopali (2012/IndiePix DVD)/He Named Me Malala (2015/Fox DVD)/The Nine Lives Of Marion Barry (2010/IndiePix DVD)/Our Brand Is Crisis (2015 drama/Warner Blu-ray)

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

Here are four new political and historical releases you should know about, including a drama remake of a documentary and three other must-see documentaries...

Van Maximillian Carlson's Bhopali (2012) is a serious look at the catastrophe in 1984 in Bhopal, one of the poorest places in india, where the Union Carbide company (later bought by Dow Chemical) set up a plant to make bug spray with storage tanks it turns out they knew were not 100% fail safe and a tank landed up exploding is contents all over the place. The majority of the residents were affected, many died and a quarter-century later, the company has STILL not cleaned up the area, dumping the responsibility (irresponsibly) on the government of India who seem to care less about the poverty-stricken area.

In what feels like a tale about Flint, Michigan and lead poisoning in the water since 2014, we have thousands of children being born with birth defects, mental retardation and more while little help is offered by anyone and certainly not by Dow or India itself. This vital work tells how badly all there have suffered, how no one has been held accountable and how the disaster has grown as each rain washes the deadly chemicals which have never been broken down properly into the groundwater that people have no choice but to drink from. It is a nightmare and a very ugly, unacceptable situation, but a movement is there to somehow change this and get justice at some point.

If Union Carbide (the Eveready Battery people, making the 'nine lives' logo ironic) had just fixed things then instead of abandoning the mess, this could have been solved. Instead, it is now a hyper-toxic disaster area with the minimum estimated cost to clean it up at at least $5 Billion! That is no match for all the lives ruined, but the government and an ugly sense of a caste system does not help the situation any. This only begins to spell out how bad things are. I hope this helps get the ball rolling on a resolution, because as the Flint fiasco shows, it is NOT an isolated incident.

Extras (unlisted on the case) include a Deleted Scene, USC Q&A session and Trailer.

Davis Guggenheim's He Named Me Malala (2015) tells the story of a young woman in the Middle East who dared to say young gals deserve education too, but for this was shot in the head by a Taliban killer. She survived and became an advocate for what she stood up for, continuing even with more death threats from the infamous terrorist organization. Malala Yousafzai quickly became an international celebrity, symbol for a Middle East that needs to change or be left behind and this program spends its solid 88 minutes showing us the heart and soul behind the face.

When I head about this incident, I was outraged like any healthy human being would be, but that she has survived and thrived is a great thing and more than deserved this coverage. A real triumph, be sure to see it.

Extras include a Photo Gallery, info on the Malala Fund and five promotional featurette clips.

Dana Flor & Toby Oppenheimer's The Nine Lives Of Marion Barry (2010) is a nice surprise profile of the controversial Mayor of Washington D.C., which we learn was a place where the majority poor, African-American population had zero political power until the Civil Rights movement in the late 1960s changed that. Before he was vilified for being the crack-using sex addict the media eventually portrayed him as, tearing him down, he was a groundbreaking politician who in retrospect, helped make the presidency of Barack Obama possible. At first, things were good, he was popular, got things done, buildings built, business made and rebuilt a D.C. That should have never been rotting outside of the government buildings.

Then crack-cocaine made its world debut and the area was among the worst hit in the country. He would succumb to it himself, along with sex and womanizing when the FBI found a particularly sexy woman very, in fairness to him) with a past they used to catch him red-handed on tape. He fell for it, and that was the end of his political career... almost. As the title says, he made yet another comeback, but the documentary also shows certain in Washington interests never liked him and did what they could to get him out of the way.

He was also difficult in getting this made, so it is amazing this ever got finished, but it proves he has a legacy, no matter how dearly he paid and like John DeLorean, a bad fall can still leave a good legacy for a flawed man. Even Norm MacDonald would have to admit that.

Extras include a feature-length audio commentary by the directors, Archival Photos, Trailer and Deleted Scenes.

David Gordon Green's Our Brand Is Crisis (2015) is a live action comedy/drama remake 'suggested' by the 2005 documentary by Rachel Boynton about 'expert' political intervention for big money in Bolivia we reviewed at the time at this link...


This time, we get a star cast retelling the tale, but making it more of a comedy than it needs to be, which means a little more predictable (think Wag The Dog, Primary Colors, etc.) that would be between two male rivals trying to help opposite candidates on the long list starting with 12 candidates. However, one of them has been turned into a female with a wild reputation, now played by Sandra Bullock and though that alone might not be a bad historical change, this film is not interested in honestly telling the full story the documentary did. Billy Bob Thorton (who played James Carville in Primary Colors) is her friendly rival, though if I'm reading this well, she is suddenly Carville?

Either way, this has some good moments, but not enough of them, which is why it did not set the box office on fire. Still, if you are interested, it has its moments and is worth a look. Anthony Mackie, Joaquim de Almeida, Ann Dowd and Zoe Kazan also star.

A behind the scenes featurette Sandra Bullock: A Role Like No Other, is the only extra.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Bhopali and Malala combine new footage with sometimes rough (and in Bhopali, analog video from the original disaster), but solid editing and hard work deliver the point. The 1.33 X 1 image on Barry is very mixed, and because almost all the footage from the time is black-style from old black & white civil rights films to analog color videotape, it was the only aspect ratio choice that made sense, even if is the poorest performer here. In all cases where you get analog videotape in all three releases, expect flaws flaws including video noise, video banding, telecine flicker, tape scratching, staircasing, cross color, faded color and tape damage.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on Crisis is shot on 35mm film and to my surprise, is one of the years most consistently good looking films, which brings out the humor better. Especially since the documentary that inspired it was all-video, the move to use film is very smart.

As for sound, Malala is not bad for its lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, but the sound is often stereo or mono, leaving music to the surrounds, but that fares better than the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Bhopali and Barry, which in fairness have plenty of rough audio from back in the day, thus they sound about as good as they could.

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Crisis is easily the sonic leader with well mixed, professionally mixed, well recorded and presented audio as expected for a top rate film. Still, it can be more quiet and refined at times than you might expect, but when the multi-channel surrounds kick in at times, it shows its muscle.

- Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com