According To Al Green
(1984/MVD Visual Blu-ray)/I
Am The Blues (2016/Film
DVD)/Pure Country: Pure
Blu-ray w/DVD)/State Fair
(1962/Fox/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)
B/C+/C/B- & C/B- Sound: B-/C+/C+/B- & C+/B Extras:
B-/C/C-/C-/A Films: B-/B-/B-/C-/C+
1962 remake Blu-ray is now only available from our friends at
Twilight Time, is limited to only 3,000 copies and can be ordered
while supplies last from the links below.
our latest look at new music releases...
According To Al Green
(1984) is back in a restored edition and the documentary film on how
the legendary soul singer left it all behind for religion. Here's
our coverage of the older DVD from many years ago...
MVD Visual, whose been slowly issuing and reissuing Mugge's amazing
series of documentaries, has issued this one on Blu-ray and though he
usually makes great films, I was only so impressed when I saw this
again on DVD a while ago for only the second time. It is that rare
film that actually got better with age because of some twists and
turns in music and the industry that puts this in a new light.
Green never returned to the charts after his Annie Lennox duet
either, but he has shown up at times singing his hits a bit, though I
don't know if a sequel is necessary. This one is definitely worth a
look, but at east some kind of update in the near future would be
include a 30-minutes audio interview with Green, church service
outtakes and 17 minutes of commentary by Director Mugge.
Am The Blues
(2016) is an excellent documentary made recently to show the legacy
and current life of Blues music in the U.S., going to New Orleans and
both interviewing and recording performances by key names in the
genre, as well as up and coming talent, proving that Rap/Hip Hop will
never be the only name, last name in music, truthfully, honestly or
otherwise. Even of you're not a big fan of Blues, this Film Movement
DVD release is definitely worth a look as these artists survive
against the tide of a changing music industry that does not seem to
know where to go for new talent in any genre too often.
Lynn, Biblo Walker, Carol Fran, Henry Cray, Little Freddie King and
to my surprise, Bobby Rush (didn't know how blues he was or that he
lived there) grace the 118 minutes of wall-to-wall Blues. It might
nit be for everyone, but it is something different with a rich
quality to it and all involved not only love this music, they live it
and its shows. Try it out!
minutes of unseen bonus footage is the only extra.
(2015) takes us to Ethiopia where there is a music boom starting with
80 different nationalities, all kinds of variances affecting the
singing, performance and styles of Soul, Blues and much more in a
documentary that might be showing us the birthplace of something we
have not quite seen or heard yet. The talent is certainly there, as
is the energy, ambition, singing, harmonizing and thus, we may be
actually seeing a story or two in the making.
has snagged this musical slice of life for DVD and those interested
in world music should bookmark this in just in case.
teaser and trailer are the only extras, but maybe we'll see an
expanded version in a few years if a boom of talent takes place.
Even if not, its far superior to the music laziness we've been seeing
in the U.S. the last few decades!
Country: Pure Heart
(2017) is a disaster on so many levels, a separate essay would not
give us enough room to cover it all and life is too short, so this
heartless, tired 'can
they make it!?!?!'
formula mess hoping to promote possible future Country talent like
the young female singers in lame roles requiring limited effort.
Hard to tell if they can really act or not. Willie Nelson shows up
as himself, but way too briefly.
guess you could scan though the LONG 184... I mean 84 minutes fir the
music, but its only a drop in this endless river of boredom. I
suddenly thought of Hee
as a documentary series for a split second there.
only extras thankfully are Digital Copy and three music clips.
now our last title, another upgrade from DVD to Blu-ray. Actor Jose
Ferrer co-stars and directed the 1962 remake of State
about a time in America where families believed in the American
dream, when the State Fair was considered the highlight of the year.
All the Frake Family is looking forward to it! Pa Frake (Tom Ewell)
is looking forward to the hog competition, Ma Frake (Alice Faye) with
her mincemeat competition, the son Wayne (Pat Boone) is in the hotrod
race and Margy (Pamela Tiffen) the daughter is a young woman looking
summer fling. It's a summer of love, as the Frake family will have a
summer they will never forget.
Frake family is your average Southern plantation family, were men
love fast cars and even faster women. The women are taught to be
beautiful yet dutiful women to their men. The State Fair is the
highlight of the year (which is sorta sad in itself) for the Frakes.
Ma and Pa Frake are involve with various competitions, but both Wayne
and Margy both meet and fall in love with someone at the fair (even
though both of them already have fiances), Wayne with race/dance girl
Emily (Ann Margret, as if he could handle her!), Margy with a playboy
newsman (Bobby Darin). Wayne finds out Emily is married woman and
Margy finds out her fling is moving far away after the fair. Both of
their relationships started started as a summer fling, but turns into
a torrent affair that tears apart their lives.
movie plays so flatly, it feels like someone wanted make a Blu-ray
version to just add to their collection just by issuing it with a
bunch of extras. Watching the musical certainly takes you back in
time, it showed the time period in America when men were able to
sexually harass woman (it they did it now there would be considered
sexual harassment), and women were treated more like objects than
individuals. While the songs and musical was fun, the moral of the
story was questionable, but it was filled with drama of love, lost
and tragedy ...and how the family pulls together afterwards. Wally
Cox and a young boy who would grow up in real life to be Pop/Rock
singer Meat Loaf also star.
include another well-illustrated booklet
on the film with a great essay by Julie Kirgo, while the Blu-ray disc
adds an isolated music track, a feature-length audio
commentary track by Pat Boone, page to screen featurette, State
Fair TV plot and trailers.
more on the film and its predecessor, see our DVD coverage of both
1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Gospel
is the best presentation here in a new 4K transfer from the original
16mm camera materials, and though we can see the age of the materials
used here and there, this is far superior a transfer to all previous
releases of the film including the too-soft DVD from years ago. The
film was purposely shot to have a reddish cast leaning brown like the
churches they were filming and that's fine. You get some good
detail, proving yet again the virtues of 16mm film in HD.
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on State Fair,
shot in older 35mm CinemaScope, is an improvement from the DVD
without a doubt, but there are still anomalies form the format that
have not been corrected and left as is. Color and some depth and
detail can be seen better, but this is far from the best Scope shoot
ever, so expect some flaws. We doubt this could look much better on
Blu-ray here, though.
1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Country
may be more consistent, but it is more generic, poorer and has
softness issues you'd never get from film of any kind. Some shots
look off and the anamorphically enhanced DVD version is much worse,
softer and harder to watch, so expect the worst before viewing in
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Blues and Roaring
actually look better than Country, but Roaring barely,
which has softness and some motion blur issues. However, they had
way less money to work with, so you can figure that one out.
for sound, Country
is the champ sonically by default with a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1
lossless mix that is at least well mixed and presented, letting the
musicians shine in a mess of a so-called film. However,
the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 4.0 lossless mix on State
is a surprisingly good upgrade from the lossy Dolby Digital 4.0 from
the old DVD, both based on the original 4-track
magnetic sound with traveling dialogue and sound effects that played
with the film in better screening. The soundmaster survived well
enough and a DTS-HD
MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless mix is also included that is
not bad, but the 4.0 is better.
PCM 2.0 Mono on the Gospel
Blu-ray is an improvement over the old Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono fro the
old DVD, but there is harmonic distortion and warping in more than a
few parts that need to be fixed down the line if possible.
Otherwise, it sounds better.
offers both lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 and lossy Dolby Digital 2.0
Stereo, but I liked the 5.1 a bit more. Roaring only has
lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, but it is decent and on par with the
other DVDs here.
order the State
limited edition Blu-ray, buy it and other great exclusives while
supplies last at these links:
Nicholas Sheffo & Ricky Chiang (State