Archive DVD)/The Champion
(2016/Milestone DVD Set)/15:17
To Paris (2018/Warner
Season One (2017/National
Geographic/Fox DVD Set)
C/C+/B & C+/C+ Sound: C/C+/B- & C+/C+ Extras: D/B/C/C
Main Programs: C+/C+/C+/B
DVD is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner
Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.
a set of new releases that deal with real life stories as
dramatization, plus one about filming dramatizations...
(1931) is a very major attempt by Warner bros. at the time to make a
prestige historical film about how the first Treasury Secretary of
the United States created his legacy and helped establish the
financial power of the country in the long term despite a secret
scandal threatening to ruin his life and reputation. Based on a hit
stage play with George Arliss, Arliss recreates his role (he was
under contract at Warners) and at 70 minutes, it is not a bad film
all these decades later.
meet his friends, foes, are made aware of the fragile situation of
the new young, ideal country starting up and for tis time, the money,
production, costumes and sets are pretty decent, especially now that
we have phony digital video that makes it too easy to duplicate such
things in generic ways. Doris Kenyon, Montagu Love and June Collyer
are among the fine supporting cast and it sure plays better than many
of the phony period pieces (TV and theatrical) were suffering through
of late. Glad Warner Archive has issued it on DVD.
are unfortunately no extras.
you hear about filmmaking outside of foreign films and independent
productions, you mostly hear about Hollywood because its success was,
has been and continues to be massive, even in the face of worldwide
competition (Bollywood, China, etc.) and newcomers in the U.S.
(semi-Hollywood still in the hands of internet companies flush with
cash) but that is not the whole story. Since the latter 1800, New
York and Chicago were (and still are) major filmmaking locales with
many an untold story, but there is
more, as Marc J. Perez's The
(2016) reveals and sets the record straight on.
New York City and surrounding areas become so expensive in the early
days of silent cinema, a group of movie lovers and businessmen
searched for a cheaper alternative that would still give them access
to NYC. The result was settling for buying plenty of land cheap in
Fort Lee, New Jersey and a forgotten film boom resulted. The
subtitle of the documentary is 'A
Story Of America's First Film Town'.
great video label Milestone
has produced a great DVD set built around the half-hour documentary,
adding as many surviving films (a few even restored) as possible to
show just what happened, how this led to major production in
Hollywood and how the truth is disappearing as the town seems to want
to forget for some odd reason (speculation would require a new
documentary) and we even see one of the final studios before it
itself disappears. Looks like Perez and company were just in time to
capture the truth for posterity.
serious film fans (and filmmakers) need to see this and it is amazing
it became so forgotten, but being all the films became orphan films
and silent film tend to be the most volatile of all to save, preserve
and even know about, you see why this work is so priceless.
include a little booklet with information on the studio and its films
TOWN: THE STORY OF FORT LEE* by THEODORE HUFF AND MARK A. BORGATTA,
1935, 17 MINUTES
INDIAN LAND GRAB* CHAMPION STUDIOS, 1910, 11 MINUTES
DAUGHTER OF DIXIE* CHAMPION STUDIOS, 1911, 10 MINUTES
LIKE OTHER GIRLS* UNIVERSAL VICTOR, 1912, 9 MINUTES
DISCIPLINE* UNIVERSAL VICTOR, 1912, 11 MINUTES
CARDS* UNIVERSAL CHAMPION, 1913, 10 MINUTES
DANGER GAME** by HARRY POLLARD, 1918, 61 MINUTES, starring Madge
Kennedy and Tom Moore
HOOD*** by ETIENNE ARNAUD, 1912, 31 MINUTES
GROCERY CLERK'S ROMANCE*** by MACK SENNETT, 1912, 8 MINUTES. Courtesy
of Paul E. Gierucki.
Composed and Performed by Ben Model.
**Music Composed and
Performed by Donald Sosin.
***Music by Rodney Sauer and performed
by the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra.
(2018) is one of the oddest and even most experimental films the
director has ever made. Though you can find precedent in some of his
earlier dramas (Midnight
In The Garden Of Good & Evil),
this is the sappiest, most overly melodramatic work he will probably
ever make, yet it is about a terrorist attack on a train where three
young men and friends (Anthony
Sadler, Spencer Stone & Alek Skarlatos, playing themselves in
adult life!) happen to be riding and somehow stop a mass murder. So
starts by showing their younger selves, the circumstances in which
they grew up (including being in a Christian school, which the script
goes WAY out of its way to emphasize) including their ups and downs
as kids, their mothers trying to raise them alone (who are VERY
Christian) and their growth as millennials (a generation Eastwood has
not had kind words for in recent years).
that, the film can be read two ways. One is that this is all
incidental and happens to give them some kind of moral background to
stop the killer (but they could/do have morality coming from other
sources) or Two, a propaganda film (the way most critics took it,
making it one of the worst-reviewed films of Eastwood's career) that
says because 'God was on their side' and the like, they were ready
and even protected just enough to 'defeat evil' because of U.S.
'moral exceptionalism' or the like.
the latter rings too true, but ignoring that singular text, the film
still has some good moments and handles the ugly final moments on the
train as well as can be expected, which happens to be the most
(only?) Eastwood-like directing moment in the film. No doubt the
brave trio here show their chemistry here simply by being themselves
and no doubt, this gets very bloody and ugly, so be warned.
I think the film is better than it is getting credit for, but only by
so much. I still feel like we were being lectured and that means the
film is condescending to those not part of the intended emphasis on
the religion favored here. We get the point after a few times what
their religious background is supposed to be. Anything else is
overkill and atypical of Eastwood's cannon. Also note the terrorists
religion is implied, but the counter-association is clear.
should see this one just to see what your reaction will be.
only extras include the Blu-ray-only Making
Every Second Count
with Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler taking us
moment-by-moment through the real-life drama, just as they lived it
and on both discs, Portrait
with Eastwood and his creative team telling why they took the bold
step of casting the three Americans to play themselves in the film
and other approaches to the film.
(2017) makes the most obvious pick of a mini-series biography of the
man most associated with that title: Albert Einstein. Now there are
so many ways this could have been a joke, disaster or train wreck
with all the jokes, pop culture references and the like about one of
the greatest thinkers and minds of all time. However, Geoffrey Rush
is great, uncompromising and even remarkable in bringing the man to
life in this 10-episode mini-series that has fortunately led to a new
see his childhood, early start, problems with breaking mysteries of
science, his relationships and later, taking on the Nazis and what
became two variants of the nuclear bomb that changed the world for
good. Emily Watson leads the supporting cast, all of whom are solid
here and the quality of the production is as viable and believable as
anything produced for TV today. I also thought the teleplays are
also great and smart throughout.
anything good you've heard about the series is true and if you have
not heard enough about it, know its great TV and you should catch up
to it as soon as possible.
include clips meant to promote the series, including...
Escape from Hitler
Making of Genius
the Scenes with Ron Howard and Brian Grazer
the Scenes with the Cast
Does 'Genius' Mean?
for the technical playback. The 1080p 2.35 X 1 HD-shot digital High
Definition image transfer on Paris
is easily the best-looking presentation here being as new as anything
ans the only high definition release on the list, but is more basic
than usual throughout. Part of that seems to be Eastwood's approach
to showing how normal and simple things were in the three men's lives
until the terrorist attack. The
anamorphically enhanced DVD image version is softer and not as good
as the Blu-ray in color, detail, depth and the like, but it is
1.33 X 1 black & white image on Hamilton
shows its age, but it is an early sound film and an event film for
Warner early on, so it does need some work. Otherwise, it is not
much better than the silent films on the Champion
DVD set. The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on the Champion
documentary features samples of those films, some of which are tinted
and can look good, but they are lucky they survived at all. The
documentary has newly shot footage and looks fine for the format.
leaves the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Genius,
a new HD shoot for TV, but looking pretty consistent throughout,
making one wonder as it was a hit and a new season with a new
'genius' has debuted, any Blu-ray version coming up? I like the look
and style on going through the show.
for sound, Paris
wins again with its Dolby Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 on older
systems) sound mix, but it tends to be dialogue-based, so the mix
only goes so far. Dialogue is easy to hear for the most part and the
lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 is adequate at best.
DVDs include lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Hamilton
that shows its age and needs some work, lossy Dolby Digital 2.0
Stereo on Champion
that is just fine and lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Genius
has its moments and is not bad. Wish it were lossless.
Warner Archive DVD, go to this link for it and many more great
web-exclusive releases at: