Lives Of Uli Sigg (2016/Icarus DVD)/Heart Of Sky, Heart Of
Earth (2012/MVD/Bullfrog DVD)/Magnus (2016)/National
Bird (both 2016)/Sunshine Makers
(2014/all three FilmRise/MVD DVD)
C+/C/B-/B-/B Sound: C+/C+/B-/B-/B Extras: C/D/D/D/D Main
for some recent documentaries worth your time...
Lives Of Uli Sigg
(2016) gives us the untold story of the man who became a mentor to
many Chinese artists that we know today and in the face of a country
whose last concerns (until recently? Hmmm?) has bee anything much
having to do with the arts. Thus, what Mr. Sigg has achieved is
amazing and is now an important turning point in voices from a place
that (outside of Hong Kong?) we were not hearing enough of.
China has started opening up just enough to The West to allow this to
just happen enough that we have new ideas and points of view, though
it has not been as clean cut as that, thus this fine documentary that
is worth a good look to see the new developing discourse here (Lang
Lang and Ai Weiwei included) that will hopefully be permanent and a
great way for China, The West and the rest of the world to connect
better with each other, which is needed now more than ever.
Sandig & Eric Black's Heart
Of Sky, Heart Of Earth
(2012) tells the timely story of how Mayan persons are trying to keep
producing the foods they have made for centuries in the face of
bonkers corporate overreach to make all food genetically engineered
when those foods are not real and have NEVER been proven safe. If
they were, why so many 'dark acts; to hide their origins?
in Chiapas and Guatemala, we see how this is not just food
production, but a key part of history and culture in these locales
for these indigenous people and how the great food is a sense of
pride (it looks so good, I wanted to order a few crates and start
eating lunch immediately!) that is really not the business of anyone
else, especially uninvited businesses who have nothing better to do
that bastardize food resources offering promises they'll never
documentary is also arguing against mindless corporate expansion at
all costs, which is mutually damaging to us all for what kind of
money? You cannot eat the money if the food is no longer real and
satisfying, nourishing, etc., so the organics movement helps, but
these persons deserve the right to be left alone, culture and freedom
respected and maybe fair trade value for the food they might want to
sell perhaps? Glad to catch this one.
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on both DVDs are digital
shoots, but Heart has some detail issues since the video is a mix of
sources and a little rougher. They also both offer lossy Dolby
Digital 2.0 Stereo that is on par with each other, location audio
issues and all, but just fine for what they are.
only appear on Lives
and it is older footage of Sigg in China from 1982 to 1985 that can
be rough and could use a new transfer.
you're looking for an insightful and inspiring documentary, then
you'll want to check out Magnus:
From Child Prodigy to Chess Genius
(2016). The film won the prestigious awards at the Tribeca Film
Festival in 2016 and was the official selection at the BFI London
Film Festival as well. It is directed by documentary filmmaker
Benjamin Ree (When
Allin Kissed Lars).
in 1990, Norwegian chess prodigy Magnus Carlsen becomes a grandmaster
at age 13 and world champion in 2013. The film starts out with his
extraordinary childhood while flashing forward to the future where he
is in a chess competition. The film further fleshes out his
introverted nature but consistent passion for the game of chess.
in standard definition with an anamorphically
1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy 5.1 surround sound track,
the film looks and sounds as good as it can on the Blu-ray format and
is fine for a documentary film of this nature.
doc is interesting and is an interesting look at the life of a famous
chess player. It also gives you a feeling of what its like in the
midst of a national chess championship atmosphere at times and, much
like every other game or sport, isn't without a huge following and
(2016) follows the journey of three whistleblowers who are attempting
to uncover the controversy of the secret U.S. Drone War. Directed by
Sonia Kenneck the film stars Jesselyn Radack.
bit frightening and maybe even chilling, the film features real
military videos and centers around the important political topic
that's close to the chest. The film is from executive producers Wim
Wenders and Errol Morris, who are some of the top names in the doc
in standard definition with an anamorphically
1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy 5.1 surround mix, the
presentation here is fine and appropriate for the type of film this
is. The cinematography is interesting and the score by Insa Rudolph
is a bit somber yet appropriate.
you or a close friend or relative is heavy into conspiracy theories
and exposing political truths, then this may be an eye opener and a
good one to watch.
a true story that no doubt influenced Breaking
(2014) is a documentary that tells the story of Nicholas Sand and Tim
Scully, two men who manufactured an insane amount of LSD in the
1960s... and managed to stay ahead of the law.
these men accomplished the impossible and created the gold standard
for LSD called 'Orange Sunshine' and become known as the Sunshine
film is directed by Cosmo Feilding Mellen and features great archival
footage, and clever editing all making for a great trip. (no pun
intended) This is a fun and easy to watch drug documentary that
tells an interesting story at its core.
on an anamorphically
standard definition DVD with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and
Dolby Digital 2.0
Stereo track, the presentation is up to par with the format but
nothing too impressive. Know a Blu-ray edition is also available.
Nicholas Sheffo (Chinese,