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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Culture > Language > Drama > Terrorism > Politics > TV Mini-Series > > Mental Illness > Drugs > I Dream In Another Language (2017/MVD Visual DVD)/The Looming Tower (2018/Warner Blu-ray Set)/1/1 (2018/Gravitas Ventures Blu-ray)/Tideland (2006/MVD/Arrow Blu-ray)/The Tree Of Life (2011/Fox/Criterio

I Dream In Another Language (2017/MVD Visual DVD)/The Looming Tower (2018/Warner Blu-ray Set)/1/1 (2018/Gravitas Ventures Blu-ray)/Tideland (2006/MVD/Arrow Blu-ray)/The Tree Of Life (2011/Fox/Criterion Blu-ray Set)

Picture: B-/B/B/B+/B+ Sound: B-/B/B/B/B+ Extras: D/B+/C/B/B Main Programs: B/A/C/B/B

These new releases (usually dramas) deal with real world subjects, but also come from places other worldly than you might expect...

We start with a documentary. I Dream In Another Language (2017) is an interesting film about a lost language known as Zikril. The only two men who speak it are now elderly and haven't spoken to one another in fifty years thanks to a boyish feud over the love of a woman. It's up to a linguist who arrives in the jungle settlement where they live, to bring the two men together and preserve his lost language.

The film won several awards at Sundance and other prestigious film festivals so its original and challenging narrative and stars Fernando Alvarez Rebeil, Elgio Melendez, Fatima Molina, Jose Manuel Poncelis, and Juan Pablo de Santiago to name a few.

The film is presented in anamorphically enhanced standard definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and has both a 5.1 surround mix and a 2.0 stereo mix depending on your home video setup preference, both in lossy Dolby Digital. The presentation is standard and compressed (as is usual with the format) and would certainly look better in HD, especially since this film is nicely shot and lit.

No Extras.

Next is a slightly fictionalized version of a major, if controversial, event. The Looming Tower (2018) drama take place before 9/11 to the years that lead up the rise of Osama bin Laden and fall of the towers. Between the FBI and CIA how did they fail to see them coming? As various government agencies protect America from the War on Terror they fight not only terrorist but rival agencies and their conflicting agendas.

9/11, a day most Americans will never forget, but what led up to it? Will American remember how it happened much less why? Why with all the vast information, technologies and military did America fail to stop al-Qaeda? Chief FBI John O'Neil and his agents work tirelessly to find and prevent terrorist from attacking America, but they have to butt heads with CIA Schmidt and Alex branch for not giving them information they needed. It started out when the CIA withheld information from the FBI in order force the White House Joint Chiefs to use military force in the Middle East, but after 9/11, does CIA Schmidt and crew realize their cost of withholding information and must lie their asses off during the 9/11 trials?

This mini series is more about who is to blame on 9/11 and that 9/11 could have been prevented if not for incompetency of certain agencies and people who care more about power than saving lives. Jeff Daniels leads a solid cast.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer is a very consistent shoot with a few demo moments, while the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on all episodes sounds fine with a consistent soundfield throughout. That makes the combination very watchable.

Extras include Looming Tower: Divided We Fall, Complexities of Character, Ali Soufan: In His Own Words, Across Three Continents: Creating The Looming Towers and audio commentaries on select episodes.

The limited series' episodes include...

Now It Begins... - FBI counterterrorism John O'Neill recruits Muslim American Ali Soufan to investigate al-Qaeda. CIA agent Schmidt is determined to not share their intel with the FBI.

Losing My Religion - FBI investigates the bombing of a Kenya and Tanzania embassy.

Mistakes Were Made - FBI tracks down the surviving terrorist. The CIA continues to manipulate the White House into retaliating.

Mercury - Schmidt continues to withhold information from the FBI, goes above his boss' head and is fired, but he manages to continues to manipulate the CIA through his former second, Diane Marsh.

Y2K - Both FBI and CIA are on high alert with the new year celebration. The CIA continues to withhold information from the FBI.

Boys At War - The CIA threatens the FBI agents working with to not reveal any of their information to O'Neill or be arrested for treason. O'Neill loses his briefcase with classified materials. The U.S.S. Cole is attacked.

The General - O'Neill and Soufan investigates the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole, unaware that CIA has known for months who planned the attack.

A Very Special Relationship - George W. Bush becomes President. O'Neill is forced to resign. Agents lose track of al-Qaeda terrorists in the United States.

Tuesday - CIA realize that their withholding of information has allowed terrorists inside United States, and Diane tries buries the files instead of taking responsibility. O'Neill accepts a job as Head of security of the World Trade Center.


9/11 - September 11 occurs and everyone reacts personally to it. No one is able to get in contact with O'Neill. Soufan is finally given the information he requested months ago and realizes if they had been given the information, John O'Neill would still be alive. Diane like her mentor Schmitt continues to lie to the 9/11 Commission. Schmidt gets reinstated (not by choice).

Semi-experimental and surreal, 1/1 (2018) attempts to put you in the mind of a disturbed young woman (Lindsey Shaw) who is tackling a wides variety of issues. Everything from sex, drugs, and a pregnancy all whilst trapped in the rural suburbs of Western Pennsylvania. While the filmmaking, editing, and cinematography are interesting there really isn't anything here that we haven't seen a million times before in other art films of this nature.

The film stars Judd Nelson, Dendrie Taylor, and Danna Maret to name a few.

1/1 is presented in 1080p Blu-ray with a 1.89:1 (original ratio - 1.85:1) and a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix, both of which are the norm and looks fine for Blu-ray disc. There's fine detail here and a lot of care has been taken in making sure the film looks great on disc.

Special Features include...

Unreleased Liars Track with Outtake Photos

Storyboard to Film Comparison

and a Trailer

1/1 is interesting if you like art house films or are oddly entertained by female angst.

Terry Gilliam (Brazil, Time Bandits) has always been one of my favorite filmmakers and it's nice to see some of this lesser known titles, such as Tideland (2006) get a beautiful update in HD domestically finally after years of waiting.

Surreal and quite interesting in its approach, Tideland tells the story of a little girl named Jeliza-Rose, who lives in her own fantasy world. No thanks to her low-life junkie parents, (played exquisitely by Jeff Bridges and Jennifer Tilly). One day, her Mother dies of a drug overdose, and her father takes her on a hair brained journey to a house in the middle of nowhere. Of course, he doesn't live long either and soon Jeliza-Rose is left to her own inhibitions.

Previously only available in standard definition domestically, Tideland gets upgraded to 1080p high definition with a 2.39:1 widescreen aspect ratio (not the same as the controversial one for the original DVD release; see link below) and an original 5.1 DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless mix, both of which are well utilized for a fantasy film of this caliber. The film hasn't aged much and has plenty of detail in its eye popping cinematography to absorb. As always, Arrow has done a fine job in taking care and upgrading the presentation in this release.

Special Features include...

Commentary by writer-director Terry Gilliam and co-writer Tony Grisoni

Introduction by director Terry Gilliam

Getting Gilliam, a 45-minute documentary on the making of Tideland by Vincenzo Natali (Cube, Splice)

The Making of Tideland featurette

Filming Green Screen featurette with commentary by Gilliam

Interviews with Terry Gilliam, producer Jeremy Thomas and actors Jeff Bridges, Jodelle Ferland and Jennifer Tilly

Deleted scenes with commentary by Gilliam

B-roll footage


Theatrical trailer

Reversible sleeve featuring two choices of original artwork

and First pressing only: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Neil Mitchell

Tideland is a weird, sad film that certainly isn't for everybody, but when you take a step back and absorb it, there really is a lot here. Definitely worth checking out if you're a Terry Gilliam fan and for more on the film, try our review of the original DVD release, dealing with child-like versus childish...


Finally, we have a remarkable, upgraded edition of Terrence Malick's The Tree Of Life (2011) that we reviewed on Blu-ray when it first hit home video here...


Since then, two things happened with the moderate hit, Malick tried to do more films in its mode, but with mixed results, and it became one of the most imitated films in style and editing in independent features, music videos and even TV commercials. Of course, some of its style is not totally original and may recall previous Malick works and even the likes of Kubrick or even Bergman, but no doubt it is a major work and you can see why Fox would want to see it become another Criterion Blu-ray release as Thin Red Line had.

We get two cuts here, one being much longer and a nice alternative that offer more exposition on what we had seen in the first place. I do not like one more than the other, but if you are in the mood, the longer one does seem more complete, though you had better have the patience for it.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image has been taken from the final 35mm negative (and high quality backup materials filled in some of the scenes for the longer extended version that runs 50 minutes longer) and this new 4K digital restoration, supervised and approved by director Terrence Malick and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, A.S.C., offering amazing, superior color grading that will impress nearly anyone. Now note the film was shot in several formats including 70mm IMAX photochemical larger frame format (and NOT digital IMAX) so that means any of that footage is from reduction material in the final 35mm negative. That works out fine and is otherwise reserved for actual 70mm or 70mm IMAX prints of the film. The result is that this is also much sharper, clearer and deeper than the older Blu-ray, which now shows its age.

A 5.1 surround DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) lossless soundtrack is also an improvement over the already impressive mix from the older Blu-ray, with more warmth and articulation, but yet, that was not enough to give it a higher letter grade, but it is better. The combination makes this much more of an experience as was the case with Criterion's Blu-ray of Malick's The New World, also reviewed elsewhere on this site.

Expanded extras include a new extended version of the film featuring an additional fifty minutes of footage, repeats the Exploring "The Tree of Life" 2011 documentary featuring collaborators and admirers of Malick's, including filmmakers David Fincher and Christopher Nolan, then adds new interviews with actor Jessica Chastain and visual-effects supervisor Dan Glass, an Interview from 2011 with composer Alexandre Desplat about the film, and a new interview with music critic Alex Ross about Malick's approach to music, Video essay from 2011 by critic Matt Zoller Seitz and a Theatrical Trailer. The booklet includes tech info, illustrations, photos, an essay by critic Kent Jones and a 2011 piece on the film by critic Roger Ebert and Conversation from 2011 between Lubezki and American Society of Cinematographers president Stephen Lighthill.

- Nicholas Sheffo (Tree), Ricky Chiang (Tower) and James Lockhart



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