(*)/At The Drive-In
(MVD Visual DVD)/Dynasties
4K (BBC 4K Ultra HD
To See (MVD/FilmRise
Last Two Survivors (*both
Cinema Libre DVDs/all 2018)
Ultra HD Picture: B+ Picture: C/C+/B/B/C+ Sound: C/C+/B/C+/C+
Extras: A/C+/C/C/D Main Programs: B+/B-/B+/B-/C+
following documentaries are about nature and people, but also show
how they are permanently interlinked...
many homeless people are there the world? How many in the USA are
alone? How about just one city? Remi Kessler's The Advocates
(2018) take a look into a growing problem in the population of Los
Angles, in an ever increasing population there are shortages of jobs,
food and affordable housing. People who are homeless didn't start
penniless or all involved with drugs or crime, some are just normal
people who have lost their jobs and have nowhere to go and nobody
cares about them. What happens to people who slip through the
cracks, what happens when the system fails them?
Row: the name of a place with the lowest income housing possible and
poorest people live, to be poorer you would be sleeping on the
streets and sidewalks. Every city has them, people just choose to
turn a blind eye and say "It's not my problem."
Homelessness is not a new or modern problem it is an old one, there
was a sudden boom in the homeless population after the '50s and '60s
when state institutions (for those considered with mental illness and
unfit for society) were forced to shut down and created 'clinics' in
the city to help people reform and rejoin the population, (but the
truth is because it was cheaper). For many who have fallen, it is
very hard for them to rejoin society because society does not care or
want these people ...would you hire a homeless person? Want a
homeless people living in your neighborhood? Advocates are various
volunteers and people who donate their time and money to help
homeless population, to help change their lives, to help find homes
for them and to help keep them from becoming homeless again ...these
are their stories.
was an eye opener documentary on the homelessness in one city in
America alone L.A. , the truth is homelessness is a problem
everywhere, we just choose to be ignorant about it. While people say
we should help those people, there are far few who chooses to do
something about it ...and these are only the success stories. Extras
include photo gallery, Measure H, Eye Contact, Trust, Call to Action
(2018) focuses on one of the few remaining drive-in theaters in the
U.S. And one of the only ones with a single screen, The Mahoning
Drive-In in Eastern Pennsylvania north of Philadelphia and a bit to
the left. They still have a operational 35mm Simplex sound movie
projector, the kind that does not have a platter and actually (not
noted in the documentary) protects a film print as it projects it.
They are now facing the sad dilemma of maybe having to close as the
studios switch from 35mm distribution to inferior digital
distribution. Can they afford the obsolete-upon-arrival $60,000
digital projector that downloads units that look like paperback
novels to show the movies or should they become an oldies drive-in?
go the oldies route and get some interesting results, find unexpected
support and have to see what are the titles people want to see on a
big screen in an age of HD video in the home. This is good and I
wish they had more time to ask more about the past of the drive-in
and a few other key questions so viewers could really grasp how great
seeing films in such a place is. However, this is not bad and is
definitely worth a good look.
include feature length audio commentary tracks, Q&A, an Original
Theatrical Trailer and Deleted Scenes.
Nature has added yet another mini-series, Dynasties 4K (2018)
with David Attenborough returning as narrator and explorer, this time
spending the five episodes here looking at a different animal species
and how they behave as a group: chimpanzees, emperor penguins, lions,
painted wolves and tigers. Each show runs about an hour long and is
rich with great footage from likely many, many hours of shooting, but
the results are great.
result is a new mini-series worthy of its praised and highly
successful predecessors that fits well in line with what they have
achieved. Whether they'll try this approach again or go somewhere
else remains to be seen, but something similar would easily work and
especially being one of the only productions on 4K disc, one of the
first you should consider if your buying a library of these shows.
include a Making Of featurette.
Oelman's Learning To See (2018) is subtitled 'the world of
insects' and tells the story of how the director's father Robert
photographed insects for 20 tears, going to everywhere from Colombia,
to Peru and the Amazonian Jungle. Running under 70 minutes, this is
a look at the man and his passion, then we see the results of all his
hard work and the kinds of shots he goes out of his way to get. This
is not bad and its nice to see someone with a passion of any kind,
especially any kind of photography in an age of laziness and tired
pictures often impress, are usually digital, so they'll look a little
different than photochemical macrophotography, then we also see the
various lo0cales and that they are not as easy to get to as the likes
of a trip to the mall. It takes determination to do what he did and
it was worth the effort.
include a Music Video, Panoramas, Slides, an Original Theatrical
Trailer, Extra Scenes and a Making Of featurette.
The Last Two Survivors
(2018) has three directors (Mariana Oliva, Retana Terra, Bruno Jorge)
deals with the disappearing past that deals with the existence of
people. In Brazil, the last two members of the Piripkura tribe, two
brothers struggle to survive and keep their culture alive in the
modern era where their forests are being destroyed acre by acre by
lumber factories and civilization. Pakyi and Tamandua are the
indigenous natives to the land and live off the land with only an ax,
machete and a torch and nothing else.
can two naked men survive in the Amazon rainforest with barely any
gear, much less without any clothes? As the last surviving
practicing members of their tribe, what is more important? The right
to live their culture or to protect the lands they live off of? Most
the Piripkura people over the years have been either killed off or
been assimilated to reservations and disappeared. Every few years
the Nation Indian Foundation of Brazil enters the forest and attempts
to search and make contact with these two brothers to get video proof
they are still alive to renew the protective status of their lands,
but unfortunately, it seems like it is only a matter of time before
they are gone and then the companies will move in to strip the
natural resources from the land.
film in many ways reminds me of how any civilization more advance
from another just moves in and feels like they have the right to take
over, to kill off the lesser civilization (kinda of like the ancient
European colonists and American Indians). They offer cheap trinkets,
in trade of the destruction of culture and in the name of
'modernization' force their ideas and values on others, while
pretending to be humanitarians but in reality no better than bloody
conquerors of history. Extras includes a trailer.
for the technical playback performance. Despite some more common and
plain shots, the many nature shots on Dynasties are presented
in a 1.78 X 1 2160p HEVC/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced
Ultra High Definition image on the 4K version of the series and you
can just imagine how good it can look based on the great history of
the BBC Earth releases. There are shots that even exceed my letter
grade, but everyone who has seen any of the previous series would
rightly expect that too.
1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on the regular Blu-ray
version is good, but misses too much of the color range and detail
the 4K has and Learning To See has the same quality
presentation, going from regular shots to the great still images
three DVDs offer anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image presentations
and look food considering the circumstances, but Advocates can
have rougher footage throughout befitting the subject of
homelessness. Note that Dark Days was a documentary shot on
16mm black and white film on homelessness we reviewed 15 years ago
and it also had it rough spots.
for sound, both versions of Dynasties
offers Dolby Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 for grandfathered systems)
lossless sound that is just fine, if not spectacular, but fitting and
just fine, especially for the 4K version.
rest of the releases only offer lossy Dolby Digital sound, with
Learning To See having both Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby
Digital 2.0 Stereo with little difference and the rest being stereo
at best. Advocates again has the roughest points, so it has
more issues with its location audio than the other releases. Still,
its lucky it turned out as well as it did under the circumstances.
Nicholas Sheffo and Ricky Chiang (Libre)