Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Science > Weather > Climate Change > Crime > Prison > Murder > Politics > Religion > Investiga > Divest! The Climate Movement On Tour (2016/Bullfrog DVD**)/Ghosts Of Attica (2001/DVD**)/Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison Of Belief (2015/DVD*)/Inland Sea (1991/Criterion Blu-ray)/Michelin Star

Divest! The Climate Movement On Tour (2016/Bullfrog DVD**)/Ghosts Of Attica (2001/DVD**)/Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison Of Belief (2015/DVD*)/Inland Sea (1991/Criterion Blu-ray)/Michelin Stars: Tales From The Kitchen (2018/DVD/*both MVD)/Minute Bodies (2016/Blu-ray/**all Icarus Films)

Picture: C+/C+/C+/B/C/B- Sound: C+ (Sea: B-) Extras: D/C/D/B-/D/C Documentaries: B-/B/B-/B-/C+/B-

Here's a set of new documentaries for you to know about...

Josh Fox & Steve Liptay's Divest! The Climate Movement On Tour (2016) which offers 350.org's lecture tour trying to convince people how bad climate change is getting, using the news, statistics, recent events (more have happened since this was released) and speculations of how bad things are going to get that have a good degree of validity. This includes would be letters from the future warning us in the past what is in store.

The latter example is fine, but we might get too much of that when additional approaches they have not come up with could also help. The lecturers are led by Bill McKibben (founder of the organization) and writer Naomi Klein, so it is all very ambitious and it could not hurt. However, I found some of it a little more scattered and unorganized than I would have liked, that the freestyle of it all might work against it somehow. Still, it is interesting and worth checking into or showing others are not a bad thing.

There are no extras.

Brad Lichtenstein's Ghosts Of Attica (2001) is the still-underseen work about what really happened at the now-infamous New York prison, referenced in Sidney Lumet's classic film Dog Day Afternoon (reviewed elsewhere on this site) where Al Pacino's character keeps yelling the name of the prison when police get too close to him as he robs a bank. People know that moment more than the ugly story of what happened, but this documentary will quickly change and explain that.

In real life, prisoners were striking and with Nixon in the White House, wanting to look tough on crime, via Nelson Rockefeller (the governor who eventually became Nixon's VP before Watergate brought it all down, including with this prison mess, Rockefeller's chances of ever becoming President of the United States) got 29 people killed, involved an amazing amount of lies and was handled as horrifically as you could imagine.

The authorities tried to say they had to send snipers and other police in when hostages were taken and the prisoners were armed and about to go on a killing spree. Instead, they just shot up the place, pul weapons on dead prisoners who should have never been killed and even other guards and employees of the prison who were not prisoners were lied about and lied to. Wow, what a mess!

While learning all of this as you watch, you will also see the people who fought to get justice in the courts, expose the lies in the media and the resistance by the government to still not admit wrongdoing in any way, shape or form possible. It is sad and one of the ugliest chapters of misconduct by the federal government you will find.

One last irony. The court case finally (you'll have to see how) wraps up about as much as it ever will in the end, but ends only months before the events of... 9/11/2001!

Extras include an audio recording of lawyer Liz Fink discussing the hard realities of the case and archival footage of Attica and its riots from older sources very much worth seeing. I just wish we got some kind of update on the people involved and Attica itself since the documentary was released, one that is more than just seeing a few pieces on the Internet.

Alex Gibney's Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison Of Belief (2015) is a look at the dark side of the newly minted religion (it has only been around for a few decades, founded by the late science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard) and has become controversial for what the followers believe, what those who have left say is going on that is not good and that it has found itself with an unusual amount of entertainment celebrity support.

Echoing the period when the late Charlton Heston was President of the NRA (National Rifle Association), far more radical and crazed now than when he was running it, Tom Cruise (as popular internationally as a movie star as Heston was in his time) is the head of this church that does not believe in psychology, thinks it known things most people do not know about our world and how the human race formed and very recently was certified by the IRS to be an official religion and now, it gets tax exempt status.

It is power and wealth that is rarely discussed in the media anywhere, but it should be, especially if it recognized the way it is now. Gibney, one of the best documentary filmmakers around, focuses on people being harassed, lied to, lied about and stalked if they dare criticize the church they are no longer part of. In general, corrupt churches and like religious entities will harass anyone they think they own or control to begin with, plus if that person is a real threat, they'll go way out of their way to slam, smear and stab said person(s) in the back. That's when you know they are a corrupt entity, as the recent revelations about sexual child abuse in the Catholic Church continues to show.

However, Scientology does not have a scandal like that going on (yet?), though some disturbing reports of abuse are featured here and this work is very convincing. That the Church here has not directly responded does not help their case either. However, though the documentary explains how it believes the Church seduces people into joining, it does not have the time to go into the reasons why so many people have stayed and not criticized, what these current members are getting out of it all and seem to be staying willingly.

Though you can have a cult of personality (such as some current discourses in politics), the situation here is also something else, which is why other programs criticizing Scientology have arrived since and additional charges have been leveled against the Church. Thus, this is going to need a direct follow up down the line and I am still waiting to see Scientologists make a mature, honest, direct reply to it all. Definitely see this and stay tuned!

There are no extras.

Lucille Carra's The Inland Sea (1991) is a film of Japan of an already bygone time, narrated by the man who was considered the top authority on the country from all of the West, Donald Ritchie. Based on and inspired by his 1971 book of the same name, this film is not an attempt to make the book into a film per se, but as a starting point to show sides of Japan few in the West know about or ever saw, plus a side that the cinema of any country had ever revealed.

It is interesting from the start and I was not certain where the film would taker us, but it is remarkable in what it shows in its short running time and that makes it one of the best short films of the last 40 years. Cheers to Carra and Director of Photography Hiro Narita (who was able to supervise this amazing new transfer) for being able to get int there and capture so much that is priceless and important. It becomes a visual revelation on its subject as Roeg's Walkabout (1971, reviewed on Criterion Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) was about the Australian Outback few had ever seen before.

Criterion has issued this too on Blu-ray resulting in yet another one of the great surprises they come up with every month or two of a film most have not heard, but everyone ought to know about. Now you can not just see it, but experience it in this solid special edition form the number one name in the business whose name stands for the best cinematic experience at home and in motion picture scholarship.

Extras include a quality paper foldout on the film with informative text and an essay by scholar Arturo Silva, while the disc adds a new interview with director Lucille Carra, a new conversation between filmmaker Paul Schrader (Mishima) and cultural critic Ian Buruma on author Donald Richie and an Interview with Richie from 1991.

Rasmus Dinesen's Michelin Stars: Tales From The Kitchen (2018) is the latest of a series (and cycle for that matter) of food, cooking, dining and the industry of restaurants. Focuses on a set of chefs (most of whom I had never heard of before) and how they fight to be so great, getting these star awards from the famous food ratings publication still published by the tire-producing giant that diners (especially those with money and/or are willing to out of their way to spend at highly recommended establishments) take very seriously.

Running 82 minutes, it was more like a continuation of everything I have seen before, but it will be new enough for those who have not enjoyed previous such releases and it is at least worth a look if you have never seen one of these before. As a continuation, it is worthy of its predecessors.

There are no extras.

Finally we have Stuart A. Staples' Minute Bodies (2016) in which the director (a singer from a band, but he does not sing here) takes the landmark micro/macrophotography of groundbreaking Director F. Perry Smith and mixes it into a montage of all of his works, trying to turn it into an experience that is both abstract and thought-provoking. Not bad, though the original films more than stand out on their own and are interesting without this re-approach, but Staples is sincere in going through all this trouble to try something different. Some would say to keep it alive,. But just restoring and showing the original films again does just fine too.

This lasts 53 minutes.

Extras include four short films by Director F. Perry Smith: The Birth Of A Flower (1910, 7 minutes), Nature's Double Lifers - Ferns and Fronds (1932, 10 minutes), He Would A-Wooing Go (1936, 8 minute) and Lupins (1936, 10 minutes).

Picture quality is what you'd expect, with Inland looking the best, a new 4K scan off of the original 16mm color negative masters, presented here in a 1080p 1.66 X 1 digital High Definition image with limited softness, excellent color and proof again of how good 16mm film can look in HD, especially, when shot so well.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer Bodies has more flaws and softness, some of it from its HD shoot, and other instances unavoidable, but it has its moments, even if it is not IMAX quality all the time.

The DVDs all look pretty good for the format, but I was surprised that Michelin was produced in the 1.33 X 1 aspect ratio like the older Attica, but they both have good composition and Attica has some minor video flaws, but Michelin was the softest presentation here and it did not have to be.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Divest! and Clear are newer HD productions with some rough video in each, but are very watchable for the most part.

As for sound, you'd expect lossless sound on both Blu-rays, but Bodies actually only offers lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo and it is music only, while Sea has PCM 2.0 Stereo from its original magnetic soundmaster and it is the best performer on the list as a result. Attica is here in lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 sound that is simple stereo at best, with Divest and Clear in definite, lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo and Stars in both lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 and slightly better PCM 2.0 Stereo.

- Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com