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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Satire > Science Fiction > Post-Modernism > Music > Le Choc Du Futur (2020/DVD/*both MVD)/Quiet Explosions (2019/Cinema Libre DVD)


Bill & Ted Face The Music (2020/Orion/MGM/Warner Blu-ray)/Hip Hop: The Songs That Shook America (2020/RLJ Blu-rays)/Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004/LGF/IFC/Blu-ray*)/The Last Dance (2020/Michael Jordan/NBA/ESPN Blu-ray Set)/Le Choc Du Futur (2020/DVD/*both MVD)/Quiet Explosions (2019/Cinema Libre DVD)



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



In the early days of documentaries, music was rarely heard and the seriousness was always accompanied by a quiet approach, but that changed over the decades.  Music has entered other media in recent years in ways many may not have expected.  This mix of new releases will show you how and then some…



First, a release on the lighter side.


Keanu Reeves is no doubt one of the biggest movie stars in the world today thanks to the many interesting franchises that he has been a part of over the years.  One of his first franchises started with Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989), which has become a cult classic and favorite for just about anyone that enjoys watching '80s movies.  The sequel, Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey (1991), was a bit too dark for audiences at the time and wasn't really the big hit the studio (Orion) was hoping, pushing them closer to folding thanks to its big budget.


Fast forward to 2018 and the Internet and fans the world over start heavily pressuring Keanu and co-star Alex Winter to make a follow-up film.  After the studio (MGM now owns Orion) realized how many people were interested in seeing what William 'Bill' S. Preston Esq. (Winter) and Theodore 'Ted' Logan (Reeves) have been up to now as older guys, we get the overall flawed but fun Bill and Ted Face The Music (2020).   Rockin' time travelers Bill and Ted wrote a song that saved the world... but then they failed to ever live up to it again.


As their career has gone on a rapid decline, they have grown to be the exact same guys they were in their teenage years and are now married to the Princesses they saved from the past and have two daughters (brilliantly played by Samara Weaving and Jayma Mays) that are carbon copies of teenage them.  Yet, Bill and Ted still have yet to write a song that brings the world together as history itself is starting to implode within itself.  When a visitor from the future warns them that only their song can save life as we know it and repair the history timeline.  Along the way, they are helped by their daughters and a new batch of historical figures and music legends - to seek the song that will set their world right and bring harmony in the universe before history implodes upon itself.


The film also features Kristen Schaal, Erinn Hayes, Anthony Carrigan, Kid Cudi, Jayma Mays, and William Sadler returning as The Grim Reaper.  There is also an appropriate nod to the late George Carlin.  The film is directed by Dean Parisot (Galaxy Quest).  At the end of the day, Bill and Ted Face the Music is a rehash and modern update of the original film with plenty of nods that fans will pick up on.  Still, there seems to be something missing at the core that made the original so endearing.  One small gripe I have is that in the sequels they didn't keep the Princesses consistent!  Poor Diane Franklin and Kimberley Kates!  Some of the music choices in the film could have been a bit more '80s-centric as well, instead of some of the more modern tunes they went with. The script and film overall feels pretty safe with it basically being a remake of the original in terms of plot development.  Overall, the film is worth a watch and is still pretty enjoyable, but it's just those few nagging things that save it from being really great.


A Digital Copy is also included.   Special Features also include The Official Bill & Ted Face The Music Panel at Comic-Con@Home, Be Excellent to Each Other, A Most Triumphant Duo Death's Crib Social Piece (Excellence).


I would not necessarily hold out hope of there being another Bill and Ted film anytime soon, although I would not consider this one a failure.  My hope is that we will see a Wayne's World reunion in this same vein in the future as I've always felt this kind of distant relation between Wayne and Garth and Bill and Ted.  That could have made for a funny cameo moment!


What are the big Hip Hop music songs that people remember?  The top Hip Hop artists are known usually for one song, but one song that changed the world.  Songs like 'Jesus Walks' by Kanye West, 'Alright' by Kendrick Lamar. 'Rock Box' by Run-DMC, 'Elevator' by OutKast, 'The Bridge' by Marle Marl and MC Shan and 'Ladies First' by Queen Latifah.  Each episode of Hip Hop: The Songs That Shook America (2020) explores the condition when those songs were made and why they became # 1.


Hip Hop music was born from Rap music, but unlike rap which (usually in later years) is about gangsters, guns, drugs and violence, hip hop was based on gospel music, black movements and black pride.  Like how during slavery and the civil rights movement was represented by gospel music, Hip Hop represented the modern black culture and their lives against racism, police brutality and racial profiling.  A lot of people think Rap and Hip-Hop causes violence and racism, but what if Rap and Hip Hop was the result of violence and racism?  Hip Hop music became the rallying cry to black people and to remind them what they have endured and to have pride in themselves while the rest of the world didn't.


Most Hip Hop artists are trying to get out with a one hit wonder.  Hip Hop music is about social/political issues in American culture which people have been wronged, mistreated or under represented and how people wanted to be treated.  Extras include Barbershop, Rooftop Redemption, Sounds of the South and Basement Tapes.



Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004) is being issued at a time when recent bad history might have repeated itself, the re-election of a President who did not care about anything but his political life and control for profit and self-profit, albeit the first time also included a more aggressive Vice President (to be covered elsewhere, as it has before) and the film asks what we get when we do not have democracy.


The film starts with the bizarre events of the 2000 U.S. Presidential Election when it looked like Al Gore was going to win, then weeks followed where the results in Florida were challenged and the less-popular (he did not have as many outright popular votes) George W. Bush became president.  The film spends its informative 122 minutes showing with dark humor how people were manipulated, fear-mongered and pushed into an unpopular four years with horrid results.  Would people make the same mistake twice?


The film was a hit and Some Republicans publicly stated and feared that the film would hand John Kerry the Presidency, but Kerry made some tactical errors in his campaign (too much to go into here) and Bush won again.  The film shows how almost everyone in power lied about 9/11, for oil at the time, it turned out and how the media (now free of a Ted Turner-owned CNN) just capitulated and let a series of unbelievable disasters happen.


All these years later and we are STILL in other countries because of the events of 9/11, which you can be suspicious of without even having any conspiracy theories, which this film achieves.  Some Right-wing critics said the footage of those criticized here was used unfairly, but it was not altered, manipulated or twisted in any way.  It is shown as is and that stands to this day.


In the end, Moore made one of his best films here, a permanent record of crimes against the U.S. and the world, most of which will never be resolved because as recent history has shown, some people would rather die of a pandemic disease they deny than admit they are wrong and the ten of millions of them who exist are as lost to time and the world as the lost truth shown here.  Definitely see this film or see it again because it has a whole new set of contexts to experience and it will get worse before it gets better... if it can.


Extras include Reversible Artwork, Extended footage of the people of Iraq before the U.S. bombing, ''Release of Fahrenheit 9/11'' featurette, new scene: Homeland Security: Miami Style, Outside Abu Ghraib Prison, eyewitness account from Samara, Iraq, more of the Abdul Henderson interview, Lisa Lipscomb at the Hollywood premiere of the film, Arab-American Comedians, Condoleezza Rice's 9/11 Commission Testimony, George W. Bush's Rose Garden press briefing after that commission report and an Original Theatrical Trailer.



Jason Hehir's The Last Dance (2020) is a documentary mini-series about Michael Jordan's rise to fame and power, the players and team that made that possible, the making of a stronger, richer NBA and how the final season under coach Phil Jackson played out.  For fans and historians, it is very thorough and leaves little unturned in its quest to show it all.  For others, it is a very long haul over 10 parts and a little might go a long way for them.  Still, it is journalistically solid and about as complete as can be expected.  Some might say it is being too nice to some people, but only diehard fans know for sure.


It can be said that it is one of the too-rare releases on video from either the NBA or ESPN Network, so it is long overdue, especially versus the endless stream of discs for hockey, baseball, football and soccer.  Though not for everyone, it is archival enough and recommended if you are really interested.


Extras include a 28-page illustrated booklet and foldout history inside the foldable DigiPak packaging, while the discs add Game 6: The Movie, SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt roundtables, never-before-seen uncut June 1998 Scott Stewart & Michael Jordan Sunday Conversation, ''In-The-Moment'' archival materials, Jalen & Jacoby Aftershow with Jalen Hehir and a few other surprises.



Ana (Alma Jodorowsky) fighting in 1978 to have her music a sound heard in the male-dominated world of Disco, Euro-Disco and other new sounds that will eventually lead to Electronica in Marc Collin's Le Choc Du Futur (2020).  It is part of a cycle of such French films (plus a few other productions, like Scorsese's cable TV series Vinyl) taking a look at a vital era in music that has been sometimes thrown out for political reasons or from music illiterates who want to forget Disco altogether.


The music here is not bad and the actors are good too, but the script and directing are uneven and I was a little disappointed, as not enough of this was memorable and there are a few missed opportunities here and there.  It has just enough for those interested in it to give it a look, but the rest will not be as impressed.  Some good ideas simply do not get realized and that's a shame.  This had the potential to be at least a minor classic.


Extras include Image Slideshow, Interview with Director Collin and an Original Theatrical Trailer.



Jerri Sher's Quiet Explosions (2019) is our final entry, one about the awful and under-recognized medical condition known as TBI or Traumatic Brain Injury, which comes from everything you can imagine, including war, contact sports, physically dangerous jobs and other extreme situations.  Combined with other awful things (from sexual assault to PTSD) and including whatever is in ones past, it is a situation that the program estimated has affected 80 Million People in the last four decades.


Running a rich, informative 99 minutes, some big names in the sports field, soldiers who served their country the best they could and others, along with experts, are interviewed throughout and we hear some truly awful and heartbreaking stories.  You will also get angry that more people have not gone to jail or worse.  Even some medical people themselves have been affected.  I hope this gets seen and heard about because it has important things to say and share, much of which is of an emergency nature.  Let's hope this is only the first of many such programs on the subject.


Extras include extended Dr. Gordon and Andrew Marr interview, separate interview with director Sher and third piece where Sher is joined by Dr. H. William Song and Dr. Beatica Rubio.



Now for playback performance.  Bill and Ted Face The Music is presented in 1080p on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec and a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1 paired with a nice sounding audio mix in lossless English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit).  The film looks and sounds fine for the format but as a fan I'm a bit disappointed there is not a 4K UHD version out the gate.  Still, this version of the film looks fine for now and better quality than streaming.


The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Hip Hop has more analog video and low-def footage than expected, but that is the period (almost all the early music videos were on tape too) and it is what it is.  The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on each show is as good as can be for a combination of interviews, older audio and the music at its highest fidelity.  The combination is fine.


Both the 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on 9/11 and the 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Dance also have more analog footage than you might like, but that is the quality of the historic record, NTSC analog low definition video before digital and then HD and Ultra HD followed, so know that these two programs can also be trying to watch in all of its fuzziness.  The new interviews are recorded in better formats and it is what it is.


The sound on both 9/11 and Dance are also both DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes, but they are also at the mercy of simple stereo interviews, older audio that is stereo or even monophonic and has the occasional hit song.  Again, they could not look or sound much better than they do here, though maybe 9/11 could be a bit clearer in parts.


As for the two DVDs, the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Futur and the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Quiet can be soft at times, with Quiet also having some rough footage, sometimes the only of its kind.  I expect they could both look better in HD, but Quiet would run into the same issues as the Blu-ray documentaries above.  Both also sport lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, though some of the sound on Quiet is monophonic or just distorted under inescapable circumstances.  Both are as good as they can be in the older format.



-   Nicholas Sheffo, Ricky Chiang (Hip Hop) and James Lockhart (Bill & Ted)



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