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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Crisis > Environment > Poverty > Heat Wave > Dogs > Animals > Music > Murder > Crime > Biography > That Click: The Legendary Photography Of Douglas Kirkland (both 2021 Film Movement DVDs)/Visions Of Eight (1973/Criterion Blu-ray)

Cooked: Survival By Zip Code (2018/Bullfrog DVD)/The Dog Doc (2019/FilmRise*)/El Duce Tapes (2019/Arrow*)/Helter Skelter: An America Myth (2020/Warner Archive DVD)/Nomad: In The Footsteps Of Bruce Chatwin (2019/Music Box Blu-ray)/Punk The Capital (2021/Passion River/*all MVD Blu-rays)/Salvador Dali: In Search Of Immortality/That Click: The Legendary Photography Of Douglas Kirkland (both 2021 Film Movement DVDs)/Visions Of Eight (1973/Criterion Blu-ray)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Helter Skelter: An American Myth DVD is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.

And now for a huge new batch of documentaries....

We start with a very heart and soul entry, Judith Helfand's Cooked: Survival By Zip Code (2018) where the director, also serving as narrator, asks why so many people have to die in a heat wave. Then she starts to discover other things that make it worse. What made her rightly disturbed is why and how 739 people died in the 1995 Chicago heatwave, then the worst heat disaster in U.S. History (though as we post this, the West Coast states might outdo this.

As she started to investigate, including talking to people she knew, a pattern started to develop. It turns out it affected poorer neighborhoods. Even when some of these persons had working air conditioners, they were afraid to put them in their window because they feared someone would push it in (the correct installation would present that in most cases, for instance) and rob or kill them!

Thus, it is fear and a lack of outreach to help people to help themselves, but that does not stop it from being a crisis and the longer this goes on, the better she is able to make her heart-felt points without any illicit appeals to pity and fully being able to express how this can and must change. Now more relevant than when it arrived a few years ago, it is also based on the book Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy Of Disaster In Chicago by Eric Klinenberg, baking her up all the more. One of the best entries here, I highly recommend this one!

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image can be rough and has some 1.33 X 1 moments, but is well paced and edited, while the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mix has rough location audio in parts and can even go monophonic, but captures what we need to hear the best it can.

There are sadly no extras.

How good are our veterinary medicines and doctors? Dr. Marty Goldstein believes medicine can be taken further with a more holistic care, a mix of modern medicine, home remedies and therapy. He often takes in terminal cases, in which doctors have given up and modern medicine alone has failed. With an overall hope does not just heal the body, but help the body immune system and not replace, overcome, fight against it in Cindy Meehl's The Dog Doc (2019).

What are doctors today? Today it seems like doctors are highly educated people that follow only science proven drugs and treatments and follow the simplest of the doctor's creed 'Do no harm'. Most have the idea, that if science doesn't have a cure, no one does. A doctor would give a vaccine and just wait to see if there is any change, they forget to mention vaccine helps strengthen a healthy body, but it also weakness if the body is already compromised. Surgery is just cutting out the problem and hope for the best. A big problem with doctor's education and when people see science fails, they believe are no other options and no hope, because of 'science' that they remain closed to all outside possibilities and closed to non-science backed ideas, but what Dr. Goldstein proposes is an evolving medicine that includes non-science and tradition methods.

This documentary was an eye opener and reminder that science is not always set in stone, but like all things in life there is a risk. The show showed some of their greatest success cases, but they also had their share of failure cases, but their treatment is also about treating the animals is always ongoing, learning and evolving and treats animals with dignity and respect.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer can show the range of materials used, but they are not too variant, while the audio is here in decent, lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 and less-engaging 2.0 Stereo mixes, but this is very well recorded and more than expected.

Extras include photo gallery, deleted scenes and trailer.

A documentary centered on El Duce, who was the brain behind an offensive Shock Rock band from the 1990s known as The Mentors, has now been released. The El Duce Tapes (2019) is from the Rodney Ascher and the creators of Room 237 and The Nightmare and features VHS shot interviews and live performances by Ryan Sexton - an actor in Hollywood who met El Duce himself and formed a bond and decided to make this crude documentary about him. This sort of band wouldn't fly as well at the moment with cancel culture at its height and the offensive and de-womanizing things this man said on stage is SURE to offend most. The documentary itself is a chore to sit through unless you are really into Shock Rock or this band for some reason.

The El Duce Tapes is presented by Arrow Video in 1080p high definition for the first time and has a full frame 1.33 X 1 aspect ratio with lossless English LPCM 2.0 Mono and DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 mixes, which stays in line with Arrow's high standards for technical presentations. I guess it looks as good as it can considering the aged look of the VHS format, but it suits the subject fine as this guy was obviously a shaky and disturbing character.

Special Features include:

New feature length audio commentary track

The Ryan Sexton Tapes - 34-minute illustrated audio conversation between Ryan Sexton and producer Tim Kirk about the shooting of the original VHS footage

The Nilbog Tapes - Video of the band recording the original score for the film

More El Duce Tapes - A free-standing alternate assembly of unused material, sort of a sideways sequel

Tape 2: Hollywood Reservoir - A piece of raw tape providing a peek behind the scenes of the process of shooting the footage and a candid document of El Duce and Ryan's rapport

El Duce Stories - A humorous cut-up of a few of El Duce's famously long aimless stories into one completely incomprehensible and endless word salad

Return to Rape Rock Mountain - A brand new interview with Steve Broy, aka Dr. Heathen Scum of The Mentors

Reality Check presents the all-female El Duce tribute band The Womentors

Reversible sleeve featuring newly commissioned artwork by John Pearson and reverse art by Benjamin Marra

and First Pressing Only: Illustrated collectors' booklet featuring new writing by Manish Agarwal.

If you're down the rabbit hole with serial killer documentaries and particularly intrigued by the Charles Manson murders, then you may want to check out Helter Skelter: An American Myth (2020), which is an updated six episode mini-series that originally premiered on the Epix Network. The series is interestingly edited and shot and is very informative on the subject with lots of archival material that makes you feel like you are transported back to the scene of the grisly crimes. The series tells the 'untold story' of Charles Manson and his intense followers and features newly unearthed footage, photos, and interviews.

Six episodes span two standard definition DVDs and include Charles Manson is Your Brother, The Seed, Nobody Joins a Cult, Some Bad Mistakes, and The Legend of Helter Skelter.

The film is presented in anamorphically enhanced, standard definition on DVD with a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital mix. Some of the footage is of varied quality as it is archival, but it is still fine for the nature of the film. There are some compression issues that are evident in the format but this is a fine presentation.

No extras.

Who was Bruce Chatwin? Chatwin traveled the world, searching and studying extinct animals, people and culture. Before man and Western Civilization came to be, how was history, culture discovered? Like the dinosaurs, we find bones, fossils, fragments, cave paintings and without written word, we can only guess how things ended. Chatwin studied extinct animals, aboriginal cultures, monoliths like Easter Island and early pictures of dead tribes and cultures, and wondered ...what happened to them and what has stood the test of time.

In Werner Herzog's Nomad: In The Footsteps Of Bruce Chatwin (2019), we learn that Bruce Chatwin was a man with questions and upon discovering a dead fossil he started wondering, what else has existed and is now gone? Looking back throughout history, written history has only existed a few thousand years, but other things, animals, people, places had existed millions of years before. Who knows how much existed pre-mankind? Bruce asks the questions of what will exist or be remembered post mankind? That all things past through time and what will be their legacies for others to find? Toward the end of his own life, he and other people take on a different view and what will history say of us?

This was an interesting film which takes on the views of a dying nomadic man, for some reason historians has saved and recorded the studies and writings of Bruce Chatwin, his views, poetry on how we should be asking more questions than finding answers. In some sense, Bruce's life and views were also like a nomad, a different view from most men. The film retells the story and life of Bruce Chatwin through vistas, pictures with inspirational music, along with the few people who knew him and felt that with his passing mankind had lost something irreplaceable.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer is consistent for a new HD shoot, but can be on the flat side and any archive footage is fine, while the only audio track is a lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo track with limited surrounds that is recorded well if not spectacular.

Extras include A Conversation with Werner Herzog and trailer.

James June Schneider, Paul Bishow and Sam Levine have co-directed Punk The Capital (2021) on how the Punk scene in its original incarnation man aged to rise, thrive and leave a permanent mark on the genre and history ion Washington D.C., of all places. Key acts that resulted include Bad Brains, Minor Threat, The Slickee Boys, The Cramps and The Richard Sales Band. Running 89 minutes, it crams a ton of interviews, songs, rare footage, rare stills and other information that brings the period alive well enough.

Even if you are not a fan of the genre, it is pretty thorough and informative, plus it can be entertaining one way or the other. It is also in line with other releases on the subject, so it should fit well with other such Punk releases in telling an under-told history more important top preserve and understand than ever. Its worth a look.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image has ts share of rough analog video and other rough sources, but is as good as can be expected, while the newly shot footage is fine. Also expect some 1.33 X 1 footage. Oddly, the sound here is lossy Dolby Digital 5.1, when the music deserves a lossless source at least.

Extras include a 50 minutes of short films, extended interviews and never before seen footage that would not fit into the documentary.

David Pujol's TV documentary mini-series Salvador Dali: In Search Of Immortality (2021) is a three-part work focusing on one of the greatest artists of all time, albeit one who claimed he was a 'fascist' and was also a surrealist, something that has some contradiction to it, but also shows the idea that he wanted serious control over the world around him. That is why the focus on what else he was seeking is no surprise.

A biography as well, the hour-long shows are divided into three parts: The Youth Diaries (1904 to 1929,) The Secret Life Of Portlligat (1929 to 1982) and The Refuge Of The Visible Woman (1982 to 1989) to see how this particular obsession (he had many) was so important to him. There is some slight overlap and if you know Dali, you may have seen more of this than you expect, but there is plenty here to see that is new and different. Overall, I do not see this as a definitive biography, but it will still tell you much as it missed much (three hours is not long enough) and in any case, it is worth a look. Just make sure you have the time to sit, because it is a good bit of material in a small amount of time.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on the episodes is loaded with old stills and vintage film footage of all kinds, well edited, then obviously finished in HD. It looks good for the most part, while the sound is lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo that suffices, but is nothing spectacular.

There are no extras, though the episodes are loaded with all kinds of items.

Luca Severi's That Click: The Legendary Photography Of Douglas Kirkland (2021) is a fine look at the great work of an artist known for many classic photochemical portraits of some of the biggest names in pop culture and the entertainment business. If you know anything about beauty and star power, he's the man who has captured it. This runs a tight 90 minutes, but of course, could have gone on much longer since the work was nonstop for over 60 years!

Besides great archival footage, interviewees include Sharon Stone, Nicole Kidman, Andy Garcia, Michelle Williams and many other admirers (whether you know them or not) who share their stories and great experiences with a man who had one of the best eyes in the history of still photography. A very pleasant surprise, I definitely recommend this one!

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image is not bad for the format and looks nice enough, though this work deserves 4K, while the sound is here in passable, lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 and less-effective 2.0 Stereo mix is added.

Extras include a look Backstage at the making of this release and an Original Theatrical Trailer.

Finally, we have the remarkable film about the 1972 Munich Olympics, Visions Of Eight (1973) where the ceremonies would have eight different films made by eight different directors with different angles on the matter. Though only the last film on track deals with this, this was the Olympics where Israeli athletes were kidnapped and killed for political reasons, marring and haunting the events (Spielberg's underrated drama Munich (reviewed elsewhere on this site) is about what happened) and playing against the ideas that the games are supposed to be a peaceful event bringing the world together.

Of course, that has not always been the case (this film was issued in a huge mage Blu-ray box with dozens of films on the Olympics over the years hardcore fans might want to pick up) and this remains one of the worst incidents ever. Still, the games continued and as Producer David L. Wolper started this project, some big name directors were interested and nearly signed on, but a few dropped out for scheduling reasons.

The eight solid segments that make the film up include The Beginning by Juri Ozerov, The Strongest by Mai Zetterling, The Highest by Arthur Penn, The Women by Michael Pfleghar, The Fastest by Kon Ichikawa, The Decathalon by Milos Forman, The Losers by Claude Lelouch and The Longest by John Schlesinger. Everyone comes up with some amazing footage and honest, purely cinematic moments, which is why the film works so well, though if you think they are just on a lucky roll, it becomes apparent that it is going to continue to be amazing when Penn's segment arrives.

The many networks of NBC do a great job of covering the event, as does The Olympics Channel, which is great, but films like this take the coverage and grasp of the events to a higher, more remarkable level. That is why especially now that the latest, delayed games are finally upon us, I strongly recommend seeing this because the honesty you see here applies as much now as ever and hopefully, the pandemic will be the only problem this time and the events will be violence-free.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer is a new 4K scan of the original 35mm camera negative and looks great from the detail to the color, while the PCM 2.0 Mono has been remastered from a combination of magnetic and optical sound master sources and sounds good.

Extras include another high quality, illustrated booklet on the film including informative text with a 1973 article by author George Plimpton, excerpts from David L. Wolper's 2003 memoir, and a new reflection on the film by novelist Sam Lipsyte, while the disc adds an Original Theatrical Trailer, new audio commentary by podcasters Amanda Dobbins, Sean Fennessey, and Chris Ryan of the website The Ringer, new documentary featuring director Claude Lelouch; supervising editor Robert K. Lambert; Ousmane Sembene biographer Samba Gadjigo; Munich Olympic Games historian David Clay Large; producer David L. Wolper's son, Mark Wolper; and director Arthur Penn's son Matthew Penn, which also includes behind-the-scenes footage from the film and material from Sembene's uncompleted short film and On Location with 'Visions of Eight' short promotional film.

To order the Warner Archive Helter Skelter: An American Myth DVD, go to this link for it and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo, Ricky Chiang (Dog, Nomad) and James Lockhart (Duce, Helter)



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